GrowingForChrist

Faith, Family, Love and Reviews

Litfuse Publicity: Just Show Up by Kara Tippetts with Jill Lynn Buteyn


About the Book:

Kara Tippetts’s story was not a story of disease, although she lost her battle with terminal cancer.

It was not a story of saying goodbye, although she was intentional in her time with her husband and four children. Kara’s story was one of seeing God in the hard and in the good. It was one of finding grace in the everyday. And it was one of knowing “God with us” through fierce and beautiful friendship.

In Just Show Up, Kara and her close friend, Jill Lynn Buteyn, write about what friendship looks like in the midst of changing life seasons, loads of laundry, and even cancer. Whether you are eager to be present to someone going through a difficult time or simply want inspiration for pursuing friends in a new way, this eloquent and practical book explores the gift of silence, the art of receiving, and what it means to just show up.

You can purchase a copy here.

About the Authors:

The late Kara Tippetts was the author of “The Hardest Peace” and blogged faithfully at Mundane Faithfulness. Cancer was only a part of Kara’s story. Her real fight was to truly live while facing a crushing reality. Since her death in March 2015, her husband, Jason, is parenting their four children and leading the church they founded in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Read Kara’s blog.

Jill Lynn Buteyn is the author of “Falling for Texas,” an inspirational novel, and a recipient of the ACFW Genesis Award for her fiction work. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Bethel University. Jill lives near the beautiful Rocky Mountains with her husband and two children.

Connect with Jill on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

My Opinion:

Just. Show. Up. How does one do that with a loved one when they are going through a “hard”, as Kara calls it in her other book, The Hardest Peace. Showing up means your life is going to get messy and most of us don’t like messy, we like order, cleanliness, emotions that can be easily hidden – showing up is going to mean not having order, getting messy with someone’s life and raw emotions that can’t be hidden. Kara passed away in March, just a few months after I lost my husband, suddenly, unexpectedly in December of 2014 – I became a widow and her husband, a widower. The emotions in this book – both from the viewpoint of Jill, one of Kara’s friends and Kara herself are raw, real and honest. Maybe it wasn’t the best book for me to read right now – but I did – and it left me thinking of how I too can show up for someone. For the first month the children and I had people coming by, we had meals, financial donations and then it went away – our hard is still hard and it’s something that won’t go away.

So much has resonated with me in this book – even now we get asked “let me know if you need anything”, this is one of the worst thing to say to someone – whether it’s an illness, a death, or an injury – I can honestly say when I was told this I’d stare blankly back. I could barely think about what needed done for my children let alone what a friend could do – as Jill says this is easily dismissed by the person going through their hard because it’s too broad. Then there was this one (location 1190 Chapter 6 in my Kindle version) “Some people who have lost loved ones quickly – without a word, kiss, hug, or shared last moment would give anything for these days we’re having with Kara even though they are hard.” I think Jill crawled inside my head – I admit to thinking that when I heard of Kara’s passing – thinking well at least her friends, her children, her husband got to hold her, kiss her as she was ushered before the Lord.

Whether you’re going through hard or just want to know how to show up for someone close to you or not close to you (Jill met Kara shortly before the cancer so it was a very new friendship) this book will give you and honest look at what it means to show up. If it’s not your gift to bring dinners, don’t – find your gift, is it to just sit quietly, just sit and listen, help car pool children to and from activities? Your showing up isn’t going to be the same as mine or anyone else, that is why the Lord gave us all different gifts. It’s raw – there were several times I had to stop reading because of the emotions that came up – and even some bitterness which made me look at myself because my friends couldn’t come around for months and months – so it had me taking a long hard look at me. The reflection questions at the end of each chapter can help evaluate how to show up and what that will look like for us and it’s based on Scripture, which makes it even better. I cannot recommend this book enough and it’s a quick read but so worth reading through a couple of times.

To read what other bloggers thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

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Litfuse Publicity: God Made all of Me by Justin S. Holcomb and Lindsey A. Holcomb


About the Book:

“God made every part of you!”

It’s easy to convey the message to children that their bodies—or particular parts of their bodies—are shameful. This misconception fuels confusion, embarrassment, and secrecy, and often prevents children from recognizing or reporting sexual abuse.
God Made All of Me is a simply-told, beautifully-illustrated story to help families talk about these sensitive issues with two- to eight-year-old children. Because the private parts of our bodies are private, the home is the ideal environment where a child should learn about his or her body and how it should be treated by others.

God Made All of Me starts from the fundamental truth that God created everything and applies that truth—the doctrine of creation—to kids and their bodies. It equips parents to talk with both boys and girls about their bodies and to help them understand the difference between the appropriate and inappropriate touch of others. God Made All of Me allows families to build a first line of defense against sexual abuse in the safety of their own homes.

God Made All of Me is the first children’s book written by Rid of My Disgrace authors Justin and Lindsey Holcomb. Parents of young children themselves, the Holcombs regularly counsel victims of sexual abuse and are profoundly aware of the dangers kids face. Their simple and relatable story, designed to help children protect their bodies, will be an important resource for every family with young children.

You can purchase a copy at New Growth Press.

About the Authors:

Justin Holcomb, PhD, is an Episcopal priest and professor of theology and Christian thought at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He is the author of On the Grace of God, Know the Heretics, and Know the Creeds and Councils, as well as the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace. He also serves on the boards for REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments).

Connect with Justin on his website, Facebook and Twitter.

Lindsey Holcomb, MPH, counsels victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and is the cofounder of REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade). Lindsey has provided crisis intervention to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and conducted a variety of training seminars to service providers. She is also the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace.

