Month: December 2015

Book Review: “The Healthy Mind Cookbook” by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson

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The Healthy Mind Cookbook has an intriguing premise that is spelled out in its’ subtitle: Big-Flavor Recipes to Enhance Brain Function, Mood, Memory, and Mental Clarity. This was very interesting to me since I have been trying to take more notice of the foods I eat in a quest to become healthier. I have noticed that my body responds very differently to healthy and unhealthy foods. Unfortunately, I have also noticed that sometime healthy food isn’t always tasty. This cookbook aims to correct that problem.

Each recipe has detailed instructions, nutritional information, storage directions and commentary from the author. Many recipes are accompanied by a color photograph. It is a hardcover book with 245 pages. Many great tips are provided on preparation and maintaining a good pantry of staples. However, my favorite part of the cookbook is how it teaches you to use a flavor combination called FASS (fats, acid, salt, and sweet) to balance flavors in cooking to make healthy foods taste good. It even has a chart that shows how to fix problems with taste in a recipe. I also enjoyed learning about the copious listing of foods that help with various cognitive issues. The recipes themselves look very appetizing and many are ones that my children would try as well. I look forward to using this cookbook to eat better and as the author says feed my mind.

I received this book for free from BloggingforBooks.org’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review. 

Book Review: “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World” by Kristen Welch

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I really enjoyed reading Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World – How One Family Learned that Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest Yes by Kristen Welch. I have enjoyed several articles from her website We Are THAT Family and was interested in her perspective on this subject. I loved that she admits to still being in the trenches of motherhood and doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. It added a feeling of realness for me. I felt she was right on point with her description of the current state of parenting, including accurately naming one of the chapters “The Selfie Society”. The culture in which we live seems to extol the idea that parents should always be a friend to their child and should strive for that child to be happy at all costs, mostly by enjoying extravagant and plentiful material possessions. This book encourages parents to avoid that idea and instead embrace an attitude of gratitude.

The book starts with glowing reviews from Gary Chapman, Crystal Paine, and Sally Clarkson. Each chapter has a section called Going Against the Flow that contains action steps and good advice for all stages of life, entitled parents, toddlers/preschoolers, elementary, tweens/teens. Throughout the chapters, inset quotes are plentiful among the text that point out important snippets. One chapter of particular interest to me dealt with technology and provided a list of rules to help mitigate the risk of children having access to technology. Most were common sense ideas, but there were a few I hadn’t considered. The main text finishes up with a great chapter called “Dear Parents” with wonderful guidance. The book also contains a discussion guide for each chapter.

I think this would be a wonderful book for parents. I’ll say that I don’t agree with the discussion of rephrasing Proverbs 22:6 in chapter 2, but we end up the same place in terms of what should be done to help guide a child away from a sense of entitlement. It’s sometimes hard to resist the norm of spoiling your kids to the point that they feel entitled. This book gives good practical ideas on how to cultivate the idea of choosing to be grateful. It was a timely reminder to not spoil my kids, given that I was reading it during the Christmas season. I think the author expressed my idea of the goal of parenting well when she said, “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.” It’s important to make sure they are loved, but also to guide them into adults who are grateful and satisfied with what they have instead of one who is entitled and always searching for more. After all, as Mrs. Welch said, “…often our kids don’t need more stuff or more freedom; they just need more of us.”

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Run for God 5K: Completed!

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Well, today was the big day. The graduation, if you will, of a twelve-week journey to improve my physical, mental, and spiritual fitness. If you remember, I had joined a ladies’ Bible study that was following the Run for God 5K program. I was a little concerned about having the race today. I had traveled the week of Thanksgiving and had fallen behind on training, and the training that I had been doing was mostly on flat ground. However, I’m happy to report that I was able to finish the 5K and beat the goals I had set for myself. I got a great sense of accomplishment by crossing that finish line, but I’d have to say my favorite part of the race was going back to run or walk others to the finish line as well. I found it a privilege to see so many people attain feats they thought were simply impossible just mere weeks ago. There were just so many warm and wonderful memories that were made today that will be forever etched in my memory. Here are just a few:

-The encouraging words of our group leader were inspirational. She has always been so encouraging and kind. I can’t imagine the countless hours she’s put into this endeavor.
-The funny “Over the Hill” balloon that marked the top of the monster hill that we made into our warmup was great comic relief for my nerves.
-The beautiful vistas, upbeat Gospel music on my phone, and time of talking to God along the way was renewing to my spirit.
-The encouraging words of people I’ve met from church and more that I didn’t even know along the race path kept me going.
-The beautiful lady from Sunday School who has been experiencing health problems who sat on a park bench in cold and windy weather to cheer everyone on was in the exact spot that I didn’t think I had any more to give. Her encouragement and presence helped me to keep going.
-The pastor’s wife who jumped in near the finish line to show me the way and kept encouraging me to keep going was the last push I needed to continue.
-The young man who so graciously asked if I would like a bottle of water at the end was just the refreshment I needed to recover from the race.
-The cheering and encouraging words of everyone I saw was so heart-warming.
-The final crossing of the finish line as we all sang hymns was truly up-lifting.
-The shirt, the medal, gifts, certificate, and letter were all a great surprise to celebrate our accomplishments.

So, I guess the word of the day would be encouragement. I have made so many new friendships and am so thankful to God for that opportunity. He has guided my steps throughout this journey, and I know He will be with me always since He said He would in his Word. Oh, what a comforting thought! Thanks be to God.