Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Book Review of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family by Renee Peterson Trudeau

I applied to review Nurturing the Soul of Your Family - 10 Ways to Reconnect and Fine Peace in Everyday Life by Renee Peterson Trudeau. I was so delighted to find out I would get a free copy to review. Although I received a free copy of this book, I guarantee you it did not skew my thoughts and review of this book. With all that said, here is the review.

This book is for any parent who desires to have a better family life. If you are pregnant and looking for ways to develop your family and how to get started on the right path or have a been a parent for years but feel that what you are doing is not working, it is for you! 

Have you ever started reading a book and in the first page or two you realize, "Wow! I really need this book at this moment in my life!" That is what happened to me. As the mom of a toddler, who has become a stay at home/work at home mom and wife to a husband who travels, I long to make the time we have together meaningful. But most of the time it seems too hard to change. It's easy to stare at the television or computer to just space out and forget your troubles for a few minutes. But those few minutes often turn in to wasted hours. Now, don't get me wrong, I still like tv and my computer but I wish there was less of it in our lives. There has to be more to family time than that!

Trudeau shares stories from her family growing up, her relationship with her spouse, her son, her friends, and people she trusts, admires, and calls her teachers throughout her book. It makes the book more than a random self-help book with steps and to-do lists to improve your life. It becomes almost like a friend that you are sitting having coffee with, discussing your lives and how you want to make the most of the time you and your family are given together. Trudeau opens her heart and life to show you where she has been, what she has been through, what led her to her life now, and that we can all change and develop the family life we all long for, one baby step at a time. 

The chapters of Nurturing the Soul of Your Family include:

Chapter 1: The Transformative Power of Self-Care
Chapter 2: Peace Begins with Me: A journey to Wholeness
Chapter 3: People First, Things Second: The Digital Divide
Chapter 4: Nature: The Ultimate Antidepressant
Chapter 5: Returning to The River: Finding Spiritual Renewal
Chapter 6: Spending Time Together (Life You Mean It!)
Chapter 7: Defining, Celebrating, and Honoring Your Family Culture
Chapter 8: Do Less, Experience More
Chapter 9: Breaking Free: Making Hard Choices
Chapter 10: Building Your Support Network

Each chapter begins with a "Pause for Peace" where you take a moment and take a look inside to see what you need at that moment. Sometimes they include journaling activities, moments of thought, and other times it is taking a few deep breaths to settle yourself. She keeps it interesting in that every "Pause of Peace" is unique to that chapter and what you will be reading, thinking about, and discussing. 

During each chapter she gives you stories, ideas, reasons, and research to support what she suggests. At the end of each chapter she first encourages you to think about what is working. It gives you a chance to acknowledge those areas and things you are doing that are on the right path. Next she gives you a task (they can be as short as you want or you can stretch them out) to dive into the things discussed in the chapter, and then a journaling exercise at the end. Now don't be nervous about the journaling, they can also be as long or short as you like. And to top it off, she even gives those of you new to journaling tips on how to get started. You can still read this book without doing the journaling and other exercises discussed but you won't get the full benefits of the book. (And for that reason, I will be rereading it so I can dig in deeper.)

When I first started reading this book, I thought maybe the reason why this book spoke so much to me was because of where I currently am in my life. But the more I thought about it, so many of the people I know feel the same way I do right now and we are all at different stages in life. So I really think this book can be appropriate and useful for any family. So if you have children of any age, I highly recommend you order this book today!!

Here is a link to Renee Peterson Trudeau's website with links to buy the book at a discount!

And here is a direct link to Amazon:

Follow Renee Peterson Trudeau on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest to stay up to date on her work!

Below are the areas of the book that most personally touched me, along with a little "Thank You" to the author!

All of the chapters were wonderful and I enjoyed reading and thinking about the issues in all of them but the chapters that got me most were the first two which discussed self-care and also the chapter about "The Digital Divide." Obviously these are the areas I most need to work. The digital divide hit so close to home because I have been realizing I am very much addicted to Facebook. Not in a keep my blog site and business site updated but in a read-random-things-that-provide-no-extra-joy-or-quality-of-life kind of way. I am not saying Facebook is bad but when we put it ahead of our children or spouses it is. You have to control it like you do the way you don't eat the entire tub of ice cream. (That's also a challenge!)

The self-care chapters hit home because that is a constant battle for me. I always feel guilty when it comes to this area. I hear this little voice telling me I am selfish to need time for myself: If I take time away from my daughter, I am a bad mom. If I take time away from my husband, I am a bad wife. All of these are incorrect. I love this quote regarding self-care from the book by Renee Peterson Trudeau:
"Learning to attune and respond to your needs and desires -- practicing self-care -- impacts every aspect of your life. Nurturing yourself is not selfish -- it's essential to your survival and well-being."
The second chapter of the book is titled: Peace Begins with Me. How true is that! And if I am not taking care of myself, every single thing I touch suffers. My best friend once enlightened me of a major tendency I have and I realize not that not taking time for self-care heightens these abilities: To make mountains out of mole hills. 

Trudeau also says, "Often we have to break down in order to break through."
Little did she know that someone would be reading the book who had just had a break down. I'll get a whole post on this soon enough but last week I started therapy because I am just completely overwhelmed by life. I can't keep up with the normal "mom" things or "housewife" things much less my CPR business, childbirth educator certification, and occasionally working at the hospital. I feel like I am drowning. And go figure, once I decided to go to counseling, I immediately felt guilty because I would be spending money on me and not the family and I go alone so it's extra "selfish."

But now I get how wrong my thinking is/was! I can't be the mom, wife, friend, business owner, daughter, or sister that I know I have to capabilities to be if I don't look at what I personally need. And right now, getting to the bottom of the cause or issue that is making me feel out-of-control-overwhelmed is the very best thing I can do for everyone around me.

So Renee, thank you for your book. It has offered me words of encouragement in a dark hour and time in my life. At a time that I know I have everything to be happy about yet I am barely keeping my head out of the water. You book has challenged me in wonderful ways and helped me see that taking care of myself is not selfish or wrong, it is a must! My one word theme of the year is "Now" and your book fit perfectly because I need this now, not tomorrow or next year, but now! Self-care is needed now and every day for everyone!

I highly recommend this book to all the moms in my life!! 

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