Saving My Assassin: A Memoir by Virginia Prodan

I should be dead. saving-my-assassin-book-cover

Buried in an unmarked grave in Romania.

Obviously, I am not.

God had other plans.

—Virginia Prodan

That quote from Saving My Assassin really grabs your attention as we journey through
Virginia’s memoir during Nicolae Ceausescu’s savage communist regime. We first step into her childhood in Romania, which is heartbreaking and lonely, yet she doesn’t give up but becomes inspired through a a paper she wrote about her hero Mircea cel Batran.

“What would it be like to live in a society where people told and valued the truth? What would it be like to experience true freedom?”

Virginia determined to coming an attorney and pursue truth and freedom.

After she became an attorney, she became disillusioned that truth might not exist anymore. Later Virginia was meeting with a client, Nestor, who was trying to get his parents home and land back from the Communist Romanian government. It was a slow, expensive, frustrating process yet he was continually contented and joyful. She expressed a desire to have what he had and he invited her to his church.

“I want Nestor’s peace, his optimistic outlook on life, his sense of confidence even in the worst of circumstances. If all of that comes from his church, then I will go and visit.”

Virginia Prodan became a Christian, giving Jesus her life, and then requested started coming in to defend in court churches and Christians who were being persecuted. Ceausescu was a shrewd and untrustworthy leader—trying to gain America’s favor by promising to respect human and religious rights, yet building his own brutal and oppressive regime where people where fired, jailed or ended up missing because of their faith.

As Virginia began defending churches’ rights to repair their buildings and people’s rights to move Bibles from one church to another for their Vacation Bible Study and more, she became a target to hostility and intimidation. She knew God had called her to this time for this purpose, but fear began to overwhelm her.

“I understand the outer battle. I can face adversaries in the courtroom and even the Securitate [Communist government agents]. But I cannot win this inner battle between my own heart and mind. Lord, you have to win this victory for me. Take away my fear and replace it with a peace that surpasses all understanding. I need your peace, Lord. I need your victory.”

___Well, my summary to this memoir has taken over this review, but I can’t keep going! There is so much more I want to share but I need to stop so you can read the book!!

Virginia Prodan’s story, her trust in God, and commitment to fellow Christians is amazing and inspiring, and I would recommend it to everyone!!

To conclude, I want to share a bit more from Virginia…

“*Freedom is precious to those who don’t have it.

*If the truth lives within me, lies cannot overpower me.

*If my soul is free, no power on earth can enslave me.

*If God gives me the victory, defeat is impossible.

…My desire is that through reading my book and seeing how God used me to accomplish amazing things, you will realize God has a grand plan to use you as well, and I pray you will not put off doing what God is calling you to do.”

Disclosure: Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Mr. Zip and The Capital Z by Kimberly Bryant-Palmer

I love tracking down new and interesting books for my kids! I really want my kids to loveunnamed-2 reading. Now if I can find a fun clean series that will pull them in AND include history — What a find!! 🙂

I really enjoyed Mr. Zip and The Capital Z. The main character is, of course, Mr. Zip, an older gentleman who owns a very unique shop with “everything you would need to know — from A to Z.” He is a very likable and yet slightly strange character that has a hint of Mr. Whitaker from Adventure’s in Odyssey and Finnian Jones from Lamplighter Theatre. (Great audio resources I would highly recommend!)

This book focused on a young boy called Peanut. He learns a little more about family, history and his heart. Somehow with Mr. Zip he sees glances of history from General Jackson in the War of 1812 to General Washington in the Revolutionary War to as far back as the Tower of Babel.  I love the last chapter with the interaction between Peanut and his dad. What a special moment!

Mr. Zip shares an interesting fact from history between each chapter. Also, there’s footnotes and endnotes concerning the history, if you want to check more out.

We look forward to the next book in the series — Mr. Zip and The Capital Z ~ Lucy Jane Pennywhistle Comes Home!

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookCrash. I was not required to give a positive review, but to solely express my own thoughts and opinions.

In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo

Let me get to the point…LOVE the title, LOVE the subtitle “Making Virtues, Love & Laughter a DailyIn This House We Will Giggle book cover Part of Your Family Life”, AND LOVE the cover design for Courtney DeFeo’s book, In This House We Will Giggle!!!! 🙂 Therefore I was really excited to read this book. I DEFINITELY want more giggles in our home!

Through love and laughter, each of the chapters focus on teaching a different virtue. The virtues included are joy, love, forgiveness, faith, patience, perseverance, respect, responsibility, service, humility, gratitude, and generosity. DeFeo presents the option of focusing on one virtue each month of the year starting with Joy in January through Generosity in December. This is a great way to not feel overwhelmed but give your family time to really learn about, practice, and embrace each virtue. The chapters include a section called “catch phrase for_(the virtue)_, a memory verse for the month, a kid-friendly definition for the virtue, questions to discuss, a Bible story to read (from The Jesus Storybook Bible), activity ideas and more.

