I Blog For Books

29 October 2015

I'm Happy For You ...

The title of this book caught my eye immediately, but it was the subtitles that drew me in. In this age of Pinterest and Facebook, we are continually bombarded with images displaying a perfection that seems to relentlessly poke holes in our "real" lives. In our house, we rarely sit down to dinner together. Why? Work schedules and other time constraints. Typed out, however, they sound like pitiful excuses. After all, a family has to eat, do they not? Why not make time to eat together? We leave the laundry in the dryer (and sometimes, in the washer), rarely make the bed, spend too much time online or involved in computer games, and we don't exercise. We are apparently not your typical Pinterest family!

The back cover of Kay Wills Wyma's 2015 book asks "Feeling weighed down by the pressure to be Pinteresting?" Eureka! That's it! The answer immediately came to mind. "Of course." For a while, I refused to even get on Pinterest. Snarky comments chased themselves around in my mind, comments that probably bear a remarkable similarity to those voiced (or not) by the Facebookers who have seen their connection place become overrun by oversharing grandparents and pre-teens. Remember when Pinterest required an invitation? Now, Pinterest chooses pins for you - based on previous things you've pinned.

Paragraph two on the back cover highlights society today: "our cultural obsession with comparison is undercutting relationships and sapping contentment." Isn't THAT the truth! Theodore Roosevelt reminds us that "comparison is the thief of joy." As I sit in front of my computer, stacked high with papers that I really should go through, I am reminded of the absolutely fantastic home of a friend - that has not one single item out of place. Not even in the office. Does that make my office less functional for me? Of course not. I glance down beside my desk and see my dog, half-snoozing while on his self-appointed mission of guard duty (I'm important to him). The empty glass at my right elbow reminds me that not only do I need more water, but that I have an ice maker AND hot and cold running water in my house.

The rain stays outside, for this roof has no leaks. The house is temperate, because we have a functioning heating and cooling system. There are areas of this country, this CITY even, where residents are not so lucky. How can I be so selfish as to complain - even if only in my own mind - about the life of another, when I have so much to be thankful for? Does that make me a bad person? No, I don't think so. It simply makes me human. Instead of focusing on what we have, we tend to focus on what is thrown in our faces, and we are sucked back into the never-ending treadmill of comparison.

Read this book. I think Wyma's take on things will open your eyes.

"I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength."~Phillippians 4:12-13 NIV

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in return for writing an honest review. The opinions included in this blog are my own. 

24 June 2015

Bringing Heaven to Earth

Do you ever start reading a book in the middle, or near the end? While this is not the preferred method (for obvious reasons), there are occasions when it just happens that way. I picked up Josh Ross and Jonathan Storment's Bringing Heaven to Earth, and it fell open to chapter 13. Chapter 13 begins on page 169, pretty close to the end of the book. What struck me so strongly that I continued to read from this odd starting place was the chapter's title, How to Lose the Fear of Failure. How weird is that? This book began speaking to me from the time it fell open to that oh-so-fitting chapter.

Subtitled Fears and Perfection Keep Us from Joining Jesus's Celebration, this chapter begins by explaining the difference between phobias and pet peeves. Before you begin ticking off a list of your pet peeves, bear with me. Chew on this sentence for a moment: "Phobias interfere with life and cause deep personal distress" (Ross & Storment, p. 169).

Why do we fear? The reason for fear is as varied as the number of people who fear. What I fear may be something different that what you fear, or it may be the same, for very different reasons. This is not intended to be a discourse on phobia, but rather an attempt to understand that aha! moment that comes when something is explained so clearly that it suddenly, amazingly, makes perfect sense. "Fear can paralyze decision making that would draw us deeper into the heart and mission of God. There is a reason the command 'Do not be afraid' shows up more than any other command in Scripture ... atychiphobia, a fear of failure" (p. 172). 

I fear failure. There have been times when I refused (and still do) to do something that I do not believe I can do well. If I can't be good at it, I don't want to play (hence the reason I never played team sports). Instead of stepping out on faith, I stepped back. Instead of stepping forward and sharing Jesus, I stepped back into my secure world. Have I denied Him by doing so? Another question that bears asking is "What have I denied me?" Please don't take that in the selfish context that it appears to read. I don't mean that I have missed personal gain, or glory, but rather the possibility of a connection, a shared growth, or the ability to reach out to someone who might need it. Does my fear keep me from living fully for Christ?

This book is well written and well worth a read. It has changed the way I look at Heaven, in a good way. I recommend this book, and will be reading it again. Most likely in the not-so-distant future. (Yes, it was that good).

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in return for writing an honest review. The opinions included in this blog are my own. 

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.~Psalm 139:23-24 NIV

02 June 2015

Be The Message Devotional

The package containing Kerry and Chris Shook's Be The Message was waiting for me when I returned home from work one evening near the end of April. As I opened the book and began to read, I immediately thought that I would do what the book suggested, and take each devotion a day at a time. I didn't end up completing the book that way, but I will be going back and re-reading this book more than once.

