There’s a Fly in my Tea

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Ratcliff, Crystal L. There’s a Fly in my Tea: The Importance of Maintaining a Christian Testimony. USA: Crosslink Publishing. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Based on the analogy of having a pesky fly in your delicious glass of iced tea, author Crystal Ratcliff explores the many unhealthy, unproductive things in our life that can impact our Christian testimony. With eleven chapters devoted to the “flies” and how to swat them, this shorter devotional exhibits and works around a scripture verse, includes personal stories and examples, incorporates more Bible verses and finishes with questions for self-reflection. Relevant, timely and engaging, There’s a Fly in my Tea will cause you to pause and consider…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well written and easy to read yet full of strong messages, encouragement and possible solutions, I thought the “fly in your tea” theme was creative, interesting and worked well for this women’s devotional. Relating some definitely important and thought-provoking ideas, There’s a Fly in my Tea delivers introspection, learning and truth. With devotions centered around everyday concepts (service, talents, worship, forgiveness), this book would be perfect for a Bible study, personal reflection, a ministry or sermon series.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of There’s a Fly in my Tea from Bookcrash for my honest review*

The Stage Is Set

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Wright, Bryant. The Stage Is Set: Israel, The End Times, And Christ’s Ultimate Victory. Grand Rapids, MI: Backer Books Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Pastor, founder and chairman of Right from the Heart Ministries, and author, Bryant Wright has led several Bible study trips to Israel and shares his love of the land in his new book, The Stage Is Set. Focusing on the ever-changing current world while recalling God’s promises of the past, present and future, graphs, scriptures, thought provoking ideas and personal stories join together in this book based on the Book of Revelation. Throughout the book, the question begs to be answered, are we ready for the end of times?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well-written and reader friendly, The Stage Is Set offers possible scenarios for which we must be ready. Outlining events in an easy to understand manner, author Bryant Wright challenges his readers. Though I found the book interesting albeit I was not in total agreement on all points, it definitely was worth the read. Making a wonderful Bible study or sermon series, it would also create meaningful faith-filled discussions. Well thought out and organized, this book just seemed to seamlessly flow through the chapters.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Stage Is Set from Baker Books for my honest review*

Love Your Work

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Dickie III, Robert. Love Your Work: 4 Practical Ways You Can Pivot To Your Best Career. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a changing economy resulting in a changing workforce, changes are inevitable. Perhaps a career swap, a new work opportunity, or a chance for advancement, in his new book, Love Your Work, author Robert Dickie III shares perspectives on all of these possible changes. Outlining the four quadrants of a career (Revector, Renew, Reinvent and Repurpose), and combining them with career skills while including character and integrity, the future of growth and opportunity is then observed. Equipped with an action plan, a career move can be examined or staying in place can be made better with the importance of loving your work.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With diagrams, highlighted notes, depths of experience and doses of humor, Love Your Work was easy to read, clear to understand, and undeniably relevant. Filled with personal examples, ideas for thought, and pivot-point challenges, I found this book well written, reliable, prominent and useable. Definitely a book I will refer to again as well as share with friends, it would also be successful as a group study, career training, or ministry workshop. Is your career all it could be? You may just be surprised…

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love Your Work from Moody Publishers for my honest review*

Cherish

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Thomas, Gary. Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything For Your Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

cherish

SUMMARY:
More than love, “cherish” includes respect, gratitude, honor and adoration. When cherish is combined with love in a marriage, it has the power to change everything within that relationship. In his new book, Cherish, author Gary Thomas explores and shares the positive effect cherishing another person can have. With a faith-based backdrop, the word cherish is applied to many aspects within a marriage, abundantly coupled with personal stories, relevant analogies, beautiful words, ideas and actions, as well as lots of compassion and encouragement.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading through the book Cherish, I found it to be a very smooth, interesting read but also one I was constantly shaking my head in agreement with. Trying to read only a few chapters at time so I had time to digest the material; unfortunately, it did not work that way as I was consistently starting the next chapter, pausing only to share (and have my husband read) snippets of each section. Definitely a book for any stage of marriage, it would be perfect for a counseling session, pre-marriage workshop, a marriage ministry or even a sermon topic. I am convinced…to cherish is priceless!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Cherish from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Moving from Broken to Beautiful through Forgiveness

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Ortega, Yvonne. Moving from Broken to Beautiful through Forgiveness- Moving from Broken to Beautiful Series- Book 3. Salem, OR: Trinity Press International. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Forgiveness can be one the hardest elements yet also the most restrictive or freeing. In her latest book in the Moving from Broken to Beautiful series, speaker, counselor, and author Yvonne Ortega shares her own personal stories coupled with relevant scripture to demonstrate the power of forgiveness. Outlining 12 steps to move through the forgiveness stage, both forgiving yourself as well as others, each chapter finishes with activities, affirmations and journaling pages. The freedom that can be experienced through forgiveness while moving from broken to beautiful is priceless.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Sometimes forgiving ourselves can be the most difficult thing to do, followed closely by truly forgiving others. Though a shorter book in length, the messages and knowledge packed within are long. Knowing the author has already experienced many forgiving instances in her own life makes the book read more like a talk with a good friend. Based in faith, with compassion and strength, even those not realizing they need to give and receive forgiveness will find nuggets to grip. After reading this current work in the series, I plan to search for the previous books. After all, we all need forgiveness in some form.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Moving from Broken to Beautiful through Forgiveness from Bookcrash and the author.

