Effortless Healing (A Phone Tree Health & Wellness Book Recommendation)

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Title: Effortless Healing: 9 Simple Ways to Sidestep Illness, Shed Excess Weight, and Help Your Body Fix Itself

Author: Dr. Joseph Mercola

About the Book: “With the #1 natural health website in the world and always at the forefront of what’s next in alternative health, Dr. Joseph Mercola reaches tens of millions of people each year who trust him to deliver actionable advice and cutting-edge health breakthroughs. Now, his first trade book in years distills decades of his experience into 9 simple keys to maximizing health, preventing disease, and protecting ourselves from the negative fallout of modern living.

Rating: 4/5 ****

Recommend: Yes

Review: Effortless Healing was an informative resource that I thoroughly enjoyed reviewing. The content was practical, realistic and helpful in terms of living with a wellness/healing mindset. I found the presented material to be familiar in many respects, however, that did not take away from the importance or emphasis of Mercola’s message. 

I think readers will find this book to be educational, relevant and encouraging. I would definitely recommend it.

A complimentary copy of this title was made available for review by the publisher via the Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest critique. The words I have expressed are my own. 

12 Sundays (A 5P Journey Through the Psalms)

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12 Sundays…Week 8


Position: Psalm 118:12-20

Pore Over/Paraphrase: The LORD God is my banner. He is my victory and my protection. He is my source of power and might. He is my deliverer and my justice. I will praise Him as such. In Him, I shall live and not die. I cannot help but declare this!

Pull Out
(the spiritual principles):

– The name of the LORD must be proclaimed before all.

– Let the LORD be lifted up in every event, every relationship and every thought in your life.

– Whoever God is in His fullness, let Him be that to you in the most personal way.

– Whether you live or die, let it be in the LORD.

– Let nothing get in the way of your praise. 

(the questions):

– Do I make a sincere effort to proclaim the name of the LORD?

– How does one go about lifting up the name of the LORD? (What does it look like in functional and spiritual terms?)

– Does the fullness and abundance of God mean that He is in fact everything I will ever need?

– What can I presently say my relationship with the LORD is like?

– Am I living alive in the LORD, or am I living as one who is dead, in a spiritual sense? Discuss.

– If I were asked to write a praise song to the LORD right now, what words would I use to express myself? 


Proceed to Psalm 118:21-29. Read the verses and make your 5p notations.

photo courtesy of Pinterest 

#5Reviewsin5Days, Day 5 (God’s Story in 66 Verses)

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Title: God’s Story in 66 Verses: Understand the Entire Bible by Focusing on Just One Verse in Each Book

Author: Stan Guthrie 

About the Book: “Grasp God’s Word in sixty-six easy verses.

The Bible can seem like a big, intimidating book–mysterious, archaic, and often hard to understand. Written over a span of fifteen hundred years, and completed nearly two millennia ago, God’s Word sometimes feels like a mishmash of stories and literary styles. How can twenty-first-century readers–like “you”–make sense of it all?

Author Stan Guthrie’s answer: begin by zooming in on “one key verse” for each of the Bible’s sixty-six books. Seeking to bring clarity and simplicity to the study of God’s Word, Guthrie has written a concise, easy-to-digest collection of wisdom anchored by one verse for each book, from Genesis to Revelation–a verse that summarizes or lays the foundation for that book, placing it in context with the rest of the Scriptures. Read this book, and you’ll feel as if you’ve read the entire Bible–but you’ll also yearn to continue exploring its depths and mining its riches on your own.”

Phone Tree Review: I am a huge fan of Bible study reference and resource material. Of course, it goes without saying that the Bible is the only true sourcebook needed to guide our lives, but having helpful aids to assist in making a text or even an event or character clearer can be a wonderful thing. This book, I must say, was quite the little jewel. I was not disappointed. 

Though the title may promise so much more than seems possible, I can assure you that you will find that the content speaks well to what the author established as his initial thought and goal. I found this book to be very informative, definitely engaging and extremely clear. I loved how the author emphasized key movements and points made in each book. I also loved the Scriptural cross referencing. 

Rating: 5/5 *****

A complimentary review copy of this title was made available by the publisher in exchange for an honest critique. The words I have expressed are my own. 

#5Reviewsin5Days, Day 4 (Wisdom from Women in the Bible)

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Title: Wisdom from Women in the Bible: Giants of the Faith Speak into Our Lives

Author: John C. Maxwell

About the Book: “If you could spend a few minutes with biblical heroines Ruth, Sarah, Mary, and others, what valuable lessons would they share with you? In the tradition of Running with the Giants and Learning from the Giants, John Maxwell shares wisdom on life and leadership inspired by the Bible-this time focusing solely on the stories of nine incredible women. 

