Wednesday, September 6

Mercy Triumphs by Jana Kelley

About the Book:

Mia, an American Christian, has lived in Sudan so long that persecution, harassment, and danger are commonplace for her. Her tough outer shell threatens to harden her heart while her newly Christian friends, Halimah and Rania, former Muslims, are forced to live in exile outside Sudan. All three quickly discover that escaping danger in one place only means facing even greater challenges elsewhere. As God’s mercy becomes evident in their lives, will they be able to offer mercy to those who don’t deserve it?  

My thoughts:

Mercy Triumphs is the third in a series that follows the lives of Mia and her Sudanese friends Halimah and Rania.

The thing that impressed me the most was how Mia learned the important lesson about "blooming where she was planted".  Maybe she didn't agree with the way things turned out, and it definitely wasn't her personal plan.  However, when she finally accepted that God's plan was better than her own personal agenda, she was able to move on with grace and dignity.

Mercy Triumphs is a real eye-opener of the dangers and persecution that so many are facing because of their beliefs. It makes me so thankful for the blessings and freedom that we often take for granted here in Canada.  Thank you Jana Kelley for this great story.

Disclosure: Ebook received through Net Galley courtesy of New Hope Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 15

A Woman Overwhelmed by Hayley DiMarco

Book description:

"A Woman Overwhelmed" is a phrase with which many women can relate. But what would happen if we could see the insanity in our pace and embrace our overwhelming God?

There is a reason they say that a woman’s work is never done— because it isn’t! As women, we often are overwhelmed by the demands and circumstances of life, resulting in stress, fear, worry, impatience, fatigue, frustration, and even depression. The truth is that we were created to be overwhelmed . . . not by life but by God! When we learn to be overwhelmed by God, the fruit in our lives goes from rotten to fragrant—filling our days with peace, hope, love, and joy.

In A Woman Overwhelmed, best-selling author Hayley DiMarco shares biblical insights and personal stories to offer a glimpse at the comedy of an overwhelmed life while encouraging us to discover the depths and heights of God’s love and power.

Be empowered to find freedom in becoming overwhelmed with who God is—by learning to focus on what we know about God so that we can hold onto faith even when it seems that all is lost. For it is when an overwhelmed woman gives up the mission of me and exchanges it for the mission of God that being overwhelmed becomes a good thing.

Choose to bask in the abundance of the Father instead of the abundance of life as his unfathomable depths can surely replace our fathomable messes.

My thoughts:

I was curious about this book when I heard about it, as we can all relate to being overwhelmed at one time or another. The title is very appropriate as we can all get lost in the messes of life.

The author recounts numerous humorous stories that were easy to relate to, and some truths that really hit home with me as well.  I actually found the format of the book a bit overwhelming when reading it from cover to cover.  It is most likely designed and better suited to read a chapter a day, and then take time to reflect on the questions at the end of each chapter.

I really wanted to love this book, but maybe it's my age or the season of my life right now.  I think that younger readers would get a lot more out of this book than I did.  There are definitely tidbits to be gleaned, and I am grateful for the opportunity to read and review this title.

Disclosure: Ebook received through Net Galley courtesy of Abingdon Press in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 12

All Saints (Movie Review)

About the Movie:

ALL SAINTS is based on the inspiring true story of salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock (John Corbett), the tiny church he was ordered to shut down, and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. Together, they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.

Watch the trailer here.

My thoughts:

I loved this movie and will definitely be seeing it again. The lives of a young pastor and his family are intertwined with a community of refugees, and both groups are desperate to make a way in their new home.

Michael was hired to be pastor of a dying church for only a couple of months, and he had no idea how his life would be changed. He thought his short term post would be a stepping stone followed by bigger and better things. He was not anticipating how things would be entirely the opposite.

When times seem almost impossible to handle, a miracle sometimes does happen, and often when one least expects it. The church that everyone thought would see a wrecking ball was far from it's last days.

All Saints was filmed at the original location where this story took place, and many of the actors and actresses played themselves in the movie. Go see this delightful movie, it is likely one of the best of the summer.

This movie will be in theaters across Canada beginning on August 25, 2017.

Disclosure: Movie has been provided courtesy of Sony Entertainment Releasing Canada and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

The Case for Christ (Movie Review)

About the Movie:

A hard-driving journalist, Lee Strobel (Mike Vogel) was exactly where he expected to be at work: on top. His award-winning investigative reporting recently earned him a promotion to legal editor at the Chicago Tribune. But things weren’t going nearly as well at home where his wife Leslie’s (Erika Christensen) newfound faith in Christ went against everything Lee believed—or didn’t believe—as an avowed atheist.

Utilizing his journalistic and legal training, Lee begins a quest to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to save his crumbling marriage. Chasing down the biggest story of his career, Lee comes face-to-face with unexpected results that could change everything he knows to be true.

The Case for Christ comes out on DVD, Blu-ray, and for digital download on August 15th, and is available for pre-order on Amazon, iTunes and Walmart.

Watch the trailer here.

My Thoughts:

Lee Strobel is a well known author that most people are familiar with. As a young journalist, he was thrust into a story that was centuries old, but was directly affecting his personal life. This is an adventure based on his true story.

As an atheist, he was so angry that his wife had found religion, and he was determined to prove that she was wrong.  And he set out to prove that Christianity was just a big hoax.

I can't say enough about this movie, as I don't want to spoil it for anyone. This story is for all beliefs, and it can definitely change lives. Think about getting a copy of this movie for your own personal collection, and I promise that you won't be disappointed!

A personal note: I have dug out an old copy of this book from my late husband's book collection, and now I understand why it was one of his favourites.

Disclosure:  Movie has been provided courtesy of Mongrel Media and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Saturday, August 5

Good Night, I Love You by Jene Ray Barranco

About the Book:

A Widow's Awakening from Pain to Purpose

In the wake of her husband's sudden and unexpected death, Jene Barranco writes a stunning book of brutal honesty about overwhelming grief, grappling with being a single mother to three grieving teenagers, and how she overcame the deafening silence she felt at the center of her relationship with God. GOOD NIGHT, I LOVE YOU explores with raw and honest prose the author's journey as a widow and what she has learned about grief, marriage, parenting, faith, living life with purpose, and utter dependence on God. Here is a book that will speak to anyone who has ever loved a husband or wife or child.

My Thoughts:

It is hard to find a really good book on grief, and Jene Ray Barranco has documented her own personal journey through her darkest days with transparency and honesty.

After her husband's tragic passing, Jene was kind to herself, her faith was strong, and she had supportive friends and family.  These are all vital components that we need to build around ourselves in preparation for an unknown future.

Some of the details in this book may be hard to understand, especially if you have never traveled through the loss of your best friend and soul mate.  The part that resonated the most with me was her relationship with God.  There were long periods of silence when she didn't know how to pray, and it seemed that God was silent as well. This made me realize that my own journey and feelings were not unique.

Thank you Jene for writing this book, and it has helped me immensely, just knowing that my feelings and reactions to my husband's passing were not unusual. Thank you for opening up your heart and sharing your story.  Hugs from me to you across the miles.

Disclosure: Ebook received through Net Galley courtesy of FaithWords/Center Street in exchange for my honest review.