Friday, November 20, 2015

You Make Me Brave

Psalm 119:95-96(MSG) The wicked lie in ambush to destroy me, but I'm only concerned with Your plans for me. I see the limits to everything human, but the horizons can't contain Your commands!

That's worth retyping.....and reading slowly...
"I'm only concerned with Your plans for me...I see the limits to everything human.."

This verse is so powerful it almost blew me out of my chair. Specifically, the words made me think of some beautiful lives that I have had the privilege to watch, either from afar, or close up. These folks have taken the stand to focus on God during the worst storms of their lives and to acknowledge that we as humans really do have limits. Watching these people makes me brave.

The horizons can't contain Your commands!
This is the story of my friend Kim. She is one of those people who make me brave! Read Kim's story at 7 Billion Ones by clicking here. I promise if you are scared right now, her story will give you courage!!

Oh Lord...
You are our light and our salvation- whom shall we fear? You are the stronghold of our lives- of whom shall we be afraid? (Psalm 27:1 in my words.)
I am so thankful for Kim and the strength that she has modeled as she has chosen to accept Your plan for her life. Please give us Your courage to live each day for You!
In Christ's name~
Amen



Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Review: 7 WOMEN And the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

Psalm 119:94(MSG)
Save me! I'm all yours. I look high and low for Your words of wisdom.


Publisher's Description:

In his eagerly anticipated follow-up to the enormously successful Seven MenNew York Times best-selling author Eric Metaxas gives us seven captivating portraits of some of history’s greatest women, each of whom changed the course of history by following God’s call upon their lives—as women.

This book is a collection of brave stories
of conviction, strength, and faith
experienced through the lives of seven
seemingly ordinary women.
Each of the world-changing figures who stride across these pages—Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Maria Skobtsova, Corrie ten Boom, Mother Teresa, and Rosa Parks—is an exemplary model of true womanhood. Teenage Joan of Arc followed God’s call and liberated her country, dying a heroic martyr’s death. Susanna Wesley had nineteen children and gave the world its most significant evangelist and its greatest hymn-writer, her sons John and Charles. Corrie ten Boom, arrested for hiding Dutch Jews from the Nazis, survived the horrors of a concentration camp to astonish the world by forgiving her tormentors. And Rosa Parks’ deep sense of justice and unshakable dignity and faith helped launch the twentieth-century’s greatest social movement.
Writing in his trademark conversational and engaging style, Eric Metaxas reveals how the other extraordinary women in this book achieved their greatness, inspiring readers to lives shaped by the truth of the gospel.

My Personal Review:


Seven Women and the Secret of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas is an inspiring and motivating book. The seven brief biographies of Godly women included within this work will serve to ignite your dedication and determination to follow hard after the call God has placed on your life. 

Seven Women  by Eric Metaxas provides a spring board of encouragement that will grow the reader's faith. Reading the detailed stories of each of these faith filled women as they took a stand for what they believed in, despite staring into the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and adversity is more than just compelling, it's inspiring. After completing the book, I found myself searching my own heart for what God might be asking of me. 

I chose to read this particular book, because I read Metaxas' book: 7 Men and The Secret Of Their Greatness and found it quite fascinating. I was delighted when I heard the author was working on a similar book about women. I have a great admiration for Corrie Ten Boom as well, so when I discovered she was one of the women to be included in the book, I knew it must be on my "reading list."

The fact that each of these women were empowered by a deep trust in God to fulfill very specific, albeit quite different callings across time, makes this one of the most captivating books I have ever read! The author's choice to illuminate the women's successes and failures plus their tenacity and weaknesses made this work all the more meaningful. The common denominator in each of these ladies lives seemed to be an uncanny ability to not only receive the Lord's direction in their lives, but to follow the voice of God. Literally, Joan of Arc heard audible instructions from God, while the other women seemed to receive their guidance more subtly through God's written words, music, a pressing vision, or a strong sense of injustice. Whatever the means by which God supplied His directives, these women intuitively followed Him. 

Each life represented on the pages of 7 Women have been frozen in time and can now be utilized as role models for generations of young women. Their memoirs of selflessness and dedication to God serve as a reminder that what we etch on our heart will most surely be lived out in our lives. I plan to make this book a "required read" for my high school daughter, as I think it will be an invaluable tool to assist with growing her confidence in God as she reads how He has spoken into these women's lives. I am hoping that after reading 7 Women by Eric Metaxas, she will answer an unequivocal "yes" to Mother Teresa's famous question.... "Would you like to do something beautiful for God?" I am praying that the same "determination to live in complete reliance on Him" that was at the root of Mother Teresa's actions will find it's way into my heart and home. 

