Thursday, October 19, 2017

Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose

Total Christmas Makeover
Total Christmas Makeover: 31 Devotions to Celebrate with Purpose(Abingdon Press, October 2017)
Give your Christmas a makeover with this practical approach to help your family learn what it means to truly celebrate their Savior.
In the bustle of the Christmas season, it can be easy to get swept up in all of the things to do. But it’s important to pause and remember that our priority should be to spend time celebrating Christ’s birth and not forget to invite Jesus to his own party.
Christmas is far more than a celebration of an event from long ago or a modern holiday centered around shopping. Mindfully take time to listen to how God continues to speak through the Christmas story as the Gospel narratives centered around the birth of Jesus provide encouragement and revelation concerning the love of God and his wisdom for us today.
In Total Christmas Makeover, author and Bible teacher Melissa Spoelstra provides a practical approach for you and your family to turn your attention toward God’s grace day-by-day as you prepare for Christmas. This 31-day devotional presents key scriptures, ideas to implement with each reading, and questions for reflection to guide you in rediscovering rituals, relationship, and rest to connect you more deeply with Christ this holiday season.

My Thoughts:
With 31 days of reflection, questions and putting Christmas into perspective " Total Christmas Makeover" is the perfect book to take the hustle and bustle of Christmas and help us all put the pause button on Christmas. Rather than focusing on what we didn't do or what we're missing, we instead focus on being, being more intentional about what we are doing and focus on being more intentional with our time, family, friends and attitude. I love thinking about how I'm going to do Christmas differently this year and I how I am going to change my celebrations to a more slower pace. I love the idea of pausing and I love the reflection in each of the days. This book is the perfect book for Christmas for me to throw in my purse to take with me each day to find the true meaning of Christmas and not to get distracted. If you are looking for a slower and more meaningful Christmas that is focused on Christ, I recommend that you pick up this book! I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. 

About the Author:
Melissa SpoelstraMelissa Spoelstra is a popular women’s conference speaker, Bible teacher, and writer who is madly in love with Jesus and passionate about helping women of all ages to seek Christ and know Him more intimately through serious Bible study. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Bible Theology and enjoys teaching God's Word to diverse groups and churches within the body of Christ. She is the author of the "First Corinthians: Living Love When We Disagree," "Joseph: The Journey to Forgiveness," and "Jeremiah: Daring to Hope in an Unstable World Bible" studies and "Total Family Makeover: 8 Steps to Making Disciples at Home" book. She lives in Dublin, Ohio, with her pastor husband and four kids.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Spiritual Wisdom for a Happier Life: How Your 8 Key Emotions Can Work for You by Mark W. Baker

Spiritual Wisdom for a Happier Life: How Your 8 Key Emotions Can Work for You 

"Spiritual Wisdom for a Happier Life" is a book that tells deep truth about ourselves even when our circumstances are horrible. While we cannot change circumstances and we feel real human emotions, we must lean on the truth. Our emotions will lie to us, but the truth will always set us free. I love how this book is such a practical tool for anyone in the helping profession through stories, model, practical illustrations and opportunities to utilize reflective listening, the reader can learn how to better interact with people. This book will help you manage your emotions and it will help you, help others when they are going through difficult situations. The chapters are small and easy to digest, which doesn't make this book super wordy or hard to understand, which I love. Anyone can read this book, but as a Licensed Social Worker, I love this book. I really like the section on fear and that resonated with me a lot when I was reading the 9 key emotions. Overall, this is a book I will keep on my shelf and read from time to time. I give this book 4.5/5 stars. Thank you to the publishers for providing a copy. A favorable review was not required. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

100 Days to Brave Devotions for Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self By Annie F. Downs Published by Zonde

100 Days to Brave Devotions for Unlocking Your Most Courageous Self

By Annie F. Downs 


 You were always meant to be brave.

