This book is excellent, honest, touching, and life-altering. I had my eyes opened to my own shortcomings. I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. I...moreThis book is excellent, honest, touching, and life-altering. I had my eyes opened to my own shortcomings. I highly recommend this book to EVERYONE. I was moved to tears on several occasions, especially while the author was relating her experiences with the NICU as the memories of the isolettes and alarms from my own baby's time in the NICU are still recent. The author shared her journey of self-discovery while guiding me on my own as I read her story. Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down.(less)
This mom of four and struggling meal planner found this book quite useful. If Mary Ostyn can raise 10 kids and still do as much as she does (and prett...moreThis mom of four and struggling meal planner found this book quite useful. If Mary Ostyn can raise 10 kids and still do as much as she does (and pretty successfully, I might add) I'm going to take her advice seriously. I'm sorry I have to take it back to the library- guess I just need to go get my own copy. You can read my full review here: http://ldswbr.blogspot.com/2010/01/fa...(less)
A collection of the author's Christmas memories, experiences as one of Santa's helpers, and letters to Santa written by adults of all ages--some funny...moreA collection of the author's Christmas memories, experiences as one of Santa's helpers, and letters to Santa written by adults of all ages--some funny, some tender.(less)
More like 3.5 stars. Good information about becoming aware of what we are saying to ourselves about our body image, realizing what a gift our bodies a...moreMore like 3.5 stars. Good information about becoming aware of what we are saying to ourselves about our body image, realizing what a gift our bodies are and treating ourselves with respect and understanding, especially in regards to food. Most, if not all, women would benefit from reading Love Your Body, and I recommend it to women of all ages. I really like the spiritual/LDS view presented in this book, versus the more "worldly" views found in a lot of other eating and diet books. (less)
3.5 stars. There were several good tips in here. Most I've come across in some form or other. I really liked her format: each tip was numbered, brief...more3.5 stars. There were several good tips in here. Most I've come across in some form or other. I really liked her format: each tip was numbered, brief and divided into relevant sections. I gathered several links to blogs and websites I look forward to checking out.(less)
A book like 300 Questions LDS Couples Should Ask is perfect for jump-starting important conversation in marriage. I wish this book had been around early on in our relationship. We’ve answered several of the questions and have realized that we don’t go out on dates nearly enough, we both want to go on a couples’ mission when we get older, I have a lot more close friends than he does, and my hubby is interested in the Chinese culture (I never knew that before this book).
300 Questions LDS Couples Should Ask is divided into sections:
-Rekindling the Romance and Intimacy in Your Marriage
-Reexamining Your Views and Beliefs in Your Marriage
-Strengthening Your Spiritual Path
-Reaquainting Yourself with Your Spouse
-Reconnecting with Your Spouse during Tough Times
-Planning Your Goals and Future Together
My husband and I agree that open, honest and sincere communication is what has made our marriage work. Having a common goal and testimonies of Jesus Christ and the truthfulness of the gospel are also a huge part of marital success for us. We are not perfect and neither is our marriage, but respect for each other and focusing on the eternal aspect of our relationship has brought us closer together and made our marriage stronger.
I give 300 Questions LDS Couples Should Ask for a More Vibrant Marriage a solid 4 stars for encouraging couples to talk about the things that really matter in their relationship.(less)
The Worth of a Soul is the story of Ayse Hitchins, a Turkish woman whose life has been full of one difficult struggle after another. After being left...moreThe Worth of a Soul is the story of Ayse Hitchins, a Turkish woman whose life has been full of one difficult struggle after another. After being left suddenly at a boarding school for girls by her beloved father at age six or so, life begins to change dramatically for Ayse. As she grows and spends time around other girls, she realizes that her life at home and her mother are not normal.
The abuses that Ayse and her family suffer at the hands of her mother spoke to me personally. The details of life in Turkey and the culture of its people were fascinating to read. The sudden changes that Ayse had to experience again and again throughout the younger years of her life made me appreciate the steadiness I’ve had even during my own struggles in life.
I haven’t read a lot of memoirs and after reading The Worth of a Soul I decided I need to change that. I found the difference in Ayse’s life between the city of Istanbul and the far poorer cities of her very early childhood an interesting contrast considering they exist within just a few hours from each other yet are so completely different. Life in Turkey in the 1970s was so very different from city to city. Some aspects of life were barely comparable to life in the United States, from those barely surviving day to day to the popular political views and climate at the time.
