REVIEW: Think & Eat Yourself Smart by Dr. Caroline Leaf

Think and Eat Yourself Smart: A Neuroscientific Approach to a Sharper Mind and Healthier Life” by Dr. Caroline Leaf

Dr. Caroline Leaf specializes in studying the mind (neuroscience & neuropsychology). This book talks about how important mindset is to our health and, specifically, our eating.

A lot of this book talks about how most of what we eat, these days, is food-like products, and not actually “food” in the natural sense.

There are chapters about emotions, gluten, sugar, and brain scans. There are also 21 recipes included at the back of the book, to give you a “kick start” in returning to a more natural way of eating.

My favorite takeaway from the book was that, while the common wisdom states that it takes 21 days to form a habit, this is only part of the habit-formation process. It actually takes 63 days to form a habit: the first 21 days is where you start carving new (neural) pathways in your brain, and the following 42 days are needed to cement the new habit.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It requires a medium amount of brain-power, but is well worth the read.

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This book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

REVIEW: Unparalleled by Jared C. Wilson

 “Unparalleled: How Christianity’s Uniqueness Makes It Compelling” by Jared C. Wilson

Jared’s book is a light look at apologetics: making the case for why the Christian life, or life with Jesus, is completely unparalleled compared to other religions. He even touches on the differences between Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

While the book is well-written and includes enough personal experience stories to keep it interesting, I really didn’t feel that this book was for me. It would be better suited to those who have questions about faith, or those who are curious what the differences are between some of the world’s major religions.

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I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Baker Books.

REVIEW: Good, or God by John Bevere

 “Good or God?: Why Good Without God Isn’t Enough by John Bevere

John Bevere doesn’t mince words. In “Good, or God?“, he shares the hard truth that what we consider to be “good” is often vastly different from what God would say is “good”.

John touches on topics such as God’s best for us, the devil’s strategies, focus, the lordship of Jesus, obedience, desires, our defaults, holiness, and so much more.

Some of John’s theology I disagree with (eg. it seems he believes you can still end up in hell due to your actions, even if you’ve already accepted God’s gift of salvation). However, overall, this book had a lot of excellent points, and very important reminders. I definitely recommend it.

 

REVIEW: The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren

The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren

(Including insights from Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and Dr. Mark Hyman)

Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends are the plan of this book. I loved the majority of what was written here, except for the recommendation to cut out all sugar.

Otherwise, the book talks about how to eat according to your hunger signals (of which I’m a big fan), and about how to put God first in your journey towards health. It then goes on to talk about how to incorporate fitness, renew your focus, and find support for your new, healthy lifestyle.

There are several recipes included in the back of the book, but you can also get The Daniel Plan Cookbook, if you want more.

I enjoyed this book.

 

REVIEW: Jesus Feminist by Sarah Bessey

Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible’s View of Women by Sarah Bessey

Sarah writes in a very down-to-earth way. She even starts out the book by setting the scene: a bonfire on the beach, under the stars. Here, she wants to discuss what it means to be a “Jesus Feminist“.

When people hear the term “feminist”, they automatically think man-bashing, and going braless, and that sort of thing. But that isn’t what Sarah means. For her, a Jesus Feminist is simply one who considers men and women to be equals, even in God’s eyes.

Sarah writes about how it is actually Biblical to view men and women as equal partners — neither one being “lord” over the other. And yes, this view kind of flies in the face of what many Evangelicals have been taught (with the man as the “leader” of the home). I love Sarah’s stance on this, though… and she does a good job of backing up what she says with Scripture.

Somewhat controversial, yes. But, definitely a recommended read.

NOTE: Read more about Egalitarian marriage on Sarah’s site. She has pulled together a bunch of resources for those who want to pursue this further.

 

REVIEW: F.I.T: Faith Inspired Transformation by Kim Dolan Leto

F.I.T.: Faith Inspired Transformation by Kim Dolan Leto

Another book that I chose to use for my personal Bible study, as the focus of Kim’s book is to make God the center of your healthy lifestyle journey.

