For Women Only: What You Need To Know About the Inner Lives of Men By Shaunti Feldhahn

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn
Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: I was provided with a copy of the revised and updated For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn I’ve loved this book for years and all thoughts, opinions, and marriages mentioned are my own!

When I got married I wanted so much to be a godly and great wife to my hubby! What I didn’t realize was that sometimes my female brain with its ways of thinking and showing my love to him and his male brain and the way it is wired meant that sometimes there were things that I was doing, or not doing, that were causing problems I didn’t even realize were there!

Thankfully through several different women giving me books and recommending blogs I caught on early on into our marriage (probably 2 1/2 years) that there were several areas that needed work! I am so thankful that I was able to be enlightened to these things early on–and wish I had known sooner!!!! So now for every bridal shower that I attend my gift is three books: For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn;  A Good Girls Guide to Great Sex by Shelia Wray Gregoireand Created to Be His Helpmeet. I include a letter with the books explaining why and how each has shaped and changed my marriage for the better.

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The Whale Tells His Side of the Story – Funny Twist on the Story of Jonah

Hey God there's some guy named Jonah
Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: How could I pass up a book with a whale saying he was going to throw up on the front when it was offered to me to review? Clearly I needed to share it with you all and affiliate link it to Amazon in case you must check it out also. As always, all nitpicky opinions and Sunday School remembrances are my own!

The story of Jonah is one of the most well known in the entire Bible. If you have children and you go to church at all, they have probably heard this story more than once–and most likely have heard it over and over.

That’s why when I saw The Whale Tells His Side of the Story: Hey God, I’ve Got Some Guy Named Jonah in My Stomach and I Think I’m Gonna Throw Up! I knew I that love it or hate it I needed to check it out!

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Five Unique Baby Shower Gifts That You’re Overlooking ~ Refresh Your Soul

Legalese Disclosure Nonsense: I was provided with copies of the Refresh Your Soul Materials pictured (Deny Yourself by Lisa Chan, Waiting in Wonder, and Prayers for Every Day–all from different companies) so that my soul could also be refreshed and I could pass along the goodness to you! All pondering, happy feelings, and fabulous pictures are my own!

Being a new mom is wonderful, exhilarating, breathtaking. It’s also exhausting, draining, and overwhelming. And you swing through these seeming paradoxes on a moment by moment basis which ads to the crazy of it all even more! That’s why I think that it’s *so* crucial for all new moms to make sure that they don’t let their spiritual walk slide during this time of life–which is just oh SO easy to do! Here are 3 sweet gifts to help Moms feed their spirit when they need it most!

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Next Door Savior by Max Lucado

Happy Easter!! I thought that it would be fitting on this day that we celebrate Jesus death and resurrection to also celebrate his amazing and world shattering life-and that’s exactly what Max Lucado does in Next Door Savior: Near Enough to Touch, Strong Enough to Trust

Often I think when you grow up with the Bible it’s too easy to box in your thinking about the characters in the Bible. Max does the best job I know of breaking me out of this “mental rut” and causing me to see the stories with fresh eyes for what they are–real people with real emotions, real lives, real problems. This book focuses on the most important person of all time–Jesus! It gives us insight into his life and why it matters so much to those of us! It helps shake up mistaken thoughts we might have of the Son of God and shows us his true heart.  Consider the passage below:

“And look for a single mom. The absence of Joseph in the adult life of Jesus suggested that Mary may have raised him and the rest of the kids alone. We need a simple home with a single mom and an ordinary laborer. Jesus’ neighbors remembered him as a worked. “He’s just a carpenter” (Mark 6:3 MSG)

Jesus had dirty hands, sweat-stained shirts, and–this may surprise you–common looks. “No stately form or majesty that we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.” (Isa. 53:2)

Drop-dead smile? Steal-your-breath physique? No. Heads didn’t turn when Jesus passed. If he was anything like his peers, he had a broad peasant’s face, dark olive skin, short curly hair, and a prominent nose. He stood five feet one inch tall and weighed about 110 pounds. Hardly worthy of a GQ Cover.”

Max takes a few verses and fact that I’ve known my entire life and turns them on their head–how can I complain about being “plain” when the Savior of the Universe chose to not be physically attractive? How easily that one little passage opens up a whole litany of thoughts!

The entire book is full of gems like this–facts about our “Next Door Savior” that we all need to stop and look at with fresh eyes! Once again Max does not disappoint, I love his books and would highly recommend this one especially!

