Thursday, October 11, 2012

She's Got Issues

If you are a woman and you have issues, this book is for you.  If you are a woman and you think that you don't have issues, this book is especially for you.  Because like it or not, we all have "issues", and this book can help you unpack those issues and deal with them with honesty and grace.  I received the book and DVD for group study free from the publisher in exchange for my participation in the blog tour and my honest review here.  The book has 14 chapters and the DVD has 6 sessions, covering the issues of control, insecurity, comparisons, fear, anger, and unforgiveness.  While some issues hit home more than others, I still found her approach to each of them very relatable, and still giving you more than just "self-help", but Scriptural guidance towards understanding and coping with our issues.  The video sessions are part one-on-one interview with someone giving their own personal story, and part group Bible study led by the author.  Overall, I found this to be a great study for any woman to do on her own, but even better for a group of friends to do together...even for those who don't see themselves as a "Bible study leader".  I think the subtitle sums it up well..."seriously good news for stressed-out secretly scared control freaks like us."

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wait No More

In this book, Kelly and John Rosati share the story of how they adopted each of their four children from the foster care system.  Each child has a special story of how they were brought into their "forever family", and I really enjoyed reading how each story unfolded, finishing the book easily in one weekend.   Kids are messy...and four kids are exponentially messy!  So to read the story of this couple voluntarily entering into their mess and loving each child with a forever-kind-of-love was beautiful!  This was an honest account, so there are failure and success stories included.  I was shocked to find out there are 107,000 orphaned children here in the US.  We have well over 300,000 churches in the US, so if every three churches in the U.S. combined to adopt and support one child, we would have no more orphans in our country!  This book inspired me to come alongside others in any way I can to help them in this difficult process of adoption.  I would encourage anyone who has an interest in adoption, especially through the foster care system, to read this book.

Spirit Fighter

Hi!  This is Makenzie, Vicki's daughter, and I am here to tell you my insight on Jerel Law's book, Spirit Fighter.  I think Spirit Fighter is a tween Christian book that is action-packed and exciting but also gives a good message of how God loves you.  Jonah Stone is a 13-year-old boy that, along with his 11-year-old-sister Eliza, goes on an adventure to rescue their mother who is secretly a nephilim (a daughter of a human and a fallen angel).  Jonah and Eliza go on an adventure with the help of a guardian angel and God (also known as Elohim) to go against the forces of Satan and the fallen angels.  Spirit Fighter is a good novel that everyone will enjoy and I can't wait for the second book Fire Prophet to come out!  Bye!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Decision Points

OK, I gotta be honest.  I didn't finish this book yet.  I plan to...I just haven't yet.  I am a pretty big George W. Bush fan, and I respect him and many of the decisions that he made while in office, but there were also decisions that I didn't agree with or understand at the time.  Not very often do we get the chance to read about the background information on the major (and minor) events in a president's life, so he is to be commended for making himself vulnerable in that way.  He admits in the book that not every decision he made was good, and he might choose differently given more information at the time.  We also get some of his life story...what made him into the man who became President.  His childhood and his relationship with his parents, his struggle with alcohol abuse, and his relationship with his wife and daughters were particularly interesting.    His writing style seems random...a story here, then off on a tangent, then back to the main sequence of events, but I didn't find that too distracting.  I'm now to the point of 9/11, and for many of us, that will be most interesting we all had our eyes on the President as he led our nation through that most difficult time.  So I read on...I am confident that it is time well spent.

Life Application Study Bible Devotional

Although I cannot say I've ever read a "bad" devotional book, there are a precious few that I would strongly recommend.  Most of them seem to put the emphasis on the applications or illustrations with little emphasis on God's Word itself.  This emphasis, while interesting to read, leaves you with very little to "chew on" as you go throughout your day.  This devotional sets out from the very beginning to put the emphasis on the Scriptures, and that is what makes it stand out from the rest.  There are 52 weeks of readings, taken from the key events in Jesus' life described in the Gospels.  Each week has an introduction, then 6 days of readings, including thought-provoking questions that give you something to consider all day long.  I would strongly recommend this devotional to anyone who wanted to spend a year learning more about the life of Jesus and applying His Wisdom to his or her own life.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Farm Fresh Southern Cooking

