Archive for the ‘Informational for adults’ Category



by Kara G. Durbin
Published April 1st 2012 by Moody Publishers




Parenting with Scripture is an easy to use topical resource that parents with young children can use when teachable moments arise. This effective guide helps teach young children how to think and apply God’s Word in their daily lives. Kara Durbin’s revised book helps parents capture those teachable moments and use Scripture to shape their children’s behavior. The 101 alphabetically sorted topics address behavior, attitude, emotions, and actions. Examples include Forgiveness, Humility, Anger and Procrastination. Each topic includes scripture passages, discussion questions, action items, and parenting tips. Questions and tips are written so older children can teach younger children. This new edition of Parenting with Scripture includes detailed help for parents to quickly identify teachable moments, and what to do when they appear.




Basically, this title says it all. This book is a parenting guide that uses the Bible as a teaching tool. I found it very interesting and useful. The author, Kara Durbin, goes over some of the ways she has used the Bible, even when her kids were very young, to teach them what the Bible teaches on different topics, not just about right and wrong. Kara even uses a passage from Deuteronomy to explain what teachable moments are; anytime you and your child are together.

What I found the most useful, was the way the book is set up. This is a book you will use on a daily basis if you have kids, long after you have finished reading it. After you read the intro and the teachable moments chapter, Kara lists 15 fabulous verses to memorize, they cover a broad array of topics that you may need/want to use when teaching your kids on a regular day, such as; Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.—EPHESIANS 6:1. Kara even gives some methods to help both you and your kids memorize the scripture verses, breaking it down by age. Kara also talks a bit about praying and how to pray with your children.

But, the best chapter, in my opinion, is the Topics chapter. In this chapter Kara lists almost anything you can think of that you may need to parent a child on, for example, anger, in alphabetical order, like a dictionary. First, she gives the definition of the word, then she lists verses where anger is discussed in the Bible, and lastly she has some discussion questions to use with your kids and a take action part that gives some real life reinforcement activities you can use.

I know that this will be a book that I will use when I have kids. It is a great tool if you want to teach your kids how to interact with the Bible in their daily lives and what the Bible teaches us about almost everything under the sun.

I highly recommend this book to parents, Sunday school teachers, or even to teachers at a private school where you can talk about the Bible.


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 by Poppy Smith
Expected publication: April 1st 2012 by Harvest House Publishers

“What do you and your spouse have in common?”
“We got married on the same day.”

Many women can identify with that sentiment. They want their marriages to be happy and honoring to God, but they wonder how when their mate baffles and even irritates them so. Some may even wonder if they made a terrible mistake.

Using Scripture, humor, and colorful illustrations from her own struggles, Poppy Smith offers hope in this upbeat, personal, practical, biblically grounded, and empathetic book. Why Can’t He Be More Like Me? will help women analyze areas of marital conflict by reviewing their backgrounds, parenting personalities, expectations, needs, and reactions. Each chapter provides practical tools to help women learn to accept and enjoy their mate, resulting in a strengthened relationship, better communication, and deeper understanding of each other.

With its how-to emphasis, this book is a useful resource for classes, small groups, or seminars for wives and couples.


Why Can’t He be More Like Me is a Christian self-help book. I wanted to review it in order to see if this book could be helpful to my husband and I in our ministry. I feel this book could be very beneficial to someone who is having marital problems; if they actually read this book and take an honest look at both themselves and their husbands. The author mixes Bible verses and paraphrases in with marital advice and quizzes to help demonstrate God’s design for marriage. She also ends each section with prayers you can say for guidance.

What I like about this book is that the author does not claim to know everything, and she often states that if your problem is greater than “X” you may need to seek professional help. She states that in some instances, professional help is needed, period, such as in cases of abuse or traumatic events that the reader may have to work through.

There are three parts to this book; the first part looks at the problem of marriage not being what you expected. It asks the question; what happened to my dreams; and discusses facing crossroads and making choices. The second part looks at particular issues that many married couples face such as:

• He’s not my clone
• We weren’t raised in the same Household
• His brain isn’t wired like mine
• We don’t have the same emotional needs
• When I say this, He hears that
• I think “Bargain,” He thinks “Bankruptcy”
• We’re not the same spiritually
• We get “headaches” for different reasons

Many of these topics my husband and I frequently try to cover when we do premarital counseling. Many people do not look at things like how you were raised, how you are going to handle money, and what religion each person is/was and how they want to practice, or not practice it, before they get married.

