Monday, February 25, 2013

"Intentional Parenting: Autopilot is for Planes" by Sissy Goff, David Thomas and Melissa Trevathan

If you're looking for a parenting book on dealing with your child's disobedient and disrespectful nature, this book is for you! But it's not what you might expect. I think too often parents think their children's behavioral problems and disobedience have only to do with their children, but that's just not so. How our children act has everything to do with us as parents! Children thrive on our attention, praise, the way we speak to them and the one-on-one time we offer them.



"Intentional Parenting: Autopilot is for planes" is written by three family counselors who run Daystar Counseling in Nashville Tennessee. Sissy Goff, MEd, LPC-MHSP, is the counseling director for children and adolescents and is the author of five books. David Thomas, LMSW, is the counseling director for men and boys, frequently speaking on television and radio shows, and also an author of five books. Melissa Trevathan, MRE, is the founder and executive director of Daystar Counseling Ministries, speaks to various churches and schools, and has been a guest on popular television and radio programs throughout the US and Cananda.

These authors clearly know their stuff and give wise advice on how to encourage, teach, be consistent, merciful and playful parents. (And that is only a preview of the topics they will discuss!)  One of my favorite chapters was entitled "Being a Playful Parent." Sometimes as parents, we get so caught up in our day-to-day responsibilities, and spending time instructing and teaching our children that we forget to just play with them. Of course all of that other stuff is important too, but let me give you an example of why I think this is so important. Right after reading this chapter, I asked my 6 year old to think of something...anything she wanted to do the next day that we could do together at our house. (It was bedtime when I asked her.) Her eyes instantly lit up and she gathered a pen and paper and began making her list. She returned to me after just a few minutes with her list. It included a 5 or 6 simple activities that she would love to do together...Put together a fashion show with her fanciest clothes, have an indoor picnic, and play with her stuffed animals just to name a few.

This book offers great advice on parenting toddlers, children and teens although I feel like it may have been aimed more at teens than any of the other age groups. I assumed this is because parents tend to have the most problems parenting at that age. And it was still an enjoyable read for me even though my girls are still fairly young (6 years and 1 year) because my girls will eventually be teens too.

I rated this book as 5 stars and would recommend it to other parents I know!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Explore Yosemite & Zion National Parks with Noah Justice


This weekend I had the privilege of reviewing Awesome Science: Explore Yosemite and Zion National Parks with Noah Justice! It's a 30 minute DVD aimed at middle school to high school age students, but with Scientific and Biblical backgrounds. Noah explains many of the misconceptions the secular world believes about Science, with Bible verses and explanations demonstrating the correct truths.

The DVD is filled with short videos and beautiful pictures of these famous landmarks while giving a Science lesson in an easy-to-understand exciting way. Creator and producer, Kyle Justice is known for his work airing on ESPN, National Geographic and the Outdoor Channel. Awesome Creation is a family project as the host is Kyle's 14 year old son.




Although this DVD is created for middle school to high school age teenagers, my 6 year old and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Noah while exploring Yosemite and Zion National Parks. I think the lesson plan was perfect for the age it is created for, and is easy enough for a teen to grasp the concepts and teachings. It was very easy to watch, as the pictures presented were interesting with drawn and photographed images.

The short video clips of the National Parks were separated with Bible verses and Biblical accounts of the flood and Creation. I will definitely be using these Amazing Science DVD's when my girls get to be middle school to high school age and would highly recommend them to anyone looking for a Sunday School Curriculum featuring Creation, or just for homeschooling purposes.

I also received a Study Guide for this DVD which includes Fill-in-the-Blanks and questions to be answered. The book is fairly short, as well as the DVD so I imagine this could be used as a supplement to the Science Curriculum you already use, or something to do as a group. I would be interested in seeing more of Kyle Justice's work


*I was provided a complimentary copy of this DVD and Study Guide from New Leaf Press in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.* 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Draw the Circle: The 40 day Prayer Challenge by Mark Batterson

First of all, this book is a 40 day devotional with most of the chapters ranging from 4-5 pages, but I didn't take the 40 days to read the book. I read through it whenever I had a moment to spare. Most of the chapters only took a precious few minutes to read through, but the content stuck with me. "Draw the Circle" changed my outlook on prayer. Prayer isn't something we should just do when we get up in the morning, go to bed at night, or something to say before meals. Don't get me wrong...I make an effort to pray throughout the day, but this book has definitely changed HOW I pray.

The author (Mark Batterson) explains the importance of having faith when we pray. Meaning if we are going to pray to God asking for a miracle, shouldn't we have faith that God will do it? We shouldn't be doubtful of God's ability to answer our prayers just because He may not answer them the way we expected. Batterson even suggests "drawing a circle" around the things we are praying for. For example, Batterson is a church planter and when his church was trying to figure out where God wanted them to plant their next church, Batterson took a prayer walk around the perimeter of the area they were looking at. He prayed through a 4 mile circle, asking God to show Him where to plant their church. And God provided an answer to Him.

