Thursday, August 21, 2014

Book Review: Let's All Be Brave by Annie F. Downs

I wasn't sure I would fit in with this book. I wondered if I was too old for this book, but I liked the thought of "being brave" and "living life with everything you have." It turns out that I not only wasn't too old for this book, but I couldn't get enough of Let's All Be Brave. Annie Downs wrote a book that I think anyone of any age can relate to. I devoured the book in 2 days. I could have read it in one if I didn't have a life outside of reading, LOL.

Annie Downs admits she's not exactly the bravest girl in the world. Yet, she shares her stories, stories from her friends and family, and stories from the Bible to show how God enables us all to be brave. Her words flow in a way that I felt like we were sitting at Starbucks sharing caffeinated beverages and words like no one else is around to hear them. . .one on one with someone who understands that life is challenging for all of us but God really is bigger than those challenges if we take time to spend time with Him and hear His Voice and then do the next right thing for us.

 One of my favorite passages is on page 155 where Annie says, "I don't know how old you are. But I know the lie you hear. You are too young. You are too old. You don't know enough, or you know too much. The truth is that courage doesn't have an expiration date. courage doesn't have a marker that says, "You must be taller than THIS to ride this ride." . . ."You were meant to be brave." Wow, does that speak to a woman who is going to turn 50 this year. . .Yes, I just outed myself with my age. . .But when I read Being Brave, I feel like I can deal with this mile marker age and I can still have a lot to offer this life and God. I just have to keep using the talents I have and doing the next best thing I believe God wants me to. Not that that is as easy as it sounds, but this book helps me see that if I just breathe and take this courage thing one step at a time with God that I really can make it to the finish line some day.

I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Book Review: Modern Pioneering by Georgia Pellegrini

Georgia Pellegrini says self-sufficiency is the ultimate girl power. I agree. Modern Pioneering makes self-sufficiency a little easier with step-by-step instructions on how to  do everything from  grow a small space garden to crafting mason jar lanterns to fermenting cabbage into hot pink saurkraut.

Modern Pioneering is divided into sections: The Garden, The Home, The Wild and The Rest. The garden section includes information on tools that you need to garden, selecting a garden spot and saving seeds, along with a lot more. It offers a lot of basic information that would be helpful to any beginning gardener. As a more experienced gardener, I already knew quite a bit of the information the gardening information. However, I think the section with recipes offers great recipes for both those who have experience and those with none. Some of the recipes include: Fig and Quinoa Salad, pink pickled eggs, chocolate bread pudding, mint jelly and salmon in a jar. The Wild section offers great advice on using wild plants as food, making a basic lean-to shelter and a pocket-sized 48-hour survival tool kit in an Altoids tin (I loved this! I have my tin ready.) The Rest is a section offers more food recipes like making your own chai spice tea and cheese, along with crafty recipes like making homemade chalk paint and homemade beeswax candles.

I have several projects and recipes marked to make in this book. The pictures and step-by-step instructions are just bright and eye-catching. I truly see this books as both practical and eye candy on lazy days of dreaming what I want to make. I highly recommend it to anyone looking to make things on their own and become more self-sufficient. I thought it had a good index for finding what you are specifically looking for too.

About the Author:
GEORGIA PELLEGRINI's taste for simple food and outdoor adventure evolved as she grew up in the Hudson Valley, on the same land her great-grandfather owned and worked. She followed her passion to the French Culinary Institute and then to Gramercy Tavern, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, and La Chassagnette in France. Georgia is the author of two previous books, Food Heroes and Girl Hunter, and her writing has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Bon Appetit, American Hunter, and The Huffington Post. She has been featured on Today, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and Iron Chef America. She lives in Austin, Texas.

 I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: The Rules of Engagement for Overcoming Your Past by Cindy Trimm

Cindy Trimm offers a book that is geared to helping you over come past issues with a specific strategy in The Rules of Engagement for Overcoming Your Past.

This little manual does offer the reader hope for a better life by applying biblically-based techniques and strategies for lasting change. I like the size of this hard copy because it is easy to carry along and read due to the small size. It is also a book that offered a lot of wisdom despite the small package.

Cindy Trimm offers advice on breaking free from: guilt, rejection, abuse and betrayal. Nine chapters offer steps that include re-wiring your mind, breaking free from past ties, healing your guilt and your shame (and she explains the difference), overcoming past abuse, forgiving and beginning again afresh. I found her steps easy to follow. Now, having said that, that doesn't mean that it was all easy to do. There are difficult choices the reader may make during the process. But there is a freeing feeling in completing the process. I think the book is good to keep around as you may want to refer back to it when you begin to feel old habits or feelings creeping back in. The book would be great to look back at to remind yourself of where you are going instead of where you have been.

I would encourage anyone to read this book that needs to change their thinking and begin healing. It also might be a great book to use with a counselor if your issues feel to big to handle on your own.

I received this book from the publisher at no charge. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Book Review: Raising Cubby by John Elder Robison

Raising Cubby is aptly sub-titled A Father and Son's Adventures with Asperger's,Trains,Tractors, and High Explosives. This autobiography is an interesting look at the life of a not so typical dad, John, with his son, Cubby. 

John is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at age 40. . .this book shares some of John and Cubby's adventures as John has a different approach to parenting than many other dads. The book is full of interesting adventures they share. . .I did find their adventures interesting. The book is fairly detailed though so I did not find it to be quick reading. I am glad I took the time to read it though as I enjoyed learning about John and Cubby. 

