Monday, February 2, 2015

Ignite the Light Book Review


Ignite the Light Book Review 

Ignite the Light - Empowering Children and Adults to be Their Absolute Best is a book written by Vicki Savini. Savini has been motivating both children and adults to be their absolute best for the past 20 years. Savini is a public school teacher, a parent, and a speaker who empowers individuals to believe in themselves and live their truth. On the back cover of Ignite the Light, it says that "this book will give you the tools to educate, enlighten, and empower our children to see that they are perfect just as they are."

My Review:
I tend to read non-fiction books at a slower pace than I read fiction books. It is not that I enjoy fiction books more than I enjoy non-fiction books. I just find while reading non-fiction books I really internalize and think about each part of the book. This was exactly the case while reading Ignite the Light, by Vicki Savini. I read Ignite the Light over a period of time because I really wanted to grasp the message that the author was wanting to share in her book.

I am both a parent as well as an educator, and I have worked with children in many different settings. I felt like Ignite the Light would be something that I would be able to relate to as well as be able to use as a tool when working with children. Upon finishing Ignite the Light I had a little bit of a mixed review. A part of me absolutely loved some of the beautiful passages in the book as well as Savini's life experiences she shares. Another part of me felt like there was a lot of repetition in the book amongst the different sections. I also felt the book didn't flow in a way that made the author's thoughts feel organized. Now, with that being said, I do feel like Vicki Savini offers a lot of valuable wisdom throughout her book.

Ignite the Light is broken into three parts:

  •  Part 1:See the Light        
  •  Part 2: Ignite the Light - The 7 essentials      
  •  Part 3: Be the Light
I am fortunate to be a part of the most marvelous book club! One of my favorite parts of our book club is that throughout the discussion of our book each month, a lot of our book club members share their favorite quotes from the book. So, I thought that for this book review I would do the same thing. Believe me, I have many more parts of the book underlined that I enjoyed, and it was hard for me to choose just a few quotes to share with you today. 

Without further ado, here are a few thoughts that really spoke to me while reading Ignite the Light:

  • On the very first page, the "Author's Note", Savini states, "I am on a journey of life just like you, and I feel truly honored that our paths have crossed." I absolutely love that statement and I can't tell you how many times I have told someone that I am so glad that our "paths have crossed" in this lifetime. I always learn something from everyone I meet, and there are so many people that I have met that have been absolute blessing in my life.  
  • On page xvii of the introduction it says, "I love getting notes from high school seniors who remember my classroom not necessarily because of something academic that I taught, but because of how they felt there." I love, love, love this! This is absolutely how I have felt in my 9 years of teaching. I still keep in touch with some of my first 4th grade students I taught. Some are married, some have had their first child, some are finishing up college, etc. Just the fact that some of my students keep in touch with me and share their special life moments with me, it makes me feel like they truly felt important and loved while gracing me with their presence in my classroom. Honestly, as a teacher, we are the ones who are blessed on a daily basis from the sweet students that we teach. 
  • Page 9 says, "If we truly want to teach our children effectively, we need to begin by touching their hearts before we even attempt to teach their minds." Isn't that such a powerful statement?
  • On page 45 Savini explains that, "Helping our children to see the light within means holding a mirror up to them and asking them to see, feel, and believe that they're important, whether the world acknowledges that or not." One of my daughters has had a difficult time with her self esteem this year. It has broken my heart to know that she doesn't see the kind, talented, and beautiful person that she is. As a mother, I want nothing more than for her to see the "bright light that shines within herself". I truly love my daughters with all of my heart.
  • One last paragraph that I wanted to share with you is on pg. 58 where Savini explains, "As a child, I learned that my self-esteem, self-image, and self-identity were all based on the thoughts and opinions of others." Savini then goes on to say that she "finally understood that what really mattered was how I felt about myself. To be able to look in the mirror and love the person staring back at you is so very important." She then talks about how once we are able to love ourselves, that it will be much easier to show our children how to love themselves. So very true and enlightening. How often have I tried to build my daughter's self esteem up, while at the same time I have had negative thoughts enter my mind that say I am not good enough for this, or I should be better at that? Too many times to be honest. I hope to take Savini's quote more to heart.

     My Final Thoughts: 
      I too believe that we are all born with a brilliant light inside us. Hopefully within our lifetime we will discover what special individuals we all are. I know at times our children may feel like their light is dim and fading, while other times they may feel their light shining so brightly they could burst with joy. Ultimately, I hope that we will all see ourselves as our Lord and Savior sees us, the glorious individuals that we are.

