Friday, September 27, 2013

Book Review: 10 Great Dates

!0 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage
Peter & Heather Larson and David & Claudia Arp
Bethany House, 2013
English, 176 pages


Finally, a Way to Connect Spiritually That You'll BOTH Enjoy!
While juggling the kids, work, church, and community commitments, are you and your spouse finding time to connect? When was the last time you had a good talk about faith or did a devotional together?

To help you jump-start deeper connections, four marriage experts have come up with 10 creative date ideas, each centered on a spiritual theme, including:
  • Appreciating your differences
  • Experiencing God together
  • Facing the storms of life
  • Connecting through prayer

With the planning taken care of--including flexible suggestions for before, during, and after the date--you and your spouse can simply enjoy the time sharing what's important in life.

Download a free leader's guide for small groups at

This is a good book. Even if you can't get the dates themselves done (we don't have a babysitter at this time, so we did the "dates" in evenings after kids went to bed) you can use the book as a devotional book and a guide to reconnecting with your spouse.

Each date has a chapter to read, questions for personal reflection, tear-out pages to take with you on your date for discussion and a follow-up devotion for the week.

It sounds like the authors are going to give you date ideas, but they're more general then specific. They sound like it's more of a dinner or coffee house date setting. The whole point is to facilitate conversation, so a movie date really wouldn't be what you would do anyway.

I like that each date has follow up devotions and questions. I know a lot of the time we talk a lot about something and then have questions later but don't get around to asking them. Setting aside a private devotion time together will really help with this.

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

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Book Review: If You Were Me and Lived in...Norway

If You Were Me and Lived In...Norway
By Carole P. Roman
Self Published, 2013
English, 32 pages

Join Carole P. Roman on a trip to the Northern Hemisphere and learn about Norway- The Land Of the Midnight Sun. In this exciting series, children are able to read about the many things we share in this great, big world of ours. If You Were Me and Lived in...Norway describes many things that make that country unique and fun. Readers will be able to learn about the capital, common names, a beloved holiday, as well as favorite food and other fun facts. This book is an excellent introduction for those beginners who want to learn about the many thrilling places and great people who share our planet.

This is one of many books in this series which introduces kids to other countries and cultures. I got it because my older son (7) is very interested in geography and learning about what kids do in other parts of the world. He really enjoyed this book. It was really fun to listen to him try to sound out the Norwegian words.

The pictures are cute and it was very easy for him to read by himself. (With a little help on the Norwegian words.) He has started calling his dad Pappa and he was thrilled when I served him waffles with yogurt (there is a page about vaflers with krem) and really wants to go to the ice hotel in the winter (not gonna happen!).

I'm very excited about the other books in this series and using them to further introduce cultures and countries to him.

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

Monday, September 16, 2013

Book Review: Unglued

Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions
By Lysa TerKeurst
Zondervan, 2012
English, 208 pgs

God gave us emotions to experience life, not destroy it! Lysa TerKeurst admits that she, like most women, has had experiences where others bump into her happy and she comes emotionally unglued. We stuff, we explode, or we react somewhere in between. What do we do with these raw emotions? Is it really possible to make emotions work for us instead of against us? Yes, and in her usual inspiring and practical way, Lysa will show you how. Filled with gut-honest personal examples and biblical teaching, Unglued will equip you to: Know with confidence how to resolve conflict in your important relationships. Find peace in your most difficult relationships as you learn to be honest but kind when offended. Identify what type of reactor you are and how to significantly improve your communication. Respond with no regrets by managing your tendencies to stuff, explode, or react somewhere in between. Gain a deep sense of calm by responding to situations out of your control without acting out of control.

This is one of the best books I've read in a while. I have already recommended it to a handful of women at church and have passed the book to my husband to read as well. You have to read it.

There are two basic types of people discussed in the book, exploders and stuffers. There are those who explode with emotion and those who stuff their feeling deep inside. Neither is really a good way to handle emotions. And you can be both, depending on circumstance and the person you're dealing with at the time.

It's important to note that the book is not a "miracle cure". You have to be willing to work toward the imperfect progress, wrapping yourself and your situations in grace. She teaches how to gain perspective in a situation as well as a few tips on how to keep from exploding or let emotions out without stuffing them inside.

She reminds us that we have the power to control our thoughts and that having conversations (or rehashing them) in our head can cause us to have unrealistic expectations and cause us to label ourselves and keep perpetuating the problem.

She discusses four categories: The Exploder Who Shames Herself, The Exploder Who Blames Others, The Stuffer Who Builds Barriers and The Stuffer Who Collects Retaliation Rocks. There are practical tips and discussion about each.

