Making Time to Parent Well

One of the most common reasons we give for not doing all of the Christian parenting things we know we should be doing is that there just isn’t enough time. And some weeks that is true. When everyone is sick with a nasty virus and three major things have broken down all in the same week, you are in survival mode at best.

The rest of the weeks we parent though, our lack of time is often because our priorities are wrong or we lack time management skills or some other factor that we can control. We aren’t always quite sure where to turn for advice on things like time management. It seems most of the books focus on employment tasks, not things impacting our homes and families.

Morgan Tyree has sought to help with her new book, Take Back Your Time. It’s a time management system that has some unique aspects that separate it from others I have seen over the years. While some of the beginning chapters have a lot of general organizational tips, it’s in the heart of the book where she introduces her somewhat unique system.

I won’t try to summarize her system, but it basically involves understanding your most and least productive times and ordering your tasks accordingly. It’s a bit more complex than that, but not so complex that the reader will become frustrated and quite trying.

Having said that, her technique does involve some paperwork – at least in the beginning. She includes sample forms, which are too small to be very usable, but are easily replicated.

As a fairly organized person who manages my time better than many, I can see where her techniques could be very helpful for those who struggle. Once you get used to the system, it should become easy to do without a lot of forms – perhaps a color coded to do list instead.

I actually appreciate the thought behind her system and may add some aspects of it to my schedule. I already do that unintentionally at times, but I think doing it intentionally would have a more positive impact on both my productivity and my guilt.

If you struggle with time management, I think this book can provide you with a helpful framework. If you are trying to squeeze a little more productivity out of an already productive life, her methods may be able to help you do that. It’s definitely a book worth reading to see if it will work for you.

This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review.

Words of Affirmation for Your Spouse

Part of having a strong marriage is knowing what to say (and what not to say) to your spouse. Husbands and wives can struggle with it – especially if words of affirmation are not your love language.

Matt and Lisa Jacobson have written two volumes, 100 Words of Affirmation Your Wife Needs to Hear and 100 Words of Affirmation Your Husband Needs to Hear in an attempt to help.

It’s important to let you know this isn’t literally a book of 100 words! Each “word” is actually a word highlighted in a sentence of affirmation. After each sentence the author gives an explanation or a suggestion to go with the affirmation. Each entry is still less than a page long.

In general, the “words” are probably what most spouses would appreciate hearing more often. I have to say though, my love language is not words of affirmation. While I enjoy compliments, a few of these sounded a little cheesy or over the top to me. For those who adore words of affirmation though, the suggestions will probably sound like music to your ears.

I’m not sure if these books can transform a bad marriage, but they could probably help make a good marriage better. Often it’s forgetting those little things we did when dating that begin causing cracks in the foundations of a marriage. A refresher course like these books can often help.

These books were given to me for free in exchange for my honest review.

Words of Hope and Comfort for Women

God never promised us that life as a Christian would be perfect. In fact, looking at the people in the New Testament being a Christian can even cause additional hardships like persecution. Yet, we are told a fruit of the Spirit is joy. How can we reconcile the troubles of living in a fallen world and joy?

Carolyn Larsen has released two new books that may help you – especially if you are currently struggling. Words of Hope for Women and Words of Comfort for Women are about the size of a smaller devotional book. Both have ninety entries that are slightly over one page long.

Words of Hope for Women begins each entry with a verse of scripture. The entries themselves are often little reminders of why our hope lies in God or suggestions of things the reader can do to be reminded of their hope. The theology in some of the entries – particularly about salvation – is a little suspect. In general though, it is just reminding readers of general principles that most Christians would agree are true.

Words of Comfort for Women has entries that are structured the same way. The content of each entry is similar to what a Christian friend might say to you if you were upset. There isn’t as much theology in this volume. Most of the entries are more practical suggestions of ways to find comfort in God.

While both volumes could prove helpful, I would suggest the Words of Comfort volume – especially for new Christians or seekers. Sometimes being able to read encouraging words when you need them can give people the extra help they need when their friends aren’t easily accessible. The best part is these books point them to God, where they can find true hope and comfort.

These books were given to me for free in exchange for my honest review.

Top Performance Christian Parenting

We live in a world that not only tolerates mediocrity, it celebrates it. The stakes are too high in Christianity to approach it with lest than our best efforts. What does that even mean though? We can’t be perfect, so what will make us effective?

Oddly enough, a republished book by Zig Ziglar may have some of the answers. For those who are too young to have heard of him, Ziglar was the John Maxwell of his day. He was considered the expert on leadership, personal growth and success in general. He wrote and spoke from a Christian perspective – although his books weren’t really considered Christian books.

Top Performance is one of his best sellers. It has been edited and three chapters added to address modern issues not a factor when Ziglar was alive (He died in 2012). The book covers everything from building a foundation for excellence, to leadership qualities and much more.

This book is a classic for a reason. You could know nothing about excellence or leadership and after reading this book, would be prepared for almost any challenge. While it isn’t a Christian book per se, Ziglar weaves his faith throughout applying godly principles to much of what he suggests.

Christian parents are leaders. While this isn’t a parenting book, it is easy enough to apply Ziglar’s suggestions to how you parent your children. While you still may not be a perfect parent, you will probably be a more effective one.

This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review.

100 Ways to Love Your Spouse

In a perfect world, all children would be growing up in homes with parents who have a strong Christian marriage. Unfortunately, even children whose parents have never divorced often see less than the best examples of ways to reflect God’s love to a spouse.

It’s not because we don’t love our spouses (at least most of us) or that we don’t want to show them we love them. It’s just that life with a house full of children is hectic and complicated. There is rarely enough time or energy to take a few extra minutes to make your spouse feel truly loved. Or is it easier than we realize?

Two new books, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife and 100 Ways to Love Your Husband by Lisa and Matt Jacobson attempt to give busy spouses the help they need in showing active love to each other.

The authors have made the books extremely easy to read. Each page has a suggestion and usually only a short explanation for the suggestion. Every few pages, there is a short story that illustrates a particular suggestion in more depth.

I can’t speak for the suggestions on how to love your husband, but I would say the book of suggestions of ways to love your wife covers just about everything I have heard women say they wish their husbands would do.

I would imagine a couple of suggestions won’t really be your preference and that those will differ from woman to woman. It would be easy enough to cross out those suggestions and have your husband do the same for you in the book about how to love your husband.

The suggestions themselves are straightforward. Building a great marriage isn’t rocket science. It’s a matter of being intentional and consistent in all of those little things that can impact a marriage – especially when compounded over the course of years and hopefully decades.

I would highly suggest giving these books to newly married couples as well as to those who have been married for decades. Most of us could use a few reminders to do those things that make our spouses feel loved and our marriages healthier.

These books were given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. Affiliate links are included for your convenience.