When I first saw the cover of "The Finishing School" by Valerie Woerner, I loved it. The font, the layout, the artwork, the color was just perfect. (And wait until you touch it). I didn't even care if this is a book about social graces and etiquette. (Huh?) Yes, that was my initial thought. That is, until you read right underneath the title, "how one book nerd began living what she learned". Yes, "book nerd". (My 'special' nickname from my family and friends). And then at the bottom, "A Practical Guide to Everyday Life". It's not that type of book.
Valerie Woerner, owner of ValMariePaper shared with us a book of refinement. Don't worry, not that kind of refinement. It is a book on refining our soul and our lives with God as center.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - His good, pleasing, and perfect will." - Romans 12:2
Prior to starting into the crux of the book (the guides - see below), Valerie suggests studying the book in one of two ways:
1. You can take each chapter and work through it for two weeks, meaning that you’ll be spending a year with this book, doing homework and following up on additional recommended resources as well as living it out in your life.
2. You can read through the entire book and ask God which sections of the book you need to go back through and work with the homework and additional concepts for.
Trust me, you best to take her advice. She knows what she's talking about. It is her book.
For the next 23 chapters (first chapter was orientation), Valerie covered and addressed the following areas (guides):
Prayer ~ Bible Study ~ Goals ~ Distractions ~ Self-Control ~ Habits ~ Boundaries ~ Balance ~ Minimalism ~ Friendship ~ Hospitality ~ Waiting ~ Joy ~ Contentment ~ Influence ~ Forgiveness ~ Awareness ~ Peace ~ Comparison ~ Health ~ Rest ~ Margin
As you can see, it's wide ranging and will definitely hit one or a few notes in your book (or rather stepping on your toes). For the purpose of writing a timely review, I took her suggestion of #2, reading through first, but I can assure you, you will want to go back more slowly. That is how I felt reading through. I need to go back, and listen. Along with the homework (worksheets) Valerie provided on her website (you'll need a password from the book), I want to be honest with myself and God, especially in the areas that needs special attention to put God's words in action.
Many areas hit home, but one particular area choke me up. Distractions. "Our distractions don't just keep us from a productive day. They can also hinder us from something the Lord is calling us to do." (p 41). This line did a back bump on my head as the realization hit me. I was hit with the same realization with a recent book I read on time-management, "Taming the To-Do List" by Glynnis Whitwer. She too shared on distractions and busy to-do lists that impede on the tasks God has for us. Is God knocking on my door? Is He tapping on my shoulder? Time to find out.
Valerie's personable style makes it easy to read and relate to. Her words are funny, intuitive, practical and encouraging. It's not a book that points to your flaws and use scripture to say how wrong it is. She uses scripture, along with personal stories to help you see, understand and hopefully move beyond. It's not only absorbing the knowledge like any book nerd is capable of. It is about taking action to implement that knowledge. And Valerie gave us herself and "The Finishing School" as a prime example. And for fellow "book nerds" out there, Valerie's extensive references and recommended books will help add to your to read list for sure. This is a book for you and me. It is a book for you to know more about yourself - your true self, grow and transform in Christ. Take this challenge: be open, be honest and listen. Listen to God through "The Finishing School".
Release Date: September 7, 