Enjoy! a book review…


As someone who grew up during the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” movement of the late 90’s, all kinds of purity messages were thrown at me. I entered college thinking “sex is bad.” Or at least, to avoid any kind of physical intimacy whatsoever. Then I got married and expected the programming that I had heard for the last 10-15 years to magically disappear and be excited about sex.

Don’t get me wrong. I have been married for 8 years now. Sex is wonderful. But it took a while to reprogram my brain. I think that while talking to Clarissa about sex the conversation will be more like, “Sex is wonderful. But God designed it to be with one partner for life, once you are married.” I don’t want her to need to reprogram herself once she is a married woman.

I really liked Enjoy! The Gift of Sexual Pleasure for Women. The book is written by Christian sex therapists and published by Focus on the Family. It was helpful to read, from a Christian perspective, what a lot of women think and feel during sex. Made me feel normal instead of weird. The chapters weren’t super long so it was nice to read one night and then spend a few days thinking about what I read. It took me less than a month to read the book.


Crash The Chatterbox


This summer, I attended the evening session of PWOC at Camp Humphreys. I enjoyed my time with this great group of ladies. We read Crash The Chatterbox by Steven Furtick.

I really enjoyed the book. It talks about replacing the negative and distracting thoughts  and voices in your head with the truth of what God says about you and your life. He says, “God has given us the ability to choose the dialogue we believe and respond to” (p. 4). There is a DVD that goes with the book, but you will learn plenty just by reading the book.

Some of my favorite thoughts from the book:

  • “Most of the decisions that send our lives in the wrong direction are the result of wrongly answering the question ‘Did God really say…?'” p. 50
  • All complaining does is give a second life to bad experiences.
  • Comparison is the death of contentment.
  • Another thing that really changed my thinking was the idea of thinking about your fear. Just ignoring a fear doesn’t usually make it go away. Instead, try thinking through it. What is the worst thing that will happen if that fear is true?
  • The reminder that I can do NOTHING to make God love me any more or any less than He already does. It doesn’t matter how I perform.
  • “God’s assessment of you isn’t limited by where you’ve been before or even where you are now. His words reflect the places He plans to take you and the purposes He intends to fulfill through you” (p.135).

Parenting the Wholehearted Child 


blogger that I follow recommended Parenting the Wholehearted Child. It sat on my bookshelf for about a year before I started it. It has taken several vacation travel days to finish, but I did enjoy it.  

The author, Jeannie Cunnion basically talks about a parenting shift. My goal is not to create an obedient child to make my life easier. Instead, my goal should be to parent Clarissa in a way that points her to Jesus. That the grace I give to her will help her to understand how much God loves her.

Some of my favorite thoughts and ideas from the book:

  • The “where did you experience God’s presence today?” game P.73
  • Life verses for each child p.89
  • “Jesus loved me so much that He was more interested in the work He wanted to do in me and with me than He was concerned with giving me exactly what I thought I wanted at the very moment I thought I wanted it. ” p. 92
  • Thankfulness is learned P. 161
  • I really liked how she asks her kids “are you being a peacemaker or are you trying to get your brother in trouble?” p. 171
  • Focus on what you want your child to start doing instead of what you want them to stop P. 222

She does a lot of correction by asking questions. What was your motivation for that behavior? What could you do instead? I think that also helps to get to know your child better. Sometimes when I ask Clarissa why she did something, her logic seems reasonable and I am able to guide her in making a better choice next time.

Lifegiving Home: March 


Three months into The Lifegiving Home and I really enjoy thinking about small changes that I can make to our home or schedule to make life easier or more enjoyable.

Last month, I committed to letting Clarissa interrupt my housework to enjoy what she is doing. I have not done this very well. But I am at least making an effort to play more and let the dishes wait a little while. There is a quote I really like that I need to hang on my wall as a reminder. Dr John Trainer said, “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

March is written by the daughter and focuses on finding the beauty in everyday life.

One thing it mentions is introducing children to beauty through art and books. “With each new name children learn, with each description they hear of the world, language is teaching them what to pay attention to, how to perceive it, and what value to place upon it… As you fill your bookshelves and pick the images that fill your walls, consider the habits of thought and desire they will kindle in those who behold them.”

Clarissa loves to read. I can really see her imagination and creativity growing each day. She is one of the most imaginative three year olds that I have ever met.

Another focus of this chapter was a family ritual. We do eat a family dinner at the kitchen table every night. We have a pancake breakfast most weekends. We enjoy spending time together. I imagine that these rituals will change as Clarissa grows.

“The journey of ministry and Homemaking to which I have been called is a long one, and if I am to make it to the end with resilience, I need to plan for adequate rest along the way.” We need to be intentional about a family rest day. Clarissa and I need more time at home during the week as well. I like to be busy, but I find that our family does function better if we have some quiet time at home to rest.

The book talks about family walking rituals. Now that the weather is nice, we can get outside more. We have done long walks both days on the weekend the past two weeks. Clarissa usually sits in her stroller for most of it, until we get to our designated playground for the day. Tim and I enjoy walking and talking.

