Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Review of Helping Hands at Home - Lorrie Flem

Joyful Hearts and Helping Hands

I was blessed to be able to become a reviewer for Lorrie Flem and her website Eternal Encouragement at the beginning of this year.  In addition to being a book reviewer, I will now be a "Gabby Mom" for E.E. and have the opportunity to share reviews on products and services that will be helpful to a homeschooling momma.

Helping Hands at Home is the first item I was given to review - - - and I have been blessed by the impact it has had on my family after only one run through.  I rounded up my nine year old and six year old and the cleaning supplies ... and we were off! 

These two kids have been begging me to let them do chores to help momma; it was no issue to get them motivated to clean together, as a team, following the process in the e-book.  In addition to that, taking this time to teach them how to do these tasks has helped me hand off the responsibility of these chores to them.  They woke up this morning asking to clean the bathroom and kitchen!  

In this e-book, Lorrie is very organized and detailed in her presentation of the steps involved in coaching our children to learn how to efficiently and completely clean the bathroom and the kitchen - two main areas of the home that need daily attention. I love that the book includes lists to post and follow and it also includes tips and encouragement for the mom throughout the process.

On a personal note, I was the oldest of five kids - - - and had to take on lots of responsibility at a young age for cleaning, childcare, and cooking.  I never had my mom teach me or show me how to do any of it; I figured it out along the way.  In following Lorrie's procedures in teaching these steps to my own kids, I will be honest and admit that I even learned a thing or two that will help me be a better homemaker.

I know that my experience isn't unique; I have a feeling that when others take the time to follow the outline and steps in this e-book, they will also get to see first-hand the joy of teaching their kids to take on more responsibility and the ability to complete their chores and take care of their home. 

My expectations were exceeded in putting this e-book into practice with my own kids: I didn't think that I would see this level of excitement on the faces of my kids and the cheers that came from working hard to beat the timer and seeing a job well done!  

My son, in particular, was very self-motivating and encouraging to his sister as he kept saying over and over that he was doing a "smoking job" and could hear things getting squeaky clean!  Too bad I missed getting a clip of these moments on video, complete with the aprons!

Considering that  it is available for Kindle for only $.99, I know you will find it to be a worth-while investment for your family and homemaking library.  It's worth every penny!

Let me know what you think!
*  Disclaimer:  I received a copy of the e-book in exchange for an honest review. *

Monday, January 21, 2013

More thoughts on the Love and Respect Cycle

Ephesians 5:25-32 - The Love and Respect Cycle
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy,cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. 28 In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— 30 for we are members of his body. 31 “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” 32 This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. 33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

Starting out:  "The Honeymoon Years"

 Every traditional wedding ceremony ends with a prayer of blessing before the long-awaited kiss of the new couple and the joyful announcement of the new Mr. and Mrs!  Many Christian couples start out their marriages building on the habits of their courtship of desiring quality time.  They seem to connect on a daily basis physically, emotionally, and even spiritually with joy and focus.  Distractions are minimal, and once they leave work, they rush home to be with each other.  They take the time to pray together, share their hearts with one another, and many even are able to have time of reading the Bible or completing a Bible study together.  


  The Second Stage of Marriage:  The Busy Years!

 Time passes - too quickly as they years go by - and the husband and wife start getting busier and busier.  Outside commitments begin and couples start running around just to keep up.  The blessing of children expands their family and now man and wife become dad and mom.  Over the top of an infant's downy head mom catches dad's eye; he gives her a kiss and a hug as he leaves for the carpool. Laundry,dishes, work, schedules, budgeting, and problem solving take lots of time and energy.  As they fall into bed each night exhausted, they exhale a prayer of thankfulness for God blessing them and helping them get through that day together.  

The Third Stage: The Twilight Years

 The kids have moved out, perhaps husband and wife have retired, and now they have the time to be together and pursue passions and interests that have been put aside for the "future" all those years.  The old routines are set aside and they have all the time they desire to finally be together and travel, take up hobbies, and wake up each morning without a set plan in place.  As they continue to age, one spouse usually starts to take on a caretaker role as their health declines.  Hand in wrinkled hand, they can sit in the quiet and know what the other is thinking.


 In sharing my thoughts on these three stages of marriage, I just wanted to set the stage for the rest of what I want to share with you in this article. Each marriage is unique and not all of them will follow this pattern exactly; mine has not!   A little over 11 years ago, Randy and I started our marriage with a little one in our midst: my three year old daughter  from my previous marriage.  Her little sister followed before our second anniversary, and, by the time we celebrated our fifth anniversary, the girls had a little brother.  It has been a wonderful whirlwind of blessings and the years have really gone by too fast.  We are thick in the midst of the second stage right now.  Randy works full-time and I am a full time homemaker and homeschooling momma.  I know what it's like to feel like you can't get it all done and keep those priorities straight all the time.  

