Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Litfuse Publicity: Who’s the New Kid? by Heidi Bond with Jenna Glatzer

About the Book:

In Who’s the New Kid?, Heidi Bond, a self-described “ordinary mom,” shares her story of how she helped her daughter overcome childhood obesity. She provides helpful insights and practical tips, equipping families to help their children establish healthy habits as well as lose weight. Bond’s hope for her new book is “to shine a light on the truth surrounding childhood obesity, to let other families know that they are not alone, and to show the world that childhood obesity is 100 percent reversible and can be reversed in less time than you might think.”

At nine years old, Breanna Bond weighed a whopping 186 pounds. Just walking up the stairs to her room was a challenge. Her legs chafed to the point of bleeding from rubbing against each other, and her school days were filled with taunts of “Hey, Fatty!” Breanna’s mom, Heidi, was devastated and wondered, How can I get my daughter healthy again?

Who’s the New Kid? shows readers how Heidi helped her daughter lose weight without the aid of fad diets, medication, or surgery and how other parents can do the same with their kids.

In just over a year, Heidi’s plan worked! Breanna dropped 40 percent of her body weight and was transformed from a morbidly obese child who spent her days in front of the TV eating chips and chocolate to a vibrant, healthy, energetic little girl.

Filled with helpful diagnostic tools, easy-to-make recipes, eye-opening nutritional information, fun exercise ideas, and practical tips and advice, Who’s the New Kid? will not only show parents how to help their kids lose weight naturally but also introduce them to simple, yet effective lifestyle changes that will benefit the entire family.

You can learn more and purchase a copy here.

About the Author:

Heidi Bond has appeared on Good Morning America, CNN, and The Biggest Loser. A sought after speaker, she has helped thousands of parents who are struggling with overweight, underactive children. Heidi lives in Clovis, California with her husband, Dan, and their children, Breanna and Nathan.

You can find Heidi online on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

I’m a mom of three and two of my children are overweight – even though they are active they have picked up the genes that have been passed down from my side and their dad’s side – but that is not the 100% percent reason either. Heidi Bond began to look for answers, thinking the answer was anywhere but in her own house and what she was bringing into it. In a country where childhood obesity is climbing and climbing fast – we must begin to reverse that and we can learn from Breanna’s story and how to overcome obesity, both as a child and as adults. Buying the ‘right’ foods is only the tip of the iceberg, we must also get moving – of course even if one exercises a lot and still eats bad food the weight will cling on – there is a balance. This book was a fairly fast read because it just kept you wanting to read Breanna’s story and see how things went and even how they continue to go for this family, it was a real page turner which is unusual for a non-fiction book.

There were some things I disagree with her on such as saying xylitol is bad, and while I do recognize that some people either need to build up in using it or can’t at all xylitol is a good choice in sweeteners and can also help prevent dental decay (I’m not a doctor however I’ve read many reports that are publicly available to support this). The other issue I have is on page 68 she states, “Stevia has no calories or carbs, but it’s still a new player as far as food additives go, and there haven’t been long-term studies to show what the side effects might be.” Stevia is a plant and is natural, and has been around for many years and used to sweeten foods for many years and thankfully is becoming more readily available – it works great for me in controlling my blood sugars as a type 2 diabetic.

I really did enjoy this book, I thought it was quite inspirational, even if I may disagree on how she went about things, but it worked and Breanna is now at a healthy weight and enjoys being active. I would not follow her menu plan though – it has both carbs and fats at a time, which I know wrecks havoc on my sugar levels – such as oatmeal with bananas and honey, this would be a meal that would cause my girls and I to gain weight, she also uses and suggests using soy milk and tofu. As I said though I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it was inspirational to read their story and it would have been great to get more of the dad’s point of view as well, if you are dealing with or know someone who is dealing with being overweight this is a great book to read.

If you’d like to see what others thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

In a world of fast-food convenience and non-stop busyness, how do we keep our kids healthy? Heidi Bond’s debut book, Who’s the New Kid?, is here to help. Filled with helpful diagnostic tools, easy-to-make recipes, eye-opening nutritional information, fun exercise ideas, and practical tips and advice, Who’s the New Kid? will not only show parents how to help their kids lose weight naturally but also introduce them to simple, yet effective lifestyle changes that will benefit the entire family.

Celebrate the release of Who’s the New Kid? by entering to win a Fitbit and RSVPing to Heidi’s June 9th author chat party!


One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A Fitbit
  • A copy of Who’s the New Kid?

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on June 9th. Winner will be announced June 9th at Heidi’s Facebook partyRSVP here! Plus, participate in the #WhosTheNewKid conversation by pinning a family-friendly, healthy recipe (or two) to a Pinterest board!


RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on June 9th!

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Litfuse Publicity: Never Say No by Jan and Mark Foreman

About the Book:

The question Mark and Jan Foreman are most often asked is: How did you raise your kids?

Mark and Jan Foreman’s adult sons Jon and Tim Foreman of Switchfoot have influenced their world not only by a successful music career but also through their positive impact on communities around the globe. The Foreman parents instilled in their sons a belief that they could make a difference by living beyond themselves.

This powerful book gives readers an inside look at the process. It begins with both parent and child finding their identity in God. It then explores practical ways to encourage holistic learning while cultivating specific gifts, nurturing creativity in a media-saturated culture, and balancing structure with individual choice. Never Say No inspires readers to raise children to live in the wonder of life by loving others well. Parents will find encouragement for their own parenting journey as they guide their kids to live out God’s purpose in radical ways.

You can purchase your own copy here.

About the Authors:

Jan and Mark Foreman live in the San Diego area, where Mark is lead pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel. Mark is the author of Wholly Jesus, and holds advanced degrees in Theology, Education and a Ph.D. in Counseling and Pastoral Care. Jan is a gifted teacher, artist, and she also facilitates partnerships with underprivileged women and children both locally and in developing countries. Together they love surfing, sailing, travel and especially being with their family.

My Opinion:

I requested this book because the title intrigued me, Never Say No, well how does one do that – as a mom of three children ages 13, 10 and 8 I say no….a lot. While I like the idea of not saying no there are still times that no is appropriate – like when my son thinks he needs a new pair of tennis shoes when he already has a play pair and a good pair. I have to pinch pennies – as a widowed mom I have to be careful so unlike Jan and Mark, I don’t have the means to make everything my children want to do become a reality. My girls are going to Detroit with their Dance Company, and that was a yes, a huge, yes but it also brings with it a HUGE financial commitment and so we’re fundraising for that, if there weren’t fundraising or relatives I would have had to say no.

I get what the Foreman’s are trying to say, they didn’t want to limit their children’s (who are now grown) view of the world – but most parents I know aren’t going to just say hey, you want to do that, go for it – without looking at the cost involved and those may be more than just financial costs. I think the one thing I did glean from this book is I should say yes more – want to go to the park, yes. Can we take a walk? Yes. I do think that we, as parents, do say no too often and too much – saying yes gives us and our children more freedom. If there is a legitimate no, I don’t think giving an explanation of why is a bad thing either. Overall, this book was an interesting look into a new way of parenting – saying yes to our children.

To see what other bloggers said visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

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BookLook Review: Motivate Your Child A Christian Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN

About the Book:

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN, teach parents how to help children form the internal strength they’ll need every day as they grow older.

Parents have the greatest influence on their children’s character. Mom or Dad’s words, choices, actions, and reactions mold a child’s view of almost everything. It can be a terrifying thought. But there is hope.

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanna Miller have spent years helping parents cultivate a healthy conscience and a vibrant faith in their kids. Motivate Your Child is a straightforward guide to doing this at home. Every chapter includes practical examples of families applying the Bible to their current issues, such as backtalking or being mean to siblings. From the “Integrity Package” to the “The Family Challenge,” they offer words to say, plans to implement, and ideas for working it out day by day.

With God’s help, it is possible to train and direct a child’s internal motivation-motivation that will serve them for the rest of their lives.

About the Authors:

Scott Turansky has been a pastor and missionary for more than 33 years and is an author of several books. In addition to pastoring full time, Scott also conducts parenting seminars on Saturdays around the United States ( He is the cofounder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting ( and has co-authored four books.

