The Painted Table, a Litfuse Review, AND Chance to Win a Painted Table for Yourself

 Faith, family, Giveaways, Litfuse, Marriage, Womanhood  Comments Off on The Painted Table, a Litfuse Review, AND Chance to Win a Painted Table for Yourself
Jan 072014

I was provided a copy of The Painted Table by Suzanne Field through Litfuse for the purposes of this review. All opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received.

Banner in turquoise and orange for the Painted Table

The Painted Table looked like an interesting book when the opportunity came up for me to review it. it is the story about a family and an heirloom Norwegian table. A story of pain, mental illness, emotional abuse, and healing.

Safee inherits her mother’s antique Norwegian table. She remembers when it first came to them in a beautiful natural wood. However, the state the table is in when she first gets it (against her wishes) is anything but of beauty. It has layer upon layer of paint plastered upon it, and is an ebeneezer to the emotional crippling she received as a child. Yet, with the persistence of her husband, she starts the process of restoring the table to it’s natural beauty and in the process finds peace and healing over her past.

This book is a hard read. Especially for anyone who has suffered through abuse as a child, or seen the ravages of mental illness close hand. However, this book is well worth the difficulty in reading. Suzanne Field takes the reader on a journey that brought me to tears as memories of my upbringing came to the surface, I so identified with Saffee as she went off to college and learned to have a life of her own that wasn’t controlled by her mother. I also identified with her mother’s upbringing which is how the book starts. It wasn’t ideal either and while the first half of the book seems a bit choppy in moving through time, those parts are desperately needed to see how and why everyone turned out the way they did. By the end of the book, I was a blubbering mess as I realized how similar I was to Saffee in regards to my emotions and how I reacted to things. And as she learned a better way of living, I found myself cheering her on to a life of normalcy and of breaking the patterns set by the generations before her. (I too am breaking patterns that were set for me in previous generations, and it is hard, and this book doesn’t sugar coat it at all).

This review, is honestly, very hard for me to write. This book impacted me so profoundly that I am having a very difficult time seperating myself from the review. Just suffice it to say, I think that everyone needs to read this book, especially counselors and pastors. This is a good book to give to someone struggling with the abuse and mental illness that they grew up with or have in their family. It shows a shining example of how with faith and a great support system, we can overcome the pain of the past in story form. Stories teach sometimes better than a lecture can and are less threatening. This book is terrific for that.

You can connect with Suzanne Field on FACEBOOK

And to feel free to PURCHASE your own copy of this book.

Suzanne Field is celebrating her novel The Painted Table with a beautiful hand-painted table giveaway!


One winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on January 18th. Winner will be announced January 20th on Thomas Nelson’s Facebook Page.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by the TNZ Facebook Page on the 20th to see if you won.

About the book: A beautiful heirloom ingrained with family memory has become a totem of a life Saffee would rather forget—a childhood disrupted by her mother’s mental illness.
Saffee does not want the table. By the time she inherits the object of her mother’s obsession, the surface is thick with haphazard layers of paint, and heavy with unsettling memories.

After a childhood spent watching her mother slide steadily into insanity, painting and re-painting the ancient table, Saffee has come to fear that seeds of psychosis may lie dormant within her. But as an adult with a family of her own, Saffee must confront her mother’s torment if she wants to defend herself against it.

Traversing four generations over the course of a century, The Painted Table is an epic portrait of inherited memory, proclivity, and guilt. It is a sprawling narrative affirmation that a family artifact—like a family member—can bear the marks of one’s entire past . . . as well as intimations of one’s redemption.

About the author: Suzanne Field, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, has taught English as a Second Language in China, Ukraine, and Hawaii. She has also been a magazine editor and home-school teacher. She and her husband have five children and divide their time between Kansas and Hawaii where she is a tutor and mentor.

Everyday Matters Bible for Women Review

 Bible, Christ, CWAReviewCrew, Faith, Womanhood  Comments Off on Everyday Matters Bible for Women Review
Nov 062012

I know what you must be thinking…..The Bible is the Bible and reviewing it? I know, I know, I’m not necessarily reviewing the content of the Bible (which is the infallible word of God, it has no need to be reviewed by me), I am more like reviewing the layout, style and design of this bound Bible.

