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Faith

Book Reviews

How to Catch a Prince by Rachel Hauck – Review

how to catch a prince | juliekmccomas.com

How to Catch a Prince on Amazon

Book Description:

Prince Stephen came to America to escape responsibility. But what he found complicates his life more than ever.

Corina Del Rey is happy with her life in Melbourne, Florida. She spends her days engrossed in her career as a journalist and has her sights set on climbing the corporate ladder if for no other reason, to distract herself from her dissolving family. But when she is confronted with the past she fought so hard to put behind her, she struggles to make sense of her future.

Prince Stephen of Brighton Kingdom has moved on since the tragic death of his buddies in Afghanistan. A star professional rugby player, he has no intention of looking over his shoulder at what could’ve been.

But when a notice arrives in the mail requiring his and his wife s appearance before the courts to dissolve their marriage, he must deal with the questions rumbling around in his heart. He thought his marriage had been annulled long ago, but his memories of Corina Del Rey remain close. Does he still love her? Can he even find her? Above all, can he tell her the truth about that fateful night in Afghanistan seven years ago? If he does, he might really lose her forever.

Review:

I’ll just get this out of the way right now. I’m a Rachel Hauck fan. I haven’t read any of her books that I didn’t like. So, I knew going into this one, that it was going to be another good one. I just didn’t realize how good.  I call books like this fluff, and I do not mean any disrespect at all when I say that. I like fluff. It’s kind of like Marshmallow Fluff, you just can’t put it down. It’s one where there aren’t too many plot lines, and characters to keep up with. It is a fairytale sprinkled with faith!

These characters are Royals and Elites; they are not your typical Dick and Jane, but as I read through their enchanting story of love, regret, and forgiveness they seemed more down to earth than Royals and Elites are usually depicted.

How to Catch a Prince is the third and final book in The Royal Wedding Series by Rachel Hauck. I did something a little different with this series. I read this book before I read the second book in the series, Princess Ever After. Why would I do that? Let me tell you. I’m usually one to start reading a series of books with the first book and not stray out of order until I am finished with the series. This time I wanted to see if this was a book that would stand alone, or if it was dependent on the other books in the series. I am happy to report that How to Catch a Prince can stand alone. Now, with that said, I will be going back and reading Princess Ever After because I love this series, the characters, and Rachel Hauck!  Whether you start on the first book, Once Upon a Prince, or not is up to you, but if you like romantic fairytales then this book, as well as the others are for you!

Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for a free ecopy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Confessions

A Light Bulb Moment

IdeaLightbulbsmJust the other day I had a light bulb moment. Have you ever had one of those? Some times I feel brilliant after the light bulb goes off, and other times I feel kinda slow. You know… the why didn't I think of that sooner thought.  On this particular day, I felt kinda slow.

Let me explain a little bit.

When I first started blogging, a long, long time ago (2006), I tried to stay away from the touchy topics like religion and politics. I mean, aren't those the topics we avoid most of the time? I know we do at all of our family events, and even church groups. Sometimes it is best to just talk about the weather, sports, or ailments. It's just safer! No arguments, no hurt feelings.

All of that was okay when I first started blogging. But now, the blogging world has blogs about faith/religion, and I feel compelled to write more about my faith, or what God is doing in my life. I want the world to know, and what better place to shout it out than the World Wide Web/Internet/Cloud/Whatever you call it! (I am SO not a techy person!)

Don't worry, I am not going to even try to touch the whole political topics. I just wouldn't know where to begin! The only political advice I will ever give is this…are you ready?…Vote! There ya go, you've got my political advice. 

For the longest time I felt like I shouldn't dip my toe in the religious/faith-filled blog posting because, well, I am not a perfect Christian. (Screeching halt!) Wait! No one is a perfect Christian. No one! 

I felt like I wasn't far enough along in my walk with Jesus. Wait, wait, wait! This might be true to some, but to others I might be a lot farther on my walk than theirs and hopefully we could chat on our walk.  Aren't we supposed to help each other?

Why shouldn't I write about something I am excited about? Why shouldn't I share all that God has done for me? Why shouldn't I step out of my cramped little box where I try to please everyone? You know, it really is comfy in there though. I'm not staying in that little box anymore. I'm taking a leap of faith.

What are your thoughts? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?

 

Book Reviews

The War on Christmas – Review

The War on Christmas: Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression Book Cover The War on Christmas: Battles in Faith, Tradition, and Religious Expression
Bodie Hodge
Religion & Spirituality, Christian Living
Master Books
October 31, 2013
Paperback
144

Book Description:

Find the truth about Christmas and the Christian's response to a culture that seems to be declaring war on traditions and the Bible!

