Thursday, March 21, 2013
Nurturing the Soul of Your Family Book Review | Finding More Joy in Everyday Life
I have read several books on parenting and marriage since I've begun my blog. And most of them have been very helpful and insightful. I've recently had the opportunity to read one by Renee Trudeau called Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life
As with most books, I started reading this book with an open heart and an open mind. If I thought I had the perfect family life, I would never read any of these types of books. I'm not perfect. My family is not perfect. We bicker, fight, yell and sometimes get on each other's nerves. We are good at some things in our relationships and we are not so great at other things in our relationships. But, I've discovered that the times we most often have our "issues" is when one or more of us are stressed out.
I immediately liked Renee's book because she tells us stories about herself. I could see where she was coming from. I could see which issues she's had in the past and how she could relate to me and any current situations that I might be having. She's human, so she's had similar situations.
Obviously, from the title you can tell that the book is broken down into ten chapters. Those chapters are broken down into five parts.
1. Heal Yourself, Heal Your Family
3. Love the Ones You're With
4. Explore a New Way of Being
5. Find Your Tribe, Embrace Your Support
Most women have a hard time with the concept of spending time taking care of themselves. They put everyone else's needs ahead of their own. And if they sometimes don't put other people's needs ahead of their own, then they feel guilty about it, which of course leads to stress. But, Renee stresses the fact that you have to take care of yourself in order to take care of others. And that is the first, most important step. Some of the other suggestions in the book are suggestions that are obvious. Of course you should be doing those things to have a better relationship with your family--but it's good to have the reminder. Then, other suggestions in Renee's book were very helpful and I can't wait to put them into practice.
I particularly love the idea centering around Chapter 7, which is "Defining, Celebrating, and Honoring Your Family Culture." Renee suggests that you create a family values statement. What does your family stand for? I can't wait to sit down with my hubby and kids to come up with our "words" that we want to define our family. I think we can do something artistically to incorporate it into our new home addition so that it can be part of our life that we see every day.
I love that Renee has the chapters broken down into do-able parts. Each chapter begins with a "Pause for Peace". How foreign is that to so many of us? Pause? Really? I'm SO busy! But, the entire book is about slowing down and living in the present moment. It's about taking in every little piece of the here and now and being present. So, at the beginning of each chapter, take the moment to pause.
Each chapter ends with a "Pat on the Back." What are you and your family doing right? Acknowledge that! Then she goes on to give you ideas to put things from the chapter into practice. And then she gives you a journaling exercise which she calls "Imagine a New Way of Being."
Why do I think I need this book? Because a person shouldn't find themselves crying in a heap of dirty laundry on their closet floor because they didn't receive their tax software in the mail. . . . . and then devouring chocolate without even tasting it. Yes. I cried in a heap of dirty laundry on the floor last week because the tax software was the last proverbial straw. I just couldn't take any more. And it should never get to that point.
I have since decided to take some steps back from blogging. There were so many commitments that I had going on and most of them weren't bringing me that much benefit. The stress that they were causing far outweighed the benefit that they provided and it was putting a stress on my family. My son told me point blank, "I wish you didn't blog." And although I will never completely quit, I am reevaluating some of the things that I'm doing. I have decided to go back to blogging for fun. And Nurturing the Soul of Your Family was just the push I needed to try to refocus my energy back on my family. This was definitely one thing that was "Breaking Free: Making Hard Choices."---which is the title of Chapter 9. It was a difficult decision. And it still stresses me out a little. But, I know that I'll be less stressed over time, have more time for my family and still have my fun little creative outlet.
I find it curious that the book starts and ends on two things that most women have the hardest time doing--taking time to nurture ourselves and asking for help. The last chapter stresses the importance of having a support network and actually using the support network when you need help. I think this is the biggest area that I need to work on. I have the absolute hardest time asking for help. If you feel the same way, I recommend reading this book completely and definitely reading chapter 10.
Here is a list of the chapters.
1. The Transformative Power of Self-Care
2. Peace Begins with Me: A Journey to Wholeness
3. People First, Things Second: The Digital Divide
4. Nature: The Ultimate Antidepressant
5. Returning to the River: Finding Spiritual Renewal
6. Spending Time Together (Like You Mean It!)
7. Defining, Celebrating, and Honoring Your Family Culture
8. Do Less, Experience More
9. Breaking Free: Making Hard Choices
10. Building Your Support Network
Overall, I love the spiritual aspect of this book---learning about who I am as a person, trying to connect to the universe and the world, realizing that my family and I are together for a reason, and to celebrate "us" as a family unit. We are unique. We are together. We should enjoy each other's company and support each other in our journey on this planet and in this life. I want to be able to find joy in every day life, no matter what is going on around us. Renee's book is a hand-held guide to getting that done.
I hope to be able to update you guys as we start putting this stuff into practice. I'll let you know when we come up with our family values statement and how we incorporate it into our life and home.
About Renee Peterson Trudeau--
Renee is an internationally recognized life balance coach, speaker, and author. She leads life balance workshops and retreats for Fortune 500 companies, conferences, and organizations worldwide.
You can visit her at:
Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for free in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are 100% mine.
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