Category Archives: Book Studies & Reviews

These are all matters of opinion and do not reflect the opinions of anyone else but me. Please be aware.

Book Review: Offbeat Bride

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Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides [NOOKbook]Offbeat Bride: Taffeta-Free Alternatives for Independent Brides [NOOKbook] by Ariel Meadow Stallings

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was written in an easy to read, matter of fact style. While overflowing with social and political opinions, anyone could benefit from reading this book if they are capable of over-looking rampant mentions of hippies, raves, and feminism.

The author does take great care to not alienate the reader while still standing on her soapbox about a myriad of issues from time to time, and really gets down to enforcing the point that the most important detail about a couple’s wedding day is all about them and should reflect them as a couple rather than giving in blindly to tradition and what the wedding industry tells us is required for a wedding.

While most of what the book says and suggests does not apply to my relatively traditional wedding (I love tradition and appreciate their historical contexts) that I am planning, the book did help me to feel more comfortable about making sure that the wedding is the way my fiancée and I want it rather than completely bowing to what people tell us we are supposed to have.

I would truly recommend it to any bride (or groom for that matter!).

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Book Review: “Before You Get Engaged” by Rev. David Gudgel

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Before You Get Engaged [NOOKbook]Before You Get Engaged [NOOKbook] by David Gudgel

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I found this book a great read given that I am currently engaged. It was written well and was easy to follow. I wish I had read it months ago rather than after getting engaged. This book was still a great help because it helped to affirm that I am marrying my man for the right reasons and helped me to really analyze whether I am ready (which I am). All in all I would recommend this to anyone in a serious relationship that may be going down the road to marriage, or possibly for someone who is looking to find the right person and settle down.

Book Review: “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work” by John M. Gottman PH.D.

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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship ExpertThe Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country’s Foremost Relationship Expert by John Gottman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me by my premarital counselor. I found it to be a painfully dull read and very clinical. I would however recommend it to a couple that fights a lot and would like to work though it as there is quite a bit of good advice for saving a marriage and recognizing when a fight is at a point where nothing will be accomplished aside from hurting someone’s feelings.

If you think your relationship is rocky or of it gets really bad when you fight, I could see this as a good book for you, also if you guys feel like you need to get to know each other better. I however do not have difficulty with the problems that this book addresses in my relationship. I hope that it can help others more than it helped me.

I would have one recommendation – read it as a couple and do the exercises together… it can’t hurt right?

View all my reviews

Book Review: “Sheet Music” by Dr. Kevin Leman

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Sheet Music [NOOKbook]Sheet Music [NOOKbook] by Kevin Leman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My premarital counselor recommended this book to me and my fiancée with the warning to listen to the author as to how far to read in this book. He also put it very plainly (while blushing like a fire truck) that this book is about sex.

Well, this book is quite plainly about sex and how important it is for a marriage. It was written by a Christian and is not shy about its topic matter. This book goes into a lot of detail about Sex and what it means to a relationship. I would recommend it to any couple planning on getting married with the specific recommendation that one follow the author’s advice and only read the first section. I tried to cheat and finish the book in one go, but after the first few pages of the next chapter I recognized the author’s wisdom in where to stop until after the honeymoon.

Here’s looking forward to the rest of the book!

Reflections on Suicide and Heaven

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Suicide by Amber Christian Osterhout

Suicide by Amber Christian Osterhout

So I recently purchased a new bible, (as I tend to do when I reach pivotal points in my life – but that’s another story) and I decided to look through its list of articles included to see if it has any on baptism as I am planning on being baptized this coming Sunday (assuming my pastor gives the okay). rather than finding any articles on baptism as I had expected to find, I found an article that definitely caught my attention. The article was listed as “Can People Who Commit Suicide Go to Heaven?” by Ryan Sharp.

