Book Review: Raising Godly Tomatoes

This book was recommended by a friend, and oh, I am so thankful. I have been in love with No Greater Joy ministries for a long time and have effectively used it for training my rugrats. But there was still some small thing missing and I found it in this book.

She presents the idea behind the name of the book like this: with a tomato vine/plant/whatever you call it (I am not a gardener if you can’t tell!) you stake it or cage it so that it grows up straight. While she doesn’t recommend caging your child (even if you may want to!), it is in your best interest to stake them. Keep them next to you at all times while they are learning how to obey. Once they are sufficiently trained, they may travel more than 3 feet from you. But until then, they must stay right next to you so that you may catch every act they are doing either right before they do it, or while they are in the act. This is helpful and I have been using it with great success. Keep in mind, you will have to keep your phone calls short and have to do some things at night or naps, rearranging your life for a while so that you can make this your highest priority.

I have a few small things I dislike in this book. One, there are typos. The English student in me is bothered by this. Plus, when I recommend the book, I feel that I have to apologize to the potential reader for the ghetto-ness of it. Secondly, she recommends swatting your child with your hand, which I try very hard not to do. We teach our children that hands are for hugs. I don’t want them to be afraid of my hands when I reach out to wipe something off their face or pull them in to hug them. Also, for me personally, I have found that it is too easy to lash out in anger when you use your hands. When you have to go find a spanker, it gives you a moment to calm down, so as not to discipline when you are mad. That never helps anyone and I actually recommend not spanking at all if you are going to do it in anger. Third, she recommends swatting on a covered, diapered bottom, to get their attention. I can see her rationale in this, however, I do not find it as effective as pulling down the pants or pulling up the pant legs and just putting a little sting on the skin. I am not talking about welts or bruises. Spank the inside of your arm first and you’ll know how hard you need to swat their sensitive skin. Hint: It’s not that hard at all. A little sting on the skin does more to help them remember to obey your words than a harder-than-necessary swat on a padded butt that they only feel because it moved them a few inches from where they were standing.

This is not necessarily a book on training your child’s heart to love and obey Jesus or to repent from their sin. It does have a little of that in there, but largely this is a book with intentions to teach a child, any child, to obey your voice. When you say, “No whining, no fits, no arguing, no hitting your sister, no throwing balls in the house, no poking people in the eye with your sword” (maybe that’s just me?!?!?!) you should be able to train to and expect an obedient end.

With those caveats, if you are a parent, read this book! (And it’s free here, so you have no excuses!)

Rating: A. Highly recommended! 

Title: Raising Godly Tomatoes: Loving Parenting With Only Occasional Trips to the Woodshed
Author: L. Elizabeth Krueger
Publication Info: L. Elizabeth Krueger 2007
Genre: Parenting

Buy on Amazon
Buy from her website
Read chapter by chapter free online 

2012 Book List

I know this may seem like I am trying to be an overachiever! Especially since I didn’t even complete my 2011 Book List! My husband said I need to limit myself to 40 so I don’t fail… but…

There are 52 books on this list. I KNOW, okay? But does it matter that I have already started a few and it’s not even 2012 yet?! And if I read one per week (which is do-able), I will finish the reading list by the end of the year. Having 52 books and 52 weeks may make it easier on me to stay on task… I’ll know when I’m behind anyway if I didn’t finish a book that week. Anyway, some of them are small and some are more of a reference type book than a read-from-cover-to-cover book. Some are even coffee table books that you can peruse while you’re waiting for your tea to steep.

So that is my goal and I am intent on reaching my goal. One note: The list is subject to change because almost every day Gospel eBooks comes out with free and inexpensive books for your Kindle or eReader. So I may replace some here and there, depending on what pops up. This year I also plan to do short reviews for all (or nearly all) of the books.

