Sunday, September 30, 2012

Book Review: What a Difference a Mom Makes

Boys will be boys--always.

And no one has a more powerful impact on them than you, Mom.

Surprise! Your boy wants to please you, and he cares deeply about what you think. Those driving needs will stay with him throughout his lifetime. That gives you, Mom, a lot of influence over your son. You can set him up for success in life.

In What a Difference a Mom Makes, the New York Times bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman reveals how you can make a positive imprint on your son--from the moment you first hold him in your arms until the moment he leaves for college. And the best news? It's never too late to start, no matter what age your son is now.

Through Dr. Leman's expert advice, you'll understand who your son is on the inside, the truth behind sibling squabbles (and how to handle them), a secret for discipline that works every time, and how to navigate the critical teen years. You'll also discover how your parenting style impacts your relationship with your son and how you can respond in a healthy way to his growing interest in sex and relationships.

Want to capture your boy's heart? Want a man you'll be proud to call your son? You can make a difference, because you are the one who matters most in your boy's world.

Even if he won't admit it.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

If you've  been reading my blog for any length of time, then you know I'm very blessed to have four children, two of which are boys. So I definitely couldn't pass up the opportunity to review this book. I was pretty excited for it to arrive.

I enjoy a very good relationship with my 13 year old son, Sam. We communicate well with each other and we share the same sense of humour. While he knows I'm a softie, he is careful not to take advantage of that, and he is very respectful of me. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that he is the way he is. I want to ensure that I do everything I can as his mother to raise him up through the difficult teen years into a good man. It is my hope that Matt and I will share the same close relationship as he grows older.

One of the many things I liked about this book is that it isn't geared towards a particular age group of boys. The author touches on each stage of life, from birth right through to college. He shares what is important to boys, how they think, and what they long for. The best thing they long for? To make their mom happy!

Many times I'd read something that would get me thinking, and I'll ask Sam if that was true, or something he felt or wondered about. It opened up a few really great conversations.

The author talks about how to raise your son to be respectful to you, and to his siblings. When to stop doing things for them so they learn to do them for themselves, when and how to talk about drinking, drugs and sex. How to treat a girl, and definitely how not to treat a girl. He covers temper tantrums, positive reinforcement, how to let go and how birth order plays a role.

I was pleased to discover that many of the things a mother should be doing are things I'm already doing, but I still learned so much. I want to still have strong relationships with Sam and Matt even after they are married and have families of their own.

I've always been so thankful to be married to a wonderful man like my Ian. He is respectful of me, affectionate and encouraging. He helps around the house and willingly changes diapers and goes grocery shopping. He is devoted to God and lives that out every day. Our sons have a great example to follow. It's easy to feel as though I don't have as big an impact on them being their mother. After reading this book I realized that my role as their mother is equally as important. And in some areas, even more so.

I will definitely keep this book on my bookshelf and recommend it to anyone who is blessed to have boys.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Book Review: My Journey to Heaven

An unforgettable trip to the gates of heaven and back

As Marv Besteman lay in a hospital bed, visions of celestial beauty were the last thing on his mind. He had just had surgery to remove a rare pancreatic tumor. Alone after visiting hours ended, Marv tossed and turned, wanting more than anything else to simply sleep and escape the excruciating pain and misery for a while.

He was about to have an experience he never could have imagined--and could never forget.

In My Journey to Heaven, Marv Besteman shares the true story of his experience of heaven with astounding detail. You'll meet the angels who accompanied him to the gate, overhear his conversation with St. Peter, and feel the joy as he recognizes friends and family members who touched his life.

