Sunday, October 13, 2019

Book Review - Always We Begin Again


No one wants to be sidelined, stuck, shamed, or silenced. But the difficulties of life have a way of putting us in a corner, and we often don't know how to move forward. It's so easy to blame ourselves or our circumstances, to get bogged down in discouragement and toxic thinking. But that's not what we were meant for, and that's not how God wants us to live.

Leeana Tankersley has good news if you're struggling: each new day is an opportunity to begin again. In her warm tone and welcoming style, she offers one hundred short readings to encourage and motivate you to begin again in your relationships with God, your family, your friends, and yourself.

Because there is always a hand reaching toward you, there is always grace available, and there is always a chance to begin again.


Leeana Tankersley is the author of five books, including Begin Again and Brazen, and holds English degrees from Liberty University and West Virginia University. Leeana's writing has been featured in the Huffington Post, on, and at (in)courage. She is a regular contributor to MOPS as both a writer and a speaker. Leeana and her three kids currently call Virginia home. Learn more at


This is an absolutely beautiful book that draws you in with it's simplistic beauty but once you open it, it's a wonderful, complex devotional that helps you find navigate the changes of life that inevitably come our way.

Leeana shares personal stories that draw you in and help you to realize that we all face struggles and difficulties, however, God is with us and will help us through these times when we aren't sure how to move forward.

This book has been especially helpful and comforting to me as I have been recently diagnosed with cancer and each day holds some new difficulty and fear.

Each day starts with a quote and then a short devotional that is thought provoking. Then begins my favorite part...the question and answer section.  There are one or two short questions and lines where we can record our thoughts.  I love when devotions have this because it makes it so much more personal and helps me to really work through things in my mind.

I love how Leeana points us back to God's Word again and again for our answers in this life. Her writing is beautiful and poignant and I absolutely adored this book! I highly recommend it, especially for your quiet time and especially if you find yourself going through a difficult season. I give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Revell.  I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

Blessings - Julie

Book Review - The Spice King by Elizabeth Camden


Gray Delacroix has dedicated his life to building an acclaimed global spice empire, but it has come at a cost. Resolved to salvage his family before they spiral out of control, he returns to his ancestral home for good after years of traveling the world.

As a junior botanist for the Smithsonian, Annabelle Larkin has been charged with the impossible task of gaining access to the notoriously private Delacroix plant collection. If she fails, she will be out of a job and the family farm in Kansas will go under. She has no idea that in gaining entrance to the Delacroix world, she will unwittingly step into a web of dangerous political intrigue far beyond her experience.

Unable to deny her attraction to the reclusive business tycoon, Annabelle will be forced to choose between her heart and loyalty to her country. Can Gray and Annabelle find a way through the storm of scandal without destroying the family Gray is fighting to save?


Elizabeth Camden ( is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America, featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award and have appeared on the CBA bestsellers list. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.


This book, set in the early 1900's, takes us on a romantic adventure between Annabelle and Gray but it's also filled with intrigue and historical facts that keep one turning the page to see what could possibly happen next.

Annabelle has a temporary job at the Smithsonian Institute where she catalogs plants and seeds from all over the world. She needs this job to revert to a permanent position and her boss has promised to do this if she can secure the Delacroix plant collection.  She has tried numerous time to write to Gray Delacroix but he has firmly written back "no" to her requests.  She then decides to meet him face to face to encourage him to share his collection.  One reason for her determination is that her family needs the financial support.  She is from Kansas and her family's farm has been struggling.  The other reason is her sister, who recently lost her sight, has a job at the Library of Congress where she works in the reading room for the blind.  So, her family depends on her greatly. However, Annabelle is a strong young woman who is determined to make a difference for all concerned.

Gray is also a complex man who has centered his life out of building his family's spice business and regaining the wealth they once had. He is a traveled man who has seen much of the world and suffers malaria because of it. He is a brooder yet loving and kind once you get to know him. His determination matches Annabelle's and this makes for a relationship full of fireworks!

I enjoyed the historical information about food labeling and how the government got involved in making sure our foods are safe. So many people were either sickened or died because of impure or even dangerous items added to the food.  This issue brought Annabelle and Gray together.

