Sunday, January 11, 2015

7: an experimental mutiny against excess by Jen Hatmaker

I just finished reading 7.  Wow!  This book is full of non-conventional thoughts (even for most Christians), but it held my attention and got my thought-wheels turning.  I highly recommend this book to everyone!  You will be challenged to rethink many things in your life.  You will open places that have been collecting dust and haven't "bothered" you for years.  You will find that the truth is not what you thought.  "Those" places have been bothering you, but you have found yourself sweeping them under the rug without realizing it.  Spending has caught you in its clutches, food has taunted you into eating more and more, possessions have filled and overflowed your closets and drawers.  You can't seem to understand why you are constantly spent, feeling as though you've been chasing your tail for weeks, months, or maybe years, yet you know that your stress level is through the roof from busyness.  Your kids play two sports each, you are involved in a Bible study on Tuesdays, an exercise class on Thursdays, and host a dinner party twice a month, your husband goes bowling every Friday night, and all of you have one to two activities every Saturday.  Why?  What's the reason?  The point?  Is there something you're running from or to?  Maybe you need a breather, a quiet space to rethink your life and all its many trappings.  If you're feeling like too much is really just too much, then you need to read 7.  In Jen Hatmaker's book, you will find a real person who really did an "experiment" sharing her real life with you.  She is upfront, honest, and open with her follies, mistakes, and victories.  If you don't want your current life situation challenged, your views questioned, your ideals stretched, then DO NOT read 7.  I don't believe you'd enjoy any part of Jen's story if you're happy with the status quo of your life.  If, however, you're curious about what all the fuss is about, then read this book with an open mind.  You never know how God may use the words within 7 to get you thinking, pondering, and considering the normal everyday of your life.  For more on how this book has impacted me and what I plan to do because of it, please visit  Sometimes we all need to be stretched, molded, and remade with God's best for us in mind.  Enjoy, friends!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Jesus Story by Dr. William H. Marty

I found this book very easy to read. Combining the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in an easy-to-read, non-overlapping book is a great idea. Chronology in the New Testament can be confusing. Different accounts of the same event provide us with varying details, which has a definite purpose when reading through God's Word. However, this can cause the reader to wonder about which account to really pay attention to. I found The Jesus Story to be very concise, but I felt that I was missing out on some vital details as well. More detail in the stories would have been great! I found myself thinking, "Didn't it happen this way?" And other times my thoughts were, "Did it really happen that way? Was that detail actually in that passage?" With that being said, I enjoyed this book, but I still prefer to read my Bible and get my facts there. If you know someone who wants everything stated simply and to-the-point, then this might be just the book for them to get their feet wet in The Jesus Story. Take a look!

More info:

This book was provided by Bethany House for my review.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most

I have two boys - a three-year-old and a six-month-old.  They are a delight to me!  My three-year-old has been changing lately, becoming more boy if that's possible.  He is still sweet, but now I hear growling and roaring noises more often.  Occasionally, I will find him jumping off the arm of the couch onto a nice stack of pillows built up on the cushions.  Then there are the times I hear him mention putting someone in a dungeon or using the word kill and pointing a child-size broom at someone.  Oh my!  When did he cross that line from ever-sweet boy to boy-boy with a side of sweet?  I have been struggling a bit with the changes in him.  They certainly are not bad changes, but they have me questioning God and wondering how to tame the boy without taking the "man" out of him. 
A difficult thing for a mom to puzzle out with her oldest son.
When the opportunity to review Praying for Boys came along, it was a great choice for me with my growing questions concerning how to parent my boy.  What I didn't realize, when I clicked that decisive button saying I wanted to review Praying for Boys, was that the book wasn't quite what I thought it was.  Praying for Boys by Brooke McGlothlin is a great book for those moms (like me) that just aren't sure what to do but know that praying is really the best place to start.  Brooke encourages moms of boys to get down on their knees and pray for their sons.  It's not just about praying but about what to pray - God's word.  With twenty-one chapters covering twenty-one things that boys need in their lives to help them be men of God, this book should have a place on every mom's shelf (prayer warrior or not).  Brooke talks about not wanting to take the things away from her sons that make them boys but to pray for the things that will make them men of God (men with character).  What mom doesn't want her son to have good character?  This is not a parenting book, although some of Brooke's parenting strategies do pop up in her stories.  I found her strategies intriguing and thought-provoking.  The crucial concept to be found within the pages of Praying for Boys is getting down on your knees every day (if possible) to pray for our sons' hearts.  Asking God to turn them to hearts of flesh.  Boys will be boys may be an excuse for bad behavior, but God has a plan for each of our sons and a blueprint for them to follow.  Instead of standing in the path of our sons trying to take away the parts of them that make them boys, we should thank God for those things and pray for His honing hand in their lives, their character, their beliefs.
Another neat feature of Brooke's book is the 21-day prayer guide for small groups in the back.  If you feel compelled to do so, you can use the provided guide to lead a small group in praying for their sons using the prayers in Praying for Boys.  A great and quick read!  The scriptures featured in Brooke's book also make a great jumping off point for finding other verses to pray over your sons (or daughters).  Moms, get on your knees for your children (I know I need to more than I do)!

