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 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.

Book Review of Chautona Havig’s None So Blind

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Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

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Book title: None So Blind

Author: Chautona Havig

Release date: September 29, 2013

Genre: Contemporary

Dani and Ella Weeks–two women who share one thing in common. The same life, the same family, and the same body.

When Dani wakes with no knowledge of who or where she is–no memories of her life at all–David and Dani Weeks discover that “til death do us part” takes on an entirely unexpected meaning. Practically speaking, Dani died. But she didn’t.

What’s a gal to do?

In a desperate attempt to separate the old life from the new, Dani insists on a new name, a twist of her old one–Ella.

Ella’s doctors can’t explain what happened. Her children can’t understand why she doesn’t know them. David, her husband, finds himself torn between admiration for the “new” version of his wife and missing the woman he’s known for over fifteen years.

Will Ella ever regain her memory? Why does their pastor suspect it’s one great hoax?

About the Author

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Chautona Havig lives and writes in California’s Mojave Desert with her husband and five of her nine children. Through her novels, she hopes to encourage Christians in their walk with Jesus.

Guest post from Chautona Havig

“Who are you, again?”

“I’m Joe’s, daughter. Vyonie.” My sister pointed to me. “This is Chautona.”

For some odd reason, the niece she spent the least amount of time with, Aunt Doris remembered—somewhat. But she didn’t remember Vyonie from what I could tell. She smiled at me, that amazing, sweet smile I’d never forget. She asked how I was. I always thought that Mrs. Sanderson—mother of John, Alicia, and Carl on the TV show, Little House on the Prairie—looked and sounded like Aunt Doris. Of course, that memory of me didn’t last. A minute or two later, she gave me a big smile and asked if she knew me.

It gave me a picture of what it must have been like for my character, Ella Weeks—to wake up every day with these children there—children who knew her, but she didn’t remember. The hurt she caused every time she had to struggle to admit she didn’t know something she probably should—again. So, I thought I’d ask her to tell us about it.

Ella: People often assume that the worst part of losing my memory are the memories that disappeared, too. But it’s not. A much as I’d love to remember my wedding day, my daughter’s first steps, my son’s first words, or that moment I realized I was pregnant with my third, those are blessings that I don’t think about often. No, what hurts most is seeing the pain in my children’s eyes when they need me to remember something and I can’t. For me, not remembering their first day of kindergarten is an inconvenience. For them, it’s a further reminder that if they didn’t tell me, I wouldn’t know them. That without them pushing themselves into my life, I wouldn’t care about them any more than any other human in my path. I do now, of course, but not at first. I hate that they heard David say once, “…she doesn’t know me. She doesn’t trust me. She doesn’t know our children. She tries, but she could walk out of our lives tomorrow and never miss us.”

Living so close to it every day, I missed those little bits of pain that I inflicted without meaning to, but when I went with our Bible study to a nursing home and visited with the residents, then I saw it. Women with tears running down their cheeks as loved ones patted their hands and tried to comfort. I heard one man offer to find a woman’s father. She squeezed him close and whispered, “It’s okay, Daddy. I love you. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

The man promised to try to find her father in the meantime.

Those people there—most of them didn’t realize they didn’t remember someone important. They didn’t struggle to remember this or that. Their dementia had gotten bad enough that their lives had gone from constant frustration to, by comparison, blissful oblivion.

And their families withered with each forgotten face, name, moment.

That’s what my “episode” did for my family. It caused them pain that just resurfaced every time something new happened. Pain that I didn’t know I inflicted. And since that visit, I have a greater compassion and awareness of just how amazing and powerful memories are.

I also have a greater appreciation for those beautiful words in Isaiah when the Lord promised… “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, And I will not remember your sins.”

You see, there’s a lifetime of the sins that Jesus died for buried somewhere in my brain—or, at least at one time there was. I know that those sins were in there, because the ones I committed yesterday are there today. The ones I’ve already confessed and been forgiven for—I beat myself up for the next morning. A week later. A month. But the Lord has wiped them clean. I just keep smearing them back out there again as if to say, “But You don’t get how BAD I was.” Yeah. The arrogance, right? Because an almighty, holy God can’t possibly understand how sinful a sinner that He had to DIE to save from those sins… is. The arrogance? That’s an understatement.

But all those years before that horrible morning… gone. Maybe I stole something. I don’t know. It was forgiven, wiped clean, and then wiped from my memory. I can’t rehash it with the Lord over and over. I can’t drag it back up like a wife who won’t let her husband forget the one time he forgot her birthday. I can’t use it as a whip to beat myself up with. And I think there’s something beautiful in that.

Do I wish I could stop hurting my family with my blank past? Of course. But am I also grateful for a living picture of the fresh start the Lord gives His people at salvation? Definitely. I hope I never take it for granted again.

 

My Review:

For quite a while I have been a fan of Chautona Havig’s books, and when the opportunity came up to be part of the Celebrate Lit tour for “None So Blind”, I was thrilled to be allowed to be part of the tour. The concept of waking up and not knowing who you are or being able to recognize your family hits close to home since my grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease before her death.