I appreciated each of the lives sketched out in this book. I am amazed and in awe at: the persistence and tenacity of Mother Teresa; the bravery and courage of Joan of Arc; the forgiveness of Corrie Ten Boom; the sensitivity toward injustice of Rosa Parks; the determination, organization and family dedication of Susanna Wesley; the morality, writing skills and perception of marriage as an "institution to advance the kingdom of God" of Hannah More; and finally the authenticity, devotion and servant-hood of  Maria Skobtsova. 7 Women by Eric Metaxas reveals that the Lord has a gift for each one of us, if we are willing to hear and respond to His voice!

I would like to thank Nelson Books, an imprint of Thomas Nelson, a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. for this review copy of 7Women by Eric Metaxas provided to me through BookLook Bloggers. I was not required to write a favorable review. The opinions within this review are strictly my own.


Thursday, November 12, 2015

Don't Second Guess God

Psalm 119:93(MSG)
But I'll never forget the advice You gave me; You saved my life with those wise words.

Oh my goodness...this verse! 

I have been thinking a great deal as of late, about where I would be in my life without the comforting and wise words of the Lord. Yesterday, I mulled over the simple nuggets of counsel that I found in Proverbs chapters 30 & 31. It's such a gift to have the words of a sage scrolled succinctly across the page; timeless advice inspired by God that is as applicable today as it was when it was penned.

SweeTango Apple (Photo credit to SweeTango)
After reading today's headlines and reviewing last night's presidential debate, I found the words of Proverbs to be even more comforting. Why? Because it seems that the human condition is not new. We humanoids have always struggled. Ever since Eve took that tiny bite of a SweeTango apple, (my favorite apple on planet earth...but I digress) we have been burdened with the temptations of our flesh. 

The difference maker in every situation, however, appears to be in how we respond to the challenges that are laid before us. Will we react in anger when provoked? Will we cower down in the corner when the road looks uphill and rocky? Will we repeat the good and bad parts of history...or understand and learn from the bad decisions that have been made in the past and imitate those choices that have brought life to our lives? Will we "Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!" as it states in Proverbs 31:8-9.

This is my sister (right) and I after completing some gardening
on her beautiful property this past summer.
Good stuff to ponder, eh? Here's the good news~better news~best news: The pressure is off of us; We don't have to bear it; Thankfully, it's not in our own strength to handle this messy life, but in the power of Christ as we seek Him and put Him first in every situation. Sounds simple enough doesn't it? It is easy...until the healing doesn't come. Or the child is taken from you. Or the husband leaves you alone with children and bills. Or the boss fires you. Or...(fill in the blank). 

After fifty years of life, it has become increasingly difficult to understand the ways of God. I do not have the answers, I only have the trust and faith that my Lord is real and very much seated at the right hand of God today....interceding on behalf of each one of His children. I believe that He is washing away our dirty sins and preparing us for a "Wonderful Life" (my favorite movie...but I digress again) with Him in our eternal home. 

So, in closing...I leave you with the words of Agur Ben Jakeh, the writer of Proverbs 30. Chapters 30 and 31 of the book of Proverbs are considered to be prophecies and because they were canonized it is assumed that they are indeed the inspired words of God Himself. These very verses really do have the potential to "save lives", as Psalm 119:93 states. It is my prayer that I will never second guess my God....on any matter. I pray I will never turn from His hand of direction. I am begging Christ to shine His love through my life, so that I will always bring honor and glory to His Holy name.

Proverbs 30:1-6(MSG)

The skeptic swore, "There is no God! No God! I can do anything I want! I'm more animal than human; so-called human intelligence escapes me. I flunked 'wisdom.' I see no evidence of a holy God. Has anyone ever seen Anyone climb into Heaven and take charge? Grab the winds and control them? Gather the rains in His bucket? Stake out the ends of the earth? Just tell me his name, tell me the names of his sons. Come on now-tell me!"

The believer replied, "Every promise of God proves true; He protects everyone who runs to Him for help. So don't second guess Him."

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review: Touching Heaven by Dr. Chauncey Crandall

John 14:2-3(NIV)
In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

This book has the potential to challenge
boundaries and break down the walls
of hopelessness.

Overview


How a doctor's glimpses of eternity confirmed everything he believed about God, suffering, life on earth, and what happens after death. 

Dr. Chauncey Crandall knows his patients well. When they are dying, he sits at the bedside with them and holds their hands. He prays with them. Sometimes he can feel what they feel and see what they see. At other times his patients have near-death experiences and "come back" with astonishing descriptions of the afterlife. In TOUCHING HEAVEN, Dr. Crandall reveals how what he has seen and heard has convinced him that God is real, that we are created for a divine purpose, that death is not the end, that we will see our departed loved ones again, and that we are closer to the next world than we think.