Engaged couples are so much in love that many think that love can concur all, or that if they just work hard enough or pray hard enough, God will change the other person into what they desire. That is not completely true. Marriage takes work and often prayer on both sides. Poppy (author) uses examples from her own marriage to illustrate these key points. She learned that in order for her husband to change, she also had to change, and that there are some things they may never agree on or be able to compromise on, one person may have to give in sometimes. I totally agree with this principal, a marriage takes two and it takes give and take from BOTH parties.

One of the things I like is that Poppy does not take the super conservative point that women must be submissive to their husbands. I hate that idea. I could go into a lecture on this topic, but I am not going to. Poppy uses the Bible to demonstrate what each person’s role in a marriage should be and reminds us (using scripture) of what God intended a healthy marriage to look like. That is important. Poppy shows both sides of the coin; the side that describes women as being there for their husbands in all ways, but she also makes sure not to leave out the other side of the coin, the side that says men also have a role in reciprocating. This flip side is often left out of Christian books that want to “forget” the part about men and women being equals in a marriage. Women are not subservient to their husbands, we are subservient to each other, marriage is a partnership.

Poppy covers everything from looking at how you were raised and how that can affect your view and responses to situations in marriage, to communication, one of the fundamental key things in a marriage, all the way to sex and its importance in a healthy marriage.

The last part of the book looks at where you, as a married person, can go from here. You can either choose to thrive and work on your marriage, or leave.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is engaged to read before you tie the knot. It has tons of quizzes that you and your fiancé can take to help you work on or at least identify potential problem areas, before you are forever joined together in marriage. This book is also good for couples who are hitting rough patches, or worse. This book can help guide you in your decision to work through your problem, or even help you to know if you really do need to seek professional help. This book is also a good read for any married person, no marriage is perfect, no marriage goes on for 50 years without hitting rough patches and this book can help the reader see where their differences lye and help you to work though them as a couple, prayerfully asking God for guidance along the way.

I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist clergy in recommending appropriate books for people to read and to identify books couples may find useful.

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by Tara Stiles 

Expected publication: April 3rd 2012

by Crown Publishing Group


Do you have a headache? Traveler’s anxiety? PMS? Blurred vision? Cellulite? Depression? A broken heart? Shin splints? Or do you just need to chill the *&@# out? There’s a yoga cure for each of these things. Owner of Strala Yoga and author of Slim, Calm, Sexy Yoga, Tara Stiles identifies the problem and then walks you through the yoga positions to help cure it. With Tara’s fresh voice and more than 150 photos throughout, you’ll have no problem understanding the poses and completing each cure.


I started practicing yoga on a regular basis at a studio about 6 years ago, but life took me in a different direction and my husband and I have moved around quite a bit since our first year of marriage.  It was not easy or convenient for me to find a studio, especially when we lived in farm country in Wisconsin (not knocking- most beautiful place we have lived yet), so I started watching yoga videos.  I stumbled upon Tara’s iTunes podcasts and haven’t looked back.  I started using Tara Stiles’ podcasts to help with a herniated disk I have, and then as my core strengthened, I began to do yoga more to lose weight and for flexibility.  I lost almost 25 lbs doing her podcasts, and have started my day with a minimum of 20 minutes of yoga everyday for the last 4 years.  So, when I was given the opportunity to review her new book, Yoga Cures, I was ecstatic, to say the least.

Yoga Cures has two parts.  The first part has three chapters.  It begins with a chapter on yoga, it’s history, ect…, some of the basic poses, and important qualities and steps of yoga, complete with charts and awesome pictures.  It then goes on to talk about the science behind yoga cures, and the ends with a chapter on breathing methods, and asks the reader to look at their lifestyle; decide what is healthy and what is not.  Tara asks the reader to pick one thing- it can be a simple thing, and work on that first.

