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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables

Bob Welch is the author of seventeen books, an award-winning columnist, a speaker, and an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Oregon in Eugene.  His articles have been published in inspirational books, including the popular "Chicken Soup for the Soul" series.

Bob believes in changing the world one word at a time.  Read more about Bob and his writing and speaking schedule at

"There is one spectacle greater than the sea:  that is the sky; there is one spectacle greater than the sky:  that is the interior of the soul."

Whether on stage, page, or screen, few stories engage the heart quite the way Les Miserables does.  From the agony of Fantine's sorrow to the beauty of Jean Valjean's broken spirit, it is a story that reminds us only love can overcome the devastation of life's suffering.

In 52 Little Lessons from Les Miserables, author Bob Welch illuminates the spiritual themes woven throughout Victor Hugo's magnificent story of anguish, mercy, suffering, and forgiveness in the face of adversity.  Through this collection of insights, we remember Jean Valjean's transformation, the bishop's compassion, and the redemption that flows from it.  We are reminded that even the coldest heart can thaw, and that mercy can transform us all from teh worst to the best versions of ourselves.  Through the individual plights of the bishop, Valjean, Fantine, Cossette, Javert, Marus, and Eponine, Welch reminds us that Christlike love, at its purest, restores us all in beautiful ways.

My Thoughts:
One of the quotes Welch uses in 52 Lessons from Les Miserables is this one from St. Augustine:
"God gives where He finds empty hands.  A man whose hands are full of parcels can't receive a gift."
Welch has offered readers, Les Miserables fans or not, a gift.  While the title has the word "little" in it and each one of the 52 chapters are "short", don't let those descriptive words fool you on the value of the content.  Welch seems to be a man of few words, but his words count.

In the 150 years since Hugo's original book was published, there have been hundreds of theatrical productions, around thirty films and multiple written commentaries.  I believe Welch's book could be the most valuable because he pulls out the themes of death and resurrection, law and grace, wrongdoing and redemption and shows his readers this story through a gospel lens.

I highly recommend this book which would be perfect for use weekly in the new year as a devotional aid, for use with a small group, or for a book club discussion (questions are included in the book).

*I was given a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of review as part of the Book Look Bloggers group.

You can order your copy at HERE.

Happy New Years Ya'll,

Longing For More: Daily Reflections on Finding God in the Rhythms of Life

Timothy Willard serves as Spiritual Director for the Praxis Nonprofit Accelerator and coauthored the critically acclaimed book Veneer.  He is a PhD candidate at King's College London and lives in Oxford, England.  When he's not scratching poetry, chasing the scholar's craft, or carving trails on his mountain bike, he enjoys making up faerie stories about the English countryside for his wife and three pixie daughters.

You can learn more about Willard at

Catch your breath and sit for a moment.  
Now listen...

What do you hear - questions of trust, longing, disappointment, courage, and love?  In Longing for More, Timothy Willard invites us to think and pray through our deepest needs, and explores how the ebb and flow of life can be used for God's glory.  Creatively organized in 52 chapters that follow the four seasons of the year, the daily readings point the way to a richer spiritual life.

My Thoughts:
I love new beginnings.  One of my favorite things to do near the end of an old year and looking toward the new is to pick a new Bible Reading Plan along with a new journal, pens and devotional guide.  I will be using Timothy Willard's Longing for More this year.
Longing for More is organized into 52 chapters reflecting the rhythms of daily life (following the seasons) with a reading for each working day, totaling 5 days. Each day, Willard gives a focus scripture, short devotional thought and prayer with Wednesday being devoted to a pause in prayer.  Every twelfth week, Willard offers what he calls "The Long Pause" - a time of reflection on what is working or not working and an opportunity to change things up if necessary as well as encouragement to unplug for some "real time off the grid".
You may ask, "Why such an emphasis on 'rhythms'?"  Willard says...
"Why God rhythms?  Because life is anything but formulaic."
I appreciate that this devotional is a mixture of scripture, devotional meditations and quotes with a supreme focus on the truth of Christ as found in His Word.  While the book contains the author's reflections on the God rhythms he has experienced in his own life, he encourages the reader to use this book only as an addition to their own study, times of quietness before the Lord and prayer. Willard encourages relationship over a legalistic "checking off" of a scripture reading in order to somehow seek God's in the presence of God.

