Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Indescribable Coloring Book

Based on the hit song as recorded by Chris Tomlin
Written by Laura Story and Jesse Reeves

This is a really cool coloring book. I love how it takes a praise song and puts pictures to it. Each double page spread has a phrase from the song on it. It gives you time to meditate on the phrase and offer your own praise to God while you color the picture.

The phrase "All powerful, untameable" is repeated three times, I believe. One picture has lions running in it. Another one has wild horses, (At least I decided they were wild). And the final picture is water running over rocks on a downhill slope. I just think the pictures fit so well with the phrase. Not all of the pictures and phrases go that well, but I think that most of them fit very well.

I would love to just grab some pencil crayons and get started with this book, but beings I am just a bit of "do things in order" person, I will resist for now. I was thinking it would make a great gift for someone, but I'm not so sure anymore. I kind of want to save it for myself. However, if you have a coloring enthusiast for a friend or a family member and you need a gift for them, this is a great book to give. Especially if they are also love this song.

As you can tell, I think this is a great book and I look forward to coloring in it or giving it away. I love the idea of being able to color worship/praise songs. It seems if I could keep my mind focused, it would be a great way to worship while I am coloring or even just to have the song playing in the background while you color, which is what I did while I wrote this review.

This book was given me by Book Look Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Friends, Partners & Lovers by Kevin A Thompson

Friends, Partners, and Lovers by Kevin A. Thompson

What it Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

I like to read a few marriage books a year. I think it's good to do that. Books can give me a fresh look at marriage and inspire me to try harder to be the wife that my husband needs. I often am revived and ready to go the second mile after reading a marriage book.

I often say this too, but this was one of the best books on marriage I've read. I thought Kevin had a different look at marriage than a lot of marriage books do. Maybe it's just the stage I'm in now, but I just really enjoyed the book and may have quoted from it to anyone who would listen.

There are three aspects to being married, according to Kevin. You should be best friends, not exclusive friends, but best friends. This is the foundation in my mind. You love to be together, to do things together, to have fun together. You are also partners: Partners in raising a family, maybe in running a business, financial partners. There has to be a level of trust here. And then you are lovers, referring to the sexual aspect of marriage. If you are good solid friends and partners with a deep level of trust, the lovers part will be fulfilling and lots of fun. Kevin gave a three hour talk once on marriage where he spent most of the time talking about the friendship aspect. Afterwards in the Q&A session, one person went off about how important sex was to marriage and they couldn't believe that Kevin would spend three hours talking about marriage and never give serious consideration to sex. After this introduction, the question was what the biggest misconception about sex is. Kevin's answer? "The biggest misconception about sex is that a three-hour talk about friendship in marriage is not a direct discussion about sex."

One of the first things that stood out to me in the book was this quote:"Knowing our spouse isn't our soul mate allows us to expect problems. We aren't surprised by frustrations. We understand differences. When we fight, it doesn't cause us to wonder if we married the wrong person. We know it is just part of marriage. The great challenge of relationships is not to find the one person created specifically for you. It is to pick someone and work at the relationship to such an extend that eventually you feel as though there could never be anyone else for you." I love that. It's all about choice. Marriage takes a lot of effort, but if we are aware of that and willing to do our part, it is a beautiful thing.

On June 6 of this year, it will be nine years since our first date. Has it all been easy? No, we have faced things as a couple in those nine years that I wouldn't wish on anyone, but would I change what we have? Absolutely not. When you get married, you chuckle to yourself when people say it gets better because you can't imagine it getting better. Now having been married 8 years, I look back and chuckle at the people who are starting to date because you know it does really get better. And while there's a twinge of jealousy because you know the fun times to be had in dating, there is a level of security and comfort that comes with time that you don't have when you are dating. And I can only imagine another 8 years will have me looking back and chuckling again.

So, if you are looking for a good book on marriage that is easy to read and enlightening and encouraging, pick up a copy or if you live close to me, I might let you borrow it. Or if you are getting married, I might even get you a copy.

