Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review of "The Language of Blessing" by Joseph Cavanaugh III

God put each of us on this earth for a distinct reason. Wouldn't it make sense for us to find out each of our own God-given talents and gifts so we can use them for God's purpose? There is no one else in the world like us. God created each one of us so unique with gifts, talents, characteristics and attributes that there can be no other like us!

Too often as parents we focus on the negative instead of the positive. Cavanaugh uses the example of a child's report card. Say your child comes home with a report card of 3 A's, a B+ and a D. Instead of focusing on the 3 A's (subjects in which your child excels), we are more likely to focus on the one bad grade that they received and let them know that they need to improve in that area. Those words are clearly not blessing your child. Instead, Cavanaugh suggests praising your child for the excellent grades they received, asking them what they enjoy most about the subjects and affirming them, and then ask about the D. Ask the child how you can help them with that subject.

We want to be careful how we interfere with the gifts and talents God has given our children. Demeaning comments or lack of praise may keep a child from pursuing their God-given talents. Show patience as your child takes time to learn things and praise their success.

Each child has their own set of gifts and talents but yet parents and teachers alike end up rewarding and disciplining children as if they all had the same attributes, ignoring the fact that since we were all created differently, perhaps we should use different measures when we praise and reward them.

Cavanaugh is also quick to note that while we should praise a child for his accomplishments, attributes and talents, we should not over-inflate our child's ego.

Included at the end of each chapter is an "Application Activity" to help gain a better understanding of your God-given talents and abilities.

I found this book to be greatly beneficial and interesting! I would rate it as 5 stars.


**I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers to give my honest unbiased review,**



Saturday, January 26, 2013

My review of "Unglued- a Devotional" by Lysa Terkeurst

I don't normally read a devotional before I read the accompanying book, but this book looked like a good read so I thought I'd give it a try. I wasn't disappointed!

What I liked best about this devotional was that Lysa spoke from experience. Her honest trial and error, and  how she had to learn to let God take care of the things she couldn't control. There are 60 daily devotionals in all. Each one with a story of personal experience, a key Bible verse and a prayer. The devotionals ranged in size from 2 to 4 pages...perfect for those busy moms on the go, but I still felt like I was learning something. The size of the book was fairly small also, so very easy to tuck in my purse or diaper bag!

I did not take the 60 days to read through it, but you can bet I will be revisiting these pages often.



Lysa offers Biblically sound advice on dealing with conflict, trusting in God when we are fearful, being honest about our issues and so much more. I found myself relating to her writing on so many levels.

My only complaint about the devotional is that I wish it contained more Bible studying for each day. Some of the lessons did provide additional Bible verses to study, but a majority of them were only the initial key verse.

I would rate this as 4 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Monday, January 21, 2013

Review of Just Like Jesus by Max Lucado

When I was choosing what book to review, there were quite a few options available and I was especially interested in 4 or 5 different titles. I read through the previews of each book and decided on "Just Like Jesus" by Max Lucado. It is actually the first book I have read by him despite the fact that I have heard great things about him. Even my 6 year old has heard of Max Lucado since she has been watching the "Hermie" videos for a few years now.



Max Lucado has a writing style that is easy to read and relate to. As I was reading, I felt like God chose this book just for me. As a Christian, our goal is to become just like Jesus, but how do we do that?

Let's say that for one day, Jesus walks in our shoes. We still have the same circumstances, health and problems we currently face, but Jesus is living our life with His heart instead. Would your behavior change? Would your family and friends notice a difference? Would you love your enemies?

I think the chapter I could relate to most is Chapter 2, "Loving the people you are stuck with- a forgiving heart." Don't misinterpret the wording though...it's really not what it sounds like. Lucado uses the example of Jesus' disciples. They were as close as family to Jesus but yet they still cursed Him, questioned Him and betrayed Him. And Jesus STILL forgave them.

You may not be the guilty one. Maybe you weren't the one who lied, cheated, or whatever else it was. But Jesus wasn't guilty either, and He still forgave everyone who wronged Him.

This book has many other great examples of how we can have a heart like Jesus. We should always be constantly looking to God and trying to live like Him.

I would rate this book as 5 stars and would highly recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Echoes by Robin Jones Gunn

This story is about a young woman named Lauren, living in the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee. After her fiance ends their engagement and calls off their wedding, Lauren's feelings of rejection resurface from when she was a child. She struggles with having a healthy relationship with any man and refuses to confront the feelings she experiences.



