Monthly Archives: May 2014

Review of “Packing Light”

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I am still not sure if it was the title, the cover, or the description of Allison Vesterfelt’s Packing Light that attracted me. Perhaps it was all three.

From the very first chapter of Packing Light, I felt as though I was sitting across from Allison in a coffee shop, hearing her pour out her heart.

As I read Packing Light, I found myself laughing, crying, and nodding my head in agreement.

Packing Light is a reminder of how easy it is to get tangled in this messy, curious web that binds us and burdens us down– am I “Christian” enough? what does it mean to be a “Christian” writer, singer, or shoemaker? how do I pursue my dreams and passions, while being a good reflection of my Savior? can Christians drink? or dance? or have tattoos?  is Taylor Swift holy enough for Christians to listen to?

Allison, in her beautiful and soulful way, shares in Packing Light how she and her friend Sharaya set out on a six-month journey to visit all 50 states, and they came back changed. Allison learned how to live with less; let go of material and emotional baggage; chase her dreams; and stop being a wallflower, and begin being who God created her to be.

A powerful true story of how a six month journey changed a life, Packing Light will encourage you to live fully in the now, leaving the baggage behind. I would give Packing Light an “A+”. Find out more about Allison here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Moody Publishers Blogger Review 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 .

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Review of “The Invention of Wings”

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When I first began The Invention of Wings, I was captivated.

Reminiscent of Kathryn Stockett’s writing style in The HelpSue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings introduces us to Sarah Grimke, a privileged white girl, and Handful, a slave. Set in Charleston, South Carolina, and spanning more than three decades in the 1800’s, The Invention of Wings gives insight into the pain and difficulty on both sides of slavery.

In a style that is both raw and tender, Sue Monk Kidd makes us privy to the everyday suffering that so many slaves endured, all while showing the confusion and metamorphosis of a woman who wants to change culture, yet feels helpless to do so.

Loosely based on the powerful true story of Sarah and Angelina Grimke, The Invention of Wings traces the story of two sisters who would leave their mark on American society, as forerunners of both the abolitionist and feminist movements.

While I thoroughly enjoyed The Invention of Wings, it does contain some foul language, and sex outside of marriage is discussed, with one character being known to have multiple “wives” across town.

While certainly an admirable woman, Sarah did, however embrace faulty ideologies. On page 20, Sarah asks why we should presume God’s perfection is based on having an unchanging nature. However, throughout Scripture we find that God never changes- He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, with no variation (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, James 1:17, Numbers 23:19). And on page 276, we see Sarah desiring to become a Quaker minister following her leaving both the Anglican and Presbyterian churches. However, nowhere in Scripture do we see that God has allowed women to be leaders in the local church. While we know that in Christ there is equality between male and female, slave and free, there is, however, distinct roles men and women play in the local church (Galatians 3:26-28, 1 Timothy 2:12,Titus 1:5-9, 1 Timothy 3:1-7).

I would consider The Invention of Wings appropriate for readers fifteen and over. Overall, a fascinating and easy read, one that is sure to be a favorite of lovers of historical fiction! I would give The Invention of Wings a “B”.

 

 

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Review of “Memorial: The Mystery of Mary of Bethany”

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Mary of Bethany has always been one of my favorite people in Scripture. As a people-pleaser, I find it inspiring when I read about Mary in Luke chapter 10-“you are anxious and troubled about many things,but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

I greatly anticipated reading Dolores Kimball’s Memorial: The Mystery of Mary of Bethany. And while there were definitely some aspects of the story of Mary of Bethany that Kimball brought into focus which I had not seen before, I must admit I came away feeling disappointed.

I found Kimball’s writing to be dry and tiresome, and I felt as though she spent a large portion of the book repeating herself. The effect was both dizzying and monotonous.

I believe the best use of Memorial: The Mystery of Mary of Bethany would be in a women’s bible study, where it can be read and discussed in small portions, relieving some of the effects of the circuitous writing style. I would give Memorial a “C”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Cross Focused Reviews Blogger 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 .

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Review of “Body and Soul”

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Earlier this year, I finally got around to reading Bethany Hamilton’s wonderful book, Soul Surfer.  And just this month, Bethany’s new book, Body and Soul, was released. I was so excited to have the opportunity to read and review her latest book, as I find her story inspiring!

Oversized, colorful, and discussing the intersection of faith and fitness, Body and Soul is sure to resonate with Christian teen girls.

Employing a delightful mixture of Scripture and common sense, Bethany encourages girls to exercise, eat right, and embrace everyday joy. Complete with recipes, exercise tips, and even a meal plan, Body and Soul is a book every teen girl will enjoy and benefit from.

I personally found Body and Soul to be both inspiring and encouraging, as Bethany emphasizes not only physical health, but Spiritual health, as well. Beautifully written, yet an easy read. Overall, I would give Body and Soul an “A”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers Review 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 .

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Review of “Mission Drift”

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I have never been a missionary, and I have never been a part of a non-profit, but I understand all too well the effects of Mission Drift. 

In this amazing book, Peter Greer and Chris Horst examine “Mission True” and “Mission Untrue” charities, universities, and churches. I was absolutely amazed at the research that went into Mission Drift, and found it to be an easy read that I hated to put down.

I was both inspired and concerned by the message of Mission Drift–I had no idea about the Christian roots of so many businesses, charities, and universities! Yet I found some of the stories to be deeply disturbing. Charities and businesses are simply a conglomeration of people, which means that the decisions I make affect untold numbers of people around the globe.

There were two points that I primarily took away from Mission Drift. First, a false sense of immunity to Spiritual drift makes us even more vulnerable. Our pride becomes one of our greatest stumbling blocks. Second, not all change is bad, and not all change is Spiritual drift. As Christians, we are constantly being sanctified, changed into Christ’s image. Thus, our lives will change– but not necessarily for the bad!

I was truly blessed by Mission Drift. I found it inspiring that the authors had a deep enough concern for the state of church and her charities that they were willing to take a stand to stop the drift into secularization. I would give the book a “B”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House Blogger Review 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 .

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Review of “When We Were On Fire”

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When I first read the blurb for Addie Zierman’s  book, When We Were On Fire, I knew I needed to read it.

I grew up in very conservative evangelical circles, and I could relate so well to much of Addie’s story, from the WWJD bracelets to home churches.

As I read When We Were On Fire, I laughed. And I cried. Because I could feel Addie’s joy, pain, and confusion– I know all too well what it feels like to be on both the giving and receiving ends of legalism.

I have to applaud Addie for her beautiful honesty in When We Were On Fire. In this powerful memoir, she does not shy away from pointing out the inconsistencies and damaging philosophies among Evangelicals, yet that does not prevent her from recognizing that grace transforms, and beauty can rise from the ashes of a painful past.

A master storyteller, Addie Zierman spins a story in When We Were On Fire that is completely relatable and comforting, yet convicting. While powerful, it is, however, not perfect.

I have to disagree with Addie’s “outrage” at not being offered the opportunity to preach during her time in China (see page 127). Scripture is quite clear that it is men who are to preach and be in leadership of the church (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9).

I also must point out that while I personally was blessed by Addie’s memoir, and found it a very enjoyable read, it is for mature audiences. Alcohol abuse and skinny dipping are discussed, and the “f-bomb” is used about a half-dozen times in the last hundred pages.

Due to the language in When We Were On Fire, I would have to give it a “C+”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Waterbrook Multnomah Blogging for Books 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 .

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And the winner is…

Congratulations, Rachel! You won the 101 Secrets For Your Twenties Giveaway!

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Giveaway, and a special thanks to Moody Publishers for providing the book for the Giveaway.

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