Published by Bethany House, the book can be ordered at by going HERE.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of review.


Friday, December 26, 2014

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

Sara Hagerty is a wife to Nate and a mother of five whose arms stretched wide across the ocean to Africa.  After almost a decade of Christian life, she was introduced to ain and perplexity and, ultimately, intimacy with Jesus.  God met her and moved her when life stopped working for her.  His Word and His whisper took on new shape and form to her in the dark.  Sara writes regularly about life-delays, motherhood, marriage, adoption, and finding God in the unlikely at

*If you visit the website, you can download the first chapter of Sara's book Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet:  Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things.

Shaping the bitterness of loss into a new place of Hope...

What does it look like to know God's nearness when your world stops working?

What does it mean to receive His life when earthly life remains barren?

How can God turn the bitterness of unmet desire into new flavors of joy?

Sara Hagerty has lived these questions.  Masterfully drawing from her experiences of spiritual and physical barrenness, she will help you set afire a new longing for God.  This is the story of the beautifully invasive love of God for every person.  With exquisite storytelling and reflection, Hagerty guides you to a tender place that God is holding just for you - a place where He shapes the bitterness of loss into deep,new invitations to knowing Him.

"A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet."
Proverbs 27:7

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

"The God behind it was proving Himself to be fundamentally different than what I'd supposed for at least a decade, maybe more.  But I was finding Him.  In the places I had feared most and spent a lifetime avoiding, He was meeting me.  My worst, my very worst, moments were getting rewritten without circumstances changing.  I was getting acquainted with the kind of deep satisfaction that bad news can't shake.  He was showing me Himself as strong enough.  He was letting me hide in Him, letting me find a safe place."
"No part of knowing God is passive...They reached the unreached with a life, not just a message."
"Fear loses oxygen when every moment suspends itself under the purpose of bringing Him glory, of knowing His name and His nature."
"God was working every angle to change our knowledge about who He is.  We realized that our lives aren't, in fact, a series of rewards for doing things 'right'.  They are strung-together surprises that continue to speak more of who He is than who we aren't."
And those are just a few!

Sara uses the transparency of her life to give readers a picture of the wonderfully amazing goodness of God in ALL things - the good, bad and down right ugly.  We expect things to be smooth and easy after coming to know God, but Sara helps us understand through her life's example that the greater knowing often comes through the painfully difficult.  Against the night, stars shine the brightest.

Included at the end of each chapter is a section I found most helpful titled "For Your Continued Pursuit".  In this section, Sara gives a list of Scriptures and gives the reader the opportunity to "trace any spoken declarations back to God's truth and use those as starting points for adoring Him, for making His Word part of their everyday language."

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet is a book to be read more than once.  I know I plan to read it again.

*I was given a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of giving my honest review.

Blessings Ya'll,

365 Moments of Peace for a Woman's Heart

365 Moments of Peace was written for the purpose of opening the door wide to knowing God and becoming the woman He created you to be.  When you look into His face and see your reflection in His loving eyes, you'll receive strength to overcome fears and obstacles, discover new ways of thinking, and develop the skills to walk in new and exciting paths.

My Thoughts:
As 2014 comes to an end, many of you may be thinking about new devotional materials to use for 2015.  Bethany House has published a devotional book with the purpose of directing our gaze on God and knowing Him.  365 Moments of Peace for a Woman's Heart consists of 365 short devotional thoughts beginning and ending with a focus Scripture.  The readings are short, but consistently point the reader's thoughts on finding their worth and hope in Christ.  As women, we wear many hats and fulfill many different needs in the lives of those we love and choose to invest.  This devotional helps us to focus on Christ and understanding that all we do should be an overflow of our time spent with Him.  Because of the short readings, 365 Moments of Peace would be a perfect addition to your nightstand and would give your mind the proper focus at the end of your busy days.

*I was given a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Blessings Ya'll,

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Mom's Prayers for Her Son: Praying for Every Part of His Life

Rob and Joanna Teigen are the authors of 88 Great Daddy-Daughter Dates and A Dad's Prayers for His Daughter.  Rob is also the author of several joke books, including Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids (under the pseudonym Rob Elliott).
The Teigens are the parents of a son in college, a son in preschool, and three beautiful daughters in between and live in West Michigan.

