Book Review · Books

Chasing Wonder

Do you ever feel stuck in a rut? This world can feel that way. Especially with how world events are panning out. Chasing Wonder, is the story of how the author, Ginger Stache, came out of her shell to live an adventurous life.

Ginger’s life didn’t start out glamorous, but through outshe’s learned to say, “Yes,” to God when he leads her. Being the Chief Creative Officer for Joyce Meyer’s Ministries has taken her on countless adventures overseas to help those less fortunate. These different adventures have taught her that even in the moments when inside she’s begging herself to say, “no,” that by her, “yes,” Ginger has grown in her faith and gratefulness.

Witnessing others who live in squalor, but have a joy that surpasses any American is humbling. Traveling to third world countries was life changing. Ginger got to experience sleeping in a hut in Zambia with a wild assortment of insects and cringe worthy animals. I don’t know if I could brave having wasps and bees trying to get through my mosquito net all night, or finding a huge spider under my pillow. Hello, panic attack.

I received my complimentary copy of Chasing Wonder by Ginger Stache, care of Worthy Publishing. The views are mine and of my own will. This collection of adventures showed me that I can find adventure and joy in the simple every day doings of life. I don’t have to go fancy and pricy to get a worthwhile time.

Book Review · Books

Over It

If you are a girlie girl then this book cover is going to make your heart happy. Pink everywhere. I haven’t liked pink since the first grade, but it’s starting to grow on me.

Kelsey talks candidly about how growing up in the evangelical world there are silent expectations. If you are a perfectionist then this is a challenging combo. You may feel the need to measure up culturally and spiritually. Is this realistic? It’s not. It causes anxiety and stress. Kelsey tries to measure up, but never feels arrived.

College felt like it would be a fresh new beginning. Being away from home can make you feel all grownup. That is until Kelsey discovers partying. As a perfectionist she does it with abandon.

When Kelsey Mets Chris at college she knows there is something special about him. There is something forbidden. He is a PK, adored by his family and church. He was Mr. Christian popularity. Everything seemed all sparkly, until Kelsey realized the underbelly wasn’t all charm.

Growing up in the evangelical world, a woman has her place. Kelsey wasn’t raised to speak up. Things aren’t that bad she reasons. Abuse only counts if it’s just physical. Kelsey dives deep into what it was like to be in a toxic relationship.

I received my complimentary copy of Over It by Kelsey Grimm from Worthy Publishing. The views are mine and of my own will. I’ll confess at first I felt like this book came across a tad spiritually fluffy, but not to worry there is spiritual meat in this memoir. I commend Kelsey for opening up about her experience. If the topics of toxic and abusive relationships are triggering then I caution you as you read this book. Kelsey is a survivor and an inspiration. Thank you Kelsey.

Book Review · Books

Holy Hot Mess

Christianity can scream for perfection, especially when it comes to women having to come across perfect in their looks, life and schedule. I’ll confess. I like to look at the author photo. I wasn’t disappointed. The author, Mary Katherine is stunning. Honestly I was afraid I was in for one of those cheesy, feel good Christian books. I wasn’t wrong. MK’s book is one of those such books, but it’s not all warm fuzzies and hot cocoa.

MK tackles some deep topics. There are topics that I can really relate to. The chapter on growing up and wanting to be accepted and be friends with a particular girl at school, well I’ve been there and got burnt as well. Going to church and not being in the mood to go? Yes, I am guilty of that more times than I can count. But you know what? I miss that family atmosphere. Yes, there is always going to be church drama. Imperfect people crammed into one building all trying to learn about God, Christ and the Holy Spirit that equals a recipe for spiritual/faith drama.

I loved Holy Hot Mess. MK never is condescending or uppity, she gets right across from us and shares her heart, soul and some extra leftovers because she doesn’t want any of her readers to be left hungry or left out. She is funny, serious, vulnerable and most important readable. She doesn’t dumb down the tough subjects, but her writing is conversational, personable and memorable.

I received my complimentary copy of Holy Hot Mess by Mary Katherine Backstrom from Worthy Publishing. Views are my own and my own choice. I am so thankful I got to read this book. I love getting to discover new favorite authors. Thank you Worthy and thank you MK. I can’t wait to go read more of your books.

