Fire on the Track

I am definitely an inspirational biography fan. From “Hero Tales” by Dave and Neta Jackson when I was young to my freshman-year-of-college-read “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, biographies have gripped and propelled me.

That’s why I picked up “Fire on the Track” by Roseanne Montillo. In the vein of “Unbroken,” this biography highlights the rise and triumph of several Olympic runners–living contemporary to Louis Zamperini, to boot. However, “Fire on the Track” also features its own novel-like writing style–at some points slowed down by this style, at others endowed with vivid form.

I recommend this biographical novel to anyone who enjoyed “Unbroken” or who likes to study the history of women in sports.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.


Of little girl dreams…and big girl realities

Like any other little girl, I dreamed of a wedding with a prince and flowers and sunshine and a beautiful dress.

(Don’t forget the beautiful dress. That’s really important in the mind of a little girl.)

Now, the dream is feeling a bit more like a near-reality.

No, I am not married yet. That is yet to happen. But my boyfriend and I are certainly thinking about this. It’s something that we have kept in mind from the outset of our relationship–a purpose for our dating, in fact. And with that in the back of my mind (or, rather, often in the very forefront of my thoughts), I’ve begun to dream more keenly of a wedding.

My dream has changed slightly, however. When I dreamed of my wedding when I was younger, I pictured the wedding of my oldest sister, with its romantically lit ceremony and live orchestra music performed by a small band of her college friends. Now the picture of that special day has transformed into a gorgeous outdoor setting with tall grasses, light breezes, a plethora of flowers, and some Brazilian dancing.

With this picture in mind, a copy of the lovely-illustrated book The Knot Outdoor Weddings caught my eye. Practical, romantic, and idyllic, this book seemed like a sumptuous summation (and expansion) of my dream. It is like a wedding Pinterest board in print form. An abundance of ideas spring from its pages. In my opinion, any bride dreaming of outdoor weddings (or any wedding planner, for that matter) will appreciate this book, if simply for the opportunity to spark ideas and–at the same time–bring a practical rein on them.

Now, the question is: How much of that gorgeousness can I stuff into one wedding?

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Women’s Bible Studies Rejoice!

A few weeks ago, I found myself reviewing Lazarus Awakening by Joanna Weaver. Needless to say, the book met with rave reviews. But, even more than that, I am excited to announce that the book is not the end: Weaver has put together a companion video study. Women’s Bible studies the world over can find a reason to cheer, for Weaver’s message is important.

Allow my review of the book to explain:

Lazaruth, Lazaruth, Lazaruth…I remember hearing my dad mispronounce this famous biblical character’s name again and again. Each time, the little English teacher inside of me would cringe.

But, aside from Lazarus’s somewhat lisped final syllable, my dad always had something wonderful to share with us about this man. And so does Joanna Weaver.

Known more famously as the author of Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, Weaver has recently published Lazarus Awakening, a wonderful study about a man who, through his own death and resurrection experience, encountered the heart of God. As Christians, we all too often fall back into a works-based mentality of salvation, thinking–however much we may hate to admit it–that we have somehow deserved or earned God’s favor for our lives. Not so, Lazarus’ story proclaims.

Weaver masterfully emphasizes biblical truth on this topic. Beginning her book with a quote from fourth-century Christian Serapion of Thmius (“Lord! We entreat you, make us truly alive!”), she establishes a clear connection between Christ and spiritual life.

As a woman, I realize how often my mind begins to think in terms of earning God’s favor. Because of this, I am particularly grateful for Weaver’s work (both her book and her video companion series), and I believe that many other women will also find it helpful, challenging, refreshing, and inspiring. I recommend it for any woman–age 9 to 101.

I received a complimentary copy of this DVD and study guide from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.