momming with the Gospel

One of the reasons I enjoy reading Christian parenting books is because I love being a parent. Since 2005, I have read probably close to 100 books on parenting. I have read the insights of parenting coaches, other parents, grandparents. I have been a parenting coach, myself, and taught some classes in San Francisco when my youngest was a baby. Parenting is my passion.

More than just parenting diligently, I want to be able to have my children say I parented them well. Basically anyone can be a parent; not everyone is a good parent. My latest book on parenting, Gospel Centered Mom: The Freeing Truth About What Your Kids Really Need by Brooke McGlothlin, offered me a chance to read a parenting book that was more rooted in personal struggle than I’m used to. It was an interesting change.

When I say “rooted in personal struggle”, I mean that, like most Christian books, Brooke’s foundation for the books is her personal hardships and how she’s used God’s word to empower her to overcome them. It’s a perspective that generally only sits well with other Christians, but I happen to find a lot of wisdom in these books. For me, parenting well is built upon one’s ability to see situations from another perspective, whether or not one agrees with that perspective.

I did find great wisdom in Gospel Centered Mom. One overarching, helpful reminder is that we’re not the ones in control of all this stuff we call “life”. When you’re the kind of person who values self-improvement, this is a kind reminder that one needs regularly. We are not in control of everything and thank goodness for that! Once we accept that, we can sit back and enjoy our children more.

I slowly made my way through this book and there were helpful tidbits throughout, but I have to say that my favorite part of the book was Chapter 10. In this last bit of the book, Brooke sums everything up nicely by exploring what it means to “Protect the Story”. Honestly, I felt like the entire book could have been about this part and it would have been even more helpful. In Chapter 10, the author discusses how it’s more important to look at the overall story of our families and our desires for our kids rather than focusing upon material success or societal approval of us as parents. This gets to the heart of the matter, in my opinion. Sometimes, parents, even those of us with the best intentions, get caught up in day-to-day behaviors and choices and forget to step back and look at the bigger picture. Giving us a framework for how to keep the bigger picture at the fore of our thinking when disciplining and generally raising our children was extremely helpful.

I had many “aha” moments while reading Gospel Centered Mom by Brooke McGlothlin. She touches on some common themes that run through the lives of most mothers. If I didn’t have mothers in my life with whom I could share my struggles, this book could easily serve as a support “group” for me. Reading any chapter is likely to provide the reader with a refreshing reminder or perspective that helps ease any emotional and intellectual burdens around parenting.

I especially enjoyed the formatting aspect of Gospel Centered Mom where each chapter ends with a “hard truth” and a “beautiful truth”. The hard truth is where the author lays out something that just is and that we have to accept along this parenting journey. The beautiful truth is the freedom or the silver lining to that hard truth. This part of the book always brought a smile to my face. I truly believe that every bad has some good in it, if we are patient and look for it, and these hard and beautiful truths align with that belief.

Last but not least, dear readers, I want you to know that while I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, this review is my honest thinking about the book.

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inspirational read for those who like treasure

I have  thing for self-help books. I can’t help it. I firmly believe in doing my best to overcome any challenges I face in life, including the ones that arise from my personality or thinking habits. One of the “issues” I’m currently trying to heal is my relationship with money. We all have a money story and mine could use some improvement.

One idea I’ve been feeling a close affinity to, lately, is the idea that our lives and bodies are not our own. They don’t belong to us. We will leave them behind at some point and, regardless of what we believe comes next, that is a sobering thought. If I don’t even own my body, the thing that goes with me everywhere and is the only thing that can’t be taken from me, then maybe my understanding of life and the choices we make in it need to shift.

cover

Enter The Treasure Principle: Unlocking the Secret of Joyful Giving by Randy Alcorn. This isn’t a new book; it’s a revised and updated edition. Randy lets us know that when the book first came out, he received quite a lot of grief. He’s a Christian writer, writing from a Christian perspective about what God has said in the Bible about money. As someone who has read The New Testament often enough, I was surprised that the book found controversy among believers. When it comes to money, though, isn’t that often the way things are?

Randy pushes the idea that Jesus was clear in the Gospel that we are to give away our wealth. God let us know that this life and its riches are temporary; we need to strive for eternal riches, not temporal ones. Chapter 2 states the Scriptural “proof” quite thoroughly. Through a quick, enjoyable read, Randy lets us in on his thought processes. It’s compelling and it’s something that aligns with my understanding of the Bible. My favorite part of the book begins toward the end, on page 102, when Randy shares “31 Radical, Liberating Questions to Ask God About Your Giving”. I’m a huge fan of asking God questions and mulling over the answers I receive, so this section was a little exciting. We never need to lean on our own understanding. We can always go straight to Source.

While the main crux of Randy’s argument in The Treasure Principle is rooted in the fact that we can’t take any of this with us, anyway, the message I found most compelling was how money is sacred and it’s intended for sacred work. As someone who often feels that money seems to do more harm than good in the world, it felt good to read a perspective that made money part of God’s inherently good world. This perspective leaves me wanting to see how my money can be of direct benefit for spiritual good in the world. I can’t say that I’ve ever read a Christian book about money that left me feeling this way. I’m more curious about how I can use money in a sacred manner and for the Higher Good.

Almost every page of The Treasure Principle had my brain working in overdrive. As someone who enjoys thinking, this was a pleasurable experience. I certainly didn’t expect it. While so many religious writers tackle money from the “God has promised you riches” perspective, Randy Alcorn lets us know why God has promised us abundance. Here’s a hint: it’s not to horde it and leave it for our children.

Although I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review, you have just read my honest opinion of this compelling book.

Re-W-Or-D-A-Ble is A-Dor-A-Ble

Our family LOVES games.

We love them so much that we play them daily. Our newest addition is called Rewordable and it takes word games to a whole, new level. If you enjoy Scrabble, you’ll definitely like this game.

The objective is to build words using cards with various word parts on them. Some cards have a single letter, some have two letters, some have three. As you look at your five-card hand, you need to construct a word using at least 2 of those cards. It seems like a simple process, but it can get very challenging when you add in the reward tokens.

Reward tokens are there for inspiration, I think. You have a three-token pile sitting in front of you, egging you on. If you can accomplish what’s written on a token, you can take that token (and more than one in a turn!). This is likely to be the most infuriating and satisfying part of the game. When you have a situation where all three tokens require you use at least 5 cards to create your word, anxiety and determination kick in. Luckily, you can steal words from your opponents by figuring out how to use your hand to build upon the words they have compiled in their “lexicon”.

Of course, how intense Rewordable gets depends upon your fellow players. My 7-year-old got as much of a kick out of the game as I did. I’m sure a 51-year-old word game veteran would love finding this new way to keep word challengers running for the dictionary. In the end, the player with the highest score wins, but Rewordable is almost like chess with how canny you have to be. I’d recommend learning to win against yourself first before taking on your community linguist.

I received this game from Blogging for Books for this review and my review is my honest perspective on this engaging product.

fire!

your soul is on fire,

that’s why you feel dead.

the oldness inside you is competing with the newness outside you

and you’re afraid to open the door.

don’t.

open a window, instead.

even simply opening your mouth would be a revelation.

because fire

is the most cleansing of all.