Saturday, July 28, 2012

Relentless Pursuit

Hello World,
How are you doing today?  I will admit that today I am a little tired.  Todd has been gone this whole week on a back packing trip in the Rocky Mountains.  Being a single mom has taught me a lot about myself and I have a new respect for you ladies who are doing it on your own.  Never have I been so tired at the end of the day.  I have learned to have more patience with my kids, and at times to relax and let things be.  All in all it's been a good but tiring week.

Relentless Pursuit is a book for really anyone that has felt left out.  This book takes you on a journey of self reflection where you will look at the yourself, others, and then how God pursues such people.  This book uses literary excerpts from authors like CS Lewis, Henri J.M. Nouwen, Howard Macy, and Brene Brown to add an artistic flair and understanding for the reader.  With these excerpts, and discussion points at the end of each chapter it does an extensive job at helping the reader understand their circumstance.  Along with using the Bible Gire does a thorough in his writing.

I personally I liked the book, but there will be others who will question his faith because of the artistic style of writing.  For example he uses an excerpt that has a swear word in it, though the swear word is deleted out you can imagine it.  I have no doubt that he's a Christian; upon looking at his website and reading more about him from other sources, his faith is real.  I personally think that he is probably someone who has the rare gift of relating to anyone no matter what or who they are.  His book is a lot like that, relating to the person searching for God, but also the Christian.  This would be a great book for anyone that's searching, and feeling lost.  It's a beautiful insight of God's pursuit of the people He loves, you being one of them :)

*This book was given to via Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group for my honest opinion and I honestly gave it.

Isaiah 1:18
"Come now, let us argue this out," says the Lord, "No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it.  I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.  Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as wool.

I love this verse.  It doesn't say there is a limit for God wiping the slate clean, it doesn't say that He can't remove it because it's just too bad of a sin. NO!  God says,  No matter how deep the stain of your sins, or how crimson red it is, I can remove it.  Dear readers you are so loved, by an amazing God who will never leave you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Hello World,
Today I would like to do something different with my blog.  I won't be reviewing a book, but I would like to write about what I feel is a good Christian romance.  I always try to use the Bible as my point of reference. My first forethought is making sure that Christian books aren't being too risky with romance scenes or being blatantly immoral.  Here is the thing, when you look at Christian books you can get a wide range romantic encounters.  What makes one encounter immoral where as another one is just right for the reader.  Looking at the book of Song of Songs we see some pretty explicit stuff, but we also see a man adoring his wife.  It also asks us women not to awaken love until the time is right.  So, different books means certain age groups can read them.  If you notice a lot of times if a book is too explicit I forewarn parents to read the book first before their child reads it.  I will always try and be honest when I read a book that is too steamy for a reader as well.  Always I will base my findings on the Bible and pray before I review the book.  

My Second look is the editing.  Yes I know I'm not perfect in my grammar, but it truly is hard to read a book when you see mistake after mistake after mistake :)  Generally when this happens I contact the publisher and make them aware of the problem.  Unfortunately there have been times that it hasn't been resolved, and it is just plain too hard to read.

My third focus is feeling; am I totally immersed in the book, can I laugh at a joke or cry when there is a heartfelt moment.  Is the pace good or is the narration too long for me.  I want to add that this is very minor for me, because I realize that my opinion is completely my own.  A book that isn't so great for me, could have been the best book for someone else.  I try very hard not to let my opinion of a book reflect in my review.  I try to remain as neutral in my review as possible.  I don't think it's fair when someone gives a bad review just because the book didn't flow for them.  I will give a bad review if it's Biblically not accurate.  I have a very high standard on that, and unfortunately I've gotten a lot of grief from that on my Amazon reviews (one book specifically grrr).

Lastly and kind of tying into the last part is, is Christianity interwoven in the book.  Some Christian authors only sprinkle it in their books, while others seamlessly intertwine it into their story.  I really don't have an opinion on that, but some people do.  So I want to make sure that my readers know what type of book they're going to be reading.

I hope you understand my standards and why I review the way I do :-)  I love doing this fun side job and truly I feel blessed to be able to do it.  So because I am not reviewing a book today I will do a give away.  Who ever is following me or starts following me I will pull a name from my followers and I will mail you, your choice of a Christian fiction or nonfiction book.  Have a great day and happy reading!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Story of Me

Hello World,
I was chuckling this morning about how much my life has changed :-)  Ten years ago, I would be studying hard, trying to get my degree in Music Education, and practicing my cello.  Now my days are very flexible, and there is always something interesting coming up.  Like for instance, Kylar noticing a difference between her brother and herself.  Never would I have thought I would be researching answers for this topic ten years ago, but here I am, AND  I have the perfect book.

The Story of Me is a book for parents and their child between the ages of 3-5.  This is the first book in the God's Design For Sex series.  This books explains (and I'm taking this from the back of the book because it describes it so well).
     -God's love and the goodness of all He has made
     -The nurturing family as God's context for love
     -Why God wants each baby to have both a mommy and a daddy
     -The specialness of being made a boy or a girl.
     - Proper names for private body parts.

Parents with children, I highly recommend this series.  If you haven't figured it out, our society is inundated with sex.  Our pastor told us that a child will know about sex at the tender age of 8!  If not from you, then from his/her friends.  I would personally like my children to understand God's design for it from me, then from another eight year old :-)  The book is full of virtuous pictures that a child can understand, and a helpful introduction of how this book should be read, and what time each book in the series should be approached.  Kylar and I read through the book during her quiet time with me, she was very interested and loved that she got to understand some of the questions she had for us.  So if you are a parent, please invest in this series,  God's Design for Sex by Stan and Brenna Jones is something that should be in every Christian parent's library.
*thank you dear friends and family who highly recommended this book :-)

Song of Songs 2:7
Promise me, O women of Jerusalem, by the swift gazelles and the deer of the wild, not to awaken love until the time is right.   

Ironically, I am reading Song of Songs in my quiet time.  This is some pretty heady stuff.  I don't know if you knew this, but Jewish women were read this book on the eve of their wedding night!  Woo talk about a flame starter and thank goodness that it wasn't done until the right time.  Oh I pray that my children remember this verse, that God has meant for their love for another to be put into the right time and the right place.  There are so many blessings and gifts in waiting until they're married.  So dear readers, by the swift gazelles and the deer of the wild, if you can, wait to awaken love.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Love in Disguise

Hello World,
This week my husband and I have been discussing schooling.  Our oldest daughter will be starting preschool this fall, and I want to make sure that she has the best experience.  We enrolled her in a school, but lately I've been thinking about possibly home schooling her for this year.  I'm curious to see what you dear readers think?  I'm fully qualified as an educator, and Kylar is amazingly social so there's no worries of her being anti-social if I do home school her.  What are your opinions on home schooling?  I would love to hear from you.

Love in Disguise by Carol Cox is a fun mystery romance.  Ellie Moore is in a desperate situation, she just recently lost her job in the theater and needs to find a job ASAP!   Along come two men in need of a lady to go undercover for the Pinkertons.  Ellie is the perfect match for the job and finds herself in the small town of Pickford, Arizona.  There she meets handsome mine owner Steven.  I don't want to give too much away, but with Ellie disguising herself as Lavinia Stewart( a widow), and Jessie Monroe (the widows niece) it makes for an interesting story of who done it.

I love reading mysteries, especially romance mysteries.  So this book was up my alley.  With a string of robberies and an amazing man of faith.  This made for a great read.  Ellie Monroe is a woman who has very little faith in God, so it was interesting to see how Ms. Cox handled her growing relationship with God.  All in all it was a fun book to read, and I'll be looking forward to more books from Carol Cox.
*This book was given to via Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group for my honest opinion, and I honestly gave it.

Judges 4:9
"Very well," she replied, "I will go with you.  But since you have made this choice, you will receive no honor.  For the Lord's victory over Sisera will be at the hands of a woman."

Deborah, was a prophet during a time when Israel was under the rule of Sisera.  A cruel king who had conquered Israel with 900 iron chariots!  Everyone was afraid of him, he was a man to be reckoned with and he knew it.  Deborah was a woman who listened and obeyed God, and this is a reminder for me that there will be consequences for our actions.  Here we have Barak son of Abinoam too afraid to do the Lord's will unless Deborah comes with him.  Since he did not trust God, the victory went to a woman named Jael.  He could have had all the acknowledgement and glory, but he chose to allow fear to enter his heart, so God took it away from him.  This is a sweet reminder to me that we need to listen and obey God.  If He gives an instruction it would be wise to trust Him and His will.  The reward is better then the consequence :-)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Mariah's Quest

Hello World,
Today was full of fun for me.  The day started out with our local farmer's market, where we got fresh produce :-) and a family play date at the park.  Afterwards we went to a swim party, then church, and then a fun filled night with a good friend.  I can't remember the last time I had a care free night, with a girlfriend.  It was just pleasant we had dinner, shopped a little, and then went to Fireslice pizza for dessert  (they have the best smore's calzones).  Then I remembered that today was my nieces birthday and I nearly forgot it! So a late call around 9:00 was made to my sister's residence with a plea of forgiveness and a slightly belated happy birthday because the dear girl was already in bed.  So to my amazing sister thank you for loving me even when I almost forget your daughter's birthday.  Have you ever forgot something important?

