Following God One Step at a Time

Renia’s Diary

ReniasDiary bookcover

This book is unique!

It is a personal diary of a Jewish girl (Renia Spiegel) during WWII.  She begins writing at age 15 in 1939. She writes all her hopes and disappointments.  She writes her daily activities.  Here and there are the realities of the war creeping in.

This book is the truth of what it was like for one Jewish teenage girl living during WWII.

She has to move a few times.  She is separated from her mom.  She is sad, but she is also hopeful.  She has a boyfriend, and yes she talks about him a lot, but any teenage girl who keeps a diary would do that.

I was shocked by what she had to endure, because of the war.  I doubt I would have survived what she lived through.

At the end of the book, you find out what happened to Renia, her sister, and her boyfriend.  They all had different experiences at the end.

The diary was not found for many years, and it was only recently translated into English.

To me “Renia’s Diary” was just as compelling as “The Diary of Ann Frank”.  The reality just as stark and personal.  Renia’s life is not shut up in hiding though.  Her life involves school and work and friends.  She sees what is happening to many Jewish people.  She fears what will happen to her and her family.

I learned more about life during the war from Renia.  I am glad she wrote it all down.   My only complaint is that it is a bit too long, but I was glad I read all the way to the end.

–>Click to get this book.

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Chase the Lion Planner

ChaseTheLionPlanner Cover

Well I have never reviewed a planner before, so this is a first!

Mark Batterson has designed a weekly planner based on his book “Chase the Lion”.

In this planner, Mark lays out how to set goals and accomplish them!

1 — First you write a list of goals.  You must write them down, and there is room to do that in the back of the planner.  (Mark includes his list of 100 life goals, and directs you in how to choose your goals.)

2 — Then you choose which goals to start on now, and write out the steps you need to follow to reach those goals.

3 — Next you fill in your planner, actually scheduling steps toward your goals.  There are monthly pages and weekly pages to help you get organized.  You have more room for details on the weekly pages.

One thing great about this planner is there are no dates in it, so you can start whenever you want! 

You fill in the dates in the calendar.  This makes it easy to use for a school year; Start any month you want; Or divide up your year into four 3-month projects!  It’s so flexible.  (Don’t worry there are yearly calendars included with dates, so you can easily write in the dates for your planner.)

I can’t think of anything else to say, so…

as Mark says in the planner,

“You are one idea, one risk, one decision away from a totally different life.”

–>Click here to get your planner.

Description: approx. size 8 x 6 inches, softcover book binding, ribbon page mark 


Sunday Hope

It is obvious with our current culture and political climate, that we are a broken people, living in a broken world.  

The result in our culture is anger, depression, discouragement, hate, even violence.

What hope do we have?

Just one.  (Do not trust men.)  –>Trust Jesus!

We can live by our faith in Jesus.

We can live in this world with Jesus every day.

Jesus shines through the brokenness. 

Only Jesus can save us.

His Grace overwhelms the sins of men.

Without faith, we are lost in a desert that drains us, leaving us empty.

So if you feel empty, discouraged, maybe even angry…

–>reach for grace right HERE.

Walk in the grace of Jesus Christ!

Jesus is our only hope.

–>Click to find the next live online church service.

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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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