Rob and Joanna Teigen give you a strong foundation to build a lifelong habit of prayer for your son with a collection of specific prayers you can use to get started right now.  With engaging stories from well-known authors such as Kathi Lipp, Pam Farrel, Lisa Samra and others, you'll learn how to pray for your son's development of character, courage, self-control, forgiveness and more.

Remember:  You may not always understand your son, but God does!  Start asking for His guidance, protection and blessings today.

My Thoughts:
Prayer is sometimes a daunting discipline to approach in view of "Who" we are coming before...the Almighty Creator and Sustainer of our lives...the Holy One; and it is even more so when we approach God on behalf of our children.  There are a multitude of things to pray for when it comes to our children.  Where do we even begin?
The Teigens have written and excellent resource to help us.  This book is not another "how to" or formula ridden guide to doing prayer better.  Rob and Joanna lead by example in A Mom's Prayers for her Son.  The Teigens cover 77 unique areas to pray over our sons by giving a couple of Scripture passages and then a prayer from those passages.  Peppered throughout the book are stories from other mothers.
I was somewhat skeptical about the book in the beginning, thinking, "Do we really need another book on prayer?"  I was pleasantly surprised!  But, instead of talking about prayer and how we should all be doing it this way as opposed to another way, the Teigens pray and through their prayers encourage us moms to do just that...pray!

*I was provided a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of review.

You can order your copy from Amazon by going HERE.

Blessings Ya'll,

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Brothers' Keepers

About the author: After an award-winning detour through journalism and marketing and a graduate degree from Dallas Theological Seminary, NLB Horton returned to writing fiction. She has surveyed Israeli and Jordanian archaeological digs accompanied (twice!) by heavy artillery rounds from Syria and machine gun fire from Lebanon. Calmly tossed a tarantula from her skiff into the Amazon after training with an Incan shaman. Driven uneventfully through Rome. And consumed gallons of afternoon tea across five continents. Her first novel, When Camels Fly, was released in May, 2014.The Brothers' Keepers her second in the Parched series, will be released November 17, 2014. The third in the series will release in the fall of 2015.

Find NLB online: websiteFacebook
About the book: 

The Brothers' Keepers | RidgeRoute Press (November 2015)

A friend's deception. A family's dilemma.

While cataloging looted antiquities in Brussels, archaeologist Grace Madison learns that her daughter has disappeared in France, and daughter-in-law has been attacked in Switzerland. But before the Madisons can save themselves, they must rescue an old friend---if he'll let them. Navigating a deadly, four-thousand-year-old artifact trail that crosses three continents, they jeopardize hearts and lives against a foe as old as time---as time runs out.

Because choosing what's right is all that's left.

My Thoughts:
I'd like to preface my comments on The Brothers' Keepers with the fact that this book is the second book in Horton's Parched series.  I did not read book one and that fact may play a part in my not connecting well with the characters or story line.
With that said, I found it hard to "get into" this book and it was difficult to finish.  The entire time I read, I kept thinking, "I'm missing something."  I would certainly recommend reading book one prior to reading this one.  Horton drops the reader in the middle of the action and takes off running.  The whole time I read, I felt like I was behind.  There is so much happening in the story that it was hard to keep up.  I would be interested in giving another try at Horton's writing, but would not make the mistake of jumping in the middle of a series.

*I was provided a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

NLB Horton The Brothers' Keepers

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Wisdom of the Sadhu: Teachings of Sundar Singh

Wisdom of the Sadhu was compiled and edited by Kim Comer and published by Plough.

Sundar was born on September 3, 1889 in Ludhiana, India.  The death of his mother pitched Sundar into a deep and very dark despair at the age of 14.  Taking out his anger on area missionaries, he burned a Bible page by page while they watched.

After crying out to God in desperation, he was converted to Christianity and baptized at the age of 16.  He lived the rest of his life in servitude wanting no home and no possessions.

His formal Christian training took place at the Anglican college in Lahore.  During his twenties, Sundar's ministry widened.  Many described him as always human approachable and humble with a sense of fun and love of nature.

Sundar made regular visits to Tibet, his last being in 1929.  He died in April of that year.  He is treasured by many as a formative figure in the development of the Christian church in India.