Whether you’re making a major decision, dealing with a difficult transition, or facing a fear, 100 Days to Brave will give you courage and confidence to move forward.
Annie F. Downs felt her challenges were too difficult, too scary, too much. Then she decided to stop allowing fear to hold her back. It wasn’t easy or simple. But it was good.
With honesty and relatable humor, this compilation of best-of writings and new pieces from Annie will help you embrace the path and the plan God has for you.
Dare to spend the next 100 days discovering that you are braver than you know and stronger than you thought possible.
My Thoughts:
Annie F. Downs is the real deal ! In her writing and in life, she is so authentic about being brave. She is so courageous and if you haven't read "Let's All Be Brave" or "Looking for Lovely," I highly recommend that you do! These books will change your life and the way you see authentic living, being vulnerable and to stop shaming yourself.  "100 Days to be Brave" is in the format of a devotional, but I would rather see the book as a journey with God and not a devotional. The book challenges the reader on what it means to live a life worthy of the call to follow Christ, with bravery, courage and to being willing to face road blocks in life with great courage. At the end of each page, the reader is met with a challenge. I have been encouraged to journal my journey with God through taking moments of bravery and moments where I haven't felt courageous with each of these challenges by Annie. This book will help you to dare and dream bigger, while stepping out of your comfort zone. Get ready to take on a journey with God that will help you step out and face fears in your life to discover the way God created YOU! I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. 
About the Author:
Annie F. Downs is an author, blogger, and speaker based in Nashville, Tennessee. Flawed but funny, she uses her writing to highlight the everyday goodness of a real and present God. 

An author of three books-  Let's All Be Brave  Perfectly Unique , and  Speak Love , Annie also loves traveling around the country speaking to young women, college students, and adults. 

Read more at !

Friday, October 13, 2017

The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional: 365 Inspiring Ideas to Reveal, Give, and Find God's Love by Kristin Demery, Julie Fisk

The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional: 365 Inspiring Ideas to Reveal, Give, and Find God's Love

"Daily Acts of Kindness" is the perfect devotional for the world that we are living in. It seems you can't turn on t.v. or even scroll on Facebook without seeing some kind of tragedy in our world. The world continues to feed off negativity and it seems that kindness makes the news when it is only one small act. Our world should be so full of kindness that people see it everywhere! I love that this devotional has 365 days of kindness which if put into practice can have a ripple effect on helping to change the world. 

Each of the devotional readings in "The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional" start with a Bible verse and then a short devotional about kindness from the author, which then ends with an application section. It allows the reader to be able to apply the devotion to their life and do some act of kindness. This is something I really love because I believe the world would be much better if we could do more kind things and speaker kinder to others even when we don't think or believe the same way.  I see this devotional as more of a challenge to try to get through and do every day of the week for  365 days a week. I give this book 5/5 stars. Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy for review. A favorable review was not required. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything by Anne Bogel (

Reading People: How Seeing the World through the Lens of Personality Changes Everything

If the viral Buzzfeed-style personality quizzes are any indication, we are collectively obsessed with the idea of defining and knowing ourselves and our unique place in the world. But what we're finding is this: knowing which Harry Potter character you are is easy, but actually knowing yourself isn't as simple as just checking a few boxes on an online quiz.

For readers who long to dig deeper into what makes them uniquely them (and why that matters), popular blogger Anne Bogel has done the hard part--collecting, exploring, and explaining the most popular personality frameworks, such as Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, Enneagram, and others. She explains to readers the life-changing insights that can be gained from each and shares specific, practical real-life applications across all facets of life, including love and marriage, productivity, parenting, the workplace, and spiritual life. In her friendly, relatable style, Bogel shares engaging personal stories that show firsthand how understanding personality can revolutionize the way we live, love, work, and pray.
My Thoughts:
You may pick up this book because you want to understand your spouse, a coworker or even a friend better and "Reading People" will help you understand how to relate to people better, but the biggest takeaway you will get away from this book, is understanding YOU better. Anne does a great job of laying out the different types of personalities, which will help affect your relationships and give you a greater understanding, which is something I love. I love to understand how people are wired, I love to meet people where their needs are and how God has made them. Part of who God created me to be is to love people and to help them right where they are, which is why I got a degree in understanding human behavior. This book is perfect for me! This is a book that I will grab off the shelf from time to time. I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required. Make sure to pick up a copy. This is a book that everyone can use!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Be the Gift By Ann Voskamp

