Sunday, June 23, 2019

No Ocean Too Wide - Carrie Turansky

Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans--but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans' home before Laura is notified about her family's unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God."






My Review: We are introduced to the McAlister family in No Ocean Too Wide. When their widowed mother is admitted to the hospital due to illness, the 3 children (twins Katie and Garth, and 8-year-old Grace) remaining at home are placed into what they expected to be a temporary home. By the time the oldest sister finds out, the children have become among many British Home Children being sent to Canada. This is Book 1 of a trilogy and the focus is on Laura, the oldest, and Katie. 

The characters in the book are endearing, and sometimes frustrating with the decisions made at times, but this makes the story that much more relatable. The storyline of the British Home Children is one that seems unbelievable... yet it happened. The idea was built on a genuine concern about the best way to help children, but greed and evil also played a role in the lives of too many of these kids. There is also the matter of what was the cultural attitude of the early 1900s, including separation of classes. Laura is strongly attracted to the son of her former boss, but also has a distrust of wealthy young men. Andrew's interest in the child emigration program brings them together and provides a romantic, hopeful element to the story.

Author Carrie Turansky can be depended upon to develop characters you love and want to get to know better. The only thing I dislike is that... I want more of the people I met in this book but have to wait until the other books come out. I do recommend this heartwarming story of struggle, faith, love, and hope.

I received a free copy of this book as part of the WaterBrook Multnomah Launch Team. I was not required to write a positive review.



Buy the book!








Tuesday, June 11, 2019

CSB He Reads Truth Bible

The CSB He Reads Truth Bible includes robust, well-crafted theological extras to draw the reader back to Scripture, increase biblical literacy, and foster a growing affection for God and His Word. Color-coded by genre, each book of the Bible features detailed book introductions, a reading plan with supplemental passages for deeper understanding, and full-color maps, charts, and timelines by the He Reads Truth team. In addition, the CSB He Reads Truth Bible features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization. This Bible invites every man to count himself as part of the He Reads Truth community of “Men in the Word of God every day.”

Features include: 66 hand-lettered key verses, 17 full-color timelines, 21 maps, 122 charts (including infographics and lists), and 4 illustrations, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking.

The CSB He Reads Truth Bible features the highly readable, highly reliable text of the Christian Standard Bible® (CSB). The CSB stays as literal as possible to the Bible’s original meaning without sacrificing clarity, making it easier to engage with Scripture’s life-transforming message and to share it with others.


My Review: If you are looking for a new Bible for yourself or a special man in your life, I definitely recommend
the CSB He Reads Truth Bible! There are timelines, background history, reading plans, key verses, and maps. If you are a note-taker, the wide margins will please you. The additional features included invite you to dig deeper into God's Word and develop a greater understanding of what was happening and how the stories may connect in other books of the Bible.

The only 2 problems I had are not going to be an issue for most. The print was a little smaller than I prefer, but it's a personal preference. Each page can be easily read for most people. The other difficulty for me is that the book weighs 3.90 lbs. I could hold it in my hand to read, but it was a bit heavy. (Of course, if it had larger print, that would have meant more pages and added weight.) 


The good, however, far outweigh the things that I had slight problems with, though. It's an excellent study Bible that will hold together through years of use. It would also make an outstanding FATHER'S DAY GIFT!

Many thanks to LEV3L Digital and He Reads Truth for providing a copy to review! Also... an additional copy for a
GIVEAWAY! 


To enter your chance to win a copy, simply write #HeReadsTruthL3 in a comment under a He Reads Truth review post or here on the blog. Contest ends June 15, 2019. The winner will be announced on Father's Day 2019.


SOCIAL LINKS

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The Logic of God - Ravi Zacharias

The Logic of God: 52 Christian Essentials for the Heart and Mind by Ravi Zacharias is a weekly offering on the topics that are important to Christians on why the Bible and God are still vital, relevant and life-changing. Ravi says, "I am convinced that Jesus Christ alone uniquely answers the deepest questions of our hearts and minds." Each week's reading provides Scripture, questions for reflection, and some practical application steps that apply to your life.