Joanne Miller is a pediatric nurse with 26 years of experience and the cofounder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. She is the coauthor of seven parenting books.

My Opinion:

There are some parenting books that should be on every parent’s shelf and if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you’ll know that Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller are two authors whose books I highly recommend.  I’ve had the pleasure of sharing The Christian Parenting Handbook and Cultivating Responsibility with my readers here at Growing for Christ.  Adding Motivate Your Child to my home library is thrilling because of the simpleness of the plan – get your children to do what they need to do without nagging or being told repeatedly.  Sounds like a dream, right?  Well Scott and Joanne give you the tools needed to equip your children to do what is right, make them take initiative, show compassion as well as what about consequences and how to put the ideas to work outside of the home.  The second part of the book deals with the spiritual development of the child, and may even prove beneficial to the parents as well.

Using much Scripture, which is a wonderful idea for any parenting book, the ideas given will help to make your home peaceful and to have those who live in it living in relevant peace, children will argue so it won’t be perfect but it can be improved.  I know that I’d love my children to take more initiative – instead of me having to say “Child B, unload the dishwasher” or “Child A and C, bring down the dirty laundry” I’d like to see them do it without being asked or reminded.  They help dirty the dishes, clothes, and house – they can definitely help do things around it to help keep it clean.  I don’t want to pick too much on my children, especially the oldest, as they do do a lot and for that I’m appreciative I’d just like them to take more initiative and don’t do just the basics to get by.

I suggest you do as I did, read through the book once and get an idea of where to start, if you’d rather focus on their spiritual development first – do that or chose to work on part one of the book which is moral development, it’s really up to you, the parent to know how to use this book in your family.  After that, go back and re-read it and take notes about where you want to start and each child may need something different, so maybe even create a list for each child – or if you have a large family see where the majority lies and proceed from there.  There is a chapter for those of us without a spouse, it gives more of a view such as divorce or if the other spouse isn’t a Believer but it can be adapted for those in my situation of widowhood – I would have liked to see a bit more on this chapter, but it was still handy to read.  The entire book is handy to have on hand and will hopefully give you hope that your children will eventually be the person God wants them to be.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

I review for BookLook Bloggers

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Book Review: No More Perfect Kids by Jill Savage and Kathy Koch, PhD

About the Book:

Love Your Kids for Who They Are.

Mom and dad, your kids are created in God’s image, not your own. Jill Savage and Kathy Koch will guide you in truly appreciating your kids. They will teach you how to study and become an expert on your children, because you cannot fully embrace them until you truly know them.

One of the best gifts we as parents can give our children is to set them free to be all that God has created them to be—not forcing them to live out our dreams or comparing them to our friend’s kid.

In No More Perfect Kids, Jill Savage and Kathy Koch equip us with the tools and perspective to:

Identify and remove the Perfection Infection from our parenting.
Really know each child so we can fully embrace their unique design.
Release our children from unrealistic expectations.
Answer the questions our kids are silently asking in a way that gives them the courage and freedom to be themselves.

Written in a passionate, candid, and personal way, the authors 
will instill within you hope and contentment. You’ll be inspired to apply the practical, realistic, and relevant ideas and tactics Jill and Kathy share.

You can buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Christianbook.

My Opinion:

I had the pleasure of reading another of Dr. Koch’s books, titled How Am I Smart?, and when I met Dr. Koch at the homeschool convention last year, she gave me No More Perfect Kids that she co-authored with Jill Savage. Yes, it’s taken me almost a year to read and review this book and I apologize to both authors for that, it has been a crazy year.  One of the things I’m guilty of as a mom is wanting my children to be who I think they should be, aren’t we all?  I want them to do this or that or make them do things they don’t want to do instead of listening and learning who they are as individuals, uniquely created by the Lord.  In their book Savage and Koch, want to teach moms and dad how to “love your kids for who they are”, often times our children feel unloved and unwanted and devalued because we aren’t learning who they are and if we don’t take the time to do that we can’t fully embrace them and give them the love they need.

Using questions that children often ask such as:

  • “Do You Like Me?”
  • “Am I Important to You?”
  • “Is It Okay I’m Unique?”
  • “Who Am I?”
  • “Am I A Failure?”
  • “What’s My Purpose?”
  • “Will You Help Me Change?”

The authors use these questions and build on them from a Christian and Biblical worldview, which is what makes this book so good, it’s not based on man’s word but on God’s Word.  I think the chapter that resonated with me the most is the, “Am I A Failure?”, I think most of us at one time or another struggle with feeling like a failure either in the eyes of our parents or in the eyes of the Lord.  The authors address that as parents we may hear or ask some things like, I think I might be gay, I’m pregnant, your child has dyslexia (that one is mine), or what are those cuts on your arms?  They reiterate that as parents we are not failures, our children are not failures and our God is bigger than any of these and more – He’s got this.  It is how we deal with it.  The authors gives parents the tools to use to help them overcome the toxic idea that our children have to be what we want them to be, and let them be the people that God created them to be, using Scripture.

I know I’m going to re-read this book and really begin to implement some of the ideas in our house – I’ve had a hard time in trying to be the perfect Christian parent and trying to get my children to be who I want them to be instead of the creative, active and imaginative children they are. Jill Savage and Kathy Koch have written a fantastic book, it’s not all the answers, even the authors admit they’ve messed up and sometimes still do and through the real life stories of other mom’s we can see how our human-ness gets in the way and until we let God do His job we’re going to mess up.  Whether you’re a mom of one or a mom of nine or twenty this book has a lot of helpful information in it to get you loving your children for who they are.

(c) 2015, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws

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National Center for Biblical Parenting: Culivating Responsibility; Parenting Wisdom for Ages 9-12 by Dr. Scott Turanksy and Joanne Mill, RN, BSN with Julia Raudenbush #grow4christ

About the book:

The later elementary age years are one of the greatest times to build responsibility in children. It’s a heart transformation that takes place when parents use other tools than behavior modification. Sometimes though, bad attitudes, disrespect, and a lack of cooperation can muddy the waters. You’ll want to learn from the experts how best to navigate these years. Your children are making significant developmental leaps in their cognitive, social, emotional and spiritual growth. Understanding how best to help children through these years is essential.

You will learn
• How to build spiritual values that will last forever
• Ways to address homework, mornings, and bedtimes
• Tools for developing internal motivation in your child
• Practical suggestions for advanced social development
• How to have an age-appropriate conversation about sex
• How to provide tools for anger management
• Specific strategies for bad attitudes and disrespect
• and much more

Busyness often gets in the way so having concise, practical tools will help you get it all in to equip your child to handle adolescence with success.


You can purchase a copy at Biblical Parenting.


About Dr. Scott Turanksy and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN:

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN are the co-founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Their heart-based approach to parenting is revolutionizing families. Turansky and Miller are also the co-founders of Biblical Parenting University, providing parents with easy access to parent training through online courses.

Scott Turansky is a full time pastor of Calvary Chapel Living Hope in New Jersey. He and his wife Carrie have five adult children and three grandchildren.

Joanne Miller is a pediatric nurse, working at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She and her husband, Ed, have two grown sons. Joanne also works full-time leading the National Center for Biblical Parenting.


About Julia Raudenbush:

Julia Raudenbush is the mother of four children. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a certificate in elementary education with a minor in psychology. Before becoming a mom, Julia taught in the classroom for several years. She now tutors and teaches writing workshops. Julia has served in ministries to both children and moms at her church. She and her husband love being outside with their family, enjoying the lake and woods near their home.





My Opinion:

I’ve had the pleasure of reading another book put out by the National Center for Biblical Parenting also written by Dr. Scott Turanksy and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN titled The Christian Parenting Handbook – if you read that review you’ll see that I really liked it and did learn a lot and still need to implement a lot of the ideas into our home with that being said there is a new series out called Parenting Shifts and it has eight other books that span the ages of birth to 26 years with more help that is targeted at the age you need to focus on.  I was given a copy of Cultivating Responsibility: Parenting Wisdom for ages 9-12 and while I have a 9 year old and a 12 year old I found a lot of what was being said in this book being relevant to my 7 year old son as well.  Often times it is easier and keeps more peace in our house if I just do what needs doing instead of taking the time to teach and train the children how to do things on their own and this book reminds me, that isn’t how responsibility is created or to make it stick.


