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Note: This post contains affiliate links.

I thought it might be nice to share what I’ve been reading. I’m going to try to do this every month; we’ll see how it goes. If you are a homeschooler or are thinking about homeschooling, then you just might find this month’s list helpful.

I picked up Unit Studies Made Easy from the library. At almost an inch thick, this book looks overwhelming, but 1) it is really several books in one, and there is a bit of redundancy, and 2) the parts about how to do unit studies are shorter, and most of the book is filled with examples that the casual reader won’t read in detail. It would make a great resource to have, but ultimately it teaches you how to do your own unit studies, and gives you a picture of a philosophy of education that is very different from traditional school, yet much closer to what I believe God intended for children to have.

If you live in a state that requires a certain number of hours of school per year, this is a great book; it gives you creative ways to record educational activities. Helping with cooking or cleaning (aka, chores) can be labeled as Home Economics or some other fancy label. Looking up things on Google could be Research 101, or whatever. Listening to Mom read stories could be Listening Comprehension. To be sure, education is more than just textbooks and workbooks! I definitely recommend this book, and may end up getting my own copy someday. It’s got some great resources in it!

Gifted: Raising Children Intentionally by Chris Davis is an excellent book. Not too long, either. I bought the Kindle version, and I don’t regret buying it. I might regret not getting a hard copy, but I wrote the library and suggested they get it, so we’ll see. Chris Davis was a homeschool father back when homeschooling was illegal in most states, a pioneer in the movement. He believes that children are not empty slates to be filled with information, but rather that they have been given gifts by God to glorify Him, and that it is our job to help them figure out what those gifts are and to develop them to the fullest. He takes to heart the words of John Gatto when he says something like, “Find out what public schools are doing and do something else,” and he goes into some detail on how to do “something else.” This book was so formative in many ways of my philosophy, or perhaps refining it, that I loaned it via Kindle loan to my husband, in the hopes that he will read at least some of it so we can discuss it.

The Brainy Bunch by Kip and Mona Lisa Harding is the story of how they got 7 of their 10 children into college by age 12. The book is more of their story than a how-to manual, but it does have some how-we-did-it in there between story lines. I found the book a bit disorganized, more like it had been transcribed from a series of lectures, rather than written, which makes me think my husband would probably never read it (he hasn’t the patience for certain kinds of books like that). I might try sharing with him some of the ideas.

However, I am not quite sure what to make of the book. I can see how getting their kids in college was helpful for them. Pretty much all their kids were doing high school level work by age 10, especially math, and even if they took high-school level courses to start with, they were able to avoid the drama and, in some cases, boredom, of high school. College classes are not every day, so the kids weren’t in class every day, and they learned to manage their time like adults instead of having someone else (aka, school and teacher) manage it for them. Their classroom associates were mature adults instead of immature teens. The goal of developing their passions kept them motivated.

But on the other hand, they way this family works is to start the kids reading at age 4 or 5, and accelerating their math so that by age 8 or 9 they are doing pre-algebra. I’m not sure that’s possible for everyone. It has worked for them, but in their case, the first child was good at math, with her dad teaching her some calculus problems he was studying when she was 4, and she set the bar high for her siblings by passing the ACT or SAT (I forget which) at age 12 and starting college. Pretty soon everyone wanted to be in college by age 12 (one kid made it by age 10). They advanced them in math quickly and encouraged reading. My oldest, on the other hand, is still reading at the 1st grade level in 2nd grade (she doesn’t enjoy reading, although she is improving), and she is having a hard time learning math facts and even relatively basic concepts. I’m still trying to figure out how to teach her in a way that makes sense to her (because math was my strong suit and came easily for me, it’s hard for me to think like someone for whom math was not easy). Not that I want her in college at age 12, but still, I have some questions about the concept of the book. Nonetheless, it made interesting reading, and I polished it off in about 3 days.

That’s all for this month. I just requested the book The Self Propelled Advantage from the library. I read the Kindle sample, and now I can’t wait to get the book. But I bought two Kindle books already this month, and I’m not about to buy another one right now, so since the library has this one, I’m going to be patient and read the hard copy when it comes. I also want to read Little Kids Big Money, since my daughter seems motivated by money, and coins are the only math manipulatives she will use right now, other than her fingers, so i am determined that she will learn to count it well, and may as well learn more about managing it. The other book I want to read is The Pursuit of God by A. W. Tozer. I want to read at least one devotional/spiritual book each month (perhaps continued from the last month if it’s long). Maybe next year I will share the full list of Kindle books I plan to read in 2015, and then share each month what I actually read, which will include library books and maybe (gasp) even a few from my own library.

What have you been reading this month?

