97 In Life

Foster Children, Swimsuits, & Mr. Kindle

Good Friday morning to you!


I am all geared up this morning… woke up at 5 am, which is considered “sleeping in” these days and with a little caffeine in my system I am ready to roll because our Spring Break starts TODAY and Mom got here last night after a solo expedition from Illinois to spend our vacation with us!

First, I forgot to show you one picture from my phone the other day…


A couple weekends ago Rover went to his first birthday party {for a non-family member} and it was like Christmas morning for him. It was a jungle party and he can tell you all about it, you may not be able to understand him, but he can tell you all about it. This picture was taken right before we left and if his sisters so much as touch any of his jungle paraphernalia he completely loses it.

Now, the real purpose for my post…



I mentioned in my last post that there are currently 6,000 foster children in the state of Alabama, that’s a lot of children. Many of these children have been placed in homes, but I read this morning that 2,128 children are still waiting to be placed in homes and that is obviously the most tangible way you can help. But this morning I also want to share a way we can all support the families who are making great sacrifices to bring these children into their homes. I’m excited about working with Big House {again} to raise, not only awareness of the situation in our state, but also provide folks with a tangible way they can help not only the children but also the families caring for them! During the month of April, Big House is running a statewide swimsuit & towel drive so that these 6,000 children will have aΒ  new swimsuit and towel for the summer. How awesome is that? To give a swimsuit to a foster child may mean less goodies in your child’s Easter basket, or one less swim suit for your own child, but I can assure you that it will mean the world to a foster child and what an awesome opportunity to teach our children about loving others and making sacrifices.

So, here’s what you can do:
– Drop off a new bathing suit & towel {or a gift card for $25 to Target or Walmart which will cover the cost of a towel and swimsuit} at one of the locations scattered all across the state {or if you’re interested in being a drop-off location let them know at bighousefoundation@hotmail.com}
– Make a monetary donation online
– Volunteer your embroidery services to put the children’s names on their towels


Now, I thought I’d throw in a little incentive. As I charged my Mr. Kindle {please say that to the tune of Mr. Wendal} last night I thought it’d be fun to give one away to a contributor. Give a to a child in need and you’ll be entered for a chance to win your own Mr. Kindle.Β  I do not personally know folks at all the drop off locations so the only way to really make this work is toΒ  take the names of those who contribute online {by putting FTOW in the designation box on the online donation form} which means you don’t even have to live in Alabama to help or if you’re local you can contribute locally {@ Bellamia my friend Katie’s shop on Westgate Parkway} she’ll have a sheet where you can sign up to enter when you drop off! On April 30th, I’ll announce hopefully that every child will have a swimsuit for the summer and the winner of the Kindle!

Now speaking of Mr. Kindle… I’m about to wrap up one book and need a new book for the beach! So what should I load before I roll out of town??

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  • Ashley
    April 8, 2011 at 8:54 am

    What a great cause, Darby! This is excellent – thank you for supporting things like this and getting the word out to all of us! As for books, I just finished “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks…” not an easy read b/c of all the science history, but VERY interesting. If you like semi-biographical type books w/ a lot of history thrown in…I recommend. I also read Water for Elephants in anticipation of the movie. A little weird and not quite “moral,” but an easy read and an interesting story about the circus (who knew all the drama behind the scenes?)! You need to do book reviews/recommendations on occasion…I am always looking for the next read!

  • Jenny
    April 8, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Firefly Lane & The Help are both great books. Also, if you grew up reading the Sweet Valley series, Sweet Valley Confidential is now out and is a fun read.

  • Jenn
    April 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

    Ohmigosh, Darby. This so touches my heart. I live in Georgia and can’t donate in person but am getting online right now to donate as much money as we can afford this month! It absolutely breaks my heart to think of those children waiting for homes. Thank goodness I can’t be there in person or I might just bring them all home with me. Enjoy your time at the beach–I’m sure you’re glad to have your mom there as backup πŸ™‚

  • Meredith
    April 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

    I would recommend “The Help” by Katherine Stockett, or any of Elizabeth Musser’s books – “The Swan House” or “The Dwelling Place” are two of my favorite. Check them out!

  • Melanie Marsh
    April 8, 2011 at 9:14 am

    It is kind old, but if you have not read it yet, the glass castle was an awesome memoir. I read it a while back and it just sticks with me…might be kind of deep for the beach, but it is still an easy read! Thanks for sharing this great cause! I am trying to read The Help before the movie comes out, but I can’t seem to get the time in!

