Genre: Religion

Review: Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things by Sara Hagerty

Posted December 16, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ISBN: 9780310339953
Review: Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet: Tasting the Goodness of God in All Things by Sara HagertyEvery Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty
Published by Zondervan on October 7th 2014
Genres: Religion, Christian Life, Spiritual Growth, General, Inspirational
Pages: 208
Format: eARC
Source: publisher
Goodreads
three-stars

Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet by Sara Hagerty is the story of a woman whose life expectations went unmet while her heart became re-acquainted with her first Love. God, who comes in the hunger that pain so masterfully produces, worked His way into her insides to write a love-story as universal as the barrenness that every life clothed-in-flesh wears.
 A back alley is an unsuspecting place for a brush with God. In the age of fingertip access to pipe dreams and a ceiling-less supply of ambitions, where do you find the God who was birthed in dirt and straw? Sara Hagerty found Him when life stopped working for her. It was after almost a decade of Christian life and ministry when she was introduced to pain and perplexity. God met her and moved her when life broke.
 Hagerty weaves in and out (not necessarily sequentially) stories of her conversion and teen years, dating years, infertility, adoption, early years of marriage, husband's business failure, and family health issues. The overall message is that all the tough times end up teaching her major lessons about herself and God.

my review

I rarely have such mixed feelings about a book. Normally I can tell you that I either liked it, or I hated it and I can tell you why. I really want to work on my faith. I understand that by faith I am-am more Danielle Laporte than Billy Gram. I mean I can read Pema Chadron and be all like omg she is BRILLIANT! But I read something like this book and there is SOMETHING that I have resorted to calling the holier than thou asshole test. This is where people tray and sound how the Lord had helped them but in doing so they make people like me who I will fully admit to being broken sinners feel like assholes.

For example, when I read someone like Pema Chadron I can relate to her and I feel like I am on the right path and that I am on the brink of an awaking. I feel good and I want to do good and I want all humankind to feel peace and joy and communion with our creator or the source as it is called in some circles. To me, the Creator IS the source so.

I read Something like Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet and I read about how to agreed to Give her life to the Lord at 16 and followed all the rules I feel like and asshole because at 16 I was battling drug addiction  and a mental illness and my single mother was trying to keep my ass out of Juvenile. (I am a productive member of society nowadays and I have never been in an adult jail so therapy  and medication really do work). I  feel like scum because of all I put my mom through. And that makes me not like the book.

To be fair, the writing is beautiful. It is an internal journey of a woman getting to the core of communion with God. It tells the story of how God peeled back layers and layers til what was left was a precious diamond that reflects God. I LOVED the language and how she described her internal journey. and yet…

I felt worse and worse. Like I wasn’t good enough. Like maybe I was unsavable which I know is not true. God has blessed me with a life beyond my wildest dreams and I now try and follow him, but I KNOW I am still broken in a fallen world and I will never reach the heights of holiness that this author talks about. I could feel the anger in me that all she lacked was getting pregnant. That is all she couldn’t get pregnant. I wanted to tell her to try fertility treatment or something. I hate to admit this, but I felt as if her problem was really not all that big a deal. I know couples who deal with this will disagree with me, but I somehow feel that that people who have suffered withdrawal from drugs and cancer patients and the lack have far more to deal with and so what if you can’t have a kid?

Again my feelings with this book stem from a personal nature. This is a beautiful book to read if you have only faced something of a similar nature. That language is out of this world and it is a beautiful story. So I gave it three stars.

final verdict

 

IT WAS OK

three-stars
Hillary

About Hillary

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Review: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema Chödrön

Posted October 13, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9781590302262
Review: When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times by Pema ChödrönWhen Things Fall Apart by Pema Chödrön
Published by Shambhala Publications on January 11th 2005
Genres: Religion, Buddhism, General
Pages: 185
Format: ebook
Source: library
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