Update: First, Tuesday was my shopping day, so I didn’t have time to get the giveaway closed yesterday. So I’ll let the couple extra entries count.

And now, for the winners!

#107 is Becky

#93 is Lauren Mueller

I will be contacting the winners. Congratulations! I am really happy with the results. I believe these tabbers will be going to people who really need and will use them.

Remember, If you didn’t win, you can still purchase your own set of tabbers and make your own Bible at the Child Training Bible.


Have you heard about the Child Training Bible? I heard about it several months ago and was intrigued. I may have even participated in a giveaway for the kit. I decided it was something I would get… eventually. Then I saw a 2-for-1 special and bought it. But I didn’t have the budget for another Bible, and I didn’t have a blank one in my preferred translation (which happens to be KJV, by the way), so I filed it away. I also didn’t have the markers and tabs they recommend to go mark the Bible with.

A few months later, my husband brought home a Bible from church. It had been left in the “Free Books” section, and was hardly marked at all–appeared brand new, in fact. There was no name, so the librarian had decided to give it away. It was a study Bible, full of commentary at the bottom of pages, but it was KJV–actually, an updated KJV, which changed a few words, like which to who, ship to boat, updated some of the really archaic words like astonied, etc. I decided it was perfect.

The finished product--for now

Last Sabbath, I woke up feeling off. Not exactly sick, but I had a sore throat, and decided I would just stay home. I quickly decided it was the perfect opportunity to work on the Bible. I still didn’t have the markers or tabs, and there wasn’t money in the budget to get any, so I improvised. I picked out crayons to match the colors and marked with those, and I cut up some colored Post-it notes (coloring some to improvise colors I didn’t have), and used those to mark the pages. Sometime I plan on going back and changing to the proper tabs, but for now, I’m very happy with the results. It’s fully functional. I’m still debating whether to glue the master tab sheet on the cover as you can see in the picture, or just keep it inside the front cover as I have been keeping it for now.

This is what we are giving away. *

In case you’re not familiar with the Bible, here is how it works. There are a list of topics covering character issues, such as tattling, anger, lying, discouragement, etc. Each topic has a list of verses, and the topics are color coded. There are cards that go with each topic that also have heart questions and prayer suggestions on the back. What you do is go through and highlight the verses in colors that match the cards, then put matching colored tabs on the page to mark where it is. Then when you need to see what the Bible says about a particular character issue, you can open the Bible to one of the colored tabs and find the highlighted verse quickly.

As I went through the verses, I realized that this Bible isn’t only going to be useful in child training. It spoke to my heart to. Many of the verses spoke to me. Verses about self control reminded me that I haven’t always been the best example of keeping my emotions controlled when dealing with exasperating children.

Monday I took my first opportunity to use the Bible. I recently implemented the ticket system, and she had run out of tickets around 7:00 in the evening, not long before bedtime, so I told her to brush her teeth and go straight to bed. When I finished feeding the baby and came to see her, she was sitting on her bed, arms crossed, head down, lip slightly out, and darts of rebellion and defiance shooting out of her eyes. So I went and grabbed the Bible.

I opened it and read a few verses on anger, defiance, and obedience, asking her to say short prayers based on what we had read. At first, it didn’t seem like the verses were having any kind of impact; I would ask her what I had read, and she would just grunt and look away, or hide her head under a pillow, or something like that. But with each prayer, she became less and less resistant, until finally her last prayer was heartfelt and unprompted, and she was all smiles. Of course, she still had to go to bed, but now her heart was in the right place, and she went cheerfully.

But I’m not going to use the Bible just for discipline issues. As I went through it, I realized that we could use it for family worship. We could pick one verse or several on a topic that we felt needed to be addressed, read them, discuss them, illustrate them, and pray over them. There are 21 topics and an average of 8 verses per topic, so one verse a day would keep us busy for several months. I believe it will also be helpful for me when I find myself struggling with specific character issues (anger, discouragement, etc).

This shows a Bible done with the proper tabs. *

And here’s the best part: Mindy from the Child Training Bible has agreed to help me with a giveaway. I have no real use for my extra set, except to share it, so I thought I would do that, and she agreed to send an extra set to whoever wins the giveaway. So we will be giving away 2 sets! As in, two winners!

To keep things simple, I will avoid using a rafflecopter or some other fancy gadget to do the giveaway. Just make one comment per entry. You get one entry just for reading this far, and for extra entries, you can do one or more of the following (let me know what you did in the comment):

So that means you can enter up to four times. You can do both of any of the “or” options–blog and share on Facebook, for instance–but you only get credit for one of them.

This giveaway ends 3/4/13–that is, Monday, March 4. I will count the comments, enter the number in a random number generator, and will generate two entries to be the two unique winners.

I can’t wait to see who gets this wonderful resource!

