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Saturday, January 17, 2015

Book Review: Living Well Spending Less

I have been intrigued by this title since I began seeing advertisements on Facebook last year.  I'm happy to say, this book fits the title, and will not disappoint!  Divided into 2 sections, Living Well and Spending Less, author Ruth Soukup takes the reader through her personal life journey in discovering satisfaction in life and then presents lessons learned along the way.

I really appreciated Soukup's honesty.  Although a blogger I was unaware of since 2010, Soukup has allowed her spending habits and life stressors to read a whole new audience by putting it in book form. Soukup is a Christian, and she unashamedly shares how she re-directed her thoughts away from desires to buy material posessions and instead learned to find contentment in her life through focusing on Jesus.  Each chapter finishes with a challenge.  Depending on where you personally are in your own life, some challenges will be simple, while others will take time.  Soukup takes the reader through the basics.  Figure out your personal priorities, create a budget, etc.

The second section, "Spending Less", is a treasure of information.  Couponing, cleaning, even socializing on a budget are all areas covered.  All presented again with the same basic and honest tone that seems like a friend is chatting with you over coffee.

I think this would be a great book for a soon to be college graduate or newly engaged person.  Learning from Soukup's experiences could help anyone set themselves up for success in life.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Book Review: The Burn

The Burn by Haylie Pomroy is a diet book with a specific purpose.  Based on the principles presented in The Fast Metabolism Diet, Haylie Pomroy presents 3 specific diets for specific goals.  Additionally, each diet presented is written to combat a specific dietary hurdle.  The 3 diets are the Digestive Intervention, the Hormonal Intervention and the Inflammation Intervention.

Positives: Pomroy has created lengthy descriptions of why each intervention might need to be considered.  This is helpful in making sure the reader chooses the right diet.  Pomroy also includes conversation to help guide the reader not to cheat.  For example, Pomroy writes a list of preparations that need to be done ahead of time for maximum success with the plan.

Pomroy is specific to make sure the reader understands this is not a lifestyle change, but a diet to try to get over a weight loss stall.

The menus presented offer wide variety and with the amount of food and liquid to be consumed assuring the participant should not be hungry.

All the foods for the recipes can easily be found in any grocery store, nothing is pre packaged.

Negatives: The recipes provided to not offer substitutions.  For someone with a food sensitivity, such as migraines from citrus, this will basically make at least the Hormonal Intervention diet impossible.

Additionally, the menus are not very high in protein outside if lentils and chicken.  For those if you who are not used to including vegetables in your daily diet, these would be a stretch.

Over all, I found this book to be comprehensive in presenting a method for losing a few pounds quickly in a reasonable way.

In exchange for a free copy of this book via Blogging For Books I was asked to give an honest review.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Book Review: Marriage Matters

Tony Evans has written 3 outstanding books about marriage I will review all together.  The first is Marriage Matters.  This biblical perspective on marriage is similar to those I've read before, but goes into such specific detail I found myself finally grasping ideas I've strived to put into words for years.

"It is important to point out that when God calls couples to oneness with each other, He is not calling them to loss their uniqueness."

Evans covers all the "hot topics" in what would be considered a Christ centered marriage.  Beginning with why God created marriage and men and women so differently, covering how sin has warped marriage and how God strives to restore us to Himself through marriage, I could not stop highlighting the pages.

"Marriage has been designed as a tool by God to bring about good in your life.  Unfortunately, because we so often do not understand the true nature and purpose of marriage, we lose sight of that truth and end up living lives characterized by chaos."

There are 2 supplemental books written, For Married Men Only, and For Married Women Only.  Each of these quick books is PACKED with truth.  I read the women's book first and found myself feeling incredibly affirmed in my role as a wife.  Evans covers the subjects of being "a helper" to our husbands, submission, and living a life that honors God in a way that did not leave me feeling like I second class in any way.  Using scripture Evans unpacks all that marriage is supposed to be if we allow God in the center.  It left me hungry for the picture that was written about.

I then read the book for men.  I was SO thankful for the charge written to the men.  Evans explanation of women's desires to be pursued were words I have long desired to be able to say myself. The responsibility of a man is clear in scripture and Evans has no concerns about laying it out exactly as it is written.