Christmas - with its holiday lights, bright packages, and nativity displays - has become a controversial frontline in the increasingly intolerant culture wars. Whether or not to say "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays," how to refer to the tree, and just how "biblical" Christmas may actually be is debated online, during city council meetings, and in courthouses each year.

Filled with family get-togethers, office parties, breaks from school and festivities, Christmas should be a time of peace and love - not arguments over who can celebrate what and where or when. So why has so much controversy clouded this sacred holiday? Nativity scenes are nixed and even the word "Christmas" is considered offensive by some. Get the facts behind the history, relevance, and biblical connections of this beloved holiday:

  • Is it a bunch of pagan symbols or traditions "Christianized" for the celebrations?
  • Why is a Christian concept of Christmas so important for those who don't believe in Jesus?
  • Most may say Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, but are we truly worshiping Him or just celebrating the earthly gifts we give ourselves?

Review:

Honestly, I read this book rather quickly. It was pleasing to see how these authors connected Christmas to the Bible, and gave the scriptures for readers to read it for themselves. I was not able to reference my Bible as I read, but you better bet your booty that I will the next time I read it.

With all of the hoopla going on with Duck Dynasty, Phil Robertson, and A&E, I think it is very important that people go to their Bibles and read everything for themselves. This applies to everything!

The saying you hear at Christmas time, Jesus is the Reason for the Season, is right. Christians believe this, and will stand their ground when disputed. Take this book for instance! There is a War on Christmas. There are lots of people wanting to take "Christ" out of Christmas, are they non-believers or just wanting to be politically correct? Believe it or not, sometimes being politically correct means that you are not proclaiming your faith.

This book proves to me that there are people out there that aren't afraid to put their beliefs out there, make a stand for them, and try to reach those that are in doubt.

The different sections of this book are:

What about Christmas? - Confusion and Misconceptions - It's All Baby Jesus - How Christmas Came to Be - The War on Christmas

Read this! Study the timeline! Study the facts! Study the Bible right alongside this book!

Let's keep Christ in Christmas! If we keep Christ in our day, everyday, then why should Christmas be any different?

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Book Reviews

Men of Sunday – Book Review

Menofsunday.coverBook Description:

Step into the locker rooms and living rooms of NFL players and their families to see how a close relationship with God guides football's biggest stars.

In a behind-the-scenes, off-the-field glimpse into one of America's most beloved sports, Men of Sunday reveals how Sunday's greatest rely on God to face issues such as drug abuse, family crisis, injuries, and temptations resulting from fame and fortune.

Compiled from dozens of interviews, Men of Sunday marks the intersection of two Sunday traditions: faith and football. Inspired by the league's "systemic shift" toward embracing Christianity, Bloomberg writer Curtis Eichelberger shows how God is a source of comfort when facing the unique challenges of life in the NFL and the everyday challenges of maintaining strong families and building character.

Featured personalities include

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis

New York Jets running back LaDainian Tomlinson

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers

Former Chicago Bears middle linebacker Mike Singletary

Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis

Former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy

San Diego Chargers pastor Shawn Mitchell

Danisha Rolle, wife of former Tennessee and Baltimore defensive back Samari Rolle

And many more Men of Sunday is a must-have for any football fan, teaching the invaluable lesson of trusting in the Lord—both on and off the field.

Review:

This book was not really what I expected it would be, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I expected it to be more like a Chicken Soup for the Soul for Football Fans. A small insight into their Christian lives, and it is, but it is so much more.

Not only do we get to read about some of their personal walks with God, we also get a feeling of what it is like for them on the field. How some of them struggle with how to be a Christian while playing a pretty brutal game, and how they work through it all.

As a Christian football fan, I was anxious to learn about my fellow Christians and stars of the NFL world. I was pleased to read about the team pastors, coaches, and wives. I was sucked into their world for just a few minutes while I read their stories. My heart broke as they dealt with horrible loss, and at the same time rejoiced for them when God answered their prayers.

I don't typically re-read books, but this is one that I know I will read again. It is a great book, and you would be crazy not to pick one up for yourself.

I received a free copy of this book via BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review. Thank you, BookSneeze.

Travel

Together – in(RL)

In(RL)
In 2006, I never dreamt that I would actually meet Robin (Pensieve) in real life. It just so happened that we were able to meet face-to-face at the in(courage) in(RL) event.

in(RL) = in (RealLife)

It was their second year hosting this upside down conference, their words not mine. Women
can tune into a webcast from home on Friday and then on Saturday join in via
their computer screens and connect with other (in)courage readers and
new friends right in their own community. (I was completely out of my community, but quickly made new friends.)

TogetherLL
Exclusively designed by Lisa Leonard for (in)courage, this necklace
beautifully reminds women of the importance of community…..coming
together to share, listen, and encourage one another.  Robin was such a sweetheart, and gave me my very own ((together)) necklace. We were finally together!

Everything seemed so fitting – in(RL), ((together)), friends. It was perfect!!

At one point during the day, I caught myself staring at Robin. There were many thoughts going through my head. First of all, I was really there, sitting in her house, watching her television (we watched everything on DVD), and mingling with her friends. I wasn't dreaming! I thanked God for giving me the opportunity to finally get to hug her neck, and for putting such an inspirtational woman in my life. God is really, really good to me!

This was my first in(RL), and I am looking forward to many more! I hope next time you will join me!

My Battle with Breast Cancer, You Asked - Answers

Answers to Your Cancer Questions

The other day I asked if you had any questions for me regarding my cancer, and several of you actually had questions.  Believe it or not, I always cringe when I hit the publish button on one of the "do you have any questions" posts.  I don't cringe because it is a bad post, but I cringe because I fear that no one will have a question.  Silly, yes, but very true.

So here are the answers to your questions.

Do you still feel sometimes like this is not happening? (from Debby)

Yes, I feel like that a lot.  When I was newly diagnosed, I prayed that God would give me the strength to get through this, and I believe that is exactly why I feel the way I do. 

Do you have a bucket list, even one you might have had before you found out about the cancer? Are you the "I've re-thought my priorities" kind of person now or are you "I'm not doing anything differently just because I have cancer" kind of person?  (from Denny144)

You know, I've never had a bucket list.  There are things I would love to do before die, but I've never really sat down and made a list.  When I first found out about the cancer, I told McD that I want to take my Dad to New York so we can watch a Yankees game together.   He told me that we would do that, but after I kick this cancer. 

I think I am a "I'm not doing anything differently just because I have cancer" kind of person.  I have cancer, but cancer doesn't have me. 

How do you keep your spirits up?  (from Carolyn)

I've never been one to be down.  If I start worrying about something, then I immediately pray about it.  I try to give my worries to God and let him deal with them.  It isn't always easy to do, but that is what the Bible tells us to do, so I try my hardest.

How do you pray about this?  (from Carolyn)

To tell you the truth, I am not really sure how to answer this one because prayer is such a private thing for me.  I've prayed for strength, courage, healing, and patience.  I've asked God to use me through this battle to help, encourage, and bring awareness to others.  I've asked that a cure be found.  I've thanked God for giving me this battle and not our kids, or other family members.  And, I've thanked him for the strength, courage, feverless days, and patience he has given me.  I also thank him every. single. day. for such a wonderful husband.  I don't even want to think about going through this without him. 

What's something new you learned about yourself in this ordeal?  (from Carolyn)  

I am stronger than I thought.

Are you able to receive your treatments close to home? (from Kimela)

Yes.  We live out in the middle of nowhere, so it takes us about 20 to 25 minutes to get to the clinic.  My doctor from the big city comes here once a week, or I would be traveling to get my treatments. 

Are you planning to celebrate the end of chemo?  (from BB)

Several people have mentioned that we need to have a big party, but that would involve me being the center of attention and I am not a big fan of that.  I'm sure we will have to do something!

Is it worse/better than you anticipated?  (from BB) 

There is a little bit of both.  For some reason I had it in my head that chemo would be a breeze for me, and the first treatment almost did me in.  The second treatment went a lot more like I thought it should, thanks to the shot they gave me.  The hair cut is better than I anticipated.  Oh, and the tastes.  My tastes are a lot worse than I anticipated.  But it is such a minor thing that I feel ridiculous complaining.

Your surgery was going to be done in two stages…and I wondered about that…as to why they would not do it all at once?  (from Monie)

When I told the Wonderful Wizard of Boggs that I wanted to remove both breasts he gave me options, then he let me decide.  I chose having two surgeries.  The second surgery will be when they do the right mastectomy, and start the reconstruction process.   I will have the same amount of surgeries doing it this way, and no pain on the right side until the next surgery.

Did your chemo start immediately after you got your port?   (from Connie) 

My port was put in on Monday, and that Thursday I received my first chemo treatment.

