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Friday, December 21, 2018

Beloved: 365 Devotinals for Young Women



If you are looking for a good devotional to start the year for a girl in your life, I recommend Beloved. My girls and I have been going through it and it is truly inspirational. We also learned quite a bit about different women in the Bible. It is amazing what you can pick up and process in under 10 minutes a day. The book is affirming of how God created women in their beauty and helps us put the focus on what true value is. Dig in!

BOOK REVIEW – ZONDERVAN BELOVED: 365 DEVOTIONS FOR YOUNG WOMEN


Book: Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women
Author: Lindsay A. Franklin
Publisher: Zondervan
Relationships, inner beauty, and chasing your dreams are all topics on the top of a teen girl’s list. So give them great Biblical role models to admire as they grow and understand who they are. Beloved is a topical devotional that uses the inspiring stories of girls and women in the Bible—such as Ruth, Esther, Mary, and Abigail—to encourage faith and confidence in today’s young women. Perfect for everyday use, Beloved will resonate with girls searching for truth and guidance.
What others are saying:
"Beautiful devotional for young women that offers encouragement and inspiration for every area of their lives. The devotional takes an in-depth look into the lives of sixty women in the Bible. Each day features a devotion with journaling space below for notes or reflection. This makes a perfect gift for that young teen or woman who is seeking wisdom and inspiration. The Beloved: 365 Devotions for Young Women is a hardcover, 5×7 devotional/journal with pink metallic flowers and lettering. This devotional inspires young women to discover their true identity as a beloved daughter of God.
Learning to love yourself and embrace the beauty of who you are may be difficult for some, especially in today’s society. So many teens and young women are struggling with identity and self-love, acceptance and they are facing challenges trying to overcoming them. This devotional is a perfect resource to learn from the women in the Bible and read how they overcame the obstacles they faced. Reading about how these women pressed through their circumstances may also provide hope and encouragement for greater things to come." -Twianna, The Tickled Diva


Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Pass the Gumption: I read While the Men Were Gone



Pass the gumption. While The Men Were Gone was a fabulous read. The story about this woman who bravely coached a football team during World War II is interesting in many ways. You can see things about the time and the harsh reality of how war crushed families and spirits. Many people were losing their boys to the fighting as they were shipped off at an age that seems far too young. Our female protagonist saw a deep need for the small Texas town of Brownwood to keep the Friday night lights lit because she knew it kept the heart of a community alive during tragedy. As you can imagine, this was greatly frowned upon by the male population of the area. She truly had to fight to keep the football season going after the coach was shipped off to war. Tylene seemed like a woman with a lot of grit. I would have loved to have met her. 


This is a fictionalization of a true story. The author, a female sportswriter did an amazing job writing this. I loved it. It made me feel at home. Y’all should read it.

When the Men Were GoneWhen the Men Were Gone by Marjorie Herrera Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pass the gumption. While The Men Were Gone was a fabulous read. The story about this woman who bravely coached a football team during World War II is interesting in many ways. You can see things about the time and the harsh reality of how war crushed families and spirits. Many people were losing their boys to the fighting as they were shipped off at an age that seems far too young. Our female protagonist saw a deep need for the small Texas town of Brownwood to keep the Friday night lights lit because she knew it kept the heart of a community alive during tragedy. As you can imagine, this was greatly frowned upon by the male population of the area. She truly had to fight to keep the football season going after the coach was shipped off to war. Tylene seemed like a woman with a lot of grit. I would have loved to have met her.

This is a fictionalization of a true story. The author, a female sportswriter did an amazing job writing this. I loved it. It made me feel at home. Y’all should read it.


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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The Ministry of Ordinary Places



My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I just loved Shannan's book. It is exactly what it says it is, ministry in the ordinary space of your every day life. I can completely identify with her story of selling her white picket fence dream home to move to a scary place that needed a lot of love.

These words are a breath of fresh air reminding us to keep opening the door. Keep inviting people to dinner. Keep reaching out to the addict, the imprisoned, the hurting. Your light is a lifeline. Will you get hurt? Absolutely. Keep pressing on.

