They are amazing kids.
Some days I just watch them and think how blessed I am to be their Mom.
And I want to do it right. There is a deep longing in my heart to be the kind of mom God wants me to be.
That kind of parenting doesn't come naturally.
That kind of parenting comes from being trained... changed... shaped by the Lord.
It comes through much labor and submission.
It comes through study and inspection and growth and conviction and learning.
It's work and it's tough.
I love resources that help me in this journey of motherhood.
Recently I came across a resource that I invested in. Someone had recommended a book to me.
The book? Passionate Parenting by Cary Schmidt.
I read it... well, actually I DEVOURED it!
It was that good!
The book is often directed toward parents of preteens and teens, but covers the whole spectrum of parenting in some fashion. It even covers parenting adult children, too.
My favorite things about the book?
Practical. The book isn't just happy fluff, but it gets down to business of how to put into practice bringing our children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
This book isn't about changing our children. It's about training parents to be what God has called them to be.
Cary Schmidt did a wonderful job in helping me to understand my children better... my ten year old... my almost teenage girl... and my college kid.
Not only that, but he presented ways to help me improve parenting each of the ages of children who call me Mom.
The book helped me understand myself, too.
All of this from biblical perspective.
It isn't too much longer and I will be having a Mommy/Daughter getaway to talk about "growing up" things with my girl.
This book had a whole section covering those discussions. Like I said-- practical.
Usually when I do a book review, I like to give the good side and the bad side. But honestly, this book impacted me as a parent greatly.
I really cannot think of a negative. I will be reading it again...
Best parenting book I have ever read by far.
I am not a huge fiction fan...
I don't sit around reading tons of fiction books for many reasons. Two of those reasons:
1) My time for reading is limited. If I am going to use my limited time for reading, I want it to be spent on things that are going to be helpful to me!
2) I hate to read things labelled "Christian" fiction that turn out to be carnal, flesh-filled, worldly... I am NOT filling my head with that junk.
So when I come across a Christian fiction book that is worth reading, I like to pass it on. Beyond the Gathering Storm by Janette Oke was such a book.
The book was given to me along with several others by the same author. It started out slow, and there were points where I was concerned where the book might go, but I am glad I stuck around and finished it.
It's about a brother and a sister who pursue relationships.
Now let's park right there and let me explain how picky I am. I don't do "romance" books. You know... those books about wooing and flirting and emotions out of control. Not interested. They aren't about love. They are about self-serving and gratification with no moral benefit to the reader. Yep. I am picky.
But I enjoy relationship books that keep things clean, God-honoring, and have good moral lessons.
So, with that said, this brother and sister pursue very different relationships in very different ways. Both are professing Christians who start out with standards, but one allows those standards to be chipped away in temptation. Compromises here and there. Before you know it, one sibling is snared into a relationship that causes great inner (and outer) conflict. You watch... um, read... the consequences and see the downward spiral. You see the steps that lead to the consequences.
The moral lesson of the book?
2 Corinthians 6:14 "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?"
The book does a great job displaying this truth and the stumbling block of thinking that "we can change them."
Things I loved about the book:
The book kept the "physical" side VERY clean... clean enough that I plan on letting my daughter read it. Literally, when there was kissing, it just said, "They kissed." No details about planting a wet sloppy one. Gag. So nothing there to incite passions that don't need to be awakened.
It showed both sides of the coin... the sibling who looked for the godly character as well as the sibling whose eye was swayed by the glitter of the world.
The ending was exactly what I had hoped for.
It wasn't sappy or chick-flicky!
The book is a great launching point for discussion with teens on what to look for in a potential mate. It is also a great starter for discussing having your standards firmly in place before temptation confronts you!
Things I didn't like about the book:
The Gospel was not clearly presented. It was a social "Go with God" presentation at best.
There was a serious issue with two people being unchaperoned in nonpublic places frequently, AND there was kissing frequently between two unmarried characters. Nothing blatant and gross, but they were not married. If you have a standard against those things, you might want to discuss it with any children who plan on reading the book. I recommend 12 years and older.
