Thursday, December 10, 2009

Transforming the Valley of Grief

Transforming the Valley of Grief by Thomas O. Mason

A Review By Shoz:

Can I just say that although I am a single female who has not lost anyone close like a spouse, and I do not pretend to understand the grief and anguish that event brings, I love this book! It is a helpful narrative of a man's journey through this devastating time. It takes guts to be this open and honest and I am thankful that Mason chose to write this and that I had the privilege to read it. This book has helped me understand how to practically help others I may know who are dealing with this terrible "tsunami" of grief.

I appreciated that at the end of the chapters he gives sections of "Note to Self" and "Note to Others" that give helpful hints of how to cope during this time for the one walking through it or those of us trying to walk along side them.

I throughly appreciate his blunt honesty in statements like, "Self pity is a frequent companion of the griever. Get used to it!" p.44.

I genuinely appreciated this book, and can already think of at least one person that I will buy a copy for!

Thanks to the author Thomas Mason for having the courage to write it and share it with the world!

The following are editorials written by a talented publicist and are not my own and copied with my humble apologies as this should have been posted months ago. What can I say but that I am not perfect and have never been accused of being prompt.

Coping with Grief at Christmas

Losing a loved one is always difficult, but so many find the grief devastatingly unbearable during the Christmas season. In his new book Transforming the Valley of Grief, author Tom Mason shares his journey of grief after the loss of his wife. This slim volume is a manual for anyone who is coping with grief and offers practical insight and suggestions to those in “the valley of grief” this Christmas.

Transforming the Valley of Grief follows Mason’s own journey from the moment the tsunami of grief crashed into his life, through the peaceful, solitary moments meeting God in the wilderness, in the times where unexpected memories triggered flash floods of emotion and to the moment when the valley opened up and he was able to fully embrace his changed life. The book includes many specific, practical tips for both grieving men and those who love them and want to support them through the valley. Each chapter concludes with a “notes to self” section with positive suggestions for men to try at different points in their journey of grief and a “notes to others” section. At the back of the book there is a collection of discussion questions perfect for use in a grief support group.

This slim volume is the perfect gift for the friend or loved one who is coping with loss, and it is essential reading for anyone who wants to support a grieving man but doesn’t know what to do or say. Mason offers beautiful spiritual insights, often drawing from the comforting words of the psalmist. But perhaps more important are his detailed directions for surviving single life—everything from how to plan an effective mini-sabbatical and how to find your way as a “pre-married” in the church singles group to what you should do with the leftovers your wife would have made creative use of (toss them and forgive yourself). The loss of a loved one always brings change, and Mason helps readers think through the various decisions they will face as a result (i.e., Should I stay here or move away? Do I want to remarry someday?).

Mason shows readers that, though the journey of grief begins in the darkness of the valley, God will reveal new light, joy and purpose as you “do the work” of grieving and He transforms the valley. “There is hope, even if you can’t believe it right now! There is light at the end of the tunnel,” Mason says. “There is an end to your dark valley, and this book is about getting there and the various steps and stages along the way.”

Tom’s journey of grief is the topic of his book, Transforming the Valley of Grief, a new manual for grieving men which documents his healing process and contains many practical suggestions for others who find themselves (or their friends) dealing with the loss of a loved one. He was compelled to write the book after searching in vain for a book on grief written from the male perspective to guide him through his own journey.

“I am absolutely convinced that men and women process grief differently. Women are from Venus, and men are from Mars, after all,” Mason says. “Women process grief verbally; men retreat to their caves to grieve in isolation, or at least, they are expected to do so.” Tom has written this book so that no man must travel the valley alone.

Transforming the Valley of Grief by Thomas O. Mason
Xulon Press September 2009
ISBN: 978-1-60791-616-1/131 pages/softcover/$14.99

For review copy or interview information, contact:
Tracy McCarter - tmccarter(at) - 800-927-0517 x109

Is God Good

If God Is Good By Randy Alcorn

To be totally honest this book read so much like a theology text book that it was way over my head most of the time. It took me forever to read because I would get so frustrated with being lost and overwhelmed that I would just put it down for long periods at a time.

That being said I do know a thing or two about theology, as I have taken a few classes on the topic, and would agree with this book on the whole. But if you are looking for a quick or easy to understand book that will help you understand or easily explain it, you have the wrong book.

If you are a lover of the type of book that you really have to grapple with and mull over and cross reference with many different sources, then this is the book for you.

Here is what the publisher had to say.

