Monday, July 22, 2013

Booksneeze: Unveiling Grace

Unveiling Grace by Lynn K Wilder



(from the Booksneeze website)
A rare insider’s point of view into what it actually means to live as a Mormon--what the lifestyle is like, what its pressures are, and what its culture is like. This is the gripping story of the Michael and Lynn Wilder family - of how an entire family, deeply enmeshed in Mormonism for 30 years, found their way out and found faith in Jesus Christ.

For thirty years, Lynn Wilder and her family lived, loved, and promoted the Mormon Church. Then on a Mormon mission trip to Florida, their son Micah had a revelation: God knew him personally. God loved him. And the Mormon Church did not offer the true gospel.

Micah’s conversion to Christ put the family in a tailspin. They wondered: Have we believed the wrong thing for decades? If we leave Mormonism, what does this mean for our safety, jobs, and relationships? Is Christianity that different from Mormonism anyway?

As Lynn tells her own story of abandoning the deception of Mormonism to receive God’s grace, she gives a rare look into Mormon culture, what it means to grow up Mormon, and why the contrasts between Mormonism and Christianity make all the difference in the world.

Whether readers are in the Mormon Church, curious about Mormonism, or simply looking for a gripping story, Unveiling Grace will strengthen their faith in the true God who loves them no matter what.

My Thoughts

As soon as I read the description of this book I was incredibly interested in reading it.  I don't make a habit of reading about other religions and really didn't know much about the Mormon church except that they send out missionaries that like to go knocking on doors.  In fact that is how Lynn and Michael Wilder found out about the Mormon church.  They were converts as adults then dedicated 30 years to the church.

The first half of the book talks about their conversion into Mormonism, the works they did for their church, their move to Utah and their children's devotion to their chosen faith.  Lynn discusses early questions they had about Mormon doctrines as well as other practices that didn't seem logical to them.  But neither Lynn nor Michael truly questioned their religion until their son, Micah, discovered the true Jesus of the Bible.  While in Florida on his Mormon mission, Micah knocked on the door of a Baptist minister.  He challenged Micah to read the New Testament, something he had never done before.  While reading, Micah was blown away by the Jesus of the Bible, the one who wanted a personal relationship with him.

The second half of the book tells about the Wilders conversion to evangelical Christianity, one member at a time.  Micah's revelation led to his mother reading the New Testament and also meeting the Jesus of the Bible.  One by one Micah's mother, sister, brothers and father come to meet Jesus.

I found this to be a truly incredible story.  As with all memoirs, some of the events in the book aren't written chronologically which I sometimes find frustrating.  But it is a well-written book.  It's engaging and informative.  There are some very handy references at the back of the book including a chart of Mormon beliefs versus what the Bible says and a glossary of Mormon terms.  This book truly highlights the difference between being a Mormon and being a born-again Christian.

I give Unveiling Grace 5 out of 5 stars.

I was provided a complementary copy of Unveiling Grace by the Booksneeze program in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.  

Affiliate links are used.  If you enjoyed this review, please consider clicking through my link to buy this product.  

Be sure to check out all my book reviews over on y new blog Read Me or Bust.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Sleepover Schmeepover

Last week Julie had her annual sleepover with her friends.  


I remember sleepovers from when I was a girl. 

They were great!  We had pizza and popcorn while we watched a movie.  Later we would set up all our sleeping bags and giggle while we talked and had pillow fights.  We stayed up late and slept in late.  It was fun, relaxing, and casual – really just a time of great memories.


At least that’s what I remember.

Guess what sleepovers are now? Stressful!! I have to make sure Tim can get the pizza since I can’t leave with extra children here. 


Then I have to pick an age appropriate movie that is still one that appeals to everyone.  Not all parents let their kids watch Star Wars and Spiderman.  In fact, not all little girls like sci-fi or superhero movies.  Go figure. 

Then I have to make sure the living room, kitchen, den and bathrooms are cleaned (I wouldn’t want anyone to go home and tell their mothers how cluttered and dirty Julie’s house is – the horror!). 

Instead of pillow fights, it’s silly string, which means I have to convince daddy that… Yes, it is OK to have silly string all over the yard.  No, it won’t kill the grass.  Yes, the rain will wash it away.




Then Tim and I have to stay mainly in our room for the evening instead of hanging out in the den like usual, because no one wants their mom there all the time.  But then I wonder… What if someone needs something?

Cutting the birthday cheesecake
How often should I go check on them?  Should I let David watch the movie with them or is that cramping their style?  Maybe I should have had him spend the night with Grandma…


In the morning, I never know when to fix breakfast, or how much to fix.  Do I let them just eat cereal or do I go all out with bacon and eggs?  What do I do if they don’t like my cooking – force them to eat it or just find them something else to eat?


And then the sleepover is done and I wonder why I am so exhausted.  I’m not the one who stayed up late. 
I’m just the one who did all the worrying…

Why in the world did I do all the worrying? 

So I decided to ask my mom what my childhood sleepovers were like for her.  Surely these fun events were a piece of cake for my mom.  I mean, she let me have a lot of them and she wouldn't have done that if they stressed her out, right?

No sooner was the question out of my mouth, "Mom, what were my childhood sleepovers like for you?"  Then the answer came, "Stressful!! Very stressful!"  Aha!  It's not just me.  So for all those times that I had tons of little girls taking over our house, Mom, I'm very sorry to have caused you stress.  Maybe one day when my daughter is grown with a daughter of her own, I'll hear those same words from her mouth.  Maybe...


What about you?  Are sleepovers stressful to you or are they fun?  Got any great advice for me on how to handle sleepovers?

Check out my latest book reviews over on Read Me or Bust.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Praying God's Word for Your Life by Kathi Lipp

Praying God's Word for Your Life by Kathi Lipp



Praying God’s Word for Your Life gives women the direction and Scripture they need to bring purpose and power to their prayers. The simple strategies Kathi Lipp shares will create in women the habit of praying with renewed boldness, consistency, and expectation. And Kathi’s warm, approachable style will make praying Scripture accessible to new believers and lifelong Christians alike.

My Thoughts:

I always enjoy books by Kathi Lipp (check out my review of The Me Project here).  They are great "self-help" solutions to problems that Christian women face and, more importantly, they are fun to read.  I found Praying God's Word for Your Life to be organized well and very practical.

The book is set up in a way that when you need to pray for a specific situation in your life - worry, parenthood, marriage, feelings of inadequacy - you can easily find the chapter that deals with that.  Within each chapter are Scripture references and samples prayers for that particular situation.  Kathi does a great job of showing how you can turn verses back into prayers to God.

The book is full of real-life examples of how women have incorporated prayer into their daily lives as well as examples of how prayer has changed lives.  The examples are from Kathi's own life as well as from the lives of women who have written to Kathi.  My only complaint with the book was that this was not explained.  I started reading a story about a mom with young children and I was confused because I knew Lipp's children were all adults.  It wasn't until the end of the story (after flipping the page) that I realized this was written by someone else.  I think that could have been explained better beforehand in the book.  But that is a minor complaint, really.

I love that Kathi Lipp provides practical steps within each chapter.  Often, when I read a nonfiction book, I leave the book thinking, "That's great.  Now what do I do with that information?"  Praying God's Word for Your Life tells you what to do.  It gives you a step by step guide.

I thought this was just a wonderful book - easy to read but with very relevant information.  I highly recommend it. (Even though the book is focused toward women, men could get a lot out of it as well.)

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Author Bio:
Kathi Lipp is a busy conference and retreat speaker and the of The Husband Project: 21 Days to Loving Your Man—on Purpose and with a Plan, The Marriage Project: 21 Days to More Love and Laughter, and The Me Project: 21 Days to Living the Life You’ve Always Wanted and The “What’s for Dinner?” Solution. 

She is a frequent guest on Focus on the Family and dozens of other radio programs. Church leaders and women’s ministry directors rely on Kathi to help women move from living out of obligation to enjoying godly passion. She speaks to thousands of women across the US and Canada every year.

Kathi and her husband, Roger, are the parents of four young adults and live in San Jose, California. Find out more about Kathi at www.kathilipp.com.

I was given a complementary copy of this book for review.  All opinions are my own.  Affiliate links are used in this post.  If you enjoyed my book review, please consider clicking through my link to purchase the book.  Also, feel free to see all my book reviews at my blog Read Me or Bust.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Scarves in the Middle of July


It seems to defy seasonal logic, but Julie and I have taken up knitting.  Yes, let's knit a winter scarf in the middle of July.  What can I say, I don't always do things that make sense.


And we're not the only ones in on the action.  David has decided to try as well.



Unfortunately, he just doesn't seem to have the dexterity or the patience to keep at it for longer than a few minutes.  Julie, however, gets the stitches down very easily.  Her problem is that she is not interested in practicing.  She wants to be perfect right away.  Instead of practicing her knit/purl stitches, she tries to jump right into a pattern and gets frustrated when she doesn't get it right the first time.  She is continually pulling out her whole piece and starting over, trying to be perfect.

(Perfectionism is one of those fun little traits that she inherited from me.  Don't you just hate it when you see things in your kids that drive you nuts in yourself?)

So I made this little doohicky.


What is it? Really it's just me practicing my stitches, but just for kicks, we'll say it's the front of a skirt for Julie's American Girl doll.  Only problem is I really didn't keep track of what stitches I used to make it, so I couldn't reproduce it to make a back half, even if I wanted to.

Which I don't.

But it's cute anyway, isn't it?

Maybe by winter time I'll actually finish something like a scarf...maybe.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Read Me or Bust

Well, blog readers, it has been a long time coming, but I just have to tell you about my new little project.

I've heard the following statement from more than a few of you:

"I love your blog and read every post...well, every post except for the book reviews.  I read everything but them.  I sometimes skim them, but mostly, no, I don't read any of them.  Sorry."

So, maybe it wasn't those words exactly, but the gist is my book reviews don't go over very well on here.  I get that.  I really do.  And I have been working on a solution.

A brand new book review blog!!!

I'd like to introduce to you to my new website, Read Me or Bust.
I'm still working out some of the kinks, but it's mostly ready to go.  
I also have a Facebook page.  Find it and please "like" it at https://www.facebook.com/ReadMeOrBust. (Hey, even if you don't plan on reading the blog, you can push that little "like" button, right?)

I may still have to post a few reviews on here as I make the transition, but soon, all my book reviews will be posted on Read Me or Bust.  So tell your friends and anyone who love books to check it out!
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