Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives:
Winning in the War Against Pornography
by Jay Dennis and Cathy Dyer
Book Review by Sarah Johnson
Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives is an honest real-life look at what pornography can do to a marriage combined with the truths and tools to respond to this disease-like sin that affects so many today.
I was very excited to delve into Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives.
I only wish this book was published ten or so years ago. Early in my marriage I found out that my husband was struggling with this ugly addiction and had been for some time. We sought out counseling, worked through it together and separately, and came out understanding the erosive effect that pornography has on a marriage. We both agreed that our marriage was definitely worth fighting for and I am so glad we did. The past several years have been sweeter and more fulfilling than ever before.
For those who are still struggling or even still fighting to remain free of this sin, Our Hardcore Battle Plan for Wives is an excellent resource because no one is alone is this battle!
When I first submitted my family’s unemployment story to Vicki Huffman, I offered to write a review of her book once it was completed. Only God knew the reason and the season in which I would need to read the inspirational words in Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss.
When I received Vicki’s book to review several months later, my husband had been once again laid off for no fault of his own. Already, four weeks had passed since the day he showed up for work at his industrial construction job on a Monday morning and everyone had been let go.
We were just starting to go through the familiar emotional, practical, and even spiritual fallouts of losing a job when I received the book. As I read through her family’s struggles with job loss—eight in all, I kept tapping the pages of my electronic book reader, saying: “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel. That’s exactly how my husband is responding.”
Vicki was able to tap into those feelings not only from her own family’s experiences, but also by citing renowned psychologists, experts, and everyday people who had the dubious honor of being unemployed at one time or another. She compared unemployment and job loss to the stages of grief and how those who are unemployed—for whatever reason—face similar feelings as those who have experienced loss of any kind—health, death, divorce, to name a few. Vicki walks readers through the stages of grief, helping them to see the connections with job loss and how they eventually can move forward with the help of God.
As I read Still Looking, I began to see stages of grief in my own life, but for different reasons. Last year, I resigned from my corporate job at a Fortune 500 company to become a stay-at-home mom of our three children whom we adopted. Although a joyous occasion for my husband and me and for our children, I felt the loss of fellowship with coworkers, usefulness and productivity that come from completing projects, and the accolades that accompany great work. I was able to see and work through these issues by reading Vicki’s book. She also helped me to understand the pros and cons of women working outside or inside the home, depending on their circumstances.
In addition to the emotional issues accompanying unemployment, Vicki offered practical and spiritual insight for times of job loss. She gave tips on how spouses can help and affirm each other during unemployment. As I re-read our own stories that we submitted to Vicki, it reminded me of the many ways my husband and I have supported each other during these times and how we can continue to do so.
Still Looking is filled with practical and spiritual insight on how to spend time during job loss, as well as other considerations that accompany unemployment, such as the possibilities of relocating and self-employment. Vicki also offers a unique perspective for those who are older and find themselves unemployed.
I especially liked the “P.S. – Post Job Script” sections that summarized each chapter and provided practical tips on how to move forward in recovery from unemployment. The “Peace to You” sections encouraged me with biblical passages and reminders of the peace of God when money is tight.
Oftentimes, books on difficult subjects tend to provide trite answers. Not so with Still Looking. It is fresh and original; Vicki Huffman has been there and she gets it.
From beginning to end, Vicki shows the joys of growing closer to God during times of financial strain. She is a great example of finding true peace during unemployment.
If I had one critique, it would be this: I would have liked for the book to include a set of study questions, whether at the end of each chapter or at the end of the book. That way, readers could work through the issues in each chapter more readily.
Regardless, I highly recommend Vicki Huffman’s Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss. It is a great tool to help readers through the valleys of unemployment not once, but as in our case, several times. Still Looking is ideal for anyone who has a job and feels like it may be time to move on to another job or season in life, or they sense that unemployment might be imminent.
It is a great resource for Bible study groups; readers can use it by themselves, with a mentor or counselor, or in a small group format. People in recovery groups also could benefit from it. The book also would be a great gift for someone working through issues of financial struggle.
