Wednesday, June 6, 2018

A Review: "The Lifegiving Parent" by Clay and Sally Clarkson

The Lifegiving Parent: Giving Your Child a Life Worth Living for Christ"The Lifegiving Parent" by Clay and Sally Clarkson completes the "Lifegiving" trilogy that also includes "The Lifegiving Home" and "The Lifegiving Table" by Sally Clarkson. This particular addition focuses on parenting and can easily be read together by spouses, as opposed to others that Sally writes that are specifically geared for women.

If you want to get to the beating heart of being a lifegiving parent, you'll find it in opening your home to the love of God, the light of God, and the life of God. If you faithfully keep the symbolic door, windows, and vents of your home open, then your house will be full of God's love, light, and life. Lifegiving parenting is all about creating a home for your children that is loving, enlightened, and alive with the presence and life of God. (p. 16).

The book presents eight heartbeats of lifegiving parenting, including guarding your child's heart, renewing your child's mind, and cultivating your child's character. These heartbeats help give Christian parents a way to bring the life of God into the home, as opposed to simply exposing children to Christian activities and media. Clay writes the bulk of each particular chapter. Sally offers her reflections in a little section at the end of each chapter called "Momoirs". Each chapter concludes with some tips on how to practically bring each heartbeat into your own home.

I absolutely love everything the Clarksons write. They draw on years of marriage and parenting experience and manage to make everything incredibly relatable. While not everything they have done is practical to implement in my own home, I find my own wheels turning on how I can make things work in ways that suit my own family. This book is an outstanding treasure to add to anyone's parenting collection. As a bonus, they did a podcast series corresponding to the different heartbeats which was enjoyable to listen as I completed the chapters for some added insights.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Quick Lit: What I've Been Reading Lately

I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for this month's quick lit, where I share short and sweet reviews of a few books I've read in the past month (or so). You can also find me over at Goodreads if you are interested in other books I've read or reviewed.

If You Only Knew: My Unlikely, Unavoidable Story of Becoming Free "If You Only Knew" by Jamie Ivey. I love, love, love listening to Jamie's podcast, "The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey".  I love her honesty in interviewing her guests and the way she has shared pieces of her story, so I knew this book was one that I had to pick up. It didn't disappoint. She shares her story with the same candidness and openness that comes through on her podcast. Without holding back, she makes her story accessible, even if you haven't experienced what she has. In everything she seeks to point people back to Jesus as the Author and Redeemer of our stories. A lovely book that I highly recommend!

Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies about Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be"Girl, Wash Your Face" by Rachel Hollis. I initially heard about Rachel on Jen Hatmaker's podcast (I know, I listen to a lot of podcasts!). As she shared the premise of her book, I was captivated and knew it was one I needed to immediately order. Guys, I loved this book. Each chapter focuses on one lie that she (and we) told herself. She walks the reader through her own experience in battling that particular lie and shares how she eventually worked through it. This is a fabulous book that SO MANY women can relate to, and Rachel shares in such a down-to-earth way. One of the best books of the year thus far.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot. This book was a fascinating look at the life, death, and immortality of a young black woman named Henrietta Lacks. Diagnosed in 1951 with an aggressive cervical cancer, her biopsied cells were taken without her knowledge or consent and given to a researcher who was attempting to to grow human cells for scientific research. She died shortly after, but her cells replicated and became known as HeLa. They have been vital in creating the polio vaccine and studying cancer, among other things. However, her family was never told about Henrietta's contribution to science and the world was never told about the woman who faded to obscurity while her cells lived on. This book shares her story, the story of her family, and the scientific progress that has been made as a result of these cells.

The Ministry of Motherhood: Following Christ's Example in Reaching the Hearts of Our Children"The Ministry of Motherhood" by Sally Clarkson. Ah, Sally Clarkson is definitely my mentor for motherhood. I love her insights, her encouragement, her stories of parenting. In this book, she shares how moms can disciple their children by reaching their hearts. It's perfect for a devotional time or a small group to go through. There are five sections; each section opens with an imaginative retelling of a gospel story, then follows with several chapters tied to the theme of the section. Each section concludes with questions that can be used for personal reflection or group discussion. A lovely book!

