Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sisterchicks Do the Hula

Few books are as light-hearted and fun to read as Robin Jones Gunn's Sisterchicks Series. They are generally void of dating/romance storyline.  Robin emphasizes the wonderful encouragement of godly friendships. Our friends can help up "take it up a notch" in our spiritual walk with God, or they can drag us down to worldly levels of living.  If you read her series, you will be wishing for friends like those in the book.  Don't despair if you don't have that right now. God knows what he is doing. Perhaps this is a time to draw close to Him as your dearest friend or rekindle friendship with your husband. Those are good things, right? In time, He will most likely send that encouraging friend along your path. Prepare by being a good friend to those you know, and pray that the Lord will meet your want.

Most often I feel the need to travel somewhere after I've read a Sisterchicks book. This particular novel is set in the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. I've never been, but I would love to hop across the pond in that direction. Two friends, who have lost touch through the years, reconnect in this sweet story. It is a coming of "middle" age story really. We go through many stages in our lives. These ladies are both turning the big 4-0. I have a sis who is turning 3-0 soon, and I'm thinking she may not be looking forward to it. Each stage can bring new joys and contentment.

Sisterchicks books are very easy to find at used bookstores and library sales for $1 or .50. I stock up on them whenever possible. In fact right now has Sisterchicks Down Under for only about $1 or $2, and Sisterchicks in Sombreros on audio CD for about the same price. I have several copies of each on my gift shelf right now. I give them to missionary wives all the time.

In an earlier post I have mentioned several of Robin's books. Sisterchicks Do the Hula is probably one of my favorites.

Happy Reading!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Princesses in God's Kingdom

Today Prince William and Kate Middleton wed in an elaborate ceremony with the whole world watching. I personally enjoyed the day with all its charm and glamour, reverence and tradition. I've been building a collection of books on Princess Diana, the Royal Family and English landscapes for over 27 years. I've read countless biographies and gazed at an abundance of glamorous pictures books. These things are part of a world that I will never experience in this life. That's okay by me. We could debate the validity of the British monarchy, the moral decay of the family, or the extreme wealth at the expense of the British taxpayer. Still, I would enjoying watching. Every little girl wants to be a princess. Christ, we are princesses!  As children of God, the Great King, we are in His Royal Family. Let us represent our Heavenly King with all the dignity, grace, confidence, and poise of a Princess.

Here are a few books and DVD's that encourage royal behavior and character. Enjoy!

For children...
The Princess and the Kiss by Jennie Bishop
The True Princess by Angela Elwell Hunt
My Child, My Princess by Beth Moore
God's Wisdom for Little Girls by Elizabeth George
His Little Princess by Sheri Rose Shepherd
The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Little Suzy Stories by Elizabeth Prentiss
The Princess and the Three Knights by Karen Kingsbury

For older girls...and adults
Princess Adelina by Julie Sutter
The Princess and the Kiss by Jennie Bishop
CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia Series
Becoming a Modern Day Princess by Pam Farrel
A Basket of Flowers by Christopher von Schmid
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

A few DVD's that would represent princess-like behavior...

Adult - more complex subject matter
One Night with the King (Story of Esther)
Amazing Grace (Life of Mr and Mrs. William Wilberforce)
Young Victoria or Victoria and Albert (BBC)
Miss Potter (Story of Beatrix Potter)
The Chronicles of Narnia Series
Sense and Sensibility
Jane Eyre (A&E)

Sweet Pea Beauty (Veggie Tales)
The Little Princess (Shirley Temple)
Disney's Cinderella
Rogers and Hammerstein's Cinderella
The Swan Princess

"That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace."  Psalm 144:12

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Joyfully at Home

Jasmine Baucham's book Joyfully at Home is a very thought provoking book. While you may not agree every premise of this book, it is good to challenge our thinking about the way we are rearing our daughters. In today's world, we can't be too careful in the way we live as families for God.

Jasmine has a great section in her book about False Views. Just reading this would be great for moms or women who influence young girls. You will wish you had read it when you were a teen or young married woman.

She writes about false views of marriage, husbands, ourselves, singleness, and God's sovereignty. It is true that many girls enter marriage as if they are stepping into a Disney movie with little thought or preparation for the years ahead. We mothers definitely need to step up and prepare the younger generation. I don't mean that we need to downplay the joys and wonders of marriage. But what is passed down from mother to daughter or father to daughter these days?

Do we teach submission to God and his godly order in the home? Do we take the time to teach our daughters the examples of families in the Bible? Are they efficient in homemaking skills such as budgeting, cooking, smart shopping and being helpers at home?  Most of all are we teaching them contentment and service to God. These are just a few items mentioned in this book. Sure gives you something to think about, doesn't it?

