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Book Reviews

Let’s All Be Brave. by Annie Downs – Review

Brave.coverBook Description:

Annie Downs admits she's not exactly the bravest girl in the world. She still cries sometimes when she leaves her parents' home in Georgia, she's never jumped out of a plane, and she only rides roller coasters to impress boys. But Annie knows that courage resides inside each and every one of us, and she's on a mission to triumph over her own fears while encouraging readers to do the same.

As a single young woman, writer, speaker, and popular blogger, Annie shares this journey toward bravery with honesty and humor. Using wonderful stories from her own life, contemporary real-life examples, and fascinating historical and biblical references, Annie encourages readers to grab hold of the brave life that they desperately desire.

Let's All Be Brave is more than just a book, it's a battle cry. In it, Annie challenges us to live boldly, calls us to step into those places that require courage, and gives us the help to take the next step forward-even when it's scary. This non-fiction, essay-driven book opens the door to many different views of courage-nudging, encouraging, and inspiring readers to be brave whenever given the chance.


I really like for people to think I am brave.  Don't you?  A lady told me how courageous I was to go to Honduras for a mission trip, but I didn't feel courageous.  I didn't feel brave either, but I did talk to God about it a lot. I mean A. Lot.  Another lady told me that I was courageous for dealing with breast cancer, and I totally disagreed but I wasn't going to tell her that. I felt like you just have to deal with it, there's really no choice there. But I talked to God then a lot too. 

FYI: I don't just run around asking people if I am courageous. I teach a ladies Bible class at our church, and it just so happened to be a lesson on Mary, the mother of Jesus. Now she is the picture of courage! Agreed?

I said all of that to say this.  I loved this book! In fact, I had been struggling with a few things that I was approached about (helping in a classroom full of children- so not my thing), and after reading this book I just knew I could do it. They are just kids, right? But then I found my life getting busier and busier, and I couldn't make it to the classroom. (I've still never gone.) Later, after reading more of this book, I realized that I was making myself busy so I wouldn't have time to go do what I feared.

I love the way Annie writes. She seems so down-to-earth, and almost like a friend. I just know that we could sit down over tea (or coffee, if that is what she likes) and talk like old friends. The whole book I felt like she was just talking to me. That is the kind of writing this book needed!

I could tell you that this book is full of real-life examples, biblical references, and stories from her own life, but you can read that in the book description.

Here is my take on it:

This is a very helpful book, and has really opened my eyes. I am courageous! I will be even more courageous! I will be bold! I will be brave! And I will read this book over and over!

Book Reviews

The Waiting – A Review

ThewaitingAn unforgettable true story that will touch your heart and make you believe in love’s enduring legacy, and in the power of prayer.
In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girl—who still thought the stork brought babies—was pregnant. The baby was secretly born, named Betty Jane, and given up for adoption. For decades, Minka wrote letters trying to get news of her daughter; she kept loving and praying for her, even though she never dared believe they would meet again. Until nearly eighty years later, when Minka whispered her secret, impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. I promise I won’t bother her or interrupt her life. I just want to lay eyes on her. Unbeknownst to Minka, that very same day, a judge was releasing the sealed adoption records to her 77-year-old daughter. And soon, Minka’s phone would ring. Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka’s granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century to tell a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets.


This is a beautifully written, true story that seems like it could be nothing but fiction.  This has been one of the hardest reviews for me to write, because everytime I start to type I either repeat everything in the book description or I give too much information (spoilers).

So let me tell you that I read this book in less than two days, so I can honestly say that I couldn't put it down. I loaned this book to a friend, and she did the same. Then she loaned it to her mother, and she read it in record time as well. Three out of three, folks!

It is so compelling, and heartwarming. A wonderful story written about patience and faith. This story made me want to be as faithful and dedicated as Minka.

