The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble

The Lightkeeper’s Ball by Colleen Coble is a entertain story about Olivia Stewart who is being pushed into a marriage with Harrison Bennett her deceased sister’s fiance (due to a business arrangement). She travels undercover to Mercy Falls so that she can dig into her sister’s death and to find out if she and Harrison are compatible. What follows her is a series of events that will change her life.

On the whole I enjoyed this book. It kept my attention and drew me into the story. The characters are slightly flawed but lovable. I only wish the author would have had another character tease Olivia about her clumsiness or bad luck. And twists in the storyline are always a plus!

I review for BookSneeze®

Disclaimer: I was given this book for free by BookSneeze in return for my honest review.

Published in: on April 30, 2011 at 1:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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31 Days to Clean Challenge

Sarah Mae author of 31 Days to Clean is putting out a May challenge! The book has me completely intrigued and while my house keeping has improved lately, I still need help! So, I’m stepping up to the challenge and seeing if there are others out there who wish to do the same! 🙂 Learn more at 31daystoclean.com 

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

DIMS

Close to six years ago now, my first pregnant friend introduced me to the concept of DIPS (Dumbness in Pregnancy Syndrome). She explained that when you’re pregnant you simply, well, loose your mind a little bit. Not in a psycho way, but in a forgetfulness way. Silly things like putting your phone in the fridge, wearing different colored shoes, or not putting the emergency brake on in your manual shift car before getting out. Her doctor was the one that introduced the name for the concept. A few months later when I learned I was pregnant and started having these same symptoms I was glad for the acronym.

What no one ever told me (or her, I’m assuming) was that DIPS does not get resolved at the birth of your child. Oh no, I’m becoming convinced that DIPS is simply the onset of DIMS (Dumbness in Motherhood Syndrome). Seriously, there are days where I do things or think things and think, “Oh that’s a DIPS moment… but I’m not pregnant.” So, yes I am convinced that the actual “disease” is called DIMS the onset of which is pregnancy.

Why bring this up, you might ask? Well, yesterday I was peeling carrots with my handy-dandy peeler. Thinking to myself I love this thing. I love how I can peel the carrot’s skin and not have to worry about scrubbing it down. The outside layer just easily slices away. Stay with me here. Carrots are a root vegetable and so are potatoes. I bet this peeler would work on potatoes too! Why hasn’t anyone ever thought to use this tool on potatoes?! … Wait for it … Oh my word, I’m such an idiot! 

Now you may think, well we’ve all had dumb thoughts like that. While true (at least I’m hoping it’s not just me), I find that I can’t remember doing or thinking hair-brained things before I had children. Maybe they happened but were far and few between. I’m not sure. All I know is that there are days that I really do feel like I’ve lost a little bit of brain cells.

Now, I also must add the disclaimer that my children are completely and totally and thoroughly worth every last brain cell that I have lost! 🙂

PS I love and miss you Abby Garman!!!!

Published in: on April 27, 2011 at 9:44 am  Comments (2)  

Music/Music Videos and Sexualization

Word of Warning: I’ve decided not to link to the videos because of how bad I feel they are. However, I especially plead with men NOT to find and watch them. Just trust me. K?! 

I recently posted an article on the sexualization of young girls, it got my mind rolling. Recently, a friend was pretty upset that her 9-year-old daughter’s jazz class was being taught a dance to Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. (As well she should have been.) Really? At nine years old? And she said that while her daughter had never heard the song, that the other girls not only knew it but knew the words!  Wow.

So I began to wonder… Who would have been this type of sex symbol when I was nine? Madonna. So, in 1989 what would have been one of Madonna’s top songs? Cherish. Here are the words to the chorus:

Cherish the thought
Of always having you here by my side
(Oh baby I) cherish the joy
You keep bringing it into my life (I’m always singing it)
Cherish the strength
You got the power to make me feel good
(And baby I) perish the thought
Of ever leaving, I never would

So, the words are not provocative at all, but the video made me a bit uncomfortable. (Granted she may have more risque songs that I just don’t know about. This is just a snapshot.)