Connect with Lindsey on her website, Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

Not often does a book come along that allows parents to help their children in understanding, on their level, what it means to protect their bodies especially from a Christian worldview. God Made All Of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies is that book. It is shocking to read the figures of child sexual abuse in our world today and most of those are under the age of 12, it is a very real threat to our children today – I experienced inappropriate touch in middle school from boys and teachers a like, it tormented me every day and I was so glad to leave school when everyone else was sad that they’d be leaving behind friends. Beginning with Genesis 1:31 the authors begin with a mom and dad discussing with their son and daughter how God made everything and using other Scriptures like Psalm 139:14 and Psalm 28:7 back up the book with God’s Word. The book teaches the difference between “bad” touching and touching that helps like when a parent needs to help with bathing or a doctor has to do an exam and also deals with if a child doesn’t want to be hugged or kissed by a relative.

The illustrations done by Trish Mahoney are cute, but not so cute as to distract from the importance of the overall subject matter but enough so that children remain engaged. Children are warned when not to keep secrets and what surprises are – one should not keep a secret even if there is a threat of harm to their loved ones. They do use the correct terms for body parts, which I know makes some people uncomfortable but they need to know, there is no slang terms used. There is an area in the book where parents can help their children come up with a list of safe people that they can get help or tell if someone touches them – even if it’s just an arm or a leg. The authors also include 9 ways to protect your child from sexual abuse along with websites where parents can obtain more tip sheets to help them in these subjects. I gave this to my then 10 year old to read and she thought it was really well written, but didn’t tell her anything she didn’t know, as we talk about this often. I know I’ll be reading this to my son very soon.

To see what other bloggers thought, please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

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CWA Review: Memory Cross


About the product:

Memory Cross features origami cards that have several applications.

The Bible Memory cards simplify the learning process by breaking the verses into 4 smaller parts.

Memory Cross outreach tracts are great tools for evangelism, capturing attention with their unique, never ending, fold so that people are more likely to read the entire tract.

Memory Cross Bible story cards help children learn various Bible stories such as the 10 Commandments, birth of Moses, Christmas story, Jesus feeding the 5,000 and many more.

I was so very excited to receive the Memory Cross cards to review through Christian Women Affiliate and my children were super excited when I showed them the cards when they arrived – crafting and the Gospel in one easy product – awesome. As the description says these are origami cards that seek to bring the Gospel to children in a fun way or to help aid in memory verse retention. The simple black and white lined images are easy to color for both the youngest or older child and even adults who want in on the fun or for the Sunday School teacher who wants to have them done before church. I wish I had remembered to take pictures before leaving on vacation and left our cards at home, so I will be updating this review with some of my own pictures soon.

They are easy to figure out and begin using – I can think of many uses for those who are ‘churched’ and those who are ‘unchurched’. There are also other products like those that can be passed out to trick or treaters instead of plain boring tracts that will be tossed away – the memory crosses or coloring cards will grab and keep the child’s attention. The Memory Cross blog also gives ideas in using the Memory Cross both at home and on mission trips as well as showing their other products and how the Gospel and other Bible stories fit in to our world today. They offer different daily deals but prices usually range from $8.95 and up, which is quite affordable and a great price for the quality of the product you’ll receive.

You can also connect with Memory Cross on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube – these additional social media outlets will allow you to more fully experience what Memory Cross is and what their other products are and what they have to offer and how to use them. I highly recommend this product and it’s many uses for children and adults alike as we all strive to learn and teach the Gospel and reach more souls for Him.

To see what other bloggers thought visit The CWA Review Crew Memory Cross page.

The CWA Review Crew- Christian Women Reviewing

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Litfuse Publicity: The Finishing School by Valerie Woerner


About the Book:

The Finishing School:How One Book Nerd Began Living What She Learned (Nyree Press, August 2015)

Are you tired of waiting for change to happen in your life? Do you feel stuck, even though you want to live more intentionally?

In today’s world, our most precious pursuit of a life well lived gets squeezed out by the silliest of things: binging on Netflix or ice cream, shopping trips for things we don’t need, bad habits we can’t seem to get a handle on, and so much more. Valerie has been there despite knowing what she wanted for her life. Actually do it? That’s the challenge.

After gobbling up all the non-fiction and self-help books her donut-filled belly could handle, she decided it was time to put her knowledge to good use and start actually living it out. You will hear about her journey through victories and plenty of failures and find practical tips to apply to your own pursuit of holiness. You will find homework at the end of each chapter that includes a worksheet to put real change in motion for your own life as well as recommended books to further study those topics that really test you.

Purchase your copy here.

About Valerie:

Valerie Woerner is owner of Val Marie Paper. She and her husband, Tyler, live in Louisiana with their daughter, Vivi Mae. The Finishing School is her first book.

You can visit Valerie on her website, Twitter and Instagram.

My Opinion:

I’ll admit I was intrigued by the cover and the title more than actually wanting to read the book by the description because I really don’t have the time to add more books to my TBR pile, but I’m so glad I got sucked in to this book. As a fellow “book nerd” or more scholarly, bibliophile I liked that instead of just reading Valerie wanted to actually live what she was learning. I think one thing we tend to forget is that we all, or most of us read, self help books but do we turn to the real self help book? The Holy Bible, as our true and right and honest self help book? Not usually – we tend to think it’s dated or not relevant to our world today, which in these last few months I have realized how wrong that really is, using Scripture and insights from other books Valerie gives us helps in becoming women who really live their faith.

I really enjoyed the chapter on having a truly rest filled Sabbath, whether it’s on Saturday or Sunday – I’d really like to try to implement some of her ideas because besides church on Sunday the rest of my Sabbath is just like every other day and it shouldn’t be. The other chapter that really spoke to me was, “Not a Tchotchke in Sight: A Guide to Minimalism”, this has me wanting to go home and really pare down our belongings – as must I enjoy having all the books around me I know it’s not feasible to keep every. single. one. At the end of each chapter is the homework where you are guided to either download, for free, the worksheet from Valerie’s website or purchase the workbook to correspond with this book – I will admit I haven’t used either but will more than likely be going back to download the sheets, other recommended resources are also suggested.

