Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Makeover! My Blog Has a Brand New Look!

Reading on Purpose has undergone a complete makeover! You can find my book reviews on Oh Sweet Mercy, come on over and check out the new look!

Monday, July 8, 2013

{REVIEW} Downside Up: Transform Rejection into Your Golden Opportunity by Tracey Mitchell

A harsh reality of life is that it’s not always enjoyable. Everyone has experienced rejection. Whether in the form of hash words, unreciprocated love, loss or betrayal. Most people perceive rejection as a negative occurrence, when, in reality, rejection can be one of the most powerful tools in life.
Downside Up contains step-by-step guides, resources, and inter-active pages necessary to restore lost identity and transform dreams into reality. Downside Up offers wisdom, guidance, and personal application while also outlining and establishing key biblical principles that promote emotional and mental wellness. Readers will:
  • Understand the importance of developing a positive and God-designed self-portrait
  • Identify their life’s purpose and maximize their potential for success
  • Discover the value of godly mentors and other positive relationships
  • Overcome negative thoughts, fear, and lack of self-confidence
  • Rejection is not about experiencing loss. It is an asset for fulfilling your dreams.
Selecting my next Booksneeze book to review was difficult. I wanted to stay away from the meaty books I usually read...the ones with a message I Don't Really Want To Hear, But Need To...but I kept coming back to this one. Eventually, I gave in and I'm glad I did. This time, however, the message was something that wasn't painful to read!
There isn't a person on the planet that hasn't, at some time, experienced rejection. I am personally acquainted with it, much more intimately than I'd like to be honest. All you have to do is look around wherever you are, the world is full of people who have felt the sting of rejection. But not everyone handles it the same way.
The most eye-opening aspect of this book was the shift in perspective that it gave me regarding rejection. Most people avoid it like the plague. Let's face it, being rejected hurts. And the message that is often received is "there is something fundamentally wrong with me."  But, by using rejection to your advantage to filter out the people and situations that don't qualify for a place in your life, rejection can actually be a very useful and positive tool to shape your future. 
This book is not overly preachy, and in fact I was a bit disappointed that there weren't more scriptural references. It also had parts that I felt kind of came across in a Modern Psychobabble kind of fashion. But, for someone dealing with very extreme rejection extreme that they even reject God, a book that is overly preachy or filled with too many scriptures might be a turn-off.  There was only one thing that I particularly disagreed with:
"If you have suffered from tragic feelings associated with betrayal, it is important for you to begin the healing journey toward wholeness. Healing begins by addressing the negative events that have taken place and then focusing on the positive takeaways that will help you be more discriminating in selecting who qualifies for your future." pg 118

While I do not disagree that healing includes addressing the negative and focusing on the positive, healing, especially from betrayal, begins with forgiveness. As long as you are holding on to bitterness and unforgiveness toward someone who has hurt you, you are actually imprisoning yourself! You are holding yourself captive by the very person who has hurt you. Once you forgive and release that betrayal, and the person involved, then healing can begin. Then you can be open and receptive to the positives in the negative situation. Perhaps the author assumed that the reader would know that forgiveness should come first, but I can tell you from my own experience that forgiveness is absolutely critical in healing from emotional wounds. 

Downside Up is a book that I haven't read, it's one that I have devoured. There is so much positive and transformative truth within its pages. Each chapter includes a summary of the chapter principles, a pertinent scripture, a "power quote" and a "plan of action" to help the reader implement the principles in their life. It will help you assess your current relationships to determine which are healthy and which are dysfunctional, and who really belongs in your life as well as help you identify potential abusers and manipulators.  Most importantly, it will help you turn the tables on rejection and view it in a different light. I wish that I had had the perspective on rejection, that it reveals who or what qualifies for a place in my life, years ago. What a difference that would have made in my life! I have highlighted many, many golden nuggets as I've read, and have recommended this book to just about anyone who will listen. I think it would be good as a group study book as well and am hoping that our mom's group at church will agree to use it. Oh, and it's not just a book for women, it is absolutely for anyone! 
I wanted to close this review with a quote from the book, and had a hard time choosing just one. There are so many eye-opening statements in Downside Up!  But I will leave you with this thought, let it sink down deep and take root...
The God-given ability to love is limitless. The capacity to give and receive love is a condition of our relationship with God, past exeriences, and relationships.  Pg 75
It is my sincere prayer that all who read this book be transformed in such a way that their capacity to give and receive love is equal to the limitless ability to love that God has given each person that He purposefully and lovingly created.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saturday, June 1, 2013

{REVIEW} GODS AT WAR by Kyle Idleman

Not long after I begin reading many of the booksneeze books I get to review, I begin to regret my choice. Not because they are bad books, but because they are speaking very loudly to something in me that needs to change. This book is definitely no exception! 

Idolatry isn't something we modern day believers, and unbelievers, really think much about. What comes to your mind when you hear the words "idol" and "idolatry"? Golden animal statues, totem poles, towering granite renditions of Greek gods? Ancient people in robes bowing down before wooden carvings? Would it surprise you to learn that YOU (yes, you) have idols in your life that our God hates, because they take His rightful place in your heart?