The book itself is a beautifully bound hardcover that is meant to be used frequently. It's not necessarily one you would normally read straight through but to be used in either your own quiet time and study or as part of a small group. Some of the topics are going to make more of a personal impact than others, but each is important as part of your faith-walk. I rushed through much for review purposes although some did cause me to linger a bit. I look forward to reading the book again as part of a weekly devotion. As always, Zacharias uses rational thinking, courtesy, intellect, and humor to challenge the reader to seriously consider the topic. 



I received a copy of this Zondervan published book from BookLookBloggers at no cost to myself for review purposes. I was neither influenced or required to write a positive review.


Ravi Zacharias website is RZIM.org.
FaithGateway.com 
Zondervan 
Thomas Nelson books
Amazon



Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Becoming Us - Robin Jones Gunn

Five young women, including beloved Gunn characters Christy Miller and Sierra Jensen, gather for a simple Christmas party and soon become unlikely best friends. Told from the viewpoint of Emily, a timid young mom going through a difficult season of life, the regular gatherings provide the much needed community she's longed for. As the women begin sharing their life stories in Becoming Us they are endeared to each other and find ways to challenge, encourage, and help each other become the nurturing mothers they wished they'd had when they were growing up. They see themselves as Haven Makers and unite to be remembered for what they do and not for what was done to them. (Amazon description)

Becoming Us by Robin Jones Gunn brings together 5 young mothers who connect and form a close bond with one another. The story is told mostly from the POV of Emily who has recently moved from North Carolina to California with her husband and young daughter. Unlike the others, Emily's child is not a baby or toddler, so that plus being in a very vulnerable season in her life causes her to be hesitant about forming friendships within the group. When an unexpected event thrusts her into a shared experience, however, she allows herself to be pulled into the group.

The transformation of Emily from a shy, lonely, timid woman who has allowed family to shape her life into a person emerging from the shadows strong in faith, confident in herself, willing to take risks, and determined to do what is best for herself, her husband, and her child is an encouraging story for anyone who struggles to find herself. Both Emily and her husband Trevor make strides to lean less on their own thoughts, understanding, and indecisiveness and to trust fully in God... which also is a lesson observed and adopted by daughter Audra.

For the fans of Christy Miller and Sierra Jenson, it will be a treat to revisit them in "Haven Makers" series. I know Robin Jones Gunn through her "SisterChicks" books, but now I want to read more. I give Becoming Us 5 stars and look forward to reading future books about these friends.

I received a copy of this book at no cost to myself as part of the WaterbrookMultnomah Becoming Us Launch Team. All opinions are my own.

RobinGunn.com
WaterbrookMultnomah.com
Becoming Us on Amazon

Breakthrough

BREAKTHROUGH is based on the inspirational true story of one mother’s unfaltering love in the face of impossible odds. When Joyce Smith’s adopted son John falls through an icy Missouri lake, all hope seems lost. But as John lies lifeless, Joyce refuses to give up. Her steadfast belief inspires those around her to continue to pray for John’s recovery, even in the face of every case history and scientific prediction. From producer DeVon Franklin (Miracles from Heaven) and adapted for the screen by Grant Nieporte (Seven Pounds) from Joyce Smith’s own book, BREAKTHROUGH is an enthralling reminder that faith and love can create a mountain of hope, and sometimes even a miracle.

Breakthrough is directed by Roxann Dawson and stars
Chrissy Metz, Josh Lucas, Topher Grace, Mike Colter, Marcel Ruiz, Sam Trammell and Dennis Haysbert.



