Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner {Book Review}


I saw Fluent Forever: How to Learn Any Language Fast and Never Forget It on Bloggingforbooks.org and new I wanted to read even though language learning isn’t a normal topic on my bloggerly. I really really enjoy language learning and linguistics, but haven’t been disciplined enough to continue after college. I would say I haven’t had enough time, but really I find time for reading billions of books and movies a year..so I’m pretty sure given the appropriate amount of discipline and passion for the subject matter I could find time to learn if even just slowly. 

 So anyway. 

Enough sidenotes.

 This book came along. I knew I had to read it. And now I’m tryng to figure out what language I would be motivated enough to start with.

 My husband thinks japanese would be super useful. I’ve wondered about Farsi, Amharic, Italian, and Russian. For reasons unknown to man, except I think Farsi is cool, I know people who speak Amharic, I want to go to Italy, and Russian is just so unrelated to any language I’ve studied much. 

 But maybe start with just one. 

 And this book. 

 I would call this book the ultimate guide to learning languages outside of a classroom. It focuses on facts about memory and how to remember things well, learning vocaubary using a leitner system and flashcards (where you learn a word and reveiw it just before forgetting it to remember better), pronunciation and learning the sounds of a language, and the how to make good flashcards that actually help you remember.


Here are a few highlights in pictures: 

The methodology presented in this book is obviously more involved than downloading the latest version of Duolingo and going for it. Which can be super fun. It’s a method that calls for much more work than the average person might attack learning a second language (we’re talking a lot of flashcards), but it seems like a method that will have much more longlasting results. Not to mention give you freedom from a billion introductory language classes geared toward people unfamiliar with the process of language learning. 

I really appreciated the time the author spent discussing types of flashcards and how to go about creating a system that works for you. Personally, I know I remember things best when I have written it down with a pen or can handle it while studying, so digital formats are out for me. I’ll go with the pen, notecard, shoebox method. But the outline on how to create Anki flashcard decks and use them digitally could be fantastically useful for someone else. 

I am definitely going to use this for my next language acquisition project and I’d recommend it to anyone looking to learn a language in a self-taught sort of way. 

Now to choose a language! 

What language would you learn next if you had the time and motivation? 


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((I received a complimentary copy of Fluent Forever from BloggingForBooks.org in exchange for my honest review.))

What I’m Into | February 2015

The cute ones:

The Looong list of posts that hit the spot:
~~ How to Train Monsters @ Momastery “Envy is just unexpressed admiration. It’s respect holding its breath. 2) We are only envious of those already doing what we were made to do. Envy is a big flashing arrow pointing towards our destiny.”
~~The Key to Balance is Everything @ Mile-Posts “Balance didn’t mean doing more, it meant doing more with less.”
~~A God with Teeth by Esther Emery “never had a pastor say,

“Your privilege is the mechanism of someone else’s poverty. Give up the pursuit of wealth. Give up financial security. (Or the illusion of it, anyway.) Stop acting like you have to be rich before you can be generous.”

(Can you imagine? What pastor would keep their congregation then?)

No. It wasn’t like that at all. I followed only my own heart into the woods, to live the way I live now: off the grid and off the beaten path, in a homemade yurt on three acres of Idaho mountainside.

My charge came from underneath, bubbling up, out of my own chest. The yearning and the call, indistinguishable. The sense of joy in redemption and the charge to integrity, indistinguishable. I wanted the woods. I wanted the wild. I wanted integrity and justice.

I wanted a God with teeth.”

~~This is My Metaphor by Sarah Bessey

We each have our own metaphors for how we understand our faith journey. Some people find theirs in literature – I do that, too. Others find them in nature or in great acts like climbing mountains. I’ve heard many a sermon using sports or war as metaphors for the journey of a soul. And more, every mother’s experience with birth is unique because her situation is unique, her body is unique, her story is hers.

What was it that made talking about birth so taboo from the pulpit? It is too much, perhaps, too uniquely feminine to others, too messy, too real. The braiding together of pain and joy and love is too powerful, perhaps.

But I believe right in my marrow that the voices and experiences of us regular mamas, having babies, are just as valuable, just as real, just as spirit-filled as any other metaphor.

