Mother & Son: The Respect Effect (Review)

Mother and Son

As a mom of three boys ranging from college to grade school, I often feel I’m not quite clicking with my boys during times of trouble or strife. My oldest son is the most similar to me in terms of personality and temperament but during rocky seasons, I just don’t seem to get the parenting thing right. I behave and speak in ways that I would have preferred from my parents when I was his age but it doesn’t seem to work.

So when I had the opportunity to review “Mother & Son: The Respect Effect” by Emerson Eggerichs, PhD, I jumped at the chance. I’m eager for a tool to help be relate to my sons better and be the kind of mom they actually need.

Dr. Eggerichs takes his principles of Love and Respect in marriage and applies them to the parenting realm in terms of mothers and sons. His thesis: Boys and men have a deep need to feel respected from the time they are very young. Respect is the key to their hearts. This can feel odd for a mom who wants to make sure her sons know they are loved. According to Eggerichs, respect is the way with our sons.

I found Mother & Son to be sound and helpful. The author gives specific examples for a wide variety of situations for both younger and older sons. This is a section I think a reader will revisit on multiple occasions.

On the con side, I struggled with Eggerichs writing style. It feels very repetitive and a bit condescending. I really had to slog through the first four chapters in order to gain momentum and glean the knowledge he laid out. I would concur with another reviewer that this book is worth the time but consider starting with Chapter 5.


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Book Review and Giveaway for Untangled by Carey Scott

Take a moment and list everything you feel insecure about.

I bet your list looks something like this:

  • Weight
  • Appearance of your home
  • The checkbook balance
  • Being accepted
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Success
  • Marriage
  • Parenting

Carey Scott covers all these areas and more in her new book Untangled: Let God Loosen the Knots of Insecurity in Your Life. Chapter by chapter, Scott leaves no stone unturned as she addresses practically every area a women finds her self ensnared by shame and insecurity. I cannot think of a single topic she has not covered.

Untangled book

With frank honesty, Scripture, and highlighting stories from women who have found freedom in untangling their own knots, Scott reveals how to overcome personal insecurities through Christ. She sheds a light on the lies women tend to believe of “not being good enough” and dismantles the feelings of shame.

Scott’s words feel as though they are from a most trusted friend; gentle, honest and loving. As she reveals her own entanglements and shares how God untied those knots, she offers the same hope to each and every one of us.

Each chapter ends with a suggested prayer and discussion questions. Untangled is a great book for personal study or a women’s group discussion.

I’m pleased to offer a copy of Untangled to give to one lucky reader. To enter, please complete this form. A winner will be announced on July 6, 2015.

I received a copy of Untangled for free in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Heart Sisters: Be the Friend You Want to Have (Book Review and Giveaway!)

From time to time I find myself envious of young children.

Have you ever watched a group of kids at a park? They naturally gravitate to each other and play; many times names are never even exchanged! Every time I witness this phenomenon, I find myself wishing adults were more like kids. It’s hard to make friends as adults.

I’ve been thinking about friendships lately. I work from home and spend a lot of time in the car in the afternoons driving the “kid taxi”. My life is pretty isolated and it’s not as easy to meet people as it once was. Throw in baggage of past hurts and I find developing new friendships to be even more complicated. It’s tempting to throw in the towel and settle in to a life of a hermit.

Enter “Heart Sisters: Be the Friend You Want to Have” by Natalie Snapp. This book should be in read in every church women’s ministry and in every book club. Snapp covers every aspect of female relationships: our need for friendship, finding the courage to put yourself out there, investing in friendships, frenemies, how to recognize both healthy and unhealthy relationships and most importantly, how to be a true friend or “heart sister” to someone else.

Heart Sisters cover

Snapp’s book is personally encouraging to me as I wade back into the social waters. She shares her own past mistakes, hurts and lessons she’s learned in the friendship arena. By sharing her personal experiences, a reader can connect more readily with what Snapp has to say. Written in a friendly, conversational tone, Heart Sisters is a definite must read for any woman wanting to develop inner heart friendships.

