Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Book Review: No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer

I received a complimentary copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers for an honest review.

Emma Chandler was raised by suffragette aunts who gave her a wonderful sense of self, empathy for humanity in need, particularly women, and a deep faith in God.

The thread of feminism was not overwhelming, but constant and appreciated. I enjoyed the fact that it showed christian feminism exists and works (as some people believe it cannot).

When Emma was a child she stumbled upon an orphan, Malachi Shaw, trying to find warmth and sleep in her family's barn and they "adopted" him. He remained a part of their family, although eventually he found a career that kept brought him far from them until she entreated him to help her with some trouble she was having at her woman's colony.

Emma and Malachi have a sweet friendship that I found led nicely into a romance. I adored the fact that, although both of them had different versions of broken families, they had long, warm memories of their childhood together.

The common theme I found in the book was just that.

Most of the characters had been broken in one way or another. They had a broken life, broken emotions, broken bones. God, however, through His people, fixes the brokenness. Heals it.

I had trouble in the beginning as I was completely lost as to what this "woman's colony" was, but eventually the fun, adventure, and of course romance brought me into the book and I finally figured things out and ended up really enjoying the book.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Book Review: Land of Silence by Tessa Afshar

This is gonna be a longer one than what I usually do.

There are two stories in the Bible that never fail in making me cry.

The first is when Jesus asks Peter if he loves Him three times.

The second is the one about the bleeding woman. For whatever reason it has always felt personal to me.

In the author's note at the end of the book she mentions two particular points about the bleeding woman, for which I am eternally grateful, as it gave me more food for thought.

1) The first is this is the only time that Jesus addresses a woman as daughter. She brings a good point in that Jesus selected "each term with profound intention". Does that give you shivers? It gives me shivers. This means He used the word with discerning purpose - it must have been something she desperately needed to hear from our loving Savior.

2) The second is that 3 of the 4 gospels tell this story. It is an important one. It was important enough for Jesus to delay saving the life of a very sick little girl. He stopped everyone. He paused an urgent errand. He turned around to seek out the woman who thought she was not significant enough to approach Him personally and ask for healing, but quietly and unassumingly touched the fringe of His robe for His healing power.

I think that is what I always got from the story. He personally sought her out. He asked for her. He went to her. He claimed her. There is nothing more beautiful about God than that, for me. Being claimed by someone gives you the ultimate feeling of love.

As I earlier noted there are zero things known about the woman other than "the issue of blood", so this is a fictionalized account of her story. This does not make it less worthy of a read. The author did her research, she took an educated guess, and wove with words a beautiful, moving narrative that hones in on hurt, forgiveness, and the love of God.

The characters become your good friends by the end of the novel as you have been with them since childhood. The descriptions of Biblical times and places, being able to "view" living with Roman control of their lands, all brings together an atmosphere that pulls you in making you feel as if you are there seeing everything play out.

I plan on revisiting this book. I also plan on looking at the authors other works as this was my first read by her.

Tyndale House Publishers has given me a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

Book Review: Safe House by Joshua Straub

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review:

Safe House took me a long time to read. It is not a book one can simply skim through and toss aside. It takes time, and thought, and even re-reading. 

It was sometimes a painful read. It showed me in so many ways the house I was raised in was not a safe house. I suggest journaling as you read through the book. A journal will provide a place for favorite quotes and your thoughts as you go.

I loved the questions/exercises at the end of the chapters. It helped me to re-explore my own childhood, to see where I was hurting, and to essentially start my own recovery. Also, it helps you sort of lay out a plan for putting into practice what you've read into raising your children the Safe House way.

One quote I love from the book is: "The peaceful home is a home where we as parents are turning to God in our own fears." 

it reminds us to not allow fear/anxiety/anger to interfere with our parenting; we should be turning those emotions to God first. 

Monday, March 7, 2016

Book Review: The Play-Along Bible by Bob Hartman

I received a complimentary copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review:

I am in LOVE with this Bible book for children! We are about halfway through, but I could no longer wait to write the review. 

The author has simplified the stories for child understanding. He also provides in parenthesis some tips or prompts for the parents to liven up the story a bit, with either hand motions, noises, fun exclamations (HOORAY! is a favorite of my children's), and sometimes acting out a part. 

I have a one-year old and a four-year old, and even though the gap in age is a bit wide and my youngest is technically still is a baby, they both have fun and enjoy our devotionals at night. It's lively enough to keep my baby interested and engaging enough so my daughter is using almost all of her senses to learn the stories. They enjoy clapping along, roaring like a lion, or saying, "BOOM!" 

This would make a wonderful gift to parents with small children! 

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Book Review: Hope Unfolding by Becky Thompson

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review:

Hope Unfolding started out in such a way that I felt it may have been a failed attempt at writing, but as I continued to read it seemed to slowly come to life for me. I soon saw how she was using her personal stories to show God's love, grace, and truth in her life, and explaining it is the same for us. 

His works, His love, His plan - it includes us, too! We sometimes lose that as mothers, as wives, as we go to our 9-5 jobs or for the sixth time tell our toddler there is absolutely no jumping on the bed. You can get lost in the muck of  the every day and it's no wonder you start to feel as if this is it and no more.

This book gave me hope: maybe I've started giving up too soon. 

We know raising children in Him is important work, but that doesn't mean we need to give up the previous desires we had before children. He can still use what we wanted before - and He wants to. We just need to keep our ears tuned into Him, we just need to follow his promptings, and above all trust Him when it doesn't look the way we thought it would. 

When our sinks are full and our hearts are empty we need to just turn to Him - He wants us, He wants to use us: our whole us. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Book Review: PrayerPoints: Praying God's Promises at Your Point of Need by Ken Petersen

I received a complimentary copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review:

PrayerPoints helps you by finding appropriate Bible verses for whatever you may be feeling or dealing with in your life. The issues range from Abandonment, Bitterness, Tragedy, to Problem People, Single Parenting, and even Debt. Along with the verses is a prayer written out for you to help guide your thoughts on the issue. It is essentially teaching you how to pray (claim) Bible verses for yourself in your life.

Upon first getting the book I felt some disappointment, as I had been thinking I'd be getting a more in-depth guide on how to further your personal prayer life.
Closer inspection of the book, however, and reading it through, had me come to the conclusion this book makes a cute little reference that can be used to receive an encouraging boost through whatever trial you may be facing. What sold me was that sometimes, when you're really hurting, it can be hard to pray to God. Your mind and your emotions feel cut off. The prayers in this book are worth reading and claiming as your own during whatever difficulties may be going on. It's almost as if you're having a friend pray with you. 

The book itself is beautifully put together with a leather-like outside and delicate pages inside with an easy-to-read layout. 

I believe it would be an especially nice gift for a new Christian.