Monday, September 10, 2012

Book Review:: The Baker's Wife

If what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger, why is Audrey growing weaker by the day?
When her husband Geoff, a pastor, lost his job after a scandal rocked their congregation, Audrey's never lost faith.
They decide to resurrect a failing bakery as a way to heal family wounds and restore their place in the community.
Running late to the bakery one foggy morning, Audrey strikes a vehicle. Emerging from her car into the fog, she discovers she hit a motor scooter. But there’s no rider in sight. Just blood.
The absence of the driver is a mystery, especially to Sergeant Jack Mansfield, the detective and church member responsible for firing Geoff from his pulpit. The scooter belongs to Jack’s wife, Julie, a teacher at the local high school, who has vanished…like morning fog.
Though there is no evidence to support Jack’s growing suspicion that Audrey and Geoff were involved in Julie’s disappearance, the detective is convinced of their guilt. When he takes the tiny bakery and its patron’s hostage, Audrey must unravel the secret of Julie’s disappearance and her own mysterious suffering before Jack hits his breaking point.
This book is one of mystery, intrigue and catching your breath because you're not really sure what's going to happen next. It's watching layers of people all fold together, and getting mad at the bad guy, because he is being such a good bad guy!
This story kept my interest, and I enjoyed both times that I read it.
I also appreciated Healy delving into circumstances that might not always get attention in the mainstream church - namely, can God use physical manifestations of pain to help us reach out to people who are the ones experiencing the 'true' pain? It's an interesting concept, and a thought worth delving into.
It is my belief and experience that God can't be put in a box. I think he uses people, circumstances, dreams, and sometimes pain to bring truth into our lives. 
The experiences that Audrey go through is unique, and something I really appreciated about the book. I also appreciated the side story of Diane, and the mystery that shrouded her sad self. 
Also, Jack was a fascinating character. His conviction that his way was THE way was admirable, if completely off base. He did a lot of harm through his belief system, and it was hard to sympathize with him. But, when we step back and look at him, are we really so different? Don't we at times railroad over people in the name of our Truth? (don't get me wrong - I'm not saying there isn't Truth. I just think sometimes we major on the minors and minor on the majors. and sometimes there are casualties we leave behind). 
Overall, I would rate this book a 3.5. Definitely one I will read again, but not one that I love to pieces and will rave about forever. 

*Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review from BookSneeze*

Book Review:: Break-Through:When To Give In, How To Push Back

Break-Through: When To Give In, How To Push Back. The Moment That Changes Everything 
by Dr. Tim Clinton and Pat Springle

"Well, I guess he does have a good side."... "You know, it's probably my own fault." ... "I need to cut him some slack, because he's had a rough life." It's easy to get stuck in painful, even destructive relationships - caving in to a spouse's addictions and consequent abuses, ignoring a live-at-home son's inconsiderate behavior, or putting up with a supervisor's manipulation or even harassment. We excuse them again and again, and then kick ourselves for not setting respectful boundaries. Break-Through has a self-test to help readers get back in control and is filled with useful tools to help them make big changes in their life. This important book will show readers when to give in, but also when to push back for a happier, more stable life.

I have to admit that over all I am a fiction/memoir girl. But, there are times that my psychology nerd side comes to the forefront, and I want to pick up something with a little meat to it.

Well, this book definitely had meat. So much meat in fact, that it took me several months to get through it. I simply couldn't sit down and finish it all at once. But, I think overall, that is a good thing. After all, it means that I had a lot to think about.

And having something to think about while reading a book? I would say that's a good sign.

Clinton and Springle do an excellent job of probing into different reasons people stay in difficult relationships. While the book's topic is more about co-dependency than I was expecting, there was some excellent advice for dealing with people types we all encounter, even if it isn't in an intimate relationship. We all know people who tend to be a little more enmeshed than is healthy, or who push themselves forward so that they are dominating the conversation/relationship/situation to cover up their insecurity. This book delves into the reasons behind their actions, and gives some practical tips for dealing with the frustrations.

