BOOK REVIEW :: Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

DARING GREATLY:

How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead


by 


@BrenéBrown



“WHERE WAS THIS BOOK WHEN I WAS RAISING MY KIDS 30 YEARS AGO?”


Oh my gosh! I think this may be one of the most important books I will ever read! And I don’t say that lightly. Those of you who know me or have followed my blog for a while, know I’m a voracious reader. And when I find a book of this magnitude I’m going to shout it from the house top.

Daring Greatly is critical to living an emotionally healthy life!

This book is a voice of reason, understanding and explanation from a woman who has spent more than a decade listening to painful stories of lived experiences in order to put a theory into words. And not just research words to complete a degree, but words that will make a difference, words that can bring a sense of meaning to the struggles we all have in common.

Every person on the planet needs to read Daring Greatly!

No doubt about it, this book is a tough read. Not because Dr. Brown is a researcher who writes sentences that are five lines long (which she does not) but because her material hits me right where I live inside and outside my brain.

Do yourself and everyone in your life a favor… read Daring Greatly! 

I’ve just finished reading Daring Greatly and taking notes all over the book’s pages. Now I have to read it again. This time I’m getting out my spiral notebook and stepping into the Vulnerability classroom with Dr. Brené Brown as my professor.

Thanks Dr. Brené Brown! I look forward to reading much more of your work!

If you can’t see the video screen below Click here to watch Brené Brown’s ground breaking TEDx talk that has garnered more than 9 million views thus far!

BOOK REVIEW :: Our Favorite Sins ~ The Sins We Commit and How We Can Quit by Todd D. Hunter


Our Favorite Sins:

The Sins We Commit and How We Can Quit


by

Todd D. Hunter

During Lent I was privileged to see Bishop Todd Hunter speak when he came to our home church in the Dallas area. Until that time, I was unfamiliar with his books and really knew nothing about him as a minister. But not long into his talk, I became a fan. As a result I purchased and soon scarfed down this book.

Bishop Todd Hunter is an unusual minister in that he has only been in the Anglican denomination for a few years and not too long ago became a bishop. I believe this gives him great credibility in the way he tackles sin and temptation.

In Our Favorite Sins, with a Barna survey to back up the needed topics of discussion, Todd teaches us how to recognize our areas of weakness. Then step by gentle step, he leads us through time honored Christian practices, with a new perspective on scripture, prayer and sacraments that can bring healing and strength in times of temptation.

You may be unfamiliar with the Anglican traditions of prayer and liturgy, but don’t let that keep you from reading Todd’s book. I found his approach of using the Book of Common Prayer along with other ancient writings and practices extremely powerful and very refreshing.

I hope you will consider reading Our Favorite Sins by Todd Hunter. It has deepened my commitment to pray through various prayer books that I own, to meditate more fully on scripture and be even more intentional to giving all my desires over to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

BOOK REVIEW ~ Storyline: Finding Your Subplot in God’s Story by Donald Miller

Is your life floating by meaninglessly with no purpose or passion? 

Do you long for goals and ambitions that will make a difference in the lives of others? Then this is the book for you!


Storyline: 

Finding Your Subplot in God’s Story

by 

@DonaldMiller













I was introduced to Donald Miller’s writing about four years ago through Thomas Nelson’s Booksneeze program, when I reviewed Searching for God Knows What. Since then I’ve read a few more of his books all of which I like very much. I’ve found Donald’s writing style to be fresh, friendly, fast paced and fun. And Storyline is no exception. 

As a writer I’ve been working on my autobiography for a few years. So when I learned about Donald’s new project I thought it might help with my story writing skills. Reading Storyline can help me write a better story about my life, but most importantly it will help me live a better story every day. 

These days I’m working on being intentional and committed to the activities and people in my life. Reading Storyline couldn’t have come at a better time to help me be more intentional and more committed to the roles, goals and climactic scenes I want to see in my future.

Storyline is a fun and engaging workbook that goes along with the Storyline conference. But it can also be used for small groups or individual study.  No matter your age, gender or season of life, you will benefit from reading Storyline by Donald Miller. 

I’m excited to put what I’ve learned from Storyline into practice. It has already given me a better vision for my life and a clearer focus on that vision. I believe my story will be much improved because I read this book. 

I hope you will get a copy of Storyline. I highly recommend it!


Click here to watch an introductory video about Storyline.



What is Storyline? from Donald Miller on Vimeo.

Book Review: MADE TO CRAVE by Lysa TerKeurst

MADE TO CRAVE


by @LysaTerKeurst

Zondervan 2010

218 pp



Last December, while searching for books to review, I stumbled upon Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst.  I was unfamiliar with the author but found many books by her with raving reviews and as a seasoned Amazon shopper that means BUY =D 

With obesity rates rising, it’s no secret that food is a big problem in our world today. Though this isn’t my specific area of weakness, sex and food addiction are closely related, so I decided it would be a great selection to review. Little did I know God had a different reason for me to read this book.