The Everyday Matters Bible for Women is from the New Living Translation. You can look up how this translation came to be on your own if you are so inclined…This is not a review of the translation either.

This Bible is hard bound and very sturdy. The color of the cover is teal with orchids on the front with a slight distressed look around the border. It is very lovely to look at from the outside. It also comes with a nice dust jacket and I was thrilled to see a ribbon bookmark in the spine. The thickness of the pages is a bit thicker than other Bibles I have owned and I’m not terrified to flip the page. They also chose a slightly larger font size for the print for which I am grateful. It makes reading the Word so much easier on the eyes (yet it isn’t a large print Bible, so please don’t think it is).

This Bible has small articles scattered throughout dealing with topics that are applicable to our lives as women. These topics include faith, submission, confession, service, worship and Bible study and meditation. Each has a specific symbol so you can easily identify the article at a glance. The articles are written by such notable people as Liz Curtis Higgs, Priscilla Shirer, Nancy Leigh DeMoss and Joni Erickson Tada among others. Normally I absolutely can not stand having anything added into my Bible texts. The pages are typically thicker, glaring in font and color choices and don’t seem to fit in well with the bound book as a whole. I was so pleasantly surprised that this time it is not the case. The articles are inserted where the text was speaking to that topic, on the same page (kind of like an extra text box in some books, but kept with the flow of the entire layout). The articles are placed where they fit in with the Bible text so you can read an applicable article while looking at a specific subject in the Bible. They aren’t disruptive at all. I never thought I would appreciate extra articles in the Bible I am reading, but this time I do.

The articles contain a longer writings on Everyday Matters, Everyday Profiles where a profile of a woman from the Biblical narrative is shared, Everyday Reflections which are a bit shorter to share how to apply Biblical principals into your life and then Everyday Q & As where common questions about faith and life are asked and answered.

I think that this is a good resource for those who wish to have study materials inside of the their Bible of choice instead of juggling several different books at once. This is a good introduction to Bible study for new Christians and for those who may be curious about what it means to be a Christian woman and want to see for themselves.

To see what others had to say about this Bible, go visit the CWAReview Crew’s Site.

This Bible can be purchased where ever you buy your Bibles. Amazon, CBD, or your local Christian bookstore.

I was given a copy of the Everyday Matters Bible for Women as a part of the Christian Woman’s Affiliate Crew. All opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received.

Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow by Teske Drake, a Review

 Book Reviews, Faith, Miscarriage, Motherhood, Womanhood  Comments Off on Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow by Teske Drake, a Review
Aug 232012

Book cover for Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow

Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow is a book that I wish I had available nearly seven years ago. This book deals beautifully with the pain and grief of losing a child whether through miscarriage, still birth or infant loss. After we had our miscarriage, I searched for something to read that would bring comfort and couldn’t find many books that helped me deal with the pain of losing our Avery. Being the visual print person that I am, I felt the void in my search to find hope, comfort and healing after our loss.

Teske Drake in a white shirt and jeans sitting on a park bench

Teske Drake has been where we are in our journey through life without our precious children. She understands the pain, heartbreak, grief, questioning and sorrow that mothers who have lost a child go through. She has taken her experience with her dark moments in her loss, and written a book that I found to be biblically sound and rooted in scripture to show that through it all, God reigns supreme, and is there for us when we need Him most desperately. Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow is set up to be done in a ten week Bible study format, which is very easy to follow and allows for plenty of time to work through the emotions that will arise from reading this book.

The book is gentle in it’s approach to discussing our pain, yet doesn’t let us leave at the end without having helped us through processing what we are feeling, understanding that yes, it is ok to be sad and to experience the gamut of emotion that comes with the loss of a child and that God knew this was going to happen and will carry us through. With journaling exercises and guided prayers, Teske takes us on a journey to find healing and hope through our long valley of sorrow. Even though it has been seven years since we lost our Avery, and I thought I was doing ok with knowing that he awaits for me someday, this book has still brought comfort and peace to me. I know that my Avery is just fine, in a place where he will never experience the pain of this world and that someday, I shall brush the hair out his eyes and be able to tell him that I love him and I fought hard to keep him. And I will thank him for being a part of my life. Because without having been privileged to have been chosen to be his mom for his very short life, I know that I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t have found the healing I needed from the rest of my past if we hadn’t been blessed with him. This book brought that fact home yet again for me. And while I do long to hold my nearly seven-year-old, I know that someday I will get to, and until then I will love on his little sisters (the eldest of which we wouldn’t have been blessed with if we had been allowed to have kept him. You see, his and the Bugs’ pregnancies overlapped).