We especially like exploring new places. Clarissa likes our adventures. As she gets older, I imagine she will ditch the stroller and join more of the conversations. I would also like to attend a few festivals while we are here to learn more Korean culture.

A regular date night with Tim should also be sacred. Clarissa can have her own fun with a babysitter now that she is older.

A Life Giving Home Discussion and Link-up

Lifegiving Home: February 


Last month, I decided to try something new and blog through The Lifegiving Home each month for a year.

In January’s post, I shared that I wanted to start an afternoon reading hour and make sure to read a Bible story with Clarissa every night. We have been reading, but still have not established a consistent reading hour.  We have been better about reading Bible stories. Clarissa looks forward to Bible stories now. She told my parents this week, “I like Jesus. He heals people.”

Month two of The Lifegiving Home focused on how you treat people, or how to show love. Clarkson says, “All our life accomplishments, from God’s point of view, will be summed up by how much we loved God and how much we loved other people.”

She talks about how we often get caught up in the practical things like cleaning a house instead of focusing on the relationships in our home. I am definitely guilty of telling Clarissa I can’t play with her because I need to do the dishes or some other chore that can wait. Clarissa will only be small for a short time and I don’t want to miss out on playing and witnessing her creativity because I was so busy with housework.

I think my main goal this month is to make time for interruptions. I want to be able to really play and enjoy my three year old. The dishes can wait. Clarissa never wants me the entire day anyway.

Clarkson says, “the narrative we tell ourselves as adults often grows out of the messages we received as children.” I want the message that Clarissa hears to be that she is loved and valued. That her parents cared enough about her to stop what they were doing to spend quality time with her.

In this chapter, another focus is on traditions. Tim and I need to think about what birthday traditions we want to establish.

A Life Giving Home Discussion and Link-up

Power of Half 


I need to do a better job of taking time to read when I am not traveling.  I heard about The Power of Half some time when we were still living in the United States. I didn’t start reading it until our trip to Hawaii.

The book is the story of a family of four who decided that they wanted to sell their big house in the suburbs and move into something smaller so they could use the money to help others. The book is written by the father and daughter of the family.  The father,  Kevin,  narrates the story.  At the end of each chapter,  Hannah,  gives some practical advice for families who would like to do something like this.

The Salwen family found a great house in their current neighborhood worth half the value of the house they were living in.  They had to sell or donate many household items to downsize into their new home. They thought it was a great fit for them and moved in before their house was sold.

The family spent a lot of time researching and discussing what they really wanted to do as a family.  The Salwens met with different organizations before they decided as a family how they really thought they could make a difference.

Their project of choice was to fund two epicenters in Ghana with the Hunger Project.  They had a five year commitment with a cost of $400,000. They took a family trip to Ghana to meet the people they would partner with.  The whole heart of the project is to empower the two villages to rise out of poverty through microloans and education.

They actually lived in the new home for two years before the old house sold. So when they needed to send the first $80,000 check,  they had some choices to make.  In the end,  the two teens,  Hannah and Joseph were willing to give up their college funds to pay that first installment.

I really enjoyed reading this book and learning their process.  It reminds me of Toxic Charity because they wanted to empower the people instead of just giving gifts and “turning them into beggars.”

They emphasize that selling your house isn’t for everyone,  but that every family can do something to serve others. It makes me think about how the Bible says that it isn’t really a sacrifice or an offering if it costs you nothing. They didn’t give away half of everything they owned.  They still went on vacations.  They just chose one thing to give away half.

I also liked when they wrote “sustained giving is more unifying than a one time event.” They could have chosen to give half of their clothes away and move on.  Instead,  they went on a family adventure that lasted several years and really helped this family to become closer than ever.

It’s good parenting to teach Clarissa that the world does not revolve around her.  That there are other people who are not as blessed as we are.  There are ways that our family can help,  even while she is very young.

God Gave us Thankful Hearts 


After we bought our Christmas tree,  I saw this cute book at the px and I couldn’t resist.

It is by the same author as the bear books we like (God Gave us You,  God Gave us Christmas,  God Gave us Love).  We read it in the store and I was not disappointed so we bought it.

God Gave us Thankful Hearts follows Little Pup and his mama as they look for things to be thankful for in their normal lives.  They talk about being thankful,  even when life does not go the way you want.  Like if you don’t catch any fish.  Or being thankful that God helped you find your way,  even though being lost was scary.

Then we had a pretty crafty week.  I went to an event on Camp George and made this really cute sign.

The back side says “Merry Christmas”  so I actually have holiday decorations now. Then,  I was working on a craft for story time at the library and Clarissa had to make a turkey too.  Though she didn’t want to write what she was thankful for on the feathers.

Tim had a Thanksgiving potluck for work that the three of us attended.  Tim and I had a traditional meal with turkey,  mashed potatoes,  stuffing,  and pumpkin pie.  Clarissa had pizza and cookies.  But they were pumpkin cookies so I guess she was somewhat traditional as well.

We had chicken pot pie and pumpkin drop cookies for our Thanksgiving dinner.  Tim and Clarissa went for a walk and to the playground.  I took a nap.  We asked Clarissa what she was thankful for at dinner and she said “food.”  Smart girl.