As much as I loved this book I will mention that Valerie does cite Anne Voskamp’s One-Thousand Gifts book and The Message para-phrase of the Bible, however this wasn’t a huge concern but I am putting it out there for my readers who may not like those two books. One thing that did bother me was in the chapter, “Sermon Hall Pass: A Guide to Forgiveness” where the whole “judge not, lest thou be judged” is used. That said I’m all about not being offended at everything anyone says or does – Christian and non-Christian’s alike, but we are told to be aware of other people’s sins and to use the outline in Matthew to bring them back to fellowship and some Christians don’t like that (in regards to those who are true Believer’s, not for those who aren’t). Overall, this is a great book and I would so like to lead a study at my church for the women and older girls who would like to attend so as our church’s motto says, Love Christ, Love Others, Make Disciples we can learn to live and do that.

For more information and to read more reviews please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

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Litfuse Publicity: Israel’s Mission Becoming a Kingdom of Priests in a Prodigal World DVD with Ray Vander Laan


About the DVD:

What’s your mission?

God gave the assignment to His people thousands of years ago: to bring “lost sheep” back into the love and safety of His kingdom. He said to become a “Kingdom of Priests,” and put God on display to show the world what He is like. It’s still our task today. In this thirteenth volume of the That the World May Know ® film series, you’ll glimpse the urgency and rewards of welcoming the strangers and prodigals the Lord longs to embrace. Discover the mission that can give your life – and the lives of those around you – greater meaning than you ever imagined.

Join renowned teacher and historian Ray Vander Laan as he guides you through the lands of the Bible. In each lesson, Vander Laan illuminates the historical, geographical, and cultural context of the sacred Scriptures. Filmed on location in the Middle East and elsewhere, the That the World May Know ® film series will transform your understanding of God and challenge you to be a true follower of Jesus.

Designed to be used with That the World May Know: Israel’s Mission Discovery Guide.

Filmed on location at these biblically significant sites in Israel and Jordan:

-Back to the Father’s House – Negev Desert
-Show Them the Way – Timnah
-Prodigal Sons and Daughters – Qatzrin
-Return from the Far Off Country – Jerash
-Welcome Home – Qatzrin
Purchase a copy at Christian Book.

About Ray Vander Laan:

Ray Vander Laan is the founder of That the World May Know Ministries and creator of the Faith Lessons video series with Focus on the Family. An ordained minister, he holds the chair of biblical cultural studies as a religion instructor at Holland Christian Schools in Holland, Michigan. He and his wife, Esther, have four children and fifteen grandchildren.

Visit Ray at his website.

My Opinion:

I love when I can pair a DVD study with a book and this one is awesome – since it takes the reader into the Middle East to see and try to experience what those patriarchs may have been experiencing and then relates it back to modern Christians in our mission to spread the Gospel. The DVD comes with a leader’s guide that will guide you in how long it should all take broken down into the separate segments such as watching the DVD, DVD discussion, small group study, faith lesson and closing so the leader will know how to plan their time. The total length of the DVD is 175 minutes split between the five episodes, and range from between 30 to 33 minutes a piece. The Discovery Guide is a definitely a great tool to go along with the study as it includes further study into the Scripture used in the DVD, maps, photos, and also questions to further aid in the study and group discussion as well as personal reflection.

As one watches the DVD they can tell that Mr. Laan is passionate about what he is teaching and it seems from watching and reading what I have he strives to remain solely based on Scripture, not just his opinion, or feel good preaching. There are times his passion almost came across as yelling, which to me was a bit of a turn off but I still enjoyed watching the DVD. As I watched I could almost feel the heat of the dessert, what the Israelites might have felt like as the wandered or what Abraham and Sarah felt in their tent in the heat. This is #13 in the That the World May Know series of studies, there are many more and I hope to get to use them all at some point. The studies don’t have to be done in a group setting, they are also great for your own personal Bible study.

If you’d like to know what other bloggers thought please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

Our task as Christians is to bring “lost sheep” back into the love and safety of His kingdom. How are you doing at welcoming the strangers and prodigals the Lord longs to embrace? Learn how to work on your task with Ray Vander Laan’s Israel’s Mission, volume thirteen in the That the World May Know® DVD series. Discover the mission that can give your life—and the lives of those around you—greater meaning than you ever imagined. Filmed on location in the Middle East and elsewhere, the series will transform your understanding of God and challenge you to be a true follower of Jesus.

Celebrate the release of Israel’s Mission by entering to win the entire That the World May Know® series—perfect for working through with your family, Bible study, or Sunday school class!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • All 13 DVDs in the That the World May Know® series

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 18th. Winner will be announced September 21st on the Litfuse blog.

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Review: Economy for the Christian Home – A 12 Week Challenge for Wives to Increase Charitable Giving by Mrs. Sharon White


About the Book:

Bible study designed for individual or group use. . Includes 12 challenges, 12 homework assignments and 12 devotionals to inspire and motivate you. . . You will learn about a “Charity Box” for the home; how “New England Thrift” can help you save money; how “Prayer Directed Giving” can warm your heart; what it is like to “Live in Reduced Circumstances” and much more. . . At the end of the 3 month program, your house-account should be more efficient. You will have money in your savings account and your giving will increase in ways that will bless you and others as well. . .{Scripture quoted in this book is from the KJV Bible.}

You may purchase a copy on Amazon.

My Opinion:

I can’t remember how I met Mrs. Sharon White but I’m so glad I did as she has blessed me both through her blog posts at The Legacy of Home and through her other books, such as Early Morning Revival Challenge. Mrs. White has written Economy for the Christian Home which is geared to increase the home’s charitable giving, and in turn bless others as Christ wants us to do. For the last 4 months I’ve been on the receiving end of charitable giving and I’ve been so blessed by all the gifts that have come in and as I need to watch the money that flows out it’s hard for me to let go of much, however Mrs. White’s book has me wanting to do more. I love the idea of a “charity box” or a Tzedaka box and am thinking of ways that we can make our own and start implementing it, as Mrs. White says “It can start with a penny…just one penny.” In Mark 12:43 even Jesus admonishes His disciples that the widow who gave her last two copper coins, which equal a penny, gave more than the rich people – so being a widow with little funds does not excuse me from giving, to the church or to others.