My Personal Review:


Touching Heaven by Dr. Chauncey Crandall is a very unique and thought provoking book.

https://chaunceycrandall.com/
Touching Heaven by Dr. Chauncey Crandall piqued my interest for many reasons. At the top of my list is that the author is a cardiologist. Dr. Crandall’s experience and background in medicine is impressive. The book states that, “He is chief of the cardiovascular transplant program at the Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens and is on staff at three medical centers.” Having worked for fifteen years as an RN, CCRN in a Cardiac
Intensive Care Unit myself, I am always drawn to the medical story, especially acute cardiac related events. There are many detailed stories within the book that chronicle the resuscitation procedures given to a dying patient. I was quickly immersed in the bedside care and high level of energy that fuels these life retrieving protocols. One particular narrative Dr. Crandall shares, where by the defibrillator did not fire when discharged, had me on the edge of my seat. That is a nightmare scenario for a code blue team!

 A close second on my list for reading this book is the idea that Touching Heaven intersects faith with facts. The collision of spiritual and physical will always make for an interesting read. I am a very logical, formulaic, algorithm sort of gal, so when I have an opportunity to be stretched outside of my comfort zone to a place that is intangible, I will never turn that opportunity down.  

Finally, I was drawn to this book simply because the author is courageously discussing heaven within the context of his personal experiences and observations. Given today’s culture, I feel this is a brave thing to do. I have much admiration for anyone who will take a stand on their convictions with such passion and unwavering resolve. I wanted to digest an evangelical physician’s perspective on healing, heaven, and our earthly purpose. I was not disappointed.  

Touching Heaven is a very personal story of life events in the author’s life. Dr. Crandall’s desire to share the importance of inviting Christ into every situation could not be missed. He effectively communicates the message that we do not need to wait to “go to heaven”, but rather the kingdom of God is wherever believers call upon the name of Christ. One of the most powerful statements in the book encompasses this idea. Dr. Crandall writes, “As we take up our spiritual authority, the situation we’re in switches from defeat and darkness and death to victory and light and life. This is the invisible but very real power of the kingdom of heaven.”

Dr. Crandall boldly interprets a large volume of scripture references throughout this book. His Biblical knowledge and application of God’s word within the pages of this work are inspiring. The unfathomable premature death of his son in the peak of his life, make the author’s testimony personal, credible, and urgent. Crandall’s transparency and willingness to share the painful grief, questions, and finally the assurance he found in Christ, provide enough content for an entire book all on its own!  

I read through the pages of Touching Heaven by Dr. Chauncey Crandall with an open mind, as well as a sensitive heart. I greatly appreciated all of the faith filled stories of healing that the author conveyed have taken place in a direct response to Jesus being “invited into your situation.” This is a beautiful and intriguing work. Crandall’s writing has the potential to challenge boundaries and tear down walls of hopelessness.


Thank you to Faith Words Publishing, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc for requesting my review and supplying me with a copy of Touching Heaven by Dr. Chauncey Crandall. I was not required to write a favorable assessment, but only to completely read this book and give my honest opinion.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Review: Hiding Places by Erin Healy

This book brings suspense and mystery
with each turn of the page!
        

Publisher's Description

The Harrison lodge is full of hiding places where young Kate can discover all the secrets no one wants her to know.
Eleven-year-old Kate keeps her knowledge to herself—one sister’s stash of marijuana, the other’s petty cash pilfering, her grandfather’s contraband candy bars. She protects her mother and Gran, too, screening out critical comments from the hotel suggestions box. But suddenly the stakes are raised; her grandfather’s best friend is murdered the day after Kate heard the two men arguing.
At the same time, far from the quiet mountain resort, a homeless man sees a robbery gone wrong . . . a gang member seeks revenge for the death of his son . . . and a boy chooses the worst time to wield spray paint on a store window. In a strange and spiraling sequence of events, their disparate worlds collide at Harrison Lodge.
Kate offers shelter to one of them, unaware of the terrible consequences to the family she loves. But people can hide in all kinds of ways, sometimes even in plain sight . . . and some secrets are just waiting to be exposed.
My Personal Review
Erin Healy writes supernatural suspense novels.
Hiding Places by Erin Healy is a fast paced suspense novel weaving a story of courage, devotion, love and hope. Another astonishing piece of work from this gifted author!
Hiding Places by Erin Healy combines the determination of a father to avenge his son's death, the battle of a struggling homeless man's inner turmoil to find belonging, and the strong willed determination of a young girl to do what families are supposed to do...protect one another.