  • Beth
    April 8, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Two other good books that are being made into a movie: Something Borrowed, and the second book, Something Blue are really good books. Movie will star Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin. I always like to read the books before the movie comes out, and I almost always like the books better. My Live in France (Julia Child) is another excellent book. Kristen Hannah books are pretty good beach reads, my favorite is Firefly Lane.

  • Emily
    April 8, 2011 at 9:25 am

    LOVE it, Darby! Thank you for the reminder of these things that break the Lord’s heart! I hope my donation will be helpful … can’t wait to hear more at the end of April. Have you read Water for Elephants? I LOVED it … and with the movie coming out, it would be a good one!

  • NEPD
    April 8, 2011 at 9:26 am

    might have already read – but anything by Pat Conroy is amazing and a great stimulating, yet easy beach read.

  • Mikaela
    April 8, 2011 at 9:30 am

    The American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld is very interesting. Loosely based on the life of Laura Bush, it’s actually a fictional read…I really enjoyed it!

  • jordan
    April 8, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I think what your are doing to help the foster children of alabama is wonderful! My parents live in SC and started fostering a little girl in 2008 and were given the opportunity to adopt her last summer! she has been the biggest blessing in all of our lives and it’s as if she has been a part of our family for forever! i will certainly participate in what Big House is doing!

  • Abbie
    April 8, 2011 at 9:36 am

    wonderful! A shiny new swimsuit & soft new towel will surely be really special to these sweet children.

  • kristen
    April 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

    This is awesome! Can’t wait to take the girls to pick out a suit and towel. And you are cracking me up with Mr. Wendal! Have a great spring break!

  • Kate
    April 8, 2011 at 9:42 am

    What a wonderful cause, thank you for bringing this to our attention. What an amazing “little” thing that can make a BIG difference.

    I could list tons of different books but one of my go to favorite’s is Wally Lamb. I Know This Much is True or The Hour I First Believed are both fantastic reads. Not Wally Lamb…Love Walked In is a great fun, summer read too.

  • ELK
    April 8, 2011 at 9:43 am

    You lucky girl! What I wouldn’t do for a Spring Break at the beach!
    This pesky full time job…
    -Have you read “The Divine Secrets of Ya-Ya Sisterhood” by Rebecca Wells?
    -One of my favorite bloggers -Molly Wisenberg of Orangette-wrote a book called “A Homemade Life”, that is part memoir, part cookbook. It is EXCELLENT and kept me fully occupied on a flight from Baltimore to LA, which is no easy feat!
    Have a wonderful Spring Break!!

  • Amanda S.
    April 8, 2011 at 9:44 am

    Darby — I just finished a great book on my Nook – Loving Frank by Nancy Horan and it is just amazing! It tells a fictional story of real life characters (Frank Lloyd Wright). Enjoy the beach!

  • Abby
    April 8, 2011 at 9:47 am

    What a great cause!! I will definitely donate. As for Kindle, try The Help.

  • Jen
    April 8, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The Glass Castle ….

    I hope you have a great time with your mom.

    I love the swimsuit/towel drive. What a fantastic idea. I am inspired to try to think of how to incorporate that into my community.

  • Jill
    April 8, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Thanks for bringing such a good cause to our attention!

    Now…beach reading! So much fun. I recently read and loved “Secret Daughter” (Indian girl given up for adoption to an American couple) by Shilpi Somaya Gowda. Another interesting one is “Sisters in the Wilderness” (early Canadian pioneers) by Charlotte Gray. I feel like it’s harder to recommend “light” reading, particularly since my taste tends to lean towards Nora Roberts or Lee Child…both fun and light but not everyone’s cup of tea. Enjoy your break!

  • kat
    April 8, 2011 at 10:26 am

    This is such a great cause!!! If you haven’t read “The Swan House” by Elizabeth Musser you absolutely must read it. It’s fantastic. One of my absolute favorites for sure!

  • Candace
    April 8, 2011 at 10:31 am

    My husband and I are starting to research fostering and adopting in Georgia, it is such a great thing to be involved in. The book heaven is for real is amazing!! I highly recommend it for a fast read.

  • brittan
    April 8, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Charles Martin books are the best! Chasing Fireflies and Wrapped in Rain are great…but all of his are!

