Monday, July 27, 2020

Book Review: These Nameless Things by Shawn Smucker

This is a first for book reviews here at Life on the Gravelly Road... the first time I'm posting a review of a fiction book!

 The book "These Nameless Things" by Shawn Smucker is a haunting story that kept me pondering the layers of meaning long after I set it down. It pulled me into the story of Dan and his friends, their peaceful simple life in a rustic village on the side of a mountain after each escaping from something terrible inside the nearby mountain leaving them little memory of their life before. What Dan does remember clearly is that his own escape from the mountain mean leaving his brother behind, so he waits and watches for his brother's escape. Slowly you learn more about the characters, as their memories start returning, pasts are revealed and secrets uncovered. Themes of friendship, sacrifice, family, guilt and forgiveness weave together throughout the story as Dan must face secrets, his past as he slowly remembers it, and decide what he is willing to do to save his brother and help his friends.

As soon as I finished this book, I wanted to read it a second time, knowing a second read would show more connections and meaning I missed the first time through. The world the author builds for the story is captivating and he reveals new information into the story line with artistry. The book was hard to put down not because of action or suspense really, more a burning desire that I needed to understand what was really happening, what the character had not figured out yet, what the author was keeping just below the surface.

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Book Review: The Connected Parent by Dr Karyn Purvis and Lisa Qualls

I'm excited to share with you about a new book that was just released... The Connected Parent by Karyn Purvis, Phd and Lisa Qualls.

This book continues the amazing work of the late Dr Karyn Purvis (renowned child-development expert and founder of the Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University) and her passion of teaching others how to better understand and reach children from "hard places" to guide them along the road to healing.  At the same time, the book weaves the personal parenting experiences of Lisa Qualls, her family's adoption journey and working to implement many of the topics of the book into her home, making the wealth of Dr. Karyn Purvis's clinical and real world expertise even more accessible.  This book is an amazing resource for adoptive families, whether they are new to the work of Dr Karyn Purvis and TBRI or not.

TBRI training was part of our adoption training years ago and this book was an amazing review for me personally, reminding me of scripts and parenting techniques that had fallen away over the years.  It helped me examine some current parenting challenges in a new light with new tools to approach some of the tough stuff of our current seasons of parenting (especially with the uncertainty of COVID-19 and disruption of the "normal" which can be so difficult and unsettling for children from "hard places").  Connected parenting can feel frustrating or illogical at times so taking the time to read through the "why" again with encouraging real life stories was such a blessing.

While adoptive and foster parents are likely the primary target of this amazing new resource, it would be a great read for teachers and others that routinely interact with children who have lived through trauma of any kind. The more you understand the impacts of trauma on child development, the more you can make a positive impact on these kids regardless of your field/role. Absolutely worth the read!!

Find out more about the book and authors here:

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