Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord by Dave Stone

Christian parents will see the title of this book and think, yes! Great! Raising our kids to love the Lord--this should be a goal of a Christian parent for sure. As parents we have so many things to do/think about that we often tend to live in a reactionary way rather than intentionally setting our agendas. Whether it is normal "growing your kids into responsible adults" or nourishing their spiritual lives, we often find ourselves busy with daily stuff and forget to use this time in their lives in a positive character growing way.

This book reminds parents of many things they can do to enhance their children's growth in the Lord. Primary in these instructions is that the PARENTS are the ones who can do the most here--it shouldn't be left to Sunday School teachers, youth group leaders, etc. but begun and nourished in the home. Parents should be conscious that their example is shining forth to their children, whether they realize it or not. Many topics are touched upon, such as respect, parental roles, reading and memorizing Scripture (having your kids do it as well as letting them see YOU doing it!), consistency, forgiveness, grace, etc.

This book is not some brand new "formula" for success in "making" your children love and follow the Lord, but rather many ideas and reminders of things we as parents need to be intentional with. We need to choose not to just "react" to daily situations but plan, prepare, and USE daily situations to train our children. I think this is a valuable book to read and God can teach you and convict you through its pages.

I would recommend this book to Christian parents to read through or to use in a Bible study group. It's a kind of "gift-y" binding and look to it--it'd probably make a great gift as well!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for free for the purposes of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Disciplines of a Godly Young Man by R. Kent Hughes and W. Carey Hughes

Disciplines of a Godly Young Man by the Hughes father-and-son team is organized very nicely and is easy to follow through. The book introduces discipline as a necessity for success and growth and then expounds on different areas of discipline such as purity, friendship, the mind, devotion, prayer, the tongue, work, perseverance, church, giving, witness, and ministry. Each of these disciplines heads up a chapter in which the authors give examples of what discipline in that area is, how to grow in your personal discipline in that specific area, and they lead you in questioning your own level of discipline and encourage you in how to improve on it. The final chapter, the grace of discipline is an encouragement for those who have understood that in their own power they are not able to be as disciplined as they ought to or wish to be. A quote from this last chapter reminds, "It is God's grace that energizes us to live out the disciplines of a godly young man. There is always more grace."

This book appears to be written for an audience of already Christian young men, not one who is searching. There is not a lot of emphasis upon what exactly it means by a "godly young man." I wished that it did include more of this.

This book is not exactly a book which a "young man" might just pick up and breeze through. I think it is written for late high school/college/young adults -- and is written in sort of a mentoring style. I think that the best application of this book would be in a mentoring situation -- an older guy going through it bit by bit (Bible study type setting) with a younger guy or guys. I think my own son would benefit from it when he is older. Not that he shouldn't be learning these disciplines at an earlier age, I just doin't think the book is geared toward younger ones.

I would recommend this book for fathers/sons or mentors/young men or Bible study leaders/young men. The topics covered apply to us all, and men of all ages could benefit from these teachings.

I received a free copy of this book from Crossway publishers for the purposes of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cleaning House by Kay Willis Wyma

NEW FAVORITE BOOK!!!!!!! I'm not giving my copy away to anyone!!! I just finished reading Cleaning House by Kay Wyma. I have been reading it for a few weeks -- not because it is boring or hard to read, but because I wanted to soak it all in and implement her ideas! This is a wonderful book about parenting/preparing kids to be adults.

As a parent, my goal is to prepare my children to be successful, responsible adults as far as it is up to me. Yes, I like to see my children succeed, but not so much that I will do their projects for them, write their speeches for them, etc. What better time is there for them to learn and grow through failure or imperfection than when they are children, dependent on their parents, and in a loving and helping environment? I'd rather they learn those lessons now than when they're grown and on their own!

Kay Wyma's book chronicles a year of "The Experiment" in which each month brought new and additive chores/responsibilities to each child in her family. They began with the responsibility of making beds/cleaning bedroom floor (read that chapter for her great and super-easy method of enticement!)and added different skills/jobs every month such as meal preparation, hospitality, outdoor work, shopping/errand running, and others. The book is an entertaining, easy read that gives wonderful suggestions and encouragement for those who wish to enable their children in this way (I'm using the term "enable" in the sense that they are learning to do these important tasks so that they will be ABLE to do them easily on their own, not in the sense that the parent does everything for the child and "enables" their lazy behavior!) I really believe it is doing your children a great service to allow them to learn these things while young and make them a normal part of family life.

My children are not teenagers yet, but we also require much of the same things of them. The book gave me some more ideas and areas to work with them also. The author writes as if she is your friend/neighbor, someone "normal" like you (haha, I'm laughing at myself -- of course I am the normal one, right?!) :) and is a joy to read. I will actually be re-reading this and using more of her ideas.

One little side note, the author did mention that her husband was not on the same level of interest in this as she was (sound familiar?!) and she was VERY respectful of him in her mention of this. One statement she made which I thought was very appropriate and God-honoring is "Respect for my husband is more important than having things go my way." How often do we come up with a wonderful idea and if our husband doesn't share the urgency we think something is wrong with him? Good job Kay Wyma in your inclusion of this marriage principal!

I definitely recommend this book to parents with children of all ages!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not requried to write a positive review.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato

Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato is a Christian historical fiction romance. It's a clean story without objectionable love scenes; it's a romance (pretty obvious one); and it's a bit of adventure.

Lorena, the main female character, is the daughter of a wealthy shipbuilder. She is pursued by a man who wishes to marry her, but when she continues to refuse he takes drastic measures. Brogan, the main male character, is trying to reclaim family he has lost(in a deceitful manner). He struggles to make the right decision, but ends up making a good decision.

The book is a "historical" fiction in that its setting is historic, but you won't learn much of historical value from this book. It's a pretty typical romance story, very predictable, but nice and clean.

To tell you the truth, this type of Christian historical fiction is not my favorite genre to read, so this book was not a favorite of mine. However, if you are into this type of writing, this just may be for you! Nice quick read, nothing disagreeable, just nothing exceptional either.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review; I was not required to write a positive review.

Dandelion Jelly

Yummmmmmmm!!!! Made the first jelly of the year :) Dandelion jelly. . .made SO much easier with the help of a willing labor force! :) The recipe I used came from here http://www.prairielandherbs.com/dandelionjelly.htm . I think I'll try dandelion syrup next! It's so delicious, tastes like honey! yummmmmmmmm!!!