Daring to Hope: Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the BeautifulDaring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful by Katie Davis Majors

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

 

First off, thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for the advanced copy of this book and for allowing me to be part of the launch team for Daring to Hope.  It was a privileged and honor to read this book.

Wow…you know it is a good book when you purposely slow down half way through because you don’t want it to end. Katie writes in a beautiful melodious way where her words flow from the pages and into your heart. She has the ability to transport her reader to her cozy home in Uganda that’s filled with love, hurt, pain, tears, joy, and hope. This book will leave you desperate for a raw, authentic relationship with the Father.

#daringtohope @waterbrookmultnomah #partner

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The Ladies' RoomThe Ladies’ Room by Carolyn Brown

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A joy to read. It was easy, quick, and filled with hilarious southern quips. I listened to the Audiobook and the person who narrated it was awesome…she had the southern drawl to fit Trudy’s character perfectly.

The story revolves around Trudy, who overhears her two snotty cousins talking about her while she was in a bathroom stall. That information transformed her from a quiet, naive wife to a take charge, full of sass, woman on a mission. You can help but love her, as well as her new neighbor/friend Billy Lee. I smiled the whole time i read this book. Was it predictable? Yes But it was fun and it made me happy and we all need to read more books that elicit those feelings.

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Sticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come ApartSticking Points: How to Get 4 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart by Haydn Shaw
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book should be required reading for all adults. I cannot get enough “learn on” in generational differences. The information is relevant…fascinating…and spot on!! Understanding generational differences is invaluable for those who lead people, but it also serves the same level of importance to anyone who interacts with people across the generations (read: ALL OF US).

Whereas Haydn Shaw’s other book, Generational IQ, focuses more on how generational differences impact the church, Sticking Points speaks to secular businesses. Some of the information overlaps between the two books, but his examples and illustrations in Sticking Point relate specifically to the general workforce.

The phrase “sticking points” refers to those areas we tend to get in a huff over because of differing opinions, preferences, thoughts that vary across the generations. The premise of this book is to not let those “sticking points” pull your team apart, but instead let the “sticking points” be the glue that further strengthens the working bond in you team. He lays out a 5 step process on how to make this work. At the end of this book are 12 common sticking points that employees/employers regularly encounters and in these 12 examples, he shows you step by step how to approach the sticking point.

Both of Haydn Shaw’s books (Generational IQ and Sticking Points) will help you STOP focusing on the WHAT…meaning he steers you away from focusing on those things that drive you nuts (like someone texting on their phone during a meeting). Instead he helps you understand the WHY…and when we understand WHY someone does what they do, there is much more grace and understanding.

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Beneath a Scarlet Sky

A wonderful book about a great hero!!

Beneath a Scarlet Sky is a “biographical and historical fiction” that traces 2 years from the life of young Pino Lella during World War 2.   The uninvited war came to Milan, Italy, his hometown when he was 17 years old.   By the time Pino was 18, he had already grown old due to the savages of war.

Pino wanted nothing to do with the Nazi’s.  He spent months secretly helping Jews hike snow packed mountains and dangerous terrain to safe, neutral ground in Switzerland.  A role where he felt he was making a difference and doing his part to fight against the Germans.    But as the war progressed, his parents insisted he join the German army with the hopes his life would be safe.  Through a series of events, Pino finds himself as the personal driver of a German General who “sat at the left hand of Adolf Hitler and who was arguable the second most powerful man in Italy during the last two years of World War II.”    In this capacity, Pino was able to work as a spy against the Germans.

Pino’s story is one of true courage as he literally sat in the front seat of the enemy day in and day out.   There is a beautiful love story woven through the scenes of death and war, that gives Pino hope to hold onto.

 

Generational IQ

A definite must read!!

How many times do we hear people criticize the younger generation (esp. Millennials) because they are on their phone too much…they aren’t growing up fast enough…they play to many video games…they aren’t developing communication skills?    Haydn Shaw’s answer to those who criticize is RELAX!!!
This is the first time in history that 5 generations have lived at one time, SO yes, there is going to be misunderstanding.   BUT misunderstandings and conflict is birthed from lack of knowledge.   This is what this book is all about…it helps us come to a better understanding of the generations that we encounter day to day in our homes, work, and churches.   It gives the “why” on how each generation thinks and how they act.

