Our Story Hour

Book Review: My God and My All ~ by Elizabeth Goudge
Plough Publishing and Elizabeth Goudge have joined forces to publish this book about the life of Saint Francis of Assisi. Since we have two children currently taking a fabulous Veritas Press self-paced history course, “Middle Ages, Renaissance and Reformation”, I opted to read/review this book. I really didn’t know much about Saint Francis of Assisi, but hearing different historical figures come up in their lessons, this was a good way to read more about who he was and what his life choices were.

While there are different aspects of this book I could review, I’ll focus briefly on two. The author’s style is more of a story format with dialogue and settings/situations that may or may not be accurate. I’m not sure if these were actually recorded somewhere as fact or if the author has taken liberties to add-to his biography to make it more readable as a story. In addition, not that I am the grammar police by any means, but… There are numerous areas where commas or semi-colons are missing in sentences, leaving the reader to re-read for clarity or make the assumption that it’s chopping writing.

As a whole, I did my best to read this book, but with differing views, I would be better able to provide a critique versus a referral for others to read this book. There is a lot of repetition and it is written from a Catholic perspective. It was good to glean a better understanding of who Saint Francis was and learn more about the beliefs Catholicism holds, but it also hurt my heart to read.

Book Review: The Prince Who Was Just Himself ~ by Silke Schnee
The Prince Who Was Just Himself is a much-needed book in today’s society. An endearing fairy tale-style story is wrapped around the sweetest little boy and his family. The young prince has a heart of gold and takes nothing for granted. He takes his time enjoying the beauty in life around him and reminds his royal family that life is something precious. His IS the gift of life and love, demonstrating how he impacts individuals in beautiful ways.

Written by Sile Schnee, a journalist and mother of three sons, the youngest of whom has Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome). She wrote this book to show the world that the news of having a child with Down syndrome isn’t something to feel shocked or sad about, but rather to realize that life is to be celebrated no matter what because ALL life is precious. Their little prince, Noah, and many more children like him bring such love and joy into the lives of others.

Our children have asked me to read this book to them and also to read by themselves several times since it arrived from Plough Publishing as a review book. We have all enjoyed it and encourage others to read it as well. It’s also a great way to have further discussions with your children and encourage them to see others as Jesus sees them.

Book Review: Rasmus and the Vagabond ~ Astrid Lindgren
Author, Astrid Lindgren, is well known for her Pippi Longstocking books; stories I loved to read and listen to as a child. It never occurred to me that there were other adventures and amiable characters she had written about. As I had never heard of this book, I was taken by surprise at how much I enjoyed it as an adult.

Rasmus, a 9-year-old attempting to leave the cold orphanage behind, discovers a way out. He ends up befriending a kind vagabond, Paradise Oscar, who takes him under his wing. Their friendship is an odd sort but genuine nonetheless. Ms. Lindgren has a way of winding a story into your heart and I’m glad that Plough Publishing decided to revive this out-of-print book.

Rasmus and the Vagabond one of those books that sets your memory and heart back many years to an age of innocence in the simplicity of life and the carefree childhood of years gone by. Great humor, unexpected intrigue, adventure, mystery and friendship. It’s a completely different story, but I place it alongside another favourite, Owls in the Family, by Farley Mowat. My children are next to either hear Rasmus and the Vagabond as a read-aloud or to read it themselves (based on their reading levels).

Encouraging Galactocele Update
I look around each day, wondering how time can go by so quickly. The baby who was nursing during the time of experiencing an enlarged galactocele is now on the verge of turning 5-years-old.

Since the galactocele was basically a non-issue these last couple years, even though I could feel something there still, I hadn’t given it much thought. Becoming pregnant with our newest member of the family, I thought the galactocele was beginning to grow again. Looking back, I believe it was just naturally occurring breast tenderness; changes due to pregnancy and hormones. This baby was born at the end of last summer and 6 months later is nursing great! And…I can’t feel anything in that area anymore!

I am truly thankful and feel immensely blessed. We had two miscarriages between our 5-year-old and our now 6-month-old. Knowing our wee babies are in the loving arms of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, has helped ease the pain of their passing into their eternal home. We know we will see them again! There were days of incredible sorrow but we look ahead to snuggling their cuddly selves.

There were days I questioned how I would nurse through the same galactocele issues with these last three pregnancies, but thanks be to God; no more galactocele! I’m learning to let go of stressful situations before they develop. God’s Word and prayer have been constant reminders of God’s faithfulness no matter what the situation.