There is a fundamental opportunity for happiness right within our reach, yet we usually miss it—ironically, while we are caught up in attempts to escape pain and suffering. Drawn from traditional Buddhist wisdom, Pema Chödrön's radical and compassionate advice for what to do when things fall apart in our lives goes against the grain of our usual habits and expectations. There is only one approach to suffering that is of lasting benefit, Pema teaches, and that approach involves movingtowardpainful situations with friendliness and curiosity, relaxing into the essential groundlessness of our entire situation. It is there, in the midst of chaos, that we can discover the truth and love that are indestructible. Included in the book are:
   •  Ways to use painful emotions to cultivate wisdom, compassion, and courage    •  Methods of communicating that lead to openness and true intimacy with others    •  Practices for reversing negative habitual patterns    •  Techniques for working with chaotic situations    •  Tools for cultivating compassionate, energetic social action

my review

I heard about Pema Chodron while reading the Desire Map. I am in Love with Danielle Laporte so anything she says to read I will, even if it is just the back of a cereal box. So when I saw her talking about reading Chadron, I went to the library e-book website, and this is the only book they had by her.

Recently I have become interested in spirituality. I am reading up on Buddhism and Reki and all of that. Funny story. I first started reading about Buddhism and it sounded familiar. Then I realized that the stuff they teach you how to deal with Shizoeffective disorder IS Buddhism! All the detach from you emotions and respond from a place of safety, and all of that is all Buddhism. I guess telling people to give it all up to God is not detailed enough to tell people. I thought it was really interesting.

When I first saw the title of this book, my first thought was, but my life is not falling apart. I decided to read it anyway and It was a good book. Chadron talks about the ending of her marriage and how everything in her life fell apart so she started practising Buddhism and was put back together. This hit me to my core. This is exactly how I feel. I felt that when I had my psychotic break in 2007 I exploded into a million pieces and it took a decade to put myself back into a functional human being. I feel like I am whole again I still got cracks that explode under enough pressure. I read book such as this in the hopes of healing those cracks in my psyche.

I wish I had read this book a long time ago. It would have been helpful. Or maybe I wasn’t ready, and now I am. Before I would have made fun of such advice as to transcend your ego and respond from a place of peace, love and safety. That was because I lacked all three, so I lashed out, and the universe gave it right back to me. After a decade and some strong pills, I feel like I can have enough distance from my emotions to take a breather and calm down and respond from a better place. I am still in the process of doing this ALL THE TIME, but I am better than before.

 

four-stars
Hillary

About Hillary

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Book Review: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan, Danae Yankoski

Posted July 28, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9781434768513
Book Review: Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan, Danae YankoskiCrazy Love by Francis ChanDanae Yankoski
Published by David C. Cook on 2008
Genres: Religion, Christian Life, General
Pages: 186
Format: ebook
Source: Scribed
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
three-half-stars

God is love.  Crazy, relentless, all-powerful love.  Have you ever wondered if we're missing it?
It's crazy, if you think about it. The God of the universe--the Creator of nitrogen and pine needles, galaxies and E-minor--loves us with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. And what is our typical response? We go to church, sing songs, and try not to cuss.
Whether you've verbalized it yet or not, we all know something's wrong.
Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts-it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything.
Learn more about Crazy Love at www.crazylovebook.com. Check out Francis Chan's video blog at francischanblog.blogspot.com.  

my review

I have been aching to get closer to God lately. I thought this book sounded good. It seemed like it was written by someone who is close to God and has some good words to say about it. I did not have any pre-conceived notions going into the book.

I liked it ok. It was a refreshment to the usual do this or go to hell type books that so many of my Christian friends read. It was also extreme. I am not too sure how I would feel if God told me to give away everything and do something. Yes, I have a dream of traveling and writing but to GIVE AWAY stuff and trust God? I am ashamed to admit this, but I am not sure if I have that level of confidence in God yet. That is something that I need to work on.

The book has a message of extreme love. It involves giving away stuff and things like that. Not something most of us want to hear. Many of us want to feel vindicated, or that great material blessings are on our way. This book is the opposite of that. For me, it was a hard book to swallow as it pointed out all my weak spots. Then again that is good as I can now work on them.

it-was-ok

three-half-stars
Hillary

About Hillary

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Book Review: Be All You Can Be by John C Maxwell

Posted February 26, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9780896937857
Book Review: Be All You Can Be by John C MaxwellBe All You Can Be by John C. Maxwell
Published by David C Cook on January 1st 2010
Genres: Christian Life, Professional Growth, Religion
Pages: 192
Format: ebook
Source: library
Goodreads
one-star

