The Rumley Family

Loving Jesus, Loving Life

Tag: book review (page 1 of 3)

He Frees Us (A Captive review and giveaway)

I remember lying in bed the day I learned what divorce was, terrified that my parents’ marriage would end that way.

I remember being afraid of what people thought of me, always scared to do or say the wrong thing. I self-soothed by sucking my finger longer than most kids do (and my parents’ orthodontist bills proved it).

Those things happened in my elementary school years, but it didn’t stop there. My anxiety (and depression) resurfaced one year in college, and I knew I needed the help of medicine to pull me out of the pit.

“What-if Land” was my enemy. What if someone I love dies? What if I contract a terminal illness? What if this horrible thing or that terrible thing happens to me?

I was held captive by fear.

Though I’d been a Christ-follower since a young age, I still allowed fear to rule me.

It wasn’t until 2006, when my dad nearly died, that I really began to emerge from that captivity. God, in His great mercy, gave me the opportunity to face a huge fear…and to learn, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that He is MORE than enough to sustain me. He is SO MUCH BIGGER than any of my fears.

I had one choice: trust that God is always good and always does what is right…or don’t.

I chose to trust Him, and let me tell you friends, trusting God is the antidote to fear.

Praise God, HE FREES US from what holds us captive.

captive

Back in 2005, Georgia resident Ashley Smith was captive to a life full of drugs and brokenness. She was widowed when her young husband was murdered, and she dulled her pain with drugs…causing her daughter to be taken away from her. She’d just moved into a new apartment when she was taken captive – quite literally – by an escaped convict.

Her experience is chronicled in the book Captive: The Untold Story of the Atlanta Hostage Hero. And the theatrical movie of the same title is set to release in theatres this Friday, September 18. Watch the trailer below.

This book and film caught my attention, not because of the fast-paced, heart-thumping aspects of it, but because of the redemption. This broken woman was brought to repentance by the most unlikely of circumstances. She was brought to the end of herself, and thankfully, found her Savior there.

What holds you captive, friends? What will it take to bring you to your knees in front of the God who loves and created you?

I’d love to get a copy of this book into one of your hands. Just go ahead and leave a comment below, and I’ll enter you into the contest. I’ll wait 7 days before drawing a winner.

Disclosure: They gave me a copy of the book to read. I read it. These are my opinions, not theirs. And they didn’t give me any money. 🙂

Nourished…and the winner is…

9780310331018

Thanks to those of you who entered to win a copy of the new book Nourished, by Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph.

The contest ended at 5pm on Monday the 9th, and I used random.org to find our winner.

Drumroll, please!!!

………………

………………

………………

Jesse P, you are our winner!!!

If you didn’t win the book and still get a chance to read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts when you’re finished!

Thanks for playing, friends!

Nourished: Book Review and Giveaway

9780310331018

Calling all you weary women out there! This one’s for you!

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the clutter in your home? Do you ever hide in the bathroom, eating chocolates, just to have a few moments of calm away from the kiddos? Do you ever feel like you can’t give any more of yourself than you already are?

I had the opportunity to read this new book by Becky Johnson and Rachel Randolph, a mother-daughter team. It’s called Nourished: A Search for Health, Happiness, and a Full Night’s Sleep.

Now, let it be said first and foremost that I believe that the most complete refreshment and nourishment you can have comes from a right relationship with Jesus Christ. He is the one who provides true peace and joy. If you don’t know Him, I’d be overjoyed to introduce you!

But this book is a refreshing read, full of real-life stories and practical ideas on how to lead a more nourished life.

From the publisher:
Order-loving, thirty-something Rachel, and her laid-back, messy mother, Becky, are opposites in many ways. But they both believe that women long for a life that nourishes them inside and out. In this book, the mother-daughter duo will help you make that dream a reality by tackling the “Top 10 Stressors” that mess with a woman’s mind, such as:

•Cluttered Surroundings
•Exhaustion of parenting
•Time-starved marriages
•Feeling like a spiritual slacker
•Crowded Schedules
•Negative Body Image

Following a series of trial-and-error experiments, Becky and Rachel share laugh-out-loud stories, fascinating research, and practical tips to design and a nourished life that fits your personality. By learning how to embrace “nourishing compromises,” you’ll never put happiness on hold again. If you are feeling drained, discontent, or discouraged, join a couple of understanding, entertaining companions on the journey from overwhelmed to nourished.

What I loved:
My favorite part of the book was a series of practical questions they asked, such as, “What energizes me?” and “What makes me feel accomplished at the end of the day?” I journaled answers to this series of questions and feel like it gives me real, practical action steps to take toward a more refreshed lifestyle.

Besides lots of heart-to-heart time with Jesus (which I would recommend to anyone, regardless of gender, stage of life, or measure of weariness), I would recommend this book as a practical way to bring more order and nourishment to your life…in a way that is unique to your own personality and circumstances.

What I didn’t love:
I didn’t agree with every word they wrote.

I am extremely blessed in the area of female friendships, and couldn’t really relate to Rachel’s struggle to connect with friends. (I did want to email her and invite her for a visit, but Texas is a bit far for a cup of coffee!) 🙂 What I want to add to their suggestions for nourishing friendships is this: find a solid church family and make a great effort to connect with women there. A love for Jesus gives friendships the right soil in which to grow and blossom!

