Sunday, June 25, 2017

Run with Me by Sanya Richards-Ross

Product Details

The Story of a U.S. Olympic Champion

I had never heard of Sanya Richards-Ross before I read this book, which I suppose is not that surprising as I don't keep up with athletes and their performances all that much. I will have to say that, after reading this book, I am very impressed with the dedication and hard work required of someone who makes running their career.

Let's be honest here, I hate running. I am out of breath before I've run 10 meters, much less 400 meters, so the story of Sanya and her dedication to running since she was 9 is impressive to me.

This book was written with the 8 to 12 year old audience in mind. It's been awhile since I've been that age and I don't have any children that age to use as a comparison. I thought the book was definitely written in easy to understand language. I would say that some of the concepts seemed like they might be a bit hard to understand, especially for an 8 year old, concepts about God's grace and things. On the other hand, the personal discipline that Sanya had at that age would be a great challenge for that age group to emulate. The book was about 99% about her running and her races and her championships which could get a little boring for this age group.

I did enjoy the book, but I wouldn't have minded hearing about other parts of her life, things she did besides running, what Sanya's doing now, and so on. That would have added a bit more interest for me.

But again on the flip side, I really liked how Sanya brought God into the running aspect of her life. She relied on Him in her races and made comparisons of how the various aspects of racing can be applied to the race of life.

All in all, it's a good book and will go into my library of children's books and I will hope that in a few years my own children will enjoy reading it.

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


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Glad News! by Samy Tanagho

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I did not read the description of this book very well when I asked to review it. I was thinking it was a book that was going to explain how to refute Islam and give me a good background for that.

It does that, in a way, but it is geared to be read by a Muslim. Samy does a very good job of incorporating verses from both the Koran and the Bible and showing how Christianity is superior. It was interesting to me to note how much the Koran approves of the Bible and recommends it, even above their own book.

The book is written is a very simple easy-to-understand format. Like I said, it was very different from what I was expecting, but that was my own fault. I found it a little hard to follow because I know virtually nothing about the Koran, so all the references got a little mind-boggling, but I think for a Muslim well-versed in the Koran, Samy did an very good job of taking the concepts apart piece by piece and explaining Christianity.

One advantage that Samy has too is he learned Arabic, so he has been able to read the Koran in the Arabic language and also read the books of the most important Muslim scholars and commentaries would wrote about the Koran and Islam. He has spent 30 years sharing Christ with Muslims and his wife, Hala, often joins him to share her story of being imprisoned for becoming a Christian.

This is a very good book and I would recommend it if you have a Muslim friend with questions about Christianity.

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

Monday, June 19, 2017

Threads of Suspicion By Dee Henderson

Threads of Suspicion (An Evie Blackwell Cold Case) by [Henderson, Dee]

I am a Dee Henderson fan. She is a good author that mixes mystery, crime with romance and can write a pretty good story. But she totally outdid herself on this one. I could totally read lots of this style of fiction.

Cold cases are very interesting to me because they involve a lot of digging and a lot of guess work and not so much  in your fact, heart-stopping crime scenes. It's fascinating to me to watch Evie dig into an old case and see what she can come up with that is different from all the detectives before her. How accurate it is to real life I don't know, but I find it very interesting.

Warning: Spoilers ahead.

So in this book, I don't want to give away too much about the book, but she is working with David, another detective. They are each working their own crime, but float ideas off each other and work back and forth. So you already know where the story is going, right? Wrong. David is in a long-term relationship with a very popular singer.

Why aren't they married, you might ask? Because David became a Christian before they were married and he believes the Bible when it says not to marry an unbeliever and so he refuses to marry his girlfriend as long as she is not a Christian. I really liked David in this book. He is very devoted to God, talks to Him about his job, sees Him as a very personal, all-knowing God. He is committed. And this is good for Evie, the main character, in strengthening her relationship with God. She is also in a relationship, one in which she needs to decide if she wants to get married or not.

This was another reason I loved the book. It didn't turn out as expected and I love that, while there was still a bit of romance, it was actually somewhat of a real-life thing. The two partners working together didn't magically fall in love, etc. etc.

Okay, I feel like I've given enough spoilers about this book. I don't like to do that, but in order to really express why I liked the book, I felt like I needed to. That being said, I said nothing about the cold case files being worked and those are interesting in and of themselves, so go read the book.

