Raising Giant-Killers

A second book review in one day? Yep, folks. Tis the day to catch up with all things book review-ish. This one is a bit different from my normal reviews because I actually take a bit of time to explain in (some) detail why I didn’t agree with certain aspects of the book. Fun, right? 馃槈

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on:聽Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 240
Publisher: Chosen Books
Release Date: December 4, 2018
Title: Raising Giant-Killers
Author:聽Bill Johnson聽and聽Beni Johnson
Nonfiction

a.jpg

BACK COVER BLURB

With honesty, humor, and keen biblical insight, bestselling authors Bill and Beni Johnson help you discover the keys to successful parenting in God’s kingdom. “Parents, we rule for the purpose of protection, but we also serve with the purpose of empowering,” they write. “We want to release our children into their destiny–that’s the privilege of parenting.”

In these pages, you will gain the wisdom, kingdom concepts, and practical tools you need to help raise your children to their best.

You’ll discover how to parent to their uniqueness, gifts, and strengths, as well as how you can demonstrate and reveal who God is to your kids. The authors also address pressing issues parents face today, including how to

路 be fully engaged in hearing what the Lord is saying over each child
路 maintain relationship and discipline
路 develop character
路 train your children for worship
路 fan the flame of what God has put in their hearts
路 and more

No matter what age your kids are, you have an incredible opportunity to shape their hearts, minds, and values. Here is everything you need to help your children walk into the destiny of their lives and see them become the awesome people they were created to be.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

My parents have done a great job of raising their kids with intentionality and a Kingdom mentality, and this book seemed like a great way to learn some practical tips on how to do that. I want to be the kind of person who helps all the children I interact with on a regular basis (not just my kids because I currently don’t have any) live the lives God created them for.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Raising Giant-Killers聽was a bit of an unusual read for me because so much of the book had great information that I was like聽Yes, this kind of thing needs to be taught!聽But then other parts of the book had me shaking my head in perplexment or disagreeing totally with a point.

Some of the things I really liked in the book include:
* Talking about how to raise children with intentionality. Parent’s have so many amazing opportunities to speak into their children’s lives and help them to prepare for living healthy, impactful lives. This book shares examples of how to do this in a practical, life-changing way.
* Speaking words of life. What we say really聽does聽make a difference. This is true when we say something directly to someone, and even when we’re just talking about them. The Bible is very clear that words have the power of life and death and we’re supposed to guard what we say. I’m so thankful for my parents speaking life to and about their children. This book does a great job of showing how important that part of parenting is.
*Exposing children to the right things. Parenting isn’t only about guarding your children from harmful things but also making sure they are exposed to the correct things. And by “correct” I don’t mean easy. The authors do a great job of showing how important it is for kids to see the needs of the world and develop helping, compassionate, and loving hearts.
*Learning about God from a young age and Praying over them. It’s never to early to start teaching your children about God and praying for them. One of my favorite parts of this book is where the authors talk about praying scripture over your family. There’s even a section in the back that includes a lot of scripture that can be prayed. That’s something my parents have done all my life and something that is really important.

And now I’m going to talk briefly about what I didn’t like…

The second page of the book had a statement that I disagree with, so that set a rather wary tone for me while reading the rest of the book, so I’ll address that with a bit of detail:

The authors say that we were all born into a war (which I agree with), but then they go on to say that even Adam and Eve were born into a war because in Genesis 1:28 they were told to “subdue” the earth. The authors say that this implies that there was disorder outside the Garden of Eden, then go on to use the word “chaos” to describe what life was like outside of the Garden. But this is during Creation Week when everything was still perfect. In fact, just a few verses later in Genesis 1:31 the Bibles says “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.” Something that is聽very good isn’t full of chaos and disorder. (You can read more at Answers in Genesis which has a ton of good information about this type of thing.)

There were also multiple other, smaller things throughout the book that I don’t agree with or condone. Some of the things were just the authors being more dogmatic than I believe scripture warrants, or else them taking things out of context. There were enough of these things that even though I really liked parts of the book (as mentioned above), this isn’t one I would recommend to everyone.

CONCLUSION

The authors are parents to three grown children who all seem to be doing really well in life. That, to me, is a big selling point, because that means they are talking from experience and not just theory.

RATING

I鈥檓 giving Raising Giant-Killers聽3聽out of 5 stars.

((This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for me reviewing it, all thoughts and opinions are my own.))

