Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Review: Churchill's Trial

Churchill's Trial by Larry P. Arnn
Five stars
 
Constitutionalist, strategist, writer, statesman...perhaps one of the most significant players in recent human history, Winston Churchill, can be described as many things. Known for his wit, unfettered confidence and brilliant strategy, there are few that can hold a candle to the man that Churchill was. 
 
Arnn does a fantastic job of laying out the timeline of Churchill's rise to political power, beginning as a soldier who happened upon, okay...maybe forced himself to be allowed as a war correspondent, to the magnificent statesman that he became. Arnn organized the book in to three sections: War, Empire, and Peace, with each section divided in to chapters discussing Churchill's various qualities, positions, and general highlights of his outstanding career. This makes for a very easy, logical flow; the book is well written and easy to digest for people completely unfamiliar with who Churchill was and why he is such an iconic historical figure, political leader, and war figure. 
 
This book offers something for everyone, whether you're completely unfamiliar with Churchill to even the most well-versed Churchill fans. The brilliant war-strategist and statesman held strong to his convictions and remained calculated throughout his career, however people were often divided during times of peace. Churchill was such an inspiration to many during times of war or when uncertainty was on the horizon, but in times of peace he was significantly less effective as a leader. One of the standout issues in regards to Churchill was his view on politics, capitalism, socialism, and the winds of political change headed for England. Churchill put much faith in people to govern themselves and did believe they should be trusted, that given the appropriate "constitutional arrangements" and the fact that the people were men and not beast, that ultimately what was in the best interest of humanity would win out. Over-control of the people, or a far-reaching government was something that Churchill was vehemently opposed to. 
 
Churchill's charming, calculating personality and his knack for wartime strategy is what many today focus on, but for a deeper look at his life and his rise to become one of the most influential leaders of modern history, and ultimately his political demise and fall in to the mists of time, this book is an excellent resource for the meat and potatoes of a great man. I highly recommend this book and gave it five stars for it's easy-to-digest writing, layout, and content. Arnn did a fabulous job of letting us in at an inside look at such a great historical figure. 

If you're interested in checking out this fabulous book, you can purchase it here!



Disclaimer: I received this book from BookLook bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
  
Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Review: What Keeps you up at Night

What Keeps you up at Night: How to find peace while chasing your dreams
Pete Wilson
"I encourage you to think of this book as a field guide to ruthlessly understanding God's plan - even in the face of difficulty and uncertainty" (p. XXII)
It seems that books addressing fear, uncertainty, finding your purpose, and living on faith and trusting God could almost comprise an entire genre in and of themselves. I believe we as a species have always dealt with fear, uncertainty...struggling to lean on God when we are faced with some of the big questions. I'm not even entirely sure if this is a new "phenomenon" with all of these books being written to address these issues. And perhaps it just seems like the market is flooded with such books because like a moth to flame, I gravitate toward these types of books. 
In What Keeps you up at Night, Pete Wilson attempts to address those very things-fear, uncertainty, finding your purpose, and trusting in God/living in faith while experiencing those scary emotions. It would be great if we could feel secure in everything that we do, but we don't. We need faith.  

As much as I hate to say it, this book was just like many of the other books that I've read on this subject. I didn't like it as much as the others, though...it was dry. I would recommend this book to those who haven't already read many with this subject matter, as it gets a bit redundant and I feel other writings have tackled the subject a bit better, more engaging. It's not a terrible book by any means, but I still only give it 3.5/5 stars.

If you're interested in checking this book out, you can purchase it here!


I was provided a copy of this book free of charge from BookLook bloggers in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own! 
Monday, July 13, 2015

Book Review: The REAL House of God

The REAL House of God
H. Dele Davies, MD
3 stars
 
If you are familiar with the Bible, you are familiar with the Old Testament, which is chock full of all kinds of laws/rules, traditions, people, places...it can be dizzying to understand the OT. In Davies book The REAL House of God we are given an extremely in-depth tour of the Old Testament temple and parallels that with what God desires, and has always desired, for us as a follower of Christ-to allow our bodies to be a temple for Him. 
 
When I say this book is incredibly detailed, I mean it. In all honesty it was a bit hard for me to get through at times; it felt incredibly thick and complicated delving in to the intricacies of the Old Testament temple, what each piece symbolizes, and how our body is of similar "design", if you will, of the Old Testament temple. This book is absolutely phenomenal to increase your understanding of the temple and to appreciate the significance of a physical dwelling place for God. One of my favorite features of every book is when there are additional, thought provoking questions/resources at the end of the chapter or book. This book does indeed have that, and it DID help me digest what I had just read..
 
