Mother & Son, The Respect Effect: What Every Mom Needs to Recognize in Her Son

On the back cover of the book, Mother & Son, wife of the author, Sarah Eggerichs, states, “As a mother, it is never too early and never too late to apply this message…” This is such a true statement! Whether your son is a toddler or a forty something (or older) dad raising his own family, you can learn how to communicate and relate to those boys. One thing I realized fairly early while raising boys was that by the time they reached puberty or were close to it, they had a need to be treated like men more than children. They would go back and forth between being a child and wanting to be a man but if I continued to treat them as a child the relationship suffered. One chapter in this book talks about how boys (and men) desire “shoulder time”. Shoulder time is allowing your son to just sit next to you without riddling him with questions about his day or simply just admiring whatever he is doing. Just watching. He will open up to you much more quickly this way and even invite you into his world.

I love the following insight by Eggerichs who says,

“Moms need reminders to be a little friendlier toward their sons, especially when someone is severely testing her patience, which most often is her boy.”

Do you respond in a friendly way when your sons test your patience? Or are you impatient and unfriendly. I know I could have done a lot better in this area. But like Sarah Eggerichs says, it’s never too late to apply this message.

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Why I read this book.

I am the mother of four boys plus I have a husband. Now, I also have seven grandsons. My husband says all the time, “I could use some shoulder time.” Often my husband asks me if I would like to help him in the garage or go along to do something with him. He doesn’t really want help, he just wants me to hang with him, admire him and do “shoulder time.” That’s what energizes him. My boys are now ages 28-34. My grandsons are newborn to eight years old. I’m going to apply these principles to those boys and see what happens. Remember it’s never too late to improve your Mother & Son relationships!

Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers; Finding Freedom from Hurt and Hate

In Forgiving Our Fathers and Mothers, author Leslie Leyland Fields tells the compelling story of her own journey to forgiveness of a distant, emotionally absent and sometimes abusive father. The author skillfully weaves the stories of others who are on their own paths of forgiving a parent. A very helpful part of the book is at the end of each chapter there is a section written by Dr. Jill Hubbard, a clinical psychologist, who tells the reader not only what the author is dealing with but practical solutions and fresh ways to look at these issues. Fields writes,

“many of us repeat even the most harmful of behaviors modeled by our parents – unless we recognize and confront them.”

This is a great resource for anyone who is dealing with a broken relationship with a parent for whatever reason. A lot of it is painful to read if you’ve been in this situation, but as Dr. Hubbard writes,

“When there is no awareness, acknowledgment, surrender, confession, remorse, or repentance, there is a very predictable runoff that spills over from one generation to the next.”

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Why I read this book…

I had to forgive my father and mother. I did that many years ago before reading this book but it’s a process. Pain needs to be peeled away, spoken about, to allow the new to grow, to allow the beauty to emerge. I also realized that the following by Fields is true in my situation – “Most of us have parents who did not mean it for evil, whose lapses and failings and absences were not intended to wound. They would take it back if they could. Many were in the grip of illness and circumstances they did not know how to change. They were weak, without understanding, trying to make their way without resources, not knowing how to raise children. Most did not mean it for evil, but even if some did, God was still present, and He still intends to use it for good in our lives, and for the good of others around us.”

My parents were in the grip of mental illness. Both of them, often at the same time. They were trying to make their way without resources. And when I realized God was present with me through those childhood years and He still intends to use if for good not only in my life but in the lives of others, I can run towards forgiveness rather than away from it. Forgiveness is my ticket out of a self-made prison.



A Family Shaped by Grace: How to Get Along with the People Who Matter Most

A Family Shaped by Grace by Gary Morland is a breath of fresh air. Morland writes of being raised in a dysfunctional family, pulled into alcoholism, and bringing these traits into his own marriage and family. That’s the first chapter. In the remaining 14 chapters he tells us that if this is your “normal,” how you can change it. Morland’s Timeless Tools of Family Peace (chapter 5) is well worth the price of the book but he doesn’t stop there. If you want to change the trajectory of your family and leave a different legacy for your children and grandchildren to pass down, then read this book A Family Shaped by Grace!

