Monday, February 01, 2016

It's Not What you Think!

It's Not What You Think: Why Christianity Is About So Much More Than Going to Heaven When You Die, by Jefferson Bethke, was a very interesting book.  The premise of the book is to help the reader understand that Christianity is not just about getting our ticket punch and having a free ride to heaven.  That’s part of the plan, but Bethke wants us to understand and believe there is so much more to life than what we think.

With that in mind each chapter discusses why something is not what we think it is, in actuality, it’s more than what we think.  At times the book was a little frustrating because, while Bethke had a lot to say, I think it was confusing.  He tried to pack so much into one section that it was easy at times to lose where he was going with this thought process. 

He wrote about how life and church and faith are not what we think it is, and that applies to his generation as well.  I appreciated his approach as he tackled many areas of Christian faith which are possibly taken a little too lightly.

I think you have to read this book with an open mind and look at what his views are and compare and contrast that to your own views, theology and convictions.  Hopefully this book will stretch you thinking.

Overall, this is a good book.

I received this book from in exchange for an honest and impartial review.

Do you have GRIT?

In their book Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion and Pluck Take you from Ordinary to Extraordinary, authors, Linda Kaplan Thayer and Robin Koval have written a motivational type of book.  This is not a book which will tell you how to go about achieving greatness.  It is a book which is designed to motoviate and inspire you to work towards greatness.

This is an easy to read book which tells a great many stories about simply ordinary people who had GRIT and turned their lives into extraordinary lives.  They use a GRIT scale, in which the acronym stands for ~
  • Guts, 
  • Resilience, 
  • Initiative, and 
  • Tenacity.
The point of the book is that achieving greatness or excellence takes work.  Too many people don't want to put in the work, but their stories about average people who do great things because of their GRIT are compelling.  It takes effort and energy, which maybe is the downfall, if greatness or excellence is not your goal, then this is just an ordinary book filled with fun and interesting stories.

At the end of each chapter is a section called Grit Builders.  This is designed to give you some action steps to start you on your way to reaching your goals.  They also created a scale to determine your GRIT level, you can find that test at and take the grit test.

Overall, this is a very good book and I would recommend it for those seeking to grow and change in who they are.

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

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Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Rise!! Church! Rise!!

Rise: Bold Strategies to Transform your Church, by Cally Parkinson, through the REVEAL Group, has written a very good book to read.  Most books like this focus on how to grow the church and give you a number of good well meaning plans to help in that endeavor.  This book is a little unique in that it has as it’s main focus the area of the spiritual well being and power of a church.

For the past 10 years the authors were researching various churches throughout the United States. The goal was to help church leaders better understand ways in which churches can achieve and maintain spiritual growth.  Over 2,000 churches were involved in this study.

The conclusion is that the more activities a church has, does not correlate to greater spiritual growth.  That is really nothing new in the church leadership world.   With this in mind, the question becomes, how do you enable a church to grow spiritually without the addition of more programs and meetings. 

The authors believe every church falls into one of eight patterns of spiritual growth, whether they are effective or not.  They identify 8 various archetypes of church health, believing every church fits in one of these categories. 

They are ~
The Troubled Church
• The Complacent Church
• The Extroverted Church
• The Average Church
• The Introverted Church
• The Self-Motivated Church
• The Energized Church
• The Vibrant Church

Each chapter includes a case study of one church and how they addressed their issues to move forward.  This helps the reader if their church is in this situation to see some form of application.  Of course, not all situations will work for each church, but this book is helpful in giving the leader a better understanding of their church and how to move forward.

I received this book free from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Nestle Pure Life Splash

We were fortunate to try Nestle Pure Life Splash at no cost if we gave an honest review!

Wow!  What an easy job!  The water is great!!   There are no calories and no carbs and best of all you get to drink flavored water during the day, without all of the carbonation which many other flavored waters contain.  This is a winner!  Go get some! 

Thanks to Nestle!

Strawberry MelonNEW!  Strawberry Melon
AcaĆ­ Grape
Wild Berry
Mandarin Orange

I'm a BzzAgent!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Excellent for Leaders!

Excellent Book!

Sometimes I get tired and really skeptical about reading another book on leadership.  I feel like I’ve read them all . . . but I needed to read this book.  In his book, H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle, Brad Lomenick has written a very open and vulnerable book about leadership from the perspective of 3 H’s –


The book is divided into these three sections.  The book is fulled with stories which are current and relevant.  It is creative and engages the reader.  It’s an easy to read book, there is not so much information that one feels overwhelmed with too much information. 

Brad Lomenick gives us 20 habits which are essential for effective leadership.  I highly recommend this book to help in your leadership.

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

Fun and Interesting!

Your Daily Brain: 24 Hours in the Life of Your Brain was a fun to read and interesting book.  It is filled with a collection of short anecdotes based on the time of day and what you would be doing at that time.  The chapters are broken into morning, day and evening sections.  The book focuses on techniques we can all accomplish to help our brains function better. 

