Tuesday, August 25, 2015

book review: "until my name is known" by sonya contreras

The time: 2450 BC
The place: Old Kingdom of Egypt
Pharaoh is god. 
His people worship him. 
Israel's God arrives. 
He challenges Pharaoh. 
His power touches all. 
They must change. 
Some don't concede. They suffer. 
Others yield. They find freedom. 
Until My Name Is Known brings all to see the one true God. 
Read it to see Him. 

I like to read fiction stories that bring to life the Bible. To take stories I've grown up hearing and tell them in a new way. Even though I know the story of the Israelites leaving Egypt, I found myself unable to put this book down. I was drawn to the characters and how the Hebrews chose to trust God. And it was trusting God that was the theme through this book - and what happened to those who didn't trust. Before Moses left to return to Egypt, Zipporah struggled with a God who require such a mission of her husband. "You trust this God too much." She told Moses. "I trust this God too little. Or I wouldn't question." And I find myself in the same place today: trusting God completely. Without question. No matter what. During the plagues, some of the Hebrews had a hard time equating the destruction of the plagues with a loving God. Aaron asked one of them, "Will anyone seek God, if he doesn't know he needs God? Pain drives us to God or away from Him. We need Him, Mack. Pain makes us seek Him more than anything else." I like how this book has given me a fresh perspective on this familiar story. All through the book, the Egyptians realize more and more how incapable their gods are. With each plague, God specifically targets each of their gods, showing their lack of power. The chief high priest keeps saying how jealous the Hebrews' God is, not sharing His power. It makes me wonder if any of the Egyptians, seeing God's hand, chose to worship Him? If they realized He was the true God. This is a great book to encourage your faith and remind you of God's faithfulness. One of the Hebrews, as they're leaving Egypt, things about Joseph's bones that they're taking with them. "Joseph's bones lay hidden with Moses' possessions. God heard the desire of a man and granted it four hundred and twenty years later. If he ever doubted God caring about the details, he would remember this." I think that's one of the main things I took from this story: God is faithful. Always. 

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for my honest review. 

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Sunday, July 12, 2015

book review: "summer's list" by anita higman

Life hadn't been easy for Summer Snow. In acts of selflessness - caring for her ailing parents and running her grandmother's bookstore - she had forfeited her youth and dreams for the needs of others. And the only shots she had at love…didn't' work out. She had the bookstore, she had her beloved granny, but she was missing something - or someone.

Opportunity strikes when Granny sends Summer on an unexpected adventure with one Martin Langtree, a kind and quirky young man from Summer's past. With Laney the Chihuahua along for the ride, a childhood friendship is rekindled, a romance is sparked, and mysteries are solved in one magical Texas summer. Will Summer strike out on love again, or will things finally go her way?

I couldn't put this book down! It was such a sweet story that it didn't take me long to get swept away in Summer's adventure. It was such a great story - a story of forgiveness, letting go, heartbreak, and love. Anita did a great job of bringing everything together in the end and I finished it, happy with the characters and their story. I've grown up loving to read and spending hours in the library so I immediately connected with Summer and her love of her granny's bookstore. And the friendship between Martin and Summer was so sweet. I love how they were able to pick up where they left off when Summer knocked on his door twenty years later. I wanted to cry when Granny passed away and at the pain Summer felt. But then I laughed aloud when Martin told Summer he had burned the soup and they would have to either eat cat food or go out somewhere. I enjoyed his honesty and how special he made Summer feel. This was just a fun and sweet book. A great summer read!

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

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Thursday, July 9, 2015

go to all the world

I'm preparing for a third trip to Guatemala. I'm beyond excited but as I'm mentally and spiritually preparing, I'm thinking of the contrasts. Part of my goal this summer was to exercise more. I've been doing well. How many magazines at the checkout offer tips to lose weight or show off one celebrity or another who has dropped her baby weight? Yet in other countries, getting in shape is not even a concern. When you see the lack others have and how truly blessed we are, it changes you. It's frustrating to see how we live in excess when others have so little. And I know there are people who need to hear about Jesus in this country; a missions trip could take place right down the street as easily as in another country. But when you meet a little girl and find out she's never even heard of Jesus, you realize the need of taking the gospel to the whole world. Everything is about balance. Not becoming so focused on going to other places that we neglect ministering to those we encounter every day. But at the same time, not thinking someone else will travel to the rest of the world to share Jesus' love. It's simple but complicated at the same time. But it all comes down to just...loving others. I recently bought the newest Hillsong United album, Empires. I like every song but right now am listening to "Street Called Mercy." That's what I think it comes down to: "You are all I want. You are all I need. Every breath I take is a breath to say I am Yours now forever." Having such a desire for God that He's the focus. And then letting others see that so they'll want it too. 

