Monday, August 24, 2015

Dance Through Life:Steps of Courage and Conviction: Book Review

Can I just say how much I adore Candace Cameron Bure? I do, a lot.

But this book? Not so much. The book felt disjointed and never really made a connection with the reader.

I did enjoy reading some of the backstory about her experiences on Dancing with the Stars. I only caught a few of the episodes from her season. This book gives you backstage access to all the activity and preparation and hard work that actually went on behind scenes.

(Candace's life makes me tired!)

As the book went on it seemed to flow easier, I liked reading about the specific scriptures she used as different difficult situations arose. And it was good to see the experience through her eyes.

I think this book struggled in that she tried really hard to make sure the readers knew how much she understands and depends on her Bible more than telling the actual story.

For example in chapter 2, she starts out with scripture from Matthew 14:29 about Peter and Jesus walking on water. At first she integrates the story of faith well with her own, but then comes back to the scripture to explain it to the readers. It felt disjointed.

She does this several times throughout. Pulls scripture and goes on and on for a page or two. It left me scratching my head and wanting to get back to her story.

As an actress who is also a christian she is under tremendous pressure. I can't imagine how hard it is in that "world" to hold to your Godly standards while being around such temptations. She is inspiring to me on many levels.

I may not have enjoyed this book as much as I wanted to, but I have an all new respect for Candace and her life. I also feel sorry for because she endures so much criticism and not so much from non believers as it's BELIEVERS.

Just check out her FB page to see what I mean.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

From the Back Cover:

Candace Cameron Bure has grown up before our eyes and we’ve watched as she’s balanced life in Hollywood with her faith for many years. But that all reached new heights when she was given the opportunity to join the cast of Dancing With the Stars. Being on the show was one of her dreams come true; and with that dream came the opportunity to display her Christian faith in front of millions of people, through an intense season of stretching beyond her limits, and to run the race God gave her with joy and perseverance.

Join Candace as she reflects on the self-discovery that came through leaping out of her comfort zone. Go behind the scenes and experience the highs and lows, the roadblocks, and the personal victories. Hear straight from her heart on tough lessons learned about grace, rejection, perfectionism, disappointment, accountability, dealing with criticism, and more. Through God’s strength, and with the help of endless support from her family and friends, see how Candace stayed true to herself and publicly lived out her faith in Christ all the way to the finale.
How do you stand with conviction in your world? Where does your courage come from when faced with challenges? How do you live out your faith on a daily basis despite opposition? Your stage probably isn’t in Hollywood and the challenges you are facing may not be on live television, but they are no less real. Come along with Candace as she shares how she found the courage to stand with conviction on one of the largest platforms of her life.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Simply Tuesday: Book Review

First things first, let's announce the winner of last weeks Wild in the Hollow giveaway!
The winner is...
Carrie McMullen!!! Congrats, girl!

(This book release tomorrow!!If you buy now through August 28th, Emily will send you a free conversation guide. This would be a good tool for a book club,)

"But people don't need fancy and flashy, they probably just want regular. They don't need a fixer, they need a journeyer. They just need to sit on a bench with someone else so they know they're not alone. I know this because it's what I need to."
Celebrate our smallness. 
Today's book is another good one. When you sit down to read you will want to have your highlighter and pen ready, because you are going to be busy like I was! :)

I can't tell you how many times I wrote, "Me too" in the margins and underlined entire paragraphs.

Simply Tuesday is a reminder that it's ok to be small, after all wasn't that Jesus' way?

In a world where loud, busy, and overachieving is celebrated it's nice to remember we don't have to be this way.

Jesus knew the importance of getting away by himself and being quiet.

In those moments of quiet the world goes silent and God gets louder.

This reminder to be small is one of self -evaluation. Not taking the ordinary of days for granted in pursuit of something more...bigger.