I absolutely love this newly released book! Actually, that comes as no surprise, since Erin Healy is one of my favorite authors. However, there is good reason why she is on the top of my, "Christian Fiction Favorite Author" list. Her consistency is once again unveiled in her most recent publication of Hiding Places. If she isn't already there, Healy belongs on your "top Christian author" list too. Erin Healy Books always manage to successfully provide the top five things that are imperative in a Christian Fiction novel. Those five things are to: renew hope, entertain, inform, educate, and worship. Erin Healy delivers in every category with her latest book, Hiding Places.
The book begins with a level of apprehension and curiosity that only increases with each turn of the page. The characters are realistic and endearing, especially Great Grandma Pearl, who happens to be my beloved character, not only for her humor, but for her uncanny ability to understand the needs of her family and then respond to those needs in a beautiful way. The main character, Kate, is not without charm and likability as well, as she moves through the pages with simplicity and naivety. That leaves Charlie, Merridew, and Grandy, each with a lesson to teach the reader through their unique passions.

All of the characters represent a different age and unique stage of life. They come from varied levels of experience and the reader is fed some valuable information about gang mentality, life on the streets for a homeless person, struggles of an aging adult, what it's like to live life with regret for past decisions, and finally the gentle reminder of a child's perspective of our world. Hope is presented from several different angles and at various points throughout the book. As the story winds down, there is a feeling of inspiration to lead a life that takes into account how our actions will impact those around us.

Hiding Places by Erin Healy also includes discussion questions at the end of the book to assist the reader in gentle reflections about family and how we relate to one another. This book would be a fun choice for a "Book Club". Utilizing the questions provided would allow for deeper analysis of certain areas of the heart and it has the potential to unearth hidden hurts and thus bring them to the surface where they can be addressed. In conclusion, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good suspense novel, but be forewarned...there is a lot hidden beneath the surface! Enjoy!

Thank you to Thomas Nelson, a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc for this review copy of Hiding Places by Erin Healy provided through the BookLook Bloggers review program. I was not required to write a favorable review, but to simply to read the work in it's entirety. The opinions within this review are strictly my own.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Book Review: For The Love by Jen Hatmaker

This book will lighten your load and give
fresh meaning to the word, grace! 
For The Love~Fighting For Grace In A World Of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker

Best-selling author, Jen Hatmaker is convinced life can be lovely and fun and courageous and kind. She knows how the squeeze of this life can make us competitive and judgmental; how we can lose love for others and then for ourselves. She reveals how to:

Break free of guilt and shame by dismantling the unattainable Pinterest life.
Learn to engage our culture's controversial issues with a           grace-first approach.
Identify the tools you already have to develop real-life, all-in know-my-junk-but-love-me-anyway friendships.
Escape our impossible standards for parenting and marriage by accepting the standard of "mostly good."

In this raucous ride to freedom for modern women, Jen Hatmaker bares the refreshing wisdom, wry humor, no-nonsense faith, liberating insight, and fearless honesty that have made her beloved by women worldwide.

My Personal Review:

For The Love~FIGHTING for GRACE in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker is a wonderfully burden breaking book filled with sound truths about grace. 
For The Love by Jen Hatmaker takes a relaxed and transparent look at the elements of grace and the pressure we put on ourselves to live it out in a "perfect" way every day. This book gently reminds the reader that the focus of grace filled living should center around the love we share and reveal to one another through kindness practiced in our everyday living; It is more about resembling Christ through a relationship with Him rather than trying harder to be better within our own strength. 


Reading the book,  For The Love by Jen Hatmaker is similar to the feeling one gets from a cool breeze on a hot summer day! With each turn of the page, I could feel the air becoming lighter...crisper...easier to breathe. Jen's candor and honest transparency throughout her writing is so refreshing to me that I can hardly put her work down. Instead of  rushing through and trying to read faster, I found myself reading slower, so as to savor every word. Well done!

Jen Hatmaker will bring a smile to your face!
After digesting this most recent work from Jen Hatmaker, the reader will undoubtedly search their own heart for issues that have been hidden and not dealt with due to the fear of being judged by a harsh world. Jen brings to light that releasing these concerns to the Lord will break chains and set you free to demonstrate the goodness of God wherever you are planted. The humor in this book is plentiful. Is she a comedian in addition to her writing career? I literally could not stop laughing during many parts of this book. Her unstoppable ability to bring liberation to a soul bound in guilt, fear, and insecurity is a priceless gift.

I think what I love most about this author's work is the way her "spicy" personality comes across in her masterpieces. She describes "spicy people" as those who "love obnoxious humor, sarcasm, and the tendency to be very, very loud." She goes on to explain that spicy folks have "enormous feelings, which makes us a passionate, emotional bunch. Our permanent default setting is exclamation marks. We don't really 'do gentle.' We don't actually know what that means." 

For The Love brings out this free spirited sense of abandon and translates to the reader in a comedic way. However, don't mistake Jen's fun spirited delivery with a watered down message, because her case for Christ and her consistent message that we need to reach out to a hurting world in truth and love are vehemently clear. Her insistence that God should not be our "American God Narrative", 'filtered through a middle class, white, advantage denominational lens' sets the stage for one of the most profound statements in the entire book, which is: "Theology is either true everywhere or it isn't true anywhere." Powerful, thought provoking, and true! 

