Review of “Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve” by Ken Shigematsu

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*****This post was originally created for and posted on my other blog – Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy.

As a person who loves to read, I enjoy having the opportunity to help authors by being part of their book launch teams.  I recently had the opportunity to participate in the book launch team for Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve by Ken Shigematsu.  I have to say this book lived up to my expectations.

Ken Shigematsu is the senior pastor of the Tenth Church in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Prior to entering the ministry, he worked for the Sony Corporation in Tokyo, Japan.  His grueling work schedule at Sony caused him to investigate personal disciplines to help bring order to his life from those of his samurai ancestors to St. Benedict’s rule Christian communities.

Survival Guide for the Soul: How to Flourish Spiritually in a World that Pressures Us to Achieve is Ken’s second book.  His first book, God in My Everything: How an Ancient Rhythm Helps Busy People Enjoy God was published in 2013.  This latest book examines what prevents us from flourishing in our spiritual lives in order to accomplish more in the eyes of society.

I love how he discusses the  Striving Adam versus the Soulful Adam – referring back to Adam of Adam and Eve.  The Striving Adam is that part of us that wants to accomplish more and more.  It is the part of us that is driven to accomplish lofty dreams and ambitions regardless of what it might cost.  The Soulful Adam is that part of us that desires a connection to God and wants to draw closer to Him.

Ken Shigematsu draws on a variety of sources including Scripture, church history, psychology, and neuroscience, as well as a rich variety of stories from his own life in order to demonstrate how the gospel redeems our desires and reorders our lives.

This book is perfect for anyone who desires a closer walk and relationship with God, especially in the midst of the pressures of daily living.

One of my favorite quotes from the book is found on page 49 of the book:

Spiritual exercises attune us

This book truly captured my attention and kept me focused on the message.  I wanted to read more.  This book truly caused me to think about the ramifications of a driven life versus a life lived at drawing closer to Jesus Christ and God.  The message is clear.  The style is engaging.  The words are powerful.  So if you are looking for a book about how to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ is the midst of a world that believes power and success in the workplace are more important, this is the book for you.  I definitely recommend you check it out for yourself.

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Review of “Always Enough, Never Too Much”

 

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Note:  This post is also appearing on my blog “Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy” as well.

 

BOOK DETAILS:

We’ve all been there. We know that sneaking, small voice in our heads all too well—you’re too loud. Too quiet. Too young. Too old. Too unimportant. Too ugly. Too silly. Too serious. You’re not as successful as she is—look at her perfect family, look at her high-powered job, look at her great hair and size 4 skinny jeans. Why can’t you be more like her—be more in general? Why do you expect so much from everyone? Why can’t you take up less space? Ask for less? Be less? The lies track well-worn paths in our minds and our hearts, wearing us down and making us question our role in God’s kingdom.

Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan, bestselling authors of Wild and Free will help you replace those lies with God’s truth. This devotional flip-book is designed for you, the woman who feels like she can be both too much and not enough—sometimes in the same day. When you banish lies and insecurities and find your identity in Jesus, you can embrace these truths: You are always enough. You are never too much.

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MY REVIEW:

This hardback flip book contains 100 devotions. With the book facing one way, you can read devotionals based on the idea of “Always Enough”. Flip the book over and you can read devotionals about “Never Too Much”. There are fifty devotionals for each half of the book.

The devotionals for “Always Enough” address the idea of not comparing ourselves to others and to “start living wild and free” according to the opening of the book. Each devotional includes a passage of Scripture and then a relatively short devotional passage that ties into the Scripture.

Then on the flip side of the book is for “Never Too Much”. Again, each devotional has a passage of Scripture and then a short passage that relates to the Scripture and to real life.

I personally love devotionals like this. It does not have to be read daily or chronologically. I can just pick it up and read it whenever the mood strikes me or I need to deal with the topics covered by the book.

I love how the book clearly lets the reader know which one of the authors wrote each devotional. As someone who has questioned my worth of whether I am enough for God or not, I found this book touched my heart. The devotional entitled, “Even When You Don’t Have Enough Friends” by Hayley really spoke to me. Growing up, our family constantly moved from either one house to another or from one state to another. This made finding and keeping friends difficult. Now as a military wife who has moved three times since 2008 and one of those moves being from Pennsylvania to Texas, I can say this devotion was one I really needed to read. I love how the related Scripture passage is Proverbs 18:24.

Here are some photographs of some of my favorite devotions.

And some more photographs:

If you woulld like the opporunity to win a copy of Always Enough, Never Too Much, click here or on the gaphic below.

