The Practical Prepper accomplishes its goal of presenting practical ways to achieve a higher level of preparedness in a varying number of living situaThe Practical Prepper accomplishes its goal of presenting practical ways to achieve a higher level of preparedness in a varying number of living situations. It begins with the basics then expands into more in-depth methods for long-term or extreme circumstances, providing a “line upon line” style progression for readers to consider and implement as they continue on their preparedness journey. There are several pages of sources in the “Notes” section at the end of the book for those who would like to read more on the subjects addressed in each chapter.
The authors are thorough and flexible in their coverage of needs and options to fulfill those needs. They respect each other’s different opinions on what is “enough” yet still consider the other’s requirements for feeling secure.They have experimented with several of the products, circumstances, and methods they discuss in their book. They are honest about their results as well, which I appreciate. They also link to several resources on their blog to help readers become more prepared for emergencies.
What you won’t find here are detailed lists of exactly what to store. The authors do give general recommendations and offer sources of where to find more information, but they know that there isn’t one perfect food storage or preparedness plan that will fit everyone. They aren’t rigid in their recommendations or forceful in their opinions. They are, however, emphatic about safety and doing whatever works best for the reader.
A first I felt a little overwhelmed and depressed at the long list of disasters that could happen and the direness of what my circumstances would be if any of them happened today. I know my family is far from prepared to survive for long if the worst were to happen.
However, as I continued reading The Practical Prepper, I started to feel more empowered to take steps to change that. I may not ever be as self-sustaining as someone who lives on a farm with a root cellar and a huge garden, but I don’t need to be to improve my family’s chances of survival.
I read this book cover to cover, curious about the suggestions the authors presented for each circumstance. I was inspired, shocked, and entertained by some of the examples given of how other people have planned for emergencies. (The Chunky soup and rice idea sure makes it easy to knock out at least one or two dinners a week in my emergency menu plan, though!)
I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to be more prepared for an emergency. It’s a resource I think “preppers” of all levels will find useful. I am definitely more inspired to get my preparedness show on the road, and I thank Kylene and Jonathan for their efforts to educate others on how to not just survive, but thrive, in an emergency.
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review -- www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI: received a free digital review copy in exchange for an honest review....more
4.5 stars -- I finished The Lincoln Hypothesis in one sitting. Once I started reading, I was intrigued and didn’t want to stop. The author’s life expe4.5 stars -- I finished The Lincoln Hypothesis in one sitting. Once I started reading, I was intrigued and didn’t want to stop. The author’s life experiences and study give him a unique perspective on the subjects discussed in this book.
While I am not a scholar of US history, I do enjoy reading about it. However, I have never before considered Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War quite this way. I enjoyed the writing style and voice of the author. My curiosity and the presentation of events kept me interested to the end.
Obviously there is no way to know beyond a doubt whether Abraham Lincoln actually read the Book of Mormon, but the evidence, as presented by the author, is quite convincing. Whether he did or not, that Lincoln was a man of God is undeniable. It was worth the read for me simply to learn a little more about the man that lead our country during such a tumultuous time.
One of the places where The Lincoln Hypothesis held the most power for me was in Chapter 12: “Answering the Critics.” Here, the author makes some excellent points, especially for LDS critics of Lincoln. Due to the nature of his work, the author has no qualms about bringing the matter to a personal level and it makes a powerful impact.
He also gets down to the heart of things for us in current times. Below is only one of many quotes that stood out to me:
"The people of Lincoln’s day learned the hard way what we Americans need to learn immediately, particularly as we continue to legislate and codify immorality in the land. They learned that things will turn out very badly if man attempts to amend or reinterpret the American covenant. One cannot employ darkness under the banner of God’s promised land." –page 176
Perhaps the most important points made by the author are that we live in a covenant nation, these covenants were made by the early leaders of this nation, and we are responsible for honoring and upholding these covenants or we will bring upon ourselves the consequences of breaking them. Whether you believe that Lincoln read the Book of Mormon or not, Latter-day Saints know, through our study of the Book of Mormon, that this country is a land of promise and those nations who have previously broken covenants with God on this continent have suffered horrible and tragic fates.
I have been inspired to read more about Abraham Lincoln, and intend to do so with the prophesies of prophets like Isaiah, Mormon, and Joseph Smith in mind. I recommend The Lincoln Hypothesis to anyone interested in history or curious about the parallels between Joseph Smith and Abraham Lincoln.
