Archive for the ‘Non Fiction’ Category
Review Summary: To say Bryan Clay was an angry troubled child would be an understatement. From elementary school he was a fighter and a rebel and not to give too much away, he was a rebel without a cause until his junior year of college. Throughout his story Bryan is honest about his faults, even after he decides to turns his heart to God. Although, at times the story gets into the mechanics of track and field and particularly the decathlon, however, Clay always brings the focus back to how God worked in his life.
This is an encouraging story God’s faithfulness, and I found myself more than once tearing up because of the different situations that Bryan shares about his experiences. My favorite line in this book is:
“…I do not expect you to be perfect. I just expect you to do your best. I’ll make it good enough.”
Digging Deeper: Having worked at Azusa Pacific for over 25 years I am familiar with Bryan Clay the athlete and was excited at the opportunity to review this book for Thomas Nelson. I haven’t willingly read many autobiographies and I was a little skeptical. This book was so much more than I expected and I’m really glad I made the choice to read this book.
As Bryan tells his story he not only tells the dark side of his life, but he shares about the people who have made an impact on his life. The people who loved him unconditionally but did not allow him to settle. Bryan’s story reminded me that we should not be afraid to invest in a child’s life, even those “problem” children. We never know what God’s plan is for that child.
This book does look in depth on the training and participation of the decathlon which if you’re not a fan those sections might get a little long. But even if you are not a fan you have to admire what these men do in preparation for this event and how grueling a competition is not only physically but mentally. I finished the book with a new respect for these athletes.
The greatest strength of this book is the honesty that Bryan shares. He didn’t commit his life to God one day and win a gold medal the next. He still faced adversity and struggled with doubts in himself and God. This book is not preachy, but Bryan shares his faith and his heart.
Give Away: I’m giving away my copy of this book. Leave a comment including the state you’re from to be entered. I’ll pick a winner next Sunday night, May 13 at 9:00PM PDT.
Here’s a picture I took of Bryan throwing the javelin at the Bryan Clay Invitational Track at Azusa Pacific University meet April 2012. It was amazing to see the difference in his throws compared to those of collegiate athletes. Unfortunately, this was the only event he was in that I got to shoot.
|More Beauty, Less Beast: Transforming Your Inner Ogre
By Debora Coty / Barbour Publishing
If you ever wrestle with that out-of-control inner ogre that threatens to destroy the divinely beautiful princess hidden within, this witty and wise book is for you. With simple, practical tips for taming that nasty, unsightly beast, you’ll discover how to transform its unattractive snarl into inner and outer beauty – refashioned, revitalized, and renewed.
Review Summary: Let me just start by saying I found this book both funny and encouraging. And overall, I could related to what the author was saying. I’m not a typical girly girl that gets excited about purses and shoes. So some of her examples leave me rolling my eyes. However, when she got to the third section where she broke down the fruit of the Spirit she really got me. She did a great job of driving home key points that I believe scripture is trying to teach us. This would be a great book for personal devotion and I think it would be a kick to use as a Bible study.
Digging Deeper: As I said the first section was tough for me, in that, I’m not a typical woman, growing up on a farm with no brothers I was expected to work hard feeding cattle and hauling wood. But I the first section titled “Outer Beauty” the author looks at many of the traps that ensnare women, such as judging by appearances or Maturing Gratefully. Each chapter begins with verses of encouragement and ends with suggestions on how to tame the beast that lives within so many of us.
The second section the author moves from the outer beauty to the inner beauty. And really hits hard the crux of the matter that in the big picture it’s the inside that really matters to God. Here she deals with overcoming adversities in our lives as well as dealing with our self-esteem and guilt that we women tend to carry.
In the section she refers to as the undergarments is the fruit of the Spirit working in our lives. And thankfully she equates God’s fruits to fruits we recognize not pieces of underwear! Yes, I realize as I’m sure the author does that Galatians says the Fruit of the Spirit, not fruits, but I feel that she through scripture leads in God pleasing growth.
Finally in section four, she reminds us of the importance of making a difference in our world. She through the eight chapters will make you cry and laugh, but even more importantly think. How can I make a difference in the world around me.
The only potential downside to using this book as a Bible study is the fact there are 34 chapters. However, the chapters are short and at times you could probably cover two chapters a week. However, if you don’t mind an extended time I could see how this book could enrich the lives of a group of women drawing them closer to God and each other.
If you would like to learn more about Debora check out her website
Disclaimer: I want to thank the publisher for the opportunity to review this book. The only obligation I was under was to give my honest feelings about the book.
|The Ultimate Prescription: What the Medical Profession Isn’t Telling You
By Dr. James L. Marcum, M.D., with Charles Mills / Tyndale House
How does God become part of the healing process? What’s the truth about health care? Answering these questions and more from a biblical viewpoint, cardiologist Marcum explains what he believes is wrong with our current health care system; how to get back on track; how the spiritual dimension of our well-being is often ignored; and more. 225 pages, softcover from Tyndale.
My Review: This book made me think a lot about my health and how I live. Dr. Marcum using the Creation story to identify key elements in our lives. Everything from the importance of drinking water to our need for a healthy amount of sunlight. Throughout the book he points to a single source, our Creator God. Using examples of life in the Garden of Eden he drives home that as Americans we eat too much processed foods, fats, and we don’t drink nearly enough water.
There is a lot of practical advice in this book. Things that I want to apply to my life, however, there were some things that I struggled with or maybe would like more information. Although, the author never came out and said don’t eat meat, there was definitely an underlying message. I would have liked to see him take into consideration the dietary restrictions provided in the Law or even look at what the dietary habits of Jesus’ day were.
If you are looking for a book with practical ideas on how to improve your health this is a good book to read. As a cardiologist, Dr. Marcum sees on a regular basis what our dietary habits of today do to the human body.
I received this book from the publisher but am under no obligation other than to give my honest opinion.
Give Away: I’m giving away the copy I received from the publisher. It’s still in great condition. Fill out the form below and I’ll pick a winner on January 15, 2012 at 9:00 PM PST.