Category Archives: Reviews

Book Review: The Most Beautiful Disaster

I received a review copy of this book; all opinions expressed are mine.

“This is a book about how God can take your brokenness and your mistakes and make something beautiful out of them,” Hope Carpenter writes in the introduction of her book, The Most Beautiful Disaster: How God Makes Miracles Out of Our Mistakes (FaithWords, hardcover).

Hope Carpenter co-pastors Redemption Church in San Jose, California with her husband Ron. To encourage and help others, she bravely and honestly tells her story about how God took a hard, disastrous situation in her life and made something beautiful out of it: “I made a series of bad decisions that destroyed my marriage, my family, and my ministry. I messed up, big-time.” Her healing journey began with a lot of prayer, time with God, and daily counseling sessions as she dealt with trauma and pain from her past—and embraced the truth about who she was: “I am God’s beloved. I am chosen. I am worthy. I am enough.” She shares Scriptures that encouraged her, including Romans 8:28 (KJV): All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. She realized that, “Even when you make mistakes, God uses those for good in the end. I’m living proof of that.”

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Wallace Station Pimiento Cheese

If you’re not familiar with Wallace Station, it’s a popular restaurant just outside Midway, Kentucky. It’s one of the “family” of restaurants in that state owned by Ouita Michel, one of the authors of the new cookbook Just a Few Miles South: Timeless Recipes from Our Favorite Places (Sara Gibbs and Genie Graf are also coauthors of the book). This hardcover cookbook features recipes that patrons of Michel’s acclaimed restaurants have come to know and love. I was excited to review this cookbook because I have a special place in my heart for timeless southern recipes! 🙂

The Wallace Station Pimiento Cheese caught my eye because I’ve been wanting to make pimiento cheese for the longest time! But there are so many other wonderful-sounding recipes that I still want to try from this book, including: Breakfast Sandwich Omelets, Inside Out Hot Brown, Smoked Roast Beef Po-Boy, Big Brown Burger (rated by Guy Fieri in 2010 as one of his top 5 burgers of all time), Super Foods Salad, Cheesecake Brownies, and Spiced Pecan Pie. You’ll find delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert to keep you well-fed all day long! 🙂 Although this book does not include any photos of the recipes, I believe you can be confident of the quality of all of the recipes, since Ouita Michel is a six-time James Beard Foundation Award nominee and was a judge on the Top Chef series! Also, for those of us who enjoy reading cookbooks, there are stories and traditions about the recipes shared throughout the book.

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Book Review: Encouragement for an Exceptional Life

I received a review copy of this book; all opinions expressed are mine.

Encouragement for an Exceptional Life (FaithWords) is the first book I’ve read by Victoria Osteen, and I enjoyed reading it so much! It is filled to overflowing with encouragement and a beautiful reminder of how exceptional you, yes YOU, really are. Even the introduction is filled with encouragement: When something is exceptional, it means that it is better than good; it is outstanding…. You were made by God to be exceptional. Scripture says you are God’s masterpiece, formed in His image, and created to do great things. You were wonderfully made, with a purpose and a destiny that is distinctly yours. God knew you before you were born, and He designed you to be you, unique and exceptional.

Osteen explains that we often lose sight of who God made us to be, and through her personal experiences, she has learned to incorporate practices into her life that keep her encouraged, empowered, inspired, and on track for all that God has for her—and she shares these helpful seven practices in this book. She also uses examples from the Bible—from the lives of David, Joshua, Abraham, and more—to illustrate the points she makes in her chapters.

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Book Review: How to Age Without Getting Old

I received a review copy of this book; all opinions expressed are mine.

“I firmly believe that we should enjoy all the years that God gives us,” writes Joyce Meyer in her new book, How to Age Without Getting Old (hardcover, FaithWords). In her conversational, easy-to-read style, she shares practical advice, inspiration, encouragement, and experiences from her own life and the lives of others. She asks her readers this question at the beginning of the book: “Will you simply let yourself ‘get old,’ or will you age gracefully, purposefully, and wisely, allowing God to use you in every season of your life? If you will, I believe your latter years can be absolutely wonderful.”

Throughout her book, Meyer addresses both practical and spiritual topics in her chapters: Learning from Experience, Slowing Down the Aging Process, Finding Your New Normal, A Healthy Understanding of Stress, Staying Strong Spiritually, Aging Gracefully, Discerning God’s Will, Learning How to Rest, Fear of the Unknown, Listen to Your Body, and It’s Never Too Late to Do Something Great.

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Book Review: Philippians—A Study with Practical Insights

I received a review copy of this book; all opinions expressed are mine.

One of the first things I learned from the study PHILIPPIANS by Joyce Meyer (hardcover; FaithWords) was that the book of Philippians is considered to be “the epistle of joy.” Written by Paul around 61 AD as a letter to Christians in the city of Philippi, his purpose was to encourage the believers there during a difficult time of persecution; in fact, Paul wrote this book while he himself was held captive in a Roman prison. And this study shows us that the messages Paul wrote are as relevant to us today as they were to the early church.

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