Category Archives: Books

Book Review~ Feminine Threads

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This is the first book I’ve finished in quite some time. It takes me just a bit longer to read these days. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this history of women in the church by Dana Lynn Severance.

Feminine Threads reads almost like a history textbook, so I don’t think every reader would enjoy it, but I did. I like history, especially church history, and I always want to learn more about women of the faith. So this book’s content appealed to me a lot, even if the writing was more academic than engaging. I learned about a bunch of new women that I’d never heard of before, and about many different historical movements in Christianity. The learning was fun, but my heart was also encouraged to read of these women who loved Jesus and have gone before me.

I was encouraged to read of the steadfast faith of many martyrs, and of the Puritan understanding of the importance of family worship. My desire to stay home with my boys and raise them in the fear of the Lord was strengthened when I read of Victorian women who took their families to new, strange, and dangerous places hoping that the family would testify of the Gospel in cultures where family relationships obviously differed from what the Bible teaches. I live in a godless culture, and by choosing to honor my husband, and stay home to care for my boys, I can testify that I value what God values, that I have been changed by the Gospel from seeking my own way to seeking the good of others. This was a new, and so encouraging, perspective for me on how a Christ-centered family can be a tool for evangelism.

All in all, I’d recommend this book to you if you like history and aren’t daunted by a more factual writing style.

Book Review~ The Person of Christ

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I started reading The Person of Christ by Donald Macleod before Christmas, and finally finished it this weekend. I enjoyed reading this book SO much! Macleod addressed several aspects of Jesus’ person, work, and character that I hadn’t really ever before thought on. I found myself marveling at my Savior repeatedly as I gained new understanding of the many intricacies of Christ. I was spurred on to read this book from a conversation with some good friends on how Jesus, as a human, had to learn some things. That just boggles my mind, and makes the condescension of the incarnation even more amazing. I also spent a lot of time, especially around Easter, considering, with awe, the suffering and death of my Redeemer.

This book is not scholarly, but it’s not easy, fluffy, reading either, which I liked. I could understand what he was saying, but I also had to think about it quite a bit. The writing is clear and engaging, and the content is rich. I so enjoyed pondering new depths of my Savior. I also enjoyed that the book is structured around the history of the understanding and study of Christ, and Macleod explains various positions on Jesus, and then points us to Jesus as the Bible reveals Him.

I will be reading at least some of the other books in this series, and probably will read this one again, which is quite a high recommendation from me. You should read it too!

Book Reviews

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Last week, when I was sick in bed, I did quite a lot of reading. I was sick enough not to want to get up, or really think hard, but not sick enough to just lay there. So reading was the order of the day. I had checked out these three books from the library; and read them while I was incapacitated.

The first book I read was Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I had seen this book recommended a couple of places, and it looked good and interesting, so I tried it out. The story intertwines the story of  a modern woman with the life of a girl suffering during the Holocaust. It was really difficult for me to read because of the subject matter and intensity of Rosnay’s writing. She doesn’t mince words, and makes you feel the pain of her characters. So, in one way, it was very well written. While I don’t like to read things that aren’t uplifting, I think the fact that this is based on events that really happened make it worth while. It is my hope that I will learn compassion and awareness through reading of events that happened, with the understanding that people are still suffering like this today. So, I kind of recommend this book: it’s painful to read, but I think understanding suffering can be a good thing.

The second book I really enjoyed. Bill Bryson’s At Home: A Short History of Private Life combines a lot of things that I like, all together, in one book! Bryson is a very witty writer; he’s writing about domestic and homely subjects and their history; and the book is full of random, mostly useless facts. The book is exactly what the title says, it takes the reader through different rooms of the author’s old English house, and teaches the surprising and often truly interesting history behind our homes and furnishings today. I learned quite a few new things, and enjoyed the reading along the way. If you’re interested in the home and history, I would recommend this book.

I also very much enjoyed the third book I was able to read, The Innocence of Father Brown by G. K. Chesterton. I’ve been interested in reading Chesterton for a while and found this book at the library, so I brought it home. This particular book is a collection of short stories centered around a rather incongruous detective, Father Brown. I liked the short story format and enjoyed the variety of stories in this book. Chesterton is a fabulous writer, and his mysteries are interesting and puzzling, without being scary. I’m definitely going to look for some more books by Chesterton, especially those that are more clearly Christian. I can recommend this book, especially if you like unconventional mysteries, great writing, and short stories.

Preparing for Easter

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One of the facets of mama-hood that I really enjoy is celebrating holidays in a way that points my family to Jesus. My mo did a fabulous job of making traditions for our family that are fun and meaningful, and I love to do the same for my boys. I value traditions because they knit a family together more strongly, and provide continuity from year-to-year. I especially want our traditions to glorify God. So I’ve been anticipating Easter and prayerfully considering what we can do as a family to center this time around Christ, focussing on his great suffering and jubilant resurrection.