I really liked the characters in this book, even the difficult ones! They are believable and complex. The story was also complex enough to keep you interested. It touches on many subjects and political histories that are very interesting.  All in all, I enjoyed this book and I recommend it.  I give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Bethany House. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

Blessings - Julie

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Battle is His!! Cancer Update

Thank you, thank you for all your prayers as I start this battle against cancer! I have had so many messages from so many people that it really boosts my spirits and helps me in my battle  When others pray for me and stay in touch, it's like another layer of armor against this horrible disease! I feel so much stronger than I did when I first heard the dreaded news.

I have an update for you all.  I haven't written anything before this because I really didn't have much to share but now I do.  I had my CT scan on Monday, September 30, and they were supposed to send the results to my doctor that same day. I made an issue of making sure they would do that but, alas, I waited and waited on Tuesday to hear the results. I finally called them about 3:00 in the afternoon and they told me they hadn't gotten the results from the imaging place. I was not happy.  They told me they would contact them in the morning, have the doctor go over them and then call me. They did this morning and I finally know what's going on...sort of.  The CT scan showed no cancer in the organs but they saw some spots on my lungs.  However, as the doctor said, I live in Arizona and we have a lot of lung issues here, including something called Valley Fever.  This primarily happens in Phoenix and Tucson and the hotter areas of the state but we have lung issues where I live, too, because of the dry dust that is always blowing here. I have bronchitis or pneumonia every year and I also have seasonal allergy asthma. So because of that, I'm very hopeful these are just lesions on my lungs from that. I am also hopeful because there is no cancer in the liver and I would think if it were in the lungs, it would be in the liver. 

So, now we have a Pet Scan. I have to agree with my son and ask why we didn't do a Pet Scan in the first place. He felt that's what I should have had but, of course, the insurance companies are always going to go for the least costly thing instead of the test that will give the best results first. The doctor wants to have it done on Friday so we're ready for my surgery on Wednesday, October 9th. 

Here's where I want to tell you something.  If you are going through any medical issues, you have to be your own advocate! I spent 6 hours on the phone Friday morning talking with the doctor's office, the imaging place, and my insurance company to make sure I got this CT scan done in a timely manner.  The doctor's office was supposed to schedule my scan, but when I could see it wasn't going to get done anytime soon, I took the bull by the horns and got it done myself.  I called and re-called the imaging place to get them to move it from an appointment they wanted to do today to one for last Monday.  Those 2 extra days make a huge difference. 

So tomorrow, I will do the same thing. Once I know the insurance company has approved this, I will get the approval number and I will call the imaging company and fight for an appointment on Friday.  I am never rude, and always polite, but firm in telling them how important it is to get the stat order done. 

God showed Himself today by orchestrating so many things  for me.  I had to get an EKG for the surgery and I was miraculously able to get an appointment for today after being told it would be impossible this week.  I also was able to get into my pain management doctor to get things set up for my surgery, pain wise,, and so felt so thankful for God's help in all this. 

So, here's my prayer request, my friends.

1.  That these spots in my lung are not cancer.
2.  That we get the PT scan done this week
3.  That my surgery goes forward next Wednesday and that there's no cancer in the lymph nodes.

I have been praying that God will keep this cancer in my uterus not allow it to move outside of those boundaries.  God can do it and I have faith that He will.  The battle is His! 

Thank you so much for your friendship and prayers! They sustain me!

Blessings - Julie 

Book Review - Jesus In Me by Anne Graham Lotz


In Jesus in Me, Anne Graham Lotz draws on her rich biblical knowledge as well as her personal journey—including her recent cancer diagnosis—to help us understand that the Holy Spirit is not a magic genie, a flame of fire, or a vague feeling. He is a Person who prays for us, guides us in our relationships and decisions, comforts us in pain, and stays by our side at all times. In this seminal teaching, she explores seven key aspects of the Holy Spirit that will revolutionize how you understand and relate to this vital third Person in the Trinity.

