Category Memoir

Faith to Foster

Product DetailsFaith to Foster
By T.J. & Jenn Menn
Abeille Books
Amazon Price:  $14.99

Book Description:  While our country is preoccupied with chasing the American dream, thousands of children long for a family and place they can call home. Foster children live in nearly every community, waiting in silent anonymity for someone to welcome them into their life.

Sometimes all it takes is exposure to prompt change.

Faith to Foster is a candid and vulnerable look into the life of ordinary foster parents TJ and Jenn Menn. It is a comprehensive journey chronicling their decision making process, how the children arrived, the birth parents struggle to rehabilitate, help from friends and family, emotional goodbyes, and how faith in Jesus empowered them through it all. This is a story they wished they d read before starting their foster parenting adventure.

TJ and Jenn share of their experiences and feelings in a way that encourages readers to serve their neighbors. Faith to Foster reminds Christians how God can use them to make a difference in their community. He can strengthen our congregations to change lives and redeem innocent children from harmful situations.

Indeed, Faith to Foster inspires believers to rely on the mighty power of our God as they seek to change their neighborhoods one child at a time.

Review

 This is a very valuable tool for understanding what it is like to be a foster parent and all that is involved with this type of ministry.   It gripped me from the first sentence.   The Menn’s writing is unassuming and there experiences are believable. They just couldn’t make this stuff up. I appreciate that they bust the “Pollyanna Myth” and don’t sugarcoat the experience.  Their candidness helps you to connect with not only the authors but the children as well. This book is an eye-opener, highlighting experiences that will both make you laugh and bring tears to your eyes as they share the ups and downs of fostering children and how God has been with them every step of the way.  It is a must read for anyone in human service work or ministry that involves children.
~Reviewed by Sarah J.
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    Backpacking with the Saints

    Backpacking with the Saints
    By Belden C. Lane
    Oxford
    Retail Price $24.95
    Amazon Price: $19.05

    Book Description: 

    Carrying only basic camping equipment and a collection of the world’s great spiritual writings, Belden C. Lane embarks on solitary spiritual treks through the Ozarks and across the American Southwest. For companions, he has only such teachers as Rumi, John of the Cross, Hildegard of Bingen, Dag Hammarskjöld, and Thomas Merton, and as he walks, he engages their writings with the natural wonders he encounters–Bell Mountain Wilderness with Søren Kierkegaard, Moonshine Hollow with Thich Nhat Hanh–demonstrating how being alone in the wild opens a rare view onto one’s interior landscape, and how the saints’ writings reveal the divine in nature.

    The discipline of backpacking, Lane shows, is a metaphor for a spiritual journey. Just as the wilderness offered revelations to the early Desert Christians, backpacking hones crucial spiritual skills: paying attention, traveling light, practicing silence, and exercising wonder. Lane engages the practice not only with a wide range of spiritual writings–Celtic, Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi Muslim–but with the fascination of other lovers of the backcountry, from John Muir and Ed Abbey to Bill Plotkin and Cheryl Strayed. In this intimate and down-to-earth narrative, backpacking is shown to be a spiritual practice that allows the discovery of God amidst the beauty and unexpected terrors of nature. Adoration, Lane suggests, is the most appropriate human response to what we cannot explain, but have nonetheless learned to love.

    An enchanting narrative for Christians of all denominations, Backpacking with the Saints is an inspiring exploration of how solitude, simplicity, and mindfulness are illuminated and encouraged by the discipline of backcountry wandering, and of how the wilderness itself becomes a way of knowing-an ecology of the soul.

    Review

    I am rather new to reading the works of Belden Lane, but honestly, I find them intriguing.  The way he relates spirituality to the physical world is quite thought provoking.  As he treks through the wilderness, he shares his spiritual journey with us, encouraging each reader to seek his own quiet place to hear God’s voice.  He does a wonderful job giving insight to the classic works of the faith as he relates them to his journey.  It makes me want to throw a few selected titles in my own backpack and head out to my favorites spots to contemplate life and my place in it.  Very inspiring.

    ~Reviewed by Mike B.

     

     

     

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      I Have Seen God

      I Have Seen God
      by Klaus-Dieter John
      Monarch Books
      Retail Price $16.99
      Amazon Price: $13.19

      Book Description: 

      The miraculous founding of a top class hospital for some of the world’s poorest people.  Klaus-Dieter and Martina John–both brilliant, talented, and highly qualified doctors–turned their backs on lucrative careers to follow their dream to open a first-rate medical facility for the Indians of the Peruvian Andes, some of the world’s poorest people. The Peruvian Andes natives suffer appallingly from the diseases of poverty and, although they make up approximately 40 percent of Peru’s population, are ignored by the authorities.Having studied at the universities of Harvard, Yale, and Johannesburg during his training as a surgeon, Dr. Klaus-Dieter John together with his wife, Dr. Martina John, a pediatrician, developed a concept for a modern hospital in the Peruvian Highlands.

