Saturday, May 30, 2015

Book Review: Princess Joy Sticker and Activity Book

The Princess Parables are well loved in our house (of three girls!).  My daughters are ages 2, 5, and 8 I thought it was a perfect opportunity to receive and review a new product of the Princess Parables- a sticker and activity book.  You can get them specific to any of the princesses.  And at only $3.99 suggested retail its pretty easy to grab a few favorites!

Princess Joy Sticker and Activity Book is a beautifully illustrated and presented activity booklet. There is a basic story celebrating a birthday, but it is mostly fun puzzles and coloring for a child to do.  It worked great that my 5 year old loved the coloring and mazes while the 8 year old enjoyed the letter and number puzzles.  The pages are a thick, glossy paper to make "reusing" the stickers simple.  However, this made it harder to use crayons well for coloring and the markers bleed a bit more if you touch before drying.  There are lots of cute stickers (only a few are used for a specific page) and while they are "reusable" there really doesn't seem to be a good place in the book to use them, so they were used in other projects and therefore the reusable feature isn't important.

Overall, these are fun little activity books perfect for a rainy day or car ride.  They remind me so much of a disney quality but with a Godly heart and example behind it makes them a GREAT find.  It is even better when you combine these activities with the other read along books Princess Parable offers.

*Thanks to the booklook blogger program for a free copy for my unbiased review.

Book Review: How to Love Your Neighbor- without being weird

I have to admit, I chose this book partly because the title made me giggle.  How to Love Your Neighbor- without being weird  by Amy Lively proved to be more rewarding than a simple laugh.  Lively is a talented and engaging storyteller.  She infectiously brings you into her home and her heart, sharing her journey of faith and obedience of loving her neighbors.  This book chronicles her foundation in faith, a stretch of faithless wanderings, and finally a rejuvenation and redemptive story for not only herself but her marriage and family.

"How to Love your neighbor" is the challenge to completely abide and obey the commandment of "loving they neighbor".  Lively defines what a neighbor truly is, the doors to which people enter our lives, how to use your God given gifts and aptitudes in an active way, how to be intentional about interacting with neighbors, and the challenges we may face and how to overcome them.  And it all points back to who Jesus was on Earth and how God designed his people to be.

Some of my favorite lines from the book were:
"I'd rather go to Africa than across the street"

"Your home is where people put their feet up and let their guard down.  It's where relationships go deep."

"It's weird to insist that everyone enter a relationship with you through one door- the Religion Door.  It's weird to approach your neighbors with an agenda."

Lively writes a wonderful and challenging book.  It would work superbly as a small group study or book club as it has great questions to ponder and/or discuss.  There are also challenging action points she presents to help you set a plan into motion to meet your neighbors and begin growing those relationships.

I know I have been challenged as an introvert that there is "no exception clause" to this commandment and that I spend far too much time connecting with "friends" on flat screens than I do in the "original social network" my neighborhood.

How to Love Your Neighbor by Amy Lively (check out its site too) is worth the read and worth the sacrifice to implement.

*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for my unbiased review.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Book Review: Motivate Your Child

I had the opportunity to read and review Motivate Your Child by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.  It came on the heels of hearing them speak at a homeschool convention as the founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting.    This book meant to be a guide for parents who are looking to develop the moral and spiritual foundations of their children.  In effect, the book targets the heart of the parent in training them how to reach the heart of their child.  It will challenge, encourage, equip, and empower you as a parent to love your child and lead them toward a lifetime of better decision making.
The book is divided into two sections- the Moral Development and the Spiritual Development.  I must admit I do not fully understand or agree with the separation for a couple reasons.  First, the entire book points you back to scripture.  Whether it is the chapter on honor, work ethic, honesty, or compassion- everything points back to the scriptural foundation of the idea so there shouldn't be a need to separate moral from spiritual.  Secondly, there is nothing in life that is not in the 'spiritual' realm.  While the chapters on leading a child to Christ and the importance of family bible study time are helpful in the development of a child; separating that from the morals section seems unnatural.  For it is the spiritual foundation that leads to the refining of morality and character.

That being said, this is a wonderful book about reaching the heart of your child and helping them develop into the person God created them to be.  The chapters are filled with ideas on how to approach 'needs' a child may have and suggestions on how to train a child to change behavior.  Most importantly the book backs the desired outcomes with scripture and points to how to transition the development from one of behavior modification to a heart change.  

Here are some of my favorite tips from the book:

-I loved the explanation of the conscience and how to develop it as children travel through the three levels of thinking.  Our conscience is part of our internal GPS God has wired us with to travel through life.  Utilizing it to point it back towards answering the question 'what would God want me to do?' is the goal of internal motivation.

-The checklist on pages 43-45 were helpful in shining the light not only on areas that need work in my children's lives, but also their strengths as people.  It was encouraging to see both sides.

-I loved the idea of an action point:  making sure my intentions and follow through with consequences are clear, quick, and expected.

-The chapter on the integrity package is a MUST READ.  I am in love with the ideas of how to teach honor to my children.

-Keeping the goal in mind.  Parenting is long term.  While the days are long and arduous- we may not always see progress as quickly as we want too.  Fruit may take years to develop.  However, making decisions in the rough, sticky days with the filter of how they fit into the long term goal is crucial.

-This book would encourage the confident parent and equip the lost.  It truly is for every parent at every level in any stage of life.

This book is a must read/have for parents who desire to lead their children into faithful lives.  It teaches the parent to impact the heart of the child and build their character- not just mindless obedience who lose their faith when they leave the safety of the nest.  

*Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review