Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Shack by Paul Young

At first I was a little skeptical as I started reading the book because of all the controversial talk and comments about it (I did my research before reading it). After I started it I was just hooked. It’s really well written, and I have to say I really enjoyed it. I don’t really want to add to the comments out there that say the book is not biblical, because Young himself says this book is a metaphor about God and the journey understanding suffering. Therefore, I find it useless to consider it other than a novel. It was actually written initially for his children at his wife’s suggestion.

Like I said, it is a really good written novel, and I enjoyed it as that. I also loved the personification of Trinity, I guess what I loved about it was that it challenged me to think outside the box when thinking about my God. I mean, I came to analyze and diagnose my relationship with the Lord, the way that I perceive Him. And I actually love the fact that Young went so far with the personification of Trinity because it is a real challenge for the reader to analyze his/her own perception of God, which I believe it’s important for an authentic relationship.

As I mentioned earlier, before reading the book I did my research and I found a video of Young explaining a bit about what he wanted this book to be.

[read in August 2012]

Wrapped in Rain by Charles Martin

Miss Ella was the only loving parental figure Tucker and Mutt ever knew. She was the help their father hired to get the boys out of his hands and make sure his business wasn't interrupted by him being a father. 
These two boys had a childhood of two extremes - on one hand there was Rex, their abusive father, whose only interests were making money and liquor. On the other hand there was Miss Ella, who compensated for everything Rex lacked in  – love.

Tucker and Mutt’s lives take unexpected turns as they grow up and become adults. And I love how the author manages to point out the struggles and the transformation process that takes place in both their lives. Miss Ella used to say to Tucker “I want to tell you a secret. Life is a battle, but you can't fight it with your fists. You got to fight it with your heart [...] If your knuckles are bloodier than your knees, then you're fighting the wrong battle.”

I really loved this novel. I may be biased by the fact that I haven’t realized how much I had missed a good novel until I actually started reading it. But what I enjoy the most in Martin’s novels is not the plot, even though he quite manages to keep it unpredictable, but the way he makes his characters seem like real people – I really felt like the struggles that the characters faced were real; the sense of reality that Martin manages to bring to his novels is what I admire the most.
One of my favorite quotes from this book was this one:
Miss Ella, will you always be in here?
Always, child. Me and God, we're not going anywhere [...] Child, you can whip it and beat it senseless, you can drag it through the streets and spit on it, you can even dangle it from a tree, drive spikes through it, and drain the last breath from it, but it the end, no matter what you do, and no matter how hard you try to kill it, love wins. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

5 years



"I delight greatly in the Lord, my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with jewels." {Isaiah 61.10}

Friday, October 19, 2012

"I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time - waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God - it changes me."  {C. S. Lewis}                     

             

Monday, October 8, 2012

The River by Michael Neale


The River is about young Gabriel Clarke, about his journey to maturity, the process of finding himself and the place he belongs to.

To be honest I was disappointed in the book. I guess I expected much more than what I actually got from it. The book is a metaphor between The River and God, but the thing is there is nothing about God or the Bible in it. It's just something that you eventually pick up while reading the book. 

The story in itself I quite enjoyed. Even though the plot was a bit predictable at the beginning, the end surprised me, though. It is an easy read, but if you’re not familiar with kayaking and other similar sports you might find it a bit hard to understand at some points.

All in all it was a good book, but I wasn’t impressed.

Here's the book trailer:


I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com; book review bloggers program. 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.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo


I confess I was a little skeptical when I first ordered this book because of its story - Colton’s trip to heaven - but naturally I was also curious to find out more about it.

I enjoyed the book very much, it was a sweet story of a kid who got to witness a glimpse of what heaven is really like, and I think even that’s extraordinary in itself. What I really liked about the story - and I believe it's what gives it its authenticity - is the way that Colton’s parents handled the information they kept receiving from Colton about his heaven experience. I liked the way they reacted towards it, that they compared everything with Scripture. They tried not to influence Colton’s story with their questions, so they were careful about how they encouraged him to talk about heaven.

Why I liked the book? Because it widened my creativity when I think about heaven and it gave me a little picture of how heaven might look like. And I think that’s important, because as Pete Wilson said once when referring to heaven “We can only desire what we can imagine”.

Here's a sneak peak of an interesting interview I found online:


I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com; book review bloggers program. 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.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Cruel Harvest by Fran Elizabeth Grubb


This is a story of survival written by a child who grew up a lot faster than a child should and experienced the raw and cruel face of life like few people do. It is a sad and hopeful story and I feel like words can’t do it justice.

I loved it, it is a story that shocks and terrifies but I loved how in the end Love always finds a way to give hope and restoration to a broken and lost soul, and that’s exactly what this book is about. I admire and truly appreciate the author’s courage to open up with her life story, I can only imagine how hard that must have been.

What I liked the most about this book is that in the middle of the terrifying pages of it you can find little pieces of hope and prayers of a child who knew, in the middle of life’s darkest circumstances, in her heart that there was a God somewhere, a good, caring and loving God:
She assured me that one day I would learn to read. Until then, I could make up words that were good and pretend I was talking to God. So I read what I thought the page would say. “God is with me every day,” I read. “I am not alone. God knows who I am and He cares when I am hungry or afraid. God looks down from heaven and He sees all the children who need Him.”


I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com; book review bloggers program. 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.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Love Does by Bob Goff

It is a practical book but at the same time, the author shares a lot of stories about people who influenced his life and faith and also life experiences that shaped his image of God and the way he now thinks about faith and God’s love.

From the first stories in the book you can see that Bob Goff is the kind of man that does things and takes risks without thinking or planning very much ahead. I liked his take on life, maybe because I am the exact opposite or maybe because it allowed him to be open to a life full of adventure and great experiences with God and other people.

The book is really great to read, it has a lot of interesting and crazy stories that made me giggle a lot. Even though I thought that maybe his life philosophy was a little simplistic I think I came to realize that love is really all about deeds and not about ideas or words, or even feelings. We tend to have an opinion about everything but stop at that. Well, I think this book is kind of a challenge for us to go beyond having an opinion and start doing something, start experiencing, because there’s more to life than this, we are invited to a great adventure that starts with doing things, because:
Love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn't just keep thinking about it or keeps planning for it. Simply put: love does.




I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com; book review bloggers program. 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

L

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Anxious Christian by Rhett Smith

I found this book a great one. I believe that the author does an incredible job bringing a holistic approach on anxiety – as a patient, as a therapist and as a Christian. 

The author believes that anxiety is a tool that we can either use it for out personal growth or let it  overwhelm us. Therefore, it is important to be aware of our anxious feeling, not hide them, in order to be able to figure out their purpose and to  redefine them into a healthy and glorious pattern of behavior and feeling.

What makes this book valuable is the fact that Smith is transparent about his own journey of struggle with anxiety. 

At the end of each chapter there are questions and exercises that you can work through in order to be aware of and work on those anxious feelings of your own. Also, at the end of the book Smith offers some useful guidelines and criteria to take in consideration when looking for a therapist (i loved that). 

It is a truly valuable tool for every Christian that has ever had to struggle with anxious feelings.



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Simple Secrets to a Happy Life by Luci Swindoll


When I got the book in the mail I was instantly attracted by the cover. I loved it, I am a sucker for neat covers, and when it came in hardcover too, I was thrilled :).
I finished it really quickly since it’s really lovely organized: into 5 main parts, each containing 10 simple secrets. And the chapters are short as well. She shares from simple things like how to make lists to stay organized to deep spiritual lessons.

What I loved most about the book was really the author’s attitude towards life in general. She is a joyful spirit with a positive attitude that is contagious. These simple secrets that she shares in the book are what experience taught her in these years lived fearlessly and with a courageous and curious take towards what life had for her. And that all comes from her strong relationship she has with the Lord. I also loved that throughout the book she seemed to have the right verse or quote for every circumstance she talked about.

I also loved her transparency and wisdom that filled the pages of the book. She lives every second at the fullest, she masters that. You get to know the author and love her. And I think Ann Lamott describes her perfectly in the foreword: “She’s the world’s soul mate. She is best friends with Jesus, so she shares from abundance, and lives from her core, of tenderness and humor and curiosity. She just wants to share her amazement and gratitude for Christ’s love, and the light with which He imbues our earth and our lives”.
And that’s what you see throughout the book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com; book review bloggers program. 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

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Empty Promises by Pete Wilson


I must admit I came into reading this book with great expectations after reading Pete Wilson’s first book (Plan B) and loving it.

