Small Talk Book Review and Giveaway

Parenting is a really tough job.  We always joke that kids do not come with instructional manuals or power switches--so moms and dads spend multiple shifts per day on the tasks of parenting.  Sometimes during those late night shifts--or early morning shifts...or even in between...it's easy for parents to lose sight of what matters most in their most important roles.  Small Talk by author Amy Julia Becker sheds some light on learning what matters most from some pretty good teachers:  her children.  I am excited to share my review of Becker's book with you--and offer you the opportunity to enter to win a copy of this book yourself!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author via FlyBy Promotions.  All opinions and experiences are my own.
Quick Summary of Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker. Every day, one of Amy Julia Becker’s children says something that prompts her to think about life in a new way. “Mom, does Santa love me?” William asks, after his mother explains the meaning of Christmas…In a chat with her dad about the children who died in the Sandy Hook shootings, Penny asks, “Did they go to heaven?” …”You was a jerk, Mommy?” asks Marilee one morning in the car. These conversations deepen Amy Julia’s relationships with her children, but they also refine her understanding of what she believes and what God is doing in her own life.

In Small Talk, Amy Julia draws from the wisdom and curiosity of those young voices to reflect on beauty and kindness, tragedy and disability, prayer and miracles. As she moves through the basic questions her kids posed when they were very young to the more intellectual questions of later childhood, she invites us to learn from our own day-to-day conversations with the children in our lives. This eloquent parenting memoir is about the big questions little hearts ask, the thoughts their words provoke, and the laughter and soul-searching their honesty brings—to adult and child alike.

Readers will love and appreciate Becker's honesty throughout Small Talk.  We all have parenting fails.  Some of us are overly critical and seem to feel that too  many of our daily parenting moments teeter on the edge of disaster.  As readers journey through Becker's memories of some notable interactions with her children; they will appreciate her honesty.  She made mistakes.  She made missteps.  Her kids made mistakes.  Her kids often made her realize the error(s) of her actions--and her kids gave her the incentives to refocus, reevaluate--and step up to the plate to apologize when situations warranted it.  

Small Talk helps readers refocus on the little things...which matter.  I am as guilty as anyone of focusing on the big picture...or, at least, what I see as the big picture on a given day.  Becker portrays her parenting with honesty as an evolving work in progress--not a perfected piece of art.  It was refreshing to realize that I'm not the only one who needs to step back from a situation every now and then--and refocus.   While much of the book focuses on Becker's faith--there is really as much of a focus on the simplistic views of children.  It focuses a lot on the little things in our daily lives.   The little things that we'll probably remember most in the future!

Would I recommend Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker?  Sometimes the answers to life's mysteries are not really all that complicated--but, they certainly are thought provoking.  Becker recounts a number of ways in which her children helped her to ponder life's big questions (and the small ones too).  There is no chronological order.  No real pattern to Becker's memories--just valuable realizations in small moments.  Becker speaks simply, honestly and thoughtfully about a variety of subjects and situations.  Kids offer a lot of wisdom--and this book does a wonderful job reminding us to stop and engage in that ever important small talk with our little wise ones!

Buy Small Talk: Learning From My Children About What Matters Most on Amazon

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Small Talk:  Learning From My Children 
About What Matters Most 

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About the Author Amy Julia Becker writes about faith, family, and disability for Parents.com, the New York Times Motherlode blog, TheAtlantic.com, The Huffington Post parents page, Christianity Today, The Christian century, and numerous other publications. Her first book, A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny, was named one of the Top Ten Religion Books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. Amy Julia lives in western Connecticut with her husband and three children.

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Wordless Wednesday Link Up: If I Fit

I've posted before about Elsa the Cat's love of boxes, bags, suitcases, etc. Lately she has branched out from bags in which she could actually climb into and take a nap--to stuffing herself into anything in which she (sort of) fits.  I thought we would share Elsa's latest as this week's Wordless Wednesday Link Up post!  Don't forget to link up and share you latest Wordless Wednesday photos!