Did it HURT?? (from Connie)

I had heard that there was a freezing spray that they can use to numb the area before using your port, so that might have been the first thing out of my mouth the day of my first treatment.  They used the spray and it didn't hurt.  I felt it, don't get me wrong, but I mainly just felt the pressure.  When I was admitted to the hospital they used my port, but when I asked for freezing spray they looked at me like I was crazy.  They didn't use the spray, and it was just a week after getting the port so it hurt a little.  The nurse assured me that it gets better with time.   I suggest using the freezing spray.

What kind of cancer is your … her2 positive? hormone positive?  (from Connie)

My cancer is IDC (invasive ductal carcinoma).  It is HER2 +, and hormone positive (ER/PR+)

Do you know the things that cancer cannot do ?  (from Kathy/Swampwitch)

Yes, I do…

Cancer is so limited . . .
It cannot cripple Love
It cannot shatter Hope
It cannot corrode Faith
It cannot destroy Peace
It cannot kill Friendship
It cannot suppress Memories
It cannot silence Courage
It cannot invade the Soul
It cannot steal eternal Life
It cannot conquer the Spirit.

Do you know how much you are loved ?  (from Kathy/Swampwitch)

Honestly, I had no idea until all of this happened.  The outpouring of love and support has  been overwhelming, humbling even.  I cannot thank everyone enough for their love, support, and prayers. 

 

Book Reviews, Faith

Are YOU a Christian Atheist?

What is a Christian Atheist?

A Christian Atheists are people who believe in God, but live as if He doesn't exist.

I hate to say this, but I am a Christian Atheist.  I didn't realize it until I read Craig Groeschel's book The Christian Atheist, but that is what I am.  Sadly, I think that is what a lot of us are. 

Oh, hold on a minute, I didn't really "read" his book, I listened to
it.  That is something I have been doing at work lately.  It sure helps the day go by faster.  But really, this post is not about audio books, or work.  This post is basically to tell you about this book, and to kind of challenge you.  Challenge you to do what?  To read the book, to be a better Christian.  We all have room for improvement.  Okay, so some of us have more room for improvement than others.  I need a lot of improvement. 

After reading (listening) to this book, and Crazy Love, I realized that I just thought I was being a good Christian.  I am a Christian Atheist.  I feel like I have so many areas in my life to improve on.  I need to study my Bible more.  Pray more, or should I say stay awake while praying.  I like to pray when I get in bed at night.  The only problem with this is that half the time I fall asleep before I close my prayer.  No, "In Jesus' name Amen."  Not even a 10-4 good buddy, over and out.  Yea, I know that isn't proper, but like I said I have some work to do.  (In case you are wondering I have never closed a prayer with 10-4 good buddy.)

I go to church, I try to learn something from the sermon, I take communion, and I walk out of there and who knows what will happen next.  This past Sunday we went to Wal-Mart.  Oh now, that is the one place that I am tested.  Not to buy things, I am not to terribly to buy a whole lot that I don't need, but my patience are tested.  Oh my temper is tested.  This might not make sense to you, but my language is tested.  Believe it or not, some pretty filthy words come out of this chick's mouth.  I tried super hard this past Sunday to be on my best behavior while grocery shopping.  I didn't do too bad, but there was room for improvement. 

I have a lot of work to do.  The first step is admitting it, right?

I am sure McD is already tired of my new quest to become a better person and better Christian.  He will say a cuss word, and I quickly make a comment like, "Did you really have to use that word?"  That is just one example.  As soon as I say something I know that I shouldn't have because he is certainly the better person/Christian in our relationship.  He even remembers the words to the Books of the Bible song.  Do you remember all the books of the Bible, and can you still sing that song?  I can't.  Somehow that makes me feel bad.

This book really makes you stop and think.  It makes you evaluate your life, your faith, your Christianity.  This book, and Crazy Love, are the reasons that I finally decided to bring my religion to this blog.  When I first started blogging, almost 4 years ago, McD and I decided that I probably shouldn't blog about Religion because it might turn people off.  (Can you say Christian Atheist?)  I am not one to be able to walk up to someone and say, "Are you a Christian?"  Because what if they say, No.  What do I say?  Do I just invite them to church?  Cause I am afraid that I would get tongue tied and lead them astray if I opened my mouth. 

I am not good with talking to strangers.  Not about important stuff anyway.  I can chit chat about the weather, or why some dude should be happy that his kid & grandkid are coming over for supper (grocery store conversation last week), or I can even help an elderly gentleman pick out a gift for his grandson.  But I am clueless when it comes to talking to someone about their faith, or better yet mine. 

It took almost 4 years, but I got up the nerve to talk about it here.  So, hang with me while I explore new territory on this blog.  While we might not see eye to eye on somethings, let's all keep an open mind.  Let's discuss things.  Let's learn from each other, with each other, and grow in our faith together.