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Darlene Jan Alice Oakley "DOakley" (Ottawa, ON, Canada)
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The Resolution for Women
The Resolution for Women
by Priscilla Shirer
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.10
41 used & new from CDN$ 0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute MUST READ!!!, Jan. 6 2012
Like The Resolution for Men, I'm declaring this book an absolute must read for women and young women.

Today's culture has completely muddied the definitions of husband and wife, father and mother, which are completely contrary to the definitions the Bible lays out. As Christian moms and wives, we need to have these boundaries between the culture's definition and God's definition clearly set apart from one another--and choose to follow and implement and live out God's.

When we start making up our own rules, we open up a whole can of worms that can spell disaster for our children and our families.

Every woman, and every young woman who has visions of a glorious wedding and a healthy, happy household in her mind, needs to read this book to have God's desires for wifehood and motherhood clearly in our minds.

"God...has brought this book into your life for this particular season. He is calling you to make the hard yet necessary decision to face these chapters and the themes they present with a strong dose of courage, a prodigious amount of willingness to look inward, not outward, and a steady confidence in His Spirit to empower you to follow through on these resolves, regardless of how little your spouse or others may seem compelled to follow your example." (page 4)

I found the author's voice engaging and her stories and anecdotes poignant and vivid. Her focus being on the building up and encouraging of readers to view themselves and their roles as mothers and wives in a different light--in God's light--and strives to help us "stand as a living, walking, eating, breathing example of what God's grace can do with a woman He has set apart...."

I would have liked to have seen more Scriptural parallels and analogies to drive home the message of the Bible on these particular areas. The teaching is definitely there, but it would have been good to have more Scriptural back-up. I know she was trying to keep the lessons short, which was good, but I felt it would have helped tremendously with her overall message, if she took a passage (eg: 1 Peter 2:9-10 on page 53) and explored it in relation to the message of the chapter.

It's a completely eye-opening experience to look at value, self-worth, motherhood, wifehood...all the roles that God has called us to from His perspective rather than the one society claims is right.

Concepts like submission turn into issues of love and respect, rather than abuse and domination. There is no room for abuse and domination in God's version of family and marriage, and yet many in our culture, including many Christians still hold to this definition. God's message isn't based on domination and subjugation, but on love and grace. Many Christian denominations and world religions have taught for centuries that women are second-rate citizens not worthy of anything and use Scripture to back that up--when in fact Christ sets a completely different standard.

I believe both husbands and wives should read both books (The Resolution for Men and the Resolution for Women) so that they can be firmly grounded in God's purpose for that role in their lives, and so that they can keep each other accountable. The future of our marriage and our families depend on husbands and wives who are devoted to God and to each other, and to their God-given roles and purpose.

The Resolution for Men
The Resolution for Men
by Stephen Kendrick
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 12.64
45 used & new from CDN$ 2.80

5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute MUST READ!!!, Jan. 6 2012
This review is from: The Resolution for Men (Paperback)
This is an absolute MUST READ for any Christian father, father-to-be, husband or husband-to-be -- and for every mother, mother-to-be, wife and wife-to-be. Very rarely do I get this excited about a book - and I have many on my bookshelf!

As families continue to crumble and fall and ex-life partners struggle to figure out why, it is imperative that the Church reinforce the roles of husband and wife that are very clearly laid out in the Bible and that husbands and wives take up the challenge of those roles instead of trying to define and live out their own as based on what society deems right and popular.

I would very strongly recommend that both husbands and wives read both the Resolution for Men and the Resolution for Women so that each can hold the other partner accountable for actions, inactions and ways of thinking that are not in keeping with God's ways and teachings.

Our families and children need strong fathers more than ever. Fathers/husbands that know the difference between loving and respecting and cherishing and being dominating and abusive and manipulative. Fathers, contrary to popular opinion, are integral to raising healthy, well-rounded kids, and to keeping a marriage together. When fathers negate their God-ordained role or abuse that role for purposes that God never intended, then families suffer. "A man cannot be passive about what Scripture tells him to do for his family and expect to be found faithful to God in the end." (page 3)

This is a lesson that every man, and every young man who has visions of being a husband and father in his life needs to read.

