GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Trick-or-Treat 2010


We went trick-or-treating yesterday in my in-laws neighborhood and the children enjoyed themselves.  They lasted about one hour and 5 minutes and then it was time to head back to Grandpa and Grandma’s house for a hot dog roast (since we don’t usually eat dinner before T&T),  s’mores making and hot cocoa.  A friend of mine and her son, who is friends with my children met us and we all went together.

Just my three

This is their candy after I combined all three bags.  This is the bowl I use to make a 4 or 5 X batch of pancake batter if that gives you an idea of how big it is.

I made each child their own bags, it has candy corns on it with black lining.  I like these better than the scary, evil type found in stores and this is something that they’ll be able to use year after year or even through out fall.  The children were  so excited and kept telling me thank you over and over.

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The Old Schoolhouse Primary Planner


If you have a K-3 grade student and you’d like them to be more independent in their work then check out the new Primary Planner from The Old Schoolhouse.  This planner is a way for busy moms (or dads) to find some semblance of organization especially if you have more than one child and need to educate them all.  With many forms such as; weekly planning, memory work, early elementary book reports, family tree, chronological Bible reading, and more in these 203 pages.

Print only what you need or print it all, with monthly calendars through August 2011 and the other forms this will make the parent’s job so much easier in having the child take more pride in their work and managing their time wisely.  The planner is only $9.95 (or you can purchase a bundle of two planners like Secondary and Primary for $11.94).   This is an awesome planner for the money and chock full of items that would be of interest to the parent who wants to get their child organized.

**I was provided a copy of the Primary Planner by The Old Schoolhouse in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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MamaBuzz Tour: "The Next Great Move of God" by Dr. LaSalle Vaughn


ISBN:   978-1935265054

Pages:  226

Publisher:  VMI Publishers

More information:  “Next Great Move of God”  or  Amazon

About the Book:

The Next Great Move of God(Book by Dr. LaSalle Vaughn).
This author Dr. LaSalle Vaughn has written The Next Great Move of God-Christians Returning To Their Hebraic Roots. This book asks the question, “Have you ever considered the Jewishness of Jesus?” Most Christians are well versed on the topic of salvation but never leave the foot of the cross. As a result, they are likely to live defeated lives and experience many years of struggle and frustration. The purpose of this book is to equip people to look at the Bible through Hebrew eyes, helping to understand the need to be obedient to the entire Bible in a daily walk.

About Dr. LaSalle Vaughn (the author):

Dr. LaSalle Vaughn is the grassroots authority and advocate at the forefront of “the next great move of God,” which is Christians returning to their Hebraic roots. In addition to building the New Beginnings Children’s Home at Canaan Land Ranch a place of love, hope, and restoration for abused children, and authoring over fifteen books, he pastors one of the largest multicultural, multicolored congregations returning to their Hebraic roots in San Antonio, Texas.

When it comes to taking difficult and even controversial spiritual subjects and making them understandable, no one can do it more eloquently than Dr. Vaughn does. Vaughn is the quintessential teacher who himself studies under the leaders in this biblical field.

My Opinion:

I haven’t not finished this book but I am almost half way through and so far I am learning so much from it.  I do see a need for Christians today to embrace Jesus’ Jewishness, while not all of us will start keeping kosher or speaking Hebrew (and no I haven’t read that the author thinks this either) we seem to have lost sight that Jesus was in fact a Jew.  There is not shame in that and the God we all serve is one that has grafted us Christians or Gentiles into that family! 

One thing that I especially found myself agreeing with was the fact that some Christian churches preach that there are two different Gods.  I’ve never understood this, since the Bible tells us that God is the same today as He was yesterday and will be tomorrow.  The God of the Old Testament and the God of the New Testament are one in the same, and it seems that churches today have decided to create a new modern God – one that doesn’t condemn sin or looks the other way – when that isn’t the case at all.