This isn’t just about doing the chores, taking care of their bedrooms but it goes above that and into relationships with others such as compassion for others, anger management, conflict management but also about the responsibility of taking care of their bodies through hygiene, church, spiritual training and much, much more.  Each chapter is a bit sized chunk which is great for busy parents who don’t have time to devote to a book on each of these subjects but also want to know how to help their child take responsibility for their life and their actions.  I’d say it took less than 5 minutes for each chapter and as you read decide if you want to read through the whole book first and begin implementing the ideas or if you want to do it a chapter at a time, it is truly a resource that you can make work for your family – which is so great, as today, many children and even adults do not want to take responsibility for their actions or their life.


So whether you need some guidance in what you can be doing to instill godly character into your newborn or how to make sure your adult won’t come boomeranging back to your house, these books cover each of the stages we’ll encounter at some point in our lives as parents.  Some of the situations may only pertain to those children who are in a brick and mortar school but most of it is good and geared towards parents who are also home educating their children and just need a bit more support in how to lovingly guide them to a relationship with Christ and so that as parents we can make them aware of how to grow into their selves through each stage of development.  I truly recommend this and the entire set of the Parenting Shifts books if you’re looking for a Christian and Biblical outlook on training children in the way they should go.



(c) 2014, Sarah Bailey/Growing for Christ, All Rights Reserved, Unauthorized Duplication is a Violation of Applicable Laws


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National Center for Biblical Parenting: The Christian Parenting Handbook by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller RN., BSN. (review)

About the book:

Nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.

You will learn
A practical tool to stop children’s arguing
How to separate firmness from harshness
A strategy to help children change their hearts
Ways to teach kids to add energy to family life
Solutions for sibling conflict
The relational side of parenting
What to do when parents don’t agree
How to help kids who are blamers
and much more

The Christian Parenting Handbook is more than an idea book. It’s a tool for integrating scripture and practical strategies that helps you develop a biblical philosophy of parenting based on your parenting style.

Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN are the co-founders of the National Center for Biblical Parenting and Biblical Parenting University. They teach parenting seminars most weekends a year and have also trained 115 presenters to teach parenting seminars on their behalf. They’ve written several books on parenting, have created three video training programs, and send out free email parenting tips each week. Learn more about the authors HERE.

If you purchase this book at your local Christian bookstore on May 10th or 11th you will be eligible for $400 worth of free gifts – find out by visiting Buy The Book.

My Opinion:

I have to say that this is definitely one of the best ‘parenting handbooks’ that I’ve read in a long time – it’s not preachy but at the same time uses beloved Scripture to import practical and important Biblical truths about parenting.  The Christian Parenting Handbook should be one of the books that you keep on your bookshelf, or like me, on your e-reading tablet – there was so much truth to be found and convicted me on several aspects of my parenting.  I will admit, I am still reading this book – there are so many truths and ideas to try to implement that it’s not a book you read in one sitting and forget – there is much to ruminate over and actually put to use.

I’m a mom who often resorts to yelling – I hate that – and this book has given me some things to think on about how to approach my children differently so I don’t have to yell, or at least, as much.  The one chapter that got me thinking “uh-oh” was the one titled “To Spank or Not to Spank” because it’s a hot topic and I appreciated the authors not taking a stance one way or the other, except to say you shouldn’t spank out of anger – how many of us are guilty of that?  The authors recognize that different children will need different ways of punishment, taking privileges away from one may not work for the other – and so they leave it up to us, the parents to decide how we need to approach our children.

I have to say that I think the reason why I like the book is that it’s written in a conversational style versus a textbook or do-what-I-say way, it makes it relevant to me.  Also, I appreciated the fact that the authors know that we are our children’s parents, not them, not our neighbors, but us – it’s ultimately going to be up to us to make the decisions (hopefully with a lot of guidance from the Lord and His Word) on how to parent these blessings.  Have I agreed with everything?  No.  The authors aren’t expecting every reader to agree with everything, but to take away something practical so that in the end we’ve raised children who love and serve the Lord because they’ve seen Jesus through us.

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"What Your Son Isn’t Telling You" by Michael Ross and Susie Shellenberger

From the back of the book:

Your son struggles with the constant pressure to prove himself – in the the classroom, on the playing field, and especially among his friends. And while he may put up a tough exterior, deep inside he hungers for family support and connection. You long to be there for him, but chances are he’s put up a formidable wall of silence, leaving you wondering how to break through.

In What Your Son Isn’t Telling You, teen experts Michael Ross and Susie Shellenberger offer a rare glimpse into the secret lives of teen boys – behind-the-scenes footage you might miss in the day-to-day life of your son – accompanied by practical advice on how to provide the support and connection you son desperately needs.

My Opinion:

I’m usually not one to enjoy reading parenting books because I prefer to let God guide me and use His Holy Word to tell me how to parent but this was different. I have one son, and even when I was pregnant I had no idea what to do with a boy – I had to girls before him and they were easy. Needless to say having a boy has been completely different than my two girls – I love him but it’s whole new territory when it comes to raising a boy. My son is going to be 4 soon and so I have a couple years before we hit the times the authors talk about in this book but it was good to see some things I need to be on the lookout for – some things were uncomfortable to read about such as thinking about my son thinking about s**. The authors are honest though however I do disagree that every boy has to and must think about the above act – as Christian parents we should teach our boys to avert their gaze when an inappropriately dressed girl or woman comes near them, not only for their own protection but for the girls modesty even if she doesn’t act like she has any.

I did enjoy this book, even though I said like above some things were uncomfortable they did need to be said. However, I think for the most part this book is geared toward boys who are in the public and private school sectors and must deal with this from the point of view that their peers do not have the same teachings at home. I’m not saying boys who are home schooled are perfect, they have their own set of temptations, but it seems as if most of the boys who wrote to the authors about issues like homosexuality, dating, fighting/bullying, etc are mostly those things that boys are exposed to who are not home schooled. Like I said though I still have a few years before knowing this first hand – I’m going on my observation of my brothers and friends who have older boys.

Overall, this book did touch on ideas that are pertinent for today’s boys in the society they are growing up in – even innocently surfing the net can be a minefield of scantily clad women who can fill our son’s mind with sinful thoughts. This book would be a great resource in getting help for issues, however I must say the Bible is still what you need to turn to as a Christian parent, but this book is filled with Scripture and as such can be used as a reliable source book for information that isn’t readily available elsewhere.

** I was provided a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. For full disclosure policy see tab above.

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FIRST tour: Twilight Gospel: the Spiritual Roots of the Stephanie Meyer Vampire Saga by Dave Roberts **UPDATED w/review on 5-16-10**

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:
Dave Roberts

and the book:

The Twilight Gospel: The Spiritual Roots of the Stephenie Meyer Vampire Saga

Monarch Books (December 23, 2009)

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


Dave Roberts is the author of the best-selling The Toronto Blessing and Red Moon Rising with joint sales in excess of 100,000. He is a former editor of Christianity and won awards for his work on Renewal magazine. He is a local church pastor and conference director for three major annual conferences on worship, children’s ministry, and women’s ministry.

Visit The Twilight Gospel book page on Kregal’s website to download a free discussion guide for youth leaders.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: Monarch Books (December 23, 2009)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1854249762

ISBN-13: 978-1854249760


In an age when the art of reading is thought to be in decline, the success of a book series with over 2,450 pages and a character count exceeding 3.5 million may be a surprise to some.

The appetite of readers old and young for romance, drama and the thrill of the long-running saga remains undimmed, however. The success of the Harry Potter series was just one indicator. The advent of the Internet has also made it possible to build strong fan cultures around niche television series such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The West Wing. At the heart of this fan culture activity is an identification with the characters in a storyline, and a desire to explore both the story and the point of view that lies behind it.

