Book Review: Hope Runs

Hope RunsClaire is a young American girl trying to find her place and purpose in the world. As she and a friend travel around the globe, they spend a night in a guest house attached to a Kenyan orphanage. As Claire asks God to show her what she’s supposed to learn from this place, she finds herself putting down roots and forming relationships with the children in the orphanage. One boy in particular catches her attention and, in time, her heart. Sammy lost his father to death and his mother to abandonment. He is one of the “lucky ones” because he was invited to a very good orphanage. Both Claire and Sammy find themselves on a journey of discovery and learning curves as they absorb one another’s cultures and find their way through life.

I noticed this book on the “New Arrivals” table at my library a few months ago and decided to grab it (it’s a book about an orphan published by a Christian company after all). Hope Runs isn’t a how-to on relief work, missions trips, or anything like that. It’s a personal story. A glimpse into two people’s lives. If you liked Kisses from Katie, you’ll probably enjoy this one too, even though there’s much less emphasis on the spiritual side of the experience. I personally enjoyed reading it. It was a nice break from the more serious orphan care books I often read.

3 Books on Godly Masculinity: A List for Guys

3 Books on Godly MasculinityI’ve been mentioning for the past few weeks that I hoped to get my brother to do a review for the guys. Well, that hasn’t quite happened. But he did give me the titles of his favorite books in between projects. So I thought I’d share those with you today. The first two books are the ones he gave me and the bottom one I tacked on for good measure. If any of you girls have brothers who don’t follow this blog, you might want to pass the list on to them. These books teach guys how to be gentlemen, and who doesn’t want a gentlemanly brother?

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God's Gift to Women

God’s Gift to Women: Discovering the Lost Greatness of Masculinity:
My brother laughed just reading the author’s note at the front of this book. Mr. Ludy kicks everything off by saying,

I wonder how many people will pick up this book, turn it over and look at my face, and mutter, “If that is God’s gift to women, then I feel sorry for femininity.”

But he goes on to also explain the true purpose of this book,

We live in a generation of burpin’-and-scratchin’ male mediocrity. Most modern-day examples of manhood are self-serving, perverted, and depraved. And we are accepting this second-rate version of masculinity into our marriages, our families, and our lives. I believe we need a new standard of masculinity–a standard that is not shaped by our culture, but by the very person of Jesus Christ. That standard is the core of this book’s message.

Stepping UpStepping Up: A Call to Courageous Manhood:
This book was lent to my brother by a friend. Apparently it was a good recommendation. According to the Goodreads blurb,

In Dennis Rainey’s newest book, Stepping Up, he tackles head-on the call to living, breathing manhood, offering a simple yet powerful vision for what it means to be a man who truly conquers and wins.Insights include: Six nonnegotiables for training teenage young men; the temptation men face to step down; three qualities of men who finish well.

The Mark of a ManThe Mark of a Man:
Amazon blurb,

In a world where men and women are encouraged to reject traditional gender roles, Elisabeth Elliot candidly reminds men why the genders are not equal and interchangeable. Written as personal advice to her nephew, The Mark of a Man reveals the glory and purpose of true masculinity. With Christ as the example of the ultimate man, this classic take on understanding a man’s role in life and relationships, romantic or otherwise, helps men define their own masculinity in a positive way.

Book Review: Created to be a Help Meet

Preparing to be a Help MeetWow. No book review last Friday and I totally forgot about the Guess a Quote this week. Blame it on Memorial Day. Actually, you may have to excuse me if I go absent without leave once in a while over the next month or so. My mom has been diagnosed with breast cancer (she said she was okay with me sharing that with you guys) so we’ve been in a flurry of doctor’s visits and phone calls. In addition, my brother graduates from high school today, and he and I are preparing for a missions trip in July. So prayers and grace on skipped posts would be appreciated. And if any of you would be willing to write some book reviews for me, that would be lovely. Thanks so much!

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I remember seeing my mom reading Created to be a Help Meet when I was younger. At that time I’m sure I lumped it in with all the other excitements and ideas my parents brought back from homeschool conferences. When I got a little older, though, she produced this book for me. After she pre-read it, she decided it would be best for us to work through together at first. I loved (okay, I still do love on occasion) keeping my poor, early morning mom up late at night with incessant deep questions. If she was offering to read a book with me at nighttime, I was all for it! Preparing to be a Help Meet really grew me in a lot of ways. A meek and quiet spirit does not, unfortunately, come naturally to me. This book helped me to think about and desire to someday be a good help-meet. This book and several others I read around the same time gave me an understanding and respect for not simply being satisfied with who I was at the time. We human being are works in progress. Our tendency is to say things like, “Oh, well, that’s just the way I am.” But a lot of times the way we are is not necessarily the way God wants us to be. This book was one of the ones that made me realize that it’s never too soon to cooperate with God as he works on molding us into the people we will one day be.

I will say that mom and I read it together because she knew some of the content might concern me. For example, author Debbie Pearl and her husband got married just eight days after their engagement. Mom wanted to be able to gauge my reaction and make sure I knew she didn’t think that was necessarily the best way to go about things!

Have any of you read this book? What did you think? What points did you agree/disagree on?

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If time allows, I think I’m going to try to do a theme on “Marriage Prep” books. I’m not sure that’s really the right term for them, but you probably know what I mean. I may even try to rope my brother into doing one or two for the guys in the audience.

Also, what did you think of this review? My normal style is a lost more factual and less personal. This week I read a post on writing creative book reviews that encouraged bloggers to incorporate personal stories in their reviews and let people read the synopsis on Amazon if they’re interested. Which style do you prefer?

Book Review: Orphan Justice

Orphan Justice

There are no easy answers except to walk away. But we dare not, because Jesus Himself said, “Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven (Matt 19:14).”

Lots of people know about adoption and are at least aware of the fact that our world is home to tens of millions of orphans. The number of people acquainted with the social, moral, and political problems creating orphans is much smaller. This book seeks to solve that. However, it’s much more than a methodical fact book about these issues. It delves to the heart of problems like sex slavery, HIV/AIDS, abortion, poverty, foster care, and more. It’s heart wrenching, challenging, and thought provoking.

I grabbed this book for my kindle because I needed to read some more orphan care related books to fill up the slots for this months book review theme. I have to admit, I’m one of those people who often judges a book by its cover, and I didn’t find this cover too impressive. However, it was either free or 99 cents so why not. (It was on sale, it’s $9.99 for kindle now.) I’m so glad I read it. The second chapter dealt with human trafficking and had me sliding out of my bed at midnight to kneel and pray for these girls. If you’re a young teen I would recommend running it by your parents before you read this. If you’re an adult or older teen, though, just go get it. It’s a book that will shake you and challenge you in a good way.

Did your church do anything for Orphan Sunday on the third? Do you have plans to do anything for National Adoption Awareness Month?

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my new blog over at Teens Interceding for Orphans.

Movie Review: Stuck

StuckI know, I know. Fridays are for book reviews, not movie reviews. I didn’t have enough time to read a new orphan/adoption book this week, though, so a movie review it is. If you want a book review check out Saving Levi, A Horse to Love, or Bridge Called Hope. But for now…

All of these kids have families. All of these kids have homes in the US, and they have for years. And ye here they’re sitting, waiting, suffering.

International adoption is known for it’s hefty price tag and frequently long duration. Why does it take so long when so many children around the world wait for forever families? This documentary follows three families through their international adoptions, and provides a very personal look at the joys and heartaches of the process. It also provides a glimpse at international laws and treaties that cause adoptions to be held up for years with very little reason.

Yes, it’s true, I cried my way through this film not once, but twice. It’s heartbreaking to watch parents struggle against a convoluted system while loving children they can’t be with or take care of. And it’s wonderful (in a tearful sort of way ;)) to see these parents finally united with the children they have fought for. You can rent it for a week on Amazon or buy the DVD off the Both Ends Burning website. Want to know more? Read my friend Marli Renee’s blog post or watch the Stuck trailer over on the Teens Interceding for Orphans.

What do you know about the cost and time involved in international adoption? What are your opinions on the subject?

Care about orphans? Check out my new website, Teens Interceding for Orphans.

Book Review: Tales of the Heartily Homeschooled

Tales of the Heartily HomeschooledBeing homeschooled keeps life interesting and spending so much time as a family provides the opportunity to make lots of memories. Now multiply that times 8 or 12 kids. In this book, Carolyn Currey and Rachel Starr Thomson, oldest children in large homeschooling families, share the hilarious situations their clans have encountered. From a tipping Christmas tree, to exploding vacuum cleaners, to elf eating hobbits, life in the Currey and Thomson households is never dull.

I purchased this book as a gift for a friend and wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew Rachel’s writing from her Seventh World Trilogy, but this kind of book is a completely different concept. It was the little preview I got on my kindle that sold me. I read the stories out loud to my family and we laughed through them. The rest of the book did not disappoint. Every story was well written and almost all of them were laugh-out-loud funny as well as relatable (even if, like me, you’re not part of a large family). I highly recommend this book to read yourself, and to give as a gift (my friend loved it too ;)).

Authors: Carolyn Currey and Rachel Starr Thomson
Audience: All Ages
Genre: Non-Fiction/Humor
Pages: 216

Book Review: Praying for Your Future Husband

 Praying for Your Future Husband

Have you ever thought about praying for your future husband?
Will it make a difference?
There’s only one way to find out…

As Christians, we know that prayer is powerful, but sometimes we forget to apply it to important areas of our life. How often do single girls think to pray for their future husbands? Not just that God would hurry up about bringing them together, but praying for his walk with God. Proverbs 31 talks about a woman who does her husband good all the days of her life–not just the ones she knows him during. It’s time to start praying!

Dad found this book for me at a homeschool conference last year. He knows that I try hard to pray for my future husband (if marriage is God’s plan for me ;)) on a regular basis. This book seemed like a perfect match. I enjoyed reading through the authors’ stories and suggestions for how to pray for one’s future husband. Each chapter ends with a bullet point list of possible things to pray about and a story about a woman who got to see the fruition of her prayers.

Authors: Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer
Audience: Teen Girls
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction/Christian Living
Pages: 207
Publisher: Multnomah

P.S. For those of you who have been stumped by this week’s guess a quote game, I added an extra quote to help you out. These two quotes, or rather the terms used within the quotes, are two things I always associate with this book. Happy puzzling. 😉

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Book Review: Will Our Generation Speak?

Will Our Generation Speak

Are we as Christians truly being the bright lights, the strong voices of truth, that we should be? The solution for this world’s confusion is not to fix all the surface problems, however devastating and shocking they may be. Neither is the answer found in political or social improvements. The answer is for individual people to be brought to Jesus Christ and discipled. This means that individual Christians–each of us–need to be faithfully sharing the gospel, teaching others what God has taught us, and encouraging our friends to do the same.

This quote really sums up the heart of Will Our Generation Speak?. As Christians, we need to share the Good News with those around us. Yes, it is scary. No, we don’t always know what to say. But we still need to do it. From tips for handing out tracts, to suggestions for conquering your fear, Grace works through the different facets of sharing the Gospel with those around us.

As soon as I heard that one of the Mally’s had written another book, I knew I wanted to buy it. Grace certainly did not disappoint. Will Our Generation Speak? is an excellent book for Christians of all ages, but it is written specifically for young adults. The title of the first chapter says, “Only One Chance to be Young!” As young people, we have the advantage of being less intimidating in our efforts to witness. Grace encourages us to make use of this advantage and not wait any longer to start speaking. One of the biggest lessons I learned from this book is that people are open to the Gospel. When I witness I usually feel like I’m intruding on people, yet Grace tells story after story about how grateful people are to have an opportunity to learn about God and ask questions they’ve been holding inside. If you want to witness more, learn how to witness better or work on conquering your fear, this book is a must read.

Author: Grace Mally
Audience: Everyone (specifically written for Young Adults)
Genre: Christian Non-Fiction
Pages: 283
Publisher: Tomorrow’s Forefathers

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