Wednesday, October 15, 2014

book review: "the mason jar" by james russell linger felt

What if your old college roommate called, raving about a book someone sent her, calling it the most beautiful book she's ever read? "But," she said, "i's about you." The author is your college ex.

In The Mason Jar, Clayton Fincannon is a Tennessee farm boy raised at the feet of his grandfather. He and his grandfather leave letters for each other in a Mason jar on his grandfather's desk; letters of counsel and affirmation. When Clayton attends college in Southern California, he meets and falls in love with a dark, debutante from Colorado. However, when an unmentioned past resurrects in her life and she vanishes, Clayton is left with unanswered questions.

Clayton goes on to serve as a missionary in Africa, while he and his grandfather continue their tradition of writing letters. When Clayton returns home five years later to bury his grandfather, he searches for answers pertaining to the loss of the woman he once loved. Little does Clayton know, the answers await him in the broken Mason jar. 

A story about a girl who vanished, a former love who write a book about her and a reunion they never imagined.

I wanted to read this book for several reasons. I have a current obsession with Mason jars, I'm a Southern girl myself and understand the draw of another country. I liked the story within a story, wondering how Finn would react when he saw Eden again and if they would have another chance to be together. There are so many lessons in this story, solid truths in Grandpa's words. Lessons about not being afraid to love and living life. And I couldn't help but think about my mission trips to Guatemala as Finn spent time in Africa, helping the children he met and the people find a better way of life. I think I liked the story so much because of being able to identify with Finn in so many different ways. I also liked Eden. I loved her excitement for life and I mentally sighed when she gave Finn the painting she had made. Oh goodness. I like happy endings and though both Eden and Finn had endured a lot of pain and frustration in their time apart, I'm glad they found their way back together!

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. You can read more reviews on the tour by clicking here.

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Monday, October 13, 2014


Hope. I went to Guatemala this summer and that was the word that kept coming to mind as I prepared for the trip. We took hope to the people we met; some of who had never heard of Jesus and the salvation He won for us so long ago. The trip was ten days full of ministering, loving and sharing the gospel with precious Guatemalan people. We visited a hospital and had the chance to pray for those who were sick. Looking at the children in the beds, with the parents sitting by helplessly, they needed hope. We went to six different schools, performing a few dramas and playing with the children. They were all smiling and excited to see us. We brought them hope. At one school, all the children wanted us to sign their shirts. It became a frenzy of children tugging on us and pointing to their shirt. I went to Guatemala last year and was so excited to go back. The people there stole my heart; especially the kids. I teach kindergarten and those little faces got to me. I met a little boy named Paco and once I picked him up, I didn’t want to put him down. The trip was amazing and I know there’s more to come I’m just not sure what.

And then there’s my own life. Becoming a teacher has been a process. I’ve had to cling to the hope that God would work things out for me, aligning things so I would be where I needed to be. Last year I was a teaching assistant and there were moments when I doubted. I wondered if I was wrong about my calling and it should be something else entirely. But I held on to hope. I kept believing God, knowing He’s faithful and would fight for me. I'm teaching kindergarten this year at the same school and God is so good. My principal called me over the summer to ask if I was interested in a teaching position. She told me, "The Lord kept putting you on my heart." My prayer had been that whoever hired me would keep coming back to my name. Her phone call totally confirmed that prayer! We can never lose hope as we wait. 

"And now, Lord, what do I wait for and expect? My hope and expectation are in You." - Psalm 39:7 (Amp)

You can learn more about Dayspring's Letterpress Blocks by clicking here.
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Sunday, October 5, 2014

book review: "the sacred year" by michael yankoski

Frustrated and disillusioned with his life as a Christian motivational speaker, Michael Yankoski was determined to stop merely talking about living a life of faith and start experiencing it. The result was a year of focused engagement with spiritual practices - both ancient and modern - that fundamentally reshaped and revived his life. By contemplating apples for an hour before tasting them (attentiveness), eating on just $2.00 a day (simplicity), or writing letters of thanks (gratitude), Michael discovered a whole new vitality and depth through the intentional life.

I read Michael's book, Under the Overpass, several years ago and liked it. I remembered that book when the opportunity came to review The Sacred Year. Michael talks about being dissatisfied with the direction his life was going - constantly moving and multi-tasking. I admit I'm guilty of having too much going on myself. And not just multi-tasking but multi-tasking in regards to phones, social media, etc. "Carr points out that our habitual electronic multi-tasking between smartphones, websites, news feeds, and social media is dramatically rewiring the neurological pathways in our brains. According to Carr, all our browsing and liking and streaming and retweeting has conditioned the ability to focus right out of us." I feel like my phone is part of me and am I the only one who has to have it nearby all the time? So Michael took a year to re-focus and I want to make some changes in my own life. I want to live more intentionally and not be so busy that I can't enjoy the small things or notice them. Michael talks about the beauty of an apple. How it has so many colors and how complex it really is. I want to notice things like that. I know I need to slow down and this is just another reminder of that. Michael says the way to attentiveness is to not focus on everything but "…on the singular. The precise. The particular. The One." By focusing on God, all other things come into focus as well. I liked this book and want to start living intentionally. 

I received a copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. You can read other reviews on the tour by clicking here.

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