Gospelbound – Book Review

I had just spoken to one of my ESL students who said she has little or no hope for the world in which we live. Her vocal tone was almost a monotone and she rarely smiles. I am not sure how I can help this beautiful young woman. I want to help. I want everyone to understand that they were put on earth, at just this time and place, because God has a plan and purpose for their lives. Then I came across this book – Gospel Bound by Collin Hansen and Sarah Eekhoff Zylstra.

The authors of this book suggest that the key to living a hopeful and rewarding life is ‘to think big and small at the same time.’  What does that mean? Thinking big for me means trusting God for everything. Thinking small means helping others. Buy a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk and take it to the young mother who commented she didn’t have any. Call the friend who is making some tough decisions and simply listen to her talk. Giving what I can when I can is often just a little thing but it makes a God-sized difference in someone else’s life.

One of the problems in the US right now is that we do not understand or perhaps even recognize the amount of suffering that is going on around us. We have isolated our thoughts and actions to our own small group of people and rarely reach out to others. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be. The question becomes – is what I’m doing making any difference at all?  Gospel Bound suggests that it’s rare to be able to change someone else’s habits. But we must keep on helping others. Some will eventually see the Light. Others will go on as they always have. The Bible doesn’t say each endeavor will be successful, it just says do it! (Be obedient!) We are not asked to do miracles, that’s God’s job anyway, we’re asked to use what we have been given and get on with it.

How do we show God’s love in this topsy-turvy world? Here are a few examples from the book:

God’s Word is and must be our guide.

Live and work with integrity.

Give the best we have in all circumstances.

Show hospitality by sitting with newcomers in worship.

Volunteer in ways we never thought we could.

GET INVOLVED. Don’t just sit back when you see a need.

Be holy, godly, diligent, at peace (2 Peter 3:11,14).

Work while we wait because our minds are set on heaven.

Invest your love (of Jesus) in all your relationships. Take the focus off yourself.

Visit the lonely, feed the hungry, care for the sick.

Do what’s right even when you don’t want to. Even if no one notices. In other words, live with honor. Romans 12:17

Plant a church.

Pray through all your decisions and then stick with them.

Favorite Quote: “When billionaires like Bill Gates give away their fortunes to fight diseases and help the world’s poorest people, we recognize God’s provision, even if Gates does not recognize God.”

Although I recognized the value of this book I was a bit disturbed by some vulgar language and way too much explicit description of sexual activity. I simply want to warn you with this statement. I hope it doesn’t keep you from reading it.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

This book will be published on April 6, 2021

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Net Galley/Walter Brook & Multnomah Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

Roar-chestra

Some of the best years of my life were spent as an Elementary Music Teacher. Of course, I was always on the look-out for new ways of teaching the basics of music. Wouldn’t you know I would find a very usable book for the classroom after I had moved on to another education career?

This delightful book is perfect for introducing some of the basic words used by the instrumentalists in the orchestra. It is cleverly devised to show different animals that match the action words. The author uses sleeping animals to show the concept of the word adagio and animals that can move swiftly to portray allegro. The illustrations are fun to look at and clearly show how the animal’s movements match the Italian word.

I highly recommend this delightful book for the classroom and home. Although recommended for ages 3 to 7, I think most Elementary students would enjoy it. After all, teachers, we never have enough books. Right?

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Net Galley/Kids Can Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

The Powerful Purpose of Introverts – Book Review

Yes, I am an introvert.  I certainly never thought I was until I read this definitive study of the subject.  I also took all the tests, answered the questions, did some research of my own, and discovered I’ve been denying parts of my personality.  What a difference!!!

I want to take a few moments of your time to share what I have learned and with that encourage you to read The Powerful Purpose of Introverts by Holley Gerth.

I am a creative person. I like to move furniture around, use color to enhance my home.  I like to sew, knit, crochet, cross-stitch, and design my own projects.  I like to read, write, and think in quiet places where I can totally focus. I love to teach, sing, and play the piano for God’s glory.   I like to share my work with others.  Trust me, I am not shy about it.  Now you might think, like I did for so long, that makes me an extrovert.  Not so!  All these things make me who I am.  Holley Gerth says, “When we become more aware of ourselves, we become more aware of others too.”

I used to think that people who want solitude, time alone, were some kind of weird.  I love being with people, talking with people, interacting with people, but it sometimes drains me.  All these things are not the opposite of solitude.  Allowing myself time ‘alone’ increases my creativity, deepens my Christian growth, and helps me focus on what is really important.

