Kris Mares

Just a woman trying to love Jesus and others a little bit more…

The Chocolate Diaries May 10, 2011

I just finished reading The Chocolate Diaries: Secrets for a Sweeter Journey on the Rocky Road of Life by Karen Scalf Linamen. It was a really quick and easy read. And it talked about chocolate. I love chocolate. And it talked about God. I love God more.

At times, the book was a little ADD for me, but then in the book the author said she had ADD, so then I understood. There were a lot of people stories – how various individuals overcame life’s hurdles – which I liked. At the end of each chapter, there is a list of discussion questions and a chocolate recipe. To read the first chapter, click here. For a free chocolate cake in a mug recipe, click here.

While the book itself didn’t give me a whole lot to think about, what I am excited about is using this book as a starter study/discussion book for a women’s small group. The Chocolate Diaries has a real “girlfriend” vibe and I can picture a small group of women, sitting around a living room, eating chocolate, discussing life’s journey, laughing, crying and praying. The book is easy to read and very conversational, thus appealing to a wide variety of women (sorry guys, I just don’t see you reading this).

At the end of The Chocolate Diaries, Karen Scalf Linamen challenges the reader to go and “reach out to someone you know who’s traveling a rocky road and share with her one of the sweet secrets in this book.” I plan to do just that with a group of women. So usually, I give my review books away, but this one I will be keeping so that I can share life with a small group.

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

 

31 Days of Drawing Near To God April 17, 2011

Filed under: Book Reviews,Ministry — Kris @ 1:02 pm
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I received the book 31 Days of Drawing Near to God for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. The book, by Ruth Myers, was previously released as The Satisfied Heart.

What I most appreciated about this daily devotional guide was that the author began with her own testimony. The first 32 pages chronicles her story of faith, love, loss and full reliance on God. I found myself drawn into Ms. Myers’ life and the faith she relied on and found as she moved through the journey of her life. From young love, to parenthood, to losing a spouse and becoming a single parent, to years of service while waiting on God, the lessons she learned are in the pages of this book to share with us. Read an excerpt of her story here.

Each day features 4-5 pages of easy reading. Ms. Myers’ commentary begins the reading and a prayer ends the reading. The commentary is full of scripture with each day listing “God’s words of love for me today.” These are the verses mentioned and/or included in the daily reading.

If you are interested in having this devotional book, please leave a comment and share how you make spending intimate time with God a priority? How do you fit it into your schedule? How do you deal with distractions? (Can you tell I need some tips? Still struggling with this area of my life.)

 

Indivisible – Giveaway!! February 25, 2011

I finished reading Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann. I’m slow to post the review, but I had a hard time putting the book down! I really was a great book – mystery, crime and a little budding romance too. It is Christian fiction – so no “kids don’t read this page” parts. No foul words. There are drug references and other than those, I’d be comfortable letting my Professor read this book.

The story centers on a police chief. He follows in the career footsteps of his deceased father. When unusual animal deaths begin to appear, the investigation begins. A local shop manager, her boarder, the new vet in town, the local real estate agent, and a mysterious “germaphobe” all take part in this well-written, suspenseful story. As the police chief and shop manager’s lives continue their complicated, woven journey’s, each must learn forgiveness. A drug ring investigation also causes characters to face hard truths. Will the animal killer be found? Will forgiveness lead to healing?

To read the first chapter, click here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Because I got it free, I’m GIVING IT AWAY!! To enter and win Indivisible, subscribe to follow my blog via email or Networked Blogs (must have a Facebook account). If you do both, you’ll get 2 entries! Just leave a separate comment for each method you use to subscribe and follow. Maximum of 2 entries allowed. I will have one of my children choose a comment number on Saturday at 5pm Central Time. Happy reading!

 

God Gave Us So Much February 15, 2011

God Gave Us So Much is a collection of three stories by Lisa Tawn Bergren. The stories center on a polar bear family and the lessons of diversity, love and heaven that Little Cub learns. The artwork by Laura J. Bryant is soft, sweet and calming.

The first story, God Gave Us the World, helps Little Cub see that even though there are many different types of bears that live in many different types of environments, God created them all. The second story in the collection, God Gave Us Love, helps Little Cub understand the different kinds of love and that even though we may not like other creatures sometimes, God wants us to share the love He gave us with them. The last story, God Gave Us Heaven, helps Little Cub understand what Heaven might be like and that we get there by the “bridge” that God sent in His Son Jesus.

This book is a great collection of three beautiful books. I read them with Girlie and Gorilla and both were engaged in the story, pointing out different things. Gorilla kept pointing out “mommy, baby” and Girlie snuggled close when hearing about family love. Each story ends with Little Cub going to sleep and would make great bedtime stories (the included bookmark ribbon would help with that)! God Gave Us So Much would make a great gift book for a new baby, infant baptism, or any other special occasion. It’s geared toward preschool-1st grade, but my Professor picked it up and read it too! Easy “God lessons” in a non-“churchy” way.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. Although I try to give the books I review away, this one I’m going to keep so that my children can continue to read and enjoy these stories.

 

Radical February 3, 2011

I recently finished reading Radical by David Platt. Sometimes I’m a little skeptical of Christian books that try to tell me I’m not living enough for Jesus. Not that I’m living a perfect Jesus-centered life; like many others, I just don’t like being told I’m not “Christian” enough. Radical, however, made me think. It urged me to examine, re-think and move forward. It challenged me. It told me, in a loving, challenging, urgent way, that I can and should be more radical in how I share the Good News with the world.

Radical challenges the “American Dream” that we can do all and be all that we create ourselves to be. The point is that WE can’t really do it ourselves. For Christians, it is Christ working in us that helps us do and be all God wants us to be. Instead of asking “how will this new car meet our family needs,” we should be asking “how can this new car meet God’s need to use our family to share the Gospel?” See the difference?

And then there is the one-year experiment. For one year, Platt asks us to do five things: 1. Pray for the entire world; 2. Read through the entire Word; 3. Sacrifice your money for a specific purpose; 4. Spend your time in another context; 5. Commit your life to a multiplying community. Just five things for one year. Seems easy huh? Well, those five things could radically change your life. They would mine.

I am different because of reading Radical.

So how am I different? Well, after reading the book I want to be more intentional about praying for the country of little girl my family sponsors through Compassion International. I also want to be more aware of and pray more for foreign missionaries serving in the denomination I worship within. I also want to pick back up my Bible and truly read the whole thing. A year might be a crunch for me, but we’ll see. I also want to sponsor more children through Compassion International and seriously look at opening our home to foster children. And last, our family needs to make a decision about church membership. We need to fully embrace our new local church and transfer our membership from the church family we still love, to the new church family that we are learning to love.

To download and read the first chapter of Radical, get extra material to help you through the Radical Experiment and to see a video featuring the author, click here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  And since I’m done with this book, I’ll be passing it on to my best friend – a woman like me who struggles to balance life while living radically for the Jesus we love.

 

Blind Hope January 7, 2011

Filed under: Book Reviews — Kris @ 6:00 am
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I recently finished reading the book Blind Hope by Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher.  It’s the story of Laurie and her dog Mia, the lives saved and friendships formed.  As I began to read the story – set on the Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch – I remembered hearing Kim interviewed by Dr. James Dobson.  When I heard the interview about the ranch, I remember thinking “I need to know more about this ranch.”  Well, now I do.

Blind Hope is an easy/quick read.  Had I been uninterrupted, I could’ve finished it easily in a day.  In life’s time, I finished it in about 3 evenings.  At 178 pages, it quickly moves through the inspirational story of love and forgiveness.  Laurie chooses to “rescue” an unlikely dog – mangy fur, stinky breath and all.  Through caring for the dog – choosing to love and lead Mia – Laurie finds what it means to really follow God – forgiveness, devotion and choice. 

Blind Hope does not go into detail about the tumultuous pasts of either Laurie or Mia.  I admit – I wanted to know why Laurie was so “broken.”  I wanted to know what she did that led her to the choices she made.  I appreciate, however, the writer’s chosen focus of the redeeming love of Jesus.  While somewhat predictable, Blind Hope did make me smile fondly at my relationship with my dogs and the lessons I learn from them.  I also reflected upon the level of my devotion to my Master. 

To download and read the first chapter of Blind Hope, and to see a video featuring the authors, click here.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  And since I’m done with this book, I’ll be passing it on to a family that loves their dogs, loves their horses and loves their Lord. 

If you want to read more reviews for Blind Hope, click here – but make sure you vote for my review!  I’ll be doing more book reviews in the future, so keep reading…

 

 
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