A young boy, Harry Potter, captured the imagination of many as he grew up with his audience. It seems fitting that the next mass-market mystical morality tale capturing the imaginations of children and young adults should feature a slightly awkward, self-conscious girl, teetering on the brink of womanhood.

While some may be tempted to dismiss these stories as Mills & Boon style romances for the young teen reader, at their heart they explore issues of identity, sexuality and spirituality. They reflect on material aspiration, prejudice and stereotyping, family breakdown, self-control and human dignity. They invoke the Bible and one of the characters speaks of the perspective of the Creator. They explore ancient myths and mystical practices that are entering the mainstream culture of the West.

Regardless of literary merit, the saga’s cold, hard sales facts are staggering. The series is made up of five books. Four have been published, but an unpublished fragment – Midnight Sun – tells the story found in the original Twilight series from the perspective of Edward, the main male character in the books. The fragment is over 260 pages long and further fills in both the romantic and the spiritual roots of the story.

The series, which launched in 2005, has become a publishing phenomenon. With sales in excess of 70 million by 2009 and translations into 38 languages, the Twilight Saga has emerged as a strong competitor for hearts and minds alongside the Harry Potter series and the controversial Da Vinci Code. While originally published for ‘young readers’, the saga has attracted a much wider audience, including women looking for a different take on romantic fiction.

Many will perhaps read these books and barely remember them. They will be the books of the month, literally and emotionally. But some will look upon them as a window on the world. Bella’s emotions regarding her awkwardness will ring true for them. The astonishing intensity of first sexual experiences and the tentative discovery of trust at a profound level will seep out of the pages and into the thought patterns of many readers.

Learning from stories is an ancient aspect of our culture. Two thousand years ago Jesus held large crowds spellbound as he painted rich word-pictures with his parables and proverbs. As we encounter the stories that make up the Twilight Saga we will want to be aware, as Jesus was, that some will hear the story and hardly understand it, but others will deeply internalize the things that they hear.

Think for a moment of Jesus’ story of the Prodigal Son, which Edward ruefully mentions upon his return from exile. (He had sought to protect Bella from vampire attack by being away from her.) Jesus draws the crowd into the emotional drama of the story as he recounts the ungrateful demands of the errant son. The extent of his downfall is made clear when we discover that he is feeding pigs. The depth of the father’s mercy is planted as an idea in the imagination of the hearer as he or she pictures the father running to extend mercy, and to signal to the local population his protection of the son they had every reason to despise. The willingness of the father to forgive is clear, but the idea arises from the story rather than any explicit mention of the word. It is an example of skilful storytelling.

The skilful storyteller evokes emotion and encourages empathy with the characters. Many readers will feel as if they are spectators, hovering in the background of the dialogue that they read or the story they hear. They will picture the scenes as they play out on a backdrop in their imagination. This powerful connection with the emotions of a story will often connect people with a religion, a philosophy or a point of view.

Fiction, obviously, has power. But how much? Those who say that stories such as the Twilight Saga ‘make’ people undertake explorations of sexuality or the occult are overstating the case. Stories do not ‘make’ anybody do anything. They introduce the possibility and excite the imagination: that is all. By the same token, those who would say that these are merely stories and that people will not internalize the value systems they find in the saga may also be suffering from a form of cultural myopia. Some people will take up the possibilities that they find in the story and act them out in their own lives. Stories bring ideas to life.

As we journey into the Twilight lands around Seattle, where our story is set, let us bear in mind that there will be many other explorers. Some will be walking in Bella’s shoes, deeply identified with her emotional vulnerability and her questions over her own character and motivations. Others will be fascinated by the vampire mythology, with its rebellion against the moral norms of society. They will be drawn into the struggles of those vampires who are reluctant to embrace their killing machine destiny and hang on to shreds of humanity in the hope of redemption or as an antidote to guilt.

Some will simply be quietly thrilled with the erotic subtext that runs through all four books. Many are not the least bit interested in direct depictions of the sexual act but are happy to get lost in the erotic world of discovery that the young virgin and the 104-year-oldman (who doesn’t seem to have had a girlfriend since he was 18, if at all) embark upon.

Just as there is no typical Twilight reader, so there is no one message. The story has many layers, some of which we are going to explore. It weaves together ideas about material consumption, sexuality, spirituality, personal psychic power, self-image, friendship and social networks, the glamour of rebellion, folklore and even tribal conflict. No wonder it is potent stuff.

But in what sense, if any, is it true? I live my life according to a magnificent narrative handed down through the millennia by the apostles and prophets of the religion that honors God, his Son Jesus and his emissary to us today, the Holy Spirit. The Twilight Saga does not purport to be ‘truth’ but many will feel that it contains truth about their life. To determine what is true and praiseworthy, I will be examining the ideas at the heart of the Twilight Saga in the light of the ideas at the heart of the Christian faith.

Examining popular culture through the eyes of Christian thought can sometimes be a painful process, which is why many Christians choose to turn their backs on that culture. It’s painful when the foundation we stand on is fear. Fear of what that culture might do to us. Fear of those who create that culture. Fear of what stain it might leave on our hearts or our minds. But I am not writing from a place of fear. I have no desire to plant seeds of fear in the lives of anyone who reads this book.

I want to write from a place of wisdom – not my own, but rather the wisdom I find throughout the pages of the Hebrew/Christian scriptures. In critiquing other worldviews, I desire to help people understand and respond and make good choices. I don’t want to tell them what to believe about contemporary vampire culture! I do want to hold up the ideas in the Twilight Saga to scrutiny, and help the reader to ask good, penetrating questions about those ideas.

In the book of Revelation, Jesus addresses the seven churches of Asia Minor, calling them to account for their behavior. He speaks very well of two of them and affirms something positive about every one of the other five. But he also says, ‘this I have against you’. As you read on you’ll discover that I affirm some of the story threads in the Twilight Saga. You’ll also discover very searching questions. They are offered in the spirit of the approach that Jesus took with the errant churches.

You and I are not Jesus and the Twilight Saga is not a church (although the website does have 183,000 members at the time of writing). The Twilight Saga does not affirm mainstream orthodox Christianity in its storylines or dialogue. But it does contain elements of what is good and wholesome. For instance, in Carlisle Cullen we find a man of peace. Bella is almost painfully humble, as well as being willing to sacrifice her life for others. Charlie Swan loves his daughter. Angela Weber personifies a quiet goodness. Esme Carlisle has the instinctive protective love of a mother, but towards children who are not her own. As you wander the Twilight lands, you’ll find grace, beauty and truth in the midst of moral complexity and spiritual promiscuity.

I want to acknowledge wisdom where we find it in the story, and to respect the fine storyteller who brings us the tale. We should be willing to stand in the shoes of other readers who come to this story with different expectations, backgrounds and experiences. But as we seek to understand why the story touches them, I hope we will also be willing to question and refute, and perhaps, when necessary, say ‘this I have against you’.

But first we need to go to Transylvania.

My Opinion:

I have not and will not read the Twilight saga by Stephanie Meyer, but I wanted to see if there was anything that backed up my view of Christians not reading this vampire story. Thankfully this book, even while I disagree that the Twilight series could be compared to Jesus’ parables, it did have redeeming qualities. The author does take not of the things that Christians should avoid – consumerism, sex, occult and other issues that these books raise.

When the Bible and this means God is telling us something, says we shouldn’t have anything to do with evil, this means our books that we read. With a series about vampires that, to me, is a sign right from the start that Christians should not be partaking in this series. I know that there are mature Christians who may think they can handle this sort of thing and others who don’t believe that what they put into their minds aren’t affected. That said should we partake in books that discuss erotic behavior between two unwed teens or that support the notion if you aren’t beautiful on the outside then you are nothing?

I am thankful this author did come around and in essence has said that if you are a Christian you probably shouldn’t be reading this series BUT if you do then to be careful and not open your mind to the influences of it. If you want to know more about the Twilight series without actually read it, Dave Roberts does give a brief synopsis of what each book is about. I do think this would be something good if you are a Christian and know friends or family or even church members who read the Twilight series so that you’ll have some evidence to back up WHY they and Christians in general should not partake in this wordly series.