I have to say that I am not a crier when it comes to reading books.  Remember the friend that I loaned the book to? Well, she is a crier, and so is her mother. They both mentioned that they cried through the whole book. So, if you are a crier, grab some kleenex!

This is one of those books that will always have a place on my bookshelf, and one of my highly recommended reads. I apologize for such a lame review, but I tried my best to let you know that I loved this book without telling you everything that happened in it.

The Waiting on Amazon

Thank you to Tyndale for providing me a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.


Finding Mr. Moler

It was a hot Oklahoma morning, and I had just finished getting my butt kicked at the gym. My workout partner and I made our way to the locally owned grocery store to pick up a few things, and just so you know, the grocery store is always more fun with a friend. We were just toodling around, getting close to be finished with our shopping when I saw the aisle of protein bars.

Keep in mind that we had just left our trainer, and he is constantly telling me I need to have a protein bar for a snack. I was looking for a chocolate chip cookie dough protein bar. They have them, and they aren't bad. Sorry, back to finding Mr. Moler. A friend of mine walked up and we started chatting about trying eat better, etc. As he walked off, a cute little eighty-five year old man started telling me that the reason it is hard to eat better these days is because it's too expensive. He had been looking at the Ensure products, and that is something I've never priced before so I just took his word for it.

Picture this.

The cutest little eighty-five year old man was wearing grey velcro shoes with a pair of really light colored Levi jeans, which happened to be rolled up at least twice. The roll on those jeans were a good three inches. He had on a wrinkled white button-down shirt, and had it tucked in all proper like. He wore glasses, and a ball cap.

Do you have him pictured yet?

My first reaction was to be polite, but to try to get away. I never know what to say to people, and I end up saying something really stupid. But, this man started telling me that he had to buy food for his seventeen dogs. SEVENTEEN! Wow, I thought three was a lot. He said that they had all been dumped out by his house. He said that he lives in the country, and it happens all the time. Well, he hit my weak spot, so we started talking. We shared stories about our dogs, and then we started talking about cats. This man had lost his wife, I think he said five years, and now his only companion at home is his favorite cat. He pulled out a little book from his shirt pocket, and from that he took a photo out to show me. He was cuddled with his cat. He had also rescued this cat, and all I could think was, what a kind hearted man.

We talked about our families. He was married to his best friend, but they never had children.  He said he didn't want any. I told him that I married into a pre-made family, and I was more than content without having children of my own. I said that I believe God made some of us that way, and there was nothing wrong with it.

We stood in the middle of the aisle talking for approximately ten minutes. I learned that he had lived here all of his eighty-five years. He told me his address three or four times. And he mentioned that his family used to own a pharmacy here in town. Then he told me his name was Ollie Moler.  He was lonely, and he just needed to talk.

Finally, he looked at me with tears in his eyes, and said, "Thank you for talking to me." I told him that it was my pleasure. He asked me if he could hug me, and how could I say no.

Mr. Moler and I said our goodbyes, and God Bless Yous, and headed for the checkout lines. I thought I had seen the last of him when he stopped by on his way out of the store to ask for my name and address. He told me his address again, and then told me come by and bring my husband. I said okay, and he was gone.

As I went out to my vehicle, I noticed him pushing his grocery cart full of dog food to his Grand Cherokee, and then the next time I glanced up, he was gone.

Mr. Moler.

Mr. Ollie Moler.

I came home that day and told McD about my encounter with Mr. Moler. I told him that I wanted to find his house. I wanted to help him with the dog food, so that he could actually afford the Ensure instead of just looking at it, and leaving it on the shelf. I told him that I think God put me in that store, and on that aisle for a reason.

And now! Now, I can't find Mr. Moler.

The address he told me doesn't exist, unless I only heard part of it. I've driven up and down that road numerous times trying to find him. The other day, I had to just tell God that I didn't know what I was supposed to do if I couldn't find Mr. Moler. And the conclusion that I have come up with is that I wasn't supposed to do anything but listen to Mr. Moler. To hug his neck. To look at his photos. Maybe just brighten his day. I hope that is what I did for Mr. Moler.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still looking for him!

