Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Better Late Than Never

As part of my required reading for the protege program, the following two books were on our list. I'm just now finishing them (better late than never, right?). Actually, I was supposed to read Next Gen. Leader in college and didn't (sorry, Andy Stanley...).

I'm not sure I agree with everything in this book, but it has some great leadership principles in it.
One of the things I appreciated was Sanders' thoughts about missionary leadership:

"Missionary leadership must be ready to delegate responsibility to nationals the moment they give evidence of spiritual maturity" (140).

You can't really go wrong with an Andy Stanley book, right?

He talks through five foundations for leaders: competence, courage, clarity, coaching, and character.

"Age and experience don't necessarily make us better. Age and experience have a tendency to leave us in a rut, doing the same thing the same way with no one around to spur us toward change" (105).

I see why these books have been on lists to read. Glad I finally finished. If you're looking for good, applicable reads, check these out now!

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Robertson Family Christmas

Ok, so I admit. I don't know much about the Robertsons. I would be like one of the main characters in this book, Hunter, who is from the Midwest and won a contest to spend Christmas with the famous Duck Commander family. As I read this quick read, I couldn't help but want to meet them myself. Miss Kay wrote this novella as a work of fiction as if someone was getting an inside glimpse of Christmas with the Robertsons.

One of the highlights was the recipe for Willie's crazy bread (you'll have to read it to find out what it is!). YUM. Can't wait to make it.

This is the perfect time of year to read this book -- so make sure you grab it! I have a FREE COPY.
Comment below to enter to win!

Tyndale House Publishers has provided you with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Middle School Makeover

Middle School is tough. That's no surprise. But it doesn't have to be awful for your children!

So if you're a parent of a middle school (or are just interested in working with that age group like I am), this book is a great resource on how to navigate the interesting transitions happening during the time in kids' lives.

Our experience in middle school sets the foundation for what we believe about ourselves in high school and beyond (19).

During middle school (and most commonly in seventh grade) kids start to freak out a little bit about who they are in relationship to their peers. It’s their primary goal to develop an identity apart from family, so that one day they can successfully leave your house and have a job, apartment and relationships of their own (97).

I appreciated Michelle's perspective. She shared her own middle school experiences as well as questions she has heard from other parents trying to navigate this age.

Michelle gives insight into how to have conversations about cell phones, modesty, social media and more.

I don't agree with everything in her book (based on my own convictions), but for the most part, I liked the insight she shares with parents and those wanting to read a book about middle school.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Girl Talk: Unsolicited Advice for Modern Ladies

Know your audience. If you're a single 20/30-something year old, this book might interest you. It won't take you long to read and can be a good gift for a friend.

The part I have a hard time with is having different morals than the author. From page one, she uses colorful language (seriously, you couldn't think of another way to say that -- do you think cursing makes you look cool?). Her thoughts on dating, men, and sex did not align with my views, which is fine because as the subtitle mentions, this is unsolicited advice.

Although the book is aesthetically pleasing and sometimes contained witty banter, I won't be passing this one along to friends any time soon.

I reviewed this book for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

No Man is an Island

It took me almost a year to get through this book.

Originally published in 1955, I have the book like the one pictured above, which is the 2003 edition. Here are some of my favorite quotes:

"It is in loving others that we best love ourselves" (3).

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time" (34).

"Everything we love is uncertain: when we are seeking it, we fear we may not get it. When we have obtained it, we fear even more that it may be lost" (111).

"There are times, then, when in order to keep ourselves in existence at all we simply have to sit back for a while and do nothing. And for a man who has left himself be drawn completely out of himself by his activity, nothing is more difficult than to sit still and rest, doing nothing at all. The very act of resting is the hardest and most courageous act he can perform: and often it is quite beyond his power" (123).

"If we wait for some people to become agreeable or attractive before we begin to love them, we will never begin" (169).

"Some men are only virtuous enough to forget that they are sinners without being wretched enough to remember how much they need the mercy of God" (209).

This book was very contemplative, which I appreciate, but it was not something I could just sit down and read. It was more of a book to include in spiritual disciplines.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dad is Fat

Lately, I've found myself in need of lighter reading material. Several people who saw me reading the book asked my thoughts on it: BUY IT! This man is hilarious + clean.

I have been bugging my dad for a few years to write me a book of wisdom, and although Jim Gaffigan is writing to his young children, I am sure they will appreciate it later in life.

