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.

Books

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. 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. RHE you are leaving quite the legacy. Thank you for writing your heart out, being honest with your own faith journey.

Book Review · Books

The Very Worst Missionary

If you love reading Sarah Bessey, Elizabeth Esther and Nadia Boltz-Weber’s memoirs on their outside the box Christian walks, then you’ll adore Jamie Wright’s memoir: The Very Worst Missionary. If you don’t squirm at the occasional colorful language then you’ll feel right at home reading Jamie’s account of her family’s fore into being Christian missionaries in Costa Rica. Jamie holds back nothing in her candid account of what it’s like to go spread the good news in a country already filled with Catholics.

Jamie is honest in sharing how she came to faith as an adult, having been brought up Jewish and how she met her high school boyfriend who later becomes her husband. Having grown up a PK I don’t know what it’d be like to discover Christianity as an adult with little kids, but I think she describes how easy it is to slip into the stereotypical suburban Christian mom role. The only problem is that Jamie can’t sit quietly and pretend to agree on everything. Jamie talks about what it’s like to move to a foreign country with little kids and the challenges of feeling at home in a new place.

This memoir spoke to me. I’ve gone on short term mission trips as a little kid to Mexico. Jamie brings up so many important points when it comes to the question of if having all the American Christians come swooping in to save and help the poor if it is truly helping, or merely enabling a reason for a country to not have to improve because foreigners will come in to give free aid. The other points she makes are thought provoking. It’s great to help others, but do we really have to travel to foreign countries if we have our own countrymen who are in need?

I received a complimentary digital copy of The Very Worst Missionary by Jamie Wright from NetGalley. The views expressed are my own. This memoir is hilarious. I laughed, snorted, cried, giggled and wanted to shout, “Amen!” in agreement through so much of this book. One of my favorite parts of this memoir is the introduction of Knife. Best black cat name ever. I’m still shocked to hear a believer swear, but I’m not innocent in my use of language either. Sometimes a little flavor drives the point home, not to mention those parts made it even funnier. Needless to say I love snarky humor. Even snarky humor aimed at Evangelicals. I used to be one, but my faith has been somewhat of a chameleon.

Book Review · Books

Becoming Starlight

Do you ever have a book that just slaps you wide awake spiritually when you are least expecting it? Becoming Starlight did just that for me. I fell in love with the cover first. My favorite colors are blue and purple, so my eyes naturally were drawn to it, to find out what it was about.

I’ve only read a few books on NDE and had never heard of SDE (side death experience). An SDE is where a loved one experiences death alongside the person whose passing, where they go out of their body and go along with the person whose passed away, but only to a certain point, then the person experiencing the SDE returns back to their body in the physical realm. This memoir of this women’s SDE experience took me on the spiritual ride of my life.

Mrs. Prentice talks about how she met her husband, Steve and how her first introduction with death was the passing of their daughter, Stephanie. Her description of grief that deep and raw is palpable. Mrs. Prentice discusses how in that deep of grief she tuns out everything, but her anger and rage at God for not saving Stephanie. If you’ve ever been furious with God you’ll be able to relate to her pure hatred.

This would not be Mrs. Prentice’s only reason to be angry at God. Steve gets sick and the doctors for the longest time can’t figure out what’s wrong.

This is Mrs. Prentice’s memoir of dealing with her anger, rage and hate at God for what He throws at her. She keeps her emotions stuffed down until the moment she doesn’t want to have to ever experience. Steve passes. Her anguish unleashes in the hospital where she has an SDE, supernatural experience. This experience throws her for a loop and is outside her traditional Christian comfort zone. What Mrs. Prentice experiences is life changing.

This book was eye opening for me. The things that the author experienced and shares just clicked with me. I had a few, “Ah ha,” moments and I highlighted a lot. I definitely want to buy a physical copy, so that I can highlight and make notes. I don’t know how I’d react if I got to go alongside a loved one whose died and see them after the fact. It would be comforting to see they are still alive in some form you recognize them in, but still a unique experience.

If you are needing a book to think outside the traditional Christian box then this book is the perfect read for you. Did the author’s experience rekindle her faith? Have you ever had a night of The soul experience? Do you ever question what you were taught about God? Have you had an NDE or SDE experience? Read this book to find out more.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Becoming Starlight by Sharon Prentice Prentice from Waterside Press, care of NetGalley. The reviews expressed here are mine only. This book is one you are going to want to highlight, dog ear (gasp), get coffee stains on from reading it multiple times, etc.

Book Review · Books

Healing The Soul Of A Woman

Do you have a lot of past wounds whether they be emotional, physical, spiritual, intellectual? If so, you aren’t alone. Joyce Meyer’s recent release handles this topic in depth. The cover of this book is of a beautiful rose in bloom. It’s vibrant in color and perfection. A woman is a like a flower in that she can only bloom when she feels safe, cherished and loved.

Joyce has her own stories of past abuse that she survived and this helped spur her on to want to help other women. This book is her reaching out, to give you the spiritual tools to aid in your healing. Joyce covers topics like confidence, codependency, creating healthy boundaries, liking who you are, and more. She also, covers topics about faith, God, the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and how God wants to heal wounds so we can be free.

This book may not be long, but the meat on the inside is rich with flavor. Each topic may not always be easy to stomach (conviction anyone?), but I think this book will help you start on your journey to healing.

I received a complimentary copy of Healing The Soul Of A Woman by Joyce Meyer from Faith Words. I am a fan of Joyce Meyer. She doesn’t hold back truth even if it comes across harsh. She is very frank and she has no qualms in telling it like it is. Usually this quality is a turn off for me, but Joyce does it in a firm, loving manner. If my grandma had been a preacher then she would have been a lot like Joyce.

Book Review · Books

The Sparkle Effect

Even though I’m more of a tomboy than a girlie girl the title of The Sparkle Effect captured my attention. This book has a cute name, but the contents are a spiritual powerhouse of a wake up call to your soul. This book is not a fast read. You can try to read through it quickly, but it begs to be savored and respected. Kristen writes from the heart with stories from her personal Christian walk, the struggles and triumphs she’s faced, as well as a prayer at the end of each chapter along with applicable Bible verses.

I enjoyed reading Kristen’s book. Some of it I honestly found a little schmaltzy in its Christianese language, but I also, think this book is meant to be reread multiple times. There are spiritual diamonds inside and only one reading scratches the surface.

Kristen is the epitome of gorgeous. She brings to mind a childhood friend of mine I always thought of as having it all together: beauty, brains, a perfect life. I know that’s a lie and no one has a perfect life. I like that Kristen is forthright in how her life truly is.

If you need a book that will inspire and humble you then this book will rock your world. This book is geared for women. I wonder what countless Christian young ladies lives would be like if they were gifted Kristen’s book at the start of high school or college?

I received a complimentary copy of The Sparkle Effect by Kristen Dalton Wolfe from Faith Words. The views expressed are only mine. Thank you Kristen for being an open book, to shine a light for those who need a light to help guide them on their Christian walk.