Wednesday, August 16, 2017

School Days

This morning as we were getting ready for school it hit me.  This is the last time I will see our son get on the school bus for his first day of school. He's 16 and 4 months, a junior, so by every right he should have his license by now.  But he's still 8 hours away from earning it, and I'm okay with that (50 hours with a permit are needed in our state to obtain your driver's license).

I've enjoyed running him to his band camp practices the past two weeks, savoring those little conversations you don't always get with a man-child. Often they're too quiet, busy playing their game system or messing on their phone to pay attention to what mom has to say.  But every once in a while the light breaks through the clouds and you have those sweet little talks like when they were little.  And at this point in life, you grab on to those moments and tuck them away for memories that will be needed later down the road.

I hope your children have a great year of school making memories that will last a lifetime.  Not necessarily only for themselves, but for you, sweet mama, who will need to recall them on those lonely, quiet mornings where you wonder where the time has gone.  They say too often that you'll blink and before you know it your children will be grown, and then one day you realize it's true.  It's not the end of the story, just the beginning of a new chapter.  So take hold of what you have today, and remember:  As the pastor of our church says, "Our greatest days are just ahead"!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

"He Calls You Beautiful: Hearing the Voice of Jesus in the Song of Songs" by Dee Brestin

Publisher: Multnomah
Pages: 240
Pub Date: July 11, 2017

About the book (Amazon):

I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine...
-from the Song of Songs

Did you know that God loves you with a passion - and He wrote a love song to help you experience that love in a personal way?

Tucked away in the pages of Scripture is o e of the most fascinating and most misunderstood books of the Bible: the Song of Songs.  Although the Song of Songs details a passionate, earthly love story, it is intended to illuminate the best love story, the intense love God has for us, His beloved.

In He Calls You Beautiful, Bible teacher Dee Brestin explores this love song from God to reveal transformative truths for each of us, whether married, single, or widowed.  With rich contemporary illustrations and insight from biblical scholars, Dee shows how God uses poetry and exquisite images to illuminate the intimacy that Jesus longs to have with you.

God calls you to know His love not only in your head but also in your heart.  He sings over you a song of love, a song of salvation, a song of hope.  A Song of songs.

My thoughts:

I love the setup of this book.  The stories that precede the study in each chapter are great attention getters and relevant in today's world.  While this could be read and studied on your own, I think a group setting (no matter how small) would be an excellent way to work through this.  After looking it over and reading a few pages, I decided that was exactly what I wanted to do.  So I contacted some friends and a study was born!  They even include notes for leaders and hints for group facilitators in the book!

**I received this book in exchange of my honest review, and give it a 4 Star rating**

One More Song to Sing - Lindsay Harrel

Publisher:  Ashbury Lane
Publication Date:  December 1, 2016
Pages:  310

About the book (from Amazon):

More than two decades ago, Olivia Lovett left her old life behind in the red dirt of Oklahoma and forged a career in Nashville as a country music star. Now her voice is failing, forcing her to find a new dream just as the secrets of her past come knocking at the door. Long-time friend Andrew Grant agrees to partner in a new business venture--but would he stick around if he knew her whole story?
After the tragic loss of her father, twenty-one-year-old Ellie Evans headed to Nashville seeking more than just fame. For two years, she's waitressed, strummed, and sung her way to what may finally be her big break when Olivia offers to sign her to the budding record label. More than anything, Ellie just wants to be seen: by her future fans, by Nick Perry--a fellow musician with a killer smile and kind eyes--and above all else, by the mother who abandoned her. If the spotlight never shines on her, will Ellie ever feel whole?
One More Song to Sing is a romantic drama about the power of forgiveness, second chances, and a God who never fails to see us.

My Thoughts:

I LOVE finding a hidden gem amongst all the big name publishers in today's market.  I came across this title while I was browsing the professional journals at work the other month and thought it might be a good one to try.  Boy was I right! 

The story was a fast read and definitely kept my interest.  The different characters were intriguing; I loved learning their personal stories and hearing of their triumphs and struggles.  At first I questioned why I'd never her of the author, I mean really, I work in a library.  I thought I knew all (ok, most) of the Christian authors on today's market.  After a little research, I realized this is her first publication, with her second book releasing in 2018.  Ah....that explains it.  I think, regardless of this being a first novel, Harrel knocked this one out of the park.  She definitely "broke a leg" (see what I tried to do there, go out there and "break a leg"). even though I didn't officially receive this book to review, I give it 5 stars and highly recommend it!