Book Reviews

Book Review: Moving Beyond Anxiety by David Chadwick

Today I’m taking a break from my 30 Days of Forgiveness series to post a review for a book I just finished reading. I have continued the series on forgiveness over on Medium, however. So, if you’re looking for that, you can check it out here.

I hope you take the time to read this review first, though.

Since I’m currently undergoing training to become a certified biblical counselor, I jumped at the chance to read and review this new book, Moving Beyond Anxiety by David Chadwick. I thought it would be right up my alley.

But, from the beginning, I saw some definite problems.

The first problem

On the first page, the author confuses fear and anxiety.

“It is my belief that if you eliminate anxiety, fear will follow. If you change the root, you will affect the fruit.”

But the author has identified the root incorrectly. Classic anxiety starts with fear of either perceived or real danger. That fear triggers the fight or flight response. When the fight or flight response gets out of whack – when it gets triggered inappropriately or too frequently because of environmental stress – that’s when anxiety occurs.

If you want to deal with the root of the problem, you have to tackle fear first, not anxiety.

The second problem

Also on the first page, the author said that:

Anxiety is not a sin.

And yet the Bible clearly states, as a command (ironically, the author labels this a command, as well … shortly after he says anxiety is not a sin):

Do not be anxious about anything …

Philippians 4:6 (NIV)


“…do not fear…”

Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

I don’t know about you, but when I read that God is telling me not to do something, and I do it … I think of that as sinning. Sin, after all, is missing the mark of what God wants for us … His best, for our good.

Fear and anxiety don’t fit into that pattern. So, any reassurance that these emotions/emotional states are not sin is misguided at best, and spiritually dangerous, at worst.

So, that’s just the first couple of pages. And I had extreme problems with it. What would I think about the rest of the book? I was willing to keep going so I could find out.

I’m the kind of person who will watch a bad movie or read a disappointing book right up till the end … just to see if it gets better. There’s always hope that it will get better.

It did get a little better

A little ways into the first chapter, the author used an illustration of two dogs. This illustration isn’t unique to him. I think it might be an old Native American concept, although the exact provenance is uncertain.

Since I am currently doing a Bible study about the fruit of the Spirit, and reading a lot about the flesh versus the Spirit as part of that study, I took that dog illustration and ran with it.

So, I owe the author a debt of gratitude for that bit of inspiration.

I also really enjoyed the chapter on “Casting.” The author gave a very clear picture of what casting our anxiety on God (1 Peter 5:7) looks like. Pretty much, you almost literally throw it at Him … as much as is possible.

I also liked the chapter on prepositions – especially the idea of God being behind us. I’d never really thought about that in terms of the armor of God. But, as the author says, we don’t need anything for our rear ends because God has our backs!

The chapter I underlined and highlighted way more than any other was the “Sing!” chapter. In fact, that chapter answered a lot of questions for me, as far as a current church situation I’m dealing with.

And I love that he included a list of the relevant Scriptures at the end of the book in the epilogue. That’s a fantastic resource.

Some final thoughts

Overall, I found the author’s tone somewhat dry and boring, so it took me a little while to get through this, even though this was a relatively short book. I also thought the writing was sort of choppy. Sections of the book seemed to be tacked on next to each other without much thought as to whether they sounded good together, and there were very few helpful transitions – oh, and LOTS of repetition.

And I found a couple of other things that I really didn’t like later on in the book. For example, the author flat-out quoted lyrics from “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” and didn’t even cite the hymn. No quotation marks, no footnote, no parenthetical citation – nothing. And that was annoying. What was even more annoying was the fact that it happened for another song too before that, but I don’t remember which one it was.

The final verdict? Was this book absolutely terrible? No. Was it terrific? No.

Are there better books on anxiety out there? Yes … ones that are written better, are more interesting, and are less afraid to identify anxiety as the sin it is.

But will you find something worthwhile inside the pages of this book?

Yes, I definitely think so.

About David Chadwick

David Chadwick is presently the pastor of Moments of Hope Church in Charlotte, N.C. He
has been a pastor for almost 40 years. He played basketball under the legendary coach,
Dean Smith, at the University of North Carolina and was a member of the Final Four 1969
team. David also has a graduate counseling psychology degree from the University of
Florida and an MDiv and DMin from Columbia Theological Seminary. These post graduate
degrees have allowed David to combine therapeutic counseling theories with biblical truth.
David is the author of nine books and hosts a weekly talk show on faith and values on
WBT in Charlotte, N.C. He has been married to the love of his life, Marilynn, for 42 years
and has three children, Bethany, David Banner, and Michael. They have given David and Marilynn seven grandchildren.

For more information about the author and the book:

Book website:

Moments of Hope website:

Facebook page:

David’s video introduction for Moving Beyond Anxiety:

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing the product/product information. Opinions are 100% my own and are NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Book Reviews

Review of Other Bodies by Joel Ohman

I read a different kind of book this week … a YA book about abortion.

First of all, I don’t read a lot of YA fiction. I just don’t read a lot of YA, in general. And abortion is a difficult subject to hear about, let alone read about. But when the opportunity came to read and review this book, I took it. Abortion, while an unpleasant subject, is an important one … and I was curious to see how the author handled it in this book.

I wasn’t disappointed.

unnamed (9)

Hattie, a teenager living on her own in Philadelphia, gives her heart and her body to the wrong man… er, boy. Soon after, she starts working at a Planned Parenthood-like organization known as Managed Motherhood in the book. That’s where she gets introduced to their immersive virtual reality technology and finds out she’s pregnant.

She has no money; she doesn’t even have any furniture. Hattie can’t possibly take care of herself, let alone a baby. She makes the only decision she thinks she can – to “end her pregnancy.”

This book handles the subject of abortion in a thoughtful, if not completely gentle, way. The writing was good, although there were some typos present that did not distract from the story too much. I really enjoyed the book, and by the time I was halfway done with it I didn’t want to put it down. I had to find out what happened to Hattie.

The Amazon page for this book lists it as being for readers ages 12 to 18. I would caution that if you have a child on the lower end of that range, you’re going to want to read this first to see if it’s appropriate for them. There’s no graphic sex (although there is mention of “the taker” and being taken). There are no terribly graphic abortion scenes, although there is some mention of the process and dismembered body parts. If you’ve had an abortion in the past, be warned. This book could trigger some emotional reactions.

Will this book change people’s minds about the baby inside a mother’s body being separate from the mother’s body (something I believe to be absolutely true)? I can’t say. The societal delusion seems to be very strong. But, hopefully, people will read this with an open mind. And maybe the right person will read it and will start thinking differently about her body and her choices. If this book saves even one person’s life, it will have done its job.