We are for sure going to do Lenten Lights (free download here). I love doing this. Each week, during the reading, we blow out a candle and I am always struck by the visual symbolism of the darkness of Good Friday, and the bright rejoicing of Easter morning, when we light all the candles again. I’m hoping to make Easter morning a special, rejoicing time for our family. Alongside the Lenten Lights readings on Sundays, during our weeknight family devotions, we’re going to be talking about 25 reasons why God raised Jesus from the dead, which is a list that we discussed and wrote down with Bret’s family one Easter.

With Luke, I’m planning this year to use Noel Piper’s idea from Treasuring God in our Traditions, and make an Easter Mountain. We haven’t done this before, but I think he’s old enough to understand and enjoy it this year. The basic idea is to have a physical representation of the events of the Passion and Easter to help Luke understand what Jesus accomplished for us. My family did something similar to this growing up, except with West African red mud, and it was always fun, and messy.

Personally, I’m excited this year to read Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross, by Nancy Guthrie. Which is “a collection of 25 short readings drawn from the works of classic and contemporary theologians and Bible teachers that will lead readers into thoughtful contemplation of the cross.” I’ve also, since Christmas, been reading The Person of Christ by Donald MacLeod, and the Lord is continually using it to make me marvel at Christ, who He is, and His great work on my behalf. I’m hopeful that these two books will stir my heart to worship and truly observe Good Friday and celebrate Easter.

I’d love to hear what you will be doing to focus your family’s hearts on Christ this Easter season!

My New Favorite Book

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… which I haven’t actually read yet. The Lord lead me to a blog about a year and a half ago, and I’ve been encouraged, taught, and convicted by it almost daily ever since. The blog is A Holy Experience, and the author, Ann Voskamp, has just released her book! The title is One Thousand Gifts; it chronicles Ann’s journey (and fight) for joy and how constant, consistent  thankfulness to God changed her heart. I began my Thankfulness posts after reading of Ann’s intentionality to count the ways the Father blesses her.

I had it on preorder, something that I’ve never done before, and it came in the mail this weekend. I’ve just kind of nibbled on the beginning of the book, but I’m gladly anticipating some time to sit down and really read it. I’m hesitant to recommend a book I haven’t actually read yet, but the Lord has used Ann Voskamp’s writing for good in my heart so often. She loves Jesus, writes poignantly, and speaks the truth with gentleness. So I feel pretty confident that this book is going to live up to my expectations, and I have some great expectations! Here’s a trailer to whet your appetite.

I’m going to be reading along with this book club. And I’m excited to hear Ann’s own elaboration on what she’s written, as well as learning how the book impacts other women.

If you decide to read it, I’d really love to hear your thoughts and reactions!

Book Review ~ Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God

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I recently finished Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper. I had skimmed this book sometime ago at someone’s house, but hadn’t read it until my sweet husband ordered it for me. This book is composed of five chapters, and each chapter overviews the life of a godly woman.

I particularly enjoyed reading this book because I’d never heard of several of the women before. Noel Piper clearly and succinctly writes about Sarah Edwards, Lilias Trotter, Helen Roseveare, Gladys Aylward, and Esther Ahn Kim. The only woman I’d read anything about before, or even heard of, is Sarah Edwards. Each of these women spent her life to worship and serve her Savior. Since each life story is told in a fairly short chapter, I find my interest piqued to find out more about these women who feared the Lord and did great things in Him.

Another aspect I appreciate about Noel Piper’s writing is that she uses these lives to point the reader to Christ, his infinite worth, and great work. She takes time to point out what we can learn from these women through the trials they endured and the difficult choices they made. I’ve read some (even Christian) biographies that, although interesting, neglected to acknowledge God and His work and purpose, so I am refreshed by Noel Piper’s book.

Book Review ~ To the Golden Shore

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I just finished this biography on Adoniram Judson. To the Golden Shore is a fairly extensive look at Judson’s life written by Courtney Anderson. It took me a pretty long time to read it, I got a little bogged down in the middle. I think that lull happened especially because I’d already read a few biographies of the Judson ladies (My Heart in His Hands and Lives of the Three Mrs. Judsons), and so knew most of the story.

This is a good biography, though. I enjoyed reading it, and the author does a good job of weaving in letters and journals with his narrative, which I really like. One thing that I learned from this biography that I hadn’t in the others was Judson’s personal spiritual journey. I was encouraged and edified to read how God worked in this man’s heart and life to sanctify him and use him to reach a lost nation with the Gospel of Christ.