Since I haven’t finished the book I can’t say for sure if I’ll go on enjoying it, but I must say the first half has been very interesting and enlightening.  While I wouldn’t consider myself a Messianic (since I’m not Jewish and can’t convert) or a Hebraic Christian (I do enjoy celebrating Christmas as the time of our Saviour’s birth) but I can see how embracing our rich Hebraic culture can give us a more meaningful look into our Faith as Christians.

**I was provided a copy of this book through Bring It On Communications in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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TOS Crew: PG Key


Vendor Name: PG Key

Vendor Contact Information: 1-800-301-8698 

 Name of Product: PG Key

Price of Product: $49.99 

Age Range: all ages

Other Products from Vendor: n/a

If you are like me and have children who use the computer then the PG Key is a tool you’ll need!  Even if your computer is in a common area of the house you still cannot be monitoring every chat conversation or every post on their Twitter account and that is where PG Key comes into play.  It takes only a few minutes to install and then your children know that you are watching even if you aren’t leaning over their shoulder every few minutes.  Simply plug into an available USB port and it will load automatically and from there you can set up accounts and protection specifics.  If you’re like me and have only one USB port I did remove the PG Key when I need to use my flash drive but my children could not access the computer until I plugged the PG Key back in.

Some of what the PG Key can do:

  • Block Content
  • Review Sites Visited
  • No monthly fee
  • Key word notification
  • and more!

PG Key will record up to 60 hours on computer activity, online and offline, and you’ll be able to watch it back like a video slide show.  You’ll see any chats, social network visits, emails, games, all of it – whether or not your child can be trusted there are others out there who can’t be and will do anything to get at your child – PG Key can give you a little more peace of mind.  By setting up separate accounts for each child or family member you can allot a certain amount of time and once that time up they’re done, unless you give them more time.  With no monthly fee and only one PG Key needed for each computer this is a great solution for families who want added security.

**I was provided a PG Key by the PG Key company in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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Playdough Creations


My children, especially my son, Christian loves to create things with play dough.  The other day both of my youngers, Bethanne and Christian, created some things.  I like to take pictures as there is less clutter and we don’t have crumbling dried out play dough laying around.

This is Christian’s pizza!

Bethanne made a ‘plaque’ that said mom, she used the tines of a play fork for the ‘M’ and her finger for the ‘O’

Then she made a lobster on some rocks (I guess you’d call it a ‘rock lobster’):

Some days can be tiring as a mom and wife but there are days that make everything worth it and this was one of those days.  To think I’d have missed this if I was working or they were in school –  I’m thankful to God that I get to stay home and enjoy my children (and their creations).

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David C. Cook

September 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4347-6537-6

236 pages

trade paperback

$14.99

Rachel Olsen

 About the Book:

Have you ever known a woman who always seems to be at peace and wondered: What does she know that I don’t know? What’s her secret?
 
Meanwhile, your attempts at mastering life are hindered by an exhausting schedule, unpaid bills, relational conflicts, and a growing to-do list.
 
Rachel Olsen’s book It’s No Secret: Revealing Divine Truths Every Woman Should Know offers candid answers for the busy, fragmented, surface-level lives of women longing to live well and love deeply. What they’re longing for, Olsen insists, is life in God’s Kingdom. With a combination of wit and wisdom, Olsen reveals twelve truths in It’s No Secret that will cultivate more meaningful relationships with others and a richer connection with God.
 
Olsen begins by uncovering the secret to understanding the teachings of God’s Word—a personal relationship with Christ. Christ alone can open our eyes, ears, and hearts to Himself, and once we commit to following Him, He takes us on grand adventures we scarcely could imagine.
 
