How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk

Since I was a kid, I’ve been a reader. Not consistently and at all times, but still, I can say that I’ve enjoyed reading for a good portion of my life. So, it’s not a far off tangent to say that I can read stuff that really does not pertain to me. Like, what does a person without children need to derive from a book on parenting? Again, going back to what I said about loving books, and it might start to make sense.

How to Listen So Your Kids Will Talk

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

Interesting fact: there is another book, by a completely different author, with a very similar title called How to Talk so Your Kids Will Listen. Isn’t it interesting how flipping just one word (or two) can completely change the meaning and the dynamic? Don’t we all just want to be heard in our relationships, no matter what those relationships look like?

Back to the book. This book gave me some childhood nostalgia because of the very positive, very happy approach and strategies it provides. I grew up watching the TV show Full House, and Danny Tanner was the perennially positive parent of the show that modeled lovingly guiding his kids in all situations. This book reminded me of Danny Tanner! (I think it’s because of the author talking about how her daughter growing into becoming a woman with a strong voice… which made me think of Stephanie Tanner, and by extension, her family.)

This book does not take the approach that “I’m the parent, I’m right, it’s my way or the highway.” If that’s your philosophy as a parent, this book is not for you, and you won’t be happy with these ideas. This book really lays out the author’s idea of how a parent can coach a child and build a relationship rather than just setting rules and giving consequences.

So, even though I really have no practical use for all the ideas in this book, I really liked it, and I think that Becky Harling does a great job of laying out her principles and explaining her point of view!

The Only Answer is Prayer

Today’s book review is The Only Answer is Prayer by William McDowell, Jason McMullen, and Caleb Grant. All three authors work together at Deeper Fellowship Church in Orlando, Florida. William McDowell is the lead pastor, Jason McMullen is the executive pastor, and Caleb Grant is the associate pastor. In other words, they’re all affiliated with the church in some high-level fashion.

For me personally, I think of prayer as kind of a mysterious topic, so I was interested in starting this book.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

There are, of course, some basic nuts-and-bolts facts about prayer that most Christians know. Things like maybe you might have been told what the Lord’s Prayer is, or you might have been told that you can pray anywhere and God will hear you, or you might know things in your brain about prayer and yet… prayer can be a mystery, right? How does it work? Why do some prayers get answered and others… it seems like not a peep? Again, for me, the actual practice of prayer is kind of elusive and how it works is kind of a mystery…

Which is why I really liked this book. At one point, the authors had me skipping around a lot of different passages in the Bible, because they were going into different ideas about prayer, different examples of prayer in the Bible… in other words, they were giving illustrations and really backing up what they were saying.

Another HUGE surprise about this book: slight spoiler alert: I don’t think I’ve ever seen or heard in a Christian context the word “manifestation”… but these folks do it. Usually, when I hear people talk about manifesting something, it sounds like something along the lines of the book The Secret, and the whole idea that if you can dream it, you can do it… but this book uses the term differently, using manifesting to talk about how things can come to pass when people partner with God through prayer.

Overall, this book was a very good book on prayer, and I would highly recommend it.

The Military Guide to Armageddon

The preface of The Military Guide to Armageddon begins with these words:

“I AM PERSUADED that things on this planet are about to change dramatically, and that we need to prepare for coming earth-shattering events.”

Change – negative, uncertain, dramatic change was the theme of 2020, and is continuing to be the headline for 2021. There’s still so much that remains unknown, and while we might attempt to try to figure it out, the truth is that we are not all-powerful, and there is only so much we can know.

The Military Guide to Armageddon

The Military Guide to Armageddon gets to the root of unrest in the world- the why behind these things. Have you asked yourself why there is a global pandemic? Why is there massive social unrest – not just in America, but in other countries right now, also? In 2020, the entire continent of Australia caught on fire, and yet, many of us forgot about it, because 2020 was such an awful year. It’s not a joke – it speaks to the current state of affairs – the world is getting bad…

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Military Guide to Armageddon takes strategies from the military and ties it in with Christian strategies. How can you survive a world like this? How can you survive a world that’s going to get worse? What is the future going to look like? If you thought 2020, or 2021 so far was bad, hold on, because there are predictions for the future, and the authors want you to be ready.

The military perspective in this book is very interesting. Colonel David J. Giammona is a retired chaplain, so he has lots of stories from the battlefield, but he also has the spiritual perspective. He explains to civilians what R&R means in a war context, and talks about how difficult some of the training is in the military. There’s a lot of military jargon in this book, but it isn’t so complicated that you’ll get lost if you don’t have a military background. Colonel Giammona explains things well to those of us in the civilian world. (His co-author makes an equally good contribution.)

