Friday, October 31, 2014

Book Review: Motherless by Erin Healy

2 Corinthians 12:9(MSG)  
My grace is enough;  it's all you need.  My strength comes into its own in your weakness.

                          Motherless by Erin Healy

A whispering voice at the back of my mind reminds me that I’ve been this way for some time. Dead, that is.

Motherless by Erin Healy
A five star graceful mystery!
The dead have a very broad view of the living, of actions performed out of sight, of thoughts believed to be private. I would know. Losing both parents is a trial no child should endure, and Marina and Dylan have endured enough. They deserve the one thing I could never give them: a mother’s love.
A mother’s love, and the truth.
My children have believed a lie about me for years and years. After all this time I can still feel their hurt in my heart. But the tether holding me to them is frayed from years of neglect . . . and I have to find a way to make my confession before it snaps.
But when the truth comes out, what other beasts will I unleash?
“Why do we lie to the children?” someone asked me once.
“To protect them,” I answered.
How terrible it is that they need protection from me.

My Personal Review

Motherless by Erin Healy is the suspense filled mystery of the year!  This book will engage the reader from start to finish as the interlocking characters twist their way through the pages.

Motherless by Erin Healy has earned the title "top favorite fiction read of the year" award on my list! This novel to be released  November 11, 2014 will have the reader shaking their head with intrigue as they forge ahead in rapid page turning succession (or swiping for those E-readers out there:).  As with her previous books, it is difficult to put Motherless down once you get started.

Now, before I continue, I must confess that I am admittedly an Erin Healy enthusiast.  I jumped aboard the "fan" wagon with her publication of the books:  Afloat and Stranger Things and I somewhat obsessively watch for her new releases to snatch them up. Why? Because Erin not only entertains the reader with her creative mind, but she also manages to simultaneously bring awareness to a culturally relevant subject matter.  The themes within her books are usually hot topic buttons that our society has tried to gently brush under the rug or items that we feel somewhat uncomfortable talking about.  

Motherless by Erin Healy manages to present the subject of mental illness through the life of one of the main characters with a respectful authenticity that is very believable.  The obstacles that an individual suffering with a mental health illness have placed before them are infinite and immense.  The responsibility that a family dealing with an afflicted loved one must bear is communicated throughout the book with inventiveness and truth.  The layers of guilt, shame and regret for past mistakes in the handling of the afflicted individuals behavior are also scrolled throughout the character's hearts and minds.   

As I began reading the first few chapters of the book, I quickly found myself (for my older readers out there) thinking of the movie, Ghost with Patrick Swayze.  The way in which the main character, Garrett is able to see the earthly happenings of his family and minimally convey his presence, despite their inability to make the connection is quite similar to the 1990 film.  As the book proceeds, there is a similarity to Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Story released in 1893, wherein Ebenezer Scrooge finds himself reviewing his life with ghosts from the past.  In this classic, of course, Scrooge takes a tally of all of the negative choices he has made while he inhabited the earth and applies them upon his awakening.

Do not be confused by my comparisons, however, this is not a rewrite of a tried and true Christmas time classic.  This book is written for today's readers swirling through a wild current of mental health issues as lived out in the lives of several of the family members. Motherless by Erin Healy will take the reader on a compelling, rousing, and soul stirring journey.  The message of hope and the constant undercurrent that God's grace and mercy really are enough to cover our inequities is an undeniable communication throughout the book.  This work is a mysterious and complicated thriller that you won't want to miss!

Thank you to Thomas Nelson a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc for this review copy of Motherless by Erin Healy.  The thoughts expressed within this review are strictly my own. I was not required to give a favorable review of this work;  I was only required to read the book in it's entirety and render a transparent opinion.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hooray For Moms And Dads...Keep Going!

Psalm 119:84(MSG)
How long do I have to put up with all this? 

Good morning!!  On the heels of my review of the book: Their Name Is Today~Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World by Johann Christoph Arnold, I thought it would be appropriate to continue the "parenting encouragement".  The verse of the day is quite fitting to remind me that I must persevere in the parenting department...right?   

With that in mind, please click on the YouTube video below for a very fun song created by a Mom.  Our local radio station aired it today, and although I have heard it before, it made me laugh and brought a smile to my face once again.  I hope it will make you smile as well.  Have a great day!

The Mom Song

Monday, October 20, 2014

Book Review: Their Name Is Today~Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World by Johann Christoph Arnold

This book has the power to
strengthen & encourage
parents!  Don't miss it!
There’s hope for childhood. Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that are robbing children of a healthy childhood, courageous parents and teachers who know what’s best for children are turning the tide.

Johann Christoph Arnold, whose books on education, parenting, and relationships have helped more than a million readers through life’s challenges, draws on the stories and voices of parents and educators on the ground, and a wealth of personal experience. He surveys the drastic changes in the lives of children, but also the groundswell of grassroots advocacy and action that he believes will lead to the triumph of common sense and time-tested wisdom.

Arnold takes on technology, standardized testing, overstimulation, academic pressure, marketing to children, over-diagnosis and much more, calling on everyone who loves children to combat these threats to childhood and find creative ways to help children flourish. Every parent, teacher, and childcare provider has the power to make a difference, by giving children time to play, access to nature, and personal attention, and most of all, by defending their right to remain children.

My  Personal Review:

Their Name Is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold is a great book calling all parents to wake up and take a stand for their children…..NOW...while it is still today!! Reading this work highlights the daily challenges that parents are faced with in the increasingly electronic and over stimulating culture in which we live.  The author does not stop with merely informing us of the obstacles we face, but he also outlines significant and tangible solutions to equip the reader with a plan of action.  

Their Name Is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold is a call to reclaim our role as parents and step up to meet the true needs of our children in an ever changing, increasingly fast paced world, and inherently materialistic culture.  The book is not for the faint hearted as it illuminates a lot of the monstrous challenges that we face as parents in our attempt to raise well balanced, God fearing, respectful, productive adults in western civilization today. 

The author, Johann Christoph Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, described as a Christian community.  His esteem for children and family is heartwarming and champions a desire within the reader’s heart to make a genuine effort to clearly identify the strengths and weaknesses within each of our children and respond appropriately.

The author has much to say about the way in which we should guide our children including ample time for them to be a child through play and plenty of outdoor nature exploration, as this is truly how they learn problem solving skills that will take them into adulthood.  Arnold also emphasizes the extreme importance of authentic human interactions and the danger of missing these opportunities due to time lost in electronic screens. 

There is much to learn within the pages of this book.  The urgency that is felt as one reads this text is contagious and presents the reader with the simple truth that our children really are only children for a short time, therefore, we cannot afford to miss the opportunity to give them the best of ourselves in a devoted manner, while it is still today.  Arnold reminds us that culture is constantly undercutting our job at every turn, but we must stand firm in our convictions. 

There is a spirit of love and compassion sprinkled with reverence from beginning to end in this book.  Arnold’s sincerity is clear and his mission is undeniable.  The message is a cry to put away our electronics; reprioritize our schedules to personally lead our children; be role models without hypocrisy; and to live with the constant reminder that “parenting is a privilege and not a problem!”  Do not delay in getting this book.  You will be a wiser parent for having read it!

Thank you to Plough Publishing House for this review copy of Their Name Is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold.  The opinions within this review are my own.  I was honored to have read this book, and feel that I have been given a gentle reminder of the importance of the job called, “parenting”.