12 Books in 12 Months

I’m not really a New Year’s resolution type of girl. I do my word for the year, but I rarely set actual, measurable goals at the beginning of the year. But for some reason, this year feels a little different.

I have a few health goals I want to accomplish, a few business related things, and then this personal goal: read (at least) twelve books this year. One per month, at the least. 12 Books in 12 Months

This goal would have seemed positively ridiculous to me five years ago. I have always loved to read, and in the past I would finish a book in two or three days. But, times have changed and the little people in my world don’t allow for much reading, so I’ve really let the habit slip over the past few years. So I decided to set an easily accomplished goal to nudge myself back into my book worm ways.

I have just been collecting books over the past couple of years, and I never seem to get around to reading many of them. Not only that, but I borrowed several books from my mom last year, and I haven’t read a single one of them. I decided to just choose twelve that appealed to me, that seem appropriate for this stage of life, whatever it may be. I’m hopeful that I’ll read much more than the twelve I’ve chosen – there are a few books I know that are coming out over the next few months that I want to get to – but if I can get these twelve read, I’ll be happy.

Here’s a list of the books I’ve chosen. This isn’t the order I plan to read them – I haven’t decided that quite yet. I have started with The Alchemist though, and I’m loving it so far.

  • She’s Still There – Chrystal Evans Hurst
  • The Shack – William P. Young
  • The Prayer of Jabez – Bruce Wilkinson
  • The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho
  • Strong Mothers, Strong Sons – Meg Meeker, MD
  • The Best Yes – Lysa Terkeurst
  • Hold: How to Find, Buy and Rent Houses for Wealth – Gary W. Keller, Jay Papasan, Jennice Doty, Jim McKissack, Linda McKissack, and Steve Chader
  • Love That Lasts – Jefferson & Alyssa Bethke
  • Grace, Not Perfection – Emily Ley
  • 1-2-3 Magic: Effective Discipline for Children 2-12 – Thomas W. Phelan
  • The Screwtape Letters – C.S. Lewis
  • Crazy Love – Francis Chan

So – what am I missing that I need to absolutely, positively make room for? I LOVE book suggestions, so hit me with whatever you’ve got.

My Word For 2018: Pursue

For the past few years I’ve done the thing that most bloggers do at the beginning of the year – I’ve chosen one word to be “my word” for that entire following year. I honestly can’t remember where I first heard of the idea, but it’s something that I really enjoy doing. Over the years I’ve chosen Joy, Intentional, Invest, and probably others I can’t remember, but I feel like choosing my word does set the tone for where I want to focus my energy that year.

I chose my word for this year – Pursue –  a few weeks ago, and it had a slightly different meaning when I first decided on it. But now that the new year has arrived, I’ve decided this word is exactly what I want this year to be about. Rather than what I was thinking when I first settled on it – pursuing several big goals that I have made for myself – I want to choose one or two goals to pursue, and then focus on pursuing several other things.

I want to pursue a more meaningful relationship with several good friends of mine. I want to pursue a stronger relationship with God. I want to pursue more one-on-one time with my husband. I want to pursue more quality alone time – less watching mindless TV after the boys are asleep and more reading, writing, accomplishing. I want to pursue a few specific goals I have in regards to blogging and Haven Gray Kids. I want to pursue a healthier lifestyle – more time spent being active, more water, a bigger focus on healthy eating. I want to pursue a stronger family bond – more time playing games and having discussions and really focusing on each other, just the four of us.

I love the new year – even though in reality it’s just another day, it feels like such a good starting point. A good place to start over, a blank slate. 2017 was a great year for our family – sure, we had trials and struggles and arguments, and my father-in-law passed away unexpectedly, which was incredibly difficult to walk through. It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows and happiness. But overall, we had a really good year. I’m so thankful for this little family of mine, for this life I get to live. I’m excited about 2018, I’m anxious to see where it takes us. I feel like every time I have an idea of how things are going to go, life seems to surprise me. I’m sure this year will be no different. Let’s do this, 2018!

What I’m Loving {4}

Hey friends, Happy Friday!!!

Hope y’all have had a good week! I for one am glad the weekend is upon us. We are traveling to the great state of Oklahoma this weekend to visit the best school in all the land – Oklahoma State University, naturally.  We haven’t been in almost THREE years, which is insane, so we’re taking the boys to show them what it’s all about – and since it’s a game day we know it’ll be a blast.

Here’s a little bit of what I’m loving lately:

What I'm Loving {4} | Haven Gray {the blog}

Athleta Capri Pants

I am a pretty frugal girl when it comes to clothing usually, but Arsen got me started on these and now I can’t stop! They are SO comfy and crazy flattering, and they’re also made out of super durable, nice quality fabric. I’ve got several pairs of the Chaturanga ™ Capris and I’ve been wearing these babies nonstop, even though it’s a million degrees outside. When the weather finally cools down in Texas I’m pretty sure I won’t take them off.

Bible Study

A few weeks ago I started leading a table at the Women’s Bible Study at my church, and I am LOVING it! I was a little (a lot) hesitant at first, because this is so far from something I ever thought I would be doing, but after a lot (a lot) of prayer, I knew it was the right step. And man, God has used it to bless me big time, because the girls at my table – pretty much none of us knew each other beforehand! –  feel like they were hand picked especially to be in this group together. I just love when he coordinates my life in such a fun, unexpected way!

My Little Family

I always love my boys (all three of ’em), but lately I have been pretty much obsessed with how great they all are. I feel like we’re in a bit of sweet spot right now, and we’re having a lot of really good family time. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the kids drive us absolutely bonkers a large portion of the time – especially the tiny one, he is CRAZY – but their relationship is becoming cuter, they’re easier to communicate with, and the husband and I seem to have found a good balance with this parenting thing. Kind of madly in love with the family we’ve created right now.


Or more accurately, the idea of fall. Texas usually barely gets a fall, and this year is proving to be totally predictable. It was at least 95 degrees outside today, which is horrendous when all you see everywhere are pumpkins and halloween decor and boots and sweaters. I swear I’m meant to live somewhere that gets a true four seasons – but no, somehow I’m in the hottest state on the planet. Nonetheless, I’m loving the fact that our version of fall is just around the corner, which means the holidays will be close behind. The next few months are my FAVORITE time of the year!

Alright friend of mine, tell me – what are you loving??


Grayson & Gavin’s Top Movie Picks for Preschoolers (I’m guessing)

I know screen time is a hot topic, and some mamas try to limit their kiddos to screen time only on the weekends or maybe 30 minutes a day – and I find that super admirable. I do.

But if we’re being real, my boys watch quite a bit of TV and movies. I’m super strict with the iPad time – some days Grayson doesn’t get any at all, but if he does I typically put a pretty strict limit on it. But when it comes to the TV, we have it on quite a bit. I like the background noise honestly, and my kids aren’t really the type to get sucked in and stare at it for hours. They may sit and watch a 30 minute show here and there, but that time includes jumping around, running in circles, maybe a little wrestling, playing with toys, AND watching the show.

But I’ve noticed that if it’s the right movie, they (even Gavin!) will sit and watch most of it – all while doing the things mentioned above, of course. In fact, Daddy is big on movie nights. He goes all out, popping popcorn in his fancy popcorn maker, closing all the curtains to make it dark like a movie theater, and turning the sound up WAY louder than Mommy would like.

So since movies are pretty big for our boys, I thought I would share their very favorites with you guys, just in case you’re looking for a treat for your little ones!

Top Movie Picks for Preschoolers - Haven Gray {the blog}

Lion King

Did you know they just released this from the vault? Well, it’s been what, a month now?  – and my boys have watched it approximately 200 times. They LOVE it. Grayson loves the fight scenes (no surprise) and Gavin loves to dance to all the fun music. This is the first movie that I’ve noticed Grayson memorizing the lyrics and singing along with all the songs, which I find super adorable. There are a few things in there that I don’t love – I’ve had to explain the meaning of “cactus butt” and also tell him that we aren’t allowed to say stupid, even though they do in the movie – but that’s the case for just about anything out there, unfortunately. He’s at that age where he’s a total sponge, and wants to know what everything means, so this has introduced some interesting conversations, to say the least 😉


Y’all. Have your kids jumped on the Trolls train? I’ve seen this one more than I care to admit, but it IS super cute. Lots of fun music (thank you, Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake) and a pretty cute storyline. No matter where they are in the house, if they hear the first few notes of “Can’t Stop the Feeling” at the end of the movie, they come running.


This is more Gavin than Grayson, but I honestly think Grayson says he doesn’t like it simply because it’s Gavin’s favorite (brothers, I’m telling you). Out of every kids movie I’ve seen, this might be my favorite – and I’m honestly not totally sure why. Just like all of them, there are several cute songs, but I think I just love the storyline. I love that Moana dares to go after her dreams and follow her purpose even when it’s hard, and she meets all of the challenges she faces head on. I know, I’m too involved here, but watch a movie enough and you’ll start thinking about a deeper meaning. Orrrr I may just be a little crazy.

Life of Pets

We haven’t watched this one as much, but I think it’s making it’s way to the top of the list. They were watching it last night and Gavin was cracking up, like belly laughing harder than I’ve ever heard him. It is a pretty funny movie, and all those pets are pretty cute. Another perk is we haven’t watched it 100 times, so it’s still somewhat interesting to me at this point.

Alright, what about you? Do your kids watch movies often, or do you limit screen time pretty strictly? And what are some new favorites I can share with my boys? I’d love for you to share – you could be saving my sanity!