Category Archives: parenting

Review of Joan’s Elder Care Guide published by 4RV Publishing

thumbnail_Joan Y. Edwards smaller web AE9Z7443 I just finished reading my friend Joan Edward’s excellent book on elder care. Joan lovingly cared for her mother for many years and the book reads as if it is a friend telling you how to get through this difficult time of helping our parents in their last days.

I consider myself in the “sandwich generation” at this time of my life. I need to help my parents more and more, yet I am also needed to babysit for my grandson and his soon to be born little brother. Joan’s book is an excellent guide to help us.

She really did her homework in researching all that is needed in caring for the elderly. There are over 170 footnotes in the book. After telling us about her care-giving experience, she helps the reader to explore whether they can indeed be the one to care for their loved one by asking many pertinent questions.

Step by step, Joan covers every needed base, including chapters on gathering important papers, making a “care-giver tool kit,” dealing with insurance, types of assisted living facilities, how to deal with your elder’s doctors and what to ask if they have to undergo a procedure of some type. She gives advice even on how to work with the billing department when a medical procedure’s cost is sky high.

One piece of great advice I found on page 88. When you have taken your elder out on the road for more than 2 hours you should provide them with water and a snack before trying to get them out of the car upon your return home. That is something perhaps I would have forgotten during the stress of a road trip with Mom.

Joan has done the hard part: pulling together all the needed information someone would need when taking on the difficult job of care-giving. Included in the back are checklists so one can evaluate what specific needs their elder has, and what they are still able to do for themselves. Also are charts to list where important information is located, a 12 week walking log, and a chart to keep track of bills that need paid, among others. She gives great advice on conflict resolution, and most importantly she tells her readers that they must take care of themselves first in order to be able to care for their loved one.

As a non-fiction writer myself, I can really appreciate the time and effort Joan took to provide such a thorough guide for care-givers. Providing her list of references for each footnote itself is a treasure trove of information.You will also find plenty of websites listed throughout for enhanced learning.

I am happy that I have this book on hand. It is available both in hardback and paperback.  I know it will truly be like having a friend to help me as I care for my Mom and Dad. I am sure that Joan’s warmth and caring reflected through Joan’s Elder Care Guide will help many others also.

Publishing information:

People can email Joan at joanyedwards1@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Review of Apostate: The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West by Kevin Swanson

I don’t know how I stumbled across this book, but it looked interesting so I checked it out of the library. It really made me think.

When our oldest was a teen, we sent him off on a bus to a Worldview Academy week in Miami, Ohio. I didn’t know too much about the camp, but thought it would help him in getting through the rough adolescent years. After reading this book, I have come to appreciate more what they try to do there and at other ministries for teens to help them shape their worldview, before it is destroyed by what they learn in the halls of academia. A Christiann worldview was something I did not receive as a teenager myself, and after reading this book, I realized I learned the hard way.

For example, one day I sat crying in despair in the Hillman Library at the University of Pittsburgh. My faith was belittled and mocked by a liberal anthropology professor who  taught us we all came from apes. Thankfully it did not  destroy my faith. Another instance was when confronted with the abortion issue in nursing school. I never really considered it murder until I was sent to observe one firsthand in my s0phomore year.

I grew up on a steady stream of progressive propaganda and didn’t even realize it. It was reflected by the movies I watched, the music I listened to and affected my whole outlook on life. Without faith, I would have concluded that life was meaningless and absurd, as expounded by Nietzsche in his  writings.

In this book, author Kevin Swanson sets about educating parents and high school children how our culture has come to be where it is today, by the slow and steady erosion of Judaeo-Christian values which started in earnest in the 1850s. Even before then, the damage started by  thinkers like Thomas Aquinas, who separated the “sacred” from the “secular.” Humanists such as Rene Descartes, John Locke, and Jean Jacques Rousseau laid the foundation for the big changes which exploded in the twentieth century.