~~How Keeping Everyone Happy is Killing Us @ Millennial Pastor ~~To Catch the Wind by Esther Emery
~~20 Habits Happy Couples Have But Never Talk About @ The Open Mind
~~The Wilderness is not What We Think @ Millennial Pastor “While the wilderness was a place fraught with danger, it was the place where God’s people met their God. God always showed up in the wilderness, and God’s people were not left to suffer alone.”
~~Attention Peace Teachers @ Momastery
~~Writer with Children @ Super-rad Christian Writer

~~God Needs Dangerous Women @ SheLoves 


The books

  •  Eve’s Daughters by Lynn Austin – this turned out to be a lovely and satisfying read. Christian. Romantical. With depth. And with historical background for feeling like you might be learning somethinig. 
  • The Maze Runner and Scorch Trials by James Dashner – we saw The Maze Runner in theaters a few months ago and I knew I had to read it. Because. Usually the book is so much better than the movie. The book was good but I found the writing left little to the imagination and was more obviously geared towards teens’ vocabulary and attention spans. I made it through the first and second books, but lost interest and am not interested in spending time on books three and four. So good, but not great. And if you’ve seen the movie that’s about the best of it. 
  • Fluent Forever by Gabriel Wyner – finally finished this book on language learning and now I want to immediately choose a new language and start putting the strategies to use. Onlytochoosewhichone….. Formal review pending.
  • Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson – I loved this book. More than I thought I would. Though I shouldn’t have been surprised since I like all sally clarkson’s books! Formal review and quotes coming soon. 


The Random:

  • I’ve been getting to grocery shop by myself. It is sooo much easier. Especially when munchkins decid fighting and screaming is the best entertainment. 
  • My laundry is currently in a heap in my closet… Must fold. 
  • All of us recently had or currently have a rather unhealthy sounding cold. Just beautiful. Not fun being sick. 
  • My wordpress app finally gave me back my easy cheater bullet-point buttons! Hurray. 
  • We hvae been having lovely weather for shoving the children outside.
  • And my garden is getting attention. 
  • And i planted bulbs. 
  • And that’s all i can think of for now because someone is screaming and I have zero extra space in my head now. :p
  • She stopped. Hurray. Naptime continues. For now.
  • Israel’s job is working out well. He has time to run and work on side projects and play with the rest of us. 
  • I scurrried through the last two seaons of friends. Hit the season highlights and finales and a few key moments. I was happy with the outcome. Also my house was happy with the outcome since I swore off tv shows for lent. Just to break the lazy habit that started when they put gilmore girls on netflix. 
  • I have a hair appointment on saturday. Drastic possibly. Will post pictures. Maybe. 
  • Am scheming to restart my book group. 
  • Am also excited to have a mini book club with my sister in law in Kenya. :)
  • Am dreaming of adventures. 
  • And I think I have overused my bulletpoints. So. Ha. 
  • But in a few days I will let you know about this awesome little preschool program we’ve been using with our kidlets. It’s sanity. And education. 


The expirimental

My sister sent me an invite to try out ePantry. Each invite comes with 10 credit and a free handsoap so I signed up for an order. I’m hopeful that actually having nice cleaners around will help me find the motivatiom to do things like, ya know, clean the bathroom more often? And the awesome thing is they send refills automatically to your house (which you can cancel or delay at will) . Huzzah. No more stopping mid project for lack of windex! :) 

I figure anything that encourages me to clean a little might be worth it. Here’s my invite link if you want to try it out to. It’s good for $10 off and if you order this week there is free shipping! The only downside is that your order has to come to a total of $20 dollars after the discount so there’s a little money to be spent. But it is easy to do if your cleaning supplies have dwindled to less than might be necessary. 

Try it with me? https://www.epantry.com/referrer/81337/?poid=213

I’ll tell you what I think next week. 


Here on the blog I reviewed a book, posted a pantry revamp, participated in Five Minute Friday and shared my January Intos. All of which are easily visible by clicking the homepage and scrolling down. Since I’m irreparably lazy I’ll leave the task of getting there to you.  


Ohoh. I am on Instagram now. With a bout seven pictures to show for it. So if you’re a family member feeling shorted of pictures of your nieces/nephews/grandkids/cousins I suggest you go there

You can also find me sporadically on FacebookTwitter or Goodreads!

How was your February? 


What I'm Into

Project Day – The Pantry

Yesterday my mom and two youngest sisters came over and helped me with one of the many things left undone for too long around here. The results were impressive, the time to chat was fun, and my munchkins had a blast playing with their aunties. :)

Here’s what we did.

My pantry areas have been begging for attention almost since we moved in two years ago. The food was nearly randomly heaped and swirled and generally lost in the confusion of choas.

My upper pantry – observe the beauty of stacked tea, lemonade, coffee, crackers, oatmeal, and everything in between.

The lower pantry that made me want to sing deep and wide and “oh I can’t find anything!”

The upper cabinet dedicated to things sugary (because the ants haven’t ever found that space) and random supplies and books as seem to be dropped there.
And the top of my fridge completely taken over with cereal.

