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Friday, November 24

Book Bonanza (giveaway hop)

A few new books, and a brand new book giveaway!

Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children (Jodie Berndt)
As parents of adult children, we often wonder: Will my children make good choices when they’re on their own? How can I let them go when I’ve held them for so long? Parent and author Jodie Berndt understands what it’s like to release children into the world and still care deeply about them and everything they will face in life from relationships to career decisions and everything in between. In Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children, Jodie continues her Praying the Scriptures series with biblical prayers for your adult children, whether they are just leaving the nest, flying well on their own, or struggling to take off at all. Each section focuses on a different aspect of adulthood, with encouraging stories from experienced parents who are praying their children through rocky marriages, health concerns, financial challenges and other real-life issues. At the end of each chapter, you’ll find personalized prayers for your children taken straight from Scripture. Each chapter also includes verses for you to pray for yourself as you take the challenging step of trusting God to care for your children in ways that you can’t. With grace and wisdom, Jodie addresses cultural trends such as couples living together before marriage and young adults leaving the church, as well as the painful realities of loneliness, addiction, and mental health issues. With hope-filled words for the parents of the prodigal, she is particularly sensitive to the long-term prayers we offer, even as we doubt ourselves and grieve over our children’s choices. Whatever you are praying for, you will find confidence and peace in these powerful prayers for your kids. Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children guides you to the bedrock of God’s promises as you release your children to God’s shepherding care.

My children aren't quite adults yet, but they are growing up and becoming more independent daily.  I can't imagine what it was like for my mother to send us off to boarding school so much earlier than the average child, but she did it for our own goods, and she must've prayed every night that things would turn out well.  This book is for you moms who have sent your children into the world - whether to an extended camp or into adulthood.  There are prayers for relationships, healthy, well-being, safety, strength, and more.  Each lesson contains scripture, a prayer, and a short narrative.  It's not just for parents of young adults, though...there are prayers for grandchildren, job loss, temptation, loss, and other things that middle and older adults experience.  This is a good book for those who are facing a newly emptied nest.

The Build (Paul Teutul Jr.)
The Build reveals the "behind the scenes" story of the popular TV reality series American Chopper for the show's millions of fans. Author Paul Teutul, Jr., is arguably the most creative builder of custom "chopper" motorcycles in the world. His talents were revealed to millions of TV viewers worldwide on American Chopper, as well as later on a spinoff series, American Chopper Senior vs Junior. The Build gives the reader at Paul Jr.'s life behind the camera, which included volcanic conflict with his father and business mentor, Paul Sr. Using his own story of improbable success as an illustration, Paul Jr. offers insights on how anyone can find and activate often hidden talents. In a charming, often humorous way, The Build is a rallying cry to unleash God-designed creativity and live life to the fullest.

I've never actually seen the show "American Choppers," but my husband loves motorcycles and this book looked I'm curious to see the show.  This book talks about his relationship with his father, and how they interacted during the filming of the show.  It's realistic, showing the good, the bad, and the ugly.  The son uses his faith to overcome some of his father's behavior (both toward him and others), and is actively working to break the cycle of familial dysfunction.  It's not necessarily a book that I would have chosen for myself, but I read it before passing it along to my husband, who seems to enjoy it a bit more.

A Prairie Girl's Faith (Stephen Hines)
A Prairie Girl's Faith provides the first extended, in depth discussion of the Christian faith of one of America's most beloved pioneer women--Laura Ingalls Wilder. Although the faith of the Ingalls' family pervades books in the Little House series, the more specific details of Laura's faith have never been fully explored. It took extraordinary pluck for anyone to survive the harshness of frontier life--from the heartbreak of sudden crop losses to murderous storms to unrelenting loneliness. This book reveals how in surviving, the brave Laura drew not just on her character, but found encouragement, strength, and hope in her relationship with God.

This is a biography about Laura Ingalls Wilder, focusing on her family's faith and how it kept them going through the lean times.  Having been a fan of Little House of the Prairie, I enjoyed 'meeting' the girl behind the stories.  The author has done a great job of researching all aspects of her life, both the good and the bad, and laying them out without bias.  It does focus on the faith, as that was a huge part of her upbringing and adult life.  It also includes recipes from the kitchens of pioneer women of the era, which made for a sweet ending to the book!