Now for my first (and probably last) cookbook review!!!  I say last because I'm not much of a cookbook collector.  I figure that I can find any recipe I need just looking on the internet.  BUT, when I saw this title, I just couldn't resist!  I love, love, love going to the farmer's market!  So much yummy fresh food all in one place, and feeling good about the food you're bringing home by supporting local farmers--nothing like it!  But I find myself getting in a rut, buying the same things everytime I go, and preparing the same things...corn on the cob, green beans and ham, squash casserole, fresh peaches, sliced tomatoes and cucumbers...oh, man, I'm starting to drool in anticipation.  But there are so many other things to try...rutabagas and turnips and parsnips and SO much more.  And even better, there are many more ways to prepare my favorites.  But there is nothing I hate more than a great looking recipe with 15 ingredients so I have to go shopping in order to prepare it.  But there's very little of that here.  Each dish seems quite simple, making the fresh ingredients the star of the recipe.  Although the emphasis on Southern cooking gives us several "down-home" foods such as crawfish, grits, or cornbread, there are plenty of appetizers, main dishes, desserts, breakfasts, soups, salads, and breads to please any palate.  There's even a chapter that gives tips for canning so you can enjoy real food all year long.  I'm not sure I will be that ambitious, but I know there is plenty here to keep me busy in a few weeks when the local market opens.  I can't wait!!!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Three Hearts DVD

Graduating college senior, Cissie Graham Lynch, granddaughter of evangelist Billy Graham, takes on an internship at Samaritan's Purse working with the Children's Heart Project.  Through this organization, Mongolian children with congenital heart defects are brought to the US for lifesaving treatment they cannot receive in their own country. There are obstacles they must overcome in the process, and because it is real life, everything does not go as planned. But it is a beautiful story of an organization making a difference in the world, of people giving and serving and sacrificing so others may find wholeness.  And not only physical wholeness, but the good news of Jesus Christ is also shared with these families, changing there lives for eternity.  It was great to learn more about one of the many other things that Samaritans Purse does (other than shoeboxes) to share the love of Christ with the world.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Real Marriage: The truth about sex, friendship, & life together

When I first requested Real Marriage, I really had no idea that it had stirred up so much controversy among Christian circles and beyond, I just thought it might be something good to consider for marriage enrichment with couples in our church. While this review is primarily for the DVD-based study, I also read the book to help me get a better grasp of all of the material there.  So first, the content...the first "big idea" in the book is, in my opinion, the best one:  Marriage as Friendship.  This section includes five chapters, with one chapter addressed specifically to the men and one to the women readers.  There are many who will take issue with the complementarian views for which Driscoll is well-known. While I don't agree entirely with every opinion or emphasis that is presented, there is still much that can be learned from each of these chapters in loving and respecting one another.  The second part of the book moves to more a more provocative topic: Sex.  There are five chapters here as well, including one where the Song of Solomon is used as a reference for determining what activities are "allowed" or "beneficial".  If you are having questions in your marriage of how to set healthy boundaries in this area, then you would probably benefit from the material here.  However, if you tend to be uncomfortable with frank discussion of ALL types of sexual expression, you may want to skip it.  The part of the book that rocked my world the most was a short little section tucked in chapter 10, addressing birth control.  While I won't unpack it here, it challenged me to really apply some convictions on the value of human life in ways that I had never considered.  Finally, the last part of the book gets very practical in helping couples to "reverse engineer" their marriage so that the focus is on how you want your marriage to end...setting goals and formulating a plan together.  This was only one chapter of the book, and I would like to have read more.  I think the DVD study would be a good tool to expand on this and other material in the book.  The study includes a 143-page participant's guide, which has lots of material for couples to invest in their relationship, through questions and activity suggestions.  The videos are okay... Mark and Grace sitting in the church where they were married and discussing (mostly to one another) the material in the book.  Each session covers a chapter, with eleven 10- to 15-minute sessions.  If you are a fan of Mark Driscoll's, you will love it.  If you are a hater, you will hate it.  For those of us in between, just looking for a good tool to enrich our marriage...there's a lot of good material here.  It is not the best book on marriage that is out there, but there is much in the book and DVD study that is unique and useful to improve marriages.