Monday, May 28, 2012

Book Review: Buildiing Family Ties with Faith, Love & Laughter

Building Family Ties with Faith, Love & Laughter
By Dave Stone
Thomas Nelson, 2012
English, 160 pgs

Creative ideas, real-life stories, and Scriptural guidance for being the family that loves being together. 
Building Family Ties with Faith, Love, and Laughter is the second in the Faithful Family series where Dave applies his practical, conversational, and humorous approach to the challenge of building strong spiritual ties to each other as a family. Topics include: Contentment, Security, Loyalty, Gratitude, Spontaneity, Communication, and more.
Preaching is his gift, but Pastor Dave Stone's family is his life's blessing. And after raising three kids of his own, as well as shepherding the diverse families of his congregation, his heart and passion for building strong families rings louder than ever. He knows that raising faithful families is a key to the future of the church. 

 This is the second book from Stone for building up our relationships within our families. The first was Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord. There is a third promised in the series.

Our family has been experimenting with the ideas in this book (unbeknown to them!) for the past few weeks and we've been having a blast. We've been turning off the TV and other electronics that get in the way and spending more time just playing, laughing and sharing.

My 5 year old, in particular, has been a different kid. We've been seeing less temper tantrums and lots more smiles. I know that it's not a hard concept, but everyday things seem to get in the way. Turning them off and making our family a priority makes a difference.

We always eat dinner together anyway, but we've been using the time to share about our days. We've been talking to each other about ideas and things we want to learn. Dinner has become less of a "feed trough" and more of a bonding time. We even made ourselves "special" placemats for a reminder of the time we share. (Construction paper and clear contact paper.)

I like the idea of forming a family mission statement. That's something we're going to work on in the next few days. I like the idea of having a stated focus for our family to work toward together. The idea of a weekly family evaluation is pretty cool too. I like that it keeps parents accountable to our kids as well as them to us.

As a whole, we've had more fun, seen more thankful and respectful children and become closer as a family. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and look forward to the third in the series.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: As One Devil to Another

As One Devil to Another
By Richard Platt
Tyndale House, 2012
English, 208 pgs

As One Devil to Another is an astonishing debut work that C. S. Lewis’s biographer and foremost Lewis authority Walter Hooper calls “a stunning achievement, the finest example of the genre of diabolical correspondence to appear since this genre was popularized by C. S. Lewis.” Enter into this chilling and diabolical tale, one that reveals the very tricks and strategies of Hell. Through a series of letters between devils created by Platt, senior devil Slashreap trains his young protégé, Scardagger, to win an individual soul away from Heaven and into their clutches. As the devils plot their way to triumph, they reveal the spiritual dangers and risks we face in today’s society. Their frighteningly accurate perspective on issues such as contemporary technology and sexual mores is interwoven with timeless matters such as the power of prayer, the purpose of suffering, and the promises held out by Heaven . . . and Hell. Destined to become a modern classic, As One Devil to Another is a brilliantly written, deeply unsettling perspective on twenty-first-century society . . . a glimpse of ourselves through the eyes of those who have embraced their underworldly existence.
I can't say enough how much I liked this book. It was entertaining as well as thought provoking. I am a fan of CS Lewis so I was a bit hesitant to read something that was written in his style and has been compared to his work. 

I actually read it with a highlighter next to me and marked passages that were particularly interesting. The correspondence from the Uncle Slashreap to his underling Scardagger touch on things that are current and relevant in this culture, which Lewis could only have dreamed about. It discusses technology, reality TV, art (love what it has to say about Picasso), the sexual revolution, charlatans, and so many more topics that really make you think about our culture and what we allow into our lives.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book include:
  • "The more we can encourage them to consume, the fewer resources they will have to help their neighbors." (To me, the purpose of being blessed is to be able to bless someone else.)
  • "The Light of Grace which He offers them each day is not a light that they can see, but a light that they can see with."
  • "The Power of Creation belongs to the Adversary alone. The humans can only derive or rearrange...But we cannot make something from nothing. We can only make Something into Nothing."
  • "if perceptive humans forebear to speak out of charity, diplomacy, fatigue, hopelessness or impotent frustration, their silence is our triumph."
  • "if humans are the product of meaninglessness, they would have no concept of meaning,"
I honestly wish I could give a copy of this book to everyone I know. I can't. But I am being allowed to give one copy away to a reader.