I really don't have much to say about this particular book, it's something that you have to read yourself if you want to understand *how* God intends our very body to be a temple for Him. It was really cool to have all the pieces and parts of the temple laid out and explained, but as I said before, it was really thick, this book really needs your undivided attention. I would recommend it solely based on the significance of being able to understand the temple. I don't know that I considerably enjoyed the book, but it is a book I think one should read if they are interested in expanding their knowledge of both the OT and NT temples. All in all, 3 stars. If you're interested in purchasing this book you can buy it here!
 
 
 
 
 
Disclaimer: I was provided an e-book copy of this from BookLook bloggers in exchange for honest, unbiased review. Everything expressed here is my very own opinion.  
Friday, May 15, 2015

Book Review: Unoffendable

Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better
Brant Hansen
Five stars


 In a few words, this book is a must-read...

However, a few words don't usually cut it for book reviews, and you are all far less inclined to take my word for it, you want to hear about this book and why I deem it a "must read", don't you? Of course you do...

Brant Hansen offers some seriously funny, witty insight in his book Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make All of Life Better. This book is a fast read, at least it was for me, in part due to the fun, light writing that Hansen implements in this book. This is impressive because the concept of anger, the topic that he is taking on, is really heavy stuff. We have always been taught that we have some sort of "right" to "righteous anger", but Hansen challenges this idea head on and argues that we really have no business being angry or offended...that's *God* territory. We do not have the capacity to manage our anger properly, we do not have business judging and getting upset. For one, we never really know what is going in a person's life...without all the facts, is it really fair to judge, to get angry, to get offended? Second, this really inhibits our ability to practice one of the central concepts of Jesus' teaching- to love. To love as He loves us. Without boundaries, without conditions or constraints...to love freely and dangerously and without discrimination. The problem with being offended, is that sometimes it lets us get all judgy on people...we judge their point of view, automatically feel like *we* are superior. As Hansen says in one section, we NEVER think we are the jerk in a situation. We aren't the jerk that cut someone off in traffic, we aren't the jerk who just stole the parking spot. We really have no idea and therefore no business getting offended or upset or angry. The fact is that getting offended and angry leads to so many other things...broken relationships, missed opportunities, and even health problems. Stress causes all sorts of problems, and we when dwell or stew, our stress hormones skyrocket...stress is no longer a "life-saving" reaction to something as it is in the animal kingdom, stress lets us dwell and worry about things, to stay mad, and affect our health and happiness. 

Unoffendable. The concept of living in such a way is really, REALLY lost in our current culture. Everyone is offended by something...and that can lead to bitterness, anger, and all things ugly. The idea of living unoffendably, if that's even a real word, is quite a novel concept. What does it mean to be unoffendable, though? Do we turn our heads at the injustices in society? Do we have no cause to get angry or frustrated when someone does something to us that hurts, or that we don't agree with? Well, not necessarily. While Hansen does challenge the idea of righteous anger in his book, he is also clear in telling the readers that although we have no right to it, we are human and we will struggle with anger and being offended from time to time. BUT, life is so much more...simple...without anger and taking offense to everything. After all, if we are constantly offended or angry when it comes to other people, we are going to be very busy people. 

So how do you live an "Unoffendable" life? It's a choice, something that Hansen makes VERY clear in the book, and that the choice to remain unoffendable is often an incredibly difficult one. I appreciate Hansen's honesty that even he still struggles with the issues he's writing about, which helps immensely in relating to the book as well as feeling like he's completely credible. 

I really recommend this book, it has the potential to be life-changing for many people. The challenge of becoming unoffendable is a good one...hard, but an amazing challenge to take on. I am personally choosing to take this challenge and have already felt the differences that this mindset can bring. If you are interested in purchasing this five star book, you can purchase it here!



I was provided this book by BookLook bloggers  in exchange for my honest opinion. Everything expressed in this review is my honest opinion. 

 
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Review: The Art of Work by Jeff Goins




The Art of Work
Jeff Goins
5 Stars

It usually takes me a significantly longer amount of time to get through an e-book versus a "real" book, but this one surprised me...I could not stop reading!  This book was far more than just "a book"...it proves as a source of encouragement and inspiration to mix things up and follow your passion! Through real-life stories of people who have made massive sacrifices, leaps of faith, and sometimes personal failures, Goins does a phenomenal job of getting across the point of the book in three easy-to-read parts: preparation, action, and completion. 