Comments Off on FIRST tour: Twilight Gospel: the Spiritual Roots of the Stephanie Meyer Vampire Saga by Dave Roberts **UPDATED w/review on 5-16-10**

"Raising a Modern-Day Princess" by Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna

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 authors are:

Pam Farrel


Doreen Hanna

and the book:

Raising a Modern-Day Princess

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (December 3, 2009)

***Special thanks to Christy Wong of Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Pam Farrel is a relationship specialist, international speaker, and author of over 25 books, including best selling Men are like Waffles—Woman Are Like Spaghetti. She hs been a pastor’s wife and director of women’s ministries, and is president of Seasoned Sisters.

Visit the author’s website.

Doreen Hanna is founder and president of Treasured Celebrations Ministries. She is the co-author of Becoming a Modern-Day Princess, a biblically-based rite-of-passage program for teenage girls. She is a faculty member and motivational speaker for CLASS (Christian Leaders, Authors, & Speakers Seminars), and has been a women’s Bible study teacher and trained biblical counselor for more than 25 years.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (December 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 158997574X
ISBN-13: 978-1589975743


Seeking My Father’s Blessing: What Every Young Woman Longs For

‘I’ll be a Father to you; you’ll be sons and daughters to me.’

The Word of the Master, God.


I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics; even if they dress in rags; even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses. All of us. Didn’t your father ever tell you that? Didn’t he?


Lying in my bed, I [Doreen] lifted the shade and peeked out the window. Except for a sprinkle of stars and a sliver of a moon, it was now pitch black outside. My sister’s gentle snore let me know she was sound asleep. The TV was off and I had heard my parents’ bedroom door close. It was time for my escape.

Earlier in the day I had picked out my best purse for this “runaway.” It was red, rectangular in shape, with hinges on it, like a little suitcase, and a mirror on the lid. It could only hold my hairbrush, two pairs of panties, and a package of crackers. But for an eight-year-old, that was good enough. I was ready to go.

However, I began to have doubts. I considered how hard it would be to walk down the hall past my parents’ bedroom without them hearing me because there was a board in the floor of the hallway that creaked. But if I attempted to open the heavy wooden window of our bedroom and tried to remove the screen, I knew for sure that my sister would wake up.

Suddenly, or so it seemed, those warm covers felt so good as I heard the wind blow through the trees on that chilly, late winter’s eve. I couldn’t seem to keep my eyes open. I fought it, but it felt like someone was gently closing them. The next thing I knew, it was morning, and once again, I had failed to make my great escape.

This scenario played out many times in my elementary years. But it wasn’t until I was in my twenties, seeking help for challenges in my marriage, that I discovered why I continued to replay leaving home but never making my way out.

As a child, there were certain securities that kept me there. My mother loved me, food was always on the table, and I had a lovely home to live in. We lived in a middle-class neighborhood where I enjoyed many childhood friendships. I enjoyed spending time with both sets of grandparents who lived close by.

I remember the enjoyment of watching Leave it to Beaver and Father Knows Best on TV and wishing my dad was like one of those TV dads.

From the age of five well into my teens, I loved watching the Miss America beauty pageants, and wished that I would someday be beautiful enough to be crowned a princess.

I wept deeply for the first time in my life as I spoke those words out loud to my counselor. He sat and listened as I began to describe occurrences that clearly displayed the lack of my father’s acceptance throughout my life. This seemed to open the floodgates of memories and hurt and angry feelings I felt toward my father.

Seen but not Heard

I recollected how resentful I was toward my dad for so often sending my sister and me to bed by six-thirty in the evening so he could have our mother to himself.Many summer nights I would peer out my bedroom window, yearning to be with the rest of the kids on the block who were playing hide-and-seek at dusk while I was supposed to be sleeping; all because my dad thought children were to be “seen and not heard.” I believed that this was just a convenient out for him on many occasions, when those words followed his request that we leave the room.

I expressed to the counselor how I was told by my mother every night, for the first 12 years of my life, to “go and kiss your father good night,” no matter how I felt. He most often sat comfortably in his easy chair, watching TV, expectant of my nightly kiss. I could not remember one time in my childhood when he came to tuck my sister or me into bed and kiss us goodnight. That longing was heightened when I saw my friends’ dads do this for them whenever I had spent a night in their homes.

I recounted how, in my teen years, I dreaded our nightly family dinners. I would set the table thinking, What will he find fault with tonight? Would it be my acne? Or would I draw his criticism for putting butter on my bread? Or maybe it would be my posture, bringing a threat that he was going to make a wood brace that would force me to sit up straight.

His harsh, critical words about my appearance caused me to feel that I would never gain his favor or have boys interested in me.

I Will Prove Him Wrong

By this time I was becoming rebellious. I was determined to prove him wrong. I would get a boyfriend.

I found, in those early teen years, that flirting with the boys brought quick attention and some form of emotional gratification. I was so hungry for them to compliment me or just kiss me—validating me as a young woman. I didn’t understand why all the other girls didn’t flirt with the boys like I did. I thought it was fun. I lost the trust of some girlfriends and made enemies playing that game, luring the other girls’ boyfriends away from them. But the relationships were short-lived so I thought, What’s the big deal?

I looked for every opportunity to be away from home—a school football game, a party, a church activity, or anything else that was acceptable to my mother. My dad never minded how much time I spent away from home unless it interfered with the chores he required of me. In fact, I truly believed Dad appreciated my time away from home as much as I did.

By the age of 17, I was a senior in high school and had dated almost every guy I had hoped to. However, that had left me very lonely. I didn’t even have a date to the senior prom. I had proved my father wrong, but all to no avail. I had isolated numerous potential girlfriends and was left with no boyfriend. I had a huge hole in my heart and nothing seemed to fill it.

The Man of My Dreams

Within two weeks of my high-school graduation, the man of my dreams came into my life. He had just finished a three-year term in the army and had returned home to establish himself in civilian life. He was the potential “catch” for every girl between the ages of 18 and 22 in the church where our families had attended for many years.

He was 22 years old and very handsome, over six feet tall, blue eyes, a great sense of humor, and—very important to a beach-city girl—a surfer! One night, as I jumped into the backseat of his parents’ car for a ride home from church, there sat Chad. I was excited but jittery, knowing I was sitting right next to the “catch.” I spoke more to his parents than to him because I was so nervous.

His dad pulled up in front of my house. As I slipped out of the car Chad said, “Boy, those are some great legs!” My heart leaped—Chad Hanna thought I was pretty! By Friday he’d asked me out and within six months we were engaged.

At barely 19 years of age, marriage seemed like the best solution to escape my father’s house. My dad viewed life with a strong work ethic. He did not regard higher education as a necessity and had informed me that if I were to consider going away to college, I’d have to pay for it myself. That seemed impossible. So I was soon working full-time and saving my money for a beautiful wedding.

My father was not happy that I was marrying Chad. I remember one day, just weeks before the wedding, he said to me, “I thought this would be a time in your life when you could spend some time with me.” I couldn’t believe my ears! I was instantly angry and thought, He’s ignored me for the last 19 years of my life and NOW he wants to spend time with me?

It was the first time in my life that I sensed I had begun to build a wall in my heart—a wall that I thought would keep my father from hurting me anymore.

The day of the wedding, as I stood waiting to go down the aisle on my father’s arm, he turned and touched the edge of my veil. I thought for just a second that we were going to share a special moment. Instead he stated, “My mother would have never let this happen.” I looked to see that my veil had been trimmed slightly unevenly. “Your grandmother would have trimmed this in satin,” he stated proudly.

Rightly so, my grandmother was a well-known seamstress and had I asked, I’m sure she would have done it for me. Once again, I had failed to meet my father’s standards.

Still, that walk down the aisle gave me such hope. I had proven that I could find a man to love me and would finally be free from my father. I believed that saying “I do” would eliminate my frustrated and angry feelings toward him. Yet, there I sat in a counselor’s office 10 years later, dealing with all my “father” issues.

Break Down the Wall

With kindness and gentleness, my counselor helped me realize that the wall I had built in my heart ultimately never hurt my father; it only hurt me. He continued by saying that I would never be free emotionally or spiritually until I could forgive my father. OFFER forgiveness? I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself, Shouldn’t my dad be seeking MY forgiveness?