For the Love  by Jen Hatmaker is a treat to read! It will be released on August 18, 2015. This book definitely has the potential to set a warm heart on fire...a captive soul free... a confused mind straight...and perhaps even change a grumpy countenance to a bright and happy one.  

Thank you to Thomas Nelson a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc for this complimentary review copy of For The Love by Jen Hatmaker provided through NetGalley. I received this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions within this review are my own.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Book Review: A Sparrow In Terezin by Kristy Cambron

Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Bound together across time, two women will discover a powerful connection through one survivor’s story of hope in the darkest days of a war-torn world.
This book is incredibly realistic!
Put it on your reading list today.
  
Present Day—With the grand opening of her new art gallery and a fairy–tale wedding just around the corner, Sera James feels like she’s stumbled into a charmed life—until a brutal legal battle against fiancé William Hanover threatens to destroy their future before it even begins.
Now, after an eleventh-hour wedding ceremony and a callous arrest, William faces a decade in prison for a crime he never committed, and Sera must battle the scathing accusations that threaten her family and any hope for a future with the man she loves.

1942—Kája Makovsky narrowly escaped Nazi-occupied Prague in 1939 and was forced to leave behind her half-Jewish family. Now a reporter for The Daily Telegraph in England, Kája discovers the terror has followed her across the Channel in the shadowy form of the London Blitz. When she learns Jews are being exterminated by the thousands on the continent, she has no choice but to return to her mother city, risking her life to smuggle her family to freedom and peace.
Connecting across a century through one little girl, a Holocaust survivor with a foot in each world, these two women will discover a kinship that springs even in the darkest of times. In this tale of hope and survival, Sera and Kája must cling to the faith that sustains them and fight to protect all they hold dear–even if it means placing their own futures on the line.

MY PERSONAL REVIEW:

A Sparrow In Terezin by Kristy Cambron is a heartbreaking, yet hope filled book of love and courage written for the reader who is not only interested in being entertained, but simultaneously informed to historical events that took place during World War II. 

Masterful writing!
A Sparrow In Terezin by Kristy Cambron captures the happenings that took place within the boundaries of the Nazi established Jewish internment camp of Terezin during World War II. Terezin was a town in Northwestern Czechoslovakia and history records that Jews were brought by the thousands to this city for the purpose of falsely promoting a model "Jewish settlement" of sorts and thereby utilizing it to show the world how well the Jewish nation was being treated by the Nazis. This in fact was a lie. The town in actuality served as a transit camp run by the SS for the Jews who were en route for extermination to other death camps. The city was an overcrowded ghetto filled with underfed, mostly elderly and young Jewish people who were suffering from rampant illness and poor living conditions.

Kristy Cambron logically interlaces the lives of the two main characters, Kaja and Sera between current time and 1942. As each woman faces the most intense trial of her life, they each uncover an inner strength and peace. The story utilizes meticulous narration as the two intertwined lives eventually comprehend that the source of their strength is Christ living within them. The gospel presentation is subtle, but unmistakably clear. The continual foundation of family commitment and unwavering selflessness that are consistently communicated in this book, are inspiring and commendable. The inhumanity revealed within A Sparrow In Terezin as depicted through the horrendous events occurring in the city during the war are clearly appalling and paralyzing, however, the countering bravery, trust, resilience, hope and faith that each character represents, manage to restore a sense of confidence in humankind that is undeniable. 

I was enlightened to some of the atrocities that occurred during this time period and I am grateful for a deeper understanding of the intense suffering that took place. I was truly touched by the reading of this book. I found the descriptions of the children within the city walls to be hauntingly realistic. A Sparrow In Terezin was painful to read in some parts, but the exchange for knowledge was worth the injurious emotions. I'm thankful for the education and I walk away from this masterpiece with a desire to be "a teacher of hope". 

Thank you to Thomas Nelson, a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc for this review copy of A Sparrow In Terezin by Kristy Cambron. A copy of this book was provided to me through the BookLook Bloggers program in exchange for a complete read and an honest opinion of this work.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Book Review: Miracles From Heaven: A little Girl, Her Journey To Heaven, And Her Amazing Story Of Healing by Christy Beam

They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out it's roots by the stream. It does not fear when the heat comes; it's leaves are always green. Jeremiah 17:8 


This book is a faith builder!! Five Stars!

In a remarkable true story of faith and blessings, a mother tells of her sickly young daughter, how she survived a dangerous accident, her visit to Heaven and the inexplicable disappearance of the symptoms of her chronic disease.

