Wednesday, January 11, 2017

God Made You Nose to Toes - Leslie Parrot

God Made You Nose to Toesby well-known author and family therapist, Leslie Parrot, is a padded boardbook designed to explain to toddlers that God created each part of their body to help them enjoy their surroundings. With the help of a colorful toucan, rhymes are given to express that God made each part for a reason. Delightful animals are incorporated through the story via the talents of illustrator Estelle Corke. The book, published by Zondervan, is 8.38" x 8.38" and has 18 pages.

I wasn't blown away by the book, but I did think it was cute. More importantly, it has been handled a lot by a 16 months old who is loving the pictures. Also, the book is still completely intact. She is too young to sit still as I read it, but has grabbed it to look at several times. As she gets older we can spend more time on the words and the lesson to be taught. I believe she will enjoy learning more about her fingers, knees, nose, toes, etc., and that God created her to enjoy life and because He loves her very much. Between both of us, I would say the book is not quite a five for me, but not completely a 4...perhaps a 4.45.

I received a copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers at no cost to myself. However, my thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

The Women of Easter by Liz Curtis Higgs

In The Women of Easter by Liz Curtis Higgs, you meet three women named Mary. Each of these women had a life-changing encounter with Jesus. Mary of Bethany is the one who prepared the way for the Lord’s burial when she anointed His feet with her precious and costly perfume. Mary of Nazareth, His mother, remained by His side from His first breath to His last, her love and loyalty always steadfast. Mary of Magdala, delivered of seven demons, never wavered in her bravery to support her Teacher when others turned away bravely and then she was the one chosen to proclaim the glorious news of His resurrection to His followers. At a time when women were considered to be second class citizens, the Lord loved, respected, and honored them ---giving Hope to all women that we are worthy, too. 

Higgs has a way of bringing the characters in her stories to life, and even familiar stories are seen in a fresh light. Each Mary she highlights is a person that anyone raised going to church knows all about. Yet, the reader is given more insight to what is happening, and how rare it is for women to be treated with honor during the time Jesus lived on Earth. There were even a couple of "lightbulb moments" when something became much clearer to me. One easily travels to and from the effects of Jesus on the lives of these women to personal stories that Liz shares in comparison. I especially like the Study Guide in the back. This would be a wonderful 8 week devotional for yourself or with a small group. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook-Multnomah "Blogging For Books" program at no cost to myself. However, I was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, January 2, 2017

NIV Holy Bible for Girls, Journal Edition

The NIV Holy Bible for Girls, Journal Edition is a hard cover Bible with an attached elastic closure. Features include:
  • Lines on each page for journaling and notes
  • Thick paper perfect for any writing utensil
  • A presentation page for gift giving
  • A “How to Use This Bible” page to get started on the right foot
  • Ribbon marker
  • The complete text of the bestselling New International Version (NIV)
This Bible has a visually appealing turquoise cover (other colors are available) with designs and an attached pink elastic closure. I think it is very attractive and my 15 month old great-granddaughter, raced to pick it up, while exclaiming, "Ooooooh." The outside cover is the least important part of a Bible, but I think it is good to have a book that immediately attracts someone. It has a hard cover, which makes it a bit heavy, but I love the durability and the way it is bound.

The NIV translation is fairly easy to read and understand for most people, and is a very popular version. The print is a little small for me, but should be great for the average reader. However, I have no issue with the print size due to the room given on each page for journaling or note-taking. Not only is there room to make notes, but there are lines to make it easier. This Bible is intended for girls 8 and up, so I really like that it encourages making notes from an early age. The pages aren't too thin, but I encourage using colored pencils rather than highlighters to help avoid bleed through. 

As a first "grown-up" Bible for a girl, this is an excellent one. It is also suitable for teens and women, though, so don't let the "for girls" mislead you if you want to get this Bible for yourself. I do miss having maps and a concordance, but my personal preference is a study Bible. However, I do recommend the NIV Holy Bible for Girls, Journal Edition, especially if you like to jot down notes about a particular passage as you read it.

Thanks to Handlebar Marketing for providing me with a copy for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Sunday, December 25, 2016

A Spectacle of Glory - Joni Eareckson Tada

A Spectacle of Glory: God's Light Shining through Me Every Day by Joni Eareckson Tada with Larry Libby is a compact devotional that focuses on how God loves you and enables you to live daily as a spectacle of His glory. 

Joni Eareckson Tada, who has lived nearly half a century as a quadriplegic following a diving accident as a teen, knows a lot about living with pain daily, and we would certainly understand if she complained about her physical pain and frustrations. But she has learned to say yes to God on a day-to-day basis and continue to follow Him on this difficult journey and glorifying Him through it all. Joni uses her experience to encourage you and bring comfort in difficulties by helping the reader focus on following Him each step of the way. No matter how insignificant you may think you are or what challenges you face, you can use your life and circumstances to glorify God.

Using a passage of Scripture to look up, a couple of paragraphs of thought on it, followed by a prayer, this book, together with a Bible, is intended to help the reader focus on glorifying God through simple changes in attitude and thought patterns. Instead of being overwhelmed, it is bite-sized portions of Scripture to slowly digest and allow to nourish your spirit. The book is also compact-sized, making it easy to slip into a purse or briefcase to carry with you. This is a wonderful gift for anyone, including yourself, if you need encouragement during hardships---or simply feeling too insignificant to be used by God.