Mrs. Sharon White writes with a simpleness that strikes to the heart of the matter and using much Scripture backs up all that she writes. Unlike, other books on giving, Mrs. White makes it seem doable because you’re not committing to hundreds of dollars, but even just a penny. That penny builds and builds and eventually the Lord will lead you who needs the gifting, whether it’s a family who needs food or medicine or your church’s food pantry. The discussion questions for each week are simple but in depth – you’ll study Scripture as well as what you just read in Mrs. White’s book and then the challenge will help you put both into practice – like week one, making a charity box or week nine’s challenge in learning a new skill (knitting, sewing, etc) that you can use to bless others. The book can be used either in group study or for individual study and comes with a financial journal (if doing this in a group, the journal is to be kept confidential) for each of the 12 weeks so you can track your expenses and giving. Economy for the Christian Home is a great resource for all Christian women who want to increase their family’s giving.

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

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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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Litfuse Publicity: Citizen by Rob Peabody


About the Book:

For Rob Peabody, the young pastor at a mega-church in southern USA, the realization that his faith had little real connection with the world around him meant that something had to change. He redirected his church towards the poor on their doorstep and then took the larger step of moving to the UK to establish the missional fellowship ‘Awaken’.

In Citizen he outlines the Kingdom-centered identity that is given to followers of Jesus. It’s a wake-up call to the church in the West. Jesus’ death and resurrection initiates and invites people into a life of so much more than the status quo. God is re-building, re-newing, and re-creating that which is broken and marred by sin, and he is doing this — setting things right in the world — through Jesus. As citizens of the Kingdom, we have been saved and set apart for this work. We have a new allegiance, a changed identity, and a new mission as we seek to establish the rule of God on earth as it is in Heaven.

Purchase a copy at the Awaken website and get a FREE study guide. Bundle discounts also available.

About the Author:

Previously the lead campus pastor at an American mega-church, Rob Peabody is now director of the Awaken Movement who left his church in the Texan Bible-belt to start and lead a Fresh Expression of church seeking to engage unreached 20’s and 30’s in northeast London.

You can find Rob on his website, Facebook and Twitter.

My Opinion:

One thing today that I think a lot of Christians fail to do is to step out of our comfort zones, yes I include myself in this too, and really get down to doing work for the Kingdom.  As a busy mom, I know right now that my ministry is in my home – educating, raising, caring for my husband, children and house and also being hospitable to those who may come into my house.  We want to get in and out of the store, we drive by the homeless on the street without a second glance because we have to get home and put dinner on the table, we fail to stop and further the Kingdom because we are busy, we are comfortable and none of us want to be uncomfortable – we’re humans.  Rob Peabody is putting a call out for Christians to take up their role in what he calls the “Alternative Kingdom”, looking at historical and modern ways of being citizens to our country, state, churches and to the bigger picture, the one that actually matters being a citizen in Christ’s Kingdom.

I’ve long struggled with pledging my allegiance to America, even to pledging myself to the Christian flag – I really enjoyed Rob’s look into our allegiances.  As citizens of Christ’s Kingdom, our allegiance should be first and foremost to Christ and His Kingdom alone.  Truly, this world is not our home – if we were to visit another country and stay would we pledge our allegiance to them knowing that country wasn’t our home?  More than likely the answer is no.  Rob takes a hard hitting look at what we should be doing in we are calling ourselves Christians, he knows not everyone is going to sell everything and move to another country, but there are things we can do now, in our homes, in our communities to further the Kingdom of Christ – that doesn’t mean some feel good Christianity that is so popular right now – but it is about loving the person, bringing them to you and ultimately showing them Christ so that others can have that Saving relationship with Him.

I still have two more chapters to finish in the book, it’s not a fast read (although I was hoping it would be so I could get this review written on time) it’s a book that is meaty although short, one that you need to read and ponder and really ask yourself is the life you’re living really advancing the Kingdom of God?  Right now, at this point in my life, I’m a full time mom – I know that for me to advance the Kingdom my place is in teaching my children at home – we aim to do what we can, when we can to further the Kingdom, some may feel we don’t do enough, or some may feel that I could do more if my children were in school or that we are doing too much and not enough school.  I cannot please everyone and right now, furthering the Kingdom is doing what I’m doing regardless of what others may think or feel – there will come a time when my children are older and we can leave more of our comfort zones and really get into Kingdom work.  It was refreshing to read a book about furthering Christ’s Kingdom without feeling overwhelmed and not feeling like I wasn’t doing enough.  I do recommend this book if you want to get out of your comfort area and begin working for Christ – not in a man made perspective (I’ve heard from some that only Pastors can teach the Bible, you have to have degree in theology) but in a Biblical, Christ honoring way.

If you’d like to see what other bloggers had to say about this book please visit the Litfuse Landing Page.

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

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FIRST Tour: Friend Me: Turning Faces Into Lasting Friendships by Donna Carter


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:
Donna Carter
and the book:
Friend Me: Turning Faces Into Lasting Friendshipsx
Whitaker House (February 1, 2013)
***Special thanks to Cathy Hickling for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Donna Carter is an author and popular women’s speaker whose fans have been clamoring for more since she released her book and DVD 10 Smart Things Women Can Do to Build a Better Life. Donna is known for her clarity, humor and the “light bulb” moments she triggers for women seeking spiritual direction. She grew up in a family of girls and continues to relish opportunities to share and learn from other women, maintaining that a good women’s retreat should include “laughing, crying, and hugging.” Donna and her husband Randy are the co-founders of Straight Talk Ministries, a non-profit organization committed to helping people find faith and apply it to everyday life. They live in Calgary, Canada, and are the parents of two young adult daughters and a new son-in-law.

Visit the author’s website.

SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:

Everyone from grade schoolers to grandmas are accumulating Facebook friends but fewer people than ever are developing close friendships according to Donna Carter, author of Friend Me. “Real face to face friendship is becoming a lost art,” she says. “In a world driven by social media, friendships can be a mile wide and an inch deep.” In her new book from Whitaker House, Carter maintains that humans need real relationships that require live interaction with real individuals. She shows readers how to win friends as well as how to take the risks associated with building, repairing, and preserving friendships. Filled with examples, humor, and framed by a poignant, personal story, Friend Me leads readers along the path to more soul satisfying friendships and challenges them to embrace, heal, and nurture the relationship of ultimate importance — a friendship with God.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 208 pages

Publisher: Whitaker House (February 1, 2013)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1603746900

ISBN-13: 978-1603746908

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Just One FriendMy friends all thought they were there to help me celebrate my fortieth birthday—to have lunch, sing, eat cake, and laugh. But that wasn’t why I had invited them to the restaurant. I had something quite different in mind. The poor waiter must have been confused by the whole event. One minute, he walked into the private dining room we occupied and found us laughing uncontrollably; when he came back, moments later, he found us all in tears.

Why had I arranged a gathering of my friends at the restaurant that day? Because I was determined not to repeat a mistake for which I was still struggling to forgive myself. On that day, I told my friends—all of the dear women who mean so much to me—how much I appreciated them, the specific ways in which each of them enriched my life, and how thankful I was that God had brought them into my life. I knew I might not have another chance….

***

I could hardly believe it. After twenty years of living at least half a continent away from each other, my dearest childhood friend, Sonja, and I would finally be living in the same neighborhood again. After years of missionary work in Europe and ministry elsewhere in Canada, Sonja, her husband, Brian, and their children were moving back to Calgary.

I first met Sonja when I was ten, and we were inseparable from that point forward. When we grew up and got married, she was my maid of honor, and I was hers. At my wedding reception, I introduced her with several lines from “Seasons in the Sun,” a song by Terry Jacks that was popular then—specifically, the verse that reminisces about the joys of childhood friendships and the shared lessons of life and love learned in that season.

Shortly after our marriages, our paths diverged. And it wasn’t until August 2000 that we were together again.

But there was a problem.

During Sonja’s second pregnancy, thirteen years prior to our reunion, she had developed a pesky cough that wouldn’t go away. The doctors suspected pneumonia. After performing some tests, they delivered some good news: Sonja was carrying twins. They also delivered some bad news: Sonja had cancer—specifically, a very aggressive cancer called non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

She and Brian were stationed in Germany at the time, and because the doctors couldn’t guarantee the effectiveness of the treatment protocol on a pregnant woman, they scheduled her for an abortion. Sonja and Brian both refused, and they brought their family back to Calgary, where she underwent aggressive chemotherapy, even though the doctors weren’t sure how it would affect her unborn babies. Their speculation about deformities and other severe birth defects challenged Brian and Sonja’s faith daily as Sonja endured the treatment and its side effects.

But the treatment seemed to be working. The twins were born three months premature, and, while they faced profound breathing problems and other issues common among preemies, they were otherwise healthy and whole. Immediately after the twins’ cesarean birth, Sonja’s radiation treatment began.

Only months after Sonja and her family returned to Germany, the cancer came back. So, it was to Canada again for further chemo, followed by a bone marrow transplant. The treatment was successful, in that Sonja was cured of cancer—yet the treatment also resulted in complications that now posed a new risk to her cancer-free body.

***

I met Sonja halfway through the school year in fifth grade at Mapleridge Elementary School, when she moved to the area with her family. I remember thinking that my new classmate looked very grown-up and very, very, groovy. Her hair was long, styled in a wavy shag, and her blue eyes peered somewhat shyly through her oval wire-rimmed glasses. She wore denim hip-huggers and a macramé belt. She was tall and curvy; I was skinny and, well, skinny. I was very impressed by this cool new girl, and I wanted to be her friend. So, I introduced myself. And our lives were forever changed.

A few weeks later, we were standing outside the school, talking, as usual, until we had to part ways. We couldn’t walk home together because Sonja lived to the west of the school, while I lived to the east. That day, Sonja told me that her parents were getting a divorce. I felt sad for my friend. I couldn’t imagine how I’d feel if my parents decided to separate.

I started inviting my new friend to attend various church activities with me, including girls’ club, camp, and Sunday school. Sonja seemed happy to oblige, and it wasn’t long before she made the decision to become a follower of Jesus. Faith in God was just one more thing we had in common. Beyond our shared interest in boys and books and clothes and music—and our mutual, alarming lack of athletic prowess—we now shared the unique bond of those who have given their lives to Jesus. What had been a close friendship became much more. We were, in the words of L. M. Montgomery’s character Anne of Green Gables, “kindred spirits.”

As Sonja’s parents’ divorce was finalized, Sonja’s mom, Bonnie, decided that she wanted to get away from Calgary—away from her ex-husband, away from the memories, just away. She decided to move with her three girls to Lethbridge, a city about two hours south. Sonja and I were devastated. We couldn’t bear the thought of not seeing each other every day. We moped and we mourned.

And then, the house across the street from mine went up for sale.

My bedroom window overlooked that brown bungalow, and I’ll never forget the day Sonja and I knelt together at that window and prayed to God that Sonja would live in that house instead of moving to Lethbridge.

The next phase of our plan was to march up to the door of the house, knock, and request entrance, to find out whether it would be a suitable home. (We needed to gather some ammunition for our argument to Sonja’s mom if we hoped to convince her that she should move six blocks away rather than leave the city altogether.) I can only imagine what the homeowner across the street thought when two twelve-year-old girls showed up to talk real estate.

The house was all wrong for Bonnie and her three girls. It had only three bedrooms, the basement had not been finished, and, most significant, it wasn’t located in Lethbridge. Still, I knew it was meant for Sonja and her family.

Bonnie bought the house. To this day, I don’t know what made her change her mind and make such a radical change of plans. It must have had something to do with our childlike faith in a great God who loves to give good gifts to His children. For I can think of no greater gift in those early years of adolescence than having my best friend close by. Besides my family, Sonja was my whole world. To this day, I can’t imagine what my teenage years might have been like without her.