 

* Photos courtesy of The Child Training Bible. Used with permission.
 
This Post is linked to Works for Me Wednesday and Modest Monday blog carnivals.

I almost made the title “The Cure for Every Disease,” but that is the name of a book that has nothing to do with this post. It would also be somewhat inaccurate. What I am about to tell you about shows you how to heal issues of the heart, emotional issues. This, in turn, will heal pretty much every physical issue you have in your body. But that is a bi-product and not the ultimate purpose.

This method has healed incurable diseases. And I dare to say that because I know a friend who had celiac disease. According to WebMD, there is no cure for celiac disease (source). The treatment is a gluten-free diet, which will relieve all symptoms and give the person a chance at a normal life; but there is no known cure. A tiny crumb of gluten can cause a flare-up even years after beginning the diet.

But my friend is healed. I watched her eat two sandwiches made with wheat bread just a few days ago. That is supposed to be impossible. But it’s not. She is cured. What did she do?

She healed her issue with a technique known as The Healing Code. The Healing Code is a healing technique utilizing energy, and functions according to the laws of quantum physics.

Now, that last sentence probably makes no sense at all–and it might sound scary. For people who are leery of acupuncture and other energy healing methods, it might even sound suspicious. Healing with energy? Where does that come from? How can you be sure there aren’t dark forces behind this energy, demonic forces?

Is Energy Healing Safe?

First, I will say that the only similarity between the codes and acupuncture is that they both balance out the energy of the body in a way that can be measured with medical equipment (specifically, the Heart Rate Variability machine). However, not only are the techniques completely different, but the focus is also different. Acupuncture focuses on the health issue–the pain, the allergy, etc. The code focuses on the heart issue–the emotion, the memory, etc. This in turn reactivates the immune system, which is then able to heal the health issue.

The truth is, energy is a part of who we are. Every atom of our being has a frequency that can be read on the right kind of machine. I once heard in a music seminar the audible sound of emotional frequencies. Positive emotions had cheerful, happy sounds, while negative emotions had distressful sounds. The healing code works by canceling out the negative frequencies that cause stress to the body. Once the stress that was suppressing the immune system is gone, then the body is able to heal itself.

Biblically and Scientifically Sound?

The friend who recommended the book to me is a dedicated Christian, which is why I decided to take a look at it in the first place. If she had not been a Christian, I probably would not have touched it. And even then, I went into it looking for anything that went counter to the Bible (and if you are an Seventh-day Adventist, you’ll know what I mean when I say I was also testing it against the Spirit of Prophecy).

I was amazed as I saw principle after principle line up. It even quoted the Bible is several places to illustrate the veracity of the method. In fact, the author himself spent a year and a half testing the method against the Bible, and then another year and a half testing it against science, before he began sharing it.

There is nothing mystical in the method. It is based on something God put into our bodies when He created us, but until just a few years ago it was unknown. (At least, in recorded history–who knows what was known about it before the flood.) In fact, the method can be explained in terms of quantum mechanics–a field that is very strange, but scientifically proven on at least some level.

Part of the method includes focusing on the opposite of whatever issue you are having (forgiveness instead of unforgiveness, for instance) while doing the technique. Exactly how you do that can vary, but you must use truth. You cannot say something like, “I know my cancer is healing right now” (such as is used by those “name it and claim it” ministries on TV), because it might be false, and if it is, then saying the statement actually causes more stress to the body. Instead, you could say, “I believe that God is able to heal my cancer, and I trust Him to do it.” That is a truth statement, and it is capable of relieving stress in the body. One could also recall positive memories that are the opposite of the issue being dealt with. For instance, if your issue is an unforgiving spirit, you could recall a time you forgave someone. Although it is not mentioned specifically in the book, I have found that quoting Bible verses during the treatment (because the Bible is the ultimate truth) is also effective. Using these methods without the code has been proven beneficial (claiming promises, prayer, positive thinking, etc); but the use of the code multiplies the benefits and actually heals the underlying spiritual and emotional issue at its source. And the results of the healing can be scientifically verified.

Not only does it work for adults, but it works for infants and animals as well. This proves that the results are not merely a placebo effect, because babies and animals cannot exhibit a placebo effect.

And It Really Works

There are a lot of people making claims about this or that miracle drug or herb or technique, but none are virtually 100% effective. Most are not even close. NAET is a good example. Some have had results, but many have not. Now, a practitioner would say those who did not get results didn’t have enough sessions, and that may be true. But it gets expensive very quickly, and many people cannot afford the number of treatments it would take to see results–if indeed they ever would. But one only needs to read the reviews of the book on Amazon to know that it has worked for almost everyone. And I suspect that those who did not see results with the book would see results if they bought the full set of codes (the book only has the universal code, but it is almost universally effective).

