Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Mother & Son

Mother & Son The Respect Effect
Written by:  Emerson Eggerichs, PhD

Love is important, but it is respect that is the key to your son’s heart.
The idea of moms respecting their sons may sound alien to some, but it seems to ignite curiosity across the board. It is easy to relate to the need for all of us to feel a mother’s love, but is that the same thing as respect? Even for young boys, the effect of respect is nothing short of astounding when applied properly.
Moms yearn to learn anything that better helps them with their sons. After all, they love their boys, but many find them more difficult to parent than their girls, especially from age four and up.
What makes this all the more urgent is that moms are coaching fathers to love their daughters, but no one has said boo to moms on specific ways to show respect to their sons, at least not in a way that is applicable and fully explained. All realize that little girls need daddy’s love, but who is strongly promoting the truth that little boys (and big ones) need Mom's respect? No wonder mothers feel left in the dark on this topic.
Just as Emerson Eggerichs transformed millions of marital relationships with a biblical understanding of love and respect, he now turns these principles to one of the most important relationships of all, a mother and her son.

My thoughts:
I enjoyed reading through this book.  I have always found it interesting to hear of so many titles about fathers and daughters.  I twas refreshing to read a book about sons! I enjoyed reading the personal accounts of what a mom would say and then seeing a response.  I also enjoyed the fact that they gave us ways to encourage our sons!  Growing up with mostly sisters, sometimes I think my boys will relate or share in the same way that I saw my sisters share.  I did have one brother, he reminds me constantly that 'guys are different.' And this book also confirmed that!  This book really provided a lot of insight for me.  I will most likely keep it near the front of my book shelf so that I can refer back to it in the near future!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one of the products mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Thursday, May 19, 2016

HIS Voice

It has been entirely too long since I blogged any update on my dad.  It isn't for lack of progress on his part.  Just a lack of discipline on my part!  The way his therapy appointments have fallen, my little sister has been taking him.  I have seen his progress, but seen it when I am hanging out with him at home. With it being 2 days shy of six months since his stroke, I just had to share with you his newest accomplishment! 

 Today I decided to play with a huge ant pile in my backyard which wasn't really too smart considering my reactions to ants, and I ended up with ants all over my hands....so I walked down to get some baking soda to make a paste and put on the ant bites....my brother and I hung out for a while and then when my dad got home he was trying to get my attention.  

He has been working on projecting his voice and speaking louder. I was in the kitchen and when he yelled my name, it was HIS voice.  Not the stroke voice, not the stroke speech...it was my dad, it sounded just like him.  He is coming back all the way! *(I feel compelled to add this little note right here, in no way is what I just said meant in anything but love.  I love my dad and his voice, regardless of how it sounds. BUT, being human, and craving familiarity, it was pretty amazing to hear him and know his voice is still in there). I can't even express in words how happy this made my heart feel.  

Ever since the stroke I have periodically played back saved voicemail from my dad from a week before his stroke.  His phone calls and just checking on me and hearing him speak - telling jokes or stories from him growing up, opening the door and telling the boys "welcome to the jungle", I miss these things that were greatly defined by HIS voice. Don't get me wrong, I am so incredibly grateful that he is still alive.  

My mom has told us all along that he was going to come all the way back, but time passes and doubt sets in. I think about the doctor that showed my mom the ct scan of his brain and showed her, while I stood close by,  the area of his brain that was affected.  I stood there as my mom asked what we could realistically expect with regards to walking and speaking just because she needed to know, I stood there as the doctor said, 'this is bad, not much, IF he ever speaks again, it will probably only be a few words and he probably wouldn't be able to link his thoughts to his words and speak.'  Then he turned around and walked out.... 9 days later my dad sang happy birthday!  I really need to start learning to listen to my mom.....aren't moms always right?!?!

Needless to say when he called my name today, in his voice, from the other room, I started crying.  I didn't think I would ever hear him speak again, when he did -- we were thrilled, never even gave a second thought to if his voice would return to the way it was before the stroke.  We were just thrilled to be able to hear him speak.  Now hearing his voice, its like.....priceless.  I can't find the words to express how incredible this is.

 I look at my dad and the way he has struggled but also how he has overcome.  I read a book recently titled, "Hope Heals" and the author survived a brain stem stroke and there were similarities in her story and my dads.  One thing she talks about was how people would tell her she was such a miracle, but she couldn't walk, she couldn't eat, she couldn't see out of one eye, she couldn't speak clearly, she couldn't use her right arm or right hand. Yet people still told her she was a miracle, even though to her "the miracle had left her unable to live normally."  This has really given me a different perspective as I have been quick to tell my dad that he is such a miracle, but never stopped to think how that came across to him.  Yes I still tell him he is a miracle, while validating that that is not how he might feel at this particular moment in time. 

I took this video today.  Not only did he use HIS voice (which takes so much effort) but he also chose what he wanted to say!  He is still the same on the inside! I also linked the video from one of the first times he spoke when he was in the hospital and he actually sang happy birthday, just so that you can compare the two. First one is from December 1, 2015.  Second one is from today, May 19, 2016...

"Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day.  For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." 2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Hope Heals

Hope Heals  

Written By: Katherine and Jay Wolf

Book Overview:

When all seems lost, where can hope be found?
Katherine and Jay married right after college and sought adventure far from home in Los Angeles, CA. As they pursued their dreams, they planted their lives in the city and in their church community. Their son, James, came along unexpectedly in the fall of 2007, and just 6 months later, everything changed in a moment for this young family.
On April 21, 2008, as James slept in the other room, Katherine collapsed, suffering a massive brain stem stroke without warning. Miraculously, Jay came home in time and called for help. Katherine was immediately rushed into micro-brain surgery, though her chance of survival was slim. As the sun rose the next morning, the surgeon proclaimed that Katherine had survived the removal of part of her brain, though her future recovery was completely uncertain. Yet in that moment, there was a spark of hope. Through 40 days on life support in the ICU and nearly 2 years in full-time brain rehab, that spark of hope was fanned into flame.
Defying every prognosis, with grit and grace, Katherine and Jay, side by side, struggled to regain a life for Katherine as she re-learned to talk and eat and walk. Returning home with a severely disabled body but a completely renewed purpose, they committed to celebrate this gift of a second chance by embracing life fully, even though that life looked very different than they could have ever imagined. In the midst of continuing hardships and struggles, both in body and mind, Katherine and Jay found what we all long to find...hope, hope that heals the most broken place, our souls.
An excruciating yet beautiful road to recovery has led the Wolf family to their new normal, in which almost every moment of life is marked with the scars of that fateful April day in 2008. Now, eight years later, Katherine and Jay are stewarding their story of suffering, restoration, and Christ-centered hope in this broken world through their ministry Hope Heals.

My thoughts:

I don't know where to begin with my review of this book.  I was so blessed by this story.  I can honestly say that this story of hope might not have been so moving to me had I come across it a year ago.  Its funny how the trials we face and the storms we weather draw us to things and people that we might have overlooked.  My father suffered a severe ischemic stroke on November 21, 2015.  It seems the list of things we were told he would never do was longer than the list of things they were hoping he would do.  It was very discouraging. It has not been an easy road to walk but has shown all of us who have walked with him, a thing or two about life.  We have a greater appreciation for the 'little things' that people take for granted. One thing that Katherine said in this book that really gave me a different point of view was about miracles.  She talked about people saying that she was such a miracle but yet from her perspective this miracle didn't feel so great. That has given me a different perspective because I know many times we have told my dad that he is a miracle, but I never stopped to think about what that 'miracle' looked like to him.  Or the fact that it meant he was unable to live normally. There is another time in the book where she says, "I can give God the glory and it can still hurt."  I can see where that could be applied to difficult times in life, not just from healing from a stroke. At one point her husband talks about reading through the book of Job and how he saw his wifes name in that story. He talked about his new connection with this book of the bible. I love this quote that follows, "I considered the reality that sometimes suffering comes because of the decisions we make; sometimes it comes as a way for God to gauge His place in our hearts; and sometimes it comes simply as a by-product of living in a world that is in a state of falling apart. Yet no matter the origin of the suffering, God's presence remains the same. He finds us in our hurts, if we want to be found. His power to filter the worst that life has to offer, with goodness remaining, is our great hope." I feel like I could just quote this entire book and talk about how it applies to multiple different struggles we face in life.  I highly recommend this book.  If you know or love someone who has survived a stroke or if you simply need to be reminded of the power of hope, this story is truly inspiring and you won't be disappointed. 
I randomly went out on a limb and decided to fill out the contact us form on the Hope Heals ministry page, to thank her for sharing her story and tell her about my dad... and I was overwhelmed with kindness and hope from the reply that I received.  I was tickled pink to get a response from the author!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

I review for BookLook Bloggers

Sunday, May 15, 2016

ESV Family Devotional Bible

ESV Family Devotional Bible 


The ESV Family Devotional Bible was deisgned to help families read and apply God's Word together.
This full-color edition features the complete ESV Bible text interspersed with engaging illustrations and gospel-centered devotions related to key Bible stories - guiding families through the entirety of God's Word over the course of a year. Each devotion also includes discussion questions and suggestions for additional reading, helping families develop a habit of reading the Bible together and applying its truth to all of life. 

My Thoughts:

I enjoyed reading through this bible and sharing some of the devotionals with my boys.  We have two boys, one is almost 9 and one is 5.  I felt like this was a perfect bible family devotional because it was perfect for both boys, they both got something out of it.  In the past we have read devotionals as a family and I have found that if they were engaging and the 9 year old was learning from it, then it was a little above the 5 year olds head.  With this bible we can read the bible, and the devotionals are perfectly placed throughout so that it keeps the attention of our 5 year old while also engaging our 9 year old.  They have asked to go through it completely as part of their bedtime routine!  I would definitely recommend this bible.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one of the products mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Monday, May 9, 2016

None Like Him

None Like Him
Written By: Jen Wilkin


God is self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, sovereign, infinite, and incomprehensible.
We're not.
And that's a good thing.
Our limitations are by design. We were never meant to be God. But at the root of every sin is our rebellious desire to possess attributes that belong to God alone.
Calling us to embrace our limits as a means of glorifying God's limitless power, Jen Wilkin invites us to celebrate the freedom that comes when we rest in letting God be God

My Thoughts

I enjoyed reading this book.  I felt that the author did a good job of drawing us into the story and the points that she was trying to make.  I feel that she was relating to us and the thoughts that have all crossed our mind at one time or another. Some of the perspectives seemed weird at first, but I think that is what made it captivating, I wanted to keep reading to see where she took it.  I love the layout of the book and the book.  The chapters were not too long.  I enjoyed the specific verses for meditation and questions for reflection at the end of each chapter.  This would be a great book to read individually like I did and allow for some deeper thinking and reflecting and prayers, however, I think it would be great in a ladies group.  I will recommend it to my women's bible study group as summer reading.  It is nice to have a book that allows for deeper study, without being a full fledged bible study with a lot of homework.  I strongly feel that it is about quality not quantity and this book certainly proves that point well!

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog.  Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."