Overall, this was a really excellent book. It’s not a “gloom and doom” book, and the authors don’t want you to be scared or to act irrationally. They want you to be calm, cool, and level-headed. This is a great book for any Christian who sees how world events are escalating. If you’re interested in seeing how current events connects to a Biblical perspective, you might really like this book. There are a lot of great tips and Biblical insight for how you and your family can mentally and spiritually ready yourselves for a world that will grow increasingly violent and hostile towards Christianity.

Prayers for Healing

It only takes a little while to reflect on your day, read a poem, or say a prayer. Mango Publishing has released this book, Prayers for Healing, with a blessing, poem or meditation for each day of the year. An introduction is provided by The Dalai Lama.

I’m not a big fan of poetry, so reading this book was outside of what I would typically enjoy. It is an interfaith book, and it doesn’t have a theme to tie it all together. The blessings, poems, and meditations are from all over the world – so that’s very diverse! For me, I started reading this book, and it didn’t keep my attention. It seemed too scattered for me. The book does not seem to have anything to bind it together- there is no unifying season, theme, or anything that every day has in common – there’s no common thread- which made this book too “all over the place” for me to be focused to even finish it.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

However, that being said, I think if you like poetry, you will probably like this book. If you like to meditate, you will probably like this book. If you’re interested in learning more about traditions from various parts of the world, you might like this book. But for me, this was just not my cup of tea.

The Boy Who Shared His Sandwich!

Today I’m reviewing another children’s book. This one is from The Good Book Company author Steph Williams titled The Boy Who Shared His Sandwich!

This is part of Williams’ Little Me, Big God series. You can check out my review of her book The Easter Fix here.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

This is another cute picture book for young readers. Taking a look at the story of the feeding of the 5,000, Williams looks at how the people were fed. One of the things that stood out to me in the choice for illustrations was how similarly the people were dressed, and how human Jesus looked… we often picture Jesus as majestic, royal, righteous, but in The Boy Who Shared His Sandwich! Jesus is dressed just as normal and plain as the other people in this book, which made his humanity really pop out to me. I don’t know if this was a conscious choice, but I thought it was really interesting.

Another interesting point is when the story asks HOW Jesus could have fed all the people… the illustration is done to pose a child asking this question… and it’s amusing the way this is done… it’s almost like there is frustration in this question, the way a kid might be frustrated when they can’t figure something out… or loudness…

I think this is a cute book and I think it’s a good choice if you’re looking for a book to add to a children’s collection for Bible stories you’d like your child to learn about.

The Easter Fix by Steph Williams

Is it too soon to talk about Easter? I say no, because today, I’m talking about another book that focuses on, you guessed it, Easter. Forget about Peeps or that shredded stuff you put in the bottom of your Easter baskets, or the Easter chocolate I could eat anytime. We’re getting down to the story of Easter…

This is The Easter Fix by Steph Williams. Steph Williams wrote another book titled The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross (which is a great book that I reviewed here.)

The Easter Fix by Steph Williams

There is no age range labelled on this book, but the publisher’s site says it’s part of the Little Me, Big God series. That being said, I would say that this is for young readers – any who are being read to, learning how to read, or developing their ability to read. If you’re a reading nerd or literacy junkie, check out some sight words from this book: that, this, had, come, he, fix, gave… so as far as what “grade level” that puts this book, it’s hard to say.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

On to the good stuff. Was this a good book, that’s what you want to know, right? The pictures are great. The story is accurate. The pictures line up with the story being told, and it made me smile. The way the illustrations told the story actually shocked me (in a good way) at one point. Will your kid like this book? Yes, I think so. Will this be a good addition to your library? Yes, I think so. It could be a nice addition to an Easter basket.

The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross

The Garden, the Curtain, and the Cross is a new book for toddlers that explains the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The one I’m reviewing today is a “board book” – remember those when you were a kid? They don’t have the cover that a hardback does, and the pages are thick… like a board! The pages of this one shine. This book is written by Carl Laferton with illustrations by Catalina Echeverri.

This books starts with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and how the fall of mankind occurred. I noticed that the author pointed out that “the people” decided not to do what God wanted, and that they were both at fault. This important detail/truth was not lost on me, and I thought it was great to explain it to kids this way.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

The story goes on to show kids the temple, the cross, and reconciliation with God… all in kid-friendly terms. The illustrations are great and they really compliment the story. I think this is a great book that kids will enjoy over and over again. Highly recommended!

