Pages

Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors

I have not anticipated a book this much in quite some time. I was deeply encouraged after reading Kisses From Katie and I looked forward to the wisdom God would give her to share with us. Of course, the book did not disappoint. We follow her all over the streets of Uganda as she quietly loves and brings healing to those around her. We sit in the sacred space of the bedside of woman being ushered into the arms of Jesus. We follow her on a plane to America to get a young man desperately need surgery. We walk the isle at her wedding and welcome a new baby with her. My heart is wildly aglow from the word of her testimony.

So much of her story I can empathize with. The same words he told her through scripture, he has told me (and I'm sure many of you). He walks her through the suffering God declares before the restoration in Habakkuk. Over and over Isaiah 61 speaks to her. Beauty from ashes doesn't often look what we think it will. Sometimes it comes as we usher someone into the arms of Jesus. 

One thing that resonated with me was that she said she was tired. She wasn't tired of serving or giving. She wasn't afraid. Her Spirit was simply so weary from seeing so much grief. So many addicted to alcohol, assaulted, ill, and one friend being poisoned by a rival. Through all of her hurt and questioning, God reminded her over and over that HE was strong when she was weak. He is why the time of singing has come and flowers spring forth on the earth in Song of Solomon. He who promised is faithful. 

I loved this book. I could hardly put it down. It encouraged me over and over to serve in my home and the streets. 



This book was graciously  provided by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for review.



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Off the Book Stack: Ordering Your Private World by Gordon MacDonald

This is one of those books that will change you if you give heed and listen. The voice of culture tells us to grow and build exponentially. It occurs in our Christian culture as well. We are impressed by the one who has amassed the most followers. The problem with this mentality is that it completely denies the descending way of Christ. He drew people in to serve them and renew their hearts.

Right out of the gate, Gordon takes us into addressing the sin of his own drivenness as a pastor. What a refreshing thing to see a man in a high profile position allow his heart to be taken to task by the Holy Spirit. God convicted him of the many ways that he had been moving in his own power and agenda. He was doing it at the great neglect of those closest to him.

Gordon lays out some simple ideas that can change how you relate to God and others. We can do quite a lot by being teachable and learning to truly listen to others. There is even a section about how to listen to your critics and pray through what they tell you. Wouldn't it be great to be able to receive from the Lord even when people don't say things well? He tells us to ask God to show us truths in the hurtful ways people tell us things. What a freeing response to discuss things with Jesus over carrying unnecessary pain from their words. 

I highly recommend this book.

Disclaimer: You know that once I tried to start implementing much of what Gordon said and change up my devotional routine to be with Jesus more that all of my kids started throwing up, being sick, and having nightmares. I did what I could and I keep pressing on toward the ultimate goal (without being angry that I have been given a heart to serve my children). Don't give up. Keep pressing in. He wants to make you more like him.

This book was graciously given by 
Thomas Nelson Publishers for review.

Book Description:
We have schedule planners, computerized calendars, smart phones, and sticky notes to help us organize our business and social lives every day. But what about organizing the other side of our lives?the spiritual side?
One of the great battlegrounds is within the private world of the individual. The values of our Western culture would have us believe the busy, publicly active person in ministry is also the most spiritual. Tempted to give imbalanced attention to the public world at the expense of the private, we become involved in more programs, more meetings. Our massive responsibilities at home, work, and church have resulted in many good people on the verge of collapse.
In this updated classic Ordering Your Private World, Gordon MacDonald equips a new generation to live life from the inside out, cultivating the inner victory necessary for public effectiveness.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Off the Book Stack: The Awakening of HK Derryberry by Jim Bradford

 Oh how I loved this book. The story deeply touched my heart. It all started when fifty-five year old Jim Bradford ended up in a diner on a Saturday morning looking for coffee. It was a place he never really went to, but somehow ended up there that morning. He noticed a small boy sitting in a booth all alone. He began inquiring about him and went over to speak with him.

After leaving the restaurant, Jim couldn't get HK out of his mind. He went back repeatedly to visit with him at the diner. Eventually, the two of them became best friends. HK's grandmother and caregiver allowed Jim to take her grandson out to church and to eat. Jim saw to it that HK's needs were met. His blindness and Cerebral Palsy were no match for his charm and caring heart.

I hope that you will read this book or read about the story. Jim stepped straight into the fatherless generation and made a difference. HK has gone on to do amazing things as well. You'll see how his personality has garnered him much attention. He has befriended many celebrities, flown a plane, ministered to the homeless, given inspirational speeches to thousands. It's amazing what you can do when someone loves you.

