Monday, November 25, 2013

Edelweiss Books Fireflies

“Catch ideas like fireflies in a jar, and write what only YOU can write.”
Coleen Paratore teaches writing workshops for kids and teens. Passionate about sharing the joy of writing,  Fireflies, coming out in 2014, is a book on that subject. This book is like a series of 'writing prompts' for kids.

A wonderful gift for aspiring writers. This book will encourage and teach them to "see" without them even realizing it.

 "In the Firefly fields of imagination, Ben learns the secret connection between his hands and his heart: his ideas. Disguised as an encounter between an author and a shy student, this charming lesson on the magic of inspiration will have children of all ages reaching for their notebooks and watching for the spark of "fireflies."

Along with Coleen's "Read*Write*Dream*Speak" program, she is also partnered with other literacy programs as well to  to encourage aspiring writers through workshops and talks throughout the country.  

"Journals do more than remind us-they inspire us!
Follow the trail of your own imagination in this vibrant journal as you learn to catch the "fireflies" of creativity. Award-winning author Coleen Paratore shows would be writers how to turn those little sparks of thought into brightly-burning ideas."

Blogging For Books Take Flight by Robin Jones Gunn & Cindy Hannan

A sisterchicks devotional.
What is a sisterchick? A sisterchick is: a friend who shares the deepest wonders of your heart, loves you like a sister, and provides a reality check when you're being a brat.
This devotional is undated so you dont feel the "I missed a day" pressure, but can dive in when you want/need to. The book is full of scripture, stories and a swift kick in the pants, just like you would expect from a friend.
I grew up on Robin's Christy Miller books. So I feel as if it really is getting advice from a friend.
The authors bid you to press in further with journaling pages and key scriptures. Through out each devotion are "wit and wisdom" highlights as well.

With Lessons like: bids me fly and gives me wings.Don't let fear make the decisions for you.
True friendship is that it can survive separation, both by time and distance. (Truth!23 yrs and separate coasts, but LeeAnn is still my best friend.)

As with any good friend, the authors encourage you to stretch and grow, look for those who may need your friendship rather than for some one you think that you need.

BookSneeze Stones for Bread by Christa Parrish

Christa Parrish's book "Home Another Way" is still one of my favourites. I was excited to be given this book to read. 
With a past that has left her empty, Liesl strives to achieve perfection in bread. Making bread is a legacy passed down from her mother and grandmother, kneading their memories into the dough.  (I wished my great grandmother had passed down the instruction for her dough along with the basic recipes.) Bread may not seem like a craft that artists would be drawn to but we all KNOW when we have bit into the perfect loaf. Christa brings into the story history of bread along with the history/depth of her character.
The language of the book is specially crafted with poetry. "Modern home-cooks think nothing of tearing open a bag of silken flour and a package of active dry yeast, and pouring the dry ingredients into a machine with a couple measures of water and a tour hour wait for a fresh loaf. Breads dark history is unknown to them. And the sacrifice." pg 6
With the trend of making artisan breads that has grown recently, this is a great subject. Books and Classes have sprung up every where. Craftsy Bread Classes:HERE
Christa also gives you RECIPES in the book.

Will Seamus be able to break through her hard crust? Or is Leisl content to remain shut in her bakery?

Win 2 copies of the book here:
Win a KitchenAid to make awesome bread HERE:

Read the first three chapters for FREE: HERE

Book Description from Publisher:
A solitary artisan. A legacy of bread-baking. And one secret that could collapse her entire identity.

Liesl McNamara’s life can be described in one word: bread. From her earliest memory, her mother and grandmother passed down the mystery of baking and the importance of this deceptively simple food. And now, as the owner of Wild Rise bake house, Liesl spends every day up to her elbows in dough, nourishing and perfecting her craft.

But the simple life she has cultivated is becoming quite complicated. Her head baker brings his troubled grandson into the bakeshop as an apprentice. Her waitress submits Liesl’s recipes to a popular cable cooking show. And the man who delivers her flour—a single father with strange culinary habits—seems determined to win Liesl’s affection.

When Wild Rise is featured on television, her quiet existence appears a thing of the past. And then a phone call from a woman claiming to be her half-sister forces Liesl to confront long-hidden secrets in her family’s past. With her precious heritage crumbling around her, the baker must make a choice: allow herself to be buried in detachment and remorse, or take a leap of faith into a new life.

Filled with both spiritual and literal nourishment, Stones for Bread provides a feast for the senses from award-winning author Christa Parrish.

