The Clutter Fix

Author: Shannon Acheson

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A super quick and easy guide to getting rid of excess and living by the mindset of “less is more.”

We live in a world of stuff; everywhere we look there is more and better stuff to have in our lives and in our homes. But does that stuff really make us happy? The short answer is no; we think it will make us happy but if we have too much we end up with chaos and disorganized clutter all around that can leave us feeling anxious and depressed.

Shannon Acheson uses the tools throughout this book to help readers learn to get rid of what they don’t need and how to organize what they do keep. Step by step instructions along with helpful checklists will give readers the tools they need to start down the path of having less so they can enjoy what they do have more. One of the nicest things about the book is it doesn’t just deal with the physical stuff, it also talks about emotional clutter and cleaning out email inboxes and such that can get over run and overlooked. I always enjoy a good cleanout and purge and using the checklists throughout this book will make for a great tool to make it so much easier. I recommend this book to everyone, even if you feel like you don’t have much to get rid of this list will show you there is more to declutter than you would think.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Her True Worth

Author: Brittany Maher & Cassandra Speer

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: July 5, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A powerful book that hits home in this day and age of social media and feeling like we have to live up to the false identities all around us.

Brittany Maher and Cassandra Speer have the ministry Her True Worth and are popular on social media. They are using their calling to help other women work to break free from the chains that social media can impose on them. Brittany worked for years in the beauty industry while Cassandra became depressed with the messages being sent about a woman’s worth. All around they would both see women lost and seeking attention and affirmation without looking to the only one that can give us what we need, Jesus Christ. Within the pages of this book, these two women show readers what God intended our identity to be, not what we have been told it should be. Each chapter is a reminder that our true worth is found in the one that loves us unconditionally and will steer us away from the false messages we have been led to believe.

This book hit me hard at a time I have doubted my worth not only with God, but with others around me. I recently had a great friend of mine celebrate a birthday and had lots of friends post about times with her and I started to wonder if I was as good of a friend because I didn’t post on Facebook about our friendship. How crazy is that? I had to take a step back and realize if that affected our friendship, which it didn’t, the friendship wasn’t real to begin with. With social media in our world, we see more and more young adults and even older adults becoming obsessed with being online and “liked” and depressed if they don’t have the right social media presence. I loved each and every chapter of this book and the way it pointed out how our value is much more than we realize based on social media and the world around us. If we can continue to remind us to look to Jesus and what he thinks of us instead of the world we will all be in better shape.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Fix Her Upper: Christmas

Authors: Beth Duewel & Rhonda Rhea

Publisher: Bold Vision Books

Release Date: November 24, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Fix-Her-Upper Christmas is a wonderful addition in this season, especially in the year we are all going through. Everyone can gleam something wonderful from this spectacularly fun book!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, or the most stressful time for some. If this season of shopping, family, decorations is getting a tad overwhelming, you are not alone. Throughout the pages of this book, you will find story upon story from Beth and Rhonda of trials and struggles they have gone through and the way they worked through them with humor and faith to discover the real reason for the season was worth more than any gift they could buy. The message is clear, even in the frantic season we are in, our focus should be on Jesus, He is the reason for the season, and if we forget that, there really is nothing to celebrate. Less is more is a main theme throughout, and I love that. The devotions are spot on with just the right amount of humor and insightful tidbits to bring us joy and helpful holiday tips.

Anytime you pick up a Rhonda Rhea and Beth Duewel book you know you are going to be rolling on the floor laughing and come away feeling refreshed. This time of year, we could use with a little laughter and refreshing. No matter how hard this year has been, and for some it has been unbearable, we can all find some cheer within the pages and rely on the hope that Christmas is about the birth of our savior and nothing is more important than that. If we fix our eyes on Him, this could very well be the best Christmas we have ever had.

Let Them be Kids

let them be kidsAuthor: Jessica Smartt

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: June 9, 2020

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

A very practical guide to helping raise strong, well-mannered kids which also focuses on letting kids be kids and how to foster that childlike nature and fun within all of us.

Jessica Smartt crafts a well-balanced guide on raising kids that have values, good manners and also know how to have fun. It’s one thing to raise kids that are nice but also foster creativity and fun. Being a former English teacher and homeschooling mom of three, Jessica Smartt has spent years with young kids discovering the trial and error of what works and what doesn’t when raising kids. We don’t want to be the Pintrest mom or the Facebook mom who all we see is little snippets of their greatest moments, we have to be ourselves and let our kids see us as our true selves so they can be comfortable in their own skin.

