Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Book Review: It will be okay


It will be okay; Trusting God through fear and change by Lysa TerKeurst is the story of a seed that loves his safe home inside the dry barn and little fox who is scared of the forest and shadows.  When little fox finds a home in the barn with the seed they become friends.  But one day when the farmer takes the seed outside they don’t know what to do.  But the trust the farmer and are amazed by their futures.

I really loved this book.  I have read adult books by Lysa TerKeurst before and enjoyed them.   This children’s book is even better. It has a great message that is easily understood for children.  She has taken two complicated subjects to talk about with children and make them relatable.  After reading this book to my kids once it became a family staple. We read it all the time.

I am excited to have this book in my collection.  I can’t wait to see what Lysa will come up with next.

Side Note: The pictures are also beautiful. Very well drawn and whimsical.

Note: I did receive a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: Discipleship

Discipleship: Living for Christ in the Daily Grind by J. Heinrich Arnold is a compilation of thoughts from the author. Heinrich Arnold spent most of his life in a community in Germany that lived by the Acts 2 and 4 community. In 1963 he was asked to become their pastor and preached for over 20 years until his death. He was known for always showing love and grace, always pointing his congregation to Christ, and always speaking truthfully, even if it was painful to hear.

This book is set up by topics with messages from the author, lists of scripture, and letters from community followers who had written him. From the original description provided by the publisher I was surprised by the book and its layout. But I have really enjoyed it so far. His views on many topics would be considered very conservative but re based on well rooted biblical principles. I enjoyed picking a topic and reading the scripture and verses with how they apply. His views on topics are directed to individuals and whole congregations.

  All and all I enjoy this book. Although I may read though some sections from page to page (is that what you call the middle of a book’s cover to cover?) but mostly it will be used as a reference book on specific topics. His book is meant to challenge and it will if you focus your mind and heart on the topics discussed in the book. Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review. The opinions written above are my own an I was not compensated for a positive review.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Book Review: Plush NIrV Bible

The Plush NIrV bible published by Zondervan bibles is a newly adapted bible. It is the NIV bible that has been adapted to use a language when necessary for easier reading. The publisher has a set reading level that of an average eight year old. If the language of the NIV was acceptable it was not unnecessarily corrected. At first I got this bible thinking it was going to fully revised from the original NIV. I was happily surprised when I compared it to a NIV bible in my house and found it word for word (in the passages I picked). I got this bible for my 8-year-old daughter. I think it will be a perfect fit for her. She loves reading her story bibles but has been asking for an “adult” bible. I think this is going to be the perfect step up to an adult bible. I would recommend this book to anyone who is starting to learn to read and wants to be able to read and understand the entire bible. This book, although originally marketed for eight to ten year old kids, can also be used for anyone who is starting to learn to read. Note: I did get a copy of this book from the publisher to read and review. The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Book Review: Nature Girl


Nature Girl; A guide to caring for God’s creation by Karen Whiting ad Rebecca White is a collection of recipes, tips, how-tos, and scripture to help a young girl become better about how to creatively and practically makes changes on her/our lives to help the earth. This book covers electricity saving tips to make your own spa day supplies.

I got this book hoping my 8 year old daughter would like it.  She is very sensitive and aware of the nature. She always wants to save the animals and pick up litter.  I thought this book would in line with that.   I found some of the suggestions very obvious – turn off the lights when you leave a room- and some more enlightening.  I like that they covered alternative energy (even if my daughter isn’t going be the one paying for a solar or wind power system). I also like that they outlined some of the jobs your can have in fields that help with alternative energy and conservation. 

I did have a few things about the book that bothered me.  One, and this may be my “thing” but, one some of the recipes it calls for ingredients such as Crisco.  Crisco??!!  You specifically list un-petroleum jelly but Crisco is okay?  Why not coconut oil with some bees wax?  My other main issue in this book is there has to be a fine line that I don’t feel was thoroughly discussed.  For instance one of the tips is to leave bits of trash and string out for birds to make colorful nests with but there is a fine line between leaving a piece of string out and littering.  Plus, colorful string and other things are not natural materials to birds’ nests and the environment.  I feel like they do more harm than help in most cases.

All and all I am giving this book to my daughter (Merry Christmas).  I hope she enjoys it and I look forward discussing a lot of these topics in detail with her.  Pros and cons. 

 

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review from the publisher.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Book Review: From this day forward


From This Day Forward; five commitments to fail proof marriage by Craig and Amy Groeschel is a look at what a marriage really means and what matters.  IF each spouse is committed to their five pillars the marriage will be solid and happy.

This book is a great short (~150 pages) book about what the true focus of a Christian marriage should be.  I found the flow and writing very easy to read and the five topics easy in theory, hard in practice.  They are things we always strive for in a marriage.  I also really liked how this book is about growing ad building a marriage had application to couples already married, to people about the enter into marriage, and for people who are single but are hoping to prepare themselves (spiritually, not can bake a great pie prepare) for a the future spouse. 