Learn how God blesses the promises you keep to Him, why you should follow your heart to find your hope, and how not to miss your moment with God. Read on your own or study with a group using the provided faith-building questions. You’ll enjoy the journey with Maxwell as he imagines what it would be like to visit heaven and meet giants of the faith who had their lives transformed by God. 

You’ll gain insights from:

Ruth…for when you must make a decision but don’t know what to do.

Sarah…for when you can’t understand God and impatience threatens to overwhelm you.

Mary…for when God asks you to do something outside of your comfort zone.

The women who influenced Maxwell inspired this book, and he includes the perspectives of those closest to him in this volume. They and the giants of the faith who continue to inspire them will encourage you to fulfill your destiny and leave a lasting, positive impression on your family and the world.”

Phone Tree Review: I always enjoy taking part in character/life studies based on men and women from the Bible. I find them to be helpful and nourishing in many ways. Being given the opportunity, therefore, to read this book got me well and truly excited about feasting on God’s word anew.

This book was interesting for a number of reasons. 

1) It was attention-grabbing because it was a book about women and wisdom that was written by a man. Because men tend to communicate differently and offer up a very succinct style of communication, I knew it would provide a coming-straight-at-you teaching series.

2) It was enlightening because it was a book that offered up relevant leadership and life lesson considerations. Each woman’s story featured components meant to support the reader’s growth as a leader and disciple.

3) It was unusual in that it was presented like a dream walk. The author wrote of his heavenly encounters and takeaways from female faith giants. I was not expecting that at all. 

4) It was stimulating and did a good job of offering up meaningful content, that caused me to really think and examine my life in play. I appreciated and benefitted from the focused prayers and questions for reflection or discussion.

Rating: 4/5 ****

A complimentary copy of this title was made available by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest critique. The words I have expressed are my own. 


#5Reviewsin5Days, Day 3 (The Day I Met JESUS)

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Title: The Day I Met JESUS: The Revealing Diaries of Five Women from the Gospels

Authors: Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth

About the Book: “Two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ met face-to-face with people just like you. Broken, imperfect, sometimes fearful and without hope. “The Day I Met Jesus” is a beautifully crafted narrative that chronicles the remarkable encounters of five women in the Gospels who were desperate to find wholeness, security, and purpose. Like all of us, these women struggled with the regrets of their pasts, the stresses of their presents, and the worries of their tomorrows. 

Join Frank Viola and Mary DeMuth on a fascinating journey back in time as they retell the dramatic accounts of five women who met Jesus. Each narrative is told from each woman’s unique perspective, yet tightly grounded in the Gospel accounts and faithful to first-century history. Elegantly written and profoundly stirring, this book blends creative narrative with uncommon insight, spiritual depth, and practical application. 

If you are someone who seeks a renewal of hope, faith, and love, “The Day I Met Jesus” will make your Bible come to life and usher you into a fresh encounter with your Lord.”

Phone Tree Review: Where do I start with this review? I could start with the main title of the book itself, The Day I Met JESUS. Pretty powerful, isn’t it? It spoke volumes to my heart when I first learned of it. It had a dual meaning and addressed a personal quest and desire yet to be fully birthed within me. First, the title spoke to my need to remember, to recall my own unique story about the day I met Jesus for myself. Second, it spoke to my intense yearning and longing to meet Jesus anew in fresh day-to-day encounters. I must say that I was not disappointed when I embarked upon this reading excursion, viewing it from that beautiful perspective.

Another immediate attraction regarding this book was the subject matter beyond the main title. The subtitle and content broken down and dissected in parts promised and delivered an examination of five womens hearts. Five women from the Gospels – the woman caught in adultery, the prostitute who loved much, the desperate Samaritan woman, the woman with the flow of blood, and the woman whom Jesus loved – and their peculiar, relevant, heart-wrenching stories were brought to life in such an amazing way that it’s hard to describe. All I can say is that I was moved deeply. 

Finally, the dear, sweet, grace-infused storytelling of Mary DeMuth coupled with the scholarly considerations of Mr. Viola… Wow! What these two authors put together was so unusual and yet so purposed. They made the Bible come alive in an incredible way! I was impacted to the point of wanting to read this book in one sitting. But it is a book that must be savored. It is a book that must be appreciated. It is a book that the person with an open mind and heart must read through so slowly and so delicately that they can not help but see and experience each woman’s encounter with the Savior and personalize it. 

Everyone should read this book. It will certainly challenge you, teach you, inspire you and move you to look further into your own heart and into the heart of the Savior, Jesus the Christ. 

Rating: 5/5 *****

A complimentary copy of this title was provided by Baker Books, together with the authors. The words I have expressed in my critique come straight from my heart.