Courageous Living: Dare to Take a Stand
Courageous Living: Dare to Take a Stand
by Michael Catt
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 10.82
50 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Still worth the read, Jan. 6 2012
I was very much looking forward to reading this book. After the whoopla about Courageous the movie, I was really hoping for a strong "accompanying" book that would help me (and the target audience) dig deeper into the renewed drive for men to step up in their families and retake the family leadership role that feminism has taken from them.

Let me preface my next thoughts by saying that I come at this review not only as a reader, but as a professional editor. My day-to-day work involves analyzing, correcting, reorganizing to get the message out of the writing most effectively.

I had a hard time turning off my editorial hat for this one. My comments have nothing to do with the message of this book, more the literary presentation of it. Others have given it a 5-star rating, so obviously they enjoyed it.

Despite the chapter headings, my main criticism about this book is it seemed disorganized, disjointed and jumped from one paragraph to the next. There was very little flow to this book. It gave me the sense that it was written under pressure and not really out of inspiration. Like the writer was struggling to come up with a message for this book. I guess I expected the book to be more teaching oriented than it was, reinforcing the concepts from the movie and challenging men to take up the challenge if they hadn't seen the movie.

What I found is he seems to jump from one adage or anecdote to another and from Bible analogy to life application with no connecting language. I don't believe you have to play connect the dots with readers, but there is a way of drawing figurative lines that are obvious without being direct, and they're very effective at connecting with the reader. There were many Scripture passages or stories that could have been delved into to drive home his point, which, branched together with smoother transitions I think would have had a deeper impact.

I had a few issues with the expression of his political and doctrinal view points and name calling (bigots, racists, cowards), which could turn off many readers. There is a way to challenge people with certain viewpoints (bigots, racists) tactfully, but I found several areas of this book where the tone was outwardly offensive, as opposed to challenging; guilt-tripping and condemning instead of encouraging and compelling. God deals with everyone through grace; I didn't see any of that in this book. There is room for bluntness and telling it like it is, but to be effective it needs to be tempered with compassion and grace and backed up by Scripture. This book needed a whole lot more of this than it came with.

By the time I reached chapter 4, I was reading simply because I believed in the message and I wanted to see what other things he had to say. Chapter 4 was better, smoother. Perhaps it was the curse of the first three chapters - trying to get something written (early chapters are often rougher) and by the time you reach Chapter 4 or so, you've finally smoothed out your voice, your message, etc.

The entire intended message of this book, and the Courageous movement can be summed up in this statement from page 93: "Men are more committed to hunting, fishing, and sports than to Christ. They would never think of turning down tickets to a ball game or an invitation to a hunting trip, but they'll roll over and turn the alarm off if it's raining on Sunday morning. I don't care how old you are, you aren't a man until you take responsibility and live in accountability...If you spent as much time on your hobbies as you do on your walk with God, how good would you be at your hobbies? If you spent as much time on your walk with God as you do on your hobbies, what kind of man would you be?"

So many men today are plagued by "I'm good enough. I don't need to learn anything new. I'm good just the way I am." Women grab up Christian living books and desire to know how to become Proverbs 31 women and better wives and mothers, while trying to get a husband or father to read "How to Become a Godly Father/Husband" books is like pulling teeth. Where are the men who are courageous enough to want to learn what the Bible says about husbands and fathers, and to examine their lives and see where they need to make some changes, and then actually strive to make those challenges and hold themselves accountable to God's placement of them in their families.

This is the whole crux of the Courageous message and, like the author, I believe it is desperately needed. Men have been undervalued for so long that fathers have become unnecessary and expendable. But our families need strong, courageous men to take back the leadership role that God intended for them to have. Leadership that is respectful and understanding and involved, not domineering, abusive and disconnected.

Don't let my review of this book stop you on that journey. Perhaps you'll find something in it that will inspire and teach you.

