Sunday, April 28, 2013

Book Review: Tempted, Tested, True

Tempted, Tested, True: A Proven Path to Overcoming Soul-Robbing Choices
By Arnie Cole and Michael Ross
Bethany House, 2013
English, 256 pgs

Real, Lasting Victory Over Temptation

There's no use pretending: Everybody struggles with temptations. Sometimes those struggles can wear us down and we don't know where to turn. But as authors Dr. Arnie Cole and Michael Ross write, "Each struggle presents us with an opportunity for growth and intimacy with God--not condemnation."

Using real-life stories and information gathered from over 100,000 surveys, Tempted, Tested, True gives you a step-by-step process for resisting harmful choices through the power of God's Word. This book will show you how to live in the freedom God wants for you. 

There is not a single human being that does not face temptation at some point. It can be as "harmless" as not being able to pass by the dessert tray to as "harmful" as sexual sins. The point is, everyone, everywhere in all of history has had to deal with temptation.

This book does not gloss over the problem of sin and the effects of giving in to temptations. It does not, either, tell you that you will be 100% able to resist temptation just because you've read this book and answered every question in it. It does give you insights, scriptures and proven steps that you can take to lessen the effect of temptation in your life.

The beginning chapters deal with the universal problem of temptation and the cycle of dangerous choices. I particularly like how they equate a cycle of a bad choice with pregnancy and birth. It made it easy to understand and visualize.

The next few chapters are about specific temptations men struggle with and women struggle with. And the next four chapters deal with a story and struggle from real life and how to deal with the specific temptations they contain.

I found the whole book really enlightening and very well written, however the last chapter and the Ending Point really hit me between the eyes. So many times someone doesn't want to discuss their temptations because they feel they're alone or that they will be judged because of them. The last part of the book deals with this from a church and grace standpoint. The church shouldn't be shunning sinners and we shouldn't be refusing to offer God's grace to anyone. None of us deserve it and it's given freely and equally to all.

This book is excellent. It has a "Nudge" at the end of each chapter, which is a study guide and is wonderful for both personal and group study. There is a ton of scripture back up and memorization is encouraged.

I received a copy of the book from Bethany House for the purpose of a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review: Christian Mama's Guide

The Christian Mama's Guide to the Grade School Years
By Erin MacPherson
Thomas Nelson, 2013
English, 208 pgs

Book Description

Prepares moms for the time when their school-aged kids take their first few steps into the world and away from mama's nest.

Sending a child off to school is a whole lot more than stocking up on school supplies and packing a (somewhat) healthy lunch. This helpful guidebook walks Christian moms through:
  • discovering a long-term vision for the person that Christ has purposed for your child to become
  • instilling a sense of "who I am and where I came from" in your child
  • choosing a school for your kids
  • helping your kids to develop key attributes—courage, kindness, perseverance—that lead to success in school
  • dealing with teachers, sports, and lessons
  • navigating those difficult conversations that will come sooner rather than later
  • a special feature includes sidebars "From the Principal's Office" with insights from a 35-year elementary school principal and educator
Moms will learn how to cover their children in prayer so that their launch into the world, and away from her control, is done with grace and wisdom—helping them grow into the men and women God intended them to be.

This is the second Christian Mama's Guide I've reviewed. I didn't really enjoy this one as much as  the one for the toddler years. She starts the book by telling you that she's not really experienced in the area of kids going to school and it really shows in the text.

There is a healthy dose of humor, but after a few chapters it starts to read as silly and condescending in some places. I found the From the Principal's Office sections to be particularly helpful. This is most likely because they were written by someone with lots of experience in schools.

The most helpful thing I read in this book is the 15 Factors list. This is a list of character traits and attributes that need to be developed in a child for them to be truly successful. The list includes Genuine Faith, Vision, Focus, Courage and Honesty. Yep, they sound like common sense things to teach your kids, but a focused concentration on them (I like her idea of one per month) will go a long way to becoming a behavioral pattern for you and your kids.

There is value to the book in that I'm sure there are parents who haven't read every book on the shelf and will pick this one. For that purpose, this book can be very useful. I've just read so many books that have these same basic ideas that I'm having a hard time thinking this is something new.

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

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Save the Sleeve!!!

I, for one, am glad that cold and flu season is starting to wind down. We have battled sickness in this house since just before Christmas. The youngest ended up with the flu A and B, a cold in between them and an ear infection once a month. We were just about to entertain tubes when our prayers were answered and the ear was cleared up. The older boy had all of the above, with the exception of Flu B, and in addition had strep once and bronchitis once.