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Why I read this book…

I grew up in a family where BOTH parents suffered from severe mental illness. I had very few examples on how to be a wife and mother. All that I learned I learned from my mother-in-law and friends who I thought were doing it right. Also I didn’t become a Christian until I was 23 years old so I made a TON of mistakes in life between 14 and 23. At age 23 a dear Christian nurse I was working with led me to the Lord. Nothing grieved me more than when I discovered how much I had done wrong and what that would do to my future marriage and family. But God is a God of second chances. God doesn’t treat us as we deserve. He shows mercy and grace and will restore what the locusts have destroyed (Joel 2:25). I needed (and still need) all the grace I can get!

Grace, Salt and Social Media

don’t say something permanently hurtful just because you are temporarily upset

Many (many, many) times after I have posted a comment (sometimes a-hasty-flippant-without-engaging-my-heart-or-brain-comment) on social media, or pushed send on the e-mail “to all” I have a sudden oh-goodness-that-probably-could-be-taken-the-wrong-way-epiphany-moment.

Can I avoid offending everyone or upsetting someone who does not agree with me? No, but I have a responsibility to offer up my opinion with grace “sprinkled with a little salt.”

Here are a few guidelines I’m trying (I’ll still need grace) to hold myself to in this say-whatever-is-on-your-mind-no-holds-bar-type-of-communication. To be clear, I’m not talking about sharing the gospel, although that too needs to be done with plenty of grace, but that’s a whole different story. This is about general conversation.

never give up the opportunity to keep your mouth shut 

Elizabeth Elliot (wife of Jim Elliot), author and speaker taught me this as a young Christian. We don’t have to have an opinion on everything. It’s OK to keep our thoughts to ourselves. Better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than open your mouth and remove all doubt. I forget who said that??

make sure it’s the right time to say something

Timing is everything. Often it’s better to wait for a more opportune time to say something. When I read something that rubs me the wrong way my natural hasty response is to say something that “packs a punch” right back and if I respond right away it will come across harsh. Take a breather, think about your response, pray about your response, actually read the whole post or e-mail. Maybe you misunderstood or missed something important the first time you read it. Don’t just pick up a “mob-response-mentality.”

consider a private message 

This may be a better option if you feel like you must correct a wrong or address something to the writer. If I feel that everyone needs to hear what I have to say, or someone might say it first, then it’s more about me than the writer. After thinking it through carefully, ask the writer if you misunderstood what they were meaning or would they be open to hearing your opinion on the subject. You’d be surprised how receptive they are if you ask permission to engage privately in an honest debate rather than lambasting them in a public forum.

respond “with grace

This means what you say is wholesome (no bad language), fitting, kind, positive, sensitive, purposeful, complementary, gentle, truthful, loving, and thoughtful. Will it add value to the reader(s) or tear someone down? If I can’t put a check by all these then I need to think about rewording it or just not commenting. Any time I comment when I still have even the smallest caution or doubt, I regret it. That “still, small voice” is the Holy Spirit! Don’t ignore it.

our comments/conversation/speech should be “seasoned with salt

Just as salt on our food makes it more enjoyable and palatable, so should our words to others. We need to make sure they are pleasant, agreeable, acceptable and pleasing before we start throwing them around.

be careful what we put into our minds

The words we speak or write reveals the attitude of our heart and soul. Whatever we read, see or hear affects our thoughts. When we speak or write those thoughts become opinions. Negative thoughts will become negative words. Unwholesome or unkind thoughts will become unkind or unwholesome words. Think of it this way. If we had a water source and allowed all sorts of germs or contaminates to get into that water, what would it taste like if we took a drink from there? Would it be pleasant and helpful or would it cause harm?

make it your goal to add value to the reader

This ALONE will put a check on anything you say.

