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.

Books

The Confident Woman Journal

Who doesn’t love a beautiful journal? I sure do and am a sucker for journals from Tuesday Morning or Ross. When I got asked if I’d like to review a journal and Joyce Meyer was involved I couldn’t say, “Yes, please, ” fast enough. This journal has pretty colored pages with blues, greens and pinks. Joyce Meyer imparts different messages on each page; topics ranging from faith, fear, confidence, trust, the Holy Spirit and Christ.

I think this journal would make a wonderful prayer journal, to write out your prayers to God. It’s a slim volume, so you don’t have to feel intimidated by it being too thick.

I received this complimentary journal from Faith Words. The views expressed are mine and my choice. Be sure to grab a copy this spring. This journal would make a lovely Easter or birthday gift for a friend, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, etc.

Book Review · Books

Questions Of Perspective

Dave is an attorney who works at befriending his colleague John. The two become great friends. One day John doesn’t come to work for a few days without any warning or preamble. Dave is concerned so he offers to go check on John. When he arrives at John’s place his landlord acts drunkenly surprised that his tenant is MIA. He allows Dave to go into John’s appointment to see if he’s home, but there is no one there. The only inhabitant is his cat, Peaches. Since Dave feels bad for the cat he asks the landlord if he can watch over Peaches till John is found. The landlord seems fine with that.

Dave tries to locate John, but can’t. He’s utterly disappeared. After a year goes by Dave is out briefly during his work lunch break and bumps into John. Understandably he’s furious that John just abandoned his job and cat. What John shares briefly with Dave is what it’s like to be God and know/see everything. Dave in confounded. John explains that he, himself have become God. Dave is skeptical, but the glimpse John allowed Dave to have changed Dave. Living a mundane existence didn’t cut it any longer, so Dave decides to change his life. Journey with Dave as he processes what it’s like to have his friend become divine and how he works to answer the questions John/God pose to Dave.

This novel was outside the box. We have enough challenges with the Western view of God, but what if one of your closest friends became God and then life started not going as you planned? What if God wouldn’t answer your prayer? The characters are memorable. I like how Peaches goes on hikes with Dave, leash free.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Questions Of Perspective by Daniel Maunz from Black Rose Writing, care of TLC Book Tours and the author. The views are mine and my choice.

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

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

In The Neighborhood Of True

Ruth Rob moves to Atlanta from New York after her father passes. Living with her grandparents, along with her mom and sister is different. Her grandparents are well off and into social status. Ruth is plain Jane, but wants to fit into the new social circle she’s trust into at her new private school. Her mom is not wanting her daughter to get into the whole debutante scene that she ran away from herself. She wants her daughter to keep her independent self intact, not become a fufu sheep.

Ruth has her own secret she holds to her heart. Her Jewish faith. When Ruth decides she wants to participate in the social ball her mom makes her agree to going to the local Temple with her. There Ruth meets Max. He’s a tad quirky, but he’s not Ruth’s crush, Davis whose part of the fufu crowd at school. Both teen boys vey for her attention.

Diving into life in Atlanta in the late 50’s is fraught with social clashes between Jews, whites and blacks. When an awful event happens, Ruth has to determine which teen boy is worthy of her. Is Davis all true charm? Is Max just nerdy, or is there more depth to him? Will Ruth ever come clean about her own beliefs?

This novel delves into the ugly topic of racism in the south in the 50’s. This book’s description of this era is spot on. Written charmingly, details so accurate I want to put on bright classy red lipstick and a cute skirt with a cardigan. There are details in this novel I wanted to jump up to Google because it sounded so unique I wondered if it was truly something from that era.

I received my complimentary digital copy of In The Neighborhood Of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton from Algonquin Books, Care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and my own choice. This book is hard to put down. It handles the topics within it honestly, raw and with grace. I hope the author will choose to write a sequel.

Books

The Depth Of Six Feet Under (SPOILERS)

Last night I pretty much finished my fourth round of watching Six Feet Under all the way through. Each time I do a different character stands out to me. This round didn’t disappoint.

If you haven’t ever watched this highly popular HBO drama, then you are missing out. The only warning I have is there is a hearty dose of colorful language, nudity, violence and of course different death scenes at the start of every episode. If you find funeral homes fascinating, then do proceed.

A quirky family that owns a funeral home in Los Angeles. You’ve got the three offspring. One is following in their father’s footsteps (David), the elder son who escaped before getting sucked into the family business (Nate) and the youngest, Claire whose moody, artistic and still in high school. Their mother, Ruth is a repressed woman who secretly is having an affair with her hairdresser. Their father, Nathaniel, Sr. is engrossed in his family business with occasional time with his kids. When the father is in a fatal accident his sons have some big choices to make. It doesn’t help that it happens on Christmas Eve.

This show delves into the psyche of the different characters. This fourth watch had me change my angelic like view of Nate and how the character Brenda gets royally screwed over ultimately after she worked through her own issues, to focus on staying true and present with Nate and his young daughter, Maya. I saw the realistic representation of a person off their antidepressant medication through Billy’s character. Seeing Ruth’s character blossom after she grieves her husband’s passing is epic. Not only does she deal with deep grief, but menopause. David’s character is very adolescent like at the start when he’s still coming out to himself and learning his self worth and confidence. I still can’t say I’m a fan of Keith. Claire is one of my favorite characters. She’s moody, but how she comes into her own throughout the show is inspiring.

This time around the character that stood out to me most is Brenda. She’s a complex character whose always been thrown into the motherly role with her brother since her academic parents are too, obsessed with their clinical work. Billy is a ball of ranging emotions he helps curb with medication and having Brenda at his beck and call. When Brenda attempts to create her own life without Billy being front and center it doesn’t go over well. Brenda loves Nate, but commitment feels foreign and scary, so she acts out different fantasies. After a turn of events she chooses Nate and they marry, but sadly things aren’t as they seem.

This show deals with topics that are very adult. The subject of death is the central theme with other topics that range from suicide, marriage, divorce, domestic abuse, mental illness, coming out, children and more. I don’t know why I love this show so much. It never fails that anytime I hear the end finale song I’ll bawl my eyes out. I think I love how deep each character is in their own weird, twisted way. This show can be challenging to stomach at times, but to me the end result shows just how important family relationships are and that dynamic can be varied.