December 29, 2016

10 Great Reads of 2016

My reading goal for 2016 was 55 books and I was able to surpass that by 4 books to 59. It always amazes me when I get to the end of the year and see how much I've actually read!

Most on my list this year are non-fiction, with only two fiction favorites. It's always so hard to pick what I loved the most, but I really enjoyed all of these.

I've also been slowly reading through the book of Psalms this past year. Such a beautiful book. I'm hoping to do another post on some of them. Here is a link to my first post... The Psalms

I didn't blog as much this year (I took off about 6 months!) and so I didn't write about most of these books but the one's I have, I will leave a link to.

Now onto my top 10 reads of this year, in no particular order...

At Home with Jane Austen -  I really enjoyed this book! Filled with lovely photos and great information about the places Jane Austen lived. You can read my thoughts on this book... HERE

A. Lincoln - This one took me quite awhile to get through, but I really enjoyed reading about the political system in the United States and how it worked in Lincoln's time, as well as about Lincoln himself. Long read, but well worth it.

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert - Rosaria's story was fascinating. And I found her book lovingly and thoughtfully written, as well as humbling to read. She was a English professor who lived with her lesbian partner, when she encountered God. She says here of her conversion:

"Conversion put me in a complicated and comprehensive chaos. I sometimes wonder, when I hear other Christians pray for the salvation of the “lost,” if they realize that this comprehensive chaos is the desired end of such prayers. Often, people asked me to describe the “lessons” that I learned from this experience. I can’t. It was too traumatic. Sometimes in crisis, we don’t really learn lessons. Sometimes the result is simpler and more profound: sometimes our character is simply transformed." 

If you are a Christian and would like to learn how to lovingly interact with the LGBTQ community, I highly recommend this book. As Rosaria's humbling words say here: "Homosexuality is a sin, but so to is homophobia." 

Parables - I'm just finishing this one, so I'm including it here. I love John MacArthur's books and this one is no exception. He thoroughly goes through several parables of Jesus in an easy and understandable way. I may write about this one in the new year.

The Magnolia Story - Loved this book! And love their show! You can read my thoughts.... HERE

Little Women - I can't believe it took me this long to get to this book! This beautiful novel is filled with the love of family, and the nostalgia of a time gone by. I've loved the 1949 version of the movie since I was a little girl, and now, I will treasure this book for years to come.

God's Pursuit of Man - Loved this one, as I always love Tozer's books. You can read some excerpts...HERE

Ruth - This classic novel was very moving and I really enjoyed it. You can read my thoughts... HERE

Prayer - This was an intense book! Timothy Keller does a great job defining true prayer from a wide range of Christian forefathers, such as Augustine, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Jonathan Edwards and John Owen, as well as more recent Christians such as J. I. Packer, C.S. Lewis and Martyn Lloyd-Jones.

He also looks closely at the Lord's Prayer from Matthew 6:9–13. It took some time to get through this one, but definitely a book worth reading.

Dear Abigail - I really enjoyed this biography of Abigail Adams (the wife of John Adams) and her two sisters. It takes us from their childhood until their deaths.

What a time period to live in (the American revolution and the birth of a new nation, the United States of America) and what lives they lived, especially Abigail. This book was based on the many letters the sisters wrote to each other, and it was interesting to hear of their beliefs, their every day lives and their relationships with family and friends.

                                                              HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

December 10, 2016

Merry Christmas!

"For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this."                                                 Isaiah 9:6-7


                           Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season! 

                    Be sure to stop by at the end of the month for my top ten great reads of 2016!  : )

December 4, 2016

99 Stories of the Game by Wayne Gretzky

I was raised on Hockey Night in Canada.

Though I'm not a huge hockey buff or follow every move in the sport, it's always been very special to me. Special because watching those games, as a child,  was when I bonded with my dad. My dad loves hockey and he rarely missed Hockey Night in Canada. If we wanted to watch TV that night, we had to watch hockey.

My dad always included his daughters in the game. Always happy to answer our endless questions about what was going on. It was his way of showing us he loved us and we felt it in his respect for us as girls watching hockey.

When I saw this book I just had to read it and I'm so glad I did. It's filled with stories from the 99 years of hockey history written by one of it's greatest players, Wayne Gretzky. These stories are not only informative of the sport, but also filled with many heartwarming stories.

One of my favorites was of Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay who in 1966 decided not to go to the awards ceremony, because women were not allowed. He wanted his wife and family to share in his moment and because they couldn't, he didn't go.

