(Review) A Small Book About A Big Problem: Meditations On Anger, Patience, And Peace by Edward T. Welch

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Publisher and Publication Date: New Growth Press. September 27, 2017.
Genre: Christian nonfiction. Anger.
Pages: 186.
Source: Complimentary copy from New Growth Press for this review.
Rating: Excellent.

Litfuse Publicity

Litfuse Publicity book tour page

Amazon

Link at New Growth Press to read more info: A Small Book About A Big Problem.
To read a sample of the book (the first 7 pages): A Small Book About A Big Problem.

About The Author:
Edward T. Welch, M.Div., Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and faculty member at the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation (CCEF). He earned a Ph.D. in counseling (neuropsychology) from the University of Utah and has a Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary. Ed has been counseling for over thirty years and has written extensively on the topics of depression, fear, and addictions.
Ed Welch’s biblical counseling books include Shame Interrupted; When People Are Big and God Is Small; Addictions: A Banquet in the GraveDepression: A Stubborn DarknessCrossroads: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from AddictionRunning Scared: Fear, Worry, and the God of Rest; and When I Am Afraid: A Step-by-Step Guide Away from Fear and Anxiety.

Summary:
*This summary is from the information page at New Growth Press.
“How many times today have you been irritated? Frustrated? While you might not think about it often, if you look closely at any day most everyone can find anger in their actions and attitudes. Something spills or goes missing, we get stuck in traffic or someone cuts us off on the road, or we feel like the people we live and work with are only making our lives more difficult. And while no one wants to get angry, what happens when our irritations and frustrations rise yet again?
Anger is so common—yet it also hurts. It not only leaves a mark on us, but it also leaves a marks on others. The wounds we inflict on ourselves and others because of anger—loss of intimacy, trust, security, and enjoyment in our closest relationships—give us compelling reasons to look closely at our anger and think carefully about how to grow in peace and patience.
But if you, like many others, have just gotten irritated for the umpteenth time today, you might wonder if change is possible. Can anyone truly find peace? The answer is yes, but you will need a plan. Biblical counselor and psychologist Ed Welch invites readers to take a fifty-day journey that unpacks anger while encouraging and teaching readers to respond with patience to life’s difficulties. Readers will also be introduced to Jesus, the key to any plan for change. Known as the Prince of Peace, he is the only one who can empower his people to grow in patience, peace, and wholeness.
Provides short, daily meditations that encourage readers to look carefully at how their anger affects them and others.
The fifty-day reading plan gives ample time for readers to unpack the underlying causes of irritation and frustration and develop a Spirit-led plan for growth.
Offers encouragement and helps readers to develop the skills to deal with the universal problem of anger and respond with more patience to life’s difficulties
Christ-centered teachings give readers hope that they can change not based on their own efforts, but through the work of Jesus and his indwelling Spirit.
A useful tool for pastors, counselors, and lay helpers who are working with people who struggle with a short fuse.
What Is the Product for?
A Small Book about a Big Problem offers hope for change to people struggling with irritation and frustration and its effects on themselves and others. With fifty short, daily meditations, readers are provided with an easy-to-follow plan that gives them enough time to unpack the underlying causes of their irritation and frustration, as well as encouragement and skills to respond with more patience and peace to life’s difficulties. Centered around Christ, the work and teachings of Jesus give readers hope they can change not through their own actions, but through the life and spirit of the Prince of Peace.
Who Is the Product for?
While anger is a universal issue that everyone deals with, A Small Book about a Big Problem is written for people who recognize the destruction anger is causing to their lives and relationships, but do not know how to change. With fifty short, daily meditations that serve as a plan to deal with anger and its underlying causes, biblical counselor Ed Welch also provides readers with encouragement and skills to respond to life’s difficulties with more patience. Also a useful tool for pastors, counselors, family, and friends of people dealing with anger issues, this book offers hope through the life and work of Jesus that change can happen and peace is possible.”

My Thoughts:
My dad had a big problem with anger. Anger was always just below the surface. Even if he had a smile on his face, anger could be seen in his eyes. As a little girl, anger scared me, because I lived in a house with a tyrant. The rest of my family and I walked on egg shells. When dad questioned us we never gave the “right” answer, we gave the answer dad wanted us to give, which was the answer that hopefully would not make him more angry. I have a few memories where dad was relaxed and happy. His laugh was infectious. In Dad’s final years, I cared for him and we lived together. He was a sweetheart. He had a twinkle in his eye. I’m thankful the final years with dad covered the hard years of my childhood.
In growing older, I’m learning about why people act the way they do, and more importantly how I should react. One of the things I don’t think I’ll ever understand is why some people just want to stay angry. It doesn’t matter what I say or do they want to be angry and stay angry; and further, they want me to be angry and fight with them. Dealing with difficult people in my life is what led me to want to read and review: A Small Book About A Big Problem. Reading the book will not change difficult people, but it will help me to know how to handle certain situations.

