Friday, February 14, 2014

The Marriage You've Always Wanted by Gary Chapman (Book Review and Giveaway)

If your marriage is perfect, peaceful, argument-free, and teddibly romantic, just leave. Leave now. You don't need this book.

Instructions on how to win a copy of the book are at the end of this post. 

I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but my marriage is far from perfect. My dear husband and I do argue. (Heh...oh, yes, we do...and it's always his fault....) And...what exactly is romance again? 

Seriously, if you're married you have discovered that marriage is nothing like it's portrayed in books and movies. Nothing at all. Marriage isn't about 24/7 romance and the fulfillment of all your dreams. Marriage is about hard work, exhaustion, exasperation, frustration, togetherness, tender moments, fulfillment, sacrifices, bad breath, weight gain, pet peeves, tears, laughter, an empty bank account, and a mailbox stuffed with bills. And yes, it's about dreams come true, depending on what your dreams are. 

I wish we had realized this before we got married, but we didn't. Consequently, our honeymoon came to a swift end as the ice-cold water of reality hit us smack in the face. We had differing views on who's job it was to do which household chore, what submission meant, and how to budget what little money we had. That's tough on a marriage. A lot of couples get to that point and give up. By God's grace, we didn't. Love and faith have made our marriage what it is today...not perfect, but strong. My husband is my best friend, and I'm incredibly thankful for him! We've learned so much...the hard way...and we still have more to learn! 

This little book by Gary Chapman, The Marriage You've Always Wanted should, in my opinion, be read by every couple whether married or considering marriage. It covers everything I mentioned and offers practical tips on how to resolve conflicts about these issues. Chapters such as "What Love Really Means", "Who Takes Care of What?" and "Love and Money" are each followed by a page of advice on the chapter's topic, questions to consider, and tips on how to practically improve your marriage. Mr. Chapman tackles difficult subjects like marital intimacy with grace, humor and candor. 

Although I did not agree with everything in the book, I found it to be very insightful. I want to read  it again, this time with my husband, and put what I learned into practice. It might be hard work, and because I'm human and I tend to want my own way (who doesn't?) it might not always be pleasant, but marriage is one of God's greatest gifts, and it's worth the effort! 

More about the book: 


You can picture the perfect marriage in your mind, but re-creating it in reality doesn’t come easy. Trusted counselor and relationship expert Dr. Gary Chapman reasons that the most sought-after ingredient in any marriage is true oneness. In The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted, he presents expert wisdom and common sense methods to establishing that true unity on emotional and practical levels. Discover the wit and insight that makes his worldwide presentations and marriage conferences so popular. Are you trying to change your spouse? Do you know what it means to really love someone? Do you feel ignored or even alone in your effort to improve your marriage? Dr. Chapman has answers and action steps on topics from expressing your emotions to managing your money, all in a format that will have you and your spouse talking and learning with every page.

Available Now
144 pages
Moody Publishers

As anyone who has attended one of his marriage conferences knows, Dr. Gary Chapman’s expertise in marriage begins with the success and failures he and his wife Karolyn have experienced in their marriage for more than 45 years. He is just the man to turn to for help on improving or healing our most important relationships. His own life experiences, plus over thirty-five years of pastoring and marriage counseling, led him to publish his first book in the Love Language series, The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate. Many of the millions of readers credit this continual New York Times bestseller with saving their marriages by showing them simple and practical ways to communicate love.

Since the success of his first book, Dr. Chapman has expanded his Five Love Languages series with special editions that reach out specifically to singles, men, and parents of teens and young children.
He is the author of numerous other books published by Moody Publishers/Northfield Publishing, including Anger, The Family You’ve Always Wanted, The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted, Desperate Marriages, God Speaks Your Love Language, How to Really Love Your Adult Child, and Hope for the Separated. With Dr. Jennifer Thomas, he co-authored The Five Languages of Apology.

Dr. Chapman speaks to thousands of couples nationwide through his weekend marriage conferences. He hosts a nationally syndicated radio program, A Love Language Minute, and a Saturday morning program, Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, both airing on more than 400 stations. Dr. Chapman and his wife have two grown children and currently live in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he serves as senior associate pastor at Calvary Baptist Church.

Dr. Chapman holds BA and MA degrees in anthropology from Wheaton College and Wake Forest University, respectively, MRE and PhD degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has completed postgraduate work at the University of North Carolina and Duke University.

They even have small group curriculum available:

You can win a copy of The Marriage You've Always Wanted! To enter, simply leave a comment below or on my Facebook page. That's it! The giveaway ends at 5:00, Friday, February 21st. 

I would also appreciate any and all "shares". It helps so much. Thank you all! 

"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.”

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Snapshot by Lis Wiehl (Book Review)

Disclaimer: I recieved a copy of this book for review by BookSneeze. All opinions are my own.

A man has been in prison for 50 years for a crime he didn't commit. Who is Benjamin Gray's killer, and can they find out in time to save the accused man before his execution date? And can an old snapshot of two little girls, one black and one white, hold the answers? What does a locked cabinet and missing key have to do with it all, if anything? 

Based partly on real people and actual events, takes us back to the Civil Rights Movement and the underhanded, violent politics and tactics of that era. Lisa Waldren, the white girl in the photo, is now a federal prosecutor and has a complicated relationship with her father, a retired FBI agent and the man who took the photo all those years ago. She reluctantly agrees to help him find the real shooter and is immediately drawn into a web of danger, deciet, and coverups. Lisa's deep hurt over her father's apparent lack of concern and her struggle with reconciling with him is pretty close to home for me, and I'm sure, for many readers. As the story unfolds and motives and reasonings are described from the perspectives of both father and daughter everything begins to slowly come into focus.

The atrocities of that tumultuous time in our nation's not-so-distant past are brought into focus with painful clarity. Racism might not be as openly prevalent now, but we all know it's still here. It pains me to hear snide remarks and jokes made against people of another race, especially if those who make those comments call themselves Christians. Speaking of this, I would highly recommend that everyone listen to or read Ken Ham's book/message on "One Race". It revolutionized my thinking and opened my eyes to something I had never realized before. But I digress...

The book, though not as fast-paced as I thought it might be, has plenty of tense moments. Lis Wiehl's ability to be so "real" in her descriptions of every character and event make this story even more compelling. I found myself feeling deeply sympathetic of the accused shooter and his family and amazed at the subtle ways in which the author pulled on my heartstrings in this book.  Knowing that it was based on true events made everything more "real", of course, and made me want to do more research on that time in our history. 

In the back of the book there are some extras that I found informative and very interesting such as a note from the author (the real girl in the photo) providing insight into how and why the novel was written, an interview with her real-life, retired agent father, and essays by Juan Williams and Bill O'Reilly (a character in the book is patterned after him) as well as a Reading Group Guide.

One of the things I appreciated most about this book is that Lis Wiehl wrote an excellent mystery with completely believable characters and situations, a great plot, and plenty of action and she didn't find it necessary to use one cuss word, nor did she include anything vulgar, as so many mystery/thriller writers feel compelled to do. 

If you enjoy historical fiction with plenty of suspense and a dash of humor, give this book a read. I highly recommend it.