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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Knowing, Showing, Growing Review

Knowing, Showing, Growing: My John 3:16 Discovery Book

Morgan does a great job explaining to elementary age children the concept of salvation, forgiveness of sins, baptism, being a witness and many other important elements of being a Christian. The book is separated into three sections (obviously) with stories and fill in the blank questions/studies. I and my 5th grade daughter found the questions to be age appropriate and thought provoking. My daughter was encouraged to study on her own, identify people in her life to pray for, etc

However, the stories were not appealing. In one a boy has a horrible day and ends up taking out his frustrations by throwing a baseball through a neighbors window. He does confess to his father, and to the owner of the window, and his father pays the bill (this story is used to explain how Jesus paid the cost for the things we do wrong). However, dad then takes his son out fishing. My daughter said, "No way! He didn't even tell his dad thank you!" I wish the story had gone a little farther than it did.

Then there is another about a dog that escapes the yard and there is fear that the neighbor will think the dog is a monster and shoot it. Not appropriate in my house. Or the story about the girl who has uncontrollable sneezing, goes to the doctor and has to get a shot because of it. Really?! Do I want a 6 or 7 year old to think that sneezing could warrant a shot?

My advice, edit the stories because the rest of the book is really good! About the only aspect of the stories that I like is that my child gets to write the ending!

I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review of the title.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Prayer Walk review

Prayer Walk

PrayerWalk: Becoming a Woman of Prayer, Strength, and Discipline

Book description:

Challenge your body. Feed your spirit. Change the world.
Ask any Christian woman about her most recent New Year’s resolutions, and you’ll likely find that “exercise regularly” and “pray more” were at the top of her list. We all long to look and feel our best, to live actively and healthfully. More than that, we desire to connect intimately with our God. Yet physical health and spiritual growth often take a backseat to the urgent demands of grocery shopping and bill paying, time with family and friends, and long hours at the office.

It’s Time to Exercise Your Prayer Life.

Thirteen years ago, author Janet Holm McHenry suffered from depression, weight gain, and exhaustion. Then she began a prayerwalk routine that not only transformed her life but also profoundly impacted the lives of those around her.

Learn how you, too, can set out on a journey to increased energy, better health, and greater joy—and experience a rich, full prayer ministry that will have a lasting impact on your loved ones and community.  (from the back of the book)

My Review:
I wasn't sure what to expect when I began to read this book.  I mean, how can you write an entire book about praying and walking together.  For me it seemed pretty simple, you walk and pray while you walk.  However, the author was making a connection between physical and spiritual health and I was interested to see how that was going to pan out, so I began reading.

In part 1 McHenry focuses on the "why" of prayer walking.  It will be sacrifice, adding prayer to walking doesn't make walking more fun or cause you to leap out of bed ready to go at 5 am.  Like most things though, if it is hard to do it is usually worth it.  She explains the health benefits of walking and the spiritual benefits of praying.

McHenry reminds us that "we live in a word of distractions-good ones, even- so we must have our eyes fixed and purpose determined...(because) developin a deep relationship with Him requires time...but God is now the number one priority of your day, not a distant cousin met through email once a month...we can't ask Christ to dwell inside our hearts but fail to give him the time of day."

By the end of section 1 I was ready to lace up my dusty walking shoes and get going.  McHenry presents a very compelling arguement for both walking and spending time with God in prayer.

Section 2 focuses more on the mechanics.  Questions such as How do I pray?  Who do I pray for?  The caution is even in there that we should not use this time to focus on the work of Satan, but to draw closer to the works of God.  McHenry closes the book with examples of people who have been affected due to God answering prayers. 

My copy of the book includes a 30 day prayer and fitness challenge, guide to organizing a community prayer walk, and study guide. 

All in all, this is a pretty good book that will motivate you to get up, get moving and get praying. 

I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Pocket Full of Kisses

A Pocket Full of Kisses

In this tender sequel to the New York Times bestseller and children's classic The Kissing Hand, Audrey Penn provides parents with another tale of love and reassurance to share with their children. Chester Raccoon has a baby brother-and the baby brother is taking over his territory. When Chester sees his mother give his baby brother a Kissing Hand-his Kissing Hand-he is overcome with sadness, but Mrs. Raccoon soothes his fears with her own special brand of wisdom, finding just the right way to let Chester know he is deeply loved. Brought to life by Barbara Leonard Gibson's warm illustrations, this story is perfect for families who are adjusting to all the changes new members can bring.

This is a wonderful sequel to The Kissing Hand where our little friend Chester's family has been blessed by a new addition.  The problem is that Chester isn't so enamored with  little Ronny anymore now that he plays with his toys, follows him around and pulls Chester's tail.  Mom tries to explain that Ronny just wants to be like him and that is what little brothers do.  However mom sees that Chester is in need of some extra TLC and offers him the kissing hand, which makes it all better, until Chester sees Ronny get one as well.  Suddenly Chester is concerned that mom will run out of kisses which prompts mom to let him know in a very special way that moms never run out of love for all of their children.

This book was brought into my home soon after the birth of my second child, and has stood the test of time with the addition of two more children.  The tender way in which mom reassures Chester rather than just brushing his fears and concerns away is heartwarming.  The way that she makes sure that Chester "really" get it that she will never run out of love for both him and his brother is great.  Many children get concerned that they may not be loved as much with the new addition to a family and this book goes a long way towards calming those fears as well as teaching that big brother, or sister, is someone to look up to.  They are a person that their sibling wants to imitate.

Again the illustrations are beautiful and the pages have just enough words to get the point across to a toddler or preschooler without so many that they get bored with the page.  There is a perfect balance between interest in the illustration and the story.  

Even if your family only includes one child, this story still has a place in your home as children often experience times when they feel "less loved" and this will help reassure them that mom, and dad, will always love them.

I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review only.

The Kissing Hand

The Kissing Hand

School is starting in the forest, but Chester Raccoon does not want to go. To help ease Chester's fears, Mrs. Raccoon shares a family secret called The Kissing Hand to give him the reassurance of her love any time his world feels a little scary. Since its first publication in 1993, this heartwarming book has become a children's classic that touches the lives of millions of children and their parents, especially at times of separation, whether starting school, entering daycare, going to camp.

This has been a favorite book in my house for about 11 years now, coming out of the closet with each child.  Now Princess A is old enough to understand and enjoy it and I am rediscovering why I love it so much.

The illustrations are gorgeous and eye catching.  They have kept all of my children enraptured every time we read it.  Most important is the storyline.  A mom reminds her child through a simple act of kissing his hand that her love goes with him where ever he is.  What child would not benefit from that?  Princess A now requests a "kissing hand" whenever we must be apart.  It is a great reminder to me that the simplest acts of love can often hold the longest impact.

I highly recommend this book.  Princess A and I read it on my Kindle.  The illustrations, although black and white, are still gorgeous and she loved it. 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.  No other compensation was offered or taken.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Blessing

 Publisher's description:
Every human needs the gift of "the blessing"—the unconditional love and approval that comes from a healthy relationship with one's parents. In this update to the best-selling classic The Blessing, coauthors John Trent and Gary Smalley offer a fresh perspective on this life-changing gift with solid, practical advice on how to lay a secure base of in each child's life.
The Blessing powerfully communicates biblical truths on how to instill self-worth and emotional well-being into others based on these five essential elements: meaningful touch, a spoken message, attaching high value, picturing a special future, and an active commitment.
No matter the age, the approval of our parents affects how we view ourselves and how we relate to others. So what if we've missed it? The final chapters include help and hope for those who grew up without their own parent's blessing, the blessing and grandparents, ways to live out the blessing, and ideas for blessing events.

My Review:
I read this book about a year after reading GROWING KIDS GOD'S WAY- Reaching the Heart of Your Child With a God-Centered Purpose- 5th Edition and participating in the study at my church and about 2 years after reading The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts and this book goes hand in hand with them. The premise is based upon the blessing given to Jacob and how important it was to his brother. The author puts forth 5 aspects that we should strive to bless others with, especially our children.

I read this book recognizing areas that I had not been blessed as a child and how it affected my relationship with my children, my husband and my friends. The authors include thought points for you to personalize the lessons as well as biblical examples of each of the aspects of the blessing. They also include recent studies to show how those things, or the lack of them, affect people today.

I highly recommend this book!

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. No other compensation was offered or taken.