Thursday, September 11, 2014

Book Review: Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World By Nish Weiseth



Speak: How Your Story Can Change the World by Nish Weiseth caught my eye because of its emphasis on sharing your story. I believe there is truth in her book, our stories can change each other when we open up and share them. I love that Nish shares how much our stories matter. I agree that we need to hear each other's stories more and judge each other less.

Speak is a compilation of blog posts about how we need to share our stories and hear others' stories to create positive changes in each other, our churches and our part of the world around us. I thought she made some good points in this book. I am older, not part of the millennial generation that she is from, but I have a heart for people's stories. I did find some parts of her book to be moving. I appreciate her encouragement to share our stories, to listen to others' stories before judging, and to focus on using our stories and our lives to make changes one person at a time in the world around us.

However, I also found some aspects of this book to be distracting to me. . .at the end of each chapter, there are comments from others who have read her blog posts that she shared in the book. I just found that distracting. While I have read other books that were blog compilations, this one felt like it more because of that. . .and for me, it took away from the book. I felt like I should have just gone to her blog and read her posts. For me, it took away from the book and I am not sure I would spend money on something I was reminded I could go and read on-line.

I received this book from the publisher at no cost to me. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review: Your Family In Pictures by Me Ra Koh



I received a new digital camera for my birthday last year. . .which I love. I know, I know. . .cell phones take pictures too. . .but mine doesn't very well. The camera I got came with some bells and whistles so I wanted to learn to take better pictures with it.

I appreciate that Your Family In Pictures offers photo ideas for use with your family with clear instructions. While I don't think I necessarily need to make my picture just like the author's, I did want to be able to construct some good photos at celebrations and holidays. I felt this book offered me the tools I needed to do just that. It offers basic ideas for setting up better photos if they are planned and it offered tips for photos during a general holiday. For example, how to get a better photo with fireworks in the sky or how to show more romance at Valentine's Day in your picture. This book offers both practical guidelines for camera settings and it offers creative ideas for making your photos more special. I liked that it offered both. I found all of the instructions to be easy to use.

I would encourage anyone to get a copy of this book that is also a beginning photographer. The author has that audience in mind so I'm not sure a more professional photographer would glean as much helpful information. It offers complete instructions and ideas for 40 photo recipes that pretty much anyone can follow.

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

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.
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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. www.georgiapellegrini.com

 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.