Saturday, November 22, 2014

Small Talk -- Book Review & Giveaway

I don't really like chocolate.  I never have.  When my 20-year-old was just a toddler (way back when), we were riding home from an Easter party with our play group when she told me she had something to share with me.  I asked her what it was and she replied "a chocolate egg."  I thanked her for her offer to share, but told her to go on and eat it -- I wasn't really hungry anyway.

We traveled a few more miles and once again she told me she had something she wanted to give me. Again, I asked what it was and she replied "a chocolate egg."  I explained to her that those were her treats from the party and she should just enjoy them herself.  I told her that I didn't really like chocolate, but I did appreciate her offering to share.

She insisted that I take the egg though -- even if I didn't like chocolate -- seems it was melting in her hand.  Well, how could I resist?  I could just envision the mess that piece of chocolate candy was going to make in my van and on her clothes if I didn't take it from her quickly.  As any mother would, I reached back, took the melting egg, and popped it into my mouth.

Thinking that this would be a great time to reinforce a nugget of spiritual truth with my daughter, I began to tell her that JESUS had done something very special for us.  I knew she wouldn't understand the concept of sacrifice, but we'd been discussing that JESUS died on the cross for us.  How clever I was taking this opportunity.  I explained that just how I had eaten a piece of candy that I really didn't want because I love her so very much, JESUS had done something for us that HE really didn't have to do because HE loved us so very much. Then beaming like the proud mama I knew I would be when she answered my next question, I asked her if she knew what that special thing was.  With the voice filled with awe, my daughter quickly asked, "HE ate chocolate?"

Obviously that was not the answer I had anticipated.  I had goofed.  I learned that sometimes what I say and what my daughter hears are not always the same. (And that remains true today)   I also learned something even more important that day.  It had been a great opportunity to talk about JESUS with my toddler -- but not because of a chocolate Easter egg.  Every opportunity is a great one to talk about JESUS.  I was reminded that it doesn't have to be a great time to reinforce spiritual truths and I do not have to be clever.  GOD instructs me in Deuteronomy 6:5-9 to love the LORD my GOD with all of my heart and with all of my strength, to keep HIS Commandments on my heart and impress them to my children.  I am to talk about them when we sit at home and when we walk along the road, when we lie down and when we get up. They should be tied as symbols on my hands and bound to my forehead.  I should write them on the very doorframes of my house.  No chocolate involved.

What an awesome responsibility we parents share.

We did go on and talk about the fact that JESUS loves us and died on the cross for us.  I'll never forget those sweet words she asked that day.  It was a great reminder to me that GOD's love is abounding love.  And I'll bet HE would even eat all the chocolate Easter eggs just for me.

That simple conversation was just one of many I've shared with my children over the years in which they have shared great wisdom and spoken huge truth to my heart.  Children are amazing and we do well to listen as GOD speaks through them.

I've been reading a most excellent book by Amy Julie Becker called Small Talk and it is serving as a valuable discipleship tool in my life.  Small Talk is about how “Sometimes GOD uses the smallest voices to teach the greatest truths . . ."   Maybe much like me, you can remember a conversation you’ve had with a little one has had a profound effect on how you view GOD?

Small Talk is not a how-to guide. It doesn't tell you the best way to engage in conversation with your children.  It is so much more than that.  Amy Julia says "It is not filled with advice. It is, I hope, a word of encouragement that good things can emerge out of the hard but ordinary everyday moments."

I recommend that you pick up a copy of Small Talk today, because we should remember that our children are the work GOD is doing in our lives.

Amy Julia calls our children vehicles of grace and I think that those words are a beautiful reminder for the days when teenage hormones flair.  I can't help but think of that grace when I remember chocolate eggs and a SAVIOR who loves me just as I am.  May we all see the grace that our children provide and may we give grace to them as needed.

About the book: Softcover / 230 pages

Every day, one of Amy Julie Becker’s children says something that prompts her to think about life in a new way. “Mom, does Santa love me?” William asks, after his mother explains the meaning of Christmas . . .In a chat with her dad about the children who died in the Sandy Hook shootings, Penny asks, “Did they go to heaven?” . . . ”You was a jerk, Mommy?” asks Marilee one morning in the car.

These conversations deepen Amy Julia’s relationships with her children, but they also refine her understanding of what she believes and what GOD is doing in her own life.

In Small Talk, Amy Julia draws from the wisdom and curiosity of those young voices to reflect on beauty and kindness, tragedy and disability, prayer and miracles. As she moves through the basic questions her kids posed when they were very young to the more intellectual questions of later childhood, she invites us to learn from our own day-to-day conversations with the children in our lives.

This eloquent parenting memoir is about the big questions little hearts ask, the thoughts their words provoke, and the laughter and soul-searching their honesty brings — to adult and child alike.

About the author:

Amy Julia Becker writes about faith, family, and disability for, the New York Times Motherlode blog,, The Huffington Post parents page, Christianity Today, The Christian century, and numerous other publications. Her first book, A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny, was named one of the Top Ten Religion Books of 2011 by Publishers Weekly. Amy Julia lives in western Connecticut with her husband and three children.

Official Website:

Enter to win your very own copy of Small Talk today:

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What small conversations have impacted your heart in a BIG way?  

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

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1 comment:

  1. I completely understand them not hearing what we mean. This looks like an encouraging book.


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