life beyond the well…

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Book Review: Living Well Spending Less

I saw this book floating around on Facebook for a while, and I can admit that I was intrigued.  And then, when I had the opportunity to review it, I was excited.

I consider myself to be a reformed shopaholic.  Or maybe, a reformed saleaholic.  I’ve never met a sale that I didn’t like.  It’s how I go to Target with a list that only has 3 things on it, and leave with 7 items.  I know that I’m not alone there.  So, I snagged this book hoping to acquire a few more strategies to deal with my “saleaholism”.

Living Well Spending Less is not just about budgeting and money saving strategies.  It helps to deal with issues of the heart that contribute to spending.  The author, Ruth Soukup describes living well as being more about who we are than what we have.  I appreciate the candidness and transparency with which she shared her own struggles with spending and how it affected her family and marriage.  But more than that, I appreciated the thoughtful words of wisdom and applicable advice (i.e.: she doesn’t just tell you to budget, but provides different suggestions on how to do so).

This book reads well and I would definitely recommend it to anyone- especially those of you who are interested in improving your finances.  You’ll enjoy it!

Be encouraged! Peace and Blessings

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

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Book Review: Make It Happen

Y’all. This. Book. Is. Everything.

Okay, but for real.  I had a feeling that I might like Lara Casey’s book “Make it Happen”– because I really like Lara Casey.  I love her work, I admire her humility and transparency, and I think that she’s just an all-around awesome lady.  Plus, she lives in Chapel Hill, and anyone who has sense enough to live in the Southern Part of Heaven is alright with me.

But when I tell you this book took me all the way in…

This book is everything that an excellent book SHOULD be.  It’s well-written. It’s captivating and compelling. It’s inspiring.  It makes you think, and then challenges you to act.  And while ALL of that is great, what I really love about this book is the level of transparency shared by the author.

She kept it all the way real.  And as a result, I felt that I could trust the suggestions that she makes in the book for how we, as readers, can “make it happen”.

This book has been on my radar for a while, and I am so happy I read it.  I’ve already recommended it to quite a few people that I know, and I told Preacherman that I would use it for a book club at our church.  This book can (and will) change lives.

I encourage you to pick up a copy of Lara Casey’s book– read it and gift it.  There are a couple of people I know who will be receiving this book in the mail very soon!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings.
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.

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Book Review: What’s Best Next

I don’t know that there are enough words to explain how excited I was to read Matt Perman’s book “What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done“.  I can definitely be a busybody, involved with a lot of activities both at work and at home; and I know that it’s important that I begin to prioritize things in an appropriate way.  The truth is that there will always be things that “need” to get done and that NEED to get done.  I’m all too guilty of letting the urgent crowd out the important.  I’ve been determined to be better, and this book was a huge help for me!

There were so many things that I appreciated about this book; however, his thoughts on email and how to handle it helped me the most.  I get SO. MANY. EMAILS. between my work and personal accounts it’s overwhelming to me- as I prefer that my inbox number be as low as possible.  His approach to email helped me to pare it down and manage it much more efficiently.

This book really resonated with my thought that “good things aren’t always God things”.  As a result, I need to rely more on the gospel as a measure of what I’m pursuing and how things (and what things) are getting done.

This would be an EXCELLENT book to check out for the new year.  Start the year off strong, doing things in a gospel centered way.  You won’t be disappointed!

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.

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Book Review: NIV Life Journey Bible

I love reading the Bible. It’s hard. It challenges me. It changes me. It pushes me to grow in my relationship with God and with others.  While I have a small NIV Thinline Bible that I carry with me to church (and I also use the Youversion app on my phone quite frequently), I love having a bigger reference bible that can provide greater help in navigating life and growing my faith.

Enter the NIV Life Journey Bible.  It’s already in my favorite translation (NIV), but what I really love about this bible are the practical inserts spread throughout–inserts on family, relationships, grief; with an overall theme of being emotionally healthy.  I think that this is hugely important, and in my own experience with church, I think that sometimes things can be so overly spiritual that there is not much attention paid to some of the real issues that people have.  Being emotionally healthy and learning how to be in healthy relationship is hugely important, and having a bible that highlights those principles as you go through it, is awesome.

