June 28, 2012

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

This was one of the most delightful novels I've read in a long time. I've always loved watching the movie  'Little Women,' based on one of the most enduring books of all time by Louisa May Alcott. Kelly O'Conneor McNees first novel proves to be in the same tradition. I so enjoyed it.

Mixed with fact and fiction this novel follows Louisa through one summer. A summer lost due to the destroying of letters she wrote during that time. Ms. McNees takes this opportunity to weave a fictional story within this lost summer with facts from Louisa's life and family.

It's 1855 and the family of 6 has just had to move to a small town from Boston due to their father's transcendental beliefs which discourages working, and instead encourages philosophizing! Needless to say they struggle financially. Here they take up in a house a relative has graciously provided for them.

One thing that stood out to me in this book was the generosity of their mother. With a father who refused to support them financially, she made due with what they had, most of it provided from charity. Many times they went without a meal. But even with so little their mother continually shared with others. It made me really think of how much we have here in North America and how little we share with one another.

I hadn't realized how much Louisa's novel "Little Women' mirrored her real life.

Louisa May Alcott

Louisa, very much like her character 'Joe' in Little Women, has one thing on her mind...writing! She can't wait to get back to Boston, but things keep her longer in this small town and she falls in love with a townsman. A love story that was very sweet and moving.

This was a pretty clean read, except for one very short scene, which was by no means explicit, but bothersome non the less. Overall though, I felt the book had that old-fashioned satisfying feeling you get when you read a classic.

I also loved how Kelly O'Connor McNees incorporated the real life character of Emerson, who was a neighbor and great friend of the Alcott family in Boston, as well as mentioning other literary giants. It made the story even more interesting.

If you enjoyed 'Little Women' I think you will enjoy this wonderful book as well. For the author's first novel she has done a wonderful job and her writing style was very much enjoyed by this reader.

Buy it HERE on Amazon

June 25, 2012

Quote of the Week

"There is a tremendous relief in knowing that His love to me is utterly realistic. Based at every point on prior knowledge of the worst about me, so that no discovery can now disillusion Him about me."                                                        J.I. Packer

June 21, 2012

Signs of a Healthy, Godly Female Friend

I recently read an article written by Grace Driscoll on what a Godly female friend looks like. It had some great insights and wisdom and so I thought I'd share her 5 signs of a healthy, godly female friend here:

 1. She will help you grow in your relationship with Christ. If she doesn’t, then you need to make sure you are strong enough to be a witness instead staying stagnant with Jesus. If you aren’t strong enough, then you need to have boundaries or be willing to give up the relationship so that you keep Jesus the priority.

2. She will serve you, and you will serve her. If this is one-sided then you will get taken advantage of or be using her. Friendship isn’t always “even,” but there needs to be mutual serving. If there isn’t, you can kindly confront the issue, and her response will tell you if the friendship is healthy.

3. If you are married, your husband will see her as an asset rather than a hindrance in your marriage. As women, it can tend to be easier for us to be friends with other women than it is with our husband. We more readily share vulnerably with women, confess sin with women, or ask for counsel from women. If our conversations with other women spark division in our marriage it is not godly.

4. When conflict arises or counsel needs to be given, she is willing to both listen and speak into the issue. It is important that both women are teachable or else reconciliation is difficult.

5. As important as healthy friendships are, it is also important to hold them with an “open hand” so that the women don’t become idols whom you worship. She should be someone you enjoy, learn from, and invest in but not someone you put on a pedestal.

"A true friend is one who is walking in, when everyone else is walking out.” – Martin Luther

June 19, 2012

A Visual History of the English Bible

I really enjoyed this book. There was so much great information about the beginnings of the English Bible. I knew bits and pieces of how it came to be but this book put it all together. I also found this book fairly easy to read and to follow through the English Bible's history.

It starts off with the Ancient manuscripts, he says here:

"The earliest known manuscripts of the Old Testament date from the Babylonian captivity in 586 BC. Written on leather in the form of a scroll, these documents were read at annual feasts and used in private study."

He continues in the next chapters with stories of the Bibles translations into English, the first printings and the men who risked their lives to do so. Men like, John Wycliffe, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, and Miles Cloverdale.

John Wycliffe
William Tyndale
Martin Luther
Miles Cloverdale

One thing I found interesting is how many spelling and grammatical errors there were in these first printings. Since all type setting was done by hand this was inevitable. Some of the typo's are actually kind of funny. Here are a few examples and the nicknames these Bible's got from these mistakes.

-The second edition of the Geneva Bible (1562) was nicknamed the "Whig" Bible for this typo:

Matthew 5:9 where "placemakers" was written in place of  "peacemakers" which was later facetiously associated with the political methods of the Whig party in England. (1678)

-Barker's octavo edition of the King James version (1631) was nicknamed the "Wicked" Bible for this typo:

Exodus 20:14 "Thou shalt commit adultery" 
Should read "Thou shalt not commit adultery"

-An Oxford University Press octavo of the King James version (1810) was nicknamed the "Wife-hater's" Bible for this typo:

Luke 14:26 "If any man hate not his father...and his own wife also, he cannot be my disciple"
Should read "If any man hate not his father...and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple."

Needless to say the Bible has outlived all these typo mistakes. The Word of God has always stood on it's own and always will. Even with fallible men translating and printing it.

"Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens."                             Psalms 119:89

"For, All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, 

but the word of the Lord stands forever. And this is the word that was preached to you." 
                                                                                                                                         1 Peter1:24-25

The Dead Sea Scrolls (dated from the first century BC to the first century AD), were found in a cave in 1947, and were virtually exact to the Hebrew manuscripts we use today for translating. The author says here:

"...the text of the Dead Sea Scrolls confirmed much of the text used in our modern Hebrew Bible. It gives scholars and students complete confidence that the Scriptures we buy in the bookstores are the preserved text God gave to the original writers of the Bible."

The author, Donald L. Brake, is also an avid Bible collector and throughout the book he shares stories of his Bible collecting adventures. I really enjoyed these short stories of how he obtained some of his treasured Bibles from the past. I would love to see that collection some day!!

One particular Bible he found in his search, was a Mathew's Bible (1537) and when he opened it up it had an authentic signature from William Whipple (1754), a signer of the Declaration of Independence! (pictured below) I really felt his excitement as he quickly purchased this new found edition of the Bible.

I also LOVED all the great photos in this book. Photos of Bibles, men who printed them and those who opposed them. Also photos of great scenes of history. Pretty much every page or every other page had a wonderful photo to go along with what you read. This made this book even more enjoyable.

Here's a look inside the book:

I thought I'd share a few historical facts about the English Bible:

-The first edition of the Geneva New Testament (1557) was the first English Bible to insert verse divisions and to use Latin letter.

-The Geneva Bible had Calvinistic notes throughout, which made it difficult for the Anglican clergy of the time to accept it.

-The first edition of the Rhemes New Testament (1582)  and the Douay Old Testament (1610) were the Roman Catholic response to the popular Protestant Geneva Bible with Calvinistic notes was to produce an English translation from the authorized Latin Vulgate with it's own sectarian notes.

- The first edition of the King James Version (1611) is a royal monument of English literature. It helped to stabilize English vocabulary, grammar, and spelling.

-The Eliot Indian Bible in the Algonquin language of 1663 was the first Bible printed in America. Translated by John Eliot, a highly successful missionary and church planter.

I found this to be a very informative book which was easy to read and understand for the average layman, like me.  : )  I highly recommend it!

June 16, 2012

10 People Every Christian Should Know

My post on the book '50 People Every Christian Should Know' ( link... Here ) was very popular and so I thought I'd let everyone know about this new condensed book that's coming out in July... '10 People Every Christian Should Know'

 I found it here at... christianbook.com  for only $4.99!!