Also discussed are Marx, Dewey, Darwin, Sartre, Mark Twain, Steinbeck and Hemingway, among others. Their literature formed the basis of my high school English reading. Sadly, most  came from Christian backgrounds but somehow lost their way. Not only they were lost, but they helped many others to follow their example. On page 126, Swanson states that Charles Darwin, upon entering Cambridge University, wrote that he “did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word of the Bible.”  By the end of his life and completing his writings, he declared that the Bible is “no more to be trusted than… the beliefs of a barbarian.” What happened?

Mr. Swanson contends that the trail of destruction the apostates left us has destroyed Western society. He calls for a new generation to rise up and reclaim our heritage. I am not sure that is still possible at this point. For the end times were predicted to be (as they are now)  in the Bible:

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power… II Timothy 3:1-5

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn how our society’s values have undergone such enormous change in the last couple of generations. For parents, read it to be forewarned against what your children are taught in the public schools. And if homeschooling, don’t make the mistake of thinking your children will be able to discern the difference of humanistic writings from what they are taught in church. Get yourself prepared by reading this book.

Apostate: The Men Who Destroyed the Christian West was published in 2013 by Generations with Vision. Citations and a selected bibliography are included. The author is a homeschooling father who is also a pastor and the host of a daily radio show called Generations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A Review of Coming Clean: A Memoir by Kimberly Rae Miller

I found out about this wonderful book through a Kindle offer but ended up checking it out of my local library. I like to read memoirs and this one did not disappoint.

I have great respect for the author, Kimberly Rae Miller, as she told the poignant tale of growing up with two parents who had a compulsive hoarding problem. It was not just a case of a cluttered house, but filth and shame as she tried to keep others from knowing her secret. The thing about it is that her love for her parents shines the whole way through the book. Miller adhered to a Biblical principle, “honor thy father and mother,” and her outcome was blessed because she did so.

Kim grew up in the New York City area as an only child. Her mother was Jewish and her Dad was Catholic. Trauma in his own childhood with alcoholic parents led her Dad into an insatiable need to hang onto all kinds of papers. He loved to gather information as well and constantly listened to NPR. Though the papers were mostly not going to be used or needed, nevertheless he felt a compunction to hang onto them, along with all kinds of other junk. Her mother did not have a happy childhood either, and ended up cut off by her mother, who always favored her sister. In spite of her anger over her husband’s hoarding, Kim’s Mom comforted her pain by ordering lots and lots of things online. It grew to the point that her mother only had just a tiny space for where she slept on her mattress each night.

Kim told of how they got burned out of one house and ended up moving from one apartment to another as she grew up, running from chaos and filth. She made some great friends in school in spite of it. These friends helped and did not abandon her when her “secret” got out. In spite of the mess and confusion, Kim was a go-getter and pushed herself to make it to prestigious Emerson College in New England. After her freshman year, she lost her financial aid package through a technicality and became desperate. During Kim’s own lowest point, her Mom sacrificed in helping her find a way to continue there.

Once she left her parents’ home, Kim was overcome by the horror of what she had gone through as a child. But she never abandoned her parents. Instead, she came time and time again to help them clean out, and try to make a fresh start. Each time she did it drained her, but she pushed through it anyway. Her mother suffered severe health problems and nearly died, but Kim let her mother know that she must keep on fighting to get well because she needed her. Her mother needed a clean place to come home to recuperate. Kim realized her parents needed help, and in compassion she shelved her pride and secret to even more people in asking help from them to clean her parents home.

The hoarding lifestyle she was surrounded by gave Miller an almost obsessive need to keep her own home neat and tidy. Part of her own therapy was writing down her story, and it was one which her parents fully supported. When her Dad read the manuscript, he tearfully apologized for all she suffered growing up in utter chaos. The best part of this memoir is that she still loves and supports her parents. At the end, they made tremendous strides in cleaning up their act. Kim found happiness also, but I won’t say more on that.