Winter Mornings for the Win {plus a book review}

It’s one of those delightfully cozy mornings. I’m wrapped up in a blanket with a hot mug of French Press and lemon biscotti listening to the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman as I watch fine snow drifting down outside.

Today’s list of聽things to do聽has grown until there’s no way I’m going to accomplish everything I want to before leaving to pick up my car (where it just got snow tires) and then head to work at the coffee shop. So, instead of stressing about it I decided to just chill and work systematically through my list and see what I聽can聽get done.

And, the first thing on the list is to write a book review for one of my most recent reads.聽The 10 Commandments of Marriage聽is the third marriage book I’ve read in the last few months and also the one that made me be like “I’ve no clue what I’m reading” the most.

Do y’all ever read books that don’t currently apply to you?

And now, on to the review.

img_7954
FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on:聽Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 224
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Release Date: October 1, 2014
Title: The 10 Commandments of Marriage: Practical Principles to Make Your Marriage Great
Author: Ed Young
Nonfiction

a

BACK COVER BLURB

Marriage is God’s idea. He planned it. He designed it. And if you follow His blueprint, it will be more rewarding, more loving, more exciting than you ever imagined.

In 10 Commandments of Marriage, Dr. Ed Young shares the 鈥渢hou shalts鈥 and the 鈥渢hou shalt nots鈥 of successful relationships鈥攕traight from the pages of God’s Word. Long-married couples will find love-building precepts that will revive a failing marriage and make a great relationship even better. Soon-to-be-marrieds will discover what marriage is all about and gain priceless insights into starting on solid ground.

In words that are profound, often humorous, but always biblical, Dr. Young draws from decades of counseling couples to provide 10 commandments for a lifelong marriage that sizzles. God wants your marriage to be nothing short of incredible. And it could begin with this amazing book.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

When I’m reading nonfiction “practical” is a big selling point for me – because if a book isn’t something that can’t be applied to everyday life, then…?
Also, as mentioned previously, I’ve decided to read marriage books because I figure that I currently have more time to do that now than in the future. And, on that note, a disclaimer: I’m not married, nor am I in a relationship, so all my thoughts regarding this book come from a rather unique point of view.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

How The Book Is Set Up: At the beginning of each chapter, there’s a little bubble that says “A Personal Word” and in it, Mr. Ed writes a short paragraph where he summarizes the entire chapter and what he feels like is the most important concept. Throughout the book, there are shaded squares with some of the most important quotes, stats, and statements written in bold so you can flip through the book and quickly read something to make you think. At the end of each chapter, there’s a section called聽Reflecting on Your Relationship聽that includes questions for married people, as well as questions for those who are contemplating or preparing for marriage.

One cool part about this book is in the introduction Mr. Ed mentions that this book is for pretty much everyone – not just those who are married, but also for those who are preparing for, contemplating, or have been, married.

Mr. Ed has been married for around 50 years and pastors a large church so he’s had a lot of experience, stories, and examples to share not only from his own marriage but also from the marriages of people who he’s counseled over the years. The advice he shares really is practical – just like the cover promises. He also does a good job of writing in a way that’s easy to relate to and amusing at times.

There were a few things in the book that felt slightly overboard to me, but I’m obviously not a good judge on that. For the most part, I felt like the book was balanced and had a lot of good information that would be very helpful for a married couple.

Some of the “commandments” of marriage that I enjoyed reading the most included: Thou Shalt be Selfless (good for anyone to learn!), Thou Shalt Continually Communicate, and Thou Shalt Avoid the Quicksand of Materialism.

CONCLUSION

I feel like I would have gleaned a lot more from this book if I was actually married (which, duh, makes sense), but overall I’m glad I read it as it had a lot of good information.

RATING

I鈥檓 giving The 10 Commandments of Marriage聽3聽out of 5 stars.

((This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for me reviewing it, all thoughts and opinions are my own.))

Money Problems, Marriage Solutions {Book Review Plus An Explanation鈥 of Why I’m Reading Marriage Books}

Back in November, I was on my way to Tennesee with some friends and one of them was reading the book聽Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts. It looked interesting so when it was his turn to drive I asked him if I could take a turn reading. I finished the book before we arrived at our destination and found it to be incredibly interesting.