His writings (between 1922 and 1929) are:

  • At The Master's Feet
  • With and Without Christ
  • The Real Life
  • The Real Pearl
  • Reality and Religion
  • The Search After Reality
  • Meditations on Various Aspects of the Spiritual Life
  • Visions of the Spiritual World
Wisdom of the Sadhu is a compilation of Sundar Singh's writings and teachings.  The book is well organized and gives a concise overview of the thoughts of the Sadhu and brings together the best of his teachings.  While couched in a distinctly Indian idiom, the book probes the essence of the Gospel as  grasped and taught by Sundar.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Where Treetops Glisten

The crunch of newly fallen snow, the weight of wartime
Siblings forging new paths and finding love in three stories, filled with the wonder of Christmas
Turn back the clock to a different time, listen to Bing Crosby sing of sleigh bells in the snow, as the realities of America's involvement in the Second World War change the lives of the Turner family in Lafayette, Indiana.
In Cara Putman's White Christmas, Abigail Turner is holding down the Home Front as a college student and a part-time employee at a one-of-a-kind candy shop. Loss of a beau to the war has Abigail skittish about romantic entanglements---until a hard-working young man with a serious problem needs her help.
Abigail's brother Pete is a fighter pilot hero returned from the European Theater in Sarah Sundin's I'll Be Home for Christmas,trying to recapture the hope and peace his time at war has eroded. But when he encounters a precocious little girl in need of Pete's friendship, can he convince her widowed mother that he's no longer the bully she once knew?
In Tricia Goyer's Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Meredith Turner, "Merry" to those who know her best, is using her skills as a combat nurse on the frontline in the Netherlands. Halfway around the world from home, Merry never expects to face her deepest betrayal head on, but that's precisely what God has in mind to redeem her broken heart.
The Turner family believes in God's providence during such a tumultuous time. Can they absorb the miracle of Christ's birth and His plan for a future?

Purchase a copy:

TRICIA GOYER is a prolific author of nearly forty books, including Chasing Mona Lisa, and a speaker and blogger. 

CARA PUTMAN is the author of twenty books includingShadowed by Grace. She is the winner of the 2008 Carol Award for historical fiction. 

SARAH SUNDIN is the critically-acclaimed author of the Wings of the Nightingale series, the Wings of Glory series, and the forthcoming Waves of Freedom novels.

To see what others are saying about the book, you can visit HERE.

My Thoughts:
Goyer, Putman and Sundin have put me in the Christmas spirit with their collaborative effort in Where Treetops Glisten.  The three stories tell the journey of the Turner siblings.  While each author has their own distinct writing style, the Turners' stories are woven together seamlessly in this project. The emotions of wartime, family dynamics and the Christmas season are captured eloquently.
I could almost picture the characters' faces, smell the smells and had each scene playback like an old black and white movie in my mind.  I fell in love with this family and hated to get to the last page.  These three ladies leave readers wanting more!  I certainly hope this isn't the last project they come together on.

*I was presented with a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Quilted By Christmas

About Quilts of Love: Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. TheQuilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. A new book releases each month and features contemporary and historical romances as well as women's fiction and the occasional light mystery. You will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.

About the book: 

A grandmother's last wish is to communicate God's love through an Irish chain quilt.
Taryn McKenna believes she's easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree---something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches.
When Taryn's grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project---an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?
Learn more about this book and the series at the Quilts of Love website.

About the Author: 

Jodie Bailey is Tarheel born and bred. After 15 years as a military spouse, she settled with her family back in North Carolina. She is the author of the military suspense novel Freefall and is a contributor to a devotional for military families, Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home. While not working on her next novel, she teaches middle-schoolers to love writing as much as she does.

Connect with Jodie: websiteFacebookTwitter

My Thoughts:
I am really enjoying this series and the latest installment by Bailey certainly does not disappoint!  Quilted By Christmas is a tender story of relationships, mistakes, forgiveness and restoration.  Taryn and Justin's story will take readers on a true journey of introspection.  
The characters are genuine and are easy to identify with.  I absolutely loved Jemma!  Bailey writes in such a way that the emotion jumps off the page and right into readers' hearts.  Bailey captures the restoration and redemption themes clearly through Taryn and Justin's story and has me ready to celebrate our Savior's birth in December...the One Who came to restore sinners to Himself.