Intimately referring to her readers as her “Yahweh Sisters,” Olsen shows believers how to embody God’s hidden wisdom for vibrant life. Olsen helps readers:
 
·          Find the key to the hidden truths of the Kingdom of God—His sublime secrets.
·          Experience the satisfaction of growing spiritually despite life’s setbacks.
·          Push aside the tyranny of perfectionism to experience the relief of God’s grace.
·          View rest not as a “have-to” but as a “get-to.”
·          Learn to handle conflicts and criticisms with grace.
·          Discover how to make what you give away ultimately come back to you.
·          Dig into the Bible and understand what’s found there.
                                                                         
Olsen boldly states that the secrets she reveals run counter to what our culture tells us about successful living. She assures, however, that even though our abandon to God is costly, selling out to God truly pays divinely.
 
“God receives us as we are, washes us in Christ’s blood, fills us with living water, places a secret-decoder ring on our finger, promises us a future marriage to His own Son, and begins fashioning us into divine bling. Why? Because He created us to reflect His beautiful image,” Olsen contends. “We know where to find forgiveness, deliverance, sound counsel, comfort, security, and restoration.” As Christ-followers, we get to be His secret-keepers and His secret-revealers to those around us still striving and still wondering, What am I missing?
 
Olsen answers, It’s no secret.

My Opinion:

This was a very enjoyable book and Bible study to read through, I found myself wanting to have a fellow Sister to go through it with me.  Each chapter takes only a few minutes to read through but if you let the word sink in they’ll hopefully open you to truths that are found in the Word of God.  At the end of each chapter are insightful study questions that you can complete on your own, with a Sister or even as part of a group study.  While I couldn’t identify with the author’s love of shopping what she wrote I found to be Biblically sound. 

You could read  chapter a day and work through the study throughout the day or take more time to let God’s Word sink into your life and do a chapter a week and complete the questions over the course of that week.  I love the options that you have with this study and I love it even more as the Truths of God’s Word were opened by reading this book.  I’m not saying you have to read “It’s No Secret” to know what God says but with this study it’s almost like you have a best friend and Sister sitting next you discussing what it is that He reveals.

**I was provided a copy of this book from David C. Cook  in exchange for my honest review, no other compensation was given.

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Country Bob's All Purpose Sauce


I had the pleasure of trying out some Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce (the white labeled bottle) and I was so pleased, as were my husband and my children!  I didn’t know when I signed up to review this product that Christ is their CEO, this company was started in 1968 after Country Bob Edson perfected his sauce, he began selling it in 1977.  I love the fact the fact that they give all credit to the Lord, using verse Proverbs 16:3, they (the four owners) know that true ownership belongs to God.

I’m not going to assume that the reason why their product is so delicious is because they keep God as their CEO, but it has to play a part (Christians know if we keep God in our life and focus on Him we’ll be blessed).  This sauce is really good, we’ve had BBQ and other all purpose sauces, but this one takes the cake.  It’s slightly tangy but not overwhelming, a little spicy but not so much it sends you running for a glass of milk – it’s just good.   We used it on our pork chops for one meal and on some meatballs for another – it made the house smell wonderful as it simmered away.

I know it’s hard to take someone’s word on a blog review about how good a food product is and that is why I’m happy to tell you that you can request a coupon for a FREE bottle of Country Bob’s All Purpose Sauce by visiting the Free Bottle page.  While I could tell you all day that my family and I really enjoyed this sauce, you need to try for yourself.  If you want to see a myriad of ideas for using Country Bob’s Sauces then check out their recipe page with recipes for appetizers, entrees, soups and stews, and more.

Product review & giveaway disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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"Christians are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You've Been Told" by Bradley R.E. Wright, PhD


Price: $14.99
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0746-4
ISBN-10: 0-7642-0746-6
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
Number of pages: 256
Carton Quantity: 48
Publication Date: Jul. 10
Formats: Paperback

About the Author:

Bradley R.E. Wright, PhD is an associate professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut. After receiving tenure, he switched his academic focus from crime to religion in order to research American Christianity. Brad received his PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin, the top-ranked sociology graduate program in the United States. He has a popular blog (brewight.com) based on his research. Brad is married with two children and lives in Storrs, Connecticut.
About the Book:
 

Here are some facts that may surprise you: 

  • Evangelicals are more respected by society today than they were twenty years ago.
  • Divorce rates of Christian couples are lower than those of nonbelievers.
  • The percentage of young people who attend church has held steady over the past twenty years.

