Friday, January 29, 2010

BEEtween the Pages: Once an Arafat Man by Tass Saada with Dean Merrill

". . . Jesus is our one hope of reconciliation in the here and now. He is the only one I can think of who holds the power, the moral authority, to bring us together. He is the antidote to mistrust and bitterness and resentment. He is the one who convinces an Arab like me that the Jews are not my enemies but rather my cousins, going back to Abraham's house."
~Excerpt from Once an Arafat Man
by Tass Saada with Dean Merrill~
Once an Arafat Man tells the story of Tass Saada, a Palestinian refugee who grew up in Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the 1950s and 1960s. From his experiences as a refugee, Tass learned to hate the Jews of Israel at a young age. When he was 17, he ran away from home to join Fatah and became a PLO sniper and chauffeur to Yasser Arafat. But years later while living in the United States, Tass converted to Christianity and the hatred he harbored for many years soon dissolved. This was the beginning of a new journey for Tass and his family, one focused on love, hope, and reconciliation.

This inspiring story deeply stirred my heart. I was moved by Tass's immense love for the Palestinians and Jews and his committment to reconciliation. He gives a unique perspective of the Palenstians and shows through the Bible how God blessed these people through Abraham's son, Ishmael, and how he deeply loves them still. Tass also gave me a profound understanding of what it means to be obedient to God's calling in our lives and God's faithfulness in providing what we need to fulfill His callings. Tass serves as a great example what it means to walk by faith.

I highly recommend this book to all readers.

For more information about this book, please visit Tyndale's Web site.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

BEEsy in the Kitchen: Feeding the Whole Family By Cynthia Lair

Are you looking for healthy and nourishing recipes for your whole family? Would you like to include more whole grains in your daily diet but need ideas on how to prepare them?

Cynthia Lair's Feeding the Whole Family might just be the cookbook for you. With more than 180 recipes, this cookbook gives parents a wide variety of recipes to prepare for their entire family, including hot cereals for breakfast, sandwiches, soups, dinner entrees, side dishes, breads, and desserts.

This cookbook offers valuable information about what whole foods are, how to incorporate them into your family's diets, how to prepare them for your baby, and how to raise children who eat healthy food. Lair also provides directions on how to properly cook whole grains (e.g., quinoa, millet, bulgur) and beans. And one of the perks of this book is Lair gives special instructions on how to prepare each recipe for babies six months and older.

About a year ago, I purchased this cookbook after a nutritionist recommended it to me. I've prepared several recipes in this cookbook and most have been delicious. One of my favorites is a recipe for Five-Grain Morning Cereal, which is a hot cereal containing toasted wheat berries, millet, spelt, brown rice, and quinoa. I prefer this hot cereal over oatmeal.

Other recipes I've tried and liked include Mexican Bean and Corn Casserole (you use polenta in this recipe), Black Bean Tostados, and Orange Millet Raisin Bread (I used dried cranberries instead of raisins--delish!). In the near future, I hope to prepare Thai Coconut Chicken Soup, Mediterranean Quinoa, Spinach Feta Quiche, Pumpkin Pecan Muffins, and Gracie's Yellow Birthday Cake (I may make this for my husband's birthday next week!).

BEEsy Mama Question: What are your favorite healthy cookbooks?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

BEEing A Mom: BEEing A Kid Again!

Sometimes I wish I could be a kid again! To play all day, not worrying about how I'm going to tackle my mile-long to-do list or fretting about my job or finances. How glorious it would be to wake up each morning ready to embark on a series of new adventures--hunting for dinosaurs in the backyard, building a sand castle, or sailing on a pirate ship in search of buried treasure.

Each day I encounter many opportunities to be a kid again. But how? Through my three-year-old son, Hayden. You see, every day he invites me to join him in his playtime adventures. And many times I gladly accept his invitations.

Last week, we journeyed over the high seas as pirates on a quest for a treasure--Hayden as Captain Hook and I as his shipmate Timber Timber (Aye, shiver me timbers!). The snow covered ground became our ocean, pine cones our treasure, and the compartment on Hayden's tricycle our treasure chest. During the hour we played pirates, I began to feel like a kid again--the worries of adult life diminished as I immersed myself in Hayden's playworld.

But I must admit, some days I feel trapped in my adult mindset and miss out on being a kid again. These days often feel like a mad dash as I race through my day trying to cross off as many items on my to-do list as possible. Being so focused on getting things done, I forget to stop and indulge in the joys my son offers in being a kid again. Later, when the quietness of night settles on my household, I realize the opportunities I missed out on and vow to try harder to slow down and enjoy the perks of childhood.

Now, I know we can't abandon all of our adult duties to be kids again 24/7, although some days it's tempting. But just maybe we can learn to slow down and take time each day to join our little ones in the pleasures of being a kid. Mencius wrote, "The great man is he who does not lose his child's-heart." Or for all the BEEsy mamas out there: The great woman is she who does not lose her child's-heart.

