Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Living Beyond Your Feelings - Controlling Your Emotions So They Don't Control You by Joyce Meyer - a review

Joyce Meyer's newest book, Living Beyond Your Feelings - Controlling Your Emotions So They Don't Control You is a book I have needed to read for a long time.  This book discusses many different emotional states and how our minds react to those emotions.  She explains how we can manage our emotions in different situations so that they don't control us.

I know for myself, I allow my emotions to have a hold on me, especially stress.  When I'm stressed my body reacts in many different ways.  I felt Joyce gave me a 'pep talk' on how I need to change the way I react to the stressful things in my life.

Throughout the book, Joyce helps you to understand some of your feelings and explains how God has supplied us with what we need to keep our emotions from controlling our life. But we must ask God for His help in our emotional situations.  She makes it a point to let the reader know that if they cannot get their emotions under control then their emotions will take control of them.

At the beginning of the book there was a quote that really struck me.  The quote is from Jonatan Martensson and it says, "Feelings are much like waves, we can't stop them from coming, but we can choose which one to surf."

I really enjoyed this book and plan to reading it again and again as needed.  I would recommend it to anyone interested in getting their emotions under control.

On a 5-Star scale - 5-Stars.

I would like to thank Sarah Reck with Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Group, for my review copy.  I received my Advanced Reader Copy for free in exchange for my honest opinion which I have given.

Smiles & Blessings,

Monday, October 17, 2011

"Leaving" by Karen Kingsbury - a review

I love the way Karen Kingsbury tells a's magical!  Ms. Kingsbury has a way of pulling you into her stories and from start to finish you go on an emotional roller coaster experiencing the love and pain of her characters.  I also enjoy how she weaves God's love and Word within her stories.

"Leaving", book one in the Bailey Flanigan series, is an extremely well written book on love (family, spiritual and romantic) and the pain in which a young girl (Bailey) goes through as she steps into the next phase of her life.  I only wish I had read "Leaving" before reading it's sequel, "Learning".  Usually, most books I read in a series can stand alone but I feel, in order to see the whole picture, you need to read these two books in order.  By reading "Learning" first I felt cheated because I pretty much knew how the book would end.  With that said, I would still highly recommend this book and series to all fans of Christian Fiction.

Now that I have read the first two books in the Bailey Flanigan Series I can hardly wait for book three in the series to come out.

On a 5-star scale, I rate "Leaving" 4 1/2 stars.

I would like to thank Zondervan Publishers for providing my review copy.  I received my copy for free in exchange for my honest review which I have given.

Smiles & Blessings,

Monday, October 10, 2011

First Wild Card Tour - Ella Finds Love Again

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers; 1st ptg thus edition (September 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Karri James | Marketing Assistant, Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Jerry Eicher’s bestselling Amish fiction (more than 210,000 in combined sales) includes The Adams County Trilogy, the Hannah’s Heart books, and the Little Valley Series. After a traditional Amish childhood, Jerry taught for two terms in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois. Since then he’s been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. Jerry lives with his wife, Tina, and their four children in Virginia.

Visit the author's website.


Bestselling author Jerry Eicher concludes the Little Valley Series with one more glimpse into young Ella’s Amish world. She loves the widower Ivan Stutzman’s children and enjoys caring for them. Although she is genuinely devoted to Preacher Stutzman and keenly aware of his desire to propose, her feelings for him stop short of romantic love. Yet Ella yearns for marriage and wonders if what she and Ivan have is enough.

When the handsome Englisha stops by and asks about converting to the Amish faith, Ella is intrigued and warily agrees to meet with him. Soon Ella realizes she’s torn between her devotion to Ivan and his children and her growing feelings for the Englisha. With dire consequences at stake, Ella must determine what the truth is, if her feelings are dependable, and how to stay faithful to the will of God.

About This Series: The Little Valley Series follows Ella Yoder, a young independent Amish woman who has suffered the loss of her beloved fiancé. Relying on her faith and the support of her community, she picks up the pieces of her shattered life and learns to live, love, and dream again.