Kevin blogs at www.kevinathompson.com 

I was given this book by Revell Publishing and was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Esther, a Drawn in Bible Study

Product Details

Finding Yourself in Times of Trouble
By Eugene Peterson

This is a Bible Study coloring book that goes through the book of Esther. The Bible passages are all there in the Message translation. There is a section of Scripture followed by a few questions and then another section of Scripture. There are only four sessions so each session is quite lengthy and would take a bit of time to do. At the end of each session, there is a section called, "Until we Meet Again" that is for reflection and/or consideration and a prayer.

There is also a section at the back for leaders that gives advice and ideas on how to lead the Bible Study and some notes for each session.

Throughout the book are various pictures to color. Some are full page with a quote or just picture. Other times, it's just a small leaf or flower in the corner. The pictures do look nice and a lot of fun to color.

I am looking forward to doing this Bible study and it will definitely go on my list of Bible Studies to do.

The one thing I don't like about this book is that it does not lay flat. Coloring and writing in it are going to be a bit difficult unless you are rather harsh with book in an attempt to get it to lay flat. A different kind of binding would be nicer for coloring purposes, but otherwise, it's a great little book.

I received this book from Tyndale Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

and Still She Laughs by Kate Merrick

Product Details

Defiant Joy in the Depths of Suffering

Losing your 8-year-old daughter to cancer is not what any mom ever wants to do, Kate Merrick included. And yet that is what she had to do and this is her journey through that grief. It's not so much about the cancer journey, so if that is what you are expecting, you will be disappointed. But if you are looking for hope in the midst of grief, then this is the book for you.

She looks at Biblical women like Sarah, Bathsheba, and Mary and the journeys they walked through and provides insight for today. For example, we often look at the Proverbs 31 woman and grow discouraged and yet it is thought that Bathsheba wrote that. Look at Bathsheba's life, not very perfect, but she made the most of it and was most blessed.

One of the things Kate talked about that stomped on my toes was the thing of bitterness. "Just a teeny bit, just enough bitterness that I feel justified about it. Just enough bitterness that it colors my sense of humor and peppers my thoughts, but it doesn't show up on my face. Hidden so well I didn't even see it at first. I almost missed it. A slight hint of bitter, just a little on the side, for dipping in now and again. "  "Bitterness at the desolation of life. Bitterness at people who apparently have no pain. Bitterness at women who have kids to spare. Bitterness because I lost. I lost the contest, the race, the fight."

This struck me, because I have been guilty of this very thing. Bitter because other people have children with seemingly little to no effort and I am left thinking about my babies in heaven and struggling for every child on earth we are blessed with. But it is still bitterness and it still needs to be dealt with.

"Becoming aware of my hindering attitude of bitterness started a chain reaction that has since led to those bigger, better things - a deepening of faith, a realization that all things point to eternity; and this life, with all its trouble, is quickly coming to an end." I don't know if I'm there yet, but I want that deep faith, that ability to count on eternity and the capacity to laugh once again.

And then she ends the book with talking about treasuring the moments. The Proverbs 31 woman talks about laughing without fearing the future and Kate invites us to experience that deep laughter.

"Can we please laugh together? Can we please honor God, the Giver?....When he gives sweet memories, camp out there a little while, sweeping your soul with goodness. Let the food you eat not only nourish your cells, but let it be beautiful and delicious and flavorful and plentiful. Walk in the rain, splash in puddles, catch snowflakes on your tongue......If he has given you babies to love, pour it on thick. Rock and sing and kiss and bless, in the same way your Abba pours out to you. The home you have been given, have fun making it pretty....."

And in the midst of writing this book, Kate experienced a miscarriage bringing her number of children to three in heaven and two on earth. She knows the meaning of loss and yet she chooses to laugh and love in the midst of all of it.

This book was given to me by Book Look Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What Hope Remembers by Johnnie Alexander

Product Details

So in my last book review, I said I was on the lookout for some new to me authors that write books with depth. Well, Johnnie is on my list to read more of. This was the third book in a series and I'd like to read the first two sometime. For the most part, this was an easy-to-understand-on-its-own-kind-of-book, but there are some unanswered questions at the end about some of the other highly visible characters that make you want to know their stories.

