Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs

"As David once wrote, 'The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.' Amen to that!  Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna are among that mighty throng who've heard God's truth and gladly given him the glory."
-excerpt, Chapter 8, Women of Christmas
I love Christmas.  Each year it seems like I want to start celebrating earlier and earlier.  Reading Christmas literature is something I like to do to deepen the meaning of the season for me.  This year I started with The Women of Christmas by author Liz Curtis Higgs.
The Women of Christmas is a a detailed commentary of the story of Christmas as pertaining to three women, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and Ann, the prophetess who worshiped God day and night in the temple.  The book contains 8 chapters with a devotional/study guide at the back of the book for each chapter.
One of the first things I noticed about this book was the incredible amount of research the author has done.  It was amazing!  There are a lot of footnotes in this book, which I like.  I like to read a book and take away information about the Bible that I didn't know before.  In The Women of Christmas, Liz discusses things like the age of Elizabeth when she became pregnant with John the Baptist, the theory behind the possibility that Zechariah was also deaf along with being mute, and the very important encounter of Mary with the angel Gabriel. 
I really enjoyed this book.  I loved the research that was put into this.  That was the biggest thing for me.  I like it when an author does their homework.  I was a little disappointed with the book cover.  The dust jacket which serves as the cover is beautiful, but the book itself is plain and did not include the beauty you see on the dust jacket.  Also, I was a little confused about why the author chose to include information about Simeon in the book, other than to segue into her information about Anna. 
I recommend this book to anyone who would like to delve deeper into the Christmas story.  This book is a great one for study.  It would also be a great book for a Women's Bible study around Christmastime.
Many blessings to you as we make our way toward the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.,
Disclosure:  I received this book free as part of a free books for bloggers program at Waterbrook Multnomah.  I was not required to give a positive review.  The thoughts and opinions here are entirely my own. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Homeschool Mom's Bible

"Have you been weighing the pros and cons of homeschooling and trying to decide what to do this year for your children's education?  Although the idea of schooling your children at home seems like a daunting task, you can successfully teach them.  Planning schedules, purchasing curriculum and making lesson plans may sound foreign to you right now, but God will help you if you will simply pray and ask for his leading.  Not only will he send the encouragement and support you need from homeschooling families, he'll also show you where to get ideas, resources and supplies you need to complete the task."
-excerpt from August 12th, "Mission Impossible"
Homeschooling is challenging.  God has entrusted the homeschooling mom with a great job, educating her children.  As a homeschooling mom myself, I need encouragement to persevere.  The best place to look for that is in the Bible.
The NIV Homeschool Mom's Bible is a Bible that has devotionals based on God's Word and is applicable to homeschooling situations.  Each devotion is penned by veteran homeschool mom Janet Tatman, who spent 25 years homeschooling four children.  In her devotions in the Homeschool Mom's Bible, she shares lessons and wisdom gleaned from God's Word.
When I received this Bible for review, I wanted to spend some time in the daily devotionals and not just rush right through it before I wrote about it.  I enjoyed each day's devotionals and the stories Janet shared.  In my opinion, she has walked out the scripture of what it means to "train your children in the Lord."
I liked the Bible.  Janet has lots of good things to say to homeschooling moms.  It would have been nice though, for a project of this magnitude to include devotionals from other homeschooling moms. Every homeschoolers experience is different, so it would have been better to get a variety of perspectives and thoughts.  The Bible and what God has to say about life does not change, but His plans might look differently for you than it would for me.
The Bible does also need a concordance.  That is kind of a must for me when I use my Bible.  I do however use this Bible as my regular reading Bible now.
I would recommend this Homeschool Mom's Bible to any mom who would like more wisdom from God's Word in her journey as a homeschool mom.  The devotions within will help deepen your convictions about what you feel is a calling in your life, to homeschool your children.
Many blessings to you on your journey,

*Disclosure Statement:  I received this Bible free from Booksneeze as part of a free books for bloggers program.  I was not required to give a favorable review.  The thoughts and opinions here are entirely my own. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sisterchicks on the Loose by Robin Jones Gunn

