Sunday, January 11, 2009

Catching Up

I am finally back on my feet! This flu/stomach bug that is going around our area is vicious. I was completely fine all day Wednesday, but just before supper I got a little nauseous and dizzy, so I didn't eat anything. It's amazing when you are seriously ill how your brain quickly reduces its thoughts to only those of absolute necessity. I forgot about having to volunteer at Mia's school on Thursday or doing anything except trying to sleep. I didn't sleep for more than twenty minutes at a time from back pain. The blessing of this virus is that it's done in about 24 hours, even if you haven't completely recovered your strength. I spent Friday and Saturday in bed still recuperating. I went to church this morning, and even that little bit of activity has left me exhausted again. Jesse was wonderful taking care of the house and Mia, getting the girls to school, and taking gentle care of me. He didn't sleep much Wednesday night either, but he was so sweet. Now I'm catching up a bit on the reviews I promised to post from Thursday and Friday.

Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent is a powerfully moving story about the power of faith and family in the face of evil. Jessie Lassiter's life has been easy and predictable, until her best friend Gemma's parents are killed in a fire and Jessie's parents take her in as their own daughter. Gemma is black and in the South in 1932, that just isn't done. The Lassiters soon face burning crosses, violent attacks, and sabotage from the Ku Klux Klan and the rest of the community turns its back on both the Lassiters and the violence done to them. Jessie and Gemma grow as sisters and in faith as they try to understand hatred and to survive it. Valent has a beautiful writing voice that perfectly captures the sweltering heat of summer and the passion of true good and evil as they clash. This coming of age novel is haunting and will not let you go, even after you put it down. It's a terrific read for adults and for young adults as well.

Losing Control and Liking It by Tim Sanford is one of the best parenting books I've ever read. I'm always looking for ways to improve my parenting, especially of my two teens, and Sanford has an original and terrific view of raising teens. As the mother of two teenagers, I know that I am often tempted to crack down on them and put more controls in their lives, but that seems to backfire in my face. More often I have a bit of a laissez faire attitude, and that seems to keep everyone happy, except for some other parents who have been less than kind in their comments about my parenting. Sanford affirms that it's vital to allow teens a certain amount of freedom as they age because otherwise they will rebel and act out if the control is too tight. At the same time, it's important to keep some rules in their lives so they feel safe and loved. Sanford takes this delicate balance and maps it out for parents in an easy to live with way. He wants parenting to be less stressful and more fulfilling for both parents and their kids. He suggests setting a maximum of five rules for the house with clear consequences. Parents should offer more advice and suggestions to teens than rules and attempts to control. I loved this book. Sanford has an easy-going writing style and lots of anecdotes to back up his views. Most importantly, he lets parents know that it's not our job to make our kids turn out "right." That's their decision to make, not ours to force.

Scroll down a bit to read the first chapters of these books and about their authors in my previous posts. I love today's picture. It makes me smile every time I see it. I hope you smile too!