I think this bible is excellent and I would recommend it to others. However, I would especially recommend it to new believers, people who enjoy devotionals, and people who value emotional and relationship health in conjunction with their spiritual health.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine

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Book Review: The God-First Life

Every now and then, I read a book and it’s just like “Wow”.  That’s the feeling I had after completing Stovall Weems’ latest book “The God-First Life.”

I have been all too guilty of putting things, desires, and aspirations in a higher place than God, hoping that because God loves me, He will bless those things, desires, and aspirations.  In his book, Weems breaks down that logic with biblical truths, focusing on this verse:

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33).

The book addresses important concepts that are sometimes overlooked as well, such as the value of having a strong community around you, understanding your place in God’s family, and how to gain freedom from your past so that you can move forward.

I loved that this book was not overly complicated or heavily weighted with theological ideas.  Not to say that those are bad, but sometimes what I need most is a simple reminder of what is most important.  As I transition into a new season, and become even more busy with church-planting activities, my job, and my dissertation, I can see myself referring back to the simple truths that Weems presents in this book.

I would recommend this for those who are looking to deepen their relationship with Christ in a simple, non-complicated way.  Though I received this book for free, I have already purchased two additional copies to gift to others because I believe that the message is important and timely.

Until next time…

Be encouraged!  Peace and Blessings!


Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review.  All thoughts and opinions are mine.

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Book Review: The People Factor

Relationships are a huge part of life, and something in which I want to be very good.  I desire to have healthy relationships in all of the roles that I assume- as a wife, a steppie, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend, a coworker, etc.  I was excited to review Van Moody’s book “The People Factor” because I’m finding myself in a new phase of life where I actually have to seek relationships, build them, and maintain them.  Since we have moved to Jacksonville, we’ve been trying to figure out ways to not only meet people, but to develop authentic, healthy relationships with them.  And since that was a goal, I hoped this book could offer some good insight.

Let me just say- this book is awesome!  I found myself wanting to read it faster to get through (because it’s so much GOOD, RELEVANT TEACHING), but also wanting to slow down and take many, many notes.  This is also the first book that I’ve read for review that I’ve had the opportunity to recommend to someone in person (at the hair salon, someone had recently heard about the book and wanted to know if it was good).

Here’s the thing- we can ALL be better at relationships.  Moody’s book provides us with not just an understanding of how and why relationships matter, but tangible tips on how to identify which relationships to stay in (or enter in).  Not only that, at the end of each chapter, he provides excellent relationship reminders and great questions to help you raise your relational IQ.

This book provided a great foundation to help in my approach to relationships in this new phase of life.  This is definitely a book that I will be using as a resource, and that I will recommend to others.  Check it out!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

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Book Review: God in Slow Motion

I tend to find myself in a hurry more than I’d like to be.  In fact, it was my own feelings of needing to slow down that led me to review this book “God in Slow Motion” by Mike Nappa.

I really wanted to love this book, but I really struggled.  While the book makes excellent points about delving deeper into our destiny and the purpose that God has for us instead of speeding through life at a fast pace, it never fully captured my attention.  Perhaps that is part of the struggle that the book is trying to get us to dissect; however, I felt that it took intense dedication to really get at the heart of what the book was saying.  At times, I found it to be too wordy, and I found the author’s writing style difficult to digest.  Thus, while the content was good, I struggled to actually enjoy it and found it difficult to read.

I would recommend this book, with reservations.  Because the content is good, I wouldn’t want someone to miss the message.  But because of the struggle that I had with the writing style, I would definitely be selective about who I recommended it to.  Nevertheless, I believe that the message of the book is worthy of us understanding and paying attention to.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from BookSneeze in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are mine. 

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Book Review: I’ve Got Your Back

Author’s Note: I received this book free from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for a review. All thoughts are my own.