Living across the street from each other enabled us to spend even more of our time together. Sonja became part of our family, and I part of hers. If she wasn’t at my house, I was probably at hers. My other friends would actually phone Sonja’s house and ask for me. More than once, I went along on a family vacation with Sonja, her sisters, and her mother. Maybe Bonnie wanted to avoid all of the hugs and tears that went on whenever we had to spend a week or two apart.

Living so close also meant that when I went to church, Sonja came, too. When my parents dragged me to girls’ club, I dragged Sonja to girls’ club; if I went to Bible camp, so did she. It was through these contacts that she learned to love God with her whole heart, grew a strong faith, and met a young man named Brian—with whom she eventually fell head-over-heels in love.

It was okay that I wasn’t popular at school. It was okay if I was mocked for taking a stand when my faith demanded it. It was okay to say no to peer pressure. Because, at the end of the day, Sonja was still my friend; I always had someone to walk home with. Cool or uncool, cheerful or ill-tempered, succeeding with flying colors or failing miserably, I knew Sonja loved me for who I was, and I returned her unconditional love.

Our loyalty faced occasional challenges. When we were approaching our graduation from ninth grade (long before Sonja met Brian), Sonja secured a date to the festivities—a boy she’d met in band. I had no such prospects. Unwilling to leave such an important match up to chance, I mustered my courage and invited a high-school boy named John, whom I knew only slightly from church but had admired from afar.

He must have been flattered, because he agreed to go. Soon after, we started dating. Of course, everywhere I went with John, Sonja came along, because wherever there was a Donna, there was a Sonja, too.

Somewhere along the line, however, John’s affections shifted. It turns out that I was the third wheel, not Sonja, and I didn’t even know it. When I was on vacation, John made his interests known to Sonja, and they started spending time together.

When I returned, the truth came out. Sonja admitted to having stolen “my” boyfriend. We talked about it—amazingly enough, without a lot of emotionalism or drama—and decided that no boy was worth jeopardizing our friendship. Sonja dialed his number, I picked up another receiver, and together we made a “Dear John” call. As cute as he was, our friendship was way more important.

When I look back at the depth and quality of our relationship, I am simply amazed. I know I must have driven Sonja crazy at times. Walking to school with me every day meant earning at least a dozen late slips a year, for which she was not to blame. I was the flighty extrovert; she was the voice of reason. I had the wild imagination; she, the dry sense of humor. Outside my family, no one but Sonja could have known how fragile I truly was. How often she protected me, comforted me, and steadied me! Without her, this social butterfly would have dissolved like tissue paper in a pounding rain.

***

At my wedding reception, when I introduced Sonja with those lyrics from “Seasons in the Sun,” I didn’t quote the line that came next. Now, it haunts me, because it’s basically a farewell to a dying friend.

During the summer months before Sonja’s return to Calgary, I had been studying the life of King David and was deeply touched by the biblical account of his final encounter with his best friend, Jonathan, who knew that he was about to die. In a moving scene of love, grief, loyalty, and commitment, Jonathan asked David to make a solemn promise: that when the battle was over and the dust had settled on his grave, David would take care of his family.

On Tuesday, September 19, I was on my way to see Sonja with the intention of making a similar promise to her. I knew her fragile body was failing fast, and I struggled to prepare myself emotionally for what I knew might be our last encounter this side of heaven. I stood in the main lobby of the Foothills Hospital, waiting for one of the six elevators to admit me. One set of doors opened, and out stepped Sonja’s mom, Bonnie, and her sister Paula. They were as surprised to see me as I was to see them, and we stood there, looking at each other, not sure what to say in such a heavy moment.

Finally, Paula broke the silence. “She’s gone!”

I stood there silently, trying to take it in.

I had missed my chance to say good-bye by mere moments.

Thankfully, I had been to see Sonja a few days prior. I had helped her into a wheelchair and moved her outside into the sunshine. She’d always loved the sun. We’d talked and prayed together. I’d hugged her and told her I loved her. But there was so much more to say.

I had tried to see Sonja two more times before she passed away, but neither occasion was convenient; either the room had been full of relatives or doctors, or Sonja had been taken elsewhere for tests. We never got to say all there was to say—to laugh at all our old jokes, to smile at all our long-held secrets, to relive all our precious memories. I wish I’d had the maturity when we were teenagers, or the sensitivity later, when the miles came between us, to tell her just how much she had always meant to me.

Losing Sonja was like having the core of my childhood ripped out of me. That sensitive, silly young girl still living somewhere deep inside of me feels such a profound sense of loss.

Yet, in other ways, I have not lost Sonja at all. I would not be who I am today if it hadn’t been for her. I would not enjoy the rapport I do with other women. The close connection I had with Sonja has become the standard, the template, for every friendship I’ve formed since knowing her—the foundation of empathy and trust on which all of my relationships have been built.

Thank you, Sonja, my friend.


My Opinion:

I’m still reading and will give my opinion when I’m finished.

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FIRST Tour: Manners That Matter for Moms: The Essential Book of Life Skills for Your Kids by Maralee McKee


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:
Maralee McKee
and the book:
Manners That Matter for Moms: The Essential Book of Life Skills for Your Kids
Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2012)
***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Maralee McKee is a sought-after expert in social interactions at work, at home, and in the community. She has taught thousands of children in her Manners Mentor classes, and her corporate clients include Hyatt, Chick-fil-A, State Farm, Campus Crusade, and AT&T. Maralee and her husband live in Florida with their two sons.
Visit the author’s website.



SHORT BOOK DESCRIPTION:
Corporate trainer and mentor Maralee McKee turns her attention to the home and shares the simple, savvy, and sincere skills kids need in order to flourish in today’s culture. Tools for each stage of life make this the go-to book for moms with children of any age.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99

Paperback: 224 pages

Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (October 1, 2012)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0736944893

ISBN-13: 978-0736944892

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Moms Like You and MeToday our children are our shadow.

