Category Archives: Reading

What I’ve read, what I hope to read,

Comparison Girl – A Book Review

IMG_2986Me? A Comparison Girl?  Yep.  Every single day.  Every single second of each day it seems.  Shannon Popkin in her book Comparison Girl – Lessons from Jesus on Me-Free Living in a Measure-up World pointed it out to me vividly.  In her new book, Shannon shares her Bible knowledge and God’s truth in a very easy, relatable way.

Short chapters chock full of Biblical truths show us, Comparison Girls, how to free ourselves from bondage in the areas of sin, wealth, appearance, ministries, and status. She reinforces our need to stop trying to measure up but to spend our time and resources by pouring out on others.

I found myself saying “ouch” in almost every chapter as she seemed to identify many of my struggles as a woman today in a world full of Facebook posts, filters, and airbrushed pictures.  And, whether I have an over-inflated or under-inflated opinion of myself, my opinion still focuses on self.

In chapter 2, Comparing your sin and mine, she gives a great example of how we notice others’ sin and not our own at times.  Shannon defines the “sin of disgust” as she shares a story of someone walking into the church and this person “doesn’t belong.”  She points out that some people would choose to not sit with this individual.  Just as I was reading and believing that I was one of the “good ones” who would sit with her, she prompted me to examine how I was viewing those who wouldn’t.  Was I comparing down with disgust? ” We comparison girls tend to minimize our own sin of looking down on sinful people …we fail to see our contempt as sin. Each eye-roll horrified gasp, or look of disgust cast toward others is offensive to God, their Maker.”  Ouch! But Wait!  After she points out our shortfalls or shortcomings she recuses us with Jesus’s words in a clear Bible study with relevant questions for self-discovery and scripture leading us to resolve and renewal.  Finally, each chapter closes with a pertinent scripture meditation.

This book would make a wonderful Bible study for a group of friends or a Mother/Daughter book club.  I believe this information is important for women of all ages and I believe we would benefit by learning these truths sooner rather than later.  I’m going to go share some notes with my 14-year-old daughter now!

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Connect with Shannon Popkin by visiting www.shannonpopkin.com, following her on Facebook (shanpopkin) or following her via Twitter (@ShannonPopkin).

 

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Secretly Do Good Deeds

IMG_1557I recently hosted a used book sale to raise funds for Haiti.  Though I don’t have any young children in my home and I have retired from selling children’s books, I still am always drawn to the picture books.  I love the illustrations and the often rhyming text.  This book sale was no different.  I found myself picking up the hardback, colorful books and enjoying the simple stories.

Secretly Do Good Deeds by Melody Carlson was such a fun book with a great message. Someone did a good deed for this little protagonist without getting caught and it prompted her into doing good deeds in private for others.  The author’s story idea isn’t original, it comes straight from Matthew 6:1-4 in the Bible.

 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.  –Mat 6:1-4 NIV

The author ends her story with “And now I will share my fun secret with you. It’s something Lord Jesus said that we should do. “Do your good deeds when no one can see, And God will reward you eternally.”  That ends the story, that ends the book, but I hope it doesn’t end the message.  Since reading that book, I’ve been thinking about how I could do good deeds in secret and I must admit, I’ve come up short.  (So if you’ve recently been the recipient of someone doing something nice for you in secret, it wasn’t me!) This week, however, I may try even harder and I challenge you to do the same!  Let’s see if we can make someone’s day a little brighter and honor God and His word at the same time.

Shhhhh!  Don’t tell anyone!

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The World Is Not a Stage

“Be especially careful when you are trying to be good so that you don’t make a performance out of it. It might be good theater, but the God who made you won’t be applauding.

2-4 “When you do something for someone else, don’t call attention to yourself. You’ve seen them in action, I’m sure—play actors’ I call them—treating prayer meeting and street corner alike as a stage, acting compassionate as long as someone is watching, playing to the crowds. They get applause, true, but that’s all they get. When you help someone out, don’t think about how it looks. Just do it—quietly and unobtrusively. That is the way your God, who conceived you in love, working behind the scenes, helps you out. –Matthew 6:1-4 MSG

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Book Review: Adventures of Jordan

IMG_2044Grab an afghan or a fleece blanket and have a child by your side as you read and enjoy Adventures of Jordan – A Children’s Bible Story from a Bird’s View by Linda Hemphill. This 77 page, 5 chapter book would make a great read aloud as you wind down at the end of the day. Children who are transitional readers will also enjoy reading this book by themselves as the safe, warm, characters will make reading alone less lonely. The large, easy to read font along with the occasional illustrations make this title reader friendly.

The story of Noah is brought to life by personable conversations between a curious, young bird, Jordan, who was injured and finds himself aboard an ark full of animals. These likable characters do an excellent job of sharing the word of God in a fun format that children will enjoy.

The author’s love of scripture becomes evident as she makes these characters shine the love of Christ and engage the reader.  Actual scripture passages are included in the Addendum for further exploration.

