Untamed, Lisa Harper

The idea that our view of Jesus isn’t big enough, is quite plausible, in relation to who He really is.  We tend to get a little too comfortable with how we compartmentalize God at times.  Untamed by Lisa Harper encourages us to remember the many personality traits of Jesus in the gospels and that only He can wildly free us from sin.

I enjoyed the personal life application lessons Lisa shared throughout the book.  They were relevant and interesting to read.  I felt like she really shared part of who she is.  Sometimes in her explanation of Jesus’ or the disciples’ behavior she would compose thoughts she perceived the person may have been feeling.  I really didn’t like this addition as it is too subjective when referring to God’s Word, in my opinion.  She creates this type of prose throughout the book.

While Lisa has a unique writing style that encompasses personal storytelling and Biblical truths I find the devotional and questions following each chapter a bit weak.  There were times I had no idea what kind of response the question was intended to prompt and others that I didn’t feel the questions were worthwhile to contemplate.  I did, however, enjoy the extra tidbits she included throughout the book that further explained cultural relevancies or history that we might not know about just from reading scripture.

I expected to be changed by the words in this book and I wasn’t.  I don’t recommend this book for anything other than the purpose of pleasantly passing time.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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A Vision of Lucy, Margaret Brownley

The year is 1882 and we are in a small town in Rocky Creek, Texas.  Our leading lady is Lucy Fairbanks and she aspires to be a photographer for her local newspaper.  She tends to be a bit unintentionally risky in her photographic endeavors which make for great gossip material around town.  Lucy is kind, loving, determined, and a chatterbox.  Lucy had me laughing by the end of the first chapter.

We soon meet David Wolf.  He’s everything you want in a hero except a bit secretive.  David is back in town for his own reasons which will eventually affect every major character we meet.  David’s presence rattles Lucy in a way she has never before experienced.  It isn’t long before circumstances cause both of our main characters to drastically reconsider what God’s plan is for their lives.

Our author, Margaret Brownley, included several hot topics in her story such as mail-order brides, the suffragette movement, racism/inequality, and politics.  Her characters are captivating and somewhat mysterious at times.  There are several suspenseful scenes and the romance is beautiful.  I was so enthralled with these characters that I read the book in 2 days.  If you enjoy historical romance, this is a book for you!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Soothing Blue

 

I love blue paint with white accents in ANY room.  This is kind of a strange looking bathroom (what we can see of it) but I love the blue and white!  I found this on Olympic Paint’s website but couldn’t pin the picture to pinterest so here you go…

Chicken Ranch Fajitas

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast strips for stir-frying
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • 1 small red, yellow, or green sweet pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons bottled reduced-calorie ranch salad dressing
  • 2 10-inch whole wheat, tomato, jalapeño, or plain flour tortillas, warmed*
  • Salsa as desired
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat ‘ cheddar cheese

Directions:

  • Sprinkle chicken strips with chili powder and garlic powder. Coat a medium nonstick skillet with nonstick spray; heat over medium-high heat. Cook chicken and sweet pepper strips in hot skillet over medium heat for 4 to 6 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and pepper strips are tender. Drain if necessary. Toss with salad dressing.  You can also bake the chicken and then cut it up.  I did this and then just added the seasonings (forgot to add them beforehand) and then heated with the sweet pepper in the skillet for a few minutes.
  • Divide chicken and pepper mixture between warmed tortillas (trusty microwave). Top with Salsa and cheese. Roll up; cut in half OR eat like a taco/fajita.

Pray for the Bear triplets

*UPDATE* The mother went into labor and they couldn’t stop it.  The three boys were born but all died shortly after birth.  Pray for this couple as they start the long healing process amidst their grief.

 

I think there is a normal amount of shock and disbelief that occurs when you find out you are pregnant, even if you are trying to conceive.  The Bear family experienced this as well as found out they were pregnant with TRIPLETS (with no fertility treatments)!  Can you even imagine?! ?!  The mother has Lupus (mild and in remission now) and one of the sacs ruptured and amniotic fluid is leaking at 21 weeks.   They are extremely concerned about the future of the baby that is not surrounded by fluid and the risk of infection which could affect all 3 babies and even the mother.  You can read more about their family and experience here: http://tipsontriplets.wordpress.com/

Please join me in praying for this family.  God please heal this woman’s body and protect these babies.  Give them the faith to trust You when they don’t understand why this is happening.  Support them and take them into Your arms like only You can.

Ramblings on Heaven

Maybe I didn’t pay attention to the sermons and teachings about Heaven as I was growing up but they were certainly few and far between.  Why don’t we (the church) talk about Heaven?  I think many of us believe that Heaven will be a place full of disembodied spirits floating around singing hymns for all eternity.  It sounds kind of boring doesn’t it?