Let me share my testimony. Or rather, three of them.

I was spending the night at the home of the friend was healed of celiac disease and shared the book with me. We were talking late into the night, and we began to discuss where I might begin to work with the code. I knew that there are emotional issues related to my mother, and I realized that on some level I had never really forgiven her for them. So we were discussing this. She suggested that a truth focus statement I could use would be something like, “As God has forgiven me, I choose to extend forgiveness to my mother for [issue I am concentrating on]”, and instantly I knew that the statement would not work, because it would not be truth for me. The truth was that I could not believe that God had truly forgiven me for some of my sins (specifically the ones I had done over and over and over again). I had confessed them, but when my mother had said things like “I’ll believe it when I see it” in response to my declarations of repentance over certain oft-repeated mistakes, I had projected my mother’s attitude onto God, and could not accept His forgiveness. Instantly I knew that this was where I needed to focus first. Then once her statement was true, I would be able to forgive my mother for other things.

So the next morning I prayed, asking God that if this code was from Him, that He would give me confirmation. Then I did the code. When I was done, I felt good, and got up to have breakfast. Later, while washing the dishes, I accidentally broke the handle off a mug. I felt bad, of course, and began to plan on telling someone about it, so the people living in the house wouldn’t start blaming each other and all denying it and cause tension. Suddenly I stopped. I realized that before I would have tried to hide the evidence, fearful that I would not be extended forgiveness. But I had no fear of them not forgiving me. It didn’t matter whether they forgave me or not. And then I knew that this was because I knew God would forgive me and human forgiveness was merely incidental. As this dawned on me, tears came to my eyes, and I knelt down and began to praise God as I have not praised Him in years. I thanked Him for His free gift of forgiveness and praised Him for helping me to find the code that helped to heal this issue!

A couple of days later, Gislaine and I were discussing her fear of storms. Ever since the tree fell on our house, right over her head, she has been terrified of storms. [Incidentally, I sustained no negative emotional effects from the storm, because I instantly processed how God had protected us–for the tree had fallen right over our heads. Gislaine, however, was inconsolable for some time after it fell.] She was never very dramatic about it, but she would come to me when the wind started to blow or lots of rain to fall and tell me she was scared with a little tremble in her voice. I asked her to rate her fear of storms. Since she couldn’t comprehend the 1-10 scale, I told her to just tell me how big it was with her hands. She told me it was so big, as big as from the ground to the sky! So then I did the code on her. At a certain point, she told me she felt hot wind coming out of my fingers. I told her that was the healing energy. I recited Bible verses about trust and peace, had her think about the time when Jesus calmed the storm, told her to imagine that Jesus was giving her a hug–positive mental images and thoughts that were the opposite of her fear. When we were done, I asked her to rate her fear of storms. She put her hands about one inch apart. I was amazed!

Later that night, she was having trouble going to sleep. After a while I thought it had to do with the light shining in her room, so I shut the door. A minute later I heard sobbing. I went in, took her on my lap, and we began to talk while I cuddled her. The sum of our conversation was that she was afraid of being alone in the dark. The dark was okay if someone was there, and being alone in the room was fine if there was light, but being alone in the dark made her afraid. We never could pinpoint a trigger for that fear like we could for her fear of storms, but I decided to do the code anyway. I asked her to rate her fear, and she said it was as big as from the ground all the way up to heaven (bigger than her fear of storms had been!). We focused again on the opposite of fear, which is trust and peace, using Bible promises and positive images in her mind. I told her God dwells in darkness as well as in light, that He would never leave her nor forsake her, etc. Before we had even finished the full time the code is supposed to last, she told me that the energy she had been feeling was fading down to nothing, so I knew we were done and stopped. I then asked her to rate her fear of being alone in the dark. She said it was gone. No more fear. I said, “If I shut this door and left, you wouldn’t be afraid?” She said, “I guess not,” and laid down in her bed. She was asleep within minutes.

Now, I could have spent weeks or even months working on this fear, and may or may not have been successful. But in just a few minutes, the code healed her fear.

Now, my daughter is generally very healthy. She has no major health issues. She is still young, though, and these issues have not had enough time to cause a health issue. Left untreated, they have could caused problems later in her life. But now they can’t.

What About My Sons?

You might be wondering if I can use the codes on my sons to heal their eczema. This answer is very complicated, but the simple answer is no. I do not feel free to go into detail in this post as to why that is the case, but I might in a future post. I do, however, plan on using the codes to work with Manny on some emotional issues, especially anger. But his health issues are rooted in something other than emotions and will not go away with simply coding. I’m sorry I can’t explain why right now, but it would take a post as long as this one is already, and is enough of a different topic that it really doesn’t belong here.

