Sunday, February 7, 2016

Stepping Heavenward by Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss -- Book Review

I've read a lot of good, even beautiful, books in my life, but this one is something extra special. I'm probably not capable of doing it justice in a simple book review, as it's one of those stories that touches each reader differently. In fact, I bet that the next time I read this through, it will affect me differently... and the time after that, as well.

Stepping Heavenward was published in 1869 by Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss, daughter of the Rev. Edward Payson, D.D. and wife of Presbyterian pastor George Prentiss. She was a loving mother and homemaker and desired to bring to her readers, "patience, fidelity, hope, and all goodness by showing how trust in God and loving obedience to His blessed will brighten the darkest paths and make a heaven upon earth."

The story follows the journey of Katherine as she steps into young womanhood on her sixteenth birthday to her later grown up years in her late 30s. She learns that true satisfaction is found in serving others and allowing herself to be used by God as a wife, mother, and homemaker---and helper in her community as God leads her.

After finishing this book, I craved more spiritually-minded reading. It was so encouraging---the author exposed the heart of a young woman to perfection. We think of Victorians as so pious but people in her day were dealing with the same heart issues and questions about God that we do today.

I actually picked up several book suggestions from reading, Stepping Heavenward, including Thomas a Kempis', The Imitation of Christ. I was blessed to find an antique copy of it at our library book sale just a day or two after putting it on my wish list.

Stepping Heavenward is a book I'll come back to again and again. I can't wait to share it with my daughters, when the time is right, and I'm so encouraged by the examples of Godly women, both in Mrs. Prentiss and in the characters she's created.

Stepping Heavenward fulfills the following Reading Challenges:
Victorian Reading Challenge at Belle's Library
Victorian Reading Challenge at Becky's Book Reviews for "Book Published 1861-1870"
Full House Reading Challenge for "Book Club Worthy"
Mount TBR Reading Challenge -- #21
Women's Fiction Reading Challenge---Book 1

You can see all the Reading Challenges I've joined here.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

You're Made for a God-Sized Dream by Holley Gerth -- Book Review

A God-sized dream. When I first saw the title of this book, I was a little put-off. You see, I'm pretty much living my dream right now and I get so sick of Christian publications that encourage me to step outside my role as wife/mom/homemaker to pursue God's "bigger plans" for my life. THIS is my calling. This thing I do every day.

However, that's not the message author Holley Gerth is presenting here at all. As she says, "God-sized dreams aren't really about size at all. They're about the desires God places within you that perfectly fit your heart." I love this. That means it looks different for each of us.

I wasn't really sure what my dreams were when I picked up this book, but the more I read, the more I realized that I desire to improve in the areas I'm already working on. I want to be more passionate about the things that I'm already giving attention to. Things like:

  • Living out my life as a Godly wife, mom, and homemaker
  • Dealing with my unhealthy weight and other health issues
  • Being more consistent and creative with our homeschooling routine
  • Making my home a comfortable and peaceful place of sanctuary

About the book: "With this life-changing message, Holley Gerth invites you to discover the dreams God has given you--and then dare to pursue them. She takes you by the heart and says, "Yes! You can do this!" and guides you forward with a loving hand. Along the way, she provides insightful questions and offers action plans that will help you take the next steps toward making the deepest desires of your heart a reality."

Consider checking out this little book. You'll be encouraged and you just might receive some confirmation, too, that the little dreams you're going after are big in God's kingdom! Look for You're Made for a God-Sized Dream by Holley Gerth at Family Christian.

This post was sponsored by Family Christian. All opinions are my own.