There is available a study guide with a DVD (which is very likely to be our Spring Bible Study) as well as a 60 day devotional book. 

Favorite Quotes:
  • We can face things that are out of our control and not be out of control. (This is printed out and posted on my fridge!)
  • A soul who believes she can't leave...doesn't.
  • There is courage and strength in starting somewhere.
  • Condemnation defeats us. Conviction unlocks the greatest potential for change.
  •  Soul Integrity brings the passion of the exploder and the peacemaking of the stuffer under the authority of Jesus Christ where honesty and godliness embrace and balance each other.
  • Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. Holy restraint is the seed.
  • The more we dance around an issue, the more emotional yuck gets dragged into it.
  • My job isn't to fix the difficult people or enable them to continue disrespectful or abusive behaviors. My job is to be obedient to God in the way I act and respond to those people.
  • Comfort zones don't always have to be comfortable, just familiar.
  • Make the courageous choice to embrace what is and to fill our souls with all of the good reality right in front of us.
  • We don't need anyone's approval on our obedience. Only God's.
  • The Sabbath not only needs to be observed but also preserved. The observer remembers to rest. The preserver rests to remember - remember that it's all about God.
  • We get into trouble when, instead of parking our minds on truth, we let them idle in perception.
  • Anytime I start hearing lies speaking louder than truth, it's an indicator my soul is starving for God's Word.

I received a copy of the book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review. No additional compensation has been received and all opinions are my own.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book Review: The Miner's Lady

The Miner's LadyBy Tracie Peterson
Bethany House, 2013
English, 336 pgs

When Chantel Panetta's younger sister claims to be in love with Orlando Calarco, Chantel knows there is no hope. The Panettas and Calarcos have been sworn enemies for decades, and young love cannot heal the deep wounds between the two iron-mining families. Yet, unable to resist Isabella's pleas, Chantel agrees to help her sister spend time with Orlando...only to have a run-in with Dante, Orlando's brother.

Chantel can't deny the attraction that flares when she's with Dante. But when a tragedy occurs at the mine, is there any hope that the hatred that has simmered between these two families might be resolved? Or will Chantel and Isabella's hope for love be buried amidst decades of misunderstanding?

I'm conflicted. I liked the book enough that I read it in three days. I liked the Italian American families and the budding city/industrial area aspect. I liked that it was well paced and that the romances (yep, two) were tender and respectful.

I didn't like that I could predict everything that would happen. But I also know that those of us who read Christian romance books are not looking for anything beyond the usual. There was one surprise in it and it almost felt like it was added afterward or something just to have another suspenseful part.

I'm not one to give away plot points so I can't say more than that, but a secondary story line felt rushed and trivial. It felt like it was there only as a "danger" aspect that really didn't add anything to the story.

However, like I said, I read it in three days. At the start, there seemed to be a lot of mining jargon that made it read kinda slow, but that lets up and the story moves into family ties, family feuds and romance.

It's a good book. Would be great for taking on a flight or something where you want something light to read.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for a positive review. No additional compensation has been received and all opinions are my own.

Back to School/Football Wreath

The front of my house is exceedingly plain. I have a black thumb so I do not have pretty plants. We don't own the house so we can't change paint colors. So my method of decoration is wreaths. I've been trying to have a new wreath each month to reflect a holiday or something.

My September wreath is a Back to School/Football Season wreath. In Texas it would also classify as a Homecoming wreath since I used lots of little things the girls use on their mums.

I used two and a half lengths of silver garland. Green shiny paper stars, plastic homecoming cutsy things and glue dots. I used the only wreath frame available at my local superstore so it's a wrapped raffia type. I really wanted a styrofoam, but this was what they had.

I began my wrapping the garland around the frame. I secured each end and several places along the middle with the glue dots. Lots of glue dots. You can see in the above picture that I wrapped it pretty tight so it would be very full.

I was planning to use a Mardi Gras type beaded necklace as my hanger so I placed it across the wreath where it would be when on the door. Then I started placing the stars. Again...lots of glue dots. I found that the dots were removable with a little force if they're put in the wrong place, as was the case with the one at about 10-11 o'clock on the above picture.

Next step was just putting the football things on the wreath. I added one for the band. Because no football game is complete without the band.

At this point, I thought it would be better if I hung it on the door and worked on placement. I'm really glad I did that because I was able to see a big gap in things and that one star needed to be moved..

Anyway, here's the finished product. I'm really happy with it and cannot wait to get started on the next one for Halloween!