We Have a Winner *** Mother Daughter Duet***

Well, on this one, we have two winners!  First was number 3.  Kathryn!  You win again.  AND… you save me postage.  Geee, what a pal!

I’ll be popping this in with your other book as soon as I have an address for you.

However, we’re not done, as you all well know.  I mean, seriously, we can’t give away just one book when I have two soooooooooo

And Carol!  Yippie Skippie!  You’ve won yourself a copy!  I’ll be popping that in the mail for you if I can find your address.  Want it faster?  Email me.  Just sayin’!

Off to draw for more!

Please read (if you haven’t before) my “Giveaways Policy.”

Book Review: Dancing with My Father **Win A Free Copy**

Title: Dancing with My Father

Subtitle: How God Leads Us into a Life of Grace and Joy

Author: Sally Clarkson

Publisher’s Synopsis: Let Your Soul Dance with Delight in God

Do you sometimes feel victimized by circumstances? Are you overwhelmed by weariness, fear, or discouragement? Do you wonder, Where can I go to claim the promise of Jesus that my joy could be made full?

When trusted author and mentor Sally Clarkson noticed a lack of joy in her own life, she realized how easy it can be, especially for women with overloaded to-do lists, to feel weighed down by drudgery and disappointment. But rather than slogging through her days, Sally wanted to know the delight of God’s presence. She began prayerfully exploring how to cultivate deep-rooted joy even in the midst of difficult seasons.

In this warm and wise book, she invites you to experience for yourself what happens when you trust God to lead you into a life of anticipation, passion, and purpose.

Weaving biblical insights with real-life stories that reflect every Christian woman’s deepest longings, Dancing with My Father reveals how any woman, in any circumstance, can daily live in beauty and grace, joy and peace.

Having read much by Sally Clarkson over the years, I was curious about this book when it arrived.  Was it about Father/Daughter relationships or more like Heavenly Father/Daughter ones.  To my relief, it was the latter.  I wasn’t too keen on reading a woman’s perspective on how my husband should relate to his daughter unless it was designed to help my daughter understand how her Daddy thinks differently than she does.  One thumb up for that alone.

The opening charge of the book is JOY.  I need joy not only in my relationship with the Lord, but in every aspect of my life.  Joy.  Another thumb went up.

Mrs. Clarkson works hard to remind us who the Author of joy, happiness, pleasure, and life truly is.  She reminds us that God isn’t a great Cosmic spoiler in the negative sense.  He’s not there to spoil our fun, He created it!  Instead, God is a different kind of Cosmic spoiler.  He spoils us with the richness of His overflowing gifts into our lives.  I’m not sure Mrs. Clarkson would appreciate my weird analogy, but there you have it.

The book is rich in anecdotes, stories, and scripture.  Each chapter ends with a few questions designed to get you thinking and keep you thinking.  I think that is the best part of those questions– the keep you thinking part.  At the end, there is a prayer.  Now, at first, I was bothered by it.  I don’t usually like scripted prayers.  However, sometimes, I think it might be a nice start– something to keep your focus on where the Lord might be taking your prayers.  For those things alone, two more thumbs up.

However, I must say, I think the book was a little … oh, I don’t know.  Random.  It wasn’t clearly organized.  Some things seemed to jump around a little, and a couple of times she seemed to contradict herself.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think she really did.  I think it’s a little like Jesus telling us not to judge one another and then Paul coming along and saying that we will do it.  One is obviously talking about the heart and the other about actions in the body of believers.  However, on the surface, they seem to contradict.  With just one person writing down the thoughts of the author in this book (and this time the author herself), I would have thought she’d be able to keep a more cohesive line… or at least her editors might have helped.  However, it’s not a major problem… just a few frustrations of the book.  On that score, one thumb down.

Now, for those who know me, this might surprise you, but I’m not giving away my copy of this book yet  I want to go over it again, most slowly.  I want to answer the questions, think deeply, and really eek every bit of nectar I can from this book.  However, I do have ONE copy to give away, so if you’d like to win a copy, post a comment and tell us what part of  God you CAN see in your father or father-figure.

I want to thank Water Brook for providing this book for review and for the giveaway copy.