As I left the counselor’s office, pondering his advice to forgive my father, I drove to my parents’ home to have a chat with my mother. I was considering the possibility that my memories might be distorted and I wanted to gain her perspective.

As we sat and talked, things began to unfold. She told me something I had never really understood before. I was a honeymoon baby. My father was not only shocked that, at 19 years of age, he was going to be a father within months of being married, he was also very disappointed that he was going to have the responsibilities of a father. He had told my mother prior to their wedding that he wasn’t ready for children and had wanted to wait at least five years before starting a family.

So, upon my birth he found me an obstacle to having my mother fully to himself. Ah ha! Now I was beginning to understand why I had been sent to bed by six-thirty so many nights of my life!

My mom also told me how critical his mother and other members of my father’s family had been toward him as a child, calling him various “pet names” that were very degrading. He, too, at the age of 18 couldn’t wait to marry and flee from his home.

Driving home after chatting with my mom, I thought about what she had told me and seriously considered the words of my counselor. His desire was to free me from the inner turmoil that comes from harboring unforgiveness. In addition, he pointed out how this turmoil was overflowing into my marriage relationship—the reason I was there to see him originally! He explained to me that I had put many of my unfilled expectations of my father onto my husband. He then humorously expressed,

“It would take at least three men to fulfill all that you are expecting your husband to fulfill!”

As I walked through the door of our home that night, I determined that I would seek Chad’s forgiveness for the unrealistically high expectations I had placed upon him during our marriage. That night as we slipped into bed, I expressed to him how I now realized why I had been asking so much of him. I was trying to have him fulfill what I had desired from my father all of my life. He understood my feelings and forgave me. I closed my eyes at peace now with my husband, but still—what about my dad?

The Power of the Blessing

Within weeks aftermy counselor’s challenge to forgive my father—which I wasn’t yet ready to do—I went to a local bookstore to pick up a gift for a friend. While there, I happened to also pick up a book titled The Gift of the Blessing, authored by John Trent and Gary Smalley (Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1993).My eyes were immediately drawn to the following sentence on the cover:

Dr. John Trent tells of his search to receive the blessing from his father and how, with the new insight he received from God through that search, he has sought to pick up the pieces of his shattered dream.

Those words jumped out at me. My dreams had been shattered and I was trying to pick up the pieces. And I surely did not want to be like my father. I wanted to do things differently for my daughters. I bought the book and began reading.

Chapter after chapter, I remember thinking, Oh, how I wish my father had done that for me. My self-pity was stopped short in the last chapter when Dr. Trent presented this challenge: “If you have not received your parent’s blessing, begin to bless them and see what God will do.” I was again confronted to face my “father” issues head-on.

Within days of finishing the book, I called my father and asked if I could take him to lunch—just the two of us. He said “yes” without hesitation, and we met together the next day. I can still remember exactly where we sat at a small Mexican restaurant in Cave Creek, Arizona.

As he finished his last few bites of an enchilada, I mustered up the courage to share my feelings. “Dad, I now know that when I was a child you demonstrated your love by providing a home for us, nice clothes, and food on the table. However, I’ve always felt that you didn’t like me.”

Those were some of the hardest words I had ever spoken. I felt that by saying this out loud to my father, I was taking the risk of his complete rejection.

Conversely, he quickly responded, saying almost word for word what my mother had said about him, “I didn’t want children immediately after marriage, and I was taught that children were to be seen and not heard.”

I could sense regret in his words and it was reflected in his demeanor. For the first time in my life I felt sorry for my father, and the wall I had built in my heart began to crumble.

When he had finished talking, I said, “Dad, I want to have a good relationship with you; one that also includes my husband and children. With the counseling I have received recently, I’ve come to realize that I’ve had a deep resentment toward you for a long time. I would like for us to have a better relationship from here on and I need to ask for your forgiveness. Will you forgive me?”

My father’s eyes welled with tears as he replied, “Yes I will, and will you forgive me?”

I wept out those healing words: “Yes, Dad, I forgive you.”

Wow! What a huge step in our relationship. While, in all honesty, I had hoped to hear “I love you,” I was satisfied at that time with, “Will you forgive me?”

As the years progressed, our father/daughter relationship began to grow. We could laugh and talk together for the first time in our lives.

From that day—he in his forties and I in my twenties—we were both seeking to grow spiritually, prompting engaging discussions between us.

In addition, at our now numerous family gatherings, I would delight as I watched my father and Chad enjoy each other’s company.

The Perfect Father’s Day Card

Some years later, I remember searching for several weeks, seeking to find the perfect Father’s Day card. At the end of a discouraging search, I felt prompted to pray and ask the Lord if He had something that He wanted me to write for my father. As I lifted my head from prayer, it was as if suddenly the creative writer that was deep within me came out and my fingers began to speed across the keyboard, typing out a poem for my father.

I had never felt that I had a poetic gift until that day! I sat in amazement of my own work as I reread the poem. I quickly printed it out and sent it on its way to arrive by Father’s Day.

My father and I were living several hundred miles apart at this time, so the following Sunday I called to wish him a happy Father’s Day. I was so eager to find out whether he’d received the poem and hear his reaction to it that I urgently asked, “Dad, did you get my poem?”

He, rather casually, just said, “Yes, it was nice.”

My heart dropped. I thought the poem was fabulous and all I got was an “It was nice.” I made every effort to mask my disappointment in his response. We went on to other topics of conversation. But as we were closing our phone call, he said, “I love you, Mija.”

Whenever my father called me Mija (a Spanish word of endearment) I always knew I was in his good graces. This was big—very big! I heard an “I love you” coupled with a “Mija!”

I quickly responded, “I love you, too, Dad.” I got off the phone and fell into a heap of happy tears. I had heard the words I had yearned to hear all of my life from my father: “I love you.”

Several months later, I had a business trip that took me to Phoenix, Arizona, where my parents lived. When I arrived at my parents’ home, only my mother was there. We chatted for a few minutes and then she said, “Before your father gets here, I must show you something.” She took me into their bedroom, and there on the wall hung a 3×5 copy of the poem, done in calligraphy on parchment paper and lacquered to a beautiful piece of wood. I wept with joy, not only realizing how much he valued that gift, but also appreciating how often since that Father’s Day he had told me he loved me.

In that reflective moment, the thought came to me that I was living out the last chapter of the The Gift of the Blessing, which stated, “If you want to be a person who honors your parents, you will be a person who blesses them. When you truly honor them and do what is right in God’s eyes, it will even prolong your life; living free of resentment and unforgiveness does prolong our lives, enabling us to live years longer!”

Pam’s Search

We sat across the table in a restaurant in Canada. My husband, Bill, and I had just appeared on theTV show Marriage Uncensored with Dave and Christie. Over dinner Dr. Dave Currie and his wife, Donalyn, along with Bill and I, were talking about our children and our families of origin.

Dave and his wife have two remarkable daughters, whom we had met as they sat in the studio audience that night. As we sat at the table that evening, Dave shared a story that penetrated me to the core. When his daughter Jody was a very little girl, she came home and announced her love interest in a little boy. Dave said to her, “Honey, when you are much older, there will be a day when you will want to give your heart to a man. He will have to be really special, and you will need to feel confident that he is the one God wants you to marry. Until then, I will keep your heart. I will keep it safe.”

Dave’s wife made a heart that hung in the Currie home and on it hung two gold keys, one for each daughter. Any time Dave prayed with his daughters, tucked them into bed, or acted out any of the other daily interactions a loving father would have with his daughter, he’d say, “And who has the key to your heart?” His daughters would answer, “You do, Daddy.” Anytime he had to set a rule or make a correction he would begin with, “Remember who has the key to your heart?” And the girls would answer, “You do, Daddy.”

Then Dave would explain how because he, their daddy, has their best interests on his heart, he had to make decisions and choices to protect his daughters and provide the very best path for them. Dave would explain, “God has called me to do this because God and Daddy love both of you little girls very much.”

