soul friends by dr. leslie parrot

“Whether you are surrounded by trusted soul friends, or you are lonely and longing for deep-spirited friends, this book is designed for every woman who wants to grow in faith and friendship.”

This was an incredible book to read, ponder, and try to apply to my life.  It’s written by an author I have a lot of respect for – Dr. Leslie Parrot, a marriage and family counselor who has written many other books on her own, as well as books with her husband, Dr. Les Parrot.

I expected this to be a fun, light read, but it really was a lot deeper than that.  The book is set up to help us see our “spiritual journey in terms of four major landmarks: Quest, Calling, Crisis, and Communion”.  Each of those areas were ones she came to after study, and she gave a lot of background on how she got there.  Some of it was borderline new age, talking about the Celts and their terms for things like “soul friends”.

I appreciated that the book was divided based on those four landmarks, but I also appreciated how she talked about how many of our experiences will have parts that are in more than one category.  Each chapter (including the preface, which she called the “invitation”) ends with a section called “soul souvenirs”, a couple of questions to help you dig deeper into what you just read.  With how much depth is in this book, the theologians quoted, the books that it references (and makes you want to dig out to read for yourself!), and the numerous Scriptures quoted, I think it would make an incredible book to read through with a book club or a small group.  I loved reading it on my own, but I do think I’d get a lot more from it if I was able to work through it with a friend.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.  I was in no way required to write anything positive – all thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.

Soul Friends Cover

Love Skip Jump, Start Living the Adventure of Yes by Shelene Bryan

While part of me hates to admit this, I often do judge a book by the cover.  If it “looks” boring, or “looks” strange, or “looks” bad in any way, I don’t want to read it.  But with this book, I thought the cover was not only really fun, but it made me want to see what was inside.  I recognize that covers are the work of many people, and not just the author, but they do reflect on the author… if this author could have a cover like this, I really thought she was going to be well worth checking out!  I definitely was not disappointed.

The foreword to this book was written by Francis Chan, who didn’t mince words.  At all.  He was up front about the fact that years ago, he never would have seen himself writing anything to support something Shelene wrote.  But he also told us that she had changed, and he’s excited about those changes.  Isn’t that something we’d all like to have said about us?  That someone else can see how God is working in our lives, to change us for the better?  That’s what the Christian walk is all about!  (Clearly, I was enjoying this book well before I even read anything that the author wrote.)

The author started by telling us about how someone had seen a couple pictures on her fridge, of two kids they sponsored in Uganda, and asked a great question – how do you know they’re real kids?  She felt like that was a crazy question and really just brushed it off, but it kept coming to mind for her, and she decided that she wanted to go meet these kids.  That decision radically changed the trajectory of her life, in ways she never could have foreseen.  The book was impossible to put down, because you really had to see what would happen next.  She didn’t just go meet her kids (both of whom were definitely real!), but she bought things for those children, for the local pastor and church (a dock, for one!), she was the catalyst for other financial donations that came in later, and ultimately, she started her own nonprofit organization, dedicated to helping in areas of need.  Shelene was very real in this book, very honest about her struggles, and very much the kind of person that I think a whole lot of us can relate to.  I really appreciated that, because nothing she shared seemed to be something that I wouldn’t be able to do myself.  Clearly, I don’t have the kind of disposable income that she does, but that doesn’t mean I can’t give out of what I do have!

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone, but I will just say that if you’re going to read this delightful book, you need to be prepared to make changes in your life as a result of what you read.  I don’t know how you could read it and feel like you can keep going with the way things have been.  I definitely couldn’t.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.  I was in no way required to write anything positive – the thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.

Love Skip Jump Cover

Loves Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell

Siri Mitchell is an author I have really come to enjoy, so when I saw the opportunity to request one of her books, I jumped at it.  I wasn’t disappointed!

What made this story fun was how the main character, Ellis Eton, pretended to be her friend, by doing her job for her while she needed to be away.  Forget about the fact that she didn’t really know how to do the job, and forget that she actually was awful at it for awhile… she looked so much like her friend that she actually got away with it!  The story lines were a little bit hard to follow at times, because you had the friend (who came and went), Ellis, Griffon (who was not exactly a friend to Ellis for the better part of the book), and family members with their own peculiarities.  Overall though, it was a really great book to read!