Mariah's Quest is the second book in the Harwood House series.  This story (as you would guess) is about Mariah.  Mariah is the romantic dreamer of the group and her fairy tale prince literally comes to rescue her.  Colin Barclay see's the beautiful Mariah on an auction block and can not leave with out winning her.  Thus proceeds a story of cat and mouse.

This was a very easy book to read.  It was a book I would like to call a vacation book.  What I mean by that is when you're on vacation you don't really want a book to make you think or to give you any angst because by golly you're on vacation and you need to relax.  That's what I liked about it you know that they'll end up together, you know that there will be hiccups, and a great reckoning by both of them, and the book ties itself up very nicely.  I can't complain about a book like it because it fits so very nicely with it being a vacation book :-)  So dear readers if you are going on a vacation or need a relaxing easy to read book Mariah's Quest is for you.
*This book was given to me via netgalley for my honest opinion and I honestly gave it.

Oh, and I would like to add sorry that this book wasn't nonfiction, I promise that I will continue with nonfiction Saturdays it's just that I didn't have any for this week, and I had an over abundance of fictional so I substituted.  So please forgive that slight change.

1 Peter 4:1
Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin.

We don't like to talk about suffering, even thinking about it seems painful.  Here though, Peter is telling us to arm ourselves with the same attitude.  Do you remember what Christ said the night he was arrested?  Christ said "not as I will, but as you will." Matthew 26:39b.  May I arm myself with the same attitude, because if you or I suffer in body we are done with sin.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

My Stubborn Heart

Hello World,
How is everyone doing today.  I have a day full of cleaning...  yes I know it's not very fun, but as my explains it's job security.  What would my husband do without me :-)  I do plan on bringing the kids to the pool after their nap time.  So don't worry it won't be a day full of grudge and hard work.  What are you plans for today?  I would love to hear from you.

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade is a twofold story.  Kate Donovan is a spunky redhead who has recently decided she needs a break from her life, because of this, she decides to help her grandma with restoring the family home in Redbud, Pennsylvania.  Local handyman/former hockey star Matt Jarreau is the man they hire to help with the renovations.  Kate see's a wall in Matt that needs to be broken down.  Will this faith filled lady break the walls of the town's recluse?  You will have to see in My Stubborn Heart.

I really enjoyed reading Kate and Matt's story.  Not only were the moments heartfelt and in depth, but there was a certain quality to the book that made me want to read more.  Kate had a very real faith.   She ate, breathed, and slept her faith, and it made me love her all the more.  Then we have Matt a man who had it all, and then it was snuffed out by the death of his wife.  I can only imagine what I would be like if I lost my husband, and Ms. Wade does a great job at describing how Matt feels.  I also really appreciated hearing both points of view, it made me understand the story and not need to sit on pins and needles while reading the book.  Oh my!  I should also add the great side characters in the book.  They are hilarious and add that little spark that completes the book.  So dear readers if you're in the mood for a great Christian romance please read My Stubborn Heart.
*This book was given to me via Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group for my honest opinion and I honestly gave it.

Joshua 24:15
But if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve.  Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates?  Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live?  But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.

I don't think I ever read the first half the verse.  Did you realize that God gave the Israelite a choice?  I had no clue, but considering our Father who loves us, it would only be fair, and our God is a fair God.  I find comfort in the fact that we have a choice, that in the end everyone must choose.  So if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve... But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


Hello World,
We had a little bit of a late night last night.  We played dominoes with some friends until about Midnight.  I seriously can't remember staying up that late :-)  It was a lot of fun and we truly enjoyed the game, conversation, and food.  It really was great .  Did you do anything fun last night?

Enough, by Will Davis Jr. is a book about how our world has become inundated with wanting more.  Mr. Davis asks the question, when is it enough?  When does the need for more, stop, and you have peace?  This book will discuss these issues.  Each chapter has examples of wanting more, using the Bible as a basis to learn about having enough, and then in the end several questions to help the reader go further into the topic.

