Everyday Greatness: Inspiration for a Meaningful Lifewith Insights and Commentary by Stephen R. Covey is an encouraging and thought-provoking read. It presents stories, anecdotes and quotes that are divided into seven categories, each containing three principles. These include such topics as responsibility, courage, discipline, integrity, humility and gratitude.
This is a great reference book to have in your collection and can be read straight through from beginning to end or in random order by subject matter. Some of the stories would also be great as read-alouds when you are teaching certain principles or character traits to your children. A couple of my favorites were Mike and Me and the Cake by Michael A. Andrews (I cried through it!) and Johnny Lingo’s Eight-Cow Wife by Patricia McGerr.
The end of each section contains a “Reflections” page with questions that challenge you to examine your own self in regards to the particular subject that was covered. I enjoyed reading this book and gained some food for thought in certain areas of my own life. Seeing obstacles that others have overcome and realizing how many “ordinary” heroes are all around us can be inspiring to us all.
What am I as a Christian doing to live out my faith by ministering to the needs of others? That is the question asked by Richard Stearns in his book The Hole in Our Gospel. He lays a foundation for the responsibility we have as believers in Christ to “show our faith by our works” and then goes on to present the overwhelming needs – physical, emotional and financial – of people around the world. The book concludes with an evaluation of how the church as a whole and people as individuals can respond to this call.
The most enjoyable part of the book for me was when the author shared his personal testimony of salvation and the ways that God worked in his life to bring him to his current position. He does present a compelling case for the underprivileged around the world and it is convicting to realize the personal responsibility I have to share with others the things with which I have been blessed. While in some ways this book may appear to present a reinvention of the social gospel, it is always good to be challenged to use every opportunity to serve Christ by serving others and seeking to meet their needs.
Our basket is full of books about animals this week! Here are a few of the best, ones that I found to be informative and age-appropriate for my six and eight-year olds.
Skunks by Patricia Whitehouse
Deer by Christine Butterworth
The Wonder of Moose by Rita Ritchie and Jeff Fair
Cheetahs: Spotted Speedsters by Jody Sullivan
African Elephant: The World’s Biggest Land Mammal by Kirsten Hall
We also got a video from the library entitled See How They Grow (Volume One) from Reader’s Digest Young Families that shows how baby animals grow up. It is probably geared toward younger children but is cute enough that my girls are enjoying watching it.
They also checked out a few titles from each of their current favorite series: American Girl, Magic Tree House, Cul de Sac Kids and Three Cousins Detective Club.
My eight-year-old wanted to read Treasures of the Snow by Patricia St. John. It was referenced in another book she had read so I reserved it for her at our library. I thought it looked a bit above her level, but she has read several chapters and says she likes it. It looks like a book that I may want to read as well. The author appears to have written a number of children’s books so I may see if our library has any of the others.
New to my reading list this week is The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. Look for a book review on this one in the coming days.
See what others are reading this week by visiting The Happy Housewife and checking out her Thursday book basket post.
With two little girls growing up at our house, I’ve come to know a lot about princesses. God’s Little Princess Devotional Bible by Sheila Walsh is a devotional book for young girls that highlights character traits a true princess would have and connects them to a Bible character or passage.
What is the fastest two-legged animal? Which animal weighs less than a paper clip when born? The answers to these questions and other fascinating animal facts can be found in this exciting book by Jack Hanna.
Jungle Jack’s Wackiest, Wildest, and Weirdest Animals in the World showcases one animal per page and includes vibrant, close-up pictures. Key information is given about each of the animals including what they eat, where they live and how big they get. Jack Hanna shares some of his own experiences of his interaction with many of these animals. A helpful glossary is included at the end of the book.
I appreciate that the book is written from a Christian perspective with several references to God’s creation of animals and no mention of evolution. The book is written in an easy-to-read style and is specifically geared toward children with information they would find exciting. The colorful photos add a wonderful dimension of interest to the pages.
If your child is at all interested in animals, he/she would thoroughly enjoy this book. It would be great as a read-aloud for younger children and a read-alone for older ones. This book opens the door to understanding the diversity and uniqueness of some of God’s creations.
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A close, loving relationship between a father and daughter can be especially meaningful and rewarding. I readily admit that my latest read, She Still Calls Me Daddy: Building a New Relationship with Your Daughter After You Walk Her Down the Aisle by Robert Wolgemuth, is geared toward dads who have recently had a daughter get married. However, I was curious what the author’s take might be on giving his two daughters away in marriage. After all, I figured I could read it from the perspective of a daughter who has had a wonderful relationship with her father, not to mention seeing what might be in the future for my husband and our two girls.
Wolgemuth uses the idea of remodeling a house as he delves into the building of a relationship with a married daughter and her husband. Chapters are devoted to the areas of protection, conversation, affection, discipline, laughter, faith and conduct. He includes lots of stories from his own experience, which make the information personal and interesting. I would have enjoyed seeing a few more practical tips on ways to develop and strengthen family connections in each of the areas he covered.
