Following God One Step at a Time

Jesus Who Surprises

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“The Jesus Who Surprises” is a very interesting book by Dee Brestin.

 The author shows us that Jesus is not about sadness and gloom, even though most people think about Him on the cross. 

She describes our relationship with Jesus as a love story!

She also tells us amazing things about Heaven, which are described in the books of Isaiah and Revelation. 

Jesus is preparing a beautiful place for us! — But not where you think!

The book also contains a section of questions after each chapter, and suggests how to lead a small group study of the book.  I skipped the questions and small group stuff.  It wasn’t interesting to me, but don’t let that stop you from reading it.

I did really enjoy reading the book ! — It got me excited about my relationship with Jesus becoming more like a celebration! You know, like singing, dancing, playing music, saying Thank You…

Jesus is found in every book in the Bible.  Dee shows us where to find Him in unexpected places.  When we read the Bible with that in mind, it truly becomes a love story between God and us!  

I got a few surprises from this book about Jesus.  Why not read it and see if you get surprised by Jesus?

–>Click to get your copy!


–>Click to see more from Dee Brestin.

I received an early copy of this book to read through –>NetGalley.

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And it was beautiful

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This book, “And it was beautiful”, by Kara Tippetts, is a real treasure!

The author shows us how we can find beauty in even our darkest days.  Kara writes beautifully, and shares her life with us, the dark and the beautiful.

Although her words were written first person, this book was published after her death. Kara was a blogger, a mom, a wife, a writer, and a beautiful person… and cancer killed her.  This book tells how she tried to make every moment of living beautiful and joyful and loving.

Although this book has a sad ending, it encouraged me.  It showed me how to find joy in life, even when it isn’t the life I hoped for.  Actually, the life I got is better than I hoped for.  To Kara, her life was amazing!  She just didn’t want it to end so quickly.  

She left her husband and children with many beautiful memories, and with her words written in her books and her blog.  Her words will help them remember how loving Kara was.  

I loved reading this book!  I will read parts of it again, just to remind me not to let little disappointments bother me so much.  To remind me to be grateful for the life I have.  To remind me to find beauty in every day.

I am familiar with the cancer journey that Kara walked.  I too had cancer, and surgery, chemo and radiation. I went bald.  The difference is that I lived, and Kara went to Heaven.  She lived her life to the full!  This book of her words is a gift to us.  Read them and your attitude about life will improve.  You will be encouraged.  You might even find joy!

–>Click here to read this book!

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Joyful Surrender


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This is the title of a book by Elisabeth Elliot, “Joyful Surrender”.

It seems an oxymoron… Surrender is usually considered a difficult thing we try to avoid.

Elisabeth Elliot, however, has discovered that surrender can be a joyful thing, if you surrender to a loving God.

In fact, Elisabeth found that surrender to God was necessary for her to continue to live as a loving Christian after her missionary husband (Jim Elliot) was killed by a remote Indian tribe. She said that she could not feel love nor forgiveness for the Indians responsible, simply on her own.  It was God who called her to serve those Indians.  For her to follow God’s call, she had to use discipline.

Discipline was something Elisabeth had practiced for many years as a Christian.  She and her husband did nothing without God’s direction.  They always did their best to do what God’s direction told them to do.  That same discipline would help her after her husband was killed.

In the book, Elisabeth tells us about the various types of discipline (or self-control) — Discipline of our mind,  our body, our place, our time, our possessions, our feelings, and our work.

That is a lot of discipline! Elisabeth does not pretend this discipline is easy, but she says that Christians need to try to discipline themselves in order to find the joy in surrender to God.  In fact, she says that we need this discipline in order to be a real disciple of Jesus Christ.

Elisabeth says that since He is a loving God, there can be joy in surrendering to Him.

Yes, this book is challenging.  At times it seems like Elisabeth is too hard on us, but then I remember that she has lived out this discipline in her own life.  She has been able to find joy in surrender to God, despite seemingly impossible tasks given to her by God.  God wanted her to forgive the Indians who killed her husband, (leaving her a widow and their young daughter without a father), and serve them as a missionary, risking her life and her daughter’s life, and bring those Indians to believe in Christ.  

Now, since she did just that, I can read what she says about discipline and “Joyful Surrender”, and know it is possible because she did it!

I can read her book with respect, knowing that she is sharing very personal knowledge that she learned through very difficult life circumstances.  Elisabeth Elliot deserves our respect. 

We would be wise to read her book, and challenge ourselves to at least try to follow the disciplines she describes.  They worked for her!

–Are you up to the challenge of discipline?

–Do you respect Elisabeth Elliot enough to read her wise words and at least consider them?

If so, click –>HERE to get her book “Joyful Surrender.