All these statements are true, yet we’ve been told the opposite time and time again. Why is the church being misled? And what is the true state of Christianity in America today?

Sociologist Brad Wright shatters popular myths by sifting through the best available data. He reveals how Christians are doing when it comes to everything from marriage and morality to church growth and public perception. While not all the news is good, it turns out there is a wealth of encouraging information that we’re not being told.

Get the truth behind the statistics you’ve been hearing and how the numbers are being manipulated, and discover what is really happening in American Christianity.

My Opinion:

If you enjoy statistics and graphs then this book is for you, but also for anyone who wants to know how popular secular and Christian media are portraying Christians to all who watch.  Not everything we’re being told is true – not really surprising all news is going to be slanted toward whatever they believe – but you’d think Christians would portray less doom and gloom and more reality.

While I don’t do good with stats and bar graphs, I found this book to be enlightening and while I think that the author is more optimistic than others about what is going on in the Christian community I do think there are some truths to other Christian media reports.  This book does attempt to be fair and balanced on reporting of data gathered and it’s really neat to look at graphs and see how Christians fair to those of other faiths like Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhist, Hindus and others.  I found it interesting that Hindus have the highest rates of college graduates than other religions including Christianity.  You can form your own opinion on that and what I’d like to know is are Christians loosing their faith while being taught by liberal professors?  The author touches on this idea and some of his other findings as he describes the graphs and what is being reported.

This book is a must reat if you want something a bit more optimisitc on our Faith, but it won’t be a read in a day type of book since there is much information to digest and go through.  I think you’ll find it a worthwhile read and in the end you may come away thinking better about Christians (and your own belief in our Lord) than you have in a long time.

**I was provided a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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Battle-Ready Moms Raising Battle-Ready Kids by Reba Bowman

ISBN: 978-1615796717

Publisher: Xulon Press

Date of publish: Dec 29, 2009

Pages: 220

S.R.P.: $15.99

About the Book:

Today’s mother is in a war for the lives of her children. Tweens and teens face life’s toughest decisions as they are bombarded with input from the media and their peers. Their minds are spinning with the weight of relationships, fashion, sex, drugs and problems with their parents. And the Enemy wants them to fail. Standing in the trenches, desperate to raise children who make good choices and love God, moms are hard-pressed for an answer to their most urgent question: What can I do?

In Battle-Ready Moms Raising Battle-Ready Kids, Reba Bowman tackles this topic head-on, explaining how mothers must stand brave and strong, ready to serve as watchmen over their children’s lives and battle the forces that threaten to pull them away from the Lord. Outlining the reasons to fight, the tools to fight with, and the motivation to keep fighting, she helps parents focus on the individual needs of their children so they can face the enemy themselves.

With sections like “A Few Good Men: Building Character,” “Diversity Among the Troops: Your Unique Child,” and “Like an Arrow: Launching Your Young Adult,” Battle-Ready Moms Raising Battle-Ready Kids offers creative tips for communicating better, setting reasonable rules, and building character. Bowman says her ultimate goal is that in each stage of development, mothers will help their children learn how to demand more from themselves, elevating their moral standards in spite of the crowd. “We are not training our children to be good little boys and girls just for the sake of being good,” she says. “We want them to follow the commands of God and walk in a relationship with Him so they can reach the goals that God has set for them.”

About the Author:

Formerly a college coach and the Dean of Women at Tennessee Temple University, Bowman knows the plight of mothers all too well. She spent twelve years experiencing firsthand the struggles of college women before she realized God needed someone to talk to the parents-to help them build a loving, influential relationship with their children long before they reach young adulthood. Today she travels as a speaker through her ministry, Dare for More, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., and says it is indeed possible to raise children who love God and others with all their heart. But it won’t happen accidentally. Mothers must decide that they can make a difference.

