Thoughts and more thoughts

The following post is an assignment I did recently for my Business in Society class, in which we discuss strategic corporate social responsibility. Now, that may sound boring, but it is my most intellectually challenging class and 90% of class time is spent discussing ethical dilemmas in the news and how we personally would address them, what the opposing viewpoints might be, giving respect to the validity of views not in direct agreement with our own, etc.


Last week Publishers Weekly reported that author Sherman Alexie, along with some other well-known authors, were accused of sexual misconduct. The article did not go into significant detail about the accusations and one might be tempted to downplay the article with the increasing number of reports in recent events, but we need to pay attention.

The challenge with a situation like the one reported, in which allegations are made against public figures, is breaking through the stigma to find the truth. Rape culture is a battle that may never be won and that is due in part to a lack of understanding to what things like rape culture and sexual harassment truly are. WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre defines rape culture as “…jokes, TV, music, advertising, legal jargon, laws, words and imagery, that make violence against women and sexual coercion seem so normal” (WAVAW, 2014). The EEOC defines sexual harassment as “…unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature” (EEOC, n.d.).

The greatest problem with this issue isn’t a lack of knowledge, but a lack of understanding. Everyone knows (or should know) that a forceful, physical attack is wrong and telling someone they’ll get the promotion if they have sex with you is wrong. We know this because it is illegal. Unfortunately, our understanding sometimes stops with the obvious. Sexual harassment is also cracking inappropriate jokes or comments that make others uncomfortable, such as was reported in the Pacific Standard regarding Daniel Handler, better known as Lemony Snicket (Perry, 2018).

Every person has a stake in this problem. Anyone who is a member of the human race is affected by this lack of understanding and responsibility, whether they realize it or not. The publishers of these authors are direct stakeholders based on how their clients present themselves in public. The companies who purchase these books for resale are stakeholders, because who wants to purchase a book from an author that is potentially viewed as a sexual predator? Especially an author of young adult and children novels. Public libraries are stakeholders for a similar reason. They have a duty to provide uncensored information to the public, but in today’s world they also sometimes serve as a place of refuge for kids with questionable home lives.

Although they might be indirect, the children, tweens, and teens who read these novels are also stakeholders. These are the individuals who are forming opinions and beliefs and habits partially as a result of what these authors write. While the books themselves might appear harmless – I am a huge fan of Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events – the people who created these pieces of art are people that young readers will look up to and imitate.

The parents of these children are stakeholders. Parents have a challenge to teach their children respect and empathy for others and situations like these have the potential to blur the lines between reality and entertainment even more for young readers, making it harder for parents.

Schools, support groups, and nonprofits working to educate the public on the reality of what sexual assault truly is and provide services to those who are survivors are also stakeholders. When people who are in the public eye conduct themselves in such a manner as these authors have with no apparent regard for those on the receiving end of their actions, recipients of similar unwanted advances and conversations might be less likely to share their story for fear of being disregarded.

Lastly, the survivors of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment have a stake in society breaking through the stigma and seeing the problem through unbiased empathy and complete understanding of the true definition of these problems.

I could continue to find other stakeholder examples but I think you, the reader, get the idea. I continue to believe that society as a whole can be educated and we who are advocates for this movement should continue to do what we can. Rape is not always violent, but it’s the most recognized. Sexual harassment isn’t always obvious, but the obvious is what’s easily addressed. The victim reporting a crime should always be believed, but they are sometimes believed with caution “just in case”. This is what we need to change. All we can do is continue to educate the public, and pray their knowledge transfers to understanding.

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Book Review: Tranquility – A prayer and reflection coloring journal

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Thanks to Tyndale for the complimentary copy

 

The design of the coloring pages was great, pretty much what you would expect for an adult coloring theme. It’s not your typical journal though. While there is space on every page to write down your thoughts and reflections, sometimes there is only about a quarter of the page reserved for that purpose and the rest is devotions and/or coloring. It is also a smaller size than I anticipated, and some of the pages are just for reflection as the pictures are not for coloring. See below

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Overall, I’m very happy with this book, but I do wish it was a bit larger to make room for more reflective writing and note taking.

