Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Beauty of Grace review

Amazing, lovely, spirituality in the right place. In the hard. In the good. In the I am never getting out of this alive difficult holes we find ourselves. In the perfect, glorious blessings. This book reminds you that the work of God is all around you. You have to look. Have to see the beauty in the ugly. How important perception is and lessons and beauty we can see if we just open our eyes and look!

This book is beautiful and lovely. I enjoyed how different each author is, how each section has a specific theme to follow and it guides you into that place. I've loved each story I've read and have felt encouraged to seek out the writing of a few of them. How each author has a different way of broaching that theme made me think of new ways to think about the word used for the theme.

Normally compilations feel like just that, compilations of stories that don't really fit together cohesively and were just shoved together. While each story was very different, I didn't feel like they were ill-fitting puzzle pieces put together for the heck of it. 

I think this book would be an excellent gift, but also a good book to pick up as either a devotional, or when you only one short snippets of inspiration.

The themes are:
The Big Picture
Lessons Learned

Monday, February 16, 2015

Miracle on Voodoo Mountain Review

I had seen this book pop up in a few places and debated, a lot, on choosing it to review. Honestly, I went and found other reviews, debated some more, and just felt so compelled to read it. That gorgeous cover helped my decision...

Megan Boudreaux was a fairly average college student it sounds like, found what she thought was her dream job, and kept dreaming of a large tree she had only seen once on her trip to Haiti, the same tree on the cover.  Feeling driven to go back to Haiti after she had gone there on a medical trip with her job and after months of these dreams, she told her boss of only 10 months about her recurring dream, and he told her "If you think God is calling you to Haiti, you absolutely need to go."  

The book goes back and forth a bit with her life growing up in Louisiana, and her life in Haiti. Her father's funeral, how she became a Christian, children that especially touched her in Haiti, people who saw her enormous vision and contributed in one way or another, and faith, and helped her along the way. Triumphs and hardships and heartbreak and love. All of that is intertwined into this young woman's amazing story. It made me think "What more could I be doing with the resources I have?"

The title states Miracle on Voodoo Mountain: A Young Woman's Remarkable Story of Pushing back the Darkness for the Children of Haiti. But honestly? It's even more than that. Yes, her primary focus and goal has been on the children of Haiti, but with all she is doing, building schools, a cafe, a medical clinic, a place for the restaveks (child slaves of Haiti that are a big focus of this book) to recover, she's helping these hurting children became adults who will get more out of life, give back to their community, find faith, and maybe, just maybe, help turn around their impoverished country. 

God has performed so many miracles through Megan in Haiti that reading about them gave me chills and caused me to reflect on the book in awe. And while we only ever hear about the bad that happens Haiti, though there is a lot of that too, Megan shows so many beautiful, good things in the country as well. 

She founded an organization, Respire Haiti, whose primary goal is to help "encourage, educate, and empower the orphans, restaveks, and vulnerable children" of Haiti.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

"Nourished" Review and Giveaway

From what I have seen, Becky Johnson is a pretty well known writer. I'm not sure I've ever read any of her books and her demographic at the moment is older women and mothers. Her daughter, Rachel Randolph, is the co-writer of this book, being more in my demographic as a Mother in her 30's. Doesn't even matter, both of these women are amazing while being mother/daughter, friend, co-writers, hilarious, smart, and awkward. I enjoyed this book so much! I loved their joint perspectives on life, aging, raising children, and how to start balancing it all with faith being a huge part of it. 

It has 5 main sections with three subsections in each:
1. Nourished 911
2. Nourished Spaces and Routines
3. Nourished Bodies, Nourished Selves
4. Nourished Relationships
5. Nourished Spirits

I would look at this book as a starter guide to "how in the heck do I get my life to even begin to make any sense!" Each section has stories from the women's (and their friend's lives), as well as identifiers for how you might be under nourished in certain ways, and tips to help that have worked for them or they think might help if you are in a particular bind and in need of nourishment in a particular area. I really enjoyed all of the tips and tricks throughout the book and have jotted down or bookmarked some 

Now you can win a copy!

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. 

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Review: Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers

I grew up in a non-traditional home, but even barring that, I think most people have some sort of issue with their parents. There is always something that you have trouble getting over no matter how close you are.

This book, this book is therapy for children of dysfunctional homes. For kids of divorced parents, abusive parents, negligent parents, parents who had to work multiple jobs just to get by, this book was written for you. I debated choosing this book, but knowing how big of an issue I have with forgiveness towards one of my parents, I knew that I was being pulled to read this book for my own sanity.

Questions broached in this book:

 - Why must we forgive at all?
 - How do we honor those who act dishonorably toward us, especially when those people are as influential as our parents?  
 - Can we ever break free from the “sins of our fathers”?
 - What does forgiveness look like in the lives of real parents and children?
 - Does forgiveness always require reconciliation?

Leslie speaks in an intelligent, knowing, friendly way as a child of a broken home and the follow ups in each chapter by Dr. Jill Hubbard, along with the questions poised at the end of each chapter really drives home the point being made in the section. This book took me longer than normal so that I could sit and absorb the information being presented. It made me want to go speak to my mother from whom I'm regularly estranged. It does a good job of incorporating real life stories with Biblical stories and verses, as well as words from a doctor that I think make this book a phenomenal resource when dealing with forgiveness issues for grown children. I'm actually excited to work through my own issues with my parents with the aid of this book and recall several moments of making my significant other listen to me recite passages of the book! 

If you are ready to reconcile with your estranged parent, and have a Biblical basis for it, then absolutely read this book. I think for some who were victims of any type of physical abuse, that may be more difficult due to the emotions tied to it. Read this book regardless and then slowly make your decision. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to others in similar situations. It is well written and thought out. It doesn't have concrete ideas for how to reconcile however, but I think there's a reason for that. Everyone's feelings towards their parents are going to be different and there is no one way to make this decision and act on it. The questions at the end of each chapter are great guiding tools.

I received this book from booklook bloggers in exchange for my opinion/review. All opinions are my own.