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I have always been a history buff and I carried that on into college where I majored in history. I love learning about all the events of the past and how those events came together to affect our world today. I especially love learning about the average people and how they lived and also learning about the more quirky events in history. That is why I was thrilled with the opportunity to review Curiosities of the Civil War“by Webb Garrison. The subtitle is “Strange Stories, Infamous Characters, and Bizarre Events.” That is right up my alley.

I have thoroughly enjoyed looking through this book.  However, the layout is a bit different from what I was expecting.  I was thinking it would be full chapters of interesting information written in a story or essay format.  Instead, it is broken up into nine themed chapters that have tidbits of information that are no more than two paragraphs a piece.  While it is not what I was expecting at first I do like how this book was written. It is perfect for a very busy homeschooling housewife.  I can pick the book up when I have a bit of time and read a few snippits as I go along.  I love that.  That being said this book is not one you would want to sit down and read all the way through on a Sunday afternoon.  Read it here and there.

The information contained in this book is fascinating.  Like I said before, I love rarely known and odd, quirky stories.  This fit the bill well.  The stories are no doubt strange and bizarre.  I would not recommend this book to anyone who wants a full view of the Civil War with themes, time line, etc.  It is probably good for people who already have a grasp on the Civil War and are interested in more random information to round out their education.

Five Stars!!





I received this book as part of the Tommy Nelson Booksneeze Blogging Program and this is my honest opinion.

Mere Churchianity really opened my eyes and forced me to think long and hard about my relationship with Christ and my place in the church.  I will start off by saying that I am not the target audience that Michael Spencer wrote this book.  He wrote this book for those followers of Christ who feel disenfranchised by the modern evangelical church.  They are tired of how thing are being done and they have already left or are seriously thinking about leaving.  They are not leaving the Faith but the modern construct of the church.  I have grown up in the church but I have never really felt disenfranchised or ready to make a jump out of it.  I have disagreed on numerous occasions about how things seem to be going but overall I am happy where I am.  So, I know I did not fully understand this book because it was not written to me.  But, it really made me think long and hard and for that I am very thankful.

One of the main things that I appreciated the most about Mere Churchianity was how honest and candid Mr. Spencer was about the modern church.  It was refreshing.  In many ways the church we see is a human construct and not that of Christ.  There are many flaws and those flaws are called out in this book.

But, it is important to say that the flaws of the church is not the point of this book.  Mr. Spencer points out these flaws because he wants us to see the difference between a “Church-Shaped Spirituality” and a “Jesus-Shaped Spirituality.”  We are called to seek out Jesus for our discipleship and growth, not the church and all its programs.  Jesus-Shaped Spirituality is honest, transforming, and often, not easy.  This is about vulnerable with your Savior and yourself and not covering up with the “Happy Little Christian” disguise.

Like I said before this book was not written specifically to me but I am so glad I read it.  I give it five starts because not many books make me think like this one.  I was forced to think about my own spiritual walk.  Is it true to Christ?  Is it open and honest? This book also helped me understand the people who are leaving the church, not the faith.  I can see why they think they way they do.  My mind is more open now to their reasoning.   I am so thankful for the opportunity to read and review this book.  I have no doubt I will be sharing it with my friends.

 

Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program to review but these are my completely honest opinions.




I was so excited when I received this book to review. I received the first book, Voices of the Faithful, as a Christmas present a couple of years ago and enjoyed every minute of it. I absolutely adore reading stories from missionaries all over the world. I always find them awe-inspiring and uplifting in my own spiritual walk. For that reason, I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to review Voices of the Faithful: Book 2. Book 2 was just as wonderful and inspiring as the first book.

Each day begins with a Bible verse and is followed with a few paragraphs written by a missionary about a story that goes along with the month’s theme. It ends with a prayer to close it all up. This book is written to be a daily devotional book and I believe it would be wonderful to go through it as a family. It could be easily read aloud with everyone gathered around. It easily opens the floor up to awesome discussions about world missions and what God is doing in other parts of the world.

