Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

Peaceful Passage by Kim West Ph.D. {book review}

I started out not really wanting to review this book.  In fact, I didn’t choose it for several weeks.  I thought back to a time when I watched 3 of my grandparents pass and didn’t want to relive that.  Then of course the realistic side of me wrestled the emotional side and won. 

I know there are some of you going through this right now.  Helping a family member come to the realization they are dying is no easy task.  I knew I needed to read this book.  

I am so happy I did.  This book could have been so helpful over the past 6 years.  I was in my late 20′s and still had all of my grandparents.  I can’t think of a single friend that could say that at the time.  I was so blessed to have them for so long. Pregnant with my first child, I watched my grandmother pass from cancer.  She went to be with the Lord about a month before I became a parent. 

I wish I had this book back then.  It would have drastically changed my attitude.  I was pregnant, emotional and frustrated that she didn’t want to do anything to sustain her life.  I wanted her here to at least meet her first great-grandchild.  Selfish, I know.  I was angry at her, angry at God and angry at myself for feeling this way. 

Kim West’s book Peaceful Passage walks you through losing someone close to you.  It’s not only a helpful tool, it’s also a journal of your loved one’s wishes.

Kim has thought of everything that needs to be done and how to do it.  Unfortunately she knows this because she has gone through it first hand. Her beautiful mother Helen was dying. 

She walks us through the journey, emotions, finances and planning.  She includes guidelines for partnering with Hospice which honestly even the word scared me at first.  We went through Hospice with all three of my grandparents over the past six years.  Hearing the word often makes you think instantly of death.  Yes, that is the end outcome but Kim explains that there are levels of Hospice care. 

I wish my mom and I had known this all those years ago.  Having this book back then would have been such a blessing.  We would have less regrets about that time than we do.  We were exhausted, overwhelmed, frantic, and scared.  All of these emotions and more are explored in this book. 

I understand that death can be a part of life that we rarely care to think about.  Until it happens to someone close to you, you may think you don’t need this book.  I must disagree with you on that point.  I am so happy I have this book for future reference.  I wish I had it sooner but better late than never.  It’s a small price to pay to have Kim West walk us through a rough time in our life.  It’s worth the investment now so we can enjoy those final days a little less chaotically. 

About the Author:

Kim West holds a PhD in Clinical Pastoral Counseling and a M.Div. in Counseling and Family, but when her own mother became ill with terminal cancer she found that she had no hands-on knowledge of how to take care of her.

As a counselor she knew to journal her own experience to help her process her grief at losing her mother and she knew how to help her mother finish her life well and be prepared for the life to come. But the day-to-day of taking care of her mother as she died would require learning a whole new set of caring skills. And learn she did.

After completing her own journey with her mother she knew she had to help others who would travel this same path. Peaceful Passage is a merging of her years of counseling experience and the new skills she learned caring for her mother combined with her heart to help and to heal.

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Here {5 Minute Friday}


On a new adventure. Life as we know it has completely flipped on its side, created a stress like none we’ve seen. It’s good stress. It’s what we want to do, where we want to be and what needs to be done.

Here we go.

Going back to school after 10 years has been nothing but success for my amazing husband. He’s received outstanding feedback from his professors that this truly is where he needs to be.

Here we go.

The job I had to get us through him being in school ended. It ended abruptly and without any closure. Giving all I had for the past five years and not receiving any real appreciation for it has left me hurt and scarred.

Here we go.

God has taken us into His hands and allowed the blessings to flow. It’s still stressful but knowing everything will be okay because our faith is in Him is tremendous. He will guide us, direct us and love us through it.

Here we go.


Now, set your timer, clear your head, for five minutes of free writing without worrying about getting it right.

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give me your best five minutes on:::

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Growing Great Kids by Kate Battistelli {book review}

I must start by saying if you love your children you need this book.  I know, I know.  That is a bold statement.  I mean if you truly love and would give anything for your child to achieve his dream, you need this book as a resource. 

I received this book to review and I am so happy I did!  If not, with all the great books out there I may never have found it.  I’ll give you a second to put it on your to-buy list!

I love to read. It’s a passion of mine. There is something about holding a book, turning a page and getting lost in a story.  Since becoming a mom the reading has taken a backseat.  There just doesn’t seem to be as much time in the day to sit down with a glass of tea and good book.  I have to squeeze in a chapter here, a page there throughout an already busy day.

Kate Battistelli must have known this about me!  Her book Growing Great Kids is an easy read but stuffed to the brim and full of examples she and her husband have experienced while raising her daughter.  Each chapter walks us through several common issues when raising children.  A few of my favorite chapters include:

  • The Power of a Parent’s Words
  • When Your Ceiling Becomes Their Floor
  • Prayer, The Essential Ingredient
  • Timing Is Everything

One specific thing I really needed to hear from her is that our parenting manual is the Bible.  This is so simple yet so powerful.  How often have you wished the hospital had sent home directions on what to do with that new bundle of joy? 