Obviously, there is no guarantee for any woman that she won’t develop a galactocele or have one develop again. That brings me to preventative measures. Nothing listed here is obsessive in nature, rather based on knowledge of what has helped in the past and reading more about the importance of nutrition. Think of these as “simple solutions”. Many I implemented while dealing with the original galactocele and have kept them up. Can I say for a fact that any one or multiples of these got rid of the large galactocele I had? No. However, I know that certain supplements did reduce the pain and swelling.

I’m sure there are many of these that you are trying/have tried already, but here is my list:

~ Wobenzym N – reduces inflammation (and more) – made noticeable reduction in swelling/pain; I still take this daily. My husband also takes this (and probiotics) due to years of hockey abuse his knees have taken; works great!
~ Garden of Life Primal Defense – probiotic/HSO’s
~ Dr. Mercola Probiotic (usually take 1 of these with 1 of Primal Defense in morning)
~ Garden of Life Prenatal Vitamins – have been using for years.
~ Garden of Life Organic Prenatal Vitamins – haven’t tried these yet but just switching to this new product this month to see how they compare. Amazon had a coupon. 🙂
~ Garden of Life Raw D3 5000IU – we live up north and I can only dream of more sunlight; lab draws have shown me deficient in vitamin D.
~ Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil/Butter Oil – for now, I’ve switched to their Skate Liver Oil due to a baby with dairy issues but our children continue to take this.
~ Radiant Life Dessicated Liver – for me and kids, although I love liver & onions so if grassfed liver is available I love to just eat it. Yum! 🙂
~ Iodine
(Amazon links are affiliate links only because they’re products I use and recommend)
~ Pao D’Arco – used this as an anti-inflammatory. I would steep it as a loose-leaf tea once in awhile when I was really engorged. It can also be purchased in capsule form. This helped quite a bit but I had to monitor my milk supply as too much will reduce milk. Think of it working like a decongestant.
~ Sunflower Lecithin (NOT soy-based lecithin) ~ reduces “stickiness” of milk. When I did have an aspiration, the milk was like a sticky mass of Elmer’s white glue. Ick! I no longer take this, but did while dealing with the galactocele once I realized it could help in that area.
~ Phytolacca Decandra 30C – was taking 5 pellets per day while dealing with galactocele.

~ go bra-less as often as possible (My only option for this is while at home but some women are able to go modestly without anywhere)
~ when you do wear a bra, NO underwire
~ get as much natural sunlight as possible for optimal vitamin D
~ try not to sleep on your stomach
~ avoid tight-fitting swimsuit, bra, etc. – anything that isn’t allowing your breasts to “breathe”/lymphatic system to drain
~ avoid stress (easier said than done at times…I get it)

~ do your best to remove (preferably eliminate) processed foods
~ lots of vegetables
~ avoid soy (acts like estrogen)
~ limit sugar and grains (which I haven’t done so well with ever since Christmas…)
~ organic when possible/avoid chemical pesticides & herbicides
~ learn to make fermented/probiotic rich foods — I am still learning but I’m here to tell you that making your own sauerkraut, milk kefir, buttermilk, and water kefir are very easy! I’ll try to write a post about those. In the meantime, you can make a one-time purchase of the last three starter cultures from www.culturesforhealth.com. The cultures multiply and/or are activated initially so that you can continue to use them indefinitely. You could also get a starter culture for veggies there if interested. I’ve made sauerkraut with that and also with a starter of whey and salt.

More Common Sense:
~ nurse galactocele side first
~ don’t assume draining will be a cure-all. For most, this only works when baby has weaned. Otherwise, duct is still plugged and will refill. I felt like a clinical experiment during this process. None of the doctors I saw had seen such a large galactocele…nor did they know what to do about it.
~ it was a struggle and often painful but I was able to continue nursing even when told that stopping might be the only resolution.
~ if you do switch to formula, don’t lay a guilt-trip on yourself (just don’t choose soy, please!)
~ massage/warm showers/warm compress
~ sleep (definitely easier said than done say I, the mother of a baby who still frequently wakes up at night!)

I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts in the comments section. If you’re dealing with a galacocele right now, be sure to read my older galactocele posts and the comments sections too. There are many women looking for answers but there is seemingly little information available. Hopefully our stories can help each other out as we look for solutions. God bless!

Book Review: Easter Stories ~ Classic Tales for the Holy Week
With Easter quickly approaching, I opted to review Easter Stories ~ Classic Tales for the Holy Season. Plough Publishing has complied this treasury of read-aloud stories for individuals or families to read together. Included are both short stories and single chapters taken from longer books. One of my favourite stories is a chapter taken from Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur. I do believe it is time to read that book which has been sitting unread on my bookshelf far too long.