Tomorrow they will be our reflection.

Maralee McKee

I was nervous. I wanted this evening to be perfect for my husband, who was hosting a client-appreciation dinner for his company. He had worked hard planning every detail—especially choosing the guest speaker. After some negotiating, the man he hoped would accept his invitation agreed to present the keynote address.

This gentleman is a financial genius. He holds three degrees—one each from Harvard, Yale, and Oxford. He consults privately with kings and presidents about global economic issues. All of this at the ripe old age of 34. He and I are about the same age, but I feared that was all we were going to have in common. A genius I’m not.

Common Ground

My husband planned to go from table to table, chatting with guests through dinner. That meant our special guest and I would share a cozy table for two throughout the 90-minute dinner before he took the stage. Driving to dinner, I was still trying to think of conversation topics he might enjoy and I would have an inkling about.

My list was short.

My concerns about us not having much common ground to talk were quickly realized—he was intense.

Moments after sitting down, he asked, “Maralee, I like to know my audience a little before I speak. What would you say are some of the economic and libertarian concessions you believe your guests are willing to make in light of our current financial and political surrounding?”

Okeydokey! Believe it or not, that particular question had not made my short list of conversation topics. Hiding my panic, I quickly decided that in order to survive this meal, I was going to have to be the one asking the questions.

I answered brightly, “I’m sure my husband will have more accurate insight than I do. I’ll call him over in a minute.” Then I asked our guest where he was from. He shared that he was born in Chicago and still lived there. I had recently visited for the first time and been smitten with the city. We began to find common ground talking about Chicago’s famed Miracle Mile. A few minutes later I asked about his family. He beamed as he told me that he and his wife were expecting their first child the next month—a girl.

We talked about how children change everything. But then he added, “But only for a little while.”

His genius was obvious in what he said next. It has been one of the most impacting maxims on the way I parent.

Twenty-One Percent of My Life

He explained, “We spend a statistically small percentage of our lives in direct contact with our children. Let’s say I live to be eighty-five, and my daughter lives with my wife and me until she leaves for college at eighteen. In that case, we’re only under the same roof for twenty-one percent of my life. Seventy-nine percent of it will be without daily contact.”

My mind raced to make sense of it all. How can that be? Only 21 percent of my life will be spent sleeping under the same roof as each of my children?

The cold reality of the number made my heart shiver—it still does.

Twenty-one percent is all the time we have with our children, and that’s if you start counting when they are newborns. If they’re five or fifteen already, a measure of that time is gone.

Is it enough time to teach them everything they need to know to thrive on their own when they’re grown? Yes it is, but they won’t learn it by accident. If we want our children to grow into adults who interact with kindness, respect, self-control, graciousness, and friendliness, we must teach them a lost art in today’s culture. It’s the art of being intentionally kind and patient in the words they say and the things they do every day, everywhere, with everybody. Quite simply, we much teach manners.

Moms like You and Me

Because you’re reading this page, I know you and I have some things in common. Moms like us deeply love our children and want to give them every skill they need to soar through life. We have high hopes for them—and not merely that they attend Ivy League schools, gain impressive-sounding job titles, win beauty pageants, or accumulate worldly wealth and fame.

Those are all fine things. But what matters more to you and me is that our children grow up to be kind, compassionate, friendly, warmhearted, caring, self-disciplined, self-controlled, self-reliant, fair, generous, empathetic, and even-tempered adults.

We wish them joy, so we want them to laugh daily and easily.

We want them to go with the flow but not to be easily swayed.

We want them to be optimistic but not to wear rose-colored glasses.

We want them to understand that personal conflict is inevitable but making enemies is optional.

We pray that they realize that apologizing for mistakes doesn’t mean you’re messed up. It means you have the strength of character to do the hard work of untangling messes.

We want our children to have a strong sense of right and wrong and the moral strength to live up to their convictions.

We want them to have goals and ambitions but not to let their goals become their gods.

We pray that they will always be secure in who they are so they don’t become bullies or easy targets for bullies.

We want them to please people but not to be people pleasers.

And because mamas enjoy hearing good things about their children, if we notice ours displaying these traits, we won’t mind a bit if people compliment them and tell us that our children are sweet and engaging and impressive. Christ within them makes all these things possible. Etiquette is the vehicle they’ll use to express their character in word and deed.

Etiquette Is Kindness and Love in Action

The apostle Paul’s famous passage about love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 lists nine attributes of love, and seven of them describe what love is not. That leaves only two positive descriptions of love: patience and kindness.

Etiquette is the language that expresses patience and kindness in our interactions with one another. It teaches us to make modest sacrifices of our time, our agenda, and our momentary wants so we can live out patience and kindness. Etiquette is not pretense or fussiness. It’s not an attempt make children perfect. Manners are the language of love, and we teach them to our children for their benefit and for God’s glory.

Scripture often calls us to kindness. As Paul says in Ephesians 4:32 (niv), “Be kind and compassionate to one another.” Etiquette shows you how to live this way.

Etiquette Doesn’t Replace Authenticity

I sincerely do not want to add stress to any mother’s or child’s life. When etiquette is forced or stressed, it’s only on the outside. Love, on the other hand, is not forced.

We don’t teach etiquette in order to mold children into something they are not. Some children are spontaneous, spirited, and quick to share their opinion. That’s fantastic! They will grow up to be quick-witted, fun, welcoming leaders. Some children are reserved, slow to join in, and quiet. That’s fantastic too! They will grow up to be thoughtful and always there for you—servant leaders of their generation. God gave our children their personalities. Etiquette gives them the skills to bring the best of their personalities to the forefront.

Etiquette Has Evolved

Gone are the days when manners were about debutante balls, seated dinners for 12 with the butler serving, hats and gloves, and making sure the children were seen but not heard.

The etiquette I share with you has evolved. It’s in tune with the realities and sensibilities of our modern, casual, techno-savvy, fast-paced culture. Grandma’s etiquette was perfect for her day. But if we use her etiquette exclusively, we’re going to appear stiff and stuffy and out of sync for the time and place Christ has placed us in.

