How Did We Become Angry? (LAMB Ministries 7X7: Biblical Recovery for Women Suffering from Trauma and Abuse) by Paula Rose Michelson ~Review

How Did We Become Angry LAMB Ministries

How Did We Become Angry? LAMB Ministries by Paula Rose Michelson

From my own observations over the years as a former teacher, as a Mom, as an employee, as a former youth worker, as a person involved in the church music ministry, and especially as a human being, I have noticed how adept people are at hiding their anger inside. We are so adept that we learn to deny any anger exists at all. We often look to outside sources to blame, if there is anything to blame. In my opinion, this behavior leads to all types of failed relationships, including a failed relationship with God! And complications of this internal anger can include loss of jobs, broken marriages, broken families, broken friendships and even poor health. I often wonder, why are we doing this to ourselves? I believe that answer can be found in this wonderful self-help book by Paula Rose Michelson.

One of the reviewers in the preface for How Did We Become Angry by Paula Rose Michelson wrote, “the purpose of Christian counseling is to aid individuals to get unstuck in their life.” I enthusiastically agree with this viewpoint. And this book is one of the best I have read that could help many people get “unstuck”. That’s because I believe many of us are bogged down carrying around a load of anger on our shoulders, even if we don’t realize it. We aren’t healing or budging from this state because we refuse to believe we are carrying around this burden at all. After reading and putting to practice the steps written in this manual, I am convinced this book could be an effective “monkey wrench” to help us dislodge the rust that has settled into our spiritual joints and muscles. I’m talking about the spiritual atrophy that makes us ineffective spouses, friends, parents, church workers, neighbors, employees, co-workers and especially Christ followers. It’s the type of spiritual arthritis that makes us apathetic human beings.

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This author readily admits she herself has needed to deal with unaddressed anger. She grew up experiencing the unreasonable wrath of a mother un-diagnosed with bipolar disorder or as it was called back then, manic depression. I know what that’s like. I lived with a mother like that myself. Here is where I have experienced a kinship to the author since my mother was also one who should have been diagnosed with manic depression. She was completely unpredictable and sometimes out of control of her mood swings and anger. My mother was later diagnosed with what I know is a common side disorder to bipolar, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). That translated to mean that she was capable of ranting about nothing for hours on end, laying down blame and guilt everywhere and on anyone, especially her children and spouse, even to the point of holding grudges for decades.  Ms. Michelson has decided to share with her readers the step by step process God used to heal her.

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When you purchase this book, be sure to read the introduction and preface where she tells about the beginning of a ministry God gave to her: LAMB Ministries. She had already had a heart for helping others recover from substance abuse. She then went on to develop this new organization to assist women in or recovering from abusive relationships. She uses the same method as described in this book that God used in healing her own damaged heart. This became her own special ministry. But this technique is readily applicable to everyone, male or female, regardless of one’s background. I am thoroughly grateful to Paula Rose Michelson for generously sharing God’s truth with us in this book.

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What I like most about this book’s contents is the simplicity of the plan. The author makes it clear that part of this plan is forgiveness. It’s important to understand that forgiveness is a process, not a single event. Some parts of this plan will need to be repeated. But because it centers around God’s Word, it works.

 

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Beyond All Dreams: A Novel by Elizabeth Camden ~Review~

Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

Beyond All Dreams

A peek into the history of the Library of Congress, a mysteriously inaccurate naval document that no one would discuss, a particularly persistent librarian, timid but with fire in her blood, an annoyingly arrogant congressman from Maine, and the circumstances that precipitated the Spanish American War are all ingredients that make this book a fascinating read. Add a generous amount of romance and the book becomes irresistible.

Anna O’Brian was one of only a handful of female librarians allowed to work at the Washington D.C. location of the Library of Congress in the late nineteenth century. For her, it was a dream come true. Anna’s responsibilities were to care for the library’s maps and to conduct research for congressmen. Occasionally librarians even provided expert advice and testimony for congressional committees as well as for individuals. It was her attention to detail and her persistence that made her an excellent researcher. It also got her into trouble with the US Navy when she noticed an error in the reports of an incident that occurred 15 years ago. It also happened to be the same incident in which her father, a cartographer, disappeared with the ship he was sailing on. There was a definite mystery and she wanted it solved.

