The Art of Storytelling: Easy Steps for Presenting an Unforgettable Story By John Walsh

Being a teacher, writer, mother, and grandmother I have been sharing stories for years. Not only to entertain but also to teach values. Young and old alike love a good story. The impact of a well told story can have a impact those listening. I was excited to read this book, because I want to do the best job possible with those whose attention I have but for a short time.
I appreciated the author showing me how to share without notes. I have a tendency, especially if the account is to teach, not just share a personal experience, to use way too many notes. I don’t want to miss a point but then I fall into the trap of relying on the notes and not letting my presentation flow. Having his 14 exercises in an outline form made to easy for me to start practicing and improving. His red flag not to memorize stories and the reasons against it showed me some things I had not thought of before.
He described Jesus as the Master storyteller, because He knew His audience and adapted the His message to them. Mr. Walsh warns us not to make the mistake of not knowing our audience. This will enable us to modify what we are sharing to different age groups and genders as the all process what they hear in different ways.
When we present a story, we usually think of the people just hearing us. The author points out that we should stimulate all 5 senses to appeal to our listeners. They don’t want to just listen to our story; they want to experience in every way and become a part of it. A list of 7 tools we need during our talks are included and explained, and these you don’t have to go out and buy!
My favorite part is the 3 chapters on telling Bible stories. This is the most important type of story we can convey. We are doing the Lord’s work and sharing His message. These times can have far reaching, eternal influence on those we talk to. This book was not only motivating but also very helpful. I am eager to implement the things I learned!
I received this book free from Moody Publishers, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

50 Things You Need to Know About Heaven By Dr. John Hart

50 Things You Need to Know About Heaven
By Dr. John Hart
Most people are curious about Heaven and what eternity will be like, especially after someone they love has gone on. The author does a wonderful job of addressing 50 questions that are usually asked about Heaven. Some of them I hadn’t even thought of.
I liked the way the table of contents had the questions listed so I could go directly to the ones that interested me most right away. It will also make it easier if you want to use the book as a reference. He not only covers what Heaven is, but misconceptions about it too. I was impressed and how well he discussed most of the subjects in just a few pages. Not only was there a lot of scriptural references to back up what he was sharing, but there were even more verses at the end each one for further study and reading. I enjoyed the interesting illustrations, some of them personal ones, that he used throughout the books.
There were only two things that I did not like about the book. One was the many Bible translations he used, 14 to be exact. For me it made answers disjointed and harder to read. I easily remedied that by using my own Bible and looking up each verse, and that definitely wasn’t a bad thing at all! Secondly I felt a few of his answers were more his speculation than Bible truth. In those incidents, the Bible references did not match up with his explanation. All in all, this book was a pleasure to read and made a wonderful Bible Study. I think it would be great to use in teaching a Sunday school class.
I received this book free from Bethany Publishers, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

While The Gods Were Sleeping: A Journey Through Love and Rebellion in Nepal By Elizabeth Enslin

Other cultures fascinate me, especially their family traditions, structures, and day to day life. I have often wondered what it would be like to be transplanted into the society of another country totally unlike mine. I was able to experience this through Ms. Enslin’s very interesting biography. Even more of a bonus to me, it was through the eyes of a woman.
Elizabeth loved anthropology and her burning desire was to live in Africa and do research among the women there. When she fell in love with Pramod Parajuli at Stanford University, she never dreamed she would find herself in Nepal living with his family. It is one thing to go and study people in a foreign country, but it is quite another to become an intimate part of them as a family member. I learned so much about the Hindu faith and culture. She was a brave and adaptable woman, both emotionally and physically.
While his family lovingly accepted her, their strict Hindu practices kept her at arm’s length in some areas of their lives. She is not pure enough to help with meals or even remove a pot from the stove that is boiling over. If she did the meal would have to be thrown out and remade. Yet in other areas she must follow the guidelines as a daughter-in-law and family member consistent with their society.
Upon arriving she knew little of the language. She also had to deal with very crude living conditions, no indoor plumbing, appliances, heating or air-conditioning, monsoons. Add to this experience being pregnant!
She and Pramod decided to move into the loft in the barn over the livestock for more privacy. Their only access was a narrow ladder. Their room had the added company of scorpions, spiders, not to mention the aroma of the buffalo below. It was here she went into labor. Complications necessitated she be taken by a hospital several miles away. In unsanitary conditions with limited medical help she gave birth to a small baby boy.
After that she was thrown into raising a child in this Brahman civilization. This gave yet another personal viewpoint, I have rarely seen written about. She adjusted beautifully. I personally would have been terrified in every way. I cannot begin to explain the many facets of life in Nepal that Ms. Enslin’s book thoroughly reveals.
I learned not only about the family and the Hindu faith, but also about political conditions past and present, the life of the women, responsibilities, hardships, their viewpoints on life, recreation, and more. You really do want to read this book!
I received this book free from FBS Associates, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.