Tag Archives: book review

and it was beautiful … by Kara Tippetts, Book Blog Tour

anditwasbeautiful coverIn July of 2014 when my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, my friend LindaKaye sent me a message and said, “My daughter has a friend fighting breast cancer right now. You must go read her blog at http://www.mundanefaithfulness.com/”.

I did as LindaKaye suggested. I was captivated by Kara Tippets. What I didn’t know was that I had arrived in her world towards the end of her fight with breast cancer. Diagnosed in 2012 she had been writing and fighting for several years. Over the next 9 months, I followed her blog posts, I would write a comment here and there to encourage her and as she shared her hard, very hard life, I got to know her.

Kara Tippetts went Home to Jesus on March 22, 2015, after a long battle with breast cancer. Blythe Hunt wrote this on Kara’s blog the day she died.

Her well-known blog Mundane Faithfulness, where she originally posted about motherhood and living in kindness, became a blog about looking for God’s Grace to show up even in the hardest, messiest, ugliest places. It was a window into her life of chemo, church planting, spontaneous dance parties in the kitchen with her littles, her passion for Jason, her passion for those who don’t know Jesus, and her struggle to accept her growing cancer as God’s story for her life. Her self-described “mundane” life appeared anything but mundane to her readers who inevitably fell in love with her inviting, joyful personality and her love for and trust in Jesus; readers were attracted to her honesty, vulnerability, sense of humor, and simple faith. She never hesitated to share the hard moments, but she always pointed her readers—and herself—back to Jesus.

As the cancer spread, Kara courageously embraced her situation, trusting in a Sovereign God. She believed that cancer was not the point, but Jesus was; how she responded and trusted Christ in the midst of this hard was where she would find Grace. As Kara and her family processed what God was calling them to live out, she invited her community to join her journey through this seemingly impossible ordeal—how would she trust God in the midst of sickness? And then, how would she trust God in the midst of dying?

the hardest peace
In the fall of 2014, David C. Cook published her story, The Hardest Peace.

just show up kara tippetts
Just Show Up
, written with Jill Buteyn, came out on October 1, 2015.

And It Was Beautiful, was released on March 1, 2016.  and it was beautiful is Kara’s final book, celebrating life in the midst of the long good-bye. In a nutshell, this book is about living and dying well.

kara 20
But wait there’s more! Click to continue reading

Update! Wicked Women of The Bible

I am anxiously counting down the days to September 22 when Ann Spangler will release her new book Wicked Women of the Bible.  I am nearly through reading about Wicked desire (Bathsheba), Wicked Funny (Esther … aka How A Good Queen Gets the Last Laugh!) and even a Wicked Birthday Party – the story of Herodias and Salome!

My exciting “update” to YOU is that Ann is offering a FREE download of her 40 page e-book “Wicked Men of the Bible” to anyone who pre-orders Wicked Women of the Bible before it releases on September 22,  After you pre-order, to get your free copy of the e-book, simply email your receipt to admin@annspangler.com.

You can pre-order here.  More information is available here.

You are going to want to make sure you don’t miss any of my blog posts leading up to the launch because I am going to give away two signed copies of Wicked Women of the Bible!  

If you haven’t already signed up to receive each of my blog posts via email you may do so on the righthand side of my website that looks like this:

exodus 23-22


ORDINARY How To Turn The World upside down

Ordinary Tony MeridaIf you read “About” me on this website, you will discover that I think of myself as very ordinary.  I grew up an ordinary girl in an ordinary family in the very ordinary  mid-western state of Nebraska.  Although I claim a lot of “ordinary” I also feel I have an extraordinary life!  It is totally through my relationship with an extraordinary God that my life rocks!

So, when given the opportunity to read the book “Ordinary, How To Turn The World Upside Down” by Tony Merida I was sort of interested.

Have you ever started reading a book, kinda haphazardly, and after the first page you were hooked?  This happened to me with Ordinary.  The first thing I learned is that this author is no “ordinary” fella.  He is Dr. Tony Merida.  He is a pastor of a church not too awful far from where I live.  He is a church-planter.  He is a professor. He is writer. He is a lover of Jesus Christ.

