Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Brining Up Girls Review

Almost 8 years ago I was in grad school, still newly married and reading Bringing Up Boys.  For some of my grad classes in Marriage and Family Therapy I was also reading Raising a Modern Day Knight and Wild at Heart.  I felt prepared for a son.  In his wisdom, God has given me 3 daughters, so I've been waiting for awhile for Bringing Up Girls.
Like all Dobson books, it is well researched.  From insightful statistics to interesting anecdotes, this book covers a breadth of information related to raising girls.  Since Dr. Dobson is a licensed psychologist who specialized in child development you would expect to discover that the bulk of the information in this book focuses on the physical, social and psychological development of girls.
Bringing Up Girls addresses the theory of brining up girls, not necessarily the practical applications.  By reading it you will have a much better understanding of the girls in your household, but not necessarily feel equipped with new tools to address their needs.  When it comes to bringing up girls, this is definitely not a "how to" book.  It targets the principles, not the practice.
While this book may deserve a place on your shelf, I would likely not pay full price for it.  Wait until you can find it used and then get it.  I think its greatest benefit is the research that it points to and not necessarily an new information.  I realize that I may be hyper-critical on the book on this point simply because of my background I have already read much of the original source material that Dr. Dobson references.

* A free copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.

Monday, October 11, 2010


Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story

It's not a choice that a child makes, but since 1/3 of kids in America currently live without their father, it is something that many are becoming.  While many approach this subject by addressing the causes of fatherlessness, the reality is the fatherless will always be with us. There are simply too many causes of the problem and it affects too many people.
In the book Fatherless Generation John Sowers addresses the epidemic that few people acknowledge.  Many would like to believe that its simply not a big deal for a child to grow up without a father.  The only problem is that the evidence indicates that a good father is desperately needed for the rearing of children.  Sowers shares these stats origianl reported in the Idaho Observer in 2003 concerning children from homes
These children account for:
  • 63% of youth suicides
  • 71% of pregnant teenagers (which tends to perpetuate the problem)
  • 85% of all youths sitting in prisions
  • 71% of high school dropouts

The first of this half of this book addresses the fallout for this generation that lives without a dad.  Sowers provides an excellent mix of statastics and personal stories (of his own and others) that make for easy reading while also providing useful information. While informative, it certainly is not is not exhaustive in reporting the difficulties that fatherless homes will face. A couple of books that I would recommend for a greater understanding of these difficulties include Life Without Father and The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce.

The second half of the book suggests one what may be the best way to address the issue of fatherlessness: mentoring. Sowers describes mentoring as loving, modeling and coaching.  As the president of The Mentoring Project, he is leading an effort to connect fatherless boys with mentors at local churches.  And with over 300,000 churches spread across the US the church is startegically placed to address it.  One hope is that through mentoring these young men they will not gow up to make the same mistakes that their own fathers have made, thus reducing the incidents of fatherlessness for future generations. For more information about the founding of The Mentoring Project check out Father Fiction and for more ideas about what you can do, besides becoming a mentor, check out Hope for a Fatherless Generation.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Plan B Review

It feels like I may be on Plan M. This review was suppose to be done months ago, when Plan B by Pete Wilson was released.  But life gets in the way.  I think the subtitle to the book, "What do you do when God doesn't show up the way you thought he would?" is a great summary to the book.
Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn't Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?
Like many of us, I live Plan B.  After graduating with my graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy I took a job as a therapist.  First I worked at a psych hospital and then at an outpatient clinic.  Then I left it.  I took a job as a youth minister, thinking I found what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had always wanted to be a minister. My first month as a minister in Baton Rouge, LA and Hurricane Katrina hits.  Just take the youth calendar and throw it out, because we now have 160 people staying at our building, occupying the space used by the youth group for events and even Bible class. A couple more hurricanes, missed dreams, amazing experiences and then it ends.
Then, at the beginning of 2009, I began a new career.  Life had not gone according to plan.
I work at Plan B for many families. Actually I work at the place where no family plans to be: a drug treatment center for young men 14-24.
I've been at Plan B. Chances are you have too.
Pete Wilson tackles this topic straight on.  He includes a great mix of personal anecdotes, scripture and wise teaching.  Chapter 12 "Waiting on God" is worth the price of the book alone.
I highly recommend this book, because at one point or another, we may all find ourselves at "Plan B."

