Finding God in My Loneliness – Book Review

September 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews

Book Title:  Finding God In My Loneliness

Author: Lydia Brownback

Publisher: Crossway

Number of Pages:  176

ISBN-10: 1433553937

ISBN-13: 978-1433553936

Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches

Amazon Blurb:

Young or old, single or married, male or female—at some point in life, we’re all confronted with loneliness. We try to fill the void or change our circumstances so we no longer feel the pain. But what if our pangs of loneliness are meant to point us to something greater?

Looking at various aspects of loneliness, Lydia Brownback reminds us of God’s power to redeem our loneliness and use it in our lives to draw us to himself. Ultimately, she helps us see that even when we feel misunderstood, forsaken, or abandoned, we’re never really alone. God is always with us, and only he can meet all of our needs in Christ Jesus.

My rating: 4 stars
My review:

I read this book twice before sitting down to write a review. I rarely do that.  In fact, I must confess that sometimes with book reviews I try to speed read through just so I can meet the review requirement and move on to another book. It’s not right but I maintain that my opinions of some books wouldn’t be that much different even if I chose to simmer over them rather than speed through.  That usually happens when I’m not overly fond of a book.

That’s not the case here.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with this book. I don’t consider myself a lonely person per se.  But in the current season of my life I do find myself alone more and often would consider some moments lonely.  My default in those moments is to get online and surf, watch a stupid movie, or text garble to someone.

This book challenged me to rethink my alone moments but even more so, to embrace my lonely ones as a gift to drive me to Christ and His word.  Full of scripture and theological insight, this is a great book for women, though I suspect men will find nuggets as well.  Even though it’s written from a single woman’s perspective, the application is not at all limited to singles and, in fact, can be even more applicable to to marrieds as well.

Highly recommended!

I received an ebook copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Hickies no tie shoelaces

September 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Parent Product Reviews

Hate tying your kids’ shoes everyday before they step out of the house? Hate stopping to tie your own shoes mid-run? HICKIES products turn any pair of sneakers into convenient, comfortable, and stylish slip-ons that are perfect for any activity from recess play to Mom and Dad’s triathlons.


Works in any shoe with eyelets.

One size fits all.

Elastic material keeps shoes secure and comfortable.

Never tie again! Play uninterrupted.

Fun look, without messy knots and bows.

Adjustable tightness.

Quick and easy – simply slip on and off.

Never tie, never worry. @Hickies Never Tie Laces on 25% off w/ code USFAM now thru Sept. 20th!

Squishy Mats – for babies and kids!

I just got a Squishy Mat in the mail today.  And it really is, well, squishy!  This particular one is the soft baby changing mat and it’s easy to carry and super comfy for mom and baby on the go!

(One of our sweet ones enjoying the soft mat and her toy!)

I love the super soft top – kind of cuddly and you could even use this for a younger infant to sleep on the floor when visiting with friends for coffee.  It’s made with a layer of memory foam and a super soft cover. Pretty easy to clean and super nice quality.

We have about 8 friends, currently, that have new babies ranging in age from newborn to almost a year. I’m keeping this great mat close at hand for their visits.  It’s machine washable and easy to spot clean if needed too.

(I think she likes it!)

And here’s the thing. I’m a floor sitter. I’ve always preferred to sit on the floor over sitting on the couch or a chair. It gets a bit uncomfortable, however, after sitting during a longer movie or conversation with friends.  This mat will be great for even me!  I may even bring it along for use at sporting events!

And…this mat would be great for our pets too!  Nice and soft and squishy for them! I might have to buy a few more.



Who can use a Squishy Mat?
Sitting on the floor gets uncomfortable for anyone! These soft spots encourage parents, grand-parents and caregivers to linger at eye level with little ones, and make a nice buffer between all bottoms and the hard floor or ground. Take a Squishy Mats to an outdoor concert, baby yoga or your older kids’ sporting events, and the whole family can gather there in comfort.

What is a Squishy Mat?
Squishy Mats contain almost one inch of Memory Foam – also known as the low resistance polyurethane foam developed by NASA in the 1960s. The surface of each mat is covered by a super soft, micro-flannel fabric and is backed with a nonslip rubber grid. Each mat is durable, sturdy and designed for life on the move.