By the time Cubby is seventeen, Cubby's main interest is chemistry. That interest gets him into some trouble with the authorities and the book begins there, goes on to share the story leading up to that point and then ends there. . .with a brief epilogue of life afterwords.I was surprised when it started there but other than that it all flowed quite well. The back cover said the book is quite funny but I wasn't moved to laugh much. Again, I did find it interesting though and enjoyable. I would recommend it to anyone. 

 This book isn't geared to teach the reader about Asperger's. Yet, it does show some of what it is like to live with it or to live with someone who has it. We just received diagnosis of our son having Asperger's so I especially appreciated this aspect of the book. I think anyone who has Asperger's or is living with someone who has it would enjoy this book too. John Elder Robison is also the author of two other books about Asperger's and you can read more about those here: Author Bio

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Bible Review: NIV God's Word for Gardener's Bible from Zondervan

I'm a gardener and I come from a family of gardeners. I also married a gardener and connected with his family of gardeners. When the NIV God's Word of Gardeners Bible came out, I knew I needed to get one. I was not disappointed.

Shelley Cramm had the inspiration to write a gardeners Bible from her background in architectural and garden design, along with her involvement in local Bible study groups, Moms in Prayer and Moms of Preschoolers. I think Cramm did a beautiful job of putting it all together in this Bible.

According to the back cover, The NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible will inspire you to seek God in a personal way through informative essays, devotional readings and prayers that explore the nature of the gardener’s work, the rewards of gardening, the influence of seasons and weather, and the joy of the harvest. This Bible contains 260 daily and 52 weekend readings throughout the bible that explore gardens/gardening aspects in God's Word. There are also special sections that focus on the Garden of Eden and other gardens mentioned in the Bible. A topical index focused on garden-interest topics for 52 weeks is also part of this Bible that will "grow your faith while growing your garden." (from the cover)

This Bible is not only interesting from a Christian and a gardening perspective. It is also beautiful. The hard cover has a gorgeous photo of purple flowers, garden gloves and tools all done in shades of purple and green. My husband and I both thought this would be a great gift for a gardener we know put into a basket along with some gloves, seeds, tools, etc.

If you have an interest in gardening and want to learn more from a Biblical perspective, or know of someone who does, I highly recommend this Bible.

I received this Bible from Zondervan at no charge. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Book Review: The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate

I was thrilled to be part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Books this year. . I am a members of Circle 17. . .a group of 5 sisters who committed to reading Lisa Wingate's book, The Story Keeper, and sharing our thoughts with one another. . .a traveling book group. I loved this idea and was truly tickled to get to read an advance copy and partake in all of the fun. I also received a pretty notebook from the sister before me to keep my stories in.

First of all, I need to share that this year God has had a running theme in my life that "my story matters." It has shown up in my art journal class, in an on-line Bible study, I received a "Your Story Matters" necklace for Mother's Day from my hubby who is my greatest encourager and then I received my chance to read, The Story Keeper. I know it is no co-incidence.

Jen Gibbs is an newly hired editor at Vida House publishing in New York. She has worked in the industry 10 years and Jen knows the ropes and has been on the move to bigger and better things. . .when mysteriously a manuscript appears on her desk. Jen opens the manuscript and is drawn in to the story about Sarra, a mixed-race Melungeon girl trapped by dangerous men from a by-gone era in Appalachia. The manuscript also draws Jen back to the Blue Ridge Mountains where she grew up. . .a place she thought she would never go back to. As the Story Keeper goes on, Jen's story becomes more interesting and so does the story of Sarra. I enjoyed both stories. . .and the lessons they teach. One set in days gone by and one set in modern days. One set in days gone by and one set in modern days. Both were page-turning stories. This book was also one that lingered in my mind for awhile as my heart sorted out the lessons it had for me. I don't want to over share and spoil the plot, but I would encourage anyone wanting a good read to get a copy of this book when it comes out on September 1. For me, it was a reminder that all of our stories matter and maybe we make more of a difference than we think we do.

I received a copy of this book to read and pass on to the next sister as part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Books. I was not required to write a positive review.


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Bible Review: NIV Life Journey Bible with Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

The NIV Life Journey Bible exceeded my expectations when I received a hard copy to review. It is a beautiful Bible with dark print. I especially liked that it was easy for me to read although the print is not too big.

I have been making changes towards growing in emotional wholeness over the past few years. The sub-title on the bright eye-catching cover of this Bible "Find the answers for your Whole Life" caught my eye. This Bible offers helps in addition to the Bible text to help you stay on track for emotional and relational health. There are "Insights" on various pages from the doctors that share glimpses into Scripture to show how it can bring emotional growth and development.  There are profiles of Bible characters like David, Esther and Paul which illustrate life lessons from their lives that support emotional and spiritual health. Themes of emotional health and wellness are also highlighted in the Book instructions before each book. Various essays are also included throughout the Bible dealing with various topics: How Should we Deal With Guilt and Shame? What Are Boundaries? and Why Do We Need Other People?

At the end of the Bible, reading plans, subject index and Where to Find it index are included. . .along with some blank lined pages to make your own notes and observations.

I have been working on making some changes in my life that I felt this Bible could be supportive I was. If you are looking for a Bible with supplemental information in it as you seek to live a better life, then I would recommend this one.

I received this book at no charge from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.