New Section – Book Reviews

Book ReviewsI love reading. I always have. It is a wonderful gift that so many miss out on due to circumstances beyond their control, be they financial, physical or geographical. As a child it was my way of disappearing into adventures, friendships and experiences where my imagination could run wild. Have you ever had the feeling when putting down a really good book that you miss the characters? I have. You’re sad to no longer share in their lives? That’s when you know it’s been a really good story.

There is a gift to story telling. I marvel how, using words we all know, someone can capture one’s attention so vividly. Thankfully, either through genetics or by design (my son has grown up surrounded by books), he now loves to read. We often curl up on the couch or bed and snuggle together discovering new characters and adventures in amongst the pages.

We recently had a clear out of all his books that are no longer age appropriate and it was sad to see some of them go, but they had served their purpose and have moved on to entertain other young families. One thing I won’t tolerate, is disrespecting a book. Books are to be cherished and looked after. He’s been taught that from a young age. I love it when he quietly selects books out of the bookshelf and sits reading to himself too – we encourage this but are careful to not over-emphasise it.

Every birthday and Christmas he gets at least one book for his collection. We try to order books quarterly through the school’s Scholastic Books programme as it is a way of continuing his love of reading, but also supporting the school financially.

But my favourite place to order books is from They have free worldwide shipping and books range from cheaper paper backs to the more expensive hard backs. They are cheaper than any I can find in New Zealand and are generally shipped within a couple of days if in stock and it’s always exciting when the new books arrive. Although sometimes it’s a little difficult to receive and hide them away if they are gifts.Bookshelf

Books make fantastic gifts too. Never throw out your old books, unless completely moth-eaten or destroyed. Schools, clubs, 2nd hand shops are often willing and grateful to accept donations.

Books can be expensive, especially when families are struggling to clothe and feed themselves, but a visit to the local library is free and there is always a wealth of knowledge and selection on offer. We often visit our local library and leave loaded up with armfuls of books. He even asks to go to the library if we haven’t been in a while and proudly checks the books out himself.

This new section of ChocolateGoose is simply to share books that I’ve enjoyed either on my own, or with him and hopefully might help others to foster a love of reading. I’d love to hear your suggestions too about books you’ve discovered and enjoyed.

Jacqueline Kennedy was once quoted as saying: There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world – Love of books is the best of all.

You can find this new section on the main Menu.


Life’s Pathway

This morning I woke up to a message from my parents halfway round the world, letting me know that someone I knew a long time ago and only a couple of years older than me, was tragically killed in a car accident along with her middle child and only son. We were never close, but at one time our families were. We grew up attending the same church and I used to travel to bible study classes with her and her Dad. There’s a shared history. I was sad.Life's PathwayBut I got up and got myself ready for the day and travelled to work. Once there I quickly googled details of the accident and there was a photo of the person I knew. Even though 20 odd years have passed since I saw her last, the same happy vibrant smiling person with the exciting eyes was looking back at me. Her son was only 17, probably a senior in High School, just about to start out on his own life’s path. My heart broke.

All of a sudden I felt like I couldn’t breathe. My chest tightened, my throat constricted and the tears came. At that moment my boss walked into the office – we agreed I would come home. The barrage of emotions and memories that flooded me on my drive home surprised me. The physical and searing pain of grief is something I’ve felt all too often in my own life and I cried for her surviving children. I cried for her husband. I cried for her parents and siblings. I completely and utterly understand the pain of the grief that her family is feeling. The raw gut-wrenching heart-breaking reality that someone you knew, held, loved, confided in, played with, laughed with, made memories with, sang with, or watched sleep, is no longer here. Continue reading

Teaching Children “The Right Thing To Do”

My son and I recently had cause to discuss this topic. Soccer training was cancelled as the teams were supposed to attend a sport psychology session. Heaven knows why kids as young as mine need to be doing this now, I mean they’re not seasoned Pro’s, but we had agreed to attend. I knew we’d be late due to a standing activity we have on the same day, and we’d also missed the first session a few months ago so I felt bad – you know how it goes…

But then it started raining, the weather was cold and miserable and I was sorely tempted to go straight home. It was like my son read my mind and said: Ah Mom, can’t we just go home? In that split second I glanced across at him and then back at the road and had a light bulb moment. He was waiting for me to make the right decision. What was the right decision? I knew this was a defining moment, however small.

I decided to do the right thing vs what I felt like doing so I could set an example for him. Now I don’t want to sound all too serious and precious, and there will be days when I’ll actually just go home, but it all depends on what it is that you’ll be skipping. Somehow over the last wee while, a person’s Word has lost it’s value. Nowadays we tend to be more fluid with our commitments, excuses seem to flow easier or simply not at all, and we generally have an attitude of doing what we want when we want. I find that pretty sad and the older I get, the more “old-fashioned” I become in terms of values I was taught as a child.
Continue reading