From the beginning when Jordan “opened his right wing and plucked a loose feather from underneath,” until later when Noah “stopped to gently stroke a horse’s neck, scratched a llama behind its ears, laughed at the antics of a pair of kangaroos, and smiled as a small monkey climbed up on his shoulder,” the author’s descriptive language makes you enjoy your time spent in the company of these characters who will feel like friends by the end of the book.

Pair this book with a book light and a cuddly stuffed animal and it will make a great Christmas gift for all of the children on your list.

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Adventures of Jordan – A Children’s Bible Story from a Bird’s View – Noah

Written by Linda Hemphill              Illustrated by Richard Hemphill

HemphillBooks.com

2017

95 pages including NIrV Genesis 6-9

ISBN  978-0-9992378-0-9

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Book Review: A 14 Day Romance Challenge-Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage

e8100be21a4b2fc2f8793bf1c68e6dccA challenge is sometimes defined as, “a call to take part in a contest or competition, especially a duel.” Anyone who knows me knows that I am not competitive and I certainly would not like to participate in a duel, so what would make me want to consider accepting a challenge?  A book with a catchy title and a promise to reignite passion in my marriage, that’s what and all in the context of 14 days.

A 14 Day Romance Challenge – Reigniting Passion in Your Marriage by Sharon Jaynes is a 163 page book that “challenges” wives to do nice, little surprises for their spouse.  Doing nice things for your husband should just happen, right?  Well, let’s be real, without a little encouragement, sometimes we wives just don’t bother!  If you’ve read some of my blog posts you know I’m all about the lists, the tasks and checking things off, so this book was right up my alley.  Small chapters to read, a few ideas, pick one to try and the day is off to a good start.  I sincerely had fun gifting my husband with little notes and surprises and I had even more fun encouraging my friends to do it too.  So, if you were one of my friends who received a “thank your husband for something right now” text, now you know why.  I just wanted to encourage you like Sharon encouraged me.

She suggests we try a contest in our home on “seeing who can out-serve the other! The apostle Paul encourages:”Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other“(Romans 12:9-10 NLT.)

It’s really been fun to do some silly things to beat the post Christmas winter blues and I think the ideas in this book would be great to try around Valentine’s Day.  One of the last chapters in the book is 150 additional ways to romance your husband, so this should keep the spark alive until after Memorial Day!  If you want to borrow my copy, just let me know!

 

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Be Careful What You Read

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A few years ago, my book club had tackled a couple of substantial novels.  We read The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot to name a few.  As the holidays were approaching, we decided to lighten up and choose a fun, easy read for December.  We were going to read The Trouble With Angels by Debbie Macomber.  The review said, “A delightful sequel featuring three heavenly but feather-brained angelic messengers.  Inspired by the success last Christmas, Shirley, Goodness, and Mercy return to answer the prayers of three troubled mortals and ensure a holiday season filled with love and joy.”  Just what the doctor ordered for a light hearted Christmas read.  Or one would think… until you encounter a “real” doctor who thought otherwise.

While reading this book, I had an appointment with a dermatologist (who shall remain nameless.)  He kept me waiting for over an hour, but thanks to my simple read, I was entertained.  However, any time in a waiting room is too much and after 60 minutes, even with a good book, I was starting to get annoyed.  Trying to stay positive (remember it was Christmas and goodwill was to be promoted), I kept quiet and kept reading.  Finally, I was called into the exam room where I donned a pair of paper shorts and waited some more. Finally, the door opened and in walked the doctor.  I handed him my book to place on the counter so I could give him my full attention.  He placed his attention on the back cover of my book where he read the above summary.  In a very patronizing tone, he read the entire cover taking up my valuable time and my dignity.  Slightly embarrassed, I explained that my book club group was intentional in choosing literary fluff for the season.  I knew at that moment that I would not be returning to see this doctor again.  Not only was he condescending and arrogant, but he made me wait and then wait again, and then wait even longer while he took the time to read a jacket cover!  i sincerely believe that he treated me in this way based on what I was reading.  He judged me.

Fast forward a few years when once again I found myself in a waiting room.  I had fallen and broken my hand and as a distraction, I took along my book club book to pass the time. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck.  The door opened and in walked the doctor.  I handed him my book to place on the counter so I could give him my full attention.  He briefly placed his attention on the title and said, “Wow.  A little light reading?  I’m impressed.”  We went on to discuss the book as he treated my hand and he treated me with dignity and respect.  He, too, judged me.  I believe, my treatment in both cases was based on the book in my hand.

Journalist PJ O’Rourke said, “Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it” and I have to agree.  I promise you that I now am mindful of what I am reading when I head to the doctors’.  I pick up the book I am currently reading and if I am satisfied that my doctor would approve, I take it with me.  If not, I just reach under the seat of my car and grab my copy of War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy and head into the office.  I hold it in my hand and then scroll through Facebook or Surf the Web on my phone until the exam room door opens.  Judge away!

 

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