I’m pleased to announce I have a copy of Heart Sisters to give to one lucky reader. To enter, leave a comment and tell me about your closest friend or “heart sister”. I’ll choose a winner on May 16th.

I received Heart Sisters for free in exchange for a book review. I was not required to write a positive review. 

The Picnic Table

Today is a guest post from an unlikely, but wonderful, person…my husband! As usual, one of my brilliant ideas means quite a bit of labor for Rick. Check out Rick’s thoughts on the gift of hard work and the benefits of imperfections. 

Last fall we got an old picnic table that someone no longer needed. It needed some work, but was still pretty solid. My wife said we’d take it. I hitched up the trailer and we went and got it. They were glad someone took it and we were glad to have it.

When we got it home I took it apart. Some boards needed holes filled, a few smaller pieces need replacing, and some pieces needed work. Everything was weathered. The bolts and screws were rusty. One board for the top was badly warped, so I stacked all the other pieces on top of it and left it for the winter.

Spring came and it was time to get going. We have an outdoor graduation party planned for early summer and we wanted the picnic table to be done by then. I spent several hours sanding and filling in holes. One piece was still warped, but not as bad. I had to replace three smaller pieces of wood, but was able to with scraps I had. I decided to replace the screws and bolts since the old ones were rusty. I stained the wood and put the table back together. I spent a lot of time, but little money. Somehow, by doing the work, it felt like it was really mine.

As I spent my time sanding and staining the table I wondered if it was really worth it. It was old and worn. The wood was banged up and cracked. If I had done nothing I’m sure we would have spent the summer picking splinters out of each other. When I was at the home improvement store they had new but unfinished ones on display for $99. I could have just bought a new one and stained that, but I noticed something. Those new ones lacked character. My picnic table had character. Every ding and dent gave it a story. The hard work I put into it made it that much more special to me. There’s a feeling of accomplishment and pride I have with restoring this table. I didn’t just go for something new. New doesn’t always mean better. Working on improving what I already had was worth it. I put in the hard work and made something better. It might not be perfect, but it’s mine.


Releasing and Letting Go

Over the weekend, my eight-year-old son (whom we call Monkey) was helping me clean the house. He lifted up a doily off of the end table, held it up to the light and proclaimed it looked like a rabbit. I affirmed his declaration and cautioned him to be careful because the doily was my grandmother’s. Monkey gave me a quizzical look, put the doily back on the table and continued dusting the next item.

I associate many items in my home with their original owner. The green afghan is not mine but my mother-in-law’s since she’s the one who made it. I feel the same way about the black and white afghan my sister-in-law made. It’s Doris’ afghan. The doily’s are Grandma’s, the nightstand is Mom and Dad’s, the cake stand is from the unnamed person who hosted the garage sale where I purchased it. I don’t know why I ascribe ownership this way  but I do with almost everything.

Everything except my kids.


I’ve been told over and over my children belong to God, but it’s easy to believe and live as they are completely and totally mine.

I carried them for 9 months.

I gave birth to them.

I potty trained them.

I drive them to school.

I take them to clothes shopping.

I took them to the doctor and held them on my lap when they were sick.

You get the idea. (I don’t want to negate my husband’s role. He was every bit as present in our sons lives as I am). I don’t think I’ve fully comprehended or understood that these three hooligans belong to God; at least not on a heart level until recently. Our oldest is turning 18 next month. He’ll be legally an adult. He’s in the car so much going out with friends, to school, and to work. College and scholarship applications are on the horizon. He’ll have to register for Selective Service.

I’m scared.

Soon it will be time to release him to the world and as much as I’m looking forward to the days of just the hubby and I alone in our house, I don’t want to start letting go. It feels safer to have my boys here with us. Nothing gives me more comfort than to know each brown haired boy is in their own bed every night. But I can’t keep them here forever. They have to start forging their own path.


I can’t protect them. I can’t prevent bad things from happening and I can’t stop them  from making bad, or contrary, decisions. I can’t stop hurt from entering their lives.