A Phone Tree Book Club Selection

#5Reviewsin5Days, Day 2 (Bringing Narnia Home)

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Bringing Narnia Home: Lessons from the Other Side of the Wardrobe 

Author: Devin Brown

About the Book: “The wisdom of C. S. Lewis comes in a form that is deeply moving as well as great fun and high adventure. Noted Lewis scholar and popular speaker Devin Brown reveals the lessons woven throughout this endearing text. Bringing Narnia Home presents Lewis’s timeless message for the Narnian in each of us. Imagine opening a book and finding chapters like these: Of Mice and Minotaurs: Actions We See as Small and Insignificant Can Be More Important than We Realize Despite What White Witches, Tisrocs, and Other Tyrants Think Narnia Would Not Be Narnia if It Was All Badgers: It Takes a Village (One with Giants, Dwarfs, and Everyone in Between) to Make a Community Adventures Can Begin in the Most Unlikely Places (Something to Keep in Mind the Next Time You Find Yourself in an Unlikely Place)
A wise, winsome, and whimsical look at the important values and lessons the Narnia series teaches that actually provide the groundwork for a profound and meaningful life.”

Phone Tree Review: Bringing Narnia Home was a book that I was terribly excited to read. Why? Frankly, it was because I wanted to see what everybody else saw when they looked at the Chronicles of Narnia. The truth of the matter is that I could not understand all of the elements and angles connected to the Narnia stories. So, when this book came to my attention, I was more than happy to look further into it; I thought it was a godsend.

From my first introduction to the Narnia movies and books, I wanted to grab onto the “great Christian message” that was so obvious to everyone. I saw some similarities between Aslan’s sacrifice and Christ’s sacrifice, between good and evil (as it was represented by Aslan and those of his way versus the White Witch and her minions), and between the young royals and their individual natures as it relates to issues such as pride, selfishness, etc. Beyond that, I was lost. This book, however, helped me to see things differently. Thankfully, it unpacked the hidden meanings Lewis was trying to, perhaps, convey to his readers.

The author of this book did a good job of describing Narnia, its characters, and the higher messages associated with each book. His voice was enthusiastic and clear. He educated even as he encouraged. By the time I finished reading his words, I felt more informed and more willing to give Narnia and its Chronicles another chance. 

Rating: 3.25/5 ***-

Other: Good resource for family reading series if coupled with the Narnia books

A review copy of this title was made available by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest critique. The words I have expressed are my own.


#5Reviewsin5Days, Day 1 (A Travelogue of the Interior)

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Title: A Travelogue of the Interior: Finding Your Voice and God’s Heart in the Psalms

Author: Karen Dabaghian

About the Book: “Most travel tales begin and end with the book in your hand. Not this one.

As Karen Dabaghian shares the adventure of her year in the Psalms, you’ll embark on an ancient journey for those hungry to know God more intimately.

The Psalms were the hymnbook of the Hebrews, Jesus, and the early church. Today, we tend to pluck a verse here and there for a word of encouragement, but we have lost the Psalms as a guidebook for spiritual formation.

You can rediscover the Psalms as a traveler. Explore the terrain where your interior life and the Word of God intersect. Begin speaking to God with raw honesty. Listen as God replies with personal, life-giving words.

Above all, discover at the feet of the poet-king how to ‘taste and see that the LORD is good.'”

Phone Tree Review: Always open and willing to learn new ways of connecting with God, I was drawn to this book. The title itself seemed to promise that I would be able to find or perhaps come to better understand God’s heart through the poetic stories and writings of the Psalms, while also learning how to give voice to my inner thoughts and feelings. I confess that it was quite different than I expected but still valuable in such a way that I was able to walk away with priceless lessons. 

Some of the lessons I learned:

– Quiet reflection can unearth hidden treasures.

– Practicing solitude can lead to greater intimacy with God.

– Each time you encounter God’s Word, you face a new part of yourself.

– Pouring self out before God brings one to a whole new level of trust.

– There is a heart call and a heart response in each of the psalms.

– God’s covenant love has far-reaching, transformative benefits. 

Overall, I can say that I genuinely appreciated the author’s transparency and tone as she revealed her own journey and personal travelogue through the book of the Psalms. She spoke frankly and honestly, sharing her experiences, challenges and struggles. Her “Vista” views – her questions and comments – were thoughtful. They invited me to examine my true heart before God as well as consider a more unique perspective on matters. 

While I do not believe this book will appeal to everyone, I can say that I certainly think that those who choose to read it will be stretched. They may also be encouraged to express themselves by means of a poem well spoken. 

Rating: 3/5 ***

A review copy of this title was made available by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest critique. The words I have expressed are my own.