I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my honest review.
Tuesday, June 21, 2016
You'll laugh till you cry when you read Janice Thompson’s “Every Bride Has Her Day”.
This is the third book in the Brides with Style series and Janice hits a lot of topics besides wedding planning, such as family drama, parents taking in grandchildren, and church division. Even the WOPer's prayer group goes dysfunctional for a season. Small town life that seemed so idyllic before is threatened with hostility and taking sides right before Katie's big day. The day that everyone else wanted to plan and then when Katie finally learned how to stand up to them still seemed to be bombarded with chaos.
Janice's series reminds be a bit of the Pot Luck Club style with characters you'll love and the real Southern flair, even if it is based in Texas. I admit, I'd loved to have had a future mother-in-law plan a wedding at the Gaylord's hotel but every bride has her own thoughts and at least the brides in this book do. Trust me there were several and they weren't anywhere near the Bridezillas on TV. Loved Eduardo and his flare and style, wooing Aunt Alva to the altar; there were many surprise journeys in this series and especially this last book. Romance was on the move in the most unusual places, it seemed.
Just when it looked like a disaster for a wedding, came some of the most beautiful vows I've ever read: "...In joy and pain, in adversity and in celebration, I will love you. Who you are. Who you will be. Who we will become together. My love will never fade. No matter where God takes you on your journey, I will be the one with my hand in yours, walking beside you. Listening. Learning. Loving. Your joys will be my joys. Your sorrows, my sorrows. Your faith, my faith. My heart has waited a lifetime for these words: I am your and you are mine. Always. Forever. Together."
I got a jump on my summer "fiction vacation" with this book and trust me I needed some comic relief from the stress of life. Janice, I've become a fan with this series and pray you'll take your humor and characters further in the future.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell Books in exchange for my honest review.
Saturday, June 11, 2016
Monday, June 6, 2016
Is Your House on Fire?
"I've come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already ablaze!
Luke 12:49 International Standard Version
"Burning House" is a song with a haunting melody and poignant lyrics that has gotten stuck in my head. I researched it, played it a lot, and found how the lyrics came. It was through a dream, thoughts a woman was thinking before she went to sleep that night, about how to make a relationship right. The song became an apology Cam was making to her former boyfriend.
"I had a dream about a burning house
You were stuck inside
I couldn't get you out
I lay beside you and pulled you close
And the two of us went up in smoke"
I feel that many families can relate to some of the lyrics when they are in a family crisis and are trying to find their way out of it. We may feel like we are in a burning house, suffocating, trying to get out, trying to breathe, and trying to save our loved ones. Sometimes we lose ourselves in the battle to save someone else. Can I get a witness out there to that? Amy Tan once said, “I did not lose myself all at once. I rubbed out my face over the years washing away my pain, the same way carvings on stone are worn down by water.” Sounds like she knows what it means to be dreaming of a burning house.
Are you dealing with someone's mental illness, drug addiction, or chronic pain issues right now? If you're one of the few who isn't, thank the good Lord for His mercy. And if you are dealing with those issues, thank Him for His mercy also because we know that He is the one who can "take what's lost and broke, and make it right." Most mornings I cry out to Jesus and say, "Show me what mercy looks like for my family today."
Some days, mercy is that we make it through another day without someone dying or being arrested. Some days an arrest might be the mercy He sends to save a loved one from themselves. Some days that mercy is an opening for a bed in a rehab or hospital. Some days, mercy shows itself through a friend calling, coming by, or sharing a meal.
Some days the joy of just watching a little child whose world has fallen apart through no fault of her own, dance wildly, boldly and without care is enough mercy to get me through the day.
Many of you are in the battle of your lives trying to help someone who seems hell bent on destruction through their lifestyle or choices.
"I've been sleepwalking
Been wondering all night
Trying to take what's lost and broke
And make it right
I've been sleepwalking
Too close to the fire
But it's the only place that I can hold you tight
In this burning house."
I think the last part of the lyrics the part about "it's the only place that I can hold you tight, in this burning house" strikes the core of my heart because when you come right down to it, the thing we as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and friends want to do is hold them tight from the pain of life and bad choices. Sometimes it's only in our dreams that we can do that, hold them tight, hold on to the memories, and hold on to new dreams for our loved ones. My house feels like it is on fire lately, does yours?