To be angry is to destroy. Page 1.

What I love about the book:

1. 50 bite size chapters. Small enough to fit in a purse or backpack. Small enough to not be intimidating. Small enough to digest its content.
2. The size is small; the content is huge.
3. The first chapter that stood out to me is chapter 6: “The Many Faces of Anger.” I never realized “eye-rolling, gossiping, and grumbling” are anger behaviors. These descriptions fall under “covert anger.” “Cold anger” is the “silent treatment, withdrawal, and indifference.” “Hot anger” is “jealousy, wrath, war, murder, quarrels, rage, and attacks.” Welch encourages defining “words that fit your anger and listen to what you are really saying.” For example, when gossiping we are essentially judging.
4. Chapter 7 encourages wisdom: “Run toward Wisdom.” I love love love this chapter! Humility is a big theme. Welch states that humility is not what we want to do. “Instead, it is the foundation for all wisdom.” Page 26.
5. Chapter 15 and 16 showed me how Jesus acted when angry, and why He acted angry, and it showed me times when He could have acted angry and was not. “He never got angry because his personal desires were violated. Ever.” Page 54.
6. Chapter 23 encourages speaking to the Lord about our anger. “You must speak to Him.” Page 83.
7. In chapter 26, we must understand “our cancelled debt and His great love.” Page 97. When we understand the debt He paid, we will “see our angry reactions as intolerable.” Page 97.
8. In the last chapter, we are given the commission to “build up and strengthen the people God puts before us…”

Favorite quotes:

If we think we are keeping our anger controlled and private, we are not. Anger will assert itself. It refuses to be contained. If anger is in our hearts, it has our hearts. It will come out of our mouths, and it will hurt others. Page 24.

Anger looks down from the judge’s perch; wisdom comes down from those heights and looks up from below. Humility captures it. Humility looks beyond ourselves and asks about others. Whereas anger destroys, humility builds up. It has the best interests of others in mind. Page 25.

The course of our lives always travels in one of two directions, either toward wisdom or toward foolishness. The path toward foolishness is easy. All you have to do is follow your desires. But anger is on that path. Page 33.

Our task is to understand our cancelled debt and his great love, both of which will always overreach the boundaries of our imagination. Then, and only then, will we see our angry reactions as intolerable. Page 97.

 

 

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(Review) Many Sparrows by Lori Benton

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Publisher and Publication Date: WaterBrook. August 29, 2017.
Genre: Historical fiction, frontier and pioneer life, romance, Colonial America.
Pages: 390.
Source: Complimentary copy from Blogging for Books for this review.
Rating: Very good to Excellent. 4 1/2 stars.

Amazon

Summary:
The year is 1774. Philip and Clare Inglesby, and their young son Jacob, are traveling by wagon from Virginia to the Ohio-Kentucky frontier. Clare is heavy with child. The travel by bumpy wagon is miserable. Philip is impulsive and headstrong. He is impatient in not  waiting for a canoe to be built. A canoe trip for the family would be an easier passage. Clare is uneasy, she is concerned about her advanced pregnancy; she is concerned about their lone travel through the frontier. A wagon accident begins a series of events that will change the course of their lives.
Jeremiah Ring is a frontiersman. He has lived with the Native Americans for several years. He understands their language and culture. He understands frontier life.
Jeremiah and Clare meet at the point of her greatest need.

My Thoughts:
The title and front cover caught my attention first. I’m drawn to meaningful titles and beautiful front covers. It seems most of the time an airbrushed female model graces the cover of a Christian fiction book. I’m turned off immediately. To me, this shows no creativity. It is blah. The front cover of Many Sparrows, shows the wild frontier, which is the setting of the story.
Clare is a strong character. She carefully and with trepidation walks the tight rope with Philip. She disagrees with many of his choices. However, she tries to be the dutiful and respectful wife. She is stubborn, headstrong, feisty, and has perseverance. She is not the sort of character for this time period I’d expect. I felt sorry for her. She is caught in a marriage with a man who is foolish. Everyone can see his foolishness but him. Clare has regrets but is stuck. Clare represents all those who are married to people they desperately want to be rid of. They stay in the marriage because of children or because of the commitment made. Her plight is the main reason that kept me reading. On the other hand, her headstrong actions brought trouble in the story. I understand her choices, but I wanted to shush her or tell her to wait. (Isn’t if funny when we talk to characters in books as if they can hear us?)
Jeremiah is a character I fell in love with (at least strong admiration) at his first introduction. He is my favorite kind of man: strong yet tender. A strong man needs a strong woman to make a story work well. Their strengths balance the story. Their strengths give a tenacious grip. Their strengths represented the true pioneer spirit.
The pace of the story is slow in a couple of spots. It’s possible Benton was dragging the closure for intensity.
The Native Americans and their culture showed me the stark contrast between them and white early Americans. In this story, the early Americans are rural people, single or families. The Native Americans in this story showed me their difficulty in the changes the early American settlers brought. The land where they lived and hunted was changing because of the settlers. The Native Americans were fearful and angry. Some wanted revenge and some wanted to work towards peace. I feel this is an important aspect of Many Sparrows.