"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy.  Then it was said among the nations, "The Lord has done great things for them."
-Psalm 126:2

I remember the first time I heard about these books, the Sisterchicks novels.  I overheard a conversation a librarian friend of mine was having with another person.  They were discussing whether or not either one had read the latest Sisterchicks book.  I hadn’t read much Christian fiction at that point, so I was very interested in knowing what they were talking about.  The first one I read was Sisterchicks Do the Hula.  The second was Sisterchicks on the LooseThat was about 6 years ago.  When Waterbrook Multnomah had this book as one of my selections to review, something pulled at me to read it again.  I am so glad I did.

Sisterchicks on the Loose, by Robin Jones Gunn, is the first in a series of wonderful novels about two fun things, friendship among women and travel!  Central in these adventures is Christ, and the beautiful things God communicates to these women, while they travel, thus changing their lives.  In Sisterchicks on the Loose, lifelong friends Sharon and Penny travel to Helsinki in search of Penny’s aunt she has never met.  Throughout their journey, they are challenged, encouraged, and drawn into a deeper walk of love with God.

Each one of these novels speak to me in a different away, but I always walk away feeling refreshed by the love and goodness of God.  In this particular Sisterchicks novel, one of the characters, Penny, has what is described as a “bionic nose.”  In other words, she has an extraordinary sense of smell.  I deal with this too, so that fact alone was encouraging, to encounter, albeit in fiction, another person who struggles with something so odd like I do.  In Sisterchicks on the Loose, you will find chocolate, Finnish saunas, lovely, glorious snow, but most importantly a stirring in the heart of God’s love for you as demonstrated to Penny and Sharon.

I would recommend this novel to any adult woman, and I often do!  I share my books and pass along copies whenever I have the opportunity!  If you are a woman who enjoys Christian fiction, and likes to travel, then this is a book for you!  I have talked to some women who have difficulty in friendships other women.  I believe this book will refresh your heart with hope for good friendships as well!

Many blessings to you on your journey in Christ.  May you discover all the goodness and love He has for you in His heart.


To learn more about the author, please visit
Disclaimer-I received this book as part of a free books for bloggers program from Waterbrook Multnomah.  I was not required to give a positive review.  The thoughts an opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

“There are many who struggle to survive in life, many who have been used and abused in the name of love, many who have been sacrificed on altars of pleasure and “freedom.”  But the freedom the world offers is, in reality, false.  Too many have awakened one day to discover they are in bondage, and they have no idea how to escape.  It is for people such as these that I wrote Redeeming Love-people who fight, as I did, to be their own gods, only to find in the end that they are lost, desperate, and terribly alone.  I want to bring the truth to those trapped in lies and darkness, to tell that that God is there, He is real, and He loves them-no matter what.”

-A Note From Francine Rivers, Redeeming Love

This may very well be one of the shortest reviews I have ever written (or maybe not) for one of the longest books I have read in some time.  I had been aware of this book for a while, but had never picked it up to read it.  When it became a book review choice, I was intrigued, but then was very excited to read it once I read the description.
Redeeming Love is a work of fiction by Francine Rivers based on the Biblical account of Hosea and his marriage to a prostitute.   In this story, Rivers tells the story of Angel, a prostitute, sold into it as a child.  Throughout the course of her story, just like the story of Hosea and Gomer, which is an Old Testament picture of Christ and the Church, we get to see God drawing her back to Himself.
I liked this book.  It was very emotional, and a wonderful picture of how much God loves us and how He draws us to Him through the love found in His son, JESUS.   I did not want to put it down because I wanted to see how it ended, although I already had an idea. 
That being said, this book is somewhat graphic due to the nature of its content.  The subject material of prostitution is dealt with discreetly, but you are not left to wonder about what happened.  I had a difficult time with those passages.  This book is also a love story between Angel and Michael, a man whom God uses to draw her to Himself.  *Spoiler *There are several love scenes between them as well, which are discreet, but heated.
While I was reading, I asked several of my friends if they had read the book, and everyone that responded that they had said they liked it.  One friend said she would not let her unmarried daughter read it and I agree.  If I were to give a book a rating, this one would be “R” because of the content even though it is Christian fiction. Sorry Francine!  I think the subject matter could be understood by 18+, but it will awaken feelings that are better left undisturbed unless you are married.  I would recommend this book to anybody who wants a better understanding of how much God loves us.
One final thought that I might share is that this book has stirred my heart even more toward women who have experienced sexual abuse in whatever its form.  God longs to redeem and restore all the enemy has stolen, even the pain in our hearts.

