Monday, May 28, 2012

What are you doing this summer?

Got any plans for the summer?

I imagine you have a few.

If you're like me, work is a big, necessary part of those plans---though some fun and relaxation is mixed in there as best as possible.

You know another thing that is in my plans?

Beginning June 1st, I am going to {try to} 
{No, you did not hear that wrong---I did not say in One Year---I said 90 days!}

Care to join me?

I dare you!

Seriously, there are many reasons why many of you have no interest in doing this with me. 

  • Atheists or Agnostics - Why read a book you feel is completely fiction, fantasy, and even ludicrous for so many people to place such staunch "faith" in?!
    • Why not? 
    • Read it so that you can have more ground to stand on when you state why you don't believe it.
    • Read it to understand the thinking of those who place faith in it so that you can better understand them.
    • I challenge you to read it along with me. Don't stop. You can make it through 90 days cover-to-cover if you just go straight through.
  • Other non-Christian faiths - Again, why read a book that though it may put forth good principles in many areas, it also goes against what you firmly believe in and hold dear?
    • Why not?
    • See above "Why not?" points.
    • I read portions of the Qu'ran, after all. Not so that I would be converted to Islam (I wasn't), but just to understand more about those Muslim brothers and sisters whom I care deeply for and long to understand more.
  • Christians - You may read the Bible every day. You may not. You may be on a One-Year-Through-the-Bible reading program with which you may be doing well, but then again, maybe not. How in the world could you possibly read the entire Bible through in only 90 days when you struggle to get through it in one year?!
    • You can do this.
    • You need to do this.
    • I challenge you to do this.
    • Again, as above,  I challenge you to read it along with me. Don't stop. You can make it through 90 days cover-to-cover if you just go straight through.
Now, are you wondering how I am even going to attempt this crazy feat?! (I did not say I would succeed, but I most definitely am attempting it.)

Well, go check out this weblink for more details, but let me just say it was not my idea.

As a matter of fact, this idea was born in the mind of an agnostic.

Yes, you heard that right.

A committed agnostic, Ted Cooper, at 43 years of age decided in 1999 to read the Bible for the first time in his life. As he states, he (along with his wife) was "happily agnostic" and had determined to just read this book that he felt so strongly was basically hogwash.

He decided if he was going to get through it, he had to do it quickly---not over a year. So, he realized if he read only 12 pages a day as if he were reading a novel, he could get through it in 90 days. He did not set out to stop along the way and study it. He just set out to read it. And so he did.

I'll let you go to his website HERE to find out 
what all occurred during and after his reading. 

So, with that little bit of background, I invite you---rather I challenge you---(no matter what your faith or lack thereof) to read the Bible with me in 90 days.

I do need a little encouragement and arm-in-arm support 
along the way, you know. 
So will you, I imagine.

If you are even considering this, you can even purchase a Bible Mr. Cooper had formatted specially so that it would perfectly go along with his 12-pages-a-day plan if you like. (It is a regular NIV Bible just structure to be read from Genesis to Revelation at the rate of 12 pages per day. Nothing too unique beyond that.)

OR if you would prefer to use your own Bible or even an online Bible like BibleGateway.com or YouVersion or many others---you can just follow along with Mr. Cooper's reading plan in this bookmark-formatted checklist: http://www.biblein90days.org/attachments/contentmanagers/1760/b90orgbookmark.pdf


So, join me today!

I'll be checking in along the way periodically. 
I hope you will do the same.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Paper, Rock, Scissors by Leslie Lamb

Wow!

That Leslie Lamb is one powerful, bold weaver of teen fiction!

A while back, I had the privilege of reading and reviewing Lamb's first book and first book in this planned series, Kiss, Bang, Boom!


That book introduced the three main characters she plans to complete a series about; namely three teenage girls names Zella (Book One), Celeste (Book Two), and Oona (Book Three).

So, after having read Kiss, Bang, Boom! Book One - Zella's Story, I just couldn't take the suspense and had grown to know and love the characters...so I just HAD to purchase for myself and read Paper, Rock, Scissors. Book Two - Celeste's Confession.

Let me just say---if you have any teenage girl or young adult girl in your life, please get these two books for them (and the third once it is written and published)! I will suggest based on the reality of the content as it focuses on teenage life pressures in our current day, I would not recommend this one for the pre-teen age range. However, it may be just what some of them need as well. Maybe get it and read it for yourself then see what you think.

In Paper, Rock, Scissors, Lamb further delves into the daily life, choices, and effects of choices made in Celeste Cooper's life. The fictional teenage girls and their families draw the reader in and cause us to truly connect with them and their honest, common struggles. Celeste, specifically, is a girl who seems to have it all together in spite of growing up without a father. However, she draws much of her self-worth and happiness from the handsome, loving young man in her life. She does love God and live for Him...or at least she THINKS she loves God and she lives for Him when it is convenient.

BUT...her belief in Him, her trust in Him, her love for Him and her living for Him...let's just say that all gets HEAVILY tested in this honest reality of a teen / young adult life story.

Truly, mine did in those years---why wouldn't Celeste's?!

Without giving away the story as well as the unfolding of it, let me just say that Lamb is not afraid to be real with the young people of our day (and even the not-so-young like myself). She is real in a way that needs to happen in order to wake these young people up to the effects that common decisions will have on their life and the lives of those around them.

And one more thing I have to say to Leslie Lamb, the author---Way to leave a girl hanging, Les! Now you just HAVE to write that Book Three: Oona's Story!!! And I better be among the first to know when it's out!

I hope you will consider this series for any and all of the young females (and even males) in your life. You may just need to read it for yourself as well---not just as a filter, but as a faith-strengthener.

Disclaimer: I purchased this book myself, so I do not need a disclaimer. The fact that I purchased it does not guarantee a favorable review.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Step Away from that Diet by Sundi Jo



I have this friend.


Her name is              Sundi Jo 
/sun-dee-jo/.

She is a tremendous inspiration to me in many ways---only one of which is the amazing success at weight loss she has experienced.

Yes, Sundi Jo Graham weighed in at 330 pounds a very sort time ago. In 2008 at the age of 25, to be exact.

Today, after a life change I will have to let her tell you about in her FREE eBook Step Away from that Diet, at the age of 28 she is 145 pounds lighter!

Is that inspirational or what?!

Even more of a tug on the heartstrings is her story about what has gone on in her life as she shed the pounds. She didn't just lighten her physical load; her mind and heart are much lighter and more free as well.

If I tried to tell you everything practical as well as everything thought-provoking Sundi Jo shares in this eBook, well, I would give away the whole thing. And, I have no reason to do that, because you can get the whole thing yourself for FREE by clicking right HERE!

I am at that point in my life where this book, Step Away from that Diet, came along at just the right time (just as Sundi Jo did in my life).

Maybe you are, too.

So, what's stopping you?! It's FREE!

You don't have an eReader? No problem! It's in a PDF format that is set up similar to a PowerPoint, so it is compatible with both your computer and your eReader and is VERY easy to navigate and read on either. Plus, it is formatted in a very nice, quick-reading way that allows you to just get to the meat of her message.

Trust me, you will be doing yourself and others in your life a BIG favor by reading this little eBook!

Check it out for yourself right now...don't wait any longer...CLICK HERE to download it NOW!

You'll be glad you did.

Thank you, Sundi Jo for sharing your heart and story so honestly and practically with me and so many others. Many blessings to you, friend!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Sundi Jo. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ten Steps to a Closer Walk with God by David Showers

Have you struggled along in your journey of trusting in God yet longed to be closer to Him?

Are you feeling pretty secure in your relationship with Jesus, but wondering how you may be able to draw even closer?

Do you feel completely distant from the God you once firmly believed in and loved strongly?

If you resonate with any of the above questions, then you will likely resonate with the reason David Showers wrote his book Ten Steps to a Closer Walk with God.

As a matter of fact, let me let him tell you a bit about why he wrote this book:
So many times in my life I've wanted to grow closer to God, but for some reason I kept hitting walls. Why is it I have such difficulty with my faith growing when I want it so badly?
After years of reflection, I've figured out that it isn't one single obstacle I had to overcome, but many. I've also learned that I will never accomplish my goal of being as close to God as I desire. I've come to realize that my relationship with God is ever-changing and growing. As with any relationship, it takes time, dedication and trust for it to blossom.
So, with prayer and the Word of God, Showers set out to write this book both for himself and for others. He compiled a list of things he struggled with in his walk with God---things which he says he felt stood between himself and God.

That list became the chapters of Ten Steps to a Closer Walk with God. Check them out here and see if any or all of them resonate with you.

  1. GIVING UP CONTROL
  2. LEARNING TO TRUST
  3. DEALING WITH DOUBT 
  4. FINDING FAITH 
  5. UNDERSTANDING FORGIVENESS 
  6. UNDERSTANDING HUMILITY 
  7. MAKE YOURSELF AVAILABLE 
  8. GOD WANTS US TO BE HAPPY 
  9. FINANCIAL FREEDOM 
  10. REVERENCE FOR GOD
As I read through this book, I found many nuggets of inspiration as well as several scriptures quoted throughout it. Additionally, Showers is impressively honest with his thoughts and emotions in a way that most readers will find welcoming and very easy to relate to. He does not pretend to be perfect nor have everything all figured out. He is just sharing what he has learned on his journey of growing closer to God. He even shares many of the deep things he has struggled with off and on throughout that journey.

I will say that some of what he shares reveals that he and I differ on some theological points, however ultimately we are siblings and sojourners together in the family and body of Christ. Our hearts are united in our love for Jesus and our desire to point others to Him as long as we remain on this earth.

I am so thankful to David Showers for sharing his book Ten Steps to a Closer Walk with God with me and blessing me with the privilege of reading it and sharing it with anyone who may come across this review of it. If you are able to grab a copy of it, I pray it enhances your walk with the Lord and I hope you will come back here and share your thoughts!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from David Showers. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Great for God by David Shibley


Expect great things from God; 
attempt great things for God.”

Is that a daunting task to you?
Remember, it is not a task you are to do in your own power, wisdom and strength.

Our great God does not call the equipped; He equips the called.

I have been learning this truth first-hand since recognizing my call into leadership in various forms for the Lord---both in the "ministry" and in the "marketplace."

The timeliness of receiving Great for God by David Shibley is no coincidence; it is truly providential.

As I read through the short but powerful mini-bios of 23 faithfully revolutionary missionaries, I FILLED my Facebook & Twitter pages with quotes shared from my Kindle. No joke. Couldn't stop myself. 

The 23 missionaries highlighted by David Shibley in Great for God include such known faith giants as Bill Bright, William Carey, Amy Carmichael, Jim Elliot, Eric Liddell, David Livingstone ("Dr. Livingstone, I presume."), Lottie Moon, Hudson Taylor, Dawson Trotman, and even Shibley's own father---Warren Shibley.

Each of these people and their life story resonated with me strongly and in different yet connected ways. One thing that even stood out to me was that several of them were either closely connected to each other or in some way influenced by each other. What a tapestry of faith, hope and love our Father tenderly creates with each of our lives in this big picture we are living out daily. 

Will I be the next thread in that tapestry? 
Will you?

Before you say, "No way! I don't even believe in God, crazy lady! Remember? So forget thinking I will ever be part of this imaginary tapestry of which you speak." 

Hold up! Wait a minute! 
Let me put some faith in it.

Seriously, I do know that several of my readers are not by any means believers in Christ and are even instead committedly professed Agnostics or even Atheists. So, I must be ignoring them when I make such statements.

Oh, but not so at all.

You, my dear friend scoffer or skeptic or just non-believer---YOU---may be the next beautiful, vibrant thread of faith, hope and love in the tapestry our Father and Creator is weaving even now. 

Lottie Moon was.

She was the famed Baptist missionary to China in whose name Baptist churches annually collect a Christmas offering solely for missions. Before accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior, Lottie Moon...well, let me let Shibley & Lottie tell it:
One night during college, a campus revival meeting brought her to total commitment to Christ. “I went to the service to scoff,” she recalled, “and returned to my room to pray all night.”
I know that may not convince you, but God is the One who will convince you in His way and in His time.

In the meantime, to all of my friends---believers and non-believers alike---consider the amazing things done FOR the name of the Lord and BY the name of the Lord through these amazing people who dared to be Great for God!
And then remember...it doesn't stop with them.

How will you respond today?

May I suggest one way to respond...

This Thursday night you have a chance to not only 
win a copy for yourself of Great for God 
but ALSO to win a $25 off coupon from Master Books!

If you have ever in any way been intrigued by the books I review on here and my thoughts on them, I can tell you that many of them are Master Books! Jump at this chance to check out some of their stuff for free!

#TeachtheTruth Twitter Party!
Giveaways & FUN Galore!

If you don't have a Twitter account, 
(Click HERE to read Michelle's post that gives 
a great description of how to participate in a Twitter Party.)

Date: Thursday, May 17th
Time: 8pm Central (lasts about 30 minutes +)
Hashtags: #TeachtheTruth (entire party), 
#tttrollcall 
(to check-in & say Hi when you first join the party)

Prizes include: Copies of Great for God: Missionaries Who Changed the World
*** you can win these by responding to the discussion which will be 30 minutes + (retweets do not qualify)

Grand Prize: Great for God & a $25 Off Coupon from Master Books (masterbooks.net)

Spread the word and come join us!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review. 

{Mother of Pearl series} What I Didn’t Know | Rhonda Shrock


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!


What I Didn't Know by Rhonda Shrock

I always knew I wanted to be a mother.  As a girl, I played house with my dollies, shushing them when they cried and kissing their plastic heads.

Looking back at that girl, I realize now that there was a lot she didn't know.  This morning over my fresh-ground coffee, this mother of 22-1/2 years scratched out a list of 10 things she didn't know then that she knows now.

1.  I didn't know - how could I? - just how completely a tiny, helpless scrap of humanity can capture the heart and hold it forever.  From that first whooshing heartbeat and the first butterfly brushes, a mother's heart is never again her own.  For all eternity, it enlarges, walking and pulsing and moving outside of her body; in my case, in the shape of a blue-eyed boy with rooster tails.  Times four.

2.  I didn't know that the size of a mother's heart is always changing, stretching to embrace each new baby that comes, then growing again to love their friends and then their own families.

3.  I never knew, as I changed my dolly's dress, how many reasons there are to worry when you're a mama.   Didn't know about the nighttime vigils.  Didn't know the anxiety of separation, the terror that floods when you turn around in the grocery store and they're gone.  Didn't know about the fear of the pond next door or the concern that pays for swimming lessons.  Didn't know the thousand-and-one reasons that keep a mother awake, whispering prayers on her pillow in the dark.

4.  No one told me that loving so much means that you will hurt hard and keen;  that what pains your child hurts you even worse.  I didn't know then that a playground taunt travels through that smaller heart and lands square in yours, stinging and burning like fire.  I didn't know that motherhood makes lionesses of us all and that there'd be days I'd have to bite my tongue and pray to not sin.

5.  I didn't know how exhausting it is, being a mother.  I didn't know that it takes everything you've got and then some.  Didn't know the bone-deep exhaustion; how it strips you bare and shows how selfish you can be, but, too, that you have more strength than you know.

6.  I didn't know, playing house, how much joy mothers feel; joy so big that it makes up for the pain.  Just looking at those eyes and the curve of the cheek can make you so happy it hurts.  Watching them grow and find their talent and win at something...all the money in the world can never buy that kind of happiness.

7.  I didn't know how making babies and raising them, how it binds you to their father.  I didn't know the intimacy you feel when your eyes meet above those tousled heads, and your smiles say, "Just look at what we've done."

8.  That girl in the homemade dress, she didn't know that letting go is one of the hardest things a grown-up mama will ever do.  Rocking those babies in that small rocking chair, she didn't really know that babies grow up and walk away and there goes your heart, out into the big, wide world.  No one told her that part.

9.  I had no idea how rewarding it is, being a mother.  How the happiness that comes from boy kisses and awkward hugs can't be bought or sold.  How proud you feel when you see what they're growing up to be and that all the planting and pruning and watering and feeding is finally making fruit!

10.  I didn't know how much my babies would enrich my spiritual life or how they would change the way I pray.  I didn't realize they would lead me to a deeper dependence on the Heavenly Father or how I much I would need His wisdom to raise them aright.

These are things I didn't know before I was a mother.  But I know them now.  Oh, how I know them now!  And I’d do it all again.

###

Rhonda Schrock lives in Northern Indiana with her husband and 4 sons, ages 22, 18, 13, and 5. By day, she is a telecommuting medical transcriptionist. In the early morning hours, she flees to a local coffee shop where she pens “Grounds for Insanity,” a weekly column that appears in The Goshen News. She is an occasional guest columnist in The Hutch News.  She’s also blogged professionally for her son’s school of choice, Bethel College, in addition to humor and parenting blogs, and maintains her personal blog, “The Natives are Getting Restless.” She is a writer and editor for the magazine, "Cooking & Such:  Adventures in Plain Living."  She survives and thrives on prayer, mochas, and books.  



Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

{Mother of Pearl series} He Will Walk With You | Carey Bailey


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!


He Will Walk With You by Carey Bailey

As a little girl, I loved baby dolls. Loved them! I played school, adoption agency, daycare operator and babysitter all day. I felt like I was born to be a mama. Therefore, I was a bit anxious when the ages, 22, 25, 28 and 32 came and went and there were no babies. Have you ever desired something so much and feared never getting it? That was me.

My day finally came at the age of 34. I soon realized that God knew what He was doing when He had me wait. To my shock, it wasn’t as easy as playing with dolls. I was surprised that it wasn’t the dream world I imagined it would be! I felt like life became a gigantic prayer.

“God, HELP me!”

“Please, God. Please, please, please make it all better. I can’t do this!”

“God, this feels impossible. Where are you?”

While I adore motherhood, it is harder and there are more adjustments than I expected. (I am hoping there are some nodding of heads and Amen’s being said out there in cyberworld.) Not only did I have a new life to care for, but my identity suddenly felt all scrambled up. It took me until my son was one to finally feel confident in my new role as a mother, confident that I could drop my child off at preschool without crying, confident that I could go out with the girls’ and the world wouldn’t fall apart, and confident that I could go on a date night and have conversations that didn’t revolve just around our son.

I was feeling settled in my new world and then WHAM! I discovered I was pregnant again. Can I be vulnerable with you? I actually cried when I found out. And they were not tears of joy. I feel awful saying that out loud, and I hope you will give me a moment to explain. It was not that I didn’t want another baby or feel like I couldn’t love a new life, it was just that I got scared. Discovering a little person was on the way sent a panic through me. Would my son still receive the love and attention that he deserved? How was my husband going to feel about my body changing again? Would I ever be able to pursue the vision I felt God had for me in writing and publishing? I was truly wondering if I was going to be able to handle another intense wave of identity crisis like the one I had just been through. I wasn’t sure.

God and I needed a serious talk. And in that conversation He carefully reminded me of this:

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

He reminded me in our time together that I, too, am His child and He has every intention of loving me, caring for me, and giving me the future that He has planned for me.

As mothers, we can get so caught up in parenting that we forget that we, too, have a spiritual parent who loves us as His child. He loves you as much as He loves the children He has given you. He will never forsake you.  And on those days when motherhood seems too overwhelming and too impossible I step back and take a deep breath. Then I remember that this journey I am on, right now, is the one He has designed and create uniquely for me. I simply need to live in it, learn from it, and allow His love to sweep over and through me.

He will walk with me! He will walk with you! Grab His hand.

###

Carey Bailey is a recovering perfectionist, wife, proud mama, and the Family Life Director for her church in Arizona. She hosts an online community for moms called Cravings: desiring God in the midst of motherhood where she strives to make God time easier. Not less meaningful, just easier. She is the author of Cravings {The Devotional} which is a set of forty devotional flashcards for the mama on the go. Visit Carey online blog: www.cravingstheblog.blogspot.com Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CravingsOnline and Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/careycbailey/


Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Friday, May 11, 2012

{Mother of Pearl series} Stepping Out On Faith | Bonnie St. John


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!


Stepping Out on Faith by Bonnie St. John

"Darcy . . .”

“Yeah, Mom?”

I momentarily held the undivided attention of my teenage daughter. Her thumbs, free of their ubiquitous texting keypad, quietly dangled by her side. Her computer and its omnipresent Facebook page were completely out of sight. I had almost forgotten what she looked like without all these adolescent accoutrements. As we sat down together on the burgundy leather sofa in our living room, I realized this fleeting state of electronic dislocation was my chance to hatch a plan I had been formu- lating for the past several weeks. Carpe diem.

“How would you like to write a book together?”

“About what?” I asked my mom. Write a book? This was a real surprise. I felt a bit suspicious, but still curious.  I love to write, and Mom kept telling me I was really good at it. I like writing poetry, fantasy, and sci-fi, though.  The books Mom wrote were all nonfiction.  I wondered what we could possibly do together.

“Well . . .” I hesitated. If I wanted her to commit to any extra work out- side her busy schedule at school—not to mention work alongside her mother—I had to make this really great. “It would be about women as leaders,” I continued, “a mother-daughter investigation into leadership styles and structures.”

“Leadership?” I blurted. It came out as if I had a bad taste in my mouth—which I did.  I couldn’t imagine a more boring topic to write about. What is there to say about leadership anyway? When you’re in charge, you just get things done, right? Who wants to talk about that?

Her furrowed brow told me I was losing her fast. “Um . . . we could find women leaders all around the world!” I said impulsively, frantically casting the ultimate bait.

“Really? Would we get to travel a lot?”  I hadn’t thought about that. Heck, I’d write about the mating habits of tsetse flies  if I got to go to Africa to do it!

But this project wasn’t just about the influence it would have on Darcy. I wanted to do something that could have a potent impact on an alarming trend I had witnessed in workplaces across the country: far too many women appeared to be making a choice not to apply for top leadership positions when presented with the opportunities to do so.

This project, then, was a bit of a Trojan horse. On the one hand, the saga of a mother-daughter journey could seduce female readers, who might never bother to read the Harvard Business School dissertations on the subject, into a meaningful conversation about leadership. At the same time, if Darcy met a series of brilliant, accomplished women— people even a cynical teen would be in awe of—perhaps they could tell her all the things I’d like her to know—and more.

And she just might listen.

But where to start? How would we make it work? I suggested we do most of our research by phone, as I did for How Strong Women Pray. My telephone interviews with a governor, some CEOs, actors, sports figures, a college president, and others yielded great stories and information. I promised my intrepid co-author, though, that we could punctuate these conversations with a few visits in person to exciting and exotic places—all with reasonably priced airfares.

“Why don’t we follow each subject as she goes about her daily life? That way our readers get to come along with us and get a behind- the-scenes look at what happens to them. Instead of just a boring interview, we—and our readers—get to hang around with these women, see them in their natural habitat, and even see how other people treat them.”

Although I agreed it was a wonderful approach, this idea of “job- shadowing” each featured subject wasn’t going to be easy. Would these high-powered, important women deign to allow us that kind of access? Would they be able to impart the kind of wisdom that would resonate with our readers and truly make a difference in their lives?  We looked at each other, both of us hooked on a crazy idea that we weren’t sure we could pull off.

“It sounds impossible, Darcy,” I said. “We might as well get started.”

And so, we stepped out . . . on faith.

###


Bonnie is a 1984 Paralympics silver medal winner in ski racing. Her education includes a degree with honors from Harvard, a Rhodes scholarship, and an M.Litt in Economics from Oxford.  Her career includes positions as an award-winning sales rep for IBM and a Clinton White House member of staff. She now is a much-in-demand speaker, who makes nearly 100 speeches each year to corporations and civic groups. You can visit her on the Web at www.bonniestjohn.com.



Re-printed with permission from How Great Women Lead by Bonnie St. John and Darcy Deane




Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

{Mother of Pearl series} What I Am Not | Tricia Goyer


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!

What I Am Not by Tricia Goyer

Becoming a mother is a complicated thing. Not only am I trying to negotiate a relationship with my child, I am trying to negotiate a relationship with myself as I attempt to determine how I mother, how I feel about mothering, how I want to mother and how I wish I was mothered.
— Andrea J. Buchanan, in Mother Shock3

Sometimes the easiest way to discover who we are is to know who we are not.

We are not our children. We all know mothers who go overboard trying to make themselves look good by making their children look great. I saw one woman on the Oprah television show who had bought her preschool daughter more than twelve pairs of black shoes just so the girl could have different styles to go with her numerous outfits! Just as we -don’t get report cards for mothering, we also -don’t get graded on our child’s looks or accomplishments. While you want your children to do their best and succeed in life, your self-esteem -shouldn’t be wrapped up in your child.

Life as I See It:

My individuality will never end. There will be no one exactly like me, not even my child. She will be like me in some ways, but not at all in others. I -wouldn’t have it any other way.
— Desiree, Texas

We are not our mothers. I remember the first time I heard my mother’s voice coming out of my mouth. The words “because I told you so .  .  .” escaped before I had a chance to squelch them.

It’s not until we have kids that we truly understand our mothers — all their frets, their nagging, and their worries.

It’s also then that we truly understand their love.

Since you are now a mother, it’s good to think back on how you were raised. If there were traditions or habits that now seem wise and useful, incorporate them into your parenting. You also have permission to sift out things you now know -weren’t good. Just because you’re a product of your mother, that -doesn’t mean you have to turn out just like her. Repeat after me, “I am not my mother.”

We are not like any other mother out there. Sometimes you may feel like the world’s worst mother. After all, your friend never yells at her son — and sometimes you do. Then again, your friend may feel bad because you have a wonderful bedtime routine that includes stories and songs. In many cases, the moms you feel inferior to only look like they have it together. All moms feel they -don’t “measure up.” Instead of feeling unworthy, we should realize that everyone has strengths and weaknesses. The key is where we place our focus.

The Bible says, “Let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without .  .  . comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we -aren’t” (Romans 12:5 – 6, MESSAGE).

The problem with comparison is, we always measure our weaknesses against the strengths of others.

Instead, we need to thank God for our strengths. We can also ask God to help us overcome our weaknesses — not because we want to compare ourselves, or look good in someone else’s eyes, but because we want to be the best mom out there.

###



Tricia Goyer is a CBA best-selling author and the winner of two American Christian Fiction Writers’ Book of the Year Awards (Night Song and Dawn of a Thousand Nights). She co-wrote 3:16 Teen Edition with Max Lucado and contributed to the Women of Faith Study Bible. Also a noted marriage and parenting writer, she lives with her husband and children in Arkansas. You can find her online at www.triciagoyer.com or at her weekly radio show, Living Inspired.





Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

{Mother of Pearl series} She’s My Everything | Suzanne Woods Fisher


Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!

She’s…My Everything by Suzanne Woods Fisher

A mother is one who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.
--Cardinal Mermillod 

Just a few more months. My mother was hoping Dad would hang on long enough so they could celebrate their sixtieth wedding anniversary in April. But on January 1st, as the sun rose on the new year, my dad’s worn out heart beat its last. Dad had battled Alzheimer’s Disease for ten years. As many of you know, AD is a long, hard journey. Hard on the one afflicted with the disease, hard on the caregivers.

But not without its blessings.


Four years ago, as I began researching stories for Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, my path crossed with a handful of Plain families who were coping with Alzheimer’s. It was just about the point when Dad’s illness was shifting from early to mid stages AD and the timing was a divine accident. I learned so much as I observed the calm acceptance of these families. Rather than waste time shaking a fist at God for allowing this disease to take their loved one, they put their energy into trusting God’s sovereignty. They didn’t deny the difficulties and complications and sadness of Alzheimer’s, but they didn’t dwell on them. “God has a plan,” one woman told me. “He always has a plan.”


Something else I noticed was how privileged my Amish friends felt about caring for their loved one. Caring for the elderly, they believe, is the time to give back to them.

Those encounters shaped my perspective of Dad’s illness. I started to pay attention to how God provided answers to new wrinkles created by Alzheimer’s, just in time. God may be slow, but He is never late.

I started to cherish special moments or good days with Dad—just as he was at each point in his illness. Not mourning the past, not dreading the future.

I really miss my dad. I miss his scratchy whiskers and the way his eyebrows would wiggle at us, even as words failed him. Yet I have such peace in my heart that he was well loved and well cared for, right to the very end. And as hard as Dad’s end of life has been, it isn’t the end. We will meet again. As the saying goes, “Some may see a hopeless end, but as believers we rejoice in an endless hope.”

There’s a beautiful story that illustrates my parents’ 59-year marriage. This event happened about a year or two ago. My sister had accompanied our mother to the doctor appointment for Dad at the Stanford Memory Clinic.

Dad had declined quite a bit that month. He was weak and lethargic, even to the point of whispering, as if it took too much energy to project his voice. During the doctor's appointment, the doctor told my mother and sister that Dad was now in late stages of Alzheimer's. Dad didn’t have much vocabulary left, but when the doctor asked him who mom was, he whispered something back. The doctor looked at Mom and asked, "Did you hear what he just said?"

Mom shook her head.

"When I asked him who you were, he whispered, 'She's...my everything.'"

###

Suzanne Woods Fisher is a writer of bestselling fiction and non-fiction books about the Old Order Amish. Her interest in the Plain People began with her grandfather, W. D. Benedict, who was raised Plain. Suzanne is the host of Amish Wisdom, a weekly radio program on toginet.com, and writes a bi-monthly column for Christian Post. Suzanne can be found on-line at www.suzannewoodsfisher.com.


Re-printed with permission by Cooking & Such, www.sherrygorebooks.com.



Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

the orphaned generation by scott wilcher

I came across this book, the orphaned generation, and it just stood out to me.

Something about it was just calling my name.

Maybe it was the subtitle, The Father's Heart for Connecting Youth and Young Adults to Your Church.


After all, lately I have had a heavy burden for young people who are shaky at best in the faith they once professed strongly. I guess because that young person was me once. I grew up in church, had an amazing youth group experience, and even a substantial early college Bible study group experience.

Still---I wandered. Better yet, I ran. At some vivid point in my later college years, I just hit the figurative church doors running---rushing out to see and experience the world I thought I deserved to partake in and thought I had so missed out on.

Fast forward several years and I am now on a whole new level with my faith in God and my walk with Him as well as with others in my world around me. I am not perfect. As a matter of fact, that is just the point. I am real. I now see the world through others' eyes like I may never have before.

Because of my experience, I have a heavy burden to help people of all ages but especially young people to be more real with God, more real with each other, and to learn to see the world from each others' eyes so that we value and understand each other more.

So, as I read the orphaned generation, author Scott Wilcher hit the nail on the head more times than I can count. He didn't just hit the nail; he pounded it in. He truly has a unique perspective on young people in the church, as he was a youth pastor for many years and now "serves as a consultant to churches that hope to reach young people more effectively."

Wilcher not only engagingly discusses his central theme of genuinely reaching young people and helping them become connected in the church. He also throws a bit of a curve ball in when he begins to break down old, long-held mental pictures that we Christians have in our mind of the gospel message. He cleverly and accurately dissects several thought processes and illustrations we have practiced over the years in considering and discussing what Jesus did for us. I must say, God through Wilcher in this book reorganized my thinking. I will never see Christ's work on the cross the same way again. I will never again explain it to others the same way.

Honestly, whether I was interested in engaging the young people of the church or not, this book would have spoken to me on so many levels (as it truly did) that I could not help but be changed by it---young people or not.

But truly, the young people are the theme. And for very good reason. Much like that which I described earlier. And Wilcher does a fantastic job of getting on-the-level with the us as readers and then calling us to step up to a whole new level. We can't just be readers; our young people and our world need leaders---now, today. Not leaders who look down, belittle, and judge. Servant leaders who imitate Christ and come alongside those who need them most.

Please consider this unique and excellent book the orphaned generation by Scott Wilcher. You may relate more than you realize. Even if you don't see yourself as the leader-type, this book will revolutionize your thinking and actions in a very positive, Biblical way.

Young people or not---you need this reimaging of the mind. 
I sure did!

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Scott Wilcher. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.



{Mother of Pearl series} Joy Comes from Perseverance | Shelia Walsh

Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.

AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Joy Comes from Perseverance by Sheila Walsh

One of the most important lessons I have learned in my own life is the joy that comes from perseverance. Eugene Peterson, borrowing a phrase from Friedrich Nietzsche, wrote his book  “A Long Obedience in the Same Direction …Discipleship in an Instant Society.” He points to the Psalms as the way believers have always learned to pray what they live and live what they pray but it is not a short journey. It is an intentional commitment to keep walking even when you are worn out.

*If we want to see lasting results in any area of life it’s important to keep walking in that direction.

*If we want to have a better understanding of the Gospel of John then it takes time and commitment to dig deeper day after day.

*If we want to be thinner this summer than last summer then the work begins now not then.
So too in our relationship with Christ…..

*If we want to know Him at a more profoundly intimate level, that also takes an intentional seeking after Him every day.

As a grown woman I have come to love the beauty of this gift. Passing this “mined treasure” onto my son on the other hand has been an interesting challenge.  We live in such a fast paced, attention-challenged culture where the latest thing can be delivered to your doorstep by tomorrow for a few dollars more. But, as you know, by the time it is delivered it has already been replaced or updated!

How do we speak then into the lives of our children to help them understand and value perseverance?

For me…part of the puzzle meant a large piece of poster board, scissors, some photos and a bottle of Elmer’s glue. My son, Christian and I spread everything out on a sheet in the game room as I explained our project. “We’re going to make a family faith-tree,” I said. “These are photos of family on your dad’s side and on mine. Many of them have gone on to be with Jesus but the seeds they planted into our family continue to grow.” Then we wrote down their names and when they came to faith in Christ (as many as I knew).  It was quite something to see when we were finished.

“Your life matters Christian. Running your race well matters.”

That night we read these words from the writer to the Hebrews,

We are surrounded by a great cloud of people whose lives tell us what faith means. So let us run the race that is before us and never give up.
Hebrews 12:1 (NCV)

###

Sheila Walsh is a Bible teacher, speaker, singer, and best-selling author with more than 4 million books sold. Sheila Walsh is the creator of the award-winning Gigi, God’s Little Princess® and her new series, Gabby, God's Little Angel. Meet Gabby in Gabby's Stick-to-It-Day. As a featured speaker with Women of Faith®, Sheila has reached more than 3.5 million women by artistically combining honesty, vulnerability and humor with God’s Word. She resides in Dallas with her husband Barry and son Christian. Visit www.sheilawalsh.com for more information about Sheila, her other books or Women of Faith.




Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!

Monday, May 7, 2012

{Mother of Pearl series} Priceless Treasures | Cindy K. Stiverson

Brief intro from Haelie: I have been blessed with the privilege of being able to share a week-long blog series with you leading up to Mother's Day. Each day is a post written by some amazing women and the series is titled the Mother of Pearl series.

I do hope you enjoy! Looking forward to your feedback! ~ Haelie



Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother's Day blog series - a week long celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today's best writer's (Tricia Goyer, Sheila Walsh, Suzanne Woods Fisher, Bonnie St. John, and more). I hope you'll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother's Day.


AND ... do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful hand crafted pearl necklace. To enter, just {CLICK THIS LINK} and fill out the short form. Contest runs 5/6-5/13 and the winner will on 5/14. Contest is only open to US and Canadian residents.

If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info and see what we're all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Pearl Girls: Encountering Grit, Experiencing Grace or one of the Pearl Girls™ products (all GREAT Mother's Day gifts!) to help support Pearl Girls.

And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother's Day!

Priceless Treasure by Cindy K. Stiverson

We've heard it said and often find it true:
You don't know the value of a treasure until you're without it. 

We take for granted the things in life that seem so readily available.
   A paperclip or rubber band, to hold things together.
   A tissue or napkin, to wipe our nose to clean our face, to absorb our tears.
   A Bible to speak words of wisdom and instruction and life and love.

And a Mother, who is all these things and more.
   She is readily available.
   She holds things together.
   She wipes our nose, cleans our face (and our fingers, and, well…everything else!)
   She absorbs our tears and calms our fears.
  "She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue." (Proverbs 31:26)
   She loves.

Within hours after my mother passed into the gates of our heavenly home, I was missing her. Her quick wit…humor…charm. Her warm smile and melodious laughter, which served her well to the very end, as did our Lord Jesus Christ, who so graciously allowed her to slip quietly and peacefully into His arms.

She simply stopped breathing.

As I stood at her bedside in those priceless moments after her passing, I wanted to touch her skin as much as possible while there was still warmth in her body; to nuzzle my nose against her head and breathe in the scent of her hair while she was still there. Priceless treasures I was guilty of taking for granted, clouded by unmet needs. I was so consumed with what she was not, that I never fully appreciated who she was. It’s like I was blind, but now I see!

I see her strength, her commitment. Her perseverance…sacrifice…her unspoken love. I see how much she meant to me, how much she did for me, how much she taught me, and how much of the good in me was modeled by her.

She was a virtuous woman, as described in Proverbs 31 of the Bible.
“Her children stand and bless her… a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised. Reward her for all she has done. Let her deeds publicly declare her praise (vs. 31).”

This last verse of the poem serves as an epitaph for the woman of virtue. It speaks of the legacy she leaves in her passing. It spurred me to write a personal epitaph for my mother, which I read at her funeral.



We publicly declare your praise today, 



and in the days to come,



for you deserve to be praised and blessed,



"We honor you, Mom, for all you have done!"







In my earliest of memories, 



You worked so hard, striving for the rest.



You persevered through great trials



and did your very best.







I know you are being rewarded



in ways far beyond our reach.



We honor you now by practicing what you've taught,



and even what you preached!







You've stood for us for all these years,



Today, we stand for you!



I pray that our applause on earth



will reach your heavenly ears.


With the reading of this poem, I asked everyone to stand. We clapped our hands in celebration and praise of the life of my mother, Margaret Alice Stiltner.

Imagine our surprise to discover that she had left a poetic epitaph for us! She had clipped it from an old magazine and framed it. I found it when I was cleaning her home, on a nightstand by her bed. My mother was never versed at expressing emotion. This was her sweet way of kissing us good-bye: a priceless treasure to remember her by.











###






Cynthia (Cindy) Stiverson is a speaker, writer, and artist.  In 1998, she founded Woven: Women of Virtue Network, a spiritual formation and friendship ministry. She pastors the women at Newark Church of the Nazarene in Ohio. She is currently working on her fourth Woven Workbook, and also a book for mothers and daughters on the subject of sexual abuse. Cindy considers raising her daughter, speaker/author Nicole Braddock Bromley, to be her greatest achievement. She loves the men in her life, hubby Mark, grandbabes Jude and Isaac, and son-in-law Matthew. You can find more of Cindy at www.WovenWomen.blogspot.com and www.CynthiaStiverson.com








Exciting News – the latest Pearl Girls book, Mother of Pearl: Luminous Legacies and Iridescent Faith will be released this month! Please visit the Pearl Girls Facebook Page (and LIKE us!) for more information! Thanks so much for your support!





Sunday, May 6, 2012

Some Fruits of Solitude by William Penn

I LOVE Attic Books!

Just had to say that...sorry. (Really, I'm not at all sorry...Attic Books is a gem!)

You see, I am an antique book freak. I'm the girl who goes into the antique store and heads straight to the books. Children's books, classic books, books of various themes that interest me...even hymnals!

Yes, that's me. There...it's out...I've said it.

So, when I am blessed with the honor of reading and reviewing antique books reprinted as they were written in ages past...do you think I am thankful?! Well, that's an understatement.

Take for instance Some Fruits of Solitude by William Penn. This beautiful, small book has the typical Attic Books torn-edged ecru pages and antique-looking hardback cover. Something unique about it for me is that I am pretty certain it is the oldest book (other than the Bible) I have read so far. Reading old books is like a mental workout---a good one. It trains you to read carefully and think about what you are reading. Like with this 17th century treasure. I admit it is cumbersome reading at times, but well worth it!

With its sometimes poetic, short-versed, Proverb-like style, it is no wonder that Some Fruits of Solitude was a daily inspiration to the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson.

I could quote all day long from the short 170 pages of this book, but I will choose just a few to leave you with as I again HIGHLY recommend you check into the selection of gems that Attic Books offers.

As Attic Books states in the Publisher's Notes:
An edition such as this of William Penn's work may at first seem to be a challenging endeavor. Yet, seeing the work in its original style, with what some would call its archaic style of spelling or spelling variants from the 17th century, is an important preservation of the original work.
And now from the author himself (with font and style as close as I could get to the style in the book):
~ READER,---This Enchiridion, I present thee with, is the Fruit of Solitude: A School few care to learn in, tho' None instructs us better.
~ Despise no Body, nor no Condition; lest it come to be thine own.
~ Opportunities should never be lost, because they can hardly be regained. 
~ Do Good with what thou hast, or it will do thee no good
~ Too few know when they have Enough; and fewer know how to employ it.
~ Patience and Diligence, like Faith, remove Mountains.
~ It must be therefore a gross Fault to strive so hard for the Pleasure of our Bodies, and be so insensible and careless of the Freedom of our Souls. 
~ Death cannot kill, what never dies. 
~ The truest end of Life, is, to know the Life that never ends
I leave you with a few of my own final thoughts---or questions, rather.
Do you know that Life that never ends
Do you have that Freedom of your Soul? 
Will death kill you or merely send you home? 

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from New Leaf Publishing Group. No other compensation was received. The fact that I received a complimentary product does not guarantee a favorable review.