Welcome to Adulting – Treasure of a book for young adults!

Welcome to Adulting by Jonathan "Jp" Pokluda

You’re an adult . . . now what?

Adulting is hard. But sometimes we make it harder than it has to be. Combining entertaining stories from his own experience, insights from the Bible, and compelling evidence from research, Jonathan “JP” Pokluda lays out a roadmap for how to navigate your life as an adult, addressing topics such as:

· friendships and dating
· career and money management
· interpersonal conflict
· controlling anxiety
· recovering from addiction
· discovering your purpose on this earth

If you’re struggling to find a footing in the world of adult life, this witty, non-patronizing guide is for you.

“I remember the first time I went grocery shopping, paid a bill, and rented a room. These were all highlights of adulting before the catchphrase was even created. In Welcome to Adulting, Jonathan Pokluda spends less time on the trivial and more time on the transformational. He points the way and gives advice on how to live an adult life that honors our holy God.”–Kyle Idleman, pastor and author of Not a Fan and Grace Is Greater

“If I could go back to my twenty-two-year-old self, I would hand her a copy of Welcome to Adulting and tell her to soak up every word. Jonathan so candidly and beautifully breaks down the myths of life after college and leaves us with a roadmap we’ll return to again and again, no matter how old we are.”–Jennie Allen, author of Nothing to Prove; founder and visionary of the IF:Gathering

This book should be read by every young adult at the age of 17 and then at 21!  It has so very many important truths that it is a treasure chest needing to be unpacked.

The author acknowledges upfront that he made a plethora of mistakes as a young man and he wants to use his knowledge gained the hard way to help others not make the same mistakes.  He has broken the short, easy-to-digest book into eleven chapters.  Life and Purpose are the first two, followed by Authority, Work, Money, Community, Conflict, and Dating and finishing with Worry, Recovery and Eternity.  Each chapter ends with a few discussion/reflection questions.

Pokluda pulls in quotes from others, such as from a friend of his who says, “So whether it’s mothering, medicine, CEO, sales, teaching, ministry, writing or so on…it is important to remember toil in work was part of the curse and it is difficult and you do the things you don’t like because it’s RIGHT and OBEDIENT and HOLY.  And on the days work is fun, smile and celebrate, and on the days work isn’t fun, don’t rethink your whole life.  Do the work.”  He also uses studies and statistics such as, “…people who have premarital sex are more prone to divorce later on.  In fact, having even just one premarital sexual partner makes you about four times more likely to divorce within the first five years of marriage, and having multiple partners results in a divorce rate five to six times higher.”  His own personal examples are also sprinkled throughout – and he is a great story teller!

This is such a powerful tool to help young adults as they transition from teenagers under mom and dad’s roof to adults navigating the world themselves.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!  I am grateful to the publisher for giving me a copy of this book. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Author: Jonathan “JP” Pokluda is teaching pastor at Watermark Community Church, with an average weekly attendance of 12,000 people, and leader of The Porch, an influential gathering of thousands of young adults who come hear the gospel and get equipped for Kingdom purposes. Pokluda came to understand the grace of the Gospel in his early twenties after being involved in different denominational churches his entire life. This ignited a desire in him to reach people in their twenties and thirties for Christ. He lives with his wife, Monica, and their three children.

 

 

 

 

 

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Shelter of the Most High – a novel

Shelter of the Most High by Connilyn Cossette

The daughter of a pagan high priest, Sofea finds solace from her troubles in the freedom of the ocean. But when marauders attack her village on the island of Sicily, she and her cousin are taken across the sea to the shores of Canaan.

Eitan has lived in Kedesh, a City of Refuge, for the last eleven years, haunted by a tragedy in his childhood and chafing at the boundaries placed on him. He is immediately captivated by Sofea, but revealing his most guarded secret could mean drawing her into the danger of his past.