Quilts of Love Quilted by Christmas Jodie Bailey

Blessings Ya'll,


For Rob Peabody, the young pastor at a mega-church in southern USA, the realization that his faith had little real connection with the world around him meant that something had to change. He redirected his church towards the poor on their doorstep and then took the larger step of moving to the UK to establish the missional fellowship 'Awaken'.
In Citizen he outlines the Kingdom-centered identity that is given to followers of Jesus. It's a wake-up call to the church in the West. Jesus' death and resurrection initiates and invites people into a life of so much more than the status quo. God is re-building, re-newing, and re-creating that which is broken and marred by sin, and he is doing this --- setting things right in the world --- through Jesus. As citizens of the Kingdom, we have been saved and set apart for this work. We have a new allegiance, a changed identity, and a new mission as we seek to establish the rule of God on earth as it is in Heaven.

Purchase a copy at the Awaken website and get a FREE study guide. Bundle discounts also available:

About the author: 

Previously the lead campus pastor at an American mega-church, Rob Peabody is now director of the Awaken Movement who left his church in the Texan Bible-belt to start and lead a Fresh Expression of church seeking to engage unreached 20's and 30's in northeast London.

Find Rob online: websiteFacebook,Twitter

My Thoughts:
Holy Discontent
Missed Our Jerusalem
Gospel of Individualism
Functional Gospel

Rob Peabody has written a book that addresses the above issues and holds his readers accountable to an accurate picture of what it really means to follow Jesus. I appreciate that Peabody writes without all the usual "Christianese" but with a heart transformed and restored an on mission with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

He concisely shares that "when Jesus steps into our lives and begins to transform who we are through the power of the gospel, we in turn are released and sent out to engage with and transform the community around us."

"Citizen" is a commissioning of sorts.  Through Scriptural exhortation and the sharing of personal experience, Peabody show us clearly how to be fully content in the Lord and how not to miss the opportunities available to us every day that are right in front of us to share Jesus.

Read Citizen and get ready to be energized to go forth with the gospel!

Blessings Ya'll,

Friday, October 24, 2014

Lights Out

How do you live in a dark world?

When illness completely stole Travis Freeman's sight at 12 years old, his dream of playing football felt dead.  However, the unshakable kid found a way to overcome the impossible and not only play football but become a champion.

This October, Travis tells his own life story in the book Lights Out, published by BelieversPress, releasing alongside the major motion picture 23 Blast.

Diagnosed with Cavernous Sinus Thrombosis at age 12, Travis would not be held back.  He attacked learning to live in a sighted world with inspiring ferocity.

"Disability does not equal inability," Travis says.  Disabled people can do anything they want to in life.  Travis Freeman proves that!

Despite being completely blind, Travis Freeman played high school football, served as football equipment manager at the University of Kentucky, and received a Master of Divinity and Doctorate of Philosophy from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Travis currently serves as the adjunct professor at the University of the Cumberlands and as the President of The Freeman Foundation, which is dedicated to furthering the truth that disability does not equal inability.

My Thoughts On The Book:
Travis has lived out the biblical exhortation to walk by faith and not by sight.  Rather than allow the enemy to steal, kill, and destroy through his blindness, Freeman continued to walk forward and grab life despite the literal darkness around him.  He tells his story in the book Lights Out.

Travis's book...his story is filled with the transforming power of the gospel in a life surrendered to God.  Near the end of the book he says
"As difficult as it is, we must look beyond our circumstances tot he One who enters into those circumstances with us.  We must preach the truth of the Gospel to ourselves.  The truth that God is good, that He is in control, and that He has our best interests in mind.  And when we are in our darkest days, we must, must, must look to the cross and find in it God's truest expression of love for us.  When we see the cross, we can have confidence that God cares for us, no matter what our circumstances indicate.  Do not allow circumstance to tell you about God.  Let God tell you what to think of your circumstance."
He also offers a very helpful section title "How to Keep Your Mind Around the Blind" where he shares some "Do's" and "Don'ts" when engaging the blind or other disabled persons.  Travis's parents also offer their personal thoughts on the best ways to parent and be the caregiver of children with disabilities.  To complete the book, Travis offers readers his study of Acts 26:12-23 "Living Out God's Purpose", which could easily be used as a personal study tool or shared with a small group study.

