Book Review- Surprise the World! there a model for living life as a Christian, but not living in a bubble, insulated away from the rest of the world?

Michael Frost has an idea, and reading from his book’s subtitle, rather than writing Seven Habits of Highly Effective People as Steven Covey did for the business world, he’s gone with Five Habits of Highly Missional People for the Christian world. The result is Surprise the World! which is a model he calls BELLS – a five-part model of how Christians can share their faith in simple, every day ways.

Frost believes that not everyone is an evangelist, but that everyone can be evangelistic. BELLS is an acronym for Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn, and Sent. These are the ways that Frost believes Christians can effectively spread their faith while being a real member of communities that don’t have just Christians in them. He gives a particularly interesting example in the “Eat” chapter :

“… a Southern Baptist minister in Portland who told me his neighbor both claimed to make the best margaritas in all of Oregon and regularly hosted margarita-and-poker nights in his garage…the Baptist pastor never accepted an invitation to join them, believing this to be a strong witness to his faith…I challenged the pastor to accept the next invitation…he ended up having more conversations about faith than he’d had in ages… It invoked questions.” (p. 54 – 55)

FTC Disclosure: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review.

Homeschool Theatre: Why It Matters

Are you interested in homeschooling or incorporating theatre into what you already have going on with your homeschooling family?

If so, check out Living Education, a magazine published by the folks at Oak Meadow. Based in Vermont, Oak Meadow provides independent learning and homeschool options for families interested in something besides traditional public school education. Living Education is a free publication that you can sign up for, and the current issue can be found here. You can check out my article, “Homeschool Theatre: Why It Matters” on pages 24 and 25.

Favorite Flavors of Ireland: Book Review

Ever longed to taste an Irish meal, but wondered where to start? Margaret Johnson offers a taste of Ireland with her newest cookbook, Favorite Favors of Ireland. Johnson, who traces her heritage to the country and has made many trips there to absorb Ireland’s culture and food, offers options for sweet and savory options. Several of the recipes have been borrowed from her previous books (as she’s produced 10 previous recipe books).

Some of the healthier recipes I’m most excited to try are the Walnut Vinaigrette and Sherry Vinaigrette dressings, Summer Pudding, Autumn Salad with Apples and Walnuts, and the Mixed Greens Salad Bread. The sweeter recipes I look forward to are the Butter Pudding with Custard Sauce and the Blueberry White Chocolate Muffins. For those looking for a very filling meal, the Chicken, Ham, and Leek Pie or the Peppered Pork Loin Roast look delightful.

Here’s an easy recipe you can try: the Autumn Salad with Apples and Walnuts (page 105) to serve eight:


2 bags (10 oz./300 g) mixed greens

4 celery stalks, thinly sliced diagonally

2 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced

3/4 cup/90g chopped walnuts

Freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. In a large bowl, toss the greens and celery with half the dressing. Divide among 8 salad plates, top with the apples and walnuts, and drizzle with the remaining dressing. Top with a few grinds of pepper and serve immediately.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, Ambassador International. I was not required to leave a positive review.

Book Review: True Woman


The True Woman 101 book is a devotional meant to help Christian women learn what it means to be a “true woman” and live as God wants them to live in terms of their relationships with men. The authors give some valid critiques in terms of society’s flaws: there can be a “battle of the sexes” that puts men down, and some are condescending towards women who stay at home and care for their husbands and children. The graphic design of this book is fabulous: on one page, there’s a picture of a king and a queen, which I think really demonstrates the design team’s understanding of a godly theology that this book could have conveyed: that men and women are of equal sight in God’s eyes, even though they may be total opposites. There is a constant theme in the images of artistry that portrays the idea that God is an artist.

With that said, there are so many problems with this book that I can’t recommend it. Much of this book explains gender in terms of marriage, which would be fine if this book was for married couples only, but we don’t become male or female when we get married. Even the authors affirm this: they state that our gender is assigned to us at birth. The other surprising part about this book is that one of the authors is single, so if anyone should remember that gender doesn’t rely on being single or married, it should be a single person.

Another fault of this book is that the authors are obsessed with putting down feminism, which shouldn’t be the focus of this book. It is true that there is an angry, mean version of pursuing women’s rights but the authors refuse to acknowledge that there are “traditional” women who believe in women’s rights that they are enjoying: things like owning property, inheriting an estate, voting, working a job and earning the same pay as a male colleague, and not getting sexually harassed at work… these are all things that are “women’s rights” that women couldn’t always enjoy.

The way that these ladies brush aside employment is also interesting…. they make a sweeping assumption that their readers will have the opportunity to stay at home and be a homemaker. The reality is that lots of women would love to stay home, but can’t for financial reasons or other circumstances. Not every woman is a power-hungry career woman who can’t wait to rise the corporate ladder! They quickly mention the Proverbs 31 woman and say “she owned a business”, mentioning this woman as if she is some kind of exception to the rule, as if working outside the home is “second best”. These authors don’t seem to understand that lots of women are working because they have to.

Truth be told, if you’re looking for a Biblical model of an amazing woman, Proverbs 31 is all you need. She considers a field and buys it. Her husband calls her blessed. She excels at anything she does. And she doesn’t need a hanky from a women’s conference to praise the Lord.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


21 Seconds to Change Your World

Cover Art


Is it easy or difficult for you to pray?

Prayer can be a variety of things. Whether you’re seeking advice, asking forgiveness, or just trying to talk to God, prayer can be difficult. Do your prayers feel like they have direction and effectiveness, or do you feel like you’re calling out to someone who just can’t hear you?

Dr. Mark Rutland has written a book born out of his own season of struggle. He explains that he went through a dark period in his own life when he was stuck in a deep depression. To get through this dark period, he repeatedly prayed the Lord’s Prayer over and over and over again. He eventually added Psalm 23 to it. He credits this prayer process to helping him through this difficult stage in his life.

In 21 Seconds to Change Your World, Rutland demonstrates how the Lord’s Prayer and Psalm 23 are similar by taking a phrase from each passage and breaking it down. It’s interesting how the two passages share similarities but what is more interesting is the power of praying The Lord’s Prayer.

I was raised in a Christian tradition where The Lord’s Prayer was rarely, if ever, prayed in our local church. We were taught that Jesus used the prayer as a model for showing how prayer is to be used, not something intended to be prayed word-for-word. If this is your current or past experience, I strongly encourage you to read this book. 21  Seconds to Change Your World could change your mind and get you praying The Lord’s Prayer.

FTC Disclosure: I was provided with a free copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions contained here are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.