It says here:

"He (Ted Lindsay) was induced into the Hall of Fame in 1966, but declined to go to the ceremony because women weren't allowed into the event. He felt his wife and family were part of his career and they deserved to be there. The next year, the rules changed and families were invited."

I really enjoyed the historical parts of this book. One example, is how the Chicago Blackhawks got their name. In the 1920's, Major Frederic McLaughlin bought a Canadian team from Regina, Saskatchewan and moved it to Chicago.

It says here:

"In civilian life, McLaughlin was the president of his family's coffee import business. He'd taken a leave of absence during the First World War to join a machine gun unit in the U.S. Army. His unit's nickname was the Blackhawks after Black Sparrow Hawk, a Sauk warrior (part of the Algonquian people) who fought on the side of the British in the War of 1812. And so that's what McLaughlin called his hockey team."

I also enjoyed the history behind some of the awards given out to exceptional hockey players and teams.

The Vezina, The Lady Byng and The Stanley Cup.

In these chapters Gretzky shares the stories of Lady Evelyn Byng, wife of the governor general of Canada in the 1920's. George Vezina, a great goalie in the early 1900's and Lord Stanley of Preston, governor general of Canada in the 1880's. These were all such interesting stories.

Wayne Gretzky throws in a few great stories of his own throughout the book as well, which I absolutely loved. I mean who doesn't love Wayne Gretzky? One particular story surprised me, a story of a trade that didn't go through, a trade to the Vancouver Canucks. I had to ponder that one for awhile since Vancouver is my team! I'm still trying to imagine what hockey would have been like if Gretzky had played for us. : )

I highly recommend this book to any and all hockey lovers. It would also make an excellent Christmas gift for loved ones who enjoy the game.

Buy it HERE on Amazon

November 27, 2016

The Magnolia Story

                                                        SOMETIMES THE MESSIEST STUFF 
                                                             AND THE BIGGEST MISTAKES 
                                                 CAN TAKE YOU SOMEPLACE WONDERFUL.
                                                                                   (From the back cover)

This was such a great book! I loved the honesty and humor, as well as the encouragement and love between these two.

Chip and Joanna Gaines share a small part of their lives with us in this they met, how they started their business, their financial struggles, as well has their trust in the Lord through it all.

The book goes from Joanna speaking, to Chip speaking, each with a different font so you can tell who's talking. I really liked this format. It was like sitting down and talking with them both at the same time.

Chip is funny and loyal and an extremely generous person, as well as a bit absent-minded and forgetful.

Joanna is caring and honest and wise, as well as easily worried and frustrated.

I loved that they shared their weaknesses, as well as their strengths. It made the read so much more relateable.

I also love how Chip and Joanna are living out the Ephesians 5:22-33 life. I saw it throughout the whole book. He loves her and honors her and she submits to his leadership as head of their home. This is a beautiful thing to witness when done biblically for the love of Christ.

My husband and I love watching their show,  it's one of the rare ones we enjoy watching together. They make us laugh, encourage us to work together through life and to see the bigger picture of God's plan.

This book was fairly short and easy to read. I highly recommend it!

Buy it HERE on Amazon

November 21, 2016

A.W. Tozer's Thoughts On...

Tozer's writings always move me, as well as make me think more deeply about the truths of the Bible. I recently finished his book 'God's Pursuit of Man' and came away with many great things to ponder. I found that though this book was first published in the 1950's it is still very relevant for today.

I thought I'd share a few of Tozer's thoughts, from this book, here...

On Books...

1. "It is that we beware the common habit of putting confidence in books, as such. It takes a determined effort of the mind to break free from the error of making books and teachers ends in themselves.

The worst thing a book can do for a Christian is to leave him with the impression that he has received from it anything really good; the best it can do is to point the way to the Good he is seeking. The function of a good book is to stand like a signpost directing the reader toward the Truth and the Life. That book serves best which early makes itself unnecessary, just as a signpost serves best after it is forgotten, after the traveler has arrived safely at his desired haven. 

The work of a good book is to incite the reader to moral action, to turn his eyes towards God and urge him forward. Beyond that it cannot go." (Page15)

On Salvation...

1. "It is the habit of languidly 'accepting' salvation as if it were a small matter and one wholly in our hands. Men are exhorted to think things over and 'decide' for Christ, and in some places one day each year is set aside as 'Decision Day,' at which time people are expected to condescend to grant Christ the right to save them, a right which they have obviously refused Him up to that time. 