Empty Promises is the kind of book that you can’t read in one day or in a few hours. It is a book that contains so many good stuff that you can’t just read it and finish with it. It challenges you to closely examine and diagnose the possible empty promises that you’ve fallen for.

Pete Wilson tackles the problem of idolatry very precisely and accurately in this book. Even though in nowadays many of us might think that idolatry is not an issue anymore, Wilson points out the opposite. I love the fact that he gives a lot of Scripture references and examples of people in the Bible who struggled with one of the empty promises he talks about. What I also loved is that he isn’t shy about offering personal examples of his own struggles and short comings, which I believe makes us - the readers - feel more comfortable and safe and also sincere when diagnosing our own lives.

It is a great book and a valuable one. The author doesn’t conclude with some easy steps that will help you overcome the empty promises that you have fallen for, but he points out so beautifully to the One who can and desires to  satisfy us completely.





Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com; book review bloggers program. 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


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Heaven in Her Arms by Catherine Hickem


Heaven in Her Arms is a book that takes us on an adventurous journey into Mary’s life. We see her in three different roles throughout this journey: as a young woman, as the mother of Jesus and as God's daughter. The one constant characteristic that we can find in all of these roles is her complete trust and obedience in her God.

The thing that I loved about this book is that the author does such a great job introducing us into Mary’s life, with all of the details that shaped her, with her inner thoughts and struggles. 
Everything is so greatly brought to surface so that we can understand the incredibly important role that Mary had into shaping Jesus as her child and as the Son of God, the Messiah. 
We also get to see what was so special about her that made God chose her, of all the women, to be the one to entrust His most precious Son to. 
And even though she does not play a central role in the nativity story, she was the person that faithfully trusted and obeyed. So her role into the nativity story was to rely on God and trust that everything will happen exactly as God  had planned it to happen.

I never thought about Mary in such a deep way before, but now that I read the book I can say that her story is one that I believe God is using to teach us, women, some powerful and important lessons that can help us become the women that He crated us to be. Mary teaches us how to fully live that perfect plan that God has for each of us. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com; book review bloggers program. 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

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Healing is a Choice by Stephen Arterburn

I received this book awhile ago and when I started reading it the first thing that I loved about it was its practicality. I loved it because the author’s style is very easy to follow and he gives a lot of Bible examples. I loved his way of retelling them in his own manner.

Like I said, it’s practical, and when I say this I am referring to the way this book is organized as well. It has 10 chapters, each chapter tackling a different choice and the big lie that stands at the root of that choice. At the end of each chapter, my book (the revised & updated one) had some workbook questions to help you identify the key points that you must work on in order to obtain the healing that he’s talking about here.

It was a helpful book, and I am sure this is a book for everyone, because I believe we each have some healing to do into our own lives, no matter what the hurting has been about. So I would warmly recommend this book to those who want to have a healthy life and all the benefits that comes from that.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com; book review bloggers program. 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

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Atonement Child by Francine Rivers


I read many of Francine River’s novels, and although I came every time with my bag of expectations into reading them, every time they were surpassed. That's what happened with this book as well.

Even though at first {in the first chapter, that is} I found it quite predictable, as I read through it that predictability was replaced by eagerness to find out more of what happens next, and that’s why I was so hooked I couldn’t just turn off my computer {I read it in pdf format}, so I finished it in 3 days.

The plot was at first {or at least I found it} a bit predictable, but then it was anything but predictable. I found myself crying and giggling at my laptop monitor, while reading the book. I love how Francine just takes you and introduces you into the character’s life, thoughts and inner struggles. 

Dynah was a young Christian girl having the perfect Christian life – born in a supportive, healthy Christian family, engaged with the perfect, charismatic, good-looking pastor to be. She was studying at a Christian College, she couldn’t have it all better for herself.
But all that changes in only one night, when something unexpected happens. From then on everything around Dynah changes, the life that she knew falls apart brick by brick. Everyone around her changes being exposed to their inner wounds and hidden secrets that were back to haunt their present decisions. Dynah has important decisions to make too, decisions she never thought she will have to even consider. Will she be influenced by everyone around her, or will she keep her faith strong and fall back on Jesus’ arms in complete trust, as she used too from when she was just a little girl?