I really enjoyed this book. I hope to pass this book on to friends, married and single, to read, enjoy, and be strive for the five pillars of marriage described in this book.

 
Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: The Wisdom of Sadhu


The Wisdom of Sadhu: Teachings of Sundar Singh by Sundar Singh is the collection of stories and teachings by Sundar Singh.  Sundar left his home of wealth in the early 20th century to live the life of a wondering holy man. During these times he re retells his mystical like encounters with Jesus and the stories of thousands of people following him.  He was visited by people from all over the world to hear his teachings.  He was known in his lifetime as the most famous convert to Christianity.

I was a little hesitant about getting this book.  It’s not the normal kind of book I usually read.  In the end I really struggled getting through this book.  I found the book jumped around from different subjects and stories.  I also found the flow and language very hard to easily read.  In general I liked a few of the sayings and quotes in this book but ultimately found the book so tedious and distractible that I only made it through about half of the book.    I hope this book has a great impact on many people.

 

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review from the publisher. The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review: Southern Foodie's Guide to the Pig


Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig: Culinary tour of 50 of the South’s best restaurants and the recipes by Chris Chamberlain is exactly what the title says.  It’s a book with recipes and stories from 50 of the greatest BBQ chefs/pit masters in the south. This book combines recipes, with personal stories, history, and culinary lessons. 

When I opened this book I was expecting a cookbook with a few cute tips and stories.  This is so much more.  This book includes real history and knowhow from some of the most acclaimed BBQ/pig connoisseurs in the country.  The first couple chapters cover the anatomy of the pig and how to build your own pit to roast a whole pig.   They describe techniques, reasons why parts are cooked one way and not another, and lots of amazing basic recipes.  I am so excited about this book.  Plus it’s more than… “Here’s a BBQ sauce recipe. Here’s a pulled pork recipe…”  It’s got how to make your own bacon and hams too.

I am so excited about owning this book and adding it to my collection. I have already told my husband to be prepared to build me a BBQ pit.  The material list (approximately) is included in the book.  I cannot wait to try out all the new recipes; Rubs, injections, sauces, etc.  They all look so good.

Note: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Book Review: Noah


Noah by Mark Ludy is a picture book depicting the story of Noah.  This is not like any other picture book I have ever received for my children.  I would say most picture books are marketed for the 0-3 year old range. In other words kids who cannot read.  This book appeals to all kids.  The pictures are beautiful and detailed.   He has done a wonderful job visually showing all facets of the story.

There are a few very minor things I saw in the pictures that I may not agree with or was not expecting.  For one he included dinosaurs in some of the pictures of Noah working on the boat. Ok, maybe.  He showed some people swept up in the water when the rain came (scared look on face, drowning).  At first I thought this was a bit too much but it ended up leading into a great discussion with my kids.  What happened to all those people?  They died.   They drowned.  That is an important part of the story that we as parents usually gloss over.  Lastly Noah and his family were very happy on the boat.  In my opinion, a little too happy on day 40 to be smiling that big while eating dinner with lots of animals sitting and scurrying all around them. 

All in all I enjoyed this book immensely.  I am glad I can add this book to my children’s library for us to enjoy.  It was amazing to see/hear them tell me the story of Noah using his beautifully drawn pictures.

 

Note: I was given a copy of this book from handlebar publishing to read/view and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: Their Name is Today


Their name is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold is a plea to the people, future, parents, grandparents, teachers, etc. to remember our children’s wellbeing.  In the world there is so much for the future generations to overcome.  Children now have new distractions with video games and televisions everywhere, escalating violence in the world and in their entertainment, obesity and loss of healthy food in the homes and schools, education being taken over by government regulations instead of loving teachers, parents torn between success and quality time with their children.  With all of this Mr. Arnold wants us to remember it’s not too late.  There is still hope. The hope can be found in those children if we give them the tools that we need.  We need to love, teach, instruct, guide, encourage, and build out our children so they know how to become the adults we want them to be. 

I have read books by Mr. Arnold before and have always found his books very interesting.  I usually agree with most of this conservative viewpoint.  You can feel his passion for the subject in every word.  But I always find his books a little hard to read.  There is so much in every word and page it is not a quick or easy read. This is a book that looks small but can take a while to read and you are sometimes forced to reread a sentence two and three times before you fully grasp all that he is saying.

In general I enjoyed this book.  I look forward to digging a little deeper into what he writes and using what I learn to encourage and build up my own children.