As threats from outside the walls loom and traitors are uncovered within, Sofea and Eitan are plunged into the midst of a murder plot. Will they break free from the shackles of the past in time to uncover the betrayal and save their lives and the lives of those they love?

Wow!  Once again, I’m blown away by Connilyn’s amazing story – and all the things it makes me ponder.  Taking place in around during the Biblical days around the time of Joshua, Sofea is from Sicily and, after being captured by pirates, ends up in Israel, in the City of Refuge Kedesh with her cousin Prezi.  There she doesn’t know the language and there are no dictionaries to help translate.  Her entire life has been flipped 180 degrees – her family is gone.  Instead of living in a coastal, seafaring, pagan, human life-sacrificing village, she now has been taken in and being loved by a YAWEH fearing household in a landlocked city.

If you have read Connilyn’s previous books you will recognize a number of characters – but if you have not, you shouldn’t have any problem following the story because it does stand alone.  I thought this was great historical fiction – giving a depth to the time of the Bible when the Israelites had settled in the Promised Land.

Amazing story – full of familial love, romantic love and ultimately, Godly love.  Mercy reigns!  I loved this novel and highly recommend it!  I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publisher. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Author:  Connilyn Cossette is the CBA bestselling author of the Out from Egypt series. Her debut novel, Counted with the Stars, was a finalist for the Christy Award, the INSPY Award, and the Christian Retailing’s Best Award. She lives in North Carolina with her husband of over twenty years and a son and a daughter who fill her days with joy, inspiration, and laughter. Connect with her at http://www.ConnilynCossette.com.

Where in the World is Kris? Australia

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No photo shop – he’s a real koala!

“I come from a land down under, where women glow and men plunder.” Well, I’m not from there but Kate and I visited the land down under (and heard that song a lot) earlier this month!  Wow! Australia is amazing!  We didn’t have a lot of time, but we stayed very busy and saw so so so many amazing things. I just want to tell you about some of them.

First of all, I was a little nervous about the very long flight (and getting on the plane – but that’s a different story), but the reality was the flight is so long that I watched a movie, then took a sleeping pill and then still had a good 10+ hours to sleep so, when we arrived there I wasn’t feeling too exhausted (of course I had my neck brace, my eye mask, my foot sling, etc…)!  Our first destination was to fly north to Cairns and go to the Great Barrier Reef – which is actually almost 3000 reefs, so it isn’t really 1 reef.  (And, the Australian airline Qantas is great!).  Cairns is a sleepy seaside city, so we wandered and relaxed after arriving – no swimming at the beach though because of the crocodiles!  And they have some massive sized bats there – just flying around in the evening.  I don’t mind bats, but these made me feel a little uneasy!

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Nemo!

Our excursion to the GBR would begin early the next morning. We elected to go on a smaller boat which would take us to two different sites. Both were sites were good and we saw lots of fish and coral and even a giant clam.

Confession though – I’ve dived in Bermuda and the Caribbean and can’t honestly say the GBR was any better but maybe if we had done deeper, more experienced dives?  The reefs appeared healthy and we got to hear a talk from a marine biologist about the health of the reefs and more.

We also did an aborigine experience – complete with fire and didgeridoo and a dinner buffet that included emu, kangaroo and crocodile. (Emu was “gamey” but the kangaroo and crocodile were quite yummy.)  I have no desire to play the didgeridoo!20181014_211413

We picked up the pace when we returned to Sydney – only a 3-hour flight away but when you take the 5am flight, you get a full day! 20181015_131118.jpgWe opted for a pass that got us the Hop-on, Hop-off Bus, Sea Life Aquarium, Wildlife Sydney Zoo, Sydney Tower and Madame Tussaud’s! I’m usually not that impressed with the open air, sightseeing buses, but it really was great for Sydney – the blue bus goes further out of town taking you to Bondi Beach (the famous Sydney beach).  20181015_163830We saw things we would not have otherwise seen so I highly recommend it! The bus also has a running commentary about the history of the area and what you are seeing.