As Anne writes, “One of my deepest, richest joys has been discovering by experience who the Holy Spirit is in every step of my life’s journey. Each name that He has been given—Helper, Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor, Counselor, Strengthener, and Standby—reveals another aspect of His beautiful character and has provoked in me a deep love for the One who is my constant Companion . . . Jesus in me.”

Discover how to better love and rely on the person of the Holy Spirit—and embrace how much He loves you through His presence, power, and provision in our daily lives.


Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Billy and Ruth Graham, is the president and CEO of AnGeL Ministries (, a nonprofit organization that undergirds her efforts to draw people into a life-changing relationship with God through His Word. Anne has spoken on seven continents, in more than twenty foreign countries, proclaiming the Word of God in arenas, churches, seminaries, and prisons. She is the award-winning author of ten books, including her signature book, Just Give Me Jesus. In 2000 she launched her revival ministry, also entitled Just Give Me Jesus. This free event has been held for hundreds of thousands of women in more than thirty major cities in the United States, Asia, the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and South America.


This book is such a wonderful book that explains the Holy Spirit and how He lives in us and helps us in every aspect of our life. Anne explains how He is Our Helper, Our Comforter, Our Advocate, Our Intercessor, Our Counselor, Our Strengthener, and Our Standby. She explains how each attribute guides us and helps us in our life.

She shares about the death of her husband and how that Holy Spirit comforted her in her grieve. She also shares her cancer story and this was especially timely for me as I have recently been diagnosed with cancer. Finding out how the Holy Spirit guided her and comforted her each step of the way, was such an encouragement.

I really love how Anne always backs everything up with Scripture and how she explains the Scriptures in a way that is easy to understand. It was really a pure joy to learn more about the Holy Spirit and to understand what a gift He is to us from Jesus. He is always waiting to help us and that is such a wonderful gift from God!

I can't recommend this book enough! It has changed the way I understand about the Holy Spirit and has given me such comfort and joy in knowing all He does for me. This would be a wonderful book for anyone to read. I give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Waterbrook Multnomah. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

Blessings - Juie

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Book Review - Double Blessings


Mark Batterson believes it's possible to experience more of God's blessing - but that might look different than you would initially expect. The first wave of blessing is that which God gives you: time, treasure, talent. The double blessing, the second movement in this relationship, is our giving back to God by giving to others. In a day where divine flourishing and godly stewardship has been reduced to a hashtag; #blessed, Batterson challenges readers to pursue true, God-glorifying blessing and experience an exponential impact by participating in the double blessing.


Mark Batterson serves as lead pastor of National Community Church ( in Washington, DC. One church with seven locations. NCC is focused on reaching emerging generations and meets in theaters throughout the DC metro area. NCC also owns and operates the largest coffeehouse on Capitol Hill. Mark holds a Doctor of Ministry degree from Regent University and is the New York Times bestselling author of 10 books, including The Circle Maker, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, Wild Goose Chase and most recently, All In. Mark is married to Lora and they live on Capitol Hill with their three children: Parker, Summer, and Josiah.


Mark Batterson is one of my favorite authors because he shares about the Word of God in a way that is easily understood and applicable to our lives. This book about blessings is a perfect example of that.

He explains what a blessing is and how we can and are blessed by God and how, when then, can turn around and bless others! This is definitely not a prosperity book but a truly Biblical teaching on what a blessing is.  He shares a lot of different stories from his own life and the lives of others to show what a blessing can look like in our every day lives.  That's one thing I really enjoy about his writing; he brings us right into his life and shows us, by example, how the concept he is teaching works.

I thought it was eye opening that he shows us that we don't always have a clear understanding of what a blessing really is. Again, he goes to the Bible to show us what a blessing really is.  I know for myself, I probably use the word blessing way too much and not in the right way.  Not that it's wrong but I now understand the full meaning of blessing.

We all want to be blessed but I loved the part of the book about blessing others. There is such joy in blessing others in small and large ways and Mark's thoughts on this were so wonderful.

This book is really good and I highly recommend it.  I give it 5 stars.

*This book was provided to me by Waterbrook/Multnomah. I received a copy of this book to review but I was not financially compensated in any way. The opinions expressed are my own and are based on my observations while reading this book.

Blessings - Julie