Credit given to the songwriters:
SAMUEL TYLER JOHNSON, JEFFREY BHASKER, CAM OCHS
Thursday, May 26, 2016
This is the song that was in my head this morning: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsXOP7aQeqQ&list=RDQsXOP7aQeqQ
Yes, I know it's labeled a Christmas song, but the title, "Be Born in Me" is something I pray every morning, that the Holy Spirit will be more in me, be born in me, be more than the day before in me.
Prayer requests, hurts, pains pour in from families every day. It brings us to our knees, it makes us say, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus," as we wonder how long will He tarry? As a people in a country that has gone Godless for the most part, we wonder how long even America can last. Yet so many things go along with the scriptures about end times.
Friday, May 13, 2016
As I can, I like to post about speakers, books or people that have encouraged me along the way.
Today I want to spotlight Cynthia as watching this video really really blessed me. I've seen her twice at Winning Women for Christ at St. Simon's Island and loved her more each time. She is a very caring, compassionate woman. Broken into beautiful, for sure. For such a time as this for me and maybe you. She's available to speak at churches and conferences.
Bring Cynthia back Winning Women!
Thursday, May 12, 2016
You're Already Amazing LifeGrowth Guide: Embracing Who You Are, Becoming All God Created You to Be by Holley Gerth is a great book of encouragement and coaching. I’ve always wanted a personal trainer and although I consider I have one named Jesus, Holley steps in with loads of advice, wisdom and plans.
This book is a companion to the book, You’re Already Amazing that Holley wrote previously but it is also a good stand-alone book to use for study. There are sessions listed: Who God Created Us to Be, What’s True No Matter How We Feel, Our Amazing Journey with Jesus, God’s Plan for Our Relationships, God’s Purpose for Our Lives, and How We Can Thrive for a Lifetime.
A favorite quote that I love is this, “I used to tell myself, ‘When I can just improve this part of who I am, then I’ll let people into it.’ Have you ever said the same? Eventually I realized God wasn’t asking for my life to be an immaculate mansion before I shared it with others.”(Holley Gerth)
I felt the same way for years and came to realize that the Lord used broken and bruised vessels to minister to the hurting much more than He uses immaculate mansions. Thanks Holley for your labor of love to women. We all needed this reminder to look for the amazing things within us.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher (Revell) in exchange for my honest review. I was not told to give a favorable review (but was happy to) and the opinions given are my own.
Saturday, April 30, 2016
I just read the book, "Grannie, Grandpa and Me" by Julia A. Royston and illustrated by Derrick Thomas. I must say I loved it and it is a very beautiful book of poetry and pictures. Thank you so much Julia, for a much needed book. I've walked in these shoes and wish I had a book like this to read to children a long time ago.
One of my favorite things about the book was it was so real. It starts with a page with grandparents in a courtroom as that is how many grandparents obtain custody.
Going through the ages and stages of this child's life was so very poignant. This book displays the very best of scenarios as sadly not all grandparents are able to be up the task so easily. Some deal with heavy financial and medical issues and many families have a lot of resentments about why they are in the position they are in. "Grannie, Grandpa and Me" shows the beauty of loving grandparents who stepped outside of their own plans for their lives and gave a wonderful life to the next generation.
The only thing I’d liked to have seen included was the grandchild when getting married, might have wanted to adopt or be a guardian ad litem herself as a way to give back to the world, what she had been given.
I must say hats off to Derrick Thomas, those illustrations were truly beautiful. In fact beautiful, beautiful, beautiful are my main words for this book written for such a time as this. My husband was getting his coffee and I tried to read him the last page of the book and couldn't for the tears.
Thanks Julia for writing this and for your work of service to schoolchildren. I’d give it ten stars if that was possible. Write on.
I was very grateful to receive a Review Copy from the publisher through BookCrash. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Some days the only thing we can do is pray:
Lord, You alone, know how overwhelmed we are. Please give us some help and hope. When we are afraid help us to trust in You. When we can’t see give us Your vision. When we need HOPE be that for us. Give us direction, give us wisdom which You said You would never deny if we asked for it. Help the weary ones today, help the perplexed ones, help the needy and help our souls to cry out to You, living water, Living Hope and our great restorer of the song. We need a new song Jesus. We need manna from heaven for this day. WE NEED A TOUCH FROM THE MASTER’S HAND.
We cry out to You. We seek You, we cling to the hem of Your garment and we will be dragged along in the dirt if You don’t reach down with a tender touch. You are our tender touch today. You are our smile. You are our help. Help us. Help us, Help us please Jesus.