I got a LOT out of this book! It was super-helpful to my thinking in this whole “get healthy” thing I’m pursuing.

You can read more about Kim’s book, and her story, on her website: www.kimdolanleto.com

 

REVIEW: Battlefield of the Mind by Joyce Meyer

Battlefield of the Mind: Winning the Battle in Your Mind by Joyce Meyer

I used this book as my personal Bible study, and it was a great read. I have many wrong mindsets and strongholds that need to be dealt with, so that I can be free. This book helped bring to light a lot of these, and how I might start going about dealing with them.

I really enjoyed this book. I also really liked that the 30 chapters are just a couple of pages each, so it works to read just one a day.

 

REVIEW: Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

An Essentialist is one who determines what is truly essential in life, eliminates all else, and makes it effortless to pay attention to the essentials.

This book was really great, and I want to own my own copy (I read the library’s copy). It really resonated with me.

To read more about my thoughts on this one, see the post I did at my other site, Life, Unleashed.

 

Review: Curious Faith by Logan Wolfram

Curious Faith: Rediscovering Hope in the God of Possibility by Logan Wolfram

This book details a lot of Logan’s ups and downs throughout life. But, she encourages us to let go of fear, worry, and mediocrity, and to pursue God with a curious faith.

Logan also reminds us to find our identity in God, and to be obedient to the things He calls us to do.

I loved this book! It has really made an impact on my day-to-day, as I’m now finding ways to be more “curious” throughout my life (more open-minded), experimenting and trying different things.

One of my favorite take-aways from the book was Logan’s exercise called “Praying the Opposites” — where you take your negative feelings, look up the opposite in the Bible, and then pray that positive to God. So, for example, if you were feeling discouraged, the opposite would be “hopeful”… so you’d look up verses on Hope. 🙂

I definitely recommend this book. Logan’s got a great, down-to-earth writing style, and there’s lots to relate to here.

 

 

“What Keeps You Up At Night?” by Pete Wilson: A REVIEW

What Keeps You Up at Night?: How to Find Peace While Chasing Your Dreams *
by Pete Wilson

I absolutely love Pete’s writing style. It’s fun, engaging, but wise, too (part of this is probably because I’ve gotten to know Pete’s character from following him on Facebook! LOL).

This book talks about chasing after your God-given dreams – relentlessly – as well as about trusting God to provide guidance, and learning when to let go.

I definitely needed to read this book, right now.


“Waiting On God” by Wayne Stiles: A Review

Waiting on God: What to Do When God Does Nothing* by Wayne Stiles

This book is best for anyone who has been waiting on God for something, and anyone who has started to wonder if God is still going to act or if He has forgotten all about them and their situation.

Wayne’s writing style is down-to-earth enough that it doesn’t require a lot of brain power to read this one. Yet, I did find him to be a tad bit “preachy”. Not overly so, though.

Wayne takes the reader through the biblical story of Joseph (the dreamer whose brothers sold him into Egyptian slavery). Through Joseph’s story, we see that God is always in control, despite how things might appear. And we see that God has a plan and a purpose for every single thing that happens in our lives. God can even use our mistakes and turn them into our greatest moments. But we need to learn to trust God, and lean into His timing!

Overall, I did find a lot of great take aways from this book. But the somewhat somber and “preachy” bits were annoying. There is a lot of description of things in this book that didn’t feel necessary — though, perhaps I’m just not the author’s intended audience.

I would recommend this book to those who are tired and weary in having to wait on God. It CAN renew your sense of hope and your faith in God’s timing.

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Thank you to Baker Books for providing me a complimentary copy of this book for review.

REVIEW: “Simply Tuesday” by Emily P. Freeman

 Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World by Emily P. Freeman*

Emily has long been one of my favorite bloggers and authors. Her books resonate with me, deeply. A lot of times, while reading her stuff, I think, “I could have written that… it’s soooo me!” LOL

With Simply Tuesday, Emily has written another highly-relatable & engaging book. I love her friends-over-coffee style, and yet how she always challenges you to think deeper.