Through this book, I discovered to be the best me I can be I must take time to make and grow positive personal connections.  For me, this means listening well, being patient and persistent (always working on this one), and sharing the limelight.

I could almost hear myself talking at one point in my reading.  A loud noise of any kind is so deeply offensive to my sensibilities that I will choose not to involve myself in activities that have that potential.  Concerts of any kind, including the symphony, require me to always carry earplugs.  When Holley commented that she does too I was truly seeing myself.  I absolutely love music and good speakers, but they can be overwhelming for this introvert.

Holley Gerth writes about being an introvert with great passion, with the sensitivity of being an introvert, but most of all with the desire to help everyone understand both themselves and the people around them.

Oh, how I have grown through reading this book.  Read it!  You will grow too.

Blessings on blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received an ebook copy of this book from Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

STAND ALL THE WAY UP – Book Review

My favorite reads are those that motivate, encourage, and make me more aware of what is happening in this crazy world. Not self help so much as books that say ‘I’ve been where you’ve been and this is how ‘we’ dealt with it. We? Never alone, always with God and the great people He placed in our lives for the purpose of coming alongside.

Sophie Hudson’s (Stand All The Way Up) writing style is straight forward, say it like it is, and downright funny.

Here are a few concepts that are covered in this book.

Quit faking it! You are who you are, what you are, and God loves you just that way.

Whenever it’s OK with God then it’s OK with me.

Being prepared in all situations (Yes, life WILL throw curveballs.) is a nod of respect to yourself and those around you.

I don’t have to keep everyone happy in every situation.  I can choose to react my way simply because I want to.

When God clearly tells you what He wants, do it!  Stand firm on your decision to obey!

God can, will, and does, make a way in every circumstance.

Personal is ALL about personal comfort. Once again, quit trying to be someone or something other than yourself.

Strong relationships and fellowship in the local church matter. Pursue them. If the groups of the church are so tight they don’t have room for you then create your own or find another church.

When my life is all about what I can do for you, IT MATTERS!

Pretending is lying. Be who you really are, not what you think you should be.

I truly hope this motivates you to read Stand All The Way Up by Sophie Hudson. It’s worth your time and will definitely cause you to think in some new ways.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, TN.  I was not required to write a positive review.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC’s CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

This post may contain affiliate links. When you use them I may receive a small commission that helps support the costs of maintaining this blog.

 

 

 

Chasing Vines – – Book Review

I love it when a book relates to my personal life and circumstances. (Don’t we all?) I am a farm girl/gardener at heart. I know the taste of milk straight from the cow, cracklins fresh from the hot grease, tomatoes, and green beans hand-picked. Yet, grapes, the how and why of them, and their relationship to my Christian growth, is a new concept.

Using John 15:1-8 Chasing Vines covers our growth as branches of the One Vine. She covers such topics as, personal growth, abiding, bearing fruit, pruning, fertilizing, manure, and much more. In her matchless style, she brings these eight verses to life, giving insight into the growth process of the grape as it relates to our own lives as Christians.

Beth’s comment, “I’m pretty sure most people who serve an unseen God for enough years, trying their danged hardest to obey His inaudible directions and love His confounding people with their own contorted hearts, live a quarter-inch from sheer madness much of the time,” (pg. 56) resounded with me.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re a celebrity preacher/teacher or sojourn with a small group of Believers, people are people.  They’re difficult, demanding, denying, disturbing, dusty, deliberate, defying…  I get it.

Throughout the book, the reader is made aware of the need to be a good fruit producer.  Ms. Moore contends it is not only possible but probable that the branches (believers and unbelievers, alike) can produce bitter and bad fruit.  Her solution: Galatians 5:22-23. If these 9 qualities are in any way being compromised it’s bad fruit.  If, on the other hand, they are supported, then the fruit is good.

Although I highly recommend this book, and since this is a review, I must say that I did find a bit of insensitivity to the elderly in her discussion of pruning.  From time to time I also found way more discussion of a concept than was necessary.  But as I said before, all in all, all of it, is worth it.

I want to leave you with these words, directly from Miss Beth, “If you’re in Christ, He is your true Vine, whether you realize it or not. But a whole new way of flourishing begins when you know it. When you count on it. When you live like it. When you let go of the vines you thought were giving you life.” (pg. 129)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie