Following God One Step at a Time

To Be Educated or Not

Well, here is another disappointing book… “Educated” by Tara Westover.

This book is depressing.  This is a memoir of Tara’s life.  It is one bad situation after another.  I kept reading thinking, surely she will get out of that situation soon.  But no, she keeps circling back even after she finally tries to leave.  Her parents are abusive.  Her brother is abusive.  A couple of them are crazy, literally.  I question her sanity for putting up with all this and keeping it a secret for so long.  

I finally reached 80% done, with no hope in sight. I gave up!  The book was messing with my mind.  I was getting depressed from her story.  How could her family be so mean? How can she be so enabling?  I don’t want to know what happens next, because it will probably be bad.  Enough!

No one in this family is educated.  Tara attempts to get some education, but she never seems to learn anything useful for her life.  She is lucky to still be alive.  

The negativity goes on and on and on…  There are better reads out there.  I am on to my next book!

–>Click to read other reviews of “Educated”.  

I received a free copy of this book from –> so I could write an honest review.

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To Be Brave


There are so many people who seem to think they are tough, because they have guns.  They talk about how they would save anyone in trouble, and protect their family.  I don’t know how they think they will be able to do that.  No one is going to be at the right place, at the right time, to be the hero to save anyone.  By the time they hear about the shooting, it is already over! 

Carrying a gun is not brave.  It’s about fear.  The fear of what might happen.

Kids are afraid that they will be shot in school or in the street.  Do we let all kids walk around with guns and think that will make them safe?  No because they would end up shooting each other.

Brave is living without a gun.  To live without a gun, without even a sword, and face life following Jesus with love in your heart, that takes courage! 

Jesus set the example.

The only weapons we need, as we see in the life of Jesus, are prayer and God’s Word.

Jesus said in Matthew 26:52, “Put your sword back in its place,” “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

Paul tells us about one sword we should use, the Sword of the Spirit, in Ephesians 6:17: “take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.”

The only weapons we need are prayer and the Scriptures.

How do we know this? The Bible tells us so.

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Is it Just Win or Lose?

Pyeongchang Olympics Bobsled

Yep that’s Canada and Germany celebrating their win together at the Winter Olympics!

I really enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics this year!  I want everyone to do well, no matter which country they represent, because I know they are all very talented and have worked hard for 4 years or more, to get to the Olympics.

But even though the awards are given to the top 3, everyone wants the gold!

In Ice Dancing, the scores were close, but the final results were 1st–Canada, 2nd–France, and 3rd–USA.  They should all be celebrating! But instead, the France team was crying, dejected, because they only got Silver.  What? They should be proud to be 2nd in the world! 

The 2-man Bobsled race was very competitive.  The times differed by only 1/10th second or less!  When the Canada team crossed the finish, they saw the Germans cheering and jumping.  They thought that must mean Canada lost.  But wait! No! They both won! It was a tie, down to the 1/1000th of a second. Amazing!  Now both teams were cheering, and the Canada and Germany teams were hugging and posing together for pictures. (One of those pictures is above.)

Wouldn’t it be great if all 1st and 2nd place teams could share the gold medal? Then both teams could celebrate for every sport!

I know, if you are competitive you want to be able to say We are #1!

But Canada and Germany had no trouble sharing that #1 spot.  I say “Way to Go Canada and Germany!”

I would love for teams to be able to cheer each other on.  To be able to celebrate a good contest between 2 talented teams. To congratulate each other on their win.

For me, instead of Win or Lose, it should be Win–Win!

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Dynamite Hill

Dynamite Hill

Today I am telling you about a book in honor of Black history month —

“The Gentle Giant of Dynamite Hill” by his 2 daughters, Judge Helen Shores Lee and Barbara Shores.

Dynamite Hill is the name of the area in Birmingham, Alabama where the Shores family lived for several years.  It was called “Dynamite Hill” because there were so many bombings of Black families’ homes in the area, using dynamite.

“The Gentle Giant” is the civil rights lawyer Arthur Davis Shores. The authors are his only children.  They lived in Birmingham during the riots and civil rights movement in the 1940’s and 50’s.  The authors write about the history of that time, and their memories of their father and mother.

I chose to read this book, because it was about the civil rights movement, and I did not know who this man was, Arthur Davis Shores.  It seemed that I should know him.  He was a lawyer for Martin Luther King, Jr.  He was a lawyer who fought for Black voter registration and other civil rights and won many cases.

Being a civil rights lawyer in Alabama in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s, was a dangerous job.  Mr. Shores did not do it for money, he did it to help people.  His daughter Barbara quotes her father who said, “I am working hard so that when you grow up, you as well as other boys and girls will be able to go anywhere and not be turned away because of the color of your skin.”

Because of the danger of his profession, Mr. Shores always wore a gun.  His home was reinforced with metal posts.  Neighbors guarded his home all night every night during a particularly dangerous trial.  Even with all this protection, his family home was bombed twice.