My favorite chapter was the one on faith. The author uses the analogy of stirring ingredients together when following a recipe; in the same way, we as parents are to stir up the gifts that God has given to our children. God gives them “ingredients” or gifts; I, as a parent, am to do the stirring, “ those things that intentionally nurture and blend faith with everyday life.” He also includes great advice on praying for our children once they have left home and are married.
While I enjoyed reading this book, I am guessing it will mean even more to my husband and myself when we reach this stage in our lives. From all that is detailed in the book, it certainly sounds like the author has built great relationships with his married daughters and sons-in-law.
I just finished reading the book The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Bewritten by Andy Stanley, published by Thomas Nelson publishers.
I like reading books that challenge me to think, and this one did so. Andy Stanley takes the idea of a road, which always leads you somewhere, and applies it to our lives.
The main premise of the path principle is that direction, not intentions, is the key to where we end up in life. While we all desire certain outcomes in our relationships, careers and finances, we have to make decisions today that will lead us to those ends. He delves into the emotions that tend to distract us and our tendency to give attention to things that don’t coincide with the path we should be taking. The author also encourages readers to seek wisdom from others who have traveled the path before them.
The book contains many current cultural references and personal stories and is written in an easy-to-read style. I am only slightly familiar with the author and doubt that I would agree with him on all issues, but feel that I can nearly always learn something from others.
There were two thoughts that most resonated with me. The first was the admonition that we never accomplish the will of God by violating the principles of God. Secondly, near the conclusion of the book, he asks what story you would like to tell with your life. What a great reminder, that every day we are adding pages to the volume that we will look back on one day as the story of our life.
When I first began the book, I wondered how Andy Stanley could possibly write an entire book on such a simple principle. I think he did a fine job of explaining and developing the principle of the path.
My girls are in an American Girl mood at the moment and got the following books from that series, most of which they have read before and enjoyed:
Addy’s Short Story Collection
A Molly Mystery: The Light in the Cellar
Happy Birthday, Molly
Really Truly Ruthie
They also checked out these books from other series they like to read:
A to Z Mysteries: The X’ed-Out X-Ray
The Cul-de-sac Kids: The Upside-Down Day
We had previously checked out A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. I want my girls to develop an appreciation for good poetry, so was happy when my older daughter requested that we get this book again. I’m hoping to find a used copy of it that I can purchase for ourselves.
A couple that were new to us this time were The Secret Soldier: The Story of Deborah Sampson by Ann McGovern and The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden. I skimmed both of these; the latter is a Newbery Honor book and looks quite entertaining and age-appropriate.
As for myself, the bookshelf located by the library exit that contains used books for sale got me again! Here’s what I bought for my own reading:
If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy by Lindsey O’Connor
The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman. I have actually read this one before, but wanted to re-read it and add it to my own collection.
The Perfect Wife: The Life and Choices of Laura Bush by Ann Gerhart
Ronald Reagan in Private: A Memoir of My Years in the White House by Jim Kuhn. Ronald Reagan is one of my favorite Presidents and I enjoy reading books about him.
I’m also currently reading The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley. Look for a review of that book coming up soon!
See what others’ have in their book basket by visiting The Happy Housewife today.
As I mentioned in a post last week, our family has discovered a new book that we are using for our family devotional time.
I realize that families study the Bible together in different ways. What currently works for us is setting aside a few minutes after we are finished eating supper to have a devotional time.
We have done different things over the years – read from Bible story books, examined Bible characters, read brief biographies on various missionaries, studied character traits, and discussed particular Bible passages.
While researching some books that a friend recommended, I came across a book entitled Wisdom and the Millers. It is written by Mildred A. Martin and published by Green Pastures Press. We are so thoroughly enjoying this book!
The Miller family includes Dad, Mom and their four children. Each of the chapters tells a short story of an event that happens in the family which illustrates a verse from Proverbs.
One of my favorites so far is entitled “The Multitude of Words” and is based on Proverbs 10:19, “In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.” In the story, Sharon, the oldest daughter, encounters several difficulties throughout her day because of her inconsiderate words and thoughtless speech. At the end of the day, her mom sits down with her and they figure out the root of the problem and its’ solution.
Most nights we do a brief review of one of our previous stories, and the girls remember well the lessons that were taught. I was out on the night my husband did the chapter on having a froward mouth, but the girls were able to fill me in on the whole thing!
I would highly recommend this book either for reading together as a family or for your child to read for themselves. It has been a great find for us!
Here are other books in the Miller Family Series.
- School Days with the Millers
- Storytime with the Millers
- Prudence and the Millers
- Missionary Stories with the Millers
- Growing with the Millers
We are always looking for books or ideas for our family Bible time. If you have suggestions or resources that you enjoy, please let me know in the comments section.