I started reading the book around the end of January, so I didn’t want to rush to start it in January. However, I loved how some of the virtues go very well with the holidays of a few of the months, such as Love in February, Gratitude in November and Generosity in December. Therefore I decided to start implementing the monthly virtue focus in order, but starting in February with the second chapter Love: Letting Concern for Others Guide Our Behavior. (We’ll go back to January at the end. Don’t want to miss Joy: When the Reality of Life Meets a Heart of Gladness!) The kids have totally jumped on board – doing chores for each other, writing notes, ….! It’s been a sweet family experience so far and we are just starting. 🙂

I’ll close my review with some good questions from the heart of In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo…

“Our home, and the environment we create within our family, sets up the impression our kids will have of faith and God. Will they believe Jesus loves only well-behaved, model children, or will they know He loves them just as they are? Will they see the Christian life as a series of rules to be followed, or will they follow Jesus because they’ve learned from us what it means to love Him and find joy in being with Him?”’ -pg. 5

More Info

Author Bio

**I received this book from Blogging for Books for an honest review.

Smart Money Smart Kids by Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze

If “Raising the Next Generation to Win with Money” is a priority in your parenting, then you need to read Smart Money Smart Kids by father and Smart Money Smart Kids book reviewdaughter team Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze. The book’s basic information will be familiar if you have read any of Ramsey’s books or listened to him at all. However, the difference is that it is directly written to parents who want to instill financial wisdom in their children. Also, it was nice to have it written from the point of view of a daughter who was raised with these principles and it is now succeeding as a financially responsible adult.

The chapters include Work, Spend, Save, Give, Budgeting, Debt, College, Contentment, Family, and Generational Handoff. They are easy to read, informative and practical.

My husband and I having been working through Dave Ramsey’s principles ourselves, but now this month we are beginning to plant these principals in our children’s lives and heart. This will be our “generational handoff” to bless their generation and future generations of our family.

 

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode by Crystal Paine

If someone said, “I have ‘9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life’.” What might be your response? Say Goodbye to Survival Mode book coverMine would be something like “Sounds great! I really could use that!!”. However, my thoughts would be more along the line of “PROVE IT!”

I was invited to be on the launch team for Crystal Paine’s new book Say Goodbye to Survival Mode: ‘9 Simple Strategies to Stress Less, Sleep More, and Restore Your Passion for Life’. Recognize her name? She’s from from MoneySavingMom.com! Since I have had some experience checking out her site and getting tips and freebies, I wasn’t as skeptical .:)  Her site has already proven to be down-to-earth and practical!

So I dove in… then Thanksgiving came and travel… sickness… Christmas with lots of travel and more sickness. My progress through the book was very choppy (because of all the above and more), but I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to read this book!

Say Goodbye to Survival Mode is truly “real” – you hear Crystal’s heart through her experiences both the good and the bad. It is also easy to read and well written. However the best part is how practical it is, especially with the handy printables in the appendix!!

Ladies, don’t just complain about how stressed and tired and burned out you feel! Grab some friends and go through this book together. You will be ENCOURAGED AND INSPIRED as you learn (or are reminded of) the different principles included! Also you and your family will be BLESSED as you put them into action!!

I will be going through it again, but a little bit differently. I plan to read through it again using a “real book”. I love the convenience of ebooks and PDFs, but some books you just need them physically in your hands so you can mark them all up and flip back through them easier!  I also will go through it slower but more focused. Because there is “9 Simple Strategies” with super practical steps, I want to make sure I take the time to actually apply what I’m reading.

ALSO…To celebrate the release of Say Goodbye to Survival Mode this week, Crystal is offering a some of great prizes for those who buy the book. Simply go to www.GoodbyeSurvivalModeBook.com now for details. CHECK IT OUT!! You can also pick up the book anywhere books are sold, including Amazon.

Disclosure: I also received a book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.

Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days by Christine Litavsky

What a beautiful collection of writings from Christine Litavsky. This book serves as a great encourager to us all as we are take the time to Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days book coverglimpse grace in our own ordinary days.

I haven’t read a book like this before – it’s not fiction and it’s not a nonfiction “motivational/instructional” book either, which normally fills up my regular reading plate. Part of Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days are some of her (and her readers’) favorite newspaper columns (but expanded) and the rest is new material. So this book is nonfiction, but it’s stories from the author’s life…mulled over, examined and shared with us. Christine Litavsky calls it “authentic, honest writing” over what she knows best – “ordinary events in the life of an ordinary woman.”

Glimpsing Grace in Ordinary Days has 11 chapters. These are actually used more as ways to group the writings. Some of my favorite are “Parenting With Prayer”, “Home Is Where The Heart Is”, “Grace In Dumpsters & Dust” and “Meandering Down Memory Lane”.

So read this… slowly… savor it… and be blessed as we remember to “focus on the grace notes that we often forget to listen to during our frenzied days.”

**The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of the book through BookCrash for my honest opinion.