Week ONE of book studies

Week ONE is officially over. Was I successful at completing all the book studies I set out to do? Not 100%. But that’s okay. I was able to do the scripture studies with Love God Greatly (Psalm 119) and Good Morning Girls (Proverbs – I’m still missing a day, but I’ll get to it this morning!). The Anything book study with Faith Gateway, I haven’t even started page 1 yet, but I’m supposed to have completed chapters 1-3 this past week and this coming week 4-6. Oops! And I start the Mending Heart book study tomorrow.

In addition, I was able to get my son and me to three libraries for their summer reading program. He got prizes from each and loves being rewarded for his reading. It’s too bad no one does this throughout the rest of the year. Am I supposed to do this on my own?

I’m also trying to finish two other books for Worthy Publishing, First Look. Both, I’m behind and I’ve already notified the coordinator. With the headache I’ve had since April 13 (hemicranial continua) and the occipital nerve block procedure I got last week, I’ve been a little slower at reading and I get fatigued quickly. So, all my reading I’ve planned out for myself is extremely behind and that’s no fun. It’s hard to read when you’re head’s throbbing and an eye feels like it’s going to explode or when I’m sleeping!

There’s a book waiting in my email to review from a Twitter follower and yesterday I received another request to review a book. I am determined to get this all done in the next 30 days and hope I am able to.

I’m also planning to review books for Chicklit Club. They give me 3 months to review, so that’s doable, I hope.

Today is Father’s Day, so HAPPY FATHER’S DAY to all the daddies and daddies-to-be out there! Please allow today to represent what should being a daddy is like every day.

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6 NKJV

The idea of these progress posts is to show my progress in my reading and reviewing as well as what else I’ve placed on my plate for reading. I hope it encourages you to pick up a book in a genre you love and get to reading, 10 minutes a day can go a long way. Keep that brain working!

The Kind-hearted Monster by Max Velhuijs

It’s been several weeks, maybe a month or so, since I read this very colorful book to my 6-year old son. He loved the main character, who happened to be a big, red monster. What little boy doesn’t love monster stories? Certainly, not mine!

As he studied the bright images on the pages, I read the story to him. It pleases my heart when I see the facial expressions he makes when he realizes what’s going on in a story, from surprise to happy to angry to excited. *The Kind-hearted Monster* is a book made up of two short stories.

In the first part, this kind-hearted monster frightens the people in the city. But, he talks to them and tells them that he’s not a mean monster. The city officials try to train him for battle, but he just doesn’t like it. Someone decides to build an electric plant that will use the monster’s fire as fuel for the power generated for the city at night. The people of the city are overjoyed!

Then in the second part of the book, a bunch of robbers tries to steal the monster. Now, how does a bunch of robbers steal a huge monster that appears bigger than a bus? They feed him bread laced with sleeping powder! 

This is a story I wouldn’t mind reading to my son over and over again. My child seemed to like the second part of the book with he robbers much more than the first. There’s just something interesting about robbers and their unconventional plans.

Fabulous choice of books for my ever amused son! I hope your kiddos love it, too!

In over my head

They say when you take too much food at a buffet that your eyes are bigger than your stomach. That was me as a child, taking everything that looked yummy and piling it on, knowing I could only eat a third of less of what I was taking.

What do they say when you have bigger plans than you think you can handle? Something like taking a bite that’s more than you can chew, or something like that. Well, I have vowed, to myself, to do various Christian Bible studies, FOUR to be exact. 

I am doing a book study with Faith Gateway, Anything by Jennie Allen; an online Bible study through Psalm 119 with Love God Greatly; another book study with Proverbs 31 Ministries, The Mended Heart by Suzanne Eller; and Women Living Well going through the Book of Proverbs. Some begin Monday the 15th and others Monday the 22nd. My goal is to blog at least once or twice a week to share about my progress through each! I think I’ve definitely taken too big a bite.

This is to top off my previous commitments to review at least one book a week, likely more, and blog my thoughts. And the rest of the hectic daily life craziness. So, stick with me on my summer madness and I hope you can keep up!

Reviewing IA: Initiate by John Darryl Winston

Occasionally I am requested to review a book via Twitter and I am so blessed to be asked to read a book! It’s my lifetime goal to be paid to read and review books, among other things. Thank you, John Darryl Winston for the opportunity!

Before starting this book, IA: Initiate, I did not read any summaries of what this story would be about and I had no clue what genre or any background about the book. Heading straight into reading, I was pleasantly surprised.

Little did I know that I would love the characters and the adventures they went through. The story starts off on the first day of school and the anxieties that go with it, along with some unexpected circumstances. The main character, 13-year old Naz, shares his protection over his younger sister as they approach various situations from going to school to helping out in the community.