  • Lydia
    April 8, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Darby-I own an embroidery business out of Columbus, GA (but I’m originally from Dothan, so I can easily be in town). I’m happy to offer my embroidery services to help with such a great cause. Please contact me at Lydia@LayneJames.com if you’d like my help.

    Thanks!!! πŸ™‚

  • elizabeth
    April 8, 2011 at 11:01 am

    As soon as I saw your blog title I started singing ‘Mr. Wendal.’ Too funny. I’ve heard the Danger Games series is good…..I think that is what it’s called.

  • Kelly
    April 8, 2011 at 11:02 am

    The Help (Kathryn Stockett), Firefly Lane (Kristen Hannah), Sarah’s Key (Tatiana de Rosnay—warning-this was good, but a little haunting for someone with kids). I personally love kids books on vacation b/c they are brainless…my favs are any of the Mysterious Benedict Society books, anything by Kate DiCamillo, or the Harry Potter series. For classics, my favorite is Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier.

    Love the donation idea. Donating now.

  • Elizabeth
    April 8, 2011 at 11:07 am

    Thanks for supporting a great cause Darby.
    Book recs:
    “Christy” by Catherine Marshall…SO GOOD! True story of author’s mother serving as a teacher in Appalachia.
    “Mark of the Lion” series by Francine Rivers…I could not put these down once I started reading…so inspiring.
    “Black Heels to Tractor Wheels” by the Pioneer Woman. Very fun πŸ™‚

  • Lacey
    April 8, 2011 at 11:25 am

    HUNGER GAMES! So good-it’s a trilogy, but that’s the first one

  • Farrah
    April 8, 2011 at 11:27 am

    The Paris Wife by Paula McLain is great. It is written from the perspective of Ernest Hemingway’s first wife while they were living in Paris. Our book club is also reading A Movable Feast which was written by Hemingway and describes their time there from his point of view.

  • raeann
    April 8, 2011 at 11:29 am

    hunger games trilogy, the help, water for elephants, hotel on the corner of bitter & sweet, and the sweetness at the bottom of the pie.

  • Melody Peters
    April 8, 2011 at 11:32 am

    what a great way to support these kids put into difficult situations ~ thank you for bringing the opportunity to light ~

    I am currently reading “A Homemade Life” as someone above mentioned and it is fun ~ I’ve earmarked many of the recipe pages …

    I also recently read “Unbroken: A WW II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption” by Laura Hillenbrand…AMAZING true story of a man named Louis Zamperini…I’m not typically a history person, but this story pulls you in from the first pages…he wrote an autobiography a couple of years ago as well, called “Devil at My Heels” and I bought it to read as well b/c I want to read his story from HIS perspective… Hillenbrand has a great writing style though (she also wrote “Seabiscuit” however many years ago).

  • Catherine
    April 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

    If you liked The Help, you will like Saving CeeCee Honeycutt. Really great, sweet book with southern charm. You can finish it in a few days.

  • Cherie
    April 8, 2011 at 11:46 am

    The Hunger Games trilogy!

  • Mary Catherine
    April 8, 2011 at 11:54 am

    I would have to second recommendations for The Help and Water for Elephants! πŸ˜‰

  • Laura
    April 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    Thank you for bringing attention to such a wonderful cause! As for books…I have to agree with so many others who mentioned The Help – loved it! I’ve just started Water for Elephants and am not far enough along to give my personal opinion but based on multiple reviews as well as many comments here it should be a good read. Hope you enjoy Spring Break!

  • Brittaney
    April 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    My favorite book is Heaven is For Real. If you haven’t read it, you should! It’s about a little boy’s true story of visiting Heaven after getting very ill.

  • Kristi
    April 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    I was going to post Heaven is For Real, looks like it’s already on here. I also agree with the Hunger Games triology. During the second book, my son (who is a few months younger than yours) actually came up to me and said, ‘no more, momma!’ and took my book!
    I got it back about 5 minutes later and kept reading! haha!

  • Sarah
    April 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    “Heaven is for Real” Todd Burpo and Lynn Lynn Vincent
    It won’t take you long, but it is the cutest!

  • Bette
    April 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    Others have mentioned The Help, The Glass Castle, and Water for Elephants…right up there with them (or maybe even above them) is
    One Thousand White Women….(a WONDERFUL read) by Jim Fergus. I loved it. Kudos on your charity involvement

  • Emily
    April 8, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I agree, The Help and any of the Something Borrowed (Emily Giffin) books are good beach reads. Have you read Same Kind of Different as Me? It is an excellent read, however it left me in tears on the beach last spring during a girls’ trip, so be prepared! Stepping Heavenward is also great!

