Review of Do It Scared by Ruth Soukup

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 Have you ever wanted to do something only to second guess yourself? Have you ever wondered what you are capable of doing? Have you ever wondered what prevents you from doing what you truly desire to do? If so this is the book for you. Ruth Soukup does an excellent job of breaking down the archetypes that keep us paralyzed in fear and then gives strategies and suggestions for overcoming those fears.

The first section of the book dives deep into the Seven Archetypes which are: the Procrastinator, The Rule Follower, The People Pleaser, The Outcast, The Self-Doubter, The Excuse Maker, and The Pessimist. She provides both the strengths and weaknesses of each type along with suggested careers for each type.

After helping the reader understand their archetype, she then provides 7 tools and strategies for overcoming your fears and stepping out of your comfort zone. Too many of us get stuck because we are too paralyzed by fear to walk out in faith and challenge the status quo. The second half of this book does an amazing job of helping the reader see how to start moving and face our fears head-on.

She writes in an engaging manner that makes you feel as if you were actually sitting down having a conversation with her. This book will help you go from fear to faith and go for the “Big” dreams and desires of your heart. So if you are looking for a book to inspire, motivate, encourage you and more, check out this book for yourself.

I know this book encouraged me to think about who I am, what I am afraid of and what I want from life. With a husband who is about 3 years away from retirement, I have big dreams for our future that I want to see come to life. This book is encouraging me to step out in faith and start working towards the life I want.

So check this book out for yourself.

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Guest Post for Shiny Things

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Today I would like to share a guest post from the authors of the book Shiny Things, which I was privileged to be on the book launch team for.

WHO’S THE BOSS

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I sat contentedly, tucked back into the restaurant booth—the perfect spot for a romantic date with my husband with just enough visibility to people watch (one of my favorite pastimes). Whereas the words between us seem to bounce back-and-forth like a Ping-Pong game, the table across from us was rather quiet. 10 people sat within inches of one another, heads bowed and eyes glued to the devices in front of them. The adults held phones while the children were magnetized to various digital screens. Not a word was spoken. We watched in amazement as the waitress came and did her best to take drink orders. The family didn’t even look up. Grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and 2 children, one by one, they mumbled their selection as the server walked around the table. Meal ordering was no different. I couldn’t stop staring, so amazed at the lack of conversation. Didn’t they know they were completely missing out on precious time together?! And what about the rudeness in ignoring the waitstaff?

I think we can all agree that sometimes it’s easier to stare at a screen than to wade through awkward conversation. Avoiding confrontation, pushing off uncomfortable social situations, and sidestepping the possibility of a raw subject rearing its ugly head and offending someone.

But beyond actual phone conversations, our cellphones sure seem to boss us around an awful lot, causing us to feel like we are at the beck and call of everything and everyone. Like we have to respond to incoming texts as soon as they pop up on our screens. Obligated to check our social media accounts 50 billion times a day because someone might have commented on our fabulous photo that we posted 15 minutes ago.

I’ll be the first to admit that I have willingly become a slave to my apps, checking my Facebook and Instagram accounts like it’s my job. Which it’s totally not. (Hence the reason I decided to take the Facebook app completely off my phone. Now I only use it on my laptop. Which for me, means I use it a whole lot less. And guess what? I don’t feel like I missing much. Less politics and drama = one happy mama. Less scrolling and more time with my people. Win win. I’m not saying you have to do this, but it’s worked well for me.)

It feels like the world is waiting for us. For us to engage and comment and post and document our day for all the world to see.

So how do we utilize these amazing little rectangular wonders of technology? Is it possible to find ways to communicate and interact with one another in a way that draws us closer to God and His people rather than drawing us away?

This is the quandary we face. We’ve been given a gift of connection. But we’re unsure how to be good stewards of it.

Maybe it’s time we showed our phones who’s boss.

– Setting them aside more often.

– Putting them in another room so we can spend intentional time with our people.

– Establishing a social media sabbath regularly.

– Limiting the amount of times we check email and social media throughout the day.

– Setting a timer for when we’re on social media or doing online searches.

– Turning our ringers off more (unless your best friend going into labor, or the fire alarms at your house are going off and the babysitter is calling).

– Focusing our eyes and our attention on our most important people, because our actions (and our lack of words) speak loudly.

Our people are watching … and waiting for us to get off our devices.

Our callings are waiting … ready for us to unswervingly pursue the passions God has put on our hearts.

The Savior of our soul is waiting … longing for us to wholeheartedly be in relationship with Him. The kind of loving friendship that wants to share quality time all throughout the day. Listening. Learning. Communicating. Because that’s what love looks like.

