Friday, December 28, 2018

A Christmas Gift Memory from Childhood

There are only a few items or toys from my childhood that I remember with fondness. Most are physically long gone. There are a couple that are tucked away in our attic. Vintage toy collections that I've seen bring back memories but I've never had the desire to collect and house old toys myself. However, I do have shelves filled with some of the most notable vintage items from my younger days. On those shelves are books. To me it is harder to part with and resist re-acquiring the old friend of a book. I found adventure and solace in the pages of books I read and loved. There are titles I have read that are still with me in memory if not physically. I still own a few of the originals that could be considered clutter in our attic attic space.

Every Christmas, as a child, my paternal grandmother gave each of her grandchildren a book, a brand new you can smell the pages, selected title just for each one of us. Even though my grandmother wasn't much of a reader herself, this became a tradition of hers. I was an avid reader all through my childhood and many of the choices she made were ones that introduced me to unknown authors or genres. I loved getting those books.  I still have each and every one of those editions tucked away safely on a shelf.

There were a few here and there over the years that I didn't greet with joy and excitement. One book in particular, that at the time didn't thrill my little reader heart was the Let's Start to Cook children's cookbook.

I thought of myself as an adventurer. I spent as much time as possible outdoors and many of my reading hours were actually logged (no pun intended) in the big old oak tree that dominated our front yard. Any domestic activities that captured my interest were the artsy crafty ones. If I wasn't reading or imaging adventure, I wanted to be creating something new by painting, drawing or crafting. That beginner cookbook wasn't on my to read list and I didn't explore it's pages very extensively at the time. The funny thing is, I still have that copy. It is a basic and very thorough how to cookbook that is now to my adult eye, actually pretty helpful.

This year my teen daughter was determined to have a cookie baking day. She searched for recipes, planned her ingredient and cookies lists. As she began the process of filling the cookie tins, I dug out that children's cookbook. My daughter, honestly didn't use it as a reference much. She has the internet, you know. Her kitchen creating caused me to remember that treasure of a cookbook and revisiting it's pages kept me out of her way in the kitchen as she baked. I appreciate the gift of that book now more than at the time it was given to me. Especially, as I can now see, more clearly and with amazement, still feel, my grandmother's loving intention of contributing to her grandchildren's growth and learning each and every Christmas with the gift of a book.

Let's Start to Cook

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Friday, December 7, 2018

Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women - A Review

We were provided a copy of this lovely edition of Zondervan's devotional Beloved to use and review. 

Having the opportunity to review the devotional Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women by Zondervan became an early Christmas gift for me. The book itself is lovely, it is a nice size, a nice weight - yes, that can make a difference and filled with wisdom. While the book itself is a lovely gift, it has been the reading of the pages together with my teen daughter that has been the true gift. 

We have been reading one of the brief devotions about three times a week for the last several weeks. Given the length of each devotion a daily reading really shouldn't be difficult in general. We have just had a very packed and hectic schedule this month. Which has increased the satisfaction of the time we have been reading this collection together. We included the reading in our early morning still in pjs on the couch snuggle time which explains the lack of photos of us using the book in this review. Too early in the day for any portraits!

Your identity as a woman matters to God. 

Especially during this season of Christmas preparations and activities it has been so wonderful to slow down, be together and read the encouragement found in the pages of Beloved. Meant for young women, Beloved contains 365, one page devotions. Each page also has lined journal space for a written reflection.

Who of us, young or old, doesn't benefit from a bit of encouragement and reminders of our true state of beloved-ness. I know as a mom, my doubts can feel perpetual and that they mar my ability to pass the message of God's love on to my daughter by example. This volume of one page devotions is an easy to add tool for sharing the message of "you are beloved" with any young woman. When I distill all that I want to convey to my daughter as she comes into her own as a young woman, it can be so hard to teach by word and example when I am myself not tuned into the message of unconditional love but is surely the most important message of all. 

Having this tool provides an easy to reach for way to incorporate biblical examples that remind each of us, that our identity as a woman matters to God

You are all together beautiful... -Song of Songs 4:7

Our time reading the passages together has been nourishing. The passages are brief enough so that the actual reading of each takes only a few of minutes. It is the actual consideration of the verse and the accompanying paragraphs that has led short discussions and even the quiet considerations in silence together. Those moments have been the real gift of each page.  A bit more joy and love and thoughtfulness has been added to our mornings together during this busy time of life and the year's season. Each passage has also increased my thoughtfulness about mothering my daughter who is about to embark on her own journeys as a this young woman.

This is a wonderful volume of devotions for the intended audience of young women. The brevity of the passages increases the likelihood of even the busiest of teens to read regularly. Despite the short daily passages these pages are filled with details of and insight from the stories of the woman of the Bible. As I read ahead, on my own for this review in Beloved, I began to see the weaving together of the stories and the intended emphasis of encouragement for young women in their lives today. 

I love how the passages revolve around the theme of womanhood with so many biblical examples, each with a story that sheds light on God's promise. Any affirmation for our teen daughters of the beauty and wonder of ourselves as women is welcome. This devotional offers affirming insight from the woman described in scripture and how each of their stories emphasize God's love for each of us.

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