Awakenings the Early Days by Ryan Phillips (Book Review)

Where and when have you felt most inspired?

For missionary and pastor Ryan Phillips, living in Hawaii was inspiring. Waking up to the sunrise, spending time in solitude with God, Ryan felt spiritually awakened, and he was inspired to journal his thoughts. Who wouldn’t feel energized, inspired, and refreshed by such a beautiful sight like this?

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You can just imagine the peace, quiet, and refreshment of your soul and mind in a place like this. Away from all the stress and cares that the daily grind would dictate.

Ryan’s early morning times of quiet may have first been self-published. They are now his new print book Awakenings The Early Days, published by Ambassador International. You can tell that Ryan has a desire to keep things Biblically correct, as every section of this book has sound doctrine. If the Bible is your boss, you may like what Ryan has to say. You can also tell that Ryan likes Old Testament stories, as he makes some references to Gideon, David, and Elijah – characters from the Bible that are real men’s men.

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Each page of Awakenings is similar to a devotion or a meditation. Overall, the book would have benefited from stronger editing, as some pages were completely full, while others were half-way empty. Was this out of a desire to just publish the first version of the writings as is, without changes? The result made the book look unfinished. There were also some sections where the meditation went over a page. The result was imbalance.

Ryan has a lot of positive things to say, but Awakenings could have benefited from a theme or a chronological order. Some devotions seemed to be going in more than one direction. The overall effect was that it seemed like a random collection of devotions put together, that still needed changes, before the final cut was ready to be released.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here within this book review are my own.

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Are You Having a Blue Christmas?

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In this season of cheer, are you facing a life-altering hardship or major disappointment?

Despite the revelry, parties, and goodwill, are you facing a storm in your life that casts a shadow over all the celebration?

If so, you’re not alone. Dealing with grief can make you feel alone, even when others are grieving the same event.

In acknowledgement of everyone who will have a Blue Christmas this year, here’s a recap of some books I’ve reviewed that give an appropriate acknowledgement to how heavy and life-changing grief can be. You’ll see on the original post for each review that I received a free copy of each book from the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. (I’m receiving no kickbacks or any perks for mentioning these books again.)

Grief From a Break-Up: Kingdom Single by Tony Evans

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For those making a way forward after a broken relationship, Kingdom Single by Tony Evans could be of help. This book does not focus on how to find a new partner, but on how everyone has great individual worth. This isn’t the best book I’ve ever read, but for singles who need to learn how to be alone, it could inspire them to develop themselves even without a partner. This book is appropriate for the younger, never-been-married crowd, not those who have been through a death or divorce of spouse.

Grief Over Anything: The Louder Song by Aubrey Sampson

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This is an excellent book about grief because the writer has clearly been through it.  The Louder Song by Aubrey Sampson doesn’t offer any fast solutions to grief, because there are no fast solutions to grief. This would be an appropriate grief book if you’ve suffered a career setback, job loss, illness, or illness of a child. She does not tell you what to do, but explains her own journey.

Grief Over Anything: Braving Sorrow Together by Ashleigh Slater 

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This is another great book from someone who shares her own grief journey. Slater also shares the grief journeys of others.

Grief After Widowhood: Where Do I Go From Here? Bold Living After Unwanted Change by Miriam Neff

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If anyone is an expert at grieving, it is someone who has survived becoming a widow. Miriam Neff turned her grief into a ministry for others that, like herself, lost a spouse. Where Do I Go From Here? Bold Living After Unwanted Change provides practical advice for those in grief.

Veteran’s Day Book Review: War Torn Heart by Allison Wells

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Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy.

It’s a classic story, but Allison Wells sets this story in America just before war breaks out. Her new novel is titled War-Torn Heart.

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War-Torn Heart highlights the angst of those suffering on the home front: those waiting at home to be reunited with their loves, and those wondering whether their family members will return. There are lots of moments that give this story a coming-of-age feel, as the young female narrator comes to terms with what it means to be a woman. Moving from being a girl to a woman, she faces her sensuality and her sexuality, as she progresses through friendship to romance with a young man. She is forced to reconcile how that relates to living out her faith in this relationship. War-Torn Heart remains a family-friendly read, but it shows how the protagonist faces her urges and is honest with herself about these natural longings. It doesn’t lack moments of cheesiness or sappiness, and these moments could have been cut. What the story does offer young female readers is the insight that they’re not alone in the universal, inner female longing to love and be loved by a man.

Just like Little Women, where the ladies band together to get through, this book focuses on the female perspective. In War-Torn Heart, the men have their own ideas and beliefs about war, while the women face their own challenges. Everyone’s attitude is focused on “bringing the boys home”, yet the women face things through their own eyes. In War-Torn Heart, there is undeveloped potential throughout the story that could have been better shaped. Particularly, in the last chapter, one of the characters faces a significant challenge that almost seemed added on, as if it was an afterthought. However, for young women (particularly teenagers) who enjoy historical fiction or romance stories, War-Torn Heart could be a rewarding read.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from this publisher, Ambassador International, in exchange for my honest opinion. I received no compensation for this review.

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Tips for Homeschooling & Music

 

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Is it hard to believe that it’s back-to-school already? Believe it, friends.

The school year is young, so if you haven’t gotten back into the groove just yet, no worries. I have a freebie for you-  Oak Meadow’s  journal, Living Education . Oak Meadow is a school offering distance learning options for homeschoolers. The fall issue is out and it’s free online.

Plus… I offer up tips on page 20 on how to put some music in your daily rhythm.