My Review: The film is a well-made telling of an incredible story that is based on actual events. An excellent cast has already propelled the film into the Top 20 of Christian films with a theatrical release. Chrissy Metz is amazing as Joyce Smith... a mother with a strong faith in God and love for her only son. Topher Grace brought charm and humor to the story as the family pastor and the friendship that developed between him and Joyce touched me as they put aside personal differences to join together in a common cause. Dennis Haysbert gives a stellar performance, as usual. Each member of the cast is to be commended for their portrayals.

I loved the music, production was outstanding, and I give the movie an A in all areas. This is one I will be buying on DVD when released.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Psalms For Little Hearts

Psalms for Little Hearts written by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Cee Biscoe is a rhyming paraphrase of 25 of the best-loved Psalms.

Features:
  • 25 rhyming Psalms are written just for your little one
  • Topical table of contents helps you find the right Psalm for every occasion
  • Beautiful, kid-friendly, four-color illustrations throughout make Scripture accessible
  • Scripture from the original Psalms bring you and your child back to the Bible
My Review: A small but powerful package that is sure to delight any child in your life. I love the size (5.5 x 6.625) because it is perfect to hold in one hand while cuddling one of my great-grandkids in my lap. The kids love looking at the pictures (and I do too!) but still listen to what I am reading to them. This is wonderful for both morning devotions and bedtime prayers. The selected Psalms focus on Joy, Hope, and Praise; these are perfect for teaching our little ones about the love God has for them and why we praise Him. Whether using snippets from each chapter or using a whole Psalm... this book can be used for years. It is adaptable to use with toddlers on up to children who can read it for themselves. I highly recommend it!
 
DISCLAIMER: Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not asked to give a positive interview and all opinions are my own.
 



Tuesday, April 9, 2019

So Much the Better - Megan Means

So Much the Better by Megan Means is a children's chapter book that engages the interest of an elementary school-aged child through the adventures of "Ari," a lion cub who is separated from his mom and the rest of his tribe during a terrible storm. Ari meets Eliezer, a golden eagle promises to guide him as he tries to be reunited with his mother.

As he travels through the forest there are times Eliezer is out of sight, but he has assured Ari, "Even when you don't see me you must have faith I am close." The eagle also advises the cub to stay near the stream.

Along the way, Ari meets many other animals. Some are friends and some are not. But he continues to grow physically and with wisdom as he and those who become his companions finally reach his homeland. But, this is not the end of his journey: hard times and fierce enemies threaten the pride. Ari must use the lessons he has learned as he faces his hardest battle.

This story reminds me of Pilgrim's Progress in many ways and the parables Jesus shared. I love the Biblical truths that are spread throughout the book and the way they can connect with children through unforgettable characters and adventures. 


Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Discover more at MeganMeansAuthor.com

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Unplanned

All Abby Johnson ever wanted to do was help women. As one of the youngest Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation, she was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women about their reproductive choices. Her passion surrounding a woman’s right to choose even led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in.

Until the day she saw something that changed everything, leading Abby Johnson to 
join her former enemies at 40 Days For Life, and become one of the most ardent 
pro-life speakers in America.


Unplanned was directed by Chuck Konzelman and Cary Solomon and had outstanding performances by Ashley Bratcher as Abby and Robia Scott as Cheryl, a few surprising cameos, and other talented actors (including my friends Todd Terry and Stacey Bradshaw). Many were shocked when it's successful opening weekend landed it in 4th place overall. This has led to more theaters bringing it in this week! I thought Unplanned did well in presenting Abby Johnson's story and how her views on abortion were changed. I have always been pro-life, even before Roe vs Wade, so I admit to some bias when it comes to abortion. This film actually gave me a deeper understanding of the motives of some of the workers in the abortion industry who genuinely believe they are doing a service for women, and even the babies. I still disagree with what they do but am willing to concede that some are well-intentioned. 