It was like a breath of fresh air to find someone who was not willing to jump on the wagon to blame someone else for their problems, to find someone who actually was grateful for their parents even if her parents were not perfect people. I commend the author for her bravery in telling this story in a way that could make the reader feel good about honoring and respecting their parents. I really enjoyed this book and maybe now you will also. You can find out more about Kimberly Rae Miller at her blog: http://thekimchallenge.com/

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An Oldie but a Goodie- More with Less Cookbook by Doris Janzen Longacre

100_0047If I could tell of one cookbook I leaned on more than any other during the years when I was raising my family, it was this simple cookbook, published by a Mennonite woman back in 1976. This simple spiral bound cookbook was a great friend to me as I searched for nutritious, and compassionate recipes thoughtful of others in third world countries. Mennonite women sent the recipes to the author.
Doris told of how Americans use so much sugar. She gave the statistic that Americans ate 120 lbs. of sugar and refined sweeteners yearly. And this was nearly forty years ago! I wonder how much more it is now. She made me think about poorer countries. Doris suggested having one meal weekly as a “meager meal” so that we who had plenty would be mindful of those who did not. (A meal like beans and rice would qualify as a meager meal.) This also helps children to learn that not everyone in this world goes to bed with a full belly each night, so it is a great teaching tool.
My kids loved the recipes, and some have become family traditions: Honey Baked Lentils (on page 106), Vietnam Fried Rice (p. 130), Basic Corn Bread (p. 78) and Tangy Tuna Mac (p. 123). In the recipes, Doris was mindful not to overdo it on meat or sugar.
At the end of each chapter of recipes, she featured a “Gather Up the Fragments” section which told of handy ways to use up leftovers, so that excess food would not go to waste. Also there are handy recipes for home-made granolas, soap, play paste for children, all kinds of handy little information for saving money and being frugal.
You can probably guess that my copy is pretty tattered by now, and it has a little love note from my daughter on one of the recipe pages. When I was a young bride, another young bride who happened to be a classmate of mine at nursing school, told me how much she loved this wonderful recipe book. So, even though it is old, I am sharing it now with you. If you read this book with its handy info, you will save money and hopefully restore a sense of serenity to our crazy, overburdened lives.
One last disclaimer: Doris gives recipes for soy and talks about it being a good protein replacement. However, there is some controversy with soy, estrogen and breast cancer, so do your own research on that.

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Review of “The Friendly Book: by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Garth Williams

I perchance found this little gem at a yard sale or library sale. My edition is dated 1981, but it is originally from 1954. I am sure most people know Margaret Wise Brown. She is the author of the famous Goodnight Moon, which many have known and loved and shared with their children.

This book is also very sweet. It reminds me a little bit of Richard Scarry books, because the beautiful full color illustrations have little dogs riding in cars, on trains, rabbits riding in boats, etc.

There is a rhythm to the theme of “I like…” First is cars, then trains, then stars, snow and more. Each item liked has its own little verse to accompany it. One neat thing is she lists different kinds within each category. This would be a great way for a parent to interact with their child as they read the book. The child can identify them. For example,  on a two page spread there are many colorful dogs. She writes of six kinds: big, fat, old, little, doggy, and puppy dogs. The  parent can ask the child to identify all the little dogs on the two page spread. Then, you could count them together. Then you could work on colors. “How many little dogs are wearing blue?”  In other words, parents can use this book to help not only with language skills, but colors, counting, and discrimination.

Children will like it because the colors are bright and the rhythm is inviting. It is especially nice when the parent can add some expression to the words, which could easily be done here. So, if you are able to find this old book, it will provide a chance to turn off the TV, the phones, and just sit down with your preschool child (who is absorbing facts like a sponge) and have some quality time together.100_1795

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Review of Sarah Whitcher’s Story by Elizabeth Yates

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I found an ex-lib copy of Sarah Whitcher’s Story for sale at a local library and bought it. I remembered hearing about this book while I was homeschooling my children. The hardback version that I bought was beautifully illustrated in black and white sketches by Nora Unwin.