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Anna’s retiring yet understated fire also caught the eye of Lucas Callahan, a fairly new congressman from Maine. His youth, energy and brashness were all the talk of the town. His rivalry with the Speaker of the House got him removed from the US Budget Committee and reassigned to the committee on Fisheries. Their former war of words had hiked up a notch. But under all his fuss and blunder was a man with principles, who understood the hard-working laborers, the every day man, because his own roots were from the lumber industry. His family’s newly gained wealth was only a thin veneer that barely covered a darkness he wanted very much to escape. When he met Anna, he discovered her naturally placid nature brought a peace and calm to his turbulent one. But getting Anna to accept his suit was a challenge. It was not until he became entangled in her mystery document and the affairs of the Navy that she realized how serious he was. The truth behind the mystery had the potential to either drive them apart forever or weld them together.

What I enjoyed most about this charming historical fiction was the author’s use of wit and humor. Because of her nature, Anna just could not refrain from delivering a not-so-gentle reprimand to the presumptuous congressman who attempted to summon her services and expertise by snapping his fingers. Later, when he began to pursue her with the idea of courtship, she couldn’t imagine why. She described herself as a “short, ordinary girl who had a voice like sandpaper and the habits of a hermit crab.” Luke himself described her as his opposite. “She never did anything impulsively and liked the safety of her map room in the attic of the Capitol. She hid up in that room like a princess in a castle tower, surrounded by a fortress of books and maps.”

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Some of the historical events in the book are based on actual occurrences. The author created a personal link to the tragic loss of life in the event that eventually helped to fuel the flame of American sentiment against Spain–the link that lead to the Spanish American War. Anna’s father lost his life in that tragic event, creating an inner conflict between her desires to avoid war and the loss of more lives and revenge for such a loss in her young life. I was touched by the author’s empathetic writing. Many readers today will be able to relate to such a conflict.

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The author wasn’t heavy-handed with spiritual lessons learned during a character’s development, but it was there, nevertheless. One doesn’t have to talk about God’s work to know His Presence is evident through their thoughts and actions. Each of the people we grow to love in this book had to face basic personal challenges. Not only did God meet them in their growing pains, He used other characters to assist in bringing them to maturity faster, much like a jeweler chips away the dross to find the diamond inside. I enjoyed how the author made this happen with every interaction between Luke and Anna.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Book Blast!! God Tells the Sun to Shine by Femi Bolaji

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GOD TELLS THE SUN TO SHINE: An amazing story of love and forgiveness
By Femi Bolaji

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About the Book:

God tells the Sun to Shine is a short story about ambition, love, intrigue and forgiveness. The main character is the second-born of twin boys Esau and Jacob. Jacob struggles to come to terms with the privileges that the natural birth order accords the first-born twin Esau. He becomes so obsessed with the desire to become the alpha male in the family enterprise that he plots with their mum to upstage Esau. Although his plan succeeds, he is forced to flee the homeland after Esau plots to kill him in retaliation. For two decades, his life in exile is marked by turmoil in love, marriage and work. When a business arrangement goes pear shaped and he is faced with bankruptcy and the loss of his family, he decides instead to return to his country and face his nemesis – Esau. How will Jacob manoeuvre his way through the ordeal?

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Femi Bolaji - photoFemi Bolaji is a seasoned writer and commentator on topical Christian themes. He likes to tell Bible-based stories in contemporary language and style that would appeal to all, yet with profound insight and application to the pressures of modern day living. He is an alumnus of the Bartlett, University College London. He lives in London, United Kingdom.

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Service Station Angel by Lisa J. Schuster ~ Book Blast! ~

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Service Station Angel
By Lisa J. Schuster

About the Book:

Sometimes God places you in a situation of great perplexity, but you perceive His intentions are premeditated and purposeful. Do you trust His lead?

“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” – Psalms 37:7 (NIV)

Ernie Price is a middle-aged, humble-hearted man who owns and operates a service station in a rural Midwest town in Upper Michigan, back in a time when full service was the only service, and you got your windows cleaned and your tires pumped for free.

Ernie’s life has been a reflection of God’s love, giving of himself fully and graciously to people in the community and his church. As music director for the children’s choir or hosting the yearly Christmas party for the less-fortunate children in town, Ernie impacted lives and was loved by many.

When trouble rocks the small town and Ernie is physically incapacitated to offer his help, the community is left to pick up the pieces, mourn, and move on, while Ernie wrestles with the spiritual questions of his accident:

My glimpse of heaven is for what purpose on earth?

Why do I feel compelled to help this stranger know the love of the Lord? Who is this stranger anyway?

