Friday, March 26, 2010

Baby's Hug-a-Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

I loooooove Sally Lloyd-Jones's writing. Love it. I have raved in the past about the popular Jesus Storybook Bible, and I've tried to keep up with her latest titles ever since I discovered her. So how could I be happier than when I had the opportunity to review her newest book on my blog? And it was a book specifically for babies!! And I have a baby to read it to!!!

Susie and I were filled with glee when Baby's Hug-a-Bible arrived in the mail. Well, at least I was sure enthusiastic, and generally Sus is happy when I hand her something new that she's allowed to put in her mouth. We've been reading it together at bedtime, and I would like to give this b
ook my resounding stamp of approval!

First of all, this book is incredibly God-centered. Each page spread is one picture and one Bible story. Except that, instead of the typical "Daniel was brave. . . you be brave too. . . Noah played with animals. . . do you like animals" kind of stuff you often see in kid's (especially little kids or baby) Christian books, this book is just amazingly God-centered. I'll give examples at the end.

Second, each page has application. Now, I understand that I am reading this to a baby. But keep in mind -- I am a grown up. I need the
application, even if my baby does not completely understand it. How many times have I been getting ready to lay my baby down in her bed for her good night's sleep, and I have to recite a Psalm and spend time in prayer, verbally reminding myself that she belongs to the Lord and I can entrust her to Him as she sleeps. I know I am not alone in this! Parents of small children (and especially babies) continually have to fight that battle of worry or fear. . . and reading excellent Christian books to that babe, such as this one, will help arm you in battle.

Third, it is written in a pleasing, easy-to-read aloud rhyming way. Rhyming books are my favorites for babies!! Each page is like its own little poem, containing a bit about the Bible story, questions about God and concludes with application. Here is an example from my favorite page:

"God helps Baby Moses
Exodus 1-2

Who saved a baby in a boat?
Who kept that baby's boat afloat?
Who loved that baby in the reeds?
Who knows just what a baby needs?

Who cares for you in just that way?
And gives you all you need today?
Yes, God's the one, who, day by day,
Will care for you in every way!"

Can you see how reading something like that would remind you of God's character, and his mighty acts in the past, and help you learn to trust him who "day by day will care (for your baby) in every way!"? I look forward to the day when Susie and I read this book together and I can pause after the first section and have her little voice answer "GOD!!" Oh, how I long for her to love and know Him!

Thank you, Sally, for using your clever writing to create something just for the youngest children whose parents want to bring up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Make me laugh!

I'll soon be posting about a new WONDERFUL children's book, but in the meantime, I thought I'd share some light-hearted tales of my niece. . . who NEEDS to be a character of a children's book. Seriously, she's inspirational. She's 3 years old, and spends a good part of her day with my teenage sister and my dad (Mom used to be her babysitter before she passed away). So the adult world/teenage world is her world. For example:

When she was 2, she picked up my sister's cell phone and said "I'm gonna text. . . this is how old I am. . . " and sure enough, she texted a 2. She could access the pic
tures on my dads phone, and 2 of my sisters' phones, which was a way she entertained herself.

She's all about letters lately. Today, apparently she said "this starts with 'P'." And posed like she is in the picture here. Pout.

Here is a conversation she had with Abby (my sister) the other day when she found a rattle:

Cede: "You can have this rattle if you have a baby in your house"

Abby: "I don't have a baby in my house"

Cede: "You have a kid-baby. . . Me."

Abby: "Whatever!"

Cede: "That's an impolite retort."

I guess that's what Dad says when one of the girls says "whatever".

Once when she was watching Snow White, she started being frightened of the mirror, but promptly talked herself out of the fear: "Oh, it's not real. . . it's not real, is it? It's just fake, probably a mask. . . and probably squishy".

Here is how she randomly posed one night while we all lounged on the couch. I assure you she was not being coached behind the scenes and we did not know she looked like this until later.

Anyway, I figured we all could use a few more reasons to smile right now!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Elizabeth Prentiss More Love to Thee -- first impressions and quotes

I have not finished reading Sharon James' biography of Elizabeth Prentiss, so this will not be a complete review, but I had so much to share at the half way point, I thought I'd do an early post on this book. For those of you who are not familiar with Elizabeth Prentiss, she was an 19th century Christian and author, who, among other things, penned the hymn "More Love to Thee" and a classic work of fiction Stepping Heavenward. Her biography has been on my "want-to-read" list for a long time, and since I grabbed up the hardcover book at the ETS sale at LifeWay, I've had it suggesting itself to me from the bookshelf.

The book started off a bit slowly, as biographies have a
tendency to do, but I was assured that Elizabeth would soon win me over as a heroine. Indeed, as I began the chapter "God Never Makes a Mistake" I also began to identify with her. Here is a quote:

"What a world of new sensations and emotion
s come with the first child! I was quite unprepared for the rush of strange feelings. I dare say the idea of Lizzy Payson with a baby seems quite funny to you . . . but I assure you it doesn't seem in the least funny to me, but as natural as life."

