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review 2018-04-23 00:52
More Than Conquerors
When God Says "Go": Rising to Challenge and Change without Losing Your Confidence, Your Courage, or Your Cool - Elizabeth Laing Thompson

 “When God Says Go” is tellingly subtitled “Rising to challenge and change without losing your confidence, your courage, or your cool”. This clever alliteration gives an indication of the story within, because although this is a work of nonfiction, it reads more like a collection of personal accounts, threaded together to form a manifesto of sorts about facing and conquering life changes. The truth of the matter is, few of us welcome change, yet we all find ourselves having to deal with it throughout our lives. We like to be in control, and so often when God beckons us to a task, we balk due to fear and uncertainty. Thompson points out a profound truth here, however: “God’s call wasn’t about the people he called—God’s call was about Him. It was and is and ever will be about Him…When we live our life devoted to fulfilling God’s purposes, we stop worrying about ourselves: our success, our reputation, our appearance. We lose ourselves in Him. In His purpose. In His call.”

Building upon this insightful realization, each chapter is about a calling. Ten Biblical characters’ stories are highlighted among twelve chapters, after which a relevant explication in a modern setting ties the past and present together, followed by a corresponding example from the author’s life. Each chapter ends with a “Let’s Go Deeper” section, which includes a Bible reference for further study, a journal prompt, and a prayer prompt in the form of a Bible verse. This thoughtful organization and conversational tone draws readers in and makes “When God Says Go” a wonderful resource for either individual or group study. No matter how great or seemingly small our own calling may be, this book reminds us that we are more than conquerors through Him who loved—and still loves—us.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2018-04-22 00:25
Compact, Convenient, and Inspirational!
The Prayer Map for Women: A Creative Journal - Compiled by Barbour Staff

In the style of a daily planner, “The Prayer Map for Women” offers a pleasant, easy-to-use guide for establishing or venturing further into a deeper prayer life. The first thing that I noticed about this prayer map was its conveniently compact size; it is lightweight and will fit in most women’s purses or bags for easy carrying. Also, because it is spiral-bound, writing in it is very handy, without having to hold the pages open; this is one of the first features I look at when considering any kind of notebook or journal. The pages themselves are whimsical and appealing without being ostentatious or detracting from its purpose, with magenta and teal illustrations.

Two pages are allotted for each entry, divided into small, concise sections. Each page begins with “Dear Heavenly Father” and contains the following sections: Thank You For; I Am Worried About; People I Am Praying For Today; Here’s What’s Happening in My Life; I Need; and Other Things on My Heart That I Need to Share With You, God. The second page ends with “Amen. Thank You, Father, for hearing my prayers.” There is also a different Bible verse at the end of each entry, which grounds the writer in Scripture and encourages further reading of the Word. For women who are looking to jump-start, revive, or simply go deeper in their prayer life, this quaint little journal is the perfect guide!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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url 2018-04-13 11:03
Brain Magic Mindfulness Training in Sunday Times Conscious Creativity Excerpt
Conscious Creativity: Mindfulness Meditations - Nataša Pantović Nuit

Tapping the brain’s magic

With traditional educational methods – its curriculum and its focus on examinations – students quickly lose motivation and interest for science and its magic.

With traditional educational methods – its curriculum and its focus on examinations – students quickly lose motivation and interest for science and its magic.

The human brain is truly extraordinary. A healthy brain has some 200 billion neurons. The conscious mind controls our brain for only five per cent of the day, whereas the subconscious mind has control of our thoughts 95 per cent of the time.

A human being has 70,000 thoughts per day
- Natasa Pantovic

A human being has 70,000 thoughts per day. The brain requires up to 20 per cent of the body’s energy despite being only two per cent of the human body by weight.

Somewhere within our brain we have a potential for higher mathematics, complex physics, art, and amazing richness of thoughts, feeling, and sensations.

 

To read the full book excerpt, check Times of Malta Article by Nataša Nuit Pantović

 

https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20121007/education/Tapping-the-brain-s-magic.439967

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review 2018-04-04 02:01
Dramatic but Underwhelming
Shadows of Hope - Georgiana Daniels

Let me preface this by saying that this is not the type of book that I would normally pick up. Had this been promoted by a non-Christian publishing company, I would not have considered it. However, the premise sounded fairly intriguing and I wanted to dip my toes into something outside my comfort level. With that being said, “Shadows of Hope” just didn’t really get off the ground with me. The drama, while expected given the subject matter, was in my opinion overdone, and the characters didn’t resonate much with me. The narrative is divided between Marissa—whose viewpoint is related in the first person—her husband, Colin, and Kaitlyn, the “other woman”. I found it difficult at times to sympathize with Marissa because of her self-centered attitude toward her marriage and her sometimes unrealistic expectations overall. Colin didn’t seem to have many redeeming features, while Kaitlyn is portrayed as an angelic figure. The way that these three interact throughout the novel does add a definite human interest aspect, but the plot seemed too drawn out.

The faith element was present, but almost as a side note, or so it seemed for much of the story’s duration. Granted, there was no profanity or sexual situations—this was a clean read—but faith was not as prominent an issue as I was expecting and hoping for. This was hard to reconcile with my expectations. I also anticipated more suspense and was surprised when so much of the story’s backbone was revealed relatively early on. Nevertheless, I did want to find out exactly how things turned out in the end for each character. Despite not being the most compelling novel I’ve ever read, “Shadows of Hope” does offer a look at redemption and at facing life’s challenges and heartbreaks.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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review 2018-03-26 21:28
Of Love and Pirates
The Pirate Bride - Kathleen Y'Barbo

As the second book in the Daughters of the Mayflower series, “The Pirate Bride” proved to be even more engaging and intriguing than “The Mayflower Bride.” This series is interesting in that it chronicles pivotal points in history from a Christian perspective, with each installment written by a different author. This arrangement keeps the volumes fresh, avoiding the repetitious pattern that could otherwise easily result. “The Pirate Bride” goes a step further and adopts a perhaps unconventional approach to what is obviously a romance, introducing the heroine—Maribel Cordoba—when she is only eleven. Her story begins aboard a ship in the Caribbean in 1724, and her fateful encounter with the privateer Jean-Luc Valmont has implications that travel far beyond that time and place.

Indeed, Maribel’s somewhat eccentric character—being rather unladylike for the time—continues into young womanhood as the narrative shifts to 1735 for the second half of the novel. Part of what drew me to Maribel’s character was her love of reading and books, which was not common during the eighteenth century, as well as her indomitable spirit. Her journey is a unique one, offering a glimpse of maritime, convent, and domestic life in and around the Caribbean. The story, as such, presents a distinctive narrative with gentle Christian undertones. How the characters’ lives connect and weave together demonstrates Kathleen Y’Barbo’s creative skill, with the romance itself playing out toward the novel’s closing. “The Pirate Bride” is a fascinating work of fiction with plenty of adventure and novelty sure to delight and entertain.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.

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