Learn more about the book and the author here:

By the way, if you are a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read this book for free. 🙂
other bodies review


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Book Reviews

30 Days to Understanding the Bible – Review and Giveaway

30 days to understanding the bible day review and giveaway

If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you may have noticed I started posting my day-by-day reading of Max Anders’s awesome book, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible before Christmas.

And then you may have noticed I stopped posting.

The holidays came, and I got busy and distracted with so many things. I had good intentions. I just didn’t follow through.

But I did finish reading the book. And I can honestly say I learned more about the Bible from reading this book than I knew before … and I thought I knew the Bible pretty well.

Do you want to learn the Bible but don’t have a lot of time? Do you need a quick refresher on what you already know? If so, 30 Days to Understanding the Bible is for you. With just fifteen minutes a day, for one month, you’ll learn the Bible’s key people, events, and doctrines. Using a proven study plan, author Max Anders breaks down the Bible’s structure so you can learn and remember the key points of the Bible’s text quickly.

It covers the Old Testament, New Testament, and 10 Major Doctrines found in the Bible. It also includes a nanosummary of the Bible, a teaching plan (so you can help lead others through the book), and bonus informational chapters covering such topics as comparing the four gospels, the parables of Jesus, and the different literary forms used in the Bible.

30 Days to Understanding the Bible is the straightforward, easy-to-use guide to learning the Bible that’s been recommended by Bible teachers and pastors for 30 years.

Dr. Max Anders is the author of over 25 books. He has taught on the college and seminary level and is a veteran pastor. Max was also one of the original team members with Walk Thru the Bible Ministries. He provides resources and discipleship strategies at to help people grow spiritually.

You can buy the book here:

View the promo link here:

Check out the official website for the book:
And, if you want to see the book in action (so to speak), you can check out my earlier posts (covering, basically, the first week of study):
I seriously can’t recommend this book highly enough. I think EVERYONE should read it! I’ve been given the opportunity to give away one copy of this book to someone who comments on this post (from the US or Canada only, please!) before 11:59 AM EST on January 30, 2019. Tell me what you’re most looking forward to about this book – or what you most hope to learn. 🙂
Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post. Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
And if you buy or win a copy of the book, please do join us over at the closed Artists and Writers Grow Through God’s Word Facebook group. We’re beginning an in-depth study of the book on February 4th. Hang out with us, and you can learn something new and meet some amazing people!
Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days to Understanding the Bible – Day 9

30 days to understanding the bible day 9

Yesterday, we talked about the Judges Era–the period of time in which God’s people were governed by men (and one woman) known as judges. But, if you remember, all was not rosy. In fact, most of it was pretty stinky. The Hebrew people had it really rough, mostly because they chose to disobey God.

Here’s a look at the review of what we’ve learned so far.


So, do things get better for the Israelites in their next period of history, the Kingdom Era? No, they really don’t. Check out this storyline summary.


As Anders puts it, “the Kingdom Era was a very turbulent time with many ups and downs.” When a righteous king ruled (which wasn’t very often), things went really well for the nation of Israel. When an unrighteous king ruled, things went really badly…and this eventually led to the nation being exiled.

See, the thing we need to remember is that God never wanted the Hebrew people to be ruled by a king. He wanted to be their king (and He wants to be ours too). But they saw how the other nations around them all had human kings, and they decided they needed to have one too. So, God gave into them and gave them what they wanted. We know how that turned out, right?

The first king was Saul, who seemed to start out trying to do what God wanted him to do, but he sure didn’t end that way. The next king was David who, despite his flaws, really was a man after God’s own heart (God said so), and he was a righteous king. His son Solomon started out being righteous, but, like Saul, he ended badly … and so did his kingdom. It ended in civil war.

After Solomon’s death,  Israel experienced a nasty civil war that resulted in the kingdom being divided into north (Israel – 10 tribes) and south (Judah – 2 tribes, Judah and Benjamin). I love how Anders condensed all this information in an easy-to-understand explanation. I really, really got it easily and quickly. Now I know what the Bible writers really mean when they talk about Judah. Yay!

I underlined a lot in this chapter, but I learned a lot too. Pretty cool!

Here’s a look at the end-of-chapter self test. Be sure to check out the map.


Tomorrow, we’ll look at what ultimately happened after Israel (and Judah) continued to disobey God. He sent judgment upon them in the form of capture and exile. So, get ready to learn more about another dark period in Israel’s history.

Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days to Understanding the Bible – Day 8

30 days to understanding the bible day 8

Earlier, we talked about Joshua. He was a pretty cool guy, and he led Israel very well. But after he died, things just kind of fell apart. The Judges Era was a really dark period of Jewish history. As Anders remarks in his book, “They had lost their spiritual moorings, and … ‘everyone did what was right in his own eyes.'” I think it’s really sad that this, the darkest period, directly followed one of the brightest periods–that of the conquest.

Unfortunately, the Judges Era was a long one–spanning about four hundred years.

Here’s a review of what we’ve learned so far, as well as our current storyline summary.

There are four major subjects covered in the Judges Era: Judges, Rebellion, Cycles, and Ruth (I guess Ruth just fits in time-wise; I don’t remember any judges being mentioned in that book). There are also four major judges Anders identifies: Deborah (there she is – one of the earliest judges was a woman!), Gideon, Samson, and Samuel (I didn’t realize he was a judge as well as a prophet!).

Anders also identifies a series of seven cycles that can be found throughout the book of Judges: sin, conquest, repentance, deliverance, and freedom. But remember: this is a cycle, so just as soon as Israel gains its freedom it sins and finds itself being conquered again. As I said, there’s some pretty heavy stuff that goes on in this book.

But then, following Judges, comes Ruth. Anders calls this a “refreshing contrast” to the darkness and sin of judges. As he says, “Her story is one of love, purity, and commitment.” And it’s totally true!

Here’s the self test for this chapter. As I said before, these keep getting longer and longer.

I learned a lot in this chapter. Obviously, I didn’t know very much about the book of Judges, even though I have read it before. For instance, I never really knew that the judges were military leads more than they were legal arbiters. I just assumed a judge then was the same as a judge now. How wrong I was!

Tomorrow, we’re going to take a look at the Kingdom Era. This is another part of the Bible I’m not too familiar with, so I’m looking forward to learning a lot. How about you?

Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days to Understanding the Bible – Day 7

30 days to understanding the bible day 7

I was supposed to post this yesterday, but I got busy with my girls’ end-of-the-year Christmas party. I was exhausted by the time I got home yesterday, so I just took a break and decided to post two days’ worth of chapters on the same day.

In the last chapter, we learned about how God delivered the Israelites from Egypt. But they messed up. They didn’t take control of the land like God wanted them to, so they (including Moses) were kept out of the Promised Land – all except Caleb and Joshua, that is.

It was Joshua’s mission to lead the Israelites in the conquest of the land.

