Saturday, January 30, 2016

Book Review – “My Name is Mahtob” by Mahtob Mahmoody

Two decades ago, millions of readers worldwide thrilled to the story told in the international bestseller Not Without My Daughter—subsequently made into a film starring Sally Field—that told of an American mother and her six-year-old child’s daring escape from an abusive and tyrannical Iranian husband and father. Now the daughter returns to tell the whole story, not only of that imprisonment and escape but of life after fleeing Tehran: living in fear of re-abduction, enduring recurring nightmares and panic attacks, attending school under a false name, battling life-threatening illness—all under the menacing shadow of her father.
 This is the story of an extraordinary young woman’s triumph over life-crushing trauma to build a life of peace and forgiveness. Taking readers from Michigan to Iran and from Ankara, Turkey, to Paris, France, My Name Is Mahtob depicts the profound resilience of a wounded soul healed by faith in God’s goodness and in his care and love. And Mahmoody reveals the secret of how she liberated herself from a life of fear, learning to forgive the father who had shattered her life and discovering joy and peace that comes from doing so.

-        from the book jacket of My Name is Mahtob

It's been many years since I read the book Not Without My Daughter by Betty Mahmoody, but I will NEVER forget how deeply the story affected me – Betty's true account of how her Iranian-born husband Sayed “Moody” Mahmoody held her and their preschool-age daughter Mahtob hostage in his homeland and subjected them to a life of abuse and fear churned up such anger in me that, if the copy I was reading at the time hadn't been a library book, I would have thrown it at the wall numerous times (the movie adaptation made me even angrier and to this day I cannot look at Alfred Molina, the actor who portrayed Moody, and not want to reach through the television and punch him.).

Needless to say, I had always wondered about what happened to Betty and especially Mahtob after they began to re-establish their lives in America, so when I learned that Mahtob had written her own book I couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy.

Just as I had expected, My Name Is Mahtob stirred up just as many emotions as Not Without My Daughter, only instead of getting angry, Mahtob's story brought me to tears (and ultimately caused me to feel sorry for her father who, right until his death in 2009, clung to the opinion that his wife and daughter's recollections of what happened were untrue). And while it seems unfair to say that I enjoyed this book, given its premise, I did enjoy this book – because My Name is Mahtob is not simply the seemingly tragic story of a little girl held hostage for eighteen months with her mother by her Iranian father in his homeland – it is also the victorious story of a resilient child who, BECAUSE of her father's actions, found strength, courage, and an unwavering faith in God that would help carry her into adulthood and become the intelligent, humble woman she is today.

To anyone who read Not Without My Daughter, I would highly recommend taking the time to read My Name is Mahtob because while It IS a story of heartache and trial, it is also a story of resilience – and how forgiveness can give you the strength to rise above those trials and emerge stronger than ever.

Note: This book was provided free of charge to me from BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest review of the text.

Get your own copy of My Name is Mahtob by Mahtob Mahmoody on Amazon.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Conversations For the Better...

Minister Steve Brigham is working in Lakewood, NJ to help the homeless via a new movement called the #TentCityMovement. With the weather changing, I reached out to him asked what the local homeless needed.

We talked in depth about the goals of ministry and the Lakewood Outreach Community Service Ministry!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: "Life Is___________ Forty Day Experience" by Judah Smith

Book Description: What is life? What are we here for? What will bring us true satisfaction and lasting happiness? In this companion to his highly-anticipated new book, Life Is ___, New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Judah Smith takes readers on a forty-day devotional journey through Scripture to find the answers to these and others of our deepest questions. In forty daily readings, Judah helps readers understand that the meaning of life is found in loving and being loved, in enjoying God to the fullest, in trusting Him in every moment, and remaining at peace with God, others, and ourselves. This thought-provoking and inspiring collection of meditations is sure to reveal new and illuminating truths about what God intends for every person's life.

All in all I really liked this devotional because for me it was different from any other devotional I have used. The purpose of this devotional, as explained by author Judah Smith in the Introduction, is to inspire people to live the fullest, most complete life possible, since that's what God wants for us! I loved that Smith writes each day's entry in plain language and uses examples from his own personal experiences to back it up that any reader can relate to. Divided up into four key sections, each day's entry begins with a scripture verse, followed by several paragraphs about how the author's own life relates to the topic being discussed. Three reflection questions wrap each day's entry up at the very end, inviting readers to either answer them mentally or keeping everything written down in a journal. I feel this devotional is great for any Christian looking for a worthwhile Bible study tool, whether you read your Bible often or not. I highly recommend it!

