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.

Friday, October 6, 2017


            Convicted is a story that hits close to home. I am from Southwest Michigan , in the neighboring town of Saint Joe, which is mostly white. It was so interesting for me to read Jameel's perspective, who grew up in the neighboring town of Benton Harbor, which is mostly black. His life in Benton Harbor was a fight for survival (85). I found myself unable to put this book down as I processed the events of what happened from both sides of the story (a rarity in cases like this) and went through the many emotions attached to the story.
            This is a story of anger, forgiveness, and an unlikely friendship. Jameel and his brother "ended up in some of the worst foster-care families in the world because [their] home life was so bad growing up.... Most of the misery [Jameel] lived through as a little kid came from [his] parents'  addictions. [Jameel] hated drugs" (82). When Jameel was convicted for selling drugs, readers can just imagine the amount of anger he had towards the cop who putting him away in prison. However, Jameel "was tired of being alone" and eventually he "had to keep making an effort to connect with people every day" (109).
            This story was a quick read - you wanted to know what happened next from both sides. Jameel and Andrew switch perspectives every other chapter, so we get both sides of the story. We see the truth of what growing up in Benton Harbor is like and what it was like for Andrew to come into this city and what happens in the police department. "Most of the people selling dope in poor communities like Benton Harbor do it because they don't know any different and don't have any other options. The schools are bad. The jobs don't pay a livable wage. And the drug dealers drive the best cars in town. Poor kids see this and figure it's the only way to get ahead" (177).
            It did give me a renewed hope that the Church can be an agent of change for our culture in the area of racial reconciliation. I know Brian Bennett and Overflow Church and love what they do for the community of Benton Harbor. It is refreshing, having lived in this area and seen the divisions for so long now to see a place where everyone is welcome. Jameel and Andrew are leading the way in difficult conversations and are true examples of being Christ followers - not only following when it's easy, but following Christ no matter what.

I received this book for WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book. 

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Almost There: Searching for Home in a Life on the Move

Bekah DiFelice is a military wife, and although I am not in the military, because of some moves I have made in life, I related to this book a lot. My search for home has brought many tears and has led to conversations of frustration trying to explain to my family that while I am single, I am my own family unit as an adult. This book has been the cry of my heart for the past ten years at least.

I am so thankful to Bekah DiFelice for writing this book and speaking words that spoke to my heart. It is a much needed book, whether or not you're in the military and can fully relate to her stories. Home is very important to me, but it is also this elusive place/people because of discontent in my heart to stay in one place. How can we find home in a life on the move?

"All my life has been a slow discovery of the sturdiness of God against the fleeting nature of everything else" (40).

"[H]ome is experienced in relationship - the place where you are known and loved at the same time.... where you are seen and understood and not thought too much of" (101).

Chapter eight struck a cord with me because it talked about the most homesick day - Sundays. My first Sunday at college was one of the most homesick for me, having grown up going to church with my family and just enjoying time together. I love Sundays - and it's the day I missed my family the most while living in DC the past four years.

"We all are our parents' children at the very same moment we are our most independent selves. And I suppose that sometimes we have to miss our parents to realize how deeply we love them - and still need them" (138).

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

Friday, July 21, 2017

Nothing to Prove

If you have ever felt like you never measure up, this is a book you should get a hold of ASAP. I could relate to a lot of what Jennie Allen wrote in her book, Nothing to Prove.

"Sadly because life is hard and most of us don't feel like we are knocking it out of the park for God or anyone else, we live a bit afraid that when God looks our way, He is disappointed" (31).

The thing that hits home the most is that "We want to do things for God without spending time with God" (94). This past year has been brutal, but like she writes just before that line, "There are no spiritual helicopters out of the desert", checking in on you during your wilderness season.

"Because God is enough and has enough, we can rest" (129). I sometimes doubt this and really have to check myself if I trust the most Trustworthy person.

The last of my favorite quotes hits home as a Feeler: "Emotions are compasses, not destinations. We don't ignore them and we don't camp out in them, but we let them show us the places God wants to meet us and the places we need to do work" (177).

This past year was really tough for me and I hope I am on the other side of a valley. This book was the perfect read, although because I was down, it took forever to read.

I received this book for WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Waking Up Slowly

I'm finally able to read again after the school year finished last Wednesday.

This book was a good one to get back into reading!

Burchett makes the point we need to put our phones down to really live life. While they can be useful pieces of technology, we also need to learn how to be present with God and each other.

As I am slowing down from the school year, I am reminded of the importance of rest.

"The world gets along just fine without my help. That is disappointing and liberating at the same time" (78).

"The past is real. I can't pretend it didn't happen. I need to pick the good and even the rotten fruit to learn how it affected me. Then I burn what's left so I can heal and be present in the moment" (88).

I found myself nodding in agreement to so many things in his book. Little life lessons you can learn from simple things around you if you just take the time to open your eyes. I appreciate his simple life lessons in short chapters, complete with quotes and pictures of important things in his life to start each one.

Time to go on vacation and unplug.

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

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Road Back to You

Recently I had a conversation with my friend Joel about the Enneagram. There are nine numbers that help with self-awareness and personality types.

When I took the free test online, I found out I was a 4 with a 5 wing. That means I am mainly a 4 influenced by the 5.