Chosen With Esther

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Ramos, David. Chosen With Esther: 20 Devotionals to Awaken Your Calling, Guide Your Heart, and Empower You To Lead By God’s Design (Testament Heroes-Book 6). Amazon Digital Services. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
With a strong message to share that even though we may not be chosen first for things (invites, teams), we are always intentionally chosen by God to fulfill His will. Though not always what we may have hoped for and expected, God chose us for a purpose just as He did Esther. As the queen chosen to free the Jews, while not easy, she eventually understood her purpose. Breaking the story and characters into understandable pieces, author David Ramos also includes personal correlations, provides a take-away thought, and concludes with a complementary prayer.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Written in a friendly, non-judgmental manner, this wonderfully written devotional by David Ramos shares the story of Esther in such a way that most can learn from. Relating the Bible story to the everyday makes it that much more effective; a writing talent this author employs well. With a lesson to ponder, thoughts to consider, and hope to be found, through compassion, honesty, and grace, Chosen With Esther not only shares the story of Esther but also reminds that each is chosen and has a purpose with God. “You were chosen for such a time as this.”

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Chosen With Esther from the author for my honest review*

Let Food Be Your Medicine

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Colbert, M.D., Don. Let Food Be Your Medicine: Dietary Changes Proven To Prevent Or Reverse Disease. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2016.

letfoodbeyourmedicine

SUMMARY:
Struggling with his own illness, Dr. Don Colbert thought outside the box to overcome it. Sharing his methods, and hopefully the same positive results, his updated version of his book, Let Food Be Your Medicine, is about making changes to live a healthy lifestyle which both treats and prevents diseases. With a section on information to help make the best choices regarding inflammation, weight loss, and proper nutrition, it also includes a section on specific illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, autoimmune, diabetes, cancer, dementia and mental illness. Concluding with appendixes on a 21-day meal plan, shopping lists, material on pesticides and mercury, as well as supplements, the material is very well organized and easily useable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As I’ve already made several of the healthy lifestyle changes suggested, this newly updated version now supplies a 21 day meal plan which follows the modified Mediterranean Diet as a suggested starting point. With clear evidence of the positive effects of the Dash Diet and Mediterranean Diet, this book enhances those diets with healthy choices for food, exercise, awareness and faith. Full of really helpful information with specific illnesses and challenges organized by chapters, it provides nutritious menus, foods to avoid, and personal stories that may change your life for the better. As a New York Times best-selling author specializing in anti-aging medicine, Dr. Don Colbert has impacted many through his research and walk with God.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Let Food Be Your Medicine from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Wake Up to the Joy of You

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Stassinopoulos, Agapi. Wake Up to the Joy of You: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life. USA: Harmony Books. 2016.

wakeuptothejoyofyou

SUMMARY:
Filled with 52 meditations for a calmer, happier life, Wake Up to the Joy of You is filled with practices, thoughts, ideas, intentions, compassion, and encouragement to love yourself while being yourself. Each chapter begins with a corresponding quote, a personal story, guided meditation and/ or suggestions for the week. Filled with positive thoughts, gentle methods, helpful lessons, and self-compassion, author Agapi Stassinopoulos makes the journey easy to self-discovery and a life filled with joy.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With life so full of negativity, busyness, guilt and self-doubt, this book is a wonderful reminder that grace, joy, peace and spirit live within each of us…they may just need to be discovered and brought to the forefront. A beautiful hard-cover book which is broken into sections on self-care, roadblocks, and conflict, Wake Up to the Joy of You celebrates the real you that you were meant to be. I plan on using this book throughout the year to rediscover my true self underneath all the busyness, hurriedness, and craziness that is part of life. As my word for the year (as well as my middle name-Joy), this book will couple perfectly with my devotional book.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Wake Up to the Joy of You from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

The Mystery

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Sturm, Lacey. The Mystery: Finding True Love In A World Of Broken Lovers. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2016.

themystery

SUMMARY:
Without a decent male role model in her life, singer and author Lacey Sturm shares her experiences of pain through the process of finding true love. Struggling through mental and physical abuse, accepting unkind treatment, and suffering a broken heart many times, The Mystery shows, shares and encourages what real love looks like. Not just the love of another person, but self-love, confidence and respect. Realizing she, along with everyone, needs direction, love, forgiveness, and faith, Lacey Sturm confides in an honest, personal and healing manner.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Being the right book for the right audience, this book carries an openly needed message. As a former atheist looking for love in all the wrong places, Lacey Sturm boldly and honestly shares her faith-finding journey and her value to God. Along that journey she discovers certain messages which she now hopes to teach. Using her own brokenness, The Mystery follows her first book, The Reason, in which she tells her story of finding purpose behind the pain.  Engaging, well-written and brutally honest.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Mystery from Baker Books for my honest review*

Successful Women Speak Differently

Burton, Valerie. Successful Women Speak Differently: 9 Habits That Build Confidence, Courage, & Influence. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

successfulwomenspeakdifferently

SUMMARY:
With a strong message to stop underestimating yourself and start believing you are capable of far more than you know, author Valerie Burton emphasizes the importance of communication and the power of words to strengthen successes and minimize failures. Full of research, personal stories and reliance on Scripture, Successful Women Speak Differently is organized into chapters focusing on the 9 habits that build confidence, courage and influence. With each chapter introducing the key factors, scripts for success, points every woman should know, self-coaching strategies, and a vital aspect to remember, this book is a powerful tool.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read several of her previous books, I know Valerie Burton uses a no-nonsense direction to obtaining success. As a life coach who encourages, guides, and ultimately delivers, her books are well written, interesting, organized and to the point. Heralding and defining the importance of communication, Successful Women Speak Differently is full of necessary and dynamic directives for strength, confidence and success. Perfect for most everyone to read as it deals with networking, interviewing, and communicating both in personal relationships and work environments. Definitely a book I will refer to again and again; a lot of knowledge is packed into this mighty book.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Successful Women Speak Differently from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*