If you are a close friend of mine, I would be happy to teach you the code as I know it. However, friend or not, I would still recommend you get the book. There is also extra material that you can buy that contains specific codes (not just the one universal code, but specific codes for specific emotional issues), as well as other helpful material that is not in the book. I have not purchased this yet, and may not, but some may find it helpful, and I may consider purchasing it in the future when we have some extra money, or time to save for it. The book, however, is relatively cheap. It is even available for Kindle (the version I got).

So here is your challenge: Pick one of the options below and test them for yourself. Compare them with Scripture. Try them on yourself or a loved one. Then come back here and tell me what happened!

 

Buy The Healing Codes Package

Buy the book from Amazon:

Book Kindle

 

This post contains affiliate links.

This post is linked to The Modest Mom Blog and Works for me Wednesday.

I think I have finally figured out the secret to parenting.

Okay, when I say “figured it out,” I don’t mean that I have a 100% perfect understanding of it. But I think I have enough of a concept to apply it and to share it.

And it wasn’t my original discovery. It comes from the book Parenting Your Infant/Toddler by the Spirit by Sally Hohnberger. And “it” is the parenting pyramid.

In my own words, this pyramid means that God is at the top, desiring to communicate to my child and me. Because I am the parent, I need to open up the lines of communication–two-way communication. I need to make sure my heart is fully surrendered in the moment. And let me tell you, lack of surrender on our part is a big reason why we fail to bring our children to true obedience. Just try making a child obey cheerfully by yelling at them!

The second aspect is that God also wants to communicate directly to the child. However, the rebellious, tantrum-throwing two-year-old isn’t listening. So we as the parent, now surrendered to the Lord, will communicate to them, and direct them to listen to what God is saying to them. Then we lead them to surrender as well. Once they surrender, the lines of communication are open between both parent and child and God and child.

Now, that’s good in theory, but let me make this practical with some illustrations from my life today.

It was time to pick up the toys and get ready for worship. But neither of my children wanted to pick up the toys. Manny tried to throw a tantrum and Gislaine started to cry. Because I couldn’t deal with them both at once, I sent Gislaine to her room and told her to wait until I called her. Then I told Manny that he needed to surrender his heart to Jesus and put the toys away. I said, “Let’s pray,” but he jerked in defiance. So I took his hand and said, “We need to go for a run.” We ran the length of the house and back. Then I knelt again and asked him to pray with me. He knelt, folded his hands, and closed his eyes. Then he repeated after me. “Dear Jesus, please help me to put my toys away happy. Amen.” Then I showed him the toy, and repeated my instruction. He put it away. At first he was just compliant–putting it away under protest. But as I directed him to put more and more away, his heart softened until by the time he was done, he was a cheerful, happy little boy. And Daddy noticed later, after I had gone to the gym, that he was the happiest, most obedient, surrendered little boy that he had been for a long time, and commented on it to me when I got back.

Once he was busy putting his toys away, I called his sister out. We knelt and I led her in a similar prayer. Then I asked her, “What is Jesus saying to you?” She said, “To obey.” That just warmed my heart! Jesus was speaking to my precious daughter, and she recognized His voice! I said, “That’s right. Now please put the dolly’s bed away.” And she did. She also helped her brother put some things away. And she was happy when it was over.

And so was I!

Yes, it took extra time to do it, but the end result was happiness for everyone, and peace in the home.

Yes, this is the secret: a connection with God, listening for His direction, and following His guidance. Most of the time, we won’t know for sure if the ideas that come to our minds are from Him or not, but we are to test the spirits, and move forward in faith. But being surrendered ourselves–to take our toddler’s hand for the grizzly run (because they are too young to run by themselves), even when we don’t feel like running–makes all the difference. Because we certainly cannot bring our child to surrender if we are not surrendered ourselves!

I’m reading this book through for the second time. I can’t say I’ve read enough recently to do a proper review of it, but I would still highly recommend it. And all the other books in the series.

If you were raised as a Christian, like I was, you may have never really seen God. Oh, you knew He existed, and knew a lot about Him, but you may have not really known Him–never really looked deep into His heart.

It is also easy to get so used to the picture of Jesus as our Saviour that we fail to realize the deep significance of His death. Jesus suffered and died. So have many martyrs. What makes His death better or more efficacious than theirs? What is God really like? Is He really that different from us?

These are some of the questions that Ty Gibson tackles in what may be his most powerful book, Seeing With New Eyes. This book has had a powerful impact on my life, especially in the way I see God. It has given me a new perspective of God and His character. Let me quote one of my favorite passages:

We have tended to make God so distant, so nearly sterile that we have forgotten that He is a person. A person who made us in His image. A person, therefore, who has a heart that feels joy and pain like ours. All the passion of the universe has its origin in Him; and therefore all passion, both the pleasurable and painful, finds resonance in Him as well. Every pain that is felt, every sigh that is breathed, every sorrow that pierces the soul, like a rushing current of sympathetic vibrations, throbs in the Father’s heart.