Does God have emotions?

from Business as UNusual
Except taken from the chapter
"Evil and Suffering as Seen in Scripture’s Redemptive Story"
from Randy Alcorn’s new release If God is Good.

Some time ago theologians formulated the doctrine of God’s impassibility. They argued that God was “without passions.” Their motive was to distinguish God from the mood swings and more erratic and unstable aspects of human emotions. Unfortunately, many Christians came to believe that God doesn’t have emotions.

It’s critical that we know the heart of God. He genuinely loves and cares about us. If we believe he has no emotions, then we will never feel his love for us, nor will we experience deep love for him.

An abundance of biblical passages show that God experiences a broad range of emotions. God commands us not to “grieve” the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). God is said to be “angry” (Deuteronomy 1:37), “moved by pity” (Judges 2:18, ESV), “pleased” (1 Kings 3:10), and “to rejoice over you with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Genesis 6:6 says, “So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart” (NLT).

Some explain these verses as ascribing human emotions to God so that we can relate to him better. But surely God wants us to relate to him as he really is, and passages that don’t describe him as he is would mislead us. God wants us to understand that he can genuinely grieve, his heart full of pain. Surely he didn’t choose these powerful words so we would respond, “Of course, God didn’t really feel moved—he has no emotions.”

Since God made us in his image, we should assume our emotions are reflective of his, even though ours are subject to sin while his are not. Consider a small sampling of verses illustrating God’s emotions:

Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. (Exodus 32:10)

As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.
(Psalm 103:13)

“In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer. (Isaiah 54:8)

As a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. (Isaiah 62:5)

Nor does God limit his compassion to his children. He says, “I wail over Moab, for all Moab I cry out” (Jeremiah 48:31).

A passage about God’s goodness and compassion contains a remarkable statement: “In all their distress he too was distressed” (Isaiah 63:9). A form of the same word is used to describe God’s people’s distress as to depict God’s own. Yes, our distress can involve feelings which God doesn’t feel, such as helplessness and uncertainty. But clearly God intends us to see a similarity between our emotional distress and his.

The fact that the second member of the triune God suffered unimaginable torture on the cross should explode any notion that God lacks feelings. In the suffering of Jesus, God himself suffered. No one who grasps this truth can say, “God doesn’t understand my suffering.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote in a Nazi prison camp, “Only the suffering God can help.”

Excerpted from If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn Copyright © 2009 by Randy Alcorn. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

If God Is Good by Randy Alcorn
Multnomah Books/September 15, 2009
ISBN 978-1601421326/Hardcover/512 pages/$24.99

About If God is Good:

Every one of us will experience suffering. Many of us are experiencing it now. As we have seen in recent years, evil is real in our world, present and close to each one of us.

In such difficult times, suffering and evil beg questions about God—Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? And then, how can there be a God if suffering and evil exist?

These are ancient questions, but also modern ones as well. Atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Christopher Hitchens, and even former believers answer the question simply: The existence of suffering and evil proves there is no God.

In this captivating new book, best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

Alcorn offers insights from his conversations with men and women whose lives have been torn apart by suffering, and yet whose faith in God burns brighter than ever. He reveals the big picture of who God is and what God is doing in the world–now and forever. And he equips you to share your faith more clearly and genuinely in this world of pain and fear.

Randy Alcorn delves deep into a profound subject, and through compelling stories, provocative questions and answers, and keen biblical understanding, he brings assurance and hope to all.

For radio interview information, contact:
Audra Jennings - 800-927-0517 x 104 - ajennings(at)

Friday, December 4, 2009

What Difference Do It Make? by Ron Hall, Denver Moore and Lynn Vincent

Straight off the top I need to say everyone should read this book and the one that precedes it!

This book is a sequel to the book Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore. I had the first book given to me by a friend and I loved it! It tells the stories of Ron and Denver and how Ron's wife Deborah brought them together and the journey they have been on since.

What difference do it make, being the sequel, is still telling the story of Ron and Denver's journey of friendship but also how the first book has changed their lives. You see them rising in social eye and their struggle to make people aware of the plight of the homeless. It is a riveting book. I think that the second book without the first would not make as much sense as if you read them in tandem but I think that What difference do it make could change just as many hearts and lives as the first book apparently did!

Large parts of this book are spent telling how the first book touched the lives of those who read it. This book, much like the first book, has the potential to change people from the inside out. It is my prayer and my own personal goal to make sure as many people as I can reach read these books. The issue of hunger and homelessness in our world is too great to ignore or turn a blind eye toward. We must begin to act!