Here’s a look at the review of the previous chapters and the beginning of the storyline for this one.


I never actually realized it before, but God did almost the same miracle for the Israelites in the Conquest Era as He had done in the Exodus Era. As He helped Moses by parting the Red Sea, He also parted the Jordan River at its flood stage for a distance of twenty miles so the Israelites could cross over and take Jericho. That’s an awesome thing … and it just shows how very much the same God always is. He never changes, and He keeps working miracles. We can trust in Him because of who He is.

Here’s a look at the self test for this chapter. Notice how it keeps getting longer and longer?

Next, we’re going to take a look at the period of the judges. There’s some pretty intense stuff in here. You’re not going to want to miss it, so be sure to look for Day 8.

Here are links to all the previous blog posts, just in case you’ve missed one along the way.

Day 1 – Structure

Day 2 – Geography

Day 3 – Historical Books

Day 4 – Creation

Day 5 – Patriarch

Day 6 – Exodus

Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days to Understanding the Bible – Day 6

30 days to understanding the bible day 6Yesterday, we talked about the Patriarch Era, which was all about how the nation of Israel began. Today, we’re going to examine how God freed the Israelites from their Egyptian slavery, and how the Israelites were able to head toward the land that was promised to Abraham under the leadership of a man named Moses. Anders calls this the Exodus Era.

Anders makes a point of mentioning that the reality of the exodus wasn’t anything like its usual movie portrayals. It involved the mass movement of about 3 million people. Remember, the Hebrews had grown so great in number while they were living in Egypt that Pharaoh feared they could overthrow him and the overall Egyptian way of life. That is why the Israelites found themselves being forced into slavery. It’s also why Pharaoh was on a mission to kill all the Hebrew baby boys.  The people had to be subdued.

As is the case with the other chapters, we start with a brief review of what we’ve learned so far about the other historical Old Testament eras, and then we build on it.

Then Anders breaks the Exodus Era down into four major events:

  1. Deliverance
  2. The Law
  3. Kadesh Barnea
  4. 40 Years of Wandering

And then he gives some background information about each event, which is especially helpful if you’re new to the story. It’s also a good refresher for those who are familiar with the story.

Then these event descriptions are followed by, of course, another self test.

I didn’t learn a lot of new information in this chapter, just because I’m fairly familiar with the Exodus story and the story of what happens after that – Israel’s disobedience and everybody being kept out of the Promised Land because of it (except for Joshua and Caleb). But, like I said, this was an excellent review even if you are familiar with the story.

And I really appreciated Anders’s emphasis on the massive size of the actual group involved in the exodus. I’d read the numbers before, but they’d never really sunk in. I still had the picture of the movie version of the exodus running through my head (not nearly as impressive).

Three million people all moving at one time is a whole lot more than what is usually depicted when people try to visually recreate the exodus. Basically, we’re talking everyone living in the cities of Dallas and Houston all moving together at the same time. Kind of amazing, when you think about it!

Tomorrow, we’re going to look at what happened after the exodus … and after Moses died. Joshua took over as the new leader of the people … and he led them in the conquest of the Promised Land, Canaan.  It’s going to be awesome!

Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days to Understanding the Bible – Day 5

30 days to understanding the bible day 5

Yesterday, we began a more in-depth look at the major sections of the Old Testament with the Creation Era. Today, we’re covering the rest of the book of Genesis – from chapter 12 to chapter 50.

Anders has termed this section of history the Patriarch Era. This is the portion of text that focuses on the birth of the nation of Israel, from father Abraham to his great-grandson Joseph. There are some fascinating stories contained in these chapters, so if you haven’t spent a lot of time reading the end of the book of Genesis (or the beginning, for that matter), I highly recommend you start today. I read the book through at least once every three months. Genesis tells you how it all began, which is important for a better understanding of how it’s all going to end.

But even though I’ve read the book of Genesis through several times, there were still some things I learned in this chapter, which is pretty cool!

As is the case with most of the other chapters in this book, we start with a review to see how much we remember about what we’ve learned.


Then Anders transitions right into a storyline summary of the Patriarch Era. I have to admit I’ve never thought of the Hebrew people in quite this way before – they were chosen by God TO REPRESENT HIM TO THE REST OF THE WORLD.

God had already hinted at His solution to the problem of sin in Genesis 3:15. The Savior who would crush the serpent’s head would come from the Hebrew people, the descendants promised to Abraham.


Also, note the reference to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers above … two locations we learned about in a previous chapter. You can bet there’s another map coming up. I’ll show you in a minute.

This chapter also includes a brief description of Abraham and his descendants through which the Messiah would come (Isaac, Jacob/Israel, and Joseph).


Joseph’s death transitions us into the Exodus Era. But look at that last sentence I highlighted above. The bondage the Hebrew people found themselves facing increased their spiritual hunger. God sent the trial so they would look to Him for rescue.

This reminds me a lot of Romans 5:3-5 (NASB): “…we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance, and perseverance proven character, and proven character hope; and hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Even in our struggles, we can hope in the love of God. If we look to Him, He will help us.

As is the case with the other chapters, this chapter ends with a self-test, so you can solidify the new (and old) information you’ve learned in your mind. And look–there’s the map I was telling you about earlier! It shows the movement of Abraham from Ur to Cannan, and then the Israelites’ movement from Canaan to Egypt.


I have a feeling in the next chapter we’ll be talking about how Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt (with some miraculous help from God). Stay tuned for that. It’s going to be awesome!

Have You Missed Any Previous Posts in This Series?

Here’s a complete list of what I’ve read and posted so far, just in case you need to catch up.

The Structure of the Bible

The Geography of the Old Testament

The Historical Books

The Creation Era

Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness

30 Days to Understanding the Bible – Day 4

30 days to understanding the bible day 4 (1)

Yesterday, we filled in a chart covering the major themes, figures, and locations of the major stories in the Old Testament.

Today, we start with a more in-depth look at the first theme and the people and locations involved. Remember that the first theme is? Just look at Genesis 1:1. Yep. We’re talking Creation.


I love how Anders boils the theme of Creation down in this way. It’s simple to understand, and it’s completely true!

I also love this description of what it means to be created in the image of God. Not that God looks like either you or me (we don’t look completely alike, do we?). We are created spirits, like He is (well, not the created part), with intellect, emotion, and will.


Anders breaks the Creation Era down into four major events, which cover the first 11 chapters of Genesis. These are Creation, Fall, Flood, and Tower.

Another thing I loved in this chapter was Anders’s statement about what happened at the Tower of Babel when God confused the language of the people after they disobeyed His command to spread throughout the whole earth.


Lack of communication between the people prevented their progress on the tower. But isn’t that the truth with everything? Lack of communication prevents progress in a lot of areas. That’s why it’s so important for us to build communication bridges wherever we can – with other people and with God.

