Catching up

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Well, I bit off a bit more than I could chew.  I’m terribly behind in posting reviews on the last few books I received so I’m going to lump them together here.

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The Beauty of Grace by Dawn Camp

This book was a fun read, something easy and encouraging, a great way to wind down before bed.  It is a compilation of writings on various topics such as purpose, surrender, trust, + worship, written by some of today’s most popular writers and bloggers.  Some of the contributors were old favorites of mine such as Tsh Oxenreider, Ann Voskamp, Lisa-Jo Baker, Emily Freeman.  Others such as Kristen Strong, Kayla Aimee, Bonnie Gray, Leeana Tankersley, Maggie Whitley, + Deidra Riggs, were new to me.  There were many other contributors, each offering a short meditation or reflection on the topic, along with a scripture. Since it was a compilation of writers writing on a variety of topics, I would classify it as more inspirational rather than instructional.

Some of my favorite features are the accompanying photographs and the brevity of the chapters, as well as the fact that it’s arranged topically so you can flip through it to whatever interests you.

(Thank you to Revell Publishing for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.)

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Worry Less So You Can Live More by Jane Rubietta

I was drawn to this book…. for a friend. Ha. Just kidding. Yes, I admit it: I’m a worrier. Rubietta is a new author to me, though as an author of fifteen books, she is certainly not new to the writing scene.  I was initially struck and refreshed by her writing, which was poetic + depthy. She writes this book to share her own story of moving from worry to delight and encouraging readers to do the same, and yet her style is such that you are drawn in and lost in her words.  It reads gently, more like a memoir than a self-help book.  Probably my favorite feature is how she ends each chapter in an application section with scripture, some provoking questions, and then prayer, called Votum, and a response from God, sung back over us, a Benedictus, all written by Rubietta herself.

She covers how to delight even in our most anxious seasons, the dailyness of God’s presence, the way worry boxes us in when God invites us to live in wide open spaces, how our tears are tools, and our difficulties are gifts that give us empathy.  Truly beautiful.  One not to miss.

A little excerpt for you:

“I quit reading fiction–too frivolous if people are perishing.  No more cracking jokes.  Somewhere along the journey I stopped laughing, lost all perspective and balance.  Everything seemed overly important, everything an issue, whether it was paying two cents too much for a gallon of milk or gasoline (Good Christian Women save money, and furrow our brows while doing so) or being two minutes late for a commitment.

But all this seriousness is killing me.  It’s killing my heart, probably literally, but also figuratively.  Joie de vivre–joy of living, of life–is not a reality, only a fun French phrase.  Isn’t the root of such dreadful seriousness…worry?  And isn’t worry a misunderstanding of the God who carries the whole world in his hands?…

Forgoing delight is like an emotional vow of poverty, based on a poor understanding of God.  Will God love us more if we live our devout and holy life without cracking a smile or having our heart turn somersaults over the sunset or the erratic path of a butterfly?  As though God were a great big Curmudgeon in the Sky, with furrowed brows and a tight fist.  This isn’t God the Abba-Daddy, this is God the judgmental, finger-pointing, shaming miser.  But looking around, where’s the evidence of a God like that on this globe?  Enormous generosity blossoms from the earth, drips from heaven, appears at the lip of the world every single morning and every single evening.  Unfailingly generous, it seems to me, is this God we love and serve and maybe try to keep a safe distance from.”

(Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for a free copy in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.)

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Own Your Life by Sally Clarkson

Oh, friends.  This one is a good one!  A great one.  Clarkson is a trusted source of wisdom, a biblically grounded woman with a heart heavily inclined toward discipleship, a seasoned mother of adult children, a gifted and engaging writer.  Sitting with this book feels much like sitting with Clarkson in a cabin in the snowy Colorado mountains over a cup of steaming tea as she reaches hands across the table and takes your hand and implores + encourages you to own your life.  We live in an age of incredible distraction.  All of our technology has afforded us unprecedented levels of busyness.  As women, we need a call to live lives of great intention + purpose, lives grounded in scripture where we find our identity, our worth, and the very reason for our existence.  Clarkson’s book is just such a siren call, reminding, encouraging, exhorting, all the while pouring out from her own deep well of lessons learned and life lived.  What will your legacy be?  Are you living today with your legacy in mind?  Are you living carried to and fro by the whims of your circumstances?  Maybe you would be helped by Clarkson’s book.  I certainly have been!  Rather than heaping on further guilt or a heavier burden to carry, Clarkson writes in such a way as to inspire and gently instruct and gives courage that we really can fulfill the purposes God has for us individually while we walk out our time here.

A little excerpt for you:

“My counsel to all those crying out for help: in order to move from chaos to order, we must each make  plan that will move us away from a never-ending flurry of activities toward God’s design for our lives.  That plan begins by identifying the drainers and sources of chaos that steal our spiritual and emotional energy.  To move forward, in other words, we must first recognize what is holding us back…Often there is a subtle confusion about how life ‘got’ this way.  Nonstop activity is a cultural badge of honor that supposedly means a person is making progress.  Busyness falsely promises productivity.  Frankly, our culture encourages us to take on more and more, and busyness and distraction can be addicting.  Yet we are drifting further from the life God designed us to live.  Surely this is not the abundant life God promised.  Is there a better way to find purpose and satisfaction?”

(Thank you to Tyndale Publishers for a free copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.)

Happy reading, folks!  As always, I love to hear from you: what you’ve been reading and enjoying lately?

 

 

 

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