Yes, that's right. Even the most sainted and holy among us have idols that compete with Yahweh for our attention. The problem is that we often don't recognize that they even are idols, because they just seem like ordinary parts of our every day life. Kyle Idleman's book, gods at war, challenges us to really take a look at what we worship. He explains how we confuse worship with religion and defines what worship is:

"The problem, of course, is a misunderstanding of what worship is. When someone answers the question of worship by saying, "I'm not the religious type," he or she is missing the point. If that person is a  member of the human race and comes fully equipped with mind and body and emotions, then it follows that the individual is, in fact, a worshiper. It's factory-installed, standard equipment - not a buyer's option. 
When you subtract the religious language, worship is the built-in human reflex to put your hope in something or someone and then chase after it. You hold something up and then give your life to pursuing it. If you live in this world, then sooner or later you grow some assumptions concerning what your life is all about, what you should really be going after. And when you begin to align your life with that pursuit, then, whether you realize it or not, you are worshiping."  pg. 59
Idleman uses the story of the Israelites to illustrate an interesting point. You know when Joshua said "choose this day whom you will for me and my house we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:14-15)? He actually gave the people  three options: follow the old gods from where they started out, follow the gods you met next, in Egypt, or follow the local gods, those of the people recently defeated by the one true God. He then puts that into a modern-day perspective and shows how we still have the same choices today, thousands of years later. Idolatry is still there, it's still the same, it's still competing for first place in our hearts.

He also goes into detail about specific "gods", such as money, sex, food, etc. Scattered throughout are sections called "Idol ID" with questions to ask yourself to identify if these are things we are worshiping. You see, it's not a matter of if you are a worshiper but what are you worshiping? Pride will try to keep you from seeing this, so I highly recommend that before you even begin reading that you ask God to help you see the truth about what you are worshiping in your life. You may be very shocked at what you find, but once you deal with and remove those idols God and His peace can take His rightful place in your heart. 

I really enjoyed this book and found it rather interesting that the author's name is Idleman (yes, I know idle and idol do not mean the same thing, I'm speaking phonetically here). His writing style is light and easy to read and I enjoyed the little footnotes at the bottom of many of the pages, as they often were humorous. Such as on page 63 where he talked about  an Egyptian god named Hathor which had the body of a cow and the head of a woman. The footnote was "Which is why you don't know any women named Hathor." True that.

But most of all, I appreciated his gentle way of pointing out things that can, and most likely are, idols in my life. He was not harsh, critical or condemning, nor does he justify our modern way of thinking and being. By clearing up misconceptions about what worship really is and showing how even good things, like marriages and our children, can be idols, Idleman really brings it home that God, the One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the rightful owner of the throne of our hearts. He will pursue us relentlessly, but it is up to us to choose this day, and every day, whom we will serve.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, March 4, 2013

REVIEW: The 5 Money Personalities by Scott & Bethany Palmer

Once you know your Money Personality, you can get to the root of money arguments and start really working together. You’ll discover what has an impact on your loved one’s money decisions, and you’ll learn how to talk about money in a way that’s actually fun! You’ll figure out how to put an end to money secrets and lies once and for all.
It happens every winter. At some point, usually after the first of the year when things have gotten good and cold around our neck of the woods, I start to realize that I'm just hot. I wake up in the middle of the night, sweating. I start wanting to wear shorts around the house. Then, I remember to check the thermostat...which has been set to 72 degrees and HOLD at that temp. 

My husband has monkeyed with the programmable thermostat...AGAIN. That really burns me up, both literally and figuratively.  You see, it makes sense to me that when there's a slight chill in the house, to grab a sweatshirt or a blanket...NOT turn up the heat. Sweatshirts and blankets are free sources of warmth. The ancient behemoth in our basement is not. In fact, our utility company regularly sends us these notices with lovely colored bar graphs showing how inefficient we are compared to our neighbors. My hands are tied, really. We rent, so replacing the furnace, the old drafty windows, upgrading the insulation, and installing solar panels is not up to us. And living with a husband whose first inclination to being a little chilly is to crank up the I said, my hands are tied.

I've been frustrated, winter after winter, by the fact that my husband would rather pay the utility company more money than put on another layer or grab a blanket when he gets cold. Especially when he enters RIPSCO in the checkbook when paying our NIPSCO bill. You'd think he'd not want to give them any more money than we already do. So, I was delighted to have an A-HA moment when reading this book. The problem is in our differing money personalities. We just don't think the same about money. 

The 5 Money Personalities by Scott and Bethany Palmer is an incredibly enlightening  look at the different ways we are wired to look at money. Just as in "love languages", we usually have a primary money personality and a secondary. Sometimes the two compliment each other, sometimes they can cause tension. And when you have a spouse in the mix, it can really get complicated if you both have opposite styles of money personalities. Learning to understand how your partner thinks about money can help you begin to communicate better and improve your finances.

I found this book to be very helpful, as I finally got that my "flyer" husband cranked up the heat because he was only concerned about being cold in the moment, not that he didn't care that we'd have to spend more money later on.  He can see that the reason I'm like the Utility Gestapo around here is because my "saver" nature doesn't want to spend more on utilities now so we have more money later.

The book was a bit slow for me in the beginning, because they gave copious examples of different money personality conflicts...after a few I got the picture and was ready to move on to "what do we do about it". There is a quiz on their website that you need to take to discover what your money personality is before proceeding on in the book. I would have preferred that it was included in the book. There is also a money fidelity quiz you need to take online, and again, I would rather have it in the book itself. 

This is not a book to tell you how to manage your money or save for retirement. It won't create a budget for you or tell you how to save money with coupons. What it will do is give you insight into how you and your partner think about money, which can help you avoid fights about money and help you work together to improve your overall financial picture. Over all, I really enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone, especially young couples starting out, although anyone of any age would benefit from reading this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”