Alabaster Guided Meditations of Matthew and John

I’ve struggled to find bible study guides that aren’t so complex and super artsy. I feel those type of books lead me to lose focus and purpose in why I’m using them in the first place. I wanted something that points me to the Word and helps me to understand it and apply it to my life, without the glitz and social-media style glamour that I normally come across. That’s when I discovered this series.

Thank you Alabaster and InterVarsity Press for gifting me copies in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: In this collaboration between Alabaster Co. and InterVarsity Press, the full text of the Gospel of Matthew and John is presented alongside beautiful full-color photographs and multiple guided meditations by Bible teacher, author, and spiritual director Jan Johnson. Carefully designed as a practical, study-focused version of Alabaster’s other bible books, the Alabaster Guided Meditations invite readers into deeper reflection by incorporating the church’s ancient lectio divina and visio divina traditions. Though the intersection of New Living Translation Bible passages, photography, thoughtfully designed layouts, and meditations, readers are invited to experience the Gospel of Matthew and John anew.

I have completely fallen in love with these study guides. They are simple, elegant, have the Word straight in front of you, and have a one page summary to reflect and respond on what you have learned in every few chapters. It’s perfect for someone who’s always on the go and may only be able to spend a few minutes of quiet time a day OR even for the person who is ready to have deep meaningful reflections on the Word with all the time to spare. I couldn’t imagine something better. It’s enriching and engaging without the chaos and pressure of trying to have the perfect quiet time with God.

5/5 Stars

Believe In You by the Gimorelli Sisters

As a high school teacher and someone who loves to help with the youth group at church, I am always trying to keep up to date with the latest trends. I hadn’t noticed the popularity of the Gimorelli sisters up until now and I was so excited to check out their latest book!

Thank you Tommy Nelson for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: As Christina, Katherine, Lisa, Amy, Lauren and Dani tour the world with their music and read their social media messages, they meet and hear from thousands of girls sharing their hearts. Now, in Believe in You, the sisters are connecting with young women who have the same concerns.

The teen years may be difficult, confusing, awkward and scary, but it’s a lot better when you have someone to go to for advice and some positive, encouraging words. Reading Believe in You is like receiving a big hug and the assurance that you never, ever have to try to change who you genuinely are to be like someone else. You are amazing and unique!

This was really cute! I love that each chapter has different viewpoints from the sisters which makes this book unique and stand apart from others like it. Their advice is sound in the gospel and stuff that I wanted to hear as a teen from someone who’s been through it all. Highly recommend this one!

5/5 Stars

Night Night Devotions by Amy Parker

If you’ve been following my blog long enough, you’ll know that Amy Parker is a household favorite of ours. We love her writings and illustrations in all of her books. I’m excited to share with you her latest edition to the “Night Night” book family!

Thank you Tommy Nelson for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Bedtime is the perfect opportunity to snuggle your little ones close and remind them of God’s presence and love. In this book of 100 devotions for kids ages 3–7, bestselling author Amy Parker and illustrator Virginia Allyn invite you to begin a tradition of prayer and devotions with your children to carry them through the years to come. Each of the devotions in Night Night Devotions begins with a Bible verse and includes Night Night questions to encourage interaction with your children. If you want to use the book as a companion to Night Night Bible Stories, the devotions have corresponding titles that accompany each Bible story—with much more in between! Each devotion ends with a rhyming Night Night Prayer that emphasizes God’s love and care

My daughter has been a huge fan of the “Night Night” books. I was excited to see the newest release of devotions by Amy. I was slightly nervous that the devotions set-up would be a little too much for her toddler age and attention span. Because Amy is so talented, the bright drawings and rhyming scheme kept my daughter intrigued the whole time. This book will definitely grow with her which I love even more. This is a perfect holiday gift for your favorite little one!

5/5 Stars

She Prays by Debbie Lindell

If someone were to ask me about my prayer life, I would say “Oh it’s great!” I mean, I pray every meal, every night with my daughter and husband, and when I think of it throughout the day. Does that mean my prayer life is great? No! I think all of us need some encouragement to help grow in our prayer life, which is why I was really excited to read this book.

Thank you Revell books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: One of the most wonderful things about walking with God is that we can have an intimate and real relationship with him. He wants us to know him so well that we are comfortable talking to him about anything and everything. Yet, there are times when we feel disconnected and insecure. We desire to grow in prayer, but we don’t know where to begin, what to say, or how to listen for his voice. In She Prays, Debbie Lindell invites you on a 31-day journey to experience a confident and conversational relationship with your heavenly Father. She shows you how to replace the pressure to perform in prayer with a faith-filled expectation–trusting that God is delighted with every conversation and every word we whisper to him. Her desire is that your soul will be transformed as your confidence in prayer grows, and that your faith will be strengthened as you see God work through your prayers in ways you never imagined possible. 