Book Description

New thoughts and reflections from the authors of the inspirational New York Times bestseller Same Kind of Different as Me.

The more than four hundred thousand readers stirred by the story of Ron Hall and Denver Moore will resonate with the all new, stand-alone true stories of hope and healing offered in this intimate, authentic follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Same Kind of Different as Me.

With new "Denverisms" and reflections from Denver on his personal dealings with homelessness and disrespect from others, additional insights from Ron on what we can learn from people unlike us and from those dealing with a terminal illness, and the stories of readers who have been impacted by the book's central themes, this inspirational reader will generate a host of new fans. Topics include:

* Faith and friendship
* Racial reconciliation
* Community outreach
* Compassion
* Healing

For more information see

The Unfinished Gift by Dan Walsh

This book was brilliant!!! I loved hating Collins the curmudgeon of a man that sweet innocent Patrick had the misfortune of having for a grandfather. The loving next door neighbour Mrs Fortini who it seems is always giving Patrick cookies, easily endures herself to your heart. Miss Katherine Townsend the overly invested social worker that was handling Patrick's case was a joy to get to know. These characters and even the ones that pass through the story if only for a brief visit all became like family to me as I read. It was as if I was being transported into the story myself some how.
The story was so well crafted it captures your heart and mind and does not let go until the end. However, be forewarned, you are going to need a box of tissues near by!
Dan Walsh is a brilliant story teller and I was captivate by this book! I am looking forward to his future endeavour and the sequel to this book, The Homecoming!

Here is an excerpt from The Unfinished Gift to get you started.

Can a gift from the past mend a broken heart?
Ian Collins is an old man without his son. Patrick Collins is a young boy without his father. On his Christmas list are only three items. He wants the army to find his father. He wants to leave his grandfather's house. And he wants the dusty wooden soldier in Grandfather's attic--the one he is forbidden to touch.
Set at Christmastime in 1943, The Unfinished Gift is the engaging story of a family in need of forgiveness. With simple grace, it reminds us of the small things that affect powerful change in our hearts--a young boy's prayers, a shoe box of love letters, and even a half-carved soldier, long forgotten. This nostalgic story of reconciliation will touch your heart.

"The Unfinished Gift is a poignant story about a grieving little boy and the estranged, angry grandfather who takes him in. Make sure you have a tissue nearby, because you're going to need it!"--Terri Blackstock, author of the Restoration and the Cape Refuge series

"The Unfinished Gift is one for the keeper shelf! Dan's book is a fabulous story of redemption and forgiveness. I couldn't put it down and it made me cry, which is hard to do. Loved it!"--Colleen Coble, author of the Rock Harbor and the Lonestar series

The Author

Dan Walsh is the author of The Unfinished Gift and a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. He is a pastor and lives with his family in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel.

Available now at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

The Christmas Dog by Melody Carlson

I had mixed feelings about this book. I loved many of the supporting characters but was not fond of the main character which made it difficult to really get into the book. But despite my dislike for the main character I ended up liking the book in the end.
Check out an excerpt from the book here and see what you think.

The first half of the book was tough getting through because you are learning more and more about the main character Betty and I just didn't like her mainly because any negative idea that was even mentioned in passing she took it as truth in her life. She decided to believe the worst in all situations and not the best. This kept me loosing respect for her the whole way through the book so that when she finally does get to the end and starts to have a small change of heart it feels anticlimactic to me.
However, the supporting characters are wonderful like her granddaughter Avery and Jack the neighbour that she mi
sjudges and later finds out that had she just given him a small chance she would have come to realize he was a wonderful person. The dog seems to have a small part in the story but a good one as well.
Overall I don't think I would recomend giving this one as a gift berofe you have read it yourself and have made your own oppinion. I know there are many different types of readers and many oppinions so please read the book and make your own conclusions. But if your ok with taking my word for it, save your money and borrow it from the library or a friend first.

Christmas miracles can come from unlikely sources.

Betty Kowalski isn't looking forward to the holidays. She just can't seem to find Christmas in her heart. Maybe it's because her husband is gone. Maybe it's because she's missing her children. Or maybe it has something to do with her obnoxious new neighbor, who seems to be tearing his house apart and rearranging it on the lawn.

But when a mangy dog appears at her doorstep, the stage is set for Betty to learn what Christmas is really all about.

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus. She also writes many teen books, including Just Another Girl, Anything but Normal, the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series. Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon. Visit Melody's website at

Available now at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.