Judging by the name of the article, I figured I would love it or hate it. I have found in a number of the articles included in my new bible, that I am in disagreement with a number of the articles as many of them have to do with denominational blue laws that have nothing to do with biblical laws and oftentimes lack the references I would expect to find in an Apologetics Study Bible. Anyways, holding my breath I turned to the page to see if this article would be yet another failure. About halfway through I had to stop to wipe a tear from my eye as I had finally found someone who sees it the way I do.

You see, I believe that if you were a born again Christian, and you broke down (be it mental illness or misplaced hope) your sins are still forgiven by Jesus’ sacrifice. In Sharp’s article, he states “…Christ’s death paid for all our sins – past, present, and future.” he also goes on to give an example: “If a Christian cheats on a test at school, then dies in a car wreck on the way home, that sin is still forgiven isn’t it?”

The hard truth is, a sin is a sin, many people would like to label one sin as worse than another (myself included), but that’s just now how it works, Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The passage makes no reference as to what levels people have sinned, but it is simply black and white. So, that person who cheated on their test is no worse a sinner than the man who kills themselves in a moment of weakness and hopelessness. “There is no sin that places a born again Christian beyond the reach of God’s love and forgiveness” (Sharp, 1339).

So am I condoning suicide? NO! Everyone’s life was given to them for a special God-given purpose, and it is our responsibility to give our lives over to God so that he may show us that purpose and help us though our though times.  Suicide is not the answer. But, that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen, even to good Christians.

Some people may argue that suicide is murder, but Sharp argues in his article that there are many murderers in the bible that were forgiven by God – even the Apostle Paul was one of these murderers. So why would God not forgive the poor soul that resorts to suicide? I cannot see the loving God turn away a hurting soul that had trusted in him and not lost faith in the Lord’s eternal loving forgiveness.  In conclusion, I will leave you with the words of Ryan Sharp:

Instead of getting lost in a myriad of arguments and counter-arguments, it’s best to look at what God’s Word says is the “admission ticket” to heaven. In 1 John 5:12, we read “The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son does not have life.” the recipe for eternal life is faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved by His goodness and works, not our own. Saying that confessing Christians are excluded from heaven if they happen to commit the sin of suicide misses the fact and risks adding works (good deeds) as a requirement for salvation. As John Says, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you man know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

Apologetics Study Bible for StudentsThe article referenced in this blog post is called “Can People Who Commit Suicide Go to Heaven?” by Ryan Sharp; it can be found on page 1339 in The Apologetics Study Bible for Students, edited by: Sean McDowell.

Pretty Woman

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In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men,” she discusses how men surveyed for her book felt about how important looks are to them and the effects of a woman maintaining herself for her man.

I personally believe that a man is completely justified in wanting his woman to make a genuine effort towards her appearance and at taking care of herself. In my opinion, if a husband truly does love his wife, then a lack of self maintenance on her part, should be relatively disconcerting . A woman’s self maintenance is not only important because of her own health and well being, but the gesture of a woman trying to look her best around her man shows she cares. This not only helps in validating their relationship, but also helps to validate him as a man.

If one were to also consider God’s stance concerning their appearance, a plethora of theological and sociological contradictions would come flooding out. It is my own opinon that God would rather have his children find comfort in their own skin than ascribe themselves to some unreachable goal that the media shows us “what women should look like” every day.

I think God wants for us to treat our bodies as temples just as the bible suggests. Therefore, to properly respect it, one must make every reasonable effort at maintaining it so that it may stay healthy and energized.

In this chapter, the author made a big deal about the topic at hand being very hard-hitting and potentially hurtful to the reader.I however, was suprizingly unmaimed by the chapter’s contents. it just makes sense to me that a man wants a woman to put up an effort at being beautiful for him. Honestly I see it all as a two-way street. Now, I don’t neccessarily want my man to be taking care of himself solely for me, but rather that I would like to see him do it for himself and be healthy – the fact that he looks better the more he works out is just a bonus.