This is a book about loving your neighbor as yourself.   He writes about “mercy ministry.”  I didn’t even have an idea what this meant when I started reading.  Five chapters and the Conclusion later I know that I want my life to be a reflection of mercy ministry.  I now realize that it means not only to care about others but to get my hands dirty.  To love my neighbor by getting involved personally.   Dr. Merida made me think and really ponder exactly what I am doing for others.  Anything worthwhile?  From the first page to the last his words found a place in my heart.  He spoke to me.

Micah 6:8

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

Early in the book Tony writes,How can we, ordinary people, do Micah 6:8 every day? Do you have to be a lawyer, or a missionary, or a podcasted celebrity preacher?  No. You need to walk humbly with God, doing justice out of merciful love for others in every way possible.”

Tony quotes a lot of scripture in his writing and I like that.  He backs up his ideas and statements by pointing directly  back to scripture.  One of my favorite quotes, (and I am pretty sure I will be quoting this soon) is:

“Most gospel ministry involves ordinary people doing ordinary things with gospel intentionality.”

Chapter 2 talked about Kingdom Hospitality and I ate it up!  Part of me is about food, sharing, hospitality, feeding others.  He said “there is nothing more ordinary than a meal.”  I totally agree.  And then he spent a chapter explaining how we, as Christians, are called to not only love one another but to feed and clothe and care for one another with a “depth and authenticity.”  It has made me totally question what I am doing about social injustice, poverty, AIDS, abortion, and so much more.

This little 125 page book has given me a great deal to think about when I look at my ordinary life and wonder how much of what I do is done with kingdom intentionality.

Dr. Merida quotes many people from Tim Keller to C, S, Lewis.  I can totally see this book as the springboard for a small group study, a sermon series, or in my case,  leadership development  for Community Bible Study.

The book is published by B & H Publishing in Nashville, Tennessee.  I highly recommend it as an excellent, thought-provoking read.  However it really should have come with the label “BEWARE”  — you won’t be the same once these words penetrate your heart.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest, personal review.

Happy Reading!
Ordinary Tony Merida

Guiltless Living by Ginger Hubbard


Ginger Hubbard is the Founder of Preparing the Way Ministries, and the author of Don’t Make Me Count to Three!, Wise Words for Moms and No More Whining. Ginger is an award-winning writer whose articles have appeared in many publications, such as Focus on the Family, Baptist Press, HomeLife Magazine, P31 Woman, and Crosswalk.com.

Guiltless Living is her latest book and by no means guiltless reading!  From the minute I opened this book and began reading I was being convicted.  That sounds negative, but it isn’t.  In keeping with Ginger Hubbard’s theme of dropping the “Christian mask” and getting real, reading this book highlighted areas in my own Christian walk that I need to work on.

This could be a fast read if you so choose. The book is 104 pages followed by a guide for Bible Study.  I chose not to make it a fast read because I kept highlighting this and that for further study and thought!

She divides the writing into 7 chapters and a conclusion.  Each chapter is a sinner’s confession followed by in-depth illustrations, Bible verses and her own personal journey of God’s amazing grace.  A couple of examples are: The Critical Serial Sinner and the Encouraging Grace of God, or The Impatient Serial Sinner and the Patient Grace of God, and my personal favorite the conclusion – Hope for the Serial Sinner!

This book will make for lively discussion in a women’s bible study or women’s small group.  Ginger has a fantastic sense of humor that women of all ages will “get!”  With the Bible Study questions at the back of the book I can easily see an enjoyable  7-week study coming from this.

A common feature of book launches today includes a video from the author.  I really like this feature because we get to hear from her directly about the new book.  I have included Ginger’s video at the bottom of this post.

In the closing paragraphs she writes, “As we set our affections on Jesus, his love weakens sin’s lure. What once seemed irresistible becomes undesirable. The more we commit ourselves to ponder him, worship him, praise him, and talk with him, we will become so full of him that his character oozes from every pore.”

That is the kind of woman I want to be.  And as Ginger says, “Because of Christ’s glorious work on Calvary, you can truly experience the full joy of guiltless living.”


In exchange for my honest book review I received a copy of this book from Shepherd Press.

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