With much love, I hope you know the One who wants to redeem you.


For more about Francine Rivers, and her book Redeeming Love, go here.


Disclaimer-I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of free books for bloggers program.  I was not required to give a favorable review.  The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.




Saturday, April 6, 2013

Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Sandra Byrd

"We are all concerned for your well-being Majesty," I said.  I slipped one more rose into her Tudor arrangement but had, apparently neglected to snip off a thorn and it broke my flesh and I began to bleed.

"And I for yours.  Be careful," Elizabeth said as she turned back to her dispatches. "Roses have thorns."

Amazing.  That is the word that keeps coming to mind about this book.  The content is fantastic.  Roses Have Thorns is a fictional work based on actual events that occurred during the 16th  and early 17th century in England when Elizabeth I reigned as queen.  Told from the point of view of Elin von Snakenborg, a young women who comes to live in England from Sweden, and becomes one of Elizabeth's "ladies in waiting," the story is about women, relationships, the power that being a servant produces, and the sacrifice that often comes with it. 
There is so much I want to say about this book, but cannot so as not to give away information, so the story may unfold for the reader as it did for me.  I will say that I found it amazing the amount of content in this novel.  I remember looking at the number on the page and thinking, " I am only at page 70?"  Because this is a work of historical fiction, much research was done to stay as true as possible to actual events.  In this particular genre, as well as in Biblical fiction, that is a trait I esteem highly.
I grew to love Elizabeth while reading the novel, but at the same time wanted to withdraw from her because she was often extremely fierce.  Elin von Snakenborg, the voice of the story, was also a woman I came to admire.  The relationships among women and the courses they take is something worthy of study.  The relationship between these two women and the events they weathered makes for a very good story.
A few other thoughts on this novel. As with the other two novels in the trilogy, this one could also be considered Christian fiction, yet it is a little more subtle.  I think that is due to the nature of Elizabeth.  She was quietly spiritual, as is this novel.  There is reoccurring discussion of the division between Protestants and Catholics, but it is not the focus of the book.  There are also many references to scripture, but it is not as overt as was To Die For and The Secret Keeper, the other two in the Ladies in Waiting trilogy. 
Also, the novel, if given a movie rating, would be considered PG-13.  There is mention of physical matters between a man and a woman, but only in the purest sense between a husband and a wife, as God, who created sex, intended it to be.  I felt as though I should mention it because it in my opinion, as such a well done work of historical fiction, it would be a good novel to be included on a homeschool senior level reading list.  There is a lot of information that can lead to further historical research.
Anyone who enjoys historical fiction will enjoy this book.  Those interested in the time period surrounding the Tudors will especially enjoy this novel.  
Many blessings to you as you read!

Disclosure Statement: I received this book free of charge from the publisher. I was not required to give a favorable review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Sent by Hilary Alan

"God is working in your life even when you don't realize it."-Hilary Alan, Chapter 2, Sent


It is a guiding thought in my everyday life that God has a purpose and a plan for each one of us.  This is one of the themes in the book Sent.  God is constantly at work to propel us into that plan, if we will let Him.  Sent is the story of the Alan family and how God propelled them into part of His plan for their lives. 

In December of 2004, a devastating tsunami hit Southeast Asia.  The magnitude of the devastation cannot be understand I am sure unless you have personally experienced it.  In response to that event, many people were sent or went to help those affected.  The Alan family was a family that God commissioned to go.  The book shares the story of the process they went through from God leading them to go and their journey there and back. 

