July / August 2009 Book & Media Reviews

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380510: Finding Grace: a True Story About Losing Your Way in Life...And Finding it Again Finding Grace: a True Story About Losing Your Way in Life…And Finding it Again

Finding Grace: A Memoir
Donna VanLiere, St Martin’s Press
Reviewed by Kellie Renfroe
Readers will recognize New York Times bestseller Donna VanLiere from her previous five books including best-selling Christmas Shoes and The Angels of Morgan Hill. Her newest release broaches subjects that were once demons in her life–molestation, miscarriages, and infertility.

Violated as a child, VanLiere carried her secret into adulthood blaming herself and undermining her own faith and trust in God.  Her desire to be a mother and the devastation of miscarriages and infertility results in her aiblity to speak to the heartache of many women. What sets Donna’s story apart is her desire to follow God,  and to experience His grace and mercy even when she did not recognize it. She exemplifies the beauty of God’s redemption in her life.

Discussing not one, but three gut-wrenching subjects could pull the book’s tone and purpose down, but VanLiere beautifully weaves grace through the pages. It is a happy tear-jerker as in the poignant account of her adoption of children from China. I found myself having to put the book down at several points to both cry and meditate on God’s glorious grace.

The power of Finding Grace is VanLiere’s honesty in not leaving out her struggle with God over the years. She does not hold back her admission of asking the hard questions of Him–why and where were you? She goes on to testify to the power of God’s grace in her life and how she now knows He was with her all along the way. She shares, “although much of the book will be my story, I hope it will remind the reader of grace or help them to discover what it is.”

It is a good book to read this summer whether you have experienced the same hardships as VanLiere or not. The overall theme of grace is a beautiful subject that everyone can relate to.

174706: A Home School Vision of Victory Audio CD A Home School Vision of Victory Audio CD

A Home School Vision of Victory

Douglas W. Phillips, Vision Forum Audio
Reviewed by Kellie Renfroe

Recorded at a homeschool gathering, Phillips urges parents to rise up and return to Biblical foundations to restore their families and America. While obviously given to inspire homeschool couples, the basic message of taking seriously God’s commandment to teach and train our children is good for all. I was especially impressed with Phillips’ straight talk to both mom and dad. While most homeschool teaching is done by mom, Phillips stresses the importance of an involved father in the life of his children and how he can be both provider and teacher.

455415: Passionate Housewives Desperate for God: Fresh Vision for the Hopeful Homemaker

Passionate Housewives
Desperate for God
Jennie Chancy and Stacy McDonald
(Vision Forum, 2007)
Reviewed by Molly Evert

This book is a breath of fresh air for the woman who wants to embrace her calling to serve God with zeal in her home.  Every day the media and our culture bombard us with lies, telling us that a woman can only find true happiness when she lives to please herself.  God calls His daughters to a different standard, and blesses them abundantly as they die to self for His glory.

585633: The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

The Duggars: 20 and Counting!
Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar
(Howard Books, 234 pages)

Reviewed by Kellie Renfroe
I enjoy reading Christian biographies / autobiographies, but usually those books are of saints long since passed. Reading the testimony of a modern-day family going against the flow (they do have 18 children!) was intriguing. Their humbleness and dependence on God for all areas of life is a theme carried throughout the book. Filled with photos, family-favorite recipes, and my favorite–practical parenting tips–it is a book I will be revisiting. Just because you may not have as many children as the Duggars, don’t think this book would not be for you. If you are newly married or a mom of any number of children, there is plenty to glean. Michelle and Jim Bob share how they decided early on in marriage to depend on God and live debt-free, which they have done for over 20 years. Practical issues such as chores, schooling, cleaning, and finances are also addressed.


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