I highly recommend this book. Both of these men offer us such hope. Good people are out there. They are quietly loving others behind the scenes and making the biggest difference.

Find out more about them at http://hkderryberry.com

This book was graciously provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for review. 


Support Gomer's House: Give.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I read Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore

Beth just rereleased Get Out of That Pit for it's 10th anniversary. I had read it before when it was initially released, but decided I could probably stand to read it again. I read a lot of books, around a hundred a year. I don't always remember every detail of them, but I did in this case. I remembered nearly every part of this book. I remembered it so well that I could tell you where I was sitting in my house ten years ago when I read different chapters. That tells you that it had a profound impact on me.

I think this book is full of power. It is desperately needed still, a decade later. It is a current word to the church. I think so many of us in the body of Christ are ill-equipped in handling the misdeeds of others that we unintentionally shame them into a pit. How rare is the hand that acknowledges sin and still offers a hand up. 

Now, one thing I love about Beth Moore is that she never wavers of her tireless preaching of the sovereign power of God. She makes no bones about the fact that we are unable to deliver ourselves. Only God can deliver us. She covers the several different ways that we get into pits and the only way we get out. Christ. 

I could identify with much of this book. I have been thrown into a pit and I have thrown myself into a pit. I lived there for decades. Recently, I realized that I had been feeling stuck because I spend so much time caring for others that my own body and soul were depleted. It's not the pit that child abuse threw me into or the one I threw myself into repeatedly as a result, but it was something I needed to see. I needed a hand up. I needed more time with my heavenly father. I needed reassurance of His love. A decade after my first reading, I learned a new lesson.

This book was graciously provided by Thomas Nelson Publishers for Review.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Home Is Where My People Are by Sophie Hudson

I am a fan of Sophie. I like that she is talking about nothing and yet driving a point all the way home. I always appreciate the fact that she isn't trying to impress me with her great knowledge or holy wisdom. She just tells what God is teaching her with all the humility she can muster. I like it. Send me the straight shooters. 

I read this book when it came out and I liked it, but for some reason I decided to buy the audio at the end of summer. I think I had just made one too many long trips with three kids and the thought of driving four hours home almost took me out. I wanted to listen to somebody talk to me, somebody that sounded like family. It worked. I think it was divinely inspired because my four hour trip turned into over six hours and I arrived home no worse for the wear. It was like riding around with an old friend.

I actually liked the book more the second time around. I think I needed to hear it more. I needed to be reminded of the importance of certain things. I was dog tired, worn bone thin, and hurting. So, I listened. I grieved. I went on. I loved hearing her inflections. It was soothing. Sometimes you want that person around you to remind you to love and be loved and the spot is empty. So, for this window, she was my person. 

I loved following her moves and life changes and hurts. Her story of encountering the Holy Spirit at a Christian school she got a job at was fantastic. She said, "These people were serious." I laughed so much. She talks about raising her son, troubles in marriage, and finding her place in the world. It was good for my soul to stop and hear her story. 

I listened to this in my suv, on my John Deere, and painting our three story house. 
We kept company and it was grand.

 I loved it so much, Sophie. Thank you.

Almost all of the books you see on my blog are given to me by the publishing houses for review. This one was paid for by my man, Denb. Thanks, Boo.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

I read Falling Free

I had purchased this ebook quite a while back because it was on sale on Amazon. I didn't start reading it until recently after a nudge from the Holy Spirit and my friend Jana. I could identify with the story right away. This woman and her husband had fancy government jobs and the perfect little farmhouse in the country. Then our wild God decided they would be best suited to live in a run down neighborhood in the inner city. 

She goes on to document how God taught her to interact with people nothing like her, people who were scary. Her neighbors were in and out of prison. She brought some of them into her home. This is a tale of laying down expectations, perfection, and control. It'a lesson I have learned in all the stages of construction. Let the people in anyway. The people are what matter. We aren't here to build a facade of loveliness for people to admire. We are here to build into the hearts of human beings.That will hurt more than anything else you will ever do, but you will also bear witness to miracles. 


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I read The Apache Wars slowly ...

It took me several weeks to get through this book. It may be the most intense and bloody book I have ever read. Someone, or many people, died on every one of the 528 pages. It was brutal. Another reviewer stated how heavy and packed with information it was. I can second that. I do have to say that Mr. Paul Andrew Hutton did his homework. I was truly amazed at how he was able to get all of this information in here and still tell it like a story instead of as a text book. Bravo.