Want to find out more about Vicki Savini? You can click here to go to her Facebook page, click here to go to her Twitter account, and click here to go to her website.

To purchase your own copy of Ignite the Light  you can click here to go to Hay House Publishing, click here to be taken to Amazon, or click here to shop at Barnes and Nobles. 

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment and opinion of the book.
This "Ignite the Light Book Review" first appeared on my blog, Artistically Shauna, on February 2, 2015. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Urban Watercolor Sketching Book Review and Giveaway

Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger 
Every once in a while I come across a book where I literally internalize every single word I read, to the point that I can't put the book down. Usually, these types of books are fictional books, with amazing characters and plots. However, this time around the book that made me want to stay up into the wee hours reading underneath the light of flashlight was, Urban Watercolor Sketching, by Felix Scheinberger. Now, don't let the title fool you. This book is not just about "Urban Watercolor Sketching" I would say it is more about the ins and outs of watercolors with amazing tutorials and beautiful illustrations. 

Book Summary:
On the cover of the Urban Watercolor Sketching it says, "A Guide to Drawing, Painting, and Storytelling in Color". This book was originally published in hardcover in German in 2011. Felix Scheinberger is an illustrator, artist, and designer. I love his simple approach to watercolors. In Urban Watercolor Sketching Scheinberger states that his book has two goals: "to teach you watercolor techniques and to tell you something about color." 

Watercolors are my personal favorite paint medium (see here). I have loved them from the time that I was a little girl. So when I was given the opportunity to review this book through the Blogging for Books Program, I couldn't have been happier. 

Urban Watercolor Sketching is broken up into 7 sections:

  • ·         Intro
  • ·         First Attempts
  • ·         Excursion in Color Theory
  • ·         Your Own Style
  • ·         Basics/Tools
  • ·         Out and About
  • ·         Tips and Tricks

I can honestly say that I learned something new from every section in the book. I decided while reading Urban Watercolor Sketching that I would highlight the parts that I thought would be helpful in my own personal journey with watercoloring. In the end, I think I highlighted about every word in the book.  I have actually been reading this book for a while, but that is just because I have read every word, on every page, and took notes on techniques, tips, and ideas I want to apply to my own art work. 

My Review:
I truly loved reading Urban Watercolor Sketching (as you can see from what I wrote on the last page of the book). I think that Scheinberger is very knowledgeable when it comes to watercolors and color theory. I enjoyed how Scheinberger had a section that focused on each color. The facts that I learned about how colors were introduced and first used were fascinating. When talking about the color of orange Scheinberger notes "For a long time, orange was not considered a color on its own but rather reddish-yellow, and was categorized with one of these two colors depending on it saturation. Orange did not debut as an individual color until modern times, when it was used extensively in the works of Vincent van Gogh and Edvard Munch." Throughout the book Scheinberger has practical and fun watercolor tips that are helpful for both the beginning artist and the veteran artist. 

If you have ever wanted to learn more about watercolors, this is the book for you. If anything, the vibrant, brilliant illustrations alone would be a great reason to buy this book. 

Want to find out more about Felix Scheinberger? You can CLICK HERE to go to his website. You can translate his website from German to English if you would like.

Giveaway Details:
Now for the exciting news. The wonderful WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, through the Blogging for Books Program, has sent me an extra copy of Urban Watercolor Sketching to giveaway to one of my lucky readers. Yahoo! You don't want to miss out on winning a copy of this creative book, no matter what your artistic skill level may be. 

Don't want to wait to see if you win this amazing book? You can purchase your own copy of Urban Watercolor Sketching by Felix Scheinberger HERE to be taken to Amazon or CLICK HERE to shop at Barnes and Noble. 

Now, let's get on with the giveaway. This Urban Watercolor Sketching Giveaway ends on Mon., Dec. 1, 2014. This giveaway is open to United States Residence only. One winner will be chosen at random and will be notified by e-mail and on this blog on Tues. Dec. 2. Winner will then need to provide me with your local mailing address within two days of being notified as the winner, or a new winner will be chosen. Winner must be 18 yrs. or older. 

How to enter the Giveaway:
Mandatory Entry -To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment on this blog post and tell me something that makes you happy.
Extra Entries - Follow me on Pinterest, through Google Friend Connect, Instagram, or Twitter and leave me a separate comment for each social media you are following me on,  letting me know what name you are following under.

