Category Archives: Book Review

Life Lessons From The Hive by M.J. Miller

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Mary Jane Miller


Mary Jane Miller is many things.  She is a graduate of Middle Tennessee University, a drama teacher, an artist, a Bible teacher and former missionary with YWAM (Youth With A Mission), a beekeeper, a gifted speaker and my friend!

Whenever I read a book with the thought to then write a book review I go into it with no pre-conceived ideas except to write my experience to the best of my ability.  From my earlier reviews, you may remember that I have a personality flaw that causes me to read the ending before I read the beginning.  With M.J.’s book, I tried hard to control the urge to flip to the back and read the wrap-up.  I am so glad I did!  When I arrived at Chapter 30 “Bee Yourself”,  MJ’s analogies and encouraging words and Scripture were truly the perfect ending!  Life Lessons From The Hive arrives just in time for the gift-giving season! But honestly, anytime is a good time to buy this book and share with those you love.

Now … back to the beginning.  My copy of Life Lessons From The Hive arrived just before I was flying to NYC for the weekend.  My intention was to buzz right through the book on the outbound flight.  I began reading and was quickly amazed at how one-moment M.J. is explaining a detail about a honey bee and the next sentence she has expertly paralleled the life of a honey bee with spiritual lessons useful to you and me!

M.J. has the heart of a missionary, the flair of a drama teacher and a sweet humor that makes for an entertaining book filled with easy-to-understand life lessons. I laughed right out loud as I read at the antics of the bees and the encouragement she gives to humans!

If you are a Bible teacher – this book is for you. M.J. fills it with analogies you can use when teaching Bible lessons to young and old alike.  I found myself highlighting, making notes, and finally just marking all the places I want to return to and re-read. Every chapter is specific to an activity in the life of a honey bee and the life of a Christ-follower. M.J. wonderfully weaves together the lessons she has learned from her thousands of bees and generously shares with the rest of us.

Life Lessons From The Hive it is an easy read, affordable, entertaining and packed with encouraging lessons everyone needs!  Speaking of affordable, I just saw on Amazon where they have dropped the price for Christmas gifting.  You can read a sample by clicking the link below or go directly to Amazon to buy the book!

I loved learning about honey bees but I especially liked learning how these smallest of God’s creation have such life lessons for me! Thank you M.J. for sharing what God has shown you through the life of a honey bee.  I can’t wait for your next book!  What is it about?

Happy Reading,
~Catherine

 

 

Martin Luther, The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed The World by Eric Metaxas — Including a Signed Copy Giveaway!

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NOVEMBER 15, 2017 UPDATE:  TODAY Melissa Macduff won the drawing for the signed copy! (Drawn through Random.org)

The best part — she is gifting this signed copy to her Pastor, who she says “is a big fan of Eric Metaxas!”  This is especially sweet for me knowing that this signed copy that I bought and had Metaxas sign will go to a Pastor in Washington state!  Hallelujah!  Congratulations Melissa!

Earlier this month in anticipation of the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (Today!  October 31, 2017) of my favorite authors, Eric Metaxas, released his newest biography, Martin Luther, The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed The World.  [Details how to win a free signed copy at the end of this post.]

Being born into a Protestant family in 1956 I have “heard of” Martin Luther. It is safe to sum up my understanding of Martin Luther, as Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk and university lecturer when he composed his “95 Theses,” which protested the Catholic churches sale of reprieves from penance, or indulgences.” The End.

Beyond that, my mind is an open book, so to speak, as I picked up Metaxas 446 page-turner (plus acknowledgments, notes, and indexes.)  Lucky for me my husband began reading the book just the day before me, and so our discussions quickly began to center around what we were reading.

While there is little mystery surrounding Luther today (although there are still a few unknowns and unanswered questions about him) this book is a page-turner because I had trouble putting it down! Reading this book will increase your vocabulary by thousands of new words. True story – when reading anything written by Eric Metaxas I have his book in one hand and the Dictionary app on my phone in the other. I do not want to get to the end of 446 pages and realize that I simply skipped over what I didn’t know or understand. Therefore, it is a slow read for me, but enjoyable every step of the way.

In my mind’s eye, I can see a gentle smirk on Eric’s face as he writes. Not unlike Martin Luther who, according to Metaxas, was an “intense and dourly over-pious monk but also had a raucous joke-and-insult-producing side”. In case you wonder how I can see this you simply need to read Metaxas Acknowledgments at the end of the book. He is very funny and his personality and humor only enhance the story of Martin Luther making this an educational and entertaining read.

Metaxas writes like a surgeon as he expertly wields his pen cutting through layers and layers of facts and fiction dissecting each to find the truth. Apparently, there has been a lot of fiction surrounding Martin Luther and Metaxas makes no bones about what he has found to be true and what is not.

Martin Luther’s storyline includes many other famous and infamous souls. Not only does Metaxas transport us back into life in the early 1500’s, but the bigger picture of the Protestant Reformation takes center stage when we realize even though there were other Reformers before Luther, the invention of the printing press and movable print type by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439 cleared the way for Luther’s writings to be distributed quickly.

[I can’t help but wonder what Martin Luther would think about the speed with which we share information today! I just read (on the internet, so it must be true!) that a one-kilobyte email travels at the speed of light, basically, so that’s close to 670 million MPH.  Let’s just say much faster than in 1517. ]  I digress.

One can hardly separate the Gospel of Jesus from Martin Luther and his search for God,  but my favorite part of Eric Metaxas telling of Martin Luther’s story is how he carefully, cleverly, and rightly shares the truth of the Gospel of Christ throughout this book.  It is when we understand that Eric cannot and does not write this biography without sharing the Gospel do we clearly see the heart of the author. Eric is a man who I believe walks closely with God and so when he writes, I read.

