A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Trust and Forgiveness {Book Review: A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert}

I read Christian fiction for a variety of reasons: entertainment, inspiration, to expand my understanding of characters and setting I’m unfamiliar with. And, largely, to learn from the power of story. We all play our own unique, God-given parts in a much larger story. Reading other people’s stories (whether nonfiction or fiction) can inspire us to grow, to understand, to love better.

Katie Ganshert’s novels do just that.

I first fell in love with Katie’s novels when I read Wishing on Willows as part of her launch team. I then went back and read Katie’s first novel, Wildflowers in Winter. I’m pretty much a fan for life.

I’ve now read Katie’s newest novel, A Broken Kind of Beautiful, releasing on April 15th from WaterBrook.A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Katie doesn’t take the easy route in her plot lines. She covers bold, tough topics in her novels, and each of her settings have been intriguing and different from her other books.

In A Broken Kind of Beautiful, we meet Ivy Clark, a ravishingly beautiful 24-year-old who has been a model since she was only 14 years old. But, as Ivy’s career seems to be halting because of the fashion industry’s empty values on outward appearance and age, Ivy realizes she feel more like a beautiful, but empty, shell of a person.

She finally comes to the point where her only modeling job comes from her step-mother, Marilyn, who wants Ivy to be the face of her new wedding dress line for an advertising campaign. Ivy returns to Greenbrier, South Carolina, and finds out her jeopardized career may only be saved if she can convince Davis Knight to return to his photography roots in New York, even though he swore off photography two years ago for reasons Ivy doesn’t understand. Davis treats Ivy drastically different from any other man around Ivy, and she doesn’t know how to take it. Through the book, Ivy struggles with learning the “why” behind Davis’s actions, and wonders if God can see her broken past and still love her.

Katie’s ability to discuss tough topics helps us as readers learn more about others’ situations and look below surface level of situations we know little about (like the fashion industry for me!).

I love so many aspects of Katie’s writing. The dialogue is realistic and not hokey. She slowly reveals backstory in believable ways. She weaves small descriptive details in scenes to create realistic actions without distracting from the reading itself. You can visualize and feel the scenes.

Example: “A gust of heat swept across the floor and wrapped around Ivy’s calves.” – p. 91

Katie masterfully leaves each chapter with a strong emotion hanging. She doesn’t always have to frame that cliffhanger with a question, either. Each chapter ending entices and easily convinces you to go ahead and turn the page.

In Katie’s previous two novels, I related to the main female characters well. In A Broken Kind of Beautiful, I actually found myself relating to the Davis Knight the most. I could definitely relate to portions of Ivy’s character, but I’ve felt my own struggle of guilt and not truly accepting God’s grace-given forgiveness, as Davis does. The side characters (Marilyn, Sara, Arabella, Twila, even Jordan), all add to the story’s fullness, intrigue, and purpose.

This book covers themes of change and comfort zones:

“This world was never meant to be comfortable. It was never meant to feel like home. I took darkness to show me truth.” – p. 174

And trust and forgiveness:

“It doesn’t matter if I forgiven you. It doesn’t even matter if you forgive you. What matters…is that God already has. So stop wearing your past like a pair of handcuffs. – p. 255

I found myself rooting for side characters (and their very interesting stories) nearly as much as I did the main characters, and love many statements, like this one from Marilyn:

“Perhaps there was grace to be found in this mess after all.” – p. 44

"God's calling you to be His son, not His slave. He doesn't want you to wear shackles. Not when He's already cut you free." - from A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Want to learn more? Katie is hosting a Facebook webcast party for A Broken Kind of Beautiful on April 21st, from 6-7pm (CST). Click here to see the Facebook invite.

Follow Katie on Twitter for more news in a couple of weeks about some Twitter book fun, too.

To read more about Katie Ganshert, visit her website and check out an interview I did with Katie last year. Also, check out the book page for this novel on Katie’s website. I love how Katie shares multiple “theme songs” for the book and behind-the-scenes information on the characters and setting! (Check out the “inspiration” video from Matt Chandler on that page, too. Powerful.)

"...the hard is what makes us who we are. The hard is usually what God uses to draw us closer... If I have to choose between what's easy or what will bring me closer to Him, I pray my choice will be Him." - from A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Do you ever hold on to something from your past too long? How do you forgive yourself and accept forgiveness from others? Or, tell us why you read Christian fiction.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as a member of the launch team. All opinions expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I was not compensated in any other manner.

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschool - including activities, book recommendations, and resources! {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschool {Resources and Activities!}

My preschoolers are labeling their feelings more often lately, and it’s great.

My daughter recently said, “I feel nervous,” which helped me provide support to her in a new situation. My son (who has various special needs) has been signing when he’s “happy” or he’s “sad” with greater frequency.

Helping our preschoolers express their emotions helps them better deal with those emotions (and reduce scream- and cry-fests).

While they’re both bursting into this newfound understanding of base emotions, it seems like the best time to do a feelings and emotions preschool unit. So we have. And they’ve rocked it!