The story was well told, and while some scenes were graphic, abortion is not a neat, tidy procedure... nor is it an unemotional one for most women. These are living humans who are being destroyed before they have the chance to draw their first breath. The very first scene, which was the catalyst for Johnson leaving Planned Parenthood, makes a powerful impact that still lingers in my mind... even knowing that it is CGI. And, I do have friends who faint at the sight of blood, but scenes that include blood are not put in the film for shock; these scenes accurately portray what sometimes happens. Of course, there are also scenes that hit hard on an emotional level. I rarely cry at a theater, but one, in particular, had tears running down my face.

My hope is that many will see the film, no matter their personal views, just to see this side of the story. It's hard to make an informed intelligent decision if you close your eyes to certain aspects. If you support abortion, I hope the film causes you to reconsider; if your view remains unchanged, I hope you at least have a greater understanding of the views of those who believe the unborn child has value. I highly recommend this film for adults and sexually active teens.


Go see this movie! 
For more information:
UnplannedFilm.com

Unplanned on IMDb 
Unplanned on Facebook 
Follow @UnplannedMovie on Twitter 
UnplannedMovie on Instagram 
Resources
AbbyJohnson.org 
40 Days For Life 


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

The Pilgrim's Progress


Many of us are familiar with John Bunyan's classic allegory, The Pilgrim's Progress. The book has never been out of print since it was published in the 1670s. The new animated film being released next month covers Part 1... Christian Pilgrim's journey to The Celestial City. [Part 2 covers his wife and children, but isn't as well known as the first.]

Check out the trailer:



I have seen the movie and love it. The animation was very well done and the story was captivating. From Revelation Media studio, the film features the voice talent of John Rhys-Davies (The Lord of the Rings series, Indiana Jones series, Beyond the Mask), Kristyn Getty (In Christ Alone), and Ben Price. The visuals make it simple to apply what is being shown to our own experience as followers of Christ. I would caution that some of the demonic characters and experiences may be frightening to very young or sensitive children, but I found them to be a very powerful image of the actual spiritual attack we encounter. The themes of Faith, Hope, Redemption, and Perseverance are clearly defined and messages we all need as encouragement.

There will only be TWO opportunities to see The Pilgrim's Progress in theaters. This movie is being distributed through Fathom Events with screenings scheduled at select theaters on Thursday, April 18, during the evening and Saturday afternoon of April 20. However, these screenings are the perfect pre-Easter opportunity to gather with family, friends, and church groups to watch this beloved story in a brilliantly made film. Not only can you reflect and affirm your own journey, but this is the perfect opportunity to share with children and others who have not yet begun the first steps of being a Christ-follower. 

Get your tickets today at Pilgrims.movie/theaters. INVITE others to join you! Actually, if you gather a group of 10 or more, you can get a discount! Buy Group Tickets

Learn more at www.pilgrims.movie 

GIVEAWAY!! You could win 2 tickets OR a copy of The Pilgrim's Progress storybook... thanks to Lev3l Digital. Simply respond with #PilgrimsProgressL3  and #tix, #book, OR  #both to be entered. DEADLINE TO ENTER IS APRIL 12, 2019!
**Be sure to check theaters (USA only) and the 2 available dates if you want to win tickets.**


Disclaimer: I was provided an online screener of this film for review purposes. I am being compensated with tickets and storybooks. All opinions are my own.
 
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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Eat, Live, Thrive Diet

Eat, Live, Thrive Diet: A Lifestyle Plan to Rev Up Your Midlife Metabolism by Danna Demetre and Robyn Thomson... the well-known health and lifestyle coaches of the widely popular website Lean Healthy Ageless. They have written a practical, science-based diet book that unravels the mystery of why women gain weight as they age and includes a sustainable plan to permanently lose the pounds and inches.


My Review: Eat, Live, Thrive Diet is an excellent source to help re-evaluate your diet and lifestyle, making adjustments as needed. I admit that all I have really done so far is READ about it instead of experimenting with their advice. However, that is mostly due to changes in medications due to diabetes. The authors confirm that any changes in diet should be approved by your personal physician. One of the things I do love about the book is that it does allow leeway for personal needs, as well as personal preference.