Product Details:

List Price: $11.99
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; 1st ptg thus edition (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736928065
ISBN-13: 978-0736928069

My Review:

This was my first experience with reading a book by Jerry S. Eicher but it will not be my last. I only wish I had read the first two books in the Little Valley Series before reading Ella Finds Love Again. I definitely look forward to reading them both. Ella Finds Love Again was a sweet story of finding love again after tragically losing love.

A lesson we can take from this story is that we don’t have to settle and God will heal our broken hearts and allow us to find love again.

If you like good Amish stories Ella Finds Love Again is a MUST read!

I would like to thank Catherine Miller of Harvest House Publishers for my review copy. It was given to me for free in order to read and give my honest review, which I have done.


The light snow swirled around Ella Yoder’s buggy, the drifts along the ditch already high for this early in winter. Ella pulled the waterproof buggy blanket higher over her legs. Oh, to be home at Seager Hill, sitting near the warmth of the old woodstove, the whole family gathered at the supper table under the hiss of a gas lantern. There to experience the long evening with the dishes done and nothing to do but enjoy reading a good book.

 “I have to try!” Ella said, the words echoing in the empty buggy. “I have to make a real home for us. The girls deserve that much.” Her thoughts wandered back to Aden and his untimely death. I have to forget him and our dreams and hopes. I must move on. Ella slapped the lines. And yet I have no feelings for Ivan Stutzman. How can I marry him?

 Snowflakes drifted into the open storm front. They perched like white crystal gems on her black shawl—fragile, breakable…breathless beauty sent from heaven. She shook her blanket and sent the snowflakes flying off her lap. The horse jerked his head with the movement on the lines, as if to tell her he was going as fast as he could in this weather. At least the wind was coming from behind. The return journey would be another matter, driving straight into the teeth of what was turning out to be a fierce winter storm.

 How like her life. The time since Aden’s death had flown like the wind at her back, pushing her along with its force and fury—and by men who proclaimed their love for her—Wayne Miller, the bishop, and Preacher Stutzman…Ivan.

 Now the time had come to leave behind the memories of the past, to turn her heart toward love. And that journey looked to be as fierce as this trip home after supper at Ivan’s house. She could have said no to the invitation…but the girls…It was always about the girls, really. They needed a mother and a home. They needed her, and she could make the decision that would make her their mother. She would surely marry Ivan.

 “You can love him, and the feelings will come later,” Ella’s mamm had said, her voice firm. “He’s a gut man of God. He loves you. And Aden’s gone forever. You can make a home for Ivan’s girls. They need that from you, and you do love them.”

 From behind her she heard the sound of an Englisha vehicle approaching even though the engine was muffled by the snowdrifts on either side and the heavy cloud cover. The noise was approaching much too swiftly. She tensed. Headlights reflected off the snowbanks. Her horse turned its head sideways and his blinder slipped, leaving him blinded on that side. Ella tightened the reins to keep him away from the ditch.

 The vehicle behind her sounded like it was accelerating, the motor much louder now. Ella checked her lights outside the buggy with a quick sideways glance. Were they working? The intensity of the headlights behind her drowned the feeble glow her buggy lights were putting out. Surely the driver could see her. The road behind her was a straight stretch—no curves to hide the buggy’s profile.

 Ella pulled right, her horse protesting with an arch of his neck, hesitating to follow her directions. She held him to the side of the road with the sheer force of her hands on the lines.

 “Slow boy,” she hollered, hoping he could hear her above the roar of the motor. “It’s safe. Come on over—just a little more, Moonbeam. Give that driver plenty of room.”

 Surely it was a man in the Englisha vehicle behind her. There were women who drove as they pleased, even among the Amish. Yet it was hard to imagine that anyone but a man would drive so recklessly on slippery, snow-covered roads.

 The headlights wavered and then moved away from the buggy. Ella drew in a deep breath and willed the pounding of her heart to slow down. Surely she had been spotted, and the driver was turning out in time.

