Category Archives: Christian

Misdirect is an understatement!

From the very start, this story pulls the reader in and never let’s go. It is highly likely you will feel like you’re right there with Eve every step of her journey. The emotions, atmosphere, people, everything is so very real! Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself!

This book by Beverly Nault is not my typical genre, but the title enticed me: Misdirect: A novel of spies, the Sahara, and Searching for God. How does someone go from being a spy to searching for God? This I had to read!!

Little did I know I would get pulled in so quickly and my every spare moment surrounded by this action-packed and thought-provoking storyline. Mysteries and action not being my typical read, I did not see the next step coming throughout this book. Wow!

And let me be brutally honest, the ending was nowhere what I was expecting!! In addition to a surprise around every turn, I found myself learning more about camels, sand storms, social norms, religious beliefs other than my own, and the secrecy that is required for those who work in the field to protect those of us here at home. 

A complimentary copy of Misdirect was provided for an honest review. If all Beverly Nault’s books are like this, I have a lot more reading to do! I highly encourage getting this amazing story in your hands! 

God Made You Just Right: Adorably written and beautifully illustrated

As a matter of fact, God DID make you just right! How fitting of a title to a board book full of rhymes and beautiful illustrations!


Each moment in the life of a toddler is significant and absolutely amazing. God Made You Just Right focuses on many of these activities that toddlers go through. The rhymes are super cute and flows so angelically from page to page, one idea to the next. 

The images portrayed are also not short of spectacular! I love how the story shows these children of both genders and many ethnicities through activities both inside and outside. Most importantly, the focus of how something as simple as their fingers or toes is useful in its own special way!

It’s lovely to see a children’s book guiding toddlers to be themselves and not try to be like everyone else. God made each of us differently, but His creation is perfect so we are all perfect in His eyes. That’s all that should really matter!

I would have loved reading this to my son when he was younger! Now he can read it to me! Even adults enjoy being read to! 

God Made You Just Right by Jill Roman Lord and illustrated by Amy Wummer was provided complimentary for an honest review for Worthy Publishing.

Excellent steps to Finding Freedom

It is common for people to simply love life day to day with no real rhyme or reason. We get up, go to work, go home, sleep, and repeat every day. What is your purpose in life? How are you living your life to achieve that purpose?

Before I started reading Finding Freedom by David R. Cross, I honestly had a wrong impression of what I would find between the covers of this 129-page book. Instead of it being how God will bless me with riches if I give much to my church, I was pleasantly surprised that it shares seven steps to finding your purpose and how to see it through. 


You see, God designed each of us differently with our own purpose in life and gifts specifically for that purpose. Your passion is likely different than the person next door. Sometimes your passion is similar to someone else’s, but the gifting you have is a bit different. How do you know what your purpose is in this life? Finding Freedom will help guide you through figuring this out for yourself! 

With seven steps to revealing the life God has purposes for you, Finding Freedom will guide you through a thought provoking bible study and a life activation guide to help readers achieve their purpose in life. The purpose given to you and you alone to achieve along with the gifts you were born with to accomplish.

Unless you actually sit and go through the life activation guide, this book is just another collection of words. It isn’t until you dig in and actually work on these steps will you get closer to knowing what your purpose really is. 

If you are anything like me, there’s a lot out there that’s interesting and worth learning about. But is learning about everything in the world your purpose? Maybe, but for most of us, it isn’t. Have I found my purpose after reading this book? I am a lot closer to understanding my purpose than I was prior to reading Finding Freedom. It is a daily journey to be with God, be in scriptures, meditations, and prayer in order to accomplish my purpose for the day. 

My favorite quote from Finding Freedom is this:

“At the heart of transformation is the fact that what you are becoming has nothing to do with what you were!” (p. 51)

This is so true to life. It isn’t about where you were or what you did in the past. It’s all about the here and now as well as the God-willing future. 

A complimentary copy of Finding Freedom was provided for a honest review through Bostic Communications. 

One day at a time for 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom

A few months ago, I asked my son if I was a “happy mommy.” His response? “Not really, Mommy.” This cannot be a good sign if even my child can recognize if I’m happy or not, can it? This gave me a reason to read 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane.

  
This book is a day to day read, targeting one area of motherhood at a time. Each day brings the author’s personal stories along with scripture to back up how to depend on Jesus for the situation. There’s even suggestions for what to do as a stepmom, which I found helpful as I also have step kids. 

Some of the topics I found especially interesting was controlling the use of electronic devices, such as not allowing devices at the dinner table, not even allowing anyone to answer the phone. Another topic focused on spending quality and intimate time with your spouse. I am guilty of a lot of areas that is not helping this family be healthy, which doesn’t help my happiness as a mother.

As a mother of a seven year old and a stepmother of a twenty and a sixteen year old, I found 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane 5o be quite useful as I attempt to incorporate many of these 31 ideas into daily life. I’d have to admit, when everyone else is following their uses, it makes my life much easier.