BOOK REVIEW~ The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron

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Thanks to Tyndale for the complimentary copy of this memoir

I’ve been on a memoir kick lately, and Anna’s name seemed vaguely familiar so naturally I had to add her book to my collection. For some reason though, it was a challenge to get through.  I have a suspicion part of the reason it took me so long to finish though was the more challenging classes at the university in addition to the changes at work (which always inevitably brings some level of chaos).

There were times that it took me a week to finish one chapter, then other times I could read 5 chapters in one sitting. The latter third of the book was a faster read and oddly the more shocking for me.

Despite all the trauma and upheaval Anna faced as a child, her memoir ends with an encouraging epilogue which states

…my mom and I had reached the beginning of the end of my healing journey. I said the things that needed to be said — even though it hurt her to hear me say them — and found steady ground for us to walk on. I know that because of both my father and my mother, I was born the polygamist’s daughter. 

But that truth has been redeemed by a bigger Truth. I am a child of God who loves me unconditionally. He knows my name. He knows my story.

And He has set me free.

The memoir also features numerous photographs and a Q&A section as well. While I can’t honestly say that it was my favorite book from Tyndale, it is still one that I would recommend to others.

 

BOOK REVIEW: Your Magnificent Chooser ~ by John Ortberg

magnificent chooser

Thanks to Tyndale for the complimentary copy

It has been quite a while since my last review. Between upper-division classes and work I don’t have as much “free time” and energy together to blog. But, I’m back with this fabulous rhyming picture book.

I had intended to let this be my son’s book and get his review, but since it took him about 5 minutes (or less) to read the story he decided to give it to his sister who is finally starting to flip through pages of books rather than tear them apart (although she does still add her own “illustrations” aka scribbles).

The  style of rhyming in this book is excellent. It was very reminiscent to me of The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. Throughout Your Magnificent Chooser the author brings the reader on a journey of learning what a “Chooser” is (your conscience, free will, Holy Spirit, etc) and how each “Chooser” is unique to the individual. He encourages children to always be brave enough to choose, even when they are unsure of the results. He encourages them to choose wisely in their friendships and social interactions with peers. He encourages them to pray for guidance when they are unsure what to do.

The illustrator, Robert Dunn, is an excellent pairing with the author. The “Chooser” each child has is similar to a fuzzy, balloon or cotton ball with a string or leash attaching them to their person. They are various colors, as they are unique to each individual and their facial features reflect the emotions of their corresponding human.

Depending on the level of skill your reader has, I would say this book is probably best for a beginner reader or a pre-schooler who will sit and listen. I would absolutely love to see another pairing by this author and illustrator for a bedtime book, or kid’s coloring devotion book.

Rating: gold stargold stargold stargold stargold starplus sign

BOOK REVIEW: Flash the Donkey Makes New Friends~Rachel Anne Ridge

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Thanks to Tyndale for the complimentary copy.

Let me start by saying that the illustrations for this children’s book was adorable. I think that was my favorite part.

I picked this book for my son so I’ll stick with his opinions/thoughts for this review.

 

Out of 5 stars, his review is between 4.5 or 5 stars. Three things he really liked were:

  1. They had really good illustrations.
  2. It had a happy ending
  3. That it felt like a true story (I think this is from the picture of the donkey on the inside cover flap).

When I asked him if there was anything he would change, he said no because he didn’t want to make it seem like fiction when it was a true story.

Even though it was a very fast read for him, he enjoyed himself.

gold stargold stargold stargold stargold star

BOOK REVIEW: God and Churchill

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Thanks to Tyndale for the complimentary copy of this biography

In this biography of Sir Winston Churchill, completed by Jonathan Sandys (a great-grandson) and Wallace Henley, we have a look into the life of the former Prime Minister. Well-known for his speeches and “bull dog” personality during the war, the readers will have a chance to learn not just about the famous orator but also to learn about the circumstances in his life that made him the man he was.

From his early life we learn of the strong influence his nanny had on his upbringing, his time as a soldier, a war correspondent, the financial hardships, and overwhelming lack of support from both political parties. Nevertheless, Sir Winston Churchill was not one to back down from what he knew to be the right course of action.

