Book Reviews, Second Blog Birthday, and Giveaway

This summer, due to mental and emotional weariness, I didn’t read my normal volume of books. But among the ones I read were some excellent books that I would like to recommend to you.

The first two on my list were part of my current journey of trying to understand racial issues better, trying to break out of my sheltered, white-American ignorance.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi is a raw, gripping book about human trafficking among the Africans. Sometimes while reading this book, I was nearly overcome with sadness and had to put the book down for a minute. Due to sexual content, I do not recommend this book for young readers. 

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore is a touching story of a rich, privileged white art dealer, a gutsy woman, and a dignified but homeless black man, and the unusual friendship they forged. An excellent, engaging read.

In Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman, Britt-Marie, an elderly woman who feels like she lost herself, arms herself with baking soda and finds new purpose in a dumpy little town. She unwillingly coaches soccer for a rag-tag team while trying to process what went wrong with her marriage. The book ends with a surprising and refreshing twist.

I cried through The Hawk and the Dove Trilogy by Penelope Wilcock, and I don’t know how much of it was my emotional weariness and how much was the story, but probably some of both. This is the tale of a young girl who asks her mother questions, and in reply, her mother tells her daughter stories of a group of monks searching for meaning, and how they struggled to grow spiritually.

A deeply touching and tender book, When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a neurosurgeon’s story of his own journey with cancer and mortality. This book is unusually well-written–it is intelligent and pensive, with a poetic cadence that makes it a delight to read.

A sweet friend gave me Falling Free by Shannan Martin, and the first pages surprised me at the resemblance to my own story! The book talks about giving up a sweet country home to move into town, welcoming a raggedy and wonderful assortment of kids around the kitchen table, and discarding the American dream to fall free with Jesus. Falling Free is an easy-to-read but challenging and nourishing book.

I just got King Jesus Claims His Church by Finny Kuruvilla in the mail so I haven’t read all of it yet, but I’m impressed with what I have read. It presents a bold and apostolic vision for the church. I can tell already that I will refer to the book from time to time, and even though I haven’t reached all the same conclusions as Kuruvilla, I appreciate his thoughtful, reasoned tone. His beliefs are based on a careful study of both Scripture and early Church history. King Jesus Claims His Church is a book worth adding to your library.

Since this is my second blog birthday, and I typically do a giveaway to celebrate, I am going to give away a book of your choice! Well, almost. The winner will get to select a book from this list or from one of the other book review lists I have written.

I’m also giving away two $5 Amazon gift cards, so that I can spread the joy around a little farther! If you win one of these, you can buy your own book using a gift card to reduce the price!

Two years of writing, and I’m not so unselfish that I wouldn’t secretly like to hear from you if this blog has been any good to you. But I write for Jesus, and I want this blog to honor Him. So, to enter the giveaway, you need to answer at least one of these questions:

  1. How has God has met a need for you recently?
  2. If Jesus came to your house in person today, what would you like to ask him?
  3. When do you find it easiest and/or hardest to listen to the Holy Spirit?

Giveaway will close on Saturday, September 23 at 11:59 pm.

If you are interested in starting your own blog, it’s not hard to do. Writing takes a lot of time, but I enjoy writing out things that I’ve kept inside my heart and mind for so long. Want to begin? You can do so here. Please feel free to ask me questions if you need some help along the way.

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and order a book from Amazon, I will earn a few pennies from your purchase.


23 thoughts on “Book Reviews, Second Blog Birthday, and Giveaway

  1. I don’t know how recent this met need should be, but God has gifted us with a little church in the sticks of Alvarado. An incredible, dynamic, New Testament church. And as a result, things have been changing in our lives…more than I could ask or imagine. 💙

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa

    God meets my need….
    “The joy of the Lord is your strength. ”
    Through relationship difficulties, I have tears running down my cheeks but can also have the joy of the Lord in my heart. I will choose to embrace the pain as well as the joy.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I would like to ask Jesus whether I am really, truly impacting people’s lives; an impact that touches them with Jesus’ love. Are the choices I’m
    making today really ones that will last for the future?
    Thank you for writing! I’ve only recently started following you and the heart behind your writing resonates deeply with mine. I do wish I’d blog but my current state of procrastination hasn’t allowed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Susanna Shuey

    For me, God has met a need that would seem insignificant to some. But to me, it was very personally important. It had to do with a sick animal that did not belong to me, but that I began to care for.

    He spoke to me through that little animal and showed me that He is all. He was, is and will be ALL.


