Book Review: Fatherless – Ruth L. Snyder

Fatherless by Dr. James Dobson and Kurt Bruner
Fatherless by Dr. James Dobson and Kurt Bruner

Title: Fatherless

Authors: Dr. James Dobson and Kurt Bruner

Pages: 431

Publisher: FaithWords (a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.)

Date of Publication: January 2013

What will our world be like in 2042 if we follow the current moral trajectory? Dr. James Dobson and Kurt Bruner team up to “vividly imagine a future in which present-day trends come to sinister fruition.” If you’re looking for a compelling story that will make you think, read Fatherless.

Julia Davidson, a journalist who is struggling to revive her career, is sent on a mission to uncover facts about a presidential candidate’s platform. In the process, she reconnects with a former classmate, Angie, and her husband Kevin as well as Kevin’s handsome assistant, Troy. Angie, Kevin, and Troy’s belief system is diametrically opposed to Julia’s. Angie has given up a lucrative career to stay home and raise children – several children, including a daughter society sees as a “debit”. Instead of being angry and bitter, Angie is contented and fulfilled. As Julia pursues her story, she digs up “dirt” on Kevin. Will Julia protect Angie and her family, or will she choose to expose Kevin and revive her reputation as an award-winning journalist?

Matthew Adams has always wanted to become a professor. Instead he has been saddled with the care of his mother and her deteriorating mind. His religious upbringing taught him that assisted suicide was wrong, but society shows that “transitions” are best for everyone. What should Matt do? Will he follow his heart or his mind?

The United States are at a critical crossroads. “For the first time in human history, the economic pyramid has flipped: the feeble old now outnumber the vigorous young, and this untenable situation is intensifying a battle between competing agendas.” Kevin sets out to unveil facts about “bright spots” and gain support for his proposal. Will he be able to persuade the presidential candidate and his supporters, or will his political career come to a sudden ignoble end?

Once I started this book it was hard to put it down. Even my husband, who rarely reads fiction, was captivated by the story. We were both challenged to consider the path our culture is on and to reexamine not only the basis for our beliefs, but how we can encourage others to make godly choices.

This is the first book in a trilogy. Childless is scheduled for release in the Fall of 2013 and Godless will be available in the summer of 2014.

New Year’s Resolutions NO! My Goals for 2013 – Ruth L. Snyder


Although I do not make New Year’s Resolutions, I do review the past year and write down some goals for the coming year. I find it encouraging to review the progress I made in the past year and inspiring to think ahead to where I want to be a year from now. Here is what I’ve come up with for 2013. Feel free to ask how the goals are going!


1. Gifts from God Jar: I have placed a jar on my kitchen counter with the label, “Gifts from God”. I aim to place at least one slip of paper into the jar each day noting the special things God gives me/does for me each day.

2. Exercise: This is an area I’ve struggled with for many years. Although I enjoy volleyball and curling, I find it difficult to be consistent in getting the exercise my body needs. I purchased a treadmill a couple of months ago. My aim is to use the treadmill (or participate in a similar form of exercise) at least three times a week.


1. Devotions together My husband and I both lead very busy lives. Spending time together reading God’s Word and praying together helps to keep us connected and communicating openly. My aim is to make sure this happens at least three times a week throughout this year.

2. Weekend Away We have five children. I’m looking forward to attending the Break Forth conference with my husband at the end of January. Grandma Snyder does a wonderful job of caring for our kids while we are away!


1. Time with Children:  It is easy for our family to be pulled in different directions with our individual interests and activities. My goal is to do something special with each of my five children at least once a week.

2. Prayer: My children need guidance and protection in their spiritual lives. My goal is to pray for each of them at least once a day.

3. Family Activity: My children need quality time and quantity time. My goal is to plan at least one fun family activity we can do together each month. Any ideas out there?


1. Playground: I presently serve as the president of the Glendon Playground and Park Society. We’ve been busy raising funds. My goal is to install at least one playground facility this year.

2. Bible Study: A couple friends and I are currently meeting every Thursday for Bible Study. We are all busy and it’s tempting to cancel this time or schedule other activities. My goal is to continue to learn and grow together spiritually by meeting regularly.


