Friday, June 06, 2008

Sister Speak

How many of you firstborns always wished you had an older brother or sister? I longed to have an older brother when I was younger. Maybe I thought he'd protect me from mean people at school and teach me how to play sports. By the time I was staring college in the face, I realized how much an older sister would have benefited me. I would have had answers to all my questions. I might have even followed her to college and had someone hang out with in those first few weeks when you're really insecure and do stupid things because of it. (Was that just me?) Of course, I'm sure I would have endured my share of torture had I been blessed with an older sibling. And how do I know this? Because I am an older sibling.

The Lord was sweet to give me two big sisters, Amy H. and Jennifer H., when I was really needing it, which was at age 18. Ten years later, we are still doing life together and I am still looking to them for advice and prayer. I love you, ladies!

Through the blog world, I have become acquainted with an author and speaker named Marla Taviano. She is a wife and a mom of three little girls and is just a few years older than me. I have read two of Marla's books in entirety and I think she has a great Big Sister voice. A Christ-centered Big Sister voice at that. The latest book of hers that I read was Changing Your World One Diaper at a Time: A Reflective Journey Through Your Baby's First Year. It came in the mail right before we moved and I just had a chance to pick it up about a month ago. Let me tell y'all something. I do not have the time or attention span to read boring, serious books at this time in my life. Hello, I have a two-year-old. If I'm going to read non-fiction, it needs to speak to me right where I am and I'd prefer to laugh along the way.

Now I'm going to put on my own Big Sister voice. If you are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant within the near future, or if you are in that amazing learning curve that is your baby's first year, please bless yourself and get your hands on this book. No one is paying me to say this and I'm not getting a free gift because of it. I just think it's a great book. If you're not there yet, you'll learn a ton. If you're already there, you'll be encouraged AND learn a ton. If you've already been there and are thinking about going there again, you'll be reminded, encouraged, and learn some things you didn't get the first time around.

One thing that sets Marla apart is that she's had so many different experiences that I think she can relate to just about everyone. She knows about miscarriages, the sometimes very long and sometimes short journey to conception, epidurals and natural childbirth. She's very relatable and has a sense of humor. She invites you to celebrate motherhood but doesn't make you feel bad for having Calgon, take me away! moments. Her tone is conversational, down to earth, and grace-filled. One of my favorite things about the two books I've read is that she uses a lot of quotes from women she's surveyed. I loved reading their perspectives.

If you're not even thinking about having kids yet and you've made it this far, I appreciate you sticking with me! If you're married, you might want to pick up Is That All He Thinks About? How to Enjoy Great Sex With Your Husband. Your husband will thank you. Your husband might even take over your blog and give a heartfelt endorsement. But if his mom and grandma are reading, he might leave that to you.

You can connect with Marla through her web site and her blog. Boo Mama beat me to talking about this book (shame on me! I've been writing this in my head for 3 weeks), but the benefit is that they're doing a special of all three of Marla's books for $20. (There's one called From Blushing Bride to Wedded Wife that I havent' read.)

Well, I'm off to call my little sister and tell her, again, how sorry I am for calling her swamp thing when we were kids. Y'all have a great weekend!


The Barfuss Family said...

I SO know what you mean by wanting a big sister. I have a brother, but there is something about a big sister that is so cool. Thank God for those He gives us to stand in that position. Thanks for sharing the books - I will have to check them out.
Have a great weekend!

Lisa said...

Amanda, bless you once again. I was given three big brothers and zero sisters. Some part of me has always craved a sister, even though my brothers and I are exceptionally close. I think that's why I love browsing the blog circuit and connecting with other like-minded sisters in Christ. There's just something about that.

I plan on picking up the "S-E-X" book for unspecified reasons (ahem!) so that my husband can extoll my wifely virtues (but most definitely NOT on my blog or any other, for that matter!) I'm always looking for ways to bring us closer. Somehow, his idea of intimacy has nothing to do with holding hands as we stroll through the mall. Darn it all. Sounds like a perfectly fine afternoon to me!

