"Eyewitness to Majesty" --Mindy Ferguson's Book Review

PeterI identify a lot with Peter.

He always seemed to be the one rushing in, talking without thinking first, and acting as he saw fit in the heat of the moment.

Yeah, I identify with Peter-a LOT.

"Eyewitness to Majesty" is a study about Peter, his journey from brash fisherman to powerful speaker for His Lord, Jesus Christ. Through her words, Peter becomes real; a fisherman with smelly clothes trying to provide for himself; not just another figure in the Bible.

Mindy captures the subtle, yet always life changing, experiences of Peter and his relationship with Jesus. We, in turn, are encouraged to see these parallels in our own lives--from the realness of our everyday messes into the plan He has for each of our lives.

The study is broken up into 10-weeks, with 5 days of study per week. The studies are short enough to fit into a quick 20-30 minute read, but meaty enough to give you something to ponder each day. It's suitable for alone-time or a group study.

If you're seeking to dig deeper into God's Word and His amazing transforming power, you will be pleased with Mindy's newest study, "Eyewitness to Majesty: Abandoning Self for Christ"

For information on contacting Mindy Ferguson to speak at your next event, or to buy any of her other books, please visit her website here

FTC Disclosure: Special thanks to Fruitful Word Ministries for sending me a review copy of Eyewitness to Majesty: Abandoning Self for Christ by Mindy Ferguson.

Book Review--"Bless Your Socks Off" by Sandra P. Aldrich

, I had the privilege of hearing Sandra Aldrich speak at the 2011 CLASS Christian Writers Conference last November. Although Sandra was speaking in a conference room, I had the delightful feeling we were all sitting at her kitchen table. Her down-home manner and honest emotions come through in "Bless Your Socks Off", and you will feel an instant connection as Sandra skillfully uses humor and stories to gently encourage and uplift. This book is a keeper that will quickly become a treasured part of my personal library.

With quick encouragement thoughts, (suitable for posting wherever needed) and discussion questions at the end of each chapter, this book is an excellent resource for self-discovery or group study.

"Been Reading My Head Off" (no, not really)

I haven't been around lately. Partly because it's that time of year, where things seem to keep us super busy with one thing or another. But this is a bit different. I've been reading, no, more like absorbing these 2 books I have. I purchased the first one, "Not Your Parents Marriage", I'm guessing five years ago. I read through it, I think, and left it on the book shelf. At the CLASS writer's conference last month, I met Jerome Daley and purchased his book, "Soul Spaces". Imagine my surprise to see "Not Your Parents Marriage" on the stack at his book table. I never made the connection that it was the same author. Jerome led the workshop, "The Spiritual Journey of a Writer" at the conference and this gave me a more intimate glimpse into the workings of this man's mind and his truly intimate journey with the Lord. I couldn't wait to get home and start re-reading the "Marriage" book; wondering why it had not impacted me when I first read it. I soon discovered a little trick God likes to play with me. I honestly don't remember if I read the book when I first bought it. Here's God's little trick -- if I DID read it, He knew I wasn't ready for the growth that would happen from it -- so He made me not comprehend whatever I read, if indeed I did read it at all.

Knowing some of the background that Jerome and his wife Kellie (Kellie co-wrote the Marriage book with Jerome) had to deal with, I find myself reading the 2 books alternately. There's like a hallowed space I'm visiting in the Marriage book, as this couple is sharing very real experiences and hurts with their readers. Soul Space is allowing me to have these open, raw moments with God -- sometimes to the point to where I need to stop reading, to face the truth He is opening up to me. It's not always painful, it's more like a stretching, a reaching for the edge of the branch where the fruit is, waiting. It's like God is showing me, proof -- "you know this about Me; why wouldn't I want what's best for you? I love you child --trust Me more...."

And then I have to take a breather; I come up gasping for air only to be plunged back down into His Living Water, to have my internal buckets filled to overflowing. I weep at His Goodness; how He cares about my littlest fear! And He does not give up.....

We sang a song in church that had me in tears..."don't give up on God, for He won't give up on you! (italics mine). Step by step He's taking me deeper, higher, giving me the 'more' that I ask for.

God is taking me on a new leg of the journey that is my life. He is undergirding me so that I will not be afraid to go out on the branch. He is showing me the gifts I have, that He has been honing for years. He is allowing my personality strengths to be used for His Glory -- my sanguin-ness is being allowed to 'come out and play' as I dress as a character and read to children and seniors alike-and had a BALL doing it!

Opportunities to minister, play (important to me), encourage, and be of service to HIM for His Kingdom are presenting themselves to me. I had forgotten how much fun playing is -- sculptures are being planned and worked on, things I can make with my hands to bless those around me -- even things as simple as baking for a group meal are taking on that servitude that only comes from His Grace and His indwelling Holy Spirit.

And it all started with my being willing to be used by God for whatEVER He has for me. Allowing Him into EVERYspace in my life because He planned it all while I was still in the womb, unformed, but loved by Him. He has been showing me glimpses of Himself in the journeys of others who have gone on before me; who have walked difficult roads so that I might learn from them. I am willing to be taught; to learn from trusted teachers, whose lives are living testimonies to what God can do , if we only allow Him full access.

So, if I disappear for a short while, it is not that I'm being lazy or forgot to post. I'm studying for a test coming up, a presentation I need to make, or a tutorial position has come up that I am uniquely qualified for. I'm being moved by the Master's Hand and there is a job to do. My work gloves are never far from reach, my Spirit is willing, and my reading glasses are at the ready.

And my head is still firmly attached to my body, absorbing like a Sham-WOW cloth. Keep it coming Lord, as You see fit.

"Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight"

Karen Linamen has been a favorite author for a long time. My collection of her books, shown to the left, has kept me laughing, thinking, praying, crying, repenting, eating chocolate, career (I got laid off in June), stuck in my prayer life (yeah God, you know...yadda yadda), even stuck in my worship, both in and out of church. I was in that desert place where every hill looks the same, and no matter which way I'd turn, the endless scenery went on for miles. I was weary of trying to find which hill to attempt next. I knew I couldn't stay where I was, but couldn't do much more than take a few futile steps in any direction so the view would be slightly different. Karen's writing spoke clearly to this lonely place. By page 22 I had a viable, actual thing I could do. Being a visual learner, I needed this 'picture', this 'hands-on' THING I could do. Thirty pages later, I found myself with a roughly drawn map to escape the desert place I had been. I still had some 140-ish pages to go and I was already excited about where I would be, where God would take me, on this journey! I've read through the book for the first time; fully intending it to become worn and dog-eared, like the rest of my collection of her books. They are indeed worth a first, second, even a fifth time reading. God has gifted Karen with a way of writing that will indeed touch, uplift and inspire you, wherever you are in your circumstances.

I will urge you, dear reader, to pick up ANY of Karen Scalf Linamen's books, and dive into her wacky, wonderful world of living each day to its fullest! laughing some more, singing, exploring feelings, having "TA-DA" moments, eating more chocolate, and laughing some more. Mostly they have brought me closer to God in ways I hadn't even imagined. Her latest book, "Only Nuns Change Habits Overnight" is all of these things, times ten. It came at a time when I was stuck -- stuck in my own desert of self-ness instead of being in His Garden of abundance.

RUN to your nearest bookstore, (or to the nearest website - http://www.karenlinamen.com/ ) and do something awesome for yourself and buy any or ALL of Karen's books. I promise you will NOT be at all disappointed and may even find a friend waiting!