1. Novel Writing Course: I’m currently enrolled with the Longridge Writers’ Group in a course called, “Shape, Write, and Sell Your Novel”. I’m working on lesson 6 out of 8 and aim to have the course completed during 2013.

2. Blog: In my busyness with other projects, I’ve neglected my own blog. I aim to correct that this year by posting on this blog at least twice a month. I hope you’ll come back and check in with me on a regular basis.

3. Twitter Resource: I’ve enjoyed learning about Twitter and how to use it effectively as a writer. In the past year I’ve been asked to present workshops on Twitter a couple of times. This year I would like to develop a webinar and an ebook which will make the information available to a broader audience.


1. Relationship Building: As a school board trustee with Northern Lights School Division No. 69, it is my duty to represent a broad range of stakeholders. My goal this year is to continue to build relationships with these stakeholders so that I can listen to their input and make responsible decisions on their behalf. I look forward to attending school council meetings, talking with administrators, spending time with students, and listening to community members  whether they have children in school or not.

2. Municipal Election: The next Municipal Election in Alberta is scheduled for October 21, 2013. My goal is to be prepared  and put my name forward again in the school board election.


1. Marketing: I currently serve as the publicity coordinator for ICWF. This year I want to expand our marketing by developing a LinkedIn Company Page, by writing and submitting news releases at least four times this year, and by continuing to develop the professional blog associated with our website.

2. Leadership Capacity: My goal is to develop more leadership capacity within ICWF, encouraging others to develop and use the skills they have to build our organization.

3. Membership: I know there are many Christian writers or potential Christian writers who need encouragement and support. My goal is to attract these people to ICWF through targeted emails, phone calls, invitations to events, and even possibly offering the opportunity to participate in our conference via live streaming.

Renewed Perspective

This morning I was feeling overwhelmed. My husband lovingly rearranged my living room yesterday by adding two more book shelves for me to store my treasured books. In the process several things were displaced and the living room area looks like a war zone. I’m thankful for the book shelves, but I’m the type of person who likes order. The rearrangement left me feeling frazzled.

As I was washing dishes this morning, I glanced out the window. Diamond glints of sunshine bounced off the frosty landscape. I quickly finished dishes and grabbed my camera. Here are some of my favourite shots for you to enjoy. I hope they refresh your spirit as much as they refreshed mine!

Winter BeautyGrass heavy with frostFrost on SpruceFrost on grasslandscape framed by frosty spruce

Choosing to Rejoice

I was rinsing dishes my youngest son was washing for the third time because he didn’t get them clean the first two times. In my mind I was reluctantly going over my “to do” list for the day—washing clothes, folding clothes, baking, cleaning, cooking …. The phone rang.

It was Marie. She wanted to talk to my husband, who wasn’t home. As we continued talking she said, “I’m really looking forward to vacuuming today. It’s been almost a year since I moved into my place after living in a car for months. I’m glad I have rugs to vacuum!”

”It’s amazing what we take for granted sometimes, isn’t it?” I looked around my home with a new perspective.  Items on my list suddenly switched from things to sigh about to things to rejoice about:

  • Active, happy children who wear the clothes I wash
  • The ability to smell and taste warm-from-the oven chocolate chip cookies
  • A house to live in and a vacuum cleaner to use when it needs to be cleaned
  • Good health and energy to do the work before me
  • Opportunities to teach my children not only skills like washing dishes, but also character qualities like perseverance.

Christmas is just around the corner. My conversation with Marie not only reminded me of my need to be thankful, but also of the fact many people are living in difficult circumstances. Yes, I need to be thankful for the many blessings in my life. However, I should also help those around me so they can enjoy Christmas too. I can:

  • Make or find that special gift for my child who often frustrates me.
  • Invite lonely people to join us for Christmas dinner
  • Spend an evening caroling around my neighborhood
  • Volunteer to look after children so a single parent can go shopping alone
  • Donate food or time to a local food bank or shelter

Advent Candles

Will you join me in rejoicing and reaching out this Christmas? What will you choose to be thankful for? How will you reach out to those around you?


