Fierce Marriage Book Review

Fierce Marriage by Ryan and Selena Frederick isn’t your typical marriage book! From the beginning of the book the authors claim their book is not just helpful and it’s not just hopeful, as some marriage books tend to be. Their book is both helpful and hopeful. I found this to be true over and over again in the book.

I was a bit distracted at the beginning by some platitudes and a really long drawn out story. When the story ended however, the book picked up. I felt like the explanation for the super long story was mediocre at best. I wanted to have a clearer understanding why they spent the time they did at the very beginning of the book to tell the story. The beginning of a book is such a critical time to grab the readers attention and keep them reading. While I never understood why they included as much detail to the story as they did, I understood what they were generally trying to say with the story. I wished the beginning of the book would have been different.

That aside, I loved the book from there on out. The authors don’t take for granted that the reader knows what basic scriptural concepts are. They clearly explain the gospel and why it is so important for marriage. Scripture is constantly referred to. The part I love the most is that the authors don’t focus on solving symptoms, on putting a bandaid on a broken marriage. They clearly state that it’s only through heart change, brought on by the gospel, that marriage can be fierce! YES!!! When I read that I almost said “YESS!!!” out loud. I loved how genuine the authors were. They talked openly about their struggles and built a rapport with the reader in such a great way.

Overall I would give this book 4 stars. They have great experience to share and everything is explained through the lens of the gospel. Great book.

For more information about the book visit: https://bakerbookhouse.com/products/fierce-marriage-radically-pursuing-each-other-in-light-of-christ-s-relentless-love-9780801075308

I received a copy of this book from Baker Books in exchange for my honest review. The thoughts stated here are my own.

Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders

 

Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders by Aubrey Malphurs, professor of Pastoral Ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary and author of over a dozen books on church consulting, leads Pastors, church staff and lay people to a better understanding of emotional maturity. He spends considerable time in the first half of the book defining emotions, presenting the different historical view points and research of leaders in the field, and describing what an emotionally mature leader is. Scripture is referenced throughout the text and presented as where our emotions come from and how we should see them in light of God’s word. I found myself wondering, however, why he seemed to be ok with linking behavior and emotions so closely. He made points about emotions driving behavior and vice versa but there wasn’t an argument for the fact that yes our emotions do drive our behavior but that shouldn’t be the case. My emotions should not be driving my life train. When I allow emotions to drive the train of my life, I get erratic behavior. Emotions can lie. Instead of allowing emotions to drive our train, truth found in God’s word should be what drives us. This doesn’t mean that emotions should be ignored, just that they shouldn’t be allowed to excuse or decide behavior. A problem arises when we let feelings dictate and determine who we are and what we do. I must find truth in God’s word and let it drive me, let it determine my behavior. This truth doesn’t lie; can’t lie. Malphurs seems to promote a view that is heavily promoting feelings & emotions.

You don’t really get into the meat of the book until half way through. The best part is in the appendix. I’m sure people overlook this part of the book because on quick skim through all you might see is assessment. Tucked inside the assessment is application and step by step methods to increase emotional maturity and learn how to be a better leader. Had I skipped the appendices, I would have rated this book 3 stars at most. I felt like the first half of the book and the appendices were disjointed; like there was two books put together. I would have been happy with a simple review of the first half and more expounding information in the second. For example, more practical examples and stories of others would be helpful to illustrate concepts and ideas. The information presented in the appendices is very practical and useful for all types of leaders and I felt like I wanted more. I wanted more connection to my lack of ability to change myself. It was heavy on I- what I can do to change me. It’s only through the power of the Holy Spirit that my heart and thus my behavior (in relation to myself and my feelings and others) can be changed.

Overall, this book has good useful information. As with all books, you have to take some of it with a grain of salt. I feel like I can use the information found in this book to increase my leadership effectiveness. “How people feel about themselves when they are around you is vital to the effectiveness of your leadership and the influence that you exert on them for Christ.” (Developing Emotionally Mature Leaders p 138)

Pelican Point by Irene Hannon

This was my first book by Irene Hannon. I didn’t know what to expect but the cover was intriguing. It is the story of Army Doctor Ben Garrison whose grandfather passed away and left Ben an inheritance. While back in Pelican Point to handle his grandfather’s estate, Ben meets Marci Weber, editor of the town newspaper. Will Ben & Marci’s individual pasts come back to haunt them or will they let go and be healed from them? What will happen with Ben’s newly inherited lighthouse?