“Fatal Tide” Book Three in the East Salem series. Sadly I have not read the first 2 books, Waking Hours and Darkness Rising.
With suspense and supernatural battles between angels and demons, a dark prophecy starts to come about in East Salem. Occultic leaders are in league with an East Salem pharmaceutical company in developing a drug, Provivilan, that is attacking  the brains of children, turning them into a violence-addicted murderous army.
Even with the supernatural battles the characters seem rather realistic and relate-able. The characters have to decide who they can trust when faced with evil and find they must rely on God to see them through.
Awesome book, thrilling and suspenseful story. Read the whole series!

Book Description from the publisher:

In East Salem, the elite St. Adrian’s Academy is at the nexus of a satanic apocalypse—and the fatal tide is rising.
When Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights is reunited with the pagans who commissioned it, a dark prophecy begins to unfold in East Salem, beginning with a savage double-murder by hellish creatures straight out of the painting itself. The lone survivor of the attack, a seventeen-year-old Brit, finds sanctuary at Tommy Gunderson’s home—and the place is soon surrounded by demons who seem to be biding their time…but for how long?
Tommy’s pond has been contaminated with Provivilan—an insidious drug that could transform New York City’s children into an army of violence-addicted murderers. But for an occult cabal in the upper echelons of Linz Pharmaceuticals, contaminating the water supply is just part of an ancient conspiracy against all of humankind.
As the clouds gather, Tommy and Dani realize they must infiltrate Linz and St. Adrian’s to stop the dissemination of Provivilan. Even then, it could take a tangible eruption of the battle between angels and demons to save humanity from the supernatural evils that have been summoned to East Salem.

Friday, November 15, 2013

BookSneeze NIV Ragamuffin Bible Meditations for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Brokenhearted

A collection of Brennan Manning's devotions, meditations and his personal reflections are collected along with the NIV Bible. (As previously noted, NIV after 2011 although marked "NIV" on all packaging in a blend of NIV and TNIV.)
There are several new Brennan Manning publications, one which was reviewed previously in this post HERE. I have already stated how much I love Brennan Manning in that post.

The Bible is for the lost and hurting, the ones who wonder if any one sees them. Maybe you have tried and failed...again and again. Instead of being filled with the historical and intellectual notes, this one is filled with notes to pierce through the callouses built up on your heart, getting to the flesh of the matter.

Book Trailer:

From the Back Cover: Do you believe that God not only loves you, but that he also likes you?
It's just one of the soul-searching questions posed by bestselling author Brennan Manning who confesses he has been 'John the beloved, Peter the coward, and Thomas the doubter all before the waitress brought the check.'
The NIV Ragamuffin Bible offers a collection of Manning’s raw, painfully honest, yet grace-filled devotions, meditations, and reflections of his journey limping back to---like the prodigal son---his overjoyed father. When you journey through this Bible, you will likewise find yourself returning to your Heavenly Father, basking in the knowledge that God not only loves you, he delights in you.There are 104 devotions focused on finding deeper connections to G-d and the Word.

250 reflections are scattered throughout, Focusing on one of Brennan's favourite Subjects, Abba (Father G-d) and being Abba's Child.

You will also find another 150 thoughtful quotes and insights.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Being married to a man who pastors 2 churches, sabbath rest is really bard to find.
Saturday we are at the schul, Sunday at the church. We try to eek out lil bits here and there.
Friday nights all the electronics turn off. They stay off til late Saturday afternoon. Dinner at home, together. But it can all change in a moment. Last minute dropins at the church office keep him late, dinner gets cold...dried out...or worse. Some one has an emergency and the only person who can help is the guy Iam married to.

There are days I get a bit angry, even days I get really angry. I knew I would have to share him and his time. But does it have to be every month? Week? Day?

This is when we decide we will have anannversary get away. Which is not easy with 8 people living on our income. A campervan, a few groceries and an off season camp spot, which means cold in these mountains. But there are no cell signals. And a sky full of stars.
We have learned a nite away really is not worth the effort. It takes more than 36 hrs to calm down the noise of responsibility and the chaos of the schedules we keep. 4 nights and 5 days.

Now here comes the next problem.
It seems if a congregation knows he is going away, they do not show up for services.
Numbers go down, offerings are down.
So even after a great weekend relaxing there is guilt to return to. It is like a small child and abandonment issues! He ofcourse feels guilty for leaving, which means the rejuvination we had hoped to find, is sucked out the window.