I guess the thing that did hit home for me in the chapter was how badly I need to go to the gym. My man goes to through a lot of effort to take care of himself, and I can’t honestly say that my efforts are comparable. In truth, I need to drop the excuses tht have been holding me back and get to work. I won’t say that this chapter triggered any sort of emotional reaction from me such as the author suggested, but I can see where other more sensitive women might get upset at the idea that their man wants them to look good for them.

I personally find myself very encouraged when I read “Sometimes I’ll meet a man whose wife is overweight – but she takes care of herself. She puts some effort into appearance… if she is comfortable in her own skin and is confident you don’t notice the extra pounds. I look at that husband and think he did well.” It goes to show that men really don’t generally set impossible expectations for the woman they love but rather, they appreciate when their woman makes the effort to be beautiful for their man. I myself am relatively comfortable in my own skin. Sure, I have my own insecurities – a good number of them. While I know I am out of my ideal shape, and I have some weight to lose, I also know that my condition is not helpless and that in itself is the thing that brings me the most comfort.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.

You can look, but don’t touch….

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In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men,” she discusses the natural urge for men to look at and or think of various women throughout the day.

I guess what challenged me most about this chapter was how the author explained that most women don’t have pictures and images of men going and going through their minds later on after they have seen them. I guess I must think more on the plane of a man, because while I don’t think I necessarily struggle with tiny little men dancing through my head all day everyday, it does happen on a relatively frequent basis.

I will admit there’s a difference from my mind the average male’s. I probably have my boyfriend’s image pop up in my head on a relatively higher ratio than what I would expect from him in respects to me. I am not afraid to admit that I do have a movie star or two will cross my mind on a relatively regular and sometimes frequent basis (depending on what movies I have been watching around that time of course).

Truth be told, I can completely understand why most men will take a good look at an “eye magnet” if they get the chance to. It is my belief that God created the form of a woman to be a work of beauty that is meant to be admired by the man. Oftentimes, I will even notice a particularly beautiful woman myself and have to admire her as such, but then again that may just be the artist in me talking.

It is my opinion that one of the many major problems with our society today is that it has confused beauty with sex I really am sympathetic  to every man’s plight of  being bombarded every day with sexual imagery. Unlike generations past where men would have to specifically seek out sexually explicit imagery, men today are inundated with sexual images in the media or even with many of the women walking around in public.

I find it kind of absurd when women today complain that they do not want to be seen as sexual objects and yet they are the ones wearing skimpy, tight, and revealing clothing. I have come to believe that modesty has been lost on the younger generations of today. I will even include my own generation in this statement. I can remember being teased for not dressing “fashionable.” Back in those days I would usually dress in the baggy clothes often attributed to a skater, these were not only comfy and utilitarian, but they also were modest. In all honestly I have always found tight shirts and low cut jeans quite slutty, and while I do dress much more fashionably today, I still do make many efforts to remain modest in my dress.

For many people there is a very fine line between temptation and sin. Oftentimes people will even blur them together saying that the temptation itself is a sin. I would like to remind those individuals that even Jesus was tempted to sin in his time on earth. The sin itself doesn’t lie within temptation, but rather it is in acting upon that temptation.

Everyone is bound to be tempted at one time or another, perhaps a husband will be having a beer with his buddies down at the local watering hole and some hot supermodel looking lady propositions him. By nature he will probably imagine all that would entail and even be tempted to act upon that proposition. I believe that the temptation in that situation is not the sin; but rather if he were to take her up on that offer, it would be.

While most women are probably surprised to hear or are even horrified by the idea of their man thinking of explicit images, especially ones of other women; A good proportion of those women would also see this as a betrayal of them, but they should take care to recognize that these thoughts are oftentimes uncontrollable – they just pop into a man’s head without warning.