Squishy Mats come in three sizes:
16×32″ Changing Mat – folds and fastens with a carrying handle.

3×3′ floor mat – folds and fastens with a carrying handle.

4×4′ floor mat – folds and fastens with a carrying handle.

How does it feel?
In a word, SQUISHY! Memory Foam is known for its use in mattresses, pillows and even some shoes; it has incredible give and easily returns to its original shape. You and your child will love the luxurious feel of the minky micro flannel top as it glides under your fingers. With nonslip rubber backing, your child won’t get wrapped up as he plays, and it won’t slide out from under baby if you (or your pet) step on it!

Overall my thoughts of this changing pad:

  • Pro: Super soft!
  • Pro: Squishy! Comfy!
  • Pro: Large size is great for just a comfortable play mat
  • Pro: Non-slip backing gives an extra element of safety
  • Pro: Easy to clean and machine washable
  • Con:  Large size means it won’t fit in the average diaper bag – you’ll have to carry two things
  • Con: Memory Foam.  The jury is still out on whether or not this is a safe product for long term use?


My Readers Save 15% Off with code “USFAMILY” on all sized Squishy Mats – The world’s first baby memory foam mat that folds for quick storage and transport.

15% off promo – USFAMILY





I received a Squishy Mat directly from the company in exchange for an honest review. I wasn’t compensated for this review in any other way, nor was I required to leave a positive review.


Buy the 4’x4′ on Amazon by clicking below!

Reset – Book Review

March 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews

Book Title:  Reset

Subtitle:  Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture

Author:  David Murray

Publisher:  Crossway

Buy on Amazon (click here)

Amazon Blurb:

“How did I get here?”

These are the words of many Christian men on the brink of burnout or in the midst of breakdown. They are exhausted, depressed, anxious, stressed, and joyless. Their time is spent doing many good things, but their pace is unsustainable— lacking the regular rest, readjustment, and recalibration they need.

But there is good news: God has graciously provided a way for men to reset their lives to a more sustainable pace. Drawing on personal experiences—and time spent counseling other men in the midst of burnout—David Murray offers weary men hope for the future, helping them identify the warning signs of burnout and offering practical strategies for developing patterns that are necessary for living a grace-paced life and reaching the finish line with their joy intact.


My review:

Let me start by saying this book was written specifically for men and somewhat geared toward those in ministry. I’m a woman and not in ministry so take my review notes with that in mind.

While there’s nothing shockingly new here, this book is a fresh look at a topic that needs to be revisited often by most men (and women). With today’s technology addiction, 24/7 work culture, and more, taking the time to methodically review and reset your priorities is a good thing. Dr. Murray gives a solid summary of the condition and some practical steps to work toward change. His writing style is engaging and easy and one can work through this book pretty quickly. There are a few sections where I thought “huh?” … particularly the discussion of meds for some issues. While I’m not a total “no meds ever” kind of person, the treatment here was pretty lengthy given this is a fairly short book. (25% of the book is Index, notes, and scripture index.)

My favorite highlight (I had many):

On the need for solid sleep: “By sleeping, we are relinquishing control and reminding ourselves – at least for a few hours – that God actually doesn’t need us.”

Thanks to Crossway books for the opportunity to read the Kindle version in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own.

Praying the Psalms – Book Review

March 29, 2017 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews

Book Title:  Praying the Psalms: Drawing Near to the Heart of God

Author:  Ben Patterson

Published by: Tyndale

Buy it on Amazon (click here)

Amazon Blurb:  Learn to speak the language of God’s own heart.
Have you ever tried to pour out your deepest feelings to God, only to discover that you can’t find the words? We want to feel connected to God, but sometimes it seems like we’re not speaking the same language.

There is no better place in all of Scripture than Psalms to learn to be with God. Praying the Psalms includes 50 selections from this book?songs of praise, cries for help, glad rejoicings, and humble offerings?accompanied by inspirational devotions that will open a divine window in your prayer life.

