Friday, September 10, 2010

Out Live Your Life

Max Lucado has penned another exceptional book. Out Live Your Life reminds us that we are each an extension of the hands of Jesus and have the ability to affect the lives of others. Lucado incorporates vivid examples and word imagery to emphasize how even small seemingly insignificant actions can lead to a chain of events that brings glory to God. You will no longer be able to look at your life as a finite amount of time spent on Earth, but rather as an infinite continuum that overflows the boundaries of time.

I always enjoy Max Lucado’s works and this book was no exception. It includes a prayer to conclude each chapter as well as discussion questions at the end of the book. It encouraged me to look beyond myself and towards the endless opportunities to be a blessing to others. It reminded me that everyone has value in God’s eyes and that I personally have a responsibility to reach out to those in need. This book is one for all ages. Whether you are a recent college graduate trying to find yourself or a middle aged adult looking back over your life, this book shows us we can all out live our life as we give back into the lives of others.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect is a gift book based on the precept that every choice we make now has a future effect on the world around us. The book is a little over one hundred pages of beautiful vivid pictures that bring to life the stories of Joshua Chamberlain, Norman Borlaug, Mary Washington and others. These names may mean nothing to you at this time, but Andrews does a wonderful job introducing these individuals to us. Throughout the book he dissects the intricate details of how their past actions have and are currently affecting our lives today. It is amazing to think that one seemingly insignificant act done at a moment in time can forever change the course of history.

I am a fan of Andrew’s past work The Noticer. Since this is the second book I have read by Andrew’s it’s hard not to compare the two books, however it is an unfair comparison. The Butterfly Effect lacks the creative narrative that I feel Andrews has become known for producing. The storylines are confusing at times and the shift from Chamberlain to Borlaug did not have a smooth transition. I liked the overall message Andrew’s discusses within the book and believe that it is a good read. As a gift book, I think it is best suited as a gift to a gentleman since most of the photos are of object that would appeal to men. It would be a great book to have on display in doctors offices or other places where someone would have a 15-20 minute wait, as this is all the time that is needed to finish the book in it’s entirety.

The Boy Who Changed the World

This children’s story by Andy Andrews teaches kids to be mindful of their actions because everything that they do good or bad matters. Through the lives of Norman Borlaug, Henry Wallace, George Washington Carver, and Moses Carver; we learn that our actions affect the lives of others and ultimately can change the world.

The Boy Who Changed the World is a wonderful story to read you your kids and would be an excellent way to foster family discussion. This story is one that would be best suited for children in kindergarten to third grade age group. It should read out loud due to the advanced level of reading comprehension that is required to help put the pieces together to see how the lives intertwine. The length of the story is a little long for the short attention span of the toddler/pre-school age group but my four year old loved the pictures.

One drawback I see is that the story is gender specific throughout the book until the last page when it states “You can be the kid who changes the world.”. It may not be well received if you are the parents of only daughters who may not be able to relate to the male characters each of which has a love for nature/plants. The illustrations are wonderfully done and the large colorful pages make it a great book for group reading in a classroom setting, as it stresses the importance of learning.

This is a book I look forward to reading more than once with my sons as they grow and are better able to understand that they too have the ability within to change the world.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

God is Faithful

Rarely am I moved by fiction the way I have been moved by the characters in Kim Cash Tate’s Faithful. Cydney, Dana, and Phyllis quickly become women you care about and want to see God’s best for as you watch each deal with personal battles. Cydney’s the single one looking for Mr. Right while dealing with the yearnings of her own sexuality. Dana is the girlfriend with the perfect like that suddenly has to watch her picture of perfection shatter before her eyes. And Phyllis is the mother of four who is struggling to keep her passion alive for her non-believing husband. These three girlfriends undergo a transformation as their faith is test. Their lives intersect at the cross and their shared relationship with Jesus.

Through Kim’s gifted storytelling multiple complex life questions are addressed such as: What do you cling to when it seems like God is not answering your prayers. Does it really matter if we follow the bible’s instructions? Is it necessary to be committed to God in today’s culture? This book is much more than chick-lit or romance. It is based on bible truths and presented in a way that can change your life, your marriage and your relationship with God. The author even includes questions for self-reflection at the end, which was an awesome way to internalize the message she delivers.

I enjoyed every moment from the tears that fell as my heart broke for Dana to the shouts of praise as God worked within the hearts of those who had been far from him. God is Faithful and will move within the pages of this novel into the hearts of every reader.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Medicine For The Soul

Sometime the best medicine is some time alone with a great book and a journal. Sheila Walsh's Beautiful Things Happen When a Woman Trusts God is one such book.

In Beautiful Things, Sheila discusses the process of learning to trust God. Her journey to trust includes the companionship of ten biblical characters. Her transparency and openness are infused throughout the book. Intimate details of her personal struggle with trust, fear and depression become the stepping stones on which she is able to triumph.

I loved the layout of this book. This is the first Sheila Walsh book I have ever read. The introductory details about her psychiatric history helped me understand her motivation behind the book. I enjoyed the included bible study and discussion questions at the end. These questions are a great opportunity to internalize the truths Sheila discusses into my personal life. This was my first Sheila Walsh book but it will not be my last.