Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Choosing Marriage: we>me 5/5

I don't remember when I first discovered Debra Fileta, but she is my soul sister. Debra is a self-proclaimed realist, which is why I like her approach so much. She is the author of the site, True Love Dates. She does not beat around the bush with her relationship advice.

I signed up to be on the book's Launch team, but I was quickly reminded I should not plan to do anything at the end of the school year - oops - my bad! So sorry, Debra. Better late than never, right?!

I am a slow reader, but I wanted to make sure I was taking the time to gain the wisdom and knowledge Debra was sharing with singles and couples alike about relationships. Each chapter ended with reflection questions for singles and couples.

Now to get to why you all should grab a copy from Amazon or your local bookstore - it is AWESOME. Worth it. I like to read relationship books because I am far from perfect and like to hear what others have to say on the subject.

"A good marriage comes from a series of decisions over an extended period of time, with the commitment of two people choosing to love each other no matter what my come their way" (23). I wish people could understand this concept - and I am saying this as a single person. Even though I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of marriages around me, it still remains a life goal to be a wife and mother. I believe it is worth it and reading this book has given me hope that it is possible to have a good marriage. I will never truly understand marriage until I am married because "[y]ou can't experience real love with a person until you've experienced the entirety of a person - the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful" (101).

In this book, Debra addresses communication barriers, boundaries, and learning about good sex within marriage. She shares personal stories as well as stories from those she counseled.

Debra is a straight-shooter when she states, "Seek accountability.... Get a tight rein on your thought life! Stop feeding your mind entertainment that will pollute it with lust.... [I]f you don't have a community, it's time to turn off Netflix, get off social media, and start investing in real-life relationships with godly people" (175). Ouch. That applies to singles and couples alike.

Debra's last chapter called "The Beautiful Exchange" could be a book itself, comparing the seasons of a year to seasons in marriage. I guess it is how you view each natural season how you would compare it to marriage, but it's a challenge to think deeper about the ebb and flow of life seasons. 

"Marry someone who will make you better" (184).

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Broken Way: 4/5

While I was not a fan of Ann's first book due to the flowery language, this book came highly recommended, so I attempted reading it with the help of Audible. I am glad I did because it is a much-needed book on brokenness. She shares personal details of her life you would never guess she struggles with, proving that authors are human! This book is all about accepting your own brokenness, finding community in the brokenness and looking to God for healing. She has many great insights in this book, even sharing some life wisdom with her daughter, who seems to be following the same path as her.

"You have only one decision every day: how will you use your time" (p. 59)? True story. What we give our time to determines what and who we love!

"Why is it so hard to believe you are believed in?... Letting yourself beloved is an act of terrifying vulnerability and surrender" (pp. 99-100). This section of the book really hit hard. Being single, I sometimes doubt myself as being a worthy partner to someone. I guess even married people feel this way sometimes

 "You can't know the wine you will be during the days you are breaking and being crushed like grapes. Are the most painful chapters of our lives always the most meaningful" (p. 170)?

My favorite chapter in the book was chapter fourteen called "Breaking the Lies in Your Head".

"[T]he loneliness of self-protecting barriers can feel like it will kill you - and the heart-breaking risk of intimacy and vulnerability can feel like it will kill you, too (p. 213).

I think Voscamp is obsessed with the number one thousand - she writes it a lot. I guess her first love will always be her first book, One Thousand Gifts, but I much preferred The Broken Way. If it's possible, I think the book just kept getting better, much preferring the later chapters in this book that talked about grace.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Rising Strong: 5/5

Brene Brown brings it again! After reading Daring Greatly last year and being in the tough arena of teaching urban students, it was great to read this book in late 2017. I have not written about it because it just takes a little time to process.

My heart needed this book. I learned that through my experiences, I have become a badass, "feeling machines who think and engage with their own emotions and the emotions of the people they love, parent, and lead" (p. 8).

Other key passages include: 
  • "We can rise up from our failures, screwups, and falls, but we can never go back to where we stood before we were brave or before we fell" (p. 5).
  • "The most difficult part of our stories is often what we bring to them - what we make up about who we are and how we are perceived by others... The most dangerous stories we make up are the narratives that diminish our inherent worthiness. We must reclaim the truth about our lovabilitiy, divinity, and creativity" (pp. 75, 82). 
  • The most mind-blowing thought from this book had to be "we're all doing the best we can" (p. 118). I struggle to believe it for myself as a recovering perfectionist, but I have seen it is a better way to view the world.

This is a book I will be coming back to - almost every page having an underline of something that stuck out to me. Each chapter begins with an IG-worthy quote and a short quote to start the chapter.

I was able to relate to Brene's story because grieved a lot due to my parents' divorce and losing my grandmother to Alzheimer's, too (p. 145). Our perfectionist nature, temptation to compare, and introversion also hit home in the book (pp. 194-195, 221). Good to know that on so many levels, I am not alone.

I loved this book, and while I cannot read her books quickly, I thoroughly enjoy them. GO GET THIS BOOK!

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Cupid is a Procrastinator: 2/5

I found Kate's story of singleness easy to relate to as I read it. Being single in your 30's is different than being single in your 20's.

  • "... I often feel like I have been perpetually living the life of a college student, roommates and all, for the last fifteen years..." (p. 37).
  • She makes the point that not having a family of your own is a loss - even something that never existed can be a loss, which is hard for some people to understand (pp. 38-39).
  • "I do struggle with people telling me how hard marriage is, which is the default response when people find out that I am in my thirties and not married" (p. 111).  
  • "Sometimes, we don't see God's provision even when it is right in front of us because it looks different from what we expected" (p.131). 
  • [W]hen it comes to dating, we Christians have believed in some weird crap" (p.142).

Although it was interesting to read, I found it somewhat frustrating seeing her quote her own songs and other authors quite a bit towards the end of the book. She also plainly states in the book how much she wants a different life with a husband and kids, which is easy to relate to, but annoying to read. Her blog is called "The Sexy Celibate".

The last chapter should have been the first, reminding singles that we are part of the Greatest Love Story with God. It is the foundation of every Christian book for singles, reminding us we are already part of a love story.

The afterword was unnecessary, and the last line of chapter 18 left a bad taste in my mouth for this book: "In the end, it will not really matter if you are single or married or divorced, if you are beautiful or ugly, if you are abandoned or cherished. You are the Beloved. Forever no more alone" (p. 211). Really?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

The Dream Giver


This is one of three books a friend recommended to help me refocus in life. It was a quick and easy read, but it was a powerful allegory. It is about a person named Ordinary going on a journey toward his Big Dream. It talks about obstacles Ordinary faced, even from loved ones who think they are trying to be "realistic".

Pursuing his "Dream could cause him a lot of discomfort. He would have to do unfamiliar things in unfamiliar places" (22). His journey continues through the Waste Land, where Ordinary realizes he changed! "His trip through the Waste Land had not been a Waste. Now he was prepared for what lay ahead, no matter how hard" (40).

"[E]ach time you break through a Comfort Zone, the area of your comfort increases. You become comfortable with more and more things. You could stay there, of course, but a Dream is a person whose life is in motion" (97).

This was powerful to read because of the past school year and pushing through tough situations to pursue my dreams. It has helped me grieve parts of my journey and has given me hope for the rest! I highly recommend this book!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Bible Promises to Live By for Women

If you need a little book of emergency verses to get you through struggles such as anxiety, temptation and stress, look no further.

This book is designed to be a go to when you have a specific topic you are struggling with and want relevant Bible verses to get you through that time. It is not a story book, but more like a reference book for times of need. It is organized alphabetically, so finding each topic is easy. The promises of God are powerful. Here is a small book filled with them! Great gift idea for a friend who might be going through a loss and needs to be reminded of the power of God's Word.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

If you're looking for a family devotional to jump start 2018, look no further! This daily devotional includes a one page devotion with a Scripture and a daily action to challenge you and your family to show kindness to others. While others can purchase the book, this was written by three women who wanted to challenge their family and others to live out their faith in practical ways. This is a daily challenge to start your day with something positive. I recommend it highly for mothers, families, or others who could use the quick reminder that Scripture can be applied to real life.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.