The first half of the book was told in a more distant and matter-of-fact tone, but that all changed once a certain meeting took place. I became aware of a change in the storytelling at that point. A warmth and feeling appeared that helped illustrate the turning point that those events were in Ayse’s life. While sudden change and struggle remained a constant in Ayse’s life, the determination, strength and faith that define her character carried her through circumstances that would have made many others give up in defeat.
While the story did slow from time to time, my interest in people in general and Ayse’s story in particular kept me reading. If you are one who enjoys memoirs and stories of conversion and faith, then you will enjoy The Worth of a Soul. (less)
I was surprised at how long it took to get to the part where it discusses what the 18 minutes are and should be used for, but I found useful informati...moreI was surprised at how long it took to get to the part where it discusses what the 18 minutes are and should be used for, but I found useful information throughout the book. The setting of an alarm every hour and evaluating time spent in the previous hour and planning for the next is something I've started doing. It helps me stay on track (for the most part) during the day. I liked the conversation-style of the author's voice, that he shared his own failures openly, and the fun titles of each chapter. The concise summary at the end of each chapter was nice as well. All in all, while not "earth-shattering" for me, this book served as a good reminder for me in several areas and I'm glad I read it.(less)
I Believe in Jesus Too is beautifully illustrated and simply stated peek at how familiar aspects of the LDS religion are experienced by children all o...moreI Believe in Jesus Too is beautifully illustrated and simply stated peek at how familiar aspects of the LDS religion are experienced by children all over the world. Primary-aged children as young as 3 years old will enjoy the glimpses into the lives of other LSD children around the world.
I’m happy to place I Believe in Jesus Too on my children’s bookshelf. At three and five years old, I know my two youngest will flip through it again and again, looking at pictures and asking me to read it to them. It’s perfect for a Sunday morning or afternoon, or as a bedtime story. It’s quick to read so when your child asks for one more story, I Believe in Jesus Too is a great option.
If you are looking for a good picture book for young children that will expand their world view of life and their religion, then I Believe in Jesus Too is one I am happy to recommend.
A Glimpse of Heaven opens with the author, in the depths of despair, praying her last prayer after planning to commit suicide the next day. That night...moreA Glimpse of Heaven opens with the author, in the depths of despair, praying her last prayer after planning to commit suicide the next day. That night, as she slept, an angel came to her. She followed the angel and the experience that followed affected her greatly. She still struggled, felt pain and suffered with depression, however her perspective of the purpose of her life was forever changed.
As I read A Glimpse of Heaven, several of my own experiences were confirmed to me. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints believe in personal revelation. JoAnna shares her experiences with personal revelation in regard to her children, her husband’s career, and her physical and mental health.
More than anything else, the author’s message in A Glimpse of Heaven is of Heavenly Father’s unconditional love and support of each one of His children. Below are some quotes from the book that I really liked:
“Eternal truth is just that — eternal. It never goes away, and it never changes.”
“God is unwavering in His sameness ad His adherence to eternal truth. Put simply, this means that God’s laws will never change. It also means that He will always continue to know us, love us, and succor us — and He will always do it perfectly.”
“We were of infinite value and were loved unconditionally there, and we are of infinite value and are loved unconditionally here. In my Supreme Father’s eyes, my value does not hinge on my pocketbook or possessions. I am loved without reservation regardless of my choices, failures, or successes. (Note that we are loved unconditionally; we are not blessed unconditionally.)” (pages 100, 101)
I like that last line. Too often I think we attach love to perceived blessings, and if things don’t go our way we or we don’t get the blessings we think we deserve that Heavenly Father must not love us.
The last week or so, the necessity of FAITH has been made apparent to me in several ways. A Glimpse of Heaven carries a clear message of the importance of FAITH in Heavenly Father’s plan and love for us. I was brought to tears more than once, especially near the end of the book.
This book is not about whether or not you believe the author experienced what she shares with readers, it’s about believing in our divinity, our purpose here on earth, and immeasurable worth to our Father in Heaven. At just over 100 pages long, A Glimpse of Heaven is a fast read and one you will want to reach for whenever you are struggling and need a reminder that you are a valuable and irreplaceable child of God.
Just two weeks ago, the residents of Utah celebrated Pioneer Day in honor of the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. I app...moreJust two weeks ago, the residents of Utah celebrated Pioneer Day in honor of the arrival of the Mormon pioneers in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847. I appreciate the hard work and sacrifices these determined people showed throughout their lives. It seems such a shame that so much of their knowledge and work ethic has disappeared over the generations.
I was surprised to read that our ancestors harvested nearly all year long, including during the winter. I am several generations removed from my farming and pioneering ancestors, so I was unaware of several of the aspects of self-sufficiency that the author talks about.