Still Looking: Finding the Peace of God in Job Loss is available on Amazon.
Daphne Tarango is a freelance writer who comforts others with the comfort she has received from God. Daphne is a recovery speaker and writers’ group president. She has published numerous inspirational articles in print and online magazines, including the collection of inspirational stories and personal moments with God, Women of the Secret Place. Daphne is married to Luis and in the past year, has resigned from corporate life to become a stay-at-home mom of three adopted children. Daphne is a contributing writer to the Ruby for Women magazine. You can connect with Daphne at her blog: http://DaphneWrites.com.
many were feeling sad, many felt all alone…
their rooms seemed dreary, lacking Christmas cheer,
they felt lost, forgotten, missing friends who weren’t near.
When suddenly, softly…could it be…?
Sweet sounds in the hall, telling of joyful glee!
Yes, there they were, dressed in their Christmas best–
men and women singing serenely ’bout the babe so blest!
Singing about a King, no longer a stranger,
singing about a King, born in a manger!
The elderly looked on, their eyes blurred with tears,
when they couldn’t come to it, Christmas had come near!
“We three kings of Orient are…” (their voices filled the room!)
“bearing gifts we traverse afar…” (their voices chased away the gloom)
and as best as brittle bodies could, they leaned towards the hopeful sound,
glad for this music ministry and the carolers who came around…
Precious in their pajamas, wishful in their wheelchairs,
some bundled in beds and cradled with cares,
all in awe watched each singer with a songbook and a smile
who had stopped to share Jesus and His love song for a while.
Cindy J. Evans is a published Christian poet living in the greater Atlanta area. She enjoys church activities, inspirational movies, Ferris wheels and grand openings. She is still learning to go to her heavenly Father for comfort and not Ben & Jerry!
Read more of Cindy’s poetry in the winter issue of the Ruby for Women magazine.
I’m not sure who’s to blame for this disease of perfectionism, but I’m blaming the Donna Reed Show, Leave It To Beaver, and The Nelsons. Watching those 1960 weekly black and white shows at the tender age of nine created in me a mystical belief that everything had to be done in an orderly fashion. (I still suffer from this disease.)
I remember when I played house in the garage. I scrounged for an apron from my mother’s kitchen, or tried to get one from Grandmother so I could look as neat and tidy as June Cleaver. Once I got that prized possession in my little hands, I pulled it tight around my waist and tied it into a perfect bow. In mother’s room, I dug through her dresser drawer for jewelry, or I begged Grandmother for her old earrings, inevitably, picking the round ones to clamp on my ears. They had to be round, because, after all, that’s what June Cleaver wore.
Then I went through the painstaking task of transforming my mother’s garage into a replica of my idea of the Cleaver home located on 485 Grant Avenue in Mayfield (and none of us have a clue as to which state these flawless people lived in). I took all the empty milk cartons and vegetable cans I begged mother to save for me and arranged them neatly on a makeshift cabinet which consisted of planks of wood straddled across boxes.
I’d mimic June’s lines when my make-believe child would get out of line (like the notorious Beaver). But arguing with my make-believe Ward Cleaver was out of the question. It never happened on the set of Leave It To Beaver and I wasn’t about to break the rules. Arguments were few, but with my intuitive mind, I improvised, always settling into the role of the agreeing wife just as June Cleaver depicted on the television show. (That poor girl got lost somewhere and my husband is still trying to find her. Oh, well . . .)
I wasn’t the only one with this infectious disease. Mother had it, too. I have no idea where she got it. Her mother died when she was only seven. Regardless, I got it from mother and Grandmother (my dad’s mom).
So, you see, Leave It To Beaver and the other shows didn’t cause this ravenous desire in me to be perfect, but they certainly enhanced it to unbelievable proportions. And if these television programs weren’t enough to embed in me a “right way” of doing things, the 1970s produced magazines such as Vogue, Good Housekeeping, and Home and Gardens that also stressed this uncompromising excellence.
