Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Praying Life - by Paul E. Miller

As I go to sleep, I've been reading this book to help me unwind and refocus.  This book is different from other books on prayer that I've read.  It's real. It's honest.  It's gritty.  It's practical.  Miller identifies common barriers to an effective prayer life including a tiny attention span, distractions, and feeling like you are too far disconnected from God to pray.   He explains what a child-like faith in prayer actually means in real life.  Miller uses anecdotes from his personal life to communicate practical tips on prayer.  My favorite part of the book was his explanation on prayer cards.  After reading about the first mention of these cards, I promptly skipped ahead to the chapter describing them and made prayer cards for my family, church, and country.  Finally...a way to pray that fits my scattered, tired thoughts in between late night diaper changes and feedings!  This is a great book for anyone (ie...every Christian) who struggles with prayer.   I highly recommend it.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fostering Love by John DeGarmo

This is a great little book that follows the early fostering career of the author.  What I love about this book is the author's heart.  It's clear that he loves the children and does his best for them.  The book gives great insight into what it's like to be foster parent: the challenges, the bureaucracy, and the joy of helping children.   It's hard and heart-breaking work, but so worthwhile.  I was inspired by the authors prayers for the children. As a foster parent myself, the struggles were all too familiar.  This is a great read for anyone considering becoming a foster parent.  I have 2 points of criticism.  The first is foster parents should be actively working toward reunification.  This is difficult, and this author did portray that struggle.  However, I think he was a little harsh on biological family (and he admits it in the book).  *SPOILER ALERT* (highlight to see text) Secondly, I was brokenhearted when they sent the older child back.  I realize that you must protect your family and foster children, but it was hard to see this adoption fail.  *END SPOILER ALERT*

Friday, February 13, 2015

Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn (4th Edition): The Complete Guide - Penny Simkin

While I was expecting my little MM, I read Penny Simkin's Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn: The Complete Guide.  It was by far my favorite pregnancy book.   I bought it at first in Nook format, but quickly decided I wanted the paper version.  The diagrams and charts didn't show up well in digital format.  

This book is a great overview of pregnancy, childbirth, and the newborn - just as you would expect from the title.   This book begins with information on interviewing doctors, evaluating hospitals, and choosing a doula.   I printed many of the handouts on  to help me with this process. 

The sections on pregnancy and fetal development were not as detailed as other books.  I supplemented with reading from other books and pregnancy aps on my iphone.  This book doesn't have a weekly summary of fetal changes, but instead features a more of an overview of developments each trimester.  I found the exercises and stretches useful.

The real value of this book lies in the labor and delivery section.   Admittedly, it is a little biased toward natural delivery, but does include information on interventions.   I was considering a natural birth when reading this book, but I was also open to intervention if I got in over my head.  I printed the chart of coping techniques featured in this book, studied them, and included them in the documents I brought to the hospital.  This book was also very helpful in writing my birth plan and featured a few examples of plans (from mothers with different goals).   I used many of the strategies in this book to have the natural, in-hospital birth I wanted.   Luckily for me, I had a normal, uncomplicated labor.  Even if it had gone differently, this book gave an overview of interventions: why they might be recommended, what happens, and potential side effects.  

Overall, I highly recommend this book especially if you are considering a natural birth or if you want a different view than the typical hospital birthing class.  I just passed mine off to an expectant friend, and I hope she finds it as helpful as I did.