The book is also easy to read with a conversational style that kept my interest. Also, there is a lot of info that can help the reader pinpoint areas that are problematic. Learning how and what to eat is a life-changer! DIET does not always mean a plan to lose weight; diet is simply what you eat normally. This is about a LIFESTYLE and helps you explore how your body reacts to foods. Are you feeling tired and sluggish after a meal? Use the elimination plan to help discover if a certain food group is a cause.

There are also many tempting recipes in the back. I confess that I hate to cook, but most of these are inspiring me to learn to enjoy it. Plus, it's time to get healthier NOW. Some of the products recommended are ones (mostly brands) unknown to me, but I have not tried to find them (yet), either.

This is a book I plan to use and I do recommend it to others.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of the “Eat Live Thrive Diet” WaterBrook-Multnomah Launch Team. The opinions I have expressed are my own.



LINKS:
LeanHealthyAgeless.com

EatLiveThriveDiet.com 

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon

Barnes and Noble 
ChristianBook 
Penguin Random House
WaterbrookMultnomah

Sunday, March 17, 2019

"The Pilgrim's Progress" Digital Book Giveaway

Based on John Bunyan’s epic masterpiece, THE PILGRIM’S PROGRESS is one of the most popular books of all time, and one of the most important stories of our faith! Second to the Bible in total copies and translations, the story was written by John Bunyan a pastor, imprisoned for sharing his faith.

This powerful allegory helps families understand the spiritual journey is the most important journey in life, as well as the importance of sticking to the path, even when the journey gets difficult.

An animated film version is coming to select theaters for TWO NIGHTS ONLY in April. Take a look at the trailer below:


I have already seen the film and will be posting my review, along with a *giveaway of 2 Tickets for 3 Individual Winners in APRIL!! I recommend gathering a group of friends and/or family to BUY TICKETS NOW! The film will only be available on Thursday, April 18, 7:00p and Saturday, April 20, 12:55p, so you don't want to miss your chance to see it. This is also a good time to share your own faith walk and to hear from others about their journey. This is especially important to hand down to the younger family members Traditions and history are important to celebrate, and especially at Easter as we celebrate our resurrected Savior!

GIVEAWAY!! Yes, there is a giveaway available now through March 23, 2019. I have been authorized to give away THREE d
igital interactive storybooks! I will announce the 3 Winners on Sun, March 24th. To enter, simply use the hashtag #PilgrimsProgressL3. Also please SHARE the posts!! If I see my post has been shared, you will be given a bonus chance to win a Digital Interactive Storybook. (*Giveaway's are limited to USA residents only.)

LINKS:
Website

Buy Tickets
Group Ticket Inquiries

Resources 
Facebook 
Instagram

Other Bodies - Joel Ohman

In a world where immersive VR suits distort what is real from what is not, and the AI Personhood Act blurs the lines between body and bot, the choices sixteen-year-old Hattie Martins faces are very personal. How far would you go to undo your greatest regret?

My Review: My first impulse was to pass on reviewing this one simply because YA Dystopia isn't something that interests me. Yet, once I saw the subject matter, I decided to go for it. The story of a teenager who discovers she is pregnant is one that tugs at the heartstrings. Her only relative, her grandfather, has recently died leaving her alone and broke. She is able to obtain a job at "Managed Motherhood" due to her experience as a caregiver to him and is the only hope she has. Hattie is torn on what to do about her pregnancy, and despite the futuristic setting, the dilemma she faces is one that stretches back for centuries.

I never did understand some of the twists and turns, but I did get drawn into the plot and the characters. The book was about more than abortion and people in the story were multi-dimensional. I would have enjoyed the book more if some had been a bit more clearly defined, but I can't fault the style either. It also drew me deeper into the story instead of letting me merely expect & lean on default characters that fit a cliche.