It’s amazing how much of what you see and hear stays with you over the years. As a newlywed in the mid-seventies, I traveled over seven hundred miles to my mother’s Corpus Christi home for Thanksgiving so I could enjoy the love, noise, and busyness of the holidays. Spoons clanking, alarms ringing, and pans sliding across burners on the stove was music to my ears. The aroma of cinnamon floated in the air. Burnt onion stock and buttered celery sent us rushing to the kitchen, each of us blaming the other for not paying closer attention to our instructions. Later, just as we propped our feet on the sofa to catch our breath timers sounded and warned us to remove something wonderful from the oven.
Mother was a nurse, working the eleven-to-seven shift. She’d call at precise intervals during the early morning hours to nudge us to our next task. She was a special human being, an exquisite specimen. Patient enough to sit for hours to crochet long-sleeved blouses, skirt sets, and full-size bedspreads, it’s no wonder she could sit curled up in her bed and actually draw her holiday meal on a paper plate. She used highlighters to arrange the replica of food in colorful arrays like a painter’s palate. (To this day, I’ve never seen anyone prepare for a Thanksgiving dinner in this manner.) This method helped her plan for the right amount of food. Too much, and all the food wouldn’t fit on the plate. Too little, and the plate would look skimpy and lack color.
Unlike some Americans, we ate at noon, not six o’clock in the evening. The beautifully set table had cream-colored plates, etched in gold. Ice-filled goblets had something red and cranberry-looking inside to remind us of the season, like we needed reminding. A sliced turkey sat at full attention in the center of the table. Yams drooling in butter sat close by with swirls of steam rising to the surface. Cornbread dressing, tiny green specks of celery dotted on top, sat snuggled next to the turkey. A cranberry mold, which our step-father always snacked on as dessert, sat adjacent to the cornbread dressing.
Aaah, those were the days. Mother’s gone now, but a form of her tradition lives in me.
I stopped traveling home for the holidays a long time ago. Something was tugging at me to create my own traditions. I wanted to hear those same holiday noises inside my home. I wanted to form a routine that suited us and reflected the meaning of our family.
At first, it was hard to transfer my picturesque Leave It To Beaver ideas into reality. I remember how difficult it was to get my holiday dinner on the table. In the early days, I didn’t allow enough time to cook the turkey so it would be ready by noon. And I had a terrible sense of timing when it came to which part of the dinner needed to be cooked first. In addition, I tried to cook too much food for a family of four, and I was doing it all by myself. There was something dysfunctional in my way of thinking that men, namely my husband and two young sons, couldn’t participate in the holiday preparations. I find this odd since I’m the eldest of four children. My three siblings are males, all of whom participated in preparing Thanksgiving dinner while mother worked her eleven-to-seven shift. Like mother, my table looked exquisite. I had golden, yellow, and amber colored flowers in the center of the table . . . not too high, not too low, sparkling beige, gold-trimmed china with gold chargers. Goblets for water with nice beverage glasses to match, fine flatware, and shimmering silver.
After years of working hours of overtime to purchase all that I needed to reach my Leave It To Beaver status, I felt satisfied. But, unfortunately, I needed validation. After putting so much effort into my family traditions for over twenty years, I felt uncertain if I had truly attained what I wanted. At times, I asked myself why I went through so much trouble, especially when there was so much food left over.
Then on Mother’s Day in the spring of 2005 the answer came. In my eldest son’s Mother’s Day card to me, he said, among other heartfelt things: “Thank you, Mom for making our home a wonderful place to come to for the holidays. It has meant a lot to me.”
Wow! At that point, nothing else mattered. It’s confirmed. After all those years of struggling to get the dinner right, the table to sparkle, create an atmosphere so my family yearned to return each and every year, to hear doors slam, little feet stomp up and down the stairs, I had finally realized my dream . . . a warm home for the holidays and all the days in between.
Being a perfectionist wasn’t so bad after all.
Please visit Donna at her blog for more inspiring articles!