Jim shares the struggles of raising five children in NYC. Everyday's an adventure and he shares with the reader his successes (like getting the kids to bed each night in a two bedroom apartment) and struggles (taking his family out in NYC).

His advice for parents is valuable (not being a parent yet, I would THINK this is valuable advice). He talks about fun things to do with kids in the city, the hassle of putting sunscreen on his extremely pale offspring, and the challenge of having small kids while trying to attend a church service.

Great gift idea for Father's Day or a new dad. I even appreciated it as a 20-something single female.

Thanks for the laughs, Jim.

I reviewed this book for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

All Right Here

Despite the Parenthood-esque cover, the storyline of this book was choppy. The storyline did not flow well, although the family issues included in the book are real issues: drinking to cover up relationship problems, sleeping with your boss, emotional affairs, and racism.

It took me a while to get into the book itself. It might have been the book I read previously that was along the same genre and was written better that made it hard to engage with this story.

At times, there were cheesy Christian lines.

Overall I would say it's probably your best bet to leave this book on the shelf.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Networking is Not Working

Back in May, my friend tweeting that he was reading Networking is Not Working. 
It automatically made me think of this clip from Ugly Betty. Ha.

My friend actually bought me the Kindle version of this book. (Thanks, Joel!)

I would appreciate it more if I was in more of a business setting. There was still practical insights into networking. 

As an introvert, it may surprise people that I actually love networking. I love connecting people with each other to make their lives better. 

"Networking: any activity that increases the value of your network and/or the value you contribute to it."

Seth Godin says, "The value of your connection is worth far more than the value of your service or widgets" (Kindle 61).

Coburn ended up creating his own networking group and being the Ultimate Resource, connecting people in different fields and adding value to their networks.

Thought this book was practical and to the point. Again, I think I would appreciate it more if I was in more of a business/sales role, although networking as he does works in most careers. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

A Table By the Window

I really enjoyed this book by Hillary Manton Lodge.

The main character, Juliette, was easy to relate to as she navigated family situations, online dating, and coping with life's hardships by cooking up some of her favorite recipes. I love that the recipes were included. Now I just need to make a list, go to the grocery store and test out a few of these! They sounded amazing. Juliette's mom was French and her dad was Italian, so you can just imagine the food she prepared throughout the book.

It was a fun, easy read. The only thing I wish Lodge had gone into more detail about was Juliette's trip to Europe. It was at the very end of the book and not much detail. Kind of disappointing because I thought it could go somewhere. 

Overall, I'd recommend it to 20-30 something-year-old women looking for something fun to read this summer. If you're going on vacation, add this to your packing list!

"Why did I try online dating? I imagine the reason most people do - I was lonely. And it wasn't for lack of people around me. There is a special kind of loneliness for the single and the busy, people with friends and jobs and family and the gnawing awareness that as I get older and more responsible, I'm still alone" (128). 

I reviewed this book for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Neighbors + Wise Men

I have a friend from college who knows Tony the Beat Poet from Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz. Tony has written a book, Neighbors + Wise Men.

I could relate a lot to what Tony was saying throughout the book because he had to unlearn quite a bit of religion he grew up with in order to relate better to people and reach a healthier state of being.

Tony shares his experiences abroad in Albania, surviving seminary, conversations in Portland pubs, and interacting with students at Reed College.

I started reading this book without a highlighter. Eventually I broke down and started marking up my book because even though he's sharing his stories, there's so many great lessons!

"What if sharing the gospel was... like sharing a sunset?... As you share a sunset, you must stand shoulder to shoulder, not face to face. When you share a sunset, both observers are caught up in the glory and beauty and mystery. When you share a sunset, everyone present has equal opportunity to contribute; anyone can have a thought to share or implication to suggest. It is a remarkably shared experience" (172).

Because of his stories of interacting with people, I want to be a better person. Tony shared so many lessons from who he met, no matter their religious beliefs. He was able to learn from every person he encountered, which is a great way to live life.

Sometimes when I read books I am ready to finish them and the writing gets worse as the book goes on, but this one just became even BETTER! The last few chapters were really challenging.

Tony has a new book coming out soon and I can't wait to read it!

Coming January 2015: ALOOF: Figuring out life with a GOD who HIDES.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Leaders Eat Last

If you're a leader, get to know the name Simon Sinek. He also wrote Start with Why. I presented a TED Talk to my protege class on that book and decided to follow up with another TED Talk on his latest book, Leaders Eat Last.