I learned many terrible things while reading this book. People this short time period ago were pretty heartless. A few short generations back, people were literally violently killing everyone they didn't agree with. I learned that the Europeans are the ones that brought scalping to our country. The Apaches would rarely even do it because it was so brutal. Reading about how one goes about scalping another person almost did me in.

There were bad people all around in this story. The white man stealing from and herding the Indians as well as the Mexicans and Europeans. This war was bloody. It started when the Apaches kidnapped a young boy and lasted 36 years.

It was interesting that all of these people had racial hatred against another people group. The Indians would say the Mexicans weren't worth killing with a bullet so they would beat them in the head with rocks. The Mexicans hated the Indians and the Europeans. The Europeans who were fighting for freedom for the black people, thought it was perfectly acceptable to have Indian slaves. There were more Indian slaves in the Southwest than there were those of African descent.

I found their different religious practices interesting. The Apaches believed in a creator God. They put their trust in a female prophetess of sorts to guide them. As a people, they were unspeakably violent. Their ending was sad as they were largely herded into small reservations and basically held as prisoners of war for over a decade. The conditions were so terrible many of them were sick and dead in the first year. 

If you are interested in the Apache War, Geronimo, Cochise, Mickey Free, or the times of Wyatt Earp, you will enjoy this. There is also a little information about the Buffalo Soldiers. Fascinating. Terrifying. Enjoy your reading.

Thanks to Broadway Books Publishers for graciously donating this book for review.





Monday, August 07, 2017

I read Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson

Let me be honest. I didn't read this book when it came out because of the title. I never even read past the title to what the book was about. It was too goofy for me. Recently, as I was trying to find something to give to a friend of mine, the cover flashed in my head. Then I ran across it and actually read the premise. I thought, oh, I need to read this. So, I bought a few copies.

Sophie is a great author. Maybe you remember her from A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet.
I loved that book. This one did not disappoint either. I needed to read it because I was reading some other heavy books and even though Sophie deals with hard hitting subjects, she does it in light-hearted story form. Sometimes, she drives me crazy because she says "like" a whole lot and then I start doing it and annoy myself. Past all of that, she has such a way with communicating things.

I have been going so hard all summer and ended up neglecting myself, especially my heart. I needed to be reminded of the beauty of friendship and how it nurtures our spirit (to give and receive). If you follow me on the interwebs, you'll know how much it all spoke to me. Here are a few screen shots.




I read that 60% of women in church feel lonely. Reading all of the quotes above, I was reminded of why people are so important. We need each other. I am thankful for the people who take the time to love me and those who let me love them. As she shared about the women generationally behind and ahead of her that are part of her life, I became very thankful for mine. These pages are packed with humorous, convicting ways to minister to the generations around us.

What stopped me dead in my tracks last night at the end of the book was when she started talking about her mama acting funny, withdrawing from people, not doing what she had always done. I knew what was coming. Her mama was diagnosed with dementia. Oh the pain of having someone be there physically, but withdrawing in every other way. I have been wading through this pain. It seems like personality shifts often and my help is not wanted. This is our new normal. It's not normal at all, but we have to trust God with it.

Read Sophie's book. You won't regret it. You might even become a better friend.


Friday, August 04, 2017

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I decided to purchase this book to read for two reasons. It was a hot summer read and I am curious about what people around me are drawn to. It is also something I wouldn't normally read. Let me tell you, I had a difficult time getting going with this book. As I began, I was sure all of this book's readers were crazy. It's written as though you are reading portions of diary entries from people who could not spell or formulate sentences. My head wanted to implode. Even at page fifty, I tried to come up with how I would describe this book for a review. One line from from Truvy in the movie Steel Magnolias came into my head. "The nicest thing I can say about her is that all of her tattoos are spelled correctly." I read on.

Let me tell you, I finally came to see how George's writing style is brilliant. I actually felt like I was interacting with these people. The book made me do quite a bit of research. The story is based off of evidence that when President Lincoln lost his second son to Typhoid fever, he would go to the cemetery and hold his body. (They believe he contracted this from tainted water coming into the White House. His son sat in a borrowed tomb for 3 years until his body could be moved to their home state.)

The idea of the bardo is akin to a holding place. It's the idea that there is a space between when you die and when you go on to the next life. George mixed all manner of theologies in his cemetery tale. Some people were taken by demons. Some went with Christ. Some went on to become something else. Obviously, this doesn't line up with my own beliefs, but it is interesting to see what people put their hope in. 

There were many moments in the pages that you could compare to life as we live it. You can see how pain, grief, and regret keep us in this empty gap where we neither move forward or heal. As Lincoln released his son, you can see how healing it is to not hold on when you are meant to release. 

