Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Review: Ingredients for Success

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In Ingredients for Success: 10 Best Practices for Business ad Life, author Joseph James Slawek 'shares 10 best practices for business leaders, which he draws from the teachings of Jesus.'

I will preface my review by stating that I am not a business leader.  In fact, I am a stay-at-home mom.  Since the book's title stated that the 10 best practices were for business and life, I thought it worthwhile to read.  I was not disappointed.

Slawek masterfully interweaves his personal experiences and his professional ones to demonstrate the effectiveness of these practices.  At first, it seemed that the book was going to be a history on his company, but because Slawek goes into great details about his past, conversion, and present, I was able to relate to it more than I had originally expected.  

Slawek does not propose to have the answers but correctly leads the reader to Him who does--Jesus.  He credits his success to the implementation of Biblical principles.  I particularly enjoyed the second half of the book.  On page 68, he writes:

Never reward before the accounting, even if it's based on the best of motives with the hardest working employees.  In order to get a return, you have to invest your talents first.

This principle is not limited to the business world but life in general.  His discussion on fears was most interesting.  Ascertaining correctly that failure is not the worst that could happen but rather mediocrity was brilliant.  

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to live a life of excellence, not perfection.


I received complimentary copy of this book from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Book Review: The Redcoats Are Coming!

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In the Imagination Station book #13:  The Redcoats Are Coming! authors Marianne Hering and Nancy I. Sanders take us on an adventure with cousins Patrick and Beth set in 1775, Concord, Massachusetts.  

Imagination Station books are a big hit in our home.  We have most of the series and are always excited when a new title becomes available.  This particular title came just as we were studying the American Revolution time period.  As a parent, I appreciate how History and Christianity are interwoven throughout the book.  The occasional picture provided a great way of capturing the child's attention without serving as a distraction.  The length of the book was just enough to draw the child into the plot and keeping their interest for the next adventure.  This particular story ends in a cliffhanger which will be later revealed in book #14, which we look forward to reading as well.  

Below are my daughter's thoughts on the book as well.

Marianne Hering and Nancy I. Sanders are the authors of The Redcoats Are Coming!.  In this book they capture the beginning of the revolution.  By using children it makes it child friendly.  It was particularly intriguing when they brought in many different characters.  I also enjoyed that the writers put the book together by focusing on History and Christianity at the same time.  I enjoyed reading The Redcoats Are Coming! and rate it five starts.  I recommend this book for seven year-olds and up.


 I received a complimentary copy of above mentioned title from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A New Year, A New Vision

It's a New Year!

This is a time when resolutions are made and broken all within the first month of the year.

And I don't want to be a casualty of it.

Naturally, I enjoy setting goals.  The feel of checking off those little boxes throughout the day and at the end of the week is great.

And when normally, I would jump on the chance of tackling some goals, I've decided to wait.

Wait.

Wait.

Wait to see how the Lord guides and directs.  More than just another accomplished goal, we are waiting and praying for a vision.  God's vision for our lives, our marriage, our children.

So we are waiting.

This doesn't mean that I am not twirling some things in my mind of things that I have to /want to get done because I do (example: catching up on our 2013 family album:)  It just means I am waiting.  And while I am waiting, I am enjoying.

Learning to delight in Him.

Savoring His mercies that are new every morning.

Listening as He brings me Word of His unfailing love.

Thanking Him for His many blessings that are too numerous to count.

Yes, it is a new year and there is a new vision.

Review: The Wayfinding Bible

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Tyndale's The Wayfinding Bible (NLT) was 'created to encourage the reading of God's Word.'  With its beautiful illustrations and colorful notes throughout, it certainly does pique a reader's interest.  But will it retain it?

The colorfulness of the Bible is enough to want to make you pick up the Bible and start flipping through the pages, however their choice of translation can deter some.  Understandably, this version was chosen to appeal to more readers and make the contents more comprehensive, but the same could have been accomplished with the NIV84.

The three navigation routes are great.  I enjoyed reading the flyover route to my children while homeschooling and think that this method could be used during personal devotions as well.  It is a good way to keep information fresh in one's mind since you can accomplish it in 54 days.  

The finding Jesus section in the introduction of the books really seeks to demonstrate His appearance throughout the entire Word of God.  The colored maps heightened the flying over experience making it seem as if a mini atlas had been included.  Two of my favorite features were the charts for Psalms and Proverbs.  These alone make the Bible a worthwhile addition to one's library.  Since I primarily use this Bible with my children, it is so helpful to have the information categorized for me.  

I would definitely recommend this Bible as an addition to your library but not as a stand alone Bible.  I think using this in conjunction with another version would be more beneficial.  The extra information is  plentiful enough to get one interested not only in reading the Bible but actually studying it.  

 I received a complimentary copy of above mentioned title from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an independent and unbiased review.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Book Review: Hands Free Mama

Rachel Macy Stafford's Hands Free Mama chronicles her journey of discovering 'what happens when you choose to open your heart--and your hands--to each God-given moment.

This book was a difficult read for me.  The concept of the book itself is what attracted me to it but while reading I became more and more disheartened by the author's statements.  The author professes to be a Christian and yet states on page 91:

It is my belief that greeting our children with happiness and love matters more than any other parental effort we can make.

It is unclear to me where the Bible fits into her parental efforts.  The book is a myriad of examples from the author's experience of coming to the realization that she had to disconnect from her to do lists and plug into the lives of her children.  However, example after example is given mostly of her younger daughter.  Although she admits that her younger child suffered the brunt of her disconnectedness, I can not imagine that her older child was any less affected.  

Her CVS epiphany on page 144 was too much for me.  If your worth and validation is found in the sunscreen aisle because a twenty year-old says you are beautiful, clearly there are some deeper issues going on.  But this is where the book took a turn for me.

Up to this point, I really did not see the point of her sharing all these experiences and the ante dote of just spending more time with your children until the author's vulnerability came through and the reason became apparent.  The author's transparency in detailing the issues as heart issues and not just time-management issues made me not only continue to read the book but actually enjoy it.  

She actually packs a lot into this book by providing multiple hands free weekly intentions in one chapter along with a Hands Free Reflection and Reflection Questions.  I would have liked to see more Scripture interwoven.  This book might turn some readers away, but I think that if you stick with it, you are sure to find some valuable information for personal change. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”