Archive | Book Reviews

Life Hacks for Christian Parents

Life Hacks for Christian Parents - Parenting Like HannahThe problem with parenting books is that the vast majority contain only a portion of new information. The rest is the same you would find in any quality parenting book. It may be extremely valuable, but I personally become bored reading the stuff I already know. Unfortunately, I have often zoned out before I get to the valuable new information.

In his book Quick Tips for Busy Families, Jay Payleitner has come up with a great way to make the common parenting tips engaging and a format to help even the most impatient reader find helpful information. Payleitner has divided his advice into 144 easy to read entries. Most are a page or two. They have clear enough titles so a parent can easily scan the table of contents and find entries of interest.

As a reviewer, I try to read an entire book before reviewing it – just to make sure I don’t miss something important to share. Which means, while reading many parenting books, I am bored 80% of the time. I am not sure what it is about this author’s style – perhaps his underlying sense of humor and fun – but it made me enjoy reading even the entries about things I have done for years.

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Great Resource on Why Young People Abandon Their Faith

Great Resource on Why Young People Abandon Their Faith - Parenting Like HannahPerhaps, the scariest thing to me about parenting is the fear of my daughter rejecting God. Many of my parenting decisions were made because I wanted to be able to honestly say I did everything I knew how to do to help her be strong spiritually. And yet there are no guarantees your child will be a faithful, productive Christian as an adult. Or are there?

The new book Abandoned Faith by Alex McFarland and Jason Jimenez examines why many young people are abandoning their faith and what parents can do about it. I won’t lie. This is one scary book. If your children are still at home, it will scare the pants off of you – and it should. As someone who works with kids and teens on a regular basis, I can tell you very few parents are doing what they need to do to prepare their children to live an active, productive Christian faith as an adult.

Most of you will lose your kids – watch them reject God and His teachings – because you aren’t doing what you could do now to greatly lessen the chances it will happen. This book does a great job at pointing out the main mistakes parents make when helping their kids develop a strong spiritual life.

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Beautiful New Christian Picture Book

Beautiful New Christian Picture Book - Parenting Like HannahAlthough there are lots of great picture books on the market, it hasn’t been until fairly recently that many were written with a Christian theme. So, I was excited when offered an opportunity to review a brand new Christian picture book. When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner is ultimately about how much God loves each child – just as He created them.

First, I have to admit I am crazy about children’s books with beautiful art work. Honestly, the illustrations by David Catrow are so gorgeous, the book looks like one you would buy in a museum gift shop. The story itself is actually a poem with a few lines on each spread.

The story line is about how God makes each child unique. It tells of how God gives each child special gifts, talents and opportunities. What I loved is that it also alluded to the idea of starting to discover and develop those gifts now through every day play. It talks about character, godly dreams and learning about God. In fact, it’s actually a rather spiritually deep lesson – especially considering it is a picture book.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book is that it mentions God having a dream for each child. When we talk about God’s Plans, it really is His dream for our lives. When we follow God’s plans we are able to live the rich, full life God wants for us. It won’t be a perfect life because we live in a fallen world, but it will be a life that your children will be thankful they lived.

I know picture books can be rather pricey, but this one is actually rather reasonable for a beautiful, hard cover picture book. To me, it is one of those books that will get passed down from generation to generation.



This book was given to me for free in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.



Motherhood As a Spiritual Discipline

Motherhood As A Spiritual Discipline - Parenting Like HannahOne of my concerns with feminism is that instead of giving women “more options” as advertised, it has instead marginalized the roles of wife and mother. We are constantly fed a diet that if we aren’t trying to “have it all” or making sure we “are happy and fulfilled so our children will be” -which evidently only happens in the work place – we are somehow not reaching our potential.

I was interested when I was offered a chance to review a new book Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood As A Spiritual Discipline by Catherine McNeil. McNeil takes the book Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster and adds a new dimension to it. (The author and I agree Foster’s book is great.) She takes the twelve disciplines discussed by Foster and mourns the fact she no longer has time for them in the hectic nature of raising three little ones.

Then an unplanned event helps her reframe her season of motherhood as a spiritual discipline in and of itself. She discusses the areas in which the every day tasks of motherhood have helped her grow spiritually. Within each chapter, she also adds three shorter practical sections where she lists specific tasks common to most moms and gives tips for how to use them to grow spiritually.

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Christian Parenting and Special Needs

Christian Parenting and Special Needs - Parenting Like HannahOne of my loves in education is working with children who have special needs. To me, it is pure joy to help these children find ways to reach their godly potential. In fact, one of my personal challenges is finding ways to help parents and churches not underestimate what children and adults with special needs are capable of spiritually. I also want to find more ways to help them share their gifts with the church.

Needless to say, I was interested when offered an opportunity to review the book No Greatness Without Goodness by Randy Lewis. Lewis is a retired Senior Vice President for the drugstore chain Walgreens. His middle child, a son, was diagnosed with autism as a toddler.

The book is about Lewis’ journey as a parent of a child with special needs, but more importantly how he was able to open his own eyes and those of an entire corporation. Lewis pioneered a program at Walgreen’s to hire a significant number of people with special needs – at first in Walgreen’s distribution centers and later throughout the company.

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Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. (Deuteronomy 11:18-19 NIV)