This book was engaging. It is applicable in every situation -- ministry and marketplace positions. The main thing I got from the book was creating a Circle of Safety within your workplace environment. 

It's the difference between working a job where you don't know your co-workers to feeling like you BELONG somewhere and enjoy getting to know your co-workers on a deeper level than work. 

I will never adequately review this book because there's just so much inside, but I will highly recommend it for people seeking to improve their leadership. 

Here's my TED Talk (and you can definitely find Simon Sinek's talks online):

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


Whew. Perfectly timed book.

Because of Lent, it took me about a month to read this, but I appreciated it so much.
The thing I like about Perry Noble's writing style is his ability to relate to his reader. He is real with where he is at in life, and I appreciated his subject matter a lot. Too many people in ministry feel like they have to have everything together, but I like Noble's courage in tackling tough topics like worry, depression, and anxiety.

"God is a 'right now' God! Right now He is at work - no matter your circumstances, no matter how you're feeling, no matter if you can see Him" (Kindle location 390).

It's not every day you hear a church leader give an honest view of what the church has become to so many: "Somehow church has become a place where we don't want to hear about real issues or relevant struggles or sins we've been dealing with all week long. We'd rather hear obscure history lessons, Greek and Hebrew word training, and lots of quotes from dead white guys" (Kindle location 542).

My favorite chapter was seven, which includes Perry's own story. It's amazing to look at him from the outside. He's obviously a passionate man (have you ever watched him on NewSpring's podcast or seen him preach live?!) reaching people for Christ. From the outward appearance, he was a success, but inside was a different story.

If you've ever been overwhelmed in life, you know you don't want someone to say all the right things. You just want someone to BE WITH YOU. To let you know you are not alone. Perry Noble has given that gift to the world. I highly encourage you to grab this book the next time you're at a bookstore or on Amazon. If you're not overwhelmed now, you will be at some point, and Perry offers hope and encouragement.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

I Like Giving

Get this book ASAP!

I heard about the I Like Giving movement last fall when I was explaining to a friend that I would be fundraising for a year to live in DC. She said God has it taken care of and that people like giving! Being the recipient of monetary gifts has been a humbling experience, and I really appreciated Formsma's encouragement to get creative in giving.

Thanks to the generosity of NCC, we received this book for free. It was great to hear from Brad Formsma live a few weeks ago. Good to know Michiganders are making differences in people's lives. I am so greatly encouraged by the stories in this book.

"No matter how successful you are, it is giving your life away to others that makes you happy" (67).

"Giving is a way to actually invest in someone's life" (120).

"Receiving can be harder than giving, because receiving reminds me that I need other people.... Receiving can be scary because we have less control. When we are in the position to give to someone else, we can decide when and how to do it. We can even change our minds if we want to. When we are in the position of receiving, we control none of those things" (163, 173).

My favorite stories within the book were "I Like High School" + "I Like People". I had seen previous short films (not knowing they were a part of this movement). My favorite of those is "I Like Adoption". 

It is great to read about generosity -- it's another thing to put it into practice.
Grab the book, read the stories, be encouraged, and GIVE!

I reviewed this book for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

A little trailer for you:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Confident Faith

According to Mittelberg, there are six different paths that have led you to believe what you currently believe: Relativistic, Traditional, Authoritarian, Intuitive, Mystical or Evidential. You take a quiz in chapter two to find out the pathway that relates most your experience. He seems to believe that no matter your faith path, the last one needs to be included in your journey. He mentions it after each of the five pathways that you can strengthen your current path by embracing the evidential path.

"Are we willing to step back and examine our inherited beliefs and make sure that we've thoughtfully and intentionally adopted a faith worth following" (50)?

I was an Alpha leader last fall, so this book has been a great read coming off that small group experience. I come from a mixture of the Traditional/Authoritarian pathway background. It was just really good to read an overview of those as well as how others experience spiritual issues differently.

"I'm convinced there's nothing more important than figuring our what we believe about God and his will for our lives" (147).

"[W]hen you add the complexity of multiple writers, from multiple countries, in multiple languages over multiple centuries, dealing with multiple problems and situations, the Bible's incredible cohesion and unified message are nothing short of miraculous" (183).

There's an online option for a discussion guide provided by Tyndale.