Note: I was given a copy of this book from handlebar publishing to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Sarced Year by Michael Yankoski


The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski is the story of the Author’s journey to find peace and balance in his life.  Michael had worked his entire life to be successful at work. He traveled all of over the world to speak. But there was always a frantic feel to his life and a well of discontent.  In the peak of the storm he decided to change his life and go on a one year journey to find peace, contentedness, and his true self.  His journey took him to a monastery, a cave, and his office. 

I know this book is about slowing down and finding purpose in life but this book was too slow for me.  It was too much like a lulling voice describing the minutest detail of everything.  Because that’s what he does.  To slow down he observed and ate an apple.  It took an hour to do and 3-5 pages to describe in the book.  An apple!  I realize for him it was profound and eye opening experience but to me as a reader it was very long.

Because of the excessive detail and disconnected flow of each passage I was unable to read this book for very long in a single sitting.  Honestly, I was unable to finish it.  After 5 minutes of reading I was almost asleep. 

I know this book for a lot of good review and I am happy for the author.  Unfortunately I do not think I was the target audience and could not get into the subject.  I wish him the best of luck with this new life.

 
Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free from the publisher.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Move On by Vicki Courtney


Move On by Vick Courtney is an inspirational book that helps women (and men) evaluate their life and come clean about all the mess in it so we can move towards grace.  Once we face our messes, God is able to do his work in us and help us move on.

I really enjoyed this book.  I think one thing that was important to making this book and message really work was for the author to be real about her own struggles and messes to the reader.  Vicki Courtney does just that.  She presents this message that you can see has truly impacted her own life. She is not looking for pity for her messes or a pat on the back for moving on. 

She is just open about what God has revealed her in her, and her close friends, struggles.  We all have them and yet so often we are afraid to reveal them.  We fear judgment, pity, abandonment, etc. so instead we lock them up making them a barrier between us and the world…  AND GOD.  But God will not judge, abandon, or pity us because he already knew them. Before we were born he knew them.  Instead of giving those to God and letting his use them for His good, we hold onto them and fester in out self-pity of them.

I really enjoyed this book.  I thought her writing was easy to read. She was insightful, honest, friendly, and encouraging.  I am glad I read this book and hope to pass it on to a few friends whom I think could benefit from this message.

Note: I was given a copy of this book, for free, to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Review: Let's all be brave by Annie Downs


Let’s All Be Brave; living life with everything you have by Annie Downs is a book about how we should be brave in our life.  Not jump out of a plane brave but feeling secure in Christ so you can do anything for Him brave. 

I really enjoyed this book. Here writing style is very easy to read and conversational.  I feel like I just had a great pour out your heart, punch you in the gut, while having a coffee with a close friend kind of conversation.

What I love most about this book is her way to easily present how easy it is to be brave when you know God is there for you.  With his love and support we shouldn’t be afraid to make a life change, donate generously, pursue our dreams, etc.. 

My favorite quote from this book is…

“I believe in the me God made and in the me God can make.  I believe he made me on purpose and didn’t make any mistakes when it came to my creation.  I believe he is doing a good work in me, and in you. And that though I am flawed, God is loving me and refining me and reminding me that God in me is where I can place my trust.

And that is the place where I find my courage.”

I will definitely reread this book and buy copies for my friends. I enjoyed it that much.  Thank you, Annie Downs, for writing from your heart, exposing your weaknesses, and uplifting all who struggle to be brave.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review: The healing quilt by Wanda E Brunstetter


The Healing Quilt by Wanda E Brunstetter is another book in the Half Stitched Amish Quilting Club series.  This time Emma and Lamar have moved to a small community close to Sarasota Florida for the winter.  As Emma is restless in the new town, Lamar encourages her to start another quilting club.  Joining her club is Jennifer who is pregnant with her first child and worried her husband won’t find a job before the baby is born, Erika a teen who was wheelchair bound after a diving accident, Noreen a retired teacher and widow looking for something creative to do, BJ an artist who is visiting Florida before his terminal cancer prevents him, and Kim a single woman who isn’t sure what life has for her after a recent break up with her boyfriend whom she followed to Florida.

I have not read the other quilting club books before reading this one and I loved it.  I want to go back and read the previous two books.  The love the flawed characters and how we see them go as individuals and as a group throughout the book.  Yes, you can expect the huge coincidences like the other books (aka what the girl I’ve been sewing next to is actually my daughter I haven’t seen in 20 years).  Yes, you know in the last couple chapters everyone will have a change of heart and it will all work out.  But I think it’s good to hope that that can happen in life.  Good things can happen.  Relationships can be mended.  Hearts can change.

This book is 310 pages long and I read it within a couple sittings.  I could not put it down.  I am a huge fan of most of Wanda E Brunstetter books but I have to say I think this is one of my top 10 favorites.

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book Review: Willie Out West - children's book


Willie out West by Rhonda Walker is a children’s story about Willie the walrus who is bored at home.  When he flips on the TV he hears about the how the Wild West is being overrun by a mean whale.  The next thing he knows there is a knock on the door from the sheriff of the Wild West asking for his help.  He travels to the Wild West looking for adventure and to help the town’s people.