I have to say that this book should be on every pastor’s shelf, every woman’s ministry leader’s shelf, every counseling office, and should be made as a gift to every mother who faces the loss of a child.

Teske Drake has also founded Mommies With Hope, a support group for those of us who have had to say good bye to a child too soon. If you wish to purchase the book for yourself or for friend, you can do so HERE. And to see what others thought about Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow, go HERE

On September 20, Teske Drake will be joined by Kim Ketola and Dawn Scott Jones for a Woman Redeemed Webinar. This webinar is to bring hope to women who are hurting through events of their pasts and to encourage them to move on as a Redeemed Woman. Please click the above link to register as I can’t get it to work on the graphic…(guess my tech skills are still on vacation or something).

Please, if you are living with the pain of having lost a child, get this book and take the ten weeks to do the Bible study within. You will find hope and healing.

I was given a copy of Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow by Teske Drake through Litfuse for the purposes of this review. All opinions are mine and mine alone, no other compensation was received. The links within this post are not affiliate links.

Jun 052012

Because the recap for the Teaching Parent’s Association Convention is going to be rather, um, long, I decided to break it up into a post for each day of the convention. I figured no one wanted to read yet another post in excess of a few thousand words…

For my first workshop on Friday, I chose to attend the seminar by the Institute for Excellence in Writing. It was presented by Phillip Miller and it totally confirmed my decision to use their Primary Arts of Language Writing for the Bugs. I really liked how it teaches the art of writing and it is mastery based, and this workshop made me fall in love. And I was astonished to learn of their 100% satisfaction money back promise. I learned how to use the program and I just simply fell in love. I can not wait to start using this in a few weeks with the Bugs for sure and probably the Beans too (since she hates being left out of anything).

I then attended a workshop by Character First about instilling and teaching our children the values we want them to have. I appreciate that there are people out there who have made a plan to help us parents make sure our children are raised with the virtues of obedience, dependability, responsibility and have written out some fun lesson plans/curriculum to aid us in our endeavor. This is something that is desperately needed for all of society unfortunately. While I did not purchase the Character First curriculum, it was great to sit in on a workshop with other like-minded parents who are seeking to raise children who are different from the world and who will grow up to be world changers.

Todd Wilson was our keynote this year and let me say, if you ever get a chance to hear him speak, please take it (and read his books. I’m in the middle of How to be a Great Wife Even Though You Homeschool). Todd is down to earth, real and funny. He gets his point across in a way that reaches across the different spectrum of people. He has the ability to reach out and draw you in with stories and humor and be applicable to many people at the same time with the truth. This weekend he spoke on not believing the enemy, not comparing ourselves to others and that when things get hard, that is when the good comes.

As homeschool moms, we have a tendency to believe that we aren’t good enough, our homes are messier than everyone else’s, that everyone else’s marriages are better than ours, that all the other children are smarter than ours. None of that is true. As women and homeschoolers, we need to stop listening to those lies about ourselves. We need to accept the fact that no one is perfect, especially not ourselves, and we are lying to ourselves when we think that everyone but us has it all together. No one has it all together all of the time. We need to accept ourselves for who we are, embrace being real to ourselves and find people we can be real with.

We also need to put a priority on our marriages. We can not be successful in teaching our children if we aren’t respecting, loving and honoring our spouses. Without a strong marriage, our families will not be strong. And our children will learn how to love their futures spouses from us. Are you being the wife your husband needs you to be? Are your daughters seeing you encourage and support your husband through everything? Are they seeing you choose to be his helpmeet, serve him and love him? Because they will follow your patterns for marriage. Are your sons seeing you with what I mentioned above? They will be choosing their future wives partly by how they see you treat their father. Do you want your son’s wives to treat your sons the way you treat your husband? Your children will pick up how you treat your spouse, and chances are they will treat their spouse the way you treat yours. Sobering thought, isn’t it?