Hope. Redemption. Second Chances. Forgiveness. I think those themes run solidly through this book. While there's not a lot of God in this word in terms of lots of Scripture or church attendance, to me He is there. He is what made it possible for Gabe to survive his years of an unfair prison sentence. God is who changed the lives of several key characters in the book.

I don't want to make this post be a spoiler for the story and so I will try to be purposefully vague. And yes, the hero got the heroine in the end and lived happily ever after, things did not go just perfect. There was some sad tough things that happened in this book. There was some carnality and meanness, but there was redemption. Amy, the main female character, was learning to look beyond her past, beyond her mistakes, beyond her eating problems to see what she could be, to see the person she could become if she was willing to make the efforts.

Anyway, I did enjoy this book and I will be on the lookout for any books by Johnnie Alexander because I felt like she can write a book with some depth and body to it. Now I would like to know what other people think of this book and this author.

This book was given to me by Revell Books. I was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Bible sleuth: New Testament

Product Details

Illustrated by Jose Perez Montero

Who likes the "Where's Waldo" Books? Well, here's another option for you. Mike loves adventure and loves going back in time, especially to Bible times and looking at some of the most exciting events in history. On every open spread, there's a short Bible story and then eight objects/people to find on every page. And, of course, you also have to find Mike on every page.

The stories include Jesus' birth, His first miracle, the Beatitudes, feeding of the five thousand, Triumphal entry, Pentecost, stoning of Stephen, and others. While I didn't try to find all the objects, I'm not very good at stuff like that, I didn't think they were too terribly hard to find. The pages are definitely packed full of people and objects though, so it's not just super easy to spot stuff.

I think it looks like a fun book for a little bit older of a child. The genre is listed as juvenile nonfiction/religious/Christian/games and activities, so it doesn't list just a specific age. I do remember the secretary at one place I work enjoying the "Where's Waldo" book so this could go on up to adults as well. I would guess around five or six for a starting age of who could start finding the pictures.

I think it would make a great gift or a perfect thing to introduce when going on a long trip, (as long as the child doesn't get car sick). It is a bigger, hardcover book. I would estimate it to be about 8 x 13 or so, so they would need the ability to be able to hold it on their lap. It's not very thick though.

There is also a Bible sleuth: Old Testament book as well. That one I have not seen, but I would imagine is equally fun.

I received this book from Tyndale Publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Trusting Grace by Maggie Brendan

Product Details

Virtues and Vices of the Old West Book 3

I am on a lookout these days for good fiction authors that I haven't read yet, so I will be attempting to try a lot of books by new to me authors. And then, of course, will be writing reviews on them here on my blog. So Maggie Brendan is one of those new to me authors.

The basic characters are a widow and her father and a widower and his three stepchildren that he didn't know he had until his wife died. So there's some trust issues on his part regarding women. And understandably so. But as these books go, trust was gained between the widower and the widow and they were bound to live happily ever after.

The book was fine as far as fiction books go. The setting was Montana in 1866, so the genre is historical romance. And really that was all there was. There was a small amount of intrigue caused by some missing goods shipments and subsequent kidnapping, but it was all quickly resolved.

One of the more interesting things in the book was that the widow's father, Owen, had this odd muscle disease that they called muscle neuritis back then. Today it is called chronic inflammatory demyelinating neuropathy. The author's husband suffers from this condition and I found it interesting that she put it in the book. I liked that. It makes the story more real to life to me, I think.

Basically, I will say that it was a book of stuff and fluff and while I don't discount Maggie Brendan as an author, this book doesn't get to rank up in the category of "have to read". I think the older I get, the more I look for fiction books with body and depth. I don't want the book to be all preachy and do nothing but quote Scripture, but I like books that show a real depth of character development and a true dependence on God.

I received this book from Revell Books and was not required to write a positive review.

Indescribable Coloring Book

Based on the hit song as recorded by Chris Tomlin Written by Laura Story and Jesse Reeves This is a really cool coloring book. I love ...