There are a few areas I find especially challenging, but we are taking these in baby steps and slowly becoming happier and happier as a mom. 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane is a fantastic book for any mother with children of various ages and I highly recommend it!

A complimentary electronic copy of 31 Days to Becoming a Happy Mom by Arlene Pellicane was provided for an honest review from NetGalley

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When A New Life Begins, it is adored and loved

Whenever a baby mammal is born, it’s mother instinctively watches over him. Parents share their love and affection for the baby and it is common for babies to enjoy the company of other babies. This is no different with Zealy and Whubba in The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba: A New Life Begins by Roe De Pinto.  

 

Zealy is the new seal pup born one winter to loving parents. Zealy is carefully watched over by her parents. One day a young orca whale, Whubba, splashes by and quickly becomes friends with Zealy and immediately finds himself protecting the pup from whatever might harm her. 

Typically, a seal pup is on the food chain for several creatures. There is no indication of the dangers that are present for Zealy. But with Whubba, Zealy is safe. 

 
Adorable and loved book that my son and I read together. I especially love the images of Zealy and Whubba. Zealy’s parents are a bit on the dark side, but their soft eyes make them live able, too. A New Life Begins is a brief story that can be enjoyed by many young children. My son wished it continued on as he’s been reading longer stories lately and gets disappointed with shorter stories, especially when he enjoys the characters. 

A complimentary hard copy of Zealy and Whubba in The Adventures of Zealy and Whubba: A New Life Begins by Roe De Pinto was sent to me by the author for an honest review. As this is Book 1 Series 1, I hope to catch the next adventure. 

Is Jesus truly “Boundless”?

Your typical “Christian church” in the West, has worship music often played to popular tunes, a sermon in a lecture-style format, and possibly small groups the congregation and break into throughout the week. At least, that’s been my experience in the last 20 years. What if the parameters were different? What if the worship was in the music style of the local community? What if the message was discussed as a group? What if learning was more effective through a storytelling and probing questions to follow?

This is sort of the route that Bryan Bishop took in his book, Boundless. As a researcher for Youth with a Mission (YWAM), Bishop traveled the world and discovered hidden movements of Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and others experiencing Jesus without the cookie cutter Western Christianity. Can people who live in communities of these other cultures still experience Jesus?

At first, Boundless seemed similar to a book I’ve already reviewed, Jesus without Borders by Chadd Gibbs. In both works, the author goes on these trips around the world and visits the Christian groups in the areas. There are remarkable similarities to their findings, even as they travel to different places. However, Boundless has a few additional topics:

  • Bishop summarizes a few principles that reveal the boundaries of Western Christianity being broken
  • There are additional videos that go along with a 10-week study that groups can go through

Personally, I enjoyed reading Boundless and the revelations that it reveals. I am not surprised that there are groups meeting and using their own cultural aspects to share the Gospel. We should meet others where they are at, or so that is what I’ve been taught. When we share our own experiences, it places perspective in other peoples eyes, just as if we were sharing about a trip we went on and what we did.

I received a complimentary copy of Boundless from Net Galley.

Boundless can be found in various places, but I highly encourage purchasing from http://bryanbishop.net/resources/ or http://www.bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/boundless/353540. I am purchasing a copy for a friend, who i think will absolutely love it!

Tatiana: wild and free to domesticated and humble

A typical carefree child, Tatiana Bergman says and does what she feels. She reminds me of a child who says what she thinks and does whatever she pleases without a care in the world. The effects of her words on others nor what others might think of her are any concern of Tatiana’s, even resulting in getting attacked by wolves late one night with a half-Indiana boy she will soon befriend, Jonny Creek.

Tatiana is the youngest of three daughters of Hans and their mother had already passed away, leaving the girls to run the chores their mother would normally have completed. Set in rural Pennsylvania in the 1840s, it is common for the women of the home to do the gardening and cooking and cleaning while the men did everything else. Young Tatiana would have nothing to do with chores or embroidery. It is not until she grows into her teen years that she’s willing to become a young lady who sews, cooks, gardens, etc.

One day, Hans falls off a ladder and breaks some bones causing him to be bedridden until he heals. This results in the girls doing extra work outside the home so they can earn more money to keep their home. Tatiana is a bit older now and worried about their financial situation, so she soon becomes the nanny for a Reverend in Philadelphia, who has two young children.

Suddenly, Tatiana finds that she is also obligated to cook and clean for the Reverend. The Reverend is a widower and insists the family is still mourning their loss with the drapes always closed and everyone needing to wear black. He also does not allow laughter, braided hair, or any form of disrespect. Will Tatiana be able to conform to these new rules?

The personalities in Tatiana, by Madeline Brock, are described as if the individuals lived in my own neighborhood. Details in the setting of the town as well as each interaction with the characters are realistically portrayed. Tatiana is published by Rosway Press. I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book so I could give an honest review.

Are you a Horizontal Jesus?