Until this book, i did not realize that the culture and worldly events that occurred during each time period had such a significant impact of shaping and molding each generation. I was astounded to see how accurate his general character description of my own personal generation is (Gen X), all because of uncontrollable events that have been secretly woven into my life.

It’s important that we understand people…that we understand where they are coming from…and we can’t do that unless we have more insight and understanding of the generation they grew up in.   Take the time to read this book and understand where the different generations are coming from.

Investing in relationships is the most important thing we do…this book will help you make your investments much richer.

I loved this book so much, that i am going to turn around and reread it.

A life for Christ

A Life for Christ is a newly updated book from D.L. Moody.   It is a book that will take you out of the comfort zone we often find ourselves as Christian’s.   The overall theme i gained from this book was “get up and get to work for the Lord.”   The book is divided into straight-forward chapters of Love, Faith/Courage, Enthusiasm, and Power in Little Things.   He gives many examples and illustrations of what it looks like to work for the Lord…and even though the examples come from the late 1800’s, i found them surprisingly refreshing and relevant for today.

We have somehow come to a point in life where we are slaves to our busy calendar and often the busyness serves to only benefit ourselves.   This book was a good reminder of our great commission…”to go out and make disciples”…to take the focus and energy off ourselves and put it on other people.

I highlighted many passages in this book, but the one that continues to linger is…”some people seem to think all the world needs is lots of sermons.  The truth is people today have been almost preached to death.  What we want is to preach more sermons with our hands and feet – to carry the gospel to the people by acts of kindness.

I liked this book because it put me back in touch with the basics of Christianity that we tend to complicate and put rules/conditions around.   I walk away from this book with the expectation that God is going to use me…and i need to get out there and do the work He’s given me to do.

In the Unlikely Event

In the Unlikely Event Cover
“In the Unlikely Event” was a selection from my book club and when i saw who the author was, it was a blast from the past. I grew up on Judy Blume, often reading her books in the cover of darkness, afraid of being caught reading what would have been considered “racey” material. Until now, i didn’t realize Judy Blume had moved into adult fiction books.

I toggled back and forth on 3 and 4 stars when rating this book. It was a smooth read and held my attention, but i was frustrated with the amount of characters being introduced. I had a difficult time keeping up with who was who and how they were connected. I thought the main characters were developed well. I was drawn in to Miri and her family, as well as her relationship with Mason. I thought the ending of the book was very well done. It was nice to see the reunion and reconcilation of several of the main characters.

I love books that bring in real-life events such as this one. I was not familiar with the plane crashes that took place in Elizabeth, NJ.

Overall, i enjoyed this book and would have rated higher if there would have been less point of views introduced.

 

 

Relationships Book CoverAuthors:  Timothy S. Lane & Paul David Tripp

We reach points in our relationships when we wonder if they are even worth it.”   Wow!   This statement packs a punch as all of us have been involved in relationships where we have either thought, verbalized, or taken action that shows we don’t think the relationship is worth the time, drama, or heartache involved.

The authors, Mr. Lane and Mr. Tripp, do a wonderful job breaking apart the various components of relationships and providing illustrations that make you wonder if they have been peeking into your own personal thoughts and life.  I really appreciated their careful selection of stories that allowed the reader to identify with and apply to their own messy relationships.  The explanations and guidance found through the pages of this book are firmly held together with God’s word.

One of the biggest gains I received from this book was the realization that i am not to look to my personal relationships to give me what Christ has already given me.   “None of us will ever be in a relationship with a finished person,” so stop looking for another sinner to be our savior.

As predicted by the authors, I noticed several of my own relationships began experiencing increased conflict as I worked my way through this book.   Maybe I was just more alert or maybe God was allowing a stage for me to practice what i was learning.   In each instance I found that I was more aware of my need to focus on the forgiveness and grace that has been freely gifted to me through Christ.  I found it easier to look within at where God desires me to change versus projecting blame on the other person.   Easy?…No.  Necessary?…Definitely.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.  It was a fantastic reminder that God has a purpose for every relationship and even the messy ones are well worth our time, love, and attention.