We also thought the Aquarium was fun.  It has some wonderful glass tunnels you walk through while rays and sharks glide over you!  20181015_122218There we also got to

 

go on a little boat through the penguin enclosure – they really smell!  And we saw a dugong – a cousin to the manatee (they look very similar but the dugong has a tale more like a whale and the manatee has a tale more like a very large beaver).  The Aquarium’s dugong is named Pig – they feed him romaine lettuce every 15 minutes and he is quite a messy eater!  A few years ago we swam with manatees so it was fun to see the dugong.

At the zoo we saw a Tasmanian devil, kangaroos, koalas, an enormous crocodile and lots of snakes (but no petting of any of the animals!).  My thoughts as we went through the displays were I was glad I didn’t have to be the zoo keeper for all the dangerous, highly poisonous critters there!20181016_114633

We had fun at Madame Tussaud’s – posing with Spider-Man and Superman and Wonder Woman.  Kate liked Wolverine and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.  But my favorite display at Madame Tussaud’s was of the Queen and Prince William and Kate!

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I think they said that the Queen has had more wax models made of her than any other person.  I couldn’t resist getting a photo with Nelson Mandela since I’m going to his country in a few months.  In addition to those places, we also did a tour of the Sydney Opera house – including a brief symphony concert!  The building really is unique with great acoustics and gorgeous wood.  20181017_180722Our guide told us all about the design and the architect – Jorn Utzon,a Swede, who was basically fired from the job halfway through the project.  He did live to see the day that UNESCO recognized the opera house as one of the most outstanding places on earth in 2007 even though it had only been built 34 years earlier.  There are more than a million Swedish made tiles covering the roof – and they are designed to never need cleaning.  The Opera House was the place to be that day as Prince Harry and Meaghan were also visiting about an hour before us!

Another place we enjoyed visiting was the Sydney Tower.  Rising high above Sydney it offers great views of the entire area – and we were fortunate because the rain dissipated and we were able to see those views!  We went late in the afternoon so we not only got to see the day view, but also the evening view.

1016180501Our biggest event in Sydney was actually climbing the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge, or the coat hanger as they call it. What an experience! We showed up at our appointed time and after getting our flight suits on and divesting ourselves of all personal items, got our safety harnesses on and began the assent – through the pylon, up ladders, and finally to the top of the bridge.  1016180526  1016180553The view was magnificent, especially since we had done the evening/night tour, so all the lights were twinkling in the skyline.  I am always amazed by God’s creation – either the natural or the man-made and seeing the city lit up was wonderful!  We were also really thankful it wasn’t raining!!

Our last day in Australia was spent on a tour of the Blue Mountains.  I didn’t think we could top the climb from the previous day but…   We began by going to the Featherdale  Wildlife Park where we touched a wombat, petted a koala bear and fed kangaroos – even the joey in his mama’s pouch! This was a fabulous place and I only wish we could have stayed longer!

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2018-10-31 (2)The koala’s fur was very short and thick and soft!  The kangaroos reminded me of my golden retrievers – they just wanted the food and would hold your hand to keep the food there.  Petting koalas and feeding kangaroos was pretty amazing!!20181017_091648.jpg

From there we went on to the Blue Mountains, named because the many eucalyptus trees cause a blue haze.  We didn’t see any wild koalas, but we did see some amazing rock formations (the Three Sisters).

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We were told that that Aborigine Dreamtime legend is that there were 3 sisters who were turned into stone to protect them during a battle.  Unfortunately, the person who turned transformed them was killed in the battle and no one else could change them back so there they stand.  This is a beautiful area with the Katoomba waterfall,  rain forest and and eucalyptus trees!  We went to Scenic World and rode the skyway, a cable car that has a glass floor so you can see the valley below your feet.