Personally for me, I have struggled with  having enough.  There have been several times in my life where I think "Man if I could just get a pair of sandals," or "when I get married it will be better."  It's a painful thing to admit being a Christian and always yearning for more.  That's why I really liked this book.  It used examples that I could relate to, and the Bible to back it up.  In the end I now have a better understanding of why I want more, how I can conquer that desire, and why it's important that I should do that.  It's a good book, and I highly encourage you dear readers to read it.  Oh and I should also add that this could be a great book for Bible studies, or in a group.  The chapters are short and easy to read. and with the questions at the end it makes for great discussion.

“Available July 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”
*This book was given to me via Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group for my honest opinion, and I honestly gave it.

Joshua 21:45 ESV
All of the good promises that the Lord had given Israel came true.

What an awesome statement!  God is so good, and I can honestly say that His word is true and good.  Never have I been let down by God, never have I been disappointed by Him.  Just like the good promises that the Lord gave to Israel, they all have come true.  His promises are true.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Veil of Pearls

Hello World!
Happy Fourth of July everyone.  Thank you to everyone for keeping the United States of America free.  Your service to the American citizens is so greatly appreciated.  Both my Dad, and Grandpa served and I have a deep respect for anyone who is or was in the armed forces.  So once again thank you so much for serving.

Veil of Pearls is a very serious novel.  The year is 1811 and we enter into an explosive situation.  Slavery is still legal, and the viewpoints of many people still feel that it is perfectly fine.  Adalia, a young lady enslaved in the Caribbean is forced to do unspeakable things.  With God's amazing grace she is able to escape to Charleston.  What awaits this young lady is opportunities untold, and choices that will either lead her down God's path or the world's path.

First and foremost this is not a book for children, parents please read this book before you allow your daughter/son to read it.  There is violence, insinuation of rape, disregard for the human being, and multiple other things that made me want to weep.  This being said, I think it's a book full of American history.  Truly, I highly recommend this book for everyone, it's important for us to understand the past so we don't repeat the past.  It shows how people (Christian people) viewed slavery, and why it seemed so justifiable.  With both points of view, and being incredibly descriptive you do not, dear readers, want to miss reading Veil of Pearls.

*This book was given to me via netgalley for my honest opinion and I honestly gave it.

Galations 5:1 ESV
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

I'm just going to say it, if you are not a Christian you have something that you are a slave to.  It could be money, a job, or a person, really it could be anything.  But you are still a slave.  You may deny it, but there will come a time in your life where you will have no peace, or contentment.  You will search for something, or someone to fill up that whole and you will once again became a slave to that.  Dear readers there is freedom in Christ, He has set you free, don't submit to a yoke of slavery.  Turn to him, believe that he died for you and rose again, proclaim that Jesus Christ is the Lord, and feel the freedom and peace enter in to your being.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Gifted

Hello World,
What a great day today.  We're experiencing a cool wave, it will only reach the mid 90's in Amarillo.  It's funny how my sense of cool has completely changed since living here.  Cool for me in Wisconsin was mid 20's and now it's mid 90's.  Oh well, assimilation will always happen I guess.

In the book The Gifted, Jessamine Brady was ten years old when an old pastor brought her to the small shaker town of Harmony Hill.  The years following, she tried hard to conform to the societies rules and to live as a shaker sister should.  Nearing her twenty-first birthday some things are brought to light in her life and she must make a decision to either stay a shaker or walk away from a life she knows.

Reading this book was bittersweet for me.  Ms. Gabhart does a phenomenal job at portraying what a shaker life is like.  How the strict rules of the order did not allow for much freedom.  I found myself amazed at some of the things they did.  Did you know that they didn't marry, or that they wanted to live their life here on earth like it was heaven.  I hurt for Jessamine because she has a very hard choice to make.  When I can stay up and think about a book or the next day still wonder the different aspects of it, I would say it's a good book.  If you want a book that will bring up some challenging questions in your faith, and with a little romance :-)  This is the book for you.
*I received this book via Revell a division of Baker Publishing Group for my honest opinion and I honestly gave it. 
 “Available July 2012 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20
Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good.  It is good for people to eat well, drink a good glass of wine, and enjoy their work-- whatever they do under the sun-- for however long God lets them live.  And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it.  To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life-- that is indeed a gift from God.  People who do this rarely look with sorrow on the past.  For God has given them reasons for joy.

This is quite a long passage, but I love it :-)  Do you enjoy work?  Do you eat well? or have a good glass of wine?    I can't remember a time where I haven't eaten well, and I truly have been blessed with one of the best jobs in the world.  I do have to say that I rarely am filled with sorrow or long for the past.  God has given me a reason for joy.  What a blessing, what an incredible gift!