Category Archives: Book Reviews & Blogging

Book reviews and thoughts on blogging.

Welcome to J~lynne

If I had a plot of land and the financial resources to do with it whatever I please I would welcome everyone with open hearts and a full cup of coffee into J~lynne, my coffee house. A warm, inviting cafe bustling with anyone who needs to not be rushed by the worries of this world. A place where fresh roasted coffee would be on the menu along with morning fresh banana muffins or  cinnamon chip scones,  tried and true recipes I've already been collecting for this venture. My favorite guests would enjoy long, unhurried conversations with family or friends or a private table where you can bring your computer, hook it up to free wi-fi to write about your own dreams or start that book you've always said you were going to write. I don't envision this bistro built in the hustle and bustle of a big city. I would build it in a small town where I would get to know your name as you walked through the door of Jlynne on a regular basis. I would make it my goal to find the best coffee from a source that helped the farmer make a good living and he was free to do business as well.  It would be a welcoming place for teens, college students who needed to write a research paper...they still do those right? I would love to see women from every walk of life walk through my doors to have a few quiet moments with a jolt of caffeine before they head back to the world of family and jobs. The male population would include farmers talking over the latest prices of corn and soybeans, or how to get the farm work done in the dead of winter. I can see my daughters decorating it with the latest vintage and my mom and mother-in-law behind the counter pouring you your coffee. I have a sister who loves numbers so she would make sure I didn't go in the hole and another sister who would be my head baker. Awww..what a dream. A girl can dream right? Who knows, someday I maybe looking for property to open J~lynne! What would you do with a plot of land and cold hard cash to realize your dream?  

Follow Me–Book Review

Since I began using a Jetpack plugin for my web site, I am able to track all kinds of cool statistics. I just received my 2014 year in blogging report and this post was the most viewed in 2014. I am on my third read of Follow Me, A Call To Die. A Call To Live, by David Platt. I can't say that about many books...off the top of my head I can't say that about any other book but the Bible. What's so special about this one? The back of the book gave me a hint as to why this book is special.
What did Jesus really mean when He said, "Follow Me?" Is it possible for people to say they believe in Jesus but not truly be born again? Is it possible for people to claim they have accepted Christ into their hearts yet not actually be Christians?
The answers lie in the fact that when Jesus says follow me and you take him seriously, your life will not be boring, but there is a cost. Following Jesus is not "invitation to pray a prayer. It is a summons to lose your life." (Platt) The author gives a thorough explanation of salvation and Jesus means when he summons us to follow him. He goes on to explain how we can follow Jesus with all our heart, mind and soul and then how we can disciple others to follow Him. He uses the example of how he and his wife went about adopting their children and parallels that experience in how God adopts us as His children. It's all God. He summons us to follow Him and goes out of His way to get us.
Do we realize the weight of the one who has invited us to follow him? He is worthy of more than church attendance and casual association; he is worthy of total abandonment and supreme adoration. (Platt)
Halfway through the question is posed...
Do I make disciples because I have some sense of duty or because it has become my souls' supreme desire? As a follower of Jesus Christ do I have the desire to reproduce other disciples?
The book ends with "how the life of Christ in me might be multiplied through me in the world. The author includes a Personal Disciple-Making Plan asking several questions...with several sub questions under each one.
  1. How will I fill my mind with truth?
  2. How will I fuel my affections for God?
  3. How will I share God's love as a witness in the world?
  4. How will I show God's love as a member of a church?
  5. How will I spread God's glory among all peoples?
  6. How will I make disciple makers among a few people?
Not only is this book an encouragement in how to follow Jesus. It is also a handbook  in how to make disciples. This book will challenge you to be ALL that God has called you to be. You will read it more than once.  

The Hardest Peace

I don't remember how I found Kara at Mundane Faithfulness. I'm guessing it was Facebook, but my brain just doesn't remember all of life's details. Before you continue reading here I would like you to click on the link to get an idea of who I am talking about and the book I am reviewing. Kara caught my heart because not only is she a wife and mother, she is a fellow pastor's wife...and I love women who love a pastor...well we should all love our pastor...but I have a special place in my heart for pastor's wives. I began reading her blog earlier this year not realizing she has been waging war with cancer. Big time cancer. At the same time I was following her story and praying for her, there were several in my fellowship of believers who were battling their own war with this dreaded disease. I stopped reading for awhile, but was drawn back to her battle because it is very unique in the sense that she is not wasting her cancer. When I found my way back to reading about Kara's cancer story, I found she was writing the hardest peace~~expecting grace in the midst of life's hard. She wrote this book because we all experience 'hard' in our lives. Whether it is cancer ravaging your body in Kara's case, a difficult marriage, financial hardship, the death of a dear loved one or whatever you may be facing, this book is for everyone facing 'hard.' She wrote to convey her journey of a broken woman wanting to know peace in the midst of hard. This is not the easiest book to read, but I could not put it down. The author does not mince words in all of the 194 pages. Because her childhood was marked with anger, she and her siblings became people pleasers. As the stress of trying to win the approval and love of her parents, she "walked away in stages" from her family. She admits she struggled to tell the story of her early years, but it is the "story which brought her to the end of herself." She lovingly tells of a grandmother who was joyful and full of peace and loved Kara unconditionally. Not until she met the Savior did she come to understand the power of her grandmother's love was Jesus. This book is a page turner as the author bares her soul in telling of her cancer story. Authentic and transparent are words that come to mind as she and her husband seek to live in the midst of very hard cancer. Kara is a mother of young four children who are walking this road with their mother, and a community of loved ones. She talks of 'big love' and not wanting to waste a moment of daily living as she makes it her goal to fully participate in life. Whether it is in the 'simple moments of cooking or dancing with her kids in the kitchen', or taking her kids to school, Kara has chosen to live for today, to enjoy what today brings not languishing in self-pity because she knows her days are numbered. As are all of our days. Cancer has found new 'corners' as she calls them, to take up residence in her body. Surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation have taken a toll on her body, but she continues to pursue grace and Jesus Christ in the midst of hard. She says she is "getting far too much credit for faith when all I'm really doing is sharing my weakness with honesty. I'm not the only one facing these hard moments, I'm just writing about them."  Towards the end of the book she poses these questions. "In the most painful fear and hurts of our lives, will God be good? Not just the simple: God is good, indeed, always good. Not the rote, recited, memorized answers we have been trained to give in the edges of life. But the asking: Is Jesus really good in awful of cancer, fire, heartbreak, and devastation? In the face of all that is broken, is God good?" I was also impressed by the fact the author is not only telling her cancer story, but at the end of each chapter she has taken the time to ask the reader very important questions. This is NOT just another story about a woman with cancer. Kara is walking through the fire with her husband and children and has not been burned or consumed by the flames. Not because of any special effort of her's, but because she trusts the One she is walking with and knows beyond a shadow of a doubt He will see her through to the other side. Words in this space do not do this book justice. You need to read it for yourself to be encouraged to seek breathtaking grace and the hardest peace from the Only One who can give it during the hard in our lives. I highly recommend this book and her blog.