My mom was kind enough to stop at Lowes on the way over and picked up more shelves for my out of control pantry and we jumped right in. After threeish hours (including a break for lunch amid the choas of food all ver the counters) we were able to tame it all into a much more desirable organization. It all makes sense now!

Upper pantry containing beverage options, snacks, disposable dishware, and a couple appliances.

Lower cabinet- look what a couple more shelves gave us! I am still going to put my bulk dry beans/lentils/barley/etc in some canning jars along the top shelf for extra pretties.

Upper cabinet with cereal, jam, and sugar.
And the top of my fridge: sans cereal! I’m aiming to clear it off entirely for a lovely blank surface soon.

And that was that. A monday worth commenting on :)

I’m already scheming what the next project day will accomplish!

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Open // Five Minute Friday

Life is an open-ended question.

It’s hard to tell how it will turn out from one moment to the next. We’re left wondering and wandering, wishing for halls that only had one option. But then we have to choose and are kept wondering where the other door opened.

Life is an open-ended question.

It’s about how we live and why we make the choices we make, but it’s also a little bit about where we’re going: that ever elusive answer that tempts us with tales of happy endings and never go wrong again moments of ineptitudeless wonder. Awe. And then awful. Because?

Life is an open-ended question and while there might be a way more suited to our needs and whims and wills, the options linger longer and more complex than any Choose Your Own Adventure story ever was.

And open-ended question.

No wrong answers.


Free form.

Write your story.

Your story.

I would dare to tell there is one choice in their that will direct the rest and make your life more and less complicated. More and less open-ended. More and less your own. But all the more His and purposeful than before.

Open-ended but orchestrated.

It’s up to us.

How to live.


It’s been awhile since I participated in a five minute friday. They’ve switched venues and are now at Kate Motaung’s blog. I thought since I’ve been lacking any writing at all here I may as well blather on friday/saturday and just see what happens. :) fun. You should join, too, of course.

And just a warning: five minutes doesn’t always allow for coherency or the perfect expression of what I believe. So take it with a grain of salt and realize the one sided explanations. For example, in today’s meandering, I don’t actually think having choices is bad, it’s just a feeling in the moment of wondering where a life is meant to go and wishing you just knew how it went. Anyone else feel like that sometimes?


Tables in the Wilderness by Preston Yancey {Book Review}

“Our God is bigger than our walls. God has God’s own, but I’m not sure we’ve found as many of them as we think.”
– Preston Yancey, Tables in the Wilderness: A Memoir of God Found, Lost, and Found Again

I picked up this book planning on liking it. I read it while in the midst of, and in recovery from, writing my 31 days series about our God who is bigger than our opinions. Preston Yancey’s story is just another piece in that beautifully articulated puzzle of who God is amidst our own thoughts and experiences.

Tables in the Wilderness is almost a sort of coming of age story in Christian belief and thought. Yancey goes to college with his life figured out and God turns everything upside down and inside out. God goes seemingly silent and Yancey realizes that the way he knew God before was only a piece of who God is.

It’s an exploration of a God free from human restriction and expectation.

Yancey’s story is sort of the opposite of my own in that he went from knowing a God who spoke clearly to own who is found within the structure and liturgy of God revealed more opaquely. He went from a more charismatic tradition to one filled with repetition and wonder. And along the way came to terms with a God who is bigger than he thought.

Some quotes:

On structure:

“I need written prayers because otherwise I become too comfortable with my own haphazard version of grace.”


On close-mindedness:

“We had heard stories of how these university types liked to belittle .god and the Bible. We were prepared to confront them. We had a wall of certainty as our hedge of protection, firmly constructed around our hearts and minds. I stopped listening. Because I disagreed with one part, I rejected the whole.”


On the importance of faith together:

“It’s too big to do on our own,” Antonia said as we were crossing the street to Common Grounds. “The Bible, God, it’s too much to try and do on our own. It’s too much to pretend we know well enough in the first place. We need the conversation, the big table where everyone comes together, where we ask, ‘What kind of book is this?’ or ‘What is the character of God?’ or ‘What is the Eucharist?’ and then we need to listen. We need to breathe in the old and current and the possibility of the new.”


On the same, but different, God:

“What I hadn’t quite understood at first, when it felt that Jesus had packed up the boxes, was that while the image of God I was seeing had changed, the pieces that portrayed the image hadn’t. For nearly two decades, the Holy Spirit had been bringing in pieces of a theological imagination.
[…] The vision was new. The way of seeing was new. The way of hearing was new. God remained the same.”

Overall I appreciated this book and agreed over and again with what the author had to say. Though personally, at this point in my life, I won’t read it again since by the time I was through I had just about sworn off reading the spiritual memoir as a genre.

