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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Brave Beauty review

Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You by Lynn Cowell

Publisher Description:

What will my life be like? Who will I be? Whether girls put these concerns into words or struggle anxiously with these thoughts, during this season of change, girls have questions. Sometimes these questions also come with fears and they need a safe place to process these fears. From Proverbs 31 Ministries speaker and blogger, Lynn Cowell, comes Faithgirlz Brave Beauty: Finding the Fearless You. For girls 8-12, Brave Beauty brings tweens 100 courage-building moments to reflect on Scripture and find confidence in God, rather than in someone, some place, or some thing, as culture will all-too-soon tell them to. Lynn will also prepare girls to:
  • Overcome confidence-defeating thoughts and stand on who Jesus says she is.
  • Shape her self-worth on Christ and overcome the temptation base it on environmental factors.
  • Build a strong foundation to face the fickle and flippant opinions of others.
  • Find approval of herself even when she lacks the acceptance of others.
  • Find security by turning to Christ as she steps through the exciting, yet scary world of growing up
Formatted as theme-based mini chapters, these moments can be read as one-a-days, one-a-weeks, or at the reader’s own pace. Simple and empowering, Lynn’s voice is relatable and conversational, making it easy for girls to feel like they’re spending time with a friend.

My Review:

When I was given the opportunity to review this book I expected that it would appeal my 9 year old daughter.  What I didn't expect was for it to appeal to all of us! 

While this is definitely written as a conversation with younger girls - simple language, examples that connect with preteen experiences etc - the topics are such that apply to all of us.  Who doesn't need to be told they are loved (section 1)?  Or that they can be brave (section 2)?  Or that they can be confident (section 3)? 

Admittedly, some of the sections are more applicable to prepubescent girls (it actually talks about pimples!) but it opened the door to some great discussion between myself, my 17 year old and 9 year old about our experiences.  I don't know that these discussions would have come about without a starter story like this book offers. 

I love the "Becoming Brave" sections at the end of most chapters.  They are simple, little sections that encourage the reader reflect on what has been read, on God's truth about the situation and apply it to their own life, to internalize the truth of Scripture.  We use these as journal starters for personal prayer journals.  But not all sections have these.  Some have "Getting to Know You" sections with short little surveys.  These encourage the girls to examine themselves and see where they are in that particular area of discussion. 

And most importantly, I see my daughter not only drawing closer to God, but finding who she is as well.  That alone makes this a book that I would recommend to others, and that I wholeheartedly recommend to you.

Thursday, July 20, 2017


I have the privilege of revealing the cover of the first book a very dear friend of mine has been writing for several years.  I remember sending texts and emails back and forth about "them", the nights that my friend just couldn't sleep because "they" kept her up all night.  And I remember the first time she entrusted me with the manuscript.....I fell in love with "them" too!  Now here we are, their story has finally gone to print to share with all of you.  So let me introduce you to "them" and the beginning of their story....Anticipation....

Thursday, March 16, 2017

60 days of Happiness review

Book Description:
When it comes to happiness, most of us have the same questions. Why can’t I be consistently happy? Is it wrong to be happy when there’s so much pain and suffering in the world? And perhaps the biggest one: How can I be happier? Some Christians make an artificial contrast between joy and happiness, while others claim God wants us to be holy, but not happy. In fact, he wants us to be both, and the two go hand in hand!

In 60 Days of Happiness, noted theologian and New York Times bestselling author Randy Alcorn shares sixty timeless devotions demonstrating that God not only wants us to be happy in him and enjoy his gifts, he commands and empowers us to do so.

My Review:

Ok, so I struggle with this one.  I come from a long line of women that battle depression so consistent happiness seems like an oxymoron to me.  Therefore, when the opportunity arose for me to review this book for Tyndale House Publishers I thought, "Why not?"

The book is broken into 60 daily devotionals. Each begins with a Bible verse and a quote from people such as Anselm, James Houston, A.W. Tozer, Charles Spurgeon and Isaac Watts.  Each day has a specific topic, such as, "Can happiness be consistent and enduring," "how does seeing God accurately promote lasting happiness," and "what role do our attitudes play in our happiness".  And each day ends with a prayer. 

While you will get the typical Christian responses in some of the readings, ("God wants us to seek real happiness in Him.....""Only (Jesus) could have granted them...the deep and lasting happiness they sought") Alcorn urges us to move beyond the surface answers.  He even addresses it on Day 9 when he discusses many that sought surface happiness and yet failed to find true, enduring happiness.