Win 1 of 5 Copies of God Loves Mommy & Me

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Review of the film “Paul, Apostle of Christ” and a Giveaway

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About the Film:

Paul (Faulkner), who goes from the most infamous persecutor of Christians to Christ’s most influential apostle, is spending his last days in a dark and bleak prison cell awaiting execution by Emperor Nero. Luke(Caviezel), his friend and physician, risks his life when he ventures into Rome to visit him. Paul is under the watchful eye of Mauritius (Martinez), the prison’s prefect, who seeks to understand how this broken old man can pose such a threat. But before Paul’s death sentence can be enacted, Luke resolves to write another book, one that details the beginnings of “The Way” and the birth of what will come to be known as the church. Their faith challenged an empire. But their words changed the world.

WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY:Andrew Hyatt

PRODUCED BY:T.J. Berden and David Zelon

EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS:Eric Groth, Rick Jackson, Harrison Powell and Jim Caviezel

STARRING:Jim Caviezel, James Faulkner, Olivier Martinez, Joanne Whalley and John Lynch

 

My Review:

First, this film was extrememly well-done.  The quality and the acting is incredible.   My husband and I watched this film together.  After watching the film, we both agreed the film starts off a little slow.  But by the end of the film, it really picks up.  I would caution though, you should have a good understanding of the Bible before watching this film.  Otherwise, you may find yourself lost.

Another word of caution, the action becomes hard to follow at times.  If you are not paying attention, you may lose the plot and storyline.  On the other hand, if you know your Bible and especially about the life of Paul, you will find this movie very well-done and true to the writings of Paul.  Many of the words spoken by Paul come directly from the Bible.

This movie is 148 minutes long and is rated PG-13.  I feel this raiting is appropriate given the fact there is some violence in the movie, which reflects actual events depicted in the Bible.  I feel the movie is very well done and follows the Scriptures very well.  The quality of the film is very realistic.  I would defnitely recommend this movie for watching, especially if you have a good knowledge of the writings of Paul.

You can find the movie on Facebook here or on Instagram here or using the hashtag – #PaulMovie

 

Enter here or by clicking the banner below for your chance to win a copy of this film.

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CelebrateLit Book Review for Minding the Light

My Review:

I love reading books that involve history and Minding the Light did not disappoint.  This is the second book in the Nantucket Legacy Book series.  I admit Minding the Light is my first time with this series.  For the most part Suzanne Woods Fisher kept me interested from the moment I started reading.  Now if you are someone who does not like reading language common to the period, this may not be the book for you.  The main characters draw you into their lives and all that is going on with them.

Captain Reynolds Macy represents the quintessential seafaring man who also loves his family and wants the best for them.  He returns to Nantucket after a six year absence searching for whale oil.  Daphne Coffin is Captain Macy’s sister-in-law and is a strong-minded woman who is dedicated to her sister and her family.

Unfortunately, Daphne’s sister dies early in the story and the rest of the book examines the trials, tests and adventures that Daphne, her nephew and niece and Captain Macy endure.  Two characters did not intrigue or inspire me – Captain Macy’s cousin, partner, and best friend – Tristan, along with Daphne’s mother illustrate the worst part of human nature including greed, hatefulness and a need to destroy all that is good.

Suzanne Woods Fisher does an excellent job of integrating the racial tensions and issues that resulted during the time including slavery and what life was like for Quakers.  She also did an excellent job laying the foundation for the story by interweaving a story from an earlier time that is retold as Daphne reads the journal of a relative.

Daphne also strives to help Reynolds return to his Quaker roots and truly “mind the light” by finidng solace and strength in God’s love.  If you want to read a remarkable book that intertwines history, drama, love, mystery and more, check this book out for yourself.

About the Book

 

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Book Title: Minding the Light

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Genre: Historical Romance

Release date: July 3, 2018

Six long years ago, Captain Reynolds Macy sailed away from his bride, looking forward to the day when he would return to Nantucket Island with a ship’s hold full of whale oil. But when that momentous day finally arrives, Ren soon discovers that everything has changed in his absence. Everything. “Is nothing on this island as it appears to be?” he whispers in despair.

Unlike most islanders, bold and spirited Daphne Coffin doesn’t defer to Ren as an authoritative whalemaster, but sees through his aloofness to the aching heart beneath. She encourages him to return to his Quaker roots and “mind the Light,” finding solace in God and community. As Ren becomes the man she believes him to be–honorable, wise, faithful–she finds herself falling in love with him.