If you are grieving the loss of a loved one, or even if you just wonder about what happens after we die, you'll find peace, comfort, and encouragement in Marv's story.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Do you ever wonder what Heaven will be like? I'm pretty sure everyone has at some point or another, especially those who have lost a loved one.
Occasionally my mind will wander and I'll wonder about it. I'll try to imagine what it would feel like to see Jesus face to face. To hear Him speak my name. To feel Him hold my hand. To see my father again, and my grandmother. My old school friend. My baby.
My Journey to Heaven was written by a man who claimed to have been taken to Heaven for about a half an hour, before it was discovered that he was there by mistake. Right from the get go he lost me as a reader. Still, I continued to read with as open a mind as I could manage.
The author didn't die and go to Heaven for this experience. Rather he was laying in a hospital bed in excruciating pain, dozing on and off, when two angels appeared in his room and took him to Heaven. He talks about what he saw through a glass wall, talking to (and arguing with!) Peter to be let in, and then his subsequent return to earth.
His account of Heaven wasn't anything I had ever read or heard about before. He talks of seeing babies of all ages and stages of formation, just floating around. A long line of people ahead of him waiting to be allowed inside. The colours he saw, the way the angels looked. And then, the revelation that he was there by mistake.
As if God would make that mistake!
Who am I to say that he never saw Heaven? Maybe God did show him a preview. The author is very quick to say that you can believe him or not, he knows his truth.
I found the entire story hard to swallow and took it as an easy read of fiction. I was distracted by the continual digression from the point of the book, cliches and repetition. I didn't enjoy this book at all. The back of the book says the reader will find peace, comfort and encouragement after reading the author's story. I don't feel any of these things. Rather I feel disturbed. It didn't sound like anything I've ever read in the Bible.
I never like to give a negative review, but I have to be honest and say that I will not be recommending this book to anyone.
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~  

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".


Saturday, September 29, 2012

5QF ~ Sept 29 (And Other Stuff)

I had all these great plans to blog this week and I just never found the time or energy. This week was month end and the stress and pressure was even heavier this month. I was working late each night but it wrapped up yesterday and I'm relieved. I collected close to $1.2 million this month and I think that's a record for me.
Tuesday night I took Julie to her dance class and had 45 glorious minutes alone to read quietly. 
Wednesday night I joined a new study at my church called Freedom Session. It runs through to the Spring with a graduation at the end. I tried taking it last Fall but my emotions were so raw and I was just so empty. Everything in me was screaming GET OUT! GET OUT! I just couldn't go back. But this year I'm going to do it. I am carrying around a lot of junk in my heart that doesn't need to be there. I'm scared to pull it all out and deal with it, but my longing to be free is bigger than my fears. I've committed until Christmas, but have every hope of continuing on.
Last night Ian and the big kids had youth group, so the littles and I walked to Mac's to get slushies. After we returned home and put Matt to bed, Jordan and I watched a movie together tucked in my bed. I love having that sweet time with her. She tells me I'm the best mom ever.
Isn't that the sweetest? She has no frame of reference to determine that I am the best, but I am because she says so. I love it.
This morning I took Matthew to get his first haircut. Two thoughts ran through my mind as I held my little guy on my lap. The first was that I was watching his babyness disappear right in front of my eyes. The second was that I'd never seen anyone cut hair as fast as this guy did. Matthew was looking all around and squirming and this guy just went with it. He was all over Matthew's head at once, it seemed.
Here's the before and after.
He is ridiculously cute and loves hearing everyone telling him that today.
This afternoon we're going over to my mom's to visit. My sister is visiting as well, so that will make it extra special. Sam is going to the mall to meet up with some friends for a bit, and Ian and the girls will meet up with him a little later to walk around together. Tonight is Family Movie Night and we're going to watch The Avengers.
Thanksgiving is next weekend and I'm going to cook a turkey. I think I've only cooked two in my life but I had success each time. Hopefully this will be just as good. I'm going to get the kids involved and give everyone something to do so that when we're all sitting at the table at dinnertime, everyone will feel as though they contributed. I love Thanksgiving and I'm super excited that this year I can afford a turkey!
I love how our lives have changed. God is good to us.
Ok! It's time for my sweet friend Mama M's Five Question Friday!
1. Do you prefer to drive to your vacation spot or fly?

I prefer to drive. That way there's no chance I might, you know, fall out of the sky or crash. I've seen LOST. I know what can happen.

Aside from the whole crashing thing, I don't like flying because I'm terrified of heights and I'm claustrophobic. So when you put them together you get a freaked out Kate. Not to mention the luggage limit/losing my luggage, pat downs and scans at the airport.

When I drive I can take what I want, get out when I want and I won't fall out of the sky.

2. If you could live any where in the world, where would you go and why?

I'd like to live in Florida. I really like it there.

3. Should grown women wear leggings?

I don't know. I guess it depends on how they're worn. If someone is wearing them as pants then no. But if you have a long sweater over them, I guess. I'm fashion-challenged. I just don't want to see butts. Cover them up, ladies. And remember, just because something fits doesn't mean it should be worn.