Finally, I loved how the self-test in this chapter helped tie together the new information learned in this chapter with all the information learned in the previous chapters. Anders is quite serious about helping his readers build knowledge upon knowledge. This commitment is very impressive…and also very effective.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the further I get into this book the more I like it. It is a truly excellent, accessible resource.

Oh, and by the way: this chapter took me less than 15 minutes to go through. I guess that’s why Anders claims you can go through the whole book in 30 days, spending just 15 minutes a day because some chapters take less time to go through than others. For the sake of blogging simplicity, I’ll probably just stick to a chapter a day, but I could easily go through it faster if I wanted to.  That’s another awesome thing about this book. The (substantial) learning is totally self-paced. I don’t know about you, but I love self-paced learning!

Tomorrow, we’ll look at the Patriarch Era and the beginning of the nation of Israel. Stay tuned. I’m sure it’ll be amazing!

Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness, Uncategorized

30 Days to Understanding the Bible – Day 3

30 days to understanding the bible day 3.png

How much do you know about the history of the world as presented in the Bible? This chapter gives you a really good overview of the story of the Old Testament. The New Testament is covered in another chapter.

eras and figures

As you can see in the above photo (I apologize for the poor quality), Anders breaks the Old Testament down into nine main sections (or eras), each of which is connected to a specific individual (for the sake of simplicity, I imagine), location, and storyline. The storyline aspect is not covered in today’s chapter. That would probably take longer than 15 minutes.

Anders associates Samson with the “Judges” era because he says Samson was the most famous judge. I find that point arguable. I’ve always thought Deborah was more famous than Samson, being the only female judge mentioned in the Bible. She certainly was wiser than Samson, who got fooled by that woman who chopped all his hair off. Besides, Deborah is connected with Jael, who drove that peg through Sisera’s temple. I always thought that was pretty cool.

But a lot of people know about Samson (maybe more than those who know about Deborah), so perhaps he is more famous.

Here’s a clearer look at the whole era-figure-location thing. And, yes, I filled that chart out without looking back at the information in the book. The information was definitely sinking in!      story of the old testament

One thing I really loved about this chapter was the review map where we were supposed to draw arrows representing the major movements of God’s people in biblical times. I kinda knew about this before (at least to a certain extent), but the act of drawing the arrows on the actual map helped me see it and understand it in a whole new way. Very cool!

movement from location to location

So far, I have to say that I’m enjoying this book more and more every day. Every chapter certainly does build on the one before it, and they’re all equally interesting and informative.

I know I’m looking forward to Day 4, how about you?

Oh, and if you haven’t yet seen my reviews of the first and second chapters, you can see those here and here.

Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness, wedding planning

30 Days to Understanding the Bible: Day 2

30 days to understanding the bible day 2

If you were with me on the blog yesterday, you know I’ve started reading and working through a new book. So far, I am really enjoying it. I learned some new things as I read the first chapter, and the same is absolutely true for the second chapter. In fact, I think I learned EVEN MORE in this one.

This one is all about Old Testament geography. If you’ve spent any time reading the Bible at all, you know there are all kinds of mentions of places. And, if you’re anything like me, you don’t have a clue where most of these places are in relation to each other – or anything else, for that matter. The aim of this chapter is to help you have a better idea of where those places are.


Toward the beginning of this chapter, Anders states: “The one who is ignorant of geography cannot know history. The Bible is largely history. So, to begin our mastery of the history of the Bible, we must start with the geography of the Bible.”

Let’s remember that the premise of this book is “give me 15 minutes a day, and I’ll give you a better understanding of the Bible.  So, 15 minutes isn’t a lot of time in which to cover ALL the locations mentioned in the Bible (or even the Old Testament). For this reason, Anders chooses to deal with only the major locations in which some key Bible events occurred.

location work map

I love that this chapter includes descriptions of both the major bodies of water and the major geographical locations mentioned in the Old Testament … very informative!

The comparison to the state of Texas is pretty cool too!

comparison to texas

I learned a lot reading this chapter. For example, I didn’t really understand where Samaria, Galilee, and Judea were in relation to each other until I read the book and filled out the map above.

Even after all the reading and filling out the same maps over and over again, I still mixed up where Assyria and Babylonia were (as you can see from the picture below). But, considering I really had no idea where they were before, I think I did pretty well getting everything in the right places.

location self test

See that quote I outlined above? That’s in this book a lot – and for good reason. It’s very true. I think I have a pretty good foundation started for whatever going’s to come tomorrow. I can’t wait to see what it is!

Book Reviews

30 Days to Understanding the Bible: Day 1

30 days to understanding the bible day 1

Give me 15 minutes a day for 30 days, author Max Anders says in his introduction to 30 Days to Understanding the Bible, and “I’ll give you an understanding of the Bible.”

That’s a pretty big promise, but seeing as how this book has been in print for the past three decades (I just received the 30th anniversary edition to read and review, and the author even signed it for me!) there must be something to it.


I was intrigued, so I started reading the book the day it came in the mail. And I decided to do something a little different in terms of writing a review. I’m going to walk you through the book as I read it – one chapter at a time each day.

30 Days? But There Are More Than 30 Chapters

Before I started reading this book, I thought I could read a chapter a day and be done in 30 days. But, according to the table of contents, there are 38 chapters – plus an introduction and appendix. I guess the idea here is that some chapters will not take you the full 15 minutes to read, but for the sake of simplicity I’m going to stick to one chapter per blog post. So, it may very well take me more than 30 days to share my journey through this book with you all.

Day 1: All About the Structure

Just as is the case with any good book, the Bible has a very definite structure guiding the way its information is presented. Once you understand the structure, you can better understand how to interpret what you’re reading.

The Bible isn’t a continuous story that follows a certain chronological order. It’s a larger work containing various other books of different types. Anders simplifies the books of the Old and New Testaments so that they fit into one of three categories each.

In the Old Testament, we have books of history (17), poetry (5), and prophecy (17). Now, I’ve seen other people break down the books of prophecy into the major and minor prophets, but I don’t think the average Bible reader needs to worry about that distinction. I like Anders’s simplification here. And I love the timeline he includes, so you know exactly how the Old Testament books line up chronologically.


In the New Testament, we have books of history (5), Pauline epistles (13), and the general epistles (9). And thanks to the self-test included at the end of the chapter, I remembered all those categories and the numbers of books contained in each. I didn’t even have to check!

The self-tests are truly one of the best things about this book. They really help solidify what you’re learning, and that goes a long way toward fulfilling Anders’s promise that you’re going to understand the Bible better by the time you finish reading this book.

Day 1 Self-test.png

One Caveat

Although I’m really impressed overall with this chapter, I want to include mention of one caveat in relation to the author’s initial promise.

