Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Hope for every day

Hope for Each Day Large Deluxe: Words of Wisdom and Faith

There is no better way to begin or end your day than in God's Word.  For some of us, making it a priority is challenging and somewhat overwhelming in knowing where to begin.  While every word in the Bible is significant and there for a divine reason, simply opening up the Bible at random spots probably isn't as productive as it could be.  Throughout his life, evangelist and author Billy Graham has written a number of tools that make a daily devotion not only less intimidating but so very doable and a time to look forward to.  Don't get me wrong, none of these books are to replace in-depth Bible study but are the perfect daily devotional. 

Hope for Each Day:Words of Wisdom and Faith was originally published years ago but is recently reintroduced and updated in this beautiful soft cover leather-like binding.  Designed to be used as a daily devotional for a year with 365 entries, each day pulls one scripture verse from the Bible which is short enough to memorize in seconds, a short narrative to connect the scripture to your daily life then a take-away question to consider giving the reader "Hope for Today".  For without hope, how would any of us get up the next morning and walk through life?

The pages of this volume are a beautiful ecru color with large enough print for just about anyone to read.  There are also several pages at the back of the book to record your thoughts and how God may be speaking to you.  I also appreciate the fact that there is an attached ribbon marker to mark your place.

I love this volume and recommend it to anyone looking for a daily devotional.  The words of Dr. Graham are classic and this book would make the perfect gift. To be honest, the only flaw I see in the book is that it is not printer here in the US.   I did receive this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and am in no way obligated to write a positive one. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Good resource for building a wardrobe

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Doesn't every woman want to fit in sometimes and blend with the crowd yet there are other times that we know deep down that what our friend is wearing and looks fabulous in just isn't going to look the same on us?  I am in my fifties and still not certain exactly what my "style" is but I have a young adult daughter who is certainly willing and able to help me shop!

Candace Cameron Bure was on Full House when I was a teen and young adult.  I have enjoyed watching her re-appear on the TV circuit as an adult, this time one who is confident in who she is and vocal about her faith.  Through the years, she has learned what works for her in building a wardrobe, make-up and skin care, fitness, eating healthy, packing for travel, taking some time for "you", and spending time with God and shares her wisdom in her new release, Staying Stylish.  From tips such as what to spend your hard earned dollars on to buy quality items to suggested basics to building a wardrobe from to tried and true brands she has tried, Bure shares what has worked for her and she looks pretty amazing for a 40 something year old mom, wife, and career woman.

Staying Stylish is a heavy hard-backed edition with a ribbon bookmark.  It is a quick and easy read from my experience of having read it in less than three hours. I can't say that there were a number of ah-ha moments but I did learn a few tips that I will be putting to use. The format of the book was very reader friendly with pages and quotes that drew out the main points of the page, Candace's Tip and Tricks, and photography that helped the reader understand exactly what Bure was suggesting in style ideas and exercise.

I think this is a good resource for anyone in the mid twenties to thirties particularly as they enter the career world and want to make wise fashion selections.  It is also a time when it is essential to begin healthy eating habits and quality skin care if that has not already happened.

I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and am in no way obligated to write a positive one.  One and a half thumbs up for Bure's new Staying Stylish.

Delightful and heartwarming

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Judd Markley was right beside his brother when the mine collapsed and killed his brother and left him with a broken leg that would cause him to limp.  Never again does he want to feel that sense of darkness so it would seem that a job with the forestry service a good distance away from his West VA home would provide a stable job and allow him to escape the memories.

Larkin Heyward, daughter of Judd's boss, has a life in Myrtle Beach that many would envy today with status and wealth but it wasn't enough to satisfy her soul.  Larkin volunteers at the local hospital and enjoys outings with friends but her heart longs to make a difference to, what she considers, the underprivileged of Appalachia.  Meeting Judd puts her face to face with someone who lived in the mountains and, needless to say, he doesn't see things exactly as Larkin does.  While there is an attraction between the two, Larkin is totally out of reach to Judd as a poor manual laborer from her father's business.  A Sound of Rain is a story of seeking God's plan for your life and filled with sweet innocent romance.

Initially, I was drawn to this book simply because of the fact that Judd left the coal mines longing for a better life, a story sounding much like that of my husband who worked in the KY mines just out of high school.  The time period of the mid 20th c. is one not commonly published  in Christian fiction either.  It would appear that the author did her homework in trying to understand the people of eastern KY, having lived there much of my life.  They are a proud people but kind beyond measure.  Just like in this story, oftentimes those we long to help end up blessing us in unexpected ways.