John C. Maxwell writes, “the ability to add value to others must be built upon the solid ground of believing in ourselves. The only way we can be consistent and authentic in valuing others is to see value in ourselves. The more you like and respect yourself, the more you like and respect other people. The more you accept yourself just as you are, the more you accept others just as they are. When you add value to others, there is an instant return of positive emotions that causes you to feel better about who you are. Positive thinking doesn’t build self-image. Positive acts do. If you perform positive acts, not only will your self-image begin to rise, you will find yourself living a more significant life that matters.”

This is by no means an exhaustive list. I try to keep “advice lists” short. Many of us could add one or two excellent points of our own.

What is your top “rule” before you post something?

Just Do Something

Just Do Something, A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will…

OR How to Make a Decision Without Dreams, Visions, Fleeces, Impressions, Open Doors, Random Bible Verses, Casting Lots, Liver Shivers, Writing in the Sky, Etc., by Kevin DeYoung.

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If you struggle with every major decision in life, waiting for “open doors” or a “sign” from God that you are making the best decision, within God’s will, then this book is for you. You will discover how to make a wise decision about who to marry, where to live, a career or choosing your college major. What if you’ve already blown it and made major mistakes in life choices? There is good news here too. God loves to help people, to bind up the brokenhearted, to give us a second chance. You will find huge amounts of wisdom in this small book.

DeYoung encourages readers of all ages to stop obsessing over whether we are in the right career, going to the right college or marrying the “one” right person. He says Christians have become spiritually paralyzed, unable to make a decision until they “know” God’s will. DeYoung urges Christians to stop pleading with God to show us His will for our lives and confidently move forward and “just do something,” anything with our lives. If we are seeking God’s Kingdom first, loving God above all else, obeying God’s commands and desiring God’s glory instead of our own, we can feel secure in making our own good choices and have faith we will find ourselves in the center of God’s will. Highly recommended!! Click here to order a copy!

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Why I read this book

DeYoung writes small concise and to the point books. He doesn’t beat around the bush. I read his book Crazy Busy, another small book, in the past and really loved it.  The only reason I picked this one up (while on a marriage cruise where he was speaking) was because I so enjoyed his first one. I was not disappointed and you won’t be either.

Blue Like Jazz

Blue Like Jazz  is Donald Miller’s personal memoirs about his journey into and through anger and confusion about Christianity, self-doubt, the struggle to “love people just because they exist” no matter their situation in life yet not abandon the truth of scripture. Miller is so quirky, honest and transparent about his search for true meaning that it may make some parents want to ban the book but if you hang in there he leads you straight to Jesus. (It’s not in any way graphic or inappropriate, just says what every one is thinking but not saying). I love how Miller points out that God never withholds love to teach us a lesson and that to have influence or get people to listen to you about spiritual matters they have to sense that you like them and that you care. And he likes Ravi Zacharias and Brennan Manning! Highly recommended.  Click here to order!

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Why I read this book

In our women’s Bible study group, between us, we have many kids in the highschool and college age group. A lot of our kids were reading the book and we thought we could gain some insight into their mindset. We were very surprised how much we really liked Miller’s take on all things religious.

The Sacred Search

If you are looking for a great book on the subject of relationships, dating and marriage this is an awesome read! It will change your perspective on the subject. Author Gary Thomas shows us what it means to keep God at the center of our relationships and to focus on a greater mission in your future marriage. A great gift for that special single person in your life! I highly recommend this book.  Click to order The Sacred Search.

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Why I read this book…since I am WAY past “searching” for anyone…

Oh boy, where do I start.  I SO wish I had this book and read it at about age fourteen! I didn’t want my only daughter to make the same mistakes in this area (and there were a LOT) so I read this before giving it to my daughter. Even after 35 years of marriage it was helpful (in a reverse kind of way) to bring healing to my soul.  Plus it led me to a whole list of other books by Gary Thomas on marriage like Sacred Marriage, A Lifelong Love, and Cherish that will bless your marriage no matter what state it is in. So if you have a teen boy or girl, young highschool or college age son or daughter, don’t hesitate another minute.  Order Sacred Search for them now and read it to them or bribe them to read it!