Be the Gift

By Ann Voskamp 

Be the Gift, by New York Times–bestselling author Ann Voskamp, will challenge and encourage you to listen to God and look for opportunities to be His gift to others.
The idea that even in the depths of our own brokenness God can use each of us to be a gift to someone else is powerful—that He makes each of us enough to give to someone else. Just as powerful is the realization that in becoming God’s gifts to others, our lives become more abundant: “Maybe the only abundant way forward is always to give forward.” Ideas this powerful need to be put into action.
Live out the messages in Ann’s bestselling books, The Broken Way and One Thousand Gifts, with Be the Gift, a practical guide that takes you through each day of the year with ways to bless those around you.
Featuring selections from The Broken Way and Ann’s blog, beautifully designed quotations, inspirational verses, and Ann’s signature photography, this gorgeous book will be an incredible gift to any loved one. It also includes pages of perforated gift tags in the back to include with a meal dropped off for an ailing friend or a pie baked for a friendly neighbor or even passed to a friend with a much-loved book.
My Thoughts:
"Be The Gift" by Ann Voskamp has the most gorgeous photos as you move forward in being the gift of compassion over the next 60 days with living in intentionality in being available to those who are broken and hurting. All of us are broken in some way, but when we can give to others, we are able to receive life giving joy and that is exactly what this book will challenge you to do on a daily basis. Included in this book are gift tags to attach to your GIFTS, places for you to journal as you experience gift giving moments with God. What I love about "Be the Gift," is how purposeful and intentional Ann was in living out what it means to help other people in small and big ways. Whether that means leaving dollar up and down the aisle at the dollar store or reaching out to the broken widow. This book will profoundly impact the way you do life, love others and show compassion. 

This book doesn't feel like a traditional book, but it is a hardcover and can be read as a daily devotional. It has a beautiful bookmarker attached. I have already found myself journaling in several of the pages as well. It is truly one of a kind and would make a great birthday or Christmas gift.  I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required.

About the Author:

Ann Voskamp's a farmer's wife, mama to 6 kids, & author of One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (Zondervan). Everyday, she takes the wild dare. Right in the midst of her own and gritty grace-filled life. When the kids and the washing machine sleep, she washes her real dirt down with words and The Word. Some of her words find themselves in an award-winning series for curious kids, A Childs Geography, of which all profits are donated to Compassion. Other words can be found at Laity Lodge's High Calling where she serves as a contributing editor and other words advocate for the poor as she is a blogger traveling with Compassion. The only words that really matter are the ones she lives. This convicts her. She has a background in education from York University and the University of Waterloo, home educates their six farm kids, and makes a mess of things every day. She clings to grace. She's more of a rare peeper than a regular tweeter, but everyday in the fringe hours, early and late, she blogs about the mess and the grace and the everyday wonder at a Holy Experience. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Unshakeable 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word By Christine Caine

Unshakeable 365 Devotions for Finding Unwavering Strength in God’s Word

By Christine Caine 


God is bigger than your current story. Bigger than fear or shame or that voice in your head that whispers that you are not enough, too broken, or too flawed. Join Him in a closer relationship—one rooted in truth and Unshakeable. In this daily devotional Christine Caine encourages you to find confidence to live as the person God created you to be.
Everything in our world that can be shaken will be shaken. And yet, the Bible assures us it doesn’t matter what happens politically, morally, socially, or economically in the world around us if we have Christ in us—if we have the kingdom of God within us—because His kingdom is Unshakeable.
In this daily devotional, bestselling author, speaker and activist Christine Caine will take you on a year-long journey of building your faith in our Unshakeable God. Through inspiring personal stories and powerful scriptures, she will equip you to live boldly and courageously, fully trusting our faithful God. She will inspire you how to activate living your life on mission. Unstoppable. Undaunted. Unashamed. Unshakable.
My Thoughts:
Christine Caine is a powerhouse and "Unshakeable" is an awesome devotional for the entire year that is powerful. I love how each devotional starts with a Bible verse and the verse actually goes with the devotional. The devotional unpacks the Bible verse in a clear and powerful way with application or it prods questions in your own life to find out how the reader is living out the truth. The devotional always ends with a prayer that is a direct reflection of the devotional and it is very simple, yet a good and meaty truth.  What is great about devotional is the fact that you will find strength admist a storm no matter what you are facing. This devotional is one of my favorites that I have seen so far. I would give this book more than 5 stars if possible. Thank you to the publisher for providing me a complimentary copy. A favorable review was not required. 
About the Author:

Christine Caine is a recognized teacher, preacher, author, and activist. As a founder of The A21 Campaign, Christine leads one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world dedicated to rescuing victims of human trafficking in twelve countries. Additionally, through her personal ministry, Christine shares messages of hope, encouragement, and freedom in churches across the globe and frequently addresses leaders of some of the world’s largest organizations. Christine and her husband, Nick, spend their time in both Sydney, Australia, and the United States, and they adore their daughters Catie and Sophie.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely by Holley Gerth

Fiercehearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely

A fiercehearted woman looks life in the face and says, "You can't beat me." She knows love is a risk but reaches out anyway. She chases Jesus with a tender, world-changing wildness. She never gives in, never gives up, and never lets go. Best of all, the potential to be a fiercehearted woman is inside each and every woman on earth.

