Friday, December 13, 2013
When a book makes the claim that Nothing is Impossible it's a pretty bold claim to make. The book is practical, and while it isn't a magic bullet to solving all of life's intricacies, it does help equip readers with a set of tools to face most challenges and rise above them.
One of the biggest problems people have is not having a solid goal, and that's one of the foundations of this book - defining a destination. It also is designed to help people improve self-confidence and charisma, use failure as a stepping stone, and break free from beliefs that may be self-limiting.
I liked the way it was written - very upbeat and positive, with a sense of possibility and optimism. It was easy to read and easy to apply to my life.
Blessings for the Evening: Finding Peace in God's Presence is a beautiful devotional book. I love the reassurance of peace in the evening, after a stressful day. It was really nice to have this book to help guide my reflection towards thoughts of trust and peace in God's love and promises. We're all busy, and it's hard to focus on God, but these devotions gently guide the reader into relaxing in God's ever-loving presence.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Good Mother Myth is a refreshing book that I think many mothers need to read. There seems to be such implicit competition between mothers, with many trying to be a supermom - homemade treats for birthdays, successful careers, well-behaved children, great school art projects. But what many mothers don't realize is that each mother has her strengths, and just because you can't make a Pinterest-worthy cake doesn't mean that your kids aren't just as happy as others.
This series of contributions collected and edited by Avital N. Nathman (@TheMamaFesto) helps bring us back to reality. The contributors are real, honest women who are up front about their challenges and realistic about what's possible. It's a great book to read if you're doubting your own abilities as a mother.
Even if you don't read it, keep in mind these two very wise pieces of advice that I've heard from several mothers and try to incorporate as much as possible:
Lower the bar. If you're holding yourself up to impossible standards, stop. Your kids will be happier, you and your spouse will be happier, if you have realistic standards for yourself and others, and if you realize that we're all doing the best we can.
Remember it's all a phase. If you're being challenged by something in particular (babies not sleeping through the night, tantrums, potty-training, etc) this will help you remember that you won't be stuck in it forever. If you're in a good moment right now, it will help you remember to cherish it.
Polarity Bear Tours the Zoo is a cute book for anyone who likes zoos, polar bears, or New York City. In the book, Polarity Bear is in a tiny cage in a zoo in Central Park. One night, she is able to walk around the zoo and see what's there - swimming with the sea lions, dancing next to the beautiful clock, riding the wonderful carousel. The illustrations are wonderful and the story is very cute - a great story for little kids who might wonder what zoo animals do at night!
Ben Breedlove was diagnosed at a very early age with hypertropic cardiomyopathy. He cheated death several times throughout his life, and a week before his death, he posted the videos that follow this post about his experiences. His sister, Ally, has written a book, When Will the Heaven Begin that details her family's experiences, along with the love of life Ben had, and his faith that something so much greater than all of us waited for him - because he had been there before. It's a heart-wrenching book that manages to be hopeful and inspiring at the same time. If you've lost a loved one, or have a loved one with a fatal condition, I encourage you to read it - and to at least watch the Youtube videos - to help gain a sense of the possibilities of life instead of the finality of death.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Four Virtues, according to Tobin Hart, are Presence, Heart, Wisdom, and Creation. Through these four lenses, we can find our purpose and where we fit in with relationships, connection, fulfillment.
This book is an interesting mix of tradition, science of the brain, psychology, religion, literature, and more. The most helpful part is the Spiritual Assessment Matrix, and the practical tools to help become stronger in regards to the four virtues. It's appropriate for secular and religious audiences - the religion incorporated the book is presented from a factual standpoint, not a preachy one. Instead, it's presented as a lens with which to frame the virtues.
I liked the book. It brought some new perspectives into my life, as well as helping me evaluate where I stand spiritually in areas I hadn't previously thought about.
LEGO is infinitely customizable. The toys are built for creation and creativity. Kids can build anything. And they're a classic toy that has stood the test of time. My husband and I both played with them as kids, and our parents happily played with us because they're fun for all ages. Now we gladly play with our own kids. We'll spend hours building and re-building, sometimes from directions and sometimes just out of our own imaginations. The pieces are durable, too - we have some sets that my husband and I had as kids too!
Just in time for the holidays, you can create a LEGO Minifigure Family postcard. It takes just a couple of minutes and is a fun way to send a holiday greeting to your friends and family by email - especially if the idea of getting just the right family picture is daunting. There are a ton of scene and outfit options, and you can even include the family cat or dog. I set up sort of a royal theme, because my daughters are really into castles and kingdoms right now. It was fun. Happy holidays, and enjoy creating your very own LEGO Minifugre family with the online postcard maker!
- Create a recipe using Zulka Pure Cane Sugar
- Upload the recipe with an image of your creation to Zulka’s “Bake-Off” Facebook tab by December 22 for a chance to win a $500 gift card to Sur La Table!