Book Reviews

I’m Reading #NEGUBook, You?


Have you heard of Jessie Rees and her JoyJars?

I can't tell you too much about it yet, because I am just reading it myself, but I can tell you this.

It started with a simple question: How can we help them? It became an international movement called NEGU: Never Ever Give Up. When Jessica Joy Rees was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor at age 11, she chose to focus not on herself but on bringing joy and hope to other children suffering from cancer.

During the ten months she battled cancer, she and her family worked in the “Joy Factory” (originally their garage) making JoyJars®—packages filled with toys, games, and love for other kids with cancer. Jessie first handed them out personally at the hospital where she was being treated, but the effort blossomed quickly and there were soon thousands of JoyJars® being distributed across the United States and to over fifteen countries. Today, more than 100,000 kids have received JoyJars®, and they continue shipping each week to kids in over 200 children’s hospitals and 175 Ronald McDonald Houses.

Jessie lost her battle with cancer in January 2012, but her message lives on in the Jessie Rees Foundation, which has become a beacon of hope for families fighting pediatric cancer.

Join the movement at


 It has just been released, pick up your copy today!

Book Reviews

Wasted Prayer – A Review





Wasted Prayer Book Cover Wasted Prayer
Greg Darley
Religion & Spirituality, Christian Living, Spiritual Growth
Thomas Nelson
July 15, 2014

Wasted Prayer: Know When God Wants You to Stop Praying and Start Doing by Greg Darley

Book Description:

Faith without works is dead. Prayer without action is wasted.

What would your life look like if you stopped praying about God’s will and just did it instead? How would your church look if it spent as much time serving as it spent praying about serving?

The truth is, sometimes when you think you’re praying, you’re really just procrastinating. And when you think you’re asking that God’s will be done, you’re really telling him no. In times that call for action, prayer can be disobedience in disguise. Wasted Prayer uncovers the ways we use prayer to dodge responsibility for the work God has assigned us.

Complete with punch-in-the-gut biblical exposition that will help get you off your knees—and out of your chair—Wasted Prayer will provide you with the jolt you need to start living like a Christian, instead of just praying like one.

It’s time to stop praying and start doing.


Wasted Prayer is a pretty fast read, just shy of 200 pages, and filled with wisdom.  The kind of wisdom we should already have in our lives, but we tend to forget.  I'll be honest, when I saw the title of this book, I balked. Seriously, how can we have wasted prayers? Well, we can, and I am as guilty as the next person.

Let me tell you about one of my wasted prayers, just one mind you. A fellow church member, who happens to be a teacher, asked me if I might be interested in helping her with her classroom. It sounds like a great idea. There are lots of parents that can't make it to special events, parent/teacher conferences, programs, etc. and they are wanting a few people that can be there for these kids. That is a super short description, but trust me it is going to be good. This teacher friend of mine knows that I am not big on teaching kids at church or being in the nursery, so when she asked me I said, "Let me pray about it."

Sounds fine doesn't it? Sounds reasonable too, right? Well, after reading Wasted Prayer, I now know that it was a prayer for the Religious Cycle, a reactionary prayer, even a procrastination prayer. You just have to read this book if you can relate.

Greg Darley used several biblical examples of the Discipleship Cycle, a more proactive approach. The Good Samaritan parable was one of them, and it's very fitting. I don't want to give too much away, but the Samaritan just reacted.  He didn't have to run home and pray for several days. Another example he gave, to which we can all relate, is that if your house was on fire would you rather your neighbor fall to his knees and pray that it stopped? Or would you prefer he grab his water hose and help put it out.

There are lots of times that we should just react, but we say a procrastination prayer instead. This book opened my eyes to Wasted Prayer, and I hope to have learned from it. There are lots of books out there about prayer, but this one is a must read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Book Reviews

it’s a God thing – A Review

it's a GOD thing |

it’s a GOD thing on Amazon

Book Description:

Some things in life have no earthly explanation.

Miracles are not reserved for the characters in the Old and New Testaments; they happen to everyday people.

Series creator Don Jacobson and K-LOVE Radio have joined together to produce one of the most remarkable collections of modern-day miracles ever compiled. From angel appearances in hospital rooms to a mother saved from a would-be assailant in Hyde Park, from a young autistic girl becoming a beautiful ballerina overnight to a young backpacker who walked away from a terrorist attack, It’s a God Thing presents some of the most amazing stories of God’s hand on our lives.

Be motivated as never before to look for and witness the incredible ways that God is interacting in your life and the lives of those around you.


it’s a God thing is forty-six independent stories each telling how God’s love, power and/or provision impacted each writer’s life.  It is a fast and encouraging read that is jam packed with modern-day miracles. The titles of some of these individual stories are quite intriguing. For instance: My God Coma, The Unlikely Ballerina, Does God Watch Baseball?, I Give You My Angel, The Dog, the Chicken, and the Bomb, Midnight Stranger, Hostage, The Day God Flew My Airplane, and many more.

This is the perfect book to place on your nightstand, and read each night before you go to sleep. The stories are a great length, not too long and not too short. Emotions run high when reading these stories, some will require tissues for the tender hearted. I have loved reading each of these stories and cannot wait until the next it’s a God thing comes out.

Some may say these miracles are just coincidences, but I don’t believe in those. I believe everything happens for a reason, and after looking back in my life I have seen many God things. I hope that this book will remind people that God is with us daily, that we are not alone, and He does work in our lives. Take a step back and look for it.

Do you have a God thing to share? You can submit your story to be considered for the volume of It’s a God Thing by visiting And don’t worry, if you’ve never written anything they have a writer who will help you tell your story.



Funny Story!

Well, I'm so out of the blogging practice that I wrote a month's worth of posts and scheduled them to post. Except for I didn't schedule them to post, I saved them as drafts!

I can't help but laugh at myself!

Bad news, the whole time I thought I was keeping the blog current…I wasn't. 

Good news, I still have them all saved!  Yeah Me!

So, be prepared to actually see some new posts coming your way!


Tap, Tap, Tap…Hello? Anyone Out There?



My name is Julie, and I am a bad blogger! 🙂

I've really neglected Another Chance Ranch for several months now, and I have got to get back to it. I've been missing all my friends, and fellow bloggers.

Let me catch you up on my little life.

The most exciting thing is that my nephew graduated from the USAF Basic Military Training. We spent the weekend with him in San Antonio, TX and had a great time! It was pretty much a family vacation, with the whole family. Well, except for McD, he had to stay home.

I've been sewing, reading, more sewing, and more reading.

I'll tell you all about the book club a few friends and I started, and what we are reading next, but that will be tomorrow.

I started taking Plexus, and guess what…it works! I have tried nearly everything, but this stuff gives me energy without making me shaky, curbs my appetitie, helps me sleep, and has stopped my weight gain.  Most everyone else will tell you that it is helping them lose weight, but my situation is a lot different.  I have to take Tamoxifen, which is an estrogen blocker – just another part of my battling cancer, but it makes you gain weight. And oh, have I gained the weight!  But Plexus has helped me stop the weight gain, AND I am actually burning fat! If you are interested let me know, or just go to My Plexus page.

I've been testing all kinds of pins on Pinterest, and will be posting those to my PinTest category soon.

Lastly, and most importantly, on May 17th I celebrated 3 years cancer free!!!

I better get off of here so I can finish our book for book club tomorrow. We are reading Wild by Cheryl Strayed right now, and I still have half the book to finish before tomorrow. Yikes!

Have you read Wild? What were your thoughts?

Gotta run! See you tomorrow!