Dave shared, “One day Jody met and fell in love with a fabulous man, Chris. She came to me and asked if she could have her heart now because she had found the man she wanted to give it to. I agreed and prayed and released her heart.”

The day of their wedding, Dave asked one last time, “Who has the key to your heart?” But this time the answer was different; it was the name of her new husband.

Then Dave sang a song he had written for this moment, The Transfer of the Sacred Trust:

As man to man, we stand here today,

Though the time is so right, I won’t give her away.

Yet you are my answer to the prayer for God’s plan

Please listen close, Son, as I give you her hand.

God gave me a trust as head of my home

To look after my family, to protect through life’s storm,

To comfort and build these put in my care

And cover them daily with a fatherly prayer . . . that’s why

I won’t let her go, but I will let you start.

To treasure her most, you must carry her heart.

I’ll still be her Dad, but relinquish I must,

It’s the transfer of the sacred trust,

The transfer of the sacred trust.

There comes a day in every girl’s life

About leaving and cleaving, ’bout becoming a wife,

I’ve protected her heart from all other men

The depth of this moment, please understand.

God gives you this trust now as head of your home

To look after my daughter, to protect through life’s storm,

Your love dare not waver as you carry her heart

Please hold her real close as I did from the start . . . you see

I won’t let her go, but I will let you start.

To treasure her most, you carry her heart.

I’ll still be her Dad, but relinquish I must,

It’s the transfer of the sacred trust,

It’s the transfer of the sacred trust,

I transfer now my sacred trust.

(reprinted with permission)

Right after he sang the song, he gave Chris, his new son-in-law, the key that had hung in the Currie home, the key to his daughter’s heart.

Then six years later, for his second daughter, Keldy, Dave repeated the passing of this sacred trust, and gave the key to her heart to her new husband, also a prince of a man.

A dedicated dad holds the key to the heart of his Modern-Day Princess until the day God’s prince of a husband comes to care for the heart of that precious young woman. It is a sacred trust, passing from the two men who should love a woman more than any other: a father, then a husband.

I sat at the table weeping because that is the kind of love I had always longed for as a daughter. That is the kind of love that builds courage and confidence into a young woman’s heart and life.

Looking for My Key

In a nutshell, I grew up in a home that was confusing. One night I might be dancing around the living room with my daddy, but the next night he might be in a drunken rage banishing me to my bedroom in fear. I would slide my chest of drawers in front of the door to keep him from coming in my room while he was so angry. I always thought our family might make the front-page news, but not for a good reason, rather a headline that would read, “Man shoots family then shoots himself.”

When I was in high school, one night I was awakened from a deep sleep to my mother screaming, “Help me!” We three kids bolted from our beds, running through a pitch-black house thinking, Oh no! We need to rescue Mom! We broke open the door into the garage and there we found, not my mom in need of rescue, but rather my daddy, trying to hang himself from the rafters of the garage.

My brother, Bret, a high-school football player, pulled my dad down and dragged him into the living room, pushing him onto the sofa. I took the noose off his neck and began to pray aloud over my father. I knelt and prayed with my siblings and my mother for hours, singing hymns, praying, and begging God to rescue my father from himself.

Abba, Father

Later that same day, God spoke to my heart, “Pam, you have been pushing me away. You must think I am like your earthly father: distant, demanding, and demeaning. I am not like that! Open up the Bible; find out who I am.” Shortly after that day, I came upon Romans 8:15, which says we call God “Abba, Father.” I was reminded again of the reason I made the decision to begin a relationship with Him. I recalled in a powerful way that the King of Kings was my Daddy and He loved me unconditionally. My best interests were and are on His heart. It was as if He were saying, “Who has the key to your heart?”

You do, Daddy, my

Abba Father, I am your daughter, a daughter of the King.

For the next three years I kept a journal and I wrote down all the verses I found that showed God loved me and was a Father I could trust. That journey was my personal rite of passage into becoming a woman of God.

Those verses placed my tiara on my head as I was crowned a Modern-Day Princess. Because of this journey, I was able to recognize my own prince, Bill, when God sent him into my life. I could see that Bill, a healthy, godly man who loved me fully, was worthy to hold the key to my heart.

God sent many people into my life to help me understand what it meant to be God’s princess. You will hear some of those stories, and hear more of my own journey to grasp what it means to be a daughter of the King.

Highly Motivated, Greatly Needed

You see, the two of us [Pam and Doreen] are highly motivated to help young women learn what it means to be daughters of the King. Somehow girls around the world have lost their way. Consider the following statistics:

One in three girls becomes pregnant before age 20.
The median age at which young women have their first sexual experience is 17.
One in four will contract an STD (sexually transmitted disease).
Forty percent of girls at a contraceptive clinic are there without their parents’ knowledge.
One third of all teen pregnancies will end in an abortion.
We also know that many girls are turning into bullies. Nearly one third of all juvenile arrests are girls, and one-third of all property crimes are perpetrated by girls. About one-quarter of all aggravated assaults are committed by girls. A girl is more likely to be violent at home, and the victim more than any other is her mother.

Dr. Dallas Jackson, professor of educational leadership at Argosy University/Tampa and assistant principal of curriculum at Morgan Fitzgerald Middle School in Pinellas County, Florida, says, “Over 50 percent of the bullying incidences involve one girl picking on another.” Cyber bullying has made picking on each other more common and deadly.

On March 30, 2008, high-school cheerleader Victoria Lindsay was lured to a friend’s home in Lakeland, Florida. While two boys stood guard outside the house, six girls attacked Lindsay. They knocked her unconscious by slamming her head against a wall. Then the perpetrators posted the attack on the Internet. After the authorities arrested the teens involved, one asked if she would “make cheer practice,” apparently uncaring of the seriousness of the attack.

Cyber bullying can consist of mean or critical comments, sharing personal information in a public setting, or demeaning or undermining another girl’s social standing. Today, this kind of pain can travel at light speed through text messaging, IM chatting, or social-networking postings.

And girls pick on the guys, too. On December 5, 2004, the Ottawa Citizen reported: “Considerably more boys than girls say their dates yell at them, demean them, pinch them, slap them, and out-and-out attack them, according to preliminary findings in a study on dating violence.”

However, teen girls are hardest on themselves. Teenage girls are more likely to develop depression than teenage boys. (The Heritage Foundation found that those who were sexually active had a much higher depression rate). Depression in girls might also extend to behaviors like cutting, anorexia, bulimia, and other self-destructive behaviors. Girls experiment with drugs and alcohol in higher numbers than boys. Often, girls use drugs and alcohol to lose weight.

Girls think about and attempt suicide about twice as often as boys, and tend to attempt suicide by overdosing on drugs or cutting themselves. A new, desperate, self-destructive behavior is “sexting,” which includes text messaging pornographic photos of themselves; over 20 percent of girls have engaged in this risky behavior.

Consider the young women around you. Can you think of just one girl you know who seems to have lost her way? When I [Pam] met Emily, she was suffering from the hurt and pain of a dysfunctional family. Her mother, distracted by her own pain, was unable to help her daughter. Emily needed someone to care enough to come alongside her, to reach out and show her God’s love. There are Emilys all around us.

My [Pam’s] motivation in writing this book was heightened on September 5, 2007, the day my first granddaughter, Eden, was born. Even while she was in utero, and since, I have prayed she will step into her priceless identity as a daughter of the King. I pray that her mother, Hannah, will have all she needs to impart a godly heritage to her. I know my son Brock will impart a blessing on his daughter because he already does, in the way he gently loves and cares for Eden. But I also know Eden will need more voices, more wisdom—the help of mentors—to help her safely step into, and then walk out, her identity in Christ.

Can you hear a host of teen girls crying, asking, and waiting for your help and guidance? Right now, think of a young woman, a tween or teen, you might know. She may be your daughter, your niece, or just a young girl you’re acquainted with. You could be the person in her life to dust off her tiara, place it on her head, and help her see herself as God sees her—a person valued and loved. And you could do this for many girls, moving a multitude of young women into a healthy, whole, and wholesome future as adult women who make a difference for their generation.

