Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Review & a Little Working Out...

The last few weeks I've been working out some. Mostly bike (which gives me a chance to read), and working in some elliptical as my ankle allows. It is exciting for me to get back into the gym!!! I can't wait to try Zumba again - hopefully soon!

I think most of my friends know that I am an avid reader. I haven't always been, but now... Well, let's just say I love me some books :-) I often get asked what I've read recently or what authors/books I would recommend. So, I figured I would let you all know what I've been reading and what I thought. Hope you don't mind.

Outlive Your Life by Max Lucado
I have long been a Max Lucado fan (His book On The Anvil was amazing), and really enjoyed this book . I found it to be a quick, but very impactful read. It had a profound impact on how I think about others, what they are going through, and how I can help them even if I feel limited in what I can do. I was excited to see that Mr. Lucado is leading by example in giving his royalties from this book and its products to benefit others.

If you have ever wanted to get involved or change something in your community, but don’t know where to start or fear you can’t make a difference, this is a great book to read. This book offers practical things that can truly change your life and your outlook if you let them. By walking us through the book of Acts and thinking about how it applies to us today, Lucado really challenges readers to change how they view their potential impact in this world.

Each chapter has a verse at the end of the chapter along with a prayer for you to pray so that God can change your heart in regards to that area. The book also contains a discussion and action guide that is really helpful for putting the principles into practice.

This book really challenged me and I have already recommended it to many of my friends.

If I told you about all the different things I underlined, we might be here a while, but here are a few of my favorite verses or points from the book:
Chapter 3 – Let God Unshell You – “[God] comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 2 Cor. 1:4 NLT)
Chapter 9 – Do Good Quietly – “To do a good thing is a good thing. To do good to be seen is not… When people enter a church to see God yet can’t see God because of the church, don’t think for a second that God doesn’t react.”

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the ( book review bloggers 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“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Club Fun

This summer our neighborhood Bible Study group took a break from our Monday night meetings. The summers are busy for people and committing to a Bible Study is often hard. The thing was, we still all wanted to get together and see each other and have a reason to talk :-) So, we started a book club. We decided to have a Christian fiction book club which turned out to be great!!! We have read 4 books so far:

1) Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers. Francine's book Redeeming Love is one of my all time favorites, and we decided to read her newest novel (the sequel is due out any day now). The group gave this book a thumbs up. We had great discussion about the book and how it dealt with parent/child relationships, and other topics as well. I definitely recommend this book.

2) Rooms by James Rubart. This was probably the most different novel that we read over the summer. It is compared to The Shack and the Screwtape Letters on the cover. I did see some similarities to The Shack, but have never read the Screwtape Letters so I can't say if it is comparable to that... The book is about a man who "inherits" a house and all the rooms in the house seem to have something to do with his life. It is clear that he is running away from things in his past--including God--but that God has other plans. We liked this book a lot and also gave it a thumbs up.

3) Shades of Blue by Karen Kingsbury. Karen is one of my favorite writers. In the past year or so I've become relatively obsessed with her books on the Baxter family and have read ALL of them. I wanted the book club to experience Karen's writing, but since many of the women had read the Baxter series books we opted for a stand alone title. Shades of Blue deals with relationship issues as well as with abortion. The story was interesting and I thought it was well written. Overall we gave the book a thumbs up... we did get into some good--albeit lenghty discussions on some of the topics in the book, but it was well received. If you've never read a Karen Kingsbury novel - I HIGHLY recommend her.

4) Rekindled by Tamera Alexander. We happened upon this book by chance and were so glad we did for multiple reasons. A coworker of one of the girls in our club mentioned Tamera's name and I mentioned her to my mom who said they had read Rekindled in her club and they even talked to Tamera by phone at their meeting. We decided to read this book and also contacted Tamera to see if she could speak to our group as well. I was pleasantly surprised by this book (and by the 3 other novels of Tamera's that I have read since)! I think most women could relate to this story and Tamera has a way of really bringing her characters to life. You can tell that she invests herself into her characters. This particular novel about a woman whose husband is feared dead while she tries to save their ranch is a wonderful story. It deals with communication and pride issues in a marriage as well as with what can happen with our life scars when we trust our lives to Jesus. I truly enjoyed this book and recommend Tamera.

The highlight of our summer was our most recent meeting when we reviewed Rekindled and were able to actually have Tamera Alexander come speak to our club. What a treat for us. She is a genuine lovely woman and we LOVED getting to talk to her. She talked to us about how she got started writing, what brought she and her family to TN, how she picks character names, and much much more. She even took a picture with our group! The group was smaller the night Tamera came to visit, but we had a blast!

If you've never participated in a book club, I highly recommend it. I hope to feature a few more "reviews" of books that I read on this blog since it's one of my favorite topics and I rarely discuss it on here.