However, I enjoyed reading this book a few stories at a time. I would often sit down and read 5-10 stories at a time Once I started I couldn’t put it down for a while. I just loved absorbing all those stories and learning more about God’s word through them. My ony complaint about this book is that the stories were not long enough.  Every time I would read a story I would want to know so much more about the missionary, the people, and the situation. I would feel like I was left hanging in so many ways. My appetite has definitely been whetted for more missionary stories.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who is interested in going on missions, who feels called to pray for missionaries, or anyone who is just beginning to learn about what God is doing out there. Go out and get this book for yourself and for your friends. You won’t regret it.

Note: I am a member of the Book Sneeze Blogger Team. Find more information here.


As a Homeschool Mom I saw a true gem in The American Patriot’s Almanac.  William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb have provided 365 daily readings from American History.  This is not a book to curl up with on a cold evening, but it is fun to flip through.    The book is organized into 365 readings about an important event in American History that took place on that day.  Many of the readings are accompanied by a relevant image.  There is also five other events in American History listed for each day if you feel inspired to study more.  At the end of each month there is another article such as “Flags of The Revolutionary War,” “The History of the Stars and Stripes,” and “Fifty American Quotes.”  Just these articles are worth reading but they are just part of an amazing book.

From a Homeschooler’s perspective I could see this book being used as a “spine book” or as a base book in an American History curriculum.  The teacher/parent could look ahead for each week or month to see what events are presented and then use that to check out books from the library.  Each lesson could be spent reading the article in this book and then learning more in library books.

As a history buff who doesn’t have much time to read, I really enjoy this book because I can get my daily does of history without spending much time in a book. It also sparks interest in new topics I never thought about exploring. This book will most definitely be sitting in prominent place on our family bookshelf. Worth every penny!

I did receive this book in exchange for my honest review from Book Sneeze. This post reflects my completely honest opinion on this splendid book.


 

People who know me may wonder why I am reviewing Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson.  You see, I have only one child and that child is a boy. I have no girls to bring up.  But, it is in faith that I will some day have a girl of my own that agreed to read and review this book.

I have to admit that the idea of raising a girl makes me nervous.  If I am blessed with a girl I want to raise her to love the Lord above all else, be who He created her to be, and to not be swayed by modern culture.  It is scary out there and Dr. Dobson doesn’t pull any punches on the truth. First, Dr. Dobson explains what makes a girl a girl.  It is clear to all of us that girls are vastly different from boys and he explains how we can embrace those differences for the good.  He is also  very clear about all the attacks a young girl must navigate on a daily basis (bullies, weight issues, sexuality, etc.).  He then goes on to explain how we as parents can hold her hand and help her navigate with strength.  He drills into your head how incredibly important a loving and involved father is in a girl’s life.  Family dinner is essential as is regular church attendance.  Dr. Dobson does a fine job of explaining girls from a Godly point of view and how we as parents can raise them in a way that glorifies their Creator.

It is in the Lord’s hands whether or not we are blessed with a beautiful daughter.  I am thankful for books like Bringing Up Girls to help me prepare and if it is not His will for us to have a daughter, I am more than happy and willing to share this incredible resource with friends and family.

As part of the Tyndale Blogging Network, I was offered a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  This is my honest review.

Sabbath Rest

The day started with a jolt when the clock radio started playing music. It was a pleasant performance of a previously unheard of folk artist. It was still a jolt because it was way too early to be waking up on a Sunday. Oh, that’s right. The Husband must report to work this day. Difficulties require his expertise and assistance and he must do his duty. I roll over and hope to return to sleep but that was not to happen either. The son and the dog come bounding into the room after being awakened by the early morning movements. Oh well. There is no hope in returning to sleep at this point and I sleepily feel my way to the kitchen to pour my first cup of coffee. I get ready for the day and still nothing feels right. I have a headache and I feel overly tired. What is wrong with me? This is not how to start a Sunday or any day for that matter.

Sigh. Moving on.

The son and I go to visit the In-Laws for breakfast. It is delicious as always and the company is good. But, not having the Husband right there with me makes it hard to enjoy. Our Sunday morning family rituals are not being fulfilled and that leaves me out of sorts. The headache continues to burn in my head and my eyes grow heavy by the hour. I enjoy our family visit the best I can but I long to go home and enjoy a restful Sunday.