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review -- www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI: received a free hardcover in exchange for an honest review. ...more
Reading Marriage Isn’t For You literally took me five minutes, yet within that five-minute read is a message that has impacted millions. Such authentiReading Marriage Isn’t For You literally took me five minutes, yet within that five-minute read is a message that has impacted millions. Such authenticity and honesty carries power, perhaps because those qualities are rare these days. Despite having “marriage” in the title, this book applies to relationships of all types.
While Marriage Isn’t For You would make a great gift for every new couple, make sure you buy a copy for yourself first and keep it visible. When things get tense (and they will), when frustration sets in (because it does), when anger threatens to overwhelm, pick up this book and take a five-minute time-out. Read it and remember: Marriage Isn’t For You, It’s for the One You Love.
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review - www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI: received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review....more
Horse whispering has always fascinated me. I love watching horse whisperers at work. They have immense amounts of patience (which I don’t have) and aHorse whispering has always fascinated me. I love watching horse whisperers at work. They have immense amounts of patience (which I don’t have) and a deep understanding of horses (which I also don’t have). They seem to know the animals better than the horses know themselves. They put themselves in the horses’ place, opening their hearts and minds to the needs and fears of some of God’s most beautiful creatures. In order to do what they do, they must love the horses, and put the animals’ concerns and feelings before their own desires to get the job done and get it done quickly.
Read that first paragraph again, substituting the word “husband” or “children” for horses, and you will understand where I was before reading The Husband Whisperer.
While I received encouragement to keep doing what is working in my marriage relationship, I was even more inspired to apply these principles to other relationships in my life, particularly my children–especially my teenagers. In fact, I believe a more appropriate title for this book would be The Family Whisperer, or even The People Whisperer.
When I first started reading The Husband Whisperer, I expected it to be more of a specific and detailed situational how-to book. For example, when your hubby does this, this is what he was thinking, and now you understand him better. In actuality, it is more personal and inspiring to me than that formulaic example. Through an easy-to-read, personable writing style and a touch of humor, the author strives to help women recognize their value and worth. He encourages women to see their divine nature and understand that their role is equally important in marriage as their husband’s role.
I appreciate how he explains, in scriptural context, that the term “preside” as used in The Family: A Proclamation to the World means to “watch over” rather than be the big boss man (my words, not the author’s). I love his example of a fortress with two leaders of equal rank. One is charged with maintaining the outer defenses and watching for dangers, the other is responsible for the care of the people and supplies inside the fortress. Both stewardships are equal in significance, neither role is less important than the other, each requires a different yet essential set of skills, and they cannot effectively fulfill their assigned roles without each other.
There is so much more here than marital counsel, which felt like a smaller though still important part of the book. The author focuses on spiritual subjects such as heavenly communication, forgiveness, self-image, having convictions, seeking the Spirit, and listening to the promptings of the Holy Ghost. All of these aspects play an integral role in how we see ourselves and how we interact with others.
The Husband Whisperer is not heavy on marital advice. It certainly isn’t a book on husband manipulation. Instead it encourages women to recognize their spiritual talents, their divine worth, and their immense influence on those around them. By developing the spiritual attributes in which women are physiologically designed to excel, we can exemplify love and strength. We can teach our children with conviction and with the Spirit. We can be husband whisperers, children whisperers, family whisperers, people whisperers.
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review -- www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI: free digital PDF copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review....more
It’s been a while since I’ve sailed through a nonfiction book as quickly as I did Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?. Only eight pages into it, IIt’s been a while since I’ve sailed through a nonfiction book as quickly as I did Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?. Only eight pages into it, I read the words Michelle had told herself during her day-long pity party and heard their familiar echo in my mind. Soon I was asking myself, “Who is this woman? And how does she know me so well??”
Michelle’s voice is genuine. Her writing style is fun and easy to read. The stories that she shares in relation to the principles she discusses are quick, relatable, effective, and often entertaining. I exhausted a pad of Post-Its leaving notes on pages I wanted to reread and highlight. I look forward to going back through the book and revisiting those paragraphs that inspired me.
“We are not required to be all things, but we are asked to do our best. We are to magnify who we are, not necessarily what we do. An immaculate house, perfectly behaved children, and an unbroken record of punctuality will not matter if our character is tainted with pride, anger, selfishness…and guilt.” –page 46
I laughed out loud several times. I truly enjoy her sense of humor. Michelle knows how to intermingle the funny and the serious without detracting from the spiritual message.
I cried at least half a dozen times but in a hopeful, I-needed-to-hear-that kind of way. I appreciated the sincerity I felt from her. I loved her message of Perspective and how strongly she advocates for women to see themselves as Heavenly Father sees them.