What matters most is waiting. For us! Not us connected to something else.

Maybe it’s time we showed our phones who’s really in charge.

—///—

For more on this topic of intentional living, check out our brand new book, SHINY THINGS: Mothering on Purpose in a World of Distractions. It launches out into the world in exactly ONE WEEK. Get your preordered copy today. Then pop back over to our book’s landing page and claim your free gift. Time is a tickin’.

 

So definitely check out this book for yourself.  You can purchase the book on Amazon and from the Proverbs 31 Ministries Store

Here are the Links to the authors:
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Let me know what you think about it.

  

Review of “The Pledge of A Lifetime: Her Hope for Connection, His Guide Through Conflict”

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Mark Oelze, a marriage and family counselor since 1985, works to help couples process conflict in love rather than spite or anger.  He and his wife Zerrin have been married for 23 and teach the Madly In Love Marriage Conference.  They are parents of three grown children and live in Wichita, Kansas.  He and Zerrin have a passion to see intentional love used to shape how we communicate with one another. To contact Mark Oelze about the PLEDGE process and/or teaching a marriage conference in your church or city, you can email him (mark@madlyinlove.org) or learn more at http://www.madlyinlove.org

Having celebrated 26 years of marriage to my husband and coming up on 27 years,  I know marriage takes work, communication, and love.  It is definitely not easy.  Through the pages of this book, the reader will see just how much work is required for a healthy, happy, and lasting marriage.  Mark Oelze does an excellent job of laying out how couples should communicate with one another.

Whether you have a marriage that is thriving or one that is in trouble, I believe all married couples and even those looking to get married should read.   The acronym PLEDGE tells the steps to take for healthy communication:  Pause, Listen, Echo, Disarm, Give, Engage.

So if you are looking for a book that dives into what healthy communication in a marriage should look like, check out this book for yourself.

I received a copy of this book for my fair and honest review.

Review of the “Gospel of Matthew” from Alabaster

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As a Christian, I am always on the lookout for Biblical books to read and study.  So when I had the opportunity to review the Gospel of Matthew from Alabaster.com, I was thrilled for the opportunity.  This book begins with the history of the birth of Jesus and finishes with mentioning the Great Commission.
I really wanted to love this book, but unfortunately, I can not say I did.  It utilizes the New Living  Translation, which is not one of my favorite translations.  Also, the font and color of the font made it difficult to read.
The book is of a more expository nature than a Bible study workbook.  I feel like I would have loved it more if the font had been different and different photographs had been selected.  The paper is of wonderful quality.  The idea behind this book is great, but I feel like the execution could have been done better.
So check out this book for yourself.
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Review of “Once Upon a Farm: Lessons on Growing Love, Life, and Hope on a New Frontier” by Rory Feek

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I remember seeing and reading about Joey and Rory Feek’s life on social media when she was battling cancer.  The poignant updates I read about their life and love story touched me deeply.  Reading about their daughter, born with Down’s Syndrome caused me to stop and rejoice at this miracle child born into this world.  So when I received the opportunity to review Once Upon a Farm: lessons on Growing Love, Life, and Hope on a New Frontier by Rory Feek,I knew I had to read it.

Faith and God permeate every page of the book, which I love.  For without God, the world would not exist.  The power and emotion found in this book drew me in, just as his blog posts did during the days when his wife was battling cancer before her death.

Rory Feek shares his life and his daughter through the pages of this book.  I can not imagine the pain of losing my spouse with a child so young, and Rory takes the reader on a journey through finding hope and the desire to go on despite his loss.  This book truly includes love, life, and hope.

I have always tried to live the belief of blooming where you are planted by God, and this book follows that idea.  As a child, our family moved every few years.  Then in 2004, my husband went active duty in the Army Reserves and now as an adult, we have moved every few years.  Sometimes, it is hard to find joy when forced into new circumstances.  But Rory Feek illustrates how to do it with love and faith in this book.

So if you are wanting to read an inspirational and emotional book about one man’s journey through love, loss, and finding his way after that loss, check out Once Upon a Farm for yourself.

 

Review of David C Cook’s Family Devotionals

 

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As the mother of four, I have always been on the lookout for devotionals for our family.  So when I had the opportunity to review three devotionals from David C Cook, I was thrilled.  These three devotionals include: Knowing The Holy Spirit, Knowing Jesus, and Knowing God the Father.  The three devotionals are available as individual titles or as a set.

