REVIEWS

Anne Watson reviews new Christian books by women, often with giveaways.

Work Hard, Rest Well

Please welcome my very dear friend, Crystal Stine, to the blog today! Crystal's brand new book, Holy Hustle: Embracing a Work-Hard, Rest-Well Life, comes out tomorrow! I can't recommend it enough! Get it wherever books are sold. In the meantime, here's Crystal...


Have you taken time to rest lately?

I get it. I struggle with it too. When we take time to rest, it’s easy to feel guilty. Guilty that we aren’t doing more, guilty that maybe our rest doesn’t look like what the rest of the world tells us it should. Guilty that self-care and soul-care feel indulgent somehow.

Here’s the thing. Your work - and your rest - matters. Whatever it is God has called you to do, it’s important because He has asked you to do it, not because it’s easily explained to the world. And the rest we take, when done to create space to abide with God (no matter where we do it, or what it looks like), can refuel and refresh us to continue to do the work we’ve been given.

Grab your notebook or journal, a blank piece of paper, or open a document on your computer and write down everything you do during the day.

  • Do you keep small people alive?
  • Are you a teacher?

  • Are you gifted with the ministry of availability (my favorite way a blog reader described retirement)?

  • Maybe you’re a writer or a storyteller or your neighborhood event planner.

  • Are you a CEO, a receptionist, an accountant, a preacher, a fitness instructor, or a mail carrier?

Write down all the work you do, and then take a moment to thank God for the role He’s given you in His kingdom.

The message of holy hustle is for everyone because everyone has work to do that honors God.

Now, on the bottom of that list, write the words “I’m not enough.” I know. I don’t like to do it either, because I really enjoy the messages in magazines and books that tell me I can do it! I’m enough! I can make my dreams come true!

But the truth is we can never be enough, not when we’re focusing on the tasks God is giving us to do. We will sin and fail and forget. We will make it about ourselves, and we will slide into striving as we find ourselves subtly manipulating the situation to benefit our goals and agendas.

But Jesus is more than enough to fill in all our weaknesses with His strength. And not only that, although we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength, God is not asking us to do everything. Knowing we're not enough makes room for us to need God, and not doing everything allows us to focus on where we can honor God best while leaving room for other women to do THEIR work alongside us.

It’s not always easy to invite others into the work that we’re doing. It means going against the grain of what the world tells us our hustle should be (all about us!). It means creating margin to slow down and abide with God to make sure we’re on the right course. But we are called to be weird for Jesus, to live differently and respond in a way that makes others look at us and see what God has done in our lives. We can work confidently, with grace and peace and honoring others, because we know God will take care of the judgments. We just need to work hard, rest well, do good, and love others.

To find out where you fall on the striving/serving or laziness/rest scale, visit holyhustlebook.com and take the quiz! Your results will appear at the bottom and when you enter your email address you’ll receive encouraging Scripture and a special gift.

Why I Hate Green Beans Recap: Lincee Ray Releases New Book

*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks! 

I admit I had never heard of Lincee Ray before getting an email from her publisher who was looking for a review. (I did receive a free copy of the book but my thoughts and opinions are all my own.)

First, the cover and title intrigued me. I’m the type that does judge a book by its cover. Whatever. I went to the website and discovered her delightful world of recapping television's, The Bachelor. Once upon a time, I was a fan of the show but grew weary of them saying, “For the right reasons,” and “On this journey.” As it happened, my daughter convinced me to come back for this season, and I have to admit, it’s cheesy, mindless fun. I tend to root for the ‘producer’s pick’ now (the woman cast as the villain) now, just to keep it interesting.

Anyway, as a fan of pop culture in general, I instantly felt like Lincee was a soul sister. When the book arrived, I immediately flipped through it, impressed that The Bachelor host, Chris Harrison, had offered an endorsement. Nicely done, Lincee. Since I'm from Texas, I read the chapter about the Dallas Cowboys first, and I can tell you it's a total mic drop story. High fives all around.

From the first chapter, I knew we were somehow separated at birth. Beginning with middle school insecurity, this self-deprecating and positively hysterical author delighted me. She seemed to know all of my hidden insecurities, and I’m certain if we lived anywhere near each other, we’d hang out. She feels like a safe friend.

Each chapter is a different story that will have you cringing and crying. Lincee is a fantastic writer gifted at being vulnerable, hilarious, and wise all at the same time. This book will entertain you, yes, but it will also comfort your soul. You may also decide to set your DVR to record the next season of The Bachelor. I highly recommend enjoying "Why I Hate Green Beans" by Lincee Ray.

Adored Review (and GIVEAWAY)

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I am the mom of two gorgeous, kind-hearted, but very busy and active young women. Both of them are in college and have little time to sit still enough to get a daily dose of God.

Adored: 365 Devotions for Young Women by Lindsay A. Franklin may be the solution for them. This beautifully designed book has one short devotion per day that speaks in a language young women will understand.