Other Bodies does use the mantra of many who say, "My Body, My Choice." However, it goes beyond the narrowing of that mindset being the sole reason for the decision that Hattie ultimately makes. Nor does the story tie up neatly at the end with tidy solutions. You are left wanting to know, "What happened next?" But, it is a satisfying close to that chapter and it is hoped that it leaves the reader not only wanting more of the story but also wanting to explore the subject matter. It's a very good book that I recommend, especially for teens and young adults. 


LINKS:
Buy "Other Bodies"


 
AbortionFacts.com


I received a copy of this book from the author via #FlyByBloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

The Louder Song by Aubrey Sampson

Lament helps us hear God’s louder song.

When you’re in the midst of suffering, you want answers for the unanswerable, resolutions to the unresolvable. You want to tie up pain in a pretty little package and hide it under the bed, taking it out only when you feel strong enough to face it. But grief won’t be contained. Grief disobeys. Grief explodes. In one breath, you may be able to say that God’s got this and all will be well. In the next, you might descend into fatalism. No pretending. Here, you are raw before God, an open wound.

There is a pathway through this suffering. It’s not easy, but God will use it to lead you toward healing. This path is called lament. Lament leads us between the Already and the Not Yet. Lament minds the gap between current hopelessness and coming hope. Lament anticipates new creation but also acknowledges the painful reality of now. Lament recognizes the existence of evil and suffering—without any sugarcoating—while simultaneously declaring that suffering will not have the final say.

In the midst of your darkest times, you will discover that lament leads you back to a place of hope—not because lamenting does anything magical, but because God sings a louder song than suffering ever could, a song of renewal and restoration. 


We all go through periods of suffering, whether physical, emotional, spiritual, or psychological. In The Louder Song: Listening for Hope in the Midst of Lament, author Aubrey Sampson addresses the various forms of grief through her own personal pain and stories of others.

The message that spoke to me was about ignoring our pain by covering it with distractions to deflect attention from our suffering. Many rush past the examples of lament in the Bible, preferring the times of joy. Yet, the lament is the times that bring us nearer to God... trusting Him more as we go through the valley of despair and shadows. These songs and prayers of lament and sorrow are outpourings to God that then allow Him to give us HOPE as He guides us through them. Sampson's journaling that expresses her own pain and grief has led her to a deeper trust in God. 


Her vulnerability and authenticity remind me that it's easy to withdraw into myself as I deal with grief, pain, and anxiety. The verses she lists toward the back of the book, along with the Study Guide, are very useful tools for focusing on renewal and restoration in spite of everything and that God's song to us is, indeed, louder when we listen to Him.

I received this book as part of the Tyndale Blog Network at no cost to myself in exchange for a fair review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Perfumed Letters - Robin T. Smith

Every woman knows how special it is to select just the right perfume...and how a scent can capture an experience or evoke a memory like nothing else. In Perfumed Letters, Robin Smith offers a refreshing spiritual revelation regarding the intimacy of perfume, known as a woman's anointing. She uses powerful, evocative images from the Bible and life experiences to illustrate how God refines, presses, and fashions our individual scents as pleasing to the Lord. 

I wasn't sure what to expect from this book, and I admit I was surprised... but it was a pleasant surprise. Smith uses several examples of the correlation of perfume and our faith... even our signature styles of worship and attitude toward God. The author writes with wit, wisdom and an honesty that can reach out to those who feel like they have nothing --- no pleasing aroma --- to offer the Lord. She also covers when our perfume has become a stench rather an enticement. Some of the things she writes on definitely points out that we are of different generations, but we simply use phrases that I am unfamiliar with. The point is made and actually helps me to relate a bit more to younger people.

I loved the chapter on being fragranced for seasons. It's a vivid reminder that we not only have the literal seasons of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter, but also the seasons/periods of time in our spiritual journey. During this time we sometimes have to remember our fragrances of spiritual blessings available to all. Remember that you are a perfumed letter, personally sent by God, to send the message of his love to others. This book is sure to resonate with many and make you more aware that, according to 2 Corinthians 2:15, "
Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing."