Thanks for providing the Big Sister voice I've been craving for so long.

Marla Taviano said...

Oh, Amanda. I hardly know what to say. Bless you! Thank you! Wow, such kind, sweet words. I could just hug your neck from here to Honolulu. ("Hug your neck" must be a southern thing--we don't say it up here in Ohio!)

I feel so humbled and grateful. And so honored and thrilled to be your Big Sis in Christ.

Thanks so much for spreading the word about my books. Who in the world needs a publicist when you have Boo Mama and Baby Bangs? :) I have half a notion to fill up my mini-van with some $4 gas-gallons and head down south to meet the both of you!

Hugs for your neck and kisses for your cheeks! Love you, Lil' Sis!!

Lydia said...

I'm the oldest of 5 kids so I definitely understand the torturing involved with being the firstborn. I also wished for an older brother when I was in high school. I always thought it would be cool to have one bringing over cute guys. :)
That book sounds great! I have a soon-to-be 3 year old, but I'll definitely have to pick up a copy for when the day comes that we have another one.

The Van Fam said...

You are spot on!! I always wanted an older sister or brother as well. When we use to all hang out at HFBC during our mom's aerobics classes I always thought of you and Melissa like my way cooler older sisters. Which is probably why I spent the next 5 years after that eating cream cheese squares and sticking out my tougne telling everyone I had "taste bugs" because I thought that's what y'all called them! Thanks. I never got any wierd looks or anything. Never.

That being said, if we are to have anymore kids I hope we have another girl b/c I'd love for MacKenzie to have a sister. That being said, I don't want to worry about "middle child syndrome" so we'll stick with our two. Unless God is cracking up right now thinking - you just wait, then we/ll be happy with whatever blessings He bestows on us!

I hopped right over to Marla's site and purchased all 3. I am a sucker for a deal and I love to read anything relatable and funny! Thanks for the recommendation!!

Fonda said...

Amanda, Thanks for the great review. I am well out of my children's first years (the youngest is 13), but I have two daughters who are in the thick of diaper changing who could use some encouragement. I may even pick up a book for myself. We can always use some refresher courses, even after 27 years of marriage!

Now I need to call my little sister and apologize for calling her 'Witchiepoo' for all those years!

Emmy said...

I LOVED reading all about Maria! Thank you for sharing! I thoroughly enjoyed reading excerpts from her book...

Is That All He Thinks About? How to Enjoy Great Sex With Your Husband.

I was laughing so hard and then so touched and moved by her writing! She is right on!

Girls I think this issue is so HUGE! I have been married almost 20 years and I think it was a good 10 before God really opened my eyes to see... how hurtful it is to them when we don't take this seriously... you know when we roll our eyes and think "How in the world! Are you thinking about that now! It hasn't even been 24 hours (or even 12)"

I love what Maria said... Girls it is a privilege!

Amanda I think you need to send Maria a copy of your mom's lesson in Wising Up on this (it was awesome... if anyone out there hasn't seen it - it is a must... and hysterical too!) I love what your Mom said in Wising Up... "They aren't going to quit wanting... so don't you want them to want you!" (well something like that)

Anyway I know this was long... I just wished I had understood these truths earlier in my marriage... no one really talked about it... I wasted a lot of time arguing about it... being tired (it is hard with young kids) etc... still kind of hard now they are older... but girls really pray about it! Pray about it with your husband (they love to pray about that!) It is such an amazing gift... and when that need is met yours will be too! I promise!

Have a blessed day! Emmy : )

Emily said...

Okay, so I promise I am not stalking you, but one of the sweet ladies that commented on my blog this morning had your link on her sidebar. I thought that was too cool to not mention! :) Thanks for all you are and all you do... and for sharing great Mommy tips, too!

Happy Saturday!

Momma 2 5 said...

I so can relate! I am the oldest, and I always wanted a big brother. Oh well, God is in control!
Have a great weekend!
Amanda in SC

Kelly said...

I'm on that!!!!