Nicole Elliott

The Gospel Centered Woman by Wendy Alsup

Many Biblical books written for women cover the topics of being a mom and wife and focus on passages of the Bible like Proverbs 31 and Ephesians 5. In The The Gospel-Centered Woman
Wendy focuses on these topics and passages, but brings a fresh perspective on these well known passages by viewing them through the lens of the Gospel.

 What she does is explain how Jesus should be the person we try most to emulate through our lives–even as women! His life, death, and resurrection is the foundation of our faith and our lives should be lived as such. Her writing is easy and practical while pointing out many hang ups that we as Christians tend to stumble on in our lives. A great example of this is the passage below:

“Instead of seeing myself as connected to Christ at all time, I used to view my relationship with God in terms of intersecting moments during the day. The more times my life intersected with God in a given week, the more “spiritual” I thought I was. In that paradigm, God went on His way and I went on my way until we intersected at some corner on some future day. Instead I have learned to think of myself walking with Jesus continually, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Our daily walk together is not just parallel but actually intertwined….the more I am aware of it, the more stable I am emotionally and spiritually.”

She also delves into our self image and the fact that we desperately need to learn to find our fulfillment to our longings and needs in God, yet we so often turn to others-especially men, in particular our spouses,  to fill a void that they cannot fill.

From women who are struggling in their marriages to women who are struggling with being single, for Moms who are exhausted with young children to women whose arms are achingly empty–The Gospel Centered Woman explains why, and how, the gospel is relevant to you in your life, all of the time and I’d highly recommend it!!! It was huge a blessing to me and helped reinforce many things that God has been working on my heart about, I will be buying this as a gift for friends in the future, and it would make a wonderful Bible study alone or with friends as there are discussion questions in the back!

Don’t just take my word for it! Hop on over and check out the reviews on Amazon
 (it has close to 5 stars so far!) and make sure to visit the rest of the Bloggers on the Book Tour!

Nicole Elliott

My Very First Easter Story Sticker Book

You might remember that I just did a post on the Best Books & DVDs for Easter Baskets –well I just found one more book that I need to add to that list thanks to a book I was recently sent to review!

My Very First Easter Story Sticker Book is a very cool combination of a preschool style sticker workbook and a children’s story book.

Throughout the book there are “missing” pictures that your child has to find and match the stickers that go there. Amber spent a good 45 minutes doing this one afternoon and she absolutely loved it!

The ONLY thing that I didn’t love about the book was that the stickers are on the thinner side and for some with little ends I had to peel them up for Amber because they ripped otherwise. Not incredibly surprising considering the very inexpensive cost of the book (right now you can buy it for just $5.99!!) but I did want to mention that.

The illustrations are darling and I loved that it told the *entire* story of Easter beginning at the triumphal entry, covering Jesus visiting the temples, the last supper, the betrayal, the Crucifixion, and the Resurrection. Most children’s books cover only one aspect of the Easter backdrop story-not all of them, so that was a very cool thing about this book.

Not only do they cover everything they do it in a way that makes it easy to understand and evokes deeper conversation about the events with the parents. Amber and I got into a very interesting discussion about Jesus throwing over the tables in the temple since that wasn’t a story she’d heard of before this. In addition to the storyline each page is broken up into the main storyline on top and then suggestions on the bottom that are kind of like a study book question section-if you’re reading to a younger child (like when we read the book to/with Tyler) you might just use the bottom section, for an older child you might use just the top, or for an elementary school child you might use it all at the same time. For the last page (pictured above) it sums up Jesus life in 8 little squares which is pretty cool as well!

For everything it includes this really is an amazing buy and I would highly recommend including it in your child’s Easter basket this year! Be sure to check out the other reviews on Amazon as well–so far it has 5 stars!

Nicole Elliott

Jeremy Camp: Reckless CD & I Still Believe: Updated and Expanded

 I have always been a fan of Jeremy Camp’s music. I even got to see him in concert as a newly wed when we lived in Washington D.C. He is a great singer and performer! He had briefly mentioned his past and life during his performance, but as he was one of many singers that night and just opened for Tree 63 he wasn’t able to go to much into it. I was very interested by what he had said, however, and was interested in seeing what his book would be like. Many times people try to branch out into other areas rather than their expertise-sometimes it works, often it doesn’t. Jeremy’s story in I Still Believe
is so compelling that I literally couldn’t put this book down! I read all but the last few chapters in one single sitting—yes staying up waaaay too late to do so. It made me cry and made me smile. As someone who is going through a rough year filled with trials this book was exactly what I needed to put my “small” trials into perspective. Reading about Mellisa’s unbending faith and Jeremy’s struggle and rise above to deep, true faith humbled and inspired me. I absolutely loved this touching story and would highly recommend it to anyone, especially those going through any kind of trial in their life! Plus now it’s been updated and expanded so that the new version is even more gripping and awe inspiring than the first!