(Review) News Of The World by Paulette Jiles

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Publisher and Publication Date: William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins. October 4, 2016.
Genre: Historical fiction, western, Texas history.
Pages: 209.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Excellent.

Paulette Jiles website

News Of The World is a 2016 National Book Award finalist

Amazon

New of the World is a phenomenal story. Don’t be put off by its western or Texas setting. Consider this book on your next visit to the bookstore or library!

Summary:
The year is 1870. The Civil War ended just 5 years before. Texas is suffering under the weight of the war and political climate.
Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, age 71, is a traveling newspaper reader. He travels to various towns in north Texas reading newspapers. The readings are held in a town hall type meeting. People pay a dime to hear him tell stories of “polar exploration and scientific experiments. Captain knows what kind of reading material to read at the beginning of the event, and what to read to make the people bored and leave. In Wichita Falls, he is asked to take a young girl, Johanna, back to her nearest kin in central Texas. The girl is 10. She spent the past 4 years with the Kiowa people. Her parents and sister were killed. She was abducted and taken in by the tribe to become one of their own. She assimilated as a Kiowa, and does not remember the English language and culture. Captain has already lived a lifetime of wars, adventure, marriage, and family. He enjoys his current life. It is for the most part predictable.

Favorite quotes:

He always recalled those two years with a kind of wonder. As when one is granted the life and the task for which one was meant. No matter how odd, no matter how out of the ordinary. When it came to an end he was not surprised. It was too good, too perfect to last. Page 24.

The Rangers smoked and waited in silence in the shadow of their hats. Their beards were silky because they were young but when you looked at their faces it seemed they were artificially aged in some way. Page 29.

Her faultless silence made her seem strangely not present. Page 33.

My  Thoughts:

What I loved about News OF The World:

1. News Of The World is my kind of story. It is the kind of story to read aloud. It is the kind of story to curl up in my favorite chair with a cozy blanket. It is the kind of story I can’t wait to tell my best reader friends.
2. I loved reading this story aloud. The rhythm of the words and the rich expressions brought a nostalgia to me. I remembered those childhood stories where I was entranced by the descriptive language and larger than life characters.
3. The story creates just the right amount of tension to keep reading.
4. Jiles captures both Captain and Johanna perfectly. While reading the story I pictured both of them so clearly I swear they lived and breathed.
5. The unfolding relationship between Johanna and Captain. Captain has the ability to be firm and yet tender. He seems to understand her unusual ways. He has patience with humor. Both accept each other. If anything, he wants what is best for her, he wants to protect her, and he wants to make sure her future is secure.
6. I loved the dry wit from the characters. Some of the wit is so dry I had to pause and think if maybe they really weren’t trying to be funny.
7. I enjoyed reading the secondary stories. Stories of other people who’d been captured by Indians and later had to assimilate back with current culture standards. Stories of how people responded and treated Johanna, her different ways that seem odd and uncouth. I enjoyed reading about the people who lived in Texas during this era. Whether it was freed black men, young pioneer families, simple town folk, or a widow with a heart of gold.
8. It is rare for me to tear up while reading a story. The last few pages I had eyes filled with tears.

(Review) Reading People: How Seeing The World Through The Lens Of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel

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Publisher and Publication Date: Baker Books. September 19, 2017.
Genre: Nonfiction, reading, personality types.
Pages: 226.
Source: Complimentary copy from Baker Books.
Rating: Very good.

Amazon

Bogel_Anne
Anne Bogel is the creator of the popular blog Modern Mrs. Darcy and the podcast What Should I Read Next? Her popular book lists and reading guides have established Bogel as a tastemaker among readers, authors, and publishers. Bogel lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Introduction: When we talk about someone’s personality, we’re referring to those characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that make that person unique. Page13.