The rest of the book is dedicated to specific problems and yoga positions/routines which should, if done correctly, help alleviate that specific problem.

Here are the areas she covers, it is a long list and there is something in there for everyone:

  • Aches and pains
  • Acne
  • Allergies
  • Anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Bingeing
  • Blurred vision
  • Broken Heart
  • Bulging belly
  • Chilling out
  • Cold repair
  • Couch-stination
  • Cellulite
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Droopy shoulders
  • Exhaustion
  • Fear
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Foot cramps
  • Flu
  • Hangover
  • High blood pressure
  • Hot Flashes
  • Jiggly thighs
  • Killer car rides
  • Lack of self-esteem
  • Laziness
  • Migraine
  • Monkey mind
  • Office body
  • Office mind
  • Obesity/overweight
  • Party pooper
  • PMS and cramps
  • Pregnancy discomfort
  • Runners Aches
  • Saggy booty
  • Saggy pecs
  • Scattered mind
  • Shin splints
  • Sugar cravings
  • Tension
  • Thyroid imbalance
  • Traveler’s anxiety
  • Tummy trouble
  • Under eye bags and dark circles
  • Vertigo
  • Wrinkles
  • Getting sleep

As I said before, there is something in there for everyone, for myself, there are a few things.  I have been working my way through the areas I would like to work on, and so far, so good.  I am super excited to be able to use the one for a long car ride, since my husband and I will be traveling a bunch in the next month or so and at least once a year take a drive from wherever we live, currently NOLA, back to Buffalo, NY, where we are from, to visit family.  I get so stiff in the car and I actually hurt, I will do these simple poses when we stop for gas or food.  I think it will help a ton!

Yoga Cures is very descriptive and has great pictures and verbal descriptions of the poses.  This book is definitely visually appealing.  There is also a “glossary” of the different yoga poses in the back of the book.  This book makes yoga appealing to everyone.  It shows that yoga is not just about meditation (though that is important and can be beneficial), and that yoga does not have to be a spiritual practice.  Tara’s book shows that there are proven health benefits for people who practice yoga on a regular basis.  It explains that yoga can have a healthy effect on the human body and mind, all without cramming the “religion” aspect down your throat.   Yoga Cures is not focused on the spirituality aspect, which can make people who are Christian feel that they cannot or should not practice yoga.  This book presents yoga as a beneficial part of a healthy lifestyle, not as a religion, which, I feel, is very important.

I would recommend this book to everyone, from young adults through adults, male and female.  Like I said before, there is something in this book for everyone and I can honestly say that the daily practice of yoga has changed my life.  I am stronger and more flexible than I was in my 20’s.  Yoga has helped me avoid back surgery and now, with the help of this book, I can really focus on particular areas or specific problems in my life.  I owe so much to Tara Stiles, who I have never met, for making my physical and mental health better.  I will continue using this book for a very long time.  It will have a permanent place on my nook and my computer for easy access.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Lauren Springer Ogden, Scott Ogden

Published September 6th 2011 by Timber Press (OR)


In recent years, gardeners have faced increased water-use restrictions, and it’s not limited to dry-climate areas like the Southwest. There are restrictions in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. And even for gardeners with no water restrictions, low-water plants are key to a sustainable garden.

“Waterwise Plants for Sustainable Gardens” is a practical guide to the best 200 plants guaranteed to thrive in low-water gardens. Plant entries provide the common and botanical name, the regions where the plant is best adapted, growth and care information, and notes on pests and disease. This practical and inspiring guide includes a variety of plants, from trees to succulents, perennials to bulbs, all selected for their wide adaptability and ornamental value. Companion plants, creative design ideas, and full color photography round out the text.


I wanted to review this book because; well I have a black thumb.  I am not very good at keeping green things alive (except an African violet I kept alive for three years and had to give away when we moved- but that was a fluke), especially if the plant needs regular watering when it is not rainy.  I always figured the perfect thing for me to plant would be something that could pretty much live on its own but plants like that are hard to find.  Even at garden stores and green houses the experts always tell me, “oh it’s hardy, it could survive just fine” but let me tell you a deep dark secret, I once killed two hosta plants.  I know, I have been told that is next to impossible, but I went on vacation for 3 weeks and when I got home, my beautiful little garden had two dead hostas.  I was sad and mortified, especially since we lived in a cul-de-sac and everyone would comment when they walked by.