Each section includes thoroughly thought-provoking testimonies, encouragement, and even examples of failure. One particular part was my favorite; it discussed how sometimes teachers come in to our lives when we are least expecting of it, and sometimes we don't even KNOW we are being set on a course to discover what we are truly meant to do. The examples in this section were extremely profound and evidence to the fact that even the most uncertain situations and circumstances can give birth to a miraculous epiphany or set us on a life-changing course, sometimes a course that can impact many, many people. Goins also discusses the very real possibility that the course we have set for ourselves is not always the correct one! What we think we want, is not always what our life's passion is and he gives us a phenomenal example of this in the book.

This book is highly, highly recommended and really lit a spark inside me, inspiring me to look within not only myself but my family and attempt to discover what this "there is more to this" feeling I have been having. This book, while a Christian book, is NOT overly heavy on the Biblical references or stories, so I would feel *very* comfortable recommending it to even some of my non-Christian friends. I truly believe this is a must-have in anyone's library and cannot say enough positive things about it!

All in all, five stars and you can purchase the book here!


I received this book from BookLook bloggers in exchange for my honest review. Any views expressed are my own! 












Thursday, February 12, 2015

That's inappropriate! Wait...what?

Lately the interwebs have been exploding with stories about nursing mothers asked to leave public places when they are "caught" feeding their babies. I don't know...I feel like this shouldn't be news, because this shouldn't be an issue. 

My first experience *that I can recall* seeing a woman breastfeeding in public, was when I was in my 20s and had already delivered and nursed three boys. This woman was confidently walking around this children's consignment store nursing not one, but two babies simultaneously. I mean...there was no cover, there was no care in the world, she was just feeding her hungry twins. Lots was hanging out and at first I was a little embarrassed because honestly, I don't want to see that :( Her shirt was practically off, but you know what...you couldn't see anything that I would consider inappropriate...

But I couldn't help but admire this lady for doing something I never could do, which is nurse in public. And she was so confident in doing so...I just...I admired her because she didn't care! I was the mom that, when baby would cry to be fed, would push her grocery cart up to the front, not check out, and leave so I could go to my car to feed my baby. I'm a rather modest girl, but I had been exposed to so much RIDICULE of nursing mothers in public that the idea of having to nurse my baby in a public place terrified me beyond reason. 

I know, I know..."Use a cover and everything will be fine! Even a spare blanket would work!" Mhmm...yeah...tell that to my babies. I could never, ever get a cover to stay in place or work for me and it's not incredibly discreet anyway with this giant piece of cloth over your body while you feed your baby. Everyone knows what you're doing, they just can't "see" it. Which brings me to one of my points...how much do you *really* see when you see a woman feeding her baby in public? Are there women that show a little more than others? Of course there are. But people don't make that distinction...they see all breastfeeding in public as a serious offense, even though some mothers are able to do it so discreetly that you can't tell unless you're looking closer than you should at a woman's chest.

We all have our own reasons for liking or not liking stuff. But honestly...the arguments against public breastfeeding really bother me. They include:
1. It's inappropriate. No one wants to see your breasts. 
2. It's an impressionable male's absolute dream to see breasts in public. 
3. It's not necessary to feed your baby in public, you failed to prepare.
4. It's not a big deal to use a cover, you're just being a martyr. 
5. I don't want to have to explain to my children what's going on. 

Okay, seriously...it's inappropriate because no one wants to see your breasts? And it's a young man's dream? Um...either you're blind to what pop culture and mainstream media pushes, or you're just being ridiculous. FAR MORE SKIN is shown at the beach and shoot, even in schools these days, than is shown when breastfeeding. Are there some women who happen to show a bit more when nursing without a cover? There's bound to be extremes...but for the most part, you are seeing very little, if any breast when a woman is nursing her baby. My *personal* opinion about these two arguments is that our culture has so grossly over-sexualized breasts that it makes people uncomfortable to see them being used for any purpose other than, well, sexual enjoyment or as something fun to look at. The other problem I have here, especially with the "young man's dream to see boobs in public" is that you're putting responsibility for their thoughts and indiscretions on the person who is nursing. That is not their fault...you cannot control what another person is thinking. It's not fair to pin another person's inappropriate thoughts on someone else. It's like saying a rape victim was asking for it because of the way she was dressed. Granted that is an extreme example, it's just not fair. We need to teach our young men to be mindful of what they are thinking and to respect women. "Respect women? How can we do that when their breasts are hanging out while feeding a baby?" Uh, well, they're not just "hanging out when they're feeding a baby", in fact, they're hanging out all the time. All over billboards, all over magazines and TV and in schools and offices. SO, yeah, I hope you're petitioning that all of that changes as well. 