This biography is abundant with quotes from other biographers, family members, and Sir Churchill himself. If you want a glimpse into the man behind the celebrity, this is a fantastic place to start.

gold stargold stargold stargold stargold star

BOOK REVIEW: A Noble Masquerade by Kristi Ann Hunter

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Thanks to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of this first time author.

When I selected this book for review, it was a bit of an accident. I thought clicking on the photo in my email would link me to more information, but instead I got the pop-up message that my order had been received, etc etc. But, I figured it would be good for me to branch out from my usual readings, and this was definitely not my usual readings.

I was reading books of this genre/style (ex. Love Comes Softly) around middle school or early high school age. I wasn’t exactly exuberant with anticipation of it’s arrival, but I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained when I finished reading.

Kristi Ann Hunter transports us  back to the days of formal courting, curricles, and Napoleon’s spies in England. The “leading lady” of the story reminded me of a mix between Lady Edith Crawley caught in the shadow of her sister and Maggie Tulliver trying desperately to reign in her personal nature that seems to stray so far from the ladylike persona she is supposed to maintain. Then we have the “leading man” who is masking his true identity (although we learn early on who he is, the majority of the characters do not). Both are masquerading for a noble purpose.

While it is not my traditionally chosen genre for entertainment, I would gladly request another copy of this author if a new book were to be made available.

Rating: gold stargold stargold stargold stargold star

BOOK REVIEW: Snuggle Time Devotions that End with a Hug ~ by Stephen Elkins.

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Thanks to Tyndale for the complimentary copy.

This review has been a long time coming, or so it seems. I was trying to wait until my 6 yr old and I had read the book entirely, but as he finished the book on his own during our move to a different state I will give my thoughts now, as well as his.

HIS THOUGHTS:  it was really, super good. His favorite parts were the reading and snuggling together, and he really liked the activities.

MY THOUGHTS: I love the fact that he could read 90% or more of the book unassisted (words like Zerubbabel are hard for anyone).

Of course I liked the snuggling too. I thought the activities were really creative, but they didn’t always work for us at bedtime.

Overall, it was a joy to read with my son. He was excited for our bedtime stories, was disappointed if we missed a reading, and the stories prompted questions about Heaven and Hell and salvation.

I plan on looking for more by this author. You can find out more about Stephen Elkins and his books here.

Rating: 5 stars

REVIEW: Fallen ~ by Annie Lobert

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And they have defeated him by the blood of the Lamb and by their testimony…” ~ Revelation 12:11 NLT

Thanks to NetGalley for the complimentary copy of this amazing woman’s book


I knew a little bit about Annie before I requested this book…that’s actually why I requested her book. I don’t remember how I learned about her and her ministry, I just remember I discovered her Myspace page back in the days before Facebook, and as a result of researching about her and Hookers for Jesus I discovered she was married to a musician and….voila! I discovered Stryper and fell in love with the band as well.

If anyone is an expert on the reality of the sex industry it is Annie Lobert. She has been through more lows and highs than the “average person”, but the truth is her biography is average for so many in that industry. This book is not for the faint of heart.

The testimony of her years of trying to satisfy her insatiable need for love only to be met with overwhelming heartbreak is told in such simple terms. While reading her biography, it’s as if she is sitting down with you and talking. Even though I knew some of her story and most of us probably think we know the horrors of prostitution, I still cringed at certain points. I knew she had been in abusive relationships more than once, and having had family members in abusive relationships I can understand her explanations of what her thoughts were at the time and why she stayed for so long….but it was still heartbreaking to read in her words all she went through, and I’m sure there is still so much more that she could tell.

The end of the book not only shares how Annie came to Christ and was radically transformed when she became a Christian, but also shares some short testimonies from women in her ministry that have been saved physically and spiritually. Her heart for the women who are still in the sex industry is so evident throughout, her passion cannot be contained and is contagious. It’s still hard to put into words how much her story affects me and how grateful I am for her passionate heart.

To learn more about Hookers for Jesus and Destiny House, click here.

Five Stars   gold stargold stargold stargold stargold star