Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book Review: 10 Great Dates

I recently received a copy of the book “10 Great Dates: Connecting Faith, Love & Marriage” to review. The gist of the book is an encouragement for couples to plan 10 dates, each centered on a spiritual theme, with the purpose of building deeper connections.
I struggled at first to embrace this premise. Why? Because frankly, I had “unofficially” tried this approach, especially early in our marriage, and our dates often crashed & burned because I did not completely appreciate that my husband went on a date to relax, NOT to discuss life goals and the State of our Marriage. So, if your husband is similar, I would suggest this is not the book for you. But, if you are looking for a very structured approach for discussing topics of faith, this book could be a good resource.

Additionally, I was taken aback by the seemingly basic contents of the discussions created for married couples. They seemed more like “getting to know you” type of activities. With great thankfulness, I acknowledge the blessing of my marriage in that my husband and I addressed almost all of the topics included in this book very early on in our relationship, for sure during our engagement. If both you & your spouse have been Christ-followers throughout the entirety of your marriage, you’d probably find the discussion topics not applicable for motivating new conversations but certainly, they are good reminders to keep communication open.

The book contains extensive personal examples from both of the author couples & Biblical truth and instruction. Its not a bad book, simply one which I personally found not to be useful tool.

I was given a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book Review: The Dancing Master

Julie Klassen is a talented writer/author. Her extensive efforts in creating a realistic storyline filled with historical content and background in ‘The Dancing Master’ is evident, as in her previous contributions.
I like this book but found it interesting that I was more intrigued by the Valcourt family [Alec’s family] that with the main character Julia Midwinter’s family. Not sure if that was the author’s intent or not.
Characters were all well-developed. I especially liked the comic relief provided by Walter, the non-dancer in the group and the gentle, honorable spirit of John Desmond.
The storyline was intriguing, allowing the reader to figure out the details as the plot unfolded without being too complicated or too predictable.
Being an adoptive parent, I was especially interested in how the topic of adoption would be addressed in this book. Ms. Klassen did okay. [Spoiler Alert]: I especially liked the fact that Julia’s father missed the first scheduled meeting & that once Julia met him, they did not instantly connect and reconcile. Though we might hope for happy endings, they are seldom reality in an adoptive child’s life and I appreciated the representation of such.
All in all, a good read with just the right combination of intrigue, romance & faith.
I was given a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Birthday Fun Time, Part 3

Thursday he was with his cousins. Friday he celebrated with daddy & mommy, complete with his selection of "the Burger Joint" for dinner after soccer class. Speaking of soccer, on Saturday we celebrated with g&gS. and grandma put together an amazing soccer cake for Mr. 6-Years-Old. He identified most with the one player on the cake that had fallen down since that's his usual position on the soccer field. I tell you, the kid CANNOT stay on his feet! Anyways, here are some pictures of the very fun cake which we had along with custom-made milkshakes. With all the options available, X-man choose...[insert drumroll]...vanilla!
Our musician wanna-be was super excited to get drumsticks from grandpa & grandma along with his very own harmonica.

Birthday Fun Times, Part 2

He got a fish! Lest you think he's super-stoked...yeah; he's not. He wanted a dog.

Really, really badly. Even though he's scared of most dogs. And whenever we visit the M.Family who have a very non-threatening dog, he hides behind me and sometimes even cries because he's so terrified. But alas, he wanted a dog but he got a fish.

He name his fish Po. Po now resides in his room and while they're not yet best of friends, he does think the snails who share Po's fish tank are quite entertaining. Our first pet-adventure. I am glad it's a fish...and not a dog!



Birthday Fun Times, Part 1

Yes. We went to Chuck E. Cheese. Yes. Its one of the parenting things which I resisted quite grandly. Alas, I caved.
Early last Thursday morning, a No School day, we drove downstate for a Cousins Birthday celebration. "Just the Boys" turned into the whole gang -- Jolynn, Drew, Landry, Wesley, Brenda, Brooke, Isaak, Xander and myself. The three oldest had SO MUCH fun!
As a parent, I can find myself becoming distracted [okay, possibly obsessed] with teaching manners and reminding my guy to make good choices, correcting bad attitudes and working thru out-of-control emotions. But this day was about fun and it was super-good for this mommy to see the boys' excitement.

LOVE this picture! He was "driving" a race car, could hardly reach the pedals and had no idea that a brake actually existed!
Isaak [left] and Xander raced on a snowmobile course while Drew [center] cheered them on & waited for HIS turn.
Yeah, we call him "Mr. Blue Eyes" -- such a cuddly, happy baby.
I love how the boys put their arms around ChuckE. and each other!