Then, I thought about Brittany Spears and how she had once been a child star and tween idol. Then, at barely 20, in 2001 she released I’m a slave 4U. I was told the song was about her feeling like a slave to the industry and wanting to break out of being seen as a tween’s role model and wanted to be counted as a woman. My question would be: Do you want to be seen as a woman or a sex object? Here’s the chorus to her song:

Get it-get it, get it-get it, what?
Get it-get it, get it-get it, what?
Get it-get it, get it-get it, what?
(This feels good)

I’m a slave for you
I can not hold it, I can not control it
I’m a slave for you
I won’t deny it, I’m not trying to hide it

Baby, don’t you want to dance up on me?
(I just want to dance next to you)
To another time and place
Oh baby, don’t you want to dance up on me?
(Are you ready?)
Leaving behind my name and age

Trust me the rest of the lyrics aren’t much better. The song begins as though she may be talking about being a slave to her fans, but um… well, then it’s about wanting to dance with a guy. Trust me the video is worse. Can a music video get more sexual? Can a woman be more scantily clad? Surely not.

Enter Lady Gaga and Bad Romance. Her one redeeming quality is that she was never a role model for young girls. At the same time, I hope those girls in my friend’s daughter’s dance class have at least never seen the video. Here are the lyrics to what seems like the chorus:

I want your love and
I want your revenge
You and me could write a bad romance
(Oh-oh-oh-oh)
I want your love and
All your lover’s revenge
You and me could write a bad romance

Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
Caught in a bad romance
(x2)

Ra ra-ah-ah-ah
Roma, roma-ma
Gaga
Ooh la-la
Want your bad romance

Basically the song doesn’t really make sense to me. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I’m blessed with a pretty “clean” mind. Maybe it’s because I’m completely out of the pop culture loop. Regardless, it just doesn’t make sense to me. And the video? Let me just say: PLEASE BLOCK MUSIC VIDEOS FROM YOUR HOMES. YOUNG OR OLD YOU DON’T NEED TO BE PUTTING THIS TRASH IN YOUR MIND MUCH LESS WANTING IT IN YOUR CHILD’S!

The last thing I have to say is, “Thanks mom for being a good, proactive mom and not allowing me to watch MTV even though I didn’t understand why you wouldn’t let me watch it at the time. Even when I thought I was old enough to watch it. I appreciate the punishment you gave me when you caught me watching it. A million times over, thanks mom!”

Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 11:31 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Response to Little Girls Gone Wild

[Original Article]

A hit and yet a miss…When I first ran across this article I thought, “Wow! The secular world is finally taking note of our young girls being sexualized. That’s great!” But I feel like the article left something to be desired.I completely agree that t.v. shows and movies have lead girls and tweens that dress/act inappropriately and/or have bad attitudes. But even if the shows are somewhat family friendly the tween (or younger) role models are then plastered on our news stations with drug issues, dressed like a  promiscuous college student or any number of things we don’t desire for our children.

But, that’s where my agreement with the article stops. For, she quotes Peggy Orensein the author of Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches From the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture. Saying that this sexualization actually starts with toddlers’ love for princesses. Wait. What?! Yes princesses. She goes on to explain that, “Sexualization is not only imposing sexuality on children before they’re ready and viewing girls as sexual objects, but also valuing a girl for her appearance over her other attributes.”

First, I have not found this definition of sexulalization anywhere. In fact, the definition according to the American Pychological Association is, “1) When a person’s worth is assumed to only come from his or her sexiness; 2) When a child is expected or encouraged to act or dress sexually; 3) When a person is treated as a sex object rather than as a whole person; and/or 4) When physical characteristics are considered to be the only indicator of sexiness.” – Now, point one and four may correlate with Orenstein’s definition but then she’s equating appearance for sexiness, and I think we need to separate the two.

I also don’t think that a love for princesses (or the princess movies) teach girls that they “should want to be the Fairest of Them All.” Why don’t I think this? Well, Cinderella was a slave in her own home working harder than the non-princess, ugly, snotty step-sisters. Snow White was sent away and worked diligently within her home made up of the seven dwarfs. Belle loved to read and think, she wanted adventure, and selflessly gave up her life for her father’s. I haven’t seen Princess and the Frog or Tangled (although, it seems like Rapunzel was portrayed as pretty vivacious!) so I can’t speak about them. Now, don’t get me wrong Snow White and Sleeping Beauty have some pretty messed up mother-figures in their lives seeking the beauty of youth and causing others harm in order to gain it, but the princesses themselves didn’t really seek beauty, rather it found them, and it was found not only in their appearance but also in their character. Besides all that, my daughter is almost three, loves her princess bed and her princess dress up, and even her plastic, jeweled, feathery high heeled shoes, but are those things in and of themselves really teaching her that physical beauty is the only place worth lies or that she is valued only for her appearance? No.

The article continues, talking about a mom who took her 4 and 7-year-olds to a salon in Disney’s theme park for the whole spa treatment and how she regretted it in the end. The girls didn’t enjoy their beauty make over and thought the treatments itchy and uncomfortable. First, I must say, 4 and 7 seems awfully young for mani/pedis and updos. But just because this is true doesn’t mean we should condemn being a “girlie-girl” either, which is what the author of the article essentially does. The author basically says that as moms we shouldn’t bond with our daughters over shopping and spa treatments. Again, is it the shopping and spa treatments that are really causing our daughters to be sexualized or even teaches our daughters that beauty is the end-all? I don’t think so and hopefully we’re bonding over other things too. And while my daughter has yet to see the most fabulous chair of all chairs, the pedicure chair, I have most certainly given her “pretty toes” a.k.a. I’ve painted her toe nails. And she loves it! Why? Because they’re like mommy’s!

Finally, the author gives suggestions about avoiding this sexualization by putting your daughter in sports rather than dance and by not sexualizing a boy-girl relationship. Like when your five-year-old daughter goes off to play with your friend’s five-year-old son you shouldn’t giggle about what a cute couple they make and plan their wedding.

While putting girls in sports is not wrong, in my experience the more sporty a girl is the more she losses her femininity, and some just don’t enjoy or are not good at sports. It’s just not a good solution. I also disagree with the idea that giggling over the cute five-year-old couple somehow sexualizes the boy-girl relationship. It’s just cute, (and I doubt at that age they realize that marriage = sex. Hopefully, mine would think marriage = friendship) and I venture to say women have done it through the ages without consequences to boy-girl relationships.

So what would my answer be to this problem within our culture? As I reflect on this I realize, our daughters view themselves a lot how their mommy views herself. I remember an older (than me) woman in my life while I was in college had a toddler daughter. She expressed the fact that she wanted to loose the rest of her baby weight, but more than anything wanted to be content with her body and her self image so that she didn’t pass those negative feelings to her daughter. This is where I think we need to start.

As mothers we need to show our girls how we dress modestly and still feminine, how we do our hair and makeup and take care of our bodies, not only for ourselves and to please our husbands, but also because we desire to glorify God. It means teaching them the joys of being a woman, even if that includes shopping and spa treatments, but making sure it includes submission to our husbands and contentment in serving our families. It means teaching our daughters through example that we don’t find our worth in how we look or what we do but rather in who we are in Christ. If we can teach our daughters and give them a firm foundation that their self-identity is grounded in Christ and not the world I think we will have done our jobs. This may include getting rid of television and magazines, even worldly dance classes, and certain music, but that doesn’t mean we should have to forgo entertainment and the arts in general, raising our girls to dislike the femininity that comes with womanhood.

So whether our girls play sports or aspire to be a prima ballerina, a CEO or a homemaker, let’s teach them an appropriate view of sex and sexuality. Let’s teach them to be feminine and beautiful, yet that true beauty comes from who we are on the inside. Let’s teach them how to find their worth as a daughter of Christ. Most of all, let us ask God to mold us into being the ultimate role model for our daughters.