My Opinion:

I enjoy reading books that may help me in raising my children for God and His Kingdom and when I saw this book I thought it sounded great.  We are in a battle for our children’s and our own souls and this is what the author, Reba Bowman, wants Christian moms to realize.  We cannot sit back and expect the public or private schools to do it, we cannot expect our Sunday Schools or AWANA programs to teach our children what they need to know.  As moms, we have a daunting task ahead of us and much time in prayer and Bible study is what is needed.

I didn’t realize when I requested this book that Reba Bowman is not a mother herself, she has a ‘daughter’ whom she ‘adopted’ when the girl came to college and they met each other – however she is not a mom in the sense that she carried, birthed and raised a child from infancy.  At first I was skeptical because of this, unless you’ve raised a child for 18 years you cannot know what it actually is to raise a child, but while I still think this I was impressed with this book.  I think that Reba Bowman after working with girls and their parents can emphatize with some of what it takes to raise godly children, however, I don’t agree with everything.

As a homeschooling parent I know that children cannot be “salt and light” at the tender ages of 4, 6, 8 and older – we parents MUST be the ones who teach our children a Biblical worldview because they will become caught up in the worldy ways that schools promote.  I don’t see anything unbiblical about keeping a hedge around our children and protecting their innocence until they can handle certain issues.  How can I expect my daughter to turn from the peer pressure of sex if she’s exposed to it daily at school as normal?  I can’t but at home I can teach her what God’s view of sex is, learn about purity and modesty and how to be a feminine female then when she is old enough (adult) she will be able to know what God says about issues.  A child doesn’t need to be exposed to opposing viewpoints at a young age to learn how to flee temptation.  We’re not secluded homeschoolers, my children are exposed to those children who attend private, public and charter schools by being involved in church, AWANA and other community programs but I’m there to guide them and teach them what God wants and what He says.

Overall, this is a good book, even if the author hasn’t raised children herself like I said above she does have a certain amount of empathy and some understanding what it takes to raise children for the Kingdom.  Like other books you’ll not agree with everything but you can take what is good and Biblical and learn from it and the rest put aside and weigh against Scripture and your convictions.  If you’re a mom wanting to learn more on raising your children for our Lord then I would suggest this book.  I read it fairly quickly as the chapters were engaging and it was a thought provoking book.

**I was provided a copy of this book through Bostick Communications in exchange for my honest opinion, no other compensation was given.

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FIRST tour: "The Sixty Minute Family: An Hour to Transform Your Relationships – For Ever" by Rob Parsons


 

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

 

Rob Parsons

 

and the book:

The Sixty Minute Family: An Hour to Transform Your Relationships for Ever

Lion UK (July 9, 2010)

***Special thanks to Cat Hoort, Trade Marketing Manager, Kregel Publications for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rob Parsons is an international speaker on family issues and the author of many best-sellers including The Heart of Success and The 60-Minute Father. Over half a millon people have attended his live seminars.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.95
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Lion UK (July 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0745953832
ISBN-13: 978-0745953830

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Prologue

The Hospital Waiting Room

It is midnight. I am in the waiting room of my local hospital. I’ve brought a neighbour in because he’s had a fall, and I’ve now been sitting for over four hours on plastic chairs that were designed to cause as much discomfort as possible to every part of my anatomy.

I get up, stretch my legs, and wander across to the coffee machine. A young woman of perhaps twenty-four years old is there. She is obviously distraught and drops the coins she is trying to feed into the machine. I suggest she take a seat, pick up the money, and get her coffee for her.

We start chatting and she tells me that her father is seriously ill, and there is some doubt that he will make it through the night. As we sip our drinks I ask her to tell me about him.

