Monday, January 25, 2016

Book Review: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

Hi friends! How are your new year's resolutions going? I have finished my first book of the year and it was so great! I'm excited to share it with you today. Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is Kristen Welch's newest book. You may recognize her as the co-founder of Mercy House Kenya and Fair Trade Friday. Her travels, her work with the young moms in Kenya, and her own parenting experience as a mother of three, come together to give her a unique and valuable message about parenting in the 21st century. I love that she draws from other writers and speakers as well in the book. She shares thoughts and research about how we are making our families overly kid-centric, and setting up impossible standards. I was lucky enough to get an advance e-copy of the book for my honest review, so I can give you a peak at what you have to look forward to when it comes out THIS WEEK

Here's a few of my favorite quotes from the book:

"The American Dream  and the pursuit of happiness have morphed from a quest for general contentment to the idea that you must be happy at all times and in every way.(--Lori Gottlieb) If we fix every problem, cater to every need, and bend over backwards to keep our kids happy all the time we are setting them up for a false reality because life won't always offer them the same courtesy. " 

Any of that sound familiar to anyone? I have seen so many articles lately detailing how utterly unprepared for life the upcoming generation of young adults is. This book hits the nail on the head and addresses some of the biggest problems facing teens and young professionals, because of choices their parents made or didn't make when they were younger. It's one of those books you find yourself saying "exactly!" to all the time. 

Overall it was just a great reminder of what our kids really need, and that it's ok for them to be different and not to have everything everyone else has. The truth is often times the kids that look like they have it all are missing the most important pieces, and their future adult-selves will be the sad ones proving it. After reading One Thousand Gifts last year, I heartily agree that authentic gratitude is absolutely essential to happiness. If we aren't grateful then likely that means we have set ourselves up to expect more, and nothing steals joy like disappointment. I don't think raising grateful kids means asking them to set their expectations low, rather, as Kristen talks about in the book, it is helping them to grasp the bigness of the world and their smallness in it. When we are able to expose our kids to different cultures, struggles that are common in many parts of the world, and even the difficulties those around us are facing; they are equipped with perspective and compassion that allows them to not only appreciate good things, but also to see how they can be part of good things for others. 

I think this would be an awesome book to go through as a book club with other parents. 
Kristen even has a free journal that you can download and print to go along with the book: go here.  And a discussion guide right here! So yeah, it was made to talk about with your friends, or your spouse, or both. : )

This book was a great way to start out the year. Parenting is not going to be easy, and not every moment is going to be happy; but love, gratitude, and a commitment to some biblical principles can still guide our kids to a happy life. And ultimately I think that's what all parents want for their kids. Order your copy today right here. 

Thanks for reading! You are loved!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

2016 Reading Goals

Hello! Happy 2016! It's the beginning of the year so we are eating healthy and setting goals. 

In 2015 I joined a couple of friends in the most relaxed book club ever. We pick a few books that we want to read and then over the next 2-3 months read them in whatever order. This is helpful because it means we can swap books, if we aren't trying to read them at exactly the same time. At the end of the quarter we get together and discuss all three, plus the fate of the county, education, politics, political correctness, parenting, faith and everything else we can think of... but we do start with the books. : )

Thanks to my book club accountability and some free books to review from Howard Books, in 2015 I read:

What Alice Forgot                        - Moriarty
The Husbands Secret                   - Moriarty
Tiffany Girl                                    - Gist
More Than Happy                         - Miller
If You Find This Letter                  - Brencher
Woodlawn                                     - Gerelds
Their Eyes Were Watching God    - Hurston

I also discovered audio books, and started walking and reading at the same time. Bonus! So I listened to these books as well:

American the Beautiful                 - Dr. Ben Carson
Just As I am                                  - Billy Graham
The Great Divorce                        - C.S. Lewis
The Screwtape Letters                  - C.S. Lewis

There's lots of book challenges floating around out there. One of my book buddies suggested we do this one, of course we'll have to chose together what we'll read for book club, but if I were to fill it out myself, here's what I'd be aiming to read this year:

Here's the challenge:

Read a book...
  • published this year: Raising Grateful Kids --Welch <--I got an advance copy of this and will review it here in a week or so. It is so good!
  • you've been meaning to read: For the Love --Hatmaker  <--I'm also reading this right now
  • recommended by a bookstore:  Fates and Furies -- Groff  <--supposedly President Obama's fav book of 2015 (He has time to read?!?)
  • you should have read in school: To Kill a Mockingbird -- Lee
  • chosen by your spouse: The Language of God --Collins
  • published before you were born: The Keeper of the Bees --Stratton-Porter <--chosen by my mother-in-law, her favorite book.
  • you didn't finish: The Locust Effect --Haugen <-- this is just so heavy and hard to read, but the message is important and I need the reminder that there is evil in the world and it is worth fighting.
  • you own but haven't read: When Helping Hurts -- Corbett <--I have audio plans for this so although, yes, this is the 3rd time I've put it on my list, it is happening this year!
  • that intimidates you: Half The Sky --Kristof & WuDunn <-- this is is the same hard and heavy category as The Locust Effect, so I know it's going to be a tough read, but worth it. Kicking myself that I didn't watch this documentary when it was on Netflix, and hoping it comes back.
  • a book that you have already read: Mere Christianity -- C.S. Lewis  <--another audio plan, I've discovered I love listening to C.S. Lewis rather than reading him. It's just so much easier to digest when I'm hearing it. 
"A book you've been meaning to read" could be it's own list. I'll add to that Rhinestone Jesus by Kristen Welch and Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker, and these two Holocaust books: The Hiding Place and The Auschwitz Escape. I might as well round out my Holocaust category and watch Schindler's List this year too, since I've never seen it. It's not that I want to read about the Holocaust, but I think it's important to know, and to never forget...'

After those I might have to find something lighter to read. : ) I'm sure I'll read some not on this list and there will be several I don't get to again this year, but it's a starting point. What are you reading this year? Have you read any on my list? 

Here's to setting goals and good books!
You are loved!
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