I have the tendency to look around at the work of others and think, what they are doing is more worthwhile and important than what my work is. I needed to read Emily's words to remember that what I'm doing, what "they" are doing isn't better just different.
"We were not made to fill our souls with worth with we construct with our hands."
Simply Tuesday is a call to find the gift in each day and be content with the work God has given us in our corner of the world.

God is using each of us and will fulfill His will in our lives in His time, not ours. So in the meantime let's relax and find joy in the simple pleasures each day brings.

One thing I really loved about this book is that at the end of each chapter she has study questions and a prayer. If you wanted to do a book club, it's ready made for it!

I hope you find time to sit and savor the words in Simply Tuesday, you won't be sorry!

About the book:
Is your soul being held hostage by hustle?
If you've grown weary of do more and dream bigger, small-moment living is just what you need. Real life happens in the small moments we find on the most ordinary day of the week. Tuesday holds secrets we can't see in a hurry--secrets not just for our schedules but for our souls. InSimply Tuesday, Emily P. Freeman shows you how to
  • embrace today's work
  • find contentment in the now
  • replace competition with connection
  • learn to breathe in a breathless world 

    It's time to release our obsession with building a life, and believe in the life Christ is building within us--one simple Tuesday at a time.
I was a member of Emily's launch team and it was my pleasure to read and give my honest review of her book :).

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wild in the Hollow: Book Review & Giveaway!

Today's book is Wild in the Hollow, oh friends, you are going to LOVE this memoir...
"We're searching for home-a place of acceptance, a place of fulfillment, and a place of identity. At the basest level, we suspect that home is the place where we'll find our fit, where we'll finally be free."
Wild in the Hollow is a must read. If you have a past of mistakes, Amber's words will open your eyes to see that broken can be made beautiful.

She has such a beautiful poetic style to her, similar to Ann Voskamp but easier to read, in my opinion.

I inhaled this book as soon as I started on page one. I may have gotten slightly (ok greatly) irritated every time I had to put it down.

I have a feeling Wild in the Hollow is going to touch a nerve with a large audience of people.
(And I was right, it's sitting on #1 on Amazon in the Biography section.)

I was first introduced to Amber's words through (in)courage, a website with many talented writers. But Amber's style really resonated with me and it wasn't long before I was subscribing to her blog. She has a particular way of catching details and describing them just how you are thinking them in your head.

I didn't know much of her back story until I read Wild in the Hollow, and maybe now that I think about it, there was more than one reason I was attracted to her words. Along with a certain deepness to her writing she openly writes her working-out between faith and life. I like people who acknowledge they don't have it all together and admit the struggle between faith, life, and church.

The details of our stories may not be the same but we spent a great amount of our lives looking for something...God, and didn't realize it.

In the name of freedom we reach our own demise...

Growing up I always believed in Jesus. Always attended church with my family on Sunday mornings. Read my Bible some, but wasn't sure how it could be applied to my life (don't ever give your child a KJV Bible if you expect them to read and understand a word in it!).

Searching for my own love and acceptance in the world I dated a boy who knew hate better than love.

I was a teenage girl who wanted to live out the words of those hokey country songs you hear on the radio about being young, wild, and free.

By the time I was 21, I was pregnant (out-of-wedlock) with my on-again-off-again second boyfriend.

Yup...wild and free wasn't all it was cracked up to be.

Scared and only knowing we wanted our daughter to have a family, we married...

Do you love me now, church? Do you accept me?
"I made a mistake when I came into church. I walked in newly transformed, with a diamond on my finger, and I asked them, "Will you love me now?" If I change the way I dress, calm down some, use your language, and learn to defend the faith well, if I accept the parades of the church and all the fancy fireworks, will you love me then?"
"...The church was so tidy and clean, so aware of how it looked, that I kept my focus on what to wear and how to sound when I sang...The way I understood it, no one suffered in this church, except maybe from physical sickness. No one talked about brokenness or the poor unless it was to mention how someone else wasn't doing well: so sad."
What has hurt me the most in my spiritual walk are churches where brokenness was looked upon as spiritual weakness.

We are all broken and have pasts, though the details differ we all fall short.