      Turning down other offers, including a professorship, they set themselves the task of raising the millions of dollars needed. God opened the hearts and consciences of individuals and companies to create not just a health center, but a fully equipped hospital. Their story and vision has captured attention around the world and today they have the backing of 180 corporations and 50,000 private supporters.

      The hospital’s name, Diospi Suyana, means “we trust in God” in Quechua, the native language of the people it serves. It is a testament to their experience that with God the impossible can happen. The incredible conviction and profound faith of the Johns will refresh your heart and stir your spirit.

      Review

      I love true stories of God working in amazing ways in the lives of His people.  I’ve read several biographies of George Muller and my heart races when I read about how God met the needs for his projects over and over again.  This book  recounts a modern day story of God’s miraculous provision at just the right time in lives of the Doctors John and the hospital they built in the Andes Mountains.  We get a lot of the back story on what brought them to the point of giving up their lucrative medical careers to meet the needs of the poorest of the poor.  Though their story is inspiring, the author does not sugar coat the work and gives us a glimpse at the setbacks and trials they faced as they persevered until their dream came true.  I Have Seen God is must reading for anyone with a desire to know more of the reality and power of a Living God.

      ~Reviewed by Dave H.

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        My Best Friend’s Funeral

         

        My Best Friends Funeral
        by Rodger W. Thompson
        Thomas Nelson
        Retail Price $16.99
        Amazon Price: $12.50

        Book Description: 

        There’s a certain kind of lost a boy feels in this world without a father. Tim felt it. I felt it. And we realized our only way out would be together.In an openhearted memoir of faith on the fringe, Roger Thompson meditates on the life and premature death of his best friend and business partner, Tim Garrety, cofounder of Skate Street Ventura. Roger and Tim’s twenty-year friendship was forged in the surf and on the streets of 1980s California. Together they hazarded countless waves and every rite of passage—from guitars to girls to God—and influenced the lives of thousands of skateboarders, musicians, surfers, and otherwise disconnected youth in the process.

        With unrestrained honesty and a punk-rock soundtrack, My Best Friend’s Funeral is a memoir of friendship, doubt, surfing, and the complex relationships between fathers and sons. If life has ever left you feeling abandoned—or if you simply prefer a rock show to a sermon—My Best Friend’s Funeral is a memoir you won’t want to miss, and a confirmation that you are never alone.

        Review

         

        This is a touching memoir and tribute to a childhood friend.  The author shares his heart and his journey through grief as he tries to make sense of what appears to him as a senseless death of one his nearest and dearest.  He shares many life lessons on both death and living life to its fullest.  My emotions ran the gamut as I went through it.  I laughed and I cried, and in the end I am a better person for having read it.

        ~Reviewed by Dave H.

         

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          Surprised by motherhood

          Surprised by Motherhood
          By Lisa-Jo Baker
          Tyndale
          Retail Price $15.99
          Amazon Price: $10.11

          Book Description: 

          A lawyer with a well-stamped passport and a passion for human rights, Lisa-Jo Baker never wanted to be a mom. And then she had kids. Having lost her own mother to cancer as a teenager, Lisa-Jo felt lost on her journey to womanhood and wholly unprepared to raise children.

          Surprised by Motherhood is Lisa-Jo’s story of becoming and being a mom, and in the process, discovering that all the “what to expect” and “how to” books in the world can never truly prepare you for the sheer exhilaration, joy, and terrifying love that accompanies motherhood.

          Set partly in South Africa and partly in the US (with a slight detour to Ukraine along the way), Surprised by Motherhood is a poignant memoir of one woman’s dawning realization that being a mom isn’t about being perfect—it’s about being present.

          Review

           

          In this book the author shares her own journey through motherhood. You may think that everything has been said about motherhood, but the delightful thing is that the author is one-of-a-kind and gives a perspective that is uniquely her own. So many times we define motherhood by the sleepless nights, mounds of laundry and numbers of diapers changed for the day. Giglio will help you focus on the pure joy that motherhood brings in spite of the mundane, hard things and will change your perspective on motherhood.  A great read for all moms and moms-to-be.

          ~Reviewed by Beth L.

           

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            Win a Free Copy of Raw Faith!

            Raw Faith: What Happens When God Picks a FightRaw Faith
            By Kasey Van Norman

            Tyndale
            Retail Price $14.99
            Amazon Price: $11.09

            Book Description: 

            As a respected Bible teacher, Kasey Van Norman had dedicated her life to sharing God’s Word and encouraging women to trust in God during times of crisis. Then, just as her ministry was poised to explode, Kasey was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer that shattered her spirit and rocked her faith to its core. Sick, frightened, and in pain, Kasey suddenly found herself facing the greatest challenge of her life—believing her own message.

            In Raw Faith, Kasey chronicles her courageous battle with cancer, taking readers on a candid and poignant journey of faith and discovery, from the depths of despair through triumphant victory.

            Drawing on a variety of Bible stories and characters, Kasey discovers and distills the singular truth that has existed since time began: while change and uncertainty are inevitable, God is always unchanging, and He is always faithful—even when our circumstances might tempt us to think otherwise.

