Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Silk House Series

Linda Chaikin is a wonderful author. I've read several of her series and have loved every one! Linda delves into many cultures and time periods that give us a better understanding of what the times may have been like. We visit India during the latter part of the 1700's in the Heart of India series. In The Buccaneers we travel to Jamaica in the 17th Century for more high seas adventure. Last month I read The Midwife of St. Petersburg and was captivated as I journeyed to Czarist Russia, 1914. I'm praying that there will be a continuation to this story.

This past week I read Daughters of Silk and Written on Silk. Linda's research must be a passion for her to have so much detail. We meet Rachelle Dushane-Macquinet and her sister Idelette, couturieres, who are under their Grandmere's care as they create gowns for the evil Queen Mother, Catherine de Medici's daughter Marguerite. Rachelle meets the Marquis Fabien de Vendome, who realizes right away she's not like the other women at Court. Together they must try to outwit Madame le Serpent as Catherine is known. She wants power over France through her sons and will do whatever she has to to make this occur. The time period for this historical series is 16th Century, France. Much of this series is taken from historical facts.

I went to Wikipedia to learn more about the Catholic persecution of French Huguenots. I believe I looked up Catherine de Medici. After reading through all the information, you can see how accurate Linda's setting is! What an amazing gift to weave historical fact into wonderful fiction. At the beginning of each book, she gives French definitions that she uses throughout the stories. She stays very true to the dialect which isn't distracting at all. For me, the French adds to the story's location and brings me in deeper. I am waiting for the third book Threads of Silk, and I believe it's still being debated whether there will be a fourth.

Linda's focus on the Huguenot struggle is applicable to our time period. Much hasn't changed when it comes to the persecuted church. Many people are still dying for their faith. The organization, Voice of the Martyr, exists for a reason. It's good to learn how the Bible became available to everyone, not only for Priests. In other countries now, as in 16th Century France, people could be killed for even possessing a Bible.

The next series I will be reading of Linda's is East of the Sun. It looks like I'll be traveling to England and South Africa in the late 19th Century! I already have the 1st book Tomorrow's Treasure.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Messing up a reader

As a concerned mom, I'm always curious as to what my teenage girls are reading. My prayer is that they will choose books that turn their eyes heavenward. Last night I saw my 2nd daughter reading a book that I hadn't seen before. The cover of the book, from the door of her room, seemed familiar. Turns out it's a book Oprah had on her show. She was nearly done with it. She also told me, forthright, that it had a lot of swearing in it. WHAT?! Ok, now's the time to keep my cool. I want to continue having her trust me and if I'm my usual self I know I'll blow this, too.

My usual self would tell her it's not ok for her to read that kind of junk. Why is she getting books like this? Why doesn't she ask me for some suggestions? Don't I have like 20 books sitting here that I've chosen and are appropriate for our home? Are you getting a good idea on how I would react. Well, I let it go to the wayside. As I said, she was nearly done with it anyhow. I did tell her that I'd heard about the book, that it'd been a hit with everyone, but the guy lied and none of it was true. Literally, I had no idea she was going to say this, "you just ruined the book!" I what? How did I ruin the book I wondered. I don't know anything about the book and maybe she was learning something from it.

This morning I wanted to connect with her again, I'm trying to be a good mom! I had watched a movie that same night, The Heartbreak Kid, and it was good/bad. The swearing in that movie left a bad taste in my mouth. They didn't use the everyday swear words, they used the words that women hate the most and used them often. Of course they used the *f*bomb quite a bit. The premise behind the movie was good and the storyline was funny, but had it left out all the swearing and the horrid sex scenes, it would've been a great movie.

So, I wanted to find out from my daughter if she felt like all the swearing took away from the story. I knew that she would think that initially I was trying to get her in trouble for reading such a book...all the way through. I tried to make the question as unconfrontational as possible. Yeah, didn't work so well. After she hesitantly answered, "no," I told her, briefly, about my experience with the movie, hoping it would get a conversation going. That didn't happen. Oh well, maybe next time. I also asked her if she'd ever want to blog her reviews and she gave me a shrugged answer. We shall see.

I've recently gotten her several books that seem like they'd be on par with what would capture her attention, yet keeping it God focused. I hope it works and that we can keep the positive stuff flowing as opposed to the options she's been chosing from her school library. Keep us in your prayers!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Are you a trustworthy person? If someone were to ask your family, closest friends, acquaintances, or coworkers, what would they say?