Really, Elsa? 

Why does it take me so long to pack for trips?  She was in the bag between the time I unzipped it and walked to the kitchen for the food containers and ice packs to pack into it. 

This one was more of a stretch....er...a squeeze!

Oh--well, at least she's the easiest of the four on "veterinarian check up day"....I have to hide the pet carriers from the other cats or they hide.  With Elsa, I just sit the carrier down by the front door--and she practically races to get inside.

Time to Join the Wordless Wednesday Link Up!


A Donkey's Little Tale Children's Book Review & Giveaway

We know the story of Mary and Joseph's journey to Bethlehem for an amazing birth. While the journey's end has been retold with details galore over the years--the simple journey itself has seen fewer narratives. Our family was excited to read and review a lovely children's book from author R. Mitchell Scott: A Donkey's Little Tale. Scott depicts Mary's and Joseph's trek to Bethlehem from a unique perspective: the eyes of their donkey. We wanted to share our review of this story with you today!  We also offer you a chance to win a copy of this book in a giveaway (just in time for Christmas!) Enter via the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book for use in my review. An additional copy is also being provided by the publisher for a promotional giveaway. All opinions are my own.  

Quick Summary of A Donkey's Little Tale by R. Mitchell Scott.
Preparing for the journey to Bethlehem in order to register for the census, Joseph groomed the gentle donkey colt chosen to accompany him and his bride, who was with child. Along the way, the charming little beast of burden committed to memory all he saw and heard along the way in hopes that his intuitive insights and attention to detail would be passed down for generations to come. Little did he realize he would be a witness to the birth of the Christ Child, never dreaming he would be pressed into the service of a King. Thus, the little chronicler fills in many gaps in the love story of Joseph and Mary, and the joyous birth of Jesus. This story is the donkey's little tale.

Simple rhymes tell A Donkey's Little Tale.    R. Mitchell Scott creates short, rhyming verses with simple illustrations to relay the donkey's tale.  Some of the words may be a little difficult for younger children to read alone--but, it's a wonderful story for families to share.

A Donkey's Little Tale offers a different perspective.  While it may have seemed unfitting for Mary to deliver the Christ Child in a stable; the donkey saw it as the perfect location.  Warm, peaceful, calm.  He realized that he was quite a fortunate donkey to have participated in the journey.

Would I recommend A Donkey's Little Tale?  We loved the story as told from the donkey's point of view.  He saw the love, the faith--and the simplicity of a very complicated story.  A Donkey's Little Tale offers a wonderful, heartfelt perspective families are sure to enjoy.

Buy A Donkey's Little Tale on Amazon

About the Author.  R. Mitchell Scott is a native of beautiful Tazewell County in Southwest Virginia, Ronni, whose given name (thanks to Hollywood and the Beach Boys) is Rhonda, shared a name with six other girls in her small high school. Friends call her Ronni, but if you call her Rhonda, she insists she'll have to call you Mother. Ronni is an Air Force veteran, former school and art teacher, and Bible teacher. A passionate artist, Ronni loves the smell of Georgia's Lizella clay, graphite, and oil paint. She believes messy hands are happy hands, be it paint, batter, mud, or chocolate. At age 52, Ronni enrolled at Asbury Theological Seminary's Florida campus, where she earned a master's degree in biblical studies and graduated with honors. She also graduated with honors from Columbus State University, Georgia earning a Bachelor of Science degree specializing in Art.

She and her husband have three grown children and three grandchildren. Ronni is blessed to live close to her three little grand buddies, and loves to teach them to do things in non-conventional ways. She thrives on panache, flair, and finding joy in the daily work of just living life. Cooking, baking, eating, painting, sculpting, scavenger hunting, nature walking with her three grand buddies brings joy. She loves to bake and has mastered the art of fudgemaking, assuring her popularity during the holidays. Her grandchildren say Granny makes the best fudge in the world! Ronni is currently writing and compiling stories drawn from a lifetime of personal encounters with the person of Jesus Christ, who came running to meet her in the darkest hours.

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