I gave this book 4 stars. This is a really interesting concept for a book. The setting and characters were great. Very lifelike and well developed. The author has a great attention to detail and can describe things in such a moving way. I could picture the setting and characters. I could relate to them as well. Loved the inclusion and focus on the lighthouse. I wish there was more action though. The book had a sweet storyline but it was just kind of common everyday stuff. I wished the conflict was brought in a little earlier. I felt like that aspect of the book could have used more development. I felt like the conflict was a thrown in after thought. The characters had such great backstories that I felt could have been expounded upon. It would have made for a more action packed page turner kind of story. Greg and Rachel’s part of the story was excellent. Love the themes of redemption, reconciliation, love, forgiveness and trust. Overall the story is clean and moves well just wished there would have been a little more action to push it from 4 stars to 5.
I received a copy of this book from Revell in exchange for my honest review.

For more information about the book and author visit Ms. Hannon’s website at http://www.irenehannon.com

or visit her facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Irene-Hannon-426433004084567

A Borrowed Dream by Amanda Cabot

After loosing her mother, Catherine thought she would never trust doctors. She was lonely and sad. She spent her days as a teacher, trudging on teaching her students to follow their dreams, while she had come to believe hers would never come true. Catherine becomes friends with the town’s mysterious newcomer and starts to wonder if dreams were worth while.

I would give this book 3-4 stars. I wish there was a way to do 3.5 stars. This is the 2nd book in the series but it can totally be read as a stand alone book. I really like the plot lines and character development was great. I wish there was a little more setting development at the beginning. I had a hard time seeing it in my head. The story started out a little slow for me but got better as the story progressed. I love how clean the story is. Loved the elements of forgiveness and dreams coming true when we wait on the Lord. It was great to learn some history in a fun story. Love learning like that. The author put a ton of time into research and it shows in the story. She weaves Christian themes into the story without making the reader feel overwhelmed by it. They are natural and add so much to the story even in their simplicity. The children add a lot to the story. I loved that storyline. I had a hard time with the word minions. I felt like that part of the story could have been better. It was a real turn off to see that word for some reason. Overall the story was sweet and well written.
It’s an easy clean read you will surely enjoy.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. I was in no way required to write a positive review.

For more information: https://bakerbookhouse.com/products/a-borrowed-dream-9780800727574

or visit the author’s facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAmandaCabot/

The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin

 

 

“…Betrayal. Theft. Fraud. Lies.” (P260) love. War. Family. England. What a story!

 

This was my first book by Sarah Sundin and it definitely won’t be my last. She is an excellent storyteller. The pages flow together into a seamless work. I looked down and I had read 50 pages. She is a superb researcher. So many details go into the work and it is amazing. I’ve read a lot of World War II stories and it sometimes feel like stories all blend together. They’re so similar. But this story is different. I had never read a story about Normandy and the Navy side of it. It was intriguing and stimulating in a way I didn’t expect. The ways her characters deal with their issues in a realistic way was exceptional. There were plot twists and turns that were totally unexpected. It is definitely not a predictable book! The love story pulls it all together and really makes it one of the best books on WWII I’ve read in a long time. Can’t wait for book 2!
I received a copy of this book from Revell publishing in exchange for my honest review. I was in no way required to write a positive review.

For more information about the author and her other works visit Ms Sundin’s website: http://www.sarahsundin.com

Or find her on Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/SarahSundinAuthor/

 

A Passionate Hope by Jill Eileen Smith

A Passionate Hope
Jill Eileen Smith

 

Are you ready for a journey back thousands of years to the time of ancient Israel? The story of Hannah comes alive in this new book from Jill Eileen Smith. Based off the events of 1 Samuel, Smith weaves together a wonderful story of God’s love, redemption, forgiveness in a powerful way.

Hannah married Elkanah and never expected to have trouble having children. Years went by and she found herself barren. No children. She felt ostracized by her husband’s family and questioned God. Unlike most marriage relationships in the day, Elkanah had real lasting love for his wife Hannah and wasn’t turned away by her barrenness. After many years, however, his parents encouraged him to take another wife, in an effort to have an heir. He married a 2nd wife who was highly jealous of Hannah and the love Elkanah had for her despite her lack of children. Hannah endured insults and struggle and continually went to the Lord as her strength. Will Hannah ever have children? Or will she die a lonely woman? Read A Passionate Hope to find out what happens in Hannah’s story and what causes her to worship the Lord despite her circumstances.