  • cat moore
    April 8, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    so cool that you’re doing this! As far as books, have you ever read that one about rasing boys? It’s SOSOOSO good, but I can’t remember the name. You may be wanting a novel, but I sure did love it. I will try to find the name (I borrowed it from a friend) and I will email you with the name.

  • Emily
    April 8, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    I’m hoping for a new release from Kathryn Stockett . . . *The Help* was the best read in my past 5-10 years, which is saying a lot! I was spellbound by Kate Morton’s *House at Riverton* and plan to read her *The Forgotten Garden* this summer. Oh, and if you like C.S. Lewis, read his novel *Till We All Have Faces*; it’s beautiful! And I never can pass up a good children’s book, blogging about those recommendations.

  • Lori
    April 8, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    I am reading The Glass Castle and am loving it. It came highly recommended to me I had heard alot about Water for Elephants and recently finished it, because not so crazy about it. My bookclub is also One thousand gifts right now – thanks for your recommendation. Agree with the other, The Help was a tremendous book. Same Kind of Different As Me is a favorite of mine, a true story – really inspirational. Yes, keep up the book reviews! Enjoy your Springbreak.

  • Stephanie
    April 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    if you haven’t read “same kind of different as me” then you really should… it was so moving and inspiring… a true story, but captivated me like a novel. and an easy read. but the kind of book that when you finish it, you feel like made you a better person. you know?

    please tell us what you pick!

  • Ashley
    April 8, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    Just found your blog and love it! Your children are absolutely gorgeous:) I will definitely be following. As for good reads, love all of the above recommendations and also anything by Nicholas Sparks if you are a romantic like me!

  • Melissa
    April 8, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Thanks for letting us know about the opportunity to help foster children in Alabama. What a great idea!

    I hope you enjoy your spring break! The most enjoyable books I’ve read in recent months are I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith and A Parchment of Leaves by Silas House. They’re both easy to read, but I Capture is more light-hearted than Parchment. Happy reading!!!

  • Jen
    April 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    Hunger Games Trilogy (so addicting and fun!) or The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom.

  • Melissa
    April 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm

    oooo, i just thought of another, but i’m sure you’ve probably read it already. a severe mercy by sheldon vanauken. biography, theology, romance, philosophy all wrapped up into one book. it’s probably my favorite book of all time.

  • cousin
    April 8, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    Looks wonderful! Love that JM!!

  • Haverlee
    April 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    I know you’re getting a thousand book recommendations but i just can’t help but add to the list! I LOVE to read and my mom’s a librarian so I’ve read some great ones over the years.
    I second (or third or fourth or fifth!! πŸ™‚ The Hunger Games trilogy, The Help, Water for Elephants and Unbroken by Hillebrand.
    A couple that haven’t been mentioned that are some of my all time faves: Escape by Carolyn Jessop- a memoir of a woman raised in a polygamist cult. Unbelievable story. In My Hands by Irene Opdyke- a memoir of a German girl who worked for Natzis and managed to rescue some Jews. Two different books (historical fiction) by Allen Brennert: Honolulu- about an asian picture bride; and Molokai about the lepper colony. Both so good. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt- memoir of a boy raised in complete poverty in Ireland.
    I’ll stop there but i could go on and on! I keep a list on my blog of the last 5 really great books I’ve read in case you ever need another recommendation (although all of this should last you the next 10 yrs πŸ˜‰

  • Liz @ A Happy Haven
    April 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    My mom’s good friend once told me to read The Shack, and said that it would “change my life.” I will never read another book like it! Amazing, and I highly recommend it if you believe in the Lord.

  • Chery
    April 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing.
    Have fun with your mom!
    I wonder if they have something like that here in Arizona for homeless children. I will look into it!
    Some books I’d recommend: Water for Elephants or The Hunger Games trilogy.
    The Hunger Games may appear disturbing from reading the synopsis, but once you start reading, you can’t put it down (or any of them for that matter!). Such a powerful, emotional series set in a very futuristic time. I re-read these books all the time, even if they are a little tragic and dark. It’s actually my favorite series for some reason. They’re making a movie of the first book, which I’m really excited about. It’ll be interesting to see how they pull it off though!