You have big dreams and major goals for your life. You want to be a leader, fulfilled and fully realized, always able to take what life throws at you and stretch beyond the status quo. But for some reason, you never quite get there. You just aren't living up to your potential, and you don't know why.Now America's leadership expert, John Maxwell, gives you the tools you need to Be All You Can Be. In this powerful book filled with easy-to-grasp truths you can put to work right away, you'll discover the principles of success that can really help you succeed. Maxwell will guide you through four key steps: Know: Discover the principles for fulfilling your God-given potential. Show: Learn how to model the principles so others can see them at work. Go: Roll up your sleeves, get out into the world, and live what you've learned. Grow: Experience living at your full potential, continually assessing your progress.As a result, you'll gain considerable hope for the future, which in turn will give you power to overcome in the present. Successful living and leading starts now: Accept the challenge to Be All You Can Be.

why I read this bookI am a sucker for personal development books and I liked that this had a Christian bent to it.

 

my review

 

All I can think of to describe this book is ehhh. It did not really have any helpful things you could do to maximize your potential. It basically told you to leave your stuff up to God and trust that he will take care of you. To a certain population is nice but I am of the kind of person that wants actionable items. I can’t think of any one that would actually get anything out of this book. I am still nad that I cant get the time back I spent on this book. If I had it to do over I would skip it.

didnt-like-it

one-star
Hillary

About Hillary

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Book Review: Bait Of Satan by John Bevere

Posted February 25, 2015 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

ISBN: 9781591854135
Book Review: Bait Of Satan by  John BevereThe Bait of Satan by John Bevere
Published by Charisma Media on 2004
Genres: Christian Life, General, Religion, Spiritual Warfare
Pages: 255
Format: Paperback
Source: library
Goodreads
one-star

Escape the enemy's deadly trap!  The Bait of Satan exposes one of the most deceptive snares Satan uses to get believers out of the will of God--offense. Most people who are ensnared by the bait of Satan don't even realize it. Don't be fooled! You will encounter offense, and it's up to you how it will affect your relationship with God. Your response will determine your future. If offense is handled correctly, you will become stronger rather than bitter. In this tenth anniversary edition of his best-selling book, John Bevere shows you how to stay free from offense and escape the victim mentality. With more than 400,000 copies in print, this book includes testimonials of transformed people who have read copies in print, this book includes testimonials of transformed people who have read the original book and a devotional supplement, featuring discussion questions, scriptures, and prayers. You will find answers to tough questions like these: Why am I compelled to tell

why I read this bookThe title of the book caught my eye in the library. I just had to know what “bait” that Satan was using and if I was falling for it.

 

 

my reviewThis whole book can be summed up as this. When bad stuff happens and you react unchristian like then yes you are caught in Satan’s snare. The book then goes on to give example after example of this.

I felt that the book and most Christian books in general give easy answers to tough life problems. I am not sure if this is intentional or not. To be sure, there are some christian authors that I love such as Joel Osteen, but most come off as really cheesy. Like this book. I mean I know if someone hurts you are something that you are supposed to turn the other cheek and stuff but honestly, who among us expect saints can actually do this. I know for myself, I have a knee jerk reaction and yes I start plotting revenge scenarios in my head. Ah well. I am only human after all. If you like cheesy books then you might like this one. If not, then don’t waste your time.

didnt-like-it

 

 

 

one-star
Hillary

About Hillary

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

The Art of Power

Posted October 30, 2014 by Hillary in non-fiction / 0 Comments

The Art of PowerThe Art of Power by Nhá̂t Hạnh (Thích.)Thich Nhat Hanh
Published by Harper Collins on 2007-08-14
Genres: Buddhism, General, Philosophy, Religion, Spirituality, Zen
Pages: 218
Format: ebook
Goodreads
five-stars

"Power is good for one thing only: to increase our happiness and the happiness of others. Being peaceful and happy is the most important thing in our lives and yet most of the time we suffer, we run after our cravings, we look to the past or the future for our happiness."