I received this book from Bethany House. I was not required to write a positive review.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I'll Push You by Patrick Gray and Justin Skeesuck

Product Details

A Journey of 500 miles
Two Best Friends, and One Wheelchair

This is an amazing story. Justin was diagnosed with a rare muscular disease and has lost the use of his hands and arms. He is unable to take care of himself anymore. Patrick is his best friend basically since birth. Their families have taken trips together and spend time at each other's houses every year. Patrick will take time off of work to go to Justin's house to take care of him to give Justin's wife a break. This is dedication and true friendship.

Now Justin has the dream of walking the famous Camino de Santiago, a spiritual pilgrimage through the mountains and rough terrain of northern Spain. Patrick volunteers to push him these 500 miles. It is an arduous trip requiring much planning, many resources, a new wheelchair and even so, many tired and sore muscles. It cannot be done on their own. People volunteer to come along and help, pilgrims walking the journey with them stop and help. Complete strangers become friends united on this journey, maybe only for a couple hours, maybe a couple days.

While very physically taxing for Patrick to do the hard work of pushing Justin in his wheelchair, Justin is pushing Patrick in a completely different way. (It also is hard on Justin with all the jostling and bumping he experiences in the wheelchair.) Patrick has allowed the need to succeed, to be successful, to take care of himself and his family to get in the way of relationships. He has let his family down. Justin has tried to embrace every moment. He knows his disease will eventually kill him. He misses being able to play with his kids and hug his wife, but he is determined to make the most of every moment. Through this six-week-journey, Patrick has had to face that he has let his family down, that work has taken priority and he is determined to change that. He has also had to face his pride. It was hard for him to accept help in getting Justin over these mountains. Justin has had to learn to accept help because of his many limitations.

It's a beautiful friendship that is rare in today's standards.

There are a few things shared in the book that I wanted to share here, things that struck me. One was the living in the moment, enjoying each and every moment. This is something I have been working on in my own life. But I can get distracted and be only half present. I want to take the time to stop and listen and look and really really see what's going on. They talk about this a bit in a part on Sabbath. "And we're learning how to keep close to use the relationships and moments that define who we are. If we didn't practice this sort of Sabbath in our friendship, if we hadn't taken this break to walk the Camino together, we'd have missed out on all of this.

"Whether resting in my friendship with Justin or in my relationships with my wife and children, I find a greater appreciation for whoever is at my side when I take a moment to keep them close, to be present with them.......Every moment we rest in the presence of others and appreciate the time, beauty, and joy they have to offer, we practice Sabbath. It's a mentality...an existence...a way of life."

And then this is another quote from Patrick as he wrestled with himself at the Iron Cross. He had really struggled with Justin's diagnosis earlier on and had become bitter at God for it. This is kind of flashback to those times and also to right now where he realizes he needs to relinquish safety in order to really experience life in all fullness.  "That's when I realized that, more often than not, the miracle isn't the absence of struggle, disease, or pain; it is the presence of grace and certainty, the ability to face strife, the unknown, or a slow death, without fear." This is in the flashback section where he had just heard Justin say that he wouldn't trade his current condition to be able to walk again and it had completely shocked Patrick. "Every human interaction, every relationship is an opportunity to provide for one another, to provide time, energy, resources, hope, love, compassion, or grace. There is no limit to what we can provide for others, or what others can provide for us."

This was a great book, filled with good thoughts like this, filled with humor, and just good human kindness. I highly recommend it. It's an easy and fast read. There is also a documentary out about their journey. A film crew went along at the request of Patrick's boss who said it would be selfish for them not to share this unusual friendship with the world.

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Beginner's Bible Carry-Along Treasury



The Beginner's Bible Carry-Along Treasury

By Zondervan 


So I got this book with the deluded hope, I'm sure, that this would be a good book for Amber to take along to church and look at and hopefully keep her occupied for the two hours that church lasts. However that turns out, the book is a delight either way.

The handle feels like a cheap little plastic thing in comparison with the rest of the book, but I think it will hold up all right. The book is on the smaller side so perfect to carry along. The closure is magnetic so a child can easily open and close. The pictures are bright and colorful. The stories cover some of the popular stories from both the Old and New Testaments. 

