Book Review

Be Brave Gutsy Girls!


Amy L. Sullivan debuts Book One of her Gutsy Girls Series today! Yay Amy!

I love the concept of introducing our girls to strong, Christian women who impacted the world. This is even more needful to me, as I navigate having a tween! How did that happen?


This is my Gutsy Girl. She had her first b-team basketball game last Tuesday. I was so proud of her and her teammates. They had so much courage and determination. After the game there were tears of exhaustion, and also the realization of how intense a real game really is. Shortly after the last tears were dried, she was pumping her fist in the air and exclaiming how excited she was for the next game.

Life, not so easy. There is exhaustion, intensity, sadness, fear, worry and anger right alongside joy and beauty. We need everything possible to strengthen their hearts and prepare them to live for God. The inspiration of Gutsy Girls is a beautiful book for doing just that.



The whimsical illustrations by Beverly Ann Wines are the sweetest accompaniment to the story of Gladys Aylward, an ordinary girl who did extraordinary things for God. For all of us that feel the pangs of not being enough- her story is impactful. Gladys never gave up despite insurmountable odds. She became a missionary to China and saved numerous lives. She kept going in faith. She made a difference, and now will inspire another generation of girls to be brave.

AmyI just love Amy. She’s an encourager, a wisdom-giver, full of grace, and kind. Follow her work at her website Check out her #raisinggirls Pinterest board. I also love Amy’s first book When More is Not Enough. She is a hip Instagrammer too! And a Mom to two girls. She lives in North Carolina among beautiful mountains, but you can invite her to move to Michigan. Holland specifically.


If you order Gutsy Girls by September 25, Amy is giving away really fun freebies! Gabfest conversation cards and a five page guide of extra enrichment activities! You can order Gutsy Girls: Gladys Aylward here. Visit Amy’s blog for details of how to get the free stuff! (Just email


I would love to give away a copy of the book! Leave a comment to be entered.

Who is the gutsiest girl you have ever known? 

(I would say my Mom who just did nine months of treatment for breast cancer like a boss 🙂



For the Love


Jen Hatmaker is the author of Interrupted and Seven, and for those who follow her work, you’ll be excited to read her newest release For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards. I do have a copy to giveaway too!

I’ve been so excited to be on her launch team for this release, and you will love it.JenHatmaker4

I really, really love her kitchen too.

You can read all about the book on the For the Love website and watch the book trailer.


For all who have ever felt like not enough…

Jen pours out grace and offers encouragement. For the Love is an invitation to let go of our complicated striving, and instead find meaning in loving well.

She encourages us to take ‘off the beam’ anything piled there out of guilt or unreasonable expectations. Freedom.

Her best advice is for her kids- but I love it.


Yes. I really think its that simple too.

“The breadth of God’s family is mercifully wide.”

So let’s be good to each other, and also good to ourselves.


You will laugh because she talks about turning forty, leggings as pants- (a no), her spicy family, difficult people, surviving school in a Pinterest age, her no drama forcefield. One of my favorite chapters is- Dear Christians, Please Stop Being Crappy. She’s funny that way.

A series of chapters sprinkled through the book are sarcastic thank-you notes on such topics as instagram filters, the school pick-up line, Target, sick husbands, skinny jeans, and Taco Bell. (Those should not have been referenced together- skinny jeans and Taco Bell.)


I love the beam analogy in the book.

What needs to come off your beam this season? (Me- thinking the food things I have to bring for events needs to be homemade. I’m a horrible cook/baker. I’m going to the store from now on. Off the beam- freedom.)

Comment here and be entered to win a copy of the book.


100 Under $100

100 Under $100

As a member of Mom Bloggers for Social good and the Global Team of 200, I had the opportunity to review an advanced copy of 100 Under $100. Betsy Teutsch compiles a wonderful guide to one hundred tools for empowering global women.

I absolutely loved reading about the cutting edge solutions happening around the world that contribute to alleviating poverty from maternal health to finance to global health. Within each tool she includes ways to deepen our education and ways we can contribute to the work of the organizations that bring these tools to life. I loved seeing them in action through the photographs as well.

After reading the guide, I felt great hope. People all around the globe are combining talent with compassion to make the world a better place.

That is hope. That is proximity.


The book releases March 6, in the meantime check out the 100 Under $100 websiteblog, Pinterest boards, twitter, and facebook page.

I made a twitter list with all the organizations featured in the book.


I can’t wait to continue sharing the work of these organizations and how we can help.

