Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Heart of the Fight

Good relationships require good fights according to Judith Wright and Bob Wright in their book The Heart of the Fight. To many people fighting seems like it has no place in a happy, healthy marriage. However in this book, the author's emphasize that fighting, when done properly, can help couples get to know each other better and result in a stronger marriage relationship.

In The Heart of the Fight, Wright and Wright outline 15 different types of fights common in marriages. Rather than encouraging readers to find ways to not fight about these issues or persuading the wife to submit to her husband as the leader of the home,the authors encourage readers to look for the "why" behind the issues causing their disagreements in order to focus on making the relationship better. In doing so they encourage readers to develop "six skills for battling to bliss." These skills are then used to discover what you really "yearn" to have and how to "engage" in a fair and living fight. As licensed marriage and family therapists, the authors back up their ideas not only with leading research in the field but also provide real life examples from couples in their practice. This combination of research AND practical examples results in ideas that can actually be implemented.

The Heart of the Fight is highly recommended for numerous audiences. It is written directly to couples and will work best when a couple chooses to read the book together and utilize the suggested techniques. However, marriage and family therapists and other counselors will find this a useful resource for their own shelves as well to utilize with couples and to use as an idea source book. My one disappointment with the book was the seemingly gratuitous use of some foul language. This seemed to be included to illustrate "real life" examples between couples but seemed unnecessary in a professional book. Overlooking the poor choice of words, this book is an excellent choice to add to your bookshelf. For this title a printed copy is recommended as readers will find themselves wishing to flip back to an earlier page or to consult a list of questions or suggestions. The e-copy did not lend itself easily to that usage.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley and New Harbinger Publications. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Refuge at Highland Hall

After reading and reviewing The Governess and The Daughter of Highland Hall, I was very excited to have the opportunity to read A Refuge at Highland Hall. You will notice there is a slight change to the title of this third book. The titles of the first two books focus on a person or main character where the title of this book places the emphasis on Highland Hall as a place.

For those who have read the previous titles, A Refuge at Highland Hall picks up with the younger daughter, Penny. While definitely desirous of a proper society husband, Penny's outlook on life differs from her older sister primarily due to her older sister's marriage and subsequent choices. Another important change is that England and London are in the midst of World War I. This important factor causes the entire London household which now includes numerous orphans to pack up to find A Refuge at Highland Hall. As the story unfolds, the family and the orphans are not the only ones who find a refuge at their home. Love, forgiveness, and personal growth all occur in this place.

While the story mostly revolves around Penny, there are several sub-plots that emerge as well. The distinction between the upper-class and the serving class begins to diminish in many ways, but the stark contrast and disdain the two classes have for each other is also portrayed. Germans who were living in England at the time and are now at a prison camp and the feelings toward Germans and Germany at the time are also highlighted. These sub-plots add to the excitement and drama of the story but also make it even more important that readers be familiar with the previous volumes in this series although Turansky continues to provide enough backstory to inform the reader.

At the end of A Refuge at Highland Hall, most of story is tied up in a bow as one would expect. However, there are just enough loose ends and maturing characters to make the reader hope that there will be more adventures at Highland Hall.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NetGalley and Blogging for Books. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, February 1, 2016

January Goals Re-Cap

This year rather than making huge goals for the entire year, I have decided to make smaller goals for each month. January flew by very quickly, and now we are already to February! Looking back on my January goals I did not meet each goal, yet I did make progress in each area. As the FlyLady reminds us, "Progress not perfection!"

Our church is doing a read through the New Testament plan which is one chapter per day Monday through Friday. January's reading were the book of Mark and the first 5 chapters of Acts which I finished. As a family we also listened to Mark on CD and will be beginning Acts soon. I found an Old Testament reading plan with is 3 chapters per day Monday through Friday as well. I'm behind in this reading but anticipate catching up through a combination of reading and listening.

Reading is my escape and the one thing I will make time for in my day no matter what else is happening. My favorite thing to do is to curl up with a book and something yummy to drink. I enjoy writing book reviews for several publication as well as my own blog. I had not been faithful in writing reviews over the past year and desired to step up in my reviewing for this year. I was pleased in January to submit a review for The Christian Librarian,a professional publication, as well as post two reviews on my blog. I'm also quite excited to have received two books that I'm reviewing for The Englewood Review of Books as well as having two more books on the way for The Christian Librarian. Stay tuned for several reviews to appear here as well thanks to NetGalley and other fun things I find to read.

Exercise seems to me at the top of most everyone's goal list and mine included. My goal for January was a modest 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week. While I started out well in early January, I promptly fell off the bandwagon. So for February, I'm planning for 150 minutes a week again. I like having a minute goal versus a daily goal. This goal allows the option of spending a longer amount of exercise on one day in case you miss a day although I aim for the recommended 30 minutes per day.

I had hoped to have a one-on-one date with each family member during January. While this didn't happen, we had multiple enjoyable outings and activities with the entire family. Hopefully, the individual outings will occur this month.

Another of my goals was to complete the Babysteps as outlined by FlyLady. I didn't make it through all 31 steps but am farther along than previously. I can report that I now have a shiny sink. I'm working on training my family not to put dirty dishes in the sink but to immediately put items in the dishwasher.

This is only a peek at a portion of our January activities. While I didn't cross off all my goals, I took steps in the right direction and will hopefully continue to do so in February.