There was not anything really life changing in the book, but through reading, it is easy to make some small changes which can help lead to other changes in life.  If you enjoy learning about how your brain functions, what food you should eat, should you hit the snooze button, exercise, eat cereal laced with sugar, then this is a great book to read.

Instead of reading major studies, this book helps the reader to learn more about themselves and their brain. I think you’ll find some interesting facts in this book!

It’s a fun to read book and maybe a great Christmas present for the person who has it all and likes to read!

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Excellent Book on Photography

I have never looked at books by this author, but I certainly will look for more of his books.  In the book, Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography, by Bryan Peterson, he effectively helps beginners and experienced photographers see their subjects through another lense.

The pictures are vivid and great, the tips are right on.  Especially in the digital age, he encourages the photographer to experiment and play.  You never know when you’ll get the perfect picture, or find a new technique which really adds to what you are doing.  Get up high, get down low, use different angles, lenses all while taking the same pictures.  It’s time consuming, yet, you’ll find great rewards in doing this. 

He covers all of the basics, but goes beyond that.  He gives a professionals perspective which is so helpful. 

I highly recommend this book and learned a great deal.  While I don’t take as many pictures as I would like, I’m hoping to put some of his illustrations and tools into practice.  I know that I will be a better photographer because of this book and hopefully will feel freer to experiment with the pictures I take.  Especially since I can always delete what doesn’t look good, but it will be a great learning experience.

I received this book at no charge from in exchange for an honest review.

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Very Insightful!

We live in a society that is so quick to condemn and judge others.  In his new book,
Slow to Judge: Sometimes It’s OK to Listen, David Capes seeks to remind us to be slow to judge.  He wants us to hold firm to what we believe, yet at the same time have that difficult balancing act so we don’t judge, but are willing to listen to another person’s point of view.

I found it fascinating that Capes is a regular on a weekly radio talk show alongside a Jewish Rabbi and a Catholic Priest.  They have had others on as well.  They don’t always agree with one another.  In fact, he often strongly disagrees with them, yet considers these men good friends.  How many people could do that in this world?

Too many people want to argue and convince others they are correct, so they form their argument, then they never hear what the other person has do say.  In the end, there are no winners, and everyone ends up losing.

James reminds us in James 1 — “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”  That’s a great prescription for us.  Instead of judging, be quick to listen.  That’s not always easy, but it leads to greater dialogue.

Overall, I would recommend this book.  It was insightful!

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Enoying My Twinkies!

I was really looking forward to the 85th anniversary cookbook edition of Twinkies.  Hostess updated and expanded the Twinkies Cookbook.  They ahve included some of the best recipes and some new recipes.  I have to admit some of the recipes seemed rather bizarre to me, but may very well taste good.

I would have liked pictures for all of the recipes, instead of pictures for about 30% of the recipes.  Some recipes included Twinkies with meat, which didn’t sound appetizing, Twinkie Corn Dogs don’t get me excited, but a Patriotic Twinkie Pie or Twinkie Strawberry Shortcake sounds great! 

There were recipes covering ~
Twinkies and Cake
Twinkies and Pie
Twinkies and Fruit
Twinkies and Chocolate
Twinkies and Cream
Twinkies and Meat
Twinkies and Novelty

Twinkies in smores or with fruit kabobs sound great and will spice up a dinner party or make for some new snacks and desserts

I enjoyed reading a little about the history of the Twinkie in the introduction to the book.  It included facts, ingredients, its inventor, and the celebration of eighty-five years in production.

Overall, this is a fun and easy book to read.  It would make for a fun gift.

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Finding God in the Darkness!

I have always benefitted from reading books by Nancy and John Ortberg.  They are consummate story tellers.  And their stories always have a message which speaks into my heart.  The newest book by Nancy Ortberg, Seeing in the Dark: Finding God’s light in the most Unexpected Places was another powerful Ortberg book. 

The purpose of the book is to help us find or better yet, recognize the light of God in the midst of the darkness which surrounds us.  What I like about her writing is the fact she is not offering a cookie cutter model of how we need to react to life.  Instead, she shares stories and allows the reader to embrace her message. 

Each chapter seems to be disconnected and yet at the same time they are powerfully connected.  At times the stories and jumps she makes don’t seem to connect until you read the final words of the chapter.  This is an easy to read, yet powerful book.

I was really struck by the last chapter, Benediction.  It was a powerful chapter as Nancy recalled life and death and the last words, the ways in which we say to others “may the Lord . . .”  That was the chapter which will leave a lasting impression upon me. 

This was an excellent book, especially for those who don’t want someone to give them all of the answers to life’s issues, other than to seek the light of Christ!

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Press in exchange for my honest opinion.