About the Author: Judah Smith is the lead pastor of the City of Church in Seattle, Washington. The City Church is a thriving multisite church noted for its cultural relevance, commitment to biblical integrity and faith, and love for Jesus. Judah is known round the United States and the world for his preaching ministry. His fresh, anointed, humorous messages demystify the Bible and make Christianity real. Judah is also the author of his most recent New York Times bestselling book, Jesus Is _____.

You can find Life Is _____ Forty Day Experience on Amazon.
Note: This book was provided free of charge to me from BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest review of the text.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Monday, October 26, 2015

Book Review - NKJV Foundation Study Bible

 Part of the Signature Series line of Thomas Nelson Bibles
The New King James Version® - More than 60 million copies sold

The perfect foundation for Bible study and the Christian life. Build your life on it! The Foundation Study Bible is a thorough, portable, and affordable Bible for students of God's Word at any level. It has the most important helps for basic study, whether you're just beginning or brushing up on essentials. 
I have owned several Bibles throughout my life, but as far as independent study and devotions are concerned, I think I have finally found "The One" - and that would be the NKJV Foundation Study Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishing. 

The distinguishing features of this sturdy, hardcover Bible include:
  • Trustworthy NKJV text 
  • Cross references and translators' notes 
  • Verse-by-verse study notes and theological notes 
  • Words of Jesus in red Index 
  • Concordance 
  • Full-color Bible maps
For someone who has always had issues getting motivated to do independent Bible study and daily devotions, there is so much for me to love about this Bible! First off, having been a long-time NIV person, I could appreciate that this New King James text is much easier to read and understand than the regular King James text I remember from Sunday School as a kid. But what I truly can appreciate the most about this Bible is the extra little assistance it offers for someone like me - The beginning of each book of Scripture includes an introductory section with details about the author, time period in which it was written, and the theme of the book itself. The bottom of each page includes wonderful study notes that correlate to different verses, as well as a separate box of cross-references. 

What also impressed me about this NKJV Foundation Study Bible was that it's a good, portable size - not too big and not too small - and it's a sturdy hardcover edition with dust jacket that isn't too bulky but rather ideal for taking to school or church. If you're looking for a great study Bible that will help you unlock the Word of God, the NKJV Foundation Study Bible from Thomas Nelson Publishing is the one for you!

You can find the NKJV Foundation Study Bible on Amazon.
Note: This book was provided free of charge to me from BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for my honest review of the text.

Sunday, October 11, 2015


Meet Barbara Puccia, author. 

Mrs. Puccia has done something very positive with something that is very negative - bullying. It affected her growing up and she has seen it affect her own daughter. She then channeled this into creating the world of Samantha Smartypants.

And now, Mrs. Puccia is sharing the stories of Samantha in fun and entertaining ways and hopes to get kids to think how they treat each other. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Mylo's Vacation Journal: Day 6

Woof! It's me again, Mylo the canine blogger, here with more tails of adventure!

Our routine this morning was a little different because although we woke up at our usual time, grandpa took us on our first walk but it was auntie who fed us! Lucky made sure to keep both auntie and grandpa in close view when we got back, because he said he could tell something was up. I told Lucky I bet that auntie has to do that thing she calls 'work' again, because she wasn't paying as much attention to us as she usually does, and whenever Lucky would look at her she'd say, "You know, don't you?" Know what? I wondered. But then later, she left the house and didn't come back for a long time - just like the other day! At least grandpa was around to feed us, take us out to do our business, and play with us until she came home. We spent most of our day inside again because it was really hot, which was OK with us! Later on, auntie finally came home and Lucky and I got super excited! We got so excited that both of us were jumping in the air, which made auntie laugh.

Not only are we dogs, but we're comedians too! Hey..."canine comedians" - I like the sound of that! I should write that never know when something like that might come in paw-y!

After auntie got home she helped grandma and grandpa get their supper ready. And even though Lucky and I had already eaten our supper, auntie and grandpa slipped me some bits of carrot from their bag of salad. Lucky says carrots disgust him (sometimes he can be such a drama dog), but after supper grandpa was making a sandwich in the kitchen and he slipped Lucky a piece of tuna fish...and Lucky LOVED it! Now we both have a favorite food treat that makes us happy. :)

8:30 PM - Woof! Woof! Our moms came to pick us up early! We love grandma, grandpa and auntie, but Lucky and I have to admit that we are SO HAPPY to be going home! This is Mylo, officially signing off! Goodbye, and thanks for reading our tails of adventure!