Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sleepless in America

Ok, so I didn't actually read the entire book.  I did a quick speed to glean tips and ideas.  The information I found was extremely helpful.  I was reminded that bedtime is not the same as sleep time.  I have started making the hour before bedtime a calm, peaceful time at our home to help everyone wind down.  There is no tv, lights are dimmed and voices are quiet.  I've also been paying more attention to sleep cues from my youngest who will fight sleep until the bitter end. 

Overall Sleepless in America is full of many practical ideas and tips that are easy to implement.  I would recommend it to any parent.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher

"So,"  I wonder to myself, "how can a story about a girl in a sultans harem be kid friendly?"

Aside from the setting, Shadow Spinner proved to be a great tale for the kids.  There's excitement, suspense and stories within stories.  The unlikely heroine with an unlikely talent takes center stage with her candid quirkiness.  My favorite part of the book were the mini-lessons at the beginning of each chapter called "Lessons for Life and Storytelling."

Were almost finished and I can't wait until the end.

The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

I love a book that challenges my worldview and enlarges my perspective.   The Art of Thinking Clearly does both. Mr. Dobelli has spent years compiling a list of logical fallacies and cognitive errors. A healthy spread of applications from business to personal affairs makes the material very readable.  I personally loved the short, bite sized chapters.   This 358 page book is divided into 99 chapters making it easy to read a little bit here and a little bit there.

Overall, I feel that I am better equipped to evaluate big decisions in a logical manner.

On a side note, Mr. Dobelli missed one of the key cognitive errors I deal with on a daily basis.  I call it the PBJ Phenomenon.   It's the lapse in linear thought that is a result of trying to keep a middle school boy full.  Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner?  Those are merely 3 meals in an 8 meal day.  Perhaps,  we'll see a revised edition in the future.  

Monday, October 28, 2013

Bonehoeffer: Prophet, Martyr, Spy by Eric Mataxas

I wont lie to you.  This one's a biggie.  I reluctantly checked it out from the library, wondering if I would possibly find time to finish.  As I began reading, I was immediately swept away into a pseudo Sound of Music world recounting the childhood of a great man and a great mind. 

My 11 year old read the first child and was delighted with the charming boyhood stories.  As the details of Dietrich's unfold and WWII draws nigh, the content becomes more and more challenging to process.  Perhaps it was the thought of how so many alleged believers could stray so far from the gospel and subscribe to Nazi doctrine.

I quit reading mid book for two reasons.  First of all it was due at the the library.  My account had accumulated a few fines (or enforced charitable donations as I prefer to call them) and it was amnesty week.  I could clear my fines by returning the book.

Secondly, I was saddened deeply by the book and kept drawing too many parallels between America now and Germany then.  Unthinking, Americanized Gospel has swept across our nation.  The Bible is misused and abused to advance politics.  I could go on and on.  Nevertheless, I became a bit of a doomsayer to my friends and family making constant analogies between Rome and America.

On lighter note,  there are references to farts.  And there are many personal letters, which I happen to love.

Purchasing and finishing Bonehoeffer is on my to-do list.  So is lightening up a little bit. 

Check it out on Amazon

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Do you wonder why you do what you do? Why do your kids do what they do?

Duhigg explores the fascinating power habits have in our lives.  This book has a little something for everyone.  Brain research, sports, weight loss, addiction and heart warming human interest stories covered in
 this book. 

It's a must read.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Ministry of Intercession by Andrew Murray

It's no secret I like to read and I like free things.  The Ministry of Intercession  is another freebie from the Kindle Store.   Andrew Murray lived in South Africa from 1828-1917.   His passion for prayer is evident in his writing.

I particularly enjoyed the style of his chapters.  Each chapter is titled with a description of how we should pray.  The chapters open with a scripture and close with a prayer.  Both experiential and scriptural teaching is included in each chapter.  It's a nice balance. 

I warn you, this book will challenge you spiritually.  It also uses lots of  "-eths."  If there is a verb, you'll likely see an -eth attached.  I grew up reading the KJV Bible and loved Shakespeare, so the language didn't trip me up too much.  One of my favorite lines from the book comments on the importance of prayer in our work:

Let us acknowledge how vain our much work has been owing to our little prayer.  Let us change our method, and let henceforth more prayer, much prayer, be the proof that we look for all to God, and that we believe that He heareth us.  

That's deep stuff, Andrew.  Deep stuff. 

Organizing Magic: 40 Days to a Well Ordered Home and Life by Sandra Felton

Magic.  I like Magic.  I bought this book in hopes I would magically become organized.  This book did not magically organize my home or life.  It seems an awful lot like false advertising.

The most magical thing about this book was the fact it enabled me to magically evade housework under the guise of reading about it.  

On a serious note, I did enjoy the format.  One task to complete a day seems very doable.  Like most things, it's simply a matter of doing it.  Many practical, hands on tips are helpful to someone who needs a place to start.