This heartwarming story of love, faithful forgiveness and following God’s perfect plan, will inspire and delight!

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80c6dd3e31f90a82390bef.L._V366868119_SX200_Faith, family and friends inspired Lisa J. Schuster to write again and God nudged her to publish her first novel, Service Station Angel. She believes the words in this book are her service to others, so that they may find joy and comfort during a season of time when they need it most. “May your hand reach up towards His so that you may touch another with Jesus’ abundant love,” prays Lisa.

Lisa lives in Highlands Ranch, Colorado with her husband and two children. She enjoys creative writing, traveling, working with inner city youth, bible study groups, singing and theater.

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All Right Here: A Darling Family novel by Carre Armstrong Gardner ~ Review ~

All Right Here: A Darling Family novel by Carre Armstrong Gardner

All Right Here

The author, Carre Gardner, write stories “about the ordinary lives of ordinary people. She believes every life is a fascinating drama, every person is the hero of his or her own story.” The “About the Author” page goes on to say that Gardner “tells those kinds of stories in a way that makes readers love her characters.”

If this book is typical of the way the author writes, then I agree with the above statement because I came to enjoy the lovable characters, root for the ones struggling with issues, and developed the desire to give a good shake to the irritating ones.

Since this is very much a character driven story here is a list of a few of the persons the reader meets:

Ivy Darling: Married seven years to Nick and unable to have children of her own.

Nick Mason: Husband of Ivy, whom he resents for depriving him of having children of his own.

Jane Darling: Mother of five Darling children, all adults, but still a close knit family. Like many mothers, she worries and prays over her brood.

Laura Darling: Ivy’s twin sister, but unlike her in many ways. She is restless and flirts dangerously with boundaries. She has a crush on her handsome married boss, Max.

Amy Darling: Jane’s youngest daughter, started college, and is a bit restless like her sister Laura.

Esme: The college student manager of Parchments bookstore where Ivy works part-time.

Leander Darling: Father of the Darling family, the wise and loving husband and Dad.

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Ruby Mason: Nick’s mother who has never liked Ivy and is always hinting how much she would love grandchildren.

Sephy Darling: Another daughter of Jane and Leander, goes to college in Ohio, works as a nurse’s aid, and has always been overweight. She has never been on a date.

David Darling: The only boy in the Darling family, is 30 and still unmarried, which worries his mother.

Grace Chapel: The church where both the Darling and Mason families attend. The entire Darling family sing together and many play instruments for some of the church services.

Lily Allen: The mother of three children who live next door to Ivy and Nick. She disappeared shortly after moving in, abandoning her children.

DeShaun Johnson: The oldest of the three abandoned children; he is 14 with a knack for cooking.

Jada Lovett: DeShaun’s 9 year old sister. She has a lovely singing voice.

Hammer Hernandez: Jada and Deshaun’s 6 year old brother. He had never been properly potty trained.

Baily: Ivy’s cousin works for Child Protective Services of Maine. She set up Ivy and Nick as foster parents for the three children when their mother did not return.

Milo: DeShaun’s geeky best friend at school (and self proclaimed Jew).

Jessica, Angela, Tiffany: Nick’s three married sisters who have never liked Ivy and exclude her at every family get together they attend.

Jonathon Blackfeather: Ivy took a pottery class through adult education to give herself some “me” time as counterbalance to all the time spent with her three foster children. Ivy and Jonathon, the instructor, become friends. For a little while, Ivy is tempted to be more than a friend.

While the storyline at first seemed slow to develop, it didn’t take long before I was engrossed in the many layers of the Darling and Mason family dramas. Once Ivy and Nick became foster parents to DeShaun, Jada and Hammer, their laid back predictable lives were turned upside down. They were thrown into the deep waters of parenting without the benefits of easing into the shallow waters first. By the time the couple gained their stride, it was difficult for me to put the book down, even to sleep. The story is filled with trials, lessons and hard-earned victories. I found it hard to predict what would happen next. The author successfully brings the reader along for the ride.

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By the time the authorities finally found the children’s mother, nearly a year later, they all knew they would be staying with Ivy and Nick for a long time to come. And while the main conflict is eventually resolved, many other subplots in the book remain unresolved giving the impression that there may be more books to follow. The next Darling family novel is slated to come out in the Fall of 2015. I am looking forward to reading more from this author. If you like character driven stories, with events that make you think, then you’ll like this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. through their Blog Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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