In Search of Wisdom

What’s the most valuable thing you can possess but cannot buy? Wisdom. In this new book, Joyce Meyer takes us on a journey In Search of Wisdom.

In Search of Wisdom explores all 31 chapters of the Biblical book of Proverbs. The way the book was structured surprised me in its simplicity, because the author could have picked her own title for each chapter, but she didn’t. She kept things really simple, and each chapter is simply named after the Proverb that will be covered. Chapter One is called “Proverbs 1,” the next chapter is called “Proverbs 2,” and so on. It seems so simplistic, but it makes sense once you dig into the contents of the book.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. The opinions here are my own.

If you’ve never read any of the book of Proverbs, you’re missing out. There’s so much practical life advice that the book of Proverbs gives. Heeding the words and warnings of this book of the Bible can help anyone. Proverbs gives advice about marriage, money, parenting, friendship, and the types of people you should avoid in life.

Joyce Meyer breaks down each Proverb, giving it its own chapter. She expounds on it, introducing her own perspective, opinions, and even stories from her life and from people she knows of. She also easily introduces verses from the New Testament and connects it to the Proverb being discussed, without causing any confusion. This is a positive feature, especially for people who may not have any Bible knowledge, to help them build their knowledge of the Bible.

In Search of Wisdom could be a great book for women’s groups to use and build discussions around. It’s not designed to be a book of discussion, but I could see lots of points in this book that give ladies the opportunity to discuss the relevance of the Proverbs in their lives.

Live with Intention

Ever think about how you’re living your life? Ever think about what really matters? Mary Anne Radmacher wants us to Live with Intention.

This is not your typical self-help book. While it does have a table of contents that would, at first glance, lay out a plan for how to live on purpose with your values or goals in mind, this is not a straight-laced, buttoned-up, get-your-life-in-order-in-thirty-days kind of book. Far from it!

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Radmacher’s style is part whimsical, part personal, part friendly. She uses stories that seem to be randomly pulled from a personal diary or journal, and I enjoyed these stories. At first, you don’t know where she is going or what kind of point she may be trying to make, but it’s entertaining. Then, at the end of a story, she quickly makes her point as to why the story connects to her idea of “living with intention.” This book is kind of like someone sitting down with you to have a chat over a cup of tea or coffee, and just sharing their thoughts on life with you. I enjoyed it a lot, but I would not call it self-help or instructional. This book is more of an inspirational read. This author is the only one I can think of that is the closest thing to reminding me of a modern day Helen Steiner Rice with her encouragement and essays. If you could use some encouragement or a friend, you could love this book.

Book Review: The Bible Recap

Have you ever read the Bible from cover to cover? The Bible Recap is a one-year guide to help people understand the Bible. Sometimes, the Bible can be confusing. Sometimes, we don’t always understand it. Tara-Leigh Cobble wants to help change that with this new guide.

The Bible Recap

This book made me think about what it takes to really write a good commentary or guide on the Bible. What is it that I want or need on any book that attempts to explain the Bible? What are the basic requirements? I’ve boiled it down to two:

  • Clear: I need to be able to understand what the writer is saying. Seems simple, right? Any points that are being made need to be clear. If the author is referring to a Bible passage, it needs to be clear so I can find it for myself.
  • Correct: Any opinions that an author might give should be based on what the Bible says, not just a popular opinion that is given because it’s what people want to hear.

This book uses a chronological approach to reading the Bible. In other words, the plan is not for you to grab a KJV or NIV Bible, plow through Genesis and then keep on trucking until you get to Revelation. This Bible reading plan actually breaks up the book of Genesis – the very first book of the Bible – and you are supposed to start reading the book of Job BEFORE you finish reading all of the book of Genesis. I did not stick to this reading plan, and I question why this would be the planned method. (Why not finish one book at a time?)

Looking at the author’s commentary about some of the readings that focused on the book of Genesis, it could be really confusing if you’ve never read the Bible before. On “Day Three,” there are places where the author mentions a book of the Bible that you would not have read yet… we’re talking as far ahead in the Bible as 2 Peter, Ezekiel, Revelation. The ability to tie together other books of the Bible would be fantastic, but at this point in The Bible Recap, this was confusing and off-course.

Ultimately, my recommendation would be to grab your Bible, read what you will daily, make your questions in the margins, and you will have a plan for a clear and focused study.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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