In her most powerful book yet, beloved bestselling author Holley Gerth inspires her readers to become the stronger, braver, truer women they long to be by sharing personal stories of her own struggles and victories. As readers join Holley on this journey, they'll discover a freedom they never imagined could be theirs: the freedom to experience life, love, and faith to the fullest because fear can no longer hold them back.

For the woman who is restless or longing for more, Fierceheartedis an invitation to the life God has always meant for her to embrace.

My Thoughts:
If you have never read any books by Holley Gerth, you are missing out! Fiercehearted is a book that soul deep when it comes to Holley. We get to see Holley who is living fully and bravely. She isn't afraid of being a warrior. The reader gets a glimpse of the stories that have shaped her life, which is so important. Her words will captivate you from the moment you turn the first page till you read the final sentence. I love that this book makes me feel that I am enough. Have you ever had that nagging feel soul deep where you feel as though you're not enough? Maybe that feeling sneaks up when you're around co-workers, family or friends, but not with Holley. She has the ability to make you laugh and feel as though you are exactly who God created you to be. This book will strengthen your faith, it will challenge you and you might even shed some tears, but mark by words, you'll love this book and it will be one that will stay on the shelf and you will read it from time to time. I give this book 5/5 stars. A favorable review was not required.

About the Author:

Holley Gerth is a best-selling writer, licensed counselor, certified life coach and speaker. She is cofounder of (in)courage, an online destination for women, which received more than one million page views in its first six months. She also reaches out to readers through her popular blog at and a partnership with DaySpring. Holley lives in the South with her husband, Mark.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Interview with Amy Clipston, A Place at Our Table

Interview with Amy Clipston, A Place at Our Table 

Title:  A Place at Our Table
Series: Amish Homestead, Book 1
Author: Amy Clipston
Publisher:  Zondervan
Audio Release Date:  November 14, 2017
Genre: Inspirational Contemporary Amish Fiction
Kayla Dienner has suffered her fair share of heartache, which is why she vows to protect her heart at all costs . . . until she meets Jamie Riehl.

Along with his volunteer work at the local fire department, running his Amish farm keeps Jamie Riehl busy. He barely has time to eat at the family table, never mind find someone to date. But when he meets Kayla Dienner, he is smitten.

Kayla tries hard to deny her attraction to Jamie. After all, she’s spent the last year discouraging her younger brother, Nathan, from becoming a firefighter. The death of their older brother in a fire a year ago is fresh in her mind—she can’t bear the idea of putting her heart on the line every time the sirens blare.

Then tragedy strikes, and Jamie wants to extinguish any flame between him and Kayla. Can Kayla set aside her own fears to save the love she was determined to deny?

The first book in the Amish Homestead series, A Place at Our Table invites us to a quiet community in Lancaster County where love burns brightly no matter the cost.

Running Through The Storms Welcomes Amy Clipston, Best Selling, Amish Fiction writer! 

Today we are going to be discussing her latest book "A Place at Our Table", which releases November 14, 2017 and I know it is going to be another best seller. This is the first book in her new series an Amish Homestead. Let's get started with some interview questions for Amy.. 

Welcome Amy and take it away!

First, let me say, the cover of your new book is absolutely gorgeous and inviting, it makes me want to sit down adn eat with the main character. 

Can you tell us about your family's favorite dinner? 

One of my family's favorite meals is a meal my mother make. We love her sauerbraten, which is something that I always request on my birthday. Our family also enjoys having breakfast for dinner. Often you can find eggs, pancakes or french toast at our dinner table. 

While, I've never had Sauerbraten and I'd love to have your mom come over and make it because it sounds delicious, I am wondering what Joe, your husband  would say is your best cooking attempts or your worst? 

Joe would tell you that my parmesan chicken is one of the bests! One of my worsts attempts, well, he says I once tried to make a roast when we were living in our fist house, and it turned out as a disaster.  I don't remember this, but he insists we laughed about it. 

Would your rather cook or bake?

Honestly, with my crazy schedule, I don't have time for either. I suppose I'd rather cook since it doesn't take as much time. 

Since your are very busy and your career and writing schedule is so demanding, who does the cooking when you are on a deadline? What do you typically have?

Since I work full-time and write several books per year, my mom keeps our house running.  My mother usually does the cooking, but occasionally I make something.

