book review

Overwhelmed? A place to start

TamingToDoListAre you forever overwhelmed by all you need to do? If your days end in frustration from tasks left unfinished instead of satisfaction from what you accomplished, Glynnis Whitwer’s book, Taming the To Do List, is a great resource for you. Glynnis presents the idea that procrastination might be the culprit in the seeming theft of our time. She relates her story of struggle with procrastination and how it came so clearly to her attention. She pairs her story with practical steps to overcome the procrastination habit and move in what we are to do.

“In Taming the To-Do List, Glynnis Whitwer exposes a seismic shift in society: from one in which most of us were proactive to one in which we carry the burden of having to respond – to every email, text, tweet, and message we receive. This creates a cycle were everyone else sets the priorities for our days rather than us directing our own lives. The results? We procrastinate, putting off the important stuff for later while we tend to the “urgent” stuff right now.” (these comments are taken directly from the book jacket)

Glynnis’s writing is relatable, while still teaching challenging truths. Her book is an excellent kick in the pants for those of us who are overwhelmed at times by our to do’s and commitments, yet fill our time with things which are truly procrastination rather than what we are supposed to do. Her writing is easy to read, and you will relate with and laugh along with her experiences and be challenged to stop the seeming never ending cycle of overwhelm and procrastination.

Having read Taming the To-Do List in overview mode, I am looking forward to reading it again and working through the practical steps Glynnis recommends. I have already been motivated in a couple areas of life to lay aside procrastination and move in what I know I am to do. If you are feeling overwhelmed or find your self procrastinating, taking some time to read through the ideas of this book is a great place to start stopping the procrastination and taming your to do list.

Proverbs31 Ministries is doing an online Bible study this month, using Glynnis’s book as a basis. I am eager to participate with them in the action steps and see how they approach using this book as a jumping off point for Bible Study. Please consider joining me here.

Please join me on Twitter or Google+ and let me know what you are enjoying reading. I am always looking for recommendations! and if you are interested you can check out my current reading list on GoodReads.

book review

A Bit of Different Reading Fare

original photo from Amazon.com
original photo from Amazon.com

Desperate Measures by Sandra Orchard has been a detour from my normal reading. I recently discovered a large gap in my reading repertoire. I love reading, but have found fictional reading to be challenging for me to commit my time to over the last few years. Somehow I feel as if reading fiction stories is a waste of time. Now before you get all huffy on me, I know they are not, but some line of thinking for me relating to fictional stories has been warped to believe that there better ways for me to spend my time. Well, as I seek to be a better writer, I am encouraged to read a variety of material, so this month I chose to read a fiction book to review.

Desperate Measures was enjoyable and easy to read. I appreciated and liked (more than I expected to) the diversion from my normal reading fare. I love me a good mystery and this definitely lived up to my expectations. The story was confusing at times as I tried to sort who was who and try to piece together the larger story, This confusion was very hard for this big picture gal to tolerate, but it did not deter me from enjoying the story. If anything the mystery was even greater because I was not seeing the full story.

This book tells the continuing story of Kate Adams as she searches for her father and how the secretive plants she has discovered link to why he disappeared. The mystery, suspense, and reminders of truth were combined well, and I appreciated the author’s work at making a mystery “adult” book that I would not be nervous about my teenager reading.

I would recommend this if you are looking for a several day (or hour) diversion. Though, starting with the first two books of this Port Aster Series might make more sense.

 

Join me on Twitter or Google+ and let me know what you are currently enjoying reading. I am always looking for recommendations! and if you are interested you can check out my current reading list on GoodReads.

book review

The Beauty of Grace Book Review

I am eager to share with you what is one of my new favorite books for encouragement and inspiration.

The Beauty of Grace is your haven of calm contemplation amid the chaos. This inspiring collection includes stories of cultivating friendship, waiting on God, choosing joy, staying connected, learning to trust, and much more.“ (preceding comments taken directly from the book jacket)

Summary

The short and easy to read selections by some of my favorite writers online are a joy to read. Authors include Tsh Oxenreider, Holley Gerth, Jessica Turner, Emily Freeman, and Lisa-Jo Baker. Uplifting the spirit, these ladies remind us to look to God, and hold dear the everyday simple pleasures and beauty found in His grace.

The seven sections of the book focus each on a different aspect of life and contain a hand full of brief writings by several different authors. The varied topics make it easy to find something that speaks to your life situation, and the different authors lend their own personal voice and perspective.

My opinion

There is not much about this book I did not like. The stories were enjoyable, easy to read, and uplifting. Dawn Camp’s photography throughout the book was beautiful. I do wish the photographs had been in color, but somehow the black and white photography helped to focus the observer on the topic causing one to see things differently, maybe less distracted than if they had been color photographs.

276806_BeautyofGrace_pins40And So

This book warrants a place in the library of anyone seeking encouragement and reminders of God’s great grace. A daily or weekly reading in this book will breathe fresh air into what can be the hubbub, in and out, mundane, yet crazy, daily lives we all have.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.
Photos and book cover image compliments of Dawn Camp @ MyHomeSweetHomeOnline.com/book.

book review

Book Review: Romancing Your Better Half

Romancing Your Better Half by Rick Johnson, is a candid and personal look at various aspects of marriage. Rick’s story telling way of writing at times causes the reader feel as if you are listening into a conversation.