Ms Baucham is a young writer, the daughter of Pastor and Mrs. Voddie Baucham. She is still coming into her own style of writing. This is her first book. She is out to encourage daughters and their families to consider a path that is against our cultural grain. Even in our churches.

Give it a try! Good job, Jasmine. Keep it up!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Keep Record of Your Reading

A fun way to keep track of your reading is to keep a Reading Journal. You can make it as simple or complex as you like. Devote a decorative notebook or blank journal that you will keep for your Reading Journal.

Each year start a new page. I simply list my book and author once I've finished it. I like to leave little codes for how I would rate the book...smiley face or asterisk for a really great book or a frown for "don't bother to read again or recommend it". Sometimes I want to beat my own record from last year, or maybe I want to finish all the books I got at the library sale that year. Either way, I feel a bit of accomplishment at the end of a good reading year. You can also see what kind of reading you are doing. Maybe you want to challenge yourself to read some more classics, biographies, or topical books (ex. parenting, marriage, theology, sermons). Along with new works, throw some older ones in, too.

I think it's important to be careful what you read. Definitely keep your reading free of books with foul language or word pictures that describe sin in too detailed a fashion. Some folks may think this is too limiting, but I can assure you that you will have no shortage of reading even if you set yourself a high standard. The Psalmist says "I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes." We should all adopt this attitude. If we are trying to please the Lord with our lives...that means every area of our lives. Sometimes this means a little "house cleaning" in some area. Believe me, you will not miss those things you get rid of because the Lord will replace them with something far better.

So, set up a shelf of great books to read and start turning some pages.  Find a beautiful journal or notebook and see how much you can learn from book by December 31.

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."             Philippians 4:8

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Under a Maui Moon

Robin Gunn is absolutely one of my favorite fiction authors! My favorite is her Sisterchicks series. I even have 3 in audiobook form. While they are easy to read, they deal with real heart issues. I like them primarily because they are not really romance stories. Not really! They are usually about 2 friends or sisters and their "need" to take a trip somewhere to reconnect. Anyway, Robin know how to weave an entertaining, encouraging, and inspiring tale.

She has written some stand alone novels, including my latest read Under a Maui Moon. It deals with a middle-age couple, empty-nesters, who have grown apart. What will become of their marriage?

One of my favorite parts of the book is while the wife Carissa is on a "vacation" in Maui (p. 191). In a beautiful National Park, nestled in the lush tall grass, stands a humble chapel where she feels closer to God than she has in a long time.

I was surprised by the description of Carissa's church experience, and why the Lord was able to touch her heart by merely being in this simple church.

She says,

"Their church stopped being a place of worship for Carissa. It was different here in this humble chapel, covered by the silence. No pictures flashed on large screens. No jokes were being told into lapel mikes. Here, the simplicity gave plenty of room for a worshipper to focus on God alone."

I thought this was beautifully written and made its point loud and clear. I also loved the way she started each chapter with the words of some of my favorite old hymns.

I hope you'll give Robin's books a try if you never have before. Here are some of her novels:

The Glenbrooke Series
Gardenia's for Breakfast
Under a Maui Moon
Sisterchicks on the Loose!
Sisterchicks in Sombreros!
Sisterchicks Do the Hula!
Sisterchicks Down Under!
Sisterchicks Say Ooh La La!
Sisterchicks in Gondolas!
Sisterchicks Go Brit!
Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Little Women

After watching two film adaptations of Little Women over the weekend, I feel the need to read this classic yet again. The 1949 and 1994 adaptations are both wonderful in their own ways, but I kept asking myself, "Was that how the book describes it?".  Both films have topics not addressed in the other. The 1994 version has many modern views and "feminist" speeches by Marmee. Christopher Columbus!! I wish they'd let it stand in its own strength.

And so last night at bedtime, my family broke out my old copy and started to read this wonderful classic. While not truly a Christian novel, it is amazing to see the religious references just chapter 1. I look forward to refreshing my memory. Although the Alcott family may have had some unusual religious influences, this work reflects much of the morality and sensibility of the time period.

I wonder how many young girls in our day and age have read this lasting work. I wonder how many in my own family and extended family have read it. Guess I'll just have to ask.

This all started while doing some decorating the other day with my daughter for a ladies tea party. I have the Ashton Drake Collection of Little Women dolls, and she was fascinated with them. They are DOLLS, after all. Next we had to get all the names down, each ones interests, their birth order, and finally pulled out the 1949 film (my favorite) so she could see them interact, at least on stage. It might have gone a little over her head, but she was definitely interested, and now we're reading the book. I even got a few chuckles from her at the girls descriptions in chapter 1, and so we continue tonight...

It's Christmas morning at the March home. What will the girls find under their pillows? What is the present that Marmee promised them?  Dust it off and see.