 I received a free copy of this book to review. I was not required to write a positive review nor was I compensated in any other way. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC Regulations. I am part of The CWA Review Crew.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

I Declare War - Levi Lusko

Whether you recognize it or not, you're at war with yourself. There's anxiety. Selfishness. Self-sabotaging tendencies. Narcissism. The black dog of depression. The inability to do the great things you long to do because you spend so many hours mindlessly drifting through the internet.

It is war but all is not lost. You can win—if you choose to engage.
In I Declare War: Four Keys to Winning the battle With Yourself, Levi Lusko candidly shares about his struggles with moodiness, bullying, suicidal thoughts, night terrors, and difficulty managing himself. He identifies four weapons you have at your disposal—thoughts, words, behaviors, and power—and illustrates how to use them to achieve ongoing victory. (Back Cover)

My Review: Levi Lusko's raw honesty always shines through in his books and this one is no exception. Our emotions can truly turn our thoughts and actions into a battlefield and the mind can overcome the goals you hope to achieve. Lusko relates many anecdotes and memories from this childhood and youth and how they continue to impact him today. Adult issues are often rooted in childhood events as he clearly demonstrates throughout the book.

Sometimes, especially in a season of depression and feeling unworthy, it helps to know that you are not alone. Even though you may not know the other person, it is a relief to know that others struggle --- and overcome the war within. I recommend this book for others who can both commiserate but face their own challenges with a renewed sense of courage to overcome their own battles. Use the tools that Lusko speaks of... Thoughts, Words, Behaviors, and Powers to overcome the thoughts that try to defeat you. Most of all, he points you to our ultimate Hope.

I received a copy of this Thomas Nelson published book from BookLookBloggers at no cost to myself for review purposes. I was neither influenced or required to write a positive review.

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Least of These

As the social fabric of life in rural India disintegrates in the late 1990s, journalist Manav Banerjee (Sharman Joshi) moves with his pregnant wife to the town of Orissa in hope of a better life and the promise of a lucrative career. When speculation mounts that local Australian missionary Graham Staines (Stephen Baldwin) is illegally proselytizing leprosy patients, Manav agrees to investigate undercover for the newspaper. What he finds is a series of revelations that are difficult to fathom and even harder to explain, and Manav is forced to make a choice between his own ambition and the truth. In the end, his actions spark a tragic event that is felt around the world.

Based on a true story and shot on location in India, Staines beautifully illustrates the power of love, hope and forgiveness to overcome hate. Aneesh Daniel directs the film, featuring Stephen Baldwin, Shari Rigby, and Bollywood star Sharman Joshi.


My Review: "
The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story" uses a (fictional) journalist to unfold the story of what is happening in India in the late 1990s as the backdrop leading up to the ultimate death of Graham Staines and his two sons. It's a very good storytelling device that introduces us to all of the characters and gives a connection with each. Filmed in India, the scenes present both the beautiful and bleakness of India, but my deepest recollection is the stunning beauty shown. The story does tell us about Graham Staines, but he is seen as part of God's plan rather than this being a biography of his entire life. He is clearly portrayed as a man of courage and humor while being determined to fulfill God's purpose in his life through his love for God, his family, and the people of India, especially the lepers.

Many of the actors were unknown to me, but all impressed me with their talent. I loved Sharman Joshi as the ambitious journalist who is sincere in seeking the truth, yet open to seeing the truth as it unfolds throughout his investigation. Stephen Baldwin was excellent as Staines. His accent bothered me a bit, but considering Staines had lived in India for over 30 years, it made sense that the accent would not be as strong. Shari Rigby was perfect was the quiet yet strong wife of Graham. The actual Gladys Staines both forgave the people who murdered her sons and husband and remained in India with daughter Esther until 2004.

