Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Book Review: Make It Happen by Lara Casey

This bright beautiful book is not just a reader. Make It Happen is a book to write in, make notes, and highlight to learn from Lara Casey. In fact, writing in a notebook or journal alongside the book would be useful. This is the kind of book that I really prefer to have a hard copy of to mark up but it is available in an electronic version as well.

Make It Happen: Surrender Your Fear, Take the Leap, Live On Purpose offers Lara Casey's story of how she started living a fulfilling life for God. While I won't post any spoilers here, I will say it wasn't a perfect path. But that is what I love about Lara's story. She shares from her heart, is real and honest about the hard things she faced and how they ultimately changed her course for the better in the end as she realized what was most important.

While Lara shares her story in this book, she also shares how you can turn your anxiety, fear, imperfections, drive and dreams into a story that involves you living your own life of purpose for God. She shares in the beginning of how you can start anywhere in the book and read. The first three parts involve her sharing her story and the reader engaging in some questions for themselves. Then Part 4 involves the reader using that section mainly as a workbook to find the path they want to take.

If you are searching for your path, I think this book could be a helpful tool for finding it. I also, think it would be great to do this book with a good friend or mentor or a small group for more feedback. I thought I might be to old for this book, but as a middle aged woman, I found the material helpful in learning to dream again and put the past behind. I intend to do more of the workbook sections along with my journal as I decide what course to take next for myself.

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

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Book Review: The Chia Cookbook by Janie Hoffman, Founder of Mamma Chia

The Chia Cookbook is beautifully illustrated with brightly colored pictures of the recipes. I was drawn to this book from the moment I received it. I selected it after reading, Chia Vitality, Janie Hoffmann's first book, and wanting to incorporate the seeds into more of my recipes than just my smoothies.

The Preface of this book gives a history of Janie Hoffman's experience with chia seeds. Janie is also the founder of Mama Chia. If you have read Chia Vitality, this part isn't new. However, if you are new to Janie Hoffman's books, it is a nicely summarized background to the cookbook. It is also a good refresher on her background.

This cookbook is divided into chapters for smoothies and drinks, breakfasts, snacks, salads and soups, main dishes and sweets, desserts and cocktails. The illustrations  make the recipes look inviting. The instructions are clear and easy to follow. Recipes include| chia peach jam, chia gazpacho, Tuscon white beans and baby kale, key lime chia cheesecake, and apricot hazelnut blondies. Not every recipe has a photo, but many of them do. I also found it easy to take the basic recipes and make a few changes to suit my tastes, like the recipe for Raspberry-chia Dressed Arugula Salad with mint and Almonds. I made a few minor changes to suit my family's tastes (greens and seasonings) and it is quite good. As a teadrinker, I really liked that this particular recipe also used tea in the dressing. Yum!

If you are looking to incorporate more chia seeds into your diet in a variety of ways, I would encourage you to get a copy of this book. 

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

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Book Review: Ask It by Andy Stanley

Ask It by Andy Stanley is subtitled "The question that will revolutionize how you make decisions." I will be honest up front in my review and tell you that I am a big Andy Stanley fan. We often watch him on Sunday's after we have been to our own church. I find his sermons to be solid from the Bible and practical. Ask It is indeed practical and Biblical in its approach just as I expected.

Andy Stanley says there is a question that we can ask when we aren't sure what to do that will work for just about any situation. I will let you read the book to find out just what that question is so no spiller here. However, after practicing with this question for he past couple of weeks, I feel that it is helpful in giving the answer we need. At the same time, Andy Stanley says there are times we need to ask others for advice as Solomon encourages us to do in Proverbs. In the past, I have sought advice from others hat wasn't that sound, so I wish that he had talked more about finding good advisors or mentors for help in discerning wisdom. Otherwise, I found this book to be both helpful and easy to follow. I also really liked the  study guide in back with  questions to think about either alone or in a group. I encourage any Christian wanting to make good decisions in life to read it.

I would also note that this book is a re-release of an earlier book version Best Question Ever. If you have already read that book, this one may be redundant.