Book Review: Mother Daughter Duet *WIN A FREE COPY*

Title: Mother Daughter Duet

Subtitle: Getting to the Relationship You Want with Your Adult Daughter

Authors: Cheri Fuller & Ali Plum

Publisher’s Synopsis: A harmonious relationship is possible

When your daughter was born, you had a thousand hopes and dreams for her. . .including that one day you’d be best friends.

But as life unfolds, even the best intentions go awry. There are so many challenges on the journey to adult friendship that the reality is fraught with friction and frustration. Thankfully, a harmonious relationship with your daughter is possible.

Written by a mother and daughter who have successfully navigated the minefield from distance and tension to acceptance and friendship, Mother-Daughter Duet helps moms open wide the door of communication so that daughters want to walk through it. Filled with personal anecdotes and based on proven principles, each chapter offers timeless wisdom as well as a daughter’s perspective. Often these principles apply to daughters-in-law as well.

The relationship between mothers and daughters is intense, personal, complex, and unique. But you can have the loving, authentic bond you always dreamed of—when you learn the mother-daughter duet.

As the mother of seven daughters, four of whom I’d consider adults, this book was, of course, of great interest to me.  Almost immediately, it seemed to me that the book was headed in the direction of, “When your daughter is an adult, quit treating her like a child. ”  No, it didn’t say that in so many words, but after the introductory chapter about the premise of the book, the first chapter is entitled, Letting Go. I thought this was an excellent point that I see, repeatedly, in many people’s lives.  No, just because your daughter or son turns eighteen, doesn’t mean they’re instantly ripped from your family and forced to live an independent life with no input from you.  However, long before they turn eighteen, and in the eyes of the law are legal adults responsible for their own decisions and actions, the way we, as parents, relate to them directly impacts our future relationships.

I found some of the examples of expressions of individuality to be  a little high on the “if you feel like it, do it” scale and a little low on the “what does the Bible say about it” scale.  In fact, the entire book was high on the latest opinion of those in the psychology world and low on Biblical support.  Don’t get me wrong, the book was full of helpful information, a reminder not to treat things that aren’t sin as if they are, and that people are more important than opinions.  Your daughter is more important than your preference for her wardrobe.  If what she chooses isn’t sin, then why are you alienating her over something that isn’t sin?  I’m one hundred percent behind the authors on that.

One of the things I really cheered this book with was the “LISTEN” chapter.  (I think they call it Communication, but I wanted to shout, “YES!  LISTEN!”  Like all moms, I have opinions.  Furthermore, I’ve lived a whole lot longer than my kids, I’ve see life and the basics of it don’t change as often as media players and computer technology.  I think anyone who discards the experience of parents in their quest to prove independence is proving their immaturity by the sheer act of trying to appear mature.  However, most of the time, I think it’s smart to keep my opinions to myself until I’m asked.  You know what?  I’m asked a lot.  Furthermore, I think my kids listen when I do speak because I didn’t foist it on them immediately.  I listen.  A lot.  Sometimes I don’t want to listen anymore.  I’m tired, I’m sick of hearing the same things over and over when they know what I think.  However, I know that if I don’t listen today, they won’t want to talk tomorrow.  So, I suck it up and do the mom thing.  I listen.  I LOVED how this book encouraged moms to listen.  I have so many young women who talk to me about a lot of things simply because I listen and don’t make sweeping judgments or pounce on them with opinions.  Usually, if I wait long enough, the girl will say, exactly what I as a parent would want to hear, if I let her talk long enough.  I wish those mothers would learn that.  If mothers got nothing else from this book, it’d be worth it.

I thought the chapter on Weddings was brilliant.  You know, I’ve done the wedding thing.  Was it what I would have done if it was my choice?  No.  However, it wasn’t my wedding.  Having lived through someone (not my mother) taking over and pushing her idea of what I needed for a wedding onto mine, I was determined not to do that.  I threw out ideas and truly released each one as it went.  There was little I cared about aside from making sure our guests were safe, comfortable, fed, and we had good pictures of the event.  Most of that didn’t cause any conflict.  Mothers, the wedding is for your daughter, not for you to relive and remake yours.  Daughters, your parents are host/hostess.  They have guests to consider.  If you want something that will reflect poorly on anyone, it’s not going to be you– it’ll be your parents.  Show them the courtesy of ensuring that your choices do not leave them in the position of bad host/hostess.  Mom, back off and let them have the wedding THEY choose.  If you can’t pay for everything, then that’s fine, but don’t use your wallet as a measuring stick of your approval of her choices.  Just sayin’.

