Our brains are fabulous!

I know, I get excited about books all the time. But this one had me learning about the brain in an easy way! Neat-o!

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The Whole Brain Child was one of two books by Daniel Siegel and Tina Bryson recommended to me for help with parenting a child struggling with anxiety. I suspect they will also help with the one with autism, too, and probably the youngest as well. (Yes, a lot going on here!)

I looked forward to reading each chapter and learning more about how the brain works. It reminded me of taking an online course a few years ago on the topic, but this book was even easier to follow and gave a lot of stories to explain how it all looks in real life situations. I also loved the strategies at the end of the chapters to put the knowledge into practice, as well as the ways to explain to children the concepts the parents have just learned. Brilliant concept to get children involved in the process of understanding their brains too!

Pick this book up for yourself, or grab the ebook as I did. It’s worth a little of your time and maybe then we can gab about how cool it is! 🙂

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Review: Sprouts of Love (Valerie Comer)

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I’m always excited to read Valerie Comer’s work because she creates realistic characters with backstories that don’t feel made up or glossed over. This is nitty-gritty life happening inside of a book, and yet it’s not depressing or too much to handle because Comer knows how to inject hope into her tales.

Sprouts is Book 1 in the Garden Grown Romance series, and it was preceded by an introductory novella that appeared in Romance Grows in Arcadia Valley. I love the setting for these stories and the fact that the other authors in Romance Grows are writing within the same setting, and using businesses and characters from each other’s stories.

It was great to get back to Arcadia Valley and get to know Evelyn, her daughter Maisie, and Ben, the man running the charity that Evelyn and Maisie want to help with the produce from a community garden. At first it doesn’t look like any of them will become friends, but eventually that changes and the result was a book I couldn’t put down. (Okay, I read an ebook, but seriously, I couldn’t stop flicking to the next page… It was one of those nights where I didn’t stop at the end of my allotted reading-to-wind-down time and just kept going till the book was done!)

Book Description:

Single mom Evelyn Felton takes on a third part-time job managing a greenhouse and garden project for Grace Fellowship. Formerly homeless, she’s thrilled to offer truckloads of fresh produce to the Arcadia Valley food bank.

If only Ben Kujak weren’t running Corinna’s Cupboard singlehandedly, he’d be delighted to be on the receiving end. But Evelyn and her dynamo daughter, Maisie, won’t take no for an answer, even if it means restructuring Ben’s charity.

Soon Ben finds himself wishing they’d transform his personal life, too, but can true love sprout when their pasts collide with the present?

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Review: Still Waiting (Ann Swindell)

It’s interesting that this review has been waiting in my mind while I finished up a semester at school. It’s hard to say just how much this book resonated with me because of the times of waiting I’ve gone through. No one wants to put off that dream or endure hardship a day longer than they think they should, but there’s something about waiting that can strengthen a person, especially if they draw close to God as they wait.

Swindell’s experiences taught her and deepened her relationship with God, and I’ve found the same, waiting for years to find a career path that made sense and used my skills to the full. Now that I’m in school and find confirmation almost every week that this will be a job where God can use the talents He gave me to reach others, I can picture myself looking back at the waiting as being worth it for the good in the end, though I would never have been able to see it back then. Now, I think, I could get through waiting of different sorts with more hope, because of the assurance that God will use every experience and won’t waste a thing…

Through her story, Swindell explains well why we chafe at the waiting times, and how God can use them for our good. I would definitely recommend this book for anyone struggling with waiting, and even those who’ve come out of those times but still need to time to reflect and to glean the lessons and hope for the future.

Book description: 

What if God wants you to wait?
Most of us know what it’s like to wait for God to change our circumstances. But, whether we’re waiting for physical healing, emotional breakthrough, or better relationships, waiting is something we usually try to avoid. Why? Because waiting is painful and hard. The truth is, it’s also inevitable.

In Still Waiting, Ann Swindell explores the depths of why God wants us to wait by chronicling her own compelling story of waiting for healing from an incurable condition. She offers a vibrant retelling of the biblical account of the Bleeding Woman that parallels her story—and yours, too.

