Book Review · Books

The Miracle Collectors

Do you believe in miracles? The authors Joan and Katie do. Both had life altering events happen in their lives that made them believers. Once they believed they wanted to explore the topic of miracles all over the country with no holds barred regarding religion or culture. What they discovered on their exploration is that miracles don’t favor. Each chapter offers different miracle stories they’ve been told. Some range on believable while others might take a lot of faith to comprehend.

I, myself believe in miracles. Being the result of one is humbling and yet in a way a bit of a burden of sorts. Your miracle is always connected with you like an umbilical cord. It’s always part of an intro when you are being introduced to someone new. It’s sort of like an invisible birthmark of sorts. You can never run away from your own miracle story. Coming to terms with it is something that both Joan and Katie share.

I received my complimentary copy of The Miracle Collectors by Joan Luise Hall and Katie Mahon from Faith Words. The views are mine and my own choice. This book is inspiring. I was thinking it was going to be from a strictly Christian perspective, but since the authors wanted to hear from a wide range of beliefs there is a variety pack of sorts on the faith spectrum. If you need a boost of inspiration I recommend this book of wonder. See if your mind can be changed about the reality of miracles. What’s your own miracle story? If you feel comfortable feel free to share in the comments below.

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

Affirming

Sally was raised in a Christian church that adamantly believed being gay was a sin and not what God wants. She was devout in her faith and loved her church. She was raised in a strong Christian home where her parents and grandparents showed and reflected their faith to her through how they lived their lives. The challenge came when she noticed she didn’t like boys in the same way her girl friends did. Instead she got crushes on girls. This quandary bugged Sally because she wanted to the do the right thing. She tried, prayed and begged God to change her desires. Nothing worked. When Sally encounters believers who have a different view of monogamous gay relationships between believers what she has tried to believe is challenged. Follow Sally as she goes on a faith journey to figure out just what exactly God wants.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Affirming by Sally Gary from William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. This memoir I couldn’t put down. Sally is candid and not preachy, but kindly shares her faith throughout. She talks about how not only how her church helped shape who she is, but the impact her family had on her with how they showed love to others through their hospitality. I can relate to Sally when it comes to always having different people coming over for dinner or staying with your family for months at a time when you are growing up. Flexibility and patience is key. I think this is an excellent book to help open up an important discussion within the church. If you have read God And The Gay Christian or Torn, then you’ll want to add Affirming to your Christian LGBTQA library collection.

Book Review · Books

The Grown Woman’s Guide To Online Dating

Dating in this day and age is plain weird. If you are a Christian woman wading through the different dating apps out there, trying to figure out how do they work, are there any good men left, then this short book may be just right for you. If you aren’t straight, then this book isn’t written for you in mind, but the different nuggets within this book’s pages just may help you as well (just substitute gender, etc.).

The author goes through the joys, pitfalls and lessons she’s learned through online dating. Each section tackles a different topic. If you aren’t sure how to compose a profile, then Miss Starbuck will give you examples and also, provide examples of things not to put in your profile. She does interject some faith points throughout her book and quotes by different people. The author also, tackles ways to detect fake profiles and how to be savvy with friend zoning dates that don’t make the potential forever cut.

I was expecting this book to be more heavy on the faith aspect, but honestly it was more faith light. One of the quotes given at the start of a chapter was by Marianne Williamson, which surprised me since she promotes A Course In Miracles. But I know a lot of believers are more progressive than traditional. I can relate to that.

I received my complimentary copy of The Grown Woman’s Guide To Online Dating by Margot Starbuck from Thomas Nelson, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and my own choice.

Book Review · Books

Breathe Again

The death of a child is a road we don’t wish our worst enemy to have to travel down. Stacy Henagan takes our hand and walks us through this personal Hell. A beautiful daughter almost 1 years old. Cancer. Praying for a miracle, believing for healing and then that road you don’t want to go down, but are dragged down it kicking and screaming? Yes, Stacy has soldiered that painful road.

Stacy’s memoir of dealing with grief is no holds bared. It’s the kind that scrapes your heart so raw you don’t know if God will be able to heal it. She gives us that honest look at how her own faith morphed and changed. Stacy is a gracious host who shows us that even though that road beats you up, you can get through to the end and come out stronger.

Would your faith survive something like this? I, personally have no children of my own, but disease isn’t a prospector of persons. Tragedy touches us all at some point and we have to decide if we are going to weather our spiritual storm?

I received my complimentary digital copy of Breathe Again by Stacy Henagan from Thomas Nelson and Emanate Books, care of NetGalley and TLC Book Tours. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. Grab a stunning copy off of Amazon. Thank you Stacy for sharing your daughter’s story and your faith journey through weathering your own personal storm.

Book Review · Books

Those Who Prey

College is a time for freedom, to discover yourself, enjoy dorm life and take the classes that interest you. Emily was thrilled to go away to Boston, away from her home in the south. Dorm life wasn’t the greatest. College life was lonely, until a cute guy interpreted her reading at the local coffee shop.