“With wit and wisdom, Rick Johnson, shows you how to communicate effectively with your spouse, recapture the feeling of young love, incorporate romance and intimacy into everyday life, . . . and more. The useful insights and solid advice in this practical book will strengthen your marriage now and into the future.” (These comments are taken directly from the book cover.)

In Summary

Rick makes a case for why marriages are such a big deal and why we ought to be concerned with making a big deal out of our marriage. He walks his reader through several areas of marriage: communication, romance, love, and intimacy, as well as how our past wounds and “baggage” can affect our relationship with our spouse. Full of good information and ideas, thought provoking, and convicting in some areas; Romancing Your Better Half leaves the reader with much to consider and some practical ideas for bettering the relationship with your spouse.

Rick ends his book with a chapter on men’s needs and one on women’s needs. I found these sections especially interesting to read. I wholeheartedly agree with and can easily see, in the lives of my husband and I, the truth of some of the listed needs. Yet, I am skeptical of some of what he covers in this needs section. Still, knowing I have not made an extensive study of people, I am intrigued by the idea of their realities.

My Impression

Romancing Your Better Half is filled with practical advice, common sense ideas, and stories that cause the reader to feel as if they are part of a small gathering of friends. I found myself laughing with some of the stories, relating to his observations about men and women, and being prompted to ponder what he was saying. Unfortunately this flow of conversation style of writing made the book difficult to follow at times. Often when I returned to reading it after a period of time, I felt a bit lost as to what we had been discussing when I left.

So many aspects and ideas relating to marriage are covered within the bounds of this book that I finished my reading with the feeling I had been trying to drink from a fire hose. There was so much information, only a small portion was absorbed and the rest fell by the way side. Though refreshed, I was also overwhelmed with the quantity of ideas and information that I had yet to process and absorb. This is the type of book that once read, it might be best to go through again, more slowly.

Recommendation

If you read only one book on marriage, I would not recommend Romancing Your Better Half. The quantity of concepts and the somewhat scattered presentation lessen its effectiveness. However, if you are making a study of marriage and the man/woman relationship within marriage, Romancing Your Better Half provides interesting insights and practical advice. The quality of information and practical ideas would enrich your study.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book, in exchange for writing a review.

Personally, I am curious as to what books or articles others have read about marriage. This is an area we are investing in this year in our family, and I am eager for ideas. Please let me know in the comments or via email what books or authors you have enjoyed and would recommend.

book launch, book review

Hard Day Hope

We all face discouragement.

Anyone who tells you at some point that she has not had a hard day or two or ten is not being honest with themselves or you. Granted some people’s hard days are more difficult than other people’s hard days. At times the hard is REALLY hard – a health crisis or losing someone we love. Some days are “easier” hard – lost homework, bad traffic, grumbling kids, harsh words from a friend. Then there is the kind of hard we drag ourselves through waiting and praying for the end.

RegWhat-Your-Heart-Needs-for-the-Hard-Daysardless of what the kind of hard you face, often was is needed is just a bit of encouragement, a “you can do this”,  an “I understand”, a hug or a push to do what is needed. Maybe you have a friend who does this for you. Maybe it’s your spouse or sibling that encourages you on. Maybe no one sees that you need that little bit of extra loving. Your heart craves something that will assure you this will not last forever, that you are not alone in feeling the way you do, that God has not forsaken you, that you will survive. Whether you are surrounded with support or all alone when the hard hits, this book is for those days!

In this uplifting book, Holley Gerth invites you to be filled with the strength, peace, and joy that come from God’s promises. What we really need is the truth of God’s Word to encourage, strengthen, and fill us every day, but especially on the days where we are discouraged, tired, and empty from everyday life or the big things that touch us (these comments were prompted directly from the book cover).

The short chapters of this book are easy to read and packed full of great encouragement for any women facing a challenging time. You can easily grab it to read a chapter when you are having a hard day. Or if you are in a season of discouragement daily readings will help to lift your spirit and turn your heart to look to God. Each reading has a verse to meditate on, a prayer to prompt your own cries to God, and a space to record your reflections from the passage.

Holley is a wonderful encourager of women. You can clearly see her heart to strengthen women in God and lift them up for whatever they may be facing in their lives. Her words are definitely worth the read. Whether for you or someone close to you, you will find hope for the hard day. Head over to (in)courage to read an excerpt from Holley’s book and find where you can purchase the book, as well enter a drawing for the book and a bag full of goodies.

May you be encouraged in whatever you face today. May God’s amazing grace sustain you and may His joy be your strength. 
 
Next week I’ll share one of my favorite excerpts from Holley’s book as well as some comments on why it is so encouraging to me. Come on over and subscribe to the blog, I don’t want you to miss a post.

Be-Held-by-Holley-Gerth