There were a few times when a random raunchy paragraph popped up out of no where. I'm not sure if Mr. Saunders was trying to engage our current culture or simply paint a picture of deeply depraved souls. I could also understand this base nature of humanity that tries to pour anything it can on hurt to numb oneself.

After all of that, I have no idea how I feel about the book. I wanted out of it. I found it riveting. I wanted to throw up on it. I wanted to know more. It is skillfully written. In my theology there is no bardo. I have however seen grieving people held captive in this holding place when they refused to let go of a loved one or something else that grieved them. This is a story of making peace with that pain.




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Praying for Girls by Teri Lynne Underwood



I was reading an article the other day telling moms that being overwhelmed and unable to think is completely normal. It's called mental load. I have since dubbed this inability to think, process, conjugate, or think of what to make for dinner the MOTHER LOAD. Can't remember how to make pb&j? That's the mother load. Can't remember your first name? That's the mother load. Most days we coast on through and no one gets hurt.

The thing about mother load that drags me down is that often I cannot even think of what I would like to pray for my children. There are basic reactionary prayers and response prayers to scripture I am hearing or reading. I am always left wanting more. 

When I saw this book, I felt an ache to have it. Reading through it, I was truly overwhelmed by the wonderful, thoughtful prayers and guidance it offered. I prayed through the hundred or so prayers over my girls. They are beautiful. Praying them prompted me to start writing them out for all of my girls on note cards individually so we could all pray through them for each other. I am even making a set for myself. Prayer changes us and it helps us anticipate the presence of God. I highly recommend this book.

This book was graciously provided by Bethany House Publishers for review.


From the back cover:
What Are Your Biggest Concerns for Your Daughter?


Do you feel uncertain about what or how to pray for your daughter? You're not alone! Praying for our daughters can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. This easy-to-use book features 200 Scripture-based prayers that cover key areas of every girl's life:


Her identity--finding her security and strength in God's love and acceptance
Her heart--pursuing a life of purity and devotion to the Lord
Her mind--committing to growing in wisdom and discernment regardless of her circumstances
Her relationships--developing skills and attitudes to foster healthy relationships
Her purpose--trusting God with her life, gifts, and passions

With simple ideas to nurture your daughter's faith from toddler through teen, this encouraging book will equip you to pray with more confidence and power.

"This book is a lifeline. I might not be able to bubble wrap my girl away from the world, but I sure can wrap her up in fierce prayers and send her out into it bravely."
--Lisa-Jo Baker, author of Never Unfriended and Surprised by Motherhood

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Love Lives Here by Sweet Maria Goff

Most of the books I read and review are given to me by publishers, but I chose to buy this one. I had been waiting on it since I heard that it was being written. I had purchased to audio book because I was making a lot of long trips to care for my parents. Audio books seem to make the end of long drives go faster. I knew that the words in it would be encouraging. It turned out to be something I needed more than I realized. Sweet Maria's voice coming through my car speakers soothed my weary soul. It was like having a dear friend speaking into my heart when I desperately needed it. Being honest, I have had days where I have cried all day through this. Waves of emotional exhaustion overtook me when I stopped moving for a second. Then I'd hear her voice. It felt okay to cry. She kept reminding me that love is always the best option. It sows a deep unseen harvest in the lives of the people we are loving and those watching us. Love does live here. 

In this book we follow Maria through some of her most challenging and most beautiful moments. She navigated her way through hard days and best days with Christ and it is seen in every word she says. Her life is a beacon. As a person that struggled with opening my heart and life to others because of abuse, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Buy the audio. Let her read to you. It's lovely.




Tuesday, July 11, 2017

We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson

I was about to go on a road trip when I saw this book pop up in my queue to review. I thought it would be a great thing to accompany me through a few states. It was a bit difficult to get into at first. I don't know if it was my mindset or what felt like choppy story telling. Never the less, I pressed on. The stories were pretty interesting, but I was rarely drawn deeply into them. There were several things I could connect with personally. Most of us can connect with loss. Roger shares about losing people he loves and why he loved them. He tells of how adventure connected them. His story is one of redemption. His grandparents ended up raising him. I think the main thing I took away from the book was to go on adventure and create memories. 

*There are maps in the chapters of different states and things he loved there. That could be helpful if you are experiencing some wonder lust. Happy travels.

This book was graciously provided by Waterbrook Publishers for review.









