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

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.