Let Them Be Kids is a perfect read for parents, new and experienced. We can all learn something from the pages of this book. Being part story and part guidebook, readers will find great resources to help them in the trying times of raising young ones. I loved the way she talks about helping instill creativity in young children and how it is okay for them to be bored and learn to entertain themselves. That is so key; it would be easy to hand over a screen for entertainment these days but if we think back to when we were kids, we didn’t have near the options our kids do today for entertainment. I have to tell my boys a lot that it’s not my job to entertain them all the time. Several of the chapters give great advice on ways to entertain kids and help them entertain themselves. Never once does Smartt make us feel as if we aren’t doing a good job as parents, instead she gives us tools to help instill confidence in us as parents and ways to enjoy this time with our children. We only have a short amount of time with our kids and it would be a shame to look back and regret these younger years having not spent enough time together and enjoying the little moments. This is a book for all parents and parents to be, so many good take-aways that I will be pondering for days to come to implement in my routine with my boys.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Thinking Like a Boss

bossAuthor: Kate Crocco

Publisher: Baker Books

Release Date: February 18, 2020

Rating: 4.5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Are you looking to branch out into a successful business, but don’t feel like you can? Stop listening to those voices and check out this book!

Women are beginning to emerge as successful entrepreneurs all across the country and even the world. Many are feeling the pull to start their own business but are afraid that they don’t have what it takes. Maybe you as a reader fall into that category. Kate Crocco even felt that way and now her business focuses on coaching women to become successful entrepreneurs. If you feel like you can’t do this, then you have at least one lie in your life that is holding you back. Maybe more. Kate outlines twelve common lies that hold women (and many men) back from beginning this journey and steps to overcome them.

I can fully understand where the author is coming from in this book. While not a typical entrepreneur, I used to review with a community blog and circumstances eventually led to me beginning my own blog and when I started it out it was hard. I fell into several of these lies about deciding whether or not to keep it going. Years later, I’m so glad that I did. This book is a great resource even if you are just considering trying something new. I’m glad that Kate put these thoughts into print, and I love that she made it actionable. Having to write things down and make them into commitments really helps to hold yourself accountable.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Words of Hope for Women

Words of hopeAuthor: Carolyn Larson

Publisher: Revell

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Rating: 4 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Having hope in a world that is hard, fast and, at times, cruel can be difficult. Carolyn Larson puts a perfect tool in our hands to find hope when it can be most difficult.

Throughout our daily lives, it can be easy to let our discouragement become overwhelming. Pain from our past combined with the uncertainty of the future can be a bit too much for some to handle without the hope we can find in the Lord. God has no limits and if we will let ourselves hold true to that we will be blessed with all the glory he has writing to bestow upon us.

Each chapter within these pages provides little glimmers of hope in a hopeless world. The scripture starting the chapters can be all we need if we look close enough. Scripture has so much hope, even when we don’t want to admit it is there. There are more words of hope in the bible than hopelessness. Even the stories that start with someone in a hopeless situation end with them finding the hope God has in store for us. Words of Hope for Women is a book that will help everyday women struggling in everyday life situations see the good and prosperous future in store for them. I recommend this book to all those looking for an uplifting read that will help give them hope when they get discouraged.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Reclaim Your Happy Space

Fix Her UpperAuthors: Rhonda Rhea & Beth Duewel

Series: Fix Her Upper

Publisher: Bold Vision Books

Release Date: June 27, 2019

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Sometimes we all need a little help finding our happy space when life tries to hide it from us. Rhonda Rhea and Beth Duewel deliver a wonderful guide to help readers reclaim the happy that many haven’t even realize is lost.

If we are to find our joy in the Lord, why do we feel so down at times? Is your life in need of a renovation to find your lost happy and restore the joy when it seems all is lost? These questions and many more are answered in a way that will bring a smile to readers faces and show how to live your very best life. We were not meant to survive, we are meant to thrive with the Lord beside us. The authors of the previous Fix Her Upper books bring a new installment that is sure to excite readers and bring back the lost Happy!

I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is rather hard to be happy. Even when things are good, it can still be hard to believe it is okay to be happy. I absolutely loved the way this book showed me it was okay to be happy, we deserve to be happy. Our Father wants us to be Happy. Think about that for a minute, our Father in heaven truly wants us to be happy, that is the most wonderful thing of all. Rhonda describes it beautifully when she says, “It’s impossible to whine about the “robe of righteousness.” It’s borrowed from Christ. And though this whiny woman doesn’t deserve it, it fits perfectly.” We don’t deserve the mercy and goodness we receive, but we receive it nonetheless. Each chapter is laced with happy goodness and scripture that hits the point home that we have so many reasons to be happy. Along with scripture, both Rhonda and Beth deliver the message with such humor I found myself laughing out loud at times and praising God for the happy moments of reading these words and taking to heart what was written within. At times it really can be hard to be happy, life is tough and sometimes the darkness can seem overwhelming. During those times, we need to remember these resources we have at our fingertips to bring the happy back to the forefront. I recommend this book to everyone!  No matter what you are going through, look to this book to help you find something to be happy about and remember how much the Father loves us all.

Laugh it Up

Laught it upAuthor: Candace Payne

Publisher: Zondervan

Release Date: November 7, 2017

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Everyone fell in love with Candace Payne with the video of her wearing a Chewbacca mask and loving every minute of it went viral. Now she has a book out that will make you love her even more.

Candace Payne had no idea that buying a simple Star Wars toy would lead to the life she has now. She is a wife and mother of two from Dallas Texas and has captured the hearts of nearly 200 million with her infectious laugh all while wearing a Chewbacca mask and recording a video on her phone for Facebook.  It quickly became the top viewed video at Facebook and lead to a slew of interviews and opportunities she might never have otherwise had. Laugh It Up tells the story of how she has found laughter in some of the most difficult circumstances and worked her way through to become the person she is today.