Elizabeth was
26 when she married and 28 years old when she had her first child. In that era, when girls often married young and bore children early, that is a rather remarkable thing! I didn't have my first child until I was 30 (almost 31), so I felt like I could identify with Elizabeth, a woman "of age" -- at least in those days. (I am not claiming to be a woman of age -- I know many wonderful women who are expecting in their 40's -- and I hope to be one of you one day).

Her sweet recollections of this first child were followed by tragic years where she lost her next two. My eyes burned with tears at the tale. We take it for granted today that babies enjoy much better health than they did 100 years ago, and that back then, mothers were always losing children in childbirth, or to childhood disease, etc. But I had never quite entered that world with a mother, and felt her raw pain. Elizabeth, a poet and writer, was able to express herself so freely and well, and open up her heart to the sovereign God above in prayers that were as honest as they were profound. Here is a short one:

One child and two green graves are mine
This is God's gift to me
A bleeding, fainting, broken heart --
This is my gift to Thee.

I appreciated that she was real about her suffering and sorrow -- but that gift of her sorrowful heart was still extended out to the God who she firmly believed to be in control. It was unbelievable how Elizabeth had premonitions about her children's deaths, and that doctors would not believe her. How agonizing to experience loss regardless of the circumstances, but how much more tortuous to endure poor care from doctors and nursemaids. How easy it would be to blame or dwell on the people whose mistakes were so grave, but Elizabeth believed, as I do, that all suffering is comes to us from God's good and kind hands, and must be for our good, to make us more like Christ. In my doctrine class the other night, Dr. Mohler said something beautiful and profound. I hope you find it to be so as well:

"Because God is in control and infinitely good and loving and merciful, anything other than what He brings would not be better, it would be worse."

I had to roll that around in my mind. It's too much to understand, really. But by faith, I think we can come to see how that is completely true.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Board Book Favorites -- 9 months

My friend and I were discussing how it's an interesting thing that children develop favorites so early in life. As babies, you can tell their favorite people, foods, toys, lovies, etc. I've had so much fun seeing Susie show interest in books, too! I'm sad to say that for right now, the paper-page book collection has to go on hold, or else my paper monster might just chow down on the pages. I recently tried reading a regular picture book, but I just don't want to give the message that books aren't for her to touch just yet, so I've decided not to fight that battle until she can understand a little better. At a younger age, we were reading Madeline, Dr. Seuss, Golden Books, etc., and enjoying them all, but for now we can just discover that wonderful world of board books (side note: board books are not steel, however, in the little mouth of a teething baby! I have found them with entire corners GONE, and telltale bits of white around her little mouthy).

Here are some favorites:

Babies by Gyo Fujikawa
This is absolutely, hands down, Susie's favorite of the favorites. She loves it so much that I took it along when we went to get her portrait taken, so we could get some of her reading it. She smiles at the babies, greets them when she sees the book on the shelf, squeals at the pictures and touches their faces as we look through it. I'd always heard that babies love to look at pictures of REAL babies (and that certainly has been true in my experience), but in this case, Sus loves the illustrations of babies. The sweet simple wording is just so gentle and charming. I usually add on to the end, which goes like this: "But good or bad, all babies like to be hugged, and cuddle and loved." and I add "and kissed, and smooched, and sniggled and snuggled. . . " etc., all while demonstrating the sniggles and snuggles. I also really like the shape and size -- it's tall, so she can hold the bottom and smack the pages, while I hold the top, and it's not overly-heavy. I came across this little gem while shopping at Blue Kangaroo Books in downtown Danville! This book is almost 20 years old, but I'd never seen it before. I'm planning to get Sus some more of Gyo Fujikawa's books -- there are several more out there.

That's Not My Bunny. Part of the Usborne "That's Not My" collection, this touch and feel book has been good for pointing out specific parts of the pictures. I was surprised how early Susie would be able to understand the concept of feeling the texture on a tiny part of the picture. She knows this one well -- she reaches right for the "rough paws" or "wrinkled nose".

God Bless. . . Baby's family photo book. I put pictures in this for Sus for Christmas, and it immediately emerged as one of her favorite toys. There are only 3 openings, so you might find something better out there, but she certainly loves to flip back and forth to the pictures of Daddy, Mama and Grandma and Grandpa. She bends over and gives the pages wide, open mouthed kisses, and flings it around by the handle (it's SO lightweight). I got mine on sale at LifeWay, so I'd suggest looking somewhere other than Amazon (it's a little bit expensive!!)

What are your favorite board books?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Back to blogging. . .

After much thought, I've decided I want to go back to blogging. I've missed writing here so much, and now that I've moved to working part time, I think I can manage to eek out a bit of time to post on my blog. No promises, but my goal is to get back to being a consistent poster.

I absolutely love my life as a mom. Since becoming a wife, I have not experienced any role so wonderful. And while I'm sure motherhood will play into my posts, I'm not looking to mainly post updates about my family life -- that's just not exactly what I want for my blog; I can do that on Facebook. I hope that I can make this blog a good place to interact with readers about Christian life, books, church life, parenting, and maybe a few just for fun posts. I hope to regularly review books, especially children's books -- since I DO h
ave a child now!!

So I guess if you had written me off as a "former blogger", I hope you'll watch my blog in the future for new posts!