Through reading the Bible and Heaven by Randy Alcorn I’ve come to understand that Heaven is truly all about God.  When we are in Heaven we are literally in God’s presence.  God is not boring therefore we will never be bored!  I’m excited about the fact that sin will not exist in Heaven.  We will finally be free of sin and of the fallen world we currently live in.  God will RENEW our earth and we will all reign here.  A renewed earth with our resurrected/redeemed bodies…  There will not be a single soul void of purpose and fulfillment.   How cool is this?!  I’m just really excited about Heaven… I definitely recommend searching the Bible for truths on Heaven and reading Heaven by Randy Alcorn.  My mind has completely been challenged and transformed in this process.

2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 22:5 (and so many others….)

 

 

Categories God

90 Days of God’s Goodness, Randy Alcorn

Randy Alcorn wrote 90 Days of God’s Goodness to help clarify our doubts of God’s goodness.  There are 90 devotionals laid out into easy 2 or 3 page readings.  Each devotional has a topic and complimentary scripture.  Randy is transparent and shares many of his own family’s struggles throughout these pages.

As Christians, we know that God is good.  Sometimes we confuse consequences of the fall as God’s intent or doing.  Bad things happen to good people like death, cancer, and suffering…  We want to know why and it is easy to blame the Creator in our quest for answers or justification.

Randy’s book is encouraging and I recommend it to all that are going through a difficult time or need to be reminded of God’s goodness.  I found myself reading several devotions at a time because frankly they are so good.  I think it would have been beneficial if the author would have created an index with topics of the devotionals and scriptures for easy reference.  I know I will come back to this book for encouragement in the future.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Love At Last Sight, Kerry & Chris Shook

This book is intended to act as a 30 day guide to improve your most intimate relationships.  Each day includes a few pages of commentary along with an action plan for the reader to follow.  The authors recommend choosing three relationships to focus on during the 30 day journey and tracking the various tasks they assign in a journal.

The book is broken down by four categories throughout the 30 days: The Art of Being All There, The Art of Acting Intentionally, The Art of Risking Awkwardness, and The Art of Letting Go.  The book is easy to read and full of applicable relationship examples.  The authors ask probing questions that demand reflection and prompt change (hopefully).

I recommend this book to anyone that seeks to improve their relationships.  I have read similar books and what sets this book apart is the simple action plan the authors provide to conclude each day’s reading.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Book Review: Max On Life, Max Lucado

Max on Life, Max Lucado

Over the course of his ministry, Max Lucado has been asked thousands of questions pertaining to God and just about every Biblical issue you can think of.  These questions have prompted much thought and sometimes even sermons.  This book features 171 of the most commonly asked questions he has been asked.  He has answered each question with a one page response, give or take a few paragraphs.  The questions are categorized by general topics like Hope, Hurt, Hereafter, etc.  There are topical and scripture indexes in the back of the book which is very helpful.

I enjoy Max Lucado’s easy writing style.  This book is different than what he typically publishes because of the question and answer format.  His answers are clearly Biblically based but I find myself wanting more.  Some of these questions deserve longer responses than a few paragraphs.  I think the purpose of the book is to act as a starting point.  I will use this book as a reference when I have questions or people ask me questions that I’m not sure how to answer.  Regardless of the question asked the general answer is the same: What does the Bible say?  I appreciate the solid foundation of faith you can easily distinguish from his writing.  This book is suited for new and seasoned Christians in all phases of life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Penne with Chickpeas, Feta, and Tomatoes

Ingredients

*8 oz uncooked penne (tube-shaped pasta)

*2 T olive oil

*1/2 C chopped shallots

*3 garlic cloves, minced

*1/2 C chopped red bell pepper

*1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

*3 C halved cherry tomatoes (I often use grape tomatoes)

*3/4 C (3 oz) crumbled feta cheese

*1/3 C small fresh basil leaves (I usually skip this due to cost)

*1/2 t salt

*1/2 t grated lemon rind

*1/4 t freshly ground black pepper

Directions

1. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat, drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 C cooking liquid.

2. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add oil to pan; swirl to coat.  Add shallots and garlic; sauté 45 seconds, stirring constantly. Stir in bell pepper and chickpeas; sauté 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add tomatoes; sauté 2 minutes.  Stir in pasta and reserved cooking liquids; cook 1 minute or until heated thoroughly.  Remove from heat.  Add feta and remaining ingredients, toss to combine.

Tips

For extra flavor we splash our favorite salad dressing over the dish such as balsamic vinaigrette.