This book is easy to read in the sense that it is not written in high, theological terms. It is written creatively, descriptively, colorfully. Yet the words have a way of awakening your deepest emotions, while at the same time imparting knowledge. Each thought is grounded in Scripture, expanded and simplified so that even a child could understand much of it.

Growing up as a Christian, I learned many facts about God. So I can’t say that there was anything exactly new for me in this book. However, the way it was put together was fresh, and it forced me to step back and apply the knowledge I already had. It opened my heart when I had been hiding from God–trying to live without Him, because I was afraid of the pain of letting go of my sin–and helped me to see Him not as a stern judge condemning me, but rather as a loving Father with aching heart, waiting to welcome me back. This view of God was not new, but by taking time to actually look, my heart was softened, and I was led to repentance.

And for someone who is struggling with understanding the character of God, this book could be a powerful tool to help them to really know who He is–instead of seeing him through the lens of how their father was, or the way they may have been taught He is. Jesus, in His prayer in John 17, said that knowing God is the same as having eternal life. Listen to how Ty Gibson explores this thought:

Understanding who God really is, seeing His true character distinct from all false pictures, is the psychological and emotional substance of which eternal life is composed. Knowing God heals the soul of all internal maladies and imparts a quality of life that is eternal. There is earth-transcending peace to be derived from knowing that the One who made us, and to whom we are ultimately accountable, is infinitely and intrinsically good. On the other hand, all false pictures of God are destructive to the soul, eating away the beauty and meaning of life.

So next time you want to take a fresh look at God, consider picking up a copy of Seeing With New Eyes, and look again for the first time.

One if the books that has made a big impact on me lately is The Gift, subtitled “God gave you more than you’ll ever know” by Kim Allan Johnson. I don’t think I can come up with a better way of summarizing the content of the book than to quote the back cover:

When was the last time you lay awake at night, too captivated by Christ’s love to sleep? When was the last time you wrestled with the astonishing risks involved in Jesus sacrifice? When was the last time your mind stretched to grasp the many layers of suffering He endured?

This book does just that. It starts with painting a picture of Jesus before His incarnation, then delves into the different aspects of His life that show what becoming a human actually cost Him. The author highlights key events in Christ’s life that trace the evidence of the gathering storm that broke with unbridled fury on the evening of His arrest in Gethsemane. Then instead of diving directly into a discussion of Christ’s physical sufferings, as so many writers and speakers do, he starts out with amplifying the internal pain that Jesus would have experienced every day: the pain of being misunderstood. He spends one chapter looking at The physical torture He endured, then in the next he tries to imagine what it must have been like for those that witnessed His sufferings and death. He spends a whole a whole chapter trying to grasp what kind of pain Jesus must have endured from the verbal abuse He suffered.

Up to this point, he has looked at the very human side of Jesus; He endured pain and misunderstanding much like any human would. But this book goes deeper, exploring what the depths of Christ’s internal sufferings.

If you are familiar with Ellen White, then you are probably familiar with statements like this one:

How few have any conception of the anguish that rent the heart of the Son of God during His thirty years of life upon the earth. The path from the manger to Calvary was shadowed by sorrow and grief. He was the man of sorrows, and endured such heartache as no human language can portray.

Human language may not be able to portray it, but Johnson comes pretty close as he looks at the various aspects if this world that caused Jesus pain–things like brutality in nature, human disease, the evils in human nature, and especially His pain over the lost of the world. Then he goes deeper into the sufferings that nearly crushed out His life in Gethsemane and broke His heart on the cross–being forsaken by God and feeling so helpless and alone, crushed by the weight of our sins. Finally, he sums up some of the lessons that Christ’s sufferings have to teach us.

This book is like none I have ever read on this topic. Some books use a narrative style that just talks about the subject, leaving the reader with the responsibility of trying to imagine everything. Other books use stories and word pictures the help the reader visualize the scene, kind of like watching a movie. This book has a good balance of both. Let me give you an example of each style. First, the narrative:

It was only because of His connection with God that Christ survived the relentless torrent of hate, criticism, and abuse that beat against Him from His earliest days. Intimate communion with God was as natural and necessary to Him as breathing. Ellen White reveals, “Jesus sought earnestly for strength from His Father. He regarded communication with God aside essential than His daily food.”

Here is a portion of one of the scenes he paints in graphic detail:

As Jesus hung on the cross, bleeding and gasping for air, the mob and the Jewish leaders had a field day mocking and ridiculing Him.