Book Review · Books

Peaceful On Purpose

Currently in the world, peace seems like the last thing that’s a possibility. We’re dealing with a world wide pandemic, there are raging fires and earthquakes that feel like they are just ramping up for a big one. Life feels like we are stuck on mental rollercoaster mode and we just want to get off this trying ride.

I admit I was a tad skeptical on the topic of being peaceful on purpose. How is that remotely possible? Christian or not. It sounds too pie in the sky and wishy washy. I’m sure lots of readers may be rolling their eyes. It’s understandable. Times aren’t exactly screaming peace.

Joel’s book is short with a powerful point. God is in control. We may be not be able to see the bigger picture or outcome, but He is in control. Not that we shouldn’t be responsible or accountable for our actions, but knowing He does have us in the palm of His hand should be comforting. We try to hold tight control to so much. That stubbornness just gives us more frustration and anxiety. Do we need more of both when times are already nuts? No. We need less.

I received my complimentary copy of Peaceful On Purpose by Joel Osteen from FaithWords in exchange for my honest review that is fully mine. This book was definitely thought provoking and even though the topic is very Christianese, it’s even more relevant for today.

Book Review · Books

The Most Beautiful Disaster

I can’t deny that the berry color on the cover of The Most Beautiful Disaster drew me in. What drew me in even more so, is Hope’s personal story of redemption. Airing one’s dirty laundry in order to help others takes cojones and bravery.

Hope shares her life’s journey through having an affair while being a pastor’s wife and having her own ministry. She shares about the aftermath and all it took for her to gain back redemption. This memoir isn’t an easy read emotionally or spiritually. Hope gives helpful end of chapter sections called: Think About This and Scripture to Meditate On. She doesn’t merely share her very deeply raw story, but gives guidance on how we are raised helps mold how we handle future relationships.

What I love most about Hope’s memoir is how she encourages us, no matter what life has thrown at us, by our own choices aka consequences that we can lift out of our dark mire through taking it to God, asking for forgiveness and starting fresh. Life doesn’t have to be crappy. Even if it currently is we can work through it and clean it off.

I received my complimentary copy of The Most Beautiful Disaster by Hope Carpenter from Faith Words. The views are mine and my own choice. This memoir I think would make a great women’s Bible study read. I think it’s a topic that is taboo and kept hush unless the media gets wind of it, if you are a big name. None of us are ‘arrived’ and I think it would help women to see they aren’t alone.

Book Review · Books

How To Age Without Getting Old

I’m generally in the middle age era of my life and it feels like it arrived in the blink of an eye. One moment I was in grade school, next dealing with the dramas of high and next thing I know I’m feeling old. Funny thing is I don’t look my age thanks to not wearing much makeup and not being a fan of sunbathing. Needless to say reading a book about aging without getting old sounds just right for me.

In Joyce Meyer’s newest upcoming book she delves into the topic of aging and the ways in which she’s come to terms with getting older. She provides stories from her own life and offers Biblical encouragement. At the end of each chapter is a quote by an anonymous person on wisdom they want to offer.

I may be considered too young for this particular title, but actually I think I’m just right for it, or gasp a little behind on needing it. This book makes you think over your life and the choices you’ve made and are making. This book helps encourage me to want to live a long life. That’s why I love talking with elderly people. They offer wisdom from living a long full life.

I received my complimentary copy of How To Age Without Getting Old by Joyce Meyer from Faith Words. The views are my own and my choice. If you are a fan of Joyce Meyer or are just hearing about her I highly recommend this little volume.

Personal

Ambush Evangelism

I was excited to have a Bible study with a new friend. What I encountered was a tag team spiritual ambush. I explained that I was raised in the church and am a believer. I was asked to share what things, sins are blocking me from my walk with Jesus. If I just met you I’m not going to bare my soul right out of the gate. Then I was asked if I could study the next day. I explained I have plans and tried for next week. Well that didn’t go over well. There are others committed and they wouldn’t want to give up a spot if I’m not committed. I felt as though I was chatting with Jehovah Witnesses and they were nondenominational Christians.

You meant well. You saw it as an opportunity to share which scripture meant to you and why, but instead the study made me want to throw up afterwards. If you are trying to make disciples I’d wager you just may be scaring away lapsed believers. I know you don’t sugarcoat what the Bible says, but after that experience I don’t trust you to study with you again. When I think of a Bible study I think of it being an open discussion about the scripture, not an interrogation thrown at me. Also, having the new person read the verses? I’m not opposed to reading it, but to me that puts a lot of pressure on the new person.