One way that I believe women can show love, trust, and support for their man is by not berating them for looking at or even thinking of another woman from time to time (if it is excessive however you guys may have something much more serious to discuss). If you see your man looking at a noticeably beautiful woman, admit that you think she is beautiful (out loud), you will likely be alleviating some of the guilt that he may have been feeling for simply peeking at her and you will really show him how much you trust him.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.

You can look, but don’t touch….

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In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men,” she discusses the natural urge for men to look at and or think of various women throughout the day.

I guess what challenged me most about this chapter was how the author explained that most women don’t have pictures and images of men going and going through their minds later on after they have seen them. I guess I must think more on the plane of a man, because while I don’t think I necessarily struggle with tiny little men dancing through my head all day everyday, it does happen on a relatively frequent basis.

I will admit there’s a difference from my mind the average male’s. I probably have my boyfriend’s image pop up in my head on a relatively higher ratio than what I would expect from him in respects to me. I am not afraid to admit that I do have a movie star or two will cross my mind on a relatively regular and sometimes frequent basis (depending on what movies I have been watching around that time of course).

Truth be told, I can completely understand why most men will take a good look at an “eye magnet” if they get the chance to. It is my belief that God created the form of a woman to be a work of beauty that is meant to be admired by the man. Oftentimes, I will even notice a particularly beautiful woman myself and have to admire her as such, but then again that may just be the artist in me talking.

It is my opinion that one of the many major problems with our society today is that it has confused beauty with sex I really am sympathetic  to every man’s plight of  being bombarded every day with sexual imagery. Unlike generations past where men would have to specifically seek out sexually explicit imagery, men today are inundated with sexual images in the media or even with many of the women walking around in public.

I find it kind of absurd when women today complain that they do not want to be seen as sexual objects and yet they are the ones wearing skimpy, tight, and revealing clothing. I have come to believe that modesty has been lost on the younger generations of today. I will even include my own generation in this statement. I can remember being teased for not dressing “fashionable.” Back in those days I would usually dress in the baggy clothes often attributed to a skater, these were not only comfy and utilitarian, but they also were modest. In all honestly I have always found tight shirts and low cut jeans quite slutty, and while I do dress much more fashionably today, I still do make many efforts to remain modest in my dress.

For many people there is a very fine line between temptation and sin. Oftentimes people will even blur them together saying that the temptation itself is a sin. I would like to remind those individuals that even Jesus was tempted to sin in his time on earth. The sin itself doesn’t lie within temptation, but rather it is in acting upon that temptation.

Everyone is bound to be tempted at one time or another, perhaps a husband will be having a beer with his buddies down at the local watering hole and some hot supermodel looking lady propositions him. By nature he will probably imagine all that would entail and even be tempted to act upon that proposition. I believe that the temptation in that situation is not the sin; but rather if he were to take her up on that offer, it would be.

While most women are probably surprised to hear or are even horrified by the idea of their man thinking of explicit images, especially ones of other women; A good proportion of those women would also see this as a betrayal of them, but they should take care to recognize that these thoughts are oftentimes uncontrollable – they just pop into a man’s head without warning.

One way that I believe women can show love, trust, and support for their man is by not berating them for looking at or even thinking of another woman from time to time (if it is excessive however you guys may have something much more serious to discuss). If you see your man looking at a noticeably beautiful woman, admit that you think she is beautiful (out loud), you will likely be alleviating some of the guilt that he may have been feeling for simply peeking at her and you will really show him how much you trust him.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.

Let’s talk about sex baby…

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In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men,” she takes a whole chapter out to specifically discuss sex in marriage. She does also take the time to state that she believes it should only occur in th confines of marriage. With that in mind, this post will be written under that premise.

Honestly, I was a bit surprised to read that most married man carry an emotional connection to sex with their wives. It seems that you always hear so much in the media about how men are just animals and how they are just out to fill a carnal need. In understand that sex is indeed a very physical need for all men with numerous health benefits. I also have been aware that sex is emotional for most men on occasion and I was surprised to hear that it s more frequent than not when a man is in love.