The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids"The Read-Aloud Family" by Sarah Mackenzie. I regularly listen to Sarah's podcast, "The Read-Aloud Revival".  As an avid reader, I love introducing my kids to books in the hopes that they will love reading as well. This offering is a wonderful resource to encourage parents in building a bookish culture in their own homes. The final part of the book includes her carefully curated collection of read-alouds for various age ranges. If you need some inspiration or fresh vision to keep reading to your kids, this book (and podcast) can help!

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Review: "The Lifegiving Table" by Sally Clarkson

The Lifegiving Table: Nurturing Faith Through Feasting, One Meal at a TimeYou really never can go wrong with a book by Sally Clarkson. Full of wisdom and with a heart full of joy, her books are not just books; they are experiences. Her latest, "The Lifegiving Table," is no exception. Drawing on her own experience and ideals, coupled with her heart for families and discipleship, she weaves together a book full of ideas on how to bring meaning and depth to the family dinner table.

With my two young boys at home, our dinnertime is often chaotic and loud and messy. This book helps me feel like it is possible to have meaningful conversation and traditions. Even while recognizing that not every idea she presents in this book is practical in every home, there is plenty to stir my own thoughts toward what I can practically do in my own home.

Each chapter includes thoughts to ponder and ideas to try, plus several recipes that coincide with the topic of each chapter. There is also an appendix that is chock full of conversation starters. I loved the points in this book and will continue to draw on material I found here to nurture my own family's dinner time conversations. Highly recommend!

(I’ve received this complimentary book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

A Review: "Daring to Hope" by Katie Davis Majors

Daring to Hope: Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful"Daring to Hope" by Katie Davis Majors continues telling the story of Katie and her family in Uganda. After moving to Uganda immediately following high school, she went on to adopt 14 children and started a unique family. This book shares more of their story, including a heart-wrenching tale of losing one of her girls back to the birth mother and all the concerns that accompanied that transition. She shares poignantly about her experiences in ministry and her journey toward marriage and motherhood of a little boy.

Weaving together personal stories and reflections on Scripture, the reader is drawn in by the tales of God's faithfulness in both sorrow and joy. Her story is accessible and inspiring, leaving the reader wanting to hear more of her ministry and family.

(I’ve received this complimentary book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Quick Lit: What I've Been Reading Lately

I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for this month's quick lit, where I share short and sweet reviews of a few books I've read in the past month. You can also find me over at Goodreads if you are interested in other books I've read or reviewed.

Different: The Story of an Outside-The-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him"Different:  The Story of an Outside-the-Box Kid and the Mom Who Loved Him" by Sally and Nathan Clarkson. Sally Clarkson has been a wonderful parenting mentor for me through her books and podcast. Her latest treasure, written with her youngest son, Nathan, shares the story of Nathan's growing up from the perspective of child and parent. From the beginning, Nathan was a "different" child; he didn't quite fit into everything that society said he should.With each one telling the story from their own points of view, it helps illuminate the struggles felt both as a child and as a parent. It's a wonderful book that shouldn't be missed out on, regardless of whether you have an out-of-the-box child or not.

Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World"Notes From a Blue Bike:  The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World" by Tsh Oxenreider. Part memoir, part manifesto of living a simpler life, Tsh skillfully shares personal stories that highlight her family's journey to living a counter-cultural lifestyle. I loved the stories that she shared. Motivating and thought-provoking, I found myself drawn in by her passion for the subject. Having lived overseas, she brings a unique perspective to the table that many people have never experienced or may never get to experience. Drawing heavily on their life in Turkey, she illustrates how their life there was a springboard to living life with more intention upon their return to the United States. This book is a great jumping off point for people to put some thought into what your goals are, how you want to live, what your priorities are, and how you want to raise your kids. She is quick to reiterate that each family needs to evaluate and make decisions based on what is best for your particular family, your particular season. It is never easy to live counter-culturally, particularly in a culture like the U.S. But with a bit of thought and some creativity, it is possible to make even small changes. While Tsh writes out of her life as a mom of young kids, this book is not geared specifically for moms of young kids. There is a lot of great information in there for people of all ages, men or women, regardless of life stage. I would highly recommend this book!

Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living"Organized Simplicity:  The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living" by Tsh Oxenreider. Divided into two sections, Tsh spends the first part of the book discussing what simple living looks like and how to practically live it out in our daily lives. The second half is a practical, hands-on section that has the reader go room by room in your home, cleaning and decluttering--essentially quieting your space and bringing it more in line with your vision of home for your family and particular needs. There is a lot of great advice in this book and it helped cement decluttering concepts that I've been working to implement in our home.

