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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. 

Monday, October 2, 2017


Whole by Steve Wiens 

"Look around, and you'll notice: The world is covered with jagged edges. People and places are broken all around us.

We were made for better than this: We were made to be whole, and wholly human, to tend a world that is wholly humane. We were made in the image of God. This book is a quest to recover that image in ourselves and our neighbors, to help us all become human and humane again."

I picked this book up because I am scared for the broken world, the broken people, the broken pieces in all of us. I was hoping to get some answers on how to mend those pieces but for some reason couldn't get into the book. I'm not sure why, as the writing was intelligent and pointed to the Gospel. I felt maybe like it was written more for preachers or leaders or too text book for my tastes? After making myself trudge through it for several weeks I finally stopped midway.

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


On Edge

On Edge; A Journey Through Anxiety by Andrea Petersen is a  study into the minds of those with anxiety, but also the  statistics and science behind anxiety.

I had assumed this book would mainly just be Petersen's own story but am glad that it delved more into anxiety and what may/may not cause one person to develop it and one not to. Woven within is her own story, though not all doom and gloom but with humor mixed within.

I found it highly educational as well as an interesting read. 

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The Magic of Motherhood

By page two of the Introduction I already knew The Magic of Motherhood by Ashlee Gadd and writers from "Coffee + Crumbs" would be a good book. The sentence " Rather than offering advice, we're offering ourselves" drew me in. And offer of themselves, they did. Each essay was real, raw, and so heartfelt that you could imagine you were across the table with the authors, having a face to face discussion about motherhood.

   In the "picture perfect online life" it's easy to feel less than the perfect mothers with the magazine worthy home and the fairy tale children so it's a breath of fresh air to read a book of the true struggles, and real rewards, of motherhood. It's not a parenting advice book in the least but offers the best advice of all - we all just make this up as we go and pray that our best was good enough.

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

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Woman No. 17

Woman No. 17 by Edan Lepucki is a book with two characters you love to hate. First up is Lady, who is described as a writer could barely eek out two pages worth of material, yet she hires a nanny to care for her young son while she does everything else possible to avoid working on said "book" (which never materializes). She hires S. to watch her three year old without so much as a background check or knowing anything about her, then spends the whole book seemingly uncomfortable with a young woman being around her older, mute son. The story lines didn't jive.

This book held my attention and was a quick summer read but left me wanting. Lady is a self-absorbed self-sabotaging woman who is not likeable in the least. S. is a young "artist" who seems to use people and has such a weird project going on that you never truly understand what her "art" is. The book went no where - a few month's in someone's life with no point whatsoever. It just ended. The dust jacket read "darkly comic, twisty and tense" and I can't figure out how someone read this book and came up with that. There was no humor, no suspense, no point.

This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.



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