While reading this book, many strong words come to mind.  Commitment. Faith. Love.  Obedience.  These are all words to describe this family.  This was their response to God and to the people of Southeast Asia. 

Recently I have been reading about minimalism.  Minimalism is a philosophy about living with less.  More is not always better.  I thought about this while I was reading this book.  You will find out when you read the book all of the stuff they had to strip themselves of to be obedient to what God was asking them to do.  The only thing you can take with you to Heaven is people.  In the book, Hilary Alan shares the experiences of her family and the people that came into their lives that they got to deliver God's Word to because of their obedience to Him.
While reading this book, there was something that bothered me however.  I don't know everything.  The older I get and the more I walk with Him, I realize I don't know as much as I thought I did.  There were times in the book when the author prayed for people and because it wasn't answered instantly or in the way she prayed, she thought it wasn't God's will or He answered her prayer in another way.  I get that about answering in another way, but I just felt like it wasn't a consistent belief with scripture because of the way she believed about some things.  God wants us to pray according to His Word.  He is faithful to that.  If the answer is delayed, it doesn't mean that God doesn't want to or won't answer.  He will answer according to His Word.  Maybe we need to change our belief about a certain area, to believe that we can have what God's Word says we can have.  He is faithful.

This book was very inspiring.  It was one that I had a hard time putting down.  I have a heart for missions, so this stirred my soul greatly.  It was very refreshing to witness a family whose major focus was fulfilling the plans and purposes of God, no matter what He asked them to do. 

Many blessings to you as you read.  My prayer for you today is that you hear His voice when He leads and obey as He guides you into what He created you for!  The rewards will be eternal.

 “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” -Romans 10:15


Disclosure Statement: I received this book free of charge as part of a free books for bloggers program from Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not required to give a favorable review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

God Gave Us Easter by Lisa Tawn Bergren art by Laura J. Bryant

"...Even death couldn't trap God's Son.  He is life itself.  And God loved us so much, he wanted us to be with him always.  We can see signs of his Easter plan all around us."

                                                                                          -excerpt from God Gave Us Easter

A love of reading began early on in my life.  My mother cultivated it in me from a very early age.  Now, as a mom myself, I hope to do that for my children as well.  In choosing literature for my children, I always want to choose quality literature, words that will add to the life of my children.  I am so thankful for people who write and have a passion to communicate God's truth to children.  God Gave Us Easter is an example of the type of literature I am looking for. 

As part of a God Gave Us series, God Gave Us Easter is a story of how a papa polar bear teaches his young daughter about God and His greatest gift to us, Jesus.  The story goes through teaching in the Bible about how Jesus is the answer of redemption for mankind.  Bergren also uses examples found in nature of how death can produce life.

There are a lot of things I like about this book.  The author doesn't bash the Easter bunny or eggs, symbols often associated with Easter, but explains how they can demonstrate the love of God in His gift of Jesus.  She says, "Just like the shell cracks open and a chick comes out, we remember that Jesus was in a tomb...but he didn't stay dead."  There is also teaching in the book about Jesus being from the root of Jesse.  This is something I was unfamiliar with, and had never seen in a children's book, so I learned something too! (See Isaiah 11 and Romans 15.)  I also really liked the author's explanation of how Jesus speaks to our hearts, and that even a small child can be sensitive to His voice.

I recommend this book to parents of preschool and early elementary age children.  It would be a nice addition to Bible curriculum if you homeschool.  If you as a parent are unsure how to communicate Biblical truths to your children, this book would help as well.

Many blessings to you as you celebrate the resurrection of Jesus this year and remember why God Gave Us Easter!


For more information about the author please visit her at
If you would like to read my reviews of two other books in the God Gave Us series, please go to God Gave Us Love and God Gave us Two.
Disclosure Statement: I received this book free of charge as part of a free books for bloggers program from Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not required to give a favorable review. The thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.