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20181017_145035The view of the waterfall from there was magnificent!  After that we went down to the valley floor via an old mining railroad that goes down at a 52-degree incline – the steepest in the world – which was quite the ride (we did it 3 times!).  We finished our day by going back into Sydney via the river – a river cruise!  (Interesting fact – Sydney Harbor and the river that feeds it is a known breeding ground for bull sharks – it’s not very safe swimming outside protected areas!!).20181017_180722.jpg

Australia gets lots of tourists – and most of them are from Asia.  I guess they aren’t used to Western toilets.  In every toilet they had picture signs showing that squatting on the toilet is not the thing to do – and to please throw the toilet paper in the toilet, not the trash. 20181017_115035.jpg As we wandered, we were as likely to hear Chinese spoken as English.  We did enjoy some amazing Thai food, right around the corner from our very quaint, Victorian flat (well, the building was Victorian but they had updated in the 21st century so we had old floors, tall ceilings and modern Ikea furnishings!)

So, with 2 days in Cairns, and 3 days in Sydney, our 5 days in Australia were over and it was time to return home!  We didn’t see everything but we sure experienced a lot! And our return trip was wonderful – 14 hours in first class sitting next to each other!  Yes, they gave me pajamas to wear and I lounged my way back the the USA!  20181018_125035.jpgI’m looking forward to my next trip!  P.S. While we were in Sydney, we saw the Royal Caribbean ship, Radiance of the Seas, set sail – maybe someday I can cruise from Sydney!20181016_130922

Justice Betrayed – a novel

Justice Betrayed ( Book #3) (Memphis Cold Case)

It’s Elvis Week in Memphis, and homicide Detective Rachel Sloan isn’t sure her day could get any stranger when aging Elvis impersonator Vic Vegas asks to see her. But when he produces a photo of her murdered mother with four Elvis impersonators–one of whom had also been murdered soon after the photo was taken–she’s forced to reevaluate. Is there some connection between the two unsolved cases? And could the recent break-in at Vic’s home be tied to his obsession with finding his friend’s killer?

When yet another person in the photo is murdered, Rachel suddenly has her hands full investigating three cases. Lieutenant Boone Callahan offers his help, but their checkered romantic past threatens to get in the way. Can they solve the cases before the murderer makes Rachel victim number four?

It’s Elvis week in Memphis!  Rachel, a homicide detective, sure learns a lot about Elvis tribute artists as she takes a cold case about a murder 17 years earlier, which then becomes hot as new murders occur.  The book not only has the suspense element, but then has other elements woven in – a young girl abused by her father and what that does to her.  Another woman who marries a man not right for her because “Girls seeking love because their fathers were absent.  And a father doesn’t have to be missing to be absent.”  The author does a marvelous job of giving just enough information to keep me totally guessing the entire novel.  I loved it and highly recommend it!  I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Author: Winner of an Inspirational Readers Choice Award, Patricia Bradley lives in North Mississippi and is a former abstinence educator and co-author of RISE To Your Dreams, an abstinence curriculum.

But her heart is tuned to suspense. Patricia’s romantic suspense books include the Logan Point series set in Mississippi and two sweet romances for Harlequin Heartwarming, Matthew’s Choice and The Christmas Campaign that are available on Amazon.

The first Memphis Cold Case book, Justice Delayed, released February 2017, and Justice Buried, the 2nd in the cold case books releases September 2017.

Second-Chance Dogs

Second-Chance Dogs by Callie Smith Grant

Everyone loves an underdog, and nothing gives us warmer feelings than seeing someone get a second chance in life. A problem pup who flourishes under the right kind of training. The struggling veteran who finds unconditional love wiggling around at the end of a leash. The lonely child who finds comfort in the steady breathing of the warm, furry friend at her side. Each of us needs to be rescued from something–and each of us has the capacity to rescue someone, or something, else.

This collection of more than thirty contemporary, true, feel-good stories spotlights the beauty of being rescued–dogs rescued by people, people rescued by dogs, and even dogs who rescue other animals. It’s the perfect companion–well, besides the four-legged, tail-wagging kind–for your morning cup of coffee or an evening curled up on the couch. Contributors include Susy Flory, Dusty Rainbolt, Lauraine Snelling, Melody Carlson, Wanda Dyson, Suzanne Woods Fisher, and many more.