We come home and my out of sorts mood comes to a head when I lose my patience with the Son. He was just trying to play but I didn’t want to be touched. I prayed for patience and an open heart. Soon after Husband calls to say that he is coming home. Thank you Lord for it was only a half day.

The Husband cane home and made himself a simple lunch. My homemaking fell by the wayside and I didn’t even try to have a lunch ready for my hardworking man. Could this day even be redeemed? Husband knew I don’t feel well in body and spirit and he offered to watch our Son while I go outside and enjoy our hammock.

The hammock is merely a camping hammock that was given to us years ago. We’ve haven’t used it much until now because we couldn’t figure out a way to rig it to two trees without it falling. Husband fixed that with a steel cable. It won’t fall for anything now. It is easily put up and just as easily taken down. The hammock has become my haven and my safe place. It’s made with a parachute type material that can come completely around you and form a cocoon of sorts. It is comfortable for swinging and sleeping, on your side or your back (I have yet to try the stomach).

I grabbed my blanket, used as a pillow, and I proceeded outside knowing the Husband is in charge now. I climbed into the hammock and I sighed. I prayed for comfort and calm. I wrapped the hammock around me and I could feel the Lord’s arms around me. I gave a sigh of relief and I fell asleep. I don’t know how long I slept but I do know it was beautiful, restorative sleep. It was the sleep that only the Lord could give to a weary soul. I truly felt like I was sleeping in His arms. There was no sickness, no frustration, no weariness. Just a simple girl and her God. As I awoke I could feel the sun coming the confines of the hammock and I could hear the birds chirping. I even heard an unnamed creature scamper underneath me.

Oh yes. It is time now to return to my wonderful life. I was restored and rejuvenated. There was true Sabbath rest this day.


Why I Run

The truth is that I am not asked, “Why do you run?” very often if at all. I’m not some incredibly talented runner who can go fast and long. I have never won a race and I am firmly in the pack of the pack. I am not some existential runner who causes people to constantly ask Why? I am just that girl who is seen randomly on the side of the road pushing the hardest she can. I am barked at and chased by dogs. I am cheered by supportive drivers and I am forced off the road by others who think it is funny to make a runner jump. My mileage is low (right now) and my pace is slow. But, I still get out that front door at least 3 times a week and I pound the pavement. My legs are tired when I return and oftentimes my muscles ache. Why would I do such a thing? Why would I seemingly put myself in danger and cause myself discomfort?

I will tell you.

I could easily say that I run to shed this extra weight that has never left me after the birth of my son four years ago. I could say I run for extra fitness and a beautiful body. I could say I run to make myself more attractive to my husband. All these things are very true and I am confident that all these things will happen. They will happen in their own time. But, I don’t focus on them.

Well, why do you run then? I will tell you.

It goes far deeper than my weight, fitness, and appearance.

I run to prove to myself that I can. My life has been filled with attempts at many things only to be pushed aside when they got hard. I have started weight loss and fitness programs only to give up when I got uncomfortable. And then I would nurse my sense of failure with laziness and food. I would start a business idea only to give up when the nitty gritty took hold. I have started writing many times only to stop when my mind went blank, convinced that meant I was never destined to be a writer. I bought the lie that it should all come easily. Hook…Line…and Sinker.

Where has this taken me. Nowhere. It is true that I am blessed to be a wife and a mother and nothing can take that away from me. I am a Homemaker and a Homeschooler and I love the life God has given me. But, I know there is so much more potential in this mother of one. I just haven’t allowed myself to find it. Once it gets hard, I quit. I praise the Lord I have never quit on being a wife and mother.

I will train for a marathon (26.2 miles) to prove that I can do something hard and I can finish it. I will prove that I can. I will prove that I can dig deep inside myself for the energy and strength I need. I will call upon the Lord to get me to the finish line because I know only He can get this “nothing special” lady there. I will prove that I can push through the hard days. I will prove that I can silent the thoughts that say “this is too hard. Stop, “ and instead choose to listen to the thoughts of affirmation and encouragement.

I do not run to win or to prove anything to anyone. I do not compete. Pace and race times are merely tools for quantifying improvement.

I run to prove that I can.

I run to change my life.


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