This book is about small-moment living, and how the kingdom of God can be found in our ordinary Tuesdays. It’s about creating/finding benches of community, and about embracing — not despising — the small beginnings. [this is my local bench, pictured below!…]

SimplyTuesday1

I loved that Emily talked about accepting smallness, and not needing to grow big. And the reminders that (1) we don’t get to control the outcomes, and (2) we can plant the seeds, but we can’t make them grow.

I know I’m going to need to re-read this book, at some point, as there was just sooooo much good stuff tucked inside. Highly recommended.

Check out the book’s website at www.simplytuesday.com for a cool, free video series! … also check out Emily’s blog …and search the hashtag #itssimplytuesday on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram — lots of good to be had!

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Note: I’m on the launch team for “Simply Tuesday“, and was sent a complimentary advanced reader copy of the book for review as part of that. 😉

REVIEW: “The Simple Living Handbook” by Lorilee Lippincott

The Simple Living Handbook: Discover the Joy of a De-Cluttered Life*

In addition to this being a book about living a simpler life with less stuff, it’s also a very simple-to-read book. Lorilee’s style is very easy-going and straightforward. She shares about how she and her husband have downsized and continued to discard the things that they do not need or love, and how it has freed them to do what they love to do — which is travel.

One of the things I really liked about this book is that Lorilee helps you tackle things like your kitchen, and your kids’ rooms — both things that was missing in Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up*.

Throughout the book, Lorilee gives you lots of questions to ask yourself, and helps you to envision what your “ideal” would be in regards to the simpler life. I found these to be extremely helpful.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone looking to simplify their life and get organized.

REVIEW: “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron*

SUMMARY:  This is a classic work on creativity from Julia Cameron. It’s a 12-week course that helps you to reconnect & recover your creativity.

DIFFICULTY LEVEL:  This book requires a bit of focus, as it’s not a “light” read. I’d put the brain-power needed at about “medium”.

BEST FOR:  Those who long to have more creativity in their life; those who feel “stuck”; those who think they aren’t creative at all… but need an outlet in their life.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“Many of us harbor a secret belief that work has to be work and not play, and that anything we really want to do — like write, act, dance — must be considered frivolous and be placed a distant second. This is not true!” – p. 106

“In order to do something well, we must first be willing to do it badly.” – p.121

“Usually, when we say we can’t do something, what we mean is that we won’t do something unless we can guarantee that we’ll do it perfectly.” – p. 121

“I have come to believe that creativity is our true nature… In a sense, your creativity is like your blood. Just as blood is a fact of your physical body, and nothing you invented, creativity is a fact of your spiritual body and nothing that you must invent.” – p. xxiii

“Just remember, in choosing, that we often resist what we most need.” – p. 4

“More than anything else, creative recovery is an exercise in open-mindedness.” – p. 50

“All too often, we become blocked and blame it on our lack of money. This is never an authentic block. The actual block is our feeling of constriction, our sense of powerlessness. Art requires us to empower ourselves with choice. At the most basic level, this means choosing to do self-care.” – p. 109

WHAT I LOVED BEST:  I loved the parts about creative “blocks” — things that get in the way of our being creative. There were a lot of practical examples given, some that I might never have guessed were “blocks” for me. Julia also talks about how we tend to sabotage ourselves… and I’m very guilty of that. She explains how we get scared, so we reach for our “comforts”, and let go of our creativity… maybe just when we were about to experience a breakthrough.

I also really liked that she talks about how movement and exercise are great for creativity… that they inspire us to be more creative, even!

Lastly, I loved the exercises at the end of each week / chapter. Lots of great things that really get you thinking, and get you putting what you’ve learned into practice.

I’d definitely recommend this book, especially if you feel you’re missing something in your life and need that little something to feel lighter and more free. 😉