Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Review: Devotions from the Garden with Miriam Drennan


Sometimes you can judge a book by its cover. The cover of Devotions from the Garden is simply beautiful and restful looking. I just want to walk into the garden pictured and have a seat on the swing, rest and look at the beauty and commune with God. The subtitle is "Finding Peace and Rest from Your Hurried Life." This book could help you do just that.

Devotions from the Garden offers beautiful garden pictures to look at along with meditations on God's Word beginning with a Bible verse and ending with a prayer. This is not a dated book so the reader can start at the beginning or could start anywhere and read what you feel led to read among these 90 devotions. Readings draw parallels between life and gardening. Gentle relationships between the Christian life and various aspects of gardening offers a lovely reading for each day with both hopes and challenges being addressed. Just about any area of gardening is related to life. A few examples include: the root system, pollinating bees, drought, drop rotation, and staking plants.

This book would be a great gift for anyone who enjoys gardening. Both the beautiful pictures and the readings would be an encouragement to anyone who enjoys plants and reading the Bible.

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

Miriam Drennan is the author of Devotions for the Beach and the Days You Wish You Were There and Soar Above the Madness: Surviving Office Politics Without Losing Your Mind, Your Job, or Your Lunch. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she enjoys gardening and playing with words. Drop her a line at www.that-writer.com.


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Book Review: Tox-Sick by Suzanne Somersault





68.8 % of adults are considered overweight or obese
ADHD diagnosis has increased an average of 5 % per year from 2003 to 2011
Food allergies among children increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011
95 % of cancers are caused by diet and environment

These are some big statistics quoted in Tox-Sick. by Suzanne Somers. Suzanne Somers has personally felt some of these statistics as she and her family members have dealt with ADHD, cancer, Lyme Disease, mold toxicity and more. These challenges in her own family led her to work with doctors to find best how to help overcome these illnesses. Tox-Sick shares her and her familly's journey to feeling good once again and also interviews with 6 prominent physicians to best learn the effects of toxins on our brain, our gut, our hormones, our heart and how to make our environment cleaner. Somers also shares information from the doctors on how to help yourself heal and feel better from the effects of our environment.

This book is packed full of good information on how to help yourself heal and to feel good, to get rid of brain fog and belly bloat. If you truly want to help yourself and your family members, this is a good reference book to start with. She also lists other books you may want to read by the doctors that she interviews. It is not a quick read if you are really interested in learning what to do, but it is interesting and very helpful. I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone with these struggles or anyone with family members facing health challenges to read it. She does have a website with supplements and healthy products that she sells that she mentions but she doesn't push it that much. She also lists other websites that sell quality supplements. I felt it was well balanced and also encouraging in that she offers so many helpful things to do to help yourself feel better.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
SUZANNE SOMERS is the author of seventeen books, including the New York Times bestsellers Ageless; Keeping Secrets; Eat Great, Lose Weight; Get Skinny on Fabulous Food; Eat, Cheat, and Melt the Fat Away; Fast and Easy; and The Sexy Years.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Book Review: Fifty Shades of They by Ed Young



Insights That Bring Life to Your Relationships is the subtitle to Ed Young's new book, Fifty shades of They. This description sums up well the 50 short chapters of insights contained in this book geared to help your relationships in all areas of your life.

Who are the "They" in your life? Who are the people that form your friendships, business relationships and what kind of person are you married to or dating? According to Ed Young, you are only as great as your relationships. When you are surrounded by people who follow God's principles that are laid out in this book, your life is bound to be better all the way around. Ed Young also encourages you to reflect the insights shared in this book so that you also become the best person you can be in your relationships.

I found these insights to be helpful. The chapters are short and easy to read. At the same time, there is some good meat in these little chapters. Each chapter's insights is based on Biblical principles. They all offer illustrations from life today or from the Bible that help that insight stick in your mind.For example, I especially found Ed Young's illustration on forgiveness in chapter 12 to be one that would stick with me for awhile as I am reminded I need to forgive those who have wounded me.You'll have to read the book to find out what that is.

I would recommend everyone read this book. It relates to people of all ages, but would be especially good for a high school or college graduation gift. The sooner a person learns the insights in life, the better, I think. I would also think this would be a great book to read along with your Bible reading everyone and focus on one insight of relationships every day to improve.

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

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Book Review: What Keeps You Up At night by Pete Wilson






What Keeps You Up At Night by Pete Wilson offers a good glimpse into fear and faith. I often wish God would just offer a few words to clue me in on what is happening when I am blindsided by something in my life. For example, this week we learned we cannot close on the house we are buying because the owner does not have a clear title. The owner has dementia and the family is left to sort out if this is an error or what has happened. Frustrating for them and for us as we put our lives on hold and wait to see if we get this house or have to start house shopping all over again. We all have situations come up like this one that keep us up at night wondering about.