When I read any book it is always cover to cover. This includes reading the preface, foreword, and introduction. The introduction in Reading People is insightful, applicable, and engaging. Bogel points out, “we truly want to know about ourselves.” This is why we take those silly tests or surveys on Facebook. But truly understanding out personalities requires us to dig a little deeper than what social media offers. When we understand ourselves, we know why we act and react the way we do in certain situations. It helps us to understand other people and respond to them.

Bogel’s goals in this book:
“1. provide an overview of the frameworks that have been the most helpful to me;
2. make this important information a lot more accessible and a lot less intimidating; and
3. highlight the kind of valuable insights that come from understanding personality.”

My Thoughts:
One of my favorite types of nonfiction books is reading about personality types. It’s been a few years ago that I read Quiet by Susan Caine. It was then I discovered I am an introvert. Through a Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, my personality type is INFJ. Another site to take a free test is 16 Personalities. I’ve actually taken a few of these tests. All tests state I’m an INFJ. INFJ means Introversion/Intuitive/Feeling/Judging. AKA the Advocate. I wish I’d known this information when younger. It would have helped to make decisions about college and career. It helps me to understand why I react the way I do in certain situations. I now have a reply when people tell me I’m weird.

What I love about Reading People:

1. The writing style is relaxed, transparent, informative, and engaging.
2. In taking a personality test, it is important to take it based on what I am really like and not what I wish I was like.
3. Bogel encouraged me “to make peace” with who I am.
4. Chapter 3 is on highly sensitive people. That’s me. I certainly dwell on things longer than I should. Experiences seem to effect me more. And I notice things other people miss.
5. Chapter 4 is on the love languages. Personalities need and respond to certain love languages. This is a perfect chapter for those in a new relationship or for any person wanting to understand this aspect of life.
6. Bogel teaches what the personality types are strong at and what they need to work on. For example, “Judging types are in danger of missing new info because they’re too focused on closure, on achieving the goal.” Page 121.
7. The last subtopic is moving past the education of our personality, and on to how to grow positively in our personality.

 

 

(Review) Irena’s Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children From The Warsaw Ghetto by Tilar J. Mazzeo

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Publisher and Publication Date: Simon and Schuster/Gallery Books paperback. 2017.
Genre: Nonfiction, Poland, World War II, Holocaust.
Pages: 352.
Source: Self-purchase.
Rating: Excellent.

I’d first heard of Irena Sendler after watching a film titled, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler.

There is a project and film about Irena’s life: Life in a Jar

Summary:

Preface: Page xii. But while Irena Sendler was undeniably a heroine-a woman of immense, almost unfathomable moral and physical courage-she was not a saint either. To make her a saint in the telling of her story is, in the end, to do a kind of dishonor to the true complexity and difficulty of her very human choices…She was at once a heroine-although she disdained that word, too-and a flawed and average person.

All humans are “flawed and average.” A hero is someone who is ordinary in every way yet rises to the challenges set before them. The challenges set before Irena were immense. She was given an opportunity, and because of her career, to make a difference in the lives of children. Some people would have said no. Irena said yes.

Irena Sendler was age 29 when Nazi Germany attacked Poland in 1939. She was married and had a boyfriend. Irena was not Jewish. She had grown up with Jewish friends and neighbors. Most of her friends were not religious. They were educated leftist thinkers. She was a social worker. During the war she became involved in the underground network of helping Jews survive. Irena specifically worked to help Jewish children escape and survive the Holocaust.

My Thoughts:
One of the few things I disliked about the book was Mazzeo’s direct quote I gave. I don’t believe it was necessary to state Irena was a “flawed and average person.” However, I believe this was stated to show one of the elements of the book: Irena was a normal person who became a heroine by rescuing Jewish children during the Holocaust. I believe the story itself showed me the kind of person and character of Irena.
What I loved about the book:
1. I was given a broad and detailed view of the city of Warsaw-it’s people specifically.
2. The book gave me a view of the Jewish people I’d not seen before in other stories. For example, the Jews are not a 1 type people. They are as varied as any other people group. Some Jews are orthodox, some are educated, some had businesses, some were intellectuals; and some had Jewish blood in their ancestry but did not consider their religion to be Jewish. Some of the Jewish people were not religious at all, and were leftist thinkers leaning towards communism.
3. The events leading up to and during the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany.
4. The network system of getting children out of the Warsaw Ghetto.
5. The individual stories of those children Irena helped.
6. Irena’s story showed me the immense task, suffering, brutality, fear, and betrayal of what she endured, as well as the other people who worked to save the Jews.
7. The after affects of surviving the Holocaust is looked at in brief. The two stories shared gave a great impact on this aspect.