Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Healing Power of Essential Oils by Dr. Eric Zielinski, D.C.


I have a friend who uses essential oils to promote health. I have another who eschews medical use and will only use essential oils for cleaning. I have a family member who believes in bleach, chemicals, and antibiotics. If you do an internet search on essential oils, there's an insane amount of information, and it's frequently conflicting.

Enter The Healing Power of Essential Oils by Eric Zielinski, D.C. In this book, Dr. Zielinski, who is a health researcher and aromatherapist, begins to disentangle the truth, half-truth, propaganda, and nonsense that can surround the use of essential oils. In my opinion, he's more evidence-based than what is normally found in the blogsphere or essential oil Facebook groups. He's also quick to state that in some oils, there just hasn't been a lot of research or there is still more research needed.

This book covers numerous topics: fundamentals of aromatherapy, using essential oils safely, how to start off, house cleaning with essential oils, basic essential oil recipes for wellness, more advanced recipes for specific physical issues with an emphasis on women's health, and more! It took me a few weeks to read through this book and I was bit overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information, including a few parts that were very scientific. That being said, Dr. Z's approach is to start with what you can. No, you can't completely change everything all at once. Integrate what you can and add more as you learn.

And I did learn a lot in the book! Overall, it's very understandable and Dr. Z lays down the safety issues and basic procedures at the very beginning. He also repeats that you should listen to you body, discontinue use if something seems off, and that we all have biological differences stemming from gender, race, family history, etc... therefore, what works great for one person may only give moderate relief to someone else.

So, did this book convert me to essential oils? Maybe. It's definitely opened my mind up to them and exposed some harmful substances I wasn't aware of. (example: toxicity of hand sanitizer) I do plan to start small and give some of this a try. I will keep The Healing Power of Essential Oils by Eric Zielinski, D.C. on my bookshelf for future reference.

One last note: Dr. Z. is a proponent of Biblical health and mentions prayer and Biblical health guidelines throughout the book. If you are uncomfortable with that, this book may not be for you.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren


Lady Keturah Banning Tomlinson is the oldest of the Banning sisters and determined to provide for them after the death of her father, a sugar baron in the West Indies. Her childhood friend, Gray Covington, also intends to cross the Atlantic and rebuild his father's plantation on Nevis, conveniently located near Keturah's inheritance. However, in the years since their childhood friendship, Keturah has suffered greatly at the hands of a man and has no intention of being beholden to one. Ever. Still, Keturah and her sisters are unaware of all that awaits them on Nevis and Gray seems to be her only option for an ally. Will Keturah and Gray ever share more than adjacent land and crops? Can Keturah accept healing from the one who knows her in the depth of her soul? Read more in Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren.

Keturah is the first novel in The Sugar Baron's Daughters series by Lisa T. Bergren. The story line caught my attention nearly as quickly as the novel's stunning cover did. The gentle love story between Keturah and Gray ebbed and flowed as circumstances, perhaps Providence, led them toward a joint future. However, between all the topics addressed in the novel (status of women, infidelity, slavery, domestic abuse, etc.) and the overarching question of how Keturah's endeavor will turn out, the love story felt less prevalent than I would have liked. But that's just my personal taste.

Overall, Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren is a good read, but I'm not sure if I will read this again. Readers looking for a tale with a strong female protagonist pitted against unexpected odds will enjoy this book.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

CSB Kid's Bible



I choose the CSB Kid's Bible for my daughter because it uses the text of the Holman Publisher's Christian Standard Bible, which I've heard very good things about. This Bible includes the full Biblical text and 40 full-color pages with study helps and maps. These include things like: Studying your Bible, a topical page for common life situations, and information about divisions of the Bible. There are also pages to develop Bible reading skills and testing Bible character knowledge. The introduction includes information on the translation philosphy of the CSB, gender language use in this translation, how to use footnotes, etc. This well-made, hardcover Bible seems durable and the full-color pages are vibrant and inviting.

My five year old daughter was immediately interested by this Bible. However, she's still learning to read and can't read it all on her own. She and I read portions of it together and talk about what we read. However, I think this Bible is probably suited for older children, tweens, and teens. I'll read it to her for now and in a few years I'll hand it over to her completely.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Talking About God by Steve and Cheri Saccone


Talking About God: Honest Conversations About Spirituality by Steve and Cheri Saccone teaches readers through observation, rather than directives, how to talk about God and share the Good News with people around them.

