Friday, March 28, 2014

The Road We Must Travel - Book Review

The Road We Must Travel: A Personal Guide For Your Journey - eBook  -     By: Francis Chan, Bill Hybels, Eugene H. Peterson

The Road We Must Travel - A Personal Guide for Your Journey is composed of eighteen chapters covering topics such as "The Need for Honest Self-Assessment," Reading the Bible Spiritually" and "The Art of Managing Conflict."  The authors of this book are well known and respected pastors and authors such as Francis Chan, Bill Hybels and Eugene Peterson. 

The short chapters in this book make it an easy read. However, they are packed with years of experience and counsel. One of the chapters I especially appreciated was The Art of Managing Conflict, by Gordon Macdonald. He explains that managing conflict is a five-step process.\
1. Accept that conflict - the collision of two or more perspectives is a necessary ingredient of any human relationship.
2. Recognize that each of us brings "Baggage" from past experiences into present dealings.
3. Remember that conflict need not be - should not be - about winning or losing.
4. Decide to limit any kind of disagreement to the issue.
5. Reach the terminal point in a conflict where adult versions of "sorrys" are said and solutions found.
As someone who dislikes conflict and would like to avoid it at all costs, I have learned that it is necessary in almost every relationship. However, these five steps have given me confidence that I can deal with conflict in healthy ways and even strengthen already existing relationships. 

This book would be great for someone just graduating and starting out in their adult lives.  It also would be great reading for anyone in any stage of life.  I have enjoyed reading it and will probably read some of my favorite chapters again. 
This book was provided to me in exchange for a fair, honest review.  I am not obligated to give it a positive review.

Awakening - Book Review

Awakening: How American Can Turn from Economic and Moral Destruction Back to Greatness  -     By: Ralph Reed

Awakening: How America Can Turn From Economic and Moral Destruction Back to Greatness -
The title certainly got my attention. In his book, Ralph Reed pulls no punches in explaining how events throughout American history have defined the times we live in today. Awakening is divided into 3 parts: 1. In Motion, 2. Off Course, 3. Awakening. Within each of these parts are the fifteen chapters comprising this book.

As someone who enjoys American politics and is concerned about the direction our country has turned, I was quite interested in reading this book. We must understand the history behind not only American policy, but spiritual cycles to really get why we are where we are.  One thing that I found promising was that Reed explains that within political systems, there are spiritual cycles.  Human societies tend to move from faith to prosperity to pride to destruction, and then regeneration.  I have hope for the regeneration of spirituality in our country. He explains that when things are at their worst, there is a repentance leading back to faith. Oh, how I long for that time.

There is so much in this book that I can't list all of the things I learned. What I can say is that I appreciate Reed's perspective, given his political perspective and Christian background.  He uses scripture and Biblical history as well.  At the end of each chapter, Reed has included Action Points. These Action Points could be used while reading this book by yourself, but also lend themselves to discussion with a group.

Chapter 15 is titled "A Call To Christian Citizenship." Reed says, "As people of faith, we exercise our temporal citizenship not to gain power but to witness to a higher authority. Properly understood, our citizenship is a gift from God, and we utilize it to glorify Him by defending the defenseless, giving voice to the voiceless, and asserting that our rights come from God, not any king, president, court or congress."

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I am not obligated to give this book a positive review, although I did enjoy reading it and found it quite interesting. I recommend this book to anyone concerned about the state of our country (I don't know anyone who isn't concerned). Go buy it!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Bounce Back Book Review

Bounce Back: When Your Heart Is Empty and Your Dreams Are Lost  -     By: Julie Clinton

Bounce Back - When Your Heart is Empty and Your Dreams are Lost
The title grabbed me and I couldn't wait to see what Julie Clinton had to say in this book.  I think we all have had dreams that have been lost at some point or another and we wonder what if...  I certainly had plans for my own life and battling Crohn's Disease or fighting for my life after having the twins were not a part of that plan.  Even still today I think about those dreams that have gone by the wayside when things didn't go according to my own plan. 

In Bounce Back, Clinton tells women about her 3 B's.  She says we need to Breathe, Believe, and Bounce Back.  The rest of the chapters in the book build on those 3 B's and give specific examples of women she has encountered and their life stories and how these women have dealt with the loss and disappointments in their lives.  Some have dealt in constructive ways and others have not, but are learning how. 

I thought this book was thoughtful and useful for anyone who has felt the sting of disappointment that life didn't turn out the way they hoped, or someone who is perhaps grieving a loss of some sort.  Clinton's practical steps, using the 3 B's seems overly simplistic, but I am willing to give it a try.  Bottom line: Read the book, ladies.  I think you'll be blessed. 

I received a copy of this book free from Worthy Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  I am not obligated to give it a positive rating, but I do recommend it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Prime of Life - A Book Review

Prime of Life  -     By: P.D. Bekendam

In his debut novel Prime of Life, P.D. Bekendam introduces us to Ben, a surgeon turned janitor at Heritage Gardens Retirement Home.  Ben is running from his past and came to Heritage Gardens for a simpler, less stressful life.  He has a quirky preference for all prime numbers and no left turns.  Ben has developed close relationships with the residents of Heritage Gardens and they help him just as much as he helps them.  When a part of Ben's past is revealed to the residents, he realizes that he can't really escape those feelings of bondage and unforgiveness. 

P.D. Bekendam is an eye surgeon.  Proceeds from Bekendam's writing go to help fund his activities in developing countries as he works to bring cataract surgery to the needlessly blind. 

I enjoyed reading this book. The character development was good and I enjoyed getting know each of the characters at Heritage Gardens and quirky Ben.  There were parts of the book where I laughed out loud and other parts that made me really empathize with Ben.  I expected for there to be a more spiritual component to the book in the beginning of the story and it seemed lacking.  However, as I read on, I discovered that the spiritual struggles that Ben faces are threaded throughout the story.  I loved the ending of this book.  It offered a nice surprise and kept me guessing what would happen right up to the end.  I recommend Prime of Life as a great leisurely read. 

Prime of Life was provided to me free of charge by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I am not obligated to give this book a positive review.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Redeemed Book Review

Redeemed...A Devotional Based on the #1 Classic Song That Has Inspired Millions

Redeemed is a devotional book based on the song by Big Daddy Weave.  I enjoyed this collection of 30 devotionals all around the theme of Redemption.  Each of the 30 devotionals is titled Redeemed by...______.  They each contain a short devotional, followed by scripture, quotes pertaining to the subject at hand, a prayer and then an area to journal your own thoughts on each topic.  Topics include: Redeemed from Ghosts of the Past, Redeemed from Struggle, Redeemed by His Promises, and others. 

At the end of the book there is a section devoted to scriptures to consider on various topics such as Worry. Worship, Miracles, Difficult Days, etc.

This book would be a great gift as well as something to purchase for your own use during daily quiet time.  I love that each day's devotion could be done in a short amount of time, if you are short of time, but also, there is a lot of food for thought and you can meditate on the scriptures provided and then journal your own thoughts.  You will get out of it what you put into it. 

This book was given to me by Worthy Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review.  I don't have to give it a positive review, but I highly recommend it because it is a good book and a useful tool in drawing you closer to God. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Food Triggers Book Review

Food Triggers: End Your Cravings Eat Well and Live Better - The title of this book had my attention.  I wondered if there are things I eat that cause me to crave other not so healthy foods and so I thought I would give this book a read. 

Rhona Epstein is a certified addictions counselor and she wrote this book not only based on her expertise in the field, but also because she has struggled with food addiction in her life.  In the beginning of the book she tells her story about how sugar was her trigger food and what eating sugar did to her. 

While I do not suffer from food addiction, I found this book an interesting read.  As I read about how some people have an emotional attachment to food and the negative talk that goes on in their heads about how they are alone and the only ones who overindulge and/or binge, I felt compassion toward people who suffer from eating disorders. I have known people in my life that have suffered from eating disorders.  I think that we probably all know people who struggle with food and we don't have to look too hard to find them. 

Epstein talks about not only addressing the chemical triggers that certain foods cause, but also dealing with the emotional baggage people carry that cause them to eat when they aren't hungry.  Some people eat to fill a void that food can't fill and because it will never be filled, they continue to eat.  It's a vicious cycle.  I appreciated that Epstein addresses the whole person, physical, emotional and spiritual.  She talks uses scriptures throughout the book and encourages people to look to God to fulfill that missing part of themselves. 

While I didn't think this book necessarily applied to me, the information in it was good information for others that I have known or may come across.  Epstein gives practical ways people with eating disorders can overcome their behavior and not repeat this crippling cycle.  I would recommend this book if you or someone you know struggles to have a healthy relationship with food. 

I received this book from Worthy Publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review.