100 Days to Brave by Annie F. Downs

Genre: Devotional
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: October 2017

I wouldn’t put my name and brave in the same sentence. I’m terrified of everything. Anyone in that boat knows how exhausting that can be. Maybe that’s what drew me to 100 Days to Brave — a desperate desire for change.

Annie F. Downs doesn’t provide a formula or set of rules that suddenly banishes fear and makes us brave. Instead, she spends 100 days reminding us who we are in God and who we are made to be. Equipped with this reinforcement, we can then go out and act bravely in spite of our fear.

Without a doubt, 100 Days to Brave has become my favorite devotional to date. Every entry begins with a Bible verse, followed by the lesson, and ends with a mini-assignment or call-to-action. Whether starting or ending the day with it, the bite-sized entries ensure total absorption without overwhelming.

I still have a long way to go before I can say I’m brave, but I’m making the journey one step at a time. Downs’ devotional helps me to be more deliberate in this walk even as I go about my daily life and routines. I especially love her Christ-filled and Scripture-centered approach as she encourages readers to remain grounded in God’s Word. The author’s honest and humorous voice as she shares personal anecdotes makes her relatable. Her keen insight at times left me to wonder if she possesses a secret peephole into my life to know exactly what I need (not want!) to hear.

A word of advice, keep a notebook and highlighters close by. A day hasn’t gone by that I haven’t marked up or highlighted thoughts and words that encouraged and spoke to me. I recommend 100 Days to Brave to anyone striving to overcome fear and live courageously in Christ.

Review copy provided by publisher. Thanks!

**Originally posted on Radiant Lit.


As the Ink Flows by Glenda Dekkema, Melony Teague, Carol Ford, Claudia Loopstra, and Marguerite Cummings

 As-The-Ink-FlowsGenre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Judson Press
Publication Date: April 2016

A must-have for Christian writers, As the Ink Flows inspires readers to simultaneously grow in their craft and spiritual walk. Glenda Dekkema, Melony Teague, Carol Ford, Claudia Loopstra, and Marguerite Cummings penned 90 devotions that convey solid and practical truths and advice.

Each entry starts with a Bible verse, followed by a brief and relevant devotion, and concludes with a prayer. The authors make the experience interactive by providing readers with the opportunity to reflect on the lesson and explore it through a writing prompt. Furthermore, the entries are organized into sections that address various topics, including Inspiration, Well-Being, and Faithfulness.

Through the years, I have used and greatly enjoyed numerous writer devotionals. However, I appreciated that the authors of As the Ink Flows took it a step further by also incorporating the element of faith. As believers, we possess a different worldview and that bleeds into our lives as writers. This book accounts for that, allowing us to embrace and grow in both of those areas.

Brimming with uplifting and motivating nuggets of wisdom, it encourages writers of all kinds, regardless of expertise level, to pick up the pen and create. I heartily recommend this book to Christian writers and speakers. I advise grabbing a notebook and highlighters. You’ll want them!

Review copy provided by publisher. Thanks!

Do Life Different by Jill Hart

do-life-differentGenre: Devotional
Publisher: Choose Now Publishing
Publication DateFebruary 2014

A slight twinge of apprehension slithered through me as I picked up my copy of this book. I wondered how much I could relate to a devotional written for mothers. Then I started reading, and my worries slipped away. Do Life Different: Inspiring Work-at-Home Moms to Powerful Living in Work, Family, & Faith could just as easily be Do Life Different: Inspiring Every Woman to Powerful Living in Work, Family, & Faith. The words in this book can apply to our lives whether we are college students trying to find our way, women just embarking on career paths, moms (at any stage in the child-rearing process), and even grandmothers.  Our perspectives may change along the way, but not the relevance of the lessons and encouragement found within the pages of this devotional.

Jill Hart delivers short entries that are easily squeezed in before breakfast, between business calls, while waiting for an appointment, or even as you wind down for the night. Each devotion provides a Bible verse, a quick story, and some poignant questions to ponder. The words will stick to the reader throughout the day as she goes about her daily responsibilities, building her up and inspiring her along the way. Hart writes from the heart (pun totally intended!). She is authentic, sincere, and personal in her approach.

