Crazy Love, by Francis Chan.
What an inspiring book. Written by a pastor who really walks according to his convictions, so much so that his church just built an outdoor ampitheater for Sundays to use the money that it would’ve cost to build a new building for more worthy causes. That’s true passionate faith. I loved the whole book with the exception of the chapter on lukewarm christianity. I totally agree that there are a lot of christians who are too comfortable with being lukewarm, but I don’t think we as people can see their hearts and judge and say they’re not saved. Other than that statement with which I totally disagree, this was an inspiration and challenge to me in my christian walk.
Say When, by Elizabeth Berg.
After reading Open House, I was dying to get into another Elizabeth Berg novel and I wasn’t disappointed. She has such a way of creating beautiful believable characters with such real layers. I love the way the characters discover themselves throughout the book and how we as readers can sit in on such a discovery. This one was the story of a man whose wife has an affair and wants a divorce, and how he copes with their separation. What could have been depressing and bitter really wasn’t. It was very well written and I can’t wait to read more of her books!
Calm and Compassionate Children by Susan Dermond
This is (surprise!) a very calm, quiet, new agey book which encourages parents to nurture the heart of a child more than the head. It is full of tips on how to develop a child’s empathy and self assurance in a way that teaches them to respect others and themselves. Although there wasn’t much new information here, it was a good reminder to me of other books I’ve read about looking at the heart of a child as they develop. My favorites: giving your child the gift of a slower, more peaceful lifestyle; teaching him that happiness isn’t found in instant gratification; noticing the connection between time in nature and a child’s demeanor…Actually, as a former teacher I wish I had read this years ago to apply in my classroom, as her tips are often perfect for teachers. It’s a great library book: read and take notes and then return. Then go out and buy one of the next two books on my list…
Parenting is Heart Work by Scott Turansky
This book was really right on. Why is it that we as parents are more concerned about blind obedience than what is going on in our children’s hearts? This book does not say we should let everything go and give our children a free pass to anarchy, but that we should look beyond behavior, even as we’re correcting it, to see what is really going on in our child’s heart. I loved the chapter on meditation…the fact that we can perseverate in our hearts on different ideas that may or may not be true, and we need to look for ideas that our children are turning over and over in their minds and hearts and purposefully work to correct those wrong perceptions with love. This book is about seeking to learn about and to nurture our children’s hearts, and it is chock full of practical examples (from the author’s psychiatric practice and other places) of how to do it. I think I’ll refer to it for years to come.
Grace-Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel
Finally, a book that so accurately voices my reasons not to raise my children in a sheltered Christian bubble. I give this 4 out of 5 stars, only because I was expecting more tips for parenting, while this is really a theoretical book. But I do completely agree with his philosophy of parenting: that our goal is not to raise safe kids, but strong kids, and that we need to stop being concerned with being perfect parents and raising perfect children. One of my favorite concepts in this book was to accept my children’s quirks and not try to change them into what I think they should be. It reminded me that their quirks are just that: quirks, not flaws of character that need disciplining. It is a wonderful book. This and the one above would be my current two favorite parenting books.
A Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins
I really enjoyed this book…written in the 70’s, a man who is disenchanted with our country decides to give it and its people one last chance by walking across America. The book is an easy read and the people he meets along the way are fascinating and so different from each other. I love the way the author’s preconceptions about our country and the people are shattered as he walks mile by mile. You get to watch as his faith in people, America, and God are all restored on his journey. This is definitely an oldie but a goodie.