The Nine Expectations she outlines are excellent. They fill me with hope. I plan to print them and hang them where I can see them every day.
One of the analogies Michelle shared that really stood out to me was the story of when her daughter really wanted to help her, but she kept saying no, preferring to accomplish the tasks on her own.
“We so deeply want to be heard and to be helped, but when the help comes, we often turn it away. Sometimes we feel unworthy of His help. Sometimes we are prideful and don’t want to be helped in His way…It is up to us to hear Him and accept His answers. It is up to us to let Him help us.“ –page 68
Some time later, her daughter asked again and she accepted her help. After they were finished, her little daughter thanked her, gave her mom a hug, and told her she really loved her. Through my tears, I read the following:
“I looked down at her and realized that her desire to help me wasn’t just because she liked to help. It was because she loved me. … Heavenly Father sends help to us not because He doubts our abilities but because He loves us…” –pages 69-70
There is so much more. I could go on and on. I highly recommend Does This Insecurity Make Me Look Fat?. It is worth every one of the five stars I’m giving it.
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review - www.ldswbr.com Free paperback review copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review....more
In Happiness is a Habit, author Michele Phillips strives to inspire readers to adopt new habits into their lives. She says “If all you did was add a nIn Happiness is a Habit, author Michele Phillips strives to inspire readers to adopt new habits into their lives. She says “If all you did was add a new habit every 90 days, in five years you would have accumulated 20 new, positive, life-inspiring habits…”
In the introductory chapters, Michele briefly shares her history and the events that led her to where she is now. Chapter Four introduces the first of 44 habits that have helped elevate Michele’s happiness over the last several years. The chapters are only a few pages long, and each one ends with a few suggestions to help develop that particular habit. The range of habits discussed cover both physical and emotional aspects of daily life. There are several quotes and anecdotes to help motivate and inspire the reader.
Michele is a really happy person and it comes through in her writing. It’s easy to see how much she wants to inspire happiness in others on whatever level she can. One passage I really liked was in the chapter detailing “Habit 37: Nourish Your Passion.”
“When you are passionate and enthusiastic you are being lifted to a higher space. You are exhibiting the spirit of God within yourself. When you feel this excitement and passion grow within you, I believe that this is God’s way of telling you that you are on the right path.” –page 155
In the conclusion, Michele explains four steps to help implement new habits into your life. Though this is not a thick book, it contains a lot of information. The short chapters are perfect for reading one each day/week/month or whenever you are ready to move on to the next new habit. If you are looking for inspiration and motivation to help you add joy to your life, Happiness is a Habit might be just the book for you.
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review - www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI: received a free paperback copy in exchange for an honest review...more
Sherri Mills’ listening ear has heard it all over her many years as a salon owner and hair stylist. After watching yet another marriage fail, she deciSherri Mills’ listening ear has heard it all over her many years as a salon owner and hair stylist. After watching yet another marriage fail, she decided to take on the enemies of miscommunication and societal “norms” in the fight to save marriages.
Marriage 101 for Men is a continuation of her first book, but geared toward men. I have yet to read I Almost Divorced My Husband, But I Went on Strike Instead, so I don’t know how the information and format compare. This follow-up is simple and straightforward, broken up in to small sections, with Reminder bullet-points at the end of each chapter, perfect for revisiting often.
Sherri doesn’t mince words. She expresses her observations and concerns for her clients in the direct manner that stems from seeing it all and brooking no time for the petty stuff, yet with a concern and care that comes from knowing and serving these people for years.
My favorite chapters were “‘Help’ is a Four-Letter Word” and “Sharing Versus ‘Helping’ End Nagging.” These chapters contain what I consider the crux of Sherri’s message: Men need to stop “helping” and start “owning” their portion of the household jobs, and women need to let go of their “do it all” mentality and communicate their needs to their husbands. When man and wife share the load of householder duties, they both have more time and energy for fun, in more ways than one.
The book goes on to explain how to do this with the use of a printed and signed “Fair Marriage Contract,” clearly stating the expectations and duties that each partner will own and complete. She also includes a copy of the contract, as well as lists with a variety of household jobs for each partner to select as theirs.
While directed toward men, women will benefit from reading this book with their husbands. There was a bit of repetition from chapter to chapter, with some of the same quotes and concepts from earlier sections stated again later in the book. This may not be bad thing, though, since it would be a good idea to revisit certain sections from time to time and some of these good points could be missed.