In my case, I believe if you asked anyone but my oldest kids, they'd say yes, I'm trustworthy. I'm reading a book called Safe People by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend. In it, the authors describe safe and unsafe characteristics of people. I'd have to say very few of us are 100% safe or unsafe. We all have our moments. Through this book and Growing Kids God's Way I'm learning more about how my girls see me in certain instances and it affects every area of our lives.

On one hand, I'm the goofy mom and I think their friends like me. I'm always cracking jokes, cranking the mini van radio, getting the teenagers to sing Barney songs, etc. When I was working with the youth group last year, I'd say that most of the kids knew they could talk to me about anything. Unfortunately, that wasn't/isn't the case in my own home.

I try to be goofy with my girls and they roll their eyes. If I try to hug them or do anything physically sweet, I'm completely rebuffed. I also get upset pretty easily. I don't get mad all the time, just whenever and there could be any number of contributing factors. Sometimes it's mild irritation, other times it's a "Who the heck do you think you are?" attitude. For example, I have to ask my daughter to do the dishes about 5 times on chore nights. I don't yell, I just keep reminding and asking. She has been diagnosed with ADD-I so the reminders are needed. Unfortunately, the next morning when I wake up and the dishes are still sitting in the sink, OH MAN, someone's going to have a rude awakening. I have on a couple occasions started her morning off on an extremely unpleasant note. Why? Because my expectations weren't met. I don't give her grace by sitting down and talking with her about how important her contribution to the home is. Nope, I tell her that I'm sick of her being lazy and it can just get stinkier from there. We've dealt with this and a number of other issues over quite a few years. That's NOT the kind of mom I want to be characterized as.

What I'm learning about myself is that if my expectations aren't being met, I'm willing to lash out at those closest to me. The ones I'm meant to protect. No, it's not all the time, although if you were to ask my teenagers they'd probably say, "uh, yeah, all the time!" Eh, who can trust a teenager?! Just kidding

All this to say, that I'm making a committment to become trustworthy to my children. By God's grace and mercy this can be accompished. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." I want to be an example of a safe person to them. I want us to have a wonderful, bonded time during the rest of their teenage years. I've been trying to share with them that I want, and am trying, to make a change. They will believe it when they see it. I'm determined to make believers out of them. This isn't a New Years resolution (especially since I'm just making it), it's a lifetime resolution!

Tonight I'm going to write a love letter to both of my daughters. They need to know they're precious to me. I do have 2 little boys and at this point I'm still trustworthy in their eyes. I'm hoping that God can change me enough so that I won't have to write another blog like this when they are teenagers. Well, by then who knows what, where or how we'll be journaling.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Controversial Parenting

Who here hasn't done something as a parent they wish they could take back? Has any one of us parented perfectly? I certainly know I haven't. Today on Good Morning America, they had a spot on a mom from Jacksonville, FL who made her child hold a sign on the street declaring that he'd been rude to his teacher.

This has created quite the firestorm on their website. As per my last post, this is one of those situations where, everybody better clear the room because I'm gonna share my opinion! Oh, and share I did.

I really believe that mom did what she felt would reach her child in a positive way. We don't know her or her situation. Most of the naysayers are debating if she's a single mom, an abuser, a molester, and/or a neglector. That if he's acting out (being rude) there must be a reason...of course a horrible insidious one. All because she made her child accept responsibility for a choice he made. Clearly, from their opinions, no child would ever behave disrespectfully, rude, or embarrassingly without a negative home environment. I think we all know better than that. Whether she's a single mom has no bearing on the situation. One person suggested she be investigated! That's almost laughable if not for the society we're living in. Raise perfect children, but don't discipline in a way that would make the children change their behavior. I guess we should all be investigated for being imperfect parents. I suggested these people who are against what this mom did to write a book on perfect parenting. I also told them that they could throw the first stone since they did everything right parenting their own kids.

He's 7 yrs old. He'll recover just fine from this event. He's learned a valuable lesson. I don't believe he'll be rude to any of his teachers any time soon. I'd guess there will be fewer incidents with this little boy. Maybe we could all take some pointers from this mom. Next time my daughter mouths off to me, maybe I'll make her pay for a skywriting airplane write her misdeeds for the state to see. The next time my boys start fighting, I could make them videotape their apology and put it on YouTube. tee hee hee

I'm happy to say that most of the responses to this mom has been extremely positive and encouraging to her! It's good to know that there are other parents out there who believe that we should still discipline our children in positive and effective ways!

Sharing your thoughts

Are you ever afraid to share your thoughts? For me, it depends. What's the situation? How am I feeling at the moment? Am I PMSing? (tee hee hee)

Has a teacher acted out of line (at least in my opinion) with my child? Has a neighbor child sworn at my little guy? Has someone driven terribly and they have a 1-800 number on their vehicle? Oh, you know it, I'm calling. And yes, while I'm driving.