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

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Review: Lean On Me by Anne Marie Miller

Lean On Me by Anne Marie Miller is one of the best books I have read recently. Lean On Me is not a self-help book, but rather a memoir in which the author shares her need for community following a crisis and how that community looked for her. She shares her story in the hopes that you will take away something for yourself to be in your own community.

I appreciate that Anne Marie Miller shares her story so openly. While I can't say that I agree with every choice that she made along the way, I do appreciate her honesty and her openness in sharing her story in this book.(And I know I have struggles and make choices that others wouldn't make.) It helps to see how a real person has done "community" with successes and struggles. I am in the middle of transition as my family is in the hallway of our 2nd move in 3 years. We aren't in our new location yet, but we are no longer living in our former location either. We are halfway between living in temporary housing. I would love to be able to have 15 people, as this author did, that would help my family to stay on the right path through this transition, but honestly I don't know 15 people to e-mail that would form a team to help guide us. I picked up the book to gain some insight on forming community as we get to our new location. I did learn from the author and I think that I took away what I needed to for our situation to start to build that kind of community.

If you are looking for a how-to book, this isn't the book for you. However, the author does list some how-to books in the back of Lean On Me. There is also a Reader's Guide with questions and prayers to either ask yourself or to share in a book group. Lean On Me offers food for thought on how you can build your own community and  I would recommend it to anyone else looking to do so.

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Book Review: The Juice Lady's Remedies For Stress and Adrenal Fatigue by Cherie Calbom

These past 3 years have been fairly stressful for my family and I as we have done some moving around for my husband's job. I was excited to review this little book because I thought it would help us maintain our health rough the challenges. I am so glad that I did.

Cherie Calbom writes about stress and adrenal fatigue quite thoroughly in this little book. She shares how stress affected her, how it affects the reader, lifestyle changes to make and dietary changes to make including juicing. The book is easy to read for a layman, colorfully illustrated and has some good recipes included. I had read some of this information in her book on juices but most of he information is new and specific to this issue. I appreciate how she talks about mind, body and spirit working together for healing. Her holistic approach seems realistic to me. I would encourage anyone to read it who is under a lot of stress.

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

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Over the past 3 years, my husband and I have sold one house and moved and are now in process of moving again. During this time, I have done quite a bit of decluttering and de-owning. Yet, as we prepare to move again, I wondered if I could do more so I  read Marie Kondo's book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

This is a great little book to read and learn from as you seek to declutter and organize your home or apartment. I like that the book is small so I took it back and forth the past 2 weeks as we are in transition to move. It easily fit in my purse to pull out and read whenever I had a few minutes to spare.

Marie Kondo  runs an acclaimed consulting business in Tokyo helping clients transform their cluttered homes into spaces of serenity and inspiration. With a three-month waiting list, her KonMari Method of decluttering and organizing has become an international phenomenon. In the life-changing magic of tidying up, she shares her experiences, what led her to create this current method of decluttering homes and how you can apply this method to your house.

I found this book to be interesting and helpful. I did already have a head start on decluttering so some of what she shared I had already done. She says that people have items spread out through the house like shirts, etc. and asks that they gather all like items together. Maybe I am strange as I had already done this. At the same time, I learned several other things from her technique that proved helpful to me. I can see when we complete our move that I could use this method and make the new house decluttered and keep it that way. She does share some things that sound uniquely Japanese but it is easy to take what works for our western homes and apply it. I would recommend the book to anyone wanting to declutter and keep a tidy home.

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, November 3, 2014

Book Review: A Star For Jesus by Crystal Bowman

A Star for Jesus is an adorable board book for  children 4 to 8. Before even reading the book, my son loved the die-cut star cover. The illustrations are done in rich colors and are eye-catching throughout the book.

A Star for Jesus is a simple tale of the Christmas story written in rhyming verse that focuses on the special star that led to the baby Jesus. The special ending helps little ones relate the story to the stars in today's sky.Relating to the stars God made, Crystal Bowman helps bring the Christmas story to life for young children. I highly recommend it for your own family reading times or as a Christmas gift for young children. It is a beautiful, well-told story. It honestly made all of our faces light up with reading pleasure.  . .I could see us using it annually at a Christmas gathering.

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