My son (9 years old) loves football with a fierce passion!  He has many heroes of the game.  My son also tends to get discouraged easily when he fails to do as well at things as he thinks he should.  He is reading Travis's book and discussing it as he reads.  I can't think of a better model I'd rather him follow!
"When Christ invades our lives, however, nothing is ever the same again.  From that moment forward we have meaning and value for the journey ahead.  We have something that satisfies and fulfills.  We have something that is both exciting and terrifying.  We have the brilliant light of this knowledge:  No matter how dark our circumstances grow, Christ is with us, guiding us and directing us with His purpose in mind.  He is our sight.  He is our Light.  May you walk in the light that never goes dark."
*I was given a complimentary copy of the book as a participant in the tour sponsored by Glass Road - a division of BelieversPress.

Be blessed and READ THIS BOOK!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Keepers of the Covenant

In one life-changing moment, the lives of the Jewish exiles in Babylon are thrown into confusion and despair when a decree arrives from the king's palace in Susa. It calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire on the thirteenth day of Adar, in less than one year. Ezra, a quiet Jewish scholar and teacher, is suddenly called upon to lead the community as they seek God for a reason for this catastrophe. When a second decree arrives, authorizing them to fight back, Ezra is thrust into the role of military leader as they defend themselves against their enemies.
When the battles come to an end, Ezra's brother Jude is dead and Ezra is required by the Law he so diligently studies to marry Jude's widow, Devorah, and provide an heir. Fatherhood changes Ezra, and he asks God to make a way for him and the other exiles to leave Babylon for good and return to Jerusalem. His prayers are answered and the exiles move to Judea to revitalize worship at the temple---but the fight to keep God's Law is never easy. As more and more of his community are tempted, a new battle emerges . . . this one for the survival of God's covenant and the souls of His chosen faithful.


Bestselling author Lynn Austin has sold more than one million copies of her books worldwide. She is an eight-time Christy Award winner for her historical novels, as well as a popular speaker at retreats and conventions. Lynn and her husband have raised three children and live near Chicago.

Find Lynn online via: websiteFacebook.

To see what others are saying about Keepers of the Covenant you can visit HERE.

My Thoughts:
"We show our faith in God when we keep moving forward even when our prayers aren't being answered.  It's the highest form of praise to keep believing that God is good even when it doesn't seem that way."
Such truth!  And Austin's latest installment in her series The Restoration Chronicles is peppered throughout from the first page to the last with God's truth.

Keeper's of the Covenant is the second book in the series.  I really appreciate Austin's attention to not only historical narratives but biblical accuracy.  She includes in her "note to the reader" the Scripture passages from which her novel is based as well as a glossary of terms.

While several other stories are being told outside of the main character's (Ezra) story, Austin moves back and forth between the narratives fluently and weaves them together to cover one of the most significant times in Jewish history.  One of my favorite side stories was Amina's story.  Her's is such an excellent picture of God's big story of redemption and the grafting in or adoption of Gentiles into the family of God through salvation.  What grace!

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"He (Ezra) knew that a pot couldn't be shaped without pressure.  He also knew the importance of centering the lump of clay precisely in the middle of the wheel before beginning.  If it wasn't centered, the emerging vessel would become deformed or even fly off the wheel as it spun.  Ezra had never mastered the centering process, and his pots had inevitably become misshapen beneath the pressure of his fingers.  Was that where his people had gone wrong?  Had they failed to center their lives on God's law before being shaped by Him?" 
"It's easy to have faith when we get everything we want from God, everything we pray for.  But when we don't, we have to decide if we want His will or our own.  We can't manipulate God by a display of faith or by our actions.  Only idols can be manipulated. God is sovereign, and He will do what He wills, for His purposes.  And those purposes are often hidden from us." 
Austin's books are NOT ones to miss!  Anything she writes have a prominent place on my keeper shelf.  They should be on yours as well!