True understanding of the Bible cannot be achieved apart from the Holy Spirit. That’s why those who don’t belong to Jesus can’t really ever understand what the scriptures contain. Head knowledge of the Bible is great, but heart knowledge is better.

I pray that anyone reading this who doesn’t personally know Jesus as Lord and Savior will get to know Him in that way. That’s so much better than any degree of understanding of the Bible!


Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness

Ellie Claire 365-Devotional Journal Review

ellie claire devotional journal review

A few weeks ago, I posted a review of some gorgeous Ellie Claire art journals. Today, I’m excited to be able to present my review of three Ellie Claire 365-day devotional journals.

And yes, they are every bit as beautiful as the art journals!

Package deliveries are always exciting, and especially when I know there’s one coming that has items like this in it. When the package containing these three journals arrived, I tore into it … and I soon discovered that I wasn’t the only one excited about it. As I pulled these out of the box, both of my little girls each claimed one as their own. The older one took the one with the peacocks on the cover (not surprising, since she’s an animal lover and an artist), and the younger one chose the Peace Begins with Me devotional journal. 

Admittedly, those were the two I was most interested in receiving and examining myself. But as any good mother would do, I let them pick first, so I got to keep the Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus devotional journal. As it turns out, I think we each ended up with the devotional journal best suited to us. Funny how God worked it out that way!



This is the one with the peacocks on the cover (aren’t they beautiful?), and even the first day’s devotional has to do with peacocks. Here’s a look at it.


Below the devotional on the page, there is space to write your own thoughts and prayers, or what God us saying to you through the story and scripture.

I really enjoyed this story, and so did my girl, although she thought it was directed more toward “older people,” since there’s mention of an office. She doesn’t find it particularly relevant to herself at this stage, but I’m sure that will change in the not too distant future.

This journal offers some beautiful spiritual insights related to the wonders of creation. Perfect for any nature or animal lover in your life.


I was kind of surprised that my younger daughter picked the journal with the plain blue cover instead of the one with the flowers on it, but I’m pretty sure God led her to it.

This journal covers the subject of finding peace in the midst of some of the most difficult circumstances you’ll ever face. She read the first story and immediately told me that we needed to buy one for her teacher (whose youngest son had just recently committed suicide). I took one look at it, agreed with her, and ordered a copy off of Amazon.

As she looked at the blank space at the bottom of each of the pages, my girl said, “Mommy, what am I supposed to write there?”

I said, “Just write whatever you hear God saying to you.” And she has been. Here’s a look at what she wrote in response to the first two devotionals. I don’t know that it’s directly related to the devotionals, but maybe it is in her mind – and God’s.

It’s His message to her, and her response to Him. It doesn’t have to make sense to me.

As I suggested above, this devotional journal would make a very thoughtful gift for someone who’s going through a hard time and who may be struggling with issues with regarding faith and finding peace.



This journal, with the beautiful flowers on the cover, is all about the Prince of Peace Himself, Jesus Christ. Each and every devotional points us back to our Lord and Savior. I don’t know that there’s any better way to start the day than that.

And, as the title of the book suggests, the devotionals are connected to Christian hymns and worship songs. Each entry starts out with a song lyric and ends with a scripture (plus space to write down your thoughts or His message at the bottom of the page).

This is a wonderful journal for music lovers, and that makes it super appropriate for me, since I do truly love music. It’s a major part of my life and my daily worship.

Here’s the first devotional. I can’t wait to get started on this  musical devotional journey on January 1, 2019. I’m sure it’ll be an exciting, spirit-filled year!



All of these journals are fabulous. The covers are beautiful, and the stories inside are interesting and inspirational.

If you have a nature lover or music lover in your life, you can’t go wrong gifting them with the first and third journals I mentioned. And the Peace Begins with Me journal should offer much comfort to those who need it most.

This is the perfect time to buy one (or more) as holiday gifts so your loved ones can start off the New Year right. Go get one today!

Book Reviews, Family Fun & Fitness, Uncategorized

NIV Adventure Bible: Polar Exploration Edition Review and Giveaway

polar exploration review and giveaway

Today I’m really excited because I get to introduce to you one of the best Bibles for kids I’ve ever seen. I’m serious about that. It’s really one of the best.

I took it out of the box, and my seven year old immediately snatched it up. She’s been carrying it with her to church every Sunday since then.


With over 9 million copies sold, the Adventure Bible brand is beloved by Christian
schools, churches, and families alike. Now, the #1 Bible for kids, including all of the
trusted essentials loved by parents, is available in an exciting polar exploration

Ready for a frosty Adventure? Embark on a fun, exciting trek through God’s Word
with the NIV Adventure Bible, now in an all-new polar exploration theme! While on
this arctic adventure, readers meet all types of people, see all sorts of places, and
learn all kinds of facts about the Bible. And, most importantly, they’ll grow closer in
relationship to God.


  • The same trusted Adventure Bible content in a frosty new theme
  • Full-color images of polar animals, arctic outposts, and icy landscapes throughout make learning about the Bible even more engaging
  • Life in Bible Times—Articles and illustrations describe what life was like in
    ancient dayslifeinbibletimesdidyouknow
  • Words to Treasure—Highlights great verses to memorizewordstotreasure.jpg
  • Did You Know?—Interesting facts help you understand God’s Word and the
    life of faith
  • People in Bible Times—Articles offer close-up looks at amazing people of
    the Bible
  •  Live It!—Hands-on activities help you apply biblical truths to your lifeliveitout.jpg
  • Twenty polar-themed pages focus on topics such as how to know you are a
    Christian, famous people of the Bible, highlights of the life of Jesus, and how to pray.12childreninthebible
  • Book introductions feature arctic art and important information about each
    book of the Bibleinfoaboutthebooks
  • Dictionary/concordance for looking up tricky words
  • Color map section to help locate places in the Bible
  • Complete text of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible
  • Thrilling new glacial cover on metallic papercover

There is also a related devotional available for purchase.


Click the image below to view a 20-page PDF sample of the NIV Adventure Bible: Polar Exploration Edition

Screenshot 2018-11-30 at 8.44.31 AM

NIV advbible polar edition


My seven year old loves this Bible, and she says that “other kids should like it too.”

I think she’s absolutely right about that. I mean, look at that cover, those images, and all these features! Any kid would love it. I’m not even a kid, and I love it!

I’m pleased to announce that I have the opportunity to give away a copy of this Bible to one person who comments on this blog post before 3 PM EST tomorrow, Saturday December 1, 2018. This is a really short giveaway because the publisher wants to make sure they have time to send the Bibles out before Christmas!

What’s your favorite feature of this Bible? Who do you plan to give it to? Let me know below for a chance to win this fabulous Bible!

