Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Counting #181-195

A couple days late, but full of gratitude nonetheless...181. cooing from Molly--she is finding her sweet little voice!
182. beginning of another school year for Mike, at a school where he is challenged and loves to teach
183. gymnastics for Anna Claire and the time that we each get to spend with her during her class
184. cousins from Atlanta
185. laughter with those cousins

186. new recipes
187. daily reminders that it is Lord who provides what we need--not what we want!
188. conviction of sin and bad attitudes
189. a much needed night out with Mike
190. the ability to remember and be joyful in the midst of grief (you can read Allison and Emily's story here and here)

191. my daughters, all of them, and what they have each added to my life.
192. Anna Claire's interest in the potty--finally!
193. princess stickers to motivate her to go potty
194. grace
195. talks with my niece, Jessica, and being a witness to the amazing things going on in her life right now." target="_blank">" >

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stumbling into Grace by Lisa Harper

I was excited to receive this book and read Lisa's words on grace, from a viewpoint of a woman who is living life, just like the rest of us. Lisa Harper takes her everyday life and weaves in stories, lessons learned and how Jesus is changing her into a book that provides humor, scripture and guidance for those of us who need a little pick me up when it seems like life is throwing lemons our way.

She provides biblical references and questions at the end of every chapter to engage the reader to go deeper with their understanding of grace. I think she does a great job of making the reader feel like they are not alone in their quest to find the love and compassion that Jesus offers.

She receives praises and acknowledgements from many well-known authors and speakers, however, I don't know that this is a "must read for all women." It was okay, but didn't necessarily cover anything new that hasn't been written before; it was her personal stories that brought the book together to make it a good read.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

for the grandparents

Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay and Rene Gutteridge

I have mixed feelings about this book--although a (sometimes) funny read and a clever storyline, it definitely falls into the category of chic-lit. The story follows the life of Jessie Stone, a woman who is extremely discontent with her relationships, work and life in general. It seems she has just been coasting through life waiting for "the one" to take her away from all that is familiar to give her what she has been dreaming about.

God enters the picture in a quirky sort of way and attempts to almost coerce Jessie into a life lived for Him. I wasn't overly impressed with the way the story played out, the representation of God or that in the end Jessie didn't really learn anything about her relationship with Him. She gets the guy in the end but it still seemed that all of her hopes and expectations were wrapped up in that relationship and she never really learned how to trust and hope in the One who really writes our stories. There are better chic-lit novels out there; I'd skip this one.

I received this book as part of Waterbrook Multnomah's Blogging for Books program.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones

Once again Denise Hildreth Jones has delivered on a good book. I have to say, though, that this is definitely the saddest book, to date, that she has written. Even so, Jones writes with a clarity and genuineness on grief and suffering.

Gray and Mackenzie London (TN's first family), Eugenia (Mackenzie's mother), and Jeremiah (the gardener) all suffer through a tragic loss but are brought together by the healing that takes place once we surrender ourselves to what God wants us to "go through" not "go around." The characters are real, their emotions are real and the healing process is real and Denise does an excellent job of including us in their lives.

If you are a fan of Denise, definitely add this to your collection. If you haven't yet read any of her books, now is a good time to start and then make sure you follow up with her other novels (the Savannah series is laugh out loud funny!)

I received this book as part of Tyndale Blog Networks review program.