Turning our conventional understanding of power on its head, world-renowned Zen master, spiritual leader, and national bestselling author Thich Nhat Hanh reveals how true power comes from within. What we seek, we already have. Whether we want it or not, power remains one of the central issues in all of our lives. Every day, each of us exercises power in many ways, and our every act subtly affects the world we live in. This struggle for control and authority permeates every aspect of our private and public lives, preventing us from attaining true happiness. The me-first mentality in our culture seeps unnoticed into our decisions and choices. Our bottom-line approach to getting ahead may be most visible in the business world, but the stress, fear, and anxiety it causes are being felt by people in all walks of life.

With colorful anecdotes, precise language, and concrete practices, Thich Nhat Hanh illustrates how the current understanding of power leads us on a never-ending search for external markers like job title or salary. The Art of Power boldly challenges our assumptions and teaches each of us how to access the true power that is within our grasp.

My Review:

I have to admit when I first picked up this book, I thought it would be in the same vein as the 40 Laws of Power, or something. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this is actually a Buddhist book and that the power that is talked about in this book is the power that we get by living our true authentic selves.

Everyone wants power. We assign respect and power based on jobs among other things. Thích Nhất Hạnh says that true power comes from within and that we all can meet. Even the poorest among us has power. This was an interesting thing for me to read. As an American I had always felt that I could only keep power through my job or other accomplishments. When I was diagnosed with Bipolar in 2007 and I lost almost everything I fell into a pit of deep despair. I wish I had read this book back then then I would have known that even though I may have been poor and had almost nothing, inside of me i still had the power to choose how I felt and treated myself and other people. From this internal wellspring I could cultivate power and still respect myself.

Thích Nhất Hạnh says that once we truly respect ourselves and act accordingly that we have authentic power. Many people put down others because at some level they feel insecure and lack this authentic power so to make themselves feel better they put out false power. In the past when people had put me down I allowed them the control to how I feel. This was giving my power away. I can’t control other people but I can control how I react and refused to allow people to put me down.

Reading this book was eye-opening. I have tried to carry out some of the strategies outlined in this book and so far I have found that I really do feel better about myself and when I operate from a secure authentic powerful standpoint, I can be kinder and more compassionate. I urge everyone to read this book. If they do then maybe this world can be a good place both for the haves and haves-nots.

loved-it

five-stars
Hillary

About Hillary

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Review: Becoming a man of Unwavering Faith

Posted November 4, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews, christian / 0 Comments

becoming a man of unwavering faith

From Goodreads:

During the course of his 60-year ministry, John Osteen combined an extraordinary love for people with a vision for ministry best described in his own words: “No limits.” In this hardcover volume not only includes content from John’s sermon transcripts, but also a foreword and commentary written by his son, Joel; the principles of this “no limits” faith come alive again for a new generation.
For the moments of struggle and temptation that every man faces, and the times in life when he feels surrounded and under attack, John’s message is profoundly simple-those moments are precisely the time for an unwavering faith. In this book, John schools today’s believers in seven qualities of unwavering faith:
1. It hears and sees what the world cannot see or hear.
2. It prays earnestly even though it has already heard the answer.
3. It is strong when there is no evidence of the answer.
4. It always says, “Go Again!”
5. It goes on when there’s just a little evidence.
6. It believes for the big when it sees the little.
7. It begins with nothing but ends up doing mighty things for God.
Osteen also provides principles for those times when faith doesn’t seem to be working. BECOMING A MAN OF UNWAVERING FAITH is a guidebook to stronger faith, from a man who spent a lifetime testing its limits.

My Review: If you have ever wondered what it is like to live a life of unlimted faith then this book explains how. It describes the seven things people do to get the most out of life and how to trust God for everything. People think that faith is something you have but this book also explains that faith is something that you do. It goes into depth of each of the seven steps that you do. This book was short but there is a lot of information packed in this book.

three-half-stars
Hillary

About Hillary

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Review: Bad Girls of the Bible

Posted July 11, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

bad girls of the bible

I have to admit it was the cover and the title that got my attention on this one. So often in the realm of Christian books we get titles that say that we need to become more Holy. This title grabbed my attention because well it had “bad girls” in the title. I had to know who the bad girls were and what their story was.

This book chronicles ten of the books bad women. Lot’s wife and the women at the well and the sinful woman among them. It gives a modern day retelling of each then gives a verse by verse commentary on what the story on the whole means and what it means for us today.

