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365 Days to a Prayer-Filled Life

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I have several devotional books that I use daily and I have only used 365 Days to a Prayer-Filled Life for a week. So far, I am impressed to find it scripturally sound and well written. The messages are somewhat generic in that they can fit into everyone's experience at one point or another in their life. Some have seemed to be just what I needed for that day - others less useful - but so far, I like the soundness of the devotion, and the prayers are especially useful as I find it sometimes hard to put words to my own prayers. Overall, this can be useful as part of a daily time with God, whether used alone, or as part of other Bible readings or studies.
Turning Your Heart Toward God

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I received this book as an Early Reviewer. I was in the hospital at the time, so it has taken me awhile to finish it. I worked on it as an individual study - did not have a group available at the time. I thought it was well suited for either individual or group study. A group would certainly add a lot with discussion etc. I thought the content was excellent, and I especially liked that the Bible verses were included in the text, it sure made it easier and less time consuming to work through. All in all, it is an excellent study and I found it very thought provoking and faith strengthening. It would take me about 40 minutes to work through each study alone, so it might be a little long for a 40 minute group setting, but that is a minor point considering the value of the concepts discussed. Very good book to add to my collection, one I am sure I will refer to agian.
True North: Choosing God in the Frustrations of Life

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This book came as an Early Reviewers copy. I do a fair amount of reading in Christian spiritual sources, so I was curious and skeptical that this book would provide new insights. I was delighted to be wrong, I have found the concepts in this book easy to understand and most useful - to remember and use in daily living. I especially found the concept of grumbling as the path to much emotional suffering, creating distance from God, described by the authors as "Going South". Overall, I found the material to be well organized and presented in a readable and timely way, with lots of real life examples that are relevant and thought-provoking>
The Bread of Angels

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The Bread of Angels was a feast for the soul and I could hardly put it down. Despite a very busy weekend, I finished it on Sunday after it came in the mail on Friday. I enjoyed Stephanies journeys through Damascus, Iraq, Lebanon and especially her spiritual journeys through Christianity and Islam. I learned so much about Middle Eastern culture that I regret to admit I was very ignorant about. I was especially moved by the beauty of the Arabic language and phrases, and the devoutness of the people. How they welcomed her no matter where she went, when considering what was going on in the world (wars from US and attacks on Iraq) she might have expected hostilty and hatred from her Arab hosts. The book keeps you wondering til the end - will she find her faith, Christianity or Islam? Will she find her love fulfilled? I highly recommend this thoughtful book - for the spiritually open reader.
The Woman at the Light

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I enjoy historical fiction, and this ranks among the best I've read in awhile. The story of life in the Florida Keys in the early 1800s, the life of lighthouse keepers, the ups and downs of the major characters, it was a well written story that kept my interest until the end. Recommend.
Aging as a Spiritual Practice

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I am almost through Aging as a Spritual Practice and it is a real blessing to me at this time in my life. I am 66 and have been through several health issues, breast ca and two hip replacement surgeries (one a revision), have retired and now have time to assess my life and what I want to do with the years I hopefully have ahead of me. This book is helping me sort it all out - the hopes, regrets, blessings, fears - all of it. I am especially enjoying the suggestions for meditations and other exercises that help get in touch with the deepest parts of ourselves that need healing and hope. Highly recommend, especially if you look at life in a spiritual way.
The Privileges

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The Priviledges: I have to admit I was fascinated with the story in this book, but expected it to end totally different. Here is a couple with every "priviledge" tons of money who live a very self absorbed life. Adam earns boatloads of money, much of it in questionable investment schemes. Cynthia lives a protected life feeling overwhelmed and bored with raising her two children, who are also offered every advantage. The characters are completelly one-sided and not very likable, even when they turn to charitable giving and foundations in their later years. I expected some resolution from them as to just how "priviledged" they were and some thought as to how they lived their whole lives unto themselves. Neither had much to do with their extended families who had their flaws but didn't deserve the neglect and contempt of their children who basically ignored them once they were established with the rich and powerful. They faced no real challenges, never went broke - I guess it was a story of our narcissistic times. I finished it, but wondered all along, just what was the point. I guess it was just a story of the "privileges'. Sad commentary on contemporary life.
The Forgiveness Solution: The Whole-Body Rx for Finding True Happiness, Abundant Love, and Inner Peace

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This book starts out with some good helpful information on forgiveness and the harmful effects on our lives of unforgiveness. i think it overstates the case to say that ALL human negative emotions are in some way caused by unforgiveness. The first chapters are helpful in determining if you do have issues you need to deal with - grudges, anger, lingering abuse problems and gives some good exercises in beginning the process of forgiving past hurts. I found those chapters helpful, but not containing any new insights for me. The remainder of the book got into new age stuff - heavy reliance on affirmtions and techniques that seem way out there. This book might be most helpful for therapists working with patient issues, its hard to imagine the average reader getting into the pressure point techniques described, touching various parts of the face and upper body to get relief (?) from negative emotions. Good start, but beware of the heavy emphasis on affirmations and meditations that seem a bit out there.
Stalin's Children: Three Generations of Love and War

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I enjoyed Stalin's Children very much, the trauma and sadness of Owen's grandparents and parents lives was moving and sad. We in the US are so blessed that we often don't appreciate what life was like in the Soviet Union for everyday folks - the hunger, oppression, war and severe deprivations. We have had freedom and we often take it for granted - this story is one that should be read in schools, by all - so that we can see how very fortunate we are to have enjoyed so much while much of the world was suffering incredibly in WWII and after. I had the fascinating experience of visiting Russia for two weeks - two summers ago, and found the people to be very much as Owen describes in his experiences in contemporary Russia. Life is different there, and the character of the people is shaped by their rich and turbulent past. Without books like this, we lack understanding of modern political relationships between East and West - and Stalin's Children provides a revealing glimpse into the history that has shaped modern Russia. Great read!
Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between

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I received this book as an early reviewer and liked it a lot. I have a medical background, but not much experience in the area of cancer nursing. The stories of a new nurses experience in a stress-filled challenging unit were interesting, moving and a professional look at a side of nursing most lay people don't see. I can see that this book could be helpful to anyone with a relative experiencing a serious illness, as well as physicians who may benefit by developing more respect and understanding of the nursing profession as a whole. Good work!
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