Good luck my friends!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. The opinions expressed in my review are unbiased and reflect my honest judgment and opinion of the book. 

This "Urban Watercolor Sketching Book Review and Giveaway" first appeared on my blog, Artistically Shauna, on November 22, 2014. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin Book Review

Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin Book Review
Book Summary:
Kate Darby works for a distinguished advertising company in California and seems to have it all; the career, the beauty, a loving grandmother, etc. Yet, deep inside Kate is longing for more. 

While driving on the San Miguel Highway, which according to the state of California was only the twenty-sixth most dangerous road in the state, Kate swerves off a mountain road to avoid hitting a California condor. Kate was on her way to take care of her grandmother who had recently suffered a stroke. Kate then becomes trapped in her car, teetering on the edge of a cliff. Petrified, Kate offers a prayer that changes her life. 

Nick, a handsome and confident writer, is the person who comes to Kate's rescue. Nick just happens to live in the same small town that Kate's grandmother lives.  When Nick sees Kate's car dangling on the edge of a cliff, the daredevil in him jumps into action and saves Kate. Nick doesn't realize that from that one act of bravery, he is going to swept off his feet by Kate.

Nick, a man who previously lived in the fast lines, is a recent convert to Christianity. Nick has vowed to not date for a year, yet now that he has met Kate Darby, that vow may prove to be difficult.
Kate Darby has no plans to get involved with one of the locals in her grandmother's small town. Yet, something about Nick draws her to him. 

My Review:
Until I Found You,  by Victoria Bylin, is a sweet romance filled with faith promoting messages.  I really enjoyed a lot of the characters in the book, although my favorite character was definitely Nick. Nick is a honest, good, and kind man, who has a life changing moment. Not that Nick was a bad person before by any degree, he wasn't, he simply decided to prioritize his life, and let God become a part of it. I appreciated the courage this character had and his dedication to living a life full of goodness.  Even though Nick is a fictional character, he reminded me of different men in my life, like my father, and husband, who are kind, service oriented men, who strive to be Christlike. You can't have enough men, or women in the world like that in my opinion.

There were several quotes that I really enjoyed reading in Until I Found You.Victoria Bylin has a strong voice in her writing that really makes you ponder and think about your own life. I appreciate when an author can do that.   It was hard to narrow down which ones to share with my blog readers. So, here are a few of my favorites:
  • While observing California Condors with Kate and Marcus, Nick starts to take pictures of the cave that the condor's called their home. Nick ponders that "Tin Canyon was a simple place. It was home to an ancient species with simple needs. To eat. To breed. To survive." The part I love is when Nick then thinks, "Human beings had the same needs, but they also had an intelligence that set them apart from the bests of the field. Condors acted on instinct and the drive for self- preservation. Men had the capacity to make moral choices that sometimes called for sacrifice (pg. 106)." It is true. Sometimes in life we are faced with difficult moral decisions, that do call for sacrifice. Although, in the end our lives are eternally blessed for making virtuous choices that will not only bless our lives, but bless the lives of others.
  •  In one part of the book Kate is struggling with being strong. She is terrified of a world that doesn't make sense to her. "She wanted to live the way Nick did- with the courage to face life head-on, unswayed by impulse or fear. She wanted his faith in a power greater than herself, a loving father who would take care of her." "God," she whispered. "Are you real? (pg.178)" I don't know about you, but sometimes life can be so difficult. Trials come into our lives that we don't understand, or are devastating to us or loved ones around us. That is where hope, faith, and trust in God come into place. I honestly don't know how I would have been able to have gotten through life to this point, without the knowledge that I have a God and Savior who watches over me and loves me unconditionally.
Like I mentioned earlier, overall Until I Found You, had a sweet story line. The only thing that I wished while reading this book was that it went at a little faster pace. I enjoyed reading the story and I wanted to see how it ended, however, it wasn't the type of book that I couldn't put down and wanted to read through the wee hours of the night. I felt the storyline just moved a little on the slow side. 

To purchase your own copy of Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin you can CLICK BELOW to be taken to Amazon. 
Want to find out more about Victoria Bylin's books? You can CLICK HERE to go to her Twitter page, CLICK HERE to see her on Facebook, and CLICK HERE to go to her website.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the Baker Publishing Group Bethany House Blogger Program for this review. The opinions expressed in my review are unbiased and reflect my honest judgment and opinion of the book. 

"Until I Found You by Victoria Bylin's Book Review" first appeared on my blog, Artistically Shauna, on Sept. 25, 2014.