 Is the commitment to :
A body of believers
A building
Or to the man wo preaches?
Is it a healthy relationship? Are you more dependent on the man in the pulpit or the Man Who holds the world in His Hands?

This is some of what causes the burn out that causes people to quit, give up and runaway from ministry.
1,700 pastors leave ministry each month?!

The Barna Group reports that

90% of pastors report working between 55- 75 hours per week

50% of pastors report feeling unable to meet the demands of their jobs

70% constantly fight depression

50% of pastors starting out will not last 5 years

50% of pastors’ marriages end in divorce

70% of pastors do not have a close friend

Ellison Research reports that according to the results of their study:

71% of pastors say that they are overweight by an average of 32.1 pounds

52% say that they experience signs of stress on a weekly basis

Other statistics note that pastors’ physical health is comparatively worse than others in the areas in which they live, while pastor’s mental health is likewise riddled with increased symptoms of clinical depression, anxiety, stress and burnout.

Do you actually pray for your pastor? What about his wife? You know the woman who is too perfect and intimidating but always fails to meet your expectations?
How about their kids, the"PKs"? They are the ones there an hour before and after services, the ones setting up chairs, waiting endlessly in cars for their dad to stop talking and get them lunch.
Serving is hard. It may not be the same obstacles and struggles as foreign missions, but each day is a battle.

I want church to not become a bad word to my kids. Does any one have words of wisdom? Did your marriage and family survive church life? How?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Book Sneeze The Prodigal: A Ragamuffin Story by Brennan Manning, Greg Garrett

Brennan Manning inspired music (Rich Mullins Ragamuffin Band). He wrote of G-d's love for imperfect  individuals, and spoke on issues such as shame, alcoholism, brokenness and more. There are 20 other books by Brennan Manning. This one was almost finished when he died earlier this spring. Thankfully Greg Garret both co-wrote and completed the work. I love reading Brennan's writings.

Drawing on the stories of the ragamuffins, we find a broken man in need of the love of a mighty G-d. The
book has the storyline that has become all too familiar in church settings, pastors and their affairs. Men in the limelight, and on the pedestals we as people have placed them on, and the down falls of humanity.

The message of grace and forgiveness found in Brennan's works overflows into this one as well. Brennan summed up this message. He said that Jesus comes to each of us and says,
"I have a word for you. I know your whole life story. I know every skeleton in your closet. I know every moment of sin, shame, dishonesty, and degraded love that has darkened your past. Right now, I know your shallow faith, your feeble prayer life, your inconsistent discipleship, and my word is this: I dare you to trust that I love you just as you are and not as you should be, because you're never going to be as you should be."

"After an evening of debauchery that leads to an affair with his beautiful assistant, Jack Chisholm finds himself deserted with chilling swiftness. The church elders remove him from his own pulpit. His publisher withholds the royalties from his books. Worst of all, his wife disappears with their eight-year-old daughter. But just as Jack is hitting bottom, hopeless and penniless, drinking his way to oblivion, who should appear but his long-estranged father, imploring his prodigal son: 'Come home.' A true companion piece to The Ragamuffin Gospel, The Prodigal illustrates the power of grace through the story of a broken man who finally saw Jesus not because he preached his greatest sermon or wrote his most powerful book, but because he failed miserably. Jack Chisholm lost everything---his church, his family, his respect, and his old way of believing---but he found grace. It's the same grace that Brennan Manning devoted his life to sharing: profound in nature and coming from a God who loves us just as we are, and not as we should be. "

The effective ministry of Brennan Manning was brokenness, humility and vulnerability. He was not a perfect man. There was only One who is. This story shares so much of Brennan's heart. The prodigal returns home.

Book Sneeze The Wall Around Your Heart


Hurt and pain are universal. What we do with those hurts and the pain we carry, can shape us. It can cause us to hide away, to build fences, or it can cause us to live with abandon.

Over the decades, I have experienced pain. I am guessing you have as well.
We have often talked about how the worst bosses or those above us in our jobs, have always been the christian ones. We have left congregations never wanting to return to those building, or denominations, or any other ones.

Dee Brestin has an analogy of roses and alligators. (in her book The Friendships of Women) There are people in our lives who are roses. There are thorns with roses, but for the most part, we are willing to over look the thorns because of the beauty they bring to our lives.
Then there are alligators, they are the ones who are basically out to just get you in a death roll.
Recognizing who is safe, and who isn't, having healthy boundaries is very important. However I had gotten to a point where I treated every one like alligators. A tiny brush of thorns and I was out of there.

