Book Review — Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors

A friend gave me this book for my birthday.  It’s an easy read and difficult to put down. I read it in a day. Katie lives in Uganda where she founded Amazima Ministries and became the adoptive mother of thirteen girls.  She has the gift of hospitality and relates her many experiences opening her home and life to those who are ill, dying or needy.  Her life isn’t typical, but many of her thoughts about faith and hope resonate deeply with me, and are easily applied to anyone’s daily life.  For example, in her musings about the story of Abraham and Isaac she says:

“It is a bold claim, to look up your mountain, to look out over the dry, cracked places and the barren places and the broken places, outcomes yet unknown, and call the place The Lord Will Provide, to believe that He will when you cannot yet see how.”

As she walks through many difficult circumstances she begins to call each one, The Lord Will Provide:  and He does, although not always in the way she imagined.

Daring to Hope: Finding God's Goodness in the Broken and the Beautiful

Katie brings to life many of my favorite Scriptures — the road to Emmaus, the resurrection of Lazarus, Mary of Bethany and more.  She learns to hope because “God Himself is our reward,” to see people through His eyes and to cope with the unwanted and unexpected consequences of life.

I give it 5 stars and I’m sure I will be passing it on.  It may show up in our Little Free Library of Leitersburg!



Just Open the Door by Jen Schmidt–Book Review

“Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality”  Romans 12:13

Jen Schmidt doesn’t just practice hospitality, she pursues it!  She defines hospitality as “freely giving of ourselves, while granting others the freedom to be themselves.” and offers many creative solutions to our usual excuses for failing to welcome others.

The best advice she has is, “just do it!”  Hospitality is not about having the perfect home or the perfect menu;  it’s simply about welcoming others in and making them comfortable.  It’s not about you at all– it’s about others.  Her hospitality is radical;  it goes far beyond the usual dinner or potluck.  In her book, she discusses hospitality on the go (spread a blanket at the ball game and invite someone to sit with you), everyday moments (invite the people you just met at Chick-fil-A to visit you), adoption (make a stranger part of your family) and more.

Throughout the book, the author has interspersed “Dear Jen” letters she has received with questions about hospitality and her answers. There are also a number of short essays by some of her family members. Each chapter is  followed by an “Elevate the Ordinary” list of ideas about everything from entertaining on a budget to creating a family mission statement.

I especially enjoyed a chapter about a time in her life when everything seemed to be going wrong.  Her family was struggling financially and there were several deaths in the family.  Jen says:

“I was forced to choose.  Declare His promises or disappear into my doubt.  Avoid doing life in community and the vulnerability that comes along with it, or wrestle my spirit to find ways to bring Him glory in the midst of it.  I needed to stay committed to opening my life up to others–actively loving God and loving my neighbor–even when I didn’t feel like it.  Even when I couldn’t afford it.”

If you, like me, do not have the gift of hospitality, read this book.  You’ll be inspired and learn many suggestions for hosting and welcoming.  Some of them are sure to work for you. You may also enjoy visiting Jen’s blog, Balancing Beauty and Bedlam.

Verdict:  I give this book 5 stars.  For purchasing information go to the link below:

Interactive Bible Study-Hebrews Chapter 13

Here is Michele’s take on the last chapter of Hebrews.  Have you enjoyed reading along with her? 

In this, the final chapter, we are told how to live our lives as the disciples of Christ.  By loving one another, being hospitable to strangers, staying true in marriage, and so forth.  Exclaim the message of Jesus on your lips often.  Do good works in His name, with no desire for recognition.  Do not allow yourself to be swayed by false teachings, require all  told to you to be from God’s word.

In conclusion, I have found the book of Hebrews to be a blueprint for how things were before Jesus, and how we should live now under the new covenant.

Thank you for your patience and I hope I have given you some insight into this book.