Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Book Review: Echoes of an Angel

Aquanetta Gordon is generous to share with us all this inspiring story of her son, Ben.  Ben was blind from the age of two, after his eyes had to be removed due to a rare cancer. His mother was determined that he would still have a good life, and Ben’s happy, optimistic disposition made this job easier.

Ben maintained amazing mobility through the use of echolocation.  He made clicking sounds and was able to detect obstacles in his path.  Ben also developed a great appreciation for music and a rich spiritual life. His brief life inspired many.

This is a story of struggle and victory through faith in Jesus Christ.  Ben has won his race and his story is an encouragement to others.  Likewise, his mother’s journey will touch the hearts of parents of all children. 

I received a free review copy of Echoes of an Angel from Tyndale.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Book Giveaway: Impact by Tim Irwin, Ph.D.

While most leadership books focus on a list of steps or strategies for getting people to do what you need them to do, Dr. Tim Irwin takes a different approach.  Given the many scandals of the past decades, in business and in politics, Irwin chooses to focus on what he calls the "core." This core is what we used to call "character" and refers to our most deeply held values that inform our actions.

There are plenty of unfortunate examples of the high price paid by those leaders who neglected their cores and succumbed to arrogance or false beliefs.  Leaders with a weak core are just as vulnerable to harm as athletes who neglect their physical core.  Fortunately, there are proven ways to develop and strengthen our moral core, and Dr. Irwin expounds upon this.

For parents, there is hopeful news for your children and their future leadership abilities.  While they are young, you have the opportunity to help them develop a strong core.  Teach them responsibility and accountability through the ordinary activities of daily life.  And pay attention to your own core--kids are always watching your example, even when you think they aren't paying attention.  For starters, take Tim's free online personal assessment (about 15 minutes of your time.)

To enter a drawing for a free copy of Impact please leave a comment on this blog post and/or like my Kimberly Schimmel, Writer& Researcher Facebook page and leave a comment or a private message. Enter before midnight on April 27.  Drawing will take place April 28.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
 Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Out of the Depths: A Book Review

Few of us will ever experience the nightmare of drifting in a life jacket in the Pacific, knowing at any moment we could be the next to die of shark attack or dehydration or hypothermia.  Although we all need God’s grace daily, the men who survived the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis came face to face with a situation where they truly know God was their only hope from one moment to the next.

This account of the tragic loss of the U.S.S. Indianapolis during WWII was heartbreaking in its detail.  Edgar Harrell was a young marine aboard the ship when it was sunk by the Japanese.  The harrowing tale of the survivors' struggle to hang on does not end with their miraculous sighting and rescue after days in the open sea.  They had to fight on to reveal the truth about the ship's sinking and exonerate their skipper, who had been the government's scapegoat.

Harrell is inspirational in his humility and his lack of residual bitterness.  In sharing this account, he honors those who served and their memory.  He also teaches us all how to go on living, thankful for every new day as a gift.

As a native of the Indianapolis area with many Navy men in my family tree, I found Out of the Depths the most scary and riveting since I read "Blind Man's Bluff" about submarines during the Cold War.

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers for my review.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Girl at the End of the World: A Book Review

Elizabeth Esther has a story that needs to be heard.  In the name of Jesus, some preachers and their followers have hurt people with their legalism and authoritarianism.  How do those who were raised without grace find their way to the truth? To a God who loves them with an everlasting love and made a way, by his grace, for them to be forgiven and victorious?

Elizabeth Esther bravely shares her years growing up as a granddaughter of George Geftakys, leader of The Assembly.  I cried over her experiences at church camp, because they were so bleak compared to my own warm experiences--experiences that brought me closer to Jesus and never left me afraid.

She and her husband, after much research and anguish, left the assembly and spent years recovering from their abuse.  How it must grieve the Holy Spirit to see people so traumatized that opening a Bible or going into any church building gives them a panic attack! Fortunately, she and her family were able to find the real love of Jesus after Elizabeth had premature babies in the NICU.  In her anguish, she remembered that Mary, like her, had to watch her child suffer.  When Elizabeth was afraid of Jesus, she says He sent His mother to bring her back to him.

I cried over the pain of the children and wives abused in the name of a twisted interpretation of Holy Scripture.  I rejoiced over their escape and recovery.  I am burdened for those still in bondage to modern Pharisees who substitute their rules for the grace of God.  You can read chapter one here.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Extreme Results from Normal Homeschooling

Unlike many homeschooling books, this book is not preachy or judgmental toward those who make other choices.  The Hardings humbly present their personal experiences in case they might help others. Their kids typically start college work before they are teenagers and graduate from college while age peers are still in high school.  This is done without Stephen Hawking-like IQs or pushy parenting.  The kids just read every day, write every day, and do some math every day.  

This is an unvarnished story about a family that simply loves their children, loves learning, and serves God.  Learning does not require a classroom and a one-size-fits-all lesson plan.  While their results seem extreme, their methods are not--most of our ancestors who were educated simply read lots of books. Perhaps their results would seem less extreme if the majority was not already so invested in K-12 institutional education and prolonged adolescence instead of learning at a natural pace and finding one's calling early in life.  Might this "norm" be better than 13 years of relentless age peer "socialization" and young adults still trying to "find themselves" well into their twenties?

The Brainy Bunch will be available May 6.  I reviewed an advance electronic copy provided free by the publisher through NetGalley.