 She waited for the crunch of tires beside her and the swirl of snow as the vehicle passed her. Instead, it slowed as it drew alongside her, keeping pace with the horse’s slow gait. She glanced out the small buggy window. The pickup truck window was rolled down, but no faces were visible in the darkness inside the cab. Was she about to be waylaid on this lonely stretch of road during this cold winter night? Ivan’s place was still at least a mile ahead, and she would never be able to outrun a truck.

 “Are you by yourself    ?” the question came.

 The voice was female, and Ella opened the buggy door, pushing it aside. Not that it would have done much good, but if it had been a man’s voice, she would have let out on the lines, whipping the horse with her cries and at least made a dash for Ivan’s place.

 “I don’t have far to go,” she said, hoping her weak voice carried to the speaker.

 “There’s a big storm comin’,” a male voice said from the other side of the truck. “Straight off the lake, the radio said. It’s supposed to dump the worst in a few hours. You’d best get off the road. It’s bound to be dangerous weather…especially for you Amish folks.”

 “Ach, thanks,” Ella said. “I’m just goin’ another mile or so.”

 “You’re not driving back tonight?” the man asked.

 “I had thought I would, but I imagine I can stay over if things look too bad.”

 “We’d best be getting inside ourselves,” the woman said. The motor roared again. Quickly the red taillights bounced and faded in the falling snow before disappearing into the blinding whiteness.

 So the approaching storm was a bad one. She’d been suspecting as much the last fifteen minutes or so. Her initial hopes had gotten the best of her. She didn’t want to stay with Susanna, Ivan’s sister, but surely she could if she must. Certainly, she couldn’t stay at the main house. Should she turn back now? Yet going back was farther than moving ahead, and Ivan would worry. He would think she had gotten stuck in some ditch and would set out to find her.

 She slapped the reins. There was no choice but to go on. Perhaps Moonbeam could increase his pace. He shook his head, but lifted his feet faster, his hoofbeats all but soundless on the snowy road.

 In the heavy darkness, Ella stayed in the center of the road. Already the drifts were sending tentative feelers out from the edges of the banks. She kept the lines tight, glad to see a house come up ahead. The soft shine of a gas lantern glowed from the window and across the sparkling snow.

 It looked Amish, the familiarity a gut thing. Like the feeling of a warm blanket at night, making the darkness beyond the glow seem less deep, the distance yet to travel closer. Inside the house would be people like her, who saw the world as she did, who experienced life in a way she could understand. Surely the Englisha felt the same about their people.

 Ella drove on. No other headlights appeared, the darkness of the woods deepening on either side of her, the snow increasing by the minute. This invitation to supper from Ivan had seemed such a wise idea at the time. If only they had put the occasion off until next week. She opened the buggy door again, glancing out. There was no doubt the Englisha man had been correct—she would not be returning tonight. She would surely be spending the night at Susanna’s place. But perhaps it wouldn’t be too bad. Maybe it was Da Hah’s way to expose her to Ivan’s extended family.

 Her mamm often said, “Da Hah makes use of all things for His own good.”

 Since Mamm was usually right, she would simply accept tonight’s change of plans. The snowstorm was none of her doing.

 Ella peered into the falling snow, recognizing the turn toward Ivan’s farm. She dodged a long stringy snowdrift, pulling sharply left, before turning into Ivan’s lane. Before her rose the familiar outlines of his white, paint-peeling home and the brown barn, both of them standing like ghostly forms in the falling snow. A light was still on in the barn, and Ella drove toward its door, pulling past the hitching post, which sat closer to the house. Moonbeam would need to be taken inside on a night like this, and since Ivan wasn’t likely to notice her arrival, Ella pulled the buggy to a stop and climbed out, preparing to unhitch by herself.

 One tug was off, the leather frozen under her gloves, when the barn door swung open. Ivan rushed out, leaving the door swinging in the wind, the warm glow of the barn lantern flooding the yard and reaching the buggy. Ella blinked, her head bent against the sting of the snow.