Christ is thus made to stand again before men's judgement seat; He is made to wait upon the pleasure of the individual, and after long and humble waiting is either turned away or patronizingly admitted. By a complete misunderstanding of the noble and true doctrine of the freedom of the human will, salvation is made to depend perilously upon the will of man instead of upon the will of God.

However deep the mystery, however many the paradoxes involved, it is still true that men become saints not at their own whim but by sovereign calling." (John 6:63, 44, 65; 17:2; Gal. 1:15-16)" (Page 49)

 2. "The master choice is His, the secondary choice is ours. Salvation is from our side a choice, from the divine side it is a seizing upon, an apprehending, a conquest of the Most high God. Our 'accepting' and 'willing' are reaction rather than actions. The right of determination must always remain with God." (Pages 50-51)

3. "...we may as well face the hard truth that men do not become Christians by associating with church people, not by religious contact, not by religious education; they become Christians only by invasion of their nature by the Spirit of God in the new birth. And when they do thus become Christians they are immediately members of the new race." (Page 123)

On The Cross...

1. "...the cross of popular evangelicalism is not the cross of the New Testament. It is rather, a new bright ornament upon the bosom of self-assured and carnal Christianity whose hands are indeed the hands of Abel, but whose voice is the voice of Cain. 

The old cross slew men; the new cross entertains them. The old cross condemned; the new cross amuses. The old cross destroyed confidence in the flesh; the new cross encourages it. The old cross brought tears and blood; the new cross brings laughter. 

The flesh, smiling and confident, preaches and sings about the cross; before the cross it bows and toward the cross it points with carefully staged histrionics - but upon that cross it will not die, and the reproach of that cross it stubbornly refuses to bear." (Page 62)

2. "Before all who wish to follow Christ the way lies clear. It is the way of death unto life. Always life stands just beyond death and beckons the man who is sick of himself to come and know the life more abundant. But to reach the new life he must pass through the valley of the shadow of death, and I know that at the sound of those words many will turn back and follow Christ no more. But 'to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.' (John 6:68)" (Pages 63-64)

3. "The truth is that God has never planned that His children should live forever stretched upon a cross." (Page 65)

4. "Real faith must always mean more than passive acceptance. It dare mean nothing less than surrender of our doomed Adam-life to a merciful end upon the cross. That is, we won God's just sentence against our evil flesh and admit His right to end its unlovely career. We reckon ourselves to have been crucified with Christ and to have risen again to newness of life. Where such faith is, God will always work in line with our reckoning. 

Then begins the divine conquest of our lives. This God accomplishes by an effective seizing upon, a sharp but love-impelled invasion of our natures. When He has overpowered our resistance He binds us with the cords of love and draws us to Himself. There, 'faint with His loveliness' we lie conquered and thank God again and again for the blessed conquest. There, with moral sanity restored, we lift up our eyes and bless the Most High God. Then we go forth in faith to apprehend that for which we were first apprehended of God." (Page 65-66)

On The World and The Church... 

1. " real union between the world* and the church is possible. When the church joins up with the world it is the true church no longer but only a pitiful hybrid thing, an object of smiling contempt to the world and an abomination to the Lord." (Page 119-120)

On The Holy Spirit...

1. "Christianity takes for granted the absence of any self-help and offers a power which is nothing less than the power of God." (Page 94)

2. "We may be sure of one thing, that for our deep trouble there is no cure apart from a visitation, yes, an invasion of power from above. Only the Spirit Himself can show us what is wrong with us and only the Spirit can prescribe the cure. Only the Spirit can save us from the numbing unreality of Spiritless Christianity. Only the Spirit can show us the Father and the Son. Only the inworking of the Spirit's power can discover to us the solemn majesty and the heart ravishing mystery of the Triune God."             (Page 99)

On The Christian Life...

1. "At the base of all true Christian experience must lie a sound and sane morality. 

No joys are valid, no delights legitimate where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. No transgression of pure righteousness dare excuse itself on the ground of superior religious experience. 

To seek high emotional states while living in sin is to throw our whole life open to self-deception and the judgement of God. 

'Be ye holy' is not a mere motto to be framed and hung on the wall. It is a serious commandment from the Lord of the whole earth." (Page 107)

2. "For myself, I fear any kind of religious stir among Christians that does not lead to repentance and result in a sharp separation of the believer from the world.* 

I am suspicious of any organized revival effort that is forced to play down the hard terms of the kingdom. No matter how attractive the movement may appear, if it is not founded in righteousness and nurtured in humility it is not of God.

