Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hurt Road by Mark Lee

Product Details

The Music, the Memories, and the Miles Between

Mark Lee is a founding member of the music group, Third Day, an award winning Christian rock band. I have never listened to them, I don't believe as I don't listen to rock music, but I found his story interesting.

This book is less about his music, though it's a prominent place, and more about God's leading and direction in his life. The writing is simple with no pretention. He really has almost nothing to say about their performances or life on the road. The book is about his journey to becoming a musician and his desire to follow Jesus first, a commitment he made the summer after high school.

Mark lost his dad at age 16 to brain cancer. It was a hard journey for him. Hit by a truck a couple years before that, he had some injuries to recover from there as well.

The last chapter kind of recaps the book in a way and I want to quote a few lines from there that give the gist of the story better than I can. "These simple things will lift us up during the times we are down and feel we don't deserve to breathe the same air as everyone else. They will keep us humble when we are up and we want to claim credit for ourselves. We realize that it is all God's. Most importantly, whatever happens, we are God's. It is an amazing way to live."

It is an interesting story. I really like how Mark seeks to give God the glory in everything he does, how he strives to put God first. After all, that is our purpose in life, to give glory to God.

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

Monday, October 16, 2017

God Gave us Family by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Product Details

Illustrated by David Hohn

This is the story of a wolf kid who is an only child and he is trying to figure out why some families are big and he is only one. His parents are explaining that families come in all sizes. There is the family with lots of children, the family where the cubs are raised by the grandparents and the family that is raised by the mother and only see the dad in the summer.

Then the wolf family goes to a family reunion and the cub realizes that all these other wolves make up his pack/his family and while sometimes they are annoying, they can also be fun to play with.

The storyline is cute. I hesitate at the hint of a divorced family and yet I realize that is the culture we live in and my children are going to be exposed to it at some point. And also, this could indicate a family where the dad works away and is only able to come home on weekends or monthly, etc. If there was no indication of a dad, I would take it to mean a spouse has died, but I don't think that is the intention here. All that being said, it's that sentence that makes me give the book a lesser rating, because I don't believe God's ideal plan included broken homes.

The pictures are nicely done, not real to life, but cute. My two year old is convinced these are foxes.

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

I'd Like You More if You Were More Like Me by John Ortberg

Product Details

Getting Real about Getting Close

Relationships--so vital and so hard. Why do we fear being real? Why do we try to hide behind a fake facade, attempting to be whoever we think the other person wants us to be?

John explores getting real and really experiencing intimacy. This applies not just to a spouse, but to all close relationships. We were born to bond. That's why attachment and bonding is so important as babies. We need that so we can thrive as adults

"God's primary goal for us is character, not innocence. Innocence means I haven't done anything wrong. Character means I am habitually devoted to doing what is right. Babies are innocent. Saints have character." It is this character that allows us to experience intimacy with those around us.

"People who are skilled at intimacy look for opportunities to create joy for other people." It's an outward focused thing, how can I best help the other person, rather than a me focus.

John talks about how technology can both help and hinder intimacy. While it can promise to help us stay connected more easily than ever with more people, it oftens makes us more disconnected than ever. We start to be our cell phone's servant and therefore can cease to be present with the people who are physically present. That's a good reminder for me to engage with my children and spouse and my friends rather than with my phone.

Intimacy involves being vulnerable and that's just downright scary, but it that openness that lets you really see into the other person's soul.

John is a very good writer, throwing in humor and puns to make the reading fun. This is at least the second book of his that I have read and I am certainly open to increasing that number. I definitely recommend this book if you want to go deeper in your relationships. There is also a small group connection kit available to go with this book if you want to take it one step further.

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

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fire Road by Kim Phuc Phan Thi

Product Details

The Napalm Girl's Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace.

June 8, 1972, at eight years old, Kim Phuc's life changed forever. That was the day the Napalm bomb was dropped on her village of Trang Bang. I do not fully understand these types of bombs, but they work by burning. It's a sticky substance and sticks to whatever it touches. It also burns at 5,000 degrees F. The fire chased her, burned her clothes right off of her and deeply burned 30% of her body. She was taken to a hospital and placed in the morgue where her mother found her three days later. Interestingly enough, and I hope I'm not giving away too much of the storyline, Kim always wondered and struggled with why she had been left for dead when she was still breathing, but because of the way napalm worked, other victims who were taken to the hospital and well-meaning nurses would remove the bandages, they would immediately catch on fire again and die. Napalm needs oxygen. By being left for dead, her bandages were not touched giving her a better chance of survival

Survive she did, but she is left with almost continuous pain and deep scarring. So while her physical survival has not been easy, her spiritual survival has been amazing. Kim cam to know Jesus around 19 years old and has been on fire for him ever since. She travels all over the world talking to groups about the love of Jesus and how peace is so much better than war.