Subtitled A 30-Day Adventure in Changing the World Around You, the back cover of this small volume asks a question that resonates - "How will God live out His message through you?"

As you read Day 1, you discover the intent of this devotional guide. Day one starts by OPENing - yourself, God's word, and your mind. The words of John 5:39 are used as a reminder that memorizing scripture does not always equal knowing and living the life of which they speak.

This is an interactive devotional. Each day has space for you to contemplate the message, write down in your own words the message that you have received.

Day 3 spoke to me, really spoke to me. "If you are disappointed or troubled or just weary, God will meet you there. He sits with you in the silence. He whispers His love. Quiet your soul and hear His gentle breathing." (Shook, p. 10) How incredibly awesome is that? God meets me where I am! And stays with me!

The more that you open yourself to Him, the deeper your connection becomes. I have a long way to go - but I am so much closer than I was yesterday.

"Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life." ~ Psalm 143:8 NIV

I received a free copy of this book in return for my open and honest review.

23 April 2015


This mask is great!!

A recent trip to the mailbox revealed a #VoxBox (package, actually) from Influenster and Freeman Beauty. Imagine my surprise when I opened the package to reveal not one but FIVE fabulous masks! My favorite so far (yes, I still have one to try) is the Charcoal & Black Sugar Polishing Mask. These masks are available at freemanbeauty.com for under $2 - definitely a great add on to your beauty collection for those 'pamper me' days!

I still have one to try - Coffee & Chai Energizing Paper Eye Mask - looking forward to that!

Last one to try!

I received my masks from@Freemanbeauty and @Influenster for free to try and post an honest review!

16 April 2015

Finding Your Way Back To God

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren is one of my all-time favorite books, so to read his comment on this book's cover "Absolutely life-changing!" definitely made me sit up and take notice. I have to say, Dave and Jon Ferguson's Finding Your Way Back To God is seriously worth the read, in my opinion.

I challenge each of you who feel as if your connection with God is not what you want it to be to take this journey with me! The Brothers Ferguson start the book with a bang, reminding us on page 1 that we are not alone, and putting forth a challenge on the very next page to "see if God responds." They then boldly ask "Do you dare?"

I am a child of God. When I was 9, I proclaimed my belief and was baptized. Forty-plus years later, I'm still struggling with my identity. Do I believe? Absolutely! Am I a child of the King? Of course! Do I hear that small, still voice? Sometimes. Or at least I think I do. I want to.

The five awakenings - longing, regret, help, love, and life - are part of what the Ferguson brothers call a pattern for the "journey in God's direction." Did you forget about God? Or do you feel God forgot about you? The authors say that more than 90 percent of us believe, but do not feel as if we belong. Sound familiar? It did to me!

Longing - "There's got to be more." While I don't necessarily believe that life is supposed to be perfect, I do believe that there is more to this life than I am currently experiencing. What am I missing? I think a closer relationship God is that something more, and I am seeking Him.

Regret - "I wish I could start over." Surely I'm not the only person in the world who thinks this! There are so many moments in my life that, even now, make me shake my head in disbelief at my sheer stupidity. In God, I am made new, and my sins forgiven if I but ask and believe. If that isn't starting over, I don't know what is!

Help, Love, and Life. My explanation for these three? He can, He does, and HE IS. Find your way back. I invite you to take the journey with me. Need a copy of the book? It's available most anywhere Christian books are sold. Let me know if you can't find it and I'll see what I can do about getting you one. This book has touched a chord deep within, and I feel it needs sharing.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ~ Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV

DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Blogging for Books for review purposes. My review is my own opinion, and was required to be neither negative nor positive, simply honest. 

08 March 2015

Ten Days Without

Daniel Ryan Day writes an eye-opener in his unassuming Ten Days Without. How much of what we have is simply taken for granted? Will anyone even notice if we do without 'necessities?' If they do notice, will they consider it just a publicity stunt or something to gain notoriety? I don't believe either of these was behind Day's adventures in discomfort (as he terms them). I believe he truly wanted to make a difference by showing how insulated we truly have become.

Ten Days Without was an adjustment, and one that made me realize just how much I don't even think about things in my life that so many would consider luxuries. As I grab my coat or slip on my shoes, I wonder if I could take on - and complete - such a challenge. I don't think so. I am a 'barefooter' by preference, but only within the comfort of my own home or yard. I won't even run an errand barefoot. Maybe that goes back to years of childhood and my mama not letting us 'go to town' or anywhere outside the yard without shoes. I applaud Day's perseverance and agree that our vision needs adjusting. Reading his book was humbling, and made me question what I can do.

I don't know that going without shoes or a coat for 10 days will make me more like Jesus, and I'm not necessarily sure that such a public statement is needed. If I live each day and my life reflects Jesus, will going without shoes make my statement louder? I don't think so. Was the book worth a read? Definitely. Did it open my eyes? It did. Will I take the same path? Doubtful.

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in return for my honest review. I was not required to like or dislike the book, only to provide an honest opinion of its contents.volume Ten Days Without. 

Psalm 86:11 "Teach me your way, Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name." NIV