Wednesday, March 15, 2017

On the Bookshelf

Since we've been snowed in (after all that gorgeous spring weather!! boo!) and little G. has not only been teething but also caught a small tummy bug and a big respiratory bug...needless to say, we've been home, indoors, and I've been reading a lot during snuggles and naps. Here are three that have been in our stack: one on marriage, one on motherhood, and one for little ones.

Your Marriage Masterpiece: Transform Your Relationship Through God's Amazing Design, by Al Janssen

This was a good book but not a great book for me. I fluctuated in my opinion through it actually. Some chapters I would be engrossed and think "YES! The world needs to read this!" and other chapters I would skim and feel like I've read similar things before. (Maybe I need to spend more time focusing on my marriage itself instead of reading books about it-- haha ;) ). A few things I liked: the book is a companion resource to The Family Project DVD by Focus on the Family. My husband and I LOVE that course/project, particularly the movie Irreplaceable (about the necessary connections of love/sex/marriage/children and how disconnecting those has broken down the family). I appreciate how much FotF has done and continues to do to promote healthy marriages and families. This book is definitely included in that effort. I liked the real-life stories of marriage. I liked the study guide included. I even liked the Biblical imagination narratives woven throughout, showing us how we are to mirror God's "marriage" to us in our marriages (very Catholic). I did not care for: some of the Biblical narratives were cheesy or took too much artistic liberty for my taste. I felt that the flow of the book was somewhat slow and didn't keep my attention. Overall, a good book on marriage but not one of the top five on that subject that I would recommend to someone.

[Thank you to Bethany House publishers for my complimentary review copy. This contains my honest and original thoughts on the book.]

Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline, by Catherine McNiel

I did not expect to like this book as much as I am! I'm not sure exactly what I expected, but so far it's exceeding that! What a beautiful, inspiring, and even gently convicting book! Ann Voskamp has a review quote on the cover of this book and I can see why-- it has something of the mystic/poetic prose style that she uses when she writes. This book goes deep into the soul of motherhood by using the simplest, earthiest everyday things. The author writes about the (sometimes monotonous) things we experience as mothers and encourages us to find God in them...the God who became a baby, a child, to bring us closer to Him. He is in our children today and wants us to find Him in them...and to find Him in our own weary, changed bodies as well. One of my favorite parts was when she wrote about Jesus being one of us in the messiness of life-- how He lived with and joined the normal, everyday people and talked about fish, yeast, water, taxes as He ministered and taught the kingdom of God. I mean, I know this already but somehow reading her words and seeing Jesus like that was very tender for me. I also appreciated the Catholic vein woven throughout the book even though the author herself is not Catholic-- she writes a lot about the sacramental realities...God using tactile, tangible things to give grace and spiritual meaning to our lives (reminds me of another great book I'm reading by Laura Kelly Fanucci: Everyday Sacrament). At the end of each chapter, there are several reflection and practice points to integrate into your own life. This has been a very meaningful book to me and one that I will likely read more than once.

[Thank you to Tyndale Publishers for my complimentary review copy. This contains my honest and original thoughts.]

God Loves Daddy and Me, by Bonnie Rickner Jensen

I'm such a sucker for faith-based board books. This one does not disappoint. Beautiful illustrations and a touching story to introduce little ones to God's gentle and fatherly love for all of us. I like the specific message that God loves not only children but also adults (who are also His children). I think it's good for kids to learn that God loves us even as we grow and that God loves and takes care of mommy and daddy too so that they learn faith is not just for children, but also for us as we grow up! (Maybe even more necessary as we grow and lose that sense of childlike innocence and trust!) My only slight hesitation about the book is that some of the activities the dad and child do may not be ones all fathers do with their children-- build forts, go on picnics, etc. I wouldn't want a child to feel left out if their daddy doesn't do these things with them. Also, the raccoon child seems to be a boy, so not that a little girl and her daddy couldn't have these adventures, but there's a father-son feel to the relationship described. These are all fine things, but just information for those considering the book if they have a daughter. :)

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for my complimentary review copy. This contains my honest and original thoughts.]

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