It was then that I realized that although I’ve read thousands of books on dozens upon dozens of topics, I’ve basically never read any books about marriage. And I figured what better time to start than now? So I promptly requested a few for review. Here’s one of them. 馃槈

IMG_0545

FIRST OFF, SOME STATS:

Find the book on:聽Amazon and Goodreads
Pages: 192
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Release Date: September 5th, 2017
Title: Money Problems, Marriage Solutions
Author: Chuck Bentley聽&聽Ann Bentley
Nonfiction

a

BACK COVER BLURB

It鈥檚 not just about the money…

Arguments about money are by far the top predictor of divorce, says Sonya Britt, a professor at Kansas State University. 鈥淚t’s not children, sex, in-laws, or anything else. It’s money鈥攆or both men and women.”

Satan seeks every means possible to destroy marriages, and creating conflict around finances is one of his favorite tactics. But there is more to money problems than not sticking to the budget. Chuck and Ann Bentley reveal the underlying issues of financial and relational discord鈥攁nd show how it robs couples of joy, intimacy, and marital satisfaction.

Money Problems, Marriage Solutions presents seven keys to peace in marriage and helps couples unite and conquer to resolve financial issues together. Through real-life stories, a solid foundation from Scripture, and practical steps for application, this book gives a plan for getting back on the same team. Here is a clear and lasting way forward for couples struggling with money problems.

WHY I CHOOSE THIS BOOK

Although my life is busy right now, I know in all likelihood it will just get busier. Therefore, it seems like a rather logical idea to read marriage books now, even though I’m not married. (And that’s a disclaimer, folks: I’m not married, nor am I in a relationship, hence all my thoughts about this book come from the perspective of a single person.)
Plus, I’ve always found relationship (of any kind) oriented books to be really interesting because I like the psychology aspect of why people do what they do, etc…
Last of all, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve not spent a lot of time learning about money, budgeting, and everything that entails, so I’ve been working on learning about it.

WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT THIS BOOK

Just reading the table of contents is enough to give you a boatload of things to think about. Key Two is about Grasping the Biblical Definition of Prosperity, Key Four is about Living By God’s Philosophy of Money, Key Five is about Understanding and Respecting Your Spouses Personality, and the list goes on.

Even as a single person I’ve heard over and over again from people, books, and media, how much contention money can cause in a marriage. People are raised with their own “culture” regarding money and finances and often times they don’t realize how truly different their ideas can be compared to their spouses.

This book is written by a husband and wife team who know firsthand about the trouble money can cause in a marriage. The first twenty years of their marriage were filled with strife, misunderstandings, and miscommunications when it came to the arena of finances. Through the pages of聽Money Problems, Marriage Solutions,聽we get to explore the seven keys they discovered to help them overcome their problems and align their hearts – and finances – so they could work together as a team.

Reading this book was a breeze. Although I (obviously) am not in a position to work through money issues with my spouse, I still found the advice and examples they gave to be very interesting and logical. I liked how they talked about the heart of the matter (which is making sure that your lives are in sync with each other and where God has you), instead of just giving material tips of how to work things out.

CONCLUSION

This is one of the books that I want to keep around so I can re-read it when I’m married because it seems like it will be very helpful in a relationship.

Rating

I鈥檓 giving Money Problems, Marriage Solutions聽4 out of 5 stars.

((This book was provided by the publisher in exchange for me reviewing it, all thoughts and opinions are my own.))

The Proper Use of Hashtags {As a Successful Author}

I remember the day my life as an author totally changed in an irrevocable way. It was as if the sun had suddenly burst through the clouds and I could see what I鈥檇 been missing all those years.

It was the day I first discovered what a hashtag is.聽

For years I鈥檇 had a difficult time figuring out how to keep track of my writing. Since I write long novels I was always losing my thoughts and ideas in the throes of a thousand delightfully written pages.

You know the struggle:
*What鈥檚 the name of the main character鈥檚 mother鈥檚 grandma鈥檚 first car that was stolen in 1963?
*Did the best friend want to be a fabric designer or owner of a ceramics factory when she grew up?
*Is the dog a Border Collie or Basset Hound?

Every author on planet earth has a hard time remembering these small (but incredibly important) details from time to time. I鈥檒l admit that I probably had a harder time than most people, probably because I like to have complex characters and so, therefore, I had聽lots聽of little details to make them feel more realistic. (I mean, come on. Nothing screams聽The author really did a lot of work creating these characters!聽like reciting all the names of the main character鈥檚 friends from first grade. And, if you鈥檙e extra聽cool 鈥 like me 鈥 you鈥檒l even include middle names. Just a word of caution: Don鈥檛 listen to the naysayers who tell you that kind of info isn鈥檛 important and bogs the story down. They鈥檙e just jealous that they aren鈥檛 willing to put as much work into their own character鈥檚 backstory.)