Although, questions arise about whether Dani/Ella is faking her memory loss or not intrigues me.  I can not fathom the idea of faking such a thing.  I can not imagine someone going to such drastic measures and being able to fool everybody around her.

When Dani wakes up and comes “home”, I have to admire the way her husband handles everything.  If Ella is faking because she so disliked what her life had become, I find that to be incredible.  Her children, although disoriented by their mother’s memory loss, show amazing resiliency and adaptability in dealing with the changes in their home and in their mother in general.

Another plot twist arises when Ella finds a large sum of money hidden in her garage.  This twist is mentioned briefly but is never resolved.  I am really interested to see if this situation is resolved in the coming book(s) in the series.

The reliance on their Christian faith clearly helps the family endure the changes the memory loss brings.  Also, I loved the contrast between Dani as a Christian before the memory loss to Ella after the memory loss.  Dani takes avid notes and almost in some ways seems selfish and self-centered, although she clearly loves her family.  Ella, on the other hand, appears to find other things to capture her attention and interest including improving her appearance.

The steps Dani/Ella’s husband is willing to go for her demonstrate true Christian love.  He gives her space and time she needs to come to terms with all that has happened and their relationship.  The guidance and counsel of their pastor and his wife again show true Christian values.

I truly enjoyed this book and would definitely recommend it to my family and friends.

 

Blog Stops

June 15: Blogging With Carol

June 15: Genesis 5020

June 15: Lane Hill House

June 16: Red Headed Book Lady

June 16: The Scribbler

June 16: Moments Dipped in Ink

June 17: Back Porch Reads

June 17: The Power of Words

June 17: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations

June 18: Carpe Diem

June 18: A Baker’s Perspective

June 19: Christian Bookaholic

June 19: Quiet Quilter

June 20: The Fizzy Pop Collection

June 20: Mommynificent

June 21: Seasons of Opportunities

June 21: Truth and Grace Writing and Life Coaching

June 22: Pursuing Stacie

June 22: Remembrancy

June 23: Pause for Tales

June 23: Avid Reader Book Reviews

June 23: Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses

June 24: Bigreadersite

June 24: CAFINATED READS

June 25: Lots of Helpers

June 25: Ashley’s Bookshelf

June 26: Blossoms and Blessings

June 26: A Reader’s Brain

June 27: Margaret Kazmierczak

June 27: His Grace is Sufficient

June 28: Just Jo’Anne

June 28: Henry Happens

June 28: Reader’s Cozy Corner

Giveaway

bf3041c3-aba6-432d-bade-2a2bc46cd775To celebrate her tour, Chautona is giving away a grand prize that includes:

1 $25 Amazon Gift Card
1 Paperback Copy of None So Blind
1 Paperback Copy of Will Not See
1 Lampwork Necklace
1 Cool denim mini-backpack (to hold your stuff!)
1 Custom Travel Mug (with quote from book)
1 FREE eBook code to share with a friend!

Check out this cool video from Chautona: https://youtu.be/5K_cTjlg4S8

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!  Click to enter the Giveaway

 

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Review of the Rise of the Prophet

 

So I recently completed reading this book by Rodney Roe. On Amazon, part of the description reads:

“The land of Habareet faces so much trouble, only a miracle could save them. And the country’s leaders and many of its people no longer tolerate miracles—or the One who sends them. But Adonai has not forgotten His ancient promises for revival and restoration. In a few corners of the land, the impossible begins to happen—through the most unlikely people.”

It is absolutely spellbinding. I could not put my tablet down. And when I had to put it down, I could not wait to pick it up again. He has written a story where the characters draw you in. Certain characters like Joel you can’t help but root for. I can’t wait to read more of the series. This is definitely a winner. The message of your past not determining worth is clear. The willingness to step in and do what is right and what is needed resonates throughout the book. The love of God (Adonai) rings out true and clear throughout the story. I definitely recommend reading this book.  It was an amazing story.  I can not wait to read additional stories in the series.

I can not say enough good things about this book.  I plan on ordering the paper copy in the very near future.  You can find the book for sale on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01B75DAB2/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1

If you decide to read it, let me know what you think.

#Ilovebooks

 

Back to Writing and What I am Reading

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So for the month of April, I participated in the Blogging A to Z challenge so my posts centered around that endeavor.  But now April is over and May is here.  So I am back to writing for the #Write365 challenge.  It is amazing to think about how fast this year is already passing by.  I am participating in another online Bible study for Proverbs 31 Ministries.  The book we are reading is “5 Habits of a Woman Who Doesn’t Quit” by Nicki Koziarz and examines the story of Ruth.  It is an amazing book and I am really enjoying it.

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I also just finished reading “Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer.  It is such a powerful book about prayer.

I am also reading the Cherry Ames series of books as somehting lighter.  Books by Chautona Havig also populate my reading lists.  So what are you reading these days?  I would love to hear from you.

#Iamabookaholic