Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Soaring Above the Circumstances

The year 2002 was a pretty significant year for me.  There were several big things that happened that year, for one, I was diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis.  A day has not passed since 2002 that I have not been in pain.  Truthfully, I don't like to talk about it.  Most people that know me, don't even know the daily pain I live in.  It is important to me that my sickness not define me, but the truth of the matter is that it is a very real part of my life.  No matter how upbeat I try to stay, there are days, flares, that get the best of me.  On those days I need a little extra prayer, a little extra faith and a little extra encouragement.

Soaring Above the Circumstances by Dean Kilmer is a great book for anyone that is suffering from a chronic illness.  It is an inspirational book that encourages the reader to rise above their circumstances with the help of God.  Just because you are suffering you still can have a purpose.  You can be a blessing to others.  Sometimes we have to shift our focus away from ourselves and on to others.  It's easy to feel sorry for ourselves.  One thing I often say is that there is always, ALWAYS someone who is worse off than me.  The author shares several Bible stories that remind the reader of the sufferings of some great men of God.  These men of God still did great things.  It's not about what we can do, but what God can accomplish through us.

I love how the book is filled with Bible scriptures.  The author did such a great job with this book!  I know I will be referring back to it on those extra rough days that I need a little extra push.  If you have someone who is suffering with a chronic illness, or maybe you are, this is a great book that I would highly recommend.  I believe it will encourage and strengthen you not only in your day to day life, but in your entire walk with Him.

Thank you to the Book Crash blog review program for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.  

If you are interested in purchasing Soaring above the Circumstances you can do so on Amazon by clicking HERE.

Instant Happy Journal - A Book Review

Sometimes we need a little encouragement to keep our minds on positive things.  We all suffer trials and it is easy to focus on the negative areas in our life, but it is so much more beneficial to have a positive outlook.  You feel better both mentally and physically if you look for the good and not constantly see the bad.  

The Instant Happy Journal by Karen Salmansohn is a great little book that will encourage positive thinking.  It is what the title says, a journal.  It is designed to complete within a year.  It has 365 days of inspiration, gratitude and joy.  Each day has what the author calls "happiness prompters"  and then lines for you to record you thoughts.  The happiness prompters include quotes, scientific studies and questions that will get you thinking.  

"Happiness is not a pursuit; it's a perspective."

This journal has bright and colorful pages and designs that are cheerful and pleasant.  The only negative thing that I can say about this journal is that it needs to be a little bigger.  I like to write and I need more space!  

If you are thinking about starting a journal for 2016 this great journal would be a great place to start.  With the structure you will always have a prompt to help you think of something to write.  The bonus, positive thinking!

***Thank you to blogging for books for providing me with this book in exchange for my review.

The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss - A Book Review

As 2015 is coming to an end I once again find myself thinking about the changes I need to make for next year and weight loss is high up on the list.  I had heard of the Daniel Fast before, but knew very little about it.  When I got the chance to review The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss by Susan Gregory for Tyndale Publishing I was excited to learn more about this weight loss method.

The Daniel Fast is a different approach to losing weight.  In fact it is not considered a diet at all, rather a lifestyle change and a journey to getting closer to God.   The goal is to eat foods that God has provided.  Of course, from the title of the fast it is based on Daniel and the facts shared in the Bible about the way he consumed food.  It is to be a spiritual journey with the bonus of losing weight.

The foods that you are to eat during the Daniel fast are only foods grown from seed.  That would include all fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, etc.  The only beverage you can drink is water.  No meat, dairy, sweeteners, etc.  It is pretty strict.  Basically nothing pleasant.  It's a good thing it is a spiritual journey because it is going to take lots of prayer to get through 21 days of eating that way. lol

Included in the book is 90 recipes which is an important inclusion for me.  It also includes 21 days of devotions to go along with the fast.  There is a lot of information packed into this book to help you both spiritually and physically through the journey and also tips on how to maintain after the fast is over.