Annabel Beam spent most of her childhood in and out of hospitals with a rare and incurable digestive disorder that prevented her from ever living a normal, healthy life. One sunny day when she was able to go outside and play with her sisters, she fell three stories headfirst inside an old, hollowed-out tree, a fall that may well have caused death or paralysis. Implausibly, she survived without a scratch. While unconscious inside the tree, with rescue workers struggling to get to her, she visited heaven. After being released from the hospital, she defied science and was inexplicably cured of her chronic ailment.
MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN will change how we look at the world around us and reinforce our belief in God and the afterlife.
My Personal Review

Annabel Beam
Miracles From Heaven by Christy Beam is a captivating story of faith, family, and the tangible glory of God revealed through a miraculous and touching story of hope and healing.

Miracles From Heaven by Christy Beam is one of those books that you don't want to put down until the last page has been consumed! The author, Christy Beam, manages to smoothly volley back and forth between the action of the day and events from their past, as she chronicles the detailed struggles of their life with their sweet daughter who was suffering the effects from a dreadfully painful and dangerous intestinal disorder. Christy skillfully pens a fascinating journal of their family's life prior to a horrific accident that ultimately ends in the healing of their daughter. As I read this, I couldn't stop inserting myself into the picture, thus producing intense feelings of compassion toward this sweet family and a deep level of introspection with regard to their experiences. 

Christy Beam 
Miracles From Heaven will challenge the reader to think beyond what is tangible. It will force you to look at the facts of their story and decide for yourself how to interpret them. Whether you are skeptical about heaven and an afterlife or not, you will find yourself mesmerized by the interactions and authenticity of this family. Every father and mother should read this book for the mere positive parental interactions alone! What a gracious and loving home!

And then of course, there is the accident itself, as the drama unfolds and Beam skillfully describes the event with enough detail that the reader actually feels like they are right there. My heartbeat picked up and I could feel my palms getting sweaty. How will they get this sweet little girl out of the tree? Will she truly be okay? What injuries will she have incurred? Although we know the outcome from the start, the events leading up to the accident and the interactions between the sisters, parents, extended family, health care workers, and rescuers are what push this book over the top and into the "excellent" range!! 

This is such a great book filled with inspiration, faith, commitment, sacrifice and love. Not only did I enjoy it, but I can't think of anyone, young or old who would not be changed after reading it! 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Book Review: The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy

A captivating read!

It's her destiny to die young. The man who loves her can't live with that.
Promise, a talented young singer with a terminal illness, is counting on fame to keep her memory alive after she dies. Porta is an aging sorceress and art collector in search of immortality.
When Promise inexplicably survives a series of freak accidents, Porta believes that she may hold the key to eternal life.
Enter Chase, an autistic artist who falls in love with Promise and fascinates her with his mysterious visions and drawings.
Soon, all are plunged into a confrontation over the mystery and the cost of something even greater than eternal life . . . eternal love.


My Personal Review:

The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy is a beautifully written novel filled with suspense, courage, and intrigue.

The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy is another incredible work! As with all of the novels I have read from this author thus far, this book manages to unravel a compassionate and mysterious story line in tandem with factual information that is applicable to our society. Through Erin's creative mind, she provides the reader with an in-depth look into the life of both a person suffering with cystic fibrosis and the challenges of living and relating to a person with Autism.

Erin Healy's sensitive writing and delicate handling of the challenges a person living with Autism deal with on daily basis sheds light into the diagnosis in a candid way. In addition, the main character suffers with a disabling diagnosis of cystic fibrosis and Healy also brings information to the reader about the reality of this illness. 

How author, Erin Healy manages to combine a believable fiction thriller with authentic characters living with modern day problems never ceases to amaze me. The Promises She Keeps merges hope, love, and perseverance all into one fast lane. It gracefully touches the fragile issue of our own mortality. This piece stirred within my soul a reflection of a purpose for life reaching far beyond myself; it revealed a focus to serve others and bring them the gift of connection through a simple smile and a kind word. I'm confident you will enjoy this read!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Run by Kayla Morris

If Your revelation hadn't delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came. Psalm 119:92(MSG)

From the "Voices From the Middle 9" comes this poem by a young lady with whom I have had the privilege to watch grow from a tiny baby into the beautiful and intelligent young lady that she is today. We will need to watch for more works from Kayla Morris in the future; At a mere fourteen, she is a promising author!

I'm excited to be posting this poem on my blog, as it is Kayla's first publication! It speaks to my "running" heart, and I hope you too will enjoy it's depth. We must never give up in our endeavor to stand for what we believe in. I was so blessed to read this and I hope you will find meaning in it as well. I want to thank Kayla for allowing me to post this on my blog.