I mean keyhole gardens, kangaroo care, solar ear, eco-briquettes, bottle bricks, microloans, infant warmers, and school lunch. There is so much to be excited about.

Betsy dedicates the book to all who engage in Tikkun Olam- Repairing the World.


That is all of you!

Thank you for your compassion and willingness to place yourself in proximity to need.



This is the joy of every longing heart

download (4)Liz Curtis Higgs is a super author and speaker, and best of all an encourager. Who doesn’t love a girl who write books called Bad Girls of the Bible and Really Bad Girls of the Bible. 

Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna.



Elizabeth advanced in years, received the promise of a son, John the Baptist, who would pave the way for Jesus.

Mary, so young, unmarried, accepted her role as the mother of Jesus.

Anna, a prophetess, worshipped her God day and night in the temple.


Place yourself in any one of their spots. Would we stand with such faith and trust?

I am more the cowardly lion, spitting and sputtering in my fears. Oh, just let me see how it ends… then maybe. Only if everyone still loves me afterwards. Only if it doesn’t hurt too much. Only if it doesn’t take up too much time. Only if I am assured it is what you say it really is. Only if the cost is small.

savesGabriel said to Mary that her son would be called Jesus. God Saves.

So simple. So striking. God Saves.

He does.

And he did it through an unlikely lineage, through broken people, but people willing to lay it all down.

joyHe saves us.

Remember that this day. He saves.

He saves us and he saves through us.

He gives us life and hope.


Read Chapter One for free here.

Leave a comment and win a hard-cover copy of the book.

What does your heart long for this Christmas season? 

Raising Boys


Raising Boys by Design. What the Bible and Brain Science Reveal About What Your Sons Needs to Thrive. 

Gregory Jantz is a certified psychologist, author of more than twenty books and a practicing counselor. You can see more of his books here. Michael Gurian is a counselor and the author of Wonder Boys. 


My son likes to climb on furniture and bang against walls. If he has a friend problem on the playground at school, he shrugs his shoulders and keeps running. He doesn’t always love a hug anymore and if he sees me at school he looks all silly at the floor.

Boy and girls process emotion differently. (You don’t say!) That is maybe why spouse arguments are so frustrating?

I loved the chapter about protecting and supporting your son’s emotional life.

boys What stood out in this book? 

* Encouragement for boys to channel their energy into ” expressing the compassion their community needs.”

*The book explains how boys develop and learn differently from girls.

*The book provides practical application questions and a next step section at the end of each chapter. These features make applying the knowledge of the book into your daily life easy.

*Ideas to help your son do well in school.

*Ideas for healthy use of technology and video games.

*Ways to help guide them in their faith, specific to their needs as males.


What do you feel are challenges in raising boys? 

Leave a comment and be entered to win a copy of the book!


Our God is Bigger.


Is that a gutsy title for a book or what?

Sarah Bessy writes about the intersections of a spirit-filled life. Read more about her here. She’s a Canadian, a Mom of three, and completely in love with Jesus.


In her books she invites us to revisit the Bible’s view of women.

Does the title scares you? I’ll be honest, I almost didn’t agree to review it, but you need not worry.

Sarah Bessey makes her case- not as a fire-breathing debater- but as a woman utterly captivated by Jesus, who will stop at nothing to follow him.”  – Carolyn Custis James, author of Half the Church


Sarah Bessey words are hospitality. She invites readers to think and join her conversation. Such a difficult topic steeped in generations of debate is made homey and warm in her writing.  Her story is proclaimed. The story of woman in the Bible is told.

She reminds us that God is on the move. And she asks us to join him ‘our not-safe-but-good God. ‘

All our debates she presents are only wasting our time. “These are small, small arguments about a small, small God.”  When really our God is bigger than that. He designed all of us to participate fully in his redemptive plans.

1 Peter 2:9 speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you- from nothing to something from rejected to accepted.

I liked this book because its foundation is a love for Jesus, his people, and the furthering of his Kingdom. I am a witness to many woman gifted in positions of ministry leadership. I second Sarah’s call to:

Rest in your God-breathed worth. Stop holding your breath, hiding your gifts, ducking your head, dulling your roar, distracting your soul, stilling your hands, quieting your voice, and satiating your hunger with the lesser things of this world.

That call looks different for all of us. If the gifts were given, dare we believe we are not to use them fully?

What thoughts does this book and review bring up for you?