Talking About God is not the typical book about evangelism or how to lead someone to salvation. The book begins with a prologue, is filled with lengthy conversations the Saccones have had with friends, and concludes with some notes in the afterward. At first, I merely observed the conversations, but by the time I read through a few, I began to glean nuggets of wisdom out of each conversation. One nugget example: We are partnering with God when we reach out to people with the message of salvation. It's too easy for me to think that if I just say the words perfectly, things will work out and I will get them to be saved – as if I have control over anyone else's salvation... No, God prepares others and then brings us in and partners with us for the benefit of ourselves and the other person. Also, another nugget: Prayer laced through the conversations.

As I previously mentioned, most of the book consists of the reader observing, rather than being directly instructed. However, the prologue and afterward do give some pointers. In fact, there is an intensive, almost overwhelming, over-two-pages-long list of Do's and Don'ts in the prologue. Fortunately, it's not required to memorize these as most of them fall under: (1) Engaging people who need to come to know God. (2) Treating the person with respect and dignity even when they may not agree with us. (3) Being emotionally honest.

Talking About God by Steve Saccone and Cheri Saccone offers readers a different perspective than most books I've read on this subject. I found the book encouraging because the authors share their nervousness, insecurities, even occasional missteps and how God can use imperfect people to share the Good News of salvation. I think this book best fits with people who want to reach out to their friends, co-workers, and acquaintances who don't know God. It doesn't really address family members and the extra issues that can go along with that.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Promise of Breeze Hill... for free!

Several months ago I received The Promise of Breeze Hill by Pam Hillman as a reward from Tyndale Publishers' My Reader Rewards Club.  


This novel sat in my TBR box for quite awhile because Pam Hillman was a new author to me and I had other things to read by authors I already loved.  However, I finally got a chance to read it today and it was amazing!  It's now sitting in its permanent space on my bookshelf.

So, I wanted to share how I got this wonderful novel for free!  My Reader Rewards Club is the successor of the Tyndale Rewards program. It offers several ways to earn points and then the points can be redeemed for free books -- and they ship for free, too! 

One thing I really like is that you do not have to have a huge amount of points to get a good book. They have very reasonable points requirements and I've had only good experiences with this program.

So, go sign up today and start earning free books!

Friday, February 9, 2018

The 365-Day Storybook Bible

The 365-Day Storybook Bible from B&H Publishing is a padded hardcover Bible story book of substantial length. It does not adhere to any particular version of the Bible (KJV, NIV, etc...) Rather, it is written to summarize the Bible story in words easily understood by children. Many Bible stories are covered in this book, including much of the book of Acts. However, Revelation is not included.

So, as soon as I opened the package containing The 365-Day Storybook Bible, my five year old grabbed it and proceeded to look through it for an extended time. She was able to identify certain Bible stories simply by the illustrations and asked about others. Over the past week, she's picked it up almost every day to look at the pictures. She likes it a lot, probably more than I do.

And speaking of the illustrations, The 365-Day Storybook Bible is good at engaging through colorful, mostly well-done illustrations. However, some of the illustrations are unpleasant – particularily page 206 where it shows Saul committing suicide by stabbing himself with his sword.... I kinda wish they had left that particular story out. Granted, I know it is part of the Bible, but not necessarily appropriate for young children... Also, I never pictured King David with blonde hair...

My daughter and I have enjoyed reading these stories so far. The story and illustrations are interesting to her. If you want the storytime to last the five minutes that the cover advertises, you'll have to come up with some questions and discussion topics on your own because the narrative provided takes two minutes or less to read. The “parent connection” is one page in the back of the book, not something integrated with each story.

I recommend The 365-Day Storybook Bible to parents of children between 5-9 years of age. Its' a sturdy, colorful book that teaches stories from the Bible. However, I don't think it's appropriate for younger children. The illustrations can be bit graphic and some of the more gritty Bible stories are included: Joseph & Potiphar's Wife, David & Bathsheba, Saul's suicide, (Abraham, Hagar, and Ishmael are noticeable absent.) My two year would listen and not ask questions about how Bathsheba had David's baby, but my five year old is inquisitive and these stories have enough detail to prompt further questions. If you aren't comfortable with that, you'd have to somehow skip the pages.

Overall, this is not the best book of Bible stories I've seen, nor is it the worst. Seems to fall somewhere in the middle, but my five year old does really like it and that counts for something.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

My Francine Rivers Shelf...

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Yes, one entire shelf of my bookcase is dedicated to Francine Rivers' books.  See the one in the middle, The Masterpiece?  It releases today and I highly recommend it to anyone!