Dark Matter"Dark Matter" by Blake Crouch. This book was a bit out of my normal genres, but I found it absolutely fascinating. This novel tells the story of Jason Dessen, a physics professor in Chicago. He is kidnapped, knocked unconscious, and awakens in a world he doesn't recognize. What follows is his fight to get back to his life with his wife and son. I can't say too much else without spoilers, so just read this book!


Monday, July 10, 2017

A Review: "The Bible Explorer's Guide"

"The Bible Explorer's Guide", published by ZonderKidz, is a fabulous fountain of information for every child and adult interested in expanding their knowledge of life in Bible times. Filled with maps, drawings, photos, and facts, this is a book that will be a great addition to any Bible reference section for kids. With sections like "Problems and Plagues in Egypt", "Voices in the Desert", and "The Dark Day", this book looks in detail at how people lived in Bible times, plants, celebrations, and architecture in ancient times. My oldest son loves these kinds of books and is eager to dive in on his own.

(I’ve received this complimentary book through the BookLook program in exchange for a review. A positive review was not required and the views expressed in my review are strictly my own.)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Quick Lit: What I've Been Reading Lately

I'm linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for this month's quick lit, where I share short and sweet reviews of a few books I've read in the past month. You can also find me over at Goodreads if you are interested in other books I've read or reviewed.

Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home"Wild in the Hollow" by Amber C. Haines. Haines shares poetically and candidly about her brokenness and her longing for home. Her writing is gut-wrenching and honest. I really appreciated reading her journey through her trials, failings, and eventually finding a place to call home. There was something in her writing that really seemed to connect on a soul level. This book was a true gift to read!

The Happiness Project: Or Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun"The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin. While pondering the idea of happiness, Rubin decided to take a year to improve her happiness level. Tackling one area per month, she covered things like meditation, clutter, exercise, and marriage. The idea behind the project was an interesting one, but I found myself getting bored and eager for the end. I didn't find a whole lot of eye-opening insights, but there were some good refreshers about ways to infuse more happiness into my own life.

The Forgotten Garden"The Forgotten Garden" by Kate Morton. I've really been on a Kate Morton kick ever since I read "The Secret Keeper" last summer. This was another brilliant offering by her. In this novel, a young girl is abandoned on a ship to Australia in 1913. She is adopted by the dockmaster and told the truth about her adoption on her 21st birthday. She is then set on a journey to discover the truth about her early years, which is carried on by her granddaughter. I loved this story and am eager to pick up another one by Morton.

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe"Desperate" by Sarah Mae and Sally Clarkson. This was a re-read for me and I loved it just as much the second time through. Mae and Clarkson tag team the writing. Mae, a mom of three young children, writes out of her current experience; Clarkson, a mom of four grown children, writes from the years of experience she has garnered. There are 14 chapters, each one addressing a different aspect of motherhood. Topics include sin, selfishness, housework, purpose, and needing a mentor. It is a wonderful book to go through on your own, or for a group to go through, or even for a couple of women to read through. There is much to discuss and process and all of it is good, solid material. "Desperate" is a must-read for every mom!

Teaching from Rest"Teaching From Rest" by Sarah Mackenzie. I have become a fan of Mackenzie's through her work on the Read Aloud Revival. My kids attend our local public school, but I am exploring the possibility of homeschooling my kids at some point down the road. This book has been a great resource for mulling over what it would mean to me and my family to adopt homeschooling. I've appreciated her insights and advice. This is a great resource for homeschooling families and those who are exploring the future possibilities.

The Sweetness of Forgetting "The Sweetness of Forgetting" by Kristin Harmel. In this stirring novel, Hope McKenna-Smith moves back home to Cape Cod following her divorce in order to take over the running of her family bakery. Her French-born grandmother suffers from Alzheimer's disease, but manages to share a mysterious secret in a moment of clarity. With very little to go on, Hope embarks on a journey to find out the truth about her grandmother's past and her family origins. This is a beautiful story with plenty of twists and turns.

A Review: "The Lifegiving Parent" by Clay and Sally Clarkson

"The Lifegiving Parent" by Clay and Sally Clarkson completes the "Lifegiving" trilogy that also includes "The Lifeg...