On a seemingly normal Saturday afternoon, I was reading along when all of a sudden God snuck up and healed a deep emotional wound from my childhood! Just like that. Out of the clear blue. Healing came through Chapter 14 ironically titled Emotional Emptiness.

To process her own childhood emotional wounds, Lysa used Philippians 4:8:

“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.”

So as I read how Lysa processed her painful memories, I processed my own unmet nurturing needs. Here are excerpts from my journal:

What is true about my childhood? It is true that by father was emotionally unavailable, an alcoholic, sex addict and womanizer. It is true that my older brother was born handicapped and my mother wasn’t able to give me the nurturing I needed because she had to care for my siblings. It’s true momma did the best she could. She didn’t reject me on purpose, she was just running on her own strength and didn’t have enough to go around.

What is right about my childhood? It is right that my mother did all she could to care for my brother. God just whispered to me –  if our roles had been reversed – if I had been in the wheel chair, my mother would have done the same for me! 

What is pure, lovely, admirable and praiseworthy in my childhood? What if I change my perspective on this emptiness and feeling of lack? What if I look back at this memory and see it as a sacrifice of love for my brother so that he could have the care that he needed most? Jesus doesn’t see His wounds as a victim but as a sacrifice of love. I mustn’t see the empty places as lack for me but as a gift to my brother and sister. By doing this my perspective changes to purity of heart, loveliness for my brother, my sister, and my mother. Seeing the positive vs. the negative allows my pain to become something admirable and praiseworthy.

Needless to say, I wasn’t expecting a surprise healing that day. One thing I know, is that my burden is gone. I am free from that empty pain of lack! 

Our cravings may come in different packages but the bottom line is still the same: we’re all trying to fill our spiritual emptiness, to moisten our dried up hearts with pleasures found in the world. It won’t work no matter how hard we try. It seems the harder we try the deeper the hole gets, and the less satisfaction comes until we are so numbed that we can’t feel our brains think any more.

Whatever your weakness: food, sex, gambling, shopping, media… You will find help in this book.  Where the word food shows up just fill in your particular weakness. That’s what I did and it worked for me! 

I highly recommend Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. It’s an easy read, with touching personal stories sure to reach a spot in your heart. There are study guide questions at the end of each chapter that make it perfect for small groups to work together. 

Click here to watch a MADE TO CRAVE video by Lysa TerKeurst.


BOOK Pre~VIEW :: The Power of Pause by Terry Hershey

The Power of Pause: Becoming More by Doing Less


by

@Terry_Hershey

Loyola Press
235 pp

My best girlfriend turned me on to this book not long ago. And because The Power of Pause is designed like a devotional I haven’t read much of it yet… thus the preview vs. review. However, so far I am quite impressed with Terry Hershey and his book. With our daily schedules getting out of hand, we need all the help we can get to slow down!

Rather than go on about how good I think this book is going to be, I will let the author tell us himself.

Click here for The Power of Pause book trailer with Terry Hershey.  Blessings…

BOOK Pre-VIEW: The Purpose Driven Life ~ What on Earth am I Here for? by Rick Warren

This isn’t a typical book review but a preview because I haven’t read the book yet.  

Because The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For? is designed as a 40-day study, my husband and I have chosen to study it through Lent this year. I hope you will take this opportunity to prayerfully consider what you will do during this upcoming season to prepare your heart for Easter. Blessings…

The Purpose Driven Life: 

What On Earth Am I Here For?

by 

@RickWarren

10 years ago, Rick Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Life, which became the bestselling hardback nonfiction book in history, and the second most-translated book in the world, after the Bible. Without a doubt it has inspired and changed countless lives.

Now, Rick has updated and expanded the book with new chapters to help give our life even greater purpose. One thing I find very exciting about this new version, is the QR codes at the beginning of each chapter that link to a video introduction, an audio message and notes for deeper study.

I’m really looking forward to reading The Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For?

Here’s a short video introduction by Pastor Rick Warren… http://youtu.be/rjD7PGBAwxc

BOOK REVIEW :: The Resolution for Women by Pricilla Shirer


The Resolution for Women

by

@PriscillaShirer

B & H Books 

288 pp

What a perfect book to start the new year with! Although I’ve seen Priscilla Shirer speak in person, I’ve not read any of her books before now. If you enjoy watching Priscilla teach you will like this book. Like most good authors you can hear their speaking voice in their written word, and this was no exception.

The Resolution for Women was written in partnership with the movie Courageous which is calling men to be stronger spiritual leaders. Priscilla’s book is essentially that same message to women.

While all the resolutions are excellent, you may find some challenging to walk out. Certainly, they will cause you to think about some areas in life where you may have gotten lazy.