Adapted from God’s Prayer Book; now in a deluxe LeatherLike binding.

My rating: 3.5 stars
My Review:  If you’ve read my past reviews on books that are this size, you’ll know that I have something for books that feel good in the hand. This one is one of those books.  The leather-like binding really does seem like real leather and it’s the perfect size to put into your handbag or keep handy in the car.

I love the Psalms and can think of no better way to pray than to pray God’s word back to Him. This is a great little book in that respect.  It is “adapted” from the full book, “God’s Prayer Book” by the same author.

My complaint with this book is that it uses the simplified versions of the bible – The New Living Translation and The Message Bible as it’s text.  It’s probably a personal preference in both style and readability but I prefer to pray and read with a meatier version of the Bible.  So this might be a nice gift for someone new to scripture reading or to faith but I wouldn’t suggest it everyone.

I’m thankful to the folks at Tyndale for the opportunity to give it a look and share my honest thoughts.

True Beauty Book Review

March 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews, Beauty

Title: True Beauty

Author:  Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Whitacre

Publisher: Crossway

Amazon link: (click here)

Amazon Blurb:

What is true beauty?

Whether it’s age-defying makeup or the latest diet fad, our culture continually tells women that beauty consists of flawless skin and a supermodel figure.

In True Beauty, Carolyn Mahaney and her daughter Nicole Whitacre direct us to the truth of God’s Word, where we encounter an entirely different—and refreshingly liberating—standard of beauty.

Offering a path to freedom from the false idols that society, the Devil, and our sinful hearts so often create, this encouraging book will help you exchange the temporary glamour of pop culture for the unfading beauty of godliness.

Includes a discussion guide.


My review:

I was prepared not to like this book but found that I really really liked it. I love how this mother/daughter team brings scripture to bear on a topic that could easily be frivolous and trite. Just an example from my own stage of life: “Though many women become hard and bitter as they grow old, a woman who trusts God, who pursues a gentle and quiet spirit through the many trials and temptations in her life, grows more radiant and lovely, even as she wastes away. Her beauty is an imperishable beauty, after all. This is the powerful, living paradox of true beauty.” Amen.

It’s easy to fall on either side of the “beauty” spectrum… spending so much money and time on outward beauty or just letting go to the point of not caring. This book brings the much needed balance to the concept of beauty, wanting to show feminine beauty to the world, and the loveliness of inner beauty that also makes one more outwardly beautiful. I think this would make a great study for a mother/daughter study or a Titus 2 focused book study.

Looking foward to going through it again soon.

(I received an ebook copy of this book for review. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts are my own.”

Adorned -Book Review

March 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews

Book Title:  Adorned

Author:  Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Publisher: Moody

Link on Amazon (click here) 

Amazon blurb:

New from bestselling author Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Known for her wisdom, warmth, and knowledge of Scripture, Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has encouraged millions through her books, radio programs, and conferences. Now she’s back with a legacy work on Titus 2 and its powerful vision for women:

Woman to woman. Older to younger. Day to day. Life to life.
This is God’s beautiful plan.

The Titus 2 model of older women living out the gospel alongside younger women is vital for us all to thrive. It is mutually strengthening, glorifies God, and makes His truth believable to our world.

Imagine older women investing themselves in the lives of younger women, blessing whole families and churches. Imagine young wives, moms, and singles gaining wisdom and encouragement from women who’ve been there and have found God’s ways to be true and good. Imagine all women—from older women to young girls—living out His transforming gospel together, growing the entire body of Christ to be more beautiful.

This is Christian community as God designed it. Read this book and take your relationships to new depths, that your life might find its fullest meaning as you adorn the gospel of Christ.

My review:

I really love this book. But I knew that I would love it.  I’ve read a lot of Nancy’s previous books and have enjoyed them all.  She’s bold, truthful, bible centered, and bottom line-esque in a gentle and humble way. This book is no different.

I suppose it’s the phase of life in which I find myself now that makes me want to pick it right back up again and start over.  This book is encouraging and practical for people like me – in their later years (50+) with adult children but still wanting to fill a role in the church body.  It’s pretty clear our role is an important one, but one that often gets passed by because we think no one wants it. Not true.