 “Ach, I didn’t hear you drive in,” Ivan said, quickly unhitching the other side of the horse. “I’m sorry about that. I half expected you to turn back.”

 “The storm came up faster than I thought it would,” Ella said. “Someone did stop to warn me on the road, but I was closer here than home.”

 “I’d hoped to have a better welcome for you,” Ivan said, smiling through the snowflakes that were settling on his eyebrows and beard.

 “It is awful tonight,” Ella said, forcing a laugh.

 Ivan grabbed the horse’s bridle, and Ella shut the buggy doors against the force and howl of the wind. She paused, opening her mouth on impulse, feeling the cold snowflakes against her tongue. How strange this evening was—so cold and yet joy stirred within from the snow. She felt young again, perhaps even ready to move on with life.

 “Makes me feel like a child again,” Ella said into the wind, repeating the gesture, her mouth open longer this time. Ivan would surely think her silly, would he not?

 But Ivan laughed easily with her as he led the horse forward, the shafts dropping softly onto the ground. He had paused while watching her. “Da Hah gives pleasure even in snow, doesn’t He? I just don’t look forward to all the shovelin’ tomorrow morning.”

 “If it even stops by tomorrow. The Englisha couple said the storm was a bad one.”

 “I think they’re right. The barometer is falling fast. I don’t think you’ll be able to get back home tonight, Ella.”

 “No, I don’t suppose I can,” she said as they entered the barn. She shut the door behind them. “Can I keep Moonbeam in here for the night? And perhaps Susanna can put me up?”

 Ivan turned to look at her over the horse’s mane. “I see my invitation put you in a pickle. I’m sorry about that. Susanna has room for you. I guess we could have called supper off if the storm hadn’t come so suddenly.”

 “It’s not a problem,” Ella said with a nervous smile. “I really wanted to come—snowstorm or not. And this will give me more time to spend with the girls…and you. And perhaps get used to the place.”

 Thankfully Ivan seemed to understand. He nodded his head. The horse bumped him, reaching its head toward the stall and the wisps of hay hanging in the manger.

 Ella waited for Ivan, standing under the lantern as he led the horse forward and into the stall. He came out and shut the latch on the stall before pulling more hay down into the manger with a pitchfork.

 “There!” he said. “That should keep him satisfied for the night.”

 Ella rubbed her gloved hands together, the little warmth from the gas lantern on the ceiling not reaching her.

 Ivan walked toward her, his face fully visible now. The snow melted from his beard, leaving wet spots that glittered in the glare of the lantern light. He seemed burdened, worried, the lines on his face longer than usual.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Welcome Author Susan Meissner

