Most of us enjoy reading. But finding a book worth our time may be difficult. I asked several friends to contribute a reading list we could recommend for you. I think they've discovered many intriguing books. If you are wondering how to cope with the changes that are taking place in your life, how to raise your self-esteem, or if you're looking for some different recipes, you will find interesting reading among the books fated below.
Maybe you are attempting to cope with the problems of integrating work, family, and church. Or perhaps you are struggling with the feeling that your life is an open book to your church family. Whatever your current needs may be, one of the following books should bring encouragement and "how-to" for your everyday life. I hope you will find time during the long winter evenings to enjoy reading some of the books we have reviewed for you.—Marie Spangler.
Free to Stay at Home—A Woman's Alternative.
Marilee Horton, Word, 1982, 173 pages, $8.95. Reviewed by Bobbie Jane Van Dolson, supervisor of junior high courses, Home Study International.
A Sunday evening church service based on Titus 2:3-5 brought Marilee to a difficult decision. She would resign her choice job as an executive secretary and become a full-time keeper-at-home. Her devotion to her new calling increased rapidly. This book, one of the results, is a persuasive document that can make the working wife, and certainly the working mother, uncomfortable.
Mrs. Horton is not the wife of a minister, which makes her presentation even more effective. She is convinced " (and convincing) that the home, even if childless, runs more smoothly if the lady of the house is there a good part of the time. Quotes from other Christian women writers are used judiciously. A chapter by Marvin Horton is a gracious tribute to his wife.
This is a book to be read thoughtfully and considered carefully, whether or not the reader accepts the proposed alternative.
Home Sweet Fishbowl: Confessions of a Minister's Wife.
Denise Turner, Word, 1982, 160 pages, $8.95. Reviewed by Bobbie Jane Van Dolson.
To say that Mrs. Turner is not the stereotypical pastor's wife would be an understatement. She seems to view her position as though looking down on it from the choir loft, and her theme throughout is this: The pastor's wife is God's person first of all. After that, she is herself, willing to be used as God has blessed her with talents and abilities. And these just might not include playing the piano and offering the opening prayer at all the ladies' meetings.
Although the author interviewed more than seventy-five ministers' wives, the book is uniquely hers. It is her genuinely humorous and sparkling style that keeps the reader engrossed. The approach to such old subjects as family finances, rearing PKs, and maintaining quality "family time" is refreshing. This is a book to agree with, for the most part, and to enjoy completely.
Let's Make a Memory.
Gloria Gaither and Shirky Dobson, Word Books, 1983, 223 pages, $9.95. Reviewed by Jeanne James, editorial secretary for the Adventist Review.
Every family will want to own a copy of Let's Make a Memory. It is chock-full of wonderful ideas for building family traditions and togetherness—ideas for holidays and special days; for making memories through the seasons; for making memories on vacation (beach, desert, mountains, backyard); for making memories with special people (grand parents and grandchildren, immediate family, spouses, neighbors, those who are ill); for building relationships, communication, and spiritual growth; and ideas for keeping all these memories alive as the family matures.
Delightfully illustrated and set up in an easy-to-use format, the book also includes an extensive list of resources for family reading and activities.
Protecting Your Children From Sexual Assault: Little Ones Parents Teaching Guide, and Little Ones Activity Workbook.
William Katz, illustrated by Mary Albury-Noyes, Little Ones Books, 1984. Parents Teaching Guide: 70 pages, $4.95, paper. Children's Workbook: 52 pages, $5.95, paper. Reviewed by Carmen Seibold, nurse and pastor's wife.
No parent can avoid facing the possibility of his or her child being a victim of sexual abuse. Assuming safety because of one's location or circle of acquaintances is false security. Sexual offenders are usually known—and trusted—by child and parents alike. Prevention is possible through the supervision and, even more crucial, the education of children. However, many parents are unsure as to what and how to teach without confusing or frightening their children.
This instruction set is impressive. Working together, parent and child progress through lessons designed to make a child secure though aware, respectful though assertive. The lessons emphasize a child's special place in God's creation and plans. They explore emotional responses and self-determination to increase the child's insight and choice-making ability. A basic, matter-of-fact section teaches the child about the human body and about which parts of it are "public" and which are "private." Only after this groundwork and the explanation of loving, or "YES TOUCH," does the book introduce "NO TOUCH."
The last section consists of "risk situations" that not only depict the possible sexual abuse scenarios but also ask the child to react intelligently. For example, if the child were running away from someone who had invited him into a car, should he worry about leaving his wagon on the sidewalk?
The Parents Guide includes important information on the signals a child sends out if being sexually victimized, and on the parents' responsibility in meeting the child's emotional and medical needs.
The illustrations are clear yet inoffensive, and are a real asset to this set.
He Began With Eve.
Joyce Landorf, Grason, 1983, 165 pages, $9.95. Reviewed by Ellen Bresee, co-coordinator of Shepherdess International.