One of the many onlookers pointed at Christ and yelled, “What happened to all Your boasting, Mr. Carpenter? How can you destroy our great temple and build it again from up there? Can I get you a hammer so you can take out those nasty nails?” Hearty laughter ripples through the crowd.

Someone else cupped their hands over their mouth and shouted, “For a wretch like you to claim to be Israel’s holy Messiah makes me sick. Son of God? You’re the son of passion, the son of Mary’s lust!”

This mixture of narrative and story appeals to both the intellectual and emotional levels of our being. That mixture makes it a very powerful book. More powerful than any movie, because you can get a peek behind the scenes, as it were, to catch a glimpse of Jesus heart. But then it allows you to feel with your heart as well.

I haven’t even finished it yet, but I must say I highly recommend this book. It has given me a deeper appreciation for of Jesus love for me, and awakened in my heart a deeper love for Him. And that, I think, is the purpose of the book.

You can buy the book here:

I picked up this really great book at the Goodwill the other day for $5, and I’ve got to tell you about it. I think it may be the secret behind why I’ve struggled to lose weight in the past, in spite of a fairly good diet.

Eat More, Weigh Less by Dr. Dean Ornish is a simple diet plan that anyone could do. It’s more a change of lifestyle than your typical diet, though. His basic idea is that you cut your dietary fat down from 40% of calories from fat (the typical American diet) to 10% (much lower than the recommended 30%), and increasing your carbohydrates. He does this by cutting out meat (which is pretty much always more than 10%), nuts, and other fatty foods. The idea is that you can eat until you are satisfied (not stuffed), and will actually get fewer calories and thereby lose weight.

Dr. Ornish believes that this radical change in diet (removing meat and cooking without oil) is easier to make than simply cutting down on the amount of fat, as the FDA recommends, because the results are almost instantaneous. For instance, on a typical diet that provides 30% of the recommended calories from fat, you have to eat small portions and often feel hungry when the food is all gone. On his diet (which he calls the Life Choice diet), you are able to until you are satisfied, so you are less likely to reach for some not-so-healthy snack later. In fact, in a study done on some women, some of whom ate his diet and some of whom ate the typical 30%-from-fat, small-portions diet, they found that those who ate the low-fat diet ate about 15% fewer calories and lost twice as much as the other group.

This makes a lot of sense to me. I have heard the typical “calories in must be less than calories spent to lose weight,” but I could not imagine trying to count calories. I remember reading sample diet plans and thinking, “How could I survive on that little food?” Then there was my husband, who could eat as much as he wanted and still not gain—who exercises to gain weight! I realized that the missing ingredient in the whole counting-calorie thing was the metabolism. If you have a fast metabolism, you can (and should) eat more. If it’s slow, you can eat almost nothing and you might even gain weight.

Most diet books don’t address this issue. They just focus on calories in, calories out. But Eat More, weigh Less spends a great deal of time on this issue. In fact, in that same study I just mentioned, “the principle investigator, Dr. David Levitsky, [stated that] your metabolic rate is related to the amount of carbohydrates you consume. . . . When you increase consumption of carbohydrates, your metabolic rate may increase.” That makes a lot of sense.

Plus there’s always the issue of gaining weight back once the “diet” is over. That’s why this book is not a diet that you go on to lose weight, then go off of when you’ve achieved your goal. It’s a comprehensive lifestyle change that you will continue for the rest of your life.

Dr. Ornish suggests that it is easier to make such a drastic change in diet than to make a small change, because the results are so instantaneous. He actually developed this diet not as a weight-loss program but as a heart-disease reversal program. There are many benefits to this kind of a diet, and many of them can be felt within days or weeks. This “quick fix” kind of reaction, Dr. Ornish argues, is just the motivator people need to stick with the diet and make it part of their lifestyle.

Now, maybe you’re thinking, “I couldn’t eat a diet that low in fat. It couldn’t possibly taste good.” Well, I haven’t mentioned the best part of the book: it has over 250 recipes, all low in fat or even fat free, made by gourmet chefs. I tried a couple of them last week, and was very pleased. Even my husband liked them! They come up with creative ways to cut the fat without sacrificing flavor. For instance, instead of sautéing onions in oil (which helps seal in the flavor), they use a little vegetable stock. This gives more flavor without the fat. It’s likely on one would even realize that the dishes are fat free “diet food” unless someone mentioned it. They are colorful and delicious. I am looking forward to trying a number of them.

I will say there are things in the book I do not agree with. Things like grazing (eating a little all day long) and meditating (eastern style). But those things don’t detract from the overall message of the book.