Jeremy’s Camp also just released a new CD — Reckless! 11 songs long it delivers the typical upbeat, praise and worship style that you expect to get when you buy a Jeremy Camp CD.  Although all of the songs are jam worthy a highlight of the CD to me was #5 We Must Remember.

We must remember,
that you have forgotten
and you don’t remember our sins anymore

Yes we must remember
That you have forgotten

And you, you died once and for all

As Christians I think we have a tendency to beat ourselves up over things and the Devil loves nothing more than for us to get discouraged–this song is a powerful reminder of our freedom through Christ!

I enjoyed the entire CD–no “skip it” songs to be found here! I’d recommend it for any contemporary Christian music lover–if you’ve never bought a Jeremy Camp cd before then definitely get this one! Be sure to check out the snippets on Amazon so you can listen for yourself!

One lucky winner will receive both Jeremy’s new CD Reckless and his book I Still Believe!

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Jeremy Camp: Reckless CD & I Still Believe: Updated and Expanded

 I have always been a fan of Jeremy Camp’s music. I even got to see him in concert as a newly wed when we lived in Washington D.C. He is a great singer and performer! He had briefly mentioned his past and life during his performance, but as he was one of many singers that night and just opened for Tree 63 he wasn’t able to go to much into it. I was very interested by what he had said, however, and was interested in seeing what his book would be like. Many times people try to branch out into other areas rather than their expertise-sometimes it works, often it doesn’t. Jeremy’s story in I Still Believe
is so compelling that I literally couldn’t put this book down! I read all but the last few chapters in one single sitting—yes staying up waaaay too late to do so. It made me cry and made me smile. As someone who is going through a rough year filled with trials this book was exactly what I needed to put my “small” trials into perspective. Reading about Mellisa’s unbending faith and Jeremy’s struggle and rise above to deep, true faith humbled and inspired me. I absolutely loved this touching story and would highly recommend it to anyone, especially those going through any kind of trial in their life! Plus now it’s been updated and expanded so that the new version is even more gripping and awe inspiring than the first!

Jeremy’s Camp also just released a new CD — Reckless! 11 songs long it delivers the typical upbeat, praise and worship style that you expect to get when you buy a Jeremy Camp CD.  Although all of the songs are jam worthy a highlight of the CD to me was #5 We Must Remember.

We must remember,
that you have forgotten
and you don’t remember our sins anymore

Yes we must remember
That you have forgotten

And you, you died once and for all

As Christians I think we have a tendency to beat ourselves up over things and the Devil loves nothing more than for us to get discouraged–this song is a powerful reminder of our freedom through Christ!

I enjoyed the entire CD–no “skip it” songs to be found here! I’d recommend it for any contemporary Christian music lover–if you’ve never bought a Jeremy Camp cd before then definitely get this one! Be sure to check out the snippets on Amazon so you can listen for yourself!

One lucky winner will receive both Jeremy’s new CD Reckless and his book I Still Believe!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Kingsbury Collection: Three Novels in One: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, On Every Side

What’s better than one great novel by a wildly successful Christian author? Why three of them of course! That is what you’ll find in A Kingsbury Collection: Three Novels in One: Where Yesterday Lives, When Joy Came to Stay, On Every Side since it’s difficult to review three stand alone novels all together I’ve broken each individual story into it’s own review–I feel that as a collection they make sense. Each novel deals with deep and heart wrenching troubles. I especially thought the first two novels paired extremely well together!

In Where Yesterday Lives Karen Kingsbury delves into the deep and complex emotions that encompass losing a loved one and growing up and apart from family and friends and how different things in our lives shape us and our perspective on the world so greatly. I love how she tackles these issues through the various eyes of the Barrett family. Ellen Barret–successful yet unfulfilled reporter is the main character but each of the family members is focused on in the book, each of their emotions and backstory come into play. I love how the struggles, fights, and difficulties are shown from each characters perspective because it lends to greater empathy as a reader and really tugs at your heart strings! One of my favorite song lyrics is by Big and Rich and is says, “You never stop loving somebody, no matter what you tell yourself. You never stop loving somebody–you just start loving somebody else.” I’ve always found that to ring so true and part of Ellen’s storyline delves into this complex and sometimes dangerous dynamic. Unlike in other Kingsbury novels where I wanted to smack the characters for doing stupid things each move that the Barretts make is completely believable and it’s easy to see exactly how they would end up where they are as the story develops.

