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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Be The Gift

Be the Gift by Ann Voskamp teaches us how to let our brokenness be turned into abundance. 
    This is such a beautiful hardcover book with bookmark ribbon, stunning photography, journaling space and kindness prompts. But most of all the short devotionals speak to me greatly.
   As Voskamp says in the introduction; "This world is beautiful - but this world is broken. And the suffering is all around us...in us."
   This is so, so true. Aren't we all broken in some way or another? Hasn't life dealt each of us some type (or several types) of blow that affects us greatly? 
   Voskamp writes "Even in the depths of our own brokenness - actually, because of the depths of our own brokenness - God can use each of us to be a gift to another broken heart. 
   To be the broken and brave who know that when the stakes are highest, kindness matters most. 
   Even the smallest seeds of kindness can begin to break the worst kind of brokenness.
   What if we could be compassionate with each other, co-suffer with each other - so that we could be part of the healing of each other?"

  Voskamp also points out that time is fleeting and that our chance at change is now. Pages 70-71 ask us "What if instead of waiting for good enough things to happen to us we could be the good things to happen to someone else who's waiting?
   The world is brokenhearted and full of suffering, and if you listen to what life needs instead of what you need from it, you could fill the brokenness with your own brokenhearted love - and this in turn will fill you."

This goes against the grain of the world's thinking. TO DIE TO SELF. And yet that's what Jesus asks of us. "I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." -John 12:24

  I could go on and on but suffice to say that there is great wisdom in this book. I always have a difficult time reviewing Voskamp as I do find her writing to be too poetic, as though she is trying just a bit too hard and it takes something away from the writing. But in this format, short little devotions, time can be taken to read and re-read the message in order to absorb and truly meditate on her words. I found this format to be much easier on the brain.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
 

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Calm

I love Max Lucado's wisdom and insight and especially crave inspiration for being calm. Trade Your Cares For Calm is a devotional that my husband and I are reading together. Bible Verses, real life situations, check lists, and more in this book is helping us to see where we can hand our worries over to God and just follow Him. 
    Each chapter is just a few paragraphs long so it's easy to read quickly and then dwell on that passage all day. Included throughout the book are gorgeous photographs of God's handiwork (nature scenes) and with a nice dust jacket and attached ribbon bookmark I feel this would make a great gift. Once finished with this I plan to set it on my shelves to pull out time and time again for the reminder that God is in control. Let Go and let God.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The House on Foster Hill

The House on Foster Hill by Jamie Jo Wright kept me entertained on a freezing cold New Year's weekend. 
" Kaine purchases an old house sight unseen in her grandfather's Wisconsin hometown. But one look at the eerie, abandoned house immediately leaves her questioning her rash decision. And when the house's dark history comes back with a vengeance, Kaine is forced to face the terrifying realization she has nowhere left to hide."  
The story goes back and forth between 1906 and the present day, which I'm never a huge fan of, but it was easy to follow along so that's not a con for this book.
   It's difficult to review this as it's a "typical Christian book", which sounds negative but just means that it had a few Bible verses and mentions of God in odd places so that it would fit into the Christian genre, whereas I didn't get inspired by the message and often feel like it would have been a better book had it not had random preaching in it (and this is coming from a Christian herself). 
   I think my biggest problem was that there wasn't enough "meat" to the characters and they all blended in to fuzzy sketches of people that I never got to know enough to care about.
   With that said, the story was interesting enough to keep me entertained and it was a good fluffy read so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it if someone wants an easy read.

This book was given to me by Baker Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
 

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lizzy the Lioness

I love children's books that teach a  lesson or moral and Lizzy the Lioness by Lisa Bevere fits that bill. The illustrations by Kristeen Morris-Jones are adorable and the story teaches us that it takes courage to speak up for the right thing, even when others won't. In this day in age it's a lesson that every age can benefit from! 

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, November 27, 2017

The Alphabet of Grief

The Alphabet of Grief by Andrea Raynor was so much more than I expected. For some reason I find "alphabet books" a bit kitschy but I wanted to give it a chance and am so glad I did. Raynor is a minister and hospice spiritual counselor and you can tell she writes this book with both wisdom and compassion. 

I've found that when you are thrown into grief you sometimes need a map to help you navigate the bumpy roads. It's unbelievable how reassuring it is to see that others have had the same thoughts and feelings before you and that it is all part of a normal grieving process. From topics such as Isolation and Loneliness to Joy, Kinship, and Rainbows (signs from above) this book truly is a comfort with a Christian perspective. I plan on purchasing another copy for myself to keep as I'm passing this copy on to a friend.
 This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.
  
 

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Of Mess and Moxie

"You don't need to be who you first were." This was Jen Hatmaker's first message to me in her recent book Of Mess and Moxie. It resonated with me deeply as that's one of the reasons I quit blogging. I was no longer the know-it-all, opinionated person I once was.

 "That early version of yourself, that season you were in, even the phase you are currently experiencing - it is all good or purposeful or at least useful and created a fuller, nuanced you and contributed to your life's meaning, but you are not stuck in a category just because you were once branded that way. Just because something was does not mean it will always be.

Maybe part of your story involves heartache, abuse, struggle, loss, choices you wish you had back. Those are particularly sticky labels to unpeel. Those seasons tend to brand us permanently, at least to others, maybe especially to ourselves.  

You don't have to be who you were." (Pages 4-5)

From the very start I was drawn into Jen's wisdom, insight, and circle. Somehow Jen weaves in parenting, marriage, faith, friendship, creativity, and life without preaching, only sharing, yet makes you stop and take note and reevaluate how you yourself view things.  A mixture of 1 part Jim Gaffigan, 1 part Jenny Lawson (a clean version!), and 2 parts friend this book kept me entertained and warmed my soul. I dog eared pages (which I never do to books!) and will add this to my shelves to read again. I also plan to search out her other books to read.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
 

Monday, October 16, 2017

100 Days to Brave

I've read Annie Downs' book Let's All Be Brave and gave it a pretty scathing review. I had forgotten about that when I ordered her devotional 100 Days to Brave which I'm glad of because I would have missed out on a great little piece of encouragement.

This devotional is 100 short devotions that lead us to unlocking our most courageous self. The dictionary lists the definition of courage as " the ability to do something that frightens one" and "strength in the face of pain or grief" which I found interesting. 

Life takes courage, and courage can be found in God. This book is about trusting in Him, in His plan for us, and in truth. Whether we need courage to change jobs, stand up for ourselves or others, deal with an illness, or make a drastic life change we can find that courage when we look to God. This devotional helps us stop believing lies, stand our ground when the world wants us to conform, be brave for others, and so much more.

The reason I found the definition of courage interesting is because sometimes I've been amazed by my own courage, especially through pain and grief. I know that it isn't from myself, but rather a blessing from God when I truly needed it. Other times my courage wanes and I need encouragement to spark it. My husband and I are reading this devotional together daily and are finding it helpful and uplifting.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 

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