Thursday, December 3, 2015

Proverbs Prayers - John Mason

Half of this book is the book of Proverbs.  So when considering buying this book, realize that each day is first: a chapter from Proverbs, and then a "rewrite" of the chapter as a prayer by the author.  There's not necessarily anything wrong with this, but that's what the book consists of.

I do have a slight problem with the introduction.  He states "As you read each proverb and pray the corresponding prayer, you will be asking the Lord to cause every promise and principle from that chapter to come alive in your life."  It seems a little bit like prosperity theology: do x, and y will happen in your life.  That said, I don't think there's anything wrong with reading the proverbs and praying the prayer.  Just be aware that it is not a recipe for success.

I received this book from Revell Reads in exchange for an honest review.

Forgiven - Terri Roberts

This is the story of the mother of Charles Roberts, the man who took hostage and killed a number of Amish girls in 2006.  It is the fascinating account of a man's life, his mother's memories, and the way she tries to reconcile what happened and accept that reconciliation in her own life.

It is a raw, heart-rending story.  I appreciated Terri's honest evaluation of the way she raised her sons, as well as how open she was with their struggle to get through the aftermath of the situation.  Of course, the emphasis she wants to make (as evidenced by the title) is the gracious and quick forgiveness of the Amish involved in the case.  I appreciate the balance she has been able to reach, and the honesty with which she has told her story.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

God Gave Us Sleep - Lisa Tawn Bergren

This is a short story about a polar bear cub and her mama's advice about sleep: from her playing outside, to her mama tucking her in at night and a conversation about dreams...the cub doesn't sleep well and is grouchy the next day until finally night rolls around and she determines that God gave us sleep so we will have good days.  

I am honestly not sure what I think about this book.  It seems like a book geared towards 2-4 year olds, but the text is geared more towards 6-8 year olds, I would say.  The pictures are adorable...but the text/story seems stilted.  One complaint I have is that the entire book is about Mama talking to her cub, and then suddenly on the second night towards the end of the book, Papa says it is time for bed...but until then he was MIA.

It is a cute book.  I'm not a huge fan, and probably wouldn't pay money for it.  I received this copy free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

She's Almost a Teenager - Essential Conversations to Have Now (Larson & Arp)

This is a helpful, practical book for helping parents navigate the tricky preteen ("tween") years.  The book contains 8 "Conversations" (chapters) to have with your daughter, and then suggests a way of welcoming her thirteenth birthday ("Project Thirteen and Birthday Boxes").

These are practical, reasonable ideas for conversations.  Each chapter is about a specific conversation (ex. "The Body Talk", "The Boys Talk"), with various stories from different families, and thoughts from the authors.  Each chapter contains a few (4-5) specific "Conversation Starters" which are then summarized at the end of each chapter (for example, in "The Body Talk" chapter, one of the conversation starters is "2. 'How do you feel about your body?' Your daughter is beautiful just the way God made her! This truth is easily lost in the teen years. Start reminding her today who she is in Christ."

I think this is mostly helpful in that it gets parents communicating with their children.  Personally, I believe communication throughout a child's life (NOT just starting in the tween years) is essential to your child developing a healthy worldview.  This book will help remind parents "what it was like" when they went through those same years.  It will help you see your child's perspective, yet maintains a Biblical view of authority and how we should relate to our children.

I received this book free from Bethany House (Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, October 30, 2015

10 Things Great Dads Do - Rick Johnson

First, I am reviewing this as a mother, not a father.

This was a practical, down to earth book.  I appreciate Rick's honesty in writing this book.  He is writing from the perspective of being not only a father of 2, but a grandfather who took a large part of raising one of their granddaughters.  He doesn't try to be politically or socially accurate: he tells it like he sees it.  In this way, I can see him offending some readers.  However, if you're able to hear the heart of what he is saying, I believe you will find a lot of wisdom in this book.