  • JulieJ
    April 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    Darby, thanks so much for letting us know about this! I’m not equipped to take in a foster child at this point in my life, but I most certainly CAN buy a swimsuit and towel. Thanks again for giving us a heads-up and letting us know where to drop off…happy weekend!


  • Allison
    April 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    I admire you for mentioning foster children and encouraging people to donate items/money for those precious children! And I think very highly of you for using your blog this way to help others who are less fortunate… especially children. Wish we could donate our time to spend with them! I, too, live in Georgia and will be giving money online. And please let us know how we can help around the holiday season. I would love to help sponsor a family!

    Also, can we start a “Darby’s Book Club”?!! πŸ™‚ I recommend any book written by Eric & Leslie Ludy. They have a wonderful life and love story written by God. Their books touch on how to build a stronger relationship with God and make him the center of your life. They also have a (free) online magazine: Set Apart Girl.

  • Jennifer
    April 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm

    What a great cause! Living in Michigan I am very jealous that you are already posting beach pictures πŸ™‚ If you have read the Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls then you should read her newest book, Half Broke Horses, it is the story of her grandmother and it is wonderful! Enjoy your warm and sunny spring break!

  • annek
    April 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    I think “The Help” is a good vacation book. When I read it all I could think was… they should make a movie out of it…and I’m so happy that they are. Another book I really enjoyed if you like historical fiction…”The Postmistress” by Sarah Blake. I also really liked “The Cookbook Collector” by Allegra Goodman. πŸ™‚

  • Erika Tracy
    April 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm

    One of my favorite, fast and easy reads. Especially good if you love pups.


    The Hunger Games series is terribly addicting as well. I read all three books during our recent spring break in Costa Rica.

  • Katie
    April 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm

    What a great cause! I grew up with a girl whose parents fostered many children, most with special needs. Such an awesome family!

    As for beach reads, I always recommend “Valley of the Dolls” or “Jane Eyre” ….. Totally different, I know. Or if you are a slow reader who likes pictures ( hehe) and need a laugh, go for some Sloane Tanen and her “chicks”

  • Amy
    April 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    Hey Darby! This is such a great cause that you have shared with us. I have an embroidery business and would gladly monogram some towels for this organization. I will contact them and see if they can provide some first names so that I can monogram and send the towels directly to them from here in Tennessee. At my church here we host homeless families through a program called Family Promise which helps these families find permanant housing and jobs. While the families are staying at our church I provide pillowcases for each of the children with their names monogrammed on them. They love them because they are theirs and no one can take them from them. Seeing your name on something gives you a sense of pride and boosts self esteem. That’s awesome that this organization in Alabama recognizes how important just a monagrammed beach towel and a new swim suit can mean to a child who doesnt have much more. Thanks so much Darby for sharing this!

  • Ashley
    April 8, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    I second that you should start a Darby’s book club! The Help, Water for Elephants, anything by Emily Giffin, Hunger Games series, and Sophie Kinsella books are my favorite! I don’t know how you feel about Harry Potter but I loved those too!

  • Laura Palmore
    April 8, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    Anything by Karen Kingsbury or The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin is a wonderful read! You can also check out the new ebook on line option from the Houston-Love Memorial Library – no charge and great selection!

  • Kelley
    April 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    I’m currently reading “Little Bee”, though I’m not gonna lie. I wouldn’t exactly recommend this one as a beach read. I’m also reading “Cutting for Stone”, and I wouldn’t recommend that one as a beach read either!

    I did love love love “The Book Thief” though it is a bit dark. But so beautiful.

    I’m seeing a pattern here in my reading patterns…how about “Waiting for Birdy” by Catherine Newman or “Traveling Mercies” by Anne Lammott? Both are non-fiction. I’ve also been wanting to read “The Emperor of Maladies” which details the history of cancer in a readable way. And I’ve also been wanting to read “The Hunger Games” which have been mentioned several times.

    Whatever you download I hope you have some time to read!

    And thanks for giving us an opportunity to give to a great cause.

  • Andrea
    April 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I’m the middle of Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. It’s a mystery, and a Miss Flavia de Luce is the main character and now one of my favorite characters of all time. I want to read Water for Elephants and I’ve heard really good things about the Hunger Game series although it sort of freaks me out.
    The swimsuit/towel drive is a great idea! I’m trying to think of how I could spread this to my area in TN!