Both newlywed and not-so-newlywed couples will benefit from reading Marriage 101 for Men and deciding now how to prevent miscommunications and the resentment that forms due to an unbalanced division of labor. My husband and I both look forward to sitting down to negotiate our own “Fair Marriage Contract” and divvy up the household jobs we are willing to own. Though the “no nag” agreement might be difficult at first, I think this is going to be a very good thing.
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review - www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI - received a free review copy in exchange for an honest review...more
It is more difficult every day to find movies without objectionable material. Author Jonathan Decker has set out to make the decision of “What to watcIt is more difficult every day to find movies without objectionable material. Author Jonathan Decker has set out to make the decision of “What to watch?” easier for us. His book, 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, is a useful resource for those who are looking for clean, enjoyable movies they can watch with their families.
An insight shared by the author had significant impact on me and the way I view certain content in media. In the “What Makes a Good Movie?” section, Jonathan explains that he used to feel every instance of media he watched should comply to the letter of the law, and any amount of violence or language or innuendo that he saw made him feel guilty. His eyes were opened after hearing President Monson refer to uplifting themes in the musical Camelot during a talk, the same play that made Jonathan feel uncomfortable during one of the songs where Lancelot sings of his love for Guinevere, a married woman. The author then recalls a BYU film professor’s words: “The portrayal of something is not the same thing as condoning it.”
Jonathan goes on to say something I consider profound:
“I realized that, in art and entertainment, sometimes darkness must be portrayed in order to contrast it with the light. There is no good without evil, and both must be depicted for righteousness to be promoted.” –page 9
Jonathan does not use this truth as an excuse to disregard standards, however. He includes content information in every movie review so that the reader can decide for his/herself what they are comfortable viewing and what they want to avoid. I love that he does this. I also enjoy his concise but informative reviews and his grading system.
I appreciate the “Messages to Discuss” as much as the “Content Overviews” in each review. Included here are the scriptural themes, with scripture references and quotes from Church leaders, that can be found in each film. Not only is this a great way to start family discussion in general, but when you need to plan a last minute Family Home Evening, the scriptures and quotes provided keep it spiritual.
As I flipped through the pages and read his reviews, I came across a number of movies I hadn’t seen, some I had never heard of, as well as some long-time favorites. The classics appear alongside more modern films. The three indexes at the end (organized by Genre, Gospel Topic, and Rating) are incredibly handy.
I think 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families will become a staple in many LDS homes. I look forward to referring to it many times in the future when choosing movies for my family. I hope Jonathan is already working on the next installment.
Review originally published on LDS Women's Book Review - www.ldswbr.com FTC FYI: free digital review copy in exchange for an honest review....more
I’ve always enjoyed reading about history, but often it is weighed down with excessive facts and details. Not so with The Mark of a Giant. It did notI’ve always enjoyed reading about history, but often it is weighed down with excessive facts and details. Not so with The Mark of a Giant. It did not read like a history textbook, but instead felt more like sitting down with a knowledgable acquaintance and listening to their engaging retelling of history.
The author offers an efficient yet educational overview of the events surrounding each individual, their personal circumstances and the state of the world at the time they lived. His love of historical setting is apparent and the resulting “big picture” view is something I truly appreciate.
It is inspiring and humbling to read about the circumstances surrounding these peoples’ lives and their accomplishments. I had heard of or read about everyone except Pericles. My curiosity has been piqued and I’m motivated to learn more about them.
It amazes me how, despite the diversity of lifestyle, location, and personal background, each standard, belief system, discovery and accomplishment served another that was to come. They are each connected in some way and had long term effects on the entire world throughout the passage of time. This proves again the importance of studying history and those who came before us.
While the author acknowledges that these seven people were human, made mistakes, and struggled with weaknesses, he states that this only proves that imperfect people can do great things. In conclusion, he addresses the specific traits that set these individuals apart and paved the way for them to do the work they set out to do.
The Mark of a Giant is a fascinating read that I will revisit again when I need reminding that it is through the hard work, persistence, courage and faith of people like you and me that the Lord’s work is accomplished on this earth.
I love a clean cover with lots of white space and simple, eye-catching art. With a question for a title and the dichotomy of the subtitle, I was intriI love a clean cover with lots of white space and simple, eye-catching art. With a question for a title and the dichotomy of the subtitle, I was intrigued from the start. How can our being “special” be both a truth AND a lie? It definitely urged me to read on and find out how it all fit together.