David C Cook, a nonprofit organization dedicated to publishing and distributing leadership and discipleship resources,  offers a variety of products for all ages and for Christians all over the world.  These resources are designed to help Christians grow their faith so they can pass it on to the next generation.  The company was established in Chicago in 1875 by David Caleb Cook.  Since then, they have published numerous bestselling books including Crazy Love by Francis Chan.  They offer over ten lines of Sunday School materials along with praise and worship songs through Integrity Music, the music division.

Simplified doctrine with easy-to-understand language characterizes these devotionals to ensure children will be engaged and will be able to follow along.  The theological level of these devotions will strengthen parents’ faith while providing an enriching experience for children and parents together.

Each devotion includes a topic or questions designed to start a conversation regarding spiritual matters, while growing the children’s faith.  A simple closing prayer is provided as well.  Illustrations highlighting key concepts help parents and children to treasure the time  spent going through these devotions together while growing closer to God and to each other.

Like all materials our family has used from David C Cook, these devotionals truly impressed our family.  Each devotional contains 52 devotionals for your family to go through.  One of my favorite things about these devotionals results from the length of the material.  It is short enough for even the youngest family members to enjoy, but lends itself to going as in depth as your family wants to go with the study.  These devotionals would be perfect springboards for deeper study – especially if you have older and younger children in your family.

So if you are looking for a single devotional for your family or a set of devotionals, check out these devotionals for yourself.  You can purchase them at the following links:

Knowing God the Father

Knowing The Holy Spirit

Knowing Jesus

Entire Series

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Review for “Renewed” by Leigh Powers

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*****This post is also being posted today on my blog Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy as part of a Celebrate Lit book tour.

MY THOUGHTS:


Leigh Powers provides an insightful and realistic view into what is like to be a preacher’s wife.  Roughly twenty-six years ago, my husband became an ordained Primitive Baptist Elder (preacher), and I became a preacher’s wife.  As I read through this 40-day devotional, I found myself nodding my head in agreement with what she says.  Even though we have been away from our home church since 2008, I still consider myself to be a preacher’s wife because the calling on my husband did not stop just because he went full-time in the Army Reserves.

Her complete title, Renewed: A 40-Day Devotional for Healing from Church Hurt and for Loving Well in Ministry resonated with my soul.  She captures the challenges and difficulties pastors and their wives face in the church.  I found the opening line for day 11 to be truthful, “Loving your enemies seems easy until you have one.  And now, God – this?  I’m supposed to forgive this!”  As a Christian, these words come across as both honest and heartfelt.  Forgiving is much easier said than done. We know it is the right thing to do, but that does not make it easy.

Being a Christian often means being hurt by other Christians.  Healing from that hurt challenges us in ways that make releasing the hurt hard.  Leigh Powers does an excellent job addressing these facts.  She offers inisghtful glances at how to move forward and truly love others well as a Christian.

This book suits both pastor wives, those in ministry roles and those who have been hurt by the church.  While serving is typically a calling, something someone feels led to do, it often winds up being an experience of unrealistic expectations, judgemental church members and more make ministry hard.  Leigh Powers captures all those facts in a truthful and insightful view.  As a preacher’s wife, I definitely recommend this book.

So check it out for yourself and let me know what you think.

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Review of Reload Love

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Reload Love – Transforming Bullet To Beauty ad Battlegrounds to Playgrounds, by Lenya Heitzig captures the struggle of being called to make a difference in our world and having the persistence to follow through to see it happen.
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Lenya Heitzig’s desire is to provide tangible acts of love to hurting people.  She founded Reload Love, which a ministry that touches the lives of children affected by terrorism.  She also serves at the executive director of she Ministries at Calvary Church whose pastor is her husband Skip.
When confronted with acts of atrocity, one has two choices – either look away and do nothing or keep looking and do something.  Lenya Heitzig chose to do the later.  When faced with children being affected by terrorism, she decided to take a stand and make a difference.
I have to say I found this book one worth reading and that challenged my “status quo” lifestyle.  Here in the United States, I live a relatively shelterd and privileged life and I know it.  I also recognize there are many people in the world who are not so fortunate.  I would love to be able to take a stand and make a difference the way Lenya did.
I read the book and imagine the things she saw and did and wonder if I would have the determination and drive to do the same.  Yet I know Philippians 4:13 states, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (KJV).  I realize it is through God and not ourselves that even the weakest have been able to make a difference.  Coming to one of the later chapters in the book, I love the title – “Let Your Legacy Be Love”.  This is my heart’s desire.  This book inspires me and challenges me and makes me desire to make a difference.
So check this book out for yourself.  and let me know what you think.
Fill out the form below if you would like to win your own copy of Reload Love.
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Review of “Young Whit – The Traitor’s Treasure” by Phil Lollar & David Arnold