I didn't agree much with the decisions of the parents where the daughter was concerned... but that's a whole other story.
The book is definitely a great read and the lesson it teaches made it worth the time.
I love women's ministry. It's one of my passions. I love teaching. I love learning. I just love getting together with women and growing in the Lord through fellowship around His Word!
So it's no wonder I love reading books along those lines. One book I had been meaning to read for years (but never seemed to get around to it) was A Woman After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George.
Here's the blunt, short version...
There are practical tips in here that give great ideas.
It is presented in an organized layout.
It has a lot of great truths in it.
Covers the main priorities of women.
Redundancy! I think the book could have been reduced by at least 25% if you take out the repetition.
It isn't KJV... several versions used.
Not really much in the way of meat for those who have been growing for a while, but good reminders...
I am giving kind of a mediocre review on this one. I think the redundancy was the most distracting part of the book. I felt like saying, "OK. I get it already. Move on." And then in the next section... right back to it. Ugh! My time is very limited and I found myself skimming instead of reading because I hate redundancy.
The book wasn't a waste of time. There was still things to glean. This book just isn't at the top of my list of books for women.
Living overseas, there is no lack for adventure. Some adventures are memorable. Some adventures you just pray to forget.
Well, on the day I met Bruno, I thought it was an adventure to forget. But now I look back on Bruno with a fond, humorous affection. He truly was unforgettable.
It was a day like any other. I scurried to and fro getting my motherly and wifely duties accomplished.
See? Boring, normal day, right? I should have known my life was about to change, because never ever do we have a normal day on the field.
Anyway, it was time to check on the situation with the laundry. Now let me set up the scene. Our laundry room is actually a tiny bathroom. It is about a 4'x5' tiled room that includes a small sink, an Asian squatty potty toilet, and a shower corner (no stall... just a corner and a drain.) We set the washing machine over the squatty potty and use it for the water to drain out. This tiny room is prone to rats (not mice) coming up through the potty drain. Because of that, we keep a rat cage set and ready near the base of the potty for any unexpected hairy visitors. Traditional rat snap traps are very rare to find because the people of our country worship rats... therefore, the cage is the preferred method by the country... not by me. Either way, I am quite thankful to have some form of containment for the pesky critters.
Now, I know your next question. "When you actually catch a rat, what do you do with it?" I am glad you asked. We kindly take these caged critters outside to be released back into freedom. We have conveniently placed two canines outside to help them with this transition back into freedom. The canines have been specially trained to play fun games with any form of rodent.
Ok, back to my "normal" day...
I went into the laundry room to discover the rat cage was occupied. Inside this metal fortress was the largest rat I had ever seen. He wore sunglasses and a spiked collar. A cigarette dangled rebelliously out of his mouth. On his bulging, muscular arm was a tattoo of a heart that read "I love Mom." His abs were like rocks.
I grinned. This creature was rendered harmless by his jail cell, and in my mind I gloated about his transition back into freedom mere minutes from that moment. Immediately he was given the name Bruno. Tough, large, vicious Bruno. But he was in the cage and I was out. Peace, joy, contentment. I envisioned his upcoming "release into freedom," and I smiled. Until...
Suddenly, Bruno flexed his muscles. I kid you not, he grabbed the door of the cage like the Incredible Hulk and twisted the door out of his way. A look of horror avalanched down my face. I was alone in this tiny room with an escaping Bruno. I turned to run out the door, but before I could flee, Bruno (who also had the same idea of escaping his prison through that same door) ran through my feet. In the tangle of panic, I kicked Bruno into the air like a soccer ball. It felt like I had kicked a full grown cat. Bruno flew gracefully through air. I screamed. My son came running to see the commotion and began laughing hysterically. Bruno landed with a massive thud and trotted away.
I will never forget the day I met Bruno. It was my brush with death.
I will also never forget the next morning as our loving canines, with joy and smiles, let me know that they had also met Bruno and played games with him.