Read below to find the activities we used, along with other websites and book recommendations. These activities are geared toward preschool age, and you’ll notice a few modifications and activities I used for my son’s special needs.

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschoolers

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschool - including activities, book recommendations, and resources! {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Our General Plan

We love book-based units, and my kids (my son, especially) learn and retain information well when we read a book first, then do a complementing activity. So during this unit, we read a new book about feelings each day, and then completed an accompanying activity or two (20-30 minutes each day).

Because this is our first time doing a concentrated feeling unit, we kept it to just one week. Next time we do an emotions theme (probably in the fall or next spring), we’ll expand on it.

Feelings Books and Activities for Preschool

Book: The Way I Feel by Janan Cain (Parenting Press, 2000)

Activity: Emotion identification – We used feelings charts from this “emotions management tool” and this “feelings words” poster on Teachers-pay-Teachers to discuss each emotion. I quizzed my kids on each emotion, and they were both able to distinguish and pinpoint the emotions much quicker than I realized. I’ve created a simple poster accessible to the kids so they can point at which emotion they feel if they can’t first express it (especially helpful for my son who has apraxia).

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschool - including activities, book recommendations, and resources! {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Book: My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss, Illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (Knopf, 1996)

Activity: Color and Count sheet from 2 Teaching Mommies feelings printable pack

The kids loved this activity and practiced fine motor skills, following directions, counting, and distinguishing emotion.

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschool - including activities, book recommendations, and resources! {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Books: Percy Gets Upset by Stuart J. Murphy (Charlesbridge Press, 2011) and Today I Feel Silly by Jamie Lee Curtis, Illustrated by Laura Cornell (HarperCollins, 2007)

Note: I recommend checking the second book first for a few possibly questionable references for preschoolers.

Activity: Make a Shape Face activity from 2 Teaching Mommies feelings printable pack

Another activity my kids loved! This was the first focused activity we’ve done with both kids where they needed to replicate something from a small card onto a bigger display. My daughter wanted to keep playing around with the faces after we completed each card. This activity would make a great felt board game, too.

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschool - including activities, book recommendations, and resources! {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Book: Lots of Feelings by Shelley Rotner (Millbrook, 2003)

Activity: “Look, See, Spell: Feelings Words” worksheet from 2 Teaching Mommies feelings printable pack with letter stamps

and Feelings Sticker Prewriting Activity (see below for directions) and Move Like You Feel movement game (click on this post for directions)

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Feelings Sticker Prewriting Activity

I saw a sticker matching activity on Pinterest similar to this and modified it for this feelings unit. I didn’t get to the store to find emotions-themed stickers yet, so I just made my own emotions on small squares of paper. (You could have your kids help cut the squares for scissors practice!)

I set up two columns of matching emotions “stickers” and modeled for my kids how to find a matching pair and draw a line connecting the two. We spent time going over each emotion together (with my kids labeling each emotion), and then finding its match. The kids did great, plus this activity provided prewriting practice my son both needs and enjoyed!

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschool - including activities, book recommendations, and resources! {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Other Resources

 

Love resources lists like this post? You might find my free quarterly newsletter helpful! Click the image below to find out more and subscribe. (Subscribers receive more free printables, too!)

The Family Notepad - a free quarterly newsletter filled with resources for family, homeschool, and faith!

 How do you help your kids express emotions? Share your ideas in the comments below!

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you link on a Signing Time link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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Learning about trust together {Isaiah 55 study at Do Not Depart}

Learning More About Trust

My friend and fellow Do Not Depart writer, Lisa, started off this month at Do Not Depart sharing that there are many instances where “the more you know, the more you love” is true. Especially when talking about God.

At Do Not Depart this month, we’ve been studying Isaiah 55. (Click here to see all the posts in the series.) The more I read Isaiah 55, the more I saw that all of what God calls us to involves trusting Him.

I wrote a little about that today at Do Not Depart. Click here to visit the post, plus see a recap of all the posts from this month’s series.Learning about trust together {Isaiah 55 study at Do Not Depart}

*If you missed it earlier this month, I created a free image/printable with Isaiah 55:8-9 on it. Click here to access that post and free downloadable.

How many situations have you been in where you realized more trust changes so much? Share in the comments over at Do Not Depart.

A review of Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Staffford

Creating and Opening Opportunities {Book Review – Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford}

Every time I’ve read a blog post from Hands Free Mama, tears have pooled in my eyes. Seriously. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t begun to cry.

As soon as I saw I had the chance to review Rachel Macy Stafford’s new book, Hands Free Mama (Zondervan, 2014), I knew I wouldn’t pass up that opportunity.A review of Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Staffford

Rachel is a storyteller. Her writing pulls you in to every story she tells and helps you look for the same situation in your life and look for the same lessons and opportunities she is.

That’s the other part of her writing: you don’t feel excluded at all. Rachel needs renewal in her hands-free journey just like the rest of us do.