By trying to live open and vulnerable lives, which sounds sooo scray, we invite others into our lives. We also open ourselves up to pain. G-d is able to use our pain to help others, for their experiences to help us, and for us to be able to move forward together.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
9 Two are better than one because they have a good reward for their efforts. 10 For if either falls, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to lift him up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they can keep warm; but how can one person alone keep warm? 12 And if someone overpowers one person, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not easily broken.

Mary Demuth uses the community of the Lord's Prayer to show how to bring your hurts to His feet for healing, not just of ourselves but for all involved.  Watch the book trailer.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Sneeze Love and Respect in the Family

Over 10 years ago, my husband and I read Love and Respect, together.
We of course had a fight. As we read the book, we both were convicted over what we were reading and the emotions that were at the surface ignited.
It has had a profound impact on how we respond to each other...after the initial fire works, of course.

The book was and still is an excellent resource.

When my friend Rhonda Stoppe shared a little about her book, Moms Raising Sons to Be Men , in May of this year, I was struck by a comment. She brought up treating our boys with respect, the respect men desire. To treat them as men. It sounds simple, but this is a new stage in our lives with 14 and 15 yr old boys who are becoming men before my eyes. That wisdom is exactly what this new book is about.

This newer book from the ministry of the Eggerichs, brings the elements of love and respect not just in to the marriage relationship but into the whole family dynamic.
From the website:

Love and Respect:
"We believe love best motivates a woman and respect most powerfully motivates a man. Research reveals that during marital conflict a husband most often reacts when feeling disrespected and a wife reacts when feeling unloved. We asked 7,000 people this question: when you are in a conflict with your spouse or significant other, do you feel unloved or disrespected? 83% of the men said "disrespected." 72% of the women said, "unloved." Though we all need love and respect equally, the felt need differs during conflict, and this difference is as different as pink is from blue!"

What do you want for your marriage? Want some peace? Want to feel close? Want to feel valued? Want to experience marriage the way God intended? Then why not try some Love and Respect.

Love and Respect in the Family (NEW BOOK)

The secret to parenting success is out!
Psychological studies affirm what the Bible has always said: children need the love that God tells us to give them (Titus 2:4). And parents desire the respect that Scripture plainly says is our due (Exodus 20:12). Love & Respect in the Family gives practical guidance to help break the Crazy Cycle of family conflict and replace it with a healthy, energizing rhythm.

Based on what the Bible says to parents on parenting, this book focuses on achieving healthy family dynamics. Dr. Eggerichs offers unprecedented transparency by including input from his wife and three adult children, who share wisdom gained from the good, the bad, and the ugly of their family life. It's all here in this eye-opening exploration of the biblical principles on parenting that can help make families function as God intended.

This book teaches you to:
See love and respect as basic family needs
Stop the Family Crazy Cycle of conflict
Parent in six biblical ways that energize your children
Discipline defiance and overlook childishness
Be the mature one since parenting is for adults only
Work as a team, according to the gender of the children
Become a loving parent in God's eyes, regardless of a child's response.

Book Sneeze Innovation's Dirty Little Secret Why Serial Innovators Succeed Where Others Fail By Larry Osborne

This book comes on the coat tails of a wonderful weekend in San Francisco where I took a design and creativity class.
It has had smatterings of the same insights such as the fork in the road anaology.  We often view a fork in the road in our creativity as "Choice A" or "Choice B". And one of those is the "wrong" choice, right? One leads to success and the other to failure. Failure is ofcourse BAD....or is it?
Instead of viewing the forks in our paths this way, we should look at them as opportunities for exploration letting us see what could happen, and being able too take either fork or both.

More than just using helpful tools such as blueprinting your business, and creating a mission statement. In thi sbook you will be encouraged to discover how to:
  • ignite innovation
  • accelerate innovation
  • what sabotages innovation
  • and leaving a legacy of innovation
take chances, make mistakes......