Being told all throughout childhood that we were a special generation that would lead the way into the millennium, etc., unintentionally encouraged me to have a somewhat inflated attitude regarding myself and those of my generation in the Church.There is an emphasis in my generation’s culture about feeling special and making sure your kids feel special. I have always felt like there was something wrong with that but couldn’t quite explain why. Now I understand that it isn’t recognizing that we are special that’s the problem, it’s feeling MORE special than someone else that is the real issue.
The authors state that being separated from our Father in Heaven during our time in mortality creates a void that Satan takes advantage of, tempting us to follow selfish, denigrating interests to fill what only a close relationship with our Father can only ever truly fill. It is that strong and special bond we enjoyed before this life that we miss and often end up trying to replace with empty, meaningless and even harmful pursuits.
They go on to explain the TRUTH and the LIE: While we, as children of God, are indeed special to Him, as members of the Church, we might mistakenly consider ourselves of more worth to Heavenly Father than His other children. We ARE special to our Heavenly Father, but we are not MORE special to Him.
“We can believe the adversary’s lie and try to fill our void with the false belief that we are better than others rather than lowly and humble servants of all.” –Are We Special?
The chapter examining the Pharisees had the most impact on me. I am guilty of sitting in Sunday School, answering “No” to the question, “Are you like the Pharisees of old?” After reading this section, I have learned there is a subtlety to these Pharisaical characteristics that, at one time or another, I have indeed been guilty of possessing.
Another section that really stood out to me was entitled “Sin and Perfection.” I have had issues with perfectionism most of my life, and there was one sentence that opened my eyes in a way that nothing else has previously. The authors explain that the root of the word translated into “perfect” in certain scriptures of the Bible means “whole” or “complete,” which I had previously known but had never considered in the context of my current relationship with my Savior:
“Perfection, understood relationally, is not a property of the individual; it is a quality of relationship with the divine.” –Are We Special?
The authors don’t just focus on the ways we struggle with being self-centered, modern-day Pharisees. They also discuss how we can be true disciples of Christ, submitting our will to His and accepting the fullness of His love so that we can truly love others.
"He delighted in the happiness of others, the happiness He could bring them." –Are We Special?
They encourage readers to take time to meditate and reflect, staying mindful about activities and if they are helping to develop a closer relationship with Christ. Each chapter and section is full of layers and depth that I did not expect and that have changed so much about the way I view myself and others, including my Savior and Father in Heaven. Everything relates back to the Savior and His Atonement for us, as well as the immense and incomprehensible Love that He and Heavenly Father have for every one of us.
Without hesitation, I recommend this book to everyone. There is wisdom and insight in this book to which my review cannot do justice. I will be purchasing copies of Are We Special? for myself and several loved ones. Visit the links below to learn more about Are We Special?, the authors, and how to purchase a copy for yourself.
Reading How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces was just what I needed this past week/month/15 years. There were so many things I loved and apReading How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces was just what I needed this past week/month/15 years. There were so many things I loved and appreciated about this book. If you are a mother or know a mother, finish reading this review, then go right out and buy a copy of this book.
"Do you love motherhood? Your answer is probably mixed. Yes, we all enjoy being moms, but man, is it hard! We are stretched to the limit, more maxed-out than a credit card, and weary in body and soul. Ours is the work of angels, but it is work." (page 11)
I love that Rebecca addresses the issue of guilt early on in the book. It’s a serious issue that so many mothers struggle with, myself included. When I get my hands on a hardcopy, “Chapter 2: How to Win When You Just Can’t Win” is going to be the most underlined section of the book, followed closely by the chapter about perfectionism.
"Moms have only one supervisor: ourselves. So we make up for that by becoming our own worst critics. We correct and cross-check and second-guess ourselves until we can’t see straight." (page 14)
I loved the visual comparison of the things holding us back to barnacles on a ship. I loved the idea of a “Judgement Free Zone” where there are “No critics allowed.” I loved the spin she put on “How Not to Make Everything Work” in Chapter 12. I loved her conversational, comfortable writing style, like reading an encouraging email from a friend. I loved the examples and quotes from poems, prophets and scriptures shared throughout the book. I loved the The Motherhood Quiz at the end. (After 15 years of mothering, I Aced that thing. Which means I sound a lot more like my mom than I thought.)
"Even on the best days, those have-it-all-together days, we still have to admit that perfection is painfully far away." (page 21)
I highly recommend How to Have Peace When You’re Falling to Pieces. I read the book straight through and look forward to going back to read certain sections when I need a boost or a reminder. I’m pretty sure every mother I know can relate to the thoughts, feelings, and experiences Rebecca shares. I don’t usually give star ratings on my LDSWBR reviews, but this one gets 5 stars from me.