            Review

            Faith is something that is easy to talk about, tell others they should have, and strongly promote to others.  But when life hits you hard, faith is often hard to come by….or it is a process that you have to work through before your faith is made strong.  Author Kasey Van Norman understands this and as a cancer survivor, she shares her story and her faith journey in this book.  As she share her story, you can almost hear her speaking, like she was sitting across from you over a cup of coffee.  Everyone has something in their life that they are battling or have battled and this book helps you work through it and serves as a reminder that we are all a work in progress and that God loves us right where we are.  The book was emotional, that’s for sure and it had a big impact on me.  I highly recommend it.

            ~Reviewed by Allie B.

            Giveaway

            If you would like a chance to win a free copy of this book email us May 16.  Be sure to include the name of the book in the body of the email along with your name and address as who you will share this book with!

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              Found

              Found: A Story of Questions, Grace, and Everyday Prayer

              Found
              By Micha Boyett
              Worthy
              Retail Price $14.99
              Amazon Price: $11.01

              Book Description: 

              “My first year of motherhood I lost prayer…”

              I lost early mornings of quiet, mornings in my pajamas with a Bible in my lap, mornings when I spoke my mind’s chaos into God’s ear and let the chaos come back ordered, holy sealed. I lost peace. I lost clarity and certitude. My faith was never perfect before my son was born, but somewhere in that first year, somewhere in my distraction and exhaustion, I lost the Spirit-life I had known. I blamed myself.

              Review

              I have read Brother Lawrence’s Practicing the Presence of God and have enjoyed it, but it never really hit home the way this book did!  California-based mom-blogger Boyett explains that she “lost prayer” when her first child was born and she went looking to get it back by taking a sabbatical at a Benedictine monastery where she quickly sees the similarities in lifestyle and a way to bring balance to her own life. She found her way back to God and a balanced life by studying the  Benedictine Rule, and in this book she shares the insights she has gleaned from her journey.  It is an enlightening, insightful read and I found much to apply to my own life.

              ~Reviewed by Allie B.

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                Prison Baby

                Prison Baby: A MemoirPrison Baby
                By Deborah Jiang Stein
                Beacon Press
                Retail Price $14.00
                Amazon Price: $10.42

                Book Description: 

                Even at twelve years old Deborah Jiang Stein, the adopted daughter of a progressive Jewish couple in Seattle, felt like an outsider. Her multiracial features set her apart from her well-intentioned white parents, who evaded questions about her past. But when Deborah discovered a letter revealing the truth–that she was born in prison to a heroin-addicted mother and spent the first year of her life there–she spiraled into emotional lockdown. For years she turned to drugs, violence, and crime as a way to cope with her grief. Ultimately, Deborah overcame the stigma, shame, and secrecy of her birth and found peace by helping others–proving that redemption and acceptance is possible, even from the darkest corners

                 

                Review

                This was a very touching book that had my emotions running the gamut throughout.  It really makes you think about how much dna has to do with who you are and who you become, no matter how you are raised.  When the author found at at the age of 12 that she her birth mother was a heroin addict that she was actually born in a prison, it sent the young girl into a tailspin that sent her into a life of rebellion.  The good thing is that it also details the authors redemption and her journey back to her adoptive parents and life she was really meant to lead. This is an amazing story of love, hope, forgiveness.  It is also a call to action to use your life experiences – good and bad – too help others.  This was an excellent read.

                ~Reviewed by Shirley B.

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                  Growing Up Duggar

                  Growing up Duggar
                  By Jill, Jinger, Jessa and J Duggar
                  Howard
                  Retail Price $21.99
                  Amazon Price: $14.76

                  Book Description: 

                  In this delightful and very personal book, the four oldest Duggar girls share their hearts and their core beliefs, explaining that it’s all about relationships!

                  • Relationship with self: The girls share their own personal journeys to self-acceptance and navi­gating the difficult stage of adolescence.

                  • Relationship with parents: You’ll find revelations about how Jim Bob and Michelle keep the lines of communication open with their children.

                  • Relationships with siblings: Here, you’ll get a peek into the Buddy system, how the siblings handle conflict, and how the loss of little Jubilee (their sister) affected their relationships with each other.

                  • Relationships with friends: You’ll find principles on how the Duggar kids deal with peer pressure and how they interact with friends outside their family.

                  • Relationships with boys: You’ll learn the Duggar view of dating and courtship, and these four sisters will address the often-asked question of when one of them will get married.

                  Review

                  I’m a big fan of the Duggars show so I thought I would like their book and I was right. I don’t have much time to read with 3 kids under 3 to take care of but I’ve managed to finish the book within a week, which is fast for me. This particular book is written by the four oldest daughters, and it really helps you to look at their family life through their eyes.  They give a lot of insight into the workings of the family and how they deal with their parents and each other.  The book was easy to read, interesting, and insightful.  I highly recommend it.

                  ~Reviewed by Barb B.

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