Shannan's husband is a jail chaplain. She gives us a window into his life ministering to and loving inmates. It is a great encouragement to see people pouring out their hearts to love the unwanted of society. Thanks for being brave and sharing what you are learning.






Monday, December 03, 2018

What's Your Dream


I keep hearing the guy on the street in the movie Pretty Woman.
"What's your dream? Everybody has a dream."

At the beginning of fall, I began praying through what I felt like God was leading me to do with my life. It is ridiculously easy to get to the end of the day (month, year) and not actually accomplish anything. We are a distracted people. We can also strive so hard to accomplish goals that we miss the humans we are meant to care for. I pondered through Bob Goff's question about what we would do if we weren't afraid anymore. I thought deeply about Mary Oliver's Summer Day poem that asks what we are going to do with our one wild and precious life. I made several lists and talked down fear over and over. I wrote out all the visions cast in my heart and things I have been too afraid to do. I laid out a step by step plan for each item on my list and I keep placing each item back into the hands of God. 

Each day, I have been asking him to do the work. I have been asking him to dig up every painful thing in my heart and use it for his glory. My constant prayer has been that he will himself pull up things that the enemy wants to use to shame, ridicule, and to defile me to paint wild pictures of healing. He is working. I keep going forward even when I feel stupid or desperately afraid. I keep going when people hurt me. I have learned that pain and fear are usually signs to pay attention to the path. 

My first dream is to spend time writing. I have stories etched in my soul that are longing to be told. I have put this on the back burner with motherhood and missions. I am realizing that it is time to write the words.

I listed out 10 dreams and I am going to begin sharing them with you. First up, I am going to Haiti for 10 days. I am not a foreign mission junkie or missionary tourist. I went to Haiti last year because I wanted to know how I could best pray for and support my friend Christy (Executive Director of an orphanage in Port au Prince). I went to serve her and help make her dreams for Haitians a reality. I am headed there again at the end of the month. I will be teaching art and helping at the orphanage. I have almost met my goal to buy art supplies and pay for my lodging. My ticket is booked! Would you pray for me? Last year before I went, my husband cut off his toe. This year, my daughter broke her ankle and had surgery. God hems us in behind and before. So, the plan the enemy had for harm made me book the flight. 



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Kingdom Citizen by Tony Evans

Kingdom Citizen: Your Role in Rebuilding a Broken NationKingdom Citizen: Your Role in Rebuilding a Broken Nation by Tony Evans
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a tiny little book that packs a punch. There are so many things we want to waver on every day because our culture tells us we are unloving. Tony reminds us that pointing people away from God's truth and righteousness is hateful. It is not loving. I closed the book being reaffirmed to stand the ground that God has given us. Actually invite the kingdom and love according to God's word. May we be a kingdom people.



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The news is filled with stories of violence, division, and despair. American politics have become polarized. Effective leadership is in short supply. Change may seem outside our reach. And Christians struggle to understand their role in reversing the downward spiral of our nation.

Dr. Tony Evans offers a healthy dose of hope: the solution to our nation’s problems and unrest isn’t out of reach. The solution is here―and each one of us as Kingdom Citizens has a vital role to play.

Be assured that our God is greater than any challenge―and He has promised to equip His people. In Kingdom Citizen, you’ll discover how to respond in faith, in spite of a country and culture in decline.

Here is a powerful call to action for concerned Christians. Here is a call for unity and restoration. And here is strong assurance that each of us has the ability to walk justly, to seek truth, and to stand in the gap for our land.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I Read The Tattooist of Aushwitz on a plane

I bought this book in the Birmingham airport a few weeks ago and finished it on our day of travel. It is fantastic. Deeply moving.

The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather   Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do not usually buy books in airport stores because they are incredibly overpriced. We flew from Birmingham to Chicago to Austin and then drove to Waco. That meant I had 9 hours of travel on my hands. I have been seeing this book and had it on my wish list, but had not picked up a copy. With the recent shooting in the Jewish Synagogue (and Jewish nurse working on the shooter), my heart was pricked to remember the story once again. Angry, empty people are everywhere looking for a target. It’s good to remember the people who stood against atrocity. It’s good to reread the horrific acts and see the hidden heroes in unlikely places. That’s what this is.