This contest is only open to people who live in the continental United States.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller/FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.


Book Reviews, Gift Ideas for Everyone in the Family

Ellie Claire Art Journals Review

ellie claire art journals

Ellie Claire Art Journals

Today I get to talk about something a little different that I’m really excited about – Ellie Claire art journals.

Not too long ago, I joined Medium and connected with Janis Cox. Soon after, I joined her Facebook group for Christian artists and creatives. As a result, I began to start really paying attention to what God was trying to say to me through certain Bible passages. I also started trying to draw images that were connected to those messages. This was not an easy thing for me to do. I never considered myself to be an artist in that certain way, but Jan challenged and encouraged me … and God helped me see that I could do it with His help. He’s the Creator. All I have to do is look to Him when I want to create.

About this time, I talked my husband into buying me the beautiful Inspire Bible. It has verse images already printed in it that you can color. And it also has plenty of room for you to draw your own images and write notes as you study.

All this to say, I was no stranger to creative Bible journaling when I was offered the opportunity to review three new art journals from Ellie Claire.

Look at these. Aren’t they gorgeous? And these are just the covers!


Illuminate Your Story

The first one I tried was the Illuminate Your Story journal. This book opened up with one of my favorite quotes from Leo Tolstoy: “Just as one candle lights another and can light thousands of other candles, so one heart illuminates another heart and can illuminate thousands of other hearts.”

Then it goes into a brief discussion of the history of illustrated letters and words that I found fascinating.  I started right at the beginning, with the letter “A,” and this is what I came up with. Not exactly like the example in the book, but not completely different either. I like that there’s an extra block for more practice. I thought my first effort was a bit lacking. I’m excited to see if I can do better the second time.


This book has step-by-step instructions you can follow (which is what I did), and I really appreciated that. This journal would be an excellent guide for anyone (like me) who is just starting out with illustrating letters. It would also be perfect for someone who’s interested in trying our art journaling but who may not have a lot of extra time. I drew that entire picture based on the guide in about 15 minutes, and I’m no expert in drawing. If I can do it, anyone can!

The Illustrated Word

The next journal I tried out was The Illustrated Word.

This is closer to what we think of when we hear the word “journal.” There are lines on some of the pages you can use to write down the verse you’re reading on a particular day or your thoughts about a certain verse. It also sort of reminds me of the Inspire Bible. because it has images (line drawings based on illustrations from ancient manuscripts) you can color, and some of these include verses. So, while you’re coloring, you can meditate on the scripture.

I started out coloring Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God” (NIV). That’s a verse that is particularly relevant to my life, because it seems like God always has to remind me of this. I am hardly ever still!


What I discovered with this journal is that you have to have a lot of time available to color some of these pictures. I worked on this for about 30 minutes and only got as far as you see above. I had to stop and go back to it to finish it up. Like I said, this is great for meditating on the scripture, but it’s not for you if you’re looking for something that you can get done quickly.

Faith and Lettering

Last, but by no means least, is the Faith & Lettering JournalThis, out of the three, was the journal I was most interested in and was the one I was most excited about getting. I was not disappointed!

This journal takes the best aspects of both of the above journals and puts them all in one package. It has the blank, lined pages you can write on. It has verses you can color. It has tutorials for lettering and drawing embellishments. And it gives you plenty of space to practice! Plus, it has illustrations that are already done for you. You can use these for meditation or inspiration.

This was my first attempt at drawing something with this journal.


I love that verse. It’s one I have currently hanging up on the wall in my bedroom. And I love this image. I may just have to recreate it and put it up on my wall in place of the other one (which is just a typed print-out that’s not nearly as pretty).

All of the journals are just fabulous, but this one is definitely my favorite. It would be great for beginners and even for people with more experience with this sort of thing than I have. It just has so much to offer. You absolutely cannot go wrong with the Faith & Lettering Journal.

If your quiet times have gotten stale and you’re looking for a tool that will liven things up, you need one of these journals. You’ll be inspired, you’ll be challenged, and you will grow closer to the Creative Source.


Book Reviews, Yeshua Tuesday

Tuesdays with Yeshua: ESV Family Devotional Bible & Giveaway

tuesdays with yeshua jesus

It is very important to both my husband myself, as followers of Yeshua (Jesus), that we lead our children to also learn to love and one day follow Him. A major part of making Him real in our household is talking about Him daily and studying about Him in God’s Word. But sometimes that gets to be a bit difficult when you’re trying to read from an adult Bible and your kids are so busy looking for the pictures they’re not even really listening to the words you’re saying. And, with many children’s Bibles, you run the risk of missing some important story “meat.”

ENTER THE ESV FAMILY DEVOTIONAL BIBLE. This is a colorful hardbound Bible that retells 130 key stories from the Bible with full color illustrations. Each story is placed within or near the actual Bible text it is based on.  The stories are simplified and easy for children of all ages to understand.

The ESV Family Devotional Bible is designed to help families read and apply God’s Word together. This full-color edition features the complete ESV text interspersed with engaging illustrations and gospel-centered devotions related to key Bible stories—guiding families through the entirety of God’s Word over the course of a year. Each devotion also includes discussion questions and suggestions for additional reading, helping families develop a habit of reading the Bible together and applying its truth to all of life.
And I’m giving you all a chance to win your very own copy right now. All you have to do is leave a comment on this blog post. Tell me what your favorite Bible verse is, or who you can’t wait to read this Bible with. Just be sure you leave your comment by 11:59 PM EST on May 25th, 2016.
If you’ve ever struggled with studying the Bible with your kids in an accurate, kid-friendly way, you won’t want to miss out on this!


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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

parenting styles
Book Reviews, Mommy Memoir Mondays

Mommy Memoir Mondays: 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids


Being a parent is hard. Anyone who’s been a parent for more than five minutes knows this…and it might not even take that long to figure it out. But the parenting challenges change as your child grows. My girls are now 7 and 5, and we’re daily having new conflicts that we did not face even a year or two ago. And I know we’ll face different challenges next year. I don’t even want to think about the teenage years yet!

I want more than anything to raise two little girls who are “great,” but some days I feel like a miserable failure as a mother (can anyone else relate?). As a child psychologist and a father himself, Dr. Tood Cartmell certainly does seem to be able to relate to that feeling. And he’s written this book to help parents communicate, teach, and direct their children in new, more effective, ways. Plus, he really does understand that parents are short on time, so he’s written this book in brief chapters that can be each be read in about 10 minutes or less. I REALLY appreciate that.

This is a fabulous guide for parents with kids of any age. And you can get it for 50% off the retail price between April 15 and May 15, 2016, by purchasing it at, and entering the coupon code GREATKIDS16

Plus, when you purchase from the publisher, you’ll receive FREE access to the HEARTS AT HOME “ESSENTIAL WORKSHOP COLLECTION FOR PARENTS.”