But how can she, when her heart is spoken for? Tristram Macy is Ren’s business partner, cousin, and best friend–and Daphne’s fiancé. Love always comes at a cost, but when is the price too high?

Suzanne Woods Fisher welcomes readers back to the Quaker community on Nantucket Island for this riveting love story, full of unexpected moments.

Click here to purchase your copy!

About the Author

Carol-award winner Suzanne Woods Fisher writes untold stories about inspiring people. With over one million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the bestselling author of fiction and non-fiction, ranging from Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World to the historical novel Anna’s Crossing.

Guest Post from Suzanne

8 Curious Facts you Probably Didn’t Know about Nantucket Island

This beautiful island, thirty miles off Cape Cod, is steeped in history. Here are just a few interesting reasons to add a visit to Nantucket to your bucket list.

1) During the first half of the nineteenth century, Nantucket was considered to be the wealthiest port in the world…all because of whale oil.

2) Petticoat Row is a 19th century nickname for a portion of Centre Street between Main Street and Broad Street. Many shops on Nantucket were run by women while the men were off to sea in whaling ships for years at a time. Quakerism, with its emphasis on equality, provided working women with community respect, value and esteem. The next time you’re visiting Nantucket, be sure to stop by the Petticoat Row Bakery for a morning glory muffin.

3) The use of laudanum (opium) was described by a visiting French as prevalent among the women of Nantucket. Loyal Nantucketers vehemently denied his claim. However, in the 1980s, construction workers digging to Nantucket’s sewer lines found heaps of opium bottles buried in the ground.

For centuries, laudanum was considered to be not only harmless but beneficial. Its very name in Latin is landare, which means to praise. Other names for it: Mother’s Helper (to sedate children), Sea Calm (for seasickness). It was used for all kinds of ailments, from sleeplessness to menstrual cramps to treatment of chronic pain, and available without prescription up until the twentieth century, when it was found to be highly addictive.

4) Nantucket Cent Schools were a carryover from England and the cost was exactly what the name implied. In New England they were kept by refined, thrifty women who often taught their own or their neighbors’ children until they were old enough to enter schools of a higher grade. I came across a story of a boy whose mother stuck a penny in his mouth each day so that he would remember to pay the teacher.

5) Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville in 1851, was based on a true-life event that occurred in 1820 to the Nantucket whaleship Essex and her crew. You can find out more about this ill-fated voyage if you visit Nantucket’s awesome whaling museum.

6) Speaking of…the whaling museum on Nantucket Island is called the Peter Foulger Whaling Museum. Peter Foulger was one of the early settlers to the island, and could be considered a Renaissance Man: inventor, surveyor, teacher, missionary to the Wampanoag Indians. And his grandson was none other than Benjamin Franklin.

7) Nantucketers were, for the most part, related to each other in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The prosperous island was settled by a small group of families, with less than a dozen surnames: Coffin, Macy, Starbuck, Bunker, Hussey, Gardner, Mayhew, Swain, Barnard, Coleman, Worth, Mitchell. Those names are still common on the island.

8) There’s a good reason those surnames sound familiar to you—many of those early settlers had descendants who started business empires. Recognize these? Macy (retailer) and Folger (coffee).

Blog Stops

Carpe Diem, July 3

Livin Lit, July 3

midnightbookaholic, July 3

The Avid Reader, July 4

Margaret Kazmierczak, July 4

The Power of Words, July 4

A Baker’s Perspective, July 5

Blossoms and Blessings, July 5

A Reader’s Brain, July 5

Just the Write Escape, July 6

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, July 6

Bibliophile Reviews, July 7

Mary Hake, July 7

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, July 7

Texas Book-aholic, July 8

Simple Harvest Reads, July 8 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Janices book reviews, July 9

Captive Dreams Window, July 9

Book by Book, July 9

Back Porch Reads, July 10

Reading Is My SuperPower, July 10

Splashes of Joy, July 10

The Morning Chapter, July 11

Vicky Sluiter, July 11

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, July 11

Among the Reads, July 12

proud to be an autism mom, July 12

Two Points of Interest, July 12

Abbas Prayer Warrior Princess, July 13

Tell Tale Book Reviews, July 13

Blogging With Carol, July 13

Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching, July 14

Maureen’s Musings, July 14

Southern Gal Loves to Read, July 14

Godly Book Reviews, July 15

Inklings and notions, July 15

Bigreadersite, July 15

Connie’s History Classroom , July 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, July 16

Pause for Tales, July 16

Have A Wonderful Day, July 16

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Suzanne is giving away a $10 Starbucks gift card to five winners!!