Also Available on Audible:

Synopsis From The Publish
Most books on innovation make it sound as if successful innovation is the end result of a carefully followed recipe. But the simple fact is that when it comes to any new venture, failure is the surest horse to bet on. Respected pastor and author, Larry Osborne, explains how understanding this dirty little secret behind innovation can bring both stability and creativity to organizations, especially those with teams of people that focus on innovation, creativity, new ideas, and problem-solving. Using the wisdom and principles found in this book, you will be free to lead dynamically without causing uncertainty or insecurity in your organization. In Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret, you’ll learn:

How to foster innovation’s most powerful igniters and accelerators while avoiding the most common killers of innovation
How to recognize and break through ceilings of complexity and competency
The six pitfalls of growth and what you can do to avoid them
The three questions every leader needs to ask before launching any new endeavor

Most books on innovation make it sound as if successful innovation is the end result of a carefully followed recipe. But the simple fact is that when it comes to any new venture, failure is the surest horse to bet on.

Respected pastor and author, Larry Osborne, explains how understanding this dirty little secret behind innovation can bring both stability and creativity to organizations, especially those with teams of people that focus on innovation, creativity, new ideas, and problem-solving. Using the wisdom and principles found in this book, you will be free to lead dynamically without causing uncertainty or insecurity in your organization.

Book Sneeze Mansfield's Book Of Manly Men: An Utterly Invigorating Guide To Being Your Most Masculine Self

The perfect Movember book! Maybe it has grown to be more than just a western society's view, but men are viewed through failures. Seen unreliable, those who can not be trusted or those who will abandon their families.Men have become baby daddies rather than fathers.
Stephen sets out to show a true man is honest, humble, compassionate, responsible, courageous, and faithful. He uses the true stories of some great men. He has some great research from having authored books such as: Lincoln's Battle with God, The Faith of Barack Obama, and Benedict XVI, Searching for God and Guinness, and Never Give In: The Extraordinary Character of Winston Churchill.

This is a great book to give the man in your life.

Reminder: It is not in the biceps!  In Mansfield's Book of Manly Men,

Masculinity is more than an identity. It's a discipline—something requiring cultivation. In Mansfield's Book of Manly Men, Stephen Mansfield explores manly virtues by examining the lives of the manliest of men, then distilling key lessons from their challenges and triumphs. Says the author: "My goal in this book is simple. I want to identify what a genuine man does—the virtues, the habits, the disciplines, the duties, the actions of true manhood—and then call men to do it."

"Witty, compelling, and shrewd, "Mansfield's Book of Manly Men" is about resurrecting your inborn, timeless, essential, masculine self. The Western world is in a crisis of discarded honor, dubious integrity, and faux manliness. It is time to recover what we have lost.Stephen Mansfield shows us the way. Working with timeless maxims and stirring examples of manhood from ages past, Mansfield issues a trumpet call of manliness fit for our times. "My goal in this book is simple," he says. "I want to identify what a genuine man does--the virtues, the habits, the disciplines, the duties, the actions of true manhood--and then call men to do it."

"Stephen Mansfield gives us yet another fantastic book, this time covering a topic so misunderstood and misrepresented in society today. He creates a blueprint for true manhood, building upon stories from the world’s greatest men—one of whom was my great-grandfather, Winston Churchill. I applaud Stephen for the massive research he has done. I will read this book again and again and learn something new every time. Mansfield truly is a 'Manly Man.'"
Jonathan Sandys, great-grandson of Sir Winston Churchill

Book Sneeze Samson A Savior Will Rise By Shawn Hoffman

Incredibly researched and an amazing story!
Based on true stories, filled with drama scenes and  vivid details, make it not a book that you would label an "easy" read. But it is well worth the reading. A powerful work of historical fiction that will stir up your emotions.   The story of Maximilian Kolbe, a Catholic monk, being a calming force has always been a beautiful and inspiring story. I love the way the true event of his life was woven into the fictional story.How to not blame God for evil and stand for justice is a timeless lesson that we often need repeated to us. Shawn Hoffman presents a compelling story, and film, in Samson. (video link below)

"Samson Abrams makes a life-or-death decision that lands him, and his entire family, in the notorious concentration camp Auschwitz. When Samson is recognized by Dr. Josef Mengele and Commandant Rudolf Hoss as a former boxing champion, he is ordered box for their entertainment. A win means extra rations, but the penalty for losing is death in the gas chambers.

One question haunts Samson as he and his family face one atrocity after another: Where is God in the face of such evil? An unexpected friendship between the Jewish Samson and the Polish Catholic priest Maximilian Kolbe challenges Samson to examine what little is left of his faith, but will it give him strength when he needs it most?

Based on true stories, "Samson: A Savior Will Rise" blends Shawn Hoffman s thorough research with a compelling narrative that provokes questions about faith, hope, and love."