Like you, I can remember the first time I saw the video of Candace wearing the mask and couldn’t keep from laughing. There was just something about her laugh and wearing that masks that made me watch the video over and over just to put a smile on my face. Laugh It Up goes deep into what has made Candace Payne the woman she is today.  Without knowing the backstory, we can’t truly appreciate her.  Her words are both funny and heartfelt.  Just like most of us she has gone through her share of struggles and luckily has found a way to overcome those struggles and find something to laugh and smile about, which in turn, has made millions of others laugh as well.  There are going to be those that don’t like what she has to say, there always are.  But for the majority of readers they will hopefully come away with a better understanding of Chewbacca Mom and what truly makes her someone for us to look to and say there are good things in this life and things to laugh about, we just have to find them.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Growing Young

growing-youngAuthors: Kara Powell, Juke Mulder, & Brad Griffin

Publisher: Baker Books

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

As many church congregations across the nation are aging, Growing Young provides strategies to bring young life back into your church!

One of the challenges that many churches across our nation is facing is the lack of youth and young adults participating in their church body. Many churches have members that have attended for years and are now senior adults.  The problem facing these churches is that as these senior adults begin to die off, so does the church, possibly to the effect of having to shut the doors for good.  Many of these churches have begun to recognize the importance that these young individuals play in their organization and are taking steps to make adjustments within the church.  Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin, all employees with the Fuller Youth Institute, performed a study across several churches in the United States to understand this issue and see what successful strategies that churches are implementing.

Growing Young really works to help people understand the younger generation of millennials to centennials.  How they interact, how they emphasize, and why they are so dependent on technology for communication.  In addition to this, they really layout potential strategies for church bodies that are serious about making the change to bring in accommodate these younger individuals, which does not include diluting or watering down the messages.  In fact, most people want more challenging messages.  This book is a great place to start or at least get yourself thinking about the issue.  The end of each chapter also provides some really good critical thinking/discussion questions that can help get to the meat of the matter.

I found this book really intriguing. In fact, my husband Jared decided to read it as well, which really generated some great discussion.  Jared does a lot of facility planning and master planning for churches across the southwest and he said that he has seen this issue at almost every church that he works with.  Many of these churches have aging facilities that they have deferred spending money on to keep updated, mostly because the congregation believes that the money should be spent on missions or activities, which is completely understandable.  Then when buildings and systems start to fail is when he gets called out.  Then his company and the church leadership team have to have really crucial conversations about the vision of the church compared to their current facilities need.  In most cases, this results in a realization of “we need to focus our money on our children, youth, and younger adults because that is the future.”  Very similar concept to the book.  Many of the facilities are not configured for how today generation is operating as they were constructed to the standards used in the 1950s and 1960s.  It is really interesting in how everything is connected.

rowing Young is a very insightful read on this issue.  The authors did a great job of explaining the issue and the generations.  They also did a great job in laying out the strategies to help make them more successful for those they want to try this out.  I also appreciated the examples that were seen at many different churches and that it shows that no matter where you are or what size you are, you can make a difference.

If you found my discussion on the facilities portion interesting or that it may apply to you as well, Jared’s work website is

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

The Mystery

the-mysteryAuthor: Lacey Sturm

Publisher: Baker Books

Release Date: October 4, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Lacey Sturm takes you through her journey in finding a true Father and also on finding true love!

Lacey Sturm’s second book takes you through another part of her life that wasn’t told in her first book The Reason.  She opens her heart to bring out her experiences on both understanding what a true spiritual father does and also her journey that led her to her husband Josh.  The first part of the book is on having a father.  Lacey doesn’t recall ever meeting her father and she believed that she never needed one.  In fact she felt that if you relied on someone in that role it made you week.  But through experiences with a couple that becomes her spiritual parents, she begins to realize that they guide her and coach her, but still let her make her own decisions and lover her regardless.

The second half of the book focuses on her relationship with her husband Josh. Lacey entered into a previous marriage at age nineteen and was divorced by twenty-one.  Shortly after that she got tangled up in an emotional affair with a married man that almost led her to take her life.  Once she was healed from those experiences, she realized that she could (and should in her opinion) stay single for the remainder of her life.  But that wasn’t in God’s plan.  Throughout this part, Lacey recounts the trials, successes, and experiences of meeting Josh, his parents, and eventually becoming married.

I really enjoyed reading this book from Lacey Sturm. I always enjoy reading books written by people that I follow in the entertainment industry.  Sometimes you like them more, sometimes you don’t, but either way you feel like you get to know them on a more personable level.  Lacey does a great job of opening her heart to let people in to share in her experiences and lessons learned.  I especially enjoyed the first part of the book that was focused more on a parent.  It made me sit back and really evaluate my relationship with my own two boys to see how I was approaching to coach and guide them.  I recommend this book to those that may feel trapped in a relationship or searing for guidance.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest and thorough review. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.