Finally, the forgiveness chapter is a great one for any person to read.  If you have a relationship in your life, reading that chapter might just help you prevent the need to experience the need to request forgiveness in the first place.  Praise the Lord, it can be done.

So, over all, the book had a lot of good information.  Most of their supporting information was experiential and psychological rather than Biblically supported, but much of it is still very valid.  It will help you with more than just mother/daughter relationships.  However, I’d take it with a sprinkling of what God has to say on some of the topics.

I want to thank Multnomah for the copy provided for review and giveaway.

I’m giving away TWO copies.  Just post a comment and tell me what the one thing, as a daughter, you wish your mother had said or done to help your relationship with her.  Maybe we’ll help each other prevent problems!

Book Review: More Than a Match

Title: More Than a Match

Subtitle: The 5 Keys to Compatibility for Life

Authors: Michael and Amy Smalley

Publisher’s Synopsis: You’ve searched a lifetime for that special person, but how can you be absolutely certain that you’ve found “The One”? And more important, how can you hold on to that love for the rest of your life?

More Than a Match explores the “compatibility factor,” demystifying the science behind matchmaking and giving you the tools you need to find the love you want. You’ll learn how to apply the specifics of good compatibility to a prospective date or mate, as well as how to break things off when you find yourself in the wrong relationship.

But since great relationships aren’t built on compatibility alone, marriage experts Michael and Amy Smalley also delve into the “forever factor,” giving you the skills you need to turn your romance into a lifelong love affair. You’ll learn how to deal with conflict, how to develop a healthy sex life, and how to recover when you inevitably hurt one another.

Fantastic marriages begin long before the exchange of the rings; they start when two people in search of love commit themselves to learning to how to love well…and forever. Because finding and keeping the love of your life is about much More Than a Match.

I don’t think I’ve ever read anything more transparent in my life.    How’s that for an opening line?  Honestly, what more could you expect from a book that includes information about one of the author’s previous engagement!  I have to say, I wasn’t always comfortable with the level of transparency (I think they were a little too frank at times), but in this world of so few real life mentors, I do understand the reason for it.  Had I not been reviewing this book for WaterBrook, I would not have finished it.

Now, that makes it sound like it wasn’t a good book.  That’s not true.  It was a very good book and has so many things in it that I think any couple, dating, courting, engaged, or married– doesn’t matter– I think they all could benefit from much if not most of the book.  Furthermore, I can even see it being an excellent guide (removing all sexuality from it) to investing in friendships even if you’re never going to be romantically involved and/or if you are of the same gender.    There is much wisdom in learning from the mistakes and successes of others, and this book shares them from the standpoint that compatibility is a good thing to consider in a relationship, but it is not a guarantee for success.

This is the kind of book I’d recommend for couples that are about to become engaged.  He’s ready to pop the question, they both know it, but as much as you love and respect each other, do you know how to work together as a team?  Are you ready for how the other person lives in day-to-day life?  Do you have any of the major risk factors for divorce (or misery in marriage if you are one of the rare people left for whom divorce is never an option)?

I agreed with every principle promoted in the book (as far as I remember).  However, several of their conclusions or methods I take issue with.  Anyone reading the book who knows me knows what I think of recreational/serial dating especially when not ready for marriage.  I hold very strong convictions as to how I think Paul has instructed wives in Titus chapter two.  However, the principle behind their variances of method don’t negate that we are on the same page principle wise.

Note:  To those who are sick to death of reading how women should submit and ignoring the man’s admonition to serve and love as Christ loved the church– you’ll love this book!

One particularly beautiful story was especially meaningful for me.  Early last spring I added a huge section to one of my novels involving foot washing between a newly married couple.  It was beautiful in my eyes, but nagging doubts have plagued me for months.  Am I being silly?  Surely people will read it, roll their eyes, and close the book.  Then I read how his wife, before they started seriously dating, confessed that she’d given her virginity to her previous fiancee.  Mr. Smalley’s response?  He washed her feet.  If you read nothing else, the book is worth it just to read that section.  The symbolism and words that he shared with the woman who is now his wife was probably the most romantic thing I’ve ever read.  Not to mention very validating to me as a writer.  😉

Many thanks to WaterBrook for providing this copy for review.  I’m going to add it to a pile of books to be given away all at once!