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Showing posts from April, 2019

The Near Journal

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Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. (James 4:8) The Near Journal is designed to help you take time to draw near to God and focus on Him in your quiet time each day for 90 days. 

The Near Journal doesn't give you what to study for ninety days. Instead, this journal provides the structure you need to study what you want to study in the Bible. This journal is designed to help you make a commitment to keep regular times with God and your Bible. Each day's journaling area provides a place to write a summary of what you have read or thoughts about the verses you read, a place to write some goals or things to do based on what you read, a space for gratitude and a space for prayer, then a place to write a verse to memorize.  

I like that The Near Journal is easy to use. It is straight-forward in it's approach. I like the simple instructions that go with it. The price is reasonable and the whole package is nicely done. 



I received an electronic copy of this journal as a pa…

Parenting Beyond the Rules by Connie Albers

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It is no easy task to raise a child and prepare them for adulthood. While some rules need to be in place, our teenagers need a different sort of parenting than when the children were younger, according to Connie Albers of Parenting Beyond the Rules.

In Parenting Beyond the Rules, Albers talks about how we need to create relationships with our teenagers. She starts with the foundation of relationships and how to help your teen see that they are part of the family team. She shares how to love them in the midst of the changes and challenges and hot to equip them to use their gifts and skills that are unique to them. She also offers advice on listening and talking with teens and tackling challenging topics.

I found a lot of solid advice and helpful information in Parenting Beyond the Rules. Albers gave me some good information to think about and to talk about with my husband as we seek to better parent our teenage son. I especially like that she shares her stories of things that worked a…

Kids Say the Wisest Things by Jon Gauger

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Kids Say the Wisest Things by Jon Gauger. Instead of writing a book about how to be a better parent, Gauger helps us see how to be a better parent and a better Christian by sharing real-life stories from children that help us think about how we are living and parenting.

Kids Say the Wisest Things is subtitled 26 lessons you didn't know children could teach you. As you might expect this book has 26 chapters, each with a real-life story from children and thoughts about how to learn and grow from something a child did.  Some of these stories are funny but mostly they just make you think and consider how to do the Christian life a little better.

Kids Say the Wisest Things was an enjoyable read all the way through. I like that the lessons were easy to read, a few at a time. Then I took time to think about them and came back to the book for some more. I like that this book is fairly small and easy to tuck in my purse or book bag to read on the go too. Some of my favorites were: Now Let…

What a Great Word for Moms by Karen Moore

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What a Great Word for Moms by Karen Moore is a devotional for Moms of all ages written to inspire and encourage them with words pulled from Bible verses. Words like courage, faith, hope, love, prayer, teach, and wisdom are included in this devotional--all words that speak to moms. Moore wants moms to focus on just one word a day in each reading.

What a Great Word for Moms is divided into sections: Train your children in the way they should go, There's no one quite like mom, The Lord is mom's shepherd,  and God's Promises.  Each section includes several readings on the word of the day pulled from Bible verses. Each reading starts with a verse, a reading written by Moore, uplifting quotes, and then ends with a prayer and blessing. At the end of the book is a poem called, Can you help me? which is such a good reminder that when we turn to God, He helps us through the challenges of each day. The whole package could be truly uplifting to moms of all ages.

Besides the writing in

What a Great Word for Grads by Karen Moore

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What a Great Word for Grads by Karen Moore is a truly nice devotional written especially for graduates with a new perspective. Graduates can focus on one word as  they go through each day and keep their faith front and center.

What a Great Word for Grads is divided into these sections: Attitude, Finding Success, The Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi, The Prayer of Saint Patrick and God's Promises. Each section includes several readings on a word of the day. Words such as change, goals, work, teaching, integrity, worry and victory are featured. There is a nice presentation page in the front of What a Great Word for Grads for gift giving at the front of the book. Then each reading is about two pages long. The daily devotions start with a Bible verse, followed by a reading written by the author, several quotes related to the word of the day and a prayer to end the reading with. There is also a page in the back called God's Promises that is uplifting on its own.

I liked Karen Moore…

What Am I Feeling? by Dr. Josh and Christi Straub Illus. by Jane Butler

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Feelings can be a struggle at any age. But learning how to handle our feelings at an early age would be a great help. What Am I Feeling? by Dr. Josh and Christi Straub is a vibrantly illustrated children's book aimed at children ages four to eight to help them learn to understand their feelings--and the feelings of others around them.

Today is show-and-tell day for Sam. His tummy feels "flippy." His friends at school have some other feelings about the day. In What Am I Feeling? the children see how feelings are shown and learn how to handle their own and to help those around them. What Am I Feeling? also has a pull out Feelings chart attached to the back cover to show the faces of what different feelings would look like. Children can then figure out what their own feeling is and what those around them  may be feeling.

I wish we had had What am I Feeling? when my son was little. It is great book now to use with young children. It might be good to work into a Sunday Schoo…

Settle My Soul by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk

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Who of us wouldn't like to press the pause button on our days and take a few minutes to refresh ourselves. Settle My Soul by Ruth Ehman and Ruth Schwenk is a book that could do just that.

