Book Review – Mosaic – Rating: 8.25 out of 10 (Early estimate)

Mosaic, by Amy Grant - Book CoverMosaic, by Amy Grant

I was given the opportunity by the really nice people at WaterBrook Press to read, share and review Amy Grant’s new book, Mosaic. When I got the email, I wasn’t quite sure what I should do. You see, Amy Grant was my idol when I was in grade school. I had 3 of her albums on tape that I memorized. Every single nuance. I knew she had gotten her start when she was young, and that she started with singing in church, so I thought maybe someday I could grow up and do the same.

Of course, then life happened. Her music changed – and I changed right along with it. The fun pop-rock style in the 80s. It was awesome. But then I graduated from High School. Early college life really sucked. My music tastes flowed along with my school friends. Then, when I did consider catching up with Amy’s music, I heard she divorced her husband and was involved with Vince.

I am ashamed to say that I judged her pretty hard. Her divorce came around the time that I had a wedding planned and ended up calling it off due to the infidelity of my fiance. So, that was when my idol-worship days of her were cut harshly short.

Her music still had it’s place. Her two Christmas albums are so ingrained in my family’s celebrations, that she still was part of my life. But I stopped caring about her personal life. She’d married Vince Gill and to me it felt like she crossed over into “Hollywood” and stopped being real.

So, when Kelly at WaterBrook sent me an email offering me this opportunity to read Mosaic (for free!) I figured it would be nice to see what Amy had to say. I had no idea what to expect.

I have not yet finished the book. 🙂 The timeframe given to read and review the book was painfully short for those of us who are WAHMs with toddlers. Time to sit and read is scarce. And as a mom, when I actually DO have time to sit quietly (naps and after bedtime) I work, so I hate to say it, this book has been relegated to the only other semi-alone time I have. It has become a bathroom book!

The wonderful thing? It’s PERFECT for that. The structure of the book is set up so that Amy tells a story about a significant memory, and then you read the lyrics of the song that came of that memory. It’s written so that you can read these little snapshots of her memories without too much time commitment. (One of the things I dislike about reading in my new WAHM role is getting interrupted – as one does with a toddler – in the middle of a particularly long and engrossing chapter)

So, here’s my review:

Content: 9
Writing Style: 9
Re-readability: 5
Busy Mommy Scale: 10

Content – Like I said, I haven’t finished the book yet, but so far, I am really enjoying what I have read. It feels like I am getting to know her – much in the same way you get to know someone from reading their blog. And I especially like the ties to the song lyrics. I know a lot of her songs by heart and to read them in context with her life is giving me an even greater appreciation of them.

Writing style – Solid. Conversational. Easy to read. Reflective story telling.

Re-readability – It takes quite a bit for me to decide that a book is something I will re-read. It requires me to have been entranced, enthralled, excited, and it MUST have a happy ending. Non-Fiction is rarely on this list, unless it’s a Bible study or similar self-help book. I know that I will enjoy reading this book, but it’s almost definitely one to pass on to others to read.

Busy Mommy Scale – This is a brand new category triggered by this book. It gets a full 10. If you think you’d like to read this book, but aren’t sure you have time, I’m tellin’ ya, you can read it in short bursts and not lose the full effect of her writing!

To listen to music from Mosaic, visit Amy’s site.

To purchase a copy of Mosaic, visit Amazon.com

The Practice of the Presence of God

I found this book in my boss’s office a couple of years ago and asked if I could read it. It isn’t very long, and can be difficult to read (Brother Lawrence was a seventeenth-century French Monk), but it is well worth it.

I lost track of the borrowed (and returned) book, but finally re-found and purchased it for myself. I am reading it once again and would like to share a passage with you that I feel I should read on a daily basis…

Being questioned by one of his own society (to whom he was obliged to open himself) by what means he had attained such an habitual sense of God, he told him that, since his first coming to the monastery, he had considered God as the end of all his thoughts and desires, as the mark to which they should tend, and in which they should terminate.

That in the beginning of his novitiate he spent the hours appointed for private prayer in thinking of God, so as to convince his mind of, and to impress deeply upon his heart, the divine existence, rather by devout sentiments, and submission to the lights of faith, than by studied reasonings and elaborate meditations. That by this short and sure method he exercised himself in the knowledge and love of God, resolving to use his utmost endeavor to live in a continual sense of His presence, and if possible never to forget Him more.

That when he had thus in prayer filled his mind with great sentiments of that infinite Being, he went to his work appointed in the kitchen (for he was cook to the society). There having first considered severally the things his office required, and when how each thing was to be done, he spent all the intervals of his time, as well before as after his work, in prayer.

That when he began his business, he said to God, with a filial trust in Him: ‘O my God, since Thou art with me, and I must now, in obedience to Thy commands, apply my mind to these outward things, I beseech Thee to grant me the grace to continue in Thy presence; and to this end do Thou prosper me with Thy assistance, receive all my works, and possess all my affections.’

As he proceeded in his work he continued his familiar conversation with his Maker, imploring His grace, and offering to Him all his actions.

When he had finished he examined himself how he had discharged his duty; if he found well, he returned thanks to God; if otherwise, he asked pardon, and without being discouraged, he set his mind right again, and continued his exercise of the presence of God as if he had never deviated from it. ‘Thus,’ said he, ‘by rising after my falls, and by frequently renewed acts of faith and love, I am come to a state wherein it would be as difficult for me not to think of God as it was at first to accustom myself to it.”

As Brother Lawrence had found such an advantage in walking in the presence of God, it was natural for him to recommend it earnestly to others; but his example was a stronger inducement than any arguments he could propose. His very countenance was edifying, such a sweet and calm devotion appearing in it as could not but affect the beholders. And it was observed that in the greatest hurry of business in the kitchen he still preserved his recollection and heavenly-mindedness. He was never hasty nor loitering, but did each thing in its season, with an even, uninterrupted composure and tranquility of spirit. ‘The time of business,’ said he, ‘does not with me differ from the time of prayer; and in the noise and clatter of my kitchen, while several persons are at the same time calling for different things, I possess God in as great tranquility as if I were upon my knees at the blessed sacrament.”

The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence, pp. 28-30

Book Review – Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands – Rating: 5 out of 5

The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands, by Dr. Laura Schlessinger

My Dad gave my sister and me each a copy of this book a couple of years ago and said that the only thing he wanted for his birthday that year was for us to read it and take it to heart. So I did.

I just finished re-reading it.

Content: 5
Writing Style: 5
Re-readability: 5

Content. I’m not a fan of Dr. Laura. Can’t really stand to listen to her. She’s too much of a know-it-all but that’s what she’s paid for. This book is actually a compilation of contributions from her male listeners.

Writing Style. This book is a great bathroom book. And by that, I mean you can pick it up and read for shorter periods of time. Definitely good for new moms too, as we don’t have hours on end to read and focus.

Re-readability. Awesome. I plan to re-read this book every couple of years. I think my hubby and I have a really good relationship, but I realized after reading this book again that it’s easy to fall back into a selfish mode and expect him to be one of my girlfriends. He’s not. He never will be. And to be honest, I never want him to be!!

I recommend this book to any woman who is (or ever plans to be) in a relationship with a man.

Book Review – Nuts! – Rating: 4 out of 5


Whew! Another one down! I just finally pushed through the last 20 pages or so of Nuts! Southwest Airlines’ Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success, by Kevin & Jackie Freiberg. I realized just how long it was taking me to read this book as I was sitting in the waiting room at my dentist’s office. I had started the book the last time I’d had my teeth cleaned, which was 6 months earlier!

The subject of the book is great! I am totally impressed with the way that Southwest Airlines is a customer service family first, and an airline business second.

The writing style of this book is a little difficult to read at times. Some of the chapters were a breeze of storytelling, but there were some that were too repetitive. It seemed that the authors felt that more words and more pages made it a better book. While I agree that Southwest’s business model does warrant a thorough description and examination, there were several chapters, especially at the end that were excessively redundant. The very last chapters felt very heavily outlined and much like a school report.

Content: 5
Writing Style: 3
Re-readability: 4

I will probably refer to this book in the future because it truly has wonderful examples of how to make a business a place for enriching your life and the lives of others. I read this book with a highlighter because there were so many things that I wanted to remember in the future.

I do recommend reading this book, especially if you feel that you want to be more involved and enriched in your place of employment.

Sola Scriptura! (or The Sabbath – Part 2)

I just finished reading this book. Ten Commandments Twice Removed, by Danny Shelton and Shelley Quinn.

Regarding writing style, not the easiest or smoothest read. However, this isn’t a novel. It’s got some heavy research and referencing so by nature it interrupts itself a lot with Biblical references and text, which makes for more difficult skimming. You really have to focus when reading some of the chapters in this book. I got stuck in Chapter 7, “Made for Man” and it took me about three weeks of occasional re-starting to get through to the end. Once I got past that chapter, however, it was a breeze. Chapter 8, “It’s no Secret – Catholic Church Claims the Change” was by far the most eye opening and the book held me to the end.

Content. Well, this book is all about content. The basic assertion of this book is that the Seventh-Day (Saturday) is the Sabbath and is still one of the 10 Commandments. It is still to be kept as the holy day of worship.

I have to say, after reading this book, and as a Protestant, I agree.

From what I read, the main gist is this: God set up the Seventh Day Sabbath at creation. Man sinned. They still kept the Sabbath. Moses got the Ten Commandments (which reenforced the Sabbath…”Remember”) on stone in God’s own handwriting. Later Moses wrote out, with God’s guidance, a bunch of ceremonial laws and such to keep order ’cause they couldn’t seem to live right with only the 10 commandments to guide them. Christ came as prophesied. Did away with the ceremonial laws that Moses had written, not the 10 Commandments. Disciples continued to keep the Sabbath.

AD 364, the Catholic church, which claims to be the bride of the Holy Spirit, decided to change the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday.

Martin Luther challenged the Catholic church’s authority to change things in the Bible and started the Protestant movement. He led the claim “sola scriptura” (The Bible Only)!

If you choose to live “by the Bible only” (Protestantism), you must then believe that the Sabbath is still the holy day of rest and worship. If you believe the Catholic Church is the bride of the Holy Spirit and has the right to change God’s laws, then you must believe that now Sunday has been declared the holy day of worship.

It’s that simple.

– – – – – –

On my one-to-five scale, I give this book a three and a half.

  • For doctrinal value, I give it a five.
  • On my “will I read it again and a gain” scale, a three (I’ll probably refer to it often though).
  • For writing style, a two – it was hard to get through and follow in some places. That may well be because I am a new mom and my attention span and ability to sit and read deep and thought-provoking material has been greatly diminished.

It has changed my mind about Sabbath-keeping. It never settled too well with me that God would do away with one of the “Big 10”. I had tucked it away as one of those little “differences” that arise between Protestant faiths, but when it’s boiled down to whether or not I believe the Catholic Church has the God-given right to alter His laws, well, I guess I don’t. So, what follows is that what is in the Bible still stands as truth.

Bottom Line: I highly recommend reading it!