An important thing that women should consider is what kinds of messages they are sending to their husbands when they initiate sex. When a man’s wife initiates sex with him, it can send a very powerful message saying that he is both wanted and desired by his wife. This can be empowering to him as a man and provide a significant boost to his self-worth that he would not be able to get anywhere else.

It seems that women should want to have relations with their husbands quite regularly, but that us not always the case. The most frequent complaint I have heard women give about why they aren’t intimate is that everyday life gets in the way and they are just too exhausted by the end of the day to consider being intimate.

Personally, I believe that it is very important for every man and woman to make regular exceptions to their routines for their own good and, perhaps more importantly, for their significant other’s good. When a man sees his wife break her regular routines in order to please him (or vice versa) it can assure them that they are deeply loved, honored and respected. In terms of sex, not only are the physical effects good for both parties involved, but, the emotional and psychological effects are innumerable.

At one point, Feldhahn quotes what one man believes, “In making love, there is one other person  in this world that you can be completely vulnerable with and be totally accepted and non-judged.” I believe that this guy speaks directly to the heart of what it is all about. I hope that someday my (future) husband will see sex in this light and feel that same way.

I truly hope and dream the in the future I will be able to create a happy and healthy home environment for my man to feel safe enough to completely be himself without worries or stress. I can only hope that he would hope for and work towards the same as well and we will be able to remain happy together.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.

The Provider

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In Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men,” she discusses the deeply rooted need that most men have to provide for their women and their families. All to often anymore, it seems that women are expected to provide on an equal level with their men. Unfortunately, it also seems that men are now told they are no longer needed to be providers. For me, it was a comfort to read that the traditional ideals of a man providing for his family are not completely lost.

Personally, I do not feel the need to take on the role as a primary fiscal provider one I have a family. It may sound a bit archaic and traditionalist, but I feel that once I start my family, my place is to be in the home taking care of my children.

Now I have no qualms if some women want to have careers. It’s no for me is all. I can work if I need to, I just prefer to stay at home taking  care of it and my family. I prefer to think that I will be the one socializing and raising my children rather than paying someone else to do it for me. To be perfectly honest, I would have an extremely difficult time spending all of the money I earn at my job on paying for daycare where someone else to do what I would rather be doing if I wasn’t working anyways. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Now please understand that I do not believe that staying at home and raising my family means that I just want to stay at home watching daytime television and eating bon-bons (yuck to both!). Rather, I believe that a stay at home wife/mom’s responsibilities are to take care of the household.

As a single woman however, I do my best to take care of and fully provide for myself in order to lessen the already plentiful burdens that I lay upon my man. I do what I can to help him with his business so that he may provide for us using that someday.

Given that we do not live together, that fact that my man works many long hours does not affect us too deeply. It does on occasion interfere with our ability to see each other and spend time together. It is something that I oftentimes find frustrating, but I do my best to be supportive and encouraging of him in all of his efforts.

I do unfortunately find myself oftentimes complaining that I do not get to see my man as much when he is being responsible and building his business. I know he is doing this as a means to provide for his future family (he oftentimes reminds me of this), but I still am not always mindful of him in this, and unfortunately, I do not always appreciate the full depth of what he is doing. I am proud to say that I do sometimes, on occasion, get it right when I encourage and support him in his efforts and assure him that I believe in him and support him in everything he is doing.

Personally, I find a man’s need to provide as something wonderful. It all too often is a disappearing trait in this modern society as so many women make a point of beating men down for wanting to provide and care for their women. Rather than putting a man down with such a noble motivation, I believe that women should make every effort to validate and support their man’s need to provide for them.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of any individual other than that of the author of this blog. Shaunti Feldhahn is in no way affiliated with this blog and is only referenced as the respected author of “For Women Only: What you need to know about the inner lives of men” and “For Women Only: Discussion Guide.” If you find these posts interesting, please show her the respect of purchasing and reading her books so that you may grow yourself.