She brushes a tear from her face, smiles, and says, “My mum and dad were brilliant – our family life was wonderful. I didn’t know how good it was until I went to college and heard my friends talk about how life was in their homes. It wasn’t that we didn’t argue – we did, lots of times. We were all so very different. I was the rebellious one. I have two sisters and a brother. Sometimes we’d practically come to blows. But we laughed a lot and always knew in our hearts that when it came down to it, we’d be there for each other.”

I say, “It sounds like a great family.”

She nods. “Dad was from a poor home, but he did really well in his career. In fact in the early years of my parents’ marriage he put in such long hours at his office they nearly broke up. After that he changed. It wasn’t that he didn’t continue to work hard, but unlike previously, he was always there when we needed him. I’d be in a school play and suddenly I’d see him slip in at the back. He was sometimes a little late, but he hated missing any of that stuff; it was the same with my brother’s football matches. After he and Mum went through that hard time it seemed his priorities changed.”

I ask, “Is your mum still alive?”

“Oh yes,” she says. “She’s up in the ward with him now…”

I say, “Tell me more…”

It was after two in the morning when we stopped talking, and it had all been about her family life. She told me of holidays and Christmases, of good times and harder ones, and of conflicts that were finally resolved with tears and forgiveness. She spoke of silly things they’d done – like giving each other names from the Jungle Book film for a whole week. She said, “The only problem with that was that we were all teenagers!”

She said, “My mother always used to say the same thing whenever we’d done something silly together, or scary (like when we went abseiling once and my sister got stuck upside down), or even when we’d come through a tough time. She would say, “We made a memory.”

She swallowed hard and I said, “You have lots of them, don’t you?”

“Yes,” she said. “I have hundreds.” She smiled. “Well, I’d better go back up to the ward now. Thanks for talking to me. It helped.”

I eventually left the hospital at nine a.m. As I was approaching my car I noticed a young couple in the parking bay next to mine. They were gingerly loading an obviously brand-new baby into their vehicle, together with various bouquets of flowers. I shouted, “Congratulations!” The father smiled at me.

As I got into my car I found myself thinking of the young woman at the coffee machine and wishing that her father could have shared some of the lessons he’d learned with these new parents at the start of their family life together. And as I let my mind wander, I felt I could almost hear the older man talk of things that make families strong: the need to make time for each other; the power of laughter; the creating of homes where forgiveness is always on the heels of conflict; and the ways to make a memory.

For over twenty years I have travelled the world and listened to people tell me the stories of their families. From Moscow to Melbourne, from Durban to Doncaster, they have shared with me what made their families strong – and sometimes what destroyed them.

My own children are now at the start of their own family life. If they let me – a big if! – what lessons would I love to share with them? Perhaps things I wish I’d done differently – what seemed to work and what didn’t. But these are not just my lessons – they are gleaned from talking to families across the world, sometimes listening to people who often said, “I wish I’d known that earlier in my family life.” So, whether my children ever read them or not – and acknowledging that somebody else’s list may be quite different – here, at least, are my ten life lessons for a strong family life.

This is a “Sixty Minute” book, which means that if you are quick, you can read it in an hour. An hour? What can be said of value that can be read in less than four thousand seconds? Well, something at least… And I know this: whatever size and shape your family is – mother and father, single parent mum or dad, stepfamily – this short book contains things that have the potential to make your family stronger and perhaps even save it from break-up. I’ve known families whose relationships were changed, saved even, by putting into practice just one of the lessons in this book.

If, at the moment, you are going through a good time in your family life, I hope these lessons will make it even better. However, you may be going through a difficult period right now. In my work I see too much of real life to believe there are easy answers to the problems of families in pain. But I hope you will still find something that will help – even if it’s simply the realization that whatever you are experiencing, you are not alone.

My Opinion:

This book definitely is worth the read, it literally only takes 60 minutes to read it, this has some good ideas in it for building better relationships with friends and family.  Like every book I don’t agree with everything, but my issues with the book aren’t so big that they can’t be overlooked and still glean a lot of worthwhile information.  Since the book is a quick read I think it’s something that each of us should read and then decide what we’ll take from it.

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