I was least happy with the parenting chapter, mostly because their style of parenting is obviously much different than mine. And I felt like their writing style in this section was a bit combative…Specifically, I strongly disagreed with the section where they called spanking “parenting like a drill sergeant” (on pg. 172). If you become a drill sergeant when you’re disciplining your child, something definitely has to change. HOWEVER, loving discipline (including spanking) is never done in anger or a spirit of spitefulness. It is a way to modify behavior and help change the heart, always bathed in prayer and love. [End rant.]

As with all books, use discernment when reading. Pluck out the useful pieces and disregard the ones that aren’t helpful.

The Conclusion:
Parenting differences aside, the majority of this book was encouraging to me, so I give it my recommendation.

If any of this post resonates with you, please leave a comment below to enter to win a copy of this book!

Tell me: in what area could your life use a little refreshment?

(Giveaway ends Monday, February 9 at 5pm EST.)

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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win. Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Book Review: The Patmos Deception

patmos

Just south of Thessaloniki, Greece lies an area of land with three peninsulas extending into the sea. These three fingers are an area called Halkidiki, and way back in 2010, Luke and I were privileged to visit the westernmost finger, called Kassandra. It was a beautiful, albeit economically struggling, area.

Mt. Olympus was on the horizon. The sea was beautiful. Olive tree orchards lined the roads. Homes with red terracotta roofs dotted the landscape.

And it is in this area that a part of Davis Bunn’s novel The Patmos Deception is set.

Of course, you can tell by the title that the book is mostly centered around the island called Patmos, far south of those three finger peninsulas. Patmos just happens to be the island where the disciple John was exiled…the place in which he wrote the book of Revelation. This becomes an important detail in the story.

The main characters are an American woman named Carey who’s working toward a doctorate in forensic archeology, an American investigatory journalist named Nick who is a childhood friend of Carey, and a Greek boatman named Dimitri who is struggling to make ends meet in a deteriorating economy.

Nick is hired to investigate the disappearance of some of Greece’s most precious antiquities, and he asks Carey to help him. Dimitri falls into the story on the other side of the line, when he agrees to use his boat to smuggle goods in exchange for a great amount of money.

I like a good mystery, and besides his masterful storytelling, Bunn is able to weave in the power of the Gospel. The plot kept me reading, with bits of Biblical history woven throughout. And the character development was excellent as well.

My only complaint? While the author wrapped up the mystery portion of the novel well, he left the relationships unresolved, which makes me wonder if he has a sequel up his sleeve?

Well done, Mr. Bunn. I always appreciate a God-honoring novel with enough intrigue to keep me reading!

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers, in exchange for a review. There was and will be no compensation. All opinions are my own.

Book Review: Dirty Faith by David Z. Nowell

“I can say without any reservation that the happiest, most content people I know are those who have taken seriously our Lord’s command to minister to the least of these.” -Page 47 of Dirty Faith

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David Nowell is the president of Hope Unlimited for Children, a Christian nonprofit that ministers to sex-trafficked children, street orphans, and child prisoners. It is from this background that he writes this book, from a heart of compassion toward those who are “the least of these,” children who have been abandoned, mistreated, and who need a Rescuer.

So what are we doing to get our hands dirty with those Jesus called “the least of these?”

Do I sit in my suburban house, enjoying the fireplace and my chai latte, forgetting that anyone out there is cold, hungry, dirty, and yearning for love?

Yep. I do. More often than I want to admit.

Do our churches spend more time looking inward, ministering only to ourselves, or do we have an outward focus? How much of our church budget is spent on facilities, salaries, and programs…and how much is spent on evangelism?

I’ll be honest. I should have posted this review a long time ago. It took me a long time to get into this book. Maybe it was because the need is simply overwhelming. Or because I’m not one of those people he references who are marginally committed to Christianity and the church. I am all in. I’m not anywhere near perfect, but I’m completely committed.

Once I got past all of that, it is a well-written book, challenging the status quo of the American church and our individual lives and asking hard questions. There are plenty of heart-rending true stories – stories of kids prostituted by their relatives, or selling themselves because it’s the only way they know how to survive, or kids in prison who have committed heinous acts but want another chance at life…And all of these are loved by God and we are called to love them, too.

He talks about caring for the orphans:
“Caring for the orphan is not just something we are commanded to do; it is the essence of our identity. We accept because we are accepted. We love without reference to merit because we receive unmerited love. We adopt because we are adopted. Hear this again and again: As we stand before God, there is no qualitative difference between us and the most desperate child of the street.”

It makes me think of my friend Dana. After completing her nursing degree and working in a hospital, she spent years in South Africa, working with orphans there. She fell in love with one in particular and adopted her. When God called her back to the US, her ministry to orphans did not stop. She spends her days as a mama to medically fragile foster kiddos, another one of whom she adopted.

She became a part of our (relatively small) church family when she returned permanently to the States. And she has singlehandedly changed the culture of our church body. Adoption isn’t “different” anymore. To date, four families in the church have adopted foster children that she has cared for. Another family has adopted overseas. And another is in the process of adopting an older child. I will be shocked if God does not provide more families to adopt in the future.

Nowell doesn’t insist that everyone has to go out and get a foster care license or adopt a child. He doesn’t say everyone has to go visit people in jail. But he does insist that we DO SOMETHING.

So what are you going to do? What am I going to do?

Disclosure: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers for the purpose of review. All opinions are mine, and I was not compensated monetarily for the review.

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