GIVEAWAY ENTRY: Leave a comment telling me you would like to win the book. It's that simple.

GIVEAWAY RULES: One entry per household. Must leave email address in comment so I can contact you if you win. Giveaway ends at 10PM CST on May15th. Winner will be selected by Winner will receive email as soon as possible with instructions for redemption of free book.

I received a copy of the book from Tyndale House in exchange for hosting a review and giveaway. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Book Review: Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord

Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord
By Dave Stone
Thomas Nelson, 2012
English, 144 pgs

Practical life lessons, real-life stories, and Scriptural truths for being the family that glorifies God.  

Preaching is his gift, but Pastor Dave Stone's family is his passion and his life's blessing. Dave and Beth have been married 27 years and have raised three children, as well as shepherd the diverse families of their congregation. Raising faithful families is a key to the future of the church. Raising Your Kids to Love the Lord is the first of three books in the Faithful Family series where Dave applies his practical, conversational, and humorous approach to the challenge of building a strong spiritual foundation for the family. Some of the topics include: Authenticity, Discipline, Modeling Godly Principles, Sharing the Load, and more.

It's never too soon, or too late, to begin applying the tried and true wisdom this veteran of building strong families has to share.

 This is our number one goal for raising our children. More than learning to read or write, we want them to love the Lord. We spend time each day in Bible study, prayer and just modeling behaviors we want them to see and repeat. But as any parent, we question if we're doing "enough" to each them. This is the most important lesson we will ever teach them and it's the most important lesson they'll ever learn.

This book incorporates ideas that we have and that we haven't thought about in teaching this lesson. I've read almost every Christian based parenting book out there, I've solicited advice from other parents in our church, I've prayed for my children and I've looked at parenting websites.

The main point of the book is that you need to start from the top down...meaning you start with yourself and get the first things in place, then others will come into place as you work your way down. Get yourself and your life and your Christian walk well in place and then you can teach it to your children.

The book emphasizes prayer and give examples of how to pray for your children. It also gives tips on how to pray with your children. It talks about how to read the Bible with your children, making sure you're reading it yourself too. (This makes me think...I've been teaching my sons Bible stories, but few actual verses...hmmm...)

There is a great chapter about discipline and obedience. This has been our issue with the boys (5 and 2) lately so this one I spent a.l.o.t. of time reading and even passed it to my husband to read. Consistency and clear expectations make a lot of difference to little ones.

There are individual chapters for mothers and fathers and what their roles are in the lives of our children. I love the 6 gifts kids need from fathers. I've seen in our own house that the more time they get with Dad, the better they act in general. I can tell when the miss their daddy!

This is one of a series of books by Stone and I'm really looking forward to reading the implementing all of them into our lives.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Quick and Easy (and Delicious) Quesadillas

I'm always looking for fast, yummy meals for my family. I'm not sure where I saw this recipe, but we've made it many times and some friends were asking me what I's my recipe.

Easy Chicken Spinach Quesadillas

Spinach Artichoke Dip
Cooked Chicken
Mozzarella Cheese

 As you can see, I use premade things. Feel free to make your own from scratch and use that. I don't have time for that though.

Anyway...cook the dip according to the package instructions and chop the chicken into tiny pieces.

Mix together in a bowl.

Spread on a tortilla and put it in a hot pan.

Sprinkle cheese and top with another tortilla. When one side is browned, flip it over and continue cooking it.

Voila! It's done. I use a pizza cutter to cut it and then serve it hot with a side of salsa.

It's fast and filling and I don't feel totally guilty about it since it does have spinach in it. Let me know if you make them!