I feel used. Faith is personal. It’s something deep. I feel brow beaten this morning. I still would love a Christian Kindred Spirit, but that incident has put a sour taste in my mouth.

Book Review · Books

Get Out Of Your Head

Do you live in your head? I sure do. I’m a dreamer, worrier and the hamster is constantly doing laps in his cage. Sometimes I have to tell my mind to, “Shut up,” because it won’t be quiet. It’s exhausting. How can I tackle this? Enter in the book Get Out Of My Head.

The author, Jennie Allen is personable and forthright about her own journey to get out of her own head, to learn how to have a choice in the thoughts you think. She provides ways we can take our thoughts captive to Jesus versus allowing them to control our lives.

What we believe shapes our thinking and how we react to our life. One thing Jennie shares that hits home is one thing: “I have a choice.” It sounds simple, but I think may be a tad more challenging to remember every time we have a thought. We have a choice in how we will choose to react to the thought, or even if we’ll accept the thought we are having.

As a believer Jennie shares how we can take our thought captive to Jesus. Satan wants to keep our mind muddled, to keep us enslaved. The more mental distractions we can have the more we have trouble battling our thoughts.

I know the idea of having silence is unheard of. We constantly are bombarded with visual and audible distractions clamoring for our attention. Sitting in full quiet is not popular because then we’ll actually hear our inner thoughts, we just might be convicted if we get quiet. We just may hear God speak within our being silent.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Get Out Of My Head by Jennie Allen from Waterbrook/Multnomah, care of NetGalley. The views are mine and of my own will. This book is helpful, convicting and educational. In a world filled with anxiety being on the rise I’d highly recommend it. Even if you aren’t a Christian there are still helpful things you can glean from reading Jennie’s book.

Book Review · Books

Awful Beautiful Life

I just finished the last page. Becky Powell’s memoir is memorizing in its crushing, Hellish storyline. Honestly I’m shocked her faith held out through her whole ordeal. That’s how faithful God is. I can’t fathom having a spouse, or family member chose suicide. Just that mere tragedy alone is mental breakdown territory, but Becky’s faith surged on day one after her husband, Mark’s passing. She started her day off reading her Bible. Heck I would be too, mixed between sobbing hard or raging to be able to sit and read the Bible. I’d most likely be mad at God. I’m sure Becky struggled with that, but she pressed on in trusting Him when the average person would be like, “Not now.”

Not only did Becky deal with the passing of her spouse and best friend, but she had to solider on to muddle through the financial scandal her husband left her with. This is a whole can of worms topic. So many marriages have the traditional role of the husband strictly handling the finances while the wife takes care of the home and children. I vote for wives to be fully aware of and involved when it comes to their team finances.

I’m still mentally and emotionally processing this memoir. It was so intense, powerful, and such a testament to how life can turn crappy, but God is still there along side you.

I received my complimentary copy of Awful Beautiful Life by Becky Powell with Katherine Reay from Faith Words. The views are mine and of my own choice. Thank you Faith Words, Hatchett Book Group for the opportunity to read such a beautiful book. It’s going to be a while before I’ll be able to come back to earth once this book hangover subsides.

Book Review · Books

Dare To See

This book cover does not do the meat of this book justice. Dare To See is a collection of vignettes from Katie’s life and how God has changed her life. Each chapter is unique and covers different subjects from fitting in at school growing up, to being single and buying your own home, to going through the journey of adoption. Katie writes in such a way you feel as though she’s your best friend sharing with you.

If you are new on your Christian walk, a seasoned believer, or wondering what it all means this is a great book to pick out. Katie shares her faith through the different life stories she shares and doesn’t dumb it down, or go over your head. I found each chapter relatable to my own life and things I have gone through. I am at an interesting place in my faith. This book wasn’t Christianese in verbiage, which could have been triggering for me, so I’d even recommend it to those burnt by the church. This book is actually spiritually comforting.

I received my complimentary copy of Dare To See by Katie Brown from Faith Words. The views are mine and of my own will. I don’t have TV (shocking!), so I have never heard of Katie Brown and her TV show, but this woman of faith is the real deal. She is not showy, fake, but genuine in her love for God and her faith story is relatable. I have read a lot of Christian Living books and this one is a new favorite of mine. I look forward to reading more books by Katie.