What’s On My Bookshelf

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The Connected Child by K. Purvis, D. Cross & W. Sunshine

This was one of the books we borrowed from our home study agency as we’ve been going through the adoption process.  Where to begin with this book?  I’ve experienced all-the-emotions during this whole process, and this book definitely highlighted some of those.  It was illuminating, thought-provoking, and emotion-provoking as I processed through what the real-life changes of adopting children are going to mean for our family.  Things like what it looks like to be a parent who brings hope and healing to a child from a troubled background, rather than a parent who simply insists on obedience.  Understanding the fear responses behind a child’s actions and seeking to make them feel safe before addressing the actions themselves.  How to teach life values that they may never have learned before.  Making sure that you are emotionally healthy in order for God to use you to heal your child’s emotions.

While my husband and I are not currently pregnant in the traditional sense, I’ve realized that we are still expectant parents in the sense that this season of life as we know it is getting ready to change very drastically.  The practical, somewhat-controlling side of me wants to learn everything possible about the parenting process, especially when it comes to possibly parenting children with tough backgrounds.  And yet, the more I learn, the more I realize that I’m never going to know it all.  That parenting is probably going to look a lot like saying, “Jesus, help!”  And that’s okay.  In the meantime, this book is definitely a valuable resource.

Meet My Best Friend by Sheila Walsh

Sweet and quirky, this children’s story follows an American girl named Abby who has just moved to Scotland with her family.  She meets her new neighbors, the McDougal twins and their two dogs (whose side commentary throughout the book was my favorite part), who take her on a hunt to find their best friend.  The colorful illustrations bring life and movement to the story, which conveys the truth that God’s Word really is our best friend, and that He promises never to leave us alone, even when things around us seem new and uncertain…an appropriate reminder for adults as well as children.  I’m sincerely looking forward to curling up on the couch and reading this one with our children one day.

*Thanks to LifeWay Publishing group for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Amie: an African Adventure by Lucinda Clarke

I got this book free on Kindle a while back and decided to start reading it because I needed some light fiction to balance out the weightier adoption books.  I actually ended up not finishing it and giving it only one star on Goodreads (and I’m the type who almost always feels compelled to finish books, even when I’m not really enjoying them).  Maybe it wasn’t completely fair of me to still give it a one-star rating when I didn’t even finish it; I don’t know.  But I did make it about a third of the way through and…I just couldn’t keep going.

I don’t know how much time the author actually spent in Africa (I’ve never been and am certainly no expert), but I would guess that she had some experience there, given the details in the book.  Amie is an English expatriot living with her husband in the country of Togodo.   Her character struck me as whiny, and she and her other expat friends continually spoke about the cultural differences of Africa in light of English culture being far superior to African.  But the thing that drove me crazier than the superior tone and lack of cultural understanding was the terrible editing and lack of punctuation throughout the book.  After trudging my way through the first third of the book, I decided that even my need-to-finish wasn’t strong enough for this one.

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Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson

This is another one I may not end up finishing.  I got the audio version from the library a while back and have already renewed it once.  The book is read by the author, Dr. James Dobson, and while his voice is pleasant, the book is just sort of….eh.  Back when I was growing up in the 90’s, Dr. Dobson was the stuff.  He was the moral conservative-Christian family guru.  I remember my folks listening to his show on the radio.  And while I definitely appreciate a good bit of his advice in this book, listening to him now, 20 years later…I don’t know.  Throughout the book, society and culture are continually equated as being evil, and the author advocates shielding our children from the evils of society in every way possible.

Truthfully?  I want to raise children who are not afraid to engage culture, who are confident enough of the strength of the God who lives inside of them that they rise to the challenge of ‘being in the world and not of it’ and shine the light of Christ in a broken and hurting world.  That being said, Dr. Dobson is a man with YEARS of experience in the fields of psychology and sociology, as well as raising his own children, so he definitely has wisdom to offer, even if I disagree with his take on the family’s role in society and culture.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

What can I say about this book?  It’s a classic.  My mind needed a break from all the above non-fiction (and the less-than fiction).  What better respite than immersing yourself in the world of Meg, Jo, Beth, Amy, Laurie and Marmee…characters who I sincerely wished were part of my own family when I was little (along with Anne Shirley, of course).  It’s almost enough to make me want to take up knitting or darning socks, until I remember that I probably don’t have the patience for that.

What’s on your bookshelf?

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