Many thanks to Handlebar Publishing for providing me with a copy at no cost to myself. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado

Grace for the Moment (Large Deluxe): Inspirational Thoughts for Each Day of the Year by Max Lucado offers inspiring devotions to grow in your faith as you embrace the hope of the Lord every day. Featuring Scripture, along with devotional writings from Max's best sellers, each day's writing is a short but powerful message to remind the reader of God's love. Although there are variances, the majority of the Scripture is from the New Century Version (NCV). The devotion for each day also indicates which Lucado book used. 

This is the deluxe, large print edition of the classic devotional with a leather-flex cover, beautifully designed pages, and a ribbon marker. It is fairly lightweight and fits comfortably in one hand if you hold it to read. The pages do not flip and are thick enough that you can highlight or make notes that won't bleed through to several pages. (I recommend using colored pencils when highlighting, though. I have used them for years.) The strong binding will ensure this book can endure daily handling and will be a treasury you can visit in years ahead. I also love the look and feel of the cover. The book is published by Thomas Nelson, a registered trademark of Harper Collins Christian Publishing. 

I love the book and will definitely recommend it to anyone searching for a new devotional for themselves or as a gift. These are small nuggets of truth, with an insight to give the reader something to mull over and to build upon their faith.

I received a copy of this book from Booklook Bloggers for review purposes. A positive review was not required, and all thoughts regarding this book are my own.        

Sunday, December 18, 2016

When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette by Max Davis

When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette: Loving People Like God Does by Max Davis is a collection of stories of people who have done more than just tell others about Jesus but have actually displayed the personification of Jesus to others. You have heard the phrase, "be the Hands and Feet of Jesus, " and this is exactly how these people have chosen to live their lives. But it starts with a person first allowing themselves to be transformed by Jesus.

The book opens with a remarkable story of an encounter with a young woman in a grocery store. What Max intended as a genuine outreach of compassion turned into a poignant lesson on truly trusting in God in all circumstances. It also reminds me that "learning to be content in all things" is much more than just a 'refrigerator magnet verse' but an actual lifestyle.

It's not until chapter 3 that we actually meet the "green-eyed brunette" who had---and continues to have---such an impact on the life of Max Davis. When he met her, he discovered that there are people who simply lve their lives as a follower of Jesus with no judgement or condemnation of others, but because they are being obedient to the call on their life. Accecptance of others but unwilling to compromise seems a bit rigid, so perhaps it's better to say that she was a light in the darkness, showing a better way---but the Light was the reflection of Jesus.

The book, only 208 pages, is filled with stories of people whose lives reflected the light of Jesus to others and made a profound impact by simply trusting in God and following Him closely. There are also stories of trusting God and waiting patiently when instinct is to take another action. One story in particular was a reminder that our parental instincts to protect our [adult] children is when we must lean even closer into God as He places people just where they need to be. He loves our families even more than we do.

Finally, there is the lesson of listening to the Voice of God and obeying---even if you don't really want to obey what you hear. You may not see an immediate difference, but you can be sure that you were used if God called and you responded. But there are times when you see a radical change. Sometimes you may be the only 'Jesus' someone sees---so be prepared to always let God love others through you.

“Jesus is very much alive today and still does incredible things—sometimes supernatural things—through us!” ~ Max Davis

GIVEAWAY: Respond by Thursday, December 22, 2016, to be entered into a random drawing for your own copy of "When Jesus Was a Green-Eyed Brunette." 
"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

#JesusGreenEyedBrunette #FlyBy

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Of Stillness and Storm - Michele Phoenix

"of stillness and storm" by Michele Phoenix is, in her own words, "My hope is that this novel will be a cautionary tale..."

It took Lauren and her husband ten years to achieve their dream—reaching primitive tribes in remote regions of Nepal. But while Sam treks into the Himalayas for weeks at a time, finding passion and purpose in his work among the needy, Lauren and Ryan stay behind, their daily reality more taxing than inspiring. For them, what started as a calling begins to feel like the family’s undoing.
At the peak of her isolation and disillusion, a friend from Lauren’s past enters her life again. But as her communication with Aidan intensifies, so does the tension of coping with the present while reengaging with the past. It’s thirteen-year-old Ryan who most keenly bears the brunt of her distraction.

Intimate and bold, Of Stillness and Storm weaves profound dilemmas into a tale of troubled love and honorable intentions gone awry. (Thomas Nelson product description)

I have mixed feelings on this book. Phoenix did bring more layers to characters as the story enfolded, although my frustration with each also increased as I read. The story is thought-provoking, especially for families who feel the call to become missionaries, so mission accomplished as far as what Phoenix hoped to convey. Perhaps the clearer vision of the reader is what leads to my frustration with the book. I can't fault her for creating characters I don't particularly like, but I grew more annoyed rather than more empathetic. This is definitely not a "happily ever after" fairy tale, which is not a requirement for my enjoyment of a story, but I would have liked to have felt a bit more hope for the characters.

The writing itself is very good, and the story flows well and gains momentum toward a suspected conclusion. I confess, I wasn't sure HOW the author would arrive there, so I will not say predictable, but it was a conclusion that left me feeling empty. I can't judge the book based solely on my opinion of the characters, but neither can I say I loved the book. However, it is an interesting study of missionary life from a viewpoint one may not have fully considered. I have an opinion, but each person should be free to draw their own.

Thanks to Handlebar Marketing for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.