We haven't sat down and read any stories, but I'm confident they will hold my two-year-olds attention, but she loves books and these stories are short. 

I am very pleased with the book and even if it doesn't help with sitting still in church, it looks like such a fun book/Bible to carry along. I should clarify, it is more of a Bible story book than Bible. Though it's called a Bible, it is just the common Bible stories. 

I would recommend this book for 2 to 5 year olds. It would make a great gift for that little person in your life.

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

Gratitude

I have been convicted.

I taught Sunday School yesterday on the Israelites and their rebellion about entering Canaan. I asked the question about attitudes and preconceptions affecting our situations and experiences. And how to keep a positive perspective, even when life looks hard.

And one lady made the comment about gratitude and it has stuck with me. Isn't that pretty much the answer?

How you can grumble about a situation and crabby and pessimistic and see the worst in the situation if we are grateful? It's hard to complain when you have a grateful spirit.

OUCH!!!!!

So D is home late tonight, I'm guessing something didn't go well in the woods. I don't know what, but I know it involved unloading and reloading and that's usually not a normally occurrence, so... I have a choice. I can be grumpy because I don't know if we can wait to eat until he gets home and I just don't want to get supper on and eat by ourselves. Or I can be grateful he had work all day today, and that he tackled what needed to be done and that, Lord willing, he will be home later. And if we need to eat, it will be perfectly okay.

I can grumble and be discontent that this pregnancy has once again landed me on the couch or I can choose to be grateful that so far this baby is still growing and developing as he should inside and not outside in a NICU.  Let's just say, that really helps put things in perspective.

And days when I am discouraged with the job of mothering a high-energy two-year old, I only need to stop and think and really look at her. Then I see a very, Very, VERY chatty little person who is developing her own personality, who loves her music and her schoolwork and was just working on developing her muscles with resistance band (which by the way have got to be about the best toy ever). And when I stop and look, I see a mom who is so blessed beyond measure with a little girl who is mostly good and cheerful and busy and developing on schedule  and then I wonder, what did I do to deserve this?

There are so many things to be grateful for in life and I want to make a commitment to see the good in each day. There are way too many negative people in this world who seem to delight in seeing the worst in every situation. And I've been there, done that, and it isn't that fulfilling or satisfying. I would much prefer to be that annoyingly grateful, optimistic person.

I have tried a bit of this with my Instagram account of trying to post the little moments or the happy moments of the day.

And now, my little girl has climbed up on my legs and is "sitting on mom's lap" behind my computer, going, "ready, set, go." I don't know where she learned that or her other new favorite of "let's race".


Women Who Move Mountains by Sue Detweiler

Product Details
Praying with confidence, boldness, and grace

This is a 193 Page book that talks about prayer and then a 21 Days to Spiritual Breakthrough Devotional at the back of the book. The book was in a different format than I am used, but I think there are some good points to the way it is written. The odd chapters talk about "I Am....", "I Am Chosen" "I Am Honored." I Am Secure" and etc. The even chapters talk about learning to pray.. with faith, with conviction, with grace, etc. The even chapters are more like a Bible study with lots of verses to look up and questions to answer. I think those chapters could be very valuable if you took the time to go through them and answer the questions and journal your thoughts.

For me, I didn't find the book to be so much about praying with fervor as getting rid of the things in your life that could hinder your prayer life. Each odd chapter started with a story of someone who had overcome whatever the chapter was about. Maybe I read it too fast, but I was expecting more of a how-to-pray book. Now, this book might actually be more of what we need. If there are things in my life that hinder my communication with God, those need to be dealt with first.

I probably started with a bit of mental block as well. Sue talks about being raised Mennonite and had a story or two of her Mennonite friends. I know there are many "varieties" of Mennonites, but the stories didn't really resonate with me and my own Mennonite culture, so I struggled with that a bit. Also the fact that she is an ordained pastor, which again is contrary to my culture and often makes me treat the author with a little more caution.

All that to say, that I think there is much good to be gained from this book even so.

This book was given me by Bethany Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review.

Run with Me by Sanya Richards-Ross

The Story of a U.S. Olympic Champion I had never heard of Sanya Richards-Ross before I read this book, which I suppose is not that surpr...