All this happened because a journalist/photographer happened to be in Trang Bang the day the bombs fell and captured a picture of Kim running naked down Route 1. That picture captured the hearts of many people who prayed for her and wondered what became of her.

It's an amazing story of forgiveness. I recommend it to anyone, but you might have to have a bit of a strong stomach for the first part as the mental picture Kim paints is not pretty, but it's true.

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

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Cherished Mercy by Tracie Peterson

Product Details

This is the third in the series Heart of the Frontier. I am thinking it is the last as Mercy was the youngest sister

Mercy lived up to her name. In the previous two books as everyone dealt with the after effects of the Whitman Mission Massacre, Mercy wanted love and forgiveness to prevail. She wasn't after revenge. That theme didn't come out quite as strong in this book, but it was definitely there.

She was once again put in some life threatening situations and her earnest desire was for peace. While this was a purely fiction book, it did open my eyes to the fighting and wars between the whites and Indians and I'm sure there was a lot more truth in the fiction than I ever realized, as far as the hatred the whites had for the Indians.

It was a good book. I like Tracie's books. It was also rather predictable as we might assume. There was a little twist in the plot involving a little girl, but I'm not going to give away any spoilers here.

I received this book from Bethany House. No positive review was required.

I'm Not a Scaredy Cat by Max Lucado; Illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez

Product Details

A Prayer for When You Wish You Were Brave

This is a nice hardcover book with a dust jacket suitable for ages 2 and up or any age where they will sit and listen to a story. Even as an adult, I can stand to remember this story.

It's the story of a cat who thinks he's a big, strong cat and not a scaredy cat, but turns out he's scared about a lot of things like sprinkles on his doughnut.  When fear strikes though, there is a prayer to pray.

"God, you are good.
God, you are near.
God, you are here!
And, God, you love me."

These words, are repeated throughout the book and are so very, very true. God is good, He is near and He hears me. I need to remember this when I want to allow fear to overtake me.

My daughter loves this book and had her daddy read it twice back to back as soon as the box was open. I hope she too can remember to go to God when she is scared.

I really like this book and the lesson it teaches. I will say for those who have read Max Lucado's Wemmick books or "A Hat for Ivan", this is not like those at all. I would say this book is geared for much younger children.

I received this book from Book Look Bloggers. No positive review was required.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

fierceHearted by Holley Gerth

Product Details

Live fully, love bravely

"a fierce Hearted woman...
"looks life in the face and says, "You can't beat me."
"Knows love is risk but reaches out anyway.
"Understands kindness takes real courage.
"Makes gentle the new strong, small the new big, ordinary the new extraordinary.
"Chases Jesus with a tender, world-changing wildness."

And there's more. This book was good. It was written in a style I could hang on to. I think every chapter started with a little story or anecdote. The chapters were small, they were read in just a few minutes, but they pulled me in and made me want to keep reading. This is the first book I've read from Holley. I have a Bible study book of hers, but I haven't gone through it yet. I definitely will be on the lookout for more of her books.

It's not a book that says how wonderful you are, blah, blah, blah. Yes, it says that, but in the way that Jesus made you who you are. You are good in His eyes, now go live like that. It's a call to be authentic and to live fully and bravely with courage. "Let's make this our declaration: instead of trying to have it ALL TOGETHER, we will dare to do real, messy, imperfect life all together."

She talks about how we are called to be kind, not nice. Nice will just say what you want to hear to keep everything calm, kindness says what is best for everyone in a loving way. It's way harder to be kind than nice. That was a new thought to me. I hadn't thought about kindness in that way before.

I just really enjoyed this book and want to live as a braver, more courageous fierce hearted woman who embraces life, love and faith to the fullest.

I received this book from Revell Publishing. A positive review was not required.

Hurt Road by Mark Lee

The Music, the Memories, and the Miles Between Mark Lee is a founding member of the music group, Third Day, an award winning Christian r...