I will be honest – I would keep staring at this book and tell myself “I don’t need to read this, my prayer life is fineeeee.” That lasted for quite a few days before I realized I was finding myself thinking about this book all throughout the day. That was when I realized that was God nudging me, telling me I needed to pick this up because it was just what I needed to hear. This is the kind of devotion I like – one where it really encourages you and gives tips about diving into the Word and what it really means. I loved this devotion and I’m so glad I got to read this. I can’t wait to pick it up again and learn from it all over.

5/5 Stars

100 Ways to Love Your Husband & Wife by the Jacobsons

Do you still date your significant other? That’s been our biggest goal this year as a couple – to date each other more. Sometimes all it takes is a little something to show them how much you love them and care for them above all else.

Thank you Revell Reads for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Couples with great marriages know one simple truth: the best marriages are made up of many everyday decisions that say, “I love you” rather than those that say, “I love me.” When we put the other person first, even in little ways, we find true fulfillment.These books offer husbands and wives practical, hands-on advice to start applying immediately. Maybe you are just entering into marriage and want to start off on the right foot. Maybe you have made some mistakes along the way and are struggling to connect. Or maybe you want your marriage to go from good to great. Wherever you currently are in your relationship, let the Jacobsons help you learn how to love your husband and wife well.

What I like about these book is that they are short and sweet. They are easy to take with you as a reminder when you need it the most. For example, if you are feeling frustrated in a disagreement, pull this book out and look for some encouragement. What I don’t like is that it’s almost too simple. I want a guide like this to go deeper into why they chose those 100 things to love your husband and wife. More than half of it was common sense or self-explanatory. I found my husband and I laughing at a few of these tips, and not in a good way. They just seemed silly and mundane. We wanted something more heartfelt and deep. That’s not to say there weren’t any tips like that in this book, because there certainly are. I just was looking for something more.

2/5 Stars

Shift Your Thinking for a Deeper Faith by Dean Del Sesto

After going through a big move and a big job change, I needed some new ways to spend my quiet time with the Lord and stregthen my relationship with Him.

Thank you Revell Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: In the busyness of life, it’s easy to get distracted and disconnected from the many promises God has made about who he is, the strength we find in him, and the abundance of spiritual tools, abilities, and assets we have at our disposal. These are not necessarily things we have to search out to acquire–they already exist within us. And Dean Del Sesto wants to help you access them every day. With hard-hitting truths, memorable quotes, and powerful perspective shifts, Del Sesto helps you connect (or reconnect) at a deeper level to the power, potential, and purpose you already have so that you can live your life with greater freedom, resilience, and wisdom. Perfect for business professionals on the go, the busy student, the active parent, and anyone who needs a boost of spiritual strength at any time, this book promises to help you live your life from an internal resolve rather than in reaction to your external circumstances.

There is a lot of goodies in this book, 99 to be exact. I loved how short, sweet, and to the point the author is. There are bible verses, summarized sentences, and questions with space for you to journal. It’s an easy book to pick up and read a few things from and still feel like you’ve gotten something really good out of it. Do I feel like all of this was new information to me? No. Being a Christian for a lot of my life has already exposed me to a lot of these ideas and thoughts previously. Was it a nice refresher? TOTALLY. I especially loved the journal aspect with the main questions for each of the 99 ways. I didn’t expect that! I will keep coming back to this book as reference when I know I need it most.

3.5/5 Stars

Back Roads to Belonging by Kristen Strong

I just moved to a new state less than a few weeks ago and it’s been a large task. The biggest thing for me to think about (or not think about because it’s much easier to do) is making new friends. That’s where this book comes into play.

Thank you Revell Books for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: At one time or another, shifting seasons in family, friendships, employment, and communities will bring each of us face-to-face with the feeling of being on the outside looking in. Because we are made for connection, this will often lead us down one of two roads. Either we will hop on the popular but crowded highway that asks us to do whatever it takes to get noticed, or we’ll stand still, paralyzed by the fear that we’re not important, loveable, or worth other people’s time and attention. But what if there is another way? With an understanding voice that will speak into your own circumstances, Kristen Strong walks beside you along the less traveled but more satisfying third way–the back road way–to belonging: remaining in Christ and relaxing into the unique role God has for you. Along the way, you will learn simple, doable actions that not only will help you feel and know that you belong but will welcome others in as well.

Whether you have friends or are in need of new ones, you need to read this book. I absolutely loved it and still find myself turning through the pages every day. I think I’ve always just been so stuck on beliving that it’s impossible to find good friends now that I’m out of high school and college, but this book has completely changed my focus. Even if finding friend is easy or difficult for you, I think you will find rest and comfort through these words.