Send journeymates to those who need them, resources help and friends. Take care of our loved ones, our children, grandchildren, the young and aged, also. Be the shine in the eye, the sparkle that we need, the kindness that we crave. Be our everything today we pray. We praise Your name, we love Your Word and we look to see You one day in glory! This is my prayer today to the One I love.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
12 weeks today; For this I have Jesus.
One of my favorite old commercials I've updated to fit my life, is "My face has fallen and it won't get back up!" Stress does make me wonder where my brain and memory went as the last 12 weeks have been incredibly sad and stressful. I can see the age creeping up each time I look in the mirror and yes, I need to do so many things but sometimes getting out the door with my hair combed, such as it is, may be the miracle for the day. Aryel's hair is more important. She's doing well at the new school and I'm so grateful that she not only has Shirley Temple's hair but her personality for the most part. She loves to sing and dance and watch old reruns of Full House. Especially when her mom comes over.
I'm incorporating my book review of Andy Lee's new book here. I love Andy, having met her at FCWC and felt a kindred spirit right away. All I have to do is look at her sweet, smiling face and I'm comforted. I was so honored that she would send me an advance copy of her book to review. I wish I could afford to buy you all one, it is that beautiful. I would've loved to have copied and pasted paragraphs all over facebook of some of her quotes as they meant so much to me.
Here it is:
A Mary Like Me is one of the few books that as soon as I finished it, I wanted to read it all over again. Andy Lee is a poignant, loving woman and her books and writings are the essence of her spirit. Holy Spirit, that is. Andy is well qualified to write this book with a degree from Eastern Nazarene University and has taught Bible studies for over twenty years but I have to say it's her heart that draws me to her writings.
I loved when Andy described original Greek words that acquaint us with this book and scenarios of the stories. There are resources in the back of the book and also an invitation to start your own Mary Group. The meaning of the name Mary/Miryam which is: bitter, rebellious, defiant, beloved, gift of God don't even seem to belong in the same sentence let alone meaning, but in a way, it was comforting to me. Haven't we acted at times, like all of those meanings?
This quote is one of the reasons I so fell in love with this book, "Some of the most fearless, determined, and brilliant women I've met have struggle with mental turmoil. I've often found myself beside them, begging them to give up and go home. But they didn't surrender the situation until they won the battle or became too weary to continue. The truth is, when a woman has been forced to fight for life---whether in a bad family, bad marriage or mental illness---this person, more times than not, becomes a survivor." From beautiful Andy Lee in her book, A Mary Like Me, Flawed Yet Called
I thought of several women when I read this and some that I'm hoping will learn to survive soon. Some that I love dearly and anguish with the thoughts of their torment yet sometimes the choice is beyond what we can do to help. The choice is theirs. My thoughts from reading this book: make good choices today, people, it affects more than just yourself. It affects the whole family and generations to come.
Another quote that I want to include is:
“There is no one that Jesus does not want to heal and cannot use for the furthering of the Kingdom of God. There is no one who is worthless, or incurable, or unusable. May it be noted the gospel of Jesus Christ resurrected was first proclaimed through the lips of a woman to men. God never intended to silence half of his creation in proclaiming his gospel.
Perhaps if Peter had hung around long enough at the tombs that day, he would have been given the opportunity to tell the Good News, but he didn’t. Mary did. God is an equal opportunity employer. May we employ our mouths today as Mary did, no longer affected by the rejection of others but unswervingly, undeniably convinced of the life of Jesus.”
Andy Lee has done a wonderful job of expressing who the many Marys in the Bible were; women like many of us.
Monday, April 4, 2016
Yes Dear, There Really Is A Devil by Chris Rader and Johnnie Coley was beautifully illustrated by Sonny Heston.
I loved the poems and the concept of a book of this nature describing the enemy of our soul to children. The illustrations were among the best I've seen in children's books. One of the first scriptures mentioned, " Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour" was accompanied by pictures of lions. The lion seemed be a villain throughout the book; yet so many children are familiar with Aslan from Chronicles of Narnia representing Jesus. I thought that might be confusing to them. A lion also represents the Lion of Judah so I had to do a double take as I was reading the book to my granddaughter to make sure I got across who was the bad guy. At age seven she seemed interested in it.
The short poems were great and I applaud any parent who is looking to teach their child and when she couldn't find an appropriate book wrote her own. I was little confused on Amazon.com as it was listed with three authors: Chris Rader (Author), Johnnie Coley (Author), Erin McKay (Author) yet I didn't find that on my copy. I look forward to reading more from these authors.
Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”