I requested a copy of this book through –>, so I could read and review it.

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No Ocean Too Wide

I so enjoyed reading this book! (I happily got an early copy to read from publisher Waterbrook Multnomah.)

“No Ocean Too Wide” by Carrie Turansky is an historical novel.  It takes place in England and Canada in the early 1900s.

I admit I have a weakness for historical novels.

What made this book so interesting was the hidden history it tells.  Many young orphan children from England were sent to Canada for a new life with a new family.  But the plan goes so wrong!

The history of young children, who were not always orphans, but poor and left at home while their parent works, and they end up playing in the streets.  Picked up by police for many different reasons, they were taken to orphanages that made money by sending these kids to Canada.  I never heard about this history before.

The book tells the fictional story of a specific family, the McAlisters, that had this happen.  The older sister, Laura, who was working out of town, goes to Canada to find her brother and sisters.  It is a difficult, long search.  Of course she runs into all kinds of problems, but there are people who help her.

In looking for her siblings, the sister finds out about other children and the horrible things that happened to some of them.  She also meets many of the people who run the program, and realizes many of them are just trying to do the right thing.

This book was eye-opening about a program meant for good, that caused a lot of harm.  I have since found out there was a similar program in the United States, sending children from New York to the western U.S.  I can’t help but think similar problems happened to those kids too.

Wonderfully told story!

I truly enjoyed reading it!

Click to get your copy –>No Ocean Too Wide.

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1000 White Women

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Looking through some discount books at Barnes & Noble, I found a book by Jim Fergus, titled ” The Vengeance of Mothers”.  It was an Indian story in America in the late 1800’s.  I love historical fiction, and enjoy Indian stories, so I bought it.  It mentioned an earlier book in the series, so I decided to find a copy of it and read it first.

When I found a copy of the first book, “One Thousand White Women”, I read in the introduction by the author that although the book is written as if May Dodd was telling the story in her journals, the journals never really existed. The book is a fiction novel.

The author said that he has had to try to convince readers that the journals are completely fiction, but some still believe it is true.  That shows how well this book is written, and how well researched the book is in historical details.

The story of the United States government sending down-on-their-luck women to keep the peace with the Indians by becoming their wives, was totally fiction.  I was disappointed to find this out, but I read the book anyway, and I am glad I did!

It’s a great story!

“One Thousand White Women” is a well-told tale of women who had the grit to start a new life with the Indians.  The details in the book about the daily lives of the Indians were fascinating! I completely enjoyed the book!

I highly recommend reading “One Thousand White Women: the Journals of May Dodd”, if you like Indian stories.

Unfortunately, I did not like the sequel, “The Vengeance of Mothers”.  It is not as well-written.  The journals are less realistic.  It is a rehashing of the 1st book, filling in what happened to some of the women after the end of the first story. 

So read “One Thousand White Women: the Journals of May Dodd”, and forget the sequel.  That is my advice.

Pick up a copy –>here of “One Thousand White Women”

and enjoy a well-told story!  

(The e-book is at a good price right now.)


Hearing God

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I have just finished reading “Hearing God” by Nathan Finochio.

On the front cover, it says “Eliminate Myths”.

That is for the most part what this book does.  It dispels myths about hearing God.

On the back cover, it says “Imagine how different life would be if God regularly answered your most urgent questions.”  This book does NOT tell you how to do this.

My experience with hearing God’s voice —

Sometimes I have heard God’s voice, and followed it. 

Sometimes I thought I heard God’s voice, but I was wrong.

God doesn’t answer all my pressing questions. 

Maybe God is telling me I ask the wrong questions.

It is often hard to know for sure what God is saying to me.

For me this book did not clear up the confusion.

The author says without a clear word from God, keep working where you are.

Keep reading the Bible.

Keep seeking God in the quiet.

Keep listening.

Don’t expect too much from this book, and it can help you listen better for God’s voice.

To get this book, –>Click Here.



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Empowered” is a new inspirational book written for people ages 13-18.

Written by Catherine Parks, this book is about 11 amazing women!

All 11 women worked hard, so with a strong faith in God, they helped many people.

Although I am much older than 18, I enjoyed reading this book.

I agree that it is written well for people ages 13-18.

The questions at the end of each chapter would by useful if the stories are read in a Sunday School class or other small group, or even an English writing class.

I was most inspired by Charlotte Forten Grimke!

When Charlotte saw injustice, she did what she could to change it!

She became a teacher of freed slave children, believing an education gave them the best chance for a better life.

This is a well-written, interesting and inspiring book for teenagers to read.

— To get your copy –>Click Here!

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Ripple Effects

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Ripple Effects” is a book by Pam Tebow, the mom of Tim Tebow (who famously played professional  football and now plays professional baseball, and is a great Christian role model).

I read this book, because after reading Tim Tebow’s book, “This is the Day“, I wanted to know more about his mom, who he says was so encouraging to him growing up.  He also mentioned that he was born in the Philippines, and his parents were missionaries there.  I was curious about their experiences.

“Ripple Effects” is about the things we do, hopefully good things, that have effects on other people, sometimes even strangers.  Pam Tebow calls these “opportunities for influence”.  Much of the book talks about the opportunities she and her family have used for good influences.

I enjoyed learning more about Pam and her family’s life as missionaries.  I enjoyed reading about how she risked her life to give birth to Tim, her youngest child.  I read about this miracle for the first time in this book! It’s an amazing story.

Pam talks about how she encouraged her kids to memorize Scripture by making songs out of them.  This idea really intrigues me!  I think I might be able to use this to help me memorize more Scripture.  So thanks Pam for the tip!

What I learned about Pam Tebow in this book is that she is very humble, and she would do anything risky or scary to help her husband and kids live better Christian lives.  This makes her a good Christian role model for moms.  I wish she told more in the book about her own escapades.  Her humility would not let her do that.  Instead she talks a lot about her husband and kids and a few other people.  I still came away with a respect for Pam Tebow as a mom and as a Christian.  She is a tough lady!

Reading “Ripple Effects” has left ripples of influence on my life.  Pam Tebow’s life is inspiring.  I am glad I took the time to read this book.

I especially recommend “Ripple Effects” to moms with young kids.  The ripples from reading the book, could help you be an even better mom.  Your kids will thank you one day, just as Tim Tebow thanks his mom in the Foreword of “Ripple Effects“.

Check out –>”Ripple Effects” here!



Book Woman

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My book review for “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek”  by Kim Michele Richardson–

This book is based on historical events.  People (mostly women) were hired to deliver library books to poor families in rural areas of Appalachia in Kentucky, from 1935-1943 through the Pack Horse Library Project.  This was part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA).

The woman in this story rides a mule in rural Kentucky to deliver books.  Her name is Cussy Mary, but people call her “the book woman”.  The author has done an amazing job bringing Cussy Mary to life! 

I loved seeing the difference a few books and magazines made to the dirt-poor people, many who didn’t even know how to read, but they learned from the library materials delivered to them.  The Project also paid those who delivered books, so it helped people desperate to feed families. The pay was $28.00 per month.

I love reading good books! That is why I review books.  I was so taken by the title, Book Woman of Troublesome Creek; I had to read this book!  I am sharing my review so you will read this book too.

Just as I knew I would, I loved reading this book! It is based on basic true events, and the story about Cussy Mary is added in.  The author has made her poor, afraid, and unaccepted by most of her neighbors and co-workers. Cussy Mary gains confidence because of her work delivering books. She becomes an advocate for the families on her book delivery route, and helps them in many other ways.  She brings food to some, reads to those who can’t, or teaches some to read, and even helps them when they are sick.

If you like to read historical fiction, then you should read this book, because it is one of the best historical fiction books I have read!  If you enjoy historical fiction about strong women, then you absolutely must read this book!

This is also an awesome book to encourage people to pick up another book to read, because it shows how books make such a difference in our lives, and teach us so much

I am so glad I read this book, and learned about the Pack Horse Library Project, and the lives of people in Kentucky in Appalachia in this time period. I hope you will decide to read this book too.

–>Get your copy HERE!


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Finding Beautiful

I love introducing readers to great new Christian books…

and I have an amazing one today!

Finding Beautiful by Rebecca Friedlander

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^^^^(This is the author with her 1st copy of the book.)^^^^

In 1 word I would call this book – Beautiful!

It is beautiful to look at, with a gorgeous picture  on the cover, and thick shiny paper inside to show off the color pictures in it.

In the book, 12 women each share their story from broken to beautiful.

The author takes beautiful color photographs depicting the before situation of each woman, and their life after transformation!

Their lives were spiraling downward, but change happened and each woman rebounded to a new life!

Each woman’s story is very different, yet each story is truly an inspiration.

I loved every page of this book!

This is a book you will enjoy keeping and thumbing through the pictures to remind you of what is beautiful in you.

This is a book you will want to give to other women you know who need hope.

God sees in us a beauty that we don’t believe exists, but it does. 

This book helps women find the beauty inside them.  The author gives a few questions at the end of each chapter to help readers find the beautiful qualities that God sees in us.

I will be giving a copy to my daughter!

–>Get your copy HERE!

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Rebecca is a very talented photographer and writer!

See more of –>Rebecca Friedlander’s pictures.