5/5 Stars

A Prairie Devotional by Wendi Lou Lee

Whenever I would stay home sick from school I would always watch Little House on the Prairie. When I saw that Wendi aka Baby Grace had released a devotional, I was so excited!

I want to thank Thomas Nelson for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Loyalty, hard work, and love of God, neighbor, and country have never been more cherished or needed. For nostalgic fans who seek a more meaningful way of life, A Prairie Devotional offers deep lessons drawn from the beloved TV series. For the first time, fans of the Little House TV series have a spiritual resource based on its rich themes of faith and family. Author and former child actress Wendi Lou Lee, who played baby Grace on the TV show, offers unique stories and insights, giving readers a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the hearts and souls of the characters. For nostalgic fans who seek a simpler, more meaningful way of life, A Prairie Devotional offers powerful life lessons. Blending personal anecdotes with stories and quotes from the TV show, Scripture verses, and thought-provoking questions, Wendi Lou Lee invites reflection on the ideas that made the TV series so popular: soothing broken relationships, keeping your head up in challenging situations, and relying on God’s guidance when life looks impossible. With more than 90 devotions, A Prairie Devotional is an inspirational compilation of heartwarming material that lifelong fans will love.

I thought this was beautifully done. The devotions are short yet packed with important takeaways and reminders from God’s Word. To read about the trials and tribulations that Wendi has gone through is amazing as you see what she has become because of it. She has become stronger than ever and is such an inspiration to all. Those who loved the series and those who are in need of some encouragement, this is for you!

4.5/5 Stars

Night Night Zoo by Amy Parker

Amy Parker has been a staple in our home with her entire “Night Night” series. Our family is so excited for this newest edition!

Thank you Thomas Nelson for my gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: Night Night, Zoo pairs the fun, rhyming text from bestselling author Amy Parker with the award-winning artwork of Virginia Allyn to help your kids wish their favorite zoo animals “Night night!” From tuckered out elephants to dozing zebras, your little wild one will love the colorful art of cute animals settling in for bedtime. The zoo theme features fun and exciting illustrations of wild animals, inviting your children to say “Night night!” to each animal and to the loving God who made them.

Night Night Zoo was a real treat. In fact, my two year old wanted to read it 5 times as soon as it arrived in the mail! The artwork is as stellar as always with the Night Night series. It’s bright, adorable, and has the most perfect ending. Highly recommend it for the little ones!

And as a special treat, I have coloring pages that you can download and do with the kiddos after you read! Enjoy!

Disability and the Way of Jesus by Bethany McKinney Fox

As some of you may know, I consider myself someone with a disability. It may be invisible, but it affects my daily life much more than most realize. Most people question how I could be a Christian

Thank you Intervarsity Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Synopsis: The Gospels are filled with accounts of Jesus offering physical healing. But even as churches today seek to follow the way of Jesus, people with disabilities all too often experience the very opposite of healing and life-giving community: exclusion, judgment, barriers. Misinterpretation and misapplication of biblical healing narratives can do great damage, yet those who take the Bible as authoritative mustn’t avoid these passages either. Bethany McKinney Fox believes that Christian communities are better off when people with disabilities are an integral part of our common life. In Disability and the Way of Jesus, she considers how the stories of Jesus’ healings can guide us toward mutual thriving. How did Jesus’ original audience understand his works of healing, and how should we relate to these texts today? After examining the healing narratives in their biblical and cultural contexts, Fox considers perspectives from medical doctors, disability scholars, and pastors to more fully understand what Jesus does as he heals and how he points the way for relationships with people with disabilities. Personal reflections from Christians with disabilities are featured throughout the book, which concludes with suggestions for concrete practices adaptable to a variety of church settings. Bridging biblical studies, ethics, and disability studies with the work of practitioners, Fox provides a unique resource that is both theologically grounded and winsomely practical. Disability and the Way of Jesus provides new lenses on holistic healing for scholars, laypeople, and church and parachurch leaders who care about welcoming all people as Jesus would.

I was afraid of going into this book and reading the one thing Christians talk about with disability. Even though my disability isn’t visible, multiple of my chronic illnesses are still listed as such. I have been told by more people than I want to admit that my sin relates to why I am still sick. People have even tried to use multiple bible verses to back up their case. This is not true! I will preach that until the day I die. God has taught me A LOT through my disabilities. I would not be the person I am today without them, nor would I have such a strong faith in the Lord! I’m proud to say this book does a great job at focusing on how we as people and we as the church need to love just as Jesus did. I loved how Bethany focused on different ways the church has interpreted the stories of healing in the bible and how she recognizes the insight each interpretation brings. I loved this thought-provoking book and highly recommend it!

5/5 Stars