The chapters themselves give a good idea of what this book entails:
1. Have Fun! The Importance of Humor and Play
2. Go Outside Your Comfort Zone: But It's Uncomfortable Out Here!
3. Surround Yourself with Healthy Friends and Couples: It Matters!
4. Communicate with Your Children: Someone Is Going to Influence Them
5. Develop Your "Brand" : When Everyone Knows Your Name
6. A Man's Spirituality: Finding Yours So You Can Teach Your Children Theirs
7. Your Child's Spirituality: Helping Your Child Find Their Way
8. Teaching Character: Allowing Your Children to Suffer
9. Children, Members of the Family: Not the Center of the Universe
10. Not in My House: Dad, the Gatekeeper of the Home

I have a few problems with chapters 6 and 7.  Namely, his use of the term "spirituality" and what that entails.  I expected this to be a Christian book, written by a Christian author...and while I do actually believe those two things to be true, he goes a little further out of his way than necessary to cater to a wider audience.  For example, in a section on teaching your children to pray, he lists the steps of prayer, and the last step is "If you are a Christian, end with 'In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.''"  Excuse me?  IF you're a Christian?  Is he?  If so, he should be aware that "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved." (Acts 4:12) There is no purpose in praying, if it be not to Christ.  I wish he would be a bit less "religiously correct" and a little more Biblically accurate in this.

All in all, I found this a helpful, practical book.  Do I agree with everything written inside it?  No.  But it is insightful and gives us as parents, things to think about.

I was given this book by Revell Reads, a division of Baker Publishing Group, in exchange for an honest review.

On This Foundation - Lynn Austin

I couldn't put this book down.  Literally.  I read the entire book in an evening, finishing at 12:30 PM.  This is the first book I've read by Lynn Austin, and I was definitely impressed.

This book is captivating.  Lynn is a good writer: she spent the first few chapters introducing each of the main characters (Nehemiah, Chana, and Nava), and then alternates between those three storylines throughout the book.  The characters are deep and interesting, and not necessarily predictable.

Interestingly, when I finished the book, I went and read the Biblical book of Nehemiah...and was impressed at how much from there she actually managed to weave into this definite work of fiction.  I thoroughly enjoyed her creativity in adding fictional characters yet keeping it Biblically accurate, with the correct mindset that a Jew would have likely had at that time.

Some of the scenes/themes are not appropriate for a younger audience, so keep that in mind when deciding to buy or read this book.

I was given a free copy of this book by Bethany House (Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The Horse of My Heart - Stories of the Horses We Love

This was a collection of sweet, enjoyable stories about horses, and the people that loved them.  Honestly, I do not love horses.  My sister I read this with her in mind.  I thought the stories were pleasant, and well-written, but I didn't come away wanting a horse.  I plan to pass the book onto her when I'm finished, and I have a feeling she will appreciate the stories much more than I did.

The individual chapters (stories) are not very long in length, but they did start to sound the same after awhile.  I would recommend this book if you are someone who enjoys will probably come away thinking that horses are even more amazing.

I did appreciate the Christian spin taken on the stories.

I was given a copy of this book by Revell Reads in exchange for an honest review.

A Reason To Stay - Kellie Coates Gilbert

Faith Marin's life has turned out exactly as she has planned it.  Until the end of the second chapter, when (spoiler alert!) she is shot.  The book from here on is her reflecting? dreaming? thinking? on her relationship with her husband Geary.

Geary.  My biggest complaint with this book.  While it is made clear that Geary is a stable, almost "perfect" man (with the exception of his large, overbearing, yet kind family), he is completely one-dimensional in this book.  You don't ever come to understand the logic of his falling for someone like Faith...unless it be purely physical, and it seems like it must have been (that, or the author just forgot about his character).  Also, the descriptions of their marital intimacy are uncomfortable for a Christian novel, and inappropriate for younger readers.

I felt like I was "suddenly" getting to the end of the book, and things were going to have to wrap up...and they wrapped up absolutely perfectly, with everything working out like a fairytale.  I suppose there's nothing really wrong with this, it's just...really predictable.

I'm not a huge fan of this book.  I was given a copy of it by Revell Reads (Baker House Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

9 Thoughts That Can Change Your Marriage - Sheila Wray Gregoire

This book surprised a good way.  I found Sheila to have a very practical, realistic, and Biblical view of marriage, and of men and women.  

Sheila's perspective is accurate: we can only change ourselves.  And in changing ourselves, we change the dynamic of our marriages.  We CAN change our perspective on our husbands: which in many, many cases is equivalent to "changing our husbands", because it forces us to look at him in a different light.  At the same time, she cautions against being blinded to sin, and instead wisely suggests that men who are sinning be able to reap the consequences of whatever their choices are...instead of women blindly "submitting" to his every whim.  

I very much appreciated her practical ideas for applying the wisdom in this book.  Each chapter has first a "thought that can change your marriage" (example: I'm Not in Competition With My Husband), and a number of "action steps" within these chapters, and then lists them all at the end of the chapter in summary (example: Find a practical way every day to put your husband's needs and preferences first).