Not only that, but every once in awhile the authors would pull out these zingers that made me break out the highlighter and turn down the page corner. That's a good sign friends!

For example:

"We wear very different clothes, drive cars, hold jobs, and have children of our own, but emotionally, we're like the scared kid in the hall who is unsure that anyone will be his friend" (pg 74). {that is truth!}

"God sets us free, but not adrift into confusion and isolation. He frees us from the prison of sin and shame so that we can genuinely know him, delight in him, and find more meaning than we ever imagined. When we begin to grasp this truth, it thrills our heart. This new affection begins to crowd out the fear and arrogance that has dominated us for so long" (pg 103)

Perhaps you, or someone you love, is dealing with a situation involving co-dependency. Perhaps you just would like more information about living in this world with difficult people. Or perhaps you're a bit of a psychology nerd like me (and my mom. apple doesn't fall far from the tree people!). If any of those are you, I would definitely recommend this book! It's not the end-all, be-all, but then again, what book is? It will give you stuff to think about, topics to delve into further, and really, what more can you ask of a book?

*Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for my honest review from Handlebar Marketing. All opinions contained within are mine, and mine alone.*

Failure To Thrive :: An Update

(I wrote this back in July, but thought I'd still post it to give a complete overview of his story. Look for more updated information soon!)

Well, it has been over a month since we have gotten the 'official' diagnosis on the Drewster. He has been weighed twice, drank more than his weight in milk and Pediasure and is officially weaned.


He has gained a full pound. Which is great!

However, he did all of his gaining in the first 18 days.

Our original appointment where we got the diagnosis was on the 31st of May. We then took him back to see the doctor on the 18th of June, where he went from 16 lbs 14 oz to 17 lbs 13 oz.

Cue ecstatic cheering.

He was drinking whole milk like a champ (especially since he gets to have chocolate milk, the lucky duck. hey, it's all about the calories right??), and downing Chocolate Shake Pediasure like it was going out of style (once again, it's all about the calories!).

The whole food thing wasn't really exciting him all that much, but he was eating a fair amount.

Then, he just kinda quit eating. When I say my kid doesn't eat a lot, I don't mean he eats a container of yogurt and then quits. I mean he eats 1 tsp of yogurt and then quits. I don't mean he eats a serving of spaghetti and then quits, I mean he eats about 2 TB worth and then quits (and spaghetti is one of his all-time favorites!).

Cue frustrated mommy sighs.

It's hard. When I took him in to get weighed on July 5, he was up an ounce. One measly ounce. This was on a different scale, so it's hard to say really how much he has taken in, but still. ONE OUNCE.

We give him food all day long. He gets more treats than I am comfortable with, simply because if we can get him to take anything in we consider it a win. There are time he doesn't eat a single thing except maybe 1 piece of shredded cheese. I would love to just feed him his favorites so he would eat, but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THOSE ARE.

Except cheese. He loves cheese. So he gets it a lot. But you know what cheese does? Binds a person up, if you know what I mean. And since starting on this journey, our poor little one has gone through some serious bouts of constipation. As in screaming, writhing, sweating and crying his way through the process and then being completely wiped afterwards. It is pitiful.

Granted, he has also gone through 2 extended episodes of the opposite issue, but that I blame on teething.

Anyways, here we are. Still documenting his every ounce (when I can muster the strength. some days its just too much ya know? but I figure any days I do it is better than nothing. the doctors can be as upset as they want, but I think they'll get a pretty good idea from what I do write down). Still shoving whole milk and Pediasure down his throat (except the past couple of days because he had some projectile vomiting issues. in a camper that is covered solely in carpet and fabric. let's just say it's not ideal). Still trying to tempt him with the nummy, nummy food.

On the 25th we go to see a Pediatric Gastrointestinal doctor in Sioux Falls. He was originally meant to see a Pediatric Endocrinologist, but they passed us on to the GI. Hopefully we will get some answers. If not? Well, I guess we'll just do what we do and love on our little boy. Because he is very lovable!