I'm  hopeful that this will be just the thing to jump start a healthy lifestyle for 2016!

***Thank you Tyndale Publishing for providing me this book in exchange for my review.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Mornings With Tozer - A Book Review

Mornings With Tozer is a daily devotional book compiled of 365 devotions that come from sermons that A.W. Tozer preached.  If you are familiar with Tozer you know that his writings are very spiritual and encourage the reader to have a closer walk with God.

It is the perfect way to start your day.  Each devotion includes a scripture reading, a passage from Tozer and ends with a suggested prayer.  The only thing missing is coffee, but you can bring your favorite hot drink while you sit in your favorite chair and you'll have everything you need.  I know in my own personal life that it is very important to start my day out with God.  When I don't I can always tell a difference.  This book gives you a nice structure to follow.

I have read several of Tozer's books and I will say that he always leaves me wanting more of God in my life.  This devotional does the same, but it short little spurts.  You'll reflect all day on the goodness of God and you will be encouraged to pursue God in way you never have before.

One thing that I like about Tozer is that he writes in an educated way.  For me, it requires a slower paced reading.  No skimming through, therefore making me reflect on what I am reading.  I actually even go back and read some of the passages twice.  They are deep and it takes a little extra time for me to really "sink my teeth into it".

I would highly recommend this book to any lover of God!

***Thanks to Moody Publishing for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

Letters to A Birmingham Jail - A Book Review

Letters To A Birmingham Jail: A Response to the Words and Dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  is a compilation of ten different essay/letters written in response to the words that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  wrote while in a Birmingham Jail.  Contributes  included are pastors from different types of ethnicity, ages and walks of life.  Some are well known such as John Piper and John Perkins.

It's been more than fifty years ago since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his letter from a Birmingham Jail.  His original letter in it's entirety is featured in the book and it was my favorite part of the entire book.  We have come a long ways since that time.  A lot of the issues that were present at that time have since been resolved.  Sadly though, there are still issues.  Maybe there always will be.  The past couple years it seems more and more that the cry of racism is being shouted louder and louder. The ten pastors that have writing included in this book, seem to be speaking form the heart of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. himself and would like to see the work that he started completed.

I think this is a great read for people of all walks of life.  The book point directly to Christ and acknowledges that only Christ can bring unity to this world.

Bryan Loritts is the editor of Letters to A Birmingham Jail and I think he had a great idea for this book!  I know that it is something that I will be proud to have on my bookshelf!

***Thank you to Moody Publishers for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my review.

How to Really Love Your Adult Child - Book Review

It's not hard to find self help books for parenting.  It seems like there is a book for everything when it comes to little kids, but it seems like once your child reaches adulthood you are on your own. As a mother of a twenty-two year old I have found myself questioning my actions on more than one occasion.  Truthfully, I would rather go back to terrible two's or the horrific three's any day.  For me having an adult child has been very challenging and I find myself questioning my "mothering" and on most days I think I have failed miserably.  Of course, there are many things that I would do different if I could go back in time but the fact is, I can't go back.  So I trudge forward and just hope and pray for the best.

How do you manage when on most days you and your adult child don't even like each other?  

I was hoping the book How to Really Love Your Adult Child by Ross Campbell and Gary Chapman would have some magical advice that would solve all our household problems.  The book was not all I hoped it would be, but it did offer some helpful advice and made me understand things from a different perspective.  The book address so many different issues that I am sure that your adult child will fall into one of the categories.  It helped me adjust my expectations and realize that I need to set more boundaries than what I have.  It has renewed my hope in one day having a loving relationship.

Things are so different in the world today compared to when I was young.  The book discusses these differences and how it effects young people today.  A lot of these differences really made me think and realize that today's young adults have a lot more stress and pressure than I did back in the day.

I would definitely recommend this book to others who have children 18-35.  It will give you insight and helpful advice in how to build a healthy relationship in a changing world.