Be sure to leave a comment on one of the blog stops for 9 extra entries into the giveaway. Click here to enter.

 

Book Review for Erin Odom’s Book “You Can Stay Home with Your Kids”

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I was thrilled to be invited to be on the launch team for this book. I received an advanced copy in exchange for my fair and honest review. Erin Odom’s book gives wonderful advice and tips on how you can stay home with your kids. From ideas to save money to making money, this book covers it all, the conversational nature of the book makes it one worth reading. The practical advice and tone make you feel as though you are sitting around a table with Erin listening to her wonderful advice. It is the perfect follow-up to her book “More Than Just Making It”. This book is definitely worth reading.

Roughly sixteen years ago, I was put in the position of having to stay home with my children because we were pregnant with our fourth child.  I wish this book had been around then.  Her tips are practical and useful.  She does an excellent job of expressing easy to follow steps that will help you stay at home with your children.  As a homeschooling family, we recognize the importance of finances and managing our money and our time wisely.  Erin Odom does an excellent job of giving helpful and useful tips and ideas that suit any family.

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As part of the launch team for her book “More Than Just Making It”, I have to say both books go hand in hand together to show how you can stay at home with your kids while doing more than just making it.  You can check out my review of “More Than Just Making It here.

So check it out for yourself.

Review of For the Kingdom CD/Audio Download

I received a copy of the “FOR YOUR KINGDOM” CD for my fair and honest review,  Higher Vision Church created this audio CD. The church is filled with nearly 3,000 people every Friday night.  This church is 12-years-old and is multigenerational congregation located outside of Los Angeles. The diversity of this church takes center stage on Higher Vision Worship’s debut album, For Your Kingdom” 

The songs range from high-energized songs that lean towards the rock end of the musical spectrum.  On the other end, there are songs that tug at the heart-strings.  I wanted to love this CD and was really looking forward to receiving it.  I found several of the songs were more contemporary than I liked as far as the musical numbers.

The words of all the songs, however, touched my soul and caused me to want to worship God.  The CD contains thirteen songs and takes one hour and eight minutes to listen to in its entirety.  Songs range from 3:41 minutes to 8:29 minutes long.  My favorite songs were “Near the Broken” and “Broke the Chains”.

You can view a music video from the CD at Youtube at the following link on Youtube.  If you like music that ranges from high-energy to heart-tugging, you should check this CD out for yourself.  You can purchase the CD or downloads at the following link, so check it out for yourself.

I wish I could say I loved this CD, but I did not, Too much of the music had more of a rock feel rather than the feeling of worship music. Many songs made me think of a rock concert atmosphere rather than wanting to worship the Lord.

Review of The Prayer Bible

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I received a copy of the pink version of The Prayer Bible for my fair and honest review.  I was very pleased with the product we received.This truly is a Bible designed for children to interact and engage with on their own.  It is designed for children ages 6-10 years old.  Many of these children are able to read on their own and often have a desire to have a Bible designed for them.  The cover seems sturdy and meant for a child’s hands to embrace and tenderly carry with them anywhere they go and especially to take to church.

The Prayer Bible for Children encourages children to develop a heart for prayer and to learn the Bible through the popular ICB translation, a simple translation that children can read and understand.  There are special pages throughout the text highlight some of the most famous and beloved prayers featured in the Bible. For example, Abraham’s prayers to the Lord as well as Jesus praying before his crucifixion and even the way Paul prayed for the churches he planted are all included.  This Bible allows young readers to learn about a God who loves to hear from His children and loves answering prayers. This Bible even includes a pocket with a prayer journal for children to record their own prayers.

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This Bible has many special features.  For example, there are 160 pages of prayer articles throughout the book.  Also, there are 64 four-color pages that feature poem prayers, Scripture prayers, and Questions and Answers to engage the children.  The full-page prayer articles are designed to help children learn how to pray rather than fearing prayer.  It also allows the children to see into the Word how and when God’s people prayed.  The decorative and colorful pages are designed to be kid-friendly and engaging to them.  This Bible also comes with a separate prayer journal with a handy pocket on the back of the Bible so the children can record their own prayers and how God answers those prayers for them.

 

Having both sons and a daughter I love the option of either a pink or blue cover.

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You can download a free sample and get a discount code at this link at Faithgateway.  If you would like to purchase this Bible for yourself, click here for the Pink version and click here for the Blue version.

Also, you can enter a giveaway for this Bible in either the Blue version or the pink version by clicking here.  If you have children in your life, check out this Bible for yourself.