I was left with such an emotional hangover from dealing with someone else’s everything without the trust of a relationship that I ended up feeling somewhat resentful of the energy this book took for me to read (thus me taking four months break before writing my review…haha). But that is probably just me at this point in my life and I recommend Tables in the Wilderness to anyone who is interested.

Just be warned: it’s not a light and easy read. It dwells on the unknown qualities of God, tells of a completely personal journey, and is highly introspective.

So there you have it.

Have you read this book? Does it sound interesting to you?


(I was provided with a copy of this book from bloggingforbooks.com in exchange for my honest review.)

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What I’m Into| January 2015

Wow. That month flew by quickly and is pretty much long gone already. Happy February, Folks!

I am going to jump into a random brief review of January since that is how I gather my thoughts here. As always.

But since my camera decided it doesn’t want to sync to my ipad…it needs some TLC from the computer and it’s memory reformatted before it will cooperate again… Pesky thing. and that takes setting up the desktop somewhere waiting for the pictures to sync and then sending them up to my blogosphere which takes about a billion more steps than the normal way…i’m skipping my camera pictures.

I promise you’ll get pictures later.

Oh look! phone pictures!




Promise fulfilled.

But you know, I assure you my kids are still cute, it’s just the middle of winter and I am lazy/tired. So there.

Other lovely or interesting things from last month:

– We went on vacation to the Oregon Coast for a week. On our own. Our first non-extended family including vacation since our honeymoon..ha. It was pretty fun. Three baby gates did the trick nicely. Oh and lots of other playing :)

– Israel started his new job on the 30th. It’s about a 15 minute drive from our house and seems like it will be a really good fit. My favorite part: normal hours! 9-5. Tops. It’s great :)

– I figured out that some thrift stores are great if you just need to take the kids somewhere to play while your husband has important phone interviews…though you might just end up with a 5 dollar toy or two.

– I’ve gotten stuck in the middle of Friends. Officially. It’s pretty fun.

– I had my final dentist appointment and my teeth are happy again. It’s been a while. Now to keep them that way.

– I got a membership at the Y instead and was reminded that the smell of chlorine makes me happy. So I am starting to swim once a week. And will take the littles once I feel braver. :p

– I have hardly run at all just because I am severely demotivated. I don’t want to push the heavy stroller enough to bother to bundle all three of us up to go for a run. Maybe soon though since the weather is warm this week.

– I am currently cooking a turkey. We’ll see how it goes.

Books Read:

Xenocide and Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card – I really enjoyed this series more than I thought I would. The last two books were my favorite because of the linguistic elements and the way the author tied everything together in pseudosciencey sort of way. It was pretty cool. Brainstretching and satisfying conclusions.

The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron – I ordered this book with the vague notion it would be helpful in our family…and I think it will be. I’ll probably try to process some of the quotes that resonated with me here a little bit some other time. But I felt like I recognized my adult self in these pages, not so much me as a child as I remember it, but definitely I have some of these tendencies now. It was interesting and freeing to read.

Discovering the Enneagram by Richard Rohr – I really didn’t appreciate this book…ended up skimming it in the end. There were a couple good insights, but I think my brain was just on overwhelm and couldn’t handle it. (See above book for a halfway explanation…haha)

The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski – I really liked the idea behind this book and enjoyed it at first, but it was so long I had to force myself to finish it at all.. (Formal review coming)

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn – I picked this book up for kindle on a whim and was engrossed and then intrigued and then horrified as the story continued. It was a well written, twisted mystery with a twist at the end twists your gut, but there are also some inappropriate moments so I wouldn’t recommend it in general and won’t be seeing the movie.

Currently Reading:
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand – excellent so far.
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner – am getting more excited about it as I go.

Articles to Share:

Jen Hatmaker on resolutions and writing: The Thing About Being More Awesome and On Becoming a Writer, respectively.

Thoughts on Christians and Shallow Reading by Laura at Enough Light.

I’m not as big a deal as I used to be, Thank God and On Blogging at the Intersection of Authenticity and Privilege by Esther Emery (a homesteading, yurt living, fellow idaho-dwelling blogger I follow).

This Morning at the Barre by Osheta Moore.

Why We Don’t Need “Women’s” Ministry by Sarah Bessey.

“Dear Women, You are making me stumble” by April Fiet.

Christian Cleavage Probably Isn’t the Problem at Relevant Magazine

I did post a few things here last month, but they are easily visible on the homepage… :) the most notable would be the millions of pictures I shared for Ali and Ranger’s update.

And that is all.

What were you into in January?
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