Monthly Archives: March 2011

The Last Lecture: Book Review

As promised, here is my second guest post! Shannon is a mother, wife artist and teacher. She blogs about maintaining an attached parenting style while working full time on her blog The ArtsyMama.  She also contributes to Natural Parents Network and Everything Cloth.

The Last Lecture
by Randy Pausch with Jeffery Zaslow

I first read this book a few years ago and I thought to myself – this will be a book I share with my children.  I was struck by the honesty and feeling with which this book was written.  The premise of the book is that the author Randy Pausch is dying and wants to share what he learned in life with his children.  The book stemmed from the last lecture he gave at Carnegie Mellon where he was a professor.  He gave his lecture to his students and the faculty there at the university but the real “head-fake” was that the lecture was actually for his children who were too young at the time to understand what was going on or to understand the lessons he wanted to share with them.

The author frames his message through his childhood memories.  He discusses the plans he made as a child and what he did with those plans.  If you are looking for a book that touches on the spectrum of human emotion and is reflective of a life well lived, though cut short – pick up this book.  The book also has a companion website.

The Last Lecture is available on Amazon.com in hardcoverpaperback, Kindle edition and audio book formats.


When Pigs Move In: Book Review

8,000 hits are here and I have 2 guest writers this time! Today’s guest writer is Amy Phoenix. Amy is a gentle, yet direct parenting guide and healing facilitator dedicated to sharing insights and practices to transform frustration and anger, heal the past and nurture conscious relationships. You can visit her at Innate Wholeness. I hope you enjoy her book review below.

A few years ago I had a spiritually transforming experience when faced with death and cultivating an inner relationship with Christ has been a moment-to-moment journey ever since. In many ways it is about undoing negative influences in my consciousness to let God lead. I admit I was intrigued when a friend told me about the book When Pigs Move In written by Don Dickerman, who was spiritually anointed to help people become free of demonic influences.  The title of the book comes from Matthew 8:28-34, when Jesus drove devils out of a man and they asked to go into the pigs rather than the abyss.

via cdn.arsenalbooks.com

Although I have a broad view of Christianity and When Pigs Move In challenges how I would usually discuss spirituality, I have never been given a book that was not beneficial for my life. Dickerman, an ordained Southern Baptist minister, highlights the many ways Satan’s army robs, steals and deceives. Instead of this being some weird account of demonic possession and exorcism, it is a very straight forward book outlining how dark forces are responsible for many, if not all, of our ills. This ranges from negative thinking to depression to diseases of the body. He discusses how these demonic influences find ways to attach to us, what purposes they serve and how to remove them.

I appreciate passion and Dickerman employs it throughout the book. He was led to this type of ministry when he was preaching to people in prison. One evening after he spoke with a group he went to his hotel room feeling like he was not doing enough. He would lead people to Jesus only to see them still suffering. He fell on his knees asking God to show him how to really help these people. In the following weeks he had visions of God healing people through him. He was told that he may not know what to do, but that healing would take place. The book outlines situations where people who were previously tormented in various ways were freed through deliverance.

When Pigs Move In may bring up some core fears for Christians and it can also put those fears to rest. If you question how much influence dark forces can or are having in your life, this book can help you make that determination. Dickerman bases his work on Biblical scripture and gives clear directions for delivering one’s self from the traps of sin and evil through Jesus. Readers who do not have a stomach for strong Christian language or the evangelical approach may want to set judgment aside and ask God to lead them as they read.

View Dickerman’s video explaining his reason for writing When Pigs Move In.


Birth Plan for Birth Center

via scmidwife.com

Are you pregnant? Are you planning on becoming pregnant? Then go read my guest post at Fine and Fair on creating a birth plan for a birth center birth. I share my birth plan and some suggestions and what to include and who to share it with.

While you’re there, check out the other posts on birth plans, one for a hospital birth and one for a caesarean.


Wigs on the Green: Book Review

Nancy Mitford’s Wigs on the Green

Nancy Mitford is probably best known for her novels The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, but recently relatives of Mitford’s have permitted some of her lesser-known novels to be reprinted.  One such novel is Wigs on the Green.

via literarious.com

During Mitford’s lifetime, it was not reprinted because of a family falling-out regarding its characters who were obviously based on Mitford’s own family.  The most controversial character is Eugenia Malmains, the wealthy, lovely and eccentric heiress whose current hobby horse is “social unionism” which essentially is Nazism wrapped in a Union Jack flag.  When Mitford was writing Wigs on the Green in the mid 1930s, her sister Unity had essentially joined the Nazi party.