Last night, I sat down and read it. It is based on a real event that happened in Warren, New Hampshire in the late 1700’s. A little daughter of a pioneer family named Sarah Whitcher becomes lost in the woods outside her log home one day. Her mother and father had gone to get supplies and Sarah wanted to go with them, but was not permitted. Her older brother was to watch over her and some of the other children.

But Sarah slipped away and no one could find her by the time Mother and Father got home. In the meantime, she is playing in the woods pretending she is her mother and father. It starts to rain and she cannot find her way back to the log cabin. She ends up being protected by a mother bear who treats her like she is her bear-cub. But Sarah does not realize that it is a bear protecting her, for she thinks it is the family’s dog.

The community rallies around the Whitcher family in the attempt to find the little girl. Neighbors come from far and near to help out in the search every day for three days. Sarah’s mother is only heartened when she hears her husband tell her to trust in the Lord that Sarah would be found.

After the third day, the neighbors are ready to give up the search, for they think she will not be found alive. Mrs. Whitcher implores them to come back for one more day of searching, and so they agree.

Sarah’s parents refuse to give up hope and on that fourth day a stranger walks into the clearing saying he had  dreamed three times about a little girl that was lost and in the dream was shown just where to find her. He tells them he will find her. The Whitcher’s neighbor accompanies him, but in disbelief.  Astonishingly, the man walks to the spot that he saw three times in his dream and finds the little girl there.

A signal is given by gunfire that Sarah has been found and soon all the neighbors are rejoicing with the Whitcher’s. Mr. Whitcher says that He knew the Lord would help them find her somehow. At the end of the book, the stranger soon leaves but he hears the village singing praises to God as he walks away.

This is a great book for readers in elementary school. It could be read by the child alone but it also would be great for a read aloud. Emphasized within are the values of faith, family and community. It shows children how neighbors used to help each other out and worked together, something that has sadly become less and less common.

The black and white pictures are endearing, especially of the little girl Sarah. This is an older book, published in 1971 by E.F. Dutton, but it is a classic. It will help children learn about our pioneer heritage as well. I really enjoyed it, and it reminded me of my love for reading pioneer stories when I was a girl. It will be worth the time taken to share with your young readers.

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A review of Grandma’s Scrapbook by Josephine Nobisso, Illustrated by Maureen Hyde

New grandma that I am, I found a lovely book to review called Grandma’s Scrapbook by Josephine Nobisso. This is a picture book for preschoolers that I found at our local library.

Al little girl remembers, from looking at a scrapbook, precious times with her Grandma. The Grandmother made it with love so the child will remember all her special times with her grandmother.  It tells of the child growing up, from baby pictures, toddlerhood, and onward. Grandma played an integral part in this child’s life. Going to the ocean and being dunked by the waves, having a cocoa party in their swimsuits, bicycling, and singing around the piano were some of the activities they enjoyed together. All the while, Grandma adds the memories to the scrapbook, starting it with a lock of her “crow black” hair and a snippet of her grand-daughter’s baby hair.

As the pictures progress throughout the story, Grandma looks increasingly older with each one and the little girl grows into a young woman. She gets to make a trip to Grandma’s alone, but she cries when she says goodbye to her that year. That brings back memories for me as well. Every summer, my family and I drove 500 miles to visit my  one grandmother. I would cry as it got to be time to say goodbye, for I never knew if I would see my grandma again.

Finally, the girl takes her grandma for a walk in her wheelchair. That will be her last visit with her grandma. Now, she can evoke the memories by leafing through the scrapbook that grandma made with love.

The full color pictures add a lot to the story. This book will help parents who are trying to explain the death of someone special in their child’s life.and help children to deal with their grief. I enjoyed reading this book myself, being an adult. It also has inspired me to start a scrapbook for my precious little grandsons.Image

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