I truly enjoyed this book! It wasn’t a light and fluffy read but rather deep and rich and emotional and shows the very fabric of what being a human, along with a fallen sinner who accepts Christ, really is all about.

When Joy Came to Stay shines a spotlight on the hot button topics of depression and foster care. I really appreciated how Karen handled both of these super sensitive topics that are so easily taken to one extreme or the other. Instead of doing either of those things through a complex and intriguing storyline and characters Karen shows us how sin always has a price–but God never abandons those He saves and claims as his own.

As you learn Maggie’s story your heart hurts for her and her pain and depression becomes more understood and something to empathize with rather than to look down upon if you have never experienced it for yourself. I also appreciated Ben’s side of the story–and his journey into love and forgiveness and rooting out the sin within his own life. And of course who couldn’t adore sweet little Amanda–the ray of sunshine in the novel?? Another aspect of this book that I appreciated was that the perfect person facade is often just that–a facade. We should never judge others or be envious of their lives because we have no idea of knowing what is truly going on within them–this is why it is so important to never be envious and to always be kind and this is shown beautifully through the character of Laura Thompson in this novel.

Another deep and gem of a novel I highly recommend this-it’s among my favorites of Kingsbury’s that I’ve ever read!

On Every Side

I’m sad to admit that after thoroughly enjoying the first two novels in this book the last novel was a bit of a let down. While it still had true Kingsbury flavor in that it was easy to read and it kept my attention throughout, there were several different items that I felt drew away from the overall picture. The biggest for me was her focus more on the “sensational” realm of Christianity with a vision/dream (whether from God or an Angel is never made clear–first it makes it seem like an angel but then the man is instructed to remove his shoes because he is on “holy ground”) that occurs twice to one of the main characters and a near death experience for one of the others. I feel like maybe because the overall storyline of the angel in the park wasn’t as gripping she felt the need to “add a bit of excitement” into the story. I did love how this novel was based on true events–which I felt would have made an amazing novel just in and of themselves without the extra flair. Another aspect of the book that I loved was watching the change of heart that took place in both of the main characters–and the thought of “the walls coming down” theme that ran throughout the book. If you’re a died hard Kingsbury fan then this is certainly worth reading–but I’ve enjoyed several other of her books much more!

Did this review help you? I hope so! If it did–or didn’t–please take just a second and Rate My Review Here to let me know!

Nicole Elliott

You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded)

When my cousin mentioned to me that she’d always wanted three children until she had her daughter-then she changed her mind because of how much of a handful she was, I just laughed {side note–she then got pregnant with twins so that became a moot point…..}

I laughed–right up until I had Tyler. Tyler is a delightful, hilarious, never ending bundle of movement and energy. He also is crazy stubborn, defiant, a handful strong willed! Always before I have vowed that my children would NEVER have temper tantrums in public-and Amber never did. In fact she had all of one temper tantrum at home-and once Bob “fixed” that it never happened again.

Tyler will randomly melt down and fling himself on the floor–regardless of knowing what the punishment will be or where . He’s the kind of kid who will continue to climb up on top of the doll house and JUMP off of it because to him the punishment is worth the fun. In the two years he’s been around I feel like I can’t take my eyes off of him and am often exhausted–so when I saw You Can’t Make Me (But I Can Be Persuaded), I knew I needed to read it!

This book was great! All of the things that she wrote I could completely apply to Tyler. I thought that she had a great combination of saying that yes–you DO have to punish even strong willed children *but* it’s more important to pick your battles. I completely agree with this!

Take this for example–sometimes Tyler insists on sleeping with his shoes on-or with his new pumpkin. I figure that little things like this are just funny and definitely not worth fighting over!

While we still do not allow temper tantrums I’m learning to help minimize them–I make sure that I’m not setting us up for failure by keeping him out too long (when he’s tired or cranky) and I love her suggestion that involving your SWC (strong-willed child) in the process helps the fight dissolve and never happen in the first place.

This book was full of great tips and engaging snippets. An easy read-I covered it in two days. Though not life changing I picked up many different ideas for helping Tyler become all the greatness I know he can be with a few less bumps along the way! I also was encouraged just to have reenforced that just because I have one very compliant child, and one strong willed child, it doesn’t mean that I’m doing anything wrong!

If, like me, you see this book and go “I need to read this!” Then you probably do! You can read the first chapter here!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Nicole Elliott