Keepers of the Covenant Lynn Austin

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Sunday, October 19, 2014


There is hope, even on the darkest of days.
Katariina Rosenblatt was a lonely and abused young girl, yearning to be loved, wanting attention. That made her the perfect target. On an ordinary day, she met a confident young woman--someone Kat wished she could be like--who pretended to be a friend while slowly luring her into a child trafficking ring. A cycle of false friendships, threats, drugs, and violence kept her trapped.
As Kat shares her harrowing experiences, her ultimate escape, and her passionate efforts to now free other victims, you'll see that not only is sex trafficking happening frighteningly close to home--it's also something that can be stopped. Stolen is a warning, a celebration of survival, and a beacon of hope that will inspire you.

Katariina Rosenblatt, PhD, is living proof of the promise she heard long ago at a Billy Graham crusade that God would never forsake her. Katariina has a PhD in conflict analysis and resolution and works closely with law enforcement agencies, such as the FBI and Homeland Security, to eliminate human slavery. She also founded There Is Hope for Me, a nonprofit organization dedicated to freeing other victims of human trafficking. She has been featured on CNN and in Today's Christian Woman and lives in Florida.

My Thoughts:
This book was haunting and difficult to read at times.  Rosenblatt is brave and transparent in telling her story.  The fact that this book is published shows Rosenblatt's bravery and unselfishness.  She has truly turned her pain into a tool to defeat the enemy in many lives.  
In Stolen, Katariina shares with readers her horrifying experience of being captured in the sex slave industry and her beautiful experience of being rescued and restored by her Savior Jesus Christ.  What the enemy meant for evil and destruction in Katariina's life, the Lord has used not only for her redemption but the restoration of many lives through Katariina's ministry and service to those who now find themselves caught in the grips of such evil.
Read Stolen and then share it with someone who you may know that needs to hear about God's grace and His power to turn the most bleak of circumstances into something beautiful and glorious.
*I received a copy of the book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.

Happy Reading Ya'll,

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Hardest Peace AND a Giveaway

About the Author:

Kara Tippetts and her husband, Jason, have four children and lead a church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cancer is only part of Kara's story. Her real fight is to truly live while facing a crushing reality. 

Find Kara online: websiteFacebook,Twitter

About the book: 

A young mother battling cancer invites readers to embrace grace in every season of life.
Kara Tippetts knows the mundane but rich days of mothering four kids, the joy of watching her children grow.and the devastating reality of stage-four cancer.
In The Hardest Peace, she invites readers to see the grace of the everyday in all seasons of life and to live well even when the living is hard. As the thousands of readers of her blog know, Tippetts explores the hardest questions of life with rare beauty and honesty. Most of all, she draws them back to the God who is present, in the ordinary and the suffering, and shapes every life into the best story of all.

My Thoughts:
I read this book in one sitting.  I couldn't do it any other way.  And I'm not sure I have the words to express the impact this book has had on my mind and my heart.  In the introduction Kara says,
"Hunting for grace and living from your heart are not simple decisions.  Learning the gift of each breath and spending it all in big, BIG love is the greatest calling of my remaining days - and yours, too.  The high calling of today is set before us both: to be humbled by the grace of God."
The Hardest Peace is not just another book.  It is the transparent baring of Kara's soul as she shares how she's learned to acquire "the hardest peace" through her battle with cancer that threatens to overtake her body.
One of the most striking portions of the book for me was the chapter titled Faith of a Child.  At one point in the chapter, Kara shares this:
"In every season of our lives, we meet the edges of life we never expected.  The unexpected pain of life often leaves us only with the choice of how we will endure it...We all have unexpected hard, but how do we face it?  But those places, those raw, broken places are the heart of life.  The brokenness of today causes us to look at tomorrow and hope for it."
Kara's story is not only one of "how to endure it", but one of "how to face it" and she teaches us well how to face it with grace and trust and delight in the One Who holds us in the palm of our hand...the One Who has every hair on our heads accounted for and knows the length of our days.  She shows her reader how to find the goodness of God in all things and in the most unlikely of circumstances.
Read Kara's book.  It will change the way you approach your days...the good ones and the very, very hard ones.
*I received a complimentary copy of the book for the purpose of this review.

I would love to bless one of you with a copy of Kara's book.  Just leave me a comment with your answer to this question:
When you pray for God to lift you out of fear and dread, do you truly believe He can and will?  Why or why not? What is an example of when He did, and what is an example of when you felt he didn't?  How did He show you Hid goodness in both answers? 

kara tippets the hardest peace