In an ever-changing world filled with various challenges, Adored seeks to encourage and inspire with a variety of topics including friendships, social media, and bullying. Each short devotional is easy to read and sometimes funny. It won’t take more than a few minutes to read and may change your entire day for the better.

The days are ordered, but since they are not dated, women are free to go in order or bounce around to any entry they wish. Each gorgeous page has a few lines to make notes, and there are blank pages in the back if more space is needed. The Adored devotional is easy to make time for in my girl's busy lives.

I am sharing about this book for a few reasons:

1.      If you have girls who sometimes have trouble slowing down enough to hear from God, this may be the solution.

2.    With the holiday’s coming up, this gorgeous book would fit perfectly into any stocking.

3.    I am giving away one copy to anyone who leaves a comment about trying to get some Jesus into their girls.

To enter the giveaway, leave your comment before November 19, 2017. The winner will be selected at random! 

Lisa Lloyd's 'Chasing Famous' Prize Pack Giveaway

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I think everyone dreams of being famous. Take the show, American Idol, for example. Thousands and thousands of wanna-be superstars showed up each year to audition for the chance to be famous. Even when someone with no talent whatsoever was rejected, they would stand in front of the exit camera and proclaim that they would be famous one day despite walking away empty-handed.

When I was picked on as a kid, I used to daydream that one day I would become famous and everyone who was mean to me would suddenly want to be my friend. Occasionally, I would just daydream that George Michael would come to my school in a limo to pick me up and everyone would be jealous. (This is an 80’s reference for your new kids.)

The desire for fame can come from many different sources. For Lisa Lloyd, the author of “Chasing Famous: Living the Life You’ve Always Auditioned For” fame was sought on an actual stage. Regardless of where we seek it, as a mom, a wife, an employee or even a paid communicator, the idea of being famous seems to fill a void for people. Maybe we think being famous is the coups de grace for being accepted, valued and possibly validated. It also looks like a lot of glamor and fun.

Chasing Famous takes a look at the reality of seeking personal fame, including the stress and uncertainty of each audition whether it’s in life or for a role. Through personal introspection and deeply moving stories, Lisa shares openly about the inner battles and the true costs that come from believing your value lies in the opinion of man. By shifting focus to using any platform we have to make the name of God famous, we open ourselves up to more abundant life, more meaningful relationships and the peace that transcends all understanding.

More than that, Chasing Famous spews wisdom that inspires courage! Each of us is called to live out a God-given purpose but too many of us give in to fear and insecurity, never fully reaching our potential. Lisa tackles each of our uncertainties with such power that you may find yourself fist-pumping and whooping, ready to shed anything that hinders you. Like me, you’ll realize that there is no such thing as a small purpose. By shifting the focus to making the name of God famous, we are released from the pressure of performance and freed to follow our dreams with gusto.

Whether you have let something hold you back, you’ve felt the sting of failure, or you simply feel like no one notices you, Chasing Famous will give you a new perspective and ignite a passion in your soul that may surprise you. No matter what task lies before you, if you work to make God’s glorious name famous in it, you’ll find the void you had been trying to fill slips away as you are finally fully living the life you were always meant to.

  YOU COULD BE THE WINNER!

YOU COULD BE THE WINNER!

New Series from Women of Faith!

*This post contains affiliate links. Thanks!

A good bible study is like comfort food. Regardless of your situation or mood, you can dig into the pages of structured study and find nourishment for your soul. Of course, the same it true for reading the bible straight but for my slightly ADD brain, the structure helps keep me focused and there is nothing as satisfying as finding a nugget you are certain the Holy Spirit himself meant just for you. If you are anything like me, you simply cannot get enough.

That’s why I am so enamored right now with the newest bible study series from Women of Faith. I have long been a fan of their work but the release of these three titles opens a new door to access the hard-won wisdom of these remarkable women. With forewords by the inimitable Patsy Clairmont and Thelma Wells, you’ll have no choice to but fall in love with Building Your Strengths, Praying With Power, and Giving God Your Future. *

Going back to our comfort food analogy, you may have heard the phrase ‘you eat with your eyes first.’ This means that what you see is as important as the food itself to the senses. Right off the bat, I am in love with the bright colors and design of these three studies. Even more so, the layout in each short book is easy to read and follow with plenty of space for note takers. Each book is divided into twelve lessons and includes special features for digging deeper, prayer and more. It is ideally suited for an individual study but can also be done in a group using the leader guide located in the back.

More than that, each study is full of wonderful stories, practical examples, and tons of biblical wisdom that will transform you on your journey.  I have already given some as gifts! So if you are looking for your next great bible study, I highly encourage you to check out the newest series from Women of Faith. In fact, leave a comment today and you'll be entered to win one copy of each study! The winner will be drawn on Friday, February 17th! 

*This is an affiliate link so if you purchase it here I may get a couple of pennies! Thanks in advance!