Four is the Romantic or Individualist. We appreciate beauty, nature, and order. We also have very strong feelings and have a strong desire to be unique. Fives are Investigators who observe a lot.

This book, The Road Back to You, was eye-opening. I also listened to the podcasts on my spring break. I found out a lot about people I love. A lot of my best friends are Twos, Helpers. My dad (and likely my boss) are Eights, Challengers.

If you are into MBTI, StrengthsFinders, or becoming more self-aware, check out this book!

Jojo Moyes!

A while ago there was a new movie that came out that looked interesting: a woman caretaker who fell in love with the man she was caring for. I decided to check out the book by Jojo Moyes, Me Before You. I had no idea what the book was about or that it would address the topic of euthanasia. This book caused so much anxiety - just because I could not wait to see what happened next. The book was better than the movie (surprise, surprise).

I had actually read Paris for One before Me Before You. Paris for One was a great book of short stories. I am currently reading After You. All of these books make me appreciate Moyes' writing style. It's nice to read an author who is such a great storyteller.

Spring Reads

This year has been tough for me.
I have not been able to read as much as I want to.

But the few books I HAVE read this spring were powerful.

Let Me Be a Woman - This book was written by Elisabeth Elliot to her engaged daughter. It is a book of life wisdom to read just before getting married. Someday I hope to read it again and gain a fresh perspective. Even as a single woman, marriage is one of my favorite topics. I have had several conversations about it lately and how hard it is. Elliot does not beat around the bush with her daughter - she lets her know it is hard work.

"[I]t takes a bold man to venture to take a wife" (27).

"[W]ho is it you marry? You marry a sinner. There's nobody else to marry" (68).

The Cost of Discipleship - I have been trying to read this book for years, but I finally got the audiobook, which helped me finish it! Bonhoeffer has great insight into grace and what we often accept in life - cheap grace. Deep thoughts in this book. One to be revisited.

Daring Greatly - This is my first Brene Brown book. I started listening to the audiobook and knew I had to buy the book as well ASAP! This book was eye-opening and greatly needed.

"[T]he people who love me... were never critics who were pointing at me when I stumbled.... They were with me in the arena. Fighting for me and with me" (56).

"We are hard on others because we are hard on ourselves" (98).

[W]e have to be wiling to give ourselves a break and appreciate the beauty of our cracks or imperfections To be kinder and gentler with ourselves and each other. To talk to ourselves the same way we'd talk to someone we care about" (131).

If you decide to walk into the arena and dare greatly, you're going to get kicked around" (167).

On pages 188-194, it talks about shame in schools. This topic is very personal to me and it was refreshing to see it addressed. Needless to say, this will not be my last Brene Brown book or the last time I'll read this one.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Naturalist

I live in Washington, DC and am ashamed to admit I do not know the history as well as I would like to. In order to work on that, I chose this book about Teddy Roosevelt, thinking it would give me an insight into his life as President. While it does mention that part of his life, this book focuses on one of Roosevelt's biggest passions - the natural world. He loved studying it, choosing to live a life of adventure. I found this book fascinating because it did not focus on his presidency but his lifelong passion of studying the natural world around him.

I must make a disclaimer here that simply states I am from the Midwest and was not at all bothered by guns, hunting, and taxidermy. Roosevelt had a great respect for the natural world and did not just use hunting as a sport for fun. He was collecting specimen to be studied and displayed in the Smithsonian Museums in DC. This "asthmatic city slicker" loved being outside (76).

Lunde shared that Roosevelt had his share of grief when his mother and wife, Alice, died on the same day (108). He eventually ended up marrying his childhood friend, Edith Carow (155).

The Republican Party wanted to kill Roosevelt's political career and encouraged him to run as William McKinley's VP. Sadly, McKinley was assassinated, making Roosevelt President (157, 162).
"Whether the species lived on or died out, Roosevelt was empathetic that people needed to see the white rhinoceros. If they couldn't experience the animals in Africa, at least they should have the chance to see them in a museum" (247).

"To really understand Roosevelt the naturalist, we need to locate him in the naturalists' world that he knew - a world that wholeheartedly embraced guns, hunting, and taxidermy as equally important to the naturalists' craft" (255).

I received this book for WaterBrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books. I received this book for free in exchange for a review of the book.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The Wired Soul

I'm telling myself this all the time in this have-to-be-on-Facebook-all-the-time culture. This book is a good read for the end of the year (I actually finished in December). It helps to refocus and remember what is important. Like Rhodes, I have a love-hate relationship with technology. It's supposed to make you more connected but can oftentimes make you feel lonelier. There were four parts to the book: Lectio, Meditatio, Oratio, and Contemplatio. Basically getting back to slowing down the pace of life and not looking at a screen all day. How are we to know the thoughts of God if we are distracted by so much noise? Although I did not participate in the activities in the book, it could help someone who needs to slow down and rediscover our mysterious God.

Here were a few of my favorite quotes:
"Can you say with confidence that technology is a servant to your needs rather than a silent taskmaster over you" (7)?

"[T]oo much digital engagement... can keep me from showing up for my life, from being mindful of God, from living in the present moment, whether set aside for work, rest, connecting with other, or even play" (76).

"Contemplatives move at a slower pace. [T]hey see things other people miss" (182). I love that. Consider me in the Slow Club.

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