We're worn out. Just in time for spring allergies to flare up...

We use a lot of tissues and wipes and breathing treatments. I am not a fan of snot. At all. And of course, my two nose pickers love to let me know when they have it.

When their noses get overly runny and just too darn gunky for reality, I reach for Boogie Wipes.

Boogie Wipes are made with saline to dissolve boogies (mucus) caused by the common cold, allergies or otherwise booger-filled kid moments. They are extra soft and scented in Great Grape, Fresh Scent, Magic Menthol (for extra stuffy noses), Simply Unscented and Boogieberry. Boogie Wipes are recommended by Pediatricians as a gentle, effective alternative to a dry tissue.

I fully admit to using them on myself too.

They come in 10, 30, 45 and 90 count packs and canisters. Their website also says that a Boogie Mist is coming soon.

Right now, you can take the pledge to Save the Sleeve. Those who take the pledge in the month of April are entered to win one of 1,000 Save the Sleeve Kits. Each kit is packed with Boogie Wipes temporary tattoos, a backpack button, Boogie Wipes samples, and coupons.

Okay, I gotta tell you...booger and snot information makes me gag a bit. The fact that the first page of the pledge tells you that your sinuses can make 2 liters of mucus a day just really grosses me out. I don't doubt it for a second though!

So get over there and take the pledge to Save the Sleeve!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Book Review: Prayer Warrior Mom

Prayer Warrior Mom
By Marla Alupoaicei
Thomas Nelson, 2013
English, 256 pgs

Moms, are you struggling with patience? 
Worrying about your children’s spiritual development? 
Concerned about their social or behavioral issues? 
Wondering how to get it all done when there’s just never enough time?

Author Marla Alupoaicei knows that today’s Christian moms want to be the parents God intended. They desire to pray boldly and stand in the gap for their kids. But many mothers haven’t been equipped with the prayer skills, scriptural knowledge, and practical strategies to fight the spiritual battle for themselves and their children.

Marla is no stranger to these trials. She has felt the simmering frustration and discontentment that come from the constant tension of trying to do it all for her family. But as Marla began to turn everything over to God in prayer, He granted her an attitude of gratitude, the antidote to despair. “When you and I choose to praise the Lord, He will be fully present in our hearts, in our homes, and with our children,” she says.

In Prayer Warrior Mom, Marla invites you to walk with her through fifteen life-transforming principles that will empower you to effectively intercede for your children. Learn to cultivate your own attitude of gratitude, pray Scripture, be persistent, pray with power and authority, be your children’s #1 advocate, hear God’s voice above the noise of daily life, and much more!

“The only real power we have on this earth is the power of prayer. Our potent prayers for our kids connect them with the reality of God and His will for their lives,” Marla says.

Mom, this is your year. Your year of spiritual breakthrough. Your year to see your children start loving God and living for Him. What are you waiting for? Become a Prayer Warrior Mom today!

 I read books like this with a journal next to me, writing down parts that are especially meaningful for instructional for me. My hand kinda cramped up on this one. There is so much good in this book. I did not agree with 100% of what she says in the book, but I also learned some new things about myself as a mother while reading this book.

Each chapter has the body of the chapter with a prayer at the end. Then there is a page of "Sword of the Spirit" which is verses from the Bible which pertain to the previous chapter and a page of Small Group Discussion Questions. The questions are very thought provoking and would make a really good semester or summer long group study.

Some of the nuggets I got from the book:
  • Motherhood is a holy privilege.
  • As your spiritual influence and wisdom increase, so will Satan's attacks on you and your family. (Preach it sister!)
  • We must pray with both the power and the authority granted to us by God.
  • Take time away for yourself. (I wanted to enlarge this page and post it on the bathroom mirror with these words highlighted!)
  • Our kids will sense our love when they see us devoted to prayer.
  • Sometimes we are not ready to receive a blessing when we first ask God for it.
  • The only real power we have on this earth is the power of prayer.
  • Turn a negative label (on your kids) into a positive, exciting one. (He isn't stubborn...he persists in the face of obstacles!)
  • Grace looks a lot like patience.

 I think this book is well researched and written. There is a lot of anecdotal evidence in each chapter, but there is also ample Scripture evidence. It's a nice balance.

 I have a young lady at church who is pregnant with her first child and I'm going to give her this book. I think the sooner we start praying for our children, the sooner we start protecting them.

 I received a copy of this book from Book Sneeze in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Book Review: Unrivaled

Unrivaled: A Novel
By Siri Mitchell
Bethany House, 2013
English, 400 pgs


From the Back Cover

Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe's best confections, she's sure she'll come up with a recipe that will save her father's struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager--a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy's skin.