Blessed are the Misfits (Brant Hansen) 
While American church culture (and American culture at large) seems largely designed for the extroverted, it’s estimated that half of the American population is introverted, and they’re often left wondering how, even if, they fit in the kingdom of God. As one of them, popular radio host Brant Hansen brings news. It’s wonderful, refreshing, and never-been-said-this-way-before good news.  This book is good news for people who are desperately looking for it. (And for their loved ones!)  It’s also for those who want to believe in Jesus, but inwardly fear that they don’t belong, worry that don’t have the requisite emotion-based relationship with God, and are starving for good news.  Blessed Are the Misfits is going to generate discussion, and lots of it. It’s simultaneously highly provocative and humbly personal. It’s also leavened with a distinct, dry, self-effacing humor that is a hallmark of Hansen’s on-air, writing, and public speaking style.  In his unique style, Hansen looks to answer questions that millions of people carry with them each day:

  • If I don’t relate to God as emotionally as others do, is something wrong with me?
  • How does one approach God, and approach faith, when devoid of the “good feelings” that seem to drive so much of evangelical church culture?
  • How does God interact with those who seem spiritually numb?
  • Is the absence of faith-based emotion a sign of that God has moved on or was never there?
  • What if we aren’t good at talking to people about our faith, or good at talking to people at all?
  • What if I’m told I’m too analytical, that I “think too much”?
  • Where does a person who suffers from depression fit in the kingdom? Is depression a sure sign of a lack of faith?

If I could give this book ten stars, I would.  It really reaches out in a way that I've not seen any other Christian book those who don't fit into the mold.  It is real and honest, the author struggles with many issues that his audience does (making him more believable), and it's understanding and forgiving.  There were points when I laughed aloud, completely relating to the shared stories, and points where I felt his depths of despair.  But through it all, the message remained clear....just because you're not like everyone else, doesn't mean you should give up on this faith.

They Came for Freedom (Jay Milbrandt)
Once a year at Thanksgiving, we encounter Pilgrims as folksy people in funny hats before promptly forgetting them. In the centuries since America began, the Pilgrims have been relegated to folklore and children’s stories, fairy-tale mascots for holiday parties and greeting cards.  The true story of the Pilgrim Fathers could not be more different. Beginning with the execution of two pastors deviating from the Elizabethan Church of England, the Pilgrims’ great journey was one of courageous faith, daring escape, and tenuous survival. Theirs is the story of refugees who fled intense religious persecution; of dreamers who voyaged the Atlantic and into the unknown when all other attempts had led to near-certain death; of survivors who struggled with newfound freedom. Loneliness led to starvation, tension gave way to war with natives, and suspicion broke the back of the very freedom they endeavored to achieve.  Despite the pain and turmoil of this high stakes triumph, the Pilgrim Fathers built the cornerstone for a nation dedicated to faith, freedom, and thankfulness. This is the epic story of the Pilgrims, an adventure that laid the bedrock for the Founding Fathers, the Constitution, and the American identity.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and I daresay that many of us are still stuffed and planning to eat leftovers for a few days.  But do we really remember what Thanksgiving is about?  This book focuses on "the forgotten, epic adventure of the Pilgrims."  It follows them from persecution in Europe all the way over to the New World, in a time where freedom to worship was not a given.  While the book contains a lot of historical facts and information, it isn't a textbook - it's actually written in a way that flows nicely and is easy to read.  There is a lot of information that I never learned in school and had here-to-for not heard.  The appendix includes a timeline, a list of the Mayflower's passengers, the Mayflower Compact, and a bibliography for further reading.  As you're finishing that third slice of pumpkin pie, think back to the original was a celebration of a miracle.

Staying Stylish (Candace Cameron Bure)
As an actress, producer, New York Times bestselling author, and inspirational speaker, Candace Cameron Bure has spent her entire life in the spotlight, and she is well aware of the pressures women face. Throughout her career, Candace has balanced her faith, family, and passion for work and found her spot as a role model to women of all ages—and as a style icon.  In her brand-new book Staying Stylish, Candace invites you behind the scenes of her day-to-day life and shares more than 100 tips and tricks for looking and feeling your best—both inside and out. Nurture your body, style, and soul as you read through this beautiful book full of photos, insider secrets, and exciting ideas to revamp your own life into its best possible version. She offers her insight into balance, spiritual growth, and looking great while doing it all.  Staying Stylish topics will include personal style, fresh hair and makeup for any age, a well-balanced diet and fitness regime, and a well-nourished spirit.
Anyone who knows me will be surprised to see that I read this book...but you have to keep people guessing sometimes, right?  This may be a fashion book (sorry sis, you got all those genes), but it's more than that - it's a book about knowing and being yourself, embracing your beliefs, and having a healthy attitude toward appearance.  There are three main sections.  The first features fashion tips on clothing, closet organization, and purchasing tips.  The second focuses on skin care, hair care, and hair styles.  She even harkens back to her Full House days here.  The third focuses on self-care, including stress management tips.  Part of looking good is taking care of yourself, inside and out, and that's what these last two sections really focus on.  It's a quick read, and you can flip through it leisurely (doesn't have to be read in order).  CCB is still as down-to-earth as ever, making it easy for anyone to relate to...even someone as fashion-challenged as myself!

Sacred Slow (Alicia Britt Cole)  

If yesterday’s word was “simple,” tomorrow’s word will be “slow.”  Our culture is shifting from fast food to health food both physically and spiritually. Self-care, soul-care, life coaches, and spiritual retreats all show our dissatisfaction in quick fixes and fast faith. The Sacred Slow is an invitation to unhurried honesty before God. Formatted as 52 experiences, The Sacred Slow reminds readers on every page that God never wanted to use them: He always wanted to love them.  Experienced devotionally or in small groups, each chapter features a short but unexpected reading and two options for application: a thought focus or a heart exercise. The content is the overflow of Dr. Alicia Britt Chole’s thirty+ years as a spiritual mentor to leaders and learners. The tone is personal, practical, and penetrating. The fruit is sustainable (as opposed to event-based) intimacy with God.

Divided into fifty-two short readings, presumably one for each week, this book is designed to give you some easy ways to slow your life down and help you to re-center.  There are exercises within each reading, and they can be used alone or as part of a reading group.  Main themes of the readings include : spending time with God, intellectual strength, fast versus slow experiences, God’s timing, self-discipline, responsibility, and owning our decisions.  If you’re looking to take a break from this fast-paced world, this book might help you start down that path.

God of Tomorrow (Caleb Kaltenbach)  
With a voice of reason and grace, pastor Caleb Kaltenbach challenges the church to choose the path of hope in response to polarizing cultural issues that are straight from the front pages of today’s newspapers.  Divergent politics, immigration issues, bullying, re-defining family, racism, terrorism, new ways of categorizing people, and multiple other issues are negatively impacting our communities today. Some feel the country we live in now isn't the same one they lived in twenty years ago. Culture is consistently changing, and many Christians are nervous about what tomorrow will bring.  However, we don't need to worry, because we serve the God of tomorrow. Culture will always change, but God never changes. God owns tomorrow. He has been in tomorrow, prepared tomorrow, and will walk with us into tomorrow. He will help us handle our ever-shifting culture as we journey forward.  Every cultural issue we deal with today is something that Jesus dealt with in his day. The issues are the same, they just look different. Yet Jesus trusted the God of Tomorrow and knew that he was in complete control. Because of his trust in God, Jesus engaged culture in a very intentional way, and we can do likewise.  God of Tomorrow includes discussion questions at the end of each chapter, providing a great platform for small groups to dialogue about these culturally-relevant topics.

Society today has gone nutso.  It seems that no one is immune to, or able to overcome, issues of politics, bullying, terrorism, racism, and general negative malaise that is permeating every aspect…including the church.  Our country isn’t the same one that I graduated from high school in…and that was less than two decades ago.  I struggle to parent in a world I don’t always understand, but one thing that doesn’t change is faith.  I sometimes waver in that faith, in the face of the world today, but circling back around to the old stories (which cover so many of the same topics we are currently facing) brings about a renewed strength.  This book pulls out those old stories and relates them to modern society, in a way that will help tame the chaos…at least within your soul.

Beneath a Prairie Moon (Kim Vogel Sawyer)
Abigail Brantley grew up in affluence and knows exactly how to behave in high society. But when she is cast from the social registers due to her father's illegal dealings, she finds herself forced into a role she never imagined: tutoring rough Kansas ranchers in the subjects of manners and morals so they can "marry up" with their mail-order brides. Mack Cleveland, whose father was swindled by a mail-order bride, wants no part of the scheme to bring Eastern women to Spiveyville, Kansas, and he's put off by the snooty airs and fastidious behavior of the "little city gal" in their midst. But as time goes by, his heart goes out to the teacher who tries so diligently to smooth the rough edges from the down-to-earth men. How can he teach her that perfection won't bring happiness?

In a riches to rags story, the female protagonist has to reinvent herself with hard work, sweat, and tears.  She leaves her home and travels far away, submitting herself as a tutor to a bunch of roughnecks, but it turns out to be her salvation.  There are several humorous situations along the way, as the two classes (working man and rich man) clash...such as when they are forced to attend etiquette classes in preparation for receiving their mail-order brides!  The two protagonists dance around each other in a guarded game of distrust, wits, and eventually love.  As always, KVS has written another sweet, inspirational love story!

I received some of these books in exchange for an honest review.

Enter below to win a copy of Beneath a Prairie Moon!

Be sure to stop by our other, here, and here!

Welcome to the 7th annual Black Friday Book Bonanza, hosted by Marlene at Reading Reality and Kimberly at The Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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