In each chapter, she also has "pat answers", or: "incorrect thoughts we've always been taught", and then explains thoroughly what is the more accurate, Biblical solution to any one "pat answer".  For example, a pat answer would be: "The husband is the authority in the family.  In a disagreement, he decides, and she obeys.  When you do this, the family will experience God's blessing."  She then goes on to explain submission, what the Greek word actually means, and how it might practically apply to a marriage.

I highly recommend this book.  I plan to read it again and use it in my own marriage.

I received this book free from Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Photograph - Beverly Lewis

20 year old Eva Esch is left an orphan, and while she is flanked on either side by equally orphaned and single sisters Lily and Frona, they are all as different as three sisters can be.  This story follows the always-likable Eva and her perspective on about a month's worth of events following their mother's death.

This was a pleasant, if possibly slightly boring, read.  I found the plot quite predictable, and I personally am not a huge fan of these types of stories...even if you are, I would be surprised if you were kept on the edge of your seat, or were overly surprised by...anything that happened.  There was nothing dramatically wrong about the book, there was just nothing truly dramatic about the book.

I received this book free from Bethany House (Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review.


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Taming the To-Do List - Glynnis Whitwer

I'm not sure this book is titled correctly!  I really enjoyed this book and found it helpful...but it speaks to so much more than just our "to-do lists"!  This book starts out discussing procrastination, what it is, and why we choose to procrastinate.  I found his book extremely helpful in assessing myself: what are the reasons I am putting things off?  What is the price I'm paying by continuing in the bad habits I might have?  Why should I change?

A few tidbits from the book to give an idea of her perspective:

On procrastination: "Procrastination is an intentional delay of something that is in our best interests to do."..."When we procrastinate on the things we know we should do, we are assuming a confidence in the future that is unwise.  In fact, the Bible even goes so far as to call it sin. (James 4:13-17)

On encouraging self-regulation: "Self-regulation is a critical development skill we acquire, starting in childhood, that underlies our behavior.  It's the capacity to control our impulses...without a strong sense of self-regulation, we will act in ways that can cause guilt, shame, and anxiety...self-regulation is critical for long-term well-being."

On bad decisions: "There is always a price to pay.  Sometimes we pay it. Sometimes others pay it. But there is a cost."

On valuing time: "Valuing minutes, not just hours, helps us become wise time managers."

On setting goals: "We must start by being very clear with ourselves.  Giving my children unclear directions is unfair to them.  And it's unfair to do that to myself. The more we can define our expectations, the more likely we are to achieve them."


I would highly recommend this book for those of us who struggle with procrastination, setting goals, accomplishing what we wish we could, or even just making to-do lists.

I received this book free from Revell Reads (Baker Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.

Powerful Moments in the Presence of God - Lorraine Marie Varela

This book is a refreshing mix of photography, Bible verses, and short devotionals.  I find it relaxing to just page through and enjoy the scenery.  I would recommend this as an uplifting small gift for someone, or even just for yourself.

I thought the introduction to the book was interesting...but am not sure it really made sense to use, other than (I guess) a background into who the photographer/author is.

One very small negative note: some of the pictures don't exactly seem to fit the page (Overcome Anxiety: a picture of a couple snuggling, My Love is a Shield: pictures of ships docked at a wharf, etc.)

I received this book free from Chosen Books (Baker Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.

Girl Meets Change - Kristen Strong

We all go through change of some sort in our life.  This is why I chose to read this book.  Kristen is no stranger to change - though she has gone through periods of resisting it and strongly disliking it...much like me, and many others, I would guess.  Kristen helps this book feel more personal by including many stories from not only her own life, but those of her friends and children as well.

If you are going through change right now, this book is a breath of fresh air to help remind us of what is important in the midst of change, and who we are to look to.

I'll wrap this up with a thought I appreciated from the book: "No matter the tilt and whirl of change in this world, I am held together because of Christ.

I received this book free from Revell Reads (Baker Publishing) in exchange for an honest review.

The Reckless Love of God - Alex Early

This book started out with an introduction to the author, and his view of God throughout childhood, then how he came to believe in God and be assured of the truth of God being a God of love.  Then it describes his year following, after seminary and beyond.

The next chapter goes into a theological/educational view of who God is/who Jesus is, and from there explain how these truths can either become part of our life, or stay as rudimentary knowledge.

 One section that I appreciated was "The Bible Has Only One Hero", which talks about the different "heroes" we normally think of in the Bible (Abraham, Moses, David, Peter...) and how they are really just flawed humans.  The only true hero of the Bible is Jesus: "At the end of the day, you will either be looking for heroes in the Bible and feel overwhelming pressure to become one yourself, or you will see Jesus as the true Hero of Scripture, who at the expense of His own life, saved yours."

The closing section of the book speaks to unbelievers, and gives them an honest look at where they are headed, should they choose not to believe and trust in Jesus for who He is.

I did appreciate this book, but I am not sure I agree with him completely. I would encourage this to be read with wisdom, and always to compare it to the Scriptures and make sure what the book says is true, before just accepting it.

I received this book free from Bethany House (Baker Publishing) in exchange for an honest review. 

The Memory Weaver - Jane Kirkpatrick

This book is a historical fiction revolving around the life of Eliza Spalding Warren, who was just 10 when she was involved in the Cayuse massacre in which Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were both killed.  Because of Eliza's fluency in Sahaptin, she was able to translate for the captives, and may have been instrumental in keeping a group of them alive.  This book jumps in when she is 14, and her mother has recently died.

In this book, Eliza meets the man who is to be her future husband, Mr. Andrew Warren.  A few years later, they elope together, and succeed in completely alienating her father from her.  Although Andrew is known to be a gambler and drunkard, their marriage and life together seems to go surprisingly well.  I found this a little hard to believe.  However, Andrew does end up drunk and with a broken leg at one point in the story.

The most fascinating part of this story, I found, is the way it describes both Eliza, and her friend Nancy (also a survivor of the massacre) and their way of "dealing with" the trauma that happened when they were both children.  This part was the most believable to me.

I received this book free from Revell Reads (Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review.

Born To Be Awkward - Mike Bender/Doug Chernack

This book will make you laugh.

That said, I do have a couple problems with it.  It is not a very long book.  It took me (and a few other people "reading" together) about 20 minutes total to look through the entire book.  It is also a small book, which means the pictures themselves can be quite small within the book.  Also, the "last chapter" is just 9 blank (well, with "frames" printed in) pages where you can include your own awkward baby photos.  It's not that I don't like the idea of that, it's just that the book is small enough and short enough that it feels out of place.  Possibly, if this were a longer, more coffee table like book, it wouldn't feel like such a cop-out.

Despite my negative comments above, I did thoroughly enjoy the few minutes it took to look through the book.  They are funny photos, and it will brighten your day.  I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.  I'm not sure I would be happy with it if I had paid for it.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Stand Strong - Nick Vujicic

This is a book about being bullied.  Specifically, what you can do about it.  In it, Nick Vujicic (born without arms or legs - a bully's dream!) gives you a blueprint for a "Bully Defense System" that you create yourself, by realizing who you are, how important you are, why bullies do what they do, etc.

Nick was bullied quite a bit in his growing up years, and still encounters it to some extent, today.  He is well equipped to share on the subject of bullying, and on how to overcome it.  He is a very interesting and captivating author.  This book seems geared towards kids, which is great.  One complaint I do have is that, since it is geared toward a younger audience, it seemed to be a really long book, with a fair amount of repetition.  Don't get me wrong, I think repetition is a good thing, and I would recommend reading the entire book, but I wonder if it would keep older children's attention the entire way through.  I definitely recommend this book as a resource for parents and teachers, as they help children deal with bullying.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

God's Smuggler (Expanded Edition) - Brother Andrew

God's Smuggler is a fascinating account of Brother Andrew's life story, starting with his childhood in Holland, through his abandoning of childhood values while in the Dutch army, and eventually, how God found him, and his complete acceptance of God and His Word.  He is an amazing example of someone who trusted in God completely for so many things throughout his life: from money to get through grad school (or even for toothbrushes or razors), to trusting that God would keep him safe as he transported Bibles behind the Iron Curtain and elsewhere.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and was challenged by Brother Andrew's faith.

One note about the epilogue: I found it really interesting, but I wonder if there could be another entire book written about his later years!  I was glad to read about his encounters in the Middle East, but I would love to hear and read more stories from his life.

I received this book free from Chosen Books (Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Wild in the Hollow - Amber C. Haines

I didn't expect to be disappointed in this book.  But I was, and I'll explain why.

Amber starts the book off explaining her brokenness and separation from God.  She is definitely skilled at word-weaving, and poetically describes her sins and the way in which they continually tore her down, physically and spiritually.  One day, she has had enough of her lifestyle.  She is lying on the floor, drunk and wanting to die, when she describes God's Spirit giving her new life.  She doesn't really explain how this happens, and I suppose I can accept that...for she goes on to describe her new life searching the Scriptures and learning to know who God is.

I understand that the writer is human, and is openly and bravely sharing her story, but I felt that she wasn't clear enough about her sins *after* she was saved.  This is my biggest problem with the book.  She talks almost jokingly about her boyfriend/fiance and how they just couldn't make it to the altar as virgins no matter what they did.  She seems to shrug this off, as if it doesn't really matter what they did since they were obviously meant for each other.

After they are married, she talks about one day finding her husband's pornographic search history on the computer, but never discusses it again, as if it was a one-time incident that didn't so much matter.  We never find out if he found victory over this, or if was a recurring struggle in their marriage.  Then, she reveals that she had had an affair early in their marriage...and how heartbroken and distraught it made her husband. According to Jesus (Matthew 5:28), these sins are equal in His eyes.  I understand that she is writing about herself and possibly didn't find it necessary to address her husband's sins...but it seemed like a strange contradiction to me.

I feel that she did a good job in describing a "real" woman's struggle with sin, with temptation, with finding her way to God...but failed in clarifying the black and white issues that I believe do exist.  Yes, we are to love all people, but we are not to glorify sin, or downplay it in any way, and it feels that she does this about herself.

I received this book free from Revell Reads (Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review. 

Through Waters Deep - Sarah Sundin

This is an interesting, well-written book.  Mary Stirling is working as a secretary at the Boston Naval Yard, and runs into a childhood (well, high school) friend, Jim, shortly into the book.  There are a number of "odd" sabotage-like incidences that happen around the yard, as well as one of the subs that Jim gets shipped out on.  Mary keeps track of discussions and happenings with her impressively fast shorthand, and eventually ends up turning her findings into the FBI (numerous times, as they don't take her seriously until the end of the book).  She ends up spending a lot of time with Jim.

Mary has one problem though: she is crippled by fear.  At the beginning of the book, she is unable to receive attention publicly for things she has done.  Through the book, she learns to know herself better and realize that she is not simply doing things for attention, as well as gain self-confidence through her friendship with Jim.

I appreciated that this was a Christian book, and that the emphasis was much less on Mary & Jim romantically (despite the cover picture), and more on the actual story.

I received this book free from Revell Reads (Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The Fold - Peter Clines

I started out this book thoroughly expecting to enjoy it.  I enjoy suspenseful, "good" science-fiction type thrillers.  And it did start off interesting, good even.  However, I found myself being less and less impressed as I kept reading.  The theory behind The Fold was definitely unexpected and interesting, so I give it high marks for that part.  However, when it's revealed that the "creators" of "The Door" had (spoiler alert) no idea what they were doing, or what they created, it just feels like it goes downhill fast.

After "over a year" of it "working fine", the mouth of the Door randomly starts to expand once the true nature of it is revealed.  From there, things get weirder and weirder.  A "creature" comes through the Door, but they manage to kill it...then it disintegrates.  Then the completely one-dimensional character of Sasha emerges: a character that just sits in the corner and says "oh, f___" probably a hundred times or more in the last few chapters...and is "multiplied" into 2 Sasha's.  Then, a crew of Marines comes in to help with the impending Creatures, and promptly all die, while the genius Mike and the scientists mostly manage to survive.  Then, it turns out they were wrong, and the Creatures aren't really the thing to be's some sort of giant "Alpha Predator".  They somehow manage to take care of it, and get out alive (albeit Sasha x2).

Somehow, the fire department and ambulance crew shows up, and take Arthur away, but let the others stay.  Then, "two people in dark suits, a man and a woman" arrive, apparently knowing exactly what had happened and why.  They check out the area, thank Mike for "saving the world" and then leave.  It just seems like a bizarre way to end the book.

I was also unhappy with the inappropriate scene between Jamie and Mike.  That, combined with massive overuse of the f bomb, lead me to my final conclusion: I would not recommend this book at all.

I was sent this book from the Blogging For Books program in exchange for an honest review. 

Gone Without A Trace - Patricia Bradley

I enjoyed reading this book.  Livy is a cop, who apparently is struggling with flashbacks of a recent job where she ended up shooting a young man.  She takes leave from work, and winds up "helping" (and too quickly, falling in love with) a private investigator hired by a senator whose daughter has recently disappeared.

My biggest problem with the book is this: Livy's cousin, Robyn, also disappeared under suspicious circumstances (taking no clothes, not leaving a note, very little motive [possibly a failing marriage?]) more than two years ago.  She sent one note instructing her family not to look for her, so they didn't.  She had an 8? year old daughter at the time, and never tried to get in touch with her.  You later find out the supposed reason, but it just didn't ring true with me that A)the family didn't try to find her anyways, and B)she left her daughter with no contact for over two years.

I was taken in by the "who did it" part of the story - trying to discover which of the patrons or owner of the diner is the man they're searching for...the author did a good job in keeping that suspenseful.  I still never felt an extreme sense of doom, as it felt like if the story was so centered around one person's disappearance (the senator's missing granddaughter Samantha Jo), the author probably wouldn't just get to the end and kill off the character.

I had not read the first two books that I see are apparently in this "series", but I was able to jump in just fine, and didn't actually realize it was part of a set until later.

Despite finding it somewhat unbelievable, I did enjoy the book, and might just get the other two in the series to find out more.

I received this book free from Revell Reads (Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Give Yourself a Break - Kim Fredrickson

This book's tagline is "Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend".  This initially caught my attention as I most definitely have an inner critic, and I saw this book as possibly being a way to help overcome negative and self-disparaging thoughts.

In the beginning, I appreciated that this book was written from a Christian perspective.  However, I feel that that perspective is skewed.  Had it been written secularly, it would have made more sense to me.  Essentially, this book encourages you to be your own best friend.  Biblically, I believe that teaching us that Jesus must be our best friend is much more correct.  By understanding what God thinks about you as a person, and choosing to believe that, will be more accurate than deciding to think highly of ourselves.  In addition, she quotes several Bible verses, then proceeds to pull them out of context.  In one of the final chapters, she refers to her husband as a "Bible scholar", so I am a bit surprised at how inaccurate her interpretations of most verses quoted seems to be.  

As a few examples, she opens the first chapter with Matthew 14:14 - "When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, He had compassion on them and healed their sick."  She goes on to talk about how this must be applied toward us thinking about ourselves: "..."I'd like to develop a compassionate relationship with myself..."  Chapter 2 includes Psalm 46:1 - "God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."  She follow it with this: "Imagine how different your internal world will be when you are able to join with God in being a present help to yourself in times of trouble." In chapter 8, she quotes a very tiny portion of a verse in KJV: "For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." (Prov. 23:7)  She then moves on to discuss how we relate and talk to ourselves as being important.  While I don't necessarily disagree, this verse has nothing to do with her point.  Here are verses 6-7 for context: "Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee."  

The 2nd chapter "A Look Inside", I found actually quite beneficial in regards to raising children.  It is talked about in the perspective of us looking backwards at our own childhoods (and seeing what issues may have led to our view of ourselves), but I found it more helpful as I have 1 toddler and a baby on the way.  It has a section discussing "Our Emotional and Relational Needs" (eye contact, physical touch, focused attention, validation with empathy, etc.).  

At the end of each chapter, she has a "Concluding Reflections" section, which discusses ways in which to put the chapter into use in your life.  Some of these are good ideas "What was your response as you read about our tendency to fall into narcissism or self-contempt when faces with our mistakes?  Where do you see yourself in this dilemma?" (Chapter 2), but then I felt that it got into some rather bizarre self-meditation exercises in a number of instances.  Here are some examples: "Try a moment of kindness toward yourself: a. Gently place your hand comfortably over your heart. b. Take a few gentle breaths as you welcome a moment of calm into your life. c. Notice this kind connection with yourself, and say some words that are soothing to you, such as: "I can learn to be kind to myself.  It is okay for me to be human with faults and strengths.  God sees me with kindness and compassion, and I can too." e. Repeat this gentle action daily as you build this kindness and compassion with yourself one moment at a time. (Chapter 3).  "Try a compassion moment...remember a time in your life where you were cared for in a meaningful way...allow yourself to picture this situation: where you are, what you are wearing...notice how it felt in your body and your soul.  Breathe deeply as you experience taking in the good thoughts, feelings, images, and body sensations..." (Chapter 6).  

As a whole, I would not recommend this book.  I do agree that we need to speak truth to ourselves, in either direction.  I do not agree that I must become my own best friend (I believe that as a Christian, that's a place that only Christ should hold).  I do feel that I was able to glean some good information and tips from it, and I may use it as a reference personally instead of throwing it away.  
I received this book free from Revell Reads (Baker Publishing Group) in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Blogging

I love to read.  Since having Louisa, I have done it rather sporadically, and occasionally had bouts where I've read a stack of books in a day or a week.  I look at book blogging as a way to receive good, new books that I can in turn tell others about, as well as enjoy myself.