--Ruthless Trust by Brennan Manning
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
I'm not quite sure how to review this book but to say that I am thankful for the encouragement it has brought me to continue to trust God in the midst of struggles, refusing to believe that I can only trust Him when I am happy and things are going the way I want but remembering that the root of joy is thankfulness.
As he describes courageous and risky trust, Manning quotes Henri Nouwen, "....As long as we keep dividing our lives between events and people we would like to remember and those we would rather forget, we cannot claim the fullness of our beings as a gift of God to be grateful for. Let's not be afraid to look at everything that has brought us to where we are now and trust that we will soon see in it the guiding hand of a loving God." I am reminded of Psalm 107:1 "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, His love is everlasting." Irenaeus, a disciple of the apostle John, states that "the glory of God is the human being fully alive, and the life of the human consists in beholding God."
-- My Time In Heaven by Richard Sigmund
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
I have recently read this account of a near death experience (actually the author was clinically dead for 8 hours after a fatal car accident). I was moved by the detail with which the author described his beautiful experience in the peace of heaven and in the presence of Christ and God. He believed God spared his life to share this account with others and eventually wrote this book at the encouragement of many with whom he has shared his experience with. This book deeply encouraged me by helping me experience and understand more clearly the reality of the depth of God's love for each of us and the desire he has for us to experience peace and joy with him.
I have since been inspired to read of other near death experiences. Though not as detailed as Sigmund's, the account by Dr. Mary Neal, an orthopedic surgeon's experience in heaven while drowning from a kayaking accident, entitled To Heaven and Back, is also a good read. I hope to read next an account of a young boy's experience in heaven, entitled Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back.
--Beautiful Girl: Celebrating the Wonders of Your Body by Christiane Northrup, MD
Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)
By the author of New York Times Best Seller, Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom, Northrup has written a beautifully illustrated short and simple children's book that will be loved by women of all ages. Teaching girls that they are special and unique without devaluing boys, girls learn to protect and care for their bodies and to embrace all the stages of life to come instead of fearing the changes that can be difficult during puberty and growing up in general.
--The Looneyspoon's Collection by Janet and Greta Podleski
Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
The Looneyspoon's collection is a fun cookbook with over 325 different recipes, approximately half of which are accompanied by a photograph. I am the type that often doesn't follow a recipe in full but uses cookbooks to get ideas. There are many diverse recipes here to choose from organized in various categories such as: Appetizers, Soups, Baked Goods, Fish etc. Each recipe includes the nutritional data which includes the quantity of: calories, total fat, saturated fat, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, cholesterol and sodium. There are nutritional and health facts scattered amongst the recipes often pertaining to a particular ingredient used in the recipe or just to inspire exercise or other health-related endeavors.
As the "Looney" title suggests, Greta and Janet seemed to have a great time thinking of silly and cheesy names for their recipes (all of which are followed by a more standard and direct title for those who do not want to interpret) and scattering light-hearted and fun humor throughout the cook book. What I like best about this cookbook is the quantity and diversity recipes with easy to find ingredients, that can be easily altered for whatever reason..great place to go when looking for ideas or an actual recipe.
As a naturopathic physician committed to nutrition and health, I was disappointed to see some ingredients that were processed or not whole foods and for which a healthier substitute could have been used...such as ketchup (which contains high fructose corn syrup), low fat mayonaise and yogurt, frozen vegetables. It would have been great to include recipes for some of these condiments and ingredients as they can be homemade without the preservatives, MSG, corn syrup etc. On the bright side, healthy sources of these ingredients can be found at some co-ops and in some healthy food sections.
Overall, although this cookbook may not be not for everyone, it is a good place to start for some, especially if you are comfortable knowing how to look out for unhealthy processed ingredients and substituting for them or just looking for a good variety of ideas. For those who are new to understanding nutrition, healthy eating and are trying to move away from fad-diets, this cookbook could really help get some delicious and balanced meals into the home...and have fun while you are at it.