Stuck Study Guide
Stuck Study Guide
by Jennie Allen
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
33 used & new from CDN$ 3.61

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Study!, Dec 20 2011
This review is from: Stuck Study Guide (Paperback)
So many women feel stuck in their roles in the world - mother, sister, worker, wife, girlfriend, chef, chauffeur, disciplinarian. So many things in our lives can conveniently make a good excuse for not taking a closer look at our spiritual lives, and to focus on God who can give us a whole new perspective on our lives.

In a world that tells us to focus more on ourselves and what makes us feel good, God reminds us that a life not focused on Him and focused on satisfying our sinful, selfish desires leads to "stuck-ness"; a sense that our lives mean nothing, and life itself becomes dreary and humdrum as it churns along.

Jennie Allen has written a very poignant study to help pull us out of our "stuck-ness" and into a closer relationship with God and in turn, a closer relationship with ourselves, our children and our husbands.

Stuck Study is to the heart, very personal, well-written and articulated. Allen shares a bit of herself in each lesson to help illustrate her point and she pulls no punches about her failings and how the Lord has shown her these lessons that she's passing along to us. Each lesson has 4 focused projects which help us apply the spiritual lesson to our daily lives, and allows introspection and reflection on the lesson from the Scriptures.

In general, I found this study to be challenging and I looked forward to reading the next lesson.

My only negative comment would be the glossy pages. Gloss makes for good presentation, but pen ink smears on glossy surfaces and may not work as well for those who like to use pencil.

I would highly recommend this study for individuals and for small and large groups. It is well worth the time and effort. There is simply no compromise for getting closer to God and examining our relationship with Him. The stronger our relationship with God, the more equipped we will be to be the wives, sisters, mothers, aunts, etc, that God has called us to be.

North from Calcutta
North from Calcutta
by Duane Evans
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 22.00
28 used & new from CDN$ 1.40

4.0 out of 5 stars What an incredible journey into another world., Jan. 26 2010
This review is from: North from Calcutta (Hardcover)
It takes a talented writer to take an ordinary person from North America and plunk them down in the middle of the Middle East with all their politics and belief systems. Duane Evans does that very effectively in North from Calcutta.

One of the reasons I was drawn to this book was Evans' real-life CIA experience. I knew that would add a surreal edge to this story. Through a cast of true-to-life characters, Evans takes the reader on a journey into India and a dam that if destroyed could change the balance of power in the region.

A great debut espionage thriller!

The Chameleon Conspiracy
The Chameleon Conspiracy
by Haggai Carmon
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
29 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Intricate and Intriguing, Jan. 26 2010
A tightly woven, intricate espionage thriller. I typically have issues with books written in first person, but Carmon uses it very effectively. This book is a good example of how first person should be done.

Through a cast of interesting and three-dimensional characters, Carmon takes us on a hunt for the Chameleon who has been eluding law officials from many countries. CIA agent, Dan Gordon, has been tailing the Chameleon and every time he's gotten close enough to bring the Chameleon in, something gets in his way.

Gordon's not only fighting to work with a variety of world governments without giving himself away, he's also fighting against the bureaucracy of his own government.

A good read!

Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently
Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently
by Marcus Buckingham
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 20.35
65 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed Emotions, Oct. 5 2009
Very rarely am I caught off guard by a book. Before I received a message from Thomas Nelson, as one of their book review bloggers, that this book would be made available to those who were already reading something (usually it's one at a time) I had already decided that this wasn't a book I wanted to read. I had looked through the selections available and something about the title--perhaps it's the editor in me that doesn't like the combination of "strongest" and "life"...something about that irks me...don't really know why--just didn't appeal to me. The thought that this was also written by a man and I questioned how effectively he could really relate to what women are going through also made me look for something else. Then, when this offer came up to review it when I already had a book for review, I decided why not. Perhaps it would be helpful.

I had never heard of Marcus Buckingham.