Wednesday, June 21, 2017

I read Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

Last week, on the banks of the Kentucky River, I read Connilyn's latest book. I have to tell you, I always enjoy her work. I don't think it is exemplary writing that draws me in. Sometimes I have questioned how a quick plot change came about. I just roll with it because her stories are good and redemptive. They are well researched. The most beautiful thing I pull from them is that they are infused with a rich love of God's word. Watching her characters conform (or not conform) their lives to God's teachings gives this new longing to know it more. It's not just doing what is right, but a love of honoring God and cherishing life. She clearly shows the exquisite compassion of God's character. Every single time I read something she has written, I am deeply thankful that God has given us his word to shape our lives. We are no longer bound to the sinning in ignorance. I think we can often forget what a miraculous gift this is. Thank you for the reminder, Connilyn.

This book, Wings of the Wind, was written from the perspective of a person who was rescued by the Hebrews in their desert wanderings after Egypt. I thought this was such a unique viewpoint because you could see how foreign good and godly things are from the pagan culture. It gave a picture of how long and hard it is to win the trust of someone who is not used to the loving attributes of the people of God. Foreign practices were also showcased in some of the chapters so you could get a clear picture of the stark contrast between the divine and the demonic cultures. 

I enjoyed reading this and have been encouraged by the story. I left my copy at a tiny house in the woods of Kentucky hoping the next person who comes across it will hear the gospel in it. 
Happy reading, friends.

Thanks to Bethany House Publishers for graciously providing this book for review. 

Read more about the book description and Connilyn on Amazon.





Thursday, June 01, 2017

Hello Stars as reviewed by Lulu

My Lulu and I received a book to review from the publisher. If you know her, you know she read this 6 times the week she received it. I had her write out her synopsis of the book. Mostly, she loved that it was written by a girl not much older than her.
 Lulu tells about Hello Stars by Alena Pitts.

Hello Stars is a great book. It's about a girl named Lena Daniels. She has three little sisters. There's an 8 year old named Ansley and 6 year old twins named Amber and Ashton. 28 days before school ends, her friend Savannah, went to her, Lena, and their other friend Emma's favorite singer, Mallory Winston's concert. Savannah tells Lena that Mallory is going to be in a movie and wants a girl between the ages of 10 and 12 to be in it with her. All they have to do is make a video talking about themselves and send it to Mallory Winston. Lena's video doesn't go so well because she has fruit snacks between her front two teeth. Mallory picks her anyway. She has to be in Los Angeles for 3 months and her whole family comes with her. Through the filming her family meets Kay who does her hair and makeup as well as Mr. Fenway who films it. The movie is called Above the Waters. It's about a mom, grandma, and daughter. All is fine until the grandma gets sick and the family is struggling to cope with the news. Then the daughter meets a woman named Nicole who helps the family cope with it. They learn to trust God in every condition. Lena plays the daughter who is 10 and whose name is Jennifer. Mallory plays Nicole.

"I loved this book and cannot wait to read the next one." -Lulu

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

I read Nothing to Prove by Jennie Allen

"It starts with us. If we are not moved by the Spirit of God, why on earth would anyone else be moved? If we don't experience His forgiveness and His grace on a regular basis, then how could we give away his forgiveness and grace to anybody else?"
—Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove

What do you do? It's the question we are asked when we meet people? Sometimes that can feel like our worth is being sized up by our occupation. What if we don't have one? What if we are quietly serving people the world deems unimportant? Will we ever be enough to impress them? No, but we can make peace with that. It seems that we have all taken up the occupation of trying to create light when we are not meant to create light. We are meant to reflect it and wield it. The pressure is off when we remember who Christ is and go to him to accomplish his desires.

That's why Jennie brought a breath a sweet, fresh air into my life. She reminded me over and over to just ask Jesus, to trust him, to anticipate him. In her simple, girl next door style, she spoke kind, affectionate words about God. The book fanned a spark in my spirit to just be near to him. Thank you, Jennie, for reminding me of the goodness of God and my inner desire to be close. Time to clean out the clutter and enjoy the relationship.

"When I looked up the word joy, I was surprised by all of its synonyms: wonder, delight, elation, satisfaction, fun, happiness. I hate to say it, but these are not words I would use to describe you and me most of the time. Here is my fear: we have somehow come to believe that it is wrong to be happy. Maybe it's because we're too aware of the suffering all over the world. Maybe it's because we're carrying the pressures of work and life. Maybe it seems that fun is an escape from responsibility rather than an attribute of people who know God." 
—Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove
I crave the beauty and joy and freedom that come from receiving our lives rather than consuming them.
—Jennie Allen, Nothing to Prove