Joyce Landorf s warm and witty insights once again help us learn—this time as she writes, in fictional style, about five Old Testament women. These characters come dramatically alive as the reader sees them through the eyes of the author. The women of whom she writes had accepted God's evaluation of their personal worth. They were made of real flesh and blood and had great individuality, yet they held themselves accountable to God for their actions.
Joyce has also produced, under the same title and covering basically the same material, a cassette program complete with printed transcripts and a leader's/listener's guide. This program is enhanced by her descriptive, spontaneous style. It includes more women than the book does. One might not interpret some of these Biblical characters the same way Joyce does, but her ideas entice one back to the Scriptures and the Bible commentaries. The cassette program would make a great study curriculum for groups of women, (Available from Word, Waco, Texas, for $90.)
Let Me Tell You About My God.
Rosalie Haffner Lee, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1983, 159 pages, $4.95. Reviewed by Leo R. Van Dolson, editor of the adult quarterlies, Sabbath School Department, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Of course, a 159-page book cannot do justice to the Psalms. But it can whet our appetite for these songs of experience that speak so personally to our needs today. Most of all, the Psalms do tell us about God and His willingness to listen to the cry of His earthly children. Rosalie Haffner Lee is not only the wife of a pastor in Michigan but also a careful Bible student in her own right. She suggests that whereas most of the Scriptures speak to us, the Psalms speak for us. "Like blank checks, we may read our own names and circumstances into them." She presents selected psalms in such a way that their varied moods, a wide range of subject matter, and diversity of style "form a mosaic of revealed truth about God." She demonstrates that it is a mosaic that has special appeal and relevance to the people of God who have the task of sharing the truth about Him with a skeptical world in the last days before Christ returns.
Helen Kooiman Hosier, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1984, 192 pages, $5.95. Reviewed by Jeanne James.
Living Cameos is a collection of brief life sketches of Christian women from all sorts of backgrounds and with many varying lifestyles. The author writes about Shirley Dobson, Dee Jepsen, Beverly LaHaye, Kathy Salerno, Edith Shaeffer, and others. When you read about how God has worked in their lives—how they have faced illness, tragedy, loneliness, poverty, and heart ache and have emerged with an even stronger faith in God, you will find your own experience strengthened. A good source of hope and encouragement, this book provides excellent material you can share with others in devotional talks, study groups, Sabbath School, et cetera.
Walking In Wisdom: A Woman's Workshop on Ecclesiastes.
Barbara Bush, Zondervan Publishing House, 1982, 128 pages, $2.95. Reviewed by Jeanne Jarnes.
Barbara Bush sees Ecclesiastes as a fascinating account of King Solomon's reflections on life and reality. By studying passages in Ecclesiastes, we see that temptations well known to all of us, such as pleasure, possessions, and status, when put in the right perspective, become meaningless. And even wisdom, good intentions, and growing old must be part of our walk with God, or they too will be meaningless.
Discussion questions at the close of each of the twelve lessons make this an excellent Bible study guide for groups or an effective tool for those who want to study on their own. This book is part of the Woman's Workshop series.
The Woman's Complete Home Organizer.
Rena Stronach, Tyndale House Publishers, 1984, 128pages, $2.50, Reviewed by Carmen Seibold.
Most of us have thought, I simply have to get organized, and yet we view the process as another burden added to an already full schedule. This concise book (less than 100 pages minus the charts) provides virtually every tool a woman needs for personal organization. With a wealth of information, simple charts, and calendars, the author eliminates the intimidating aspect of working out a planning system.
For example, there is an excellent section on the values and how-to's of appropriately delegating responsibility to children. The checklists include one for moving, which seems particularly useful for the ministerial lifestyle.
Just as important are the motives Stronach suggests for a more orderly lifestyle. She debunks the myth of the "ideal woman," with its accompanying societal pressures. A woman needs to be organized so that in juggling home, motherhood, and employment, she does not neglect developing into the kind of person God intends for her to be.
The Woman's Complete Home Organizer seeks to help the reader work "smarter," not harder, and promotes planning rather than living by accident.
Spaghetti From the Chandelier ... and Other Humorous Adventures of a Minister's Family.
Ruth Truman, Abingdon Press, 1984, 158pages, $7.95, paper. Reviewed by Carmen Seibold.
At first glance this book suggests a cutesy comedy about life in ministry. The title and cover are misleading; this book might do much to increase the understanding and forgiveness of laity for the pastor, and provide encouragement for the latter.
This account of the Trumans' first fifteen years of ministry often is high comedy. Clergy couples will identify with many of their experiences. Most are typical of the traditional ministerial lifestyle, and include the tragic as well as the merely annoying. Yet after the sympathetic laugh, or tear, one should question why some of these situations are expected to be tolerated by ministers' families. For example, the house that the church considered too much of a fire trap for children's classes but acceptable as a parsonage for the Truman family of six.