The original soundtrack of the film was outstanding and included award-winning musical artists such as Michael W. Smith, Nicole C Mullen and Toby Mac.
TheLeastOfThese.movie

Graham and Gladys Staines - Missionaries to Orrisa  

See "The Heart of the Movie" for more background info on the making of the film:


Get tickets!! Theaters and Tickets

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

January 22, 1973 - 46 Years Later

On January 22, 1973, the Supreme Court of the United States of America ruled that American women had the right to take the life of their unborn children. The most recent numbers say that there have been 60,069,971 Abortions in America since that date. That is approximately triple the number of current residents living in the state of New York... a state which today (1/22/2019) voted to strengthen their abortion laws. The Governor is determined to make abortion legal up to the moment of birth. Callous disregard for the unborn child is evident in all who approve these heinous actions. 

 I have been pro-life for nearly 50 years. I first heard about abortion when I was 14 and was horrified that anyone would consider ending the life of a growing child God had created. A few weeks after Roe v Wade, I had a choice to make. I was a 17-year-old high school senior. I worked part-time in an office as a clerk-typist and had just been offered the opportunity to work full-time as an entry-level Civil Service employee. I was also engaged to be married but was having doubts about whether it was a wise decision.

Then, I realized I was pregnant. When I told my fiance, he was overjoyed, but asked, "Are you thinking abortion?" I responded, "No!" He was going to beg me not to have one and ask to raise the child himself.

I chose life for our child, and one that included both parents. Choice includes personal responsibility. 

Unfortunately, Matthew only lived 9 ½ weeks, but I treasure that time with him. I am certain I made the right decision. Eventually, the marriage failed, too... but we were blessed with 3 more children.

Choices matter and LIFE matters. I know that there are times when an abortion is medically necessary to save the life of the mother. Often the child will miscarry, but I can understand if there is an exception.

I know it would be extremely hard to give birth to a child conceived of rape (especially incest) but it's punishing a child for a crime committed by a parent. Choose life for that child. If you choose adoption, you are creating life within a new family. Choose Life & Create Hope.




Thursday, January 17, 2019

30 Days to Understanding the Bible

Do you want to learn more about the Bible, but get overwhelmed with remembering so many people, places, etc.? Another excuse for not doing more Bible study is you have little time for digging deeper. 30 Days to Understanding the Bible is an easy-to-use guide to learning that Bible... and can take only 15 minutes per day. In one month, you'll learn the Bible's key people, events, and doctrines.

Dr. Max Anders, the author of over 25 books, has taught on the college and seminary level and is a veteran pastor. Max was also one of the original team members with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. He provides resources and discipleship strategies at MaxAnders.com to help people grow spiritually.

The book is divided into 7 sections with many illustrations and self-tests throughout the book. Some of the features include:

• The “Arc of Bible History” to help you visualize the Bible’s overarching themes
• The “Story of the Bible” summarizing Genesis through Revelation in just a few pages
• The core beliefs of the Christian faith, focusing on the teachings that have united Christians for the last 2,000 years
• A 13-week plan that provides teacher’s with a very creative and effective tool for teaching the Bible in 30 days
• Fan-favorite bonus content, previously removed, now restored from the original edition




My Review: I am thoroughly enjoying the book... and learning from it. I sometimes forget the context of a Scripture or the timeline. I still felt a bit of trepidation when I saw the book, but the first chapter put me at ease. I got all of the test answers correct, so that gave me a bit more confidence. Of course, it does become more challenging as you progress, but the structure of the book really helps. In the past, I have given up, even when using the chronological method of reading my Bible, so this way of following a plan is very useful. I definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to understand the Bible better.
   
GIVEAWAY!! I will be selecting one winner to receive a copy of 30 Days to Understanding the Bible by Dr. Max Anders. The deadline to enter the giveaway drawing is 11 pm CST, January 26, 2019. Simply post #Biblein30Days in the comments section of this blog or one of my shared social media posts about the giveaway.


"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 on the same blog, 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. The winner is subject to eligibility verification.”