Naz is resourceful and shows signs of supernatural abilities when helping the small business community in hopes to prevent people from switching to the big businesses as well as other parts of the story. This turns out to be a way for Naz to earn money and sometimes food for himself and his sister.

While going through emotional issues and discussing these with his psychologist, Naz and his sister have a long talk about their past. Soon Naz starts realizing that they both remember things from years ago but don’t know where those situations happened.

It’s amazing how the story left me hopeful and nervous, anxious and scared. So many emotions in one book and it leaves me eager to read the next in the series. There is a next, right, Mr Winston?

According to Winston’s website, there is an IA Series. Y’all should check it out: http://www.johndarrylwinston.com/

 Empire’s End by Jerry B. Jenkins

He arrives on a huge black stallion after more than a days journey at full speed, bareback riding, and no stops for food or water to a place he has no clue where he’s at and to a man who says had a dream that a man would arrive by horse with nothing to eat or drink and needs to take in. This mysterious man on horseback says his name is Paul of Damascus. If you have any familiarity with the New Testament of the Bible, you might know him better as Saul of Tarsus. Yes, the Saul who later used the name Paul, the man who persecuted those of The Way and later sees Jesus of Nazareth, who tells Saul to stop killing His people and Saul finds himself blind for a few days due to the bright light of seeing God.   

Getting back to Empire’s End, the man who now calls himself Paul of Damascus finds himself in a home where there’s a rabbi, a recent widow and her little boy. He comes to learn that this widow’s late husband’s name is Stephanos. Paul has a dream that this family learns he is the one who murdered Stephanos, the one the people of The Way say is the first martyr, Stephen. Paul does not dare suggest this information, but continues to seek a relationship with God every morning in a solitary place. Paul soon takes on responsibility in this encampment and lets his majestic horse return to wherever God will send it. He is stranded with this people, but willing to remain because of this relationship he builds while learning more about God. During his moments with God, he is asked to become a slave to Christ, which means no income but continually working for the Lord. Paul is willing, but how does he continue to live with this family knowing he might be the reason Stephanos died?

Jerry B Jenkins has an amazing way of sharing what life may have been like during a time in scriptures and placing more personality and details into daily loving during a time period. The author’s name might be familiar as he is one of the writers for the Left Behind series. Empire’s End places the reader into the possible life of Saul of Tarsus and what he may have went through after he sees Jesus. It is based off of the New Testament scriptures, but places the reader to getting to know the man a little more deeply. Captivating and easy reading, there’s a constant energy throughout the book that keeps the reader wanting more. A book that’s hard to put down once started, I find the book to be excellently written and I appreciate the possibilities of what Paul may have gone through after he learns more about the God he previously persecuted.

Help My Unbelief by Barnabas Piper

Much easier to read than I initially thought it would be, Help My Unbelief by Barnabas Piper is a well written, well thought out book which digs into the whole meaning behind the statement said by the father who asks Jesus to heal his son. Why can’t we ask the same of God in this day and age, two thousand years after Jesus died and rose again?

And when He came to the disciples, He saw a great multitude around them, and scribes disputing with them. Immediately, when they saw Him, all the people were greatly amazed, and running to Him, greeted Him. And He asked the scribes, “What are you discussing with them?” Then one of the crowd answered and said, “Teacher, I brought You my son, who has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down; he foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth, and becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they should cast it out, but they could not.” He answered him and said, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to Me.” Then they brought him to Him. And when he saw Him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground and wallowed, foaming at the mouth. So He asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” ~Mark‬ ‭9‬:‭14-24‬ NKJV

First, we must believe that Jesus is who He says He is. This is a belief that is more than the knowledge that He can; it is a belief you feel deep down in your soul. There are many people out there who simply believe and understand the words that are in the Holy Bible that sits before them. But do you *really* believe?

Barnabas Piper explores this surface level belief in his book, Help My Unbelief. He shares his personal experiences where he thought he believed, but really needed God to help his own unbelief. He explains that growing up in the church, with well-known Pastor John Piper as his father, placed him in an environment where scripture was everywhere. But it was after he married and had children that he began to realize that something was missing. This is when Barnabas Piper realized that his belief was primarily based off knowing the scripture, not necessarily what was in his heart.

Second, Help My Unbelief also focuses on how we must not just read our bible, but “consume” it. It is not just suggestions on how to live, but actually live it inside and out. Take a step back and think about your own life and how you live it. Are you doubting the power of God?

It is quite common for Americans to seek help from God only when times are hard and struggles are difficult. Why is that? Then, when things don’t go the way we want them to, it’s God’s fault. We need to trust that God has the perfect plan, He is perfect and creates perfection. Why do we doubt His power and plans?

Have you asked God to help your unbelief?