Out there among you, there are many “Doreens” who are longing for affirmation; “Pams” who are longing for attention; “Emilys” who are longing for affection; and “Edens” who are looking for agreement. One voice to confirm her value can make all the difference in a girl’s life. Every girl deserves a mentor, a mom, and a memorable blessing—a rite of passage to womanhood—and a chance to be a woman who reflects God’s character and lives it out to leave a positive imprint in a world that so desperately needs it.

Mentor Moment

It’s Mother’s Day, and I [Pam] answer my cell phone often. I have only three sons, but several young women will call me on this special day and thank me for being their “spiritual mom.” Though I am not a biological mom of daughters, I am a mentor to many women.

Let me share my journey to becoming a mentor. It first began when a series of women sacrificed their time and energy to mentor me. I, myself, had a terrific mom who came to know Christ the same year that I did. I was 8, my mom, 28.

But I grew up in a home filled with the drama of an alcoholic father prone to domestic violence. My first mentors were two women I didn’t even know were mentors until years later because I had no idea what the word mentor even meant! They were two of my mother’s friends, Kathy and Mrs. Beamer.

Both of these special women saw the chaos in our family and compassionately invited us to attend church with them. At Kathy’s home, I saw what a healthy marriage looked like and how a healthy family functioned. At Sunday school, Mrs. Beamer taught me about Jesus, the Author of love, and prepared my heart for the personal decision to receive Jesus I would make before my ninth birthday.

What I learned most from these women was:

• Love lavishly and trust the results to God.

• Be faithful in the little things because you don’t know how that little act of kindness, integrity, or wisdom might ripple to impact hundreds, thousands, even millions of people.

In college, I was looking for love in all the wrong places, trying to add up awards and accolades in a frantic search for self that was leaving me feeling empty. As I watched my parent’s marriage implode and fall apart, I felt helpless and very alone in life. I was a young woman with a heart to do good but a fatal flaw inside my heart that threatened to destroy my life before it ever really got started.

At the time, I had an overstated need for male attention. I was a virgin at 18 but a tease and very disjointed in my personal value system. I just wasn’t sure what I believed about much of anything. It was as if I had been dropped by a plane into a vast wilderness and I was looking for my compass. In my life, Tina, my next mentor, became the compass giver.

I met Tina at a Campus Crusade Bible study; she was the woman who, with her husband, organized the event. Tina asked me questions, hard ones at times: Who did I think Jesus was? What did I think my life purpose was? Did I read the Bible? Attend church? Tina also answered my questions, held me accountable to make wise choices, expected me to reach higher and further in my goals, and challenged me to be a better person and leader than I had ever pictured for my life. She encouraged me to dress more modestly, act more lady-like, think more critically about principles, and decide more strategically about my future and my place in the world.

Her nurturing of me in the area of what constitutes healthy dating, engagement, and marriage set the foundation for the strong, vibrant marriage I have today. I would have completely missed my godly, amazing husband, Bill, had Tina not entered my world and gotten me unaddicted to men. She pushed me to interview couples with healthy marriages to get a better view of what dating boundaries work best. She pointed me to God and Scripture to form my core relationship values.

What I learned from Tina:

• Always ask the tough questions.

• Expect the best from people and they will rise to meet those expectations.

• Be a woman of sure principles in an unsure world.

The woman who mentored Tina also mentored me. Her name is Faith. Faith and her husband, Cal, had a vision for building a home across the street from the college campus where students could come and get wisdom, training, and a safe place to make better choices in life as they were launching out on their own.

I came to Faith because I was in a dilemma: I had overcommitted myself with extracurricular activities. Faith listened to my heart, prayed with me, gave me some Scripture verses to read, and then said something like, “Pam, you have a pure heart for God. I am sure God will lead you through His Word to the answer your need.” And God did. As I read one of the verses about not “loving the world,” I realized my future was in serving Jesus. I was to invest in that path for my future. It was a clear call.

What I learned from Faith was:

• Love the Lord and love His Word and you’ll have all the answers you need.

• Treat young people with respect, and trust that if you give them the tools God will lead them.

• Relationships matter. God uses relationships to expand His work.

This last one has an important side-note story. Faith mentored me, but she also had similar meetings with a young college woman named Mary. That same Mary ended up going on staff with Campus Crusade, then was hired to be president of Women of Faith.

It was while Doreen was working for Women of Faith that she and I met. Doreen was in Kansas laying the groundwork for Women of Faith. I was speaking at an event in Kansas where she gave an announcement for the upcoming Women of Faith event. I was speaking on Women of Influence and gave a message on mentoring! Now, years later, all those connections (and more) led us to write this book on raising and mentoring young women.

In seminary and ministry, I have had a series of women invest in my life. When I look back on these women, and others who poured their time, talent, or trust into my life, I realize God was preparing me for living an adventure with Him.

My Opinion:

I’ve been looking for a book that was written in how to inspire young women (ages 12 and up) to become Princesses, true Daughters of the King and Pam Farrel and Doreen Hanna have definitely filled that niche. There are many books written on how to raise a daughter but I think this one is definitely in a league of it’s own. With tips on selecting mentors and also how to plan a rite-of-passage for our daughters this book is a diamond in the rough.

Most young girls want to be a princess, regardless of never having a watched a Disney princess movie, girls want to be a princess. Princesses are real but our daughter’s need to be taught how to be a Princess, one with integrity, humility and values. Not just any Princess will do for the job though, these Princesses are for the King of Kings – their Father – so they must be trained as such. Advice on including earthly dads, moms, friends (the book touches on making sure the daughter has good friends), how to prepare a rite of passage ceremony, what to do if you’re a single parent, what to do if the daughter’s dad doesn’t want to do a blessing/affirmation and so much more.

The only part that bothered is the makeover part of the curriculum, when girls are told that while they are beautiful on the inside they also need to be beautiful on the outside too, seems to be a double negative. Makeup doesn’t always make a girl more beautiful and even God has told us in His Word that a beautiful woman is one who is not made up or adorned – it truly comes from the inside where He lives in her life. The program can be done though without this section if the families choose to do so, and I wouldn’t let it deter me from reading the book. There is much to glean from this book.


Raising Real Men by Hal and Melanie Young

I have one son and my prayer is that he will become a godly man who wants to serve the Lord and raise a family who serves God. When I was given the chance to review “Raising Real Men” by Hal and Melanie Young I jumped on the chance to read the book. The book’s subtitle is “Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys” , and at this moment in my life with a 3 year old boy at home surviving his antics is a goal of mine! I also have moments of wondering can I actually homeschool an active and inquisitive little boy without destroying his eventual manliness.

Hal and Melanie Young are the parents of 6 boys and two girls, and have a lot of experience of raising and home educating boys. There advice is down to earth and almost feels like you chatting with them over a cup of coffee (or tea if you prefer that). Even if the Lord decides only to give me one little boy, this book will be a handy guide on what I can do to help him become a man of God without making him effeminate like the world would want him to be. One of the chapters even goes into resisting the feminization of boys – which is so timely in today’s world that wants girls to act like boys and boys to act like girls.

Scriptural to the hilt, using God’s Word really drives home the advice that the Young’s give from their real world experiences of raising six young men. Discussing items of interest such as hereos (no Spiderman) that are appropriate for our boys to look up to, how boys can be boys without sacrificing our or their Faith. One thing that I’ve been struggling with is wether or not to let my son use fake swords and/or guns and while I am still on the fence about guns as long as he knows the rules (no hitting animals, sisters, etc) I would allow fake sword play. There can be a time for this type of play – especially if he is defending his sisters and not killing anyone.

While I may not agree with everything that the Young’s wrote in this book, I can’t recall a specific item, this book is very sound in using Scripture to back up their beliefs and experiences in raising young men to be men of God. The Youngs have a great book and a wonderful resource for Christian parents who choose to utilize it and I do recommend this to anyone mom or dad who has one son or many becasue regardless on how many sons a family may have we want them all to be Godly men when they grow up.

* I was provided a copy of “Raising Real Men” by Hal and Melanie Young for my honest review.

** The book can be pre-ordered now by visiting Raising Real Men pre-orders.

*** The book is $15.00 and there is also an ebook option and a study guide available for purchase.
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