This book is perfect.  I am eager to plant some of these drought resistant plants when we get into our new house.  I am already planning my garden.

This book is quite thorough.  It gives a couple different tables, one is a key to the different symbols used in the book and the other is zones, broken down by temperature.  It then breaks the plants into varieties, such as trees, shrub, perennials, ground cover, grasses, bulbs, succulents, palms, and fiber plants.  The descriptions are easy to read and quite complete.  For each plant the book lists a “grows” section that explains how tall a plant gets and how quickly it grows, best zones for it to grow in, each plants special attributes, a couple design ideas, and a related plant in the same genre.

Waterwise also has really beautiful pictures of the plants, and in most cases there is more than one picture of the plant and if the plant looks different during different seasons, like some trees, there are pictures of both seasonal looks.  The wording is colorful, eye catching, and an easy to read font.  It is also a pretty large font, which is nice on the eyes.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in what types of plants to plant in areas where you get occasional droughts.  I know this book has been quite helpful to me, and I am a total novice.  If you have any experience, this book will be a great resource for you to add to your collection.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.

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by Carrie Ward

Expected publication: April 1st 2012 by Moody Publishers


Christian parents have a responsibility to make sure their children know and love God’s Word. But what if you struggle as a parent to read the Bible yourself. How can you pass a love for God’s Word along to your children if you struggle with it yourself’ That was Carrie Ward’s story. Until God gave her a plan to help her develop a consistent time in the Word, right along with her children. Readers will walk together with Carrie Ward, an everyday mama, as she journeys through the Bible with her small children ” one chapter a day. As her children re-enact the Bible stories readers will be able to see Scripture through the eyes of a child. Parents will learn how to impart God’s truth to their children day by day, and will see its transformative power on their families. Together: Growing Appetites for God is an easy read and includes helpful tools for scripture memorization and charts to follow progress through the Bible.


I was not crazy about this book, while the premise is good, that you and your children can get a lot out of reading the Bible together, it seemed like the book was just a super long plug for a bunch of other books or programs.

Other than telling us stories about her journey of reading the Bible to her kids, it mostly just advocated other programs.  I do not agree with reading an adult Bible to little children, they will not get out of the stories what is really important, they will just be reenacting Cain killing Abel, as though somehow things like that are a good thing.  It seemed that maybe she started at too young an age with an adult bible, because it seemed like her older children had a much better grasp of deeper meaning, obviously because they were older and were at a different learning level.

It seemed like her husband put a lot of pressure on her to teach the kids scripture and later, pushed her to have the kids memorize scripture, as though that is the most important thing to salvation, all at the urging of a so called “friend” who never had anything to do with the actually teaching part.  It is judgmental people like her “friend” that make non-Christians think Christians are crazy or a cult.  God does not judge you at the pearly gates based on how much of the Bible you have memorized, my Lord- would the version make a difference too?

Now her kids did seem to get into the Bible and especially focused on fasting and prayer, though they needed to be taught how to fast and the proper reasons to fast and pray.  It makes sense that these kids would think fasting was fun; their parents made the whole family do it all the time, to the extent that the kids seemed to think of it as a game unless they were properly directed.

Now the family did go through some terrible times, like the miscarriages, and I personally know how that feels, it is one of the hardest things to deal with ever.  I think they did a really good job of using the Bible to explain to the kids what was happening and sort of the “why.”  Reading the Bible and having a strong faith are very important during times of loss.  It has to be extremely hard to go through all of that and have to talk to you children, help them grieve, all while you and your husband were grieving.  I give her tons of credit with how she dealt with the situation.

In the last part of the book she talks about the benefits of reading the Bible to your kids, and I mostly agree.  Reading is crucial to a child’s development.  Being comfortable reading is also a huge confidence builder, always important in settings where it is easy for kids to pick on one another, like school.