What I’ve learned is that Martin Luther didn’t set out to change the world.  But he did strive to change his world.   He was a German monk in the Roman Catholic Church that wanted to be sure he was right with God.  The reformation as we now know it directly descended through Luther’s struggle and strife and rediscovery of his own relationship to God.  Buy the book. The history, the research, the writing, and the subject has given me a great appreciation for the man who God chose to bring about the Protestant Reformation.  I believe you will also be affected by this biography by Metaxas.

I am thankful Eric has taken time to sign books across the land which included a stop in Tennessee! The line was long and his time was short so I only asked him to sign a copy for my friend Joan and my husband.

My own copy is a mess with yellow sticky notes, penciled notes, quotes highlighted and a few exclamation points!

Would you like your own signed copy? I bought a copy and asked Eric to it signed for one blessed (and lucky) reader!  See the details listed below on how to enter the drawing!

Eric Metaxas other works include:

Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic
Campaign to End Slavery

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy

7 Men and the Secret of Their Greatness

Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen,
and How They Can Change Your Life

7 Women and the Secret of Their Greatness

If You Can Keep It:  The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty

Happy Reading!  Good Luck in the giveaway!
~Catherine

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

One (1) winner will receive a signed copy of Martin Luther, The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World, with the drawing to be held on November 15, 2017.

HOW TO ENTER

To enter this giveaway, just answer the following question in the comments section of this postHave you read a book by Eric Metaxas before, and if so which is your favorite?

ADDITIONAL (OPTIONAL) ENTRIES

To up your chances of winning, you can receive up to FOUR additional entries to win by doing the following (these are optional, not required):

1. Subscribe to My Daily Bread Body and Soul by email. Come back and let me know you’ve subscribed in an additional comment on this post.  See right-hand side of blog:    PLEASE JOIN US AND SUBSCRIBE TO PRAYCOOKBLOG VIA EMAIL

2. LIKE My Daily Bread Body and Soul on Facebook. Come back and let me know you became a fan in an additional comment on this post.

3. Follow My Daily Bread Body and Soul on Pinterest. Come back and let me know you became a fan in an additional comment on this post.

4. Follow @praycookblog on Twitter. Come back and let me know you’ve followed in an additional comment on this post.

All giveaway drawings are done by Random.Org

If You Can Keep It, by Eric Metaxas – Listen Up!

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Happy-4th-of-July-Independence-Day-300x169Hello friends!  Can you believe it is July?  My head is still stuck in April and I honestly can’t believe May and June have flown by.  It was my intention to give you a super new recipe for the 4th of July but I changed my mind yesterday.  (For my readers from around the world, you may not be doing any celebrating this weekend, but in the USA we are celebrating Independence Day!  Independence Day, or more commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday to commemorate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on 4 July 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.)

Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting
Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

Yesterday I spent a good bit of time in the kitchen.  My good friend and neighbor Kathy is moving (boo-hoo) and I wanted to feed lunch to her moving crew.  Hearty ham, turkey, and cheese sandwiches were in order for the hungry bunch but I wanted to add a touch of homemade. I did this with a batch of fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip bars (recipe coming) and  our favorite Banana Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting!

slice banana bread upclose

I didn’t use up all my old bananas with the Banana Bars and so I added two loaves of Brown Sugar Banana Bread to the morning activities! (If you’ve never used this recipe for banana bread – you must! It is wonderful.)

KC Bread

Now you are going to really understand what happens in my kitchen sometimes, when I tell you today was my turn to bring 5 loaves of fresh bread for visitors to our church — and so I had my kitchen work cut out for me!

I have several pastors that I listen to regularly, and so it has long been my habit to play their current online sermons or recordings when working in the kitchen.  A friend had told me that Eric Metaxas spoke at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on Father’s Day weekend.  I generally listen to the sermons from WOC and so I eagerly went searching to see if his recording was there.
It was!

Eric Metaxas  is an American author, speaker, and radio host. He is Eric Metaxasbest known for two biographies, Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery about William Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy about Dietrich Bonhoeffer.   My husband, sous-chef dish-washing mom and I met him when he was in middle Tennessee after writing Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.  (Which is excellent, highly recommended reading!)

I tell you all this to say when I listened to his presentation about his recently released book If You Can Keep It – The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty, I couldn’t help to think what a timely and appropriate message for our Independence Day weekend!

Click HERE —  I have attached the link so you can listen also!  I promise it is worth the time! But wait there’s more! Click to continue reading

Hot Cross Buns for Easter Dinner

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hot cross bun 2 dozen

Are you making Hot Cross buns tomorrow?  I plan to make them tomorrow afternoon for Sunday Easter dinner.  These buns are so delicious, fragrant and a beautiful addition to any Easter dinner table.  I posted the recipe last year on March 30, you can get the recipe here.

anditwasbeautiful coverI haven’t been blogging much this month.  Other life demands have kept me from this, one of my favorite past times.  My last blog post was a blog book tour for and it was beautiful.  

When the tour ended the publisher sent out a thank you email to all the blog writers who had participated.  I was stunned to see this quote of mine, as part of their email.

“From the beginning, this book is a real page-turner. Oh, it’s not filled with the super-sleuth heroin and a murder mystery to solve. It’s a page-turner because once I started reading Kara’s words about how Grace showed up in her life, I couldn’t get enough. Page after page she described the horrors of cancer and then she wrapped it all up in the love and compassion of friends, the strength she found in her hero, her husband, and finally the mercy and grace and love that she experienced from Jesus.”

If you missed the post you can read it here.  I am grateful to have the opportunity to share some of Kara’s words and thoughts.
But wait there’s more! Click to continue reading

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