This book was written well and in a language that makes it easy for kids to understand.  I’d say a 1st or 2nd grader could easily read this book out loud.  The pictures were nice but very simple.  I think part of that is the ebook format made they look at little too simple.

I have to be honest, I didn’t like the story.  The resolution of helping the town’s people is getting them to scare the whale (bad guy) away with a harpoon.  Not the best lesson.  Pull out a weapon to scare the bad guy.  I don’t think I would choose this book off a shelf and read it to my kids.

 Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free to read and review from the publisher.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: The Sticky faith guid for your family by Dr. Kara Powell

The Sticky Faith guide for your family by Dr. Kara E Powell is the follow up book to her previously published book, Sticky Faith.  In Sticky Faith the findings from research conducted by the Fuller Youth Institute lay out the statistics of kids and youths challenges to keep their faith when becoming adults (especially when leaving for college).  The institute has interviewed thousands of families to determine what characteristics keep the faith in the family and kids.  This book was an answer to many letters asking for practical tips on how to create a sticky faith family.

This book hold many practical suggestions on how to encourage children, spend time together, etc. to create and keep your children engaged, seeking, and in love with Jesus and their faith.  This books helps create kids that aren’t just brain smart about Jesus but heart felt and truly knowledgeable about Him.

I found this book good. Not great.  I think it held many good suggestions and discussions on how to talk to children and youth but I just found it very hard to read.  I found myself flipping through reading a page here and there instead of cover to cover. 

I hope this book impacts many families in the world.  I will use some of what I read and maybe keep it on the shelf for a quick peak every now and them but for me that’s all it will be.

Note: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: Woman of Courage

A woman of courage by Wanda E. Bronstetter is a fictional period book about Amanda.  When Amanda’s fiancĂ©e calls off her wedding the night before she decides to leave her home town, travel out west to work with missionaries teaching the Indians about God.  On the long trail from New York to the far west she meets many obstacles and challenges including Indian raids, deaths or loved ones, animal attacks, weather, and all the other harshities of the wild west.  Along the way she meets new friends who help her make the trip and possibly find love.

 First off, I have read many of Wanda E. Brunstetters books.  I love her may Amish stories and enjoyed reading her writing with a different genre.  This one I think is one of her better.  From the beginning I was hooked.  There were so many twists and turns. Although sometimes the tragedies and events seemed a little excessive, I do think the west was that harsh.  You were never without danger of wild animals, Indian hostility, and lawless men.  It was a rough place for a woman.

 Anyone who is a fan of Wanda E. Brunstetter books or fictional wild-west books will love this book.  It has a great message and story all wrapped up.

 Note:

1)      I was given a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own. I was not compensated for a positive review.

2)      I may have made up the word harshities but I like it.  So I used it.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review: Healing Lives by Tobe Momah


Healing Lives by Tobe Momah is a collection of stories about miracles.  He has recorded miracles in physical healing, restoration of relationships, and restoration from abuse (physical, mental, drugs, alcohol, etc.). There is even one amazing story about how a trained assassin was unable after many tries to take out his target, an outspoken evangelist.  All of these stories have been verified by Tobe to ensure he is not passing on false information.  Dr. Momah is a working doctor along with a evangelist and faith healer.  Through he and his wife hundreds of people have been healed.

This is a very book to read.  It includes 100 stories of miracle.  Each story is 1-2 pages long and includes a verse and final statement.  It was nice to sit down and read five or six stories quickly while I had a break for a few minutes.  After getting up I always felt refreshed, like I could take on the world, because God truly in in control.

 I would recommend this book as a quick read to someone who needed assurance miracles still happen today.   I think the mentality of this book to look around in life and find the miracles and then acknowledge God’s work in them in amazing.  So many times we push thing off to a fluke, good luck, or good medicine but it’s so much more.  It’s God visible touch in our lives, if we ask for it.  So many times we hear the bad new and don’t take it to Him.  We don’t trust Him to give us a miracle, so we do not ask, so we do not receive.    How powerful a believing heart and lips that is truly can be.
Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free from the publisher to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: Beyond Discipleship to Relationship


Beyond Discipleship to Relationship by Barbara A. F. Brehon is a devotional book going through all the points of how to increase your relationship with Christ from an admirer to a follower and a follower to a Christ-like life. 

This book is intended for people who have already a Christian but want to become closer to God and more Christ-like.  The books intent is to inspire intimacy with God, nurture the desire to be connected daily (hourly/minute-ly) with Christ, and cause one to delve into the bible looking for answers and reveling in the presence of God.

In truth I had this book with me when I had a few minutes to read and sadly it was not hard for me to put it down when I needed to.  Although she did an amazing job laying out the different topics and discussing them, I personally had a really hard time keeping focused while reading.