This was the first book of this kind that I have ever read. At first I was skeptical and expected the book to be hokey. It was nothing of the sort. Beautifully developed characters and plot lines make this story of Hannah come alive in new ways. Little is known about Hannah’s life so the author had to expand on what little she found in the bible. The reader learns a lot about Israelite history, culture and religion. Characters emotions are fluidly depicted in the story. I could hear what the characters were saying and feel what others were feeling. The writing style is simple but profound. I learned so much about God and how much he loves and cares for us through a work of fiction. This is a must read! I can’t wait to read more from this author. She is an excellent writer and I highly recommend her.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I was privileged to read this book.

For more information:

http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/a-passionate-hope/328800

or visit the author’s facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/jilleileensmith/

No ordinary salad!

If you know me in real life, you know that I love to cook and bake and make all sorts of things! So of course, when I get the opportunity to review a cookbook I jump on it!

(Links on this post or in the side bar are affiliate links!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bring on Mighty Salads by food52! This book is fabulous! What an absolutely Gorgeous book. From the moment I looked at the cover my mouth was watering. A good book description found right inside the cover of the book is “Does anybody need a recipe to make a salad? Of course not. But if you want your salad to hold strong in your lunch bag or carry the day as a one-bowl dinner, dressing on lettuce is t going to cut it.” The book is full of beautiful pictures not only of the recipes, but of different types of greens, herbs, vegetables, fruits etc.

There is a detailed table of contents divided by salad type: leafy salads, Less-leafy vegetable salads, grain & bean salads, pasta & bread salads, fish & seafood salads, and meat salads. A few pages later you will find a building blocks table of contents including: Go Greens, Cooking Smarter, Just DIY it, Power Proteins, dress well, and to garnish. I love that you can find the different recipes for dressings from this page. Maybe I have a taste for an orange flavored salad. I can look on the list and find the Orange Dressing on page 74! The only thing that might make this easier to use is if the dressings were listed in alphabetical order instead of by page number.

Each recipe comes accompanied by a picture (there were a few that were missing pictures but that’s ok!), which in my opinion, tips my decision to buy or not buy a cook book. If there are lots of pictures I am much more likely to buy the book than if there are recipes without pictures.

The recipe page of the two page spreads lists the ingredients clearly in an easy to read font. Number of servings are included as well as a quick description of the salad followed by a little more info about the salad. These descriptions really make me want to try to make every salad in the book. They make me hungry just reading them! Directions for each recipe are given with easy to follow numbers by each point. There are also short reasons why you do what it’s telling you to do. I find this incredibly helpful and a great learning tool that I can use while cooking other dishes. At the bottom of the page are some genius tips (not found on every single recipe.. but on most). These vary by recipe but are very helpful for substitutions if necessary or just tips to make salads better.

There are also pages about herbs and other items like eggs etc. How to take care of them, how to prepare them, how to store them etc. so very helpful! Overall I love this book. I can’t wait to make more recipes from it. Right now my favorite is the Roasted Chickpea Salad with Za’atar found on page 78, the Bagna Cauda Egg Salad on Rye Toast found on 89 and the Lemony Green Pasta Salad on page 90. Amazing book. You won’t be disappointed. I can’t wait to try some of Food52’s other books too.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books and the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

Pictures from my kitchen will have to come later because sometimes you make something that just looks so good you can’t wait to eat it… and then you forget to take a picture!

Why Romania?

Earlier this year I found myself asking the Lord “Why did you give me a passion for foreign cultures and people if I can’t do anything with it?” I have had an unrelenting passion for foreign cultures and people for a long time. I remember sitting in my 5th grade class listening to a classmate talk about her friend in Japan. I thought that was so cool. I asked that girl how she found a friend in Japan and long story short, about a year later I had a friend in Japan too! I remember the day the letter came. Isn’t it funny how you remember such great details about events that change your life or the lives of those around you? I came home from school and the dishwasher was running in the middle of the kitchen (ya know one of those portable units you have to connect to the faucet) so I walked around it and happened to look down and there sat a very foreign piece of mail with my name on it! Oh boy was I excited! A letter and pictures of a young Japanese girl and a Japanese temple (金閣寺 or Kinkakuji).

I was always interested in all foreign cultures (and have had friends on every continent except Antarctica) but kind of focused on Japan. I have a degree in Japanese studies from DePaul University in Chicago and have been to Japan as a student 3 times (and once just for fun)! Fast forward 10 years, I am now a homeschool mama to 3 girls. We had thought about (and began the process to) go to Japan to do missions work a few years ago but felt like God was maybe just using that as a means to an end. The journey that came as a result led me to make my faith my own and grow closer to the Lord than I ever had been before. However the love of culture and people didn’t go away. This led me to ask God “why did you give me this passion for foreign cultures and people if I can’t do anything with it?” I had always kept my love for the Lord separate from my love of cultures and people. God kept speaking to me saying “They don’t need to be separate. Use your love of foreign cultures and people for me. I’m the one that gave you that passion. Give it back to me.” From the moment my heart heard that I felt an excitement grow that I hadn’t felt in a long time. And then I prayed, “Where do you want me this time?” Our church, Harvest Bible Chapel Palos, has been supporting churches in Romania for a few years. This year there would be 2 trips to Romania and I felt God telling me to pursue that.