According to Pete's new book, we  need to learn to lean into uncertainty and activate our faith. Pete says every single one of us struggle with fear at some point in our lives.In What Keeps You Up at Night , he shares how we can lean into Scripture and learn from it to keep our faith up in our own challenges. Wilson shares stories from several Bible names we know: David, Daniel, Joseph, and more. He also shares stories from his own life to help guide readers into seeing how to best find peace in their own situation.

I liked this book as much as all of his other books. I especially like that each chapter ends with a review of the key points, questions to reflect on and something "hands on" to do that will help you retain the lesson shared in the chapter you just read. I highly recommend this book for someone of any age that wants to learn how to better have faith and peace in the midst of life's challenges.

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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: Heart Sisters by Natalie Chambers Snapp


Resized Heart Sisters cover-page-001



 What is a Heart sister? According to Natalie, A heart sister is someone who isn't related "by blood but instead by the sisterly bond entwined between our hearts."

Natalie Snapp addresses issues faced by women today as they make friendships in our modern world. She shares stories, information and advice about making a good heart sister friendship, forming good boundaries in friendships, friendships and internet etiquette, dealing with conflict in friendships, and what things a heart sister does and does not do to make a good relationship. This book is full of good information and real life stories that I think most women can relate to. I found it down-to-earth and easy to relate to. Each chapter also ends with questions to either ask yourself or to ask in a group. 

I couldn't rush through reading this book as I move to a new town in 2 weeks and look to make new friendships. I hope to make a heart sister friend too. I think this book has given me insight into what that will look like and how to do that better than I have in the past.

Heart Sisters is a book that I can't say enough good things about. I know it is one that I already want to re-read and one I would like to use in a study with a group of women. I highly encourage you to read it. . .and share it with your own heart sisters!

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

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Book Review: Bread and Butter by Erin McKenna

 Bread and Butter looks like a book that will become a "bread and butter" basic in my cookbook collection. As my son can not eat gluten and I am wheat intolerant, I found this book to be a sort of wish book of all the yummy food we haven't been able to eat but have been longing for.

Erin McKenna is the founder of BabyCakes Bakery in New York City. She is also gluten sensitive and spent many years forced to"ignore the bread basket" at dinners at her favorite restaurant. Boy, do I relate to that! Honestly, I received this book in the mail and almost instantly started salivating. Practically every page is full of beautiful color pictures of the delicious gluten free goodies with recipes in this book. Recipes are included for basic breads, bagels, pizzas, tortillas, savory turnovers, crackers, sweet rolls, cookies and more. I honestly was amazed at the complete list of gluten free recipes in this book. I also like that McKenna included ideas on how to use what you make. For example, how to use the tortillas: Chilaquiles and cinnamon sugar chips. McKenna even includes recipes for condiments like a vegan butter, mayonnaise and Caesar dressing.

I would recommend this book to any one needing recipes for gluten free baked goods. The recipes are easy to follow, most include color pictures, and the book is written by someone who both eats gluten free and is a baker.

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.

About the Author

ERIN MCKENNA is the chef and owner of BabyCakes NYC, a bakery with outposts in New York City and West Hollywood. She received the prestigious Best Cupcake award in 2006 from New York magazine. Erin has been a guest on Martha Stewart Television and Food Network and has been featured in the New York Times, Food & Wine, Modern Bride, VegNews, Harper’s Bazaar, In Style, and O, the Oprah Magazine.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Book Review: Savor by Shauna Niequist


If you are looking for a new daily devotional, I would encourage you to try Shauna Niequist's new book, Savor. Shauna encourages you to use this book, with one devotion for every day of the year, to "sink deep into the everyday goodness of God and Savor every moment."

Shauna offers a down-to-earth devotional with daily messages that are like little mini conversations with her about God and the Christian life. Each day's message starts with s Scripture verse, followed by her reading and concludes with two or three questions to ask yourself to think about the reading for the day. I liked that these readings to relate to every day life and that I could easily relate them to my life. I think most women could relate to them.

In between the devotionals, there are recipes. Shauna says she believes that "spiritual living happens not just when we read and pray, but also when we gather with family and friends" over meals. She also says the recipes in Savor are some of her staple recipes to enjoy around the table with your loved ones. Some of the enticing recipes included are: Pumpkin Banana Anything Muffins, Curried Cauliflower, Thai Beef Salad, and Grilled Peach and Caramel Sundaes. I plan to try the muffins first since they are wheat free. I used a few of the recipes from her last book, Bread and Wine, and I found them to be easy to follow and delicious. I am anxious to try these.

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

About the Author:
 Shauna Niequist is the author of Bread & Wine, Cold Tangerines and Bittersweet. Shauna grew up in Barrington, Illinois, and then studied English and French literature at Westmont College in Santa Barbara. As an author and blogger, Shauna writes about the beautiful and broken moments of everyday life - friendship, family, faith, food, marriage, love, babies, books, celebration, heartache, and all the other things that shape us, delight us, and reveal to us the heart of God. Shauna is married to Aaron, who is a pianist and songwriter. Aaron is a worship leader at Willow Creek and is recording a project called A New Liturgy. Aaron and Shauna live outside Chicago with their sons, Henry and Mac.