This is a great resource in helping understand others' experiences as well as solidifying why you believe what you do.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for a review.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ciao, Bella

I think this was a free book on Amazon that I just found on my Kindle one day when I was looking for a story to read. Sometimes I just want some good fiction. Doesn't happen very often, but this was an overall good book. Not something amazing, but it was a fun read.

Don't be misled -- this has very little to do with Italy.
Still if you're looking for something good, try it.

Love Does!

What can I say about this book other than I LOVE IT!
This is my second time through the book, which means it was worth the time to reread.
It was assigned reading for my protege program, but I definitely don't mind.

Bob Goff is just as great as a speaker as he is with writing this book. I saw him speak in October at Catalyst.

Donald Miller mentions in the forward that Bob "will wreck your American dream and help you find your actual dream" (x). This book has challenged me to not take life so seriously, dream bigger dreams, and put love into action.

"I get the invitation every morning when I wake up to actually live a life of complete engagement, a life of whimsy; a life where love does. It doesn't come in an envelope. It's ushered in by a sunrise, the sound of a bird, or the smell of coffee drifting lazily from the kitchen. It's the invitation to actually live, to fully participate in this amazing life for one more day. Nobody turns down an invitation to the White House, but I've seen plenty of people turn down an invitation to fully live." (80)

Get this book and read it ASAP!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Highly Happy Marriages

I know, you're probably thinking, "Why are you reading a book about marraige; you are single!?"
One of my strengths from Strengthsfinder 2.0 is LEARNING. I like to learn about all sorts of topics, and it cannot really hurt reading books like this and trying to put principles into practice that are appropriate for friendships.

I find it annoying when research takes up half a chapter. Shaunti included every graph at the end of the chapters for those interested in looking at all the work she did, but I just skipped those pages (because she had spent the chapter talking about her findings). She just wants to prove that she spends YEARS researching these issues and makes connections with other researchers who come to the same conclusions.

"I never intend to suggest that there is always a quick fix for marital happiness" (14). She is aware of the fact that some readers are in bad relationships involving abuse and recommend they get professional help. I'm still not sure I like the title, but you get the idea -- and it appeals to our culture, whose top goal is happiness.

The most interesting chapter to me was chapter four: Go to Bed Mad. Contrary to popular Christian belief, it's ok to go to bed mad -- as long as you do not ignore the issue and eventually resolve it.

More info on her website.

Empty Shelf Challenge Book #6.

I reviewed this book for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

No Sex in the City

I read this book all in one sitting. I found her writing style easy to read, her subject matter interesting, and I was able to relate to her story.

She did not mention online dating at all, which I find surprising. I went to her facebook page and noticed she got married in 2012 (the book was published in 2009).

I found it refreshing that she did not beat around the bush with this topic. She includes her own struggles, boundaries and suggestions for standards.

"If the guy you are dating is not spiritually compatible, your friend, or someone you find attractive, get another man" (kindle location 836).

I can't really explain why I like this book so much other than I relate to it being single in a city.

If you find that topic interesting at all, read it.
It is geared towards singles in their late 20's/early 30's (mainly women but she has gotten feedback from men, too).

Empty Shelf Challenge Book #5.

Friday, January 10, 2014


I started reading this book and about a chapter in, I really wanted to return it. I was so confused. I picked it because my online book club (linked to the host's overview of ROOM) was going to discuss it. I am so glad I stuck it out because it was a page turner after a while. I had no idea about the premise of the book, so I was learning as I went what was happening. So sad that this actually happens in real life.

I liked that the perspective was from the five year old boy, Jack. It made me laugh a lot as he got used to what things were called and how things worked Outside.

I liked how songs were throughout the entire book. 

I know people would be surprised at how smart kids really are. Jack picks up on a lot of things that happen to his mom that most people would just brush off because he's so young.

You just need to read the book.
Then breathe.
Appreciate your life.

Empty Book Challenge Book #4

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Clear Winter Nights

It was a great read for cold winter nights. This is a story about conversations a man has with his grandpa, who was a former minister. It breaks down barriers that ministers are on a higher level of spirituality. I liked that his grandpa was open about his own experiences.

Pretty easy read that makes you think through what you believe. 

"The greater your acknowledgment of your sinfulness, the greater your appreciation of God's grace" (68).

"The question I am asking you is, Can someone be a follower of Jesus Christ and not ever make disciples" (76)?

There were some loose ends that I wish had a better wrap up, but overall it was well written and a good read.

Empty Book Challenge Book #3.

I reviewed this book for Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.