I am passionate about leadership and leadership development, and believe that many organizations are lacking effective leadership.  I was excited to have the opportunity to read “I’ve Got Your Back” to see how the author used a modern day parable to describe effective leadership.

I’ve read a lot of books about leadership, and I seriously believe that this may be the best one.  The author clearly articulates issues that exist in leadership (such as follower abuse, how to be a good follower) and provides excellent examples of how to overcome those issues to be an excellent leader.  I believe that anyone who struggles with leadership, whether that’s being a good leader, or being under a horrible leader should read this book for a fresh perspective on how to handle those issues and ultimately strengthen yourself and your organization.

While this book provides biblical principles for being good leaders and good followers, it is not “overwhelming biblical”, and I feel that those who are not religious would still find it to be beneficial, and not “proselytizing” (for lack of a better term).  I would highly recommend this book for any person who is a leader, planning to be a leader, or has suffered under poor leadership.  I promise it will provide you with a fresh way to look at leadership!

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Book Review: Freefall to Fly- A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning

As a person who struggles to deal with change, I was excited to get my hands on a copy of Rebekah Lyons’ book “Freefall to Fly- A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning”.  In this book, Lyons’ details how she encountered and overcame challenges associated with major changes in her life (such as a family move from Atlanta, Georgia to New York City due to her husband’s job).

While I could identify with some of the challenges Lyons faced as a result of major life changes, there were times that I really struggled to get into the book just because the story itself didn’t seem to flow that well.  However, I did appreciate the transparency that she displayed in telling her story.  While I would question the handling of her mental illness, I do feel that she addressed issues that women frequently face in regards to finding (and rediscovering) their purpose after getting married and having children.

Through many telling life experiences, Lyons encourages women to continue to seek God for their purpose, and then pursue that.  I believe that it is important for women to continue to go after the desires God places in their heart, after marriage and children, and while Lyons’ struggles with that, her book shows that it is possible for women to overcome.

I’m not sure how much I would recommend this book; however, if I did, it would be to women who have struggled with finding and pursuing their purpose because of how life can sometimes get in the way.  Despite struggling at times to get into the book, it was a fairly easy read, and it may be something that I revisit later in life.

Author’s Note: I received this book for free from Handlebar Publishing in exchange for a review.  All opinions are my own. 

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Book Review: Real Love- How to Avoid Romantic Chaos and Find the Path to Lasting Love

“Real love. I’m searching for a real love. Someone to set my heart free…” – Mary J. Blige

Whether we admit it or not, we are all desiring a real love. We smile and feel joy in our hearts at the stories of couples of have been married for 50, 60, and even 70 years; and we often wonder if it’s possible for us to have that same kind of love and marriage. The truth is that it is ABSOLUTELY possible, but you have to go about it in the right way.

That’s where this book comes in. In “Real Love: How to Avoid Romantic Chaos and Find the Path to Lasting Love”, Andy Thompson provides wisdom to those who are seeking to find a lasting love relationship. The book provides simple explanations for how to know if you’re ready to be in a relationship (and reasons why you may not be ready), as well as other valuable tidbits such as “The Three S’s” that men need from their wives and “The Three S’s” that women need from their husbands–and an additional “S” that both husbands and wives need to demonstrate in their marriage.

While the book provides lots of practical wisdom for those who are married, there is also a wealth of knowledge available for those who are in dating relationships. Thompson explains items that should be considered when making “the list” of qualities that one desires in a spouse, the limits and boundaries couples should abide by while they are in the dating phase, and the things that one really needs to know about a person (“The Seven P’s”).

I would recommend this book to people who are hoping to be married so that they can approach their dating relationships with a sense of wisdom instead of being lead by their emotions and how they may feel about a person at the time.  I would also recommend this book to people who are married, as it provides tangible knowledge that can be useful in helping their marriage be the best that it can be.

Being in a successful, long-lasting relationship is not magic.  It requires work from each person involved, but it’s also helpful to begin the relationship with a solid understanding of what lasting relationships require.  While this book doesn’t provide all the answers, it does give you an excellent foundation on which to begin the search for a REAL lasting love.