For the sake of this review, I hurried through the 52 meditations. Now, I fully intend to revisit them at a slower pace, allowing the words to sink in and simmer.

Pull out your highlighter, a pen, and notebook; and prepare yourself to Do Life Different!

Review copy provided by the author. Thanks!

**NOTE: Look out for a giveaway of this great devotional, coming in the very near future!

Joni & Ken: An Untold Love Story by Ken & Joni Eareckson Tada (with Larry Libby)

joni_kenGenre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Zondervan
Publication Date: April 2013

I practically jumped out of my chair when I saw that Zondervan would publish Joni &Ken: An Untold Love Story. I had waited for this moment for years. As a teenager, I read three of Joni’s autobiographies and became fascinated with her story, her strength, and her courage. Ken Tada, the man who won her heart, greatly intrigued me. Who was the man that saw past her disability and the challenges it presented to see the beautiful, Godly woman sitting before him? While most would run from the difficulties and responsibilities of caring for a person with quadriplegia, Ken embraced it as an honor to care for the woman he loved.

Joni &Ken: An Untold Love Story is authentic and gritty. It is life with its ups and downs, with its struggles and victories. It’s not a tale of marriage and living happily-ever-after, but of getting married, facing obstacles, and overcoming them — together. It is about the God who carried Ken and Joni through the darkest moments in their lives.

The stories aren’t recounted in chronological order. Reading the book provided a sense of familiarity as I came to know this incredible couple. I could imagine us sitting around the kitchen table, enjoying  a cup of coffee as Ken and Joni reminisced about their life journey. I walked away feeling like I had gained two friends.

My one disappointment is that they glossed over the early days of their meeting, dating, and marriage. I would have liked to have seen more from that time period, especially since the book is quite short anyways.  Ken made a extraordinary decision when he chose to marry a woman with quadriplegia. I wish they’d shared some of his thoughts and apprehensions as he entered the marriage covenant.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who has followed the Tada’s story throughout the years or to those who simply enjoy good, faith-filled biographies. It’s definitely a story worth reading. Be prepared for goosebumps!

Review copy provided by the publisher. Thank you!

**Originally posted on Radiant Lit.

Wounded Warrior, Wounded Home by Marshele Waddell and Kelly K. Orr

woundedwarriorwoundedhomeGenre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Publication Date: March 2013

Facing some of life’s toughest situations should never be done alone. For that reason, Marshele Waddell and Kelly K. Orr have come together to write a book about combat-related PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). We all know of the brave men and women who sacrifice so much for their country, but we often forget those who stand behind them.

When a wounded warrior returns home, his/her family and community also experience the effects of the war. As Waddell reminds readers, not all battle scars are visible to the naked eye. When a veteran struggles with PTSD and TBI, his/her life is altered as well as the loved ones’. The dynamics, to which they were once accustomed, have changed forever. They must learn and adapt to a new normal.

Wounded Warrior, Wounded Home is a powerful, heart-wrenching, and eye-opening read. It addresses extremely difficult situations that I can’t even fathom, and yet there are many people out there facing them every day. However, Waddell and Orr let their readers know that there is hope, and they are not alone in their home-front battle.

Each chapter concludes with a series of questions that allow the readers to reflect, consider, and analyze their personal circumstances. The book also offers guides and tips that veterans and those in their support network can use to develop a plan toward their own physical, emotional, and spiritual healing.

In Wounded Warrior, Wounded Home, the authors also included testimonies and accounts of others who have a loved one suffering with PTSD and TBI. This strengthened one of their main premises, “You are not alone.” It opened a window into the lives of military families also confronting these challenges.

I strongly recommend this book to service members, veterans, their families, and anyone who wishes to better understand those who give so much (be it on the battlefield or on the home front). Be prepared though, this is not a light read.

Review copy provided by the publisher. Thank you!

**Originally posted on Radiant Lit.