Even though I struggled getting through this book I would still recommend. The struggle was more my attention and method, time frame, and location of reading. I hope.  This book is great at laying out all the ways to consider allowing Christ to pour into your life and fill you.

Good luck to all who read this review and hopefully the book. May God bless you in your life.

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free from the publisher to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book Review: Stress and Peace


Stress and peace by Stanley Johnson is a book about all the areas of stress in our lives and where we can find peace.  In this book the author look at every facet of our lives and details out the stress areas like children- what if there’s something wrong, what if they’re not smart or pretty, what if they make a bad decision, what if they get picked on, what if…..

In my opinion this book caused more stress then peace.  This is literally a book that lists all the area that could/should stress you out in your life.  There is very little peace in just recognizing it.  Although he does give some peaceful resolutions or helpful hints on how to reduce/remove the stressful factors in your life, it is not near enough for his long list. 

I also found this book very hard to read.  Though the chapters were outlined well the general flow and paragraphs made it very hard to stick with it.  I can’t even count how many times I started and stopped this book, not because the stress was too high but because I just got bored easily and needed to move on.

Lastly, there is one answer to all this stress.  It’s not easy but it’s simple.  Give it to God.  I can guarantee your children will fail and will not be the prettiest or smartest and they will make bad decisions.  Because none of us are perfect and we all make bad decisions every day.  Some are worse than others. Some have consequences and some don’t but we all do it because we are an imperfect being because of sin.  No matter what your stress is or what has happened in the past you can give it to God.

Note: I did receive a copy of this book to read and review from the publisher for free.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Cookbook review: Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook


Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook is an amazing collection of seasonal recipes put together by Nancy Vienneau and Gigi Gaskins.

These recipes look amazing.  I can’t wait to try them.  A lot of them.  One of the main thing I love about the collection of recipes is that none of the recipes use cream of…, or any other premade concoction.  The recipes are organized by months and what is in season at that time.  Summer recipes are cooler and lighter.  Winter recipes are heartier and warmer.

This cookbook includes all kinds of recipes.  Main courses, sides, veggies, dips, soups, desserts, etc.  There is also a special cocktail or mixed drink for each month highlighting some ingredient in season.  And in December’s chapter they include a few gift ideas – bath salt soaks, spice mixes, etc.

Some of the recipes call for finer/pricier/harder to come by ingredients.  I’m okay with that considering this book is not meant to be a everyday use cookbook but more of a special occasion cookbook.

I am very excited about adding this to my library collection of cookbooks.  As soon as my pears and figs are ripe in our orchard, I will be completing many recipes on my want to try list from this book. 

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: NIV integrated study bible.


The NIV integrated study bible “written”/edited by John R. Kohlenberger III, published by Zondervan is a chronologically ordered study bible to help the reader understand where all the parts of the bible fall in a timeline.  The old testament is divided into 5 sections; creation through the patriarchs, exodus to conquest, conquest through united kingdom, divided kingdom to exile, and return to the land.  The New Testament is divided into two sections; the life of Jesus and the early church.

I really enjoy the setup of this study bible.  The editor did an amazing job of easily setting out the writings in order; showing parallel stories recorded in multiple books, showing references in place of quoted scripture from Old Testament in the New Testament, etc.  One of my favorite additions is the timeline on the bottom of each page showing the historical section the passages are from overall timeline. 

I am really looking forward to read more of this as a study bible to better understand how the individual books of the bible fit together in a cohesive timeline of God’s amazing story.  This book is a great addition to my devotional library. 

Note: I was given a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Book Review: Where the Wind Leads


Where the Wind Leads: A Refugee Family’s story of loss, rescue, and redemption by Vinh Chung is the story of Vinh’s family journey from Vietnam to America.  The Chung family had a good life in Vietnam.  Everything changed with the communism overtook the country.  His family fled on a boat that floated aimlessly in the South China Sea left for dead from pirate attacks.  Miraculously they were found by the World Vision Mercy ship and relocated to a small town in Arkansas in the United States.  They spoke no English, they no one in America and had no distinct skill to rely on.  Through much adversity they family came together and made a home. They succeeded far beyond what they ever believe with children graduating from top colleges and having successful careers.

This story is an amazing tale of the strength of family, determination, faith, and overcoming any obstacle.  The book is very easy to read and hard to put down.  I enjoyed it immensely.  This is the kind of book that after reading you look around at your life and you realize the small obstacles in life are nothing and should not stop you from pushing through and succeeding.

 Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free from the publisher to read and review.  I was not compensated for a positive review and the opinions above are my own.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: The loving kitchen


The loving Kitchen by Leann Rice is a wonderful collection of homemade (from scratch) Southern cooking just like the ones she blogs about.  The cookbook covers every course and meal possible.

This book also contains a great discussion with the cook about where her passion from cooking comes from and why she enjoys spending all her time in the kitchen.  There are many pictures in the book.  Probably 50% of the recipes have a picture.  They pictures are beautiful.  I do wish all the pictures would have been labeled. Some were not and it was hard to tell if it was a picture of the recipe before or after it.

I enjoyed flipping through this cook book.  There were many recipes very similar the ones I already make and a few I’ve been wanting to try.  I also love her emphasis on tasting the love in your cooing. She also gives some great tips on how to make recipe turn out great.

I am happy about adding this cookbook to my (virtual) self of recipes.  I already have a few ear marked to make soon.

Please note I was given a copy of the book to read and review by the publisher.  My opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: Smart Money Smart Kids


Smart Money Smart Kids; Raising the next generation to win with money by Rachel Cruz and Dave Ramsey is a great book.
First off I love Dave Ramsey and his message on responsible stewardship of money.  Rachel, his daughter, has joined his team speaking across America to kids.  She is the preventative care to his emergency care approach.

Rachel was born the same year Dave and his wife had to file for bankruptcy.  As she grew she watched her parents struggle to rebuild their financial lives and learn along the way the steps he now teaches daily.  As her parents were embracing this new thinking of money, they taught their kids from a very young age how to manage money.  They allowed mistakes to be made small so they wouldn’t be made huge when they were older.

Rachel and Dave discuss how allowing children to understand how money works and its finiteness as a child is key.  They also discuss the importance of balancing gifts with overindulgence, teaching grace and compassion instead of self-centric worlds. 

One of my favorite sayings in this book is most of the lessons “are caught not taught.”  I love this reminder that children are always watching and learning from our lives every day.  I can’t teach giving if I don’t give.  I can’t teach compassion of if never show compassion. 

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  It is a wonderful encouraging book for parents to look at their lives and find the daily lesson on how to teach children how to grow up to become effective productive adults.

 
Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review from the publisher.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Book Review: Moment Maker


Moment Makers by Carlos Whitaker discusses how taking advantage of specific moments in life can turn them into the best memories.  Some of his examples are play cards on the side of a deserted road when their car broke down, going up to a complete stranger and talking to them, and slowing down enough to take a moment with your children.

I enjoyed this book a lot.  Before reading this book I did not know Carlos Whitaker by name.  But since reading this book I have found a lot of videos on youtube and learned a lot more about him.  (FYI-not in a creepy stalker way either, he discusses his youtube videos in the book.  I just checked them out.)

I think Carlos makes a lot of great points about how we need to open our eyes and be ready for anything because 1) you never know what/who God is going to put in your path each day and 2) bad situations can turn into moment makers with the correct attitude (i.e. sitting on the side of a deserted road playing cards).  It has challenged me to look at every situation in a different way to see how we can turn the frustrating into fun and the bad into good.

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free from the publisher.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Review: The Nesting Place


The Nesting Place: It doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful by Myquillyn Smith is a book about how to decorate and love your home.  She describes how to love the home you’re in now and how to love the journey of decorating on any budget and loving the imperfections in life.

At first I thought this book was going to be a coffee table style book with lots of pictures and a few helpful tips on how to decorate but it’s not.  It’s much much more.  The author takes your through her journey of being content and happy in your current home.  She describes how small changes and expressions of yourself/your family will turn any house into a home. 

I think she also hit the nail on the head when talking about our fear to fail in decorating.  A good attempt is better than nothing.  And worse case you remove it or repaint it.  What a great stress-free philosophy.  I have found many times I want to redecorate our house but I’m crippled by doubts.  I have never thought about treating decorating (my current home and envisioning my dream home) as a journey that will change as my family grows.

I really enjoyed this book.  I love the pictures of her home as inspiration of what a house can turn into with an adventurous spirit, a willingness to try, and freedom to fail and redo.  I will definitely keep this book around as a reminder to go for it.

Note: I did receive this book for free from the publisher to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: Love Skip Jump


Love Skip Jump by Shelene Bryan is a book describing the author’s life ever since she made one decision to visit Uganda to see if her sponsored child actually existed.  In Uganda her life was turned upside down at the sight of poverty and a thought to feed the children.  Shelene founded skip1.org to help provide meals to people in third world countries that need a meal.  Since its inception it has provided thousands of meals to hungry children along with kitchens, medical care, etc. 

I really enjoyed this book.  Frist, Shelene writes in a style that is very easy to read.  It’s more like having a conversation over the coffee table with a friend then reading. Second, her story is amazing.  I find myself wanting to do all the things she has done.

This is a motivational, uplifting, thought provoking, and a feel good book.  Her prayers at the end of each chapter moved me and gave me a poignant prayer to ask God so that I can do big things for Him.