I would love to hear what you think.

 

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Review of “Hello Mornings” by Kat Lee

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I was privileged to be on the launch team for Kat Lee’s book, “hello mornings”.  A year or so ago, I first heard about the website for hello mornings.  I began to participate.  The general principle is to do three simple things first thing every morning.  The three things are to interact with God’s Word, planning your day, along with fitness.  The concept is simple and straight-forward.

When I read about Kat Lee writing a book about creating a morning routine that builds a person up spiritually, physically and gets them hydrated all at once.  I knew I wanted to be part of this book launch team.  I was thrilled to receive a copy to review.  I truly found this to be a book worth reading.  The chapters are easy to read and kept my interest and attention.

So if you are looking for a book to help get you started with a good morning routine (even if you are not a morning person), I recommend this book.

So what are you reading?  I would love to hear from you.

31 Days – Day 1

31 Days of Books and More

Over the past year and a half or so, I have been privileged to be on several different book launch teams.  While almost everyone has been different – certain things remain the same – the friendships made and the amazing authors and team members I have met.

One of my favorite books from this year came from Erin Odom.

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This book gives a realistic look into family, finances and living life in a way that is more than just making it.  During the course of our conversations, the topic of Hurricane Harvey came up.  At this point, the storm was just a tropical storm predicted to come in as a category 1 storm.  Another lady and I both commented on how we did not really have the resources to go anywhere.  Plus, our family had the added trouble of having nowhere really to go.  With the storm coming in the weekend before payday, our options were limited.   However, an amazing lady on the book launch team told both of us we were welcome to come to her home in the central part of the state if we needed somewhere to go.

We used to live in eastern North Carolina, so hurricanes are nothing new to us.  However, in eastern North Carolina we typically “hunkered down” with my husband’s parents usually.  But this time was different, we were buying our supplies and while we were out and about we heard the storm was predicted to come in at least as a category 4 storm.  In the early evening, a friend texted me to ask if we knew our city was under a mandatory evacuation order.  I replied we did not.  So immediately, I contacted the lady on the book launch team who said to bring our family to her home.  We spent the rest of the evening making preparations.

Friday morning, we left the house heading northwest with no idea of what we were going to come home to.  However, we knew we were receiving #kissesfromJesus since we had somewhere to go.  Plus, we were able to find gas to get there along our route and traffic was reasonable.

So “More Than Just Making It” will always hold a special place in my heart.  What book(s) hold a special place in your heart?  I would love to hear from you.

Book Review – “More Than Just Making It”

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I was really thrilled to be a part of the launch team for Erin Odom’s book – “More Than Just Making It”. This is one of those books I picked up and had a hard time putting back down.  This is a down-to-earth, heart-warming book that examines realistically finances, public assistance and more.

I love Erin Odom’s conversational style in the book.  I felt like I was sitting with her in one of her homes while having a real conversation.  This book touched my heart as well as provided inspiration and memories of what our lives where like when our children were younger.

And while I planned on writing today about this book.  I felt like I needed to talk more about my own #kissesfromJesus as a result of being part of this launch team.  About a year and a half ago, we moved from Pennsylvania to Texas thanks to the United States military.  We have no real family to speak of in the state.  So when Hurricane Harvey decided to come calling, we were in a dilemma about where to evacuate to for the storm.

Initially, we planned on hunkering down in our home.  But when the storm was upgraded to making landfall as a Category 3 “or higher”, I knew we needed to find somewhere to evacuate to for safety.  Somehow the topic of the storm came up on the book launch Facebook page.  A generous lady offered to open her home to our family in the event we needed to evacuate.  I filed the information away for future consideration.  Once we found out we were under a mandatory evacuation order, I sent a message to this amazing lady and asked if she was serious about allowing our family to evacuate to her home.  She quickly replied that we were more than welcome to come.  So that evening, I had our four children and my mother who all live with my husband and I pack in preparations to leave.

Another giant blessing was when we found out her husband was lactose-intolerant like our oldest son.  On Friday morning as Hurricane Harvey was preparing to making landfall in Texas, our family took to the highways to go to Dallas.  We were blessed with reasonable traffic and reasonably good weather for our travels.

Once in Dallas we were welcomed like honored guests.  Truly our family was blessed to meet Dominique and her husband.  She cooked amazing meals and had wonderful touches that made us feel incredibly welcomed.  We received #KissesfromJesus with this act of kindness.

So if you are looking for a new book to read, I recommend this book.  Trust me, if you read it, you will be blessed.