But back to the hashtagging.

Apparently, people use hashtags as a way to keep things categorized and therefore easy to find. (Look at techy little me! I even took a screenshot of an explanation so you could see it for yourself.)

Screen Shot 2017-08-18 at 8.43.03 AM

After I discovered that, I began using hashtags in all of my writing. Like, ALL of it. #WayCoolIdea As it turns out a lot of people don鈥檛 even know what hashtags are, because I received a couple emails back from publishers I鈥檇 been asking to publish my book, and they were like 鈥淣o thank you, and in the future if you鈥檇 like to appear professional, you might want to refrain from using hashtags in emails.鈥 Which of course shocked me, because #HashtagsAreTools and #HashtagsRock so I emailed them back and offered to teach them out to use hashtags properly, and can you imagine? They never even replied to my (very nicely worded) email. #Rude

Not that I鈥檓 worried though. I鈥檓 the one who will have the last laugh because I鈥檝e got approximately 12,540 (okay, yeah, I counted) hashtags in my newly finished, thousand-page, handwritten manuscript which is going to make editing a total breeze.

That is if my Google searches ever decide to show up helpful information.

#DontTellMeHashtagsDontWorkOnPaper
#PleaseWork
#AllThisWorkForNothing
#HashtagsDontDoThisToMe
#WhatIsThePointOfAHashtag
#OkayThenBeThatWay
#HashtagsAreLame

鈥 鈥 鈥 鈥
So, if y鈥檃ll didn鈥檛 gather this, today鈥檚 blog post was written in jest.
#IHopeYouEnjoyed #WelcomeToMySenseOfHumor #PleaseLeaveAComment #ByeForNow #ThisHasGotToStop #Wow

*****

This post was one I originally wrote in August 2017, WordPress pulled it up for me recently and I was amused by it so I thought I’d share it with y’all again. Welcome to my sense of humor. 馃槈

Coffee Shop For the Writer’s Soul

When I’m working at the coffee shop I quite often look at the people who curl up in one of the chairs with a book or sequester themselves at a corner table with their computer and think it looks delightful.

Writing at a coffee shop is nearly a cliche with how popular it is, and it’s really no wonder. I’ve had many great writing ideas pop into my mind at the coffee shop, and that’s when I’m back scurrying around in the kitchen. It’s simply because coffee shops are nearly magical with their whimsical appeal.

img_7869

Then today it happened. The perfect opportunity for me to spend a few hours at my coffee shop working on writing. I had an appointment in town and after the appointment, I had two choices: Either head back home for an hour and a half – where I would be working on my computer. Or take my computer with me and go to the coffee shop early. Of course I chose the latter.

It’s a quiet morning at the coffee shop, so I chose my favorite table that’s tucked away in the corner of what used to be a porch, then stashed my work bag in the back, bought a small Americano, and here I am.

img_7871

It’s cozy, y’all.

I’m sitting here being pretty thrilled that I have an hour and a half to art to my heart’s content. It’s really no wonder this is a favorite hang out for a multitude of people. My music is on, my work in progress is up on Scrivener, my strong coffee is seeping into my bloodstream (hopefully not literally), and I’m ready to begin writing.

img_7872

Currently
Setting: Cutest coffee shop in Ohio聽
Listening to: The Elements by Toby Mac聽
Random Fact: When a shot of espresso is made it has to be mixed with something very quickly or else it gets extremely strong and bitter. I happen to like the strong and bitter taste and therefore regularly drink our old shots.聽
Question of the Day: Do you ever go to coffee shops?聽

When The Professionalism鈥 of Writing Meets Reality

The corkboard sits in front of me, the six index cards tacked to it looking pristine聽and organized. They’re labeled聽Act 1, Act 2, Act 3…and color coded. It feels very professional and like my writing life is pretty much perfect.

There’s a vague sort of plot written on the first row of cards: What’s the crime? Who’s the sleuth? Who are the suspects? What’s happening? The second row of cards focuses on the inner turmoil: What makes the main character feel incomplete? Why is she unsettled? What’s she resistant to?

My desk has approximately seventeen more index cards and pieces of scrap paper with random jottings on them.聽Setting: A multimillionaire built a castle way out in the country of Ohio. His family donated it to an NPO聽who wanted to have a camp for TCKs.聽

The notebook to my right has even more information and character sketches. What’s my main character’s Dark Story Moment? What Lie does she believe? What Wound did she suffer, and what Flaw came from that wound?聽IMG_4192.JPG

For all intents and purposes, I’m a pro at this writing thing. I have it under control. I’ve learned a lot over the years and should be producing a bestseller in no time at all. And yet, reality sets in and I have to laugh at myself.