I hope I’ve done right by my son, and by God. I hope I did the best parenting job I was capable of doing.

It’s time to trust God and my son.

So…how do I do that?

Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World Than Actually Changing the World? (Book Review)

Eugene Cho is the founder and pastor of Quest Church in Seattle, Washington and the founder of One Day’s Wages, a “grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty”. Cho is also the author of Overrated.


Cho builds a convincing case in stating many Christians (including himself) are more in love with the IDEA of changing the world than actually rolling up their sleeves and putting their intentions into action; we neglect to put ourselves in a “posture of humility” and being aware that we too must change if we want to be instruments of change.

It’s easy to write about justice, to have passionate discussions about social justice, read articles, wear the t-shirt and buy the shoes all in the name of justice but Cho challenges the Church as a whole to truly understand what justice is, examine our motives and realize justice comes at a cost. The author draws heavily from his own experiences and does not hesitate to shine a light on the less-than-stellar areas of his life. Over and over again, Cho emphasizes as he sought to do justice, God sought to change him.

Justice, especially within the Church, can look glamorous and cool but Cho wants the Church to remember who the justice is for, to seek out God’s will before charging ahead under our own steam, do the research before engaging in activity and to remember “we should be about the work of God”.

I received a copy of “Overrated” from David C. Cook Publishing in exchange for a book review. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Exploring My “God Jar”

In an effort to develop a daily writing habit, I first needed to…clean my basement office (otherwise known as The Mother Dungeon). I love to write. My tank is refueled when I put pen to paper. I feel whole and complete as my fingers move across the keyboard. But I’ll do just about anything to avoid it.

Writing is hard.

So is faith.

I haven’t written a personally honest post since this one which was just after Christmas last year. It’s easier to write book reviews. As I purged some books off of my office shelves, organized my scrapbook supplies, and finally found a place for an old typewriter, I came across my God Jar.

My God Jar contains various items I’ve picked up along my faith journey. To the casual observer, this jar looks full of junk but each piece had a meaning to me when I acquired it, and to my surprise, still carries meaning for me now. I feel pretty dead inside when it comes to Christianity and my faith. I don’t think my faith is dead. It’s probably in a coma. You can’t force a person out of a coma and I don’t think a faith rejuvenation can be forced either. You must wait.

So I wait.

I’m reading. I’m praying. I’m singing, and I’m waiting for faith to become vibrant once more. I’m waiting for my Christianity to be a life force within me instead of a label I call myself or my beliefs and this is where my God jar is coming into importance. I opened the jar and contemplated the contents; pondering whether or not these items are worth keeping.

Each of these items represents an encounter with God, a promise I made to Him, a promise He made, and reminders of answered prayers.

torn fabric

The torn fabric represents the temple veil being torn in two upon Jesus’ death and represented the new covenant God established. It’s symbolic to me in I don’t have to work for God’s forgiveness, it’s given to me freely if I ask. I don’t have to perform to a particular level for His approval or love.

david and goliath rock

I’ve had this rock for many years. This rock is roughly the size needed for David to bring down Goliath and it tells me God gives us what we need, when we need it and it may not be what we thought.

Marriage vows



3 rings


This card and three key rings are reminders to me of marriage. Against our “better judgement”, Rick and I were cajoled into attending yet another marriage event. We were tired and did not want to go but we went. I don’t remember many of the details but I do remember Rick and I recommitting ourselves to each other (the card) and being reminded God must be within our marriage (three rings, not two).

Hollywood Hills rock







Hollywood zip code rubber bracelet


This rock and this rubber bracelet are from a mission trip to Hollywood (I wrote about it here).  The rubber bracelet, which displays Hollywood’s zip code,  reminds me to pray for my Christian brothers and sisters who are working in a very tough, unforgiving, and very influential industry. The rock is from our team’s hike to the Hollywood sign. It was at the top of the hill and after an evening of meeting with writers who encouraged me to write where I felt like I found out who I am. I wanted something to remember the moment by so I faked tying my shoe and grabbed a rock.