If it exploits the flesh it is a religious fraud and should not have the support of any God-fearing Christian. Only that is of God which honors the Spirit and prospers at the expense of the human ego." (Page 131)

"That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord." 1 Cor. 1:31

*Note: 'The world' in the biblical sense is... "...the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world." 1 John 2:16

Buy it HERE on Amazon

November 14, 2016

5 books on my future reading list

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings

C.S Lewis is one of my favorite people. I love his writings and how they have encouraged me. I find this 'inklings' part of his life fascinating and would like to learn more.

I don't know much about the other three men, other than Tolkien being the author of 'The Lord of the Rings' books.

So I'm really looking forward to this one.

Goodreads says of it here:

"C.S. Lewis is the twentieth century’s most widely read Christian writer and J.R.R. Tolkien its most beloved mythmaker. 

For three decades, they and their closest associates formed a literary club known as the Inklings, which met weekly in Lewis’s Oxford rooms and in nearby pubs. 

They discussed literature, religion, and ideas; read aloud from works in progress; took philosophical rambles in woods and fields; gave one another companionship and criticism; and, in the process, rewrote the cultural history of modern times."

Hidden Christmas

Christmas is coming and I love reading books with a Christmas theme. 

I also love Tim Keller's writing. 

I don't know if my library will have this one in before Christmas, but I'm hoping it will!

Goodreads say of the book here:

"In his new book Timothy Keller takes readers on an illuminating journey into the surprising background of the Nativity. 
By understanding the message of hope and salvation within the Bible’s account of Jesus’s birth, readers will experience the redeeming power of God’s grace in a meaningful and deeper way."

 The Secret Garden

I've never read this classic book before and thought it was time to get to it. I think I watched a movie based on the story, years and years ago, but vaguely remember it.

Amazon describes the story here:

 "When orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle's great house on the Yorkshire Moors, she finds it full of secrets. 

The mansion has nearly one hundred rooms, and her uncle keeps himself locked up. And at night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors.

The gardens surrounding the large property are Mary's only escape. Then, Mary discovers a secret garden, surrounded by walls and locked with a missing key. 

One day, with the help of two unexpected companions, she discovers a way in. Is everything in the garden dead, or can Mary bring it back to life?" 

 Francis A. Schaeffer Trilogy

I've been wanting to read these for awhile now, but felt a bit intimidated by the length of all three together. I think I will try to just read one of the books in this trilogy for now.

I loved Schaeffer's book 'How Should We Then Live' which is so relevant for today. I highly recommend it.

So I think I will enjoy these as well.

Amazon describes the three books here:

"In the first book, The God Who Is There, Schaeffer shows how modern thought has abandoned the idea of truth with tragic consequences in every area of culture and from philosophy, to art, to music, to theology, and within culture as a whole.

Escape from Reason, the second book, explains especially how the disintegration of modern life and culture grows from corrupted roots that reach far into the past.

In the last book, He Is There and He Is Not Silent, Schaeffer contrasts the silence and despair of modern life with the Christian answer that God can indeed be known because He is there and He is not silent." 


This is another novel I've never read before, but have seen the BBC adaptation. I remember really enjoying it and after reading 'Ruth' by Elizabeth Gaskell, I've wanted to get to her other books.

I just started listening to it on audio and I'm liking it so far.

Goodreads says of it here:

"A portrait of the residents of an English country town in the mid nineteenth century, Cranford relates the adventures of Miss Matty and Miss Deborah, two middle-aged spinster sisters striving to live with dignity in reduced circumstances. 

Through a series of vignettes, Elizabeth Gaskell portrays a community governed by old-fashioned habits and dominated by friendships between women. 

Her wry account of rural life is undercut, however, by tragedy in its depiction of such troubling events as Matty's bankruptcy, the violent death of Captain Brown or the unwitting cruelty of Peter Jenkyns. Written with acute observation, Cranford is by turns affectionate, moving and darkly satirical."

November 6, 2016

God's Promise of Happiness

"There are more than 2700 passages in the Bible containing words such as joy, happiness, gladness, merriment, pleasure, cheer, laughter, delight, jubilation, feasting, exultation, and celebration."

God makes it clear that seeking happiness through sin is wrong and fruitless. But seeking happiness in Him is good and right."   Randy Alcorn
I really loved this little booklet on happiness. To find joy in the Lord is what we were created for, yet so many struggle to be happy and content in Him.

Charles Spurgeon once said of  1Timothy 1:11:

"The Gospel is also the Gospel of happiness. It is called 'the glorious Gospel of the blessed God.' A more correct translation would be, 'the happy God.' Well, then, adorn the Gospel by being happy!"

This means a lot coming from Charles Spurgeon. a man who struggled with depression his whole life. What we see here is a man who's happiness was in the Lord.

Randy Alcorn says here:

"If the Gospel doesn't make us happy, we're not believing the Good News, or grasping its extent. We need to remind ourselves of what the gospel really means. As Jerry Bridges says, 'Preach the gospel to yourself every day.'"

This is so important. We humans need to be constantly reminded of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ. This brings true happiness and joy to the believer. It's to be celebrated!

I was surprised how thorough this booklet was. It covered a lot!

It answered questions like:

Doesn't the Bible talk about joy rather than happiness?

What does blessed have to do with happiness?

Is there any difference between a believer's and an unbeliever's happiness?

Can lasting happiness be found apart from God?

If Jesus was happy, why was he called 'a man of sorrows'?

What does holiness have to do with happiness? 

How can reading the bible increase our happiness?

Some say, 'seek the giver, not the gifts', does this mean God's gifts shouldn't make us happy?

You may be surprised at some of the answers to these questions! : )

I really enjoyed this booklet and highly recommend it.

I'll leave you with this thought-provoking quote from C.S. Lewis:

"God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing."

Buy it HERE on Amazon

October 31, 2016

Classic Novels - Part Two

About 5 years ago I did a post on classic novels I'd read and would like to read, so I thought I was overdue for another post on classics!

I kind of go in and out of reading classics because they can be quite heavy and a bit of work to get through, but they are usually worth the time.

What I'm reading now:

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott - I'm absolutely loving this so far! I can't believe I've never gotten around to reading it before. The 1949 movie has always been one of my all time favorites.

I'm also re-reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen with this beautifully illustrated edition my children gave me for my birthday last March.

Classic novels I have read since my last post:

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy - This one I only got half way through, then cheated and watched the movie, which I didn't particularly like so I never went back to the book.

(I may go back to this book after talking to my daughter, who had a different perspective on the story then I did.)

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen - This next one I really enjoyed. Of course it's Jane Austen. : )

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens - And this one I absolutely loved! I'd seen the movie beforehand, but the book was even better.

I've also read these classic novels that weren't on my list:

In His Steps by Charles M. Shelton - Really enjoyed this one. You can read my thoughts here... In His Steps

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin - This one was really cute.

Daddy-long Legs by Jean Webster - This was enjoyable, but the liberal theology shared in it was a bit disconcerting.

Lady Susan by Jane Austen - This is probably my least favorite of hers, but still witty.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly - I didn't particularly like this one, as it was dark and depressing. Mary Shelly had a way with words that brought you into the darkness Victor Frankenstein choose for himself in creating an unethical monster. Though there are lessons to learn throughout this book.

Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell - Loved this one, though it was a bit of struggle to get through. You can read my thoughts here... Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell

O Pioneers! by Willa Cather  - The writing was beautiful, and the story, in the lives of her characters living on the prairie, was real and raw.

Classic Novels added to my TBR shelf:

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Payson Prentiss (1880)
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (1864)
Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell (1851)
Mary Barton by Elizabeth Gaskell (1848)
North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (1854)
Evelina by Frances Burney (1778)
Anne of Green Gables Series by Lucy Maud Montgomery (1908)
Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens (1857)
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (1862)
Middlemarch by George Eliot (1871)
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (1766)

*You can check out Part One here... Classic Novels

October 22, 2016

The Psalms

I've been slowly reading through the book of Psalms again and thought I'd share a few here. I love that every time I read them I'm reminded of who God is. It also reminds me that my view of God is so important in knowing Him and growing in my faith.
I'm reminded that my goodness is nothing apart for the Lord and that He alone can sustain me:

"Cast your burden on the LORD,
And He shall sustain you;
He shall never permit the righteous to be moved." Psalm 55:22

"O my soul, you have said to the LORD,
“You are my Lord,
My goodness is nothing apart from You.” Psalm 16:2

I'm reminded that my thoughts are futile and that He alone is trustworthy and faithful:

"Understand, you senseless among the people;
And you fools, when will you be wise?

He who planted the ear, shall He not hear?
He who formed the eye, shall He not see?