The writing is never heavy-handed, even when dealing with Pastor Truman's last-minute doubts about his calling before ordination, or Mrs. Truman's suspected malignancy and resulting goal clarification (which led her to a Ph.D. in education from UCLA).
This story of a couple's dedicated service to God should make us more merciful to clergy couples of any denomination. A strong pill with sugar coating.
Love Me With Tough Love.
Anne Ortlund, Word, 1979, 183 pages, $7- 95. Reviewed by Bobbie Jane Van Dolson.
Only a most blase reader could get through this book without becoming genuinely excited. The author's enthusiasm for the church is expressed so cleverly, so persuasively, that it is bound to be contagious.
The church is a family, and must perform the family functions of strengthening, comforting, and fully caring for its members if it is to thrive. We all are aware of that, but the way Mrs. Ortlund says it, the apt analogies she uses to illustrate it make the fact come alive.
Take this, for instance: "In these days immorality, like a pack of wolves, is enclosing us on all sides. Unless the sheep bind together tighter than ever, more and more sheep on the fringes of the flock will get snatched. Oh, how close we must move in, or we'll get ripped away, and ripped apart."
The author and her pastor-husband foster small groups of from four to eight people, thus enabling the members to truly communicate with and "disciple" one another.
All Christians can profit from this book. For the pastor's wife it should be a high-priority item.
You Can Fly!
Janice Barfield, Zondervan Publishing House, 1981, 134pages, $7.95. Reviewed by Jeanne James.
Janice Barfield is more than just a flight attendant for Delta Airlines. She is also a born-again Christian with a definite mission. You Can Fly! is the story of her conversion as a young girl, of how she was impressed to choose a career as an airline stewardess, and of all the wonderful and not-so-wonderful experiences she's had during the past seventeen years with Delta. For instance, she claims there is a way to fish someone's dentures out of a full airsickness bag!
But this book relates much more than the personal experiences of a flight attendant. It tells the story of a courageous woman who wants to integrate her faith and her daily life. This is an inspiring book that brings laughter and tears, and leads us to a new commitment to make Christ part of our every day lives and to share His love with others actively.
Christian Women at Work.
Patricia Ward and Martha Stout, Zondervan, 1981, 240 pages, $9.95. Reviewed by Carmen Seibold.
The majority of adult women are working outside the home, and nine out of ten women will work outside the home at some time of their lives. For many, work is a necessity for economic survival. Yet for Christian women, this struggle is often complicated by guilt for failing to achieve a traditional ideal and by the church's silence about this con temporary reality.
This book addresses the needs of working women who are striving to function within the context of their faith. In a readable anecdotal style Ward and Stout discuss vocation and calling, creativity, the problems of integrating work and family, and adapting to male-dominated organizational structures—all within a Biblical framework.
The book emphasizes that motivation should differentiate between the Christian and the non-Christian woman's attitude toward employment. The Holy Spirit energizes the Christian woman, and enlarges the context within which she views the issues facing contemporary women.
How to Raise Your Self-esteem.
Dair Deckert Rochau, Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1983, 76 pages. Reviewed by Debby Wade, editorial assist ant for the Home and Family Service of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
"God loves you. . . and it is all right to love yourself is only one of the concepts packed into these seventy-five pages. The book contains illustrations involving individuals such as ourselves and chapters such as "Does Anyone Love Me for Me?" "Overcoming Guilt," "Prescriptions for Healthier Relation ships," and "Coping With Failure." Exercises concluding each chapter provide food for introspection.
The author points out that each person is unique. Reading this book will do a great deal toward helping you raise your self-esteem.
Louise Hagler, The Book Publishing Company, 1982, 222pages, $8.00. Reviewed by Debby Wade.
Have you grown weary of your usual recipes? Are you looking for some original, out-of-the-ordinary, mouth watering ideas? Tofu Cookery will provide some for you.
Louise Hagler has created a gourmet's delight in this color-picture-illustrated cookbook. It features simple recipes using tofu, a food growing in popularity and available in the produce section of most grocery stores. The recipes use commonly obtainable ingredients you don't have to go to a specialty-food store to cook one of these crowd-pleasing dishes. The author points out that not only is tofu inexpensive, but it is also a good source of protein and very low in calories. You won't mind being tempted by parsley onion dip (a blend of tofu, parsley, onion, and herbs—14 calories per tablespoon) or cream-of-celery soup. Try a fresh fruit salad with a sweet-spicy dressing, followed by walnut broccoli stir-fry. Then top it off with one of the four cheesecakes. Yum!
Joyce Landorf, Fleming H. Revell Company, 1981, 192pages, $5.95. Reviewed by Becky Owens, homemaker.
Women commonly experience certain change points in their lives: When the babies come, when the children are off and running, the teen years, the empty-nest years, and the solo years, just to name a few. Joyce Landorf describes these times of change in a woman's life in a witty, powerful way. She emphasizes that God is interested in helping us during these sometimes difficult changes and how He can use us in a unique way. You will find reading this book very worthwhile.