How has this topic effected your  life? 



now he has us

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When I was young, I gravitated to the devotional self-help books in my public library. I grew up in the asparagus capitol of the world… so selection was small. I made the best of it, reading the whole shelf and taking careful notes. More than anything, I wanted to be perfect. I didn’t want anyone to ever be mad at me, and those books I thought would make that happen.

Fast forward to my thirty-four year old self. I don’t think I’ve read a real live devotional in years and years. My Bible yes, but devotional no. I start them and then leave ’em dusty and unused on my bookshelf.  I over dosed on devotionals and my not- measuring up status.

Then I read Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. My not so-perfect self felt the weight of hope again.


What devotionals have been your saving grace over the years? 

Comment and win the hard cover copy of Take Flight! 


Robin Jones Gunn, bestselling author, wrote the Sisterchick Series and the Christy Miller Series. You can read the complete list of her books at her website here.

Take Flight includes fourteen devotions about grace to be all God intended us to be. Scripture, quotes, photographs, and encouragement to act interweave into the message.  This volume does what devotionals do well, challenges.

The pages encourage in a gentle and loving way like meeting a friend for tea on a cool morning.

That to me  is a welcome way to ‘do’ a devotional.


My Hope is Found

My-Hope-Is-Found-682x1024The last book in The Cadence of Grace series by Joanne Bischof debuts this week!

You can read about the first two books here: Be Still My Soul and Though My Heart is Torn. 

Cadence-of-Grace-image2-1024x870My Hope is Found continues the story of Gideon and Lonnie.

I love the theme of forgiveness and redemption that covers their journey.

This is a book for those that have felt

There’s no hope,” she breathed.


The characters have to decide if God can be enough.


Gideon finds change through God’s love. The book is about a man that longed for the kind of faith that changes.

One of my favorite lines of this book is when Gideon prays ‘he could always remember the path that had led him there.’

This is such a poignant reminder that our mistakes, our struggles, all the hard grow us into the people God created us to be.


Gossip is something Lonnie has to face in this book. I love in the study discussion where it explained how she learned to take gossip for what it is- empty words. Even if one can turn the other check to gossip, it still has deep effects on a life. We can remember through this book, how our words effect hope.


This is a beautiful conclusion to Joanne’s debut series. God uses Joanne’s words to give hope, and I can’t wait to see what he will do through her next. Visit her at her website, her Facebook page, and newsletter.

Cadence-of-Grace-1-1024x691What has helped you find hope? How has faith changed you? 

Leave a comment and be entered to win a copy! 



Hopelifter: Creative Ways to Spread Hope When Life Hurts. 

Kathe Wunneberg is the founder of Hopelifters Unlimited.


This book is about showing up when things are hard.

And showing up is really everything.


Have you ever wanted to run away from the visiting line at the funeral home? Pretend that you didn’t hear what happened and not send the note or make the phone call? Have you ever wanted to just wish away the pain?

The beauty of offering hope, is that it can be in silence. Often, it is just showing up.

It can mean everything to someone who is hurting.


The author has known great loss and pain. She has also walked alongside those who have known the same.

Along with encouragement from her own life, she and forty-four contributors offer their stories of hope lifting.


Encouragement, stories of showing up, ideas, and hope. Hope.


How have you given or received hope? Has someone ever shown up for you? 

Leave a comment and win a copy of the book! 

Preemptive Love

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Preemptive Love  By: Jeremy Courtney


Jeremy and Jessica Courtney are the co-founders of Preemptive Love Coalition.

We live and work in Iraq providing lifesaving heart surgeries to Iraqi children and training to local doctors and nurses.

The organization has a deep list of coalition partners, friends, and supporters.


Their mission: To eradicate the backlog of Iraqi children waiting in line for lifesaving heart surgery in pursuit of peace between communities at odds.


When I was first asked to review this book, I looked at the back cover.




This is the story of a family saving the lives of children and peacemaking in a country torn by war.

A quote from Jeremy,

I no longer accept the zero-sum worldview that says we cannot simultaneously be on the side of the Democrats and Republicans; American, Israelis, and Iranians;  Jews and Palestinians; Sunnis and Shias; Arabs, Kurds, and Turks. I choose them all. I don’t lean left or right. I lean in. I lean forward, because that’s where love lives.”


What  I love about this story:

  • A look into a culture and a people that we know not much of.
  • Tenacity to make a difference against all odds.
  • Pure honesty about the heavy cost of making a difference.
  • Preemptive love is who God is.

Live for something bigger. Live for meaning.

Leave a comment and win a hard-cover copy of the book! What does preemptive love mean to you?