I was looking forward to a spiritually uplifting book, that would affirm what God's will was for women (after all this was publisher that specializes in this sort of thing), that would point out even through the examples he gave of women who contacted Oprah after that one show, God can still use those situations; how he pointed out to those women and shared the gospel with them. How he used examples of women in the Bible and Scriptures to validate God's view of women and how He created us and how He views us.

The points in the opening chapter were really very interesting. I was intrigued by them and agreed with them -- that women are more stressed out now with all the choices. That "women's lib" for all it's whoopla really hasn't improved life that much for women. We're often too stressed out running from one thing to the other that we can't enjoy life anymore. It's been so ingrained in us that we have to work to be happy...when that's not necessarily true for everyone.

But as I read through the introduction and the first couple of chapters it occurred to me there was no mention about the Christian experience. What advantages Christian women have over non-Christian women. I can't imagine what it would be like to go through all that I am without having a relationship in Christ. That's what I expected to see.

Perhaps it was because this book was written by a man and from a man's perspective. It's impossible to completely get into a woman's psyche from a male vantage point. Women are very much emotional creatures and I found this book too analytical and not emotional enough. The only time I found my emotions engaged was reading the quotes from those women who contacted Oprah.

This is not a book I would highly recommend, though I can't say I wouldn't recommend it at all. As demonstrated by the number of higher reviews, there were some people who liked it. But it is not a book will be recommending for our church library. As a spiritual resource for busy moms and women, it was highly disappointing.

Gauntlet: A Novel of International Intrique
Gauntlet: A Novel of International Intrique
by Richard Aaron
Edition: Hardcover
22 used & new from CDN$ 2.05

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blockbuster!, Sept. 15 2009
With realistic, three-dimensional characters and a dynamic, completely plausible blockbuster plot worthy of today's headlines, Richard Aaron has brought himself screaming into the writing world with this debut thriller - the first of a planned series.

Gauntlet features a main character who is diagnosed with autism and shows us the inner world of a person trying to make a living and a life for himself and the struggles associated with societal misunderstanding of the condition.

But they need Hamilton Turbee's uncanny intellect and computer-like mind to stop a terrorist attack. Security forces from Canada and the US combine for an international espionage/terrorist plot that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

Rarely does a debut author create such a stir. Rarely does a debut author get me so excited over a book. Rarely does an author (debut or not) get five stars out of me. To my recollection I have only ever given 5 stars to one other fiction writer - and it wasn't his debut.

Looking forward to the next release!

Behind the Mask...No More: A Phantom Stars' Journey Through Love, Abuse, Fame, Loss to Re-invention
Behind the Mask...No More: A Phantom Stars' Journey Through Love, Abuse, Fame, Loss to Re-invention
by Byron Nease
Edition: Paperback
13 used & new from CDN$ 21.60

4.0 out of 5 stars Revealed, Sept. 15 2009
Revealed

What a poignant and down-to-earth account of what goes on back stage in an actor's life.

For those of us that watch musicals and movies everything seems glittery and wonderful, but we can never truly understand the work that it took to put such a production together or the struggles of the actors in a very unforgiving industry.

Byron Nease had to overcome a dysfunctional family, an "unacceptable" sexual orientation, and AIDS to make a life for himself on stage. Most will remember him in his role as The Phantom.

It is always intriguing to learn about what an actor carries behind the mask we see on stage or on television.

I found Nease's account stirring and challenging to break down stereotypes and perceptions and realize there's more to a person's life than what you see on stage.

Thank you for sharing your life with us.

The Whittaker Family Reunion
The Whittaker Family Reunion
by Shirley A. Roe
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 17.92
15 used & new from CDN$ 7.41

3.0 out of 5 stars Blood is thicker...?, Sept. 15 2009
Shirley Roe has crafted an intricate follow-up story to the introductory Martha Whittaker story. This book has intrigue and conflict that you would never suspect would happen in a family.

Martha's three sons are all grown now and trying live on without the memory of their dead abusive father until a mysterious stranger shows up at a wedding and things turn nasty as they realize their father still has a hold on their lives.

Looking forward to the next installment!

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