There is a lot more in the book, but I’m not going to rewrite the it! You should go and find yourself a copy—even if you just borrow it from the library to read it. But let me tell you, those 250 recipes it contains are worth much more than whatever the price tag might be, so I highly recommend you buy it for yourself!

You can get a copy of the book here:

Parenting the Heart of Your Child by Diane MooreI first heard about this book at a church function where the author came to speak. I enjoyed her talks and radio show, and bought the book.

I will start off by saying that I do not endorse absolutely everything Diane Moore, the author, teaches. That said, I do believe that she has a lot right. She is a Christian, and this fact is obvious in her book, which is something I appreciate.

In spite of the cover, this book is not so much for parents with small children as for parents in general of all ages. It takes you through the stages of what motivates us as people, starting with fear of punishment and anticipation of reward, on to less self-centered focuses. Ultimately, the goal of a parent should be to help their child to reach a maturity where they do the right thing for the right reason, regardless of personal feelings or what everyone else thinks they should do.

One thing I really like about this book is that her focus is more on character and less on behavior. For instance, sure you can motivate a toddler to do something by promising a cookie for doing it. That might even be appropriate at times (if you eat your veggies, you can have a cookie!). But by the time they are teenagers, you shouldn’t still be operating at that level. Teens should have progressed in their character development to where they will eat their veggies (to continue with the previous line of reasoning) because they know that they are good for them, will give good health, and because they know it’s the proper thing to do. It’s about teaching kids to do the right thing for the right reason.

An example that I appreciated from the book was when the author asked her teenage daughter to do something and offered a reward for doing it, and the daughter said, “Mom, I’m way past stage 2! I’ll do it for nothing.” This is the kind of thing this book is promoting.

I wish I had time to give a better review, but it’s been a while since I read it (a few months), and I don’t have much time right now. Kids need to be got ready for bed and I need to make cornbread for my husband’s supper. In summary, I do recommend this book. It’s not going to tell you what to do when your toddler throws a tantrum (in fact, I do not agree with the author on this topic), but in looking at the overall picture of parenting, and helping parents be proactive in raising mature, godly young people, I think this book has a lot to offer.

You can get the book here: Parenting the Heart of Your Child: Teaching Your Kids to Make Good Decisions Even When No One Is Looking

When I became a mother, I realized that I had an awesome responsibility. I didn’t have any money to go out and buy lots of parenting books, and I was leery about reading just any book, so the library didn’t seem like a good option. I wasn’t too concerned about the first few months. I knew I’d figure those things out. But I did not want to have to deal with the “terrible two’s,” and I wanted parenting advice that came from a godly perspective and was Biblically sound.

I had the book Child Guidance, and I had read a good deal of it, but somehow I couldn’t get my mind around some of it. Things like this:

The mother’s work should commence with the infant. She should subdue the will and temper of the child and bring its disposition into subjection. Teach it to obey, and as the child grows older, relax not the hand.

Child Guidance, 82

Sure. I agree. But how? Without someone to show me how it works, I wasn’t sure how to do it. I love the principles in Child Guidance, but sometimes I am at a loss to know how to apply them.

Enter Raising Godly Tomatoes. I found this book when my daughter was somewhere between 6 and 12 months, and I devoured it. It was only available online at the time, but it has now been published in book form, and is available for purchase through their website or from Amazon.com.

Let me say that this book has tremendously influenced my parenting–at least, as long as I apply the principles! I like it because the author ignores all the phychobabble so common in our world today and takes a Biblical perspective into her parenting. After reading this book at least twice, when I go back and read Child Guidance, it suddenly makes sense. Now I know how to subdue my child’s will (see my post Major Outlasting Session–The Rest of the Story for a rather lengthy example).

There are several sections to the book. The first section talks about teaching obedience. A favorite saying of the author is, “Teach obedience, and you won’t have to teach anything else.” She deals with starting early and starting later, discerning the heart of the child (because words and actions can mean different things depending on where the heart is), “tomato staking”, and spanking. The second section deals with emotional issues, like crying, whining, and tantrums, giving suggestions on how to deal with them. The third section takes a look at character. Though hardly exhaustive, it is a good start for parents who would rather teach their children to have a godly character than to just be good on the outside. The last section has thoughts for parents themselves, and for dealing with older children.

The author, Elizabeth Krueger, has 10 children and one grandchild. None of them ever rebelled or did anything wild as teenagers (granted, some of them aren’t quite that old yet). To me, that says something about her parenting. She has her children’s hearts. That is worth more than anything eles! She is a conservative Christian; she home schooled her children. What more can I say?

I could probably say a lot more about this book, but I suggest you go look at it yourself. You can still read the whole thing free online–though having a hard copy available is nice. I lost my first copy, in Mexico, I think. I bought a second. It was worth it.

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