Sunday, June 24, 2018

"Dinner for Dinos" by Ben Whitehouse

This cute full-color wooden paged book is adorable.  It is all about dinosaurs having a barbecue dinner.  The dinosaurs or "dinos" go grocery shopping together, cook together, set the table together, dine together, and finally go to sleep together.  There is a section of the story where one dinosaur does not want to eat vegetables.  This dino eats vegetables after another dino says how strong they make one become.  That was adorable.  There is diversity as the dinos are in all different shapes, sizes, and colors.  There are boy dinos and girl dinos.  One dino even has glasses.  This is a great book to get kids excited about mealtime and cooperation with friends.

"The Complete Guide to Dream Interpretation" by Marsha Trimble Dunstan

At first I was a bit skeptical about this book.  I mean, a guide on dream interpretation with input from the Bible?  Come on!  But the more I read about the author's logic and her own personal dream stories, the more convinced I became.  The author has had dreams that have come true and has correctly interpreted friends' dreams.  There are so many dreams in the Bible, and Dunstan does a good job of summarizing those.  This book has a Christian lens, so it makes mention of Jesus and various quotes from the New Testament, in addition to quotes from the Old Testament.  What I really liked was how Dunstan differentiated between dreams.  Some dreams are just from our own bodies (spicy food makes nightmares) while some dreams are from God (spiritual messages after prayer).  This book isn't just talking and stories, as good as that is.  There is a huge chunk devoted to what I call a dream glossary.  For any place, image, color, number, action, animal, etc, there is a short description of what that could mean.  The author is very clear when she says her dream interpretation guide is just a guide.  It is not set in stone as everyone's dreams are different.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

"Go to Sleep Sheep" by Thomas Nelson and Illustrated by Sydney Hanson

Beautifully illustrated and cleverly written, this children's book is excellent for bedtime.  The mama sheep is telling her baby sheep that it is time to go to bed.  Meanwhile, the baby sheep come up with all sorts of excuses for why they should stay up.  They are hungry, they are thirsty, they want to play, and so on.  Other barn animals are illustrated in the background, making for a cute addition.  This book is hardcover where each page is wood and stiff.  I like how unique each sheep was.  One had glasses, one had a bow, one had a scarf.  Just as sheep are unique, so are kids.  This cute little book has fun rhymes and is recommended for children.  Go to sleep, sheep!

"Love Defined" by Kristen Clark &Bethany Baird

Focused on love and relationships, this book is a must have for any single girl.  It discusses the need for one to be happy alone before they can be happy with someone else.  There is a huge emphasis on finding one's satisfaction in God instead of a man.  Since the authors are Christian, there are a lot of references to Jesus and Christ herein.  Nevertheless, the basic premise that a man can not always make a woman happy is important.  This isn't to say that a woman should marry a man who does not make her happy (that's just a divorce waiting to happen).  Rather, the point is that women must cultivate a sense of sacrificial love and grace for their future husband.  When feelings fade--and they will--the woman should find her fulfillment in God and not place her hope in her husband.  There is a place in the soul that only God can satisfy.  While I do agree sacrificial love is good, I would caution women not to show this until they are married.  By showing unconditional love beforehand, it may make the man get lazy since he has not yet fully won your affections.  On a side note, there is a section in the book about purity and saving oneself for marriage.  While I agree with this from a religious perspective, I wish the authors went into details from a secular perspective.  What I mean is abstinence has more worth beyond religion.  Even men with no religion do not want to marry a woman who has "been around".  For those women who have made mistakes in their life, there is a section on forgiveness and confession before God.  This was a very fun book to read.  Interestingly enough, the two sister authors include one married and one unmarried.  Well, recently, the unmarried on got engaged.  She is 29, 6 years older than her fiance, and was friends with her fiance for 7 years before he asked her out.  From their youtube channel, he seems very smitten with her.  Ladies, don't rush and settle.  Wait for the best, even if that means you wait a long time!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

"Girl Defined" by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird

As someone who watches GirlDefined videos and reads the blog post, I was very excited to read this book written by the sisters who created the group.  The entire premise of this book is getting back to God-defined femininity from the Bible.  The book starts out with stories about Marilyn Monroe and models.  Long story short, fame and good looks do not make someone happy.  Until a woman finds her worth and value in God, she will always be striving.  That sort of living leads to eating disorders, compromise, anxiety, depression, and more.  There is a large emphasis on being a wife and mother in this book.  While that's great, what I did not like was the subtle message that women should not focus on their careers.  Why go to college if you are just going to be a stay-at-home mom?  Well, I would venture that is unwise.  Most men do not marry until they have been living / working independently for a few years on their own.  If they have an advanced degree, they may not be ready for a real relationship until their late 20s or even early 30s.  And some men marry older women.  This means women could have a good 10 years to be studying / working on their own.  All that time, the woman could have been living her dream, working her career, and building wealth.  While I do agree that men should be the providers in a family, I acknowledge that not every woman will get married.  If I never marry, should I just live in poverty because I've never invested in a career?  Or what of the woman whose husband dies or gets disabled and there is no more breadwinner?  Having a strong woman who can earn a decent salary is a good thing in my mind.  Not only that, but for successful men, I would think they like a woman with her own career.  Sure, she can always hit pause on her career for a family, but her being successful means she is not just with the guy for what he can provide.  Yes, providing is important (I would never marry a man who didn't) but I'm sure guys like to know that the girl is with him for him and not money since she could afford everything on her own if she needed to.  That aside, I really enjoyed this book.  It read fast and I felt like I was having lunch with a girlfriend, it was that conversational.  Each chapter also has study guides with journal prompts and space to write answers / prayers.  This book is written by Christians, so there are quotes from the New Testament and references to Jesus. 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

"The Better Mom" by Ruth Schwenk

Written by a stay-at-home mom, this book is all about the challenges and rewards of motherhood.  There are chapters on mothers feeling adequate, measuring up, and raising successful children.  So many women can feel inferior without a job outside of being a mom.  Then there are those women who struggle to make dinner and laundry on time, take kids to events, and have time alone with the husband.  Since I am a single woman not in the season of motherhood, I could not relate to a lot in the book.  Still, I found the overall message that one is complete in God to be nice.  Don't find your value in being a mom, a businesswoman, a spouse, a chef, or anything else.  Simply find your value in God and the rest will fall into place.  I should note that this book is written from a Christian perspective, so there are lots of references to Jesus and the New Testament in it.  While I'm not a mom, I do think it is important for women to choose who they have children with properly.  So many people are living less than because they were not exposed properly to love in the home.  There are children who are products of divorce, children with abusive / alcoholic parents, children who were not planned and seen as a burden, etc.  While I do believe anyone can rise out of bad circumstances, I do acknowledge that such people will have a late start in life and miss out on many important aspects of a pure and holy childhood.  Don't just marry anybody and don't just have children with anybody.  Choose someone who embodies love, is a good example for children, and will raise a productive member of society.