Did you know carrots were originally yellow and purple? I didn’t.
Did you know it’s possible to grow and harvest salad greens in the snow? I can’t wait to try growing some.
In the age of supermarkets and fast food, it would do mankind good to return to a degree of self-sufficiency. In the timeline of history, grocery stores and processed “food products” are brand new concepts. We have become so accustomed to the appearance and taste of the items lining the shelves that it makes one wonder how people lived without Doritos, Oreos, and Diet Coke.
The first half of The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency covers heirloom plants and seeds, expanding the harvest, and storing the harvest. The author shows several examples of these concepts in his own garden and root cellar. He briefly covers pioneer yeast and bread making, then moves on to how to raise and care for your own chickens for the remainder of the book.
While covering several interesting topics, this book doesn’t get into a lot of specifics of how to do these things and does reference additional material. If you have been feeling the pull toward becoming more self-sufficient and are interested in getting a good overview and general direction, The Forgotten Skills of Self-Sufficiency is a good place to start.
When I would ask or remind my kids to do their jobs I would start with a request, then a firm reminder, than a curt demand, which would then turn into...moreWhen I would ask or remind my kids to do their jobs I would start with a request, then a firm reminder, than a curt demand, which would then turn into pleading, yelling, and finally threatening with no guarantee that the threats would work, even when I followed through.
After reading From Pampered to Productive, I now say just one word to get action and effort from previously reluctant kids: Consequences.
With four kids ages 15 (almost), 11, 5 and 3, I experienced a wide range of struggles in getting the kids to help, often hearing “I don’t know how,” or “I need help,” to “Do I HAVE to?” and “I ALWAYS have to do that!”
I was tired of always seeming like the mean mom and feeling guilty for asking my kids to help out.
From Pampered to Productive inspired me to make a few small changes, mostly in my attitude and perception about asking and involving my kids in the FAMILY’S work, and yet the results are impressive in our house. It’s not a miracle or fairy-godmother magic, but sometimes it feels that way. If I had to choose one thing that helped me the most, it was recognizing the housework and yard work as FAMILY work, since we all live here and all benefit from using the house and yard.
As the mom of ten kids, the author knows her stuff. I thought four kids was difficult to manage, but my hat comes off to her. I like how she involves the children in everything from assigning jobs to letting them work out their issues in family council with just a bit of guidance from Mom and Dad. She explains how our “excuses” for not involving the kids in the chores they capable of doing are cheating them out of gaining experience, learning responsibility and how to be self-starters, as well as experiencing that feeling of accomplishment after a job well-done. I love the author’s focus on actions and consequences.
There are four sections, each offering instruction, encouragement and personal stories of both success and struggle from the author. These sections are as follows:
- Changing Your Mind-Set - Delegation – Your Key to Sanity - Eliminating Stumbling Blocks to Your Success - Rewards of Delegation
At 144 pages, the book is not a long read, but the information could be life-changing if you are one of us who struggle with getting kids (and maybe other family members) to do their share.
I highly recommend this book to all parents, including those with little ones who are eager to help. Now is the time to lay the groundwork so that you can hopefully avoid major struggles when your kids get older. (less)
I am so glad I agreed to review Real Intimacy. I’ve connected with and related to more in this book than any other marriage book I’ve read.
Each sectio...moreI am so glad I agreed to review Real Intimacy. I’ve connected with and related to more in this book than any other marriage book I’ve read.
Each section is set up with an in-depth look at the topic, a “Nuts and Bolts” overview (for those who just want to read the basics), and follow-up questions for self-evaluation and discussion with your spouse. I enjoyed reading in-depth, while my husband (who isn’t a big reader) appreciated the “Nuts and Bolts” overview. I thought that we knew each other pretty well after all of our talking these past 16+ years, but several of the discussion questions at the end of each section covered new ground for us.
Even more importantly, I am glad to have this book for my children. My oldest is almost 15, counting down to getting her driver’s permit and not really thinking about marriage yet. In just a few short years, that will change. I appreciate how the authors clarify that there are many levels and aspects to intimacy, that sexual intimacy is only one part of that, and that sexuality is a gift from our Heavenly Father with the power to bond husband and wife together as well as create life.
I love how the authors clarify that a woman’s virtue and purity doesn’t change or disappear after marriage. Here is a quote from that section:
"We teach our young girls to be pure and virtuous, which they should be, but don’t discuss with them how pure and virtuous they will continue to be within the confines of an intimate, marital relationship. Their virtue doesn’t change, it becomes enhanced with the added ability to create life as well as bring “life” to the relationship with their husband."