I would recommend this book to everyone who wants to read a good novel, or to those who struggle with emotional wounds from a past abortion or has to make a decision about whether or not to have an abortion. I think the author manages very well this difficult subject and brings a lot of useful insight through the character's conversations or thoughts on this subject. 

A great book, indeed.:)



Sunday, February 19, 2012

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers


I have read this book for the fourth time now and I have to say I love it even more now. I can’t seem to get enough of it, and every time I read it I discover how much of a masterpiece this book is.

It is a beautiful story of redemption. Michael Hosea, a simple farmer and a godly man, understands the redeeming power of love, and he obeys and accepts God’s will for his life by taking Angel, a popular stunningly beautiful prostitute, as his wife. 
What I absolutely loved about him was his patience and love, love that poured out of him with everything he did. He loved, that’s what he did, and he did it fully and with no regrets.

Angel on the other hand, was a weary soul. She never knew kindness; she didn’t recognized love, because life had been tough, too tough on her. She didn’t believe in anything, her only safe option was the defending walls that she learned to put on, as a defense to more pain. She hated her life and had no hope.

When these two meet, something miraculous happens – love reveals its healing powers. And slowly, step by step, the miracle unfolds. 

…..


Even though my book is heavy highlighted {which proves how much I love this book :)}, I have some passages that I absolutely love and I wanted to share them:

"I’ve loved watching you grow and change. You’re never the same. I love the way you take on new things, your drive to learn. I love how you work, how you have this little-girl look on your face when you finish something you’ve never tried before. I loved watching you skip across the meadow with Ruth. I love seeing you laugh with Miriam and hang on Elizabeth’s wisdom. I love the whole idea of growing old with you and waking up to you every morning for the rest of my life."
---
"Love cleanses, beloved. It doesn't beat you down. It doesn't cast blame. My love isn't a weapon. It's a lifeline. Reach out and take hold, and don't let go."
---
“I promise to love and cherish you, to honor and sustain you, in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth, in the bad that may darken our days, in the good that may light our way. Tirzah, beloved, I promise to be true to you in all things until I die. And even beyond that, God willing."
---
Love the Lord your God, and love one another. Love one another as he loves. Love with strength and purpose and passion and no matter what comes against you. Don’t weaken. Stand against the darkness, and love. That’s the way back into Eden. That’s the way back to life.




Sunday, January 15, 2012

A reminder for this week ...



That nothing lasts forever, happy moments pass, sad and difficult moments pass as well. 
Nothing in this world lasts forever.

To rely on my Rock, that is much higher and powerful than I am .

Stop worrying!!!! Nothing good comes of it anyway, it just empties me of my strength. So STOP worrying!!

And of course keep calm and just pray. Remember to still my mind and heart and just let go of everything  that weights me down, and come to my Lord to comfort me, still me and surround me with His perfect peace.
That's all I need.

{photos via my pinterest}
....


Friday, January 6, 2012

Your Love ...

Last year {i mean in 2011, not like really a year ago:)} when I found this song I was so addicted to it that it was on repeat for a lot of weeks. I just absolutely LOVE the lyrics of this song. You know when you have those few songs that are just so in synch with what your heart feels like? Well this song is perfectly in synch with my heart right now and I just wanted to document this here, and maybe share this with someone who needs to know or be comforted by the beautiful words of this amazing song.
I will share with you the lyrics and the song and also the story behind the song.


I'm overcoming fear
With Your perfect love, Your perfect love
You're opening my ears to hear
The sound of a lover's voice
You're calling out, You're calling out
Let me see Your face, Your lovely face

Your love tears me up
And when its done
Puts me together

I'm overcoming fear
With Your perfect love, Your perfect love
You're opening my ears to hear
The sound of a Lover's voice
You're calling out, You're calling out
Let me see Your face, Your lovely face

Your love tears me up
And when its done
Puts me together

Your love calls me out
Of my death and my failure
Your love...

Your love tears me up
And when its done
Puts me together
Your love calls me out
Of my death and my failure

{Your Love - Shane & Shane}