Some of the authors included are: C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Oscar Wilde, Ruth Sawyer, Elizabeth Goudge….among many others.

Easter is so far beyond eggs and bunnies that have inundated stores. While I expected there to be more spiritual content to this book, there is a vast mixture of allegories, fact-based fictional works and stories created around the Biblical life of Christ. As a parent, I feel there is still a need to pre-read stories before simply sitting down to read them aloud to our children; true with this book as well. It was an enjoyable book and some stories made more of an impact than others.

I truly hope you will read aloud the Biblical account of the Easter story. Trace God’s promises back to the beginning of time and how He promised Adam redemption through the coming Saviour. May God bless you this Easter as you seek His face. He has promised that if you seek Him you will find Him. Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Book Review: Noah by: Mark Ludy
What a fabulous wordless picture book for youngsters and adults alike! Mark Ludy’s artistry in Noah is beautiful. When you can accurately recount the story of Noah through painted pictures, you know the artist worked diligently at creating an authentic storyline. You don’t miss the words and our young 4-year-old is able to tell us the story in such a sweet way.

This isn’t one of those “Noah books” that shows cuddly animals popping their heads out of windows on a wee boat. It illustrates the challenges of building this engineering marvel: the ark God gave dimensions to and had Noah build. A Biblically accurate representation of this story of Noah is hard to find these days; even without words, this one does an excellent job.

Published by Plough, Mark Ludy’s book is great book to add to your (child’s) wishlist. Mark Ludy has written or illustrated seven other books and is an accomplished artist. He definitely knows how to create images that bring life to the story.

In addition to family enjoyment, this would be a great resource for Sunday School and AWANA Cubbies classes.

Book Review: The Point – The Redemption of Oban Ironbout ~ by William E. Jefferson
The Point: The Redemption of Oban Ironbout is from new author, William E. Jefferson, a self-proclaimed “message maker”. Interwoven in his book are words of truth pulled from the Scriptures.

There are four primary stories happening in this book. Hollie and Goodwin Macbreeze are on a journey of sorts. Hollie is battling a health condition, Goodwin is seeking a unique house in an area his grandfather once frequented, both are involved in a spiritual journey that is centered within a quiet, monastery-set community, and there is the extended mystery surrounding Oban Ironbout.

Monks take a month to delve into 12 deep Biblical truths that wrap a story within a story, creating a dramatic, thought-provoking, and poetic way of thinking. These twelve portions of The Point showcase Mr. Jefferson’s message-making writing style.

While thought-provoking, I wasn’t drawn into the story as I hoped I would be. At times it felt as though there was too much wordiness going on between Hollie and Goodwin; conversations that described more internalized thoughts or place-descriptors than what people would typically communicate in spoken word. The 12 stories that followed through Bible passages were most interesting to me.

Book Review: Chronicles of Dinosauria ~ Dave Woetzel
Love dinosaurs? Love history? This is the book for you! Chronicles of Dinosauria gives the reader insight into the how’s, why’s, and when’s of dinosaurs that lived (possibly still live) at the same time as man. God created everything in 6 days; contrary to evolution, people did not evolve millions of years after dinosaurs became extinct.

In Dave Woetzel’s book, beautifully illustrated by Richard Dobbs and published by Master Books, evidences and proofs are presented that should have even the most ardent evolutionist questioning his or her belief system.

Chapters include: The Creation and Dinosaurs, The Flood and Dinosaurs, Fossil Evidence of Dinosaurs and Man, Historical Evidence of Dinosaurs and Man, Artistic Evidence of Dinosaurs and Man, Biblical Evidence of Dinosaurs and Man, and Apologetics/Conclusion.

Read fascinating facts about fossilized ferns the size of modern trees, dragonflies with 3ft-wingspans, 60 ft-long sharks, massive fossil graveyards (many in current day deserts) that were laid down by water, and why it is significant that many fossilized dinosaurs are found in a “death pose”. Find out the relevance of human artifacts found in the lower fossil record and fossilized human and dinosaur footprints. Wrap your mind around the UNfossilized dinosaur bones, red blood cells, hemoglobin protein and even a dinosaur with tail bone tendons still attached that have been found! Study cultural stories, histories, sculptures, drawings, and unearthed items that reflect the history of the coexistence of people and dinosaurs. Consider cryptozoology, the science of hidden animals. Read God’s Word to know that He alone is Creator and author of life.