Love dogs? This is the heart-warming collection of dog stories and the people who love them – my husband says this is the type of movie & book that I am always drawn to! Most of the stories are about rescued dogs – some “designer” dogs (one of a kind mixed breed dogs – used to be known as mutts!) and others purebred dogs – but there are also stories of therapy dogs, seeing eye dogs and plain ordinary dogs who love their humans. These dogs add so much to our lives and the stories showcase just a few of them. I particularly liked the story of the rottweilers who took care of a little girl. I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishers. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

A Secret to Die For – a novel

A Secret to Die For by Lisa Harris

Psychologist Grace Callahan has no idea that she has a secret–one worth killing for. But when she finds out one of her clients has been murdered, she quickly realizes that the computer security specialist wasn’t simply suffering from paranoia.

Detective Nate Quinn has just been cleared for active duty after a bombing killed eighteen people, including his partner, and left him dealing with PTSD. His first case back on the job involves the murder of Stephen Shaw, and his only lead turns out to be an old friend, Grace Callahan–and her life is in grave danger. Someone believes Shaw gave his psychologist information before he died. Information they are willing to kill for.

With her signature pulse-pounding suspense, Lisa Harris takes readers deep into the heart of fear in this race against the clock.

Lisa Harris writes suspense books in which the action never stops, and the twists and turns are so unexpected!  In this one, Grace is dealing with the loss of her daughter a few years earlier and Nate is coming to terms with the loss of his duty partner.  Both are looking for answers and dealing with guilt.  I liked Grace’s openness – “I don’t have an easy answer, Nate.  I had to fight to find my faith again.  And there were times when all I wanted to do was walk away…”  I loved this book and highly recommend it if you like suspense!  I received a copy of this book from Revell Publishers. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

The Author: Bestselling author LISA HARRIS is a Christy Award finalist for Blood Ransom and Vendetta, Christy Award winner for Dangerous Passage, and the winner of the Best Inspirational Suspense Novel for 2011 (Blood Covenant) and 2015 (Vendetta) from Romantic Times. She has over thirty novels and novella collections in print. She and her family have spent over fourteen years working as missionaries in Africa where she runs a small non-profit organization that works alongside their church-planting ministry. The ECHO Project promotes Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity and is a way to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves…the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.” (Proverbs 31:8)

When she’s not working she loves hanging out with her family, cooking different ethnic dishes, photography, and heading into the African bush on safari. For more information about her books and life in Africa visit her website at http://www.lisaharriswrites.com

A Sparkle of Silver – a novel

A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson

Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan’s great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins’ palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie’s great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . .

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.

What a fun book to read – romance, forgiveness, secret treasure, the intrigue of the lavish roaring 20s parties and so much more! Yet the novel also portrays the difficulties and heartbreak of the disease Alzheimer’s. The novel is contemporary, set on St. Simon’s island, Georgia, but also, through diaries and letters, goes back in time to the summer of 1929. Was treasure really hidden there? Both Millie and Ben would like to find it!

One part I found particularly amusing though was when Millie reflected on her grandma’s favorite song, “It is Well with My Soul” – “She didn’t know what kind of lot the guy who wrote that song had had. Maybe he did have sorrows. Shoot, maybe he was on a ship in middle of a storm and praying he didn’t fall out.”

Great book! I really enjoyed it and recommend it! I received this book from Revell Publishers. I am freely writing a review – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Author:  By day Liz Johnson is the marketing director for a radio network. She finds time to write late at night and is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Liz makes her home in Tucson, AZ, where she enjoys theater, exploring local history, and doting on her nieces and nephews. She loves stories of true love with happy endings. Find out more about Liz at http://www.LizJohnsonBooks.com.