I was was sharing my heart with a friend a few days ago.  I wanted her to pray for me as I wanted to bring something up with my husband but I needed to walk the fine line between sharing my heart and making him feel like he was failing me.  (For the record:  my husband is a hard-working, loving, moral, and self-sacrificing husband and father who strives to be our spiritual leader and guide.)  My heart was just missing the days when we were able to connect spiritually on a more regular basis. I wanted to carve out this quality time with him again, but I didn't want to be his conviction or use manipulation to win him over to doing this with me.  I desired to be honest and respectful.   So, what is a wife to do?  This is what I did to share my heart with my husband  - - and I share it with you, praying someone reading this can find it to be helpful:      
  1. Come before God and pray for the right words to say, the right time to talk, and the right attitude to cover both of you at that time.
  2. Keep in mind that the #1 need of your husband, no matter the stage of marriage, his level of spiritual maturity, or his current focus is for him to know that you RESPECT him as a man, husband, and father.
  3. If you can honestly let him know what you need (quality time, for him to pray for you, to share what God is doing in his life), keep in mind that your tone of voice speaks volumes.  Focus on taking a team approach with the topic; let him know that you want to feel closer to him and that this is something he can do to bless you.
I highlighted the verses from Ephesians 5 in starting out this article - and I hope you notice that in those verses, God reminds us of the #1 needs of the husband and wife:  he desires respect and she needs to feel loved.  When this need is met in the husband, he reacts with love; when the wife is cherished, she has no problem respecting her husband's leadership.  It is truly a beautiful picture of mutual surrendering to each other, under God. No matter where you find yourself in your relationship with your husband, once you set out to meet these basic desires in one another, your marriage will flourish.  You can't and shouldn't wait for him to invest in you before you invest in him; you can start the cycle of  blessings by choosing to start today, loving and respecting your husband in word and deed as unto the Lord. I pray for you as you read this today; may God use the concept of the Love and Respect Cycle in your marriage to  give you opportunities to bless each other daily.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Book Review: The Love & Respect Experience: A Husband-Friendly Devotional that Wives Truly Love

I have heard of the Love and Respect Cycle and the ministry of Dr. Emerson Eggerichs to marriages around the world. When I was given the opportunity to review his new devotional that was based on his well-known book, I was excited.

This book is full of the truths of the original book he wrote, but it is a wonderful devotional for husbands and wives that can stand on it's own.  I think husbands and wives would find it to be a welcome tool for growing together in understanding and intimacy.

Dr. Eggerichs wants everyone to take note that this is a "husband-friendly" devotional, and I would have to agree after consulting with my husband.

  1. The cover is made of soft, masculine "leather" that would appeal to any man.
  2. The book is organized and each devotional is only 3-4 pages long - with large text.
  3. There are 52 separate devotionals, but this book has no dates tied to each one.  You can take this devotional at your own pace and there is no pressure to keep up.
  4. It's written by a man, for a man, to lead his wife in learning more about God and each other.  It's helpful without being intimidating.
  5. Many men desire to lead their wives to a deeper level of spiritual closeness, but don't know where to start.  This book will help them jump in and be able to start that process.
I found it to be beautifully organized and full of wonderful information for the newly married, a marriage in crisis (financial/sexual, etc.), or the seasoned couple; it really can touch a couple in any situation.  

In thinking about how this book is set up, I especially wanted to point out the following: 

1. Introduction:
  • Dr. E. starts the book with a helpful introduction.  It sets the tone, the atmosphere, for the husband from the get-go.  I believe that in reading the introduction, the husband will learn to trust this author and know that this devotional won't be full of husband-bashing or anything that will be overly confrontational.  That being said, the book uses Scripture to start, lead, and guide each devotional.  If there is conviction, it will be the work of the Holy Spirit through the reading of the Scripture focus.  
  • The introduction covers and offers tips for the wife, giving her insight into her husband's needs/mindset/triggers that would prevent him from opening up to her and being faithful in leading her in this study.  In know that wives, as a general rule, desire this deep intimacy but can also be their own worst enemy by taking the wrong approach or attitude with their husbands during a time when he is sharing his heart and being vulnerable.  I thought it was great of Dr. E. to share this with the wives; I learned good things from it.
  • He also gives helps to spouses doing this devotional alone.  It is a sad fact, but very likely, that there are men and women who are desiring to build and improve their marriages, but are doing it without the support of their spouse.  God will be there in their need and be with them in a special way as they do this study.  
2.  Devotions have a:

  • Bible Verse for the Spiritual focus
  • Boxes with key insights
  • Questions to guide the couple 
  • A prayer at the end of the reading passage
  • An action step to take to put the devotional into "action"
3.  The "back" of the book includes:

  • Extra helps in the appendix
  • More in depth "discussion" questions that will expand on each devotional
  • A summary of the Love and Respect Cycle (the information in the original book)

To conclude, this book would be a welcome addition to the library of any married couple that may be new to the Love and Respect concepts or of the seasoned couple that hopes to reinforce what they may already know but need help putting it into practice.  

"Without (his) love, she reacts without respect;
without (her) respect, he reacts without love."  p. 209

Stop the cycle of defeat in  your marriage 
and enjoy the blessings of God in your relationship.

(I received this book for free from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.)

I review for BookSneeze®