But this book isn’t just for the grandmother aged ladies.  It really should be read by old and young alike.  Living in a generation of young folks that seem to have all the answers at their fingertips, the bible is clear that younger women learn about home and family life from the older christian ladies around them.  And again, this book brings that to light for both older and younger.

Nancy’s got a true desire to speak truth from scripture. I appreciated her wisdom on marriage, family, etc.,  and trusted it even before she had experienced it herself because she centered it all on what the bible has to say. She still does. And that’s why I highly recommend this book for women of all ages.

I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts are my own. I was not required to review on Amazon.

Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel – Book review

January 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Adult Book Reviews

marriage book coverBook title:  Marriage and the Mystery of the Gospel

Author:  Raymond Ortlund, Dane Ortlund, and Miles VanPelt

Publishers:  Crossway

Purchase on Amazon: HERE

Amazon Blurb:

Marriage reveals something of eternal significance. From the beginning, God designed marriage to convey a greater reality—the passionate, unfailing, redeeming love of God for sinners, the eternal romance between Christ and his bride.

In this volume, Ray Ortlund traces marriage throughout Scripture—from the first marriage in the garden of Eden to the ultimate marriage in the book of Revelation—laying out a transcendent vision of marriage that dignifies our own imperfect unions as a display of the gospel. This book offers insight and hope to every married person today.

I have read a lot of marriage books and many of them are very good. Some of the books I would recommend to newly engaged couples to read together as they go through premarital counseling or just as a way to discuss married life.

This is definitely one that I’d recommend to Christian couples seeking to maintain and grow a biblical view of marriage. In this very pastoral book, you’ll find that the theme of marriage is woven throughout the entire scripture from beginning to end and take away that marriage is a serious portrayal of Christ to the watching world.

Are there other good books out there? Sure. But this one is going on my highly recommended list.

I received a copy of the ebook from the publisher. I was not required to leave a positive review.All thoughts are completely my own.

Where Does Love Hide – Book Review

January 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Children's Book Reviews

Book Title: Where Does Love Hide

Author:  Mary Manz Simon

Illustrator:  Hannah Wood

Published By: Tyndale House Publishers

My rating:  4 stars

Amazon info:  “In Where Does Love Hide? children are reminded that they not only receive love but have the opportunity to share love. Looking under the fun, lift-a-flap feature, children will see examples of everyday love opportunities. Each page includes a memory verse and an example of a way to share God’s love. In life, children hear the words “I love you” repeatedly, often beginning before birth. However, because love is an abstract concept and young children are concrete thinkers, they must gradually learn to understand love by what they experience. In Where Does Love Hide? children are given the opportunity to see love in action and learn what love looks like.”

My review:

It’s pretty hard to review short children’s books like this because, well, they’re short!  But this is super cute. It’s a nice, study board book with simple text and cute hidden “surprises” on each page spread.

Great for cuddling with mom and/or dad in the evening or on a snowy day, I’d recommend this affordable, sweet, book.



Scrape Around Ice Scraper

December 13, 2016 by  
Filed under Parent Product Reviews

I received my 3 Scrape Around Ice Scrapers yesterday and to be honest, I’m a bit skeptical! Unfortunately, they arrived after our big snow fall and after we had already cleaned off our cars and driveway but I’m eager to give these a go and see if they work as well as this video claims:


Our midwest winters can get a bit nasty and there’s nothing less exciting than getting up early to take my husband to the train station and find a thick layer of ice on the windshield that I can’t seem to break through.  So… once that type of situation comes – and I KNOW it’ll come here in the next few weeks, I’ll update this post with video on how it works in the Chicago tundra!

I will say the “hold” on this makes sense to me.  It fits naturally in your hand and allows you to put even pressure on the cone without more stress on one side of your wrist, etc.  I’m eager to give it a try.

My readers get to save! Get FREE Shipping at Use code LU8FBEZREU2 at checkout.

Many thanks to the folks at Scrape Around for sending me the samples so I could review them!  I am not required to leave a positive review.

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