More about the book:WebsiteHeader-nobook3.jpg

parenting styles

“I love my child, but parenting is hard.”

Whether you find parenting intuitive or impossible, we could all use a hand here and there. Let child psychologist and father Todd Cartmell walk you through the nuts and bolts of healthy, effective parenting.

Using examples from his home and 20 years of professional practice, Todd gives eight essential and practical tools to help you:

  • Maintain a healthy relationship with your child
  • Develop a nurturing home culture
  • Correct behavior in lasting ways

Designed for busy parents, 8 Simple Tools breaks each tool into five short chapters that include a summary tip and application questions. Use even half of the tools in your parenting, and your family dynamics will thrive. Your relationship with your child will be built on love and trust, providing you with fertile ground for planting God’s wisdom in their heart, and ultimately, seeing them flourish.


Official Website: – Be sure to check out the brief, really fun FREE parenting assessments.

Dr. Todd Cartmell’s FB:

From the author: Dr. Todd Cartmell
Hello.  I’m Dr. Todd!
I earned my doctorate in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA. We then moved to Columbus, OH, where I
completed a postdoctoral fellowship with Wright State University at the Children’s Hospital. Since then, I have done my clinical work at Summit Clinical Services in Wheaton, IL, where I continue to see children, teens, and families on a full-time basis.

I have written five parenting books (faith based), which you can learn more about on the Books page. I have presented many parenting workshops at moms’ conferences (Hearts at Home, MOPS International), MOPS groups, churches, and schools, which you can read about on the Workshop page. I have also recently developed a skill-building game for kids called The Flexible Thinking Game.

In my free time, I enjoy doing anything with my wife, spending time with my boys whenever possible, reading, running, and playing jazz piano any chance I get. My Christian faith is an important part of my life and thinking, and I am continually thankful for God’s grace, of which I am an undeserving recipient.

Book Reviews, Yeshua Tuesday

Tuesdays with Yeshua: EASTER STORIES (Book Review and Giveaway)

tuesdays with yeshua jesus

As Easter approaches (I can’t believe it’s already almost here – where has the year gone?), it’s the perfect time to reflect on the life, death, and resurrection of Yeshua (otherwise known as Jesus Christ).

That, in fact, is the main aim of the latest book I had the chance to read and review, EASTER STORIES: Classic Tales for the Holy Season.

easter stories cover

383 pg / multiple authors

Everyone who believes Easter is about more than Easter egg hunts will be grateful for this new anthology of short stories that illumine the true meaning of the season. Selected for their spiritual value and literary quality, these classic tales capture the spirit of Holy Week and Easter in a way that will captivate readers of all ages. Parents and grandparents will find that children love to hear these stories read aloud, year after year.

Easter Stories includes time-honored favorites from world-famous storytellers such as C.S. Lewis, Leo Tolstoy, Selma Lagerlof, Oscar Wilde, Elizabeth Goudge, Maxim Gorky, Ruth Sawyer, Anton Chekhov, and Walter Wangerin – as well as many you’ve never heard of before. Illustrated with original woodcuts.

Find out more HERE!

This is an amazing collection of some powerful, classic tales and beautiful illustrations brought to you by Plough Publishing, who published the equally powerful book, THEIR NAME IS TODAY, which I also had the pleasure of reading.
Here’s how you can connect with Plough Publishing online:
I have one paperback copy to give away to a lucky commenter on this blog post. Just let me know you’re interested by 11:59 PM (EST) on March 31, 2015, and you’ll have a shot at winning – just in time to celebrate the Easter holiday.
This is one book you and your family will treasure for years – maybe even generations. I can totally picture my little girls reading these stories to their own children in the future – at least, I hope they do. 
Read below to discover all the “rules” and important legal stuff:

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Book Reviews

Sweet Romance Sundays: A Lifelong Love by Gary Thomas (Book Review)

Sweet Romance Sundays (2)

One of the things I like best about sweet romance stories is that they almost always end in marriage. That’s the happily ever after we learned to expect from listening to our parents read us fairy tales as little girls…so that’s what we look for in a lifetime partner, whether or not he happens to be a prince.

But…in sweet romance novels, the story usually ends after the wedding. That’s not the case with real life. After the wedding comes marriage, and the marriage (if it’s going to last for any extended period of time) is not always going to be easy, to put it mildly. This, of course, should be obvious when looking at the current divorce rates in the United States alone, which indicate that almost 1 out of every 2 marriages will end in divorce at some point. It’s even more alarming that the divorce rates among Christians aren’t much better. So what is the root cause of all these divorces, and how can couples divorce-proof their marriages?

These are some questions Thomas addresses in his A LIFELONG LOVE: WHAT IF MARRIAGE IS ABOUT MORE THAN JUST STAYING TOGETHER. But he goes even further than that. He says not only can you stay married for life, but you can actually ENJOY being together for your whole lives. Your marriage can thrive and be a blessing to others…but it might take some work and some self-sacrificing.

For those who have read Thomas’s SACRED MARRIAGE (as I have), this idea won’t come as a complete surprise. That’s a fabulous book and well worth a read, and this one is too – for married couples who are happy (as my husband and I have been for 7 years), for married couples who are unhappy but want to regain that happiness, and even for unmarried couples who are looking forward to taking that next major step in their relationship.

There’s plenty of wise counsel and sound advice in this book. I loved every minute I spent reading this book (with my husband), and I highly recommend it! And now you have the chance to win your very own copy of this potentially marriage-saving book right here on this blog. Just leave me a comment before 11:59 PM (EST) on Tuesday, November 11, 2014, and you’ll be entered in the giveaway.

lifelong love cover

About the Book
Hardcover / 316 Pages 
Discover how to live out a sacred marriage. You believe your marriage has eternal purposes. you long for it to reach beyond your home and encourage others. But what does it look like to have a spiritually intentional relationship in the midst of dirty dishes, work deadlines, and car pools? In Sacred Marriage, Gary Thomas showed us that God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy. Now, in A Lifelong Love, Thomas gives us the practical tools to craft our marriages into inspiring relationships that breathe spiritual life to others. Whatever season of marriage you are in, A Lifelong Love gives your the practical help you need to infuse your marriage with a spiritual passion that will not only change you but will change the world around you.
About the Author
Gargary thomasy Thomas is writer-in-residence at 2nd Baptist Church in Houston, a frequent guest on Focus on the Family and FamilyLife Today radio, and a popular speaker. His award-winning books, including The Sacred Search, have been translated into over a dozen languages and have sold more than a million copies worldwide. Thomas and his wife have been married 30 years and have 3 children.
Follow Gary on Twitter@garyLthomas

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Book Reviews

Mommy Memoir Mondays: THEIR NAME IS TODAY by Johann Christoph Arnold (Book Review and Giveaway)

Untitled design (1)

My husband’s been having a particularly difficult time lately dealing with the children. Don’t get me wrong – he’s an excellent father. I mean, he works long hours at a day job while I stay with the children during the day. But, when he gets home, he has to take charge of the household duties (including the children) while I get my writing and editing work done in the evenings. So, his days are even longer. He gets tired. And children are demanding (ours, especially, because they’re only 3 and 5). I know they’re demanding. I’m with them, basically, 24/7 (except for the time, now, that the oldest one is at school).