Settle My Soul is a gorgeous book both inside and out. The cover is pretty, it has a lovely presentation page, a ribbon marker and the daily devotions are are in a pretty pink and green type to match the cover with floral illustrations.

Fifty of the 100 readings are written by Karen Ehman and the other fifty are written by Ruth Schwenk. Each devotional has a Bible verse, a devotional reading, a prayer and a question or writing prompt to spark your thoughts in the journaling space.

Settle My Soul would make a great gift for yourself or another woman. Besides being gorgeous, the book is made of high quality paper, which means you could journal with a variety of pens. I also found the readings to be easy to relate to. These ladies seem to share from their hearts and to turn their hearts to God. I fou…

Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon

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Jeannette Mason has moved to the tiny town of Hope Harbor and opened a tea room and lavender farm in Driftwood Bay by Irene Hannon. She is hiding from the world after facing tragedy in her home town in Ohio. Her new neighbor, Dr. Logan West faces challenges of a different kind as he is unexpectedly the guardian of a little girl and got a new unruly puppy before moving to Hope Harbor as the new doctor in the urgent care clinic.

Despite their own challenges, they unexpectedly come together to help the new Christian refugee family that the town's churches have been assisting--Miriam, Thomma and Elisa.

Previous to this book, I have only read book one in the Hope Harbor series, but I truly enjoyed Driftwood Bay. I think it could be read as a stand-alone book even though it is the fifth book in the series. However, some of the characters continue in the series from book to book. I enjoyed Charley and his fish tacos once again. . .I can almost smell them! As a tea enthusiast and gardeni…

Friendship Promises from (In)Courage

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Friendship Promises is a beautiful gift book to give a friend on a special occasion. This gorgeous book features reflections about friendship from Never Unfriended by Lisa-Jo Baker, and Craving Connection from the (in)courage community. It also features beautiful pictures and space to journal or write special notes or stories to a friend. There is a mix of beautiful pictures, devotional reflections, prayers, Bible verses, and space to journal with prompts. This gift book also has a ribbon marker to save a spot to reflect back on. This is a book for friends to see your heart and to reflect on theirs.

Friendship Promises is a book that I know would be nice to give as a gift to a special friend. At the same time, I was thinking it would be a good book to buy for yourself and to use as journal to reflect on how to make friendships better and keep friendship prayer requests safe. However, you choose to use this book, Friendship Promises is a lovely reflection of women's friendships.

I …

Reforesting Faith by Matthew Sleeth, MD

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I grew up loving visits to my grandparent's farm and enjoying the outdoors, going camping in area parks, and just enjoying nature. With a lifelong love of nature and trees, I couldn't help but be drawn to Reforesting Faith by Matthew Sleeth, MD.

Reforesting Faith is divided into three parts: Laying the Groundwork, Seeds of Faith and Fruit of the Tree. Each section relates trees to the Bible and faith. Sleeth gives a lot of interesting facts about trees in general, but more specifically he shares a lot of information about trees in the Bible. He also shares some good stories from his work as a carpenter and as a doctor. Ultimately, he encourages people to have faith in the Bible and Jesus based on the information he shares about trees. He also makes the point that planting trees and helping the earth is part of our responsibility for caring for the earth as Christians.

I found Reforesting Faith to be an enjoyable read and also interesting. I liked Sleeth's facts on trees an…

Exceptional You! by Victoria Osteen

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It has been a long winter in many parts of the country. Where I live is no exception. At the same time, we have had some extra challenges in our family that have been discouraging at times. With everything combined, I was ready for something positive and encouraging to read. Exceptional You! by Victoria Osteen has been balm to my tired soul and it could be a blessing for you too.

Exceptional You! has a subtitle of "7 Ways to Live Encouraged, Empowered, and Intentional." As you would expect this book is divided into an introduction with seven sections: Know That you are Chosen, Lift Up Your Eyes, Keep your Memory Box Full, Travel Light, Love Well, live in the Now and Power Up. Each section has two chapters detailing how to live in that special way. Each chapter also has a summary at the end with the main points of that chapter to easily refer back to, which I especially like.

I found Exceptional You! to be full of practical and encouraging stories and advice on how to live a …

Midnight Lullabies by Lauren Eberspacher

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Two special ladies that I know are pregnant right now. As a mom, I want to share positive things with them and not negative. Often we do that and that can be good. Yet, we honestly know that not every moment of having a baby is positive, if we are living a "real" life. Midnight Lullabies: Moments of Peace for Moms by Lauren Eberspacher shares both positive moments and moments that remind moms that they are not alone if they have a few challenges along the way.

Midnight Lullabies has 31 days of devotional readings. Each reading includes a Bible verse, a short reading, something to do to apply the reading, and a prayer to end with.

Eberspacher shares from her heart in Midnight Lullabies and I think her words are encouraging. At the same time, they also share realistically. Not in a complaining way. But in a way that reminds you that you are not alone in your struggles. She reminds you that there are lots of good things about being a mom but there are some challenges as well. S…

A Shift a Day for Your Best Year Yet by Dean Del Sesto

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I have seen a lot of books of uplifting quotes to think about since I have been a reader.  A Shift a Day for Your Best Year Yet by Dean Del Sesto is not just another book of uplifting quotes. Instead this book give you something to consider each day.

A Shift A Day for Your Best Year Yet has 365  original quotes that really make you think. I found myself meditating on these thoughts for awhile each day. I marked several as favorites. This is an example of one of my favorites from page 111: "A good book is something you dive into. A Great book dives into you. Finding books that minister to your fulfillment or growth can be a journey, but it's a journey worth traveling because books can change, build, comfort and challenge you."

A Shift a Day for Your Best Year Yet is a small book that could make a difference in your day and your life if you took the time to read one each day. I like that it fits into my purse or book bag easily. It would make a neat graduation gift since th…

Book of Comforts: Genuine Encouragement for Hard Times by Faires, Faires,Wernet and Wilder

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I don't know about you but I have several hurting friends and family right now. Some have lost loved ones, some are facing job loss, some are facing cancer and others have difficult challenges of another nature. It is hard to know what to say and so many times I want to do something. The Book of Comforts is a gift book that could encourage people facing all of those types of challenges.

The Book of Comforts is divided into five sections: Comfort in God Alone, Comfort in Praise, Comfort in Dark Places, Comfort in Restoration, and Comfort in Truth. There is also a forward and conclusion which both start the book off with a good explanation of it's purpose and end with a short wrap-up of it's purpose. Each section includes short readings with a Bible verse and a heart felt message by one of the four authors: Caleb Faires, Rebecca Faires,  and Kaitlin Wernet. In between the readings we see the beautiful lettering artwork of the fourth author: Cymone Wilder.

I have been through…

A Silken Thread by Kim Vogel Sawyer

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Laurel Millard is eighteen years old and the youngest in her family. Her father passed away when she was little and she lives with her mother. Much to Laurel's consternation, her older siblings recently reach a conclusion that she should be the caretaker of their mother as she ages.

About the same time, Laurel gets a job as a silk weaver at the Atlanta Cotton Exposition in 1895. At the exposition she meets a variety of people including a couple of perspective suitors. Laurel gets to know the girls in the silk weaving room, the security guard, Willie Sharp, and the dashing Langdon Rochester who is the heir to his father's steam-powered-engine empire. Will one of these men be willing to court Laurel knowing her mother is part of the package?

In Kim Vogel Sawyer's newest historical fiction novel, A Silken Thread, she tells a compelling story of coming of age in the late 1800s during a time of continued racial struggles in the South. I found the history of the Cotton Exposit…

Confessions of a Christian Mystic by River Jordan

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What is a Christian Mystic? If you don't know, it is okay. I wasn't sure either until I read Confessions of A Christian Mystic by River Jordan. However, as someone who has enjoyed her previous books, I was intrigued enough to read this one and find out. . .and she does define it within the pages.

Confessions of a Christian Mystic is a collection of fifty essays, stories and personal letters in which Jordan shares her search for God and spiritual things in her every day life. River's writing encourages me to want to look for God in the every day of my life. Where is God in my story? How is He showing up? Am I looking for Him?

River is a storyteller queen. She draws me into her stories and I feel like I am there with her. In the Pocketbook Saints chapter, I cried for little girl Jordan when she was manhandled by the teacher in her day care and I rejoiced with her when Alice stayed and sat with her after the incident. I read Confessions of a Christian Mystic fairly quickly fo…

Get On Your Knee Replacements and Pray by The Kandel Sisters

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I don't know about you, but if I am honest there are days that getting "old" feels kind of scary. However, when I read the Kandel Sisters new book, Get On Your Knee Replacements and Pray, I found myself feeling encouraged and uplifted as I thought about aging.

Get On Your Knee Replacements and Pray has 28 readings on how to live a better life in spite of aging and retirement. These ladies write some funny stories that left me laughing out loud at times in these readings. They also write stories that inspire readers to live their life for Jesus. At the end of each reading, there is a prayer to pray. At the back of the book, there is a study guide with questions to answer after each chapter. Those questions could be used in a group setting or by yourself with a journal.

I enjoyed  Get On Your Knee Replacements and Pray so much. Even though I think I am younger than the target audience, I thought many of these readings would inspire most people over 30 who are starting to …

A Standard of Grace: A Guided Journal by Emily Ley

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"I will hold myself to a standard of grace, not perfection." This quote from the back of the book grabbed my attention. I smiled because I wish someone had given me this gorgeous A Standard of Grace guided journal by Emiliy Ley when I was a young mom.

A Standard of Grace is a journal designed to help readers to discover their hopes and dreams and to invest some time into themselves through prompts, short readings, quotes and Scriptures. It is divided into 52 weeks so the reader could do one a week through the year. However, it does not need to be started at any particular time and it could be done at any pace that works for the woman doing the work. Each of the 52 sections include a Scripture, a short reading and a question or prompt with space to write. There are also a lot of full color pictures throughout the book. A Standard of Grace is nicely bound with thick paper useful for using a variety of journaling pens. Each section includes ample space to write unlike some guid…