I think I shall leave you with those thoughts in regards to marriage and being real with others. Think it through and decide if what you are doing is the legacy you want to leave your children. If you have any questions, you can leave a comment or shoot me an email. If you need help in this area, please find some books or a mentor to help you. If you have realized that you hold deep seated anger towards your spouse or there are other issues, please, please, please seek a qualified counselor to help you. Seeking help is not a weakness. It makes you stronger and will bring about the good.

One New Pink Shirt

 Faith, Growth, Womanhood  Comments Off on One New Pink Shirt
Nov 072011

I was doing the laundry and hanging my clothes back up in the closet this morning. And it struck me. My clothing isn’t the same color that it all used to be. What happened to the overabundance of dark colors and boring neutrals? Where did the shapeless shirts and ugly pants go?

I had a lot of navy blue and khaki for many, many years. Clothes that didn’t stand out, didn’t say look at me, and were designed to hide in. And clothes that never looked great on me either.

I don’t get new clothes very often with our budget. I’m relegated to garage sales, 98 cent day at the DAV Thrift Store and presents of clothes. So it isn’t like my wardrobe had a sudden change all at once. It was very slow and gradual.

All my new clothes, while there is some khaki (it is all the brighter khaki except one skirt that is darker that goes great with maroon) are all brighter, especially the shade of pink that my husband has told me repeatedly that I look wonderful in. It is a shade that while I know he loved on me, I rarely wore as I was scared to. I even have a denim shirt I never would have dreamed of wearing before and prints. I always shied away from prints, even if I thought they were pretty. Because they weren’t “me.” Because they would draw attention to me. And now I have this gorgeous white shirt with the prettiest pink and lavender and blue spring flowers on it. I have a fairly bright red skirt and top outfit with a bit of a brown design in it. In fact, I even have a polo that is white with a bright orangy/salmony colored floral design.

I was shocked when I realized this drastic change in my wardrobe that has just sort of crept up on me over the last year or so. I stopped hanging up my grey skirt (love this skirt, it is the perfect shade of grey to go with nearly any color top from black to chartreuse. Not like I would look good in chartreuse, it’s nice to have that option) and just stared at all the pretty colors hanging there. I nearly started to cry when I realized that this subtle, gradual shift is a reflection of the changes in my life.

I’m not the person I once was. I used to be painfully withdrawn. I used to not be able to express myself all that well (typically verbally, still working on that one…), I hated myself, didn’t think myself worthy of love. Felt ugly and stupid and believed so many lies from the enemy . I believed the lies of my past from people that I love dearly. The state of myself was reflected in my wardrobe. It was nothing spectacular. Most of my clothes didn’t fit right, I never dressed to feel pretty, or to be noticed (by saying be noticed, I’m not meaning in an immodest sense. I mean dress to blend into the wallpaper and pray no one notices you at all versus, being ok to be seen and being modestly attired).

God has been bringing me on a journey that I never thought I would be on. Slowly, over the last six years, I have started to realize that I am not who I was taught to be. I am not someone with absolutely nothing worth saying, I am not ugly, I do not sound like a wounded animal when I sing (granted, I’ll never be a gorgeous soprano like Sandi Patty, I don’t sound like a wounded coyote either.) I am allowed to feel pleasure. I am not being selfish if I need some time to myself. I am loveable. I am a worthy child of the most high King. My clothing choices now (except on heavy duty cleaning days) reflect that.

I won’t pretend that this transformation has been easy. We get comfortable in our pain so often and it is so hard to let it go. To not let it define us like it always has before. I haven’t always been a willing participant at times either. It’s just easier to keep things going the same way as they always have.  You don’t have to make the hard changes if you stay the same, you don’t have to deal with questions from those who have known you for a long time. You don’t have to work on it. But I know now (like I had been told) that the change is worth it. The change in me has been so worth it, even though it was scary (and still is at times). I am more stable, I find I have more joy, I delight in life more. Life is more full than I ever dreamed it could be.  And I never want to return to the way I was before.

I realized all of this as I was hanging some clothes in my half of the closet. Something simple as a pink, tuxedo ruffled cotton shirt shows how much I have changed. I am amazed at the journey God has taken me on and I look forward to where else He leads me. And who knows, maybe someday you’ll see me in sequins..