Charlie Clarke's new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he's never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She's making his work life miserable...and making herself impossible for him to forget.

About the Author

Siri Mitchell has written nearly a dozen novels, three of which were named Christy Award finalists. A graduate of the University of Washington with a business degree, she has worked in many levels of government and lived on three continents. She and her family currently reside in the D.C. metro area. Learn more at

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was well researched for the candy making scenes and the characters were pretty well developed.

 I'm a huge fan of the TV show Unwrapped and the scenes with the factory and kitchen really made me think of the show! It was fun reading about how the candy makers tried recipes to find the right one!

 The relationship between Lucy and Charlie is really fun to read. She seems like a handful! Some of the things they do to each other's businesses during the novel are funny, yet there is never anywhere (that I remember) where they say they're sorry or where they come to terms with the havoc they cause. The only spot that Lucy shows some remorse is when she realizes how she has hurt the workers.

 There were lots of really fun minor characters too. Sam, Alfred, Evelyn and Winnie are lots of fun. I think it was pretty interesting that a "Christian" fiction book only had one character talking about God and that the major characters don't come to some sort of decision about God.

 I received a copy of the book from Bethany House for the purpose of a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Book Review: What A Son Needs From His Mom

What a Son Needs From His Mom
By Cheri Fuller
Bethany House, 2013
English, 224 pgs


From the Back Cover

Ever Feel Like Your Son Is From a Different Planet?

Don't worry, Mom. There's a good reason why your son perplexes you. He's the OPPOSITE sex! Boys really do think, communicate, and process the world differently than girls. But no matter your son's age, he needs you, and he needs you in not-so-apparent ways.
Drawing from her own experiences, as well as those from moms and sons from around the country, Cheri Fuller shares what makes boys and young men tick and how to become a more welcome influence at every stage in their lives. She answers all the top questions, including:

"How can I help my son (and me!) deal with his emotions in a healthy way?"
"School is such a struggle. How can I help him?"
"Our personalities are SO different. How can we get on the same page?"
"My son hardly says a thing. What can I do?"
"What are the best ways to instill good values?"
"How can I encourage a lasting faith in God?"

With page after page of use-it-today advice and encouraging stories, this book will help you steer your son toward becoming a caring, confident young man.

Includes Reflection Questions for Personal or Group Use

Great for understanding grandsons, too!
I have two wonderful (most of the time) little boys. I have often looked at my husband and said "I don't get them..." for whatever is it they're doing. I've often wondered what I can do to relate better and make them less "foreign" to me.

This book is wonderful. I have learned so much from it, I even took notes while reading. Some of the chapter titles are: A Mom Who Encourages, A Mom Who Builds Confidence in Her Son, A Mom Who Prays for Her Son, A Mom Who Stays Connected, and A Mom Who Nurtures Her Son's Faith.

Each chapter has questions at the end for further reflection and journaling. They would also be great if used in a group study session.

Some of the nuggets I've found are:

Give a boy a strong, sturdy foundation but allow them to grow wings of their own.
Praise the effort, not the outcome.
Words often fail with boys. Use visual photos, posters, etc.
They need mom to not panic when they get hurt. To not lecture or overreact.
Resiliency develops as boys wrestle through and solve problems.
Encourage competence by trusting him now and then with a responsibility that surprises him.
An anxious mother can create kids who struggle with anxiety their whole lives.
Only God has the power and ability to shape their hearts into deciding to follow Christ.
Prayer is our loving lifeline.
Help them learn to think objectively and don't always expect them to agree with you.
Ask them what they need from you. (Was surprised by my son's answer!)
Find hands-on ways to teach ethics and character traits.
One key to helping them manage their emotions is to be calm and manage my own.
Let them express emotions to learn to resolve them.
Slowly release control. Let them learn to walk their own path into adulthood.
Don't feel guilty for making yourself a priority.

My favorite: Our goal should be to do so good a job raising them that they no longer need us.

I studied this book. Every page. Answered every question. Now I can only hope that I can impart some of what I've learned into our lives. I like the idea of surprise responsibilities. A few days ago, I handed my son the post office key and let him go in to get the mail. Alone. The look of pride on his face was priceless. I know that simple action told him that I think he's capable of doing things without me and that I can trust him with a new job.

I'm getting all my friends with boys to buy this book. It covers ages from toddlers to adults. There is something in there for grandmothers, foster parents...anyone who cares for and has charge of a growing boy.

I received a copy of the book from Bethany House for the purpose of a review. No additional compensation has been received and I was not required to write a positive review.