Well, I recently read a book that I felt was too sexual and sensual to be labeled "Christian", even edgy Christian. So, I wrote to the publisher to share my thoughts. I typically leap before I look. I tend to vomit emotionally when I share my lovely opinions without a lot of thought to how it will be received and if I'm acting in a Christian manner. This time I believe I wasn't out of line, but got my thoughts across.

I did get a response and they are standing behind their author, which I think is commendable, considering the market they are trying to reach. I've read edgy inspiration, but I believe that it won't be for everyone. I suggested they find a way to label some of these authors, possibly with a logo, so that some of us who drift more toward "soft" inspiration will know to proceed with caution.

I don't mind romance, even at the beginning of a book, or topics that are true to life. Don't get me wrong. I think it's the amount of detail that's provided that sent me over the edge. I think sexual tension, in a romance, is completely aprapeau.

From what the publisher's rep said in response to my email is that this book and others from the author has touched many readers. Readers who have found healing and forgiveness! Wow, who knew? And even though I know I won't read anymore of those books, I'm thankful that this writer is reaching the heart of her readers, which seems to be her ultimate goal. The author is trying to reach readers who typically stay away from Christian books because they're too preachy. Well, who am I to stand in the way of a ministry field?

So, I was able to share my thoughts while at the same time learning that those who have different opinions are being drawn to the Lord! Praise God. I hope you will take a chance and share your thoughts and opinions, especially if it seems to go against what you believe is Truth. Know that you have the right to express your thoughts and opinions. Don't be afraid. But, unlike me, pray before you hit the send button. Maybe you are only supposed to get it out of your system and then send it right to the trash. Yes, I need to practice what I preach!


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Getting thru a book

Have you ever had a book you trudged your way through? I have a book I'm reading right now that I've had a hard time continuing with. Every sentence seems like it could be a story of it's own. The detail is overwhelming. I can't begin to describe how full every word is. I find I'm not really enjoying the book because I have to concentrate so hard on what the author's trying to get me to feel and see in my minds eye. Ok, I get that the people have a southern drawl, but does it have to be described in great detail differently every time it's brought up? What the weather's like, how the moon is shining on the water, and even the bilboards are described with more words and description than should be legal in one book, heck, even in one chapter.

On the other hand, I'm enjoying the story and I think that may be why I haven't stopped reading it...yet. Have you ever read a boring book and decided to only read the conversations because you like the characters? That's what I've thought about doing. To keep up with the setting I could read a non speaking sentence here and there, but that would probably be all that's needed. Each non speaking sentence gives me enough atmosphere to last me a chapter.

Around the 4th page I thought maybe the author would pop in and start laughing on paper at us readers who actually sat though all the unnecissary verbage. I could just see him with a page stopping in the middle of nowhere, you go on to the next chapter to find out what happens, and the author's telling us he wanted to test us to see how far we'd go with a book and now the real story was going to start. Um, hasn't happened yet. I'm beginning to think we're too far into the book for him to do that now. I can hope, can't I?

If I finish the book, I'll write a more complete review...or maybe not, since what I've already written isn't so hot! I'll just let everyone know if I've actually finished it or not.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Proof by Bill Bright and Jack Cavanaugh

This is the first book in their series. I have never read anything by these authors before and have to say I really enjoyed the book.

It's hard for me to understand writers writing together. How do they agree on what each will contribute to the story? Without knowing Bill or Jack, I'd have thought only one person wrote Proof. Bill Bright passed away in 2003.

The book starts off with Nellie Bly interviewing Judge Harrison Shaw. Ms. Bly tells him that his wife was her inspiration. Shaw explains to Ms. Bly how he came to know his wife and why her journalism was so important in her day.

Shaw is an intriguing character. He did well in law school and when he comes up for a prestigous internship with none other than J.K. Jarves, he knows there's no way he'll get the position. Turns out he gets it and in the process meets his future wife, Victoria.

Jarves is a very easy character to hate. From the start the reader learns how deplorable the man can be and Shaw wants no part of it. Victoria does her part during the internship to make Shaw's life miserable as well. She seems to be just has miserable as her father.

Many twists and turns lead the reader into a courtroom where Shaw has to defend God and ultimately the Holy Spirit. As you ride along with Shaw's journey, you get nearly as deflated as he does. The entire time I wanted to yell at my book, "Have you even prayed once about any of this?"

The story occurs during the 1857-1858 revival in New York. The authors share at the end of the book about the true revival of the times.

The next book in the series is Fire and I'll be starting that book tomorrow.


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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.