One early, quiet morning (he’d already gone off to work, the oldest was at school, and the youngest was still in bed sleeping) I read a passage from this book – THEIR NAME IS TODAY by Johann Christoph Arnold.

When I think about it, it is much easier to live with children who fear you than it is to live with children who love you, because if your children fear you, when you come home they’re gone. They scatter. …But if you have children who love you, you can’t get them out of your hair! They’re hanging on to your legs, they’re pulling on your pants, you come home and they want your attention. You sit down, they’re all over your lap. You feel like a walking jungle gym. You also feel loved.

I cried when I read those words, feeling the truth of them for both my husband and myself. Our kids love us, and they know that we love them. I called him immediately and read that passage to him, and I think it did exactly what I meant for it to – it encouraged him in the knowledge that we may not be doing everything right as parents, but we are doing SOMETHING right. We’re teaching our children about real love…and letting them know that they always have a safe, welcoming, accepting place to come back to with Mommy and Daddy.

It was just the right message at just the right time, and I’m grateful I got the chance to read this powerful little book.

There were some things I didn’t like. The author’s political ideologies were a bit too liberal at times, especially for someone who is a pastor. Also, there was too much (I thought) “bleeding heart” sentiment – this idea that children are born completely innocent. I don’t buy that. I can’t, as a Christian, because I believe in Original Sin and in the fact that we are all tainted by it (except for Jesus) at birth. I do, however, believe that children are closer to God than those of us who are older because they have not yet had as much time to act on their inherent sinful natures.

I agree with much of this book. Children are oversexualized, overmedicated, and objectified and are basically not allowed to be children anymore because it makes it easier for the parents to “handle” them…or, in other words, to not love them or raise them properly. This, I think, needs to stop. And this is the one main point of Arnold’s book. All parents should read it…and most educators could benefit from reading it too, although often (as Arnold mentions) their hands are tied by the system that continues to keep children from being children.

Wise words from a wise man that are well worth a read. And you have the chance to win your very own copy of this thought-provoking book right here on this blog. Just leave me a comment before 11:59 PM (EST) on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, and you’ll be entered in the giveaway.


About the book:

Softcover / 192 pages 
“If you want to glean insights into how to raise and influence children to be more compassionate and considerate, more courageous and confident, more independent, secure, and unselfish; if you want your children to be more loving and joy-filled, then get reading!” —excerpt from Mark K. Shriver’s Foreword (President of Save the Children Action Network)
Despite a perfect storm of hostile forces that threaten to deny children a healthy, happy childhood, courageous parents and teachers can turn the tide. Yes, we can reclaim childhood, says Johann Christoph Arnold, whose books have helped more than a million readers through the challenges of education and family life. In Their Name Is Today, he highlights drastic changes in the way our society treats children. But he also brings together the voices of dedicated parents and educators who are finding creative ways to give children the time and space they need to grow. Cutting through the noise of conflicting opinions, Arnold takes us to the heart of education and parenting by defending every child’s right to the joy and wonder of childhood.
About the author: Johann Christoph Arnold
A noted speaker and writer on marriage, parenting, and end-of-life issues, Arnold is a senior pastor of the Bruderhof, a movement of Christian communities. With his wife, Verena, he has counseled thousands of individuals and families over the last forty years, as well as serving as an advisor at several innovative private schools. Arnold’s message has been shaped by encounters with great peacemakers such as Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day, Cėsar Chavez, and John Paul II. Born in Great Britain in 1940 to German refugees, Arnold spent his boyhood years in South America, where his parents found asylum during the war; he immigrated to the US in 1955. He and his wife have eight children, forty-four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. They live in upstate New York.
Acclaim for the author:
“A much-needed message not only for South Africa, but for the whole world.” –Nelson Mandela, on Why Forgive (one of Arnold’s books)
“In this book we find a message needed today in every part of the world.” –Mother Teresa, from her foreword to Sex, God, & Marriage (one of Arnold’s books)
“Written in a way that is easy to grasp…indeed, very beautifully.” – Pope Benedict XVI, on A Little Child Shall Lead Them (one of Arnold’s books)

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”

Book Reviews

Tuesdays with Yeshua: OVERRATED by Eugene Cho (Book Review and Giveaway)

tuesdays with yeshua jesus

I’ve been reading since I was a very young child. Since I’m 37 years old now, that means I’ve read a lot of books…but not one (with the great exception, of course, as THE BIBLE) has affected me quite so much as Eugene Cho’s book, OVERRATED. Well, C.S. Lewis’s MERE CHRISTIANITY did, as did T.W. Hunt’s THE MIND OF CHRIST…but this one ranks right up there. Seriously.

This book WILL change the way you think about things – maybe a few things; maybe a lot of things…but it will make you THINK. And PRAY. And SEEK GOD’S FACE. I love books that do that. It’s a must-read for any Christian, certainly, but I think everyone would benefit from reading this book…and maybe those who aren’t believers would benefit more than those of us who are.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. FlyBy Promotions has allowed me to host a giveaway for one free copy of this amazing book. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post by 11:59 PM EST on October 10, 2014. I’ll notify the winner that weekend. When you comment, make sure you at least leave me your email, so that I can contact you if you win. (I will NOT contact you about anything unrelated to this giveaway. I don’t do spam).  

Here’s a bit about the book:

overrated cover

We all want to change the world, but as pastor Eugene Cho found out, it takes more than just desire. It takes action. In this personal confession, he encourages readers to discover a practical discipleship that begins with the recognition that changing the world starts with changing ourselves.

Many people today talk about justice, but are they living justly? They want to change the world, but are they being changed themselves? Eugene Cho shares his story, a messy, painful story of being more in love with the ideas behind the actions than counting the cost and being a world-changer in action. Because everyone loves justice and compassion, but few have taken it upon themselves to truly live it out in their own lives. Cho is still on that journey to discover what it means, and he invites readers to join him.

About the author:
Eugene is the founder and visionary of One Day’s Wagesa grassroots movement of people, stories, and actions to alleviate extreme global poverty. He is the founder and senior pastor of Quest Church, an urban, multicultural, and multigenerational church in Seattle, Washington. Eugene and his wife, Minhee, have three children.

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.