It includes some of my favorite preachers, teachers and missionaries.  :)

The 10 people featured in this book are:
  • Matthew Henry
  • Jonathan Edwards
  • John Henry Newman
  • J. B. Lightfoot
  • J. Hudson Taylor
  • Charles H. Spurgeon
  • Dwight L. Moody
  • Amy Carmichael
  • Oswald Chambers
  • A. W. Tozer

June 13, 2012

I am Second

This was such a beautiful book.

Everyone is so different and each comes to God through different circumstances. This book is filled with moving stories from people who came to Christ and made Him first in their lives. I found something special  in each of these real stories. Things that resonated with me, taught me and encouraged me.

The introduction states on being second:

"Second is a simple concept. It summarizes all that Jesus taught, all that he lived, and all that he expects from those who claim his name. God is first and others are before ourselves. That is the motto and manifesto that 'seconds' live by. 

It brings no guarantee of health or wealth, and it makes no promise to take away troubles and trails. Some may describe the rewards of such a life as less tangible, but a smile on your face when the lights go out and a peace in your heart when the storm rages is much more real than any dollar bill or any quick pleasure."

Christianity is often labeled as just another religion, with good rules to live by, but that is not enough.

A relationship with the living God through His son Jesus Christ is what Christianity really is. And He is more than enough.

I loved how each person in this book,  portrayed this. Jesus is what made the difference in their lives, not a religion. It was Jesus they came to and Jesus who saved them. And they are not ashamed of the gospel or afraid to share what He has done for them.

Though each of these people came from different backgrounds and experiences they all felt something was missing, an emptiness. Some prostituted themselves, some were going to prostitutes, some were looking for fulfillment in drugs or money or fame. Some were looking for unconditional love in another person, who couldn't provide it.

But when they finally came to the Lord and surrendered, they all had this one thing in common...they finally knew the peace that surpasses understanding and the love of God that does not wane.

 "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and  the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Phl. 4:7

'For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

No matter where you are in life, you can come to God. When we humble ourselves before Him, He will forgive all. He promises. And God never breaks a promise.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1:9

I really, really loved this book. It's the kind of book you have to pass on. If you want to know more about it and watch some video's from the website here is the link... I am second

Here's the story behind the book:

June 6, 2012

Quote of the Week

"Prayer is coming into perfect fellowship and oneness with God. If the Son of God has been formed in us through regeneration (Gal. 4:19) then He will continue to press on beyond our common sense and will change our attitudes about the things for which we pray. "
                                                                                         Oswald Chambers

June 4, 2012

The {Booker} Award

Melanie over at  Christian Bookshelf Reviews has awarded me with this fun  '{Booker} Award'  : )

Thank-you Melanie!

I had to giggle when I read this "for those who refuse to live in the real world" It can be so easy to get lost in a book!

The rules for this award are: 

1. This award is for book bloggers only. To receive this award the blogger's blog must be 50% about books (this includes writing blogs or reader blogs).

2. When you accept this award you must also share what your top five all time favorite books are. Going over five is encouraged.

3. You must pass this award on to five to ten other book blogs that you adore :)

10 of my favorite fiction reads:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
Surrender Bay by Denise Hunter
She Walk's in Beauty by Siri Mitchell
Petra by T.L. Higley
To Win her Heart by Karen Witemeyer
The Apothecary's Daughter by Julie Klassen
Courting Morrow Little by Laura Frantz
3 favorite christian fiction series:

The Lowlands of Scotland Series by Liz Curtis Higgs
The Mark of the Lion Series by Francine Rivers
The Silk House Series by Linda Lee Chaikin

10 of my favorite non-fiction reads:

Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
The True Vine by Andrew Murray
All of Grace by Charles Spurgeon
Knowing God by J.I. Packer
Out of the Depths by John Newton
The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
I Dared to call Him Father by  Bilquis Sheikl
Crazy Love by Francis Chan
Grace for the Good Girl by Emily Freeman

5 great blogs who have wonderful book reviews:

To the blogs I've listed:  If you'd like to accept the award, grab the award picture, create your own post following the rules above.

To my readers: If you'd like, leave a comment with your favorite books. I'd love to hear from you too!  : )