The novel Wigs on the Green offers a surprising glimpse at the attitude in England towards Germany pre-WW II and before Germany’s Nazi movement escalated to the horrors modern people associate with it.  That said, Wigs on the Green is a humorous read.  Nothing, not even Eugenia’s Union Jack movement, is taken seriously.  Mitford again offers such spectacles of humanity like Mrs. Lace, the local beauty bent on greatness and filled with drama, or Jasper Aspect, the charming gentleman without funds who spends his days mooching off his friends and seeking out pleasure.  One could easily see a Mrs. Lace or Jasper Aspect in modern-day life.

The action of the book takes place over the course of a few weeks when Noel Foster and Jasper Aspect decide to head to the sleepy town of Chalford to pursue an heiress, Eugenia.  Eugenia, being consumed with the Union Jackshirt movement, quickly proves only amusing for her antics and not marriage-material.  The action continues when two women come to Chalford one escaping an unwanted marriage with a duke and the other escaping a would-be adulterous husband.  When Noel encounters the beautiful Mrs. Lace, they embark on one of the novel’s most ridiculous love affairs.  The true entertainment of the novel culminates in a garden party gone awry, which is where the name Wigs on the Green comes from.

Mitford has created a charming, eccentric world that would be perfectly delightful to read, yet is somewhat jarring to a modern audience because of its references to “social unionism”. Still, Wigs on the Green is a character-driven, funny novel that shouldn’t be left on the shelf because of its lack of political correctness.


Serena: Book Review

Ron Rash’s Serena

Ron Rash is a Carolinian author whose books generally have a deep sense of place, usually in the mountains of North or South Carolina.  Rash often has an obvious yet well-intended and at times heroic theme of environmentalism.  This environmental theme almost always has a David and Goliath overtone. Rash’s David is the lone person or group trying to save these mountains or stream and his Goliath is the big, bad, money-driven business bent on destroying them.

via Amazon.com

In previous novels (One Foot in Eden being the best), Rash writes from his David’s point of view, yet in Serena, he writes from the most formidable Goliath he’s penned yet.  Serena is a woman unprecedented in Rash’s other novels.  She is a woman of strength and intelligence and cold blood. She is a fascinating creature that despite yourself, you find yourself rooting for, even as she strips a forest clean of trees in her husband’s logging business and as she also clears out all obstacles (be they beast or human) in her way.  Serena is seemingly matched by her husband Pemberton, yet as the novel comes to its surprising end, the reader can see that even Pemberton is no match for the sheer will power of Serena.

Rash tells in his interview about the book that he modeled Serena after Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, rather than a female villainess like Shakespeare’s Lady MacBeth.  In the novel Serena, Rash has outdone himself and has brought his favorite theme of nature preservation across to the audience in an entertaining and thought-provoking way.  If you only read one Rash novel in your life, read this one.  It will move you and enrage you and keep you turning the pages just to see what Serena will do next.  And surprisingly, you will miss her when the book is done.


New Contributor

I am thrilled to announce that you will now be reading posts from more than just me. I have a new contributor to welcome to the site!

Please join me in welcoming Lori Larson Horst to A Little Bit of All of It. She will primarily doing book reviews but that doesn’t mean she won’t chime in on other topics occasionally.

She will also have her own feature (that I may contribute to from time to time) called “Their Big Problem, Your Small Solution”. I’ll let her tell you more about that in her first post on it.

Lori is the wife of an Army officer, a teacher and current resident of Washington D.C.She has an undergrad degree in social studies education and a Master’s of Letters in Renaissance literature. Be looking for her first post this week!


Gentle Birth Choices: Book Review

I’m kicking off a week of book reviews in honor of March being National Reading Month! The first book I’m going to review for the week is Gentle Birth Choices by Barbara Harper.

via sunrisewellness.org

This is not the first, but one of the first books I read on birthing naturally. (The first was The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth.) It is a great book to introduce the concepts of gentle, natural birthing and I highly recommend it for anyone on the fence. It also includes a DVD which is great, too.

If I hadn’t already been convinced that I wanted a water birth, this book definitely would have done the job! There is a whole chapter dedicated to water birth detailing the reasons for choosing one and the history behind water birthing. It was fantastic and probably my favorite part of the book.

There is an important chapter dedicated to discussing the medicalization of childbirth. It was eye-opening for me even though I’d already done some research and reading about this topic. The section on “Twilight Sleep” almost brought me to tears.

The chapter on Dispelling the Medical Myths is fantastic and reminds me of  The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth. This section alone is worth reading the book in my opinion. It is followed up by a lovely chapter on a different way to birth, A Gentle Revolution and then a chapter on Midwifery.

The appendices are full of helpful information including questions to ask a doctor or midwife and a sample birth plan.

I’ll leave you with this quote from the book:

“A gentle birth relies on the understanding that labor is part of a mysterious continuum of physiological events, beginning with conception and continuing well into the first year of life. Mother and baby, inseparable and interdependent, work together as a unit from the fertilization of the egg until weaning from breastfeeding takes place. Mothers the world over know that the physical and psychological connections that bind our children to us last a lifetime.”


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