Josh invites her to hang out with his friends Heather and Andrew. Emily is excited to meet new people and make new friends. Heather seems very nice and that she wants to become genuine friends. Emily gets invited to an event where she gets a glimpse into the group that her new friends are involved in. Heather isn’t religious, but hearing one of the leader’s speak she is transfixed. Who doesn’t want improve their life, to discover their spirituality?

Heather is Emily’s mentor of sorts and as Emily goes through the process of learning and growing it seems Heather becomes even more controlling. Emily brushes off the caution in her gut. Heather wants the best for her, right?

When an internship spot opens up through the group Emily wants to go since Josh is going. The only challenge is that Heather wants to go. Which of them will get picked?

I received my digital complimentary copy of Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett from Simon and Schuster’s Children’s Publishing, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and of my own will. This book will make a great conversation piece. This novel is a cautionary tale of sorts and an important one. I’m still processing my reaction.

Book Review · Books

Groomed

You don’t have to be trafficked to have been groomed. We all have people in our lives who have groomed us into who we’ve become. There are different types of ways to be groomed: for appearance, to be invisible, to endure, for judgement and for financial fear.

Being groomed for appearance is to look good for a particular person in your life. Maybe someone whose in a role of authority within society. This individual cares more about how your appearance comes across to others more then your thoughts, or feelings. They want you to make them look good. It’s their reputation on the line.

To be invisible is where you are the ultimate helper, don’t like being in the limelight and abhor conflict so you don’t stand up for yourself. This one spoke volumes to me personally. Your groomer’s goal is to keep you from speaking up, keep you helping.

To endure is where you compromise over and over with your groomer. You don’t stand up, similar to the woman whose made invisible by her groomer. You feel swamped with too, much on your plate, but you don’t stand up.

For judgement is where you can never seem to please your groomer. who ever that may be in your life. If every time you share something the other person finds fault with it, or constantly judges you on your decisions.

For financial fear is where your groomer keeps you dependent on them financially. This is where you are at the mercy of the groomer, not allowed to manage your own finances.

Author, Elizabeth talks about what lead her to creating a nonprofit to help girls recover from sex trafficking and she can’t to terms with all she went through growing up. By providing these different examples of how people can be groomed munis the violated part, she shows can how we can be molded in ways we don’t even realize.

I received my complimentary copy of Groomed by Elizabeth Melendez Fisher Good from W Publishing Group, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. This book is short, but packs an important emotional punch. I think it’s a must read for all women.

Personal

Faith Wrestling

I was raided Christian. I’ve always felt different from others, like an outsider looking in. My mom mentioned to me once that while I was in the NICU she prayed the Holy Spirit would cover/protect me, hence the otherworldly sense I’ve had since I was little. It feels like being set apart, sealed as a believer before consciously coming to faith, converting, etc.

Fast forward decades. I am an adult and have gone through a bad church experience. I haven’t attended consistently since 2009. Yep, 10 years outside the box. It’s interesting stepping outside the Christianese world and glancing in. It’s like looking back at high school and remembering what was popular back then, recalling what you were like back in the day.

Honestly, I don’t know if I can return and trust the church again. My heart would love to, I miss the community aspect, but trusting other believers is a challenge. I haven’t read my Bible in a few years. Maybe I just need to take a step back, away from the verbiage that’s a first language to me.

I want to start from scratch. I still believe in God. I feel like part of the challenge is that Christiandom idolizes the Bible. God is bigger than the Bible, or any other book considered holy. I’ve also, wondered why other books that had been considered part of the cannon were removed, like the book of Enoch that connects the dots on so much. Is it a case of keeping non-clergy in the dark?

I’m still triggered by worship music. It’s sad because I have so many songs I love, but it’s just too, painful to hear them.

Do you struggle in a similar way? If so, feel free to comment or email me.

Personal

RIP RHE

I’m sitting here in shock. We think we are invincible until reality slaps us in the face. An author I admire, whose books helped me know that questions within Christianity are ok has passed this morning. I still remember reading the originally titled Evolving In Monkey Town and how thought provoking it was to read about a believer who understood the need to revisit what you’ve been raised to believe and to carve out your own faith apart from your parent’s faith. She was only sick in the hospital for 2 weeks. Such a short time.

I can’t fathom He took her home. RHE was young with a husband and little kids. She still has books I’m sure she was intending to write. You never plan to go home early (spiritually speaking). I can’t imagine the pure guttural grief her family and close friends going through. I know so many readers out there were praying for her to recover.

This passing is going to take time to process. I didn’t know RHE personally, but her books are such a gift to those who struggle with their faith, church and Christianity in general. Rachel’s books lead me to read Elizabeth Esther’s book, Girl At The End Of The World and Sarah Bessey’s book, Jesus Feminist. RHE you are leaving quite the legacy. Thank you for writing your heart out, being honest with your own faith journey.