I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to do something big but doesn’t know what or how.  Shelene found the answer with a side comment at a dinner party about if her sponsored child actually existed or was just a con.  It’s amazing how God can use one “yes” and change the world one meal at a time.

 

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publishers to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Book Review: Nice People Rob God


Nice People Rob God by Althea Patrick is a book looking at how people rob God of the opportunities to bless us in our lives.  We rob God by not asking for his help or blessings.  We rob God by not fully trusting in Him and letting His glory by evident in our lives.  We rob God by not tithing what is already his.

I think Althea Patrick had the best intentions of writing this book but I found it very hard and tiresome to read.   Frist I found her writing technique a little strung together and hard to follow along.  She seems to have these long and so.. and so.. and so… so of course this is what I meant kind of writings. 

Another part of the book I found off putting is her use of the term “nice people.”  I get what she is saying when she says just because your nice doesn’t mean you’re saved.  I also get that sometimes Christians need to be not nice (honest, real, open) to further the kingdom.  But I did find that in her writing I felt like every time I read it you could imagine the author looking down her nose and scowling while writing it.  To me this is the exact opposite of what we need to be showing people.  I do think there are other words that would have better described people in the situation she was trying to describe.

All in all I think this book leans more towards a rant then a well thought out book.  Although I did like the authors use of multiple biblical stories and verses to exemplify her point, a lot of the time it came across and slightly out of context in her interpretations.

Personally I would not recommend this book for friends and family to read. 

 

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review for free.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Book Review: James: Faith becomes real

The latest book I read was James: Faith Becomes Real by Carole Arceneaux.  This book is a verse by verse discussion of the letter written by James using both modern and biblical examples.  This very slow deliberate approach to studying James allows the reader to fully understand all that James said and how it applied back then and how it applies in today's world.

This book was a very quick read for me.  The author has broken James into 1-2 verse sections and a 1-2 page discussion.  It could easily be used as a 5 minute daily devotion.  The author does a great job and titling each section that hits the main idea James was trying to express. 

If it was up to me the only thing I would change was the bible translation used. New living translation isn’t my favorite.  I personally feel like some of the emotion is lost or slightly altered with this version. 

All in all I enjoyed this book.  After reading through it in a couple days I would like to start the book over going into much more detail and taking it one verse at a time to really get all of James meaning out of it.

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Monday, March 31, 2014

book review: Seeking Allah finding Jesus


Nabeel Qureshi tells an amazing story of his growing up in a devote Muslim home and then converting to Christianity when he was an adult. This book has wonderful insights into the lives of a devote Muslim and how their religion effects their live. 

I was excited to see this book as one I could possibly read and review. I was not disappointed.   I really enjoyed this book and the author’s perspective.  It is one I’m sure I will read again and pass on to friends.   I found all the information about the Muslim religion fascinating as well as Nabeel’s search for truth in Christianity.  Our society has many unfavorable stereotypes about different religions and what those people are like.  Most devote Muslims are not the fringe groups we hear about on the news (just as most Christians are not like their fringe groups) but are kind, generous, nice people.

As a mother I was amazed at the amount of devotion his mother went into teaching him Muslim traditions, teachings, and respect.  This level of devotion is something all mothers should strive for.

Note: I received this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.  I was not compensated for a positive review.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Book Review: Let there be light

Let There Be Light, written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and illustrated by Nancy Tillman, is a beautiful book showing the 7 days of God's creation described in Genesis 1 and 2.   This book has beautiful pictures and describing each step.

As soon as I got this, I read it to my kids.  They (and I) really liked it.  The pictures are bright and fun to look at and the writing is simple but elegant.  The kids loved looking at the pictures on each pages.  There are hidden images on each page within the drawings.

One of the very special things about this book is the letter written by Desmond Tutu in the beginning of the book.  His message of God creating each child and making them special is beautiful.  I wish he would have written a few more pages about the same thing at the end of the book. 

All in all we will enjoy having this book on our shelf to read over and over again.  I hope to find a few more of these to give away as gifts to my nieces and nephews.

Note: I was given a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Book Review: The Adam Quest


The Adam Quest; Eleven Scientists Who Held on to a Strong Faith While Wrestling with the Mystery of Human Origins by Tim Stafford is a collection of arguments from eleven scientists discussing their views on Creation.  There are scientists who are committed to scientifically proving young earth creation, day age creation, and evolutionary creation. 

I enjoyed this book.  I first believe the publication date around the Bill Nye vs David Ham creation debate was very good.  I found the stances of these 11 scientists very personal and without scientific evidence interpreted to prove their case.  I also enjoyed a single book highlighting each while letting the author decide.  The author and scientist did a great job at describing their position on creation without belittling or being condescending towards the other groups.  The scientists also do a wonderful job at putting the evidence in terms a nonscientist can understand.