I’ve kept grandma’s timeless principles of courtesy, respect, hospitality, and consideration and used those principles to chart the course of our contemporary everyday encounters.

Etiquette Isn’t Artificial

Some people say we shouldn’t teach etiquette lest we train people to be artificial. Not so. Rather than forcing people to be artificial, etiquette frees them to become the best version of themselves.

On the other hand, some people try to use etiquette to mold their children into perfect people. Perfection is Satan’s trap. God didn’t give us our children for our own glory but so that we could empower them to freely and gladly live for Christ and reflect His glory. Etiquette polishes us so that Christ’s reflection can be seen more easily in us.

The skills you’ll learn about in these pages aren’t to be lived out legalistically. They are written in sand, not stone. You can use these principles to build and honor relationships inside and outside your family. This is an important concept. After all, the reason we were put here in the first place was to be in relationship with God and other people.

Etiquette Isn’t Window Dressing

Motherhood gives us an opportunity to be the people we want our children to become. That’s why I wrote this book—to help you teach your children and be a role model for them so their good manners spring from their hearts and are not just for show.

For manners to be more than window dressing in our lives, they must be expressed in the words we say and the things we do—and not just when we find it convenient or are in an especially good mood. Our good manners become true when they are ingrained into us, just as we can learn a new language and use it until it is as natural as our native tongue.

In the pages of this book you’ll find the modern, essential skills you need to know and model to help your children soar through life free from social uneasiness so they can become well liked, well mannered, and well respected. None of it is hard to learn. All of it pays a lifetime of dividends.

Our Journey Together

I’m so glad we’re going on this journey together! I’ve prayed and worked hard on this book for the benefit of you and your family. My prayer has been that it will encourage, inspire, and mentor you.

People often ask me how I became the Manners Mentor. It’s a pretty amazing story. I can still barely believe I am where I am today.

When I was nine years old, I was in a situation no little girl should experience. At that time, I started praying for three specific things. Over the next 20 years, God answered my three prayers, slowly unfurling His plans and purposes for me in ways that even the most imaginative novelist could never conceive. I’ll briefly share my story with you (friends should know about friends!) so you’ll understand my passion for these skills and why I’m honored to bring you the message God has entrusted to me—that manners matter to Him.

In the teaching part of the book, I’ll start by showing you how to teach etiquette without stressing or ever having to nag. We moms already have a lot on our plates. We don’t need to pile more “must do’s” on them. My way of teaching is gentle, subtle, and lifestyle-oriented. You won’t find your children pushing back. But you will see children who are more patient, kinder, and more likely to consider how their words and feelings impact the people around them.

You’ll also find relevant, modern, indispensable tips on everything from table manners to texting. You’ll learn how to make positive first impressions, interact with ease, and give and receive gifts graciously. You’ll also learn about using Wonder Words, beginning and ending conversations on a high note, dining skills, table manners, and so much more. All of it is in sync with today’s sensibilities and from the heart.

Chapters 4 through 17 start with just-for-fun etiquette IQ tests. “Mom to Mom” tips start in chapter 5. These are special things that are on my heart to share with you. They’re adult-level skills that will help you shine or special tips for teaching a particular skill set and touching the heart of your child.

Chapters 4 through 17 also include has multiple sections titled “Growing in Graciousness (Next-Level Skills).” These next-level skills allow you to pick and choose what you want to add into the mix. You can introduce a particular skill whenever your children will benefit the most given their age and stage, natural bent (introvert or extrovert), personality, level of maturity, confidence, and degree of manual dexterity.

You might look at all these skills and say, “Wow, Maralee! That looks like a whole bunch. How can I teach all of that?” Let me assure you, you can! It’s my joy to show you how. The skills you’ll find here are the ones I’ve taught successfully in hundreds of my Manners Mentor classes. And of course, I use them at home with my own two sons, Marc and Corbett. These skills are classroom tested, and they work in the real world.

Just don’t rush the process. You will teach and model for months or even years before some skills become parts of your child’s life. That’s normal. We’re in it for the long haul, aren’t we?

Our Shadow and Reflection

I often think of the evening several years ago when I dined with the financial genius. Now that my two sons are nine and fifteen, his words resonate deeper than they did when he first showed me that children change everything “but only for a little while.” We have 21 percent of our lives or less to daily impact theirs—just 21 percent to pass along to them everything they need to know to soar through life on their own.

The number one predictor of our children’s future success and happiness is their ability to get along well with others, to be well-liked, and to be confident and at ease in their interactions. You’re holding in your hands the how-to’s of instilling these character traits in your children.

Today our children are our shadow. Tomorrow they’ll be our reflection. Let’s embark on this journey together.

 

 

My Opinion:

 

Manners are something that has gone by the wayside in our culture, and I’m not quite sure why, maybe some think it makes them look old or outdated and I’ve heard that actually calling someone ma’am or sir is considered rude!  What?  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been at a store and a man or young person sees me and fails to hold the door, of course women are also guilty, and of course there are days when I get a bit sarcastic and say “oh, thank you!” then they look guilty-ly away.  I make my son remove his hat when we enter buildings, he’s asked why he has to when his Grandpa and other men don’t, and I tell him because he needs to have manners and respect and in doing so that means removing his hat.

 

Maralee McKee has written a book that easy to read and with simple ways to insert manners back into your children’s life.  She starts basic such as how to greet someone or introductions up to how to set a table for both casual and formal dinners and even covers how to speak using a great acronym – but I won’t give it away.  Some of them were manners I’ve grown up with and have passed on to my children, such as they are expected to greet visitors and talk to people while making eye contact.  However, I do disagree with the men don’t have to stand for a woman when she enters or leaves – but then again I like the ‘old’ manners such as when men automatically held doors open for ladies (this has been dying out since women started wearing pants).  A great go-to resource for manners and how to prepare our children to use them.

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