Q & A with Author Susan Meissner author of 
A Sound Among the Trees

as well as Lady of Waiting and The Shape of Mercy

1)      It’s a pleasure having award-winning novelist Susan Meissner here with us today to talk about her newest book from WaterBrook Press on sale October 4th, 2011, A Sound Among the Trees, a part-contemporary, part historical novel set in Fredericksburg, VA.  Susan, tell us where the idea for this story came from.
For a long time now I’ve wanted to build a story around a house that was so integral to the plot that it came across as one of the characters. We are wired to feel incredibly devoted to the idea of home. We want everyone home for the holidays and we get homesick when we’re away from it too long and when we’re cold and wet and lonely and sad, we just want to be home. Part of it is we love the people who are at home, but the other part is our houses are like protective havens and we trust them, if you will, to care for us. I wanted to explore the idea that IF a house could understand how we felt about it, what would happen if that house could not do what it was supposed to do. How would it feel if it couldn’t keep us safe?
2)      2011 is, of course, the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War.  What made you interested in that time period?
I’ve been deeply moved whenever I’ve read anything on the Civil War. Anytime there are countrymen – family, friends, loved ones - fighting each other to the death, the conflict takes on an heightened tragic tone and that is the pull of any good story – high emotional stakes. I’m not a fan of war, but I am drawn to any backdrop of human drama where courage and sacrifice go hand-in-hand. I’ve watched Ken Burns’ The Civil War on PBS several times over the course of my adult life; it moves me every time I see it.
3)      Did you find anything surprising in your research? 
I found it incredibly interesting, in a sad way, that Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy, believed he had heaven on his side. He thought he was a rebel with a noble cause, just like George Washington had been, and he had a portrait of Washington above his desk at the Confederate capitol in Richmond. Davis truly believed the Confederacy had the same worthy goal as the American colonists did when they rebelled against Britain. It amazed me that he truly believed that the right to own slaves—arguably one of the reasons the States when to war—was a righteous cause.
4)      You focus mainly on the lives of the families behind the scenes of the battles.  What role did women play in the Civil War?
There is no lack of information out there on the role of women in the Civil War. They didn’t march into battle but war is never just about the soldiers with the guns. Every Civil War soldier  had a mother or a wife or a sister or fiancĂ©e back home. And when men go off to war, women take up the duties the men leave behind. More importantly, the Civil War is one of the few wars America has been in where the battles were fought right outside your front door. Women were able and willing to be involved in espionage, for example, because the war’s front lines were so close. Because of that, women were uniquely positioned to both provide information and relay information. There were female spies on both sides of the Civil War. Some dressed as men and joined the army, or posed as slaves, or just kept super vigilant in social circles. Rose Greenhow, for example, was a Confederate spy whose ten-word secret message to General Beauregard enabled the South to win the first major battle of the War. President Davis openly attributed the Confederate win at Manassas to Rose Greenhow. Elizabeth Van Lew lived in Virginia but candidly supported the Union. She took food and medicine to prisoners at the Confederate Libby Prison and passed information to General Grant. It’s believed she helped Union prisoners escape from Libby. These are just of two of many known female Civil War spies.
5)      The historical part of your novel is written in letters discovered in an old antebellum house.  Why did you choose to tell that part in letters?  How did that affect the story?
There are a number of ways to dovetail a contemporary story with a historical one. One way is alternating chapters, like I did with “Lady in Waiting.” Another way is through the literary remains of that historical point in time, like I did with a diary in “The Shape of Mercy,” and the letters in “A Sound Among the Trees.”  I think there is an appeal about lost letters that alternating chapters don’t have, and while it seemed the obvious choice for “Lady in Waiting,” I didn’t think it was the obvious choice with this one. And I thought I could give Susannah a unique voice, a revelatory voice, if the reader had access to her most private thoughts – her sent and unsent letters to her cousin in Maine. I can’t imagine writing the story any other way. Those letters take us to the heart of the conflict.
6)      The Holly Oak house itself is almost a character in the novel – how can a house affect the people who live in it?  How does Holly Oak affect the characters in your book?
The amazing thing about Home is they way we feel about it, not so much how Home feels about us. We empower our homes to have an aura of comfort and safety and belonging. Houses are walls and doors and windows and furniture. But that is not all they are. They aren’t just places to sleep and eat. You never hear about haunted cars or haunted grocery stores or haunted beauty salons. It’s houses that we sense have a connection to the past and the people who lived in them. Holly Oak represents the idea of trust to my characters. We want to feel safe and loved and wanted. But those three things always involve trust.
7)      The contemporary part of your novel centers on Marielle, an Arizona native who’s just moved across the country to marry a Virginian widower with two children she met online.  What are the challenges she faces in becoming an instant wife and stepmother?
Adelaide's odd attachment to the house, plus her lingering grief for Sara - the first wife – significantly hinder Marielle's progress in making an easy transition from a never-been-married 33-year-old, to wife, stepmother and homemaker. Everything that defined her quiet, single life is gone, and even though she couldn’t wait to leave that life behind, her new life is stretching her. She is unprepared to live in a house where the past – even the saddest parts of it – is welcome to hang around as long as it wants to.
8)      The book’s reader’s guide says that in some ways this story is a “ghost story without a ghost.” Who or what is “haunting” the main characters, and how does this relate to the theme of letting go of the past?
Without spoiling the story for anyone I can say that the people in this book have different notions about how much control the past has over the present. We don’t always realize that we’ve a lot of influence over how much or how little the past intrudes on the present. Sometimes we let the past intrude because it seems safer to hang on to what we know, even if it’s not the ideal, than to release the past to grasp the future, which we don’t know.
9)      Another theme is that love equals sacrifice.  Without giving away the story, what sacrifices do characters, especially the historic Susannah and the modern-day Marielle, make for love?  Do you think love is worth any sacrifice?
In almost any great story about love there is a corresponding thread of sacrifice. Love always takes us to the place where we have to choose between self and the one we love. Susannah and Marielle come to that place in the book; one exponentially more so than the other, but both women give us a glimpse into love that is without limits. Love, to me, transcends the idea of merely being worth any sacrifice. Love is sacrifice; not in the sense that you have to be dead to prove your love for someone, but that you put your love for the other person above the love you have for your own desires and happiness. The word sacrifice is from the Latin sacer "sacred" – which means set apart – and facere "to do, perform." Sacrifice is the sense of "something set apart for the sake of another."  That is love.
10)    For any aspiring authors out there, what was the most important thing you did to first get published? 
The most important thing to remember about getting published is that it is something that can happen at any point in a writer’s career. Sometimes it happens right away, sometimes it happens along the way, sometimes it happens late. This can be frustrating if you are a writer who is looking to be published. Often not getting published isn’t because of the overall quality of your work, which is why you shouldn’t make publication the only validation of your gifting as a writer. There are so many other factors in addition to your skill as a writer. The right book at the right time written by the right person will be published. I think you can rest in that assurance. I learned early not to make publication my only goal. It’s usually not a good idea to have a life goal that is up to others (a publisher, for example) to accomplish for you. Write to become a better writer.  That is something you can control.
11)    Where can our listeners connect with you online or learn more about A Sound Among the Trees, and your other books?
Author’s Website:
Twitter:  @SusanMeissner
I also send out a newsletter via email four times a year. You can sign up for it on my website. I love connecting with readers! You are the reason I write.