Hands free sounds like what it is – a journey to keep our hands available to help, hold, love, and be present in the gift of now. And our eyes open to all these grace-given opportunities.

Rachel writes specifically to mothers, but I think any parent should read this. And even any spouse or anyone who has someone they love so drastically and don’t want to miss precious time together. Though Rachel’s stories center on parenting, anyone can learn from living with open eyes and intentional focus on creating love and channeling our energies to what’s really valuable (not “things”).

The back copy explains the essence of the book (as it should):

“[Hands free] doesn’t mean giving up all technology forever. It doesn’t mean forgoing our jobs and responsibilities. What it does mean is…living a present, authentic, and intentional life despite a world full of distractions.”

This book is not unrealistic, but instead focuses on putting distractions and the urgent (but not important) in their proper place rather than letting them control us. This book also expands on what’s on her blog. She talked more about personal forgiveness to be able to see now more than I thought she would – and I needed that.

“Letting go of past mistakes is an integral part of the Hands Free journey because it allows the gifts of the present day to become more apparent.” – p. 172

Some of what I learned in this book:

  • “Someday” is a dangerous word, especially when talking about what matters.
  • I’ve been very intentional about being present for my children, and that focus continues to increase. Partially because of my son’s many special needs, my children are a constant reminder that they are gifts and any time we have together is a blessing. But I can always grow, and I always need renewal. I’m thankful they serve as such strong, beautiful, amazing reminders.
  • It’s easy to not be as intentional about time with my husband, especially when we’re exhausted at the end of the day. But I loved him first, and I’ll love him after the kids are grown. Intentional time with him matters, too. (I knew this, but I needed the reminder.)
  • Sometimes I get stuck on my own lack of personal progress. But, as Rachel reminds, small everyday choices impact your path to a hands free life and increase progress.

Rachel shares her setbacks and her successes in beautiful, heart-connecting ways.

“The truth hurts, but the truth heals – and brings me closer to the person I aspire to be.” – p. 38

A main message: Rachel recommends accepting time as a gift and treating it as such with loving purpose rather than fighting it or lamenting it. I highly recommend this read.

“Time does not wait. Therefore, I chose to stop wasting time.” – p. 143

How do you keep your mind on time with your kids as a blessing?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I was not compensated in any other way.

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Move Like You Feel” Active Movement Game for Preschoolers

I have a family fitness background and I have a son who is a major sensory seeker. Any time we can add movement into a learning activity, we do!

We’re wrapped up a preschool feelings unit this week (watch for that post next week!), and I created this simple movement mimicking activity to accompany our emotions-themed activities this week.

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Move Like You Feel” Movement Game

This activity allowed my son to differentiate his movements to pretend acting out these emotions. My son has multiple special needs, and, though he can distinguish many emotions, he can’t really copy them himself unless he’s actually feeling them.

To help him be able to model different emotions, we used this game to incorporate big motor movements he could associate with each feeling.

How to Play

Just have enough space to move a bit. Classroom teachers can use this activity with a little space in between desks, in a reading around, or outside.

Optional: You can also have a photo-filled feelings book in hand to help, like Lots of Feelings by Shelley Rotner.

The first round, I talked the kids through each emotion and modeled how we can move to act out that emotion. In the second and third rounds, I suggest trying to see if the kids remember each movement when you call out each emotion. Play 3-5 rounds for a total of roughly 10 minutes (just enough to get some wiggles out and get hearts pumping!).

Modification: If you’re using this activity with advanced preschoolers or early elementary ages, you can ask the kids to create their own movements!

Emotion Movements

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Sad” – moving low and slow

Here are the movements and emotions we used:

  • Happy – move bouncy and smiling, with a march
  • Sad – move low and slow
  • Excited – jump!
  • Frustrated – move tight and stomping
  • Tired – crawl on hands and knees
  • Nervous – move on tiptoes very cautiously
  • Silly – silly dancing!
Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Frustrated” – stomping

Move Like You Feel - active emotions movement game for preschoolers {undergodsmightyhand.com}

“Tired” – crawling on hands and knees slowly

We completed each movement for 30-60 seconds. We stopped at just these seven emotions for our first go-round. I hope to add a few more about my son is able to express when he feels these seven emotions with more frequency.

Modification for special needs: We signed each emotion first. I also suggest either showing a picture of each emotion or having a chart of emotions and first asking the kids to point out which emotion you call out. Then complete the movement.

Since playing this game, my son has already expressed “tired” and “happy” (yay!) and my daughter has talked about “nervous.” We might need to play this game once a week or so!

I shared our whole preschool feelings unit here, including the books and activities we used.

Feelings and Emotions Unit for Preschool - including activities, book recommendations, and resources! {undergodsmightyhand.com}

If you’re looking for a song about emotions, we love the “feelings song” from this episode of Signing Time. It’s good for dancing, too!

How do you help your kids learn to express different emotions?

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time. If you link on a Signing Time link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!