Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review of 'The Finishing School' by Valerie Woerner

I am a mom who multi-tasks...and I mean well beyond your 'typical' juggling of life! I'm currently sitting in my van, in the driveway. My three youngest children (ages 3, 1 & 1) are asleep in their carseats. School pickup for 2 of the 3 "big kids" begins in 30 minutes. It's simply not worth getting little ones out of the  van. So, from the driveway I can access my wifi, write a blog post, run in and use the restroom, let the dogs play in the back yard, and keep one eye on the clock so I leave in time to complete my first afternoon pickup. Between now and bedtime I will also run and pick up kid #2 from cross country practice, bathe a very dirty dog, change many, many diapers, stare at the kids when they ask "what's for dinner?", say hello & thanks to my mom when she arrives because she's watching kids while Mike and I go to our church Small Group, drop our oldest off to babysit as we head to our destination, dig into Ephesians, pick up kid #1, check "the homework situation", send mom home, send kids to bed, make & pack school lunches, take the dogs out, toss laundry into the washing machine, and head to bed.

Bed. After I check Facebook. And Instagram. And scroll through Pinterest. And pull up house listings in my town, even though we have no plans to move. Again check Facebook. Look at the clock. Scroll through the news headlines for USA Today. Pull up my local paper. One more look at Facebook. Finally go to bed.

Somehow, doing all the mindless scrolling and checking and wondering and updating has entered more of my day than I had ever intended. It's something of which I'm aware, and have been intentionally working on--one of the ways I wanted to discipline myself away from the mindless filling of my mind all day was pursing the opportunity to review books for Litfuse Publicity Group and get back into reading and writing on a more regular basis. And the chance came to review The Finishing School by Valerie Woerner, I knew it was one to which I should give my attention. Because changing the "free moments'  within my day needs attention.

The Finishing School takes things that are--for me especially--'head knowledge' and discusses the importance of truly LIVING OUT the life to which God has called me. Each chapter is set up as a guide to a specific area (9. Spontaneity Loves Structure: A Guide to Balance. 18. Buried in the Sand. A Guide to Awareness). Valerie Woerner takes examples from her life, and sets the framework for taking our lives and begin living intentionally. She points out both the importance of minimalism, while also giving validity to a flexible lifestyle. Rather than hit one extreme or another (which would lose this reader completely), her chapters express a need for balance in every area of my life as I run our household and seek heavenly perspective. The book itself helps you see the process for pruning, trimming, and refining your life in ways that are not only practical, but extremely doable.

This book can be read and absorbed into your life in a couple of ways. The first one--which is what I did--was read the book over a couple of weeks, highlighting the things that stood out and writing down other things that were helpful ideas. The second one--which I intend to do--involves completing the "Homework" part after each chapter. Here, Valerie has worksheets you can download. She also gives Recommended Resources after each topical chapter. This author has done her research! The third and final way you can read and soak in The Finishing School is to do it with a group of friends. Each chapter and its homework can be looked at one week at a time. There is some very rich potential to not only do the weekly chapter review and discussion, but to even expand into looking deeper at the Recommended Resources. While that isn't something I personally am interested in doing, I am absolutely certain that others--who treasure that fellowship & sincere desire to refine every area of their lives--would relish.

If you are looking for a book that's not merely 'self-help' but even more about self-reflection that turns into self-motivation to pursue holiness, you will certainly enjoy The Finishing School.

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.

About the book: 
The Finishing School: How One Book Nerd Began Living What She Learned
 (Nyree Press, August 2015)

Are you tired of waiting for change to happen in your life? Do you feel stuck, even though you want to live more intentionally?

In today's world, our most precious pursuit of a life well lived gets squeezed out by the silliest of things: binging on Netflix or ice cream, shopping trips for things we don't need, bad habits we can't seem to get a handle on, and so much more. Valerie has been there despite knowing what she wanted for her life. Actually do it? That's the challenge.

After gobbling up all the non-fiction and self-help books her donut-filled belly could handle, she decided it was time to put her knowledge to good use and start actually living it out. You will hear about her journey through victories and plenty of failures and find practical tips to apply to your own pursuit of holiness. You will find homework at the end of each chapter that includes a worksheet to put real change in motion for your own life as well as recommended books to further study those topics that really test you.

Purchase a copy:
About the author: 

Valerie Woerner is owner of Val Marie Paper. She and her husband, Tyler, live in Louisiana with their daughter, Vivi Mae. The Finishing School is her first book.

Connect with Valerie: websiteTwitterInstagram

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