BEEsy Mama Question: How do you become a kid again with your children?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

New BEEginnings: BEEsy Mama Makeover

Whew . . . I never realized revamping my blog could be so much work! Over the last day, I've spent hours trying to find the right blog template, learning how to customize it in Photoshop, and fretting (just a bit) when the HTML codes didn't work properly. But finally, I somehow figured it out!

And now--drum roll please--I'd like to present to you BEEsy Mama's new look . . .

(I'd love to hear your comments on BEEsy Mama's makeover! :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

BEEcoming Aware: National Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Today is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day. A few days ago, I discovered a song by Take No Glory entitled "Beautiful Slave" that brings awareness to human trafficking. Please take time to view this video and to learn about this issue.

(If you have problems accessing the video below, please visit

Thursday, January 7, 2010

BEEing a Mom: Teaching Little Ones About Winning & Losing Gracefully

Earlier this week, my son, Hayden, and I played a few games of Candy Land. For the first two games, Hayden moved into the lead early on. Each time he drew a card from the pile and moved his game piece, he announced to me, "I'm going to win this game." Smiling from ear to ear and giggling, Hayden was clearly having fun. He won the first two games, and I gave him a "high five" to congratulate him.

But early on in the third game, I took the lead. Hayden's upbeat disposition quickly turned to a glum one. With his bottom lip pushed out and tears forming in his eyes, he said, "You can't win, Mom!" When I reached the Candy Castle and won the game, he announced he didn't want to play anymore. Gently, I tried to explain to him that sometimes we win games and sometimes we lose them, but the reason we play is to have fun. He didn't seem to understand this.

Hours later, I found myself reflecting on this experience, wondering when is an appropriate age to begin teaching little ones how to win and lose gracefully. I flipped through several of my parenting books but couldn't find an answer to my question. I then searched for articles on the Internet and soon learned that Hayden's reaction to winning and losing is common among young children, and I found many examples of other parents beginning to teach their little ones lessons about winning and losing.

With Hayden turning four next month, I believe now is a good time to begin teaching him these lessons. One of the best ways to do this is to model how to win and lose gracefully. When we play board games together, I can model graceful losing by congratulating him for winning and graceful winning by not gloating and by telling him what a great game he played.

But I also realize I need to be cognizant of how I act in other winning and losing situations in life. As we all know, our kids watch us very closely and learn from our actions--the good ones and the bad ones. And they mimic us. So in all our actions, we need to be alert to the unspoken lessons we're teaching them. For example, if we don't receive a promotion at work, we need to model to our kids how to gracefully handle this situation, even when we don't think the outcome was fair.

Another way to teach my son about winning and losing gracefully is to talk to him about how to do this. How do you win gracefully? I might explain to him that you don't brag about it, you don't criticize the loser's performance, and you shake his hand and tell him he played a good game. And how do you lose gracefully? I might tell him that even though he may not be happy about losing, it's always nice to smile and congratulate the winner. I might also tell him when he starts to lose a game, he needs to hang in there and finish it. It's not fair to the winner to forfeit before the game is over, and in any game, an underdog still can pull ahead and win before it's over.

Finally, when my son is in the midst of winning or losing, I can use this situation as an opportunity to teach him about his emotions and how to appropriately respond to them. Young children are learning about their emotions, and they don't always know how to respond to them. But as parents, we're given the job to teach them about their emotions and how to use them. When our children are winning or losing, we can ask them how they feel, help them label that emotion, and teach them how to appropriately respond to it.

I realize teaching my son how to win and lose gracefully will require me to be consistent and intentional. He may not understand these lessons during our next game of Candy Land, but I hope that with each game he plays, he will begin to comprehend and adopt them.

BEEsy Mama Question: How are you teaching your children to win and lose gracefully?

Monday, January 4, 2010

BEEtween the Pages: NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible

"Thomas Nelson's NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible is intentionally designed as a treasury of the most well-loved and impactful stories from the Bible. This is not a Bible. Instead, this heirloom edition uses Scripture portions from the New King James Version to tell the story of God and His interaction with humankind."
~NKJV Greatest Stories
of the Bible~

Thomas Nelson's NKJV Greatest Stories of the Bible contains 250 stories directly quoted from the New King James Version (NKJV). In this heirloom book, you will find a wide variety of stories from the Old Testament (e.g., Adam and Eve Challenge God, The Red Sea Crossing, David and Goliath, Esther Becomes Queen, and Job Tested) and from the New Testament (e.g., John the Baptist Arrives, Jesus' Birth, Loaves and Fishes, Jesus Is Abused and Crucified, Paul and Silas in Captivity, and Final Victory). For a few of the stories, the publisher included scriptural references from different books in the Bible. For example, the story about Jesus' birth quotes Scripture from Matthew and Luke.

This compilation allows readers to easily navigate through the major biblical stories and would especially be beneficial to readers not familiar with the stories as well as families desiring to introduce them to their children. This book does not contain any footnotes or study resources. For me, I would prefer to use my study Bible in lieu of this book. However, as my son grows older, I think this book could be valuable in teaching him about the biblical stories. As a result, I would recommend this book to parents of older children as a resource to teach their kids about these stories.

For more information about this book, please visit Thomas Nelson's Web site.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing it.