Reading the Bible together also created a daily discipline with accountability to her kids.  They let her know if she wasn’t holding up her end of the bargain.   It also created closeness and gave the children the ability to learn to interpret the Bible and discern God working in their lives, right for the beginning.  It was not something new to them; they basically grew up with it, a very good thing.  Bible interpretation is a hard thing to wrap your head around at any age, but starting young can be a positive thing.

Basically this book has a very Evangelical slant, and I am not Evangelical, but it has some really good points, but I didn’t enjoy it as pleasure reading.  Others might really enjoy this, it is sort of like a religious parenting book, focusing on the importance of scripture in the development of children.

I would recommend this book to anyone who wanted to know more about the effects of daily Bible reading on kids, which were positive, overall.  Or to someone who wanted to start a program like this with their kids.

I received this book as an ARC.  I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist parents and clergy in recommending appropriate books for people to read.

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by Sheila Wray Gregoire

Published March 2012 by Zondervan


Do bad girls really have more fun? Surveys say no. The women who are most likely to enjoy sex are married and religious. Frank and contemporary, “The Good Girls’ Guide to Great Sex” will give the newly engaged and new brides–and some veteran wives–a Christian resource to answer their most intimate, and embarrassing, questions.


I decided to read the ARC of The Good Girls Guide to Great Sex to see if it would be a good reference for when my husband, an Episcopal Priest, and I to use for part of our premarital counseling. Most of the book, I would say, is very useful. The section describing what sex is in detail for women or men who were virgins when they were marrying was really good. It answered a lot of questions that one might have, in a spiritual way, as well as a physical way. I enjoyed reading about how men feel about sex and how women feel about sex, without the whole guilt trip that we (women) must just do it no matter what, that sex is not important to us at all.

There was a definite emphasis on the importance of sex in a marriage- this is the biggest part- sex is to be between a married man and woman- no exceptions. If you have had premarital sex, it is not the end of the world, but if you are not married, you should stop until after you are married, even if it is only a few months away.

There was also a definite emphasis on sex being between you two- no porn. The author states that neither of you should be imagining other people while having sex with each other, that will hurt a marriage in the long run. She also states that masturbation and the use of sex toys will hurt a marriage, with, I think, one exception talked about in the book. The author talks about how much porn can hurt a marriage and that there are many men and women who use porn, often without the spouse’s knowledge. There was an entire chapter on it, and it was a frequent topic throughout the entire second half of the book, coming up at random point from where it was first mentioned through the very last chapter.

The only part of the book that weirded both my husband and I out a bit, was the section entitled A Pure, Holy, and Hot Marriage. It talked about bringing God into your marriage bed. Now don’t get me wrong, we have a very loving God filled marriage, but the thought of praying before we have sex, like not bedtimes prayers and then you kinda have sex- no, intentional prayers to God before you have sex, or reading scripture before or after sex to bring God into your marriage bed. I asked my husband how he felt about that and he thought it was a bit weird too. Now some of this had to do with healing as a couple from different things, like abuse, or porn addiction, and asking God to help you both regain, or gain a healthy sex life. That part I understand, but for couples that don’t have those problems, it did seem kind of strange.

Overall, I would use this book as a reference for couples getting married, to read BEFORE they get married, it will make you think, but will also help you, whether you are a virgin, or not. There are parts in here to help those that might feel guilt over not being virginal on their marriage night, and how to work through that. This book is conservative, it does not promote same sex relations- period! This book does not promote sex before marriage; it actually gives positive research data to emphasize staying a virgin until you are married. It is also a good read for those of us married for some time on how to keep your sexual life spicy and fun, in a clean, non perverted way. It also has what the author calls “A Good Girl Speaks,” where different women interviewed give a bit of advice or life experience and how long they are married. My favorite sections were the “Good Girl Dares,” where the author gives some little dares for women to give themselves to spice up their sex life with their husband. Some were better than others, none are super dirty either. The section on why sex should be saved until you are married is a section I would allow my daughter to read, it might give her more of a shove in the right direction than my husband or I telling her that she shouldn’t, for a variety of reasons.

This was a good book with some pretty great advice. I did not get paid to write this review, I do so in order for you to have a better idea about what this book is like, from a readers standpoint and in this case, a Priest’s Wife’s standpoint.

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