RUN 
by Kayla Morris

She knows how to run
But not how to take a stand
RUN by Kayla Morris
Running is all she does
As she runs longer and faster
She feels as though the fears are fading
Fears recede
Emotions dull
Excitement becomes real
She runs with the fears in her pockets
The depression under her soles
She feels as though her fears can never catch her
But as her running slows
Fears build like stone
Emotions grow like fire
Excitement reduces to a bare nothing
She wears the pain on her face and in her words
That's why she took a stand
That's why she stopped running
She has no pain, she has no fear
Now she knows not how to run
But how to take a stand

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Heaven...I'm Depending On It

Your Word and truth are dependable as ever; that's what You ordered-- You set the earth going. Psalm 119:91(MSG)


Heaven...I'm depending on it.
It's especially fitting that I find myself reading this particular verse in Psalm 119 today, on this Memorial Day Weekend. As I work my way through the 119th Psalm, verse by verse, letting the Word guide my writing, it has frequently been the case that the words of scripture completely correspond to the happenings of the day. 

As I sit listening to the rain and watching the storm clouds roll overhead, I ponder today's verse. What I realize is that I have a decision to make. I either depend upon the word of God, or I don't. Oh it sounds so simple...but it's really not. Not for me anyway, and if I'm guessing, it's not always easy for you either. As I reflect upon this Memorial Day and I think about those that have gone before me, the questions seem to outweigh the answers as it relates to heaven. I think this is especially true when we lose someone who is extremely close to us. Where did they go? Why did they have to leave when they did? Why is it that we all must die anyway? Why did they have to go to a place where we can't communicate with them? If there is a place called heaven, what's it really like anyway?  

We live in a temporal world. The here and now is all we know. To imagine a place that exists beyond the clouds and rely on an afterlife beyond this present time frame, seems a bit shaky, does it not? Seems like the makings for a great fairy tale, right?

The older I get, however, the more I recognize the faith that it takes to really depend on the Word of God. To accept the truths from the chapter of John where Jesus tells us that "He goes before us and prepares a room for us"...that in "His father's house there are many rooms.." takes a lot of courage to believe. We just don't know what to expect. It's nothing like what we have ever experienced before. And yet, here we are, needing to grasp that He set the world in motion. Attempting to comprehend that all things were created by Him and for Him and for His glory is a challenging task for our finite minds. I find myself reaching into the depths of my heart to accept that our time on earth is but a sniff of our life and this really isn't our home. 

Hmm...yes...I'm depending on heaven, because if I'm wrong, then I've lost nothing. If I'm right, I've gained an eternity with the King of Kings and a guaranteed reunion with my loved ones!

Father,
You know my heart today, and the burden within. May you comfort those who are deeply grieving the loss of a loved one. Place their heart in the palm of Your hands and give them the assurance of a heavenly home with You. Clear our minds and cradle our spirits today, I pray. Help us each to depend upon You to an ever increasing measure. Place us in the center of Your will each day that we reside here on earth.
Thank You Lord~
Amen   




Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book Review: 7 Men and The Secret Of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas

In Seven Men, New York Times best-selling author Eric Metaxas presents seven exquisitely crafted short portraits of widely known―but not well understood―Christian men, each of whom uniquely showcases a commitment to live by certain virtues in the truth of the gospel.

A MUST read for every parent!
This book brings a clarity to the
definition of "greatness" as defined
by the lives of seven men from
history. 
Written in a beautiful and engaging style, Seven Men addresses what it means (or should mean) to be a man today, at a time when media and popular culture present images of masculinity that are not the picture presented in Scripture and historic civil life. What does it take to be a true exemplar as a father, brother, husband, leader, coach, counselor, change agent, and wise man? 

What does it mean to stand for honesty, courage, and charity, especially at times when the culture and the world run counter to those values?

Each of the seven biographies represents the life of a man who experienced the struggles and challenges to be strong in the face of forces and circumstances that would have destroyed the resolve of lesser men. 

Each of the seven men profiled―George Washington, William Wilberforce, Eric Liddell, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jackie Robinson, John Paul II, and Charles Colson―call the reader to a more elevated walk and lifestyle, one that embodies the gospel in the world around us.

My Personal Review:

7 Men And The Secret Of Their Greatness  by Eric Metaxas is a wonderfully well written book that brings to light the intentions of seven men, who by their own selfless actions, changed the course of history for countless lives. 

7 Men  by Eric Metaxas was an excellent read! I chose this book specifically because I had the privilege of listening to Eric Metaxas a few years ago as he spoke about his book, Bonhoeffer. His undeniable attention to detail  combined with his obvious intelligence level (glad I have a Kindle to quickly decode some of his vocabulary) will hold the reader captive. 

In this book, 7 Men the author chooses seven men in history and proceeds to summarize their lives and highlight their convictions and courage to stand up for what they believe in. The men span across cultures, countries, and centuries, however, they all have a common thread running through their life, and that is the spirit of humility driven by a desire to serve others.

I found this book to be an essential tool for parents in general, but specifically for those who are trying to raise up Godly men in the 21st Century. 7 Men by Eric Metaxas, gives tangible examples of men in history who have lived a life filled with challenges and yet these men were able to rise to each occasion and bring about an outcome that was reflective of a love for God and His people. This is a fast and insightful read that I am confident you will find not only enjoyable, but useful. 
Pre-order this book today.