Let Ann help you see the promise that is hidden in the ache of waiting and the hope of what God can—and will—do as you wait on him.

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Review: The Seven Money Types (Tommy Brown)

 

This book has been so helpful to me in understanding how I spend money naturally and how I want to spend it in the future. It also showed me the personality traits I want to encourage in myself. The real-life examples help to make the theory come to life, and demonstrate that it is possible to use your assets and your personality together to make God’s love real to those around you. This is a must-read for everyone!

Book description:

True financial well-being involves more than getting out of debt and accumulating wealth. It’s about discovering how you’re wired by God, and how that wiring influences the way you think about, feel toward, and handle money.

Discovering your money type – whether you are an Abraham (hospitality), an Isaac (discipline), a Jacob (beauty), a Joseph (connection), a Moses (endurance), an Aaron (humility), or a David (leadership) – will bring greater self-awareness, reduce internal financial tension, help you resolve financial conflict with others, and help you grow financially from a faith-based perspective. As you walk with Pastor Brown through the Scriptures you’ll find holistic financial pathways that lead you to a place of increased awareness and confidence related to money.

In The Seven Money Types, Pastor Tommy Brown leads you on a journey of personal discovery as he reveals the seven money types found in Scripture, helps you identify the type that best fits you by means of a 35-question assessment, and coaches you on understanding, affirming, developing, and enjoying your unique approach to money.

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Review: Killing Us Softly (Efrem Smith)

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This book about discipleship talks about living differently than the world. It challenges us to think of our present reality as an upside-down world, not how we are supposed to live or where we should be comfortable. Our purpose while we live here is to demonstrate a different way to live and to invite others to look forward to a much better life in Heaven.

I enjoyed Smith’s writing style and found his illustrations insightful. I’ll be on the lookout for more of his writing, and I would definitely recommend this book.

Book Description: The Christian life is actually a kind of death. We die to ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Jesus. Dying in Christ, however, is an opportunity—to experience the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit as we spread the Good News of a God who loves us enough to save us and remake us in his image.

Efrem Smith helps us see that Christian discipleship is a counterintuitive life. In a world turned upside down by sin, God carefully and lovingly strips us of worldly values and turns us right-side up as good citizens and ambassadors of his Kingdom.

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Currently reading, February edition

cane-river-setI’m dreaming of visiting Louisiana right now. I started The Pepper in the Gumbo (Mary Jane Hathaway) and love it! Not only do I identify with the bookstore owner who’s not sold on technology taking over her life –  I’m usually on the tech-savvy end of things, yet I find myself rebelling with print, pen and paper quite often – but I also love that the setting has a connection with my second language of French, which still occupies my brain even though there isn’t much cause to use it in this English-Russian town…

I think I might end up tracking down some of the favourite books of the two main characters, who have bonded over their interest in books. That could be a fun exploration in print, and I bet my public library could help!

I’m also going one chapter a week through Life’s Healing Choices (John Baker). Such a useful book for anyone, though it is the book of choice for certain Christian recovery groups. Let’s face it, we’re all needing recovery from one thing or another – if we haven’t gone the route of substance abuse or other well-known destructive behaviours, we may be codependent or just suffering from bad habits that haunt our lives. Studying the Beatitudes from this perspective is really helpful. I should revisit the book Boundaries as well, since it’s used by Christians and non-Christians alike to explain how to live politely and kindly while respecting ourselves and our needs.

I have book reviews to write, so expect some here in the near future. Until then, I’m amassing many book recommendations for anyone who might ask for a good book to read…

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Review: Rescue Me (Susan May Warren)

rescue-me-coverI don’t think I can rave enough about Susan May Warren’s writing. I love her stories! This one was definitely what you’d call a page-turner, and I was so wrapped up in this particular tale that I put sleep lower on the priority list until I knew how it would turn out!

I enjoyed having this novel focus on the Brooks brothers, not only on the friction between them but also in their relationship misadventures… Sam and Pete were great heroes to join for the journey. I really liked the women in the story, too, intriguing and strong. This book has it all!

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