There is no gimmick involved in the truths Batterson writes about. If we pray for God to show us miraculous things, He will. "Draw a Circle" around your failing marriage, your illness, your child who doesn't know Christ and your money problems. Pray without ceasing and see God answer in miraculous ways. Sometimes He answers yes, sometimes no, and sometimes it's a not yet but He always answers. Have faith that God will do what He says.

I think everyone would benefit from reading "Draw the Circle" by Mark Batterson. It's changed the way I talk to God, and how I view prayer! I would recommend this book to everyone I know, and I hope to get this book in our church library so more people are able to read it! Definitely 5 stars! Loved it!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review of "Secrets" by Robin Jones Gunn

This is the first book in the Glenbook series, and the third one I have read. Luckily, you don't have to read the books in order to keep up with the story. ;)



"Secrets" tells the story of Jessica, a young 25 year old looking to start fresh in a new town. But Jessica has taken desperate measures to make sure no one knows her true identity, including changing her name. She moves to Glenbrook after speaking to Mr. McGregor about a teaching position, but has no idea that Mr. McGregor has been struggling with some health issues in the hospital, and Jessica is now left to deal with the new school principal, Charlotte Mendleson. This new principal is intent on finding out what Jessica is really hiding. Will the truth come out?

In the meantime, Jessica is slowly falling for the young firefighter, Kyle who saved her life the day she arrived in Glenbrook. But she has put so much effort into putting up her walls and guarding her heart. Falling in love wasn't part of the plan when she decided to start over. Will she trust Kyle with the truth even after Kyle trusts her with his own secrets?

And despite Jessica's willingness to open up about her past, she quickly makes friends with a fellow teacher named Teri. Teri is a Christian, and continues working on Jessica's heart by sharing biblical truths and God's love with her. She even persuades Jessica to go on a missions trip to Mexico with her church group. Will Jessica surrender her heart to God and give up running?

I think "Secrets" is a great beginning to the Glenbrook series! Definitely 5 stars!

**I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group to give my honest unbiased opinion.**

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Review of Heaven's Lessons by Steve Sjogren

This book is the story of a man who went in for a popular procedure and actually "died" on the operating table. Perhaps what disturbs me the most about this first bit of information is that just one year ago today, I also underwent surgery on my gallbladder! But there was a difference with Steve's circumstances. Apparently it is rare, but only one in every thirty thousand are born without a gallbladder. So perhaps the biggest reason his surgery had such complications were because the doctors were laparscopically trying to remove something he didn't even have.

Whatever the reason, Steve was pronounced dead for one hour and fifteen minutes. He reports seeing himself floating above his body and watching the doctors work on him in the operating room. Steve notes that he awoke with people in a circle around him...people he never knew, who died in that hospital in years past. He says that he never saw God but heard His voice which sounded like a mixture of men's, women's and children's voices all blended together.

This was not the first book I have read about near death experiences and I would not rate it as one of the best books I have read on this subject. I preferred the writings of Don Piper in "90 Minutes in Heaven" and Todd Burpo in "Heaven Changes Everything". I do believe the Bible verse that states "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. --2 Corinthians 5:8" But I find this book much harder to read than the previous two, and would rate it as 3 stars.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review of Clouds by Robin Jones Gunn

This book, along with many of the other Glenbrook titles by Robin Jones Gunn, are full of God's promises and how God turns our circumstances into good.

"Clouds" is a story about a young flight attendant named Shelly Graham. Growing up, she had the best friend she could ever ask for. A boy named Jonathan Renfield. They were inseparable and did everything together. But as they grew older, friendship turned into love. Everything was perfect. But just when things became serious and Jonathan was ready for a commitment, Shelly fled. She wasn't ready for that kind of commitment and had dreams she wanted to pursue.

Fast forward 5 years, and Shelly finds herself face to face with Jonathan once again. Only this time, Shelly is ready for a commitment and realizes she still has feelings for Jonathan. She desperately wants to tell him how she feels, but there is one thing (person) stopping her. Jonathan has a fiance. Will Shelly tell him how she feels and risk destroying his engagement or will she bury her feelings like she has done during the past 5 years?

So far this is the second book I have read from the Glenbrook series, but already it is my favorite. I have a sneaking suspicion I will say that with every book I read out of this series, but we shall see! ;) I love the biblical elements that the author integrates throughout the entire story, and her emphasis on how God loves us, wants us and pursues us. It is also good to know that I can let my daughters read these books someday. Loved this book and would definitely give it 5 stars!


**I received this book for free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group to give my honest unbiased opinion.**