Overall this book would be a great for someone who is first looking into the different forms of creation to determine what they believe.  This book could easily let them preliminarily chose what stance they want to research and learn more about.

 
Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review. The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Book Review: Rich in Years


Rich in Years by Johann Christoph Arnold is a collection of stories on becoming older.  The author discusses the Joys and Discouragements of getting older.  He challenges the reader to look at aging as a joy and not becoming too discouraged in all the loss of family, friends, energy, their body, and their mind.  He reminds them the one thing it can’t take is your soul. 

This book is a wonderful collection stories of how many people have handled aging, sickness, and death in the lives.  So many people have learned how to end life with joy and grace instead of clinging to regret, independence, and grudges.

I, being an early thirties adult, was not the target audience for this book.  In spite of that I really enjoyed it.  It made me realize the other side of age.  I now look at me parents, grandparents, older members of my church, and strangers in a whole new light.  I want to be the support they need so they can age (and yes, eventually die) with as much peace and joy in the life. 

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Book Review: How to be Rich


How to be Rich by Andy Stanley is a book about the correct way rich people should view their money.  Andy Stanley challenges Americans to consider what Rich means and how the world defines the way we view money and spend it.

If you make more than $48,000 a year as a family, you are in the top 1% of wage earners in the world.  This fact is staggering to me.  Another mind blowing fact is that as American I can work 5 days a week (for 8-10 hours per day) and provide for my family of five for seven days.  Five days of work is sufficient to house, feed, clothe, and entertain my family of five for seven days a week.  In most nations working 6 days is normal but for many working seven days a week is connected to survival, let alone letting other family members not work and still survive.

We live in a great time where we are all considered rich.  There will always be richer, but we are rich and should act like it.  In this book and (possibly) accompanying DVD Andy Stanley discusses how Paul instructs Timothy to teach rich people to live.

…to be Rich in good deeds, and be generous and willing to Share   1Timothy 6:18

I really enjoyed this book.  I found it uplifting and convicting.  This really has changed the way I view our financial situation and our obligation to the world and to God.  I look forward to applying some of these principles to our budget and all areas of life.

I will say I have one gripe with this and it’s only with the DVD.  In some of the sessions he seems very wishy-washy on God and Jesus.  Its little comments like “if we ignore all other theology and only focus on generosity that we would attract the world.”  I agree that generosity is not as present in Christian life as it should be but I do think believing Jesus as your personal savior and surrendering your life to him is a little more important that being generous.  I don’t think that’s what he meant to imply but it kind of came off that way.
Note: I received a free copy of this book and DVD to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Book Review: Wonder Women


Wonder Women; Navigating the Challenges of Motherhood, Career, and Identity by Kate Harris and Re/Frame by Andy Crouch is a book in the Frames series that looks at different areas of concern and stress in Christians and people’s lives.  Other books include 20 and somethings, Becoming Home (adoption, fostering, etc.), The Hyperlinked Life, and Schools in Crisis. 

Wonder Women takes a look at the many roles women, with and without children, face in today’s society. This book looks at many survey statistics into how women prioritize, spend their time, and feel achievement or inadequacy in many areas of their lives. Then author Kate Harris uses these statistics to explain how our lives are multifaceted.  This book does not offer steps in how to improve life or an ultimate way to fix it.  This book is just encouragement saying “I know.  I understand.”  Then she explains how each woman needs to find satisfaction in their current life situation and make the best of it for the glory of Christ.  Priorities will change.  You are never really able to compartmentalize work and home and family so why try.  It’s okay to let all of your facets be who you are all the time.

All in all I really enjoyed this book.  It came to me at a great time (I’m about to start back to work after 8 weeks of maternity leave).  I enjoyed the affirmation that is okay for women to have many hates and for them to all coincide in my life.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Book Review: Ingredients for Success


Ingredients for Success: 10 Best Practices for Business and Life by Joseph James Slawek is a book looking at the three parables in Matthew 25 and applying 10 key principles from those stories to life and business.  The Author is known for his success as the CEO or FONA (Flavors of North America) located in Chicago Illinois.  This book contains the key principles he has learned from his faith and the bible that were the key to his success and the success of his company.

In the beginning I did not think I was going to like this book. In the first few chapters the author spends a lot of time talking about himself and his company.  He kept reiterating this wasn’t about him just any example but it came off as a really long brochure about him and his company.  About half way through the book changed.  Yes, he still talked about himself but the tone changes into a really useful insightful book about business and life.  I really enjoyed how he broke apart the three parables (the 10 virgins, the bags of gold, and the sheep and goats) and pulled many simple ideas out of them.  The principles of always telling the truth, being prepared, and always trying your best are things we all know yet struggle to implement in our daily lives.

Overall I really enjoyed this book.  I will keep it on my shelf as a reminder as I think about starting a business.

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free to read and review from handlebar publishing.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.