Smiles & Blessings,

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hello Hollywood! by Janice Thompson - a revie

What happens when a head writer of a popular TV sitcom has to share her writer's couch with a famous
comedian?  The answer to that question is the story of Hello Hollywood!

Athena Pappas is the senior writer for Stars Collide, a TV sitcom.  With the show losing some numbers in their ratings, it's producer, Rex Henderson, hires comedian Stephen Cosse to join the writing team to instill some fresh ideas into their scripts.  Athena fears her job is on the line and Stephen fears he won't be good enough since he's never written for a sitcom before.  The competition and humor that ensue between Athena and Stephen is priceless.  Add Stephen's 11 year old daughter Brooke, a Greek Domestic Dog named Zeus and Athena's large Greek family and you have the makings of a delectable story that will keep you well entertained and laughing long after you turn the last page.

Hello Hollywood! is written in first person point of view.  If there is anything negative to say about this book is that I really wish it had been written with a shared point of view.  I would have loved to have gotten into Stephen's mind a little.  But it really doesn't matter in the end as the story was told and it was told very, very well.  Ms. Thompson has another hit on her hands!

I would highly recommend Hello, Hollywood! to anyone who loves a good wholesome hilarious book to read.

On a 5 star rating - 4 1/2 stars

I would like to thank Donna Hausler of Baker Publising Group for my review copy.  I received my copy for free so that I could read it and give my honest review, which I have done.

"Available September 2011  at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group."

Janice Thompson is a seasoned romance author. An expert at pulling the humor from the situations we get ourselves into, Thompson affords an inside look at TV land, drawing on her experiences as a screenwriter. She is the author of the Weddings by Bella series and lives in Texas. To learn more about Janice visit her at:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

40 Days to Better Living - Hypertension

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books.  A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured.  The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between!  Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Barbour Books (September 1, 2011)
***Special thanks to Audra Jennings, Senior Media Specialist, The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


From the time Scott Morris was just a teenager, he knew he would do two things with his future—serve God and work with people. Growing up in Atlanta, he felt drawn to the Church and at the same time drawn to help others, even from a very young age. It was naturally intrinsic, then, that after completing his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Virginia he went on to receive his M.Div. from Yale University and finally his M.D. at Emory University in 1983.