***Thanks to Moody Publishers for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Time Chamber - An Adult Coloring Book Review

 I am so excited to tell you about the beautiful adult coloring book that I am working on right now!  It is by Daria Song and is a coloring book that tells a story!   The story is about a tiny fairy who lives inside a cuckoo clock and decides to explore the outside world.  She discovers a human realm where everything is immense and magical.  There are only a few pages that actually have words written on them so it does not take up a lot of coloring space and the pictures themselves tell plenty of story.

As for the pictures...they are so beautifully illustrated!  This book really is a piece of art in itself.  Add your personal touch by coloring the pictures and you make it your own.  The pages are nice and thick.  I love to use a mixture of markers, crayons and colored pencils in my coloring books and the pages are thick enough that the markers do not leak through to the next page.  It comes with a book cover that is also colorable and the book cover itself can be designed with your own creativeness as well!

In the back of the book is a visual index which I though was a great addition.  Instead of flipping through each page to decide what you want to color next you can go to the back of the book and view all the images and decide from there.

Daria Song has one other coloring book called The Time Garden and I am convinced that I must have it as well!  I hope she comes out with a new book for she has a beautiful gift in designing these great coloring books!

***Thanks to Blogging for Books for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

The Midwife's Choice - A Book Review

I am always a little apprehensive when reading a book by a "new to me" author.  The Midwife's Choice by author Delia Parr was such a pleasant surprise.  From the very first page of this well written book I was pulled into the story line and I have become an instant fan of this author!  This book is actually the second book in the At Home in Trinity series.  I did not read the first book and did not feel like it effected the story for me at all.  However, I would like to go back and read it now that I know how much I love this author!

Midwifery is something that has always interested me and the title of the book is what prompted me to read this novel.  If you are not a fan of reading about births I would recommend that you pass on this book.  The births are somewhat detailed.  It is not something that bothers me, but I do know some women that do not like to read such details.

I really love a book that is rich in faith.  This book was very encouraging to me.  Maybe because where I am in my life right now, but there were several things that spoke to my heart.  It is a book that is filled with hope, faith and love.  Our lives change and people, loved one's come and go, but the memories of those can carry us throughout the rest of our lives.



In a time when the traditional ways of medicine are constantly being questioned by new doctors fresh from medical school, midwife Martha Cade tries to balance her life's calling with the demands of her family.  Recently reunited with her estranged seventeen year old daughter, Martha finds herself torn between guiding her child and allowing her to be an adult.  At the same time, she must decide whether she'll risk reopening the heart she'd long closed off to love.

Though a small town, Trinity, Pennsylvania, is fraught with secrets, and as a midwife, Martha moves among its people.  she knows which homes are filled with light and live, which families have slipped into grief, which wives are unhappy, and which husbands dare to cross the lines...As Martha struggles with the conflicts of being a mother, a midwife, and a woman, she learns the greatest lessons of all - that hope can shine even in the darkest hours, and that faith has a way of making the impossible possible.

***A special thanks to Bethany House Publishing for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

Make Your Own Ugly Christmas Sweater

Ugly Christmas sweater parties are so much fun this time of year, but have you seen the prices on those ugly sweaters?  I don't know about you, but I don't want to pay a high price for an ugly Christmas sweater that will probably only be worn once during what happens to be the most expensive month of the year.

When my daughter's youth group decided to wear ugly Christmas sweaters to the youth Christmas party I knew what I had to do!  Make one!  I'm really not sure who was more excited.  Bethany was super excited about the party and getting to wear an ugly sweater and I was super excited for the chance to make one.  I have had this idea for a while now, but never had a reason to make it!