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

book review: "picture perfect love" by melissa mcclone

Photographer Jenna Harrison wants every bride and groom to look picture perfect on their special day, putting her heart into every wedding to give the couple memorable images of their love. But her own heart is still broken, the unworn wedding dress hanging in her closet a reminder that relationships aren't always as perfect as they look through her camera lens. But Jenna has faith that she will find true love. Until then, she must be patient and trust in God's plan and His perfect timing.

Attorney Ashton Vance is the one that got away. When an embarrassing Photoshopped picture put an end to his political aspirations, he blamed Jenna. So what if the photo led to his being offered a dream job and changing his life for the better? Jenna betrayed his trust, and two years later, Ashton's heart still hasn't recovered.

It was me. His younger sister's three words turn Ashton's world upside down. He must ask Jenna's forgiveness, but can he risk his heart a second time? Even if Jenna can forgive him, dare he hope for a second chance at her love?

This was a fun, easy read. I liked the characters and the setting for the story. I also connected with Jenna and the process she went through after breaking up with Ash. She had to discover who she was independent of him. She grew closer to God and it's the very thing that Ash noticed about her. And wanted it too. Despite having her heart broken and trust betrayed, Jenna didn't put her life on hold. She also realized without having gone through her breakup, she wouldn't be the person she was. "Before, when I wasn't with you, I wasn't like the way I am now…You were my catalyst for change. For finding Pastor Dan and his church. For falling in love with God. I can't believe I'm telling you this, but being dumped at the altar was the best thing that ever happened to me." When Ash just so happened to come back into her life, he had to get to know the new Jenna. It wasn't until bringing Jenna back into his life that he realized how unfulfilling it was. He realized he didn't enjoy his job and his faith had grown cold. Jenna woke Ash up and I like that. It was easy to fall into this story and hope Ash and Jenna would find a way to make it work. There's a great balance of humor, romance, and unexpectedness. The perfect weekend read!

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review.

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Thursday, June 11, 2015

book review: "fifty shades of they" by ed young

Who are they? You're only as great as your relationships. Show me your friends and I will show you your future. There is immeasurable growth and success to be found when you're surrounded with the right "they."

Do you have the right they in your life? Fifty Shades of They gives you fifty simple, yet profound insights that will help any relationship thrive, from friendship to business partnerships to marriages. Based on biblical standards and the teaching of Ed Young, this book is written for anyone looking to give new life to their relationships.

Relationships are so important in our lives because they play such big roles in the decisions we make and don't make. I wanted to read this book because of the catchy title and then when I saw what it was about, I knew it was something I needed to read! This was an easy yet insightful read. The chapters are short, also making it easy but giving the opportunity to really let each "shade" sink in. And I like how the book seemed to get deeper the farther I read. I feel like I kept thinking during the last half of the book, "oh, I've never thought of that!" I like Shade Forty-Eight: Pray. "The right "they" will pray, and pray continually, because they want their relationship with God to grow and thrive. They will also continually pray for you, because they want our relationship with God to grow and thrive." I think about the friends I have in my life who I know will pray for me when I ask and those relationships are so special. This book also makes me look at my own life, challenging me to be the right kind of "they" for others. Ed makes so many great points all throughout the book. Shade twenty-six is about marriage. And really, the whole book is a good list of qualities to look for in a spouse! Someone who is committed, who prays, encourages you, doesn't keep secrets, is consistent, know how to laugh, etc. This is a book full of practical advice, making it clear on the kind of people you should surround yourself with. 

I received a copy of this book from Shelton Interactive for my honest review. 

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Wednesday, June 10, 2015


I came across this verse this morning and the word expectation jumped out at me. I've begun to let me faith in believing for some things slack off as I've continued to pray and wait…and continued to pray and wait. But I need to change that. I need to expect God to answer my prayers because He hears us when we pray! I can't let how I feel or the waiting discourage me. I looked up the definition of expectation: a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future. I like that! I can be confident that God is working everything out; He's so faithful!

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Monday, June 8, 2015

this is your time

Another printable! I love the story of Esther. I had forgotten I'd made a similar printable a few months ago but the more I play around with the different fonts and graphics, the more creative I feel I'm becoming:) For those who stumble across this post, I just want to take a moment to encourage you. You were made for this time. You were put here for a purpose and are not an accident. God loves you - oh so much - and has great plans for you (Jeremiah 29:11)! 

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