Thursday, September 7, 2017

Book Review: Church of the Small Things by Melanie Shankle

My blog has become a series of book reviews and launches, and yet I believe these books are true to my vision- helping us learn to whisper the Word of God into our own souls, and then to the children we love and influence on a regular basis.  Books encourage my heart.  Today, I want you to meet an Author of four books, three of which I've enjoyed thoroughly.  Her name is Melanie Shankle, from Texas, and I was introduced to her as "Big Mama", as her daughter referred to her, (that daughter started high school this fall) and that's how her blog started.  She's grown a bit, and now goes by her given name.  But I still think of the attention that an author called "Big Mama" made me decide I needed to read her book.  I read Sparkly Green Earrings first a book about seeing Christ's light in parenting, as my end of year school's done celebration in 24 hours. Then I had the library order The Antelope in the Living Room, a book on marriage. Which I also adored and read in a few days!  Somehow in the busyness of life and kids, I missed No One's Cuter than You, but it's on my to read list!  

This book releases October 3, 2017.  Counting down the days, til you can all appreciate it for yourself!

Fun. Relatable. Laugh out loud funny. Easy read. Great vacation or stress reliever book. 

Nothing too convicting, but good pauses to look at God in our day to day lives. 

Spiritual encouragement with lighthearted humor.  But also helps the reader identify purpose in her life, and makes her smile at the author's stories of discovering God in her mundane (which may not seem all that mundane with her humor!)  

Simple biblical truths, encouraging the reader to see God in the little things because "being faithful in the small things, because those are the moments that prepare us for the next thing."

It's a book presented with stories, humor, and even a few tears written in an enjoyable manner with a bit of sass and reality that it takes many by surprise at the humor and boldness. But we all relate and keep reading. In "big mama" style! As I first learned of this author. And loved relaxing with her book.  You can see more about her and her blog at:   

Quotes I loved as lessons (but you have to read the book to see how the author makes these memorable!): 

  • "Because every moment in what some might consider a small life was a moment painted with great love." 
  • "When we open ourselves up to the life God has for us, it probably isn't going to feel safe, but it will be infinitely better because it's a life filled with purpose...
  • "We can never underestimate the grace and the strength he will give us for whatever he is calling us to do and whatever challenges we'll face."

As a 45 year old woman, we are in the same season of life and history, so I have many connections to her memories and life experiences, but even if you are much younger, you'll get it, she's funny and real. And I enjoy seeing her faith grow wings and her stories share her heart for God. Blessed to join the launch team, but the opinion is my honest review.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Unseen Way Day 3

Sometimes you read a book and you love it, but you can't talk much about it a few weeks later.  But other times a book inspires you, motivates you, or captures your heart, and somehow you can't leave it behind.  That's how I'm feeling about Sara Hagerty's new book, The Unseen Way, the gift of being hidden in a world that loves to be noticed.

I'm a woman of the Word. I've had a love for it since I learned to read it every day at camp, at age 11, and came home and read through the whole Bible over the next two years.  But I'm also a woman who wants to be productive, to get things done, and sometimes, being in the Word has been a checkmark off the to do list.  But in this season of my life, I've learned it's so much more.  It's the air and nourishment I need to make it through the day.  It's the only source that helps me find joy in the journey and parent with connection and kindness as my focus.  If I miss my time in the Word, the people I love see it very clearly in my behaviors.

I remember a sermon a few years ago by Dr. Fish.  He made the same conclusion- that we are changed by the Word of God and our behavior reflects it.  It can be seen in us.

That's why this book has resonated with me.  Sara Hagerty not only shares her personal testimony of the impact the Word has in her heart, but also illustrations of how God impacts her children in those hard and unseen moments.  She's focusing her heart and theirs on adoration of who God is.  And she shows me how simple and easy it is to walk and talk the Word all through the day and nights of our lives.

On her website, she shares how she's learned to adore God, and even has created a tool that helps teach children the habit of adoration.

I'm learning how to spend time with God- by following Sara Hagerty's creation of the wonder hour, scheduled times in her busy day  to stop and seek Who God Is-- in this moment and how that can help her in that moment in her day, parenting, school, etc.

She models how she prays and her ideas are so simple, yet profound.  She's really showing us her thinking about how to be intimatly aquainted with the Lord and how the Holy Spirit has helped her to put habits in place to remember that God sees, loves, extends grace and rescue, and supports His followers at all times, it's us that forget to look at His face and ask for His help.