Bethany actually found out that she was going to be able to go the party a day before the actual event.  She was originally supposed to work that evening, but plans changed.  We made a quick trip to Goodwill and Dollar General for supplies.
At Goodwill we found a men's green shirt.  We wanted something pretty large because I knew we would need something big for the hoop at the bottom.  For the hoop I used an old canopy I had.  You know the kind, the one's for a little girls bedroom covered with tulle.  Anyway, I sewed the hoop in using the sewing machine and we hot glued the rest of the items in place.  We had some gold garland and some ugly ornaments all purchased at Dollar General.  With the shirt costing $3.00 and the Garland and ornaments totaling $5.00 I was able to complete the whole project for under $10.00.

It turned out super ugly and she won first prize!

On our way there she had to ride in the back seat because the hoop was so big and and she was not able to put the shoulder seat belt on.  Don't worry, I was still parked when I took the pic!
We had to make a quick run into Walmart.  This picture may end up on the people of Walmart site.  I mean really..who goes shopping dressed like a tree?  But hey, if people can wear pajamas to Walmart...

We had five different people approach us and compliment her ugliness.  In fact several one person started by saying "you won"!  They were right!

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Forgotten Recipe - A Book Review

The Forgotten Recipe is by Amy Clipston and is the first book in An Amish Heirloom Series.  In The Forgotten Recipe Veronica Fisher is engaged to marry her best friend Seth.  He is hardworking, kind and handsome and they are so in love, but when tragedy strikes and Seth falls to his death while on his construction job, Veronica is left devastated.

Veronica is certain that she will never love again and fills her days with as many chores as possible to keep her mind off of her heartache.  When she discovers an old chest in the attic that is full of forgotten recipes that belonged to her grandmother, she is excited for the first time since Seth passed.  She decides to sell the bake goods and it is not long before she has a regular customer that begins making her heart feel things she didn't think she could feel anymore.

Jason was with Seth when he died.  Seth was Jason's best friend and the memory of Seth's death haunt Jason.  He decides to seek out Seth's fiance Veronica.   He feels like he knows her already since Seth talked about her so much and he wants to help her during her time of grief.  The last thing that Jason expects is to fall in love.  As he becomes a regular customer at Veronica's bake stand, their feelings for each other begin to grow.  Will everything change when Veronica finds out that Jason watched her beloved Seth fall to his death?

This is not the first book I have read by Amy Clipston and I am sure it won't be the last.   I always enjoy her Amish fiction stories and this one was one of my favorites to date.  The story captivated me from the beginning and all of the characters were well developed and easy to relate to.  I can't wait to read the next book in this series!

***Thanks to booklookbloggers.com for providing me with this book in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Every Little Thing - Adult Coloring Book Review

Adult coloring books are all the rave right now.  First, let me state that I hate that they are called "adult coloring books".  It sounds like an x-rated coloring activity that you will need to hide from your kids.  Not sure what I would call them, but I have been a little slow on getting on board with this new fad.  When I got the chance to review "Every Little Thing" I thought it was as good as time as any to see what all the craze is about.

Now that I have tried it, I completely understand why this is such a popular thing right now.  I really enjoyed coloring.  It is just as they say...very relaxing.  I am someone who has to keep busy even when I am watching television in the evenings, so coloring is a great way to keep myself busy without really being busy at all.  It's a great way to unwind!  

Every Little Thing is a nice coloring book that lives up to its name.  It has just about every little thing within the 74 coloring pages.  It has  kaleidoscope type pictures and they are fun.  I liked that the images weren't too tiny.  I've looked at several adult coloring books and some of them have really tiny images.  This one seemed just right.  The pages are nice and thick and I used a mixture of markers, crayons and colored pencils.  The markers did not leak through which is a big plus for me since markers are my favorite!  It has a book cover, and the cover of the book itself can also be colored.

I only found a couple negatives.  A lot of the images go to the middle and due to the binding you cannot really color these images.  I think it would of been nice to have a spiral bound book, or perhaps don't print the pictures all the way to the middle.  The other thing is that it is a bit repetitive.  A lot of the pages have the same thing over and over.  For instance, all though an armadillo could be fun to color more than 50 is a little weird.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and I now have a new hobby!

Thanks to bloggingforbooks.com for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.