When you have the opportunity to cook something, would you rather follow a recipe to make dinner or make your own recipe?
As I mentioned before, my schedule is crazy, I'd rather follow a recipe. I'm not very courageous or experienced when it comes to cooking. 

Amy I appreciate you joining us today and letting us get to know more about the upcoming release of your new book! 

About the Author:

Amy Clipston is the award-winning and bestselling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple bestseller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and three spoiled rotten cats.

Amy is commemorating the release of her new book, A Place at Our Table, with a giveaway!  

Enter to win HERE!!!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Hurt Road: The Music, the Memories, and the Miles Between by Mark Lee, Mac Powell

Hurt Road: The Music, the Memories, and the Miles Between

Third Day guitarist Mark Lee is no stranger to heartache and hopes deferred; the road to success is never traveled without missteps along the way. Life is messy and uncertain and full of surprises. And one of the best things he's ever done is let go of his expectations about how life should be in order to embrace life as it is a moment-by-moment walk with God.
About the Author:
Mark Lee is a founding member and guitarist for the award-winning Christian rock band Third Day, with 13 albums and total sales approaching 8 million. An accomplished songwriter ("Sky Falls Down," "Alien," "Show Me Your Glory," and more), Lee has also written for CCM MagazineGuideposts for Teens, and others. While balancing touring with life as a husband and father, he earned his BA in Christian studies from Grand Canyon University. He lives with his family outside Atlanta, Georgia.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Holding God's Hand: Two-Minute Meditations for Everyday Challenges by The Editors of Guideposts

Holding God's Hand: Two-Minute Meditations for Everyday Challenges

gorgeous book inside and out. I love this devotional book from the inside out. The stories resonate with my heart and they make feel something that I haven't in a long time. Have you ever read a devotional book that you just sink in and instantly feel at peace? This is one of those devotionals that I read and instantly melt into my chair, sink into my thoughts and give God my worries, my discouragement or ask for guidance in my life. This devotional gets me thinking and praying, while sitting in the arms of my heavenly father. You'll love the stories, which is like reading a short Guidepost article and the scripture that goes with each story is perfect. If you're looking for a short devotional and one that has stories to get you thinking, "Holding God's Hand" is perfect. I give this devotional 5/5 stars. Thank you to the publisher for providing me a copy. A favorable review was not required.

Purchase your copy here! 

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World by Osheta Moore

Shalom Sistas: Living Wholeheartedly in a Brokenhearted World

Osheta' writing is something that resonated with me as a reader. She gives the reader lessons from her own life about tough situations that make you want to laugh, cry and even break out in a song. Each situation where she has faced something, she has drawn closer to the Lord. This book is inspiring and it will help you want to live in community more. It will also give you a sensitive spirit to reach out to your neighbors or those you don't know well. 
Something extra and great are the recipes. I love that this is a book for a woman at any stage in life and can be read multiple times in different seasons. I truly enjoyed this book and I give it 5/5 stars. Reading this book felt like I was drinking coffee with Osheta have a conversation. Her humor is wonderful and you will feel encouraged by her. A favorable opinion was not required. 

About the Author:

My name is Osheta. It’s pronounced, “O-she-da” and even though it’s unique as all get-out—I have a love/hate relationship with my name. Other than, “girl with a really imaginative dad”—it doesn’t mean anything. My name reminds me of his twenty years in the Marines and his tour in Okinawa where he feel in love with the Japanese language. But get this: while my name sounds Japanese….I’m not Japanese.

I’m a black suburban Texan from the Bible Belt living in a diverse L.A. neighborhood. I’m an Assembly-of-God-Methodist-Southern-Baptist-a-teryn turned Anabaptist. A stay at home mom whose ten-year plan had me comfortably settled in a law firm on the partner track, not settled at a messy kitchen table keeping track of a tight urban minister’s budget. And until I married my white husband, I didn’t listen to rap music, know the difference between Tupac and Snoop Dogg, or watch BET.

But you know what? Living at the intersections of so many seemingly contrary ideas and identities has helped me confidently embrace the “middle”. The gray space where most of us reside and feel constantly tugged to be either/or. But life and people are messy and I’ve learned to love being in the middle.

Neither white nor black. Neither secular nor sacred. Neither conservative nor liberal.

Only me and Jesus.

Only Kingdom and the community of believers. Only peacemaking and barrier breaking.

You know, all that stuff Jesus talked about in all four Gospels.

And this space… “Shalom in the City” is where I’ll write my journey as a woman in the middle. Starting with my favorite word: