Saturday, September 16, 2017

Modern Watercolor by Kristin Van Leuvin

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
I'm enjoying a few art books this weekend, between academic assignments.

This one is such fun - why not try your hand at animals, flowers, landscapes, etc.? The text demonstrates different kinds of paints (granular, smooth, etc.) as well as brushes and other tools.

The pictures are great and instructions are easy to follow. This gives a jumping off point for your own creativity. It's a really pretty book with great colors and design. Enjoy!

Expressive flower painting by Lynn Whipple

★★★★ ☐ The publisher has provided a copy for review.
What would you like to splash on canvas? Are you in love with flowers and enjoy time with friends?

This reads like a DIY party book - great fun and beautiful photos. You'll enjoy doing these projects, customizing them to what makes you smile.

Made me happy to read it.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius

★★★★★  The publisher provided a copy for review
Ghost Boy gripped me: what would it be like to be trapped inside a body that seemed dead to everyone else. The faith of Martin's parents was uplifting - and gave me hope that many more who seem unable to respond will be helped.

I was a "Candy-Striper" (volunteer nurses' aide) during my last years of high school in Canada. We sat at the bedsides of many dementia and near-comatose patients, reading and feeding them - whether or not they could respond. I think that's why this touched me so much; I watched many families tend the physical bodies and love their "missing" beloved children and parents.

The story is well-written and an encouragement to consider every human worthwhile.

Die Empty: Unleash your best work every day by Todd Henry

★★★★★  The publisher provided a copy for review
Let's just say I liked this one so much that I'm on my third read-through. I recommended it to my accountability group and to a close friend as well. After reading it on my own, we've read through the book together, considered its implications for the challenges and opportunities we face (and where we've been) - and now are working through the suggestions at the ends of the chapters to improve our serve.

A life changer. Highly recommended - practical and applicable for daily as well as longterm evaluation of your life and work. If you take it to heart, you'll be ready to live to the max so that you die "empty."

Punderdome: a card game for word lovers by Jo Firestone and Fred Firestone

★★★★★  The publisher provided a copy for review
My husband and kids love to play with words, which admittedly can be puzzling to guests around the table ... until they figure out that every word is fair game. So this hit the spot as a family gift to ourselves. (Take note that I'm not the punster.)

If you like words or word games, this will be a hit for you as well. Great gift for wordsmiths, writers, and punny friends.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

How to Lead when You're Not in Charge by Clay Scroggins

★★★★★  The publisher provided a copy for review
Every once in a while, you read a book that provides a pause and an aha. This is an easy read, but as I turned the pages, I kept stopping to think about the impact people have had on me ... and that I have on others.

Have you ever sat back and worked half-heartedly because you had a crummy boss or thought you didn't have the authority to affect change?

Scroggins says doing good work brings its own reward - an open door to change an organization, expand one's network, and improve our own character. He encourages the reader to seize the moment and serve wholeheartedly. He's an amusing writer, but the momentum he promises feels achievable.

You'll feel someone is cheering you on - with sound advice, interesting stories, and his own experience. It's well worth picking this book up: you'll feel like you had a great mentor looking over your shoulder.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

5Q by Alan Hirsch

★★★★★  The publisher provided a copy for review
So... I read The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch for a doctoral class  and I nodded my head and thought, "What a great way to view church and the Kingdom of God." You may be familiar with the old idea made new like I was.

And now, Hirsch has moved from "good idea" to "why is this an idea - and a wonderful one, according to sound theology," engaging me in a deeper way. I live with a theologian who delights in "learning about God and talking about him with friends." And this is a conversation that powerfully challenged the notion that there are many gifts and all of them ok - by saying, we need these five to survive and thrive. 

What are the 5Qs? Ephesians 4:1-16 tell us that Jesus has gifted his Church with functional gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd (Pastor), and Teacher - or APEST in the book. I kept having to stop and think about the visionary, healing, teaching, renewing, and growing properties of churches I have attended or where I've been on staff. 

I hope this is used as a text in pastoral classes. The depth of theology and the practical outworking of those gifts is worth the price of the book. It's in my library for good.