Just sayin.

4. If you could change your name to any other name, would you? And what would it be?

No. I like the name Kate. It suits me and I don't meet a lot of other Kates around. My full name is Kathryn but I'm a Kate.

5. What magazines to you have subscriptions to?

Today's Parent and Chatelaine. I get them for a $1 each but seldom read them. But that doesn't stop me from getting excited when they arrive in the mail.

Alright, I'm off to enjoy this beautiful Saturday. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

5QF ~ September 23

Oh Sunday evening... why did you have to sneak up on me like this??

Pox on you.

This past week seemed to fly by. Julie started her dance class on Tuesday. She was a little bummed they didn't do more dancing but it was the first night. She's hopeful it will go better this week. I'm looking forward to driving her every week because that means 45 glorious minutes of alone time. Yee haw!

I met my friend Cindy's new baby. He wasn't even a week old yet! So soft and squishy and made these adorable little creaky noises. It's been awhile since I've held a newborn so I was a little nervous. And the best part? No baby fever!!


Ian had the junior high youth leaders over on Thursday for a game night, and I took the children to the open house at the school to meet their teachers and hear about the curriculum for the upcoming year. They each chose a book from the book fair and then we went for ice cream.

Yesterday Ian and I went on a date to see Resident Evil and out for dinner. We're trying to make time for just the two of us, even if it's only a quick cup of tea at Tim Hortons.

Today we made a huge purchase. For me. And my stomach hurts thinking about it, but I'm just so excited about it. I bought an iPad. Ian's loaded it up for me and I'm looking forward to trying everything out. He loves his and is convinced I will love mine. It's white with a pink protective case. Just like my iPhone.

This week at work will be very busy as it's month end. The pressure last month was unreal so at least I'm a little more prepared as to what to expect this time around.

I finally went to see my doctor this week as I've been feeling so lousy lately. He sent me for a ton of blood work and I'm having an ultrasound on Thursday. I haven't heard anything from his office so I'm assuming I'm not at death's door like the Google said I was. I just feel so run down and stressed out. I often feel anxious and as though I'm about to throw up. It's super annoying.

I'm very late for Mama M's Five Question Friday but I don't care. I'm participating anyway.
Let's go!

1. What is one grammar issue you cannot let go without correction?

I don't correct people's grammar because I think that would be incredibly rude. I just flinch inwardly and let it go. An exception, of course, is my children. I try not to be critical but gently remind them of the current tense.

Certain things make my eye twitch. I have a friend that will say "he hanged up on me!" and it kills me. Another one says "the floor needs washed". I can't stand double negatives either. Ain't isn't a word, yet I hear it all the time.

Still, I don't correct the way someone speaks because it's rude.

2. What's your favorite thing about fall?

The cooler air, the colours of the leaves, pies and stews, warm sweaters, Thanksgiving, our fall family photos, Hallowe'en.

3. What's your favourite dish to take to a potluck?

I'll often offer to bring a dessert because I enjoy baking more than I enjoy cooking. If I'm super busy then I'll buy something but if I have the time I'll pour through my recipes to find something I think people will like.

4. When do you start Christmas shopping?

Any time after December 1st.

5. Did you move homes a lot growing up?

No. We lived in our first house until I was 14, then we moved to the city I'm in now. I lived there with my mother and sister until I married Ian at 25. We lived in an apartment for a year, then moved back into my mother's home for a year and half while our house was being built, and then lived in that house for 13 years. And as you know, we sold that house in June and have been living here since June 29th.

Ok, that's that. I need to go and do my nails and then play on my new iPad.

Anyone have any suggestions for "must have" apps?

Have a great week!


Sunday, September 16, 2012

I'm Still Alive

Lately, I think I may have forgotten I have a blog. Always lots of things going on here and not much time to write about them. Between working and home life there isn't much Kate Time left over. I'm really trying to be more present in the lives of my children to make up for the hours I'm away.

Yesterday Sam and I took a mini road trip to Simcoe for him to visit with some friends of his. It was nice to have that time together and we talked about all sorts of things. He's a very interesting guy.

This morning I just about lost my mind on the way to church. Ever smell something that no one else can? Annoying. Well I could smell something funky and I kept sniffing my shirt to make sure it wasn't me. Turns out the right shoulder of my shirt was the culprit. I have no idea what was going on there because it was a clean shirt from my drawer. It distracted me all through the sermon because I kept sniffing my shoulder to see if the smell had gone away. It hadn't. So weird.