What Kind of Legacy am I Leaving Behind?

gifts backgroundSometimes my mind makes strange connections. Today was one of those days. I was invited to attend a party and asked to bring two items wrapped in newspaper for a gift exchange. One of the items I picked to give away was a book about legacy. As I wrapped the book, I thought about the kind of legacy I want to leave my children.

Nothing strange about that thought. Fast forward to later in the day when I was working with a group of volunteers cleaning up garbage along a local road. As I picked up scrunched up beer cans, cigarette butts, and disintegrating plastic bags, I began to think about the people who left the items behind. Did they even think about who might happen upon the garbage they were tossing? Would they still throw it on the ground if they knew others would find out about it?

Somehow as I walked along the ditch the two ideas merged: garbage and legacy. They are both things people leave behind. One has a distinctly negative connotation while the other could be either negative or positive, depending on what kind of legacy is left.

As I’ve pondered what kind of legacy I want to leave for my children, here is my list:

  • A sense of wonder and curiosity
  • Discernment and wisdom
  • Healthy self-esteem
  • A solid spiritual foundation
  • Genuine love and concern for others
  • A basic understanding of their strengths and interests
  • The knowledge they are loved and accepted for who they are


Back to our Regular Schedule

We had a wonderful Christmas break – a few medical appointments, caroling, Christmas concerts, time with our Church family, a visit from my sister and her family, talking, laughing, watching videos, playing games, relaxing. It is always nice to have a change. However, it is also great to be back to a regular schedule.

In case you’re wondering, here are some reasons I appreciate a regular schedule:

  • It allows for and even encourages better planning
  • It enables me to follow through and accomplish my goals
  • It encourages me to make good healthy meals for my family instead of just snacking
  • It ensures we all get the rest we need

Best wishes to you all in 2012!

The End of 2011

Colorful FireworksAs I write this post, I am sitting beside my younger children who are watching Paddington Bear. My husband and oldest child are at a New Year’s Eve party. On Facebook my cousin mentioned he is also home with the kids, one of whom is ill.

Parents often end up celebrating events in ways that would be unacceptable or at best, unexpected, to those with no children. As a parent I missed most of my nephew’s wedding reception because one of my sons soiled his pants and the nearest clean clothes were a half hour away. Last New Year’s Eve I spent a very quiet evening by myself because one of my sons needed to go to bed early. This New Year’s Eve I’m at home because several of my children are tired out after a week of fun with cousins who were visiting.

I tell my children that often we cannot choose what happens to us, but we can choose how we respond. I choose to be thankful for opportunities to spend time with my young children, building memories that may never be able to be built in any other way. I choose to remember that my children are only young once. I choose to laugh and take pictures of my daughter with a pile of cat food on the living room floor (she was having a “snow ball fight with her brother”) before I help her clean up. I choose to put my hobbies and aspirations on the back burner, or at least delay them until my kids are in bed! Parenting is definitely a challenge, but the rewards are worth it!

Rainbows and Remembrance Day

A Poppy is to Remember
They died so we can live

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending the Remembrance Day service at Ardmore School. I was especially touched by two events in the service. The first was a student who sang lyrics to a Remembrance Day poem her mother wrote more than twenty years ago. The second was the slideshow which depicted soldiers in the trenches. One image in particular stuck with me:  the battlefield is total muck – the soldier in the forefront of the picture is spattered with mud from head to foot, but sitting with his head held high and a sense of purpose about him.

On the way home, I enjoyed the beauty of a rainbow. Like the picture, the colours were painted across the sky in a perfect semi-circle. I thought about stopping and capturing a picture, but as I drove on the rainbow literally evaporated before my eyes.

You may wonder why I have chosen to connect rainbows and Remembrance Day. The beauty of rainbows is fleeting – rainbows only exist when mist and light intersect. Remembrance Day is only celebrated (by most of us) once a year. I am realizing how easy it is to take beauty and our freedoms for granted. We talk about the sacrifices veterans made for us, but will we truly ever understand how much our freedoms cost? For some soldiers, the price was their lives. For others it was loss of limb, loss of the ability to provide for their families, loss of the future they dreamed of. I have never experienced the brutality of war, and maybe I never will. But each day I can be thankful for the many freedoms I too often take for granted. In this way, I will remember and continue to honour the precious gift our veterans have given. Will you join me?