All in all I would say that this is a good, daily refresher that happiness is found only in God.  When we focus on that we find that everything else may give fleeting happiness, but we won't lose our joy when the world falls apart if we rest in God's love. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

31 Verses to Write on Your Heart

31 Verses to Write on Your Heart description:

Let His Truth Find a Home in Your Heart
Here are the words of hope you’re looking for when your faith needs a boost or a friend needs encouragement. Chosen by more than a thousand women as their favorite verses in the Bible, each one is worth learning, worth sharing, worth remembering,

You’ll find verses you already know and love: “I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13). Others may be less familiar but are no less powerful: “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe” (Proverbs 29:25). All of them capture the truth of God’s goodness, mercy, and love for His own.

Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs invites you to experience—
* a deeper, richer understanding of thirty-one treasured verses.
* a fresh look at how these timeless truths can impact your life.
* a new passion for memorizing Scripture, verse by verse.
* thirty-one creative ways to keep them in your heart forever.

With a study guide included, 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart is a daily devotional and a small-group Bible study, wrapped in a lovely gift book overflowing with joy!

My Review:

 I admit I am a Liz Curtis Higgs fan.  She hooked me with Bad Girls of the Bible, then More Bad Girls of the Bible.  So of course I agreed to review 31 Verses to Write on Your Heart.  And I wasn't disappointed!

Higgs chose 31 different verses (that's 1 a day for a month if you chose to use this as a devotional) to delve into and share with us in this book.  It is more than just "here is the verse and this is why it is important".  Rather it is more along the lines of a word study in which we examine the verse word by word, phrase by phrase and look for the meaning, the purpose behind it. 

I love that she uses many different translations when breaking things down, as it helps to clarify the meaning.  and I love that she even stops to look at the smallest details.  (Really!  She even includes the word "is" in part of the breakdown!  As in, "why is the word 'is' important here?".)  I also enjoyed the tips for study that she includes with each verse to help you really settle the verse in your heart. 

This is a great gift for someone just starting to memorize or study His word.  But it is also a nice refresher for those of us that have been in the word for a while. 

As an added bonus, Higgs has shared gorgeous images for each verse on her Pinterest board here for those of us that like to see them around the house.  

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

review: My Holy Bible for Girls, Journal Edition

Publisher's Information:

The NIV Holy Bible for Girls, Journal Edition is the perfect way to apply Scripture to your everyday life. Designed with the thoughtful writer in mind, a whimsical cover and journaling lines inspire reflection in God’s Word. This Bible contains the full text of the bestselling New International Version (NIV) translation.

Features include:
  • Lines on each page for journaling and notes
  • Thick paper perfect for any writing utensil
  • A presentation page for gift giving
  • A “How to Use This Bible” page to get started on the right foot
  • Ribbon marker
  • The complete text of the bestselling New International Version (NIV)

My Review:

I have an artistic inclined 8 year old.  She has begun to notice that sometimes I write notes in the margins of my bible, illustrate my personal study journal and has requested to do so in her own Bible.  Honestly, I was hesitant to allow her to do so in her regular Bible for fear that her notes and doodles would make it difficult for her to read the text.  This solves that problem for me.

While I have looked at (ok drooled over) several different journaling and coloring Bibles, this is the first one that I have owned, and I now think I might invest in one for me as well.  There is ample room for notes or doodling on each page.

This is the NIV edition, which I believe is the only translation this Bible is available in.  I won't use this review to discuss the translation, as that is personal preference.  What I will say is that the text size was easy to read for both my 8 year old and myself.  Although smaller than many children's Bibles that I have encountered, it appeared slightly larger than most compact Bibles I own. 

Despite the fact that the margins are extra wide to allow you space to record your thoughts, this Bible isn't that much wider than your typical hardback Bible, although it is thicker.  And while this will not be the Bible my daughter carries to and from church (we use the NIrV in our children's church program) its size and weight wouldn't make it difficult to transport.  Although I think many would chose to keep it for more of a personal reflection Bible.

It doesn't include any study notes or footnotes, sticking only to the actual text.  For us that allows us to let the Spirit speak to us as we read rather than getting lost in the thoughts and opinions of others as to what a passage means.  We do have and use study Bibles, but it is nice to be able to sit down and just meditate on His word, without distractions. 

And while there is currently only the NIV translation available from Zondervan, the cover is beautiful and attractive and you have a choice of 4 different designs:





Aren't they pretty?!?!  I also love that they include an elastic band attached to the Bible to keep it closed when not in use as well as a ribbon bookmark to save your spot while reading. 

And when I found these coloring sheets that you can cut out and they fit perfectly in the journal section my daughter absolutely fell in love! This is now her favorite Bible.