  • Megan Eshbaugh
    April 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp–A Dare to Live Fully Right where you are………Amazing book!!! πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie
    April 8, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    I agree with Megan that “One Thousand Gifts” is a wonderful book–I am reading it slowly and savoring it. A good vacation read (I read it on my spring break!) is “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin–loved it so much I am rereading it–a great reminder to be intention in all areas of my life, including taking care of myself which I often forget.

  • Chrystal
    April 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Currently reading “1,000 gifts” by Ann Voskamp (incredible, it will change you). Also anything by Francine Rivers will cause you to love Jesus more, but at the same time be such a “fun read” that you can’t put it down.

  • Julie
    April 8, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    I am sure you have already loaded your Kindle and are headed to the beach, but I would recommend Radical by David Platt, and Forgotten God by Francis Chan…both are life changing and honestly maybe a little heavy for the beach, but if you are up for something to chew on for a while, these are great ones!

  • Molly
    April 8, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Love reading your blog…if you liked Art of Choosing, I know you will enjoy Nurture Shock. Another good choice would be Unbroken–an inspirational WWII hero story.

  • Katy
    April 9, 2011 at 12:00 am

    Ditto to the Hunger Games trilogy….very addicting! Some of my other favorites are Redeeming Love (I have a feeling you would love that one), A Thousand Splendid Suns (I read this one on vacation last year, couldn’t put it down!), The Kite Runner, My Name is Memory, all of the Harry Potter books are great….that’s all of the easy, yet great vacation reads I can think of off the top of my head. I’m currently reading The Lake of Dead Languages–so far, so good! Water for Elephants is next on my list since the movie comes out this month. Have fun!

  • Amy
    April 9, 2011 at 7:55 am

    The Walk by Richard Paul Evans is GREAT book.

  • Melanie
    April 9, 2011 at 8:31 am

    I agree wih Annek – The Help. A must read by everyone, oh how we treat others!

  • Jennifer
    April 9, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Execllent idea…we are looking for to a summer drive at our church festival, I am going to suggest this swimsuit idea!! Enjoy the family time! By the way, found out that our local Walmart has THE DRESS, bought one for my sis and I! Thx

  • Lynne D
    April 9, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Unbroken – amazing story of WWII POW Louis Zamperini. By Laura Hillebrand

  • Rebecca
    April 10, 2011 at 7:21 am

    Based on your heart for children in need I would suggest reading Little Princes by Conor Grennan. I read it on my nook on my last beach trip and it was so inspiring! True story about trafficked children but not a depressing read because of the author’s gift of story and joy. It’s not my typical beach read but it felt so good to ponder something so purposeful while being at the beach.

  • Chris
    April 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

    ‘Heaven Is For Real’ great book and short chapters which is good because with three little ones at the beach you will only have short periods of time in which you will be able to read.

  • Kim
    April 10, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    You must read Safely Home. It is fiction so very easy to read, but so far may have had the biggest impact on my every day Christian walk! It is about the persecution of Christians in China. If you don’t read it at the beach, you must read it! You will love it!

  • Angela
    April 10, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    “10 Lies About God” by Erwin Lutzer. We did it in a bible study at my church. At first I read the 10 lies and was like these are obvious but as I read the book I realized that in some ways I believed some of these lies. For instance, one was “God helps those who help themselves.” Totally unbiblical but I am grateful for God revealing my sin to me.

    Also, another good Family bible study book that I am in love with now is “Long Story Short.” You can find it on westminster bookstore (www.wtsbooks.com). It goes through the whole bible and shows how the old testament always points to Christ. It also reinforces the catechisms. It isn’t too complicated for my 4 year old girl but my husband and I learn a lot from it as well.

  • Bradley Robertson
    April 10, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    Have you read “Same kind of Different as me” A-Mazing!! Read it on my last beach trip and couldn’t put it down…Enjoy!

  • Shannon
    April 11, 2011 at 12:26 am

    What a great cause! I recently came across your blog and love your ideas! I am hoping you can tell me where you found the swimsuits your two girls are wearing in this photo! They are adorable! Thanks.

  • Jen
    April 11, 2011 at 6:38 am

    YOU MUST READ CHARLES MARTIN…any of his books will do. He’s an amazing author-fiction with undertones of redemption and God’s grace. You will shed a few tears but come away encouraged and ready to read another one. I finish them in about 3 days so you may need a back up!!!

  • Shar
    April 11, 2011 at 9:55 am

    I loved The Help, as did everyone else. A MUST read is THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN. It is absolutely wonderful!