See, when I was beginning this post I sat here staring at my corkboard for a good twenty seconds trying to remember what it was called. A chalkboard? No, no, that’s not it. It’s not a blackboard, or a whiteboard either. Nope, nope. It starts with a “c” for sure… Ah yes,聽a corkboard.

Next came when I was trying to describe the pieces of paper I have tacked to it. They’re kinda like three-by-five cards, but they’re bigger – like the next size up. But is there a name for that? Because no one goes around talking about a five-by-seven-card. Google comes to the rescue with the words聽index card and I sigh with relief.

A minute later I sit at my desk trying six different combos to spell the word聽turmoil.聽Does it start with a “to” or “tr” or “tu”…? My brain often confuses the order of letters so Siri jumps to my aid this time with the correct spelling, then Grammarly hops on the train by highlighting my grammatical errors.

FullSizeRender-49

My writing world is something I’m very happy for. I get to explore, learn, stretch, and reach. Sometimes it’s overwhelming. Sometimes it’s rewarding. Sometimes I literally roll my eyes and shake my head at myself.

Writing, like nearly any venture in life, isn’t always easy. Sometimes it feels like I have far too much work to try and accomplish to keep going, and yet I know in reality that learning to be a writer is like basically any skill. It takes a lot of work, a lot of time, a lot of patience, and a lot of do-overs.

See, failing isn’t a problem. Needing help isn’t out of the ordinary. Messing up and making mistakes and having to start over again are all important elements that make up so many aspects of life. Just because I can’t remember how to spell a simple word or have atrocious聽grammar or feel my mind slide into the absolute blank mode when it comes to putting together a plot doesn’t mean I should give up.

Today, I’m choosing to keep going one step at a time. Today, I’m choosing to celebrate the little victories and laugh at the mistakes. Today, I’m stealing the little moments to write. And guess what? Today I’m having a lot of fun.

Currently
Setting: My desk with snow splattered fields outside聽

Listening to:聽This is Home聽by Switchfoot聽
Random Fact: For years I asked if I could have gravel, sand, or brick as my bedroom floor. For some reason, my mother deemed it a bad idea (And we’re talking about when I was a teenager, not a kid. Apparently this isn’t what everyone dreams of?)
Question of the Day: Do you like corkboards or chalkboards better?聽

Slipping Writing In {When Life Gets Busy}

It’s 5:43 a.m. and I’m sitting at my desk with a mug of strong French Press coffee in my left hand. This morning I’ve gotten ready for the day, collected books for a co-worker from my rainbow shelves that聽still聽leave me confused, started a load of laundry, packed my lunch, and am nearly ready to head out the door for work.

I’d like to think that my blogging this early in the morning before work speaks of dedication and careful planning… Of going to bed early the night before so I can get up at an appropriate time to blog and still be fresh and chipper for the rest of the day. Yet in reality, I have time for blogging simply because I woke up early and therefore was able to snatch a few minutes.

And that’s what my writing life is like sometimes.

img_7840

Instead of the carefully planned days forming perfectly scheduled times where I write during my most productive hours and churn out quality work that will impress the masses… Well, sometimes it’s catching a moment here in there. Sometimes it’s stationing the laptop next to the stove so I can stir the soup at the same time I throw my characters into metaphorical hot water. (It’s actually a pretty epic way to live when you stop to ponder it.)

img_7841

As it turns out, I still do try and schedule writing into my days. I have daily lists and weekly goals and valiant efforts. And sometimes they work out well. I feel like a rather successful little writer as I sit enthroned upon my chair and stay focused for long periods of time. These are the times that I’m probably the most productive in my writingish聽world.

But I’m not letting lack of focused time be my excuse. World crafting isn’t something that’s supposed to be easy. Becoming an author isn’t for the faint of heart. Discipline, slipping writing work between other work, and staying dedicated are all things that are par for the course when you sign up to be an author.

So that’s why I’m here, coffee cup nearly drained and my mind already racing ahead about how many steps I need to take (literally and figuratively) before I can be out the door and in my car on my way to work.

Currently…
Setting: My office desk
Listening to: The wind singing
Random Fact: WordPress randomly changed their聽Publish聽button from blue to fuschia
Question of the Day: Are you a morning bird or night owl? 聽