Long story short, I am apart of a team of 7 people going to Romania in 24 days! We will be doing a kids evangelistic English camp at Harvest Targu Mures. We will also be doing a mini camp at a local orphanage. Our hope is that the kids will feel the love of Christ through our time teaching them English through sports music and crafts. Our team will use our gifts and talents to run specific parts of the camp to make it impactful memorable and fun! Another main goal we have is to strengthen the church in Targu Mures. Our goal is to help the current kids Ministry team at Harvest TM strengthen their ministry and to be able to put on a camp like this themselves next year!

I am leading the music portion of the camp. Normally I am just a member of a band playing the keyboard so this is a big step for me to lead the children in worship! I am super excited to see what God has in store as we seek to honor and glorify him in Romania.

Would you consider supporting my trip? I am nearly 50% funded and have a short time to raise the rest! I need your help! I am raising $2500 to cover the cost of airfare, transportation, accommodations and ministry expenses. No gift is too small and all contributions are tax deductible. You can make contributions online at https://harvestpalos.missionsconnex.com/tgm (make sure to choose my name Jessie Young from the Drop down) or by check. Please email me at jyoung080506@gmail.com if you’d like to send a check)

I would also like to ask you to pray for my trip. For preparations, team unity, the church in a Targu Mures, the city of Targu Mures, hearts of the kids to be prepared, safety and health for our team, etc.

Thank you so much in advance for your support through finances and prayer. I am looking forward to sharing with you all that God does in Romania. We are expecting him to move in power and pray all we do and say will honor and glorify him!

“…because he is at my right hand, I Shall not be shaken.”

Psalm 16:8 says “I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.” Have you ever felt abandoned, left out, rejected, forgot about? We all go through times where we feel lonely. The other day God spoke to my soul clear as day saying “People will let you down but I never will. Anytime you need or want to talk to me I am here.” The Lord is at my right hand. 1 Corinthians 6:19 says “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,…” when we give our heart to Jesus and ask him to be Lord of our life we are given the gift of the Holy Spirit. He is our counselor our guide and constant companion. He is always with us. He hears the groans of our hearts, our hurts, struggles, and our times of rejoicing. When we run to the Lord it is never a bother. I always have his full attention. He chooses me and doesn’t forget me. He never breaks a promise and there’s no such thing as a let down. He is more than willing. Always by my side; just a breath away. He speaks straight to my heart. And best of all, accepted me at my worst. Jesus came to forgive the worst in us. He loved us enough to die a horrible death in our place so that we can be forgiven and acceptable in the eyes of the Father. Psalm 18:6 says “in my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.” And verse 19 says “He brought me out into a broad place; he rescued me, because he delighted in me.” Cry out to the Lord today! He always sees, always hears.

I was in bondage… Jesus paid my ransom!

When I am restless and undone, you are there to gather the pieces, tear off the chains of bondage and lift me up on your wings. Safety. Full of compassion and love for the broken lost one wandering in the wilderness. Remove the blinders I have put on. Help me walk in your light, run to you. Catch me when I am falling. When my legs won’t carry me to you, You come to me. When I cry out you don’t turn and run away. You draw near. You heal me. A shelter. A stronghold in the storm.

I myself am not worthy of anything but in God’s abundance of love, grace and mercy I have been redeemed. He has called my name and I am His. Adopted as a child of the ruler of all things. A daughter of the one true King. I have no reason to shrink back; to fear. Because of what Jesus has done for me… shedding his blood on a tree, taking my sins upon himself as the ultimate sacrifice, in full obedience to His Father… for me! Not because I am at all worthy, but because of His pure unadulterated love that covers me and makes me look pure in the eyes of the Father so I can live in relationship with Him. If I am to be like him I need to live in relationship with others. Extending the same love, mercy and grace, being real; not fake out of fear. I can let myself be known, not because I have anything to prove but because of what God had done. I am here to worship the king. The creator of all things. The one who causes my heart to beat and keeps the world in its perfect position, rotating at the perfect speed. The one who provides my every need. My guide and constant companion. All glory to God for what He has done, what He will do and most of all, for who He is!

Amen