I liked this book and especially liked the way Liz Curtis Higgs added her own commentary style to it. I loved the modern retelling. It put a new fresh spin on ages old stories. I had read the stories in the bible but had not truly understood what they meant until I read them in this book. What I mean by that is that is that the lessons had not sunk in that you are supposed to take from them.

This is an easy read. Liz writing style is chatty and she added touches of humor to each story. I found myself highly amused by what she had written. Another thing I liked is that she does not talk sown to the reader but rather gives them hope. She adds bits of her own story so you can see that she is just like many woman out there today. It does not feel as if she was always holier than thou but like every person has made mistakes and was given God Grace to help other woman know that they too can find God and life a better life no matter what their background.

Even if you don’t like inspirational books Liz storytelling makes this book fun to read.Highly recommended

four-stars
Hillary

About Hillary

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

Review: Be a Better You

Posted April 14, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews, christian / 0 Comments

a better you

I first heard Joel Osteen on TV and when I heard he had some books out I couldn’t resist. I checked this out from the library and I was not disappointed.

If you have heard him on TV you probably know that he is a phenomenal motivational speaker. He is also the same phenomenal motivational writer.

This book outlines the seven steps that you can take to become a better you. They mostly run along the lines of be a more positive person and have passion for life. There are also other tidbits like thank people even if they do a bad service and being grateful for where you are now. He gives advice on how you can embrace where you are at right now and how you can move forward.

Let me say that I am the kind of person that distrust organized religion. I believe in Jesus and God yes but many of the followers I don’t like. Especially when we start dealing with fundamentalists. They annoy me to no end. Having said that I still liked this book so even if you not all that religious I still think this book will appeal to some of you. There are a lot of good advice in this book.

five-stars
Hillary

About Hillary

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!

The Power of a Praying Woman

Posted March 28, 2011 by Hillary in Book Reviews, christian, self help / 0 Comments

The Power of a Praying WomanThe Power of a Praying® Woman by Stormie Omartian
Published by Harvest House Publishers on February 1st 2014
Genres: Christian, Christian Life, Prayer, Prayerbooks, Religion, Women's Issues
Pages: 254
Goodreads
four-stars

Stormie Omartian's bestselling The Power of a Praying® series (more than 23 million copies sold) is rereleased with fresh new covers and new material to reach a still-growing market of readers eager to discover the power of prayer for their lives. It may seem easier to pray for your spouse, your children, your friends, and your extended family, but God wants to hear your requests for your life too. He loves it when you come to Him for the things you need and ask Him to help you become the woman you have always longed to be. The Power of a Praying® Woman is just for you. You'll find personal illustrations, carefully selected Scriptures, and heartfelt prayers to help you trust God with deep longings, not just pressing needs cover every area of life with prayer maintain a right heart before God Each chapter concludes with a prayer you can follow or use as a model for your own prayers. Women of all ages will find hope and purpose for their lives with The Power of a Praying® Woman.

power of a praying woman

From Goodreads:

It may seem easier to pray for your spouse, your children, your friends, and your extended family, but God wants to hear your requests for your life too. He loves it when you come to Him for the things you need and ask Him to help you become the woman you have always longed to be. The Power of a Praying Woman has led countless women into deeper, more fulfilling prayer lives. Now, with a new cover, Omartian, through her knowledge of Scripture and candid examples of her own epiphanies in prayer, shows you how to:
1. draw closer to God
2. know His plans and purpose for your life
3. receive comfort, help, and strength for every day
Trust Him moment by moment with the concerns of your heart and discover the awesome power that prayer will release in your life.

This is a re-read. Every time I read it I feel that I get more out of it. I try and read it several times a year.

Ever since I was little I have been taught to pray for others. Somehow it seemed selfish to pray for myself. This book shows that not only is it good to pray for yourself but that God wants you to. It tells when you stop and take time to yourself that you fortify yourself to do what God has in store for you.

This book explains all the different areas that you can pray for yourself. It explains why those areas matter and how it can help you have a better life. The author puts in some things that I would have never thought to pray for myself for. She really puts a new perspective on how to have a deeper understanding of an effective praying life.

four-stars
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Hillary

About Hillary

I am a book lover who loves to read and write. I only leave my apartment for food and MOAR books. I love to meet new people online so don't be afraid to say hi!