After reading this book, I am very excited to read Eric Metaxas' new book which will be released in September, 2015 titled: 7 Women and The Secret of Their Greatness. He gives a sneak peek to this new informative work on "great women" in history at the end of his book, 7 Men. It includes my "faith hero", Corrie Ten Boom! I canNOT wait!!

Thank you to Thomas Nelson Publishing for this review copy of 7 Men by Erick Metaxas provided through the BookLook Bloggers program. I was given this copy in exchange for an honest review of this work. The opinions expressed within this review are my own.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: Miracle On Voodoo Mountain by Megan Boudreaux

For He has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness. Colossians 1:13(NLT)

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

"It took months of God waking me up in the middle of the night before I realized I was the one He was calling to leave my comfortable American life and move to Haiti."

This is an eye opening read
Miracle on Voodoo Mountain is the inspirational memoir of an accomplished and driven 24-year old who quit her job, sold everything, and moved to Haiti, by herself-all without a clear plan of action. Megan Boudreaux had visited Haiti on a few humanitarian trips but each trip multiplied the sense that someone needed to address the devastation-especially with the children, many of whom were kept as household slaves on the poverty-stricken and earthquake-devastated Caribbean island.
God guided her every step as she moved blindly to a foreign land without knowing the language, the people, or the future. From becoming the adoptive mother of former child slaves, to receiving the divine gift of the Haitian Creole language, to starting, building, and running a school for more than 500 children, "the amazingness of what God did after I made the choice to be obedient is incredible," said Megan.
Three years later, six acres on Bellevue Mountain in Gressier is the home of the nonprofit Respire Haiti at the former site of voodoo worship, and in the area that many still come to make animal sacrifices, Megan and her staff of nearly 200 are transforming this community as they educate, feed, and address the needs.

About the author:

Megan Boudreaux, at the age of 24, founded Respire Haiti, a non-profit to fight for the freedom of Haiti's estimated 300,000 child slaves. Megan followed God's call to begin a feeding program and transform a barren hillside into a refuge and a school for 500 children. A medical clinic is nearing completion with future plans for a church, community center, and library. Megan has adopted four Haitian children and in 2013 she married her best friend, Josh Anderson.

My Personal Review:

Miracle On Voodoo Mountain by Megan Boudreaux tops my list as one of the most touching and inspirational books I've ever read!  This young woman tells her story of God calling her to step out in faith and obedience to change the lives of hurting children in Haiti and specifically in Gressier.  Megan shares how she lives out a daily trust in God and watches in amazement as He literally turns mountains into His harvest field.

Miracle On Voodoo Mountain is Megan's story of God's stirring within her heart to make a permanent difference in the lives of the children in Haiti.  This work journals how she followed His leading to the Caribbean Island of Haiti to assist enslaved children, despite what appeared to be insurmountable odds.  This book is sure to impact the reader, as it reveals the dire situation that the children of Haiti are born into. 

Megan Boudreaux's courage and insightful spirit are endearing, as she candidly describes unthinkable scenarios in the lives of the child slaves for whom she has been specifically called to help.  The slavery, abuse, and neglect of children in Haiti is rampant and rather than "swoop in" and remove them from the chaos, she has chosen instead to "move in" and bring the needed change to the people for a lasting impact.  She began with meeting the basic needs of the children through feeding programs.  After those needs were being met, God grew her vision to build the "Respire Haiti" community.  It has been created on Bellevue Mountain to provide Christian education, medical care, food, and the love of Christ to the people of Gressier in a continuous gap free delivery system.

This is my "trailblazing friend", Katie
holding a needy child on her recent trip
 to Haiti.  Katie has a servant's heart &
a love for bringing lasting hope to
desperate kids in dire situations.  (Read about
her in one of my previous posts by clicking here.)
  
The exploration of the Haitian culture through the eyes of this spirit filled young woman as she sets out on a pilgrimage of love for the children is without a doubt one of the most moving writings to date.  The author describes the emotions evoked from the cruel treatment of children and the practice of Voodooism that saturates the island in a manner that unmistakably transfers to the reader.  This work creates a veil free look at the stark reality of the consequences of poverty in a land not so very far away.  It will bring hope to your heart and boldness to your prayers as you read of Megan's dependence and allegiance to Christ.  

Miracle On Voodoo Mountain  brings James 1:27 to life;  It states, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this:  To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."  

I would like to thank Thomas Nelson Publishing through the Booklook Bloggers program for this review copy of Miracle On Voodoo Mountain by Megan Boudreaux. I was not required to write a favorable review of this book, but simply to read the work in it's entirety and provide my honest opinion.