I enjoyed reading this book, learning more about the civil rights movement’s history from the Black person’s view.  There were amazing historical pictures in the middle of the book.  They show the look of Birmingham back then with one building’s entrance labeled “white”, and the other entrance labeled “colored”.  There is a picture of a segregated bus, with its seat sign “white” for the front seats.  The Blacks are standing in the back of the bus.  There are family pictures of the two authors and their mother and father.  There is also a group picture with Martin Luther King, Jr, shaking Mr. Shores’ hand.  

This is an important book, about a man who was a normal family man, who wanted what every husband and father wants for his family.  He wanted a safe, peaceful home, and a good education for his children, a good job for himself so his family would have nice clothes and plenty of food.  He saw injustice, because Blacks did not have these things, and so he went to work fighting legally to get those things for all people of Alabama.  He was a brave man.  He was an educated man.  He could have moved to a state where it would be safer, and he would make more money. Instead he chose to stay in Alabama to make a difference.

This is a great book to read!  The authors have many interesting memories that are rich in history.  I feel enriched from having read it.

This is definitely a book worth reading for Black History Month!

–>Click HERE to get the book and find out more about it!

You can get the Kindle version immediately. Go back and click for it.



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Why I Love Gardens!

— Have you ever wondered what Eden looked like where Adam and Eve lived?

I bet it was a lot like a botanical garden!

BokTower GroundLevel

Whenever my husband and I travel we stop at a garden along the way.  There are several in every state.  No, we have not seen that many!  

In Eden, God walked in the garden with Adam and Eve.  Walking through a botanical garden, I can imagine God being there, walking with us.  He likes to show off you know! There are flowers in an array of colors, with so many different scents! Every season has different things to see.


Although we have visited botanical gardens every year, we do have a few that we visit again and again — Japanese garden, Chicago garden — and our top favorite garden in 48 states — The Missouri Botanical Garden — just outside of St. Louis.


 If you ever travel near St. Louis, you must stop and see it. (Allow all day, or at least 4 hours.) We have visited the Missouri Botanical Garden in every season (yes, even winter), and still we have not seen everything!

–>Take a peak Here!

That is what God likes to do.  He gives us more than we could ever need or think to even ask for!

So that is why I love gardens! I feel like I am in Eden.  I know that God loves me, because he gives us more than we would ever need!

Enjoy the pictures!

JapaneseGArden bridge-53769__340







Stronger Than the Struggle

StrongerThanTheStruggle Havilah

Today I am telling you about “Stronger Than the Struggle” by Havilah Cunnington.

If you have never heard of her, neither had I.  I decided to read her book based on the description at –>BookLook Bloggers.  I got a free e-book so I could tell you about it.

First let me say as a warning, if you are uncomfortable with prophesying or the Holy Spirit speaking, you probably want to skip this book.  Havilah believes that she has given prophecies.  I was hoping to get more insight into this Biblical phenomena, but other than a few examples from her own life, the book didn’t explain much about that.

This book is mostly about spiritual warfare.  You know, fighting the devil.  There is a chapter on using God’s Word to fight temptation.  I believe in the power of God’s Word, and I am aware of spiritual battles with the devil, so I didn’t learn anything new here.

The author did refer to one of my favorite Bible passages that I use almost daily —

“Submit yourselves then to God.  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and God will come near to you….” (James 4:7-8a) Powerful Scripture!

This book is about spiritual warfare, the devil, God, and some examples from Scripture and from Havilah’s life.  She also gives us encouragements that we can find courage, purity, peace, and rest by following Jesus.  Havilah believes that everyone is in spiritual battles all the time, even if they don’t realize it.

I did find a few truths I highlighted, so this book was helpful to me as encouragement.  I think it is important for Christians to know about the devil and how to fight him.  If you don’t know, then you could get a lot of good information and direction from this book.

–>Click HERE to get her new book!

Havilah is a pastor at Bethel Church, teaches Bible studies, is married with 4 kids, and has been a speaker in ministry for 20 years.


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In Bloom


Today I am reviewing the book “In Bloom” by Kayla Aimee.  

I am writing this review only because I received a free copy through > so I could review it.  I really hate writing reviews like this one, because I really did not like this book at all!

I could not find anything of interest in this book.  I pushed on reading it, hoping it would improve, but it did not.  All of a sudden I reached the end of the book, and I thought “that can’t be the end, there is no conclusion, nothing to remember.”  I re-read the last few pages to be sure I had not missed something.  There was just nothing there.

I rarely read a book that leaves me feeling that I have wasted my time. Unfortunately, this is one of those rare times. To be fair, there are women who have enjoyed this book.  For that reason I am giving you the link below where you can buy 1 book and get 1 free, a BOGO!  Perhaps you will like it better than I did.

–>Click to get your BOGO!




No Complaining

I signed up for a Bible study on joy.  

The first week, there was an assignment to spend 1 day without complaining.  That doesn’t sound hard, but for me it really was hard.

In order to not complain all day, I would have to not go grocery shopping, not watch the news, not go to church, not check my caller ID or voicemail (too many sales calls)…  I guess that would defeat the purpose of the assignment.