Point three is that you're unprepared. This is stupid. Because babies *totally* follow your schedule, you're unprepared when your infant wakes up in the middle of the store and is hungry. Babies don't always cooperate, they don't always eat when you want them to, and they don't always stay asleep on your errands. Sometimes the best way to get a baby to calm down is to put them to the breast, where they eventually fall asleep. But seriously, if it's not someone complaining about your crying baby, it's someone complaining about you nursing in public. 

Point four is a valid one...why not use a cover? Well, I had zero zero zero point zero luck using a cover with any of my babies. Blankets didn't work, covers didn't work, they were uncomfortable and cumbersome and incredibly awkward. But some women don't use covers because they simply feel they just shouldn't HAVE to. I support that. I may not have used a cover, but I certainly didn't let it all hang out. It wasn't until I had my 5th baby that I actually dared nurse in public, and it was incredibly liberating. Nobody stared, nobody made comments or whispered. I was in a booth in a restaurant with the rest of my family, and I simply turned inward and fed the little one. 

The last point, number five, I find a little sad. Children are naturally curious, and if you feel squeamish about explaining the natural function of breasts, I feel sad for you. "But I have boys and they have no business..." Honey...yes they do. It's a simple "She's feeding her baby, and we can talk about this later". That's it. Leave it at that. 

It's sad that people have such an issue with nursing in public. Or breastfeeding, PERIOD. I don't get it. These women are trying to feed their babies. And honestly, I had more looky-loos looking in to my car while I was feeding my baby than I did when I was in a store, on a bench, at the beach, in a park, etc. I don't like the "mom shaming" I see when the debate comes up. These are just my thoughts so take them with a grain of salt. I don't see how breastfeeding in public is offensive, dirty, or inspires nasty thoughts. But to each their own.

Review: Make It Happen by Lara Casey



 Make it Happen By Lara Casey
Five stars


I love books...I just love them. There is something I find incredibly satisfying about holding a book in my hand, feeling the pages...it's just a glorious feeling. That's probably why I review them :)

ANYWHO...I like to take time with the books that I have to really absorb the message and offer a comprehensive review and my take on it. I've had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Make it Happen: Surrender your fear, take the leap, live on purpose by Lara Casey and this time, it didn't take me weeks to write a review because I was absorbing it (okay, maybe partially) but because I was busy implementing the advice and tools offered in this book in to my real life. This is a life.changing.book.

MIH, as I'll lovingly refer to this book, was an absolute page-turner for me...I ate up just about every sentence Casey wrote because it so incredibly applied to me personally. I was just touched by this book in a way I haven't been in a long time, and it lit a fire right in my chest to make some changes. This book discusses how fear can hold us back...not that whole "my life is in danger" fear, but fear of all sorts of things-failure, success (yes, you can be afraid of success), responsibility, change, etc. Lara asks us to search within ourselves and GET RAW, figure out what fear is holding us back, why it's holding us back, and even asks the question I hate to ask...where would you be if you didn't have these things holding you back? But it's much more than fear...it can be obligations or even self-hate that holds us back from realizing our true potential, gifts, and mission in life. For some reason, of all the books similar to this that I have read, this one had the most profound effect on me and actually made me *want* to take a look at myself, answer the questions she presents, and figure out what the heck I'm doing...

The chapters are not incredibly lengthy, and they're full of valuable stuff including experiences, thought provoking questions, and even some prompts to check out a corresponding website where she offers videos or other supplemental items to add on to what she's saying in the book. She not only discusses fear, but how to overcome it with the help of God, and is constantly asking us to evaluate ourselves to figure out how we are living and who we are *really* living for. Are we living a life chasing happiness, or are we living a life in pursuit of God? Overall, aside from the Bible of course, this is a manual in how to overcome fear, why you should overcome it, and living a more purposeful, direction/goal-oriented life that glorifies God and brings you peace and wellness. 

This book absolutely deserves five stars...it's wonderfully written, it's easy to relate to, it includes scripture and Biblical truth, but it deserves five stars also because it's easy to read and friendly...I really felt like I was having a conversation with a loving friend. The way Casey has presented herself to her readers is like finding that soul sister, that sister-in-Christ that you can always talk to, even with your issues you'd rather not share with others. She's just...warm. 

If you are interested in reading this book, I highly, highly recommend it. You can purchase it here!





I received a copy of this book free in exchange for my honest opinion from BookLook bloggers. All opinions expressed are my own!