God Gave Us Family


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If you are in need of a book that talks about different types of families, either for you or someone you know, then this book is a very sweet one.

Written by Lisa Tawn Bergen, with art by David Hohn, “God Gave Us Family” goes through a lot of the ways a child can be a part of a family. Whether it be a small family, large family, adoptive family, family of grandparents, single parents, or a village of family, each way is no more special than the other. This book will help children understand the diversity that can be found in our world and also may help them understand another child’s situation and be more empathetic to them.

It also talks about how sometimes we can get annoyed or unhappy with our family but that under it all, we love them and they are there for us.

I love these books for my children because they always have a loving message and help ease children into important life lessons. I recommend this for anyone with children, nieces/nephews, or anyone who works with children. These are important lessons to be taught and this is such a great way to teach it.

The illustrations are beautiful, colorful, and unique.

God Gave Us Family @ Penguin Random House


I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.


Women In Sports


Ever since the first book in this apparent series came out, I have been hoping they’d release another one and I wasn’t disappointed. “Women In Sports,” by Rachel Ignotofsky, is just as wonderful as “Women In Science” was.

The number of women represented in this book is phenomenal (although I’m sure there are many more to be included but for brevity, they chose who they did) and the illustrations are incredible, as they were in the first one.

Specific women represented in this book include figure skater Madge Syers; track and field, ice hockey, tennis, and softball player (wow!) Bobbie Rosenfeld; Judoka master Keiko Fukuda; mountaineer Junko Tabei; volleyball player Flo Hyman; weightlifter and body builder Bev Francis; referee Violet Palmer; para triathlete Melissa Stockwell; and gymnast Simone Biles, just to name a few. As you can see, there are women represented in an array of sports categories and the diversity of the group is wonderful.

I had mentioned that I loved the first book because I have a daughter and I’d like her to be aware of wonderful women doing incredible things. Well, now I have two and the desire for that is doubled. If they want to get into sports, I’m glad I can show them all the women who have succeeded in their areas. I can’t wait for the next one!

Women In Sports @ Penguin Random House


I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy: A Journal


This cute little book (it fits in the palm of your hand), “Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy: A Journal,” by Robie Rogge and Dian G. Smith, is the perfect gift, even if it’s a gift to yourself.

Especially with the holidays and, of course, New Years (and resolutions), coming up, this would fit great in a stocking. It is screaming to be used as part of a New Year’s resolution or would even make a sweet host/hostess gift for Thanksgiving (or any of the holidays).

The purpose of this book is to find what brings you the most joy, helps you to reflect on the wonderful things that happen in your life that add to your happiness, help you see how you overcome difficult situations, and, in my opinion, give you inspirational quotes and prompts that help you to focus on the good instead of the bad.

It’s not about forgetting those difficult times or giving yourself a false sense of joy by hiding from the negative, but it’s more about moving importance from the negative to the positive to increase your overall feeling of happiness.

Some examples of prompts:

  • What made you energetic
  • A happiness compromise
  • A cheap happiness
  • What you liked doing alone
  • Top 5 shows that make you happy

Examples of the quotes:

  • “When someone does something well, applaud! You will make two people happy.” ~ Samuel Goldwyn
  • “Each day provides its own gifts.” ~ Martial
  • “I’d far rather be happy than right any day.” ~ Douglas Adams (Yeah, I definitely need to really read this and practice this over and over and over again…)

There are also barometers to measure your happiness, starting at the very beginning and finishing at the very end, the point being that you should be happier by the end of it than you were at the beginning.

It’s a very cute book and something I will enjoy doing in the New Year.

Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy @ Penguin Random House


I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

The Dream Centered Life


I truly love inspirational books because I feel like there are times in our lives (and they occur continuously) where we all need to re-realize what drives us, what we are passionate about, and/or we need something to give us that kick in the pants we’ve been avoiding or looking for. When I received this book, I was in need of a little bit of it all.

It is a faith-centered book, so if you aren’t into that sort of thing, this might be a bit too spiritual for you. I, personally, feel like there is a spiritual part to our lives that helps guide us and that helps make things happen when you’re on the path you’re supposed to be on, but I definitely believe that it is based off the choices we make and that nothing is pre-destined no matter how we live our lives. This idea is certainly evident in the first part of “The Dream Centered Life,” by Luke Barnett. 

The first three chapters describe his journey to get to where he is. While he somewhat avoided filling his father’s shoes, it is where he ended up, if not surpassing what he thought he was capable of becoming. He describes his fears and his self-doubts, but always says that when he prayed and trusted in the Lord, things worked themselves out for the better more often than not.

The next section is focused on dream-centered living and leadership and the principles that he’s discovered in his journey of living this way. One of my favorite quotes in this book is as follows:

“God “conceals” our dreams from us to see who is eager and energetic enough to search them out. He’s not going to give his best ideas to the lazy. It’s like the gold in the hills – it’s there, but we have to dig for it. That’s why easy solutions are cheap, but everything of lasting value starts with a dream.”

It’s so true though. You can coast through life, even work harden than everyone else at it, but if you aren’t doing the right things that will get you where you want to be and putting the energy and effort into the things that will get you there, you may NEVER get there. You also have to play to have a chance at winning the dream.

Some lessons learned through his journey:

  1. Some people won’t believe it until they see it. Success may only equal tangible accomplishments to some.
  2. There will be disagreements over culture.
  3. “Criticism doesn’t have boundaries.”
  4. Hire slow, fire fast.
  5. “Before new dreams can take off, old dreams have to die.”

There are also dream busters and dream lifters, The dream busters involve a couple things: those people who don’t believe in our dream and try to move us away from accomplishing it and also those things we tell ourselves or let ourselves believe that prevent our dreams from coming true. It is important to rise above the dream busters in our lives if we’re ever going to get anywhere.

The dream lifters are things that will help you achieve your dreams. There are a few lifestyle habits that will help you achieve your dreams:

  1. A schedule – setting aside time for those important tasks that help the dream be realized
  2. Simplify – being too busy can fill our time with the wrong things and make us feel productive, when actuality we aren’t productive in the important ways
  3. Fast and pray – it can involve skipping meals, drinking only liquids, eating only things from the ground, or removing your biggest craving(s) such as media, sports, etc. for a period of time
  4. Get quiet and listen – pray and then sit quietly and listen; keeping a journal can help as well

It takes work to make a dream come true and things just aren’t destined to happen, therefore we cannot just sit around waiting for things to come to us.

I enjoyed how Barnett summarized the important points at the end of the chapters because it can be used as a quick reference if we need a refresher of the specifics. I also enjoy how things aren’t particularly sugar-coated about how to make our dreams come true. A lot of inspirational books focus on the positive only (or mostly), but life isn’t all positive and our experiences that lead us to our dreams (or lead us away) aren’t always the happiest.

Overall, this book has many helpful points and lots of great stories and spiritual examples. Give it a try if you’re feeling a little or a lot lost or just need a push. It might just be the kick in the pants you needed!

The Dream Centered Life


I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Here and Gone: A Book Review


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It’s summer and I was in need of a good book to read. A departure from my normal cookbook/inspiration reads, I found the summary of this novel, “Here and Gone,” by Haylen Beck, to be intriguing and something that sounded right up my alley.

From the very beginning, this book captures you with its quickly unraveling story of a mother who ends up in a small town and finds her children missing, with no information as to how or why. Everything after that is full of suspense and keeps you glued to the book to find out if the children were actually there and if so, where they went. Was it the mother? The father? Is it a conspiracy? Why her? Why them?

There are characters to root for, characters you want to strangle yourself, and others that make you quite frustrated. The plot twists and turns as new information is given, new characters are introduced, and as the story of this mother unfolds. It also makes you want to hug your children (if you have them) a bit closer.

I could not put this book down and finished it in a day, which is saying something when you have a toddler to take care of. I was on the edge of my seat hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst for this mother and her children. If you like suspense and thrillers, you won’t be disappointed. I look forward to reading Beck’s other novels.

Here and Gone @ Penguin Random House


I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.