Amber's words challenged me to be more settled into who I am and to be proud of where I've been and who I've become.

I may stumble my way to Heaven's gate, messing up and getting it all wrong along the way but I'll get there.

Our put-togetherness may impress people, but our brokenness will connect with them.

Amber's story reminds us in our deepest darkest pains there is redemption and hope because of our God. 

Linking with: Coffee for your Heart and #TellHisStory

I received a copy of Amber's book in exchange for my honest review.
Guess what?! You can win a copy of Amber's book! Leave me a comment and I'll use random. org to choose a winner. Winner announced on Monday 8/17.

Amber Haines is a woman haunted by God. Like Eve in the Garden, she craved the fruit that she thought would lead her to freedom. But the whispers of temptation led her instead down a devastating path toward isolation, dissatisfaction, and life-altering choices. In her most broken moment, Amber met God waiting for her in the fallout, freely offering her grace and life.

This is a story of the God who makes himself known in broken places. In prose that is at once lyrical and utterly honest, a brave new voice takes readers on a windswept journey down the path of brokenness to healing, satisfaction, and true intimacy with God. Amber calls readers to dispense with the pretty bows we use to dress up our stories and instead trust God to take our untidy, unfinished lives and make them free, authentic, and whole. Anyone who struggles with doubt or holds secrets, anyone who feels marginalized or like she is missing something, will find in Amber a sister and an inviting voice back home, into the heart of God.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hope Harbor: Book Review

Summer is coming to an end, and so does my annual summer hiatus. I've read many good books in the last couple of months. I'm not sure I have read this many in several years. I think I am officially out of my reading slump!

Over the next few weeks I will be doing book reviews for the books I have read. (Did you know as a blogger you can receive free books? Publishers like Revell, will give bloggers free books in exchange for their honest review)

First up is Hope Harbor...

Do you like a good fiction book? I do too. I love getting lost in a story, especially romance with christian overtures.

I chose to review Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon because lately I've been reading a lot of nonfiction and miss my first love of reading, fiction. Plus I spent a week at the beach on our annual family trip and wanted something a little different to read. I wanted a story I could get lost in. And that is what I found in Hope Harbor. Great beach read!

The story takes place in the small coastal town of Hope Harbor, Oregon. Immediately you are drawn into the story of Tracy Campbell and Michael Hunter and want to know more.

The characters are relatable, mysterious, and interesting because they have both been through life trials that threatens their future happiness.

They deal with past regrets and shame which as a reader makes for an interesting read.

Michael and Tracy try to figure out how to move forward while not being consumed with the past.

In a lovely story that keeps a steady pace, Irene Hannon does a good job of moving the characters along so that you do not get bored.

Michael arrives in the city of Hope Harbor after a tumultuous year of loss and regret. He comes seeking refuge or answers...he's not sure. All he knows is he needed a time out from his life. However when he arrives everything starts to go wrong and he's not sure if he's made a mistake.

After some strange (divine) meetings with 3 of the locals he decides to stay...

Tracy calls Hope Harbor home. She works alongside her uncle at the local cranberry farm-which is struggling to stay afloat. Working the land and living in Hope Harbor is all she has ever wanted, but she is running from a past that has left her grief-stricken and haunted with guilt.

There are a few other characters such as Charley, the local food truck owner who always seems to a strange sense for reading people and giving timely, wise advice.

Anna, the town recluse who refuses to let anyone in after her son abruptly leaves after an argument one day.

Tracy's uncle, Uncle Bud, who raised Tracy after her parents were killed and loves her as his own.

The supporting characters really round out the book and give us additional relational life lessons.

Will Michael find what he is looking for? Will Tracy forgive and allow herself to move forward? You'll have to read the book to find out!

Hope Harbor is a powerful story of the healing powers of forgiveness and love.I really enjoyed the story line and it lent itself to be a good reminder to me on letting go of the past and forgiveness. I think you'll enjoy it too!

(*Disclaimer-I received this book for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.)


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