Disclosure: A copy of the book was provide for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Modern Parables: The Parable of the Eaters

I think if the parable of the sower were to be told in America today, here is how it would go:

There once was a restaurant owner who opened his doors promptly at 7 AM each morning for his many customers. There were many who came to enjoy his homemade biscuits and gravy at breakfast, grilled chicken salads at lunch, and pork chops for dinner.  But there were 4 customers who came by everyday, for every meal (their office was just around the corner).
The first loved to sit in the restaurant, but rarely ordered any food.  He loved the atmosphere, the ambiance, and the fact that daily arrivals at the establishment meant that he could continue to hold his title as mayor of the eatery on FourSquare, but if you were to ask him his favorite item, he honestly could not tell you. He rarely ordered anything off the menu.
The second had sampled every item on the menu.  In fact, there were times when he would order 2 or 3 en-trees for lunch.  It was not unusual for him to have the table filled with plates, even though he ate alone.  Yet, he was not a big man, for after each meal he went to restroom to purge his body of the food he had just eaten.
The third customer was quite obese.  Sampling the entire menu was something she did on almost a daily occasion.  Her difficulty in naming her favorite food was that she loved it all.
The fourth customer also loved the restaurant and ate there daily.  She was in shape and tried to carefully select items from the menu that provided her with a balanced diet.  For her, exercise was just as important as eating healthy.

Now here's were I would like to ask for your help.  What would be the application or meaning of each of these? I'll share my thoughts later this week with an update of this post.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Country Music Marathon and P90X

At the beginning of the year I registered for the Country Music Marathon with the goal of improving my time from the the St. Jude's Marathon in December of 2009.  Training was going well until I hit my 18 mile run.  18 is where I seem to hit the wall, the same was true when I was preparing for St. Jude's.  The week after the 18 mile run I received P90X for my birthday (the 30th).  At that time I made the decision to focus on weight loss and running a solid half-marathon, re-valuate after the race a plan for another marathon later in the year.  During the 6 weeks that I have been doing P90X I have run approximately 4 times: a couple of 4 milers, one 5 miler, and then the Saturday before the 1/2 I ran 6.5 in order to help me gauge my pace for the race.
My official time was 2:01:53, which was four minutes faster than my first 1/2 at Soaring Wings in Conway last year. I wish I had broken 2 hours, and I think I could have with a couple of key differences in my race. Overall though, I was happy with my results from P90X. Living in Arkansas it can be hard to get out in winter and run early in morning.  Seeing these results lets me know that if I can build up a strong base during the fall I can use P90X over the winter months to help me maintain my level of fitness.
As for the the Country Music Marathon. I am still undecided about whether I will ever do this race again.  First the swag bag was lacking.  Seriously, dog treats! I realize a lot of people run with their dogs, but wasn't running the race with me, nor did I see any other dogs on the course.
I realize that there were major storms to contend with and I appreciate the email that got sent out letting runners know that if you were expecting to complete the full marathon in less than 4:30 that you need to plan on running the half instead, however, where was the notification that you were going to start the race 15 minutes early? I was at LP by 5:30 and got straight on a bus to the start line.  After getting of the bus I went straight to the restroom and then to the start line where I noticed that the race had already started! I did a quick stretch and then hopped into one of corrals. I didn't help that I was in a later corral number than the one was suppose to be in, meaning that I spent much of the early miles trying to dodging and run around much slower runners. I didn't help that from mile 3-4 we were only running on a two-lane street. Later, around mile 6 or 7 we went from 4 lanes down to a very narrow 2 through a residential section with no shoulder or sidewalks.  With 32,000 runners we just needed more space.
I was also a little disappointed in the fan support.  Aside from this great sign from my daughter Gabie:

there was not much cheering after mile 3.  Now there was a good group for mile 5 and 9 (the same section of cheerleaders because you went out and then came back along the same course.  But around 9.5 there was a section where we ran under the Broadway bridge and people were lined up across it- silence.  Even when a couple of runners yelled, "Make some noise!"- Silence. Sorry, but it's pretty sad when people running a marathon are louder than people watching! It was so different from St. Jude's where I felt like fan support was everywhere! For the first 3 miles of St. Jude's the streets were packed 5 or 6 deep with people yelling.  The people there were cheering for everyone, not just people they knew.  The only place at CMM where I felt that was the case was at the finish line.
For another opinion about the race check out Operation Jack. I figure he knows what he is talking about since he is running 60 marathons this year in order to raise awareness about autism.
Finally, here are my other girls to meet me at the finish:

Thanks everyone, especially Meg, Gabie, Lexie and Lucie!
One last thing: P90X will turn you into a nut, Sunday afternoon I did my Chest, Shoulders and Triceps workout since I missed it for my rest leading up to the race.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Epidemic

For about 2 months now I have be reading a book called The Epidemic: The Rot of American Culture, Absentee and Permissive Parenting, and the Resultant Plague of Joyless, Selfish Children.  While the title will certainly when no awards for brevity, it quickly communicates the heart of this book.  The reason it has taken me 2 months to read this is because I have tried to go back and look at the original research that the author, Robert Shaw, M.D. references.  While I am still not done with the book I wanted to share a part of it with you, because on my recent trip to St. Louis I saw an example of the epidemic.

This past Saturday our family went to the St. Louis zoo with another family from church. And let me say, the St. Louis zoo is amazing (and FREE)!  While we where there though I saw a few things that surprised me.  First, the zoo is not smoke free. We spend a lot of time in Florida, where all public places are smoke-free.  The same is true for Baton Rouge, where we use to live. So I was a little confused when I saw people lighting up their cigarettes wherever they wanted.  Second, I was surprised by what people chose to wear to the zoo. No offense, but its not the place to go to look for a date (the smell in some places is little overpowering). Yet there were men and women alike who looked like they were ready to hit the singles bar with ultra mini-skirts, low tops, and guys "with your pants on the ground syndrome."  But the thing that really indicated to me the truth of the epidemic was the sight of a young teenage boy (13 or 14) with his family wearing the following shirt:
Did his parents not see a problem with this?  Obviously not since we walked around all day wearing it.  Here are some of the issues that this raised for me:
1. The person wearing this shirt is obviously underage.
2. The message is clearly selfish. I'm to lazy to do something for myself, something as simple as getting a beer.
3. The other message embedded in this shirt is that of low achievement.  "You are such a loser that the only thing you are good for is getting me a beer, even though I am too lazy to go a get it for myself.  Man you must really be a loser if you would listen to that."
And the messages could go on and on.  I would to hear your reaction to a teenager wearing this shirt. 

I'll close with this, from The Epidemic:
"Everything we do teaches our kids something about the nature of life and how to be a human being. As parents, we should constantly ask ourselves, 'What does my action in this situation teach my children?'"

I wonder what this young man is like at home.  I wonder what he learned by being allowed to wear a shirt like this out in public, with his family present.  I wonder what he'll be doing in 5 years.  I wonder...

You can get a copy of Robert Shaw's book here:

Thursday, April 8, 2010

What Music Puts You in Mood...for Repentance?

Okay, so maybe I should repent for the post title.  Here's my least playlist entitled “Repentance.”  For various reasons these songs connect with me when I am in need of repenting of sin.  I know it’s a little heavy on the David Crowder Band Church Music album, but album it just very powerful to me.  I would love for to you to look over the list and share your thoughts.  Are their any songs that you deeply connect with in a time of repentance? Why not share them with me? Who knows, I my add them to my playlist. 

  1. The Nearness: David Crowder Band
  2. Shadows: David Crowder Band
  3.  Eastern Hymn: David Crowder Band
  4. The Veil: David Crowder Band
  5.  We Are Loved: David Crowder Band
  6. All Around Me: David Crowder Band
  7. How He Loves: David Crowder Band
  8. Can I Lie Here: David Crowder Band
  9. Birmingham (We Are Safe) : David Crowder Band
  10. God Almighty, None Compares: David Crowder Band
  11. Never Let Go: David Crowder Band
  12.  Remedy: David Crowder Band
  13. Surely We Can Change: David Crowder Band
  14. First Steps to Recovery: Chasing Victory
  15.  Dead Man (Carry Me): Jars of Clay
  16. Work: Jars of Clay
  17. Boys (Lesson One): Jars of Clay
  18. Forget and Not Slow Down: Relient K
  19.  Be My Escape: Relient K
  20. Castaway: Chasen
  21.  Wholly Yours: David Crowder Band
  22. Fading: Decyfer Down
  23. Shattered Life: Seventh Day Slumber
  24.  Rebirthing: Skillet
  25.  Happy Day: Fee Band


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