Real Intimacy covers all four aspects of intimacy: physical, emotional, sexual and spiritual. It also covers the basics of human anatomy (“Sex Ed 101″) and later, the differences in the way men and women’s brains function. The authors don’t shy away from addressing other topics such as husband and wife acting as stewards of their sex life and decided together what specifically is okay or not okay, as well as pornography, internet infidelity, sexual disorders, and when to get professional help.
In the last few years I have witnessed more than one marriage struggle and fail because of neither the husband nor wife understood the concepts addressed in this book. I appreciate the upfront and direct way that the authors address intimacy and sexuality, not as something to be embarrassed about or ashamed of, but as a sacred gift from Heavenly Father to be appreciated and enjoyed.
I highly recommend Real Intimacy to all married or soon-to-be married couples. Intimacy is a precious part of any relationship, and even more so in marriage where a couple is able to experience a level of intimacy found nowhere else. It’s worth the time and effort to protect and develop every aspect of intimacy in marriage, and Real Intimacy is an excellent resource for married couples in all stages of life.
I don’t know Betsy but after reading her book I can tell we would get along famously. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect when I picked up Finished Bei...moreI don’t know Betsy but after reading her book I can tell we would get along famously. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect when I picked up Finished Being Fat. As I read I realized that this was a motivating story about one woman’s journey to finish what she started and not a “diet” book.
I love Betsy’s casual, honest voice. I laughed several times and read many paragraphs to my husband. I related to so much that Betsy wrote, from initial fear of joining a class at the gym and discovering incredible support from my classmates to realizing as I looked at childhood photos of myself that things weren’t as bad as I thought they were at the time.
While I have never aspired to complete a marathon (a 12-minute mile would make me deliriously happy at this point), I admire Betsy for following through with her goal to do just that. Through examples she shares and her lessons learned, I know I don’t have to complete something like a marathon or do something better or faster than someone else for what I finish to be of value, that it’s my attitude and the follow through that makes all the difference.
Every year I choose one little word (via Ali Edwards) to be my motivation for the year. Ironically, my one little word for last year was FINISH. Only I didn’t actually finish anything that I initially set out to do. As the new year approached and I considered what word to choose for 2013 I thought long and hard about why I failed to finish any of what I had planned to complete in 2012.
When Betsy mentioned “starter’s high” I knew exactly what she was talking about. I love the excitement of starting something new but boredom, fear, insecurity, or life always got in the way. I soon realized that I was letting perfectionism and fear hold me back. So I chose COURAGE as my one little word for 2013. Courage to be imperfect. Courage to recognize insecurity and overcome it. Courage to leave behind things that really don’t matter. Courage to FINISH.
I enjoyed every minute I spent reading Finished Being Fat. It’s a quick read full of honesty and humor. I highly recommend it to everyone whether you have struggled with weight issues or not. The subject matter goes beyond health and fitness, encouraging readers to experience the sense of accomplishment and self-worth that comes with finishing what you start.
Dinnertime in my family often includes passing around the “conversation jar,” an old glass peanut butter jar full of strips of paper with questions and trivia designed to start family discussion. When the opportunity came to review Table Talk, I jumped at the chance, curious to see how the questions compared to our usual verbal dinnertime fare.
I was delighted to find a wide variety of subjects covered, from civil issues and practical matters (like emergency preparedness) to more personal and spiritual questions designed to explore deeper issues. I like the related quotes on each page, some of which are humorous. The day I received the review PDF I presented some of the new material to my family. The second question in the book (“Have you ever had someone close to you die?”) as well as the follow-up questions (“What were your feelings at the time? What do you believe happens to a person’s soul when they die?”) gave my husband and I the opportunity to check in with our children and discuss how they were feeling about Grandma passing away now that some time has gone by. We had a great conversation with our older daughters that went beyond the scope of those initial three questions.
The next night’s question (“My most embarrassing moment was when _______.”) provided a welcome change from the heavy discussion of the night before. My older kids had a good laugh at my expense. And, no, I’m not going to share my most embarrassing moment in this post. Let’s just say both my pride and my hands and knees were bruised that night.
I appreciate the open-ended format, especially about topics that I hadn’t considered asking my kids. “What responsibilities do individual states have?” and “If you could ask God one question, what would your question be?” are just two examples. With some questions I will have to do some research online beforehand, especially in regard to the more political and academic subjects. (Hey, it’s been a while since high school AP Government class. I’m a little rusty.)
I am excited to continue our nightly dinnertime conversations with Table Talk. I highly recommend it to families of all shapes and sizes.(less)