I think these 3 books are a great resource for any couple even considering if they should marry or not. The challenge to love a spouse the way God intended is not an easy one.  With the right partner and Christ in the middle it is certainly a much easier journey!

Book Review: The Divergent Series

Yes, I know, I'm late to the party of the this series, but in case you are like me and were holding out to see if the movie was any good or just a repeat of Hunger Games, I'm going to review this trilogy.

I have to say, not only was the book 1000 times better then the movie, I couldn't believe how different the whole story line was.  This unique story of a Chicago where humans are divided into factions which promote characteristic traits over family in an effort to keep peace after a great war is very well written, creative in plot, and very emotional.  I was thankful to be able to read all 3 close together as I could hardly put them down.  I found that the thoughts and actions of a 16 year old, mostly thinking of herself first was not as frustrating as I would have expected.  As Tris ponders and explains her actions it is easy to be drawn to her, root her on and experience every surprise around the corner as she does.  Her relationship with Four, her complicated emotions surrounding her family and all their choices, and her struggle to accept her divergence and fulfill her dreams were intertwined perfectly.

I found the story line to move at a nice pace, not dragging in sections as some might.  There were plenty of surprising twists and turns in the story, and over all it was a great trilogy.  I actually found myself thinking of the characters even a few days after ending the book, understanding why do many additional stories have sprung up.

Book Review: Balls by Nanci Kincaid

A fellow coach's wife recommended this book to me after learning we had taken our first job coaching college football in the south.  It took me about a year to get a hold of a copy, but I am really glad I did.

This fiction book is set in the south of Alabama, a very football loving state.  It is the story of Dixie who falls in love with and marries a football player.  As many players do, her husband Mac becomes a football coach.  The story journals the career of Mac Gibbs from the perspective of his wife Dixie, other coaches, parents of players and many other on lookers.

I found this book to be very interesting.  Along with giving a good look into the struggles and daily lives of a football family, it is written at a time when racial tensions were high and football was a place where that was played out.  The years of high school vs college coaching, recruiting, staff dynamic and children of coaches are all touched on.

I found myself at times identifying with the different coach's wives who all take parts sharing in the story line.  This unique writing style of allowing the reader to be spoken to by many different characters gives you a well rounded insight into the different scenarios presented.

If you are looking for an interesting story this is a great one!

Bzz Report: Kroger Organic Tea

I was given the chance to taste part of the new Kroger Simple Truth line and was mailed a bottle of the naturally sweetened organic tea.  Earl Grey, Sweetened.  It was very tasty!  I was pleased that there was no after taste and that the sweetened part was mild.  The bottle was 70 calories and the tea was very smooth.  I would grab this for an on the go option again.

I was given a free bottle of this product in exchange for an honest review from BzzAgent.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Book Review: The Reluctant Journey

The Reluctant Journey is a well written conversation walking the reader through the books of Genesis and Exodus and the stories of Abraham, Jacob and Joseph.  Author Richard Parrott frames the discussion by breaking the paths a partner of God is called to to one of 3 paths.  The path of Wandering (Abraham), The path of wounds (Jacob) and the path of wisdom (Joseph).  Parrott presents the scriptures in summary form including where he is drawing each part of the story from with scriptural reference.  As the stories unfold Parrott has the reader pause to insert themselves into each path with insightful questions.  Each chapter ends with questions for further reflection.  

I really appreciated the boldness of questions asked.  Being reminded that honesty is what drives us deepest into relationship was prevalent throughout the book.  There were a times in each chapter where a statement was made which read as absolute fact when in further inspection was actually author interpretation of a particular circumstance explained in scripture through one person's interaction with God.  

I think this is a very thought provoking book that gives good insight to how we need to look at our interactions with God as we seek to do His will.  I hesitate to say that the paths outlined are all encompassing.  God is a relational God and will individually meet people where they are in order to move them forward in relationship.  It is possible most people will encounter one or more of these paths in their life.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.  In exchange for a free copy of this book I was asked to give an honest review by