Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Review: Lazarus Awakening DVD Study by Joanna Weaver

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It was a privilege to be able to preview the "Lazarus Awakening" Study with DVD.  I had previous read Joanna's classic, "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World," so I was eager to dive into this study.  

What I appreciated with the 
"Lazarus Awakening" study guide was the layout of the lessons: for each week, in addition to the introduction and questions, the author includes a sidebar, "Word Time," outlining ideas for going deeper in the study for that week, along with "Israel Moments" -- fascinating details on the land of Israel and the culture of the time of Jesus. Ending the lesson is an activity called "Who I am in Christ" that calls us to action, "allowing God to redefine us and replace lies with truth." Every week encourages the reader to dig deeper into God's Word, with each lesson building on the previous.  Whether an inexperienced or veteran with bible study, everyone can proceed through this study at their own level comfortably.       
The DVD could be a stand-alone product -- Joanna teaches with clarity and grace, easily bringing the viewer into the location and the story with her.  The video segments on "Israel Moments" complement the information that is found in the study guide.       
While it is completely possible to do the study with just the study guide and DVD, each week's lesson does refer and encourage you to read the author's book (of the same title).  I found that I could not get as much as I wanted out of the study unless I read the corresponding chapters.  Otherwise, this is one bible study that I will be glad to go back to and complete again in the future.  

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Affiliate links included in this post. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books ( book review program. I was not required to write a positive review; the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, September 19, 2016

#musesofamom: Leadership from a Broken Heart

Many praise Nehemiah in the bible for being an inspiring leader because he had the chutzpah for asking the intimidating King of Persia to send him to Jerusalem, a city besieged and destroyed earlier by the Babylonians, to rebuild.  While Nehemiah did lead the way with the rebuilding of the city, it was his broken heart over what was happening in his ancestral home that paved the way to his eventual leadership.

When upon hearing the news, he wept, he prayed, he fasted for four long months until the opportunity arose when he could tell the king what was on his heart. During this time of humbly seeking God, it was revealed to him that it was HE who God wanted to send to Jerusalem and lead others in the rebuilding! Probably feeling unequipped, he knew he would need to wholly rely on God to help him with this new responsibility.

While we often think that true leaders are those with extensive education, a vast network and strong communication skills, that is not always the case.  Nehemiah was a servant in the king's household, a cupbearer. He was not someone who would fit into today's description of a leader.    

You may have a yearning to do something "big" but feel that being a young student, "just a mom" or a low level employee in a corporation isn't in any way an opportunity to make a difference in this crazy world.  But there you are wrong, Sweet Friend! You are in the exact spot where God can use you!  Don't worry about whether you have enough accomplishments, education, money, resources or status.  God doesn't look there -- He looks at your heart.

"Many naturally gifted leaders exist, but those who lead out of
a sheer necessity have a zeal that can't be quenched ...
we can't underestimate the power that pours forth from a broken heart."

Though you may not have abilities as someone else, if there is something that is pounding on your heart, a strong desire to make something happen or to help others, let it drive you. Approach God and share your heart. Allow Him time to work out the details. Then let the adventure begin.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Book Review: Gratitude, A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal

My latest book review is for Tyndale.  I was eager to review this book, since it is different than the usual books I get to review. This is an illustrated Prayer and Praise Journal, and what better way to give a review on this type of book than to do a video so you can SEE what I'm reviewing.

It is awesome to have a book where you can color, draw and journal all in one beautifully bound book. I plan to keep using it and may try some different things that I can share here on the blog.

I hope you will check it out at Tyndale!

Click to see this book on Amazon

Monday, September 12, 2016

Book Review: "Raising an Original" by Julie Lyles Carr

Tomorrow, an insightful parenting book is set to hit the shelves, this one by debut author, Julie Lyles Carr. I have had the pleasure of being on her launch team, with the opportunity to read and to give an honest review of the book prior to its release.

After reading this book, it is most definitely unlike other parenting books I have read (and I have read many!) and I'll tell you why you need to read it too.

Throughout the book, Julie is skillful at relating examples from Scripture and history into today's parenting scenarios, and shares her own family experiences from which we can also learn. She gives constructive, practical advice gained from parenting eight children, all Originals. It is straightforward, always encouraging and very practical for parents with kids of all ages.

The most valuable information in the book is something that I am pleased is finally being addressed in detail, and that is "parenting each child according to their unique God-given temperment." To be an effective parent, it is necessary to discover a child's personality style.

While many of us have probably used personality tests (such as the DiSC assessment) as a leadership or management tool, or have completed similar assessments for marriage, it has always seemed to me that this helpful tool has been overlooked for parenting.

Julie resolves this by introducing her ROPES assessment (ROPES = Raising an Original Personality Evaluation Summary) which is designed to "seek threads of personality in our children." By building a profile on each of our kids, we have an understanding of just how "original" they have been designed by our Creator.

As parents, we see the incredible differences that can appear in each of our children, and we understand that with these differences come variances in how we parent each child.

Taking the ROPES assessment is an incredible tool for learning what exactly makes them tick.  As Julie writes: "We're on a journey to become thread seekers, parents passionate about seeing their kids for who they truly are."  The assessment is designed for children of any age, and helps for leading them into the unique, purposed children that God wants them to be.

"God hasn't asked us to raise perfect children.
He's asked us to raise purposed children." 

Even though my two boys are teens (19 and 13 years), I still found the ROPES assessment to be invaluable, in addition to many other facets of the book that I will put into practice.

No, "Raising an Original" is definitely not another parenting book.  It is a must-have parenting "manual" that will not just be read, but will be referred to again and again while coaching and mentoring our children, who are "a unique gift and contribution to be realized in this world."

You can purchase this book (paperback or e-book) right now on Amazon or from her website.

Read more about "Raising an Original" at   

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book complimentary from Zondervan for the purpose of reviewing the material. The opinions I have expressed are my own.