I loved the author's portrayal of the places I have lived and visited.  The Sound of Rain is an easy read in a day and a story you will hesitate to put down. Thomas has a knack of painting pictures of her settings in my mind and made we want to look for more of her writings as I believe this is my first of hers.  I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and am in no way obligated to write a positive one. Thank you, Sarah Loudin Thomas, for representing the Appalachia area with dignity and truth.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Hostessing helps and suggestions

How to Set a Table: Inspiration, Ideas, and Etiquette for Hosting Friends and Family by [Potter]

Ever sat at a fully dressed table and had no idea which utensil to use?  Or perhaps you are a wonderful hostess and looking for ways to make your next dinner or party stand out.  Whether serving breakfast, dinner, a picnic, How to Set A Table contains quick tips and ideas that will help take the stress out of entertaining and make it more memorable for your guests with suggestions from selecting what dishes and other tableware you want to use to putting all together to make a stunning presentation.

How to Set A Table is a quick easy read with plenty of photo illustrations that won't be incredibly enlightening to hostesses who have been entertaining for years but I think this small fabric covered edition would make a really nice addition to a wedding or shower gift if your selection for the bride has anything to do with a table setting.  What a nice gift along with a beautiful tablecloth and napkins or a place setting of the bride's chosen china or silverware.

I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and was in no way obligated to write a positive one.

Question a day for your child

365 Bible Answers for Curious Kids: An If I Could Ask God Anything Devotional by [Slattery, Kathryn]

Kids are packed full of questions.  While God call each of us to have the faith of a child, that faith doesn't come without questions.  Starting with "Who Invented Time" and why Christians celebrate holidays, to "What is the difference between a Jew and a Gentile?" to questions about advent and Santa Claus, 365 Bible Answers for Curious Kids contains Biblical based answers to so many of those questions, one of every day of the year.  A few are broad enough that they spill over into a couple of days but most of the questions are addressed through a brief scripture and Bible story, very brief prayer and then suggestions for further reading and where to turn if you want to know more.

While designed for children, as adults we have questions as well.  The depth of answers provided in this children's edition are definitely designed to satisfy a child's curiosity but what a wonderful platform for parent and child to learn together and discover the Truths in God's Word.  Slattery has come up with questions that I had never thought of.  I absolutely loved the breadth of questions and wish I had a resource like this to use with my own child. The back of the edition contains an index of questions divided by topics such as Christianity, prayer, the Church, Famous Christians, and holidays just to name a few.

The only criticisms I have of this book is that the prayers are so very brief, almost what I would call arrow prayers and the colors and cover just didn't appeal to me, almost keeping me from picking up for review purposes.  Aside from that, I think it fills a needed void in the area of children's devotional.  It is unique and, again, came about 20 years too late for use with my own children but strongly recommended for children from three of four years of age and older.

I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest and review and was in no way obligated to write a positive one.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

A must read for anyone who loved Little House

A Prairie Girl's Faith: The Spiritual Legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder by [Hines, Stephen W.]

Few television programs from my growing up years did I look forward to more than Little House on the Prairie.  The series was so wholesome with family and faith evident in every episode.  The books were read to me by my mother with my sister and I snuggled close by.  I was still enthralled with Laura as an adult graduate student and did a research project on her life.  However, in nothing I read was her faith much of a topic of discussion.

Stephen W. Hines has spent years researching the faith of the author of that series, Laura Ingalls Wilder, after he himself fell in love with the books as a child.  While the Ingalls faith appears evident in the book series, never before has Laura's faith been explored at this depth.  Life on the frontier was a difficult one for Laura and her family.  Without their faith in God, I can only imagine how easy it would to have simply given up.  From crop failures to isolation from others and despair, only their faith gave them the courage to go on.

As mentioned above, I did a full length research project on Laura but there was so much I didn't know or didn't remember such as Rose was a strong willed young lady that challenged Laura and has been hailed as a writer superior to her mother.  One chapter devotes itself to church potluck days of Laura's time and includes over two dozen authentic recipes from the Ingalls De Smet church days.  Also included is an interview with a personal friend of Laura's.

I did receive this book from the publisher and am in no way obligated to write a positive one.  My quandary now is deciding which of my Laura Ingalls Wilder fan friends to pass the book on to.  I just may have to purchase another!

Perfect for carrying

NIV Thinline Bible, Black, Thumb-Indexed  -

Newly released from Zondervan is this New International Version thinline Bible in a black bonded leather.  Many times, a more compact version of the Bible has a print font that makes it  difficult to read but these 54 year old eyes had no problem reading this 9.4 font.  I also loved the fact that Jesus' words are in red, something that doesn't seem so common these days in newer Bible releases.  I would say my favorite part of this Bible edition is the thumb indexes for those harder to locate books.  The inside of the book is covered in a beautiful gray marbled paper and the edition contains two attached ribbon bookmarks for easily being able to pick up where you left off.

There aren't any "extras" in this edition except for a chart of weights and measurements in the back.  No maps.  No commentary.  No illustrations of any other sort.  However, this helps keep the Bible lightweight and perfect for carrying to church or vacation.  Leave the heavier study Bibles for home use.

Personally, I think this Bible is the perfect size.  I hope it comes in a variety of colors.  I do wish the cover were a bit sturdier but this edition is an excellent value for the price.  I did receive this edition free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and am in no way obligated to leave a positive review.