Often heard in many Christian conversations, sermons, podcasts, etc, there is a common saying that we need to work on our vertical before our horizontal. In other words, we need to work on our relationship with God before reaching out to others. The book Horizontal Jesus by Dr Tony Evans describes the opposite.

Dr Evans describes in his book that we should emulate Jesus through our actions. Why are we waiting for someone else to do feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and shelter the homeless when we can do just that ourselves? It reminds me of the song by Matthew West, Do Something. Like the book, Matthew West describes how instead of just waiting or watching something happen, we do something about it.

In Horizontal Jesus, Dr Evans shares that we need to live as Jesus did, do what Jesus did, react the way Jesus did, and be the example of Jesus here on earth. It is our job to be the example that non-Christians can see Jesus in us.

Recently, I also heard on the radio that we should live in a manner that causes others to look at themselves and wonder what they’re missing in their lives. Horizontal Jesus makes that same point. We need to be the hands and feet for Jesus while we are here on earth.

Horizontal Jesus was provided to me complimentary through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. There is a study guide version that goes along with the book. Published by Harvest House Publishers and available at your local or electronic bookstore, Horizontal Jesus is an excellently written book that places the reader on the edge of going out and doing something.

And what a great place to be!

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Have you ever felt like you should Keep It Shut?

Several months ago, I learned that there was a Proverbs 31 Online Bible Study study that was going to use the book Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman. Just the title alone had me attracted to this book. After all, I really do not know when to keep my own mouth shut.

Keep It Shut book coverIt just so happens that at the same time this book was released back in January 2015, I was placed in a situation at work where I needed to be extra careful with my words. There was an individual being placed into my office (literally the cubicle next to me) that could likely frustrate me the moment I stepped into the office. Here was my prime opportunity to practice keeping it shut!

However, I did not get very far with the study itself. As I often do, I fell quickly behind and gave up trying to keep up with the study and read this book at my own pace. Instead of keeping it shut at work, I tended to simply avoid any situation that I thought I might have to be extra careful. This can be super challenging considering the person in the cubicle next to me was always right there next to me.

“Spending time in God’s Word shapes our hearts – it keeps us on the path of knowledge, which includes knowing the truth behind our motives.” – Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman

It took me several months to finish this book. Keep It Shut is full of great tips on when to keep our mouths shut and when not to. It’s all about being aware of those around us and the emotions and feelings we may hurt. It’s also about saying things when we should, but with grace and forgiveness.

After reading Keep It Shut, I’ve learned that scripture is very detailed about how we use our words. Isn’t it amazing that a book written centuries ago can still apply to life today?

“Spending time both reading and memorizing verses from Proverbs is a practical step anyone can take to tame the tongue.” –Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman

Keep It Shut is a perfect book for anyone who communicates with other people. Wait a minute, that means you, too! I highly recommend reading this book for parents, siblings, managers, employees, anyone that has to deal with anyone. It is so easy to really say what we’re thinking and feeling without any care for how it will affect those around us. But the moment we step out of our own shoes and into someone else’s, we can better shape the words that we say.

 

Do you have a Huggabear?

Several weeks ago or so, I received a tweet from the author of the Huggabear series, Angelique La Fon-Cox. She shared her Huggabear book series and we had a friendly conversation in direct message. She is a delightful mother and wife, who just happens to be an amazing author as well!

Bearwood Forest is the home of Kooshla, Saboo, and Tanuuk Huggabear (who represent the children of the author). The cubs go on adventures taking readers through at least eight tales thus far:

1 – “Wekcome to Bearwood Forest!”

2 – “Heavenly Castles”

3 – “A Cold and Rainy, Wind-Whirly Day”

4 – “The Family Gift”

5 – “Promises of the Forest Berry Fairies”

6 – “We Love the U.S.A.!”

7 – “The Great Dinosaur Discovery”

8 – “Flowers of the Meadow”

In each tale, there are splendid photos of the Huggabears and their adventures. And there’s a hidden symbol (a red heart with a bear paw print in the middle) to find throughout the books!

The first tale I read to my son was Tale 7,  “The Great Dinosaur Discovery” where Kooshla, Saboo, Tanuushka, and their younger cousin Koba go outside with toy dinosaurs. Not only does Koba teach his cousins what herbivores and carnivores are, but they pretend to go back in time when the dinosaurs roamed the earth.

When the cubs “return to modern day” and tell their parents what they’ve been up to, they are given a lesson from scripture about the creation of things we see and things we do not see in this day. The ending of the tale is a lesson regarding the Leviathan and the Behemoth in The Book of Job, which could possibly have been what we now call dinosaurs.

The tales all end in a little scripture and lesson regarding the scripture. All are very important for children and adults to learn. My six year old is a bit too rambunctious to stay still for the tales in its entirety, but I did capture this moment where he pauses at the image:

My son enjoyed finding the heart symbols and steered me away from the actual story at hand. It’s a good thing I got through the first tale before telling him about the symbol! Ack! 
Overall, I enjoyed the tales and learned from each as well! It always amazes me how even children’s books can teach me lessons at my age!

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