Now, will someone help me be that kind of mother!

Note: There are other things about the article that I question/disagree with, but a blog can only be so long. 😉

Mine is the Night

I just finished Mine is the Night written by Liz Curtis Higgs. The book is based on the story line of Ruth in the Bible, but takes place in 18th century Scotland. Elizabeth, a widow, follows her widowed mother-in-law, who was stripped of title and fortune, back to her home town of Selkirk. There, they struggle penniless and Elizabeth becomes employed as a seamstress at Bell Hill where Lord Jack Buchanan seeks to provide for this widow and her loved ones.

I was surprised and delighted by Higgs creativity in seeking to find as many parallels as possible to the original story, taking liberties with parts that were unspoken.

I extremely and immensely enjoyed this story and found myself drawn back to the book almost immediately. It was rarely far from my reach during the few days it took to read and enjoy this book. My only disappointment is not realizing that it was the sequel to Here Burns my Candle (of which I have not read, but now look forward to doing so) until I was about 1/2 way through the novel and noted it’s connection on the back inside cover.

So, before you pick up this book, as you absolutely must, make sure to read Here Burns my Candle first!

Here is a video trailer for the book.

As well as a link to an excerpt.

http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/catalog.php?isbn=9781400070022&view=excerpt

*Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Published in: on April 5, 2011 at 1:07 pm  Comments (2)  
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100 Top Picks for Home School Curriculum

I really enjoyed this book. I checked it out from the library because I was hoping it would give me some good leads as to curriculum for home schooling my kindergartener this fall and it gave me so much more!

It’s interesting that before even giving much thought to homeschooling I knew many things I wanted to do: Teach reading phonetically, do drill and kill with necessary skills (grammar/math facts), and have little to no text books. Reading this book helped me to get down some of the lingo. If you don’t want to use text books, then you prefer “real books.” She explains the different approaches to home schooling including Charlotte Mason, classical, unschooling (child-lead), unit studies, etc. For someone new to the world of home schooling this section was extremely helpful.

Then she asks a series of questions and you basically cross out the row if you don’t agree with the statement. In the end, this little quiz helps you better understand what educational philosophy you line up with. Mine ended up being classical and eclectic. I kind of laughed at this, but it totally makes sense to me. More than likely, I will be using a classical approach with language arts and math, and then use a more eclectic (pick and choose) for other subjects and enhancing reading. That’s me the one time dance and math major.

Once she helps you narrow down what philosophy you line up with she helps you decide what type of learner your child is: Wiggly Willy, Social Susan, Perfect Paula and Competent Carl. This is also helpful in narrowing down the types of curriculum your child will learn best with. With my son being four, I was unable to pinpoint his learning style, but I’m sure as we grow through the next few years it will become more apparent and this will become even more valuable.

Finally, after arming you with all that info, she lists her top 100 curriculum breaking it down by subjects and then rating them in the different categories, such as the learning styles, educational philosophy, time investment, teacher edition helps, etc. helping me to further decide which of the top 100 picks fits my family best.

While I think this book would really be helpful to the seasoned home schooler (even just to skip to the chart) it is a MUST READ for those starting off and not knowing where to begin. My decisions, as of now, are Alphaphonics for reading adding in Bob Books (John was super ready to read, so I went ahead and jumped right in). I haven’t decided what to do for math, but this next year I’m hoping to focus on reading, writing skills, and math: counting, telling time, and simple addition and subtraction. Moving at whatever speed seems necessary for him. We already are doing Bible verse/Catechism memory and Bible reading, but will probably do more Bible stuff. Otherwise, I will probably wait to add on the other subjects (officially) until he is in first grade.

Crossing fingers that a friend of mine and I can work something out and work together. She joked that she could do art and I could do reading and math, but that sounded good to me! 🙂

Published in: on April 3, 2011 at 1:37 pm  Comments (2)  
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