So I actually did pretty well for 1 day of not complaining, not perfect, but just a couple complaints.  Unfortunately, the next day was filled with complaining.  I must have been saving them up from the day before.  That is probably not what the assignment was supposed to do either.

I will say this — I did learn that I don’t really like to complain.  It just seems to be the first thing I think.  So now I am trying to stop before I complain and see if I can say something else instead, or maybe just not say anything at all.  If I can practice this, maybe I can get better at not complaining.  I think it could help bring more joy into my day.

Maybe next month I can shoot for 2 days of no complaining.  HaHaHa!  


Top 5 Books in 2017

My Top 5 Books For 2017–

  1. The most fun book I read was “Beyond the Castle” by Jody Dreyer.
  2. The most amazing turn around life story was “Break Out” by Jed Lindstrom. He is drug free and running a ministry to help others.
  3. The most truthful life story that gives hope for the future was “Convicted” by Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins. This book is unusual because it gives both sides of the story, from the convicted man’s view, and from the policeman’s view. 
  4. The best life example to mentor us to be a better parent and to trust God more was “My Heart” by Julie Manning. Every new parent should read this book.  I wish there was a parenting class that taught the principles Julie demonstrates through her own life as a mom, even while facing a serious illness.
  5. The true story that is the best teacher of how to be forgiving was “The Way of Letting Go” by Wilma Derksen.

These books truly challenged me, and helped me grow in my faith.  I am in awe of the truthfulness of the authors in sharing about their own lives, their weaknesses and the things they learned by walking through their problems.  Although the authors’ problems were very different (drug addiction, deception, anger, serious health problems, and even murder), they all came out stronger in the end.  They all wanted to share what they learned, to help other people. 

The only book that was not about difficulties, was “Beyond the Castle”.  It is about fun, having a positive attitude, good leadership, and the Disney Company.  I really enjoyed reading this book.

I highly recommend that you read one or two of these books.  I know that any one of them will teach you new ways to tackle life, grow stronger, and increase your faith and trust in God.  They will challenge you to grow and change.  To me that is the highest praise I could give for a book.

I thank each one of the authors for sharing their story with all honesty, and for giving us direction in how we can learn from their experience.  I hope I never stop learning!  For me, reading is an enjoyable way to learn, especially when reading a true story.  I am honored to be able to share information with you about these awesome books!

Beneath each book’s cover below, there is a link to my book review on the book, and a link to purchase the book.  Enjoy!


–>Book Review



BookCover BreakOut

–>Book Review

  –>Author Book Website



Book Convicted

–>Book Review




My Heart Cover

 –>Book Review

–>Lifeway Purchase




>Book Review


I did receive a free copy of each of these books so I could do an honest review.  I picked these 5 favorites from a list of over 40 books that I read in 2017.  If you are interested in receiving free books so you can write reviews on your blog, you can go to –>BookLook Bloggers or –>NetGalleyI also get books directly from authors, from B&H Publishing through Lifeway, as well as from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing.


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Has an Animal Ever Saved Your Life?

Has an animal ever saved your life?

I know that it does happen! Maybe you have heard a news story about a dog or cat that saved someone’s life.  How about a donkey?

In the Bible, there is at least one time it happened.  A donkey saved the life of a man!  Do you know the story? (You can find it in the book of Numbers chapters 22 – 24.)

Balaam earned a living selling curses.  He would curse people for a fee.  He was paid to curse the Israelites because they were moving into the Promised Land, and the king in the land feared themGod told Balaam not to go, but the king was insistent, so God said he could go, but he had to do what God told him to do.

Balaam rode his donkey to travel to a hill overlooking where the Israelites were camped.  At one point in the road, his donkey went off the road and past a section of road.  Balaam beat the donkey to get back on the road.  Again the donkey went around part of the road, smashing Balaam’s foot on a wall bordering the road.  Balaam beat the donkey again.  Finally the donkey just sat down in the middle of the road.  Balaam beat her again. 

As it turns out, the donkey could see or sense what Balaam could not.  There was a huge angel with a sword in his hand waiting for Balaam to bump into him.  The angel was going to kill Balaam so he could not curse the Israelites, but the donkey saved Balaam’s life by going around the angel twice, and then refusing to go furtherThe donkey actually saved Balaam’s life, even though Balaam beat her!  This next part is probably the part of the story you remember, when the donkey talks to Balaam, and asks, “What have I done to make you beat me these three times?” (God actually made the donkey talk.)

The angel then appears to Balaam and tells him that if not for the donkey’s actions, he would have killed Balaam, but left the donkey alone.  Thanks to the donkey, the angel lets Balaam continue on his journey.  When Balaam gets to the hill overlooking the Israelites’ camp, instead of curses, blessings come out of his mouth.  God wouldn’t let him curse the Israelites!  God protected the Israelites as He promised them.

Now the people who paid Balaam to curse the Israelites, were not happy, but Balaam was still alive!

–>Click HERE to read the story in the book of Numbers.

There are many morals to this story, but I will leave you to read the Scriptures to see what else you can learn.