I had wondered if this was a true story because it says it’s historical fiction. The publisher tells us that the designation because it can not verify every conversation. The story seems to check out though. They have done quite a bit of fact checking. There are pictures and our author spent many days interviewing the tattooist.

This is a behind the scenes story that will make your heart fall and rise. We are given a first hand look at what a savage society looks like. We see death, physical and sexual assault, starvation, belittlement, and fierce courage. I simply could not imagine seeing the face of every single terrified person to enter Auschwitz. He drug a needle through their arm and dumped ink into it. Men, women, children. He numbered them all. He watched people get shot, worked to death, be beaten, & be gassed. Somehow, he held on to the resolve to survive the camp. The story of his love for a woman he tattooed is remarkable. Read it and remember. Read it and be filled with the hope of the beauty of the human spirit. This is one of those books you’ll remember for the rest of your life.


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Book Description from Publisher: The #1 International Bestseller & New York Times Bestseller
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a T├Ątowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.


Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Prayers for the Battlefield by Heidi St. John

Are any of the rest of you desperate for good words to pray over your children? Parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done. From conception to training to loving through pain. Often, I find myself unable to even formulate a decent thought because I am overstimulated. Can you empathize? As I read through these pages, I found myself breathing more deeply than normal. These are the words in my heart that I was too tired to speak. I keep reading them repeatedly. Perhaps you are weary from the battlefield and need some backup artillery. This is it. These are prayers for your arrows to fly true.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a book that you keep out to read over and over. There are thirty-one topics and prayers in this book and in each one I was moved to pray for myself or someone else. The words resonate. As I would read through the warfare prayers, I would think that this is exactly the words my heart needed to pray. These are the words I’ve been looking for. This is a must read for every warrior mom in the fight for her family. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget to pray or not be able to formulate your needs. This will minister to your heart so that you can speak to God about your family. 

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**This book was graciously given to me by Tyndale Publishing for review.






Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Brave Art of Motherhood by Rachel Martin

Three books have spoken deeply to my heart this year. One line in Bob Goff's Everybody Always keeps coming up to me. "What if we weren't afraid anymore?" I have lingered in Dr. Barry C. Black's Nothing to Fear. The Brave Art of Motherhood has been the third installment in my semester of God turning my heart upside down. It's not that I haven't been brave. I have done plenty of things that take gumption. The thing is that I have done those things through fear and they have caused so much pain to release.  I picture myself packaging up presents, leaving them on doorsteps, and running. Maybe no one will know it was me. I want to be brave enough to bear my pain for the healing of others and greater glory of God. 

This book grabbed my attention because of three words that I pray for regularly. Brave. Art. Motherhood. I come form the tribe of "I'm not equipped for this." Somehow, with no formal training, I am here. I have realized that desperation can very often lead to depth. I have realized how unequipped I am to mother and create. That has led my heart to try things and ask God for things that the equipped person would not ask for. It requires something extra. Creative engineering requires you to say that you are not like other people. You don't fit in. You are going a different way. Putting yourself out there like that feels painful. 



God has prompted some complete changes in everything I am doing. He has been moving my heart to do new things in new ways. I move when he says to move. My trouble has come in the form of being stuck. The voices in my head and the voices out of my head tell me all of the reasons that I cannot do it. I can't see my way to the next step or I get lost in helping others and I cannot see my way back to the thing I desired to do. Then this.



Often in motherhood, my mind is always spinning and I can't think. Rachel didn't just write a book telling you not to be stuck anymore. She wrote a book telling you how to bravely hunt down your dreams and make them your reality. It's comprehensive and directional. Keep following the steps. Here are the steps. You can live again. You can quit blaming others for your failure. You can live out the life you are desperate to live. You can quit hiding and enjoy your life. I can't recommend it enough.




Rachel's story is powerful. Her trauma is relatable. Her help is needed. If you need help with any area of your life, I urge you to get it. If it is a business, a health change, debt relief, or simply not being afraid to jump in the pool, you'll find courage in the pages. 

What do you want to be brave enough to do? This is your how to.



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This book was graciously provided by Waterbrook Publishers for review.