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For as long as I can remember, our family has been fans of Adventures in Odyssey and of John Avery Whitaker. So when I found out I had the opportunity to read about the life of the young John Avery Whitaker, I was thrilled.  You can find a description of the book and the opporunity to purchase it here.
This book is set during the time of the Great Depression and opens with John Avery Whitaker’s mother dying.  The impact this has on the young John Avery is substantial.  The first chapter picks up with John, his father Harold, his stepmother Fiona and half-sister Charli moving to a new town.  Even growing up, John Avery Whitaker demonstrated the love for science and discovering things for himself that would become the backbone of the radio drama Adventures in Odyssey.
I truly wanted to love this book from the first page, however, I must say it took me a little while to get into the book.  But once I did, I was hooked.  The tension between John Avery Whitaker and another student named Wilson, along with Wilson’s friends, creates quite the drama.  I think one of my favorite scenes involves John demonstrating his skills at karate in order to avoid a fight with Wilson.
Fiona, his stepmother, is one of my favorite characters.  she demonstrates wisdom and love for John throughout the book.  We are not given too many details about how she came into Harold and John’s lives, but it definitely was to their benefit.
Ben Huck, the school custodian, captured my attention as well.  The relationship between John and Ben helped establish momentum in the story.  The mysterious circumstances of relatives of both John and Ben created a situation I could not resist finding out about in the end.
Morever, as a girl growing up, one of my best friends in high school was a young man, so the relationship between John and Emmy.  The two become friends and cohorts in mischief.  Emmy refuses to give into peer pressure to disassociate herself from John Avery Whitaker.  I loved how Emmy helped give John Avery Whitaker the nickname of “Whit”.  So whether you have been a long-time fan of Adventures of Odyssey or not, check out this book for yourself.  I have to caution you though, the ending is a cliff-hanger to help ensure you want to read the next book in the series.  I know I will be reading it.
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Review of Seeing Green by Tilly Dillehay with a Giveaway

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Seeing Green – Don’t Let Envy Color Your Joy by Tilly Dillehay caught my eye just by the title.  Growing up, we moved around a lot and after I married my husband and we had our four children, he went active duty in the military our family moved a lot as well.  I knew this book was one I had to read, and I have to say it did not disappoint.

Tilly Dillehay holds a degree in journalism from Lipscomb University and has served as the editor of a weekly newspaper as well as a lifestyle magazine. She now occupies her time being a homemaker and the mother to two little girls. She still writes at http://www.justinandtilly.com while also contributing t The Gospel Coalition. Her husband Justin is the pastor at a church in a small town east of Nashville. Tilly Dillehay also serves as the host of The Green Workshop, an event for women on the subject of envy, which is held in local churches.

Her book Seeing Green: Don’t Let Envy Color Your Joy caught my attention because of the title. It spoke to me. As a human, a wife, and a mother, envy has a way of seeping into every area of my life. There are times it is hard to face the fact that the not so little “green monster” has invaded my thoughts and heart.

This book is the perfect companion for such feelings. The author does an excellent job of allowing for conviction while also providing ideas on how to overcome the envy factor. As I read the book, I found myself being able to visualize myself in the situation being described while be ready to hear how to overcome this monster.

I was delighted and impressed by this book and if given the opportunity to read something else by her or to be able to meet her in person would be incredible.  One of my favorite passages from the book discusses the goal of the book.  Here is an picture I took of it.

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Growing up, my father was a draftsman and designer who moved our family frequently.  He was always on the hunt for the new “best” job.  I always felt like my grandparents compared me to their siblings’ children and found us lacking.  It was a real blow to my self-esteem at times.  Yet, I am able to recognize now how God gave me certain gifts and talents and I need to take ownership of how I use them.  This book helped to reaffirm those feelings.

Here are some other quotes I found inspiring from the book.

While I love the idea that our first response should be joy, I know it is not always the way I want to react.  When I read the title of the last chapter, “Happiness Is the Best Revenge?”, I found myself agreeing with the author.  I am the youngest of two and never felt I measured up to the talents and gifts my olders sister had been given.  But as the years progressed I realized, she squandered those gifts in many ways.  I, on the other hand, found God’s blessings and love in my marriage and our three sons and a daughter.  So truly, happiness is the best revenge in a lot of ways in my eyes.

So do you find yourself suffering from envy or jealousy?  If so, check out, Seeing Green – Don’t Let Envy Color Your Joy by Tilly Dillehay.

If you would like the chance to win your own copy of this book, fill out the form below.

To receive SEEINGGREEN25 – for 25% off Seeing Green, from August 20 – September 30, 2018. It can be purchased at this link.

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