What I Read In May

May was a good reading month for me. I was able to complete five books! I’m not really sure how that happened because May was also an extremely busy month. Nonetheless, I am well on my way for meeting my reading goal for 2017! I have completed 17 books out of my goal of 40. Here is a brief review of the books I read.

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Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz was a 3-star book for me. It fluctuates between  present day and the past, telling the story of two sisters and their families. One of the sisters drowns and of course there are lots of questions and secrets surrounding the drowning. I found it slow in places, but overall I enjoyed it.

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Chazown by Craig Groeschel is all about discovering your call and purpose in life and living it out. “Chazown” is the Hebrew word for vision, dream or revelation. Groeschel gives practical steps that aid you in discovering how you can live a meaningful and fulfilled life by living out your God-given purpose. I believe that as we go through different seasons in our life, our specific calling and/or purpose often changes. I found this book helpful for reflecting on my present stage of life and being intentional about discerning what the Lord is calling me to right now. I give this book 4 stars. ( I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in return for my honest review.)

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My Heart by Julie Manning was another 4-star book for me. Julie shares her story of having a serious heart condition that was detected while giving birth to her second child. The condition could cause her to go into cardiac arrest at any time. She talks about what it’s like living with this knowledge, while at the same time being a wife and mom to young children. Her faith in God and her longing to remain on earth with her family, while at the same time longing to be at home with the Lord is both encouraging and inspiring. Julie lives like each day is her last, because it could be. But….isn’t that the same with each of us? Shouldn’t we be living the same way??  (I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in return for my honest review.)

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The Lucky Few by Heather Avis is the story of the Avis family. Heather and her husband were unable to have biological children and they felt the Lord leading them down the adoption path. Little did they know that their path would not be the same as most adoptive families. Their journey led them to the adoption of three children….one of a different race, and two with Down Syndrome. This is a beautiful story of love, trust, obedience and joy. I love what Heather says, “It’s only the lucky few that recognize that the most beautiful things in this life are often found in the differences.” Once again.. a 4-star book for me! (I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)

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It’s Not Yet Dark by Simon Fitzmaurice was my last read for May. In 2008, Fitzmaurice was diagnosed with ALS and he shares about his debilitating illness in this book. He is an Irish filmmaker, a husband and a father of young children. During a crisis in 2010, he made the choice to be placed on a ventilator, going against the advice of most physicians. The story is heartbreaking and encouraging at the same time. He wrote this memoir using an eye-gaze computer. I give this book 3 stars. (I received a free digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.)

So, that’s what I read in May! Looking forward to a great reading month in June! I’d love to hear what you’ve been reading!

Trusting His Plan,

Sandra

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How Do You Smell Today??

 

It’s another beautiful morning on my porch! All of the gardenia buds seem to have popped open since yesterday morning and the fragrance is amazing! It reminds me of how, as Christians, we are called to be the aroma of Christ. (2 Cor. 2:15) Sometimes I wonder what my “aroma” is to those around me. Is it sweet and inviting, full of the scents of love, kindness, acceptance, gentleness, joy, peace, contentment, patience and humility? Or is it offensive and repelling, reeking of hatred, anger, bitterness, judgement, arrogance, discontentment and hypocrisy?

Oh, how I want it to be that sweet fragrance that attracts others and points them to Jesus! Much like the smell of smoke that permeates and follows you as you leave a bonfire, I want to spend time with Jesus every day so that, when I walk away from our meeting, I carry with me the sweet fragrance that will be noticed by anyone that I come in contact with that day. The aroma of Christ.

How do you smell today???

“Everywhere we go, people breathe in the exquisite fragrance. Because of Christ, we give off a sweet scent rising to God, which is recognized by those on the way of salvation—an aroma redolent with life.”  2 Cor 2:15 (the Message)

 

Book Review: My Heart by Julie Manning

I’m getting closer to meeting my reading goal for 2017! My goal is to read 40 books this year, and so far I’ve read 14! Now that summer is almost here, I’m hoping to be able to spend even more time reading.

I just finished this book and enjoyed it so much! Julie lives with a heart condition that could cause her life to end at any time. Yet she doesn’t live in anger, bitterness, depression, fear or sadness. Instead she lives each day, recognizing that the Lord is in control of her future and she trusts Him in this. She has three young boys and she spends each day loving them and discipling them. She uses her days to make Jesus known to those around her, encouraging others to spend their time on the things that really matter…relationships.

This book was an encouragement to me and yet another reminder that every person has a story. When we tell our story, it encourages others and reminds us that we are not the only ones having to deal with hard things.

What are you reading these days??

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

(I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in return for my review.)

Review: Through The Eyes Of Hope

A very engaging read! I read it in two days! I’m thankful for Lacey’s transparency. I loved seeing how her faith in God and her confidence in her decision-making as a Mom grew throughout Christian’s treatment and surgeries. Definitely made me stop and think about how I react when I see others that are “different.” What a sweet, precious gift Christian is to his family, to those that have the honor of knowing him and to all that are blessed to read his story. I highly recommend this book! (I received an advanced reader’s copy from Netgalley.com)

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Book Review: Nothing To Prove

I really enjoyed this book by Jennie Allen! Nothing To Prove helps us to get a better picture of what life would be like if we chose to believe the truth that we have nothing to prove. So many of us struggle with always feeling like we are not enough or that we never measure up. We are constantly comparing ourselves to everyone around us and always find ourselves wanting. We think we have to prove our worth. We are constantly trying to be more, do more and have more. Jennie says of the book, “My single goal is to lead your thirsty soul to the only source of lasting fulfillment: Jesus. He is the living water, a limitless supply that will not only quench your thirst but will fill you and then come pouring out of you into a thirsty world.”

Jennie shows us the freedom that can be ours when we stop trying so hard, and instead just rest in Jesus. Rest in who He has called us to be. Rest in what He has called us to do. And not worry about what He has called others to be and do. We need to stop trying to be people pleasers. One of my favorite quotes from the book is, “I began to have victory over my addiction to people’s approval when I finally started calling my people pleasing sin. When I realized I had been worshiping people instead of God, that broke me. As I saw it for the idolatry that it was, I lost my appetite for it.”

Nothing To Prove was an eye-opening look at what and Who we are living our lives for. I highly recommend this book!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

(I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in return for my honest review. Link is an Amazon affiliate link.)

A Great Way To Start The Day!

I’ve been enjoying this season of Lent as I prepare my heart for the celebration of the greatest event in history…the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I started my time this morning listening to this song and thought I would share it with you. The words are so simple, but so true….You are good and You’re never gonna let me down! What a great time to reflect on His goodness to us! Not matter what trials or hardships we may be enduring in our lives right now….He is good! If we can focus our hearts on that one truth, what a difference it would make in our day-to-day life!

I hope that you’ll take a few minutes to listen to the song and then carry this Truth in your heart today and every day!

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

Podcasts Anyone??

Over the last year, one of the things that I’ve discovered that I really enjoy is listening to podcasts! I listen to them when I’m doing laundry, when I’m cooking, when I’m getting ready in the mornings and when I’m driving. It seems that my subscription list grows weekly! I’ll share my top three favorites with you and I’d LOVE for you to share your favorites with me!

–What Should I Read Next?
–The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey
–Sorta Awesome

What are some of your favorites??

Trusting His Plan,
Sandra

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