After a few weeks, Lauren's brother comes to visit from California and brings her a computer. He sets up an e-mail account so they can easily chat back and forth. Brad shows her how to use a chat room and finds her a GL (God-Lover) who goes by KC. He puts KC's e-mail address in Lauren's address book so they can communicate. At first, Lauren has no interest in e-mailing KC but then accidentally e-mails him twice, beginning their correspondence. She quickly falls head over heels in love with KC and his letters.

They e-mail back and forth for an entire year, and finally KC suggests what Lauren has been thinking for quite some time. They should meet. But then Lauren is not so sure she wants to go through with it after all. If they meet, and she is not what KC expects, can she bear another heartbreak? Will she go through with meeting him?

This book had many positive elements! Unlike so many "Chick Lit" books available, I would feel completely at ease letting my daughters read it! There were no questionable elements in these pages and although it was a bit predictable at times, I still couldn't put it down. I found myself relating to Lauren on her heartbreaks and cheering her in her answers to prayer.

The story line may be a bit dated as the main character gets a computer in a time where computers were a new commodity, but don't let that deter you from reading this book. This was the first book I have read by Robin Jones Gunn and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I would rate it as 5 out of 5 stars!

I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers to give my honest unbiased review.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Review of "When your Parent becomes your Child- A Journey of Faith Through My Mother's Dementia" by Ken Abraham

When I first saw this book available for review, the title piqued my interest. My paternal grandmother died last Spring after suffering with dementia for many years, and my maternal grandmother was just diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. There is a sense of comfort knowing that you are not alone when these horrible diseases strike.



Abraham writes a diary of his last few years with his mother and her battle with dementia. In the beginning, he and his family were not aware that "Grandma Minnie" even had dementia. They attributed her forgetfulness and unusual comments to personality quirks and old age. When the family finally realized it was really dementia hard at work on Grandma Minnie's body, dementia had already begun to take it's toll. 

Despite the painfulness of dementia, Abraham and his mother were still able to find the humor in life, and Abraham is able to document much of his mother's humorous moments as well. Abraham goes on to explain many of the common side effects and symptoms of the disease and how he and Minnie's doctors dealt with them. 

I enjoyed reading this book because there was so much that I really did not understand about dementia. It helped me to understand the disease and how to help care for my grandmother. This book obviously had a few painfully sad moments as there is currently no cure for dementia. 

I would rate this book as 4 stars. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



Friday, January 4, 2013

My review of The Captain's Bride by Lisa T. Bergren

This book centers on a young married couple named Peder and Elsa Ramsted, but also tells the story of Soren and Kaatje Janssen, Karl Martensen and Tora Anders. The setting for this book begins in Norway in 1880, and then later to America where they settle into their new lives. "The Captain's Bride" also follows Soren and Kaatje through bitter betrayals, Karl Martensen as he struggles to make the right choices in his new-found faith, and Tora as she learns to make her own way in a new world while making all of the wrong choices.



I was impressed that the author integrated Bible verses and prayers right into the story. I read a lot of Christian fiction and nonfiction, but it's still rare that I see such reverence to God in a novel. I was pleasantly surprised. The author appears to have really done her research of history and the new world in the 1880's as she describes the scenes extensively and beautifully.

I was disappointed, however, to read of the marital affairs in this book. They were not glamorized by any means. On the contrary, the affairs were very much looked down upon and the adulterers were continually prayed for in hopes of God helping them change their ways. I just wish that element of the book had been left out entirely. 

I will still rate "The Captain's Bride" by Lisa T. Bergren as a 3 star rating because of the positive elements in the book.

**I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group to give my honest unbiased review.**


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Book review of "Bible Stories that end with a Hug" by Stephen Elkins

I was super excited to do this review for a few different reasons! While I love to read as a hobby of my own, I also love to read to my girls. But finding a children's devotional/Bible that both of them can enjoy is understandably difficult since they are 6 and 1 years old....a bit of an age difference as you can see.



"Bible stories that end with a Hug" has a wide variety of Bible stories that aren't always included in the everyday children's Bible. It includes: "Blessed to be a Blessing", the story of Baalam and the talking donkey; "An Answered Prayer", a story about Jabez;  and classics such as Noah's Ark, David and Goliath, and Jesus' birth! The book contains 75 stories in all.

This book included adorable and colorful illustrations that both of my girls thoroughly enjoyed. The stories were simple yet descriptive, and seemed to be just the right length for a 2-6 year old to be able to sit through and then talk about it afterwards. My 1 year old enjoyed looking at the pictures and managed to sit through most of the story. ;)

I would rate this book as 5 stars and would not hesitate to recommend it to my friends with 1-6 year old children.

**I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers to give my honest unbiased review.**