This is the type of book that I could see Veritas Press and/or Sonlight picking up at some point to include in their science/history curriculum. It’s that quality of a book; informative for both younger and older “students”.

“Dino Dave” Woetzel has expanded research available at www.genesispark.com. His book and website are a wealth of information sharing evidences that people and dinosaurs coexisted; evidences of a powerful, mighty Creator.

Book Review: Advice for Seekers (Charles Spurgeon)
God loves you. God hates sin. Therein lies the dilemma. Charles Spurgeon’s age-old book, Advice for Seekers, addresses you. You, the sinner. Me, the sinner. When Jesus reached out to this sinner, I had nothing to offer in return. All I could do was reach up to grab hold of the hand that would never let me go (and even that very act was God giving me the strength). Forgiven. Redeemed! I was bought with a price that was impossible to ever repay. With Jesus’ last breath on the cross, he uttered, “Tetelestai.” A commercial word that meant “It is paid; the debt is paid in full.” It is finished!

Spurgeon draws on Scripture to reveal Jesus’ promises to give us life everlasting and for us to rest in the abundant life that He offers us. So, why do we settle for the sublime, complaining, discontentment,…the things of this world? Are you living the life of faith that God has called you to? Spurgeon had his own frustrations as a young man and with a gentle spirit, shares with us how he came to surrender his life completely to God.

Christ has called us and desires us to come up out of the pitiful bogs we live in. Are you a seeker? Seeking to find meaning and purpose in life, seeking to shed the weight of sin on your heart, seeking forgiveness, seeking love/understanding/compassion, seeking grace, seeking….ever seeking. Perhaps you are already a Believer and you are seeking to share the gospel message with others, seeking a deeper relationship with the One who called you out of the pit. I encourage you to read this book and be inspired, encouraged, and assured.

To quote Mr. Spurgeon: “The way of salvation has in all ages been one and the same. No man has ever been saved by good works. The way by which the just have lived has always been the way of faith. There has not been the slightest advance upon this truth; it is established and settled, evermore the same, like the God who uttered it. At all times, and everywhere, the gospel is and must forever be the same. ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today and forever.’…..Heaven and earth shall pass away, but God’s Word shall never pass away.”
A 19th century reproduction, Advice for Seekers is a beautifully bound collection of Charles Spurgeon’s writings, words, and faith-filled insights. There is something to be said for pages that are “made to look old”. Something timeless, classic, and comforting to hold. I think for this very reason, I would be hard-pressed to ever convert to digital books!

Book Review: Tower of Babel ~ The Cultural History of Our Ancestors (Bodie Hodge)

Master Books has never failed to disappoint in the books they publish. Author, Bodie Hodge, takes the reader through impeccable research and Biblical truths that reveal the hand of God that moved people across the globe after mass disobedience on the plains of Shinar (which means “between two rivers”).

Bodie Hodge details how the true history of the Tower of Babel is being attacked: evolution-based racism, mythological ideologies, and the reinterpretation of historical events into philosophical ideas. Each attack is on the authenticity and authority of God’s inspired Word and attempts to hold man’s ideas higher than the almighty Creator God.

It’s both fascinating and horrifying to read that the Tower of Babel began construction about 106 years after Noah’s worldwide flood. To think that God’s grace saved Noah’s family, yet their descendents went right back to the sinfulness of their forefathers; the very sin that destroyed them. It reminds me that none of us are immune to sin and it’s destruction on our lives and those around us.

Mr. Hodge expands on different areas that are quite interesting. He discusses (in detail) the difference between the continental shift that occurred during Noah’s flood and the splitting up of people into various new lands, the possible location of the Tower of Babel (Iraq), how much of the tower was built, Babel’s purpose in being built, who tore it down in years to come, where languages came from, genealogies back to Noah’s time, the ice age (which peaked about 400 years after Babel) and migration, where various families/groups moved/settled, extra-Biblical supports for the Tower of Babel/dispersion of our ancestors, why people now don’t live as long as they did pre-flood, the origin of written languages, dispersion at Babel to gathering of saints at Pentecost (to spread the gospel message), the ancient book of Job, and much more highly informative research.

If you have ever thought that the Tower of Babel is inconsequential to the world today or if you are the person who has always wanted to know more about Babel; I encourage you to read this book. It is full of illustrations, maps, and easy-to-follow genealogies that will keep you interested from beginning to end. I’ll have to make time to read it again just to soak up all the information available. It’s a wealth of research and Biblical truths, confirmed by both the Bible and sources outside God’s Word.

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