1 Thes 5

And this verse…this verse was a promise I clung to as I waited for an answer to prayer. The answer was two years in arriving but it DID ARRIVE. I had this verse taped to my computer monitor at work and wondered daily, sometimes hourly, if I could count on it or not.  I could.

As I wait for my faith coma to end, I feel comforted by these items and more I did not write about. The light at the end of the tunnel exists and although I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to reach it, as I touch these items and wipe off their dust, I know I’m going to make it.


The Cure for the Perfect Life (Book Review)

Pinterest makes me feel bad.

It starts off as a great way to save ideas for my son’s graduation party, books I want to read, recipes to make, but quickly it becomes a place where I am reminded I am not enough.

  • My house isn’t in style.
  • My skin and hair are…not good.
  • My Christmas decorations lack a universal theme. (I thought the theme was “Christmas” but whatever)
  • My concrete patio isn’t stained (not a fashionable stain anyway. It does sport some spray paint, oil, and sidewalk chalk stains but I don’t think that counts).
  • And I don’t know how to properly tie a scarf.

The list goes on and on of where I don’t measure up as a woman, a mother, a wife, and just a person in general. But Pinterest isn’t the problem. Somehow and somewhere along the road of life, I’ve gotten into my head perfectionism must be, and can be, achieved if I just tried harder. But what I really am doing is chasing the proverbial carrot, alienating those around me and just wearing myself out.

When I spotted an opportunity to read The Cure for the ‘Perfect’ Life by Kathi Lipp and Cheri Gregory, I jumped at the chance. Based on the cover alone, I knew this was the book I needed to read. An imperfect cupcake (or anything really) sends me into a tailspin of tears and fear of judgement.

cure for perfect life

Lipp and Gregory build a pretty solid case against “trying harder” in life and boil the problem down into four issues:

  • Perfectionism-“I’m always trying harder to look good enough”
  • People-Pleasing-“I’m always trying harder to seem nice enough”
  • Performancism-“I’m always trying harder to be seen doing enough”
  • Procrastination-“I know I’m not enough, so why try?”

The authors spend quite a bit of time covering each of the above issues and discuss how they affect and look with different personalities. I had no problem finding myself in the text and seeing how I am affected. The Cure for the ‘Perfect’ Life is a Christian-based book; the authors incorporate Scripture into their work without being preachy. Lipp and Gregory gently, but consistently, steer their readers away from the lies and burdens of perfectionism and towards where our value truly lies.

This book has truly affected me on a personal level and has me rethinking why I:

  • say “yes” when I really need to say “no”
  • get obsessed over having everything perfect for company
  • become depressed when I make a mistake or am corrected by someone else
  • and much more

This is a well-written and thought out book which would be fantastic to read on your own, in a book club or in a women’s Bible study group. However, I do not recommend purchasing the Kindle version. Lipp and Gregory have several questionnaires throughout the book which were not formatted well on my Kindle (although I was reading an Advance Readers Copy on a .pdf). Formatting issues aside, purchasing the actual paper book makes the quiz-taking process easier.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for a book review. I was not required to write a positive review. 

Dad is Fat (Book Review)

Other than a few guest appearances on various television shows, I was not familiar with Jim Gaffigan until a friend of mine started retweeting the comedian’s tweets which lead to watching one of his acts on Netflix.

Overstatement of the year: The man is funny.

dad is fat


Dad is Fat is a book of essays on Gaffigan’s parental experiences and observations. He’s spot on and entertaining but I expected a bit more from Dad is Fat. I just didn’t find it as funny as I expected. This is Gaffigan’s first book but it didn’t grab me in the same way Gaffigan’s stand-up act does. (Food: A Love Story is the author’s second book which will be released in October)

I appreciate the author’s clean humor but this may be an instance where the audio book would be preferable over the actual book. I think Gaffigan’s delivery would have really brought this material home.

I received Dad is Fat for free in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.