I got my hair done this weekend. Had the colour touched up and a little trim. She straightened it for a change and I felt pretty smokin'.

My friend Cindy had her baby on Friday. He looks so cute in his pictures and I can't wait to smell his little baby head.

Julie starts dance this week. I wish I could go with her because one of my dreams is to be a hip hop dancer but apparently I'm not invited. Well then.

Matthew had his check up this past week and is 26 lbs 15 oz of sheer perfection. He didn't like his shots at all. Well now that's an obvious thing to say, isn't it. I've yet to meet someone who loves getting shots.

There's some porn star that's started a blog called Katee Life and I've been getting tons of hits from people looking for her. I'm sure they're very disappointed to land on the blog of a Christian mommy blogger.

This is a pretty lame drive by post, but my mind is all over the place right now and my stomach is hurting so I'm going to sign off for tonight.


Friday, September 07, 2012

5QF ~ September 7

Hello Friday!
Tonight Ian, Sam and Julie will head up north for our church's Fall youth retreat. It's Julie's first one and she's so excited. I'll miss them all so much but my hands will be full in their absence with the two littles to keep me busy! I'm looking forward to lots of cuddles and playtime this weekend.
And early bedtimes... let's be honest here.
I don't know what's going on with my mouth these last couple of days but there's an excess of saliva going on and I'm worried my tongue is going to drown or something. So gross. I checked WebMD and it  turns out I'm dying.
Oh boy.
Well, I can't sit here chit chatting with you all day... I need to get to work. So let's get this Five Question Friday started!
1. What is your favorite fall family tradition?
Definitely our fall family photos. No one ever wants to do them but me and it usually ends up being a frustrating time for everyone. But it's all worth it to get that one great wall-worthy shot. I love seeing our family growing year after year.
2. If money weren't an issue, how many kids would you have?
For me it isn't so much the money aspect, it's my age and my ability to split myself up to give each child what he/she needs. I love having four children but I don't think I could handle more. I'm pretty stretched as it is.
3. If you were to get a tattoo, what would it be and where would you put it?
I've really been thinking about getting a tattoo for several months now. I'd love to have Choose Joy tattooed across the top of my right foot, along the edge. Or maybe a verse. It would need to be in a place that could be covered when I wanted it to be. I figure when I'm 90 years old I'll still be ok with a Choose Joy reminder on my foot ;-)
4. What condiment is a must in your house?
Oh my gosh KETCHUP.  Heaven forbid we run out of ketchup. Or as Jordan calls it, "kepitch".  
5. How did your spouse/fiance propose?
That's a long and beautiful story, ending up with him on one knee just as I'd always dreamed.
Best question he ever asked ;-)
~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
That's a wrap! Head on over to Mama M's blog My Little Life to join in on the fun and meet some other awesome bloggers!

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Back To School And Stuff

 Today the children returned to school. While I'm sad the summer is over, I'm relieved to fall back into our regular schedule.

We headed out early this morning to take back to school photos on my mother's front porch as per our tradition. The kids also like to see their Gram before heading off as well.

Jordan doesn't officially start until tomorrow, but we dressed her up in her first day of school outfit so she could be a part of the family porch photo.

We couldn't leave Matthew out! 

He didn't know or care what was going on. Look at his face. Ha. 

Both Sam and Julie are pleased with their teachers and they each have friends in their classes. Always a good thing. Sam has assignments due on Friday and did one tonight to get it out of the way. Who is this kid?

Tomorrow Jordan goes to school for a 30 minute orientation. I did her nails for her tonight at her request and she's laid out her dress to wear again tomorrow. She's so excited and so nervous at the same time. I hope she isn't too shy tomorrow. Next week she goes for two mornings only, and then the week after that she goes every morning.

This past weekend was really nice. I did everything I wanted to do. Friday night Sam and I went shopping and out for ice cream. We brought a pizza home for dinner and we all watched a movie together.

Saturday morning Ian had another garage sale and  I met up with my mom at bingo. Neither of us won, although my mom got pretty close a couple of times. Sam has been asking and asking for me to take him to my mom's to visit, so we went over for most of the afternoon. I think Sam enjoys visiting my mom as much as I do!