Without further adieu:

PARENTING/FAMILY
Give Them Grace: Dazzling Your Kids With the Love of Jesus Elyse Fitzpatrick
Loving the Little Years: Motherhood in the Trenches Rachel Jankovic
Bringing Up Boys Dr. James Dobson
Gospel-Centered Family Ed Moll & Tim Chester
Teach Them Diligently: How to Use the Scriptures in Child Training Louis Paul Priolo
The Joy of Family Traditions: A Season-by-Season Companion to 400 Celebrations and Activities Jennifer Trainer Thompson

EDUCATION
The Core: Teaching Your Child the Foundations of Classical Education Leigh Bortins
Life Skills For Kids Christine M. Field

HEALTH
The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food Kaayla T. Daniel
The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability 
Lierre Keith
Good Calories, Bad Calories Gary Taubes
Gut and Psychology Syndrome Natasha Campbell-McBride
Great Cooks and Their Recipes: From Taillavent to Escoffier
Anne Willan

HOME/HOSPITALITY
Living Organized: Proven Steps for a Clutter-Free Home Sandra Felton
No Ordinary Home: The Uncommon Art of Christ-Centered Homemaking Carol Brazo
One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler Tsh Oxenreider
Open Heart, Open Home: The Hospitable Way to Make Others Feel Welcome and Wanted Karen Mains

MARRIAGE
Sacred Influence: How God Uses Wives to Shape the Souls of Their Husbands Gary Thomas
The Meaning of Marriage: Facing the Complexities of Commitment with the Wisdom of God Tim and Kathy Keller
Real Marriage: The Truth About Sex, Friendship & Life Together Mark and Grace Driscoll
What Did You Expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage Paul David Tripp

BIOGRAPHY
Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God’s Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther and Calvin (Swans Are Not Silent series- Book 1)
John Piper (Free PDF here) 
The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce (Swans Are Not Silent series- Book 3) (Free PDF here)
Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen and J. Gresham Machen (Swans Are Not Silent series- Book 4) John Piper (Free PDF here)
Portrait of Calvin T.H.L. Parker (Free PDF here)

CLASSIC WORKS
Of the Mortification of Sin in Believers John Owen
Imitation of Christ Thomas A Kempis

MINISTRY
Planting Missional Churches
Ed Stetzer
Breaking the Missional Code: Your Chuch Can Becmome a Missionary in Your Community Ed Stetzer
Counsel from the Cross: Connecting Broken People to the Love of Christ Elyse Fitzpatrick
Community: Taking Your Small Group Off Life Support Brad House
Vintage Church: Timeless Truth and Timely Methods Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
Ten Most Common Mistakes Made by Church Starts Jim Griffith
What is the Mission of the Church? Kevin DeYoung

SPIRITUAL GROWTH
Cross of Christ John Stott
Bloodlines: Race, Cross and the Christian John Piper
Jesus + Nothing= Everything Tullian Tchividjian
Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Family Members, Close Friends and Others Who Know You Well Randy Newman (Free here from Desiring God)
Disciple: Getting Your Identity from Jesus Bill Clem
The Gospel and Personal Evangelism Mark Dever and C.J. Mahaney
A Praying Life: Connecting with God in a Distracting World Paul E. Miller
The Soul-Winner: Or How To Lead Sinners to the Saviour Charles H. Spurgeon
A Meal with Jesus: Discovering Grace, Community, and Mission around the Table Tim Chester
Gospel Wakefulness Jared Wilson
 The Cross-Centered Life: Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing C.J. Mahaney
A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life J.I. Packer
Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life Donald S. Whitney
Death by Love: Letters from the Cross Mark Driscoll and Gerry Breshears
A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer John Piper
Holiness of God R.C. Sproul

APOLOGETICS
Jesus Among Other Gods: The Absolute Claims of  the Christian Message Ravi Zacharias
Christianity at the Religious Roundtable: Evangelicalism in Conversation with Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam Timothy Tennet
The Gospel in a Pluralist Society Leslie Newbigin