After completing his residency in family practice, Morris arrived in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1986 without knowing a soul, but determined to begin a health care ministry for the working poor. He promptly knocked on the doors of St. John’s Methodist Church and Methodist Hospital in Memphis inviting them to help, and then found an old house to refurbish and renovate. By the next year, the Church Health Center opened with one doctor—Dr. Scott Morris—and one nurse. They saw twelve patients the first day and Morris began living his mission to reclaim the Church’s biblical commitment to care for our bodies and spirits.

From the beginning, Morris saw each and every patient as a whole person, knowing that without giving careful attention to both the body and soul the person would not be truly well. So nine years after opening the Church Health Center, he opened its Hope & Healing Wellness Center. Today the Church Health Center has grown to become the largest faith-based clinic in the country of its type having cared for 60,000 patients of record without relying on government funding. The clinic handles more than 36,000 patient visits a year while the wellness center, which moved to its current 80,000-square-foot location on Union Avenue in 2000, serves more than 120,000 member visits each year. Fees are charged on a sliding scale based on income.

Visit the author's website.


Millions experience high blood pressure—and 40 Days to Better Living: Hypertension provides clear, manageable steps for you to manage it, through life-changing attitudes and actions. If you’re ready to really live better, select one or more elements of the 7-step Model for Healthy Living—Faith, Medical, Movement, Work, Emotional, Family and Friends, and Nutrition—and follow the 40-day plan to improve your life, just a bit, day by day. With plenty of practical advice, biblical encouragement, and stories of real people who’ve taken the same journey, this book—from the Church Health Center in Memphis, the largest faith-based clinic of its type in the U.S.—may be the most important book you read this year!

The 40 Days to Better Living series offers clear, manageable steps to life-changing attitudes and actions in a context of understanding and grace for all people at all points on the journey to optimal health. With plenty of practical advice, spiritual encouragement, and real stories of those who have found a better life, this simple and skillfully crafted book inspires readers to customize their own path to wellness by using the 7-Step Model for Healthy Living as a guide:

  • Nutrition: pursuing smarter food choices and eating habits
  • Friends and family: giving and receiving support through relationships
  • Emotional life: understanding feelings and managing stress to better care for yourself
  • Work: appreciating your skills, talents, and gifts
  • Movement: discovering ways to enjoy physical activity
  • Medical care: partnering with health care providers to optimize medical care
  • Faith life: building a relationship with God, neighbors, and self

Along with tips from the Model for Healthy Living, the easy-to-read format features a Morning Reflection and an Evening Wrap-Up as well as a place for documenting plans, progress, and perspectives. Targeted scriptures and prayers that undergird the focus of each day’s message make this compact book an excellent choice for a daily devotional.

Subsequent titles in the Better Living series will be released bi-monthly and address key health topics including hypertension, diabetes, depression, weight management, stress management, aging, and addiction. All promise substantial support to those who are ready for a newer, better way of living—body and spirit.

Product Details:

List Price: $7.99
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Barbour Books (September 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1616262656
ISBN-13: 978-1616262655

My Review:

40 Days to Better Living Hypertension is arranged to be used over a period of six weeks.  Each week you address your Faith Life, Medical, Movement, Work, Emotional, Family and Friends and Nutrition.  Each day begins with a Morning Reflection and ends with a Evening Wrap-Up.  While you could sit down and read the book in one sitting, it isn't meant to be read that way.  You need to take your time and ponder each thought.

This book is filled with a lot of good information that, I believe, if combined with a doctor's regimen can help maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I would like to thank Audra Jennings with The B & B Media Group, Inc. for my review copy in exchange for my honest review.  No monetary compensation was received.