Get Outside

This lovely journal is a keeper. The quotes are inspiring. I love the ample space for journaling. The durable cover will hold up well to outside expeditions. It will fit perfectly in a backpack.

It’s a good reminder that as we enjoy the creation, we must celebrate the Creator.

I’ve come full circle on writing a journal. I kept one religiously back in my college days. I included great quotes, favorite song lyrics, poetry and reflective musings. Then I got busy with life and practical and let those things fall away.

I’ve taken Get Outside with me on morning walks. I record thoughts and observations after enjoying time in nature. This year spring burst onto the scene earlier than usual. Every morning the chorus of bird calls has been riotous. The male kestrels seem to be back on their high perches at least a full two weeks ahead of when I usually look for them. This is one reason why a nature journal is smart. Birding records comparing year to year sightings tell a great story. But as I spend more time with my Get Outside Journal, I find my thoughts run to bigger philosophical questions. Here is one. I started tomato and flower seeds inside. Naturally the tiny plants get leggy reaching for the light. I turn the trays and they bend and reach the other way. I got to thinking, “What is it I reach for in such a determined fashion?” Hope – that’s it! I hope for a world where peace and kindness are guiding forces in our lives. I hope for all of us to show empathy. I reach for the hope that my actions in my local environment and community are part of the solution not the problem.

I intended to give this book as a gift to a family member. I’m so immersed in it now I will need to purchase a copy to give away. The photography tips in the back matter are great! The hiking Do’s and Don’ts are smart. In fact all the back matter is excellent.

I received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for my honest review. @InkandWillowgifts

Make Kindness a Habit

Make Their Day: 101 Simple, Powerful Ways to Love Others Well
By Karen Ehman / Bethany House

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I think a pleasant “Hello” when you meet someone is a pre-requisite for living on Earth. In my book, cheeriness is a top-shelf virtue.  I know we can’t be upbeat and carefree all the time, but a kind word and a smile are a delightful duo. When I heard about the book “Make Their Day: 100 Simple Powerful Ways to Love Others Well” by Karen Ehman, I knew I had to read it right away.

If you want to do your part in encouraging others in your circle of friends, family, church community, or town, this book is for you. These practical ideas will work for you even if you think you’re too busy or being this outgoing doesn’t come naturally. Some suggestions you may already be doing like buying extra “Thinking of You” notecards to mail to those who need encouragement. Isn’t that just one reason why we shop at Dollar General? Another great idea is to give the gift of listening.  Share a list of podcast links and include a gift card for an eBook. The podcast links might range from serious links for personal growth or podcasts on fun topics like cooking and DIY projects. Podcasts are able to be played anywhere on your iPhone, and they are a good use of time. Being sensitive to certain anniversary dates in the lives of those around you, and reaching out to them on these dates is another idea that would be easy to put into place. Even if you follow through on just handful of ideas, the steps you take will help you develop habits of kindness. I like the recipes, ready-made Scripture gift tags, and presentation ideas. It’s a reader friendly book packed from cover to cover with smart ideas for spreading joy and pushing back on negativity. I received a complimentary copy from the publisher Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. #MakeTheirDay

Dick Eastman’s Talking with God

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Talking with God: A Practical Plan for Personal Prayer
By Dick Eastman / Chosen Books
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During this 12 month stretch of “Safer at Home” and social distancing, I have developed new routines. Once a week, I bake sourdough bread and typically bag up homemade granola just as frequently. With the granola, I’ve had a lot of fun trying new ingredients like coconut oil, pumpkin seeds, and switching between maple syrup or honey for the sweetener. One thing that hasn’t changed is starting my day with a time of morning devotions and Bible reading. Throughout the year, I have enjoyed the book New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional by Paul David Tripp. I’m nearly through the year. So it was good timing when I received Dick Eastman’s Talking with God to read and review. In the last few months during this unprecedented time, I have also been working on my prayer life. I was concerned that I was spending only short periods of time sending up self-centered laundry lists of prayer requests to our Lord. The book Talking with God will equip you with strategies for avoiding these pitfalls and improve your prayer life. The quote on page 9 is what first captured my attention. Eastman writes, “Where there is an absence of prayer, there will be an absence of power. Where there is frequency of prayer, there will be a continuing display of God’s power.”

It’s a lovely book all around. Small in dimensions, so it’s easy to hold. The attractive page layout and the sweet ribbon bookmark boost the positive reading experience. At just 155 pages, it’s reader friendly. I have offered to share it with my church family, but in truth I’m having a hard time removing it from my personal library. The chapters on listening, waiting, and intercessory prayer are moving. I’m so glad I had the chance to review this book. I received an advanced reader’s copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.