He who instructs the nations, shall He not correct,
He who teaches man knowledge?

The LORD knows the thoughts of man,
That they are futile." Psalm 94:8-11

"My soul, wait silently for God alone,
For my expectation is from Him.

He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense;
I shall not be moved.

In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.

Trust in Him at all times, you people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us. Selah" Psalm 62:5-8

I'm reminded that everything is His and that He shares it with me:

"The heavens are Yours, the earth also is Yours;
The world and all its fullness, You have founded them." Psalm 89:11

"For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
Than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

 For the LORD God is a sun and shield;
The LORD will give grace and glory;
No good thing will He withhold
From those who walk uprightly.

O LORD of hosts,
Blessed is the man who trusts in You!" Psalm 84:10-12

I'm reminded that putting my trust in Him is better than anything else:

"But let all those rejoice who put their trust in You;
Let them ever shout for joy, because You defend them;
Let those also who love Your name
Be joyful in You.

For You, O LORD, will bless the righteous;
With favor You will surround him as with a shield." Psalm 5:11-12

October 17, 2016

For the Right Reasons

I never thought I'd write about a book that was written by a reality TV star! But I was curious to what he would say about faith, love and marriage, and I have to say I was impressed.

Also the blurb on the back of the book, by Jefferson Bethke (author of 'Jesus > Religion'), caught my eye. : )

I've always been fascinated by reality TV. My favorites are reality home improvement shows. I love, love, love Chip and Joanna Gaines on 'Fixer Upper.' They are a beautiful example of love and commitment between a husband and wife working together.

Sean Lowe didn't watch the Bachelor, but his sister did, and she signed him up without his knowledge. When he got the call, he had no intention of going, but later changed his mind. Now I'm not endorsing meeting your husband or wife on reality TV but after reading this book I can't deny God's hand brought Sean and Catherine together.

My favorite parts of this book were Sean's dad and grandfather's wise input. Sean first went on the Bachelorette with a woman named Emily Maynard. His dad shared this story with Emily while filming...

Emily says: 'Sean's so much different than the rest of the guys'

'How so?' replied Sean's dad

'His faith is so evident in the way he acts around me.'

Sean's dad: 'Well can I tell you a little story?' he asked. 'The day Sean was on his way out to the airport to fly to Charlotte to start filming the show, he called me. I was in the locker room at my gym, but I made sure to pick up..."

"...I told him Sherry (Sean's mom) and I would pray for him, that I loved him, and that I knew God would use him somehow in all this.

Fifteen minutes later, I was out in the gym exercising when a guy tapped me on the shoulder. He said, 'You don't know it, but I was standing behind you when you were on the phone..."

"...He said, 'I heard what you said to your son, and it made me think that I need to get my life right with God. Just hearing you say you loved your son and that you would be praying for him made me realize how far away I have gotten from God. Anyway, I wanted you to know that God is already using your son because your conversation got my attention."

And Sean's grandfather shared this bit of advice with Sean as a teen.

Sean once asked him:

"Do you believe Mimi (his grandmother) is your soul mate? 

He looked at me a little funny. To him, the phrase soul mate was hippie language. 'Well, I'll tell you this. I think men have the ability to be good husbands or not. I don't think there's just one magical person out there for you. Proverbs 18:22 tells us, 'The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.' Note that the Word doesn't say, 'the man who finds that certain someone.' It's less specific than that. You find a wife, you get favor from God. It's not all that complicated."

This is wise counsel to ponder. Marriage isn't about finding your 'soulmate', but rather it's work and dedication and commitment on both sides. No matter who you marry.

I really enjoyed reading about Sean's spiritual growth and also Catherine's. It is always nice to hear of Christians who are moving forward in their faith.

Sean says here of recommitting himself to the Lord and reading His Word: Bible knowledge had never gotten deeper than those Sunday school stories. When I recommitted myself to Christ after college, I recommitted myself to reading the Bible. I would read a few chapters in the Old Testament, then a few in the New Testament. The more I read, the more my faith grew - by leaps and bounds. The Bible was surprising. Unexpected. Frequently, I'd read a chapter and think, I didn't know that was in there!"

I loved that Sean and Catherine's relationship wasn't all peaches and cream. That they fought to stay together and are committed to one another.

They say God work's in mysterious ways and this is no exception! These two were brought together in the weirdest way possible, reality TV! Just goes to show God can work through anyone and any situation. He is good. : )

But it HERE on Amazon