Some helpful links:
Praying for Boys
Brooke McGlothlin
MOB Society
The Seed Company

Note: I received this book free for review from Bethany House.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Desperate Households: How to restore order and harmony to your life and home By Kathy Peel

Kathy Peel is the Family Manager extraordinaire.  In Desperate Households, she covers 10 areas that can cause stress to Family Managers.  These areas include: dinnertime, clutter, finances, priorities, self-development, and others.  With real-life examples and great tips/ideas that can be easily implemented, this book is a must read for any Family Manager in need of some de-stress tactics.  Is your morning routine causing issues within your family, or do school days send you into a whirlwind of lost shoes?  Then I highly recommend this easy read!  You can even skip right to the chapter that really speaks to your current need!  I suggest tackling one area at a time rather than trying to hit all 10 at once.  That would cause you more stress!  Great hints from her own experience and that of other women will set you on the road to order and easy-breathing.  Don't be "desperate" anymore - read Desperate Households!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Friendship for Grown-Ups by Lisa Whelchel

I moved back to my home state over a year ago and have since struggled to develop friendships.  The struggle has taken a toll on me, but I know that God has a plan for me and for my friends.  God is good!
I was in the library looking for books and found Friendship for Grown-Ups by Lisa Whelchel on the shelf and decided to check it out.  What a great book!  As I was reading, I kept thinking "I've been there; I know what she's saying."  Books where I connect with the author that way are so powerful to me.  I want to internalize her words, follow her suggestions, learn from her mistakes/fumbles.  Lisa goes through her journey on the road to friendship in this book.  She tells the reader the low points, the high points, and the in-between.  I am both hopeful and a little scared about stepping into the real world of friendship.  The road to deep, meaningful friendship is not always going to be easy or free from potholes.  Why?  We're human!  This book is ideal for a discussion group or just some self-evaluation.  In the back of the book, Lisa includes useful helps in growing your friendship and great starter questions to ask your friends or your friends-to-be.
I wish I could tell you the emotions I went through as I read her words about women who may only have a thimbleful to give and those who have even more.  Or the feelings I had when I read about addressing bricks before a wall is built.  So many helpful tools!  If you want to learn more about friendship, real, deep, abiding friendship, check this powerful book out.  And, if anyone wants to do a study of it with me, let me know!!!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson

Fools Rush In by Janice Thompson is a fun, quick read.  The story has comedy and romance!  I enjoyed reading Bella's story.  She is unsure of herself in some areas of her life, but through the tale in this book she comes to understand her abilities, giftings, and beauty from the words spoken by those around her.  Bella is part of a large Italian family that mostly resides under the same roof making for some interesting encounters and great family moments.  Throw in a parrot with a dirty mouth and your story is almost complete.  All that's left to add is a special Texan cowboy.  Wonderful first book in the Weddings by Bella series!  I'm looking forward to reading the next one very soon!  :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Finally & Forever by Robin Jones Gunn

For those of you who don't know this about me, I've been a huge Robin Jones Gunn fan since Christy Miller.  If you're a fan too, you know what I mean.  So, of course, I've been trying for years to follow the journeys of all my dear friends.  They have been such a part of my life now for nearly 2 decades.  How could I not continue on their journey with them?
I finally picked up Finally & Forever the other day and proceeded to read it in less than 48 hours.  I can honestly say that I never guessed that Katie would end up in Africa.  She has always been an important character in Robin's line up.  A great supporting role for her best friend Christy, but I never pictured her falling for an unknown like Eli and ending up in Kenya.  All of this being said, I am glad that Katie ended up where she was truly supposed to be.  I found myself turning page after page wanting to know where the story would go next.  Katie flew to Africa with Eli to see what was there for them.  She arrived in a new culture and soon fell in love with her surroundings.  Along the journey in Africa, Katie and Eli have bumps in their relationship.  Are they truly supposed to be together?  Do their desires for ministry mesh?  What is God's plan?  Heart searching happens and soul searching and the answer comes.  The realization comes that they can mesh their ministry desires and become one in marriage.  The end of the book is grand - what a creative way to do it!
Go get your copy of Finally & Forever, and see the amazing sights of Kenya.  There may even be a miracle in their somewhere too and a chance to see what God's plan for your own life might be.  Thank you, Robin Jones Gunn, for a great book!  Could you write about the wedding now and bring the whole gang back together one last time??