Tonya said...

sweet! I'm going to check it out now...

Mandi said...

I am a new foster mom, with hopes of becoming an adoptive mom, to a 4 month old baby boy. We received him when he was 3 days old and every day with him is such a blessing. "Changing the World One Diaper at a Time" sounds right up my ally. I've ordered all 3 of Marla's books - they sound like something I wouldn't mind sitting down and reading during my few quiet moments of the day. (:
Thanks for the suggestion!

Amanda said...

love good book recommendations! I ordered them all! Thanks!

katiegfromtennessee said...

Hey Amanda,

Thanks for the heads up:) I'll check these out-add them to my growing list of authors I want to read-probably the parenting book sooner than later:)


Mommy Dot Com said...

Whoever wants to see what a crazy thing MY sister did, please check out my blog! You just won't believe it.

Cathy Davis said...

AWWWW this makes me wish I was in the baby stage of my life, instead of the "can I borrow the car" and "I want to be anywhere but home" stages!!! (I had a big brother and he tortured me plenty as well, but along the way, we turned into best friends. The Lord took him home several years ago...he always had to be first - little fart!)

Cathy Davis said...

Amanda - I'll gladly be your big sister, but somehow, I think you have more to offer me than I you.

debra said...

I put a few of these on my library list. Thanks for sharing!

j & k said...

Thanks so much for the tip! I'm pregnant with my first and have been looking for a good book to read that will meet me where I'm at without telling me I have to do everything a certain way. This book looks so encouraging and refreshing! Thanks!

Sunni at The Flying Mum said...

Oh, I'm adding these books to my summer reading list. Thank you!

Meg @ Spicy Magnolia said...

Amanda, thanks for the book recommendation! I ordered all three and can't wait to start reading. You have no idea what a blessing this post was to me...I can share more later, but really, it was perfect timing!

Profbaugh said...

Great suggestions, Amanda. I just wish I'd had them when my kids were little. All three are teens now. . and well, it's just a little "different" at our house right now.

Your comment on "Swampthing" made me think of the first time I went to my son's open house at preschool. They had a big chart on the wall where each child had indicated what they wanted to be when they grew up. There were lots of Ballerina's, doctors, teachers, firemen. . . the traditional stuff. Then I saw my son's response. You want to guess what he wanted to be when he grew up??? SWAMPTHING Oh my, was my face red!! Just one of many "motherhood" tales. Who knows, maybe I'll write my own book some day (tee hee).

Joanne (The Simple Wife) said...

Don'tcha just love Marla? She's a dear friend of mine--though we've never met face to face!


dhewitt899 said...

I just received the set of books that you blogged about. I am excited to start reading Is That All He Thinks About? How to Enjoy Great Sex With Your Husband. I love good book recommendations! Thanks!

kari said...

"swamp thing..." lol. Our poor sister's. PRAISE JESUS for the gospel in which we are receivers of much needed forgiveness and grace. every second child (esp. sister) should get an award for not hating us in their old age.

Deborah said...

Hi Amanda,

I read your recommendation and thought I might check it out. I ended up ordering the 3fer for my best friend's baby shower (she is 7 1/2 months pregnant).

The books came in the mail and I devoured them in three days (skipping two chapters in the sex book that I just didn't think would help Miss Single in her continual quest for purity & contentment). :) I agree with you--they are excellent and I will be giving them as gifts to quite a few girls I know who are in the married/new baby part of life.

One thing I found particularly cool on a personal level is that thanks to Marla's honesty as well as encouragement, a.) I found myself able to read about marriage & children and yet remain content! Praise the Father! and b.) If I ever do get the opportunity to be married & have children, I feel like God has FINALLY been able to break through my "but I'm the exception to that rule" that has continually run through my head on so many facets of these subjects! Again, praise His Name! :)

Thanks so much for bringing these to my attention! Oh! And nearly *all* the women at the baby shower were looking at the books, taking notes, writing down websites, etc.!

I *love* the good for which the internet can be used! :)

Thanks again,