This book is quick read with fast moving chapters that aren’t full of fluff like many of today’s commercial writers. It is thought provoking with encouragement to put the resolutions in practice.

I highly recommend The Resolution for Women. It’s great for a small group study or just to share with a friend over coffee. Either way, I think you will enjoy it!

Check out the Book Trailer for The Resolution for Women: http://youtu.be/k-iOlcbXNUg

BOOK REVIEW: Relentless ~ The Power You Need to Never Give Up by John Bevere



RELENTLESS:

The Power You Need To Never Give Up

by @JohnBevere


WaterBrook Press December 2011

237 pp

In Relentless John Bevere challenges us take our faith to another level. Many Christians aren’t walking in the Power available to them through the life-changing Grace of God through Jesus Christ. Why? Because they are unaware.

My grace is all you need, for my power is greatest when you are weak. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9 TEV

“If you look up this verse in a red-letter edition of the Bible, where all words spoken by Jesus are in read and all others are in black, you’ll see that the words above are not black. They’re red. So although these words are reported by the apostle Paul, they are not his words–they are straight from the Lord Himself. God defines His grace as his empowerment. Yet according to a survey, only 2 percent of U.S. Christians know and understand this.” ~John Bevere

This was eye opening for me! How can so many Christians be unaware of the authority and power they have in Christ. Through personal stories and Scripture John dissects the true grace of God and shows us how it can bring us the power we desperately need to live in our world today.

Relentless by John Bevere is a must read for serious believers. It’s an easy, enjoyable read that delivers on content while supplying the tools we need to reach our goal.

“God doesn’t author hardship but uses it to strengthen us for greater conquests. He never leads us into a storm that He doesn’t give us the power to overcome.” ~ John Bevere, Relentless

BONUS BOOK REVIEW: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography




A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography:

It’s Not Just a Guy’s Problem (Kindle Edition)

by Shelley Hitz and S’ambrosia Curtis

Body and Soul Publishing 2012
146pp
I like how social media makes it so easy to get connected to new people, especially those who are working toward the same goals!  A few days ago, I was introduced, by way of Twitter, to Shelley Hitz. After we contacted each other, Shelley told me about her new book and asked if I could read it and post a review on my blog. I’m happy to support a fellow sister who has struggled with the same issues I have and is striving to help other women with their struggles, too. 
Shelley and S’ambrosia have done an excellent job. By sharing personal stories in a delicate but transparent fashion, readers see they are not alone in this addiction. But the most important thing A Christian Woman’s Guide to Breaking Free from Pornography is exactly what it’s title says… a guide that explains the problem of pornography addiction and then takes us step by step to the freedom found only in Jesus Chris. 
These ladies have done their homework and I know because I’ve read nearly everything they reference. Shelley and S’ambrosia have filled this book with an incredible amount of research material explaining scientifically how harmful pornography is and what it does to our brain. But they don’t stop there, they lovingly give us answers to our pain and struggle.
If you or someone you know struggles with pornography, please don’t hesitate to get this book. In fact, every woman should read it, because chances are a woman you know is addicted to pornography. I’m excited to find Shelley Hitz and her ministry and am proud to partner with her in the fight against pornography and helping women who have been affected by it. 

BOOK REVIEW

Healing the Shame That Binds You

by John Bradshaw

Health Communications, Inc.
1988 Revised 2005
315 pp

 

 

John Bradshaw is a NY Times Best Selling Author, Educator, Philosopher, Theologian, Lecturer, Counselor, Emotional Health and Addiction Recovery Specialist. In 1999 he was selected by his fellow mental health professionals as one of the 100 Most Influential Writers on Emotional Health in the Twentieth Century. His insights on childhood and family relationships and the effects of issues like abuse, addiction, co-dependency and trauma have helped millions of people including myself.

I first read Healing the Shame That Binds You in 2006 when I was in the early stages of sobriety. I was terribly confused about my internal pain, why I had acted the way I did, why I destroyed my family and nearly myself. John Bradshaw’s book answered many of those questions, helped me better understand my family of origin and how it affected me as a child, adolescent and adult.

Quick disclaimer: this book isn’t written from a Christian worldview but that doesn’t preclude the information from being critical to healing. Poignantly, Mr. Bradshaw shares much of his own story… a recovering alcoholic, abandoned by his father at a young age and later sexually abused by a Catholic priest, this author personally understands the pain and torment toxic shame causes.

Healing the Shame That Binds You is extremely well written and easy to read with great charts and graphs that explain the challenging topics. But don’t mistake the ease of reading for fast processing. Those struggling with emotional wounds can expect this read to be slow and probably painful.

If you or someone you know is in the early stages of addiction recovery, have been abused or traumatized at any time in life, please consider this book. Healing the Shame That Binds You by John Bradshaw is one of the most important books for emotional healing.

Here is a sample of John Bradshaw’s teaching on YouTube. http://youtu.be/sr1vq5CfUYU