I believe this book is an essential resource to be used in addition to the Bible.  I was really impressed by the additional information that was included. I had expected to read the story of her life as a parent and was pleasantly surprised that each chapter ended with ‘questions to think about’ and a prayer. 

Oh, the prayers!  I was so encouraged by them that I wrote them out on cards to use during our nightly family prayers.  Below is one of my favorites.

Lord, as You’ve helped me to see the gifts residing in my child, please show me practical ways I can make his gifting shine!  Give me the financial resources to provide the fuel for my child’s dreams. Help me to learn everything I can about the things he is passionate about and to provide the good soil his gifts need in which to grow and develop.  Above all, let me be an enthusiastic voice of encouragement to him to help him face any fears and overcome whatever obstacles may come.

I am not required to provide a stellar review but I am impressed with this book.  Some books are a nice read and that it the end of it. It either collects dust or ends up in the giveaway pile.  This is not one of those books. I have highlighted and dogeared my copy already.  As the mother of toddlers I have a feeling this book may be in shreds by the time those kids are off and married!!

You can learn more about Kate Battistelli on her website, Facebook or Twitter.  She also offers discounted autographed copies here which would make for a great gift for a new parent!  I plan to buy a few for Christmas gifts.

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Playdough cookies!

This was really fun! I found the recipe on Pinterest which took me to I Heart Naptime. Have you seen her blog? Amazing!!!

These are called Jello cookies. The super full part of this is that the kids can play with this like playdough!  The boys had fun playing with the dough and tasting each flavor before we baked them.

Here’s what you need:

  • 3.5 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp of baking powder
  • 1.5 cups of salted butter
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 (3oz.) packages of Jello

First we’ll beat the butter in a large bowl.  Mix with a mixer until it’s creamy then you add the sugar and beat until a light and fluffy consistency. Blend in vanilla and sugar next.

Mix the baking powder and flour in another bowl then gradually beat the flour mixture into this bowl.

Divide dough into 4 sections and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of jello onto each section. We tried lime, cherry, strawberry and orange.  Knead it into the dough.  You can add a few drops of food coloring if needed. We only added one drop to the lime to make it more green.

Shape the dough into 1 inch balls and roll in the extra jello.  Place them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Flatten with the bottom of a bowl or do a criss cross with a fork.  Either way is fun!

Bake 8 to 10 minutes at 350 degrees.


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Unexpected lesson {Into the Word Wednesday}

I love when the Lord speaks to us in unexpected ways.  Today was one of those days.

The kids and I were headed out to grab a quick lunch with my mom earlier this week.  As we got in the car the rain started to drizzle.  As we left the driveway the sky turned dark.  There was an unknown car parked on the street across from our house.  I had seen it last week in the driveway of a neighbor but didn’t think much about it.  We continued on about our way.

The rain was coming down in buckets, thunder crashing.  We thought twice about heading to the restaurant less than 4 miles from our home.  We turned back.  The rain continued, not planning to stop any time soon.

As we drove back to our house we saw the car again.  The window was open.  Rain pouring inside the car.  All I could think of is what an awful mess it would be to clean up.  Scouring the garage to find something, anything to cover this window my oldest was trying to help.

He’s 5 going on 12.  So inquisitive.  The entire time he was asking why I was covering up the window.  I explained to him that sometimes we do things to help others.  I knew the neighbors were at work and didn’t know how long the storm would last.  I explained that this small thing would take 10 minutes and a change of clothes for me to help.  The damage to that car sitting in the rain for an entire day would take much more time for the neighbor.

We found a large lawn trash bag.  The big one watched the little one in the safety of the garage as I ran down the driveway.  I didn’t take an umbrella because it would really have been of no use.

I opened the door, covered the window as best I could just trying to keep the water from rushing in.  After changing and drying off, I started getting lunch ready.

My oldest turned to me and said ‘Mommy, that was a really nice thing you did for those people.’  Wow. I was floored.  I don’t know why.  I guess I didn’t expect him to think much more about it but he did.  The wheels had been turning.

I began thinking about how much children watch our actions rather than our words and what the bible says about this. You can hover over the verse to see more.

Proverbs 22:6

James 3:13

1 John 3:17-18

Colossians 3:23

Is there a time recently that your children watched your actions and reacted to it?  I’d love to hear about it!


–Join my co-hostesses and I this week for Into The Word Wednesday!

Becky at Tales of Beauty for Ashes

Sarah at Fontenot Four

Kelly at The Houtz House Party

Falen at Upward Not Inward

Kelly at Exceptionalistic (looks like you found me!)

Into the Word Wednesday blog hop rules (if you wouldn’t mind!):

1. Link up about something you are learning this week.

2. Follow all hostesses via GFC or Google +.

3. Grab a button to put on your blog – the more the merrier! Check out our sweet new button…

Tales of Beauty for Ashes

Check out (and comment) other people’s blogs to bless them today!

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