Book Reviews

Though I feel like I haven’t had much time to read lately, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I have managed to finish a few books since my last book review (months ago!).

secretsSecrets by Paul Tournier

Excellent! Tournier, a Swiss physician and author offers a very balanced perspective on the importance secrets play in our lives in forming our individuality. Filled with psychological and biblical insight, I found it very practical and inspiring. Highly recommended for anyone in pastoral ministry or with a counseling “bent”.

Don’t Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Hubbard

Struggled with about 85% of this book. I often agreed with her “how not to parent” examples, but could not agree with most of the answers for what to do differently.  I can’t see myself quoting Scripture at children in the way Hubbard describes without it being taken as distant and cold. I didn’t hear enough focus on the relationship with the child. Maybe it depends on the background of the parent and/or the personality of the child, but what came through to me was a robotic response focusing too much on principles and automatic obedience without allowing the child to really be a child and go through the natural stages of development. I can’t really find the words to describe all that rubbed me wrong in this book, but the most helpful part for me was realizing that I do much better with books like Have a New Kid By Friday by Kevin Leman and Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fay because they give practical suggestions for this over-thinking mama!

Parenting with Love and Logic by Foster Cline and Jim Fayparenting

Excellent resource that I hope to use again and again.  Ideas for all types of parenting solutions.  I found some of it a bit over the top like making your kids walk home if they are misbehaving in the car or having someone come get them without warning when acting out at the store to take them home for a time out in their room so you can continue shopping, but even these helped spur on ideas that might be less extreme and still provide a proper wake up call.  Ideas I think I got from this book that I use often are taking away one stuffed animal the day AFTER Sophia has a day where she’s struggling to listen and obey.  Another one is to say no TV the day AFTER she misbehaves.  I love waiting until the next day because it allows me to react with little emotion, not feeling so attached to whether she makes good choices or not because I know the consequences will fall on her the next day.  Also, the times I’ve used it, she remembers what she did wrong and the pain of not being able to play with one stuffed animal (even though she has seemingly a hundred others) or not being able to watch her favorite show impacts her more than I expected.

womn-fearWhat Women Fear: Walking in Faith That Transforms by Angie Smith

I got this book because it was part of my book club online that’s for women working cross-culturally (Velvet Ashes), but the timing was perfect because for whatever reason, I faced a lot of unspoken and often seemingly illogical fears our first year in Japan. Many of my fears began when Sophia was born, but they seemed to get worse after we moved overseas as a family. I can’t totally explain it, but I’m guessing all the newness (even though I had lived here before) and the responsibility of bringing a 2-year-old into a world with a different language and culture made me feel a lack of control I hadn’t yet felt as a mother. There are so many unknowns in a familiar culture, but then move to a different culture where you can’t understand all the signs around you, the radio, the people talking, the cultural practices, and suddenly, I felt unable to protect myself from so many unknowns, let alone the vulnerable little girl I was responsible to protect. Reading this book was different than I thought it would be. There were some chapters I couldn’t relate to at all, and that might just be life stage or timing. But “Fear of the What If…” definitely resonated with my late-night worrying and at times, crying for apparently no reason. The last chapter, “Fear of God”, was helpful because it reminded me that the fear that is basically an antidote for all other fears is a healthy understanding and reverent awe for the One who is outside time and space, the One who created me and understands all the details that I can’t understand in the moment, the One with a purpose and plan for my life. If that sounds too easy, I don’t think it is at all! It’s more like remembering that Someone bigger than me exists and the difference between me and that Someone, even though I was made in that Someone’s image, is a gap that, when acknowledged, provides a peace that passes understanding and logic, calming my most deep-seated and unspeakable fears.

Right Ho, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse

Such a silly book!  I also got this from my book club and haven’t even finished it yet. The claim in reviews is that it makes you laugh out loud, but I usually just end up rolling my eyes. I lost it under Sophia’s bed for three weeks and just recently found it, so I’ll finish it because it’s nice to have some light reading, but not a huge fan.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (FREE PDF HERE:

Another one from book club, all I can say is, above’s the link, read it now! Though it’s fiction, it’s based on true stories of children with facial differences. Reading level for tweens, I read it in two evenings, probably less than four hours. My guess is fast readers can do it in two. Makes one think about bullying, unconditional love, true beauty, image-of-God-bearers, friendship, honesty and more. Grateful for the feelings it brought up inside me. Read it!!

The Five Love Languages of Children by Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell5languages

Not done with this one yet, but excellent resource for anyone who works with children.  I’m a fan of the original, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate by Gary Chapman from 1995 and have led a few seminars and small groups based on it, so as I’m transitioning to becoming a mother of two, I find it very helpful in trying to speak Sophia’s and eventually, baby #2’s love languages. All kids need all five love languages, and the book says most kids don’t reveal their love language until age five or so, so there are a lot of helpful tips on how to keep kids’ “love tanks full”. The parenting style is also much closer to mine (at least in theory) than Don’t Make Me Count to Three.

Grateful for train rides, time between teaching English classes, and random late nights for reading wonderful books and being stretched to grow and think about things I wouldn’t normally think about!


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