  5. I would love to enter into the give-away, and so as far as the questions…. a need God has met recently is He has blessed us with finding a car… You see, we had looked and looked but never found one we liked and that was within our price range. Just the other week we found one! God is so good- all the time! (it’s not just because we finally found a car either!!!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dorcas M

    When presented with the opportunity to adopt our 3rd child in 2 1/2 years, we almost didn’t because of the financial aspect. However we felt very clearly that we were to say yes to this baby, who is 3 months old tomorrow, and we are within 2K of paying off his adoption. A miracle it is, and one more reminder of the abundance available to us in God’s kingdom, and not just in the financial category either. I really enjoy your blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ruth Anna

    Let’s just say I would like to answer #2 but it would be far too personal….:/ so I will answer #1. One evening I was feeling a bit discouraged that the world is SO broken….and I came home and opened my frig door. There I found a gift from my secret friend….yogurt, granola, maple syrup, and fruit. It felt like Jesus was showing me that he does care about the pain I was feeling.

    And oh boy, would I EVER like to win a book! =)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Victoria Miller

    I’m going to attempt to answer the last one because no one else has. 😀 I find it hard to listen when I simply don’t want to listen. And a lot of times when I don’t want to listen, it’s out of fear. I’m afraid of what he might say and that I won’t like it. But the Holy Spirit is not one to be afraid of. Instead he is a welcoming, empowering, enlightening person who really is willing to speak to me when I just allow him to. Sometimes I desperately try to make him speak to me. That doesn’t work either. But on a day to day, moment by moment level, as I simply trust and am willing to listen, he speaks to me in all sorts of ways in all sorts of circumstances and that is truly beautiful. It gives my soul rest to just know he is there, always willing to teach and lead and guide and to affirm that I am in Christ and Christ is in me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. EG

      I connected with this, my thoughts were close to this… It is probably most difficult for me to hear what Jesus is saying when I don’t want to (or am not sure I want to/will) obey. Also somehow it is easier to hear when I’m living in an open sort of expectant and freeing fellowship with Him, not so much even “trying” really hard to hear. Sometimes when I really try it makes it all so confusing. I love Jesus, I love how Jesus speaks through your writings, and I love you! 😀


  9. God often meets the needs of my heart through my sensitive and very perceptive sister. When I am struggling with something she knows the right questions to ask to get to the root of it and help me find freedom. And now I’m learning to ask the right questions as well, so that I can understand what is really going on in my heart.
    Thank you for writing, Rosina. You do it well, and your perspective is refreshing, thought-provoking, and sometimes convicting. Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have struggled with feeling disconnected from our church family (we’ve spent almost half of our 6 years of marriage outside of our community with schooling) and have been praying for a deeper experience of brotherhood and friendship. Yesterday a friend gave me a little package of biscotti. It was a tangible affirmation that my Father cares about my heart needs.


  11. God met my need for encouragement after a rough night with sick children through the gift of biscotti from a friend, a blog post about pressing in to motherhood, and His Spirit’s gentle reminder that difficult seasons are one of His means of sanctifying me.
    Also, I’d love to win one of these books!


  12. Elisabeth

    It is doubtlessly hardest to hear God when my own heart is contaminated with even a bit of pride. I just finished your previous blog post and it was convicting because I know i stand over people even as i myself writhe underneath those who stand over us. Pride is so disastrous, truly the mother of all sins. There are lots of bible verses to prove to myself that yes, a prideful heart cannot hear God, and thus cannot bless others.
    Your blog has really been one of my favorites. I love the real way you grapple with life without making it black&white. You have often nuanced things for me in a very helpful way. I have forwarded three or more posts to my dad and read some to my husband and that means they are a worthy read 😉 i like that you write intelligently. Thank you for writing and I hope you will keep it up. I don’t know you, but I feel like I do a little… I grew up (in Europe) listening to your family’s CD that was given to us by missionaries. I often wondered about the story behind the smiling faces.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Margretta

    Hi Rosina,
    I enjoy reading your blog.
    I find it hardest to listen to the Holy Spirit when He is asking me to do something that requires dying to the flesh. . I just recently read that self-pity and God’s power can not both be present at the same time. Too often I have chosen to keep feeling sorry for myself and then I wonder ‘why couldn’t I experience God’s power’. So I I think that was God supplying a need in my life by bringing me that answer to one of my struggles. thanks for writing! blessings to you! Margretta

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Lynnae

    Hi Rosina,
    I have recently found your blog and am enjoying it very much!
    I would absolutely love to win a book!
    I find it hardest to listen to the Spirit when He asks me to do something that might damage my reputation or make me look stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. janice

    I find that the biggest hindrance to me hearing the Spirit of God in this season of life is busyness.
    I need to intentionally be still and listen and take time to commune with God. As a pastors wife, a mother of 7 with varying ages and needs, and many important things needing done, I need so much wisdom from God, yet the good becomes the enemy of the best!

    Liked by 1 person

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