On her first day doing her friends’ job, she overhears a conversation and believes that the two guys are talking about how they’re going to kill someone that she knows.  The rest of the book is all about how she’s trying to figure out who the two guys were, when they’re going to do it, and how to stop it!  Of course she keeps running into people who call her by her real name, and that makes it hard for her to keep the pretense of being her friend, but while that was a challenge for her at times, it really did go well overall.  She’s able to do the two weeks she promised, more time when her friend lets her know that she’ll be gone even longer, and ultimately is there when the story plays out.  Spoiler alert: no one dies.  What she heard was NOT a plan to kill someone, but to injure them.  But the way she “jumps in” to try to keep anyone from dying is very well written.  I really enjoyed that part of the story!

The book is filled with funny situations, and it ends with a proposal that’s accepted (which makes for one very happy couple!).  I would absolutely recommend that you pick it up and read!

At the end of the book is a note from the author, explaining how she was very intentional about giving Ellis the kind of mind that would later be described as ADHD.  She “was curious to see what her era would have done with a person who just couldn’t concentrate no matter how hard she tried”.  I thought it was all very well explained, and that whole section of the book had all sorts of information I had never heard before.  I appreciated that it was included.

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.  I was in no way required to say anything positive, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are completely my own.

 

Love Comes Calling

All in Good Time by Maureen Lang – Book Review

Within the first few pages, this book had me completely hooked and I couldn’t put it down until I finished it!

All in Good Time is a story that centers around two people – Dessa Caldwell, who wants to open a house to serve women looking to get out of prostitution, and Henry Hawkins, who owns the largest bank in town and who makes an investment in her new business through his uncle, who works at the bank with him. Both Henry and Tessa have secrets from their past that threaten to impact their lives now, and both want to keep those secrets hidden. While I did have a feeling about what would happen in the end, I was still somewhat surprised by how it all worked out. There were many things that could be learned through this story – about faith to follow through on the plans God has for us, about what really makes a friendship, about learning to trust the people who come into our lives, and many more. The author made the characters come alive in a way that made it easy to relate to them, and I’m looking forward to reading more of her books in the future!

Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, the opinions expressed here are completely my own.

gods at war by Kyle Idleman – Book Review

Wow.  I had read Kyle’s book, not a fan, and thought I had some idea what this book would be like, but wasn’t even remotely prepared for the things that were brought up in this book.  Kyle says that “false gods” aren’t just statues that we bow down to, but anything that takes the place of God in our lives.  He includes food, entertainment, money, success – all of those are things we go after without ever thinking that it could be a “substitute” for God.  But the reality is that anything we pay more attention to than God is an idol for us.  How much time do we spend just watching tv, compared to the amount of time we spend studying God’s word?  I know that I don’t do as well I should with this, but I had never thought about the “other things” as being “gods”.  If we agree that anything we give more time to is a “god”, than we’re disobeying a pretty big commandment – “Thou shall have no other gods before me”.  What a convicting thought!  This whole book was convicting, and really made me examine my heart and my life on a deep level.  The book has a lot of Scripture, lots of true stories, and great little sections called “Idol ID” that help you to think about where you’re at with each area.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity to read this book, and think I may have to read through it a couple more times.  I encourage you to consider reading it too, it truly is full of some amazing insight into an area that I don’t think many of us would normally consider.

I received this book free through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program.  I was not required to write a positive review, the statements here are all my own based on my true feelings about this book.

Lord, I Give You This Day by Kay Arthur – Book Review

This book is really fantastic, not just because it’s from a great author, but because it gives you an easy reading for each day of the year. The thoughts are really good, and each day has a section of Scripture included. There are even prayers for each day, which are very thought provoking – even if you don’t like to “read” your prayers, they are a great starting point!

I appreciate that the title includes the term “Appointments with God”. It really makes you think more seriously about needing to set aside time to meet with God, not just to include Him as an after thought. So often, that’s what we do with our devotions, even when we have books to use! I like that this book seems to have a different mindset to it, that it’s not just about “doing” devotions – it’s about taking time to have an “appointment” with God. What a great reminder!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purpose of reviewing, but the thoughts and statements here are my own. I truly did enjoy the book and I’m glad I got to review it!