    And, what a wonderful promotion for the foster children. Great idea!

  • Sarah
    April 11, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    The Glass Castle
    The Help (one of my ALL time favorites!)
    The Hunger Games (3 in the series0
    Sarah’s Key

  • Gail
    April 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    On your Kindle…go to menu…hit Shop in Kindle Store…now go to “Kindle Top Sellers” do you see up at the very top corner in small letters…”Kindle Top Free” ? Hit that…here is where you find all the free books….I found also— on a blog called “Free Kindle Books Plus” shows tons of great free books. I found there…”Leota’s Garden by Francine Rivers….It is GREAT and a real page turner! Also, I found for FREE and LOVED it….”Michal: A Novel” really, really good….”The Potluck Club” by Linda Evans….”The Gospel of Ruth: Loving God Enough” It was really GREAT!!! Good luck and I know you can find tons of books you will enjoy for free!

  • Gail
    April 11, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    The Walk is great, too!!!!

  • erin
    April 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    What a great cause! I love the idea and definitely want to help. I’ve also loved reading the book recommendations – I’m going to borrow the Hunger Games from my son! I also agree that The Book Theif is terrific and destined to be a classic. Sarah’s Key is amazing, and I just finished Beneath a Marble Sky (a fictional story based on the building of the Taj Mahal) and it’s wooooonderful. Have fun at the beach!

  • Laura D
    April 11, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    For all those out-of-towners wanting to donate swimsuits rather than cash, you can mail them to the Big House PO Box.

    Also, two thumbs up for Cleopatra’s Daughter. Interesting “based on a true story” novel about the daughter of Cleopatra who is taken to live in Rome. Easy read, but sucks you right in.

  • Andrea Young
    April 11, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    Oh…I pray that some families will open their HOMES to these sweeties!!! Swimsuits and towels would be nice too.

    Just read the book “The Next Christians” and thought it was an amazing read. About the next generation of Christians who live in radical obedience to Christ…like opening up your home to little one and living the gospel in a way to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

  • ChristyS
    April 12, 2011 at 8:54 am

    “Montana Sky” by Nora Roberts is one of my favorites of all time. An exciting, romantic, fun, suspenseful read set in Big Sky Country (my future home). πŸ˜‰ “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers is based on the book of Hosea and is WONDERFUL. I also just finished “Heaven is for Real” by Todd Burpo and couldn’t stop talking about it. After watching a documentary on Alex Marlarkey, I immediately read “The Boy Who Came Back from Heaven” by Kevin Malarkey. What an amazing child. I definitely recommend watching and reading!

  • Laura B.
    April 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

    “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer.

  • Christine Cage
    April 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    I too recommend Unbroken – the presence of the Lord is very evident; also, The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo; the main character personnifies goodness and triumphs over such evil.

  • Amy
    April 13, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    The Road by Cormack McCarthy πŸ™‚

  • Jen
    April 14, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Definitely agree with everyone on The Hunger Games!!! Another great read is “Same Kind of Different as Me” – heartwarming story real-life story about a homeless and couple who befriends him.

  • Laura Palmore
    April 14, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    Hey, Darby….Karen Kingsbury’s publishers just posted her novel,”Divine” on Amazon for free for a week! Great read – modern day twist on a biblical woman!

  • Summers
    April 16, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Thanks so much for bringing attention to the swimsuit drive and more importantly the need for foster and adoptive homes throughout the state. As a supervisor at DHR, I know that these summer gifts will be greatly appreciated by our children and thier providers. If anyone is interested in foster or adoption, here in Alabama, you can check on the link on the state DHR website or contact your county DHR office. Thanks again!

  • Aimee Kelly
    April 16, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Anything by MaryKay Andrews…super easy read and great. Being a Yankee from Maryland I love to read about the southern girls from Savannah and other small towns in Georgia, which is where most of her books take place.

  • Trudi
    April 16, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    It’s a few years old, but Barbara Kingsolver’s Poisonwood Bible remains my favorite novel. She’s the master of creating characters with depth. I have re-read this novel at least 5 times. Love.

  • Paige
    April 16, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    Peace Like a River by Leif Enger is an amazing read. A wholesome novel that keeps you wanting more and more importantly reminds us of the power and love of God.

  • Ashley
    April 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    A must read is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. This fiction does not disappoint and I have been recommending it to anyone who asks (and those that do not ask!) I know you’ll love it.

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