Saturday night Ian and I went out for dinner. We went to a lovely restaurant not too far from the house and just enjoyed being together. I ordered this three cheese spinach appetizer thing and it was so good. And then I bit into something that was so hot I thought my eyes would fall out. Nothing I ate or drank would make the burning stop. What a nightmare! Ian just laughed at me. After dinner we did the most romantic thing ever - we went to Walmart where I bought some new nail polish and lipstick.

Sunday we went to church and afterwards Ian took Sam, Julie and Jordan shopping for the last few items they needed for school. Matthew and I took a nap.

On Monday we invited the neighbourhood kids over for ice cream to celebrate the end of summer.

A perfect weekend.

Did I mention we bought a second car? Well we did. We bought it from a family in our church and I really like it. I feel more comfortable driving it than I do the van. I can actually park this vehicle! Ian and I have been enjoying taking turns with it over the last few days and it's a very comfortable ride to work.

Ok, I need to wrap this rambling up and get to bed.


Monday, September 03, 2012


It's late on Sunday night, and I'm sitting in my favourite spot in my whole house - my recliner in my bedroom. The window is open and there is a lovely breeze coming in. I can hear the crickets outside.

I'm soaking up my family this weekend, and all the safe feelings I have whenever I'm at home with my people.

It was a hard week. Probably the hardest week I've experienced at this job so far. Lots of tears on the way to work...and lots of tears on the way home. Pretty much every day.

I work in the credit and collections department of a very large company. My workload is exceptionally heavy and there is an incredible amount of expectation and pressure to produce results.

This past week I had a customer scream at me for a half hour over the phone. I've been hung up on, sworn at, lied to repeatedly, and complained about. I had to do client site visits to pick up cheques so they would be deposited in our bank for month end. Micro managed to work harder, apply pressure to our clients, negotiate payment plans, resolve problems, hold orders, threaten, beg, plead.

It was exhausting.

And it's not me.

While I continue to remain thankful to have employment, I have to wonder why God put me there of all places. He knows I'm not hard core like that, so why would He put me there?

I don't get it.

A few months ago, when I shared that I was offered a short-term assignment at this company, someone left me a comment on my blog - anonymously of course - that really hurt me. I didn't publish it because I just didn't want that negativity on my blog, nor did I respond to it here because I didn't want them to have the satisfaction of knowing their words hurt.

But they did.

Very much, in fact. Because even though the comment was posted anonymously, I know who left it.

We call each other friend.

And to you, friend, I say this.

You judged me for taking this job, accused me of bringing darkness home to my family, and said that a good mother stays home with her children where they are needed. You even threw in a dig about my husband, asking why he didn't provide for our family instead of me.

You read my blog regularly. I see you show up in my statcounter. You know the hell we have walked through in the last year and half. You knew how battered and broken we were. You read my posts where I talked about how hard my husband was looking for work after he was laid off. Yet in spite of all of that, you chose to kick me when I was down.

Let me tell you what a good mother does, friend. She puts the needs of her family first. She willingly goes to a job that takes almost everything out of her, every day, because she loves her family. She shows her daughters that there is more to her than cooking, cleaning and changing diapers. She shows her sons that wives are equal to their husbands and are fully capable of sharing the load of providing. She is a helper and encourager to her husband. I'm sad that you don't see the benefits my husband and children reap by having him as the stay-at-home parent, and that you don't afford him the same respect you would for a mother. Fathers are equally as capable of caring for their children and homes as mothers are.

Do I bring your accused darkness home to my family? I try my hardest not to. I cry it out on my way home. I'll stop in an empty schoolyard, crying and praying that I won't bring any heaviness home. Sometimes I fail miserably, but I won't ever stop trying.

Being at home doesn't make me a good mother, and working doesn't make me a bad one. I do my very best every day - be it at home or in an office - to love and provide for my children, to let them know they are valued and precious and so loved.

I'm so sad that you felt you had to say those things - and more - to me. I would have had more respect for you had you signed your name to them.

I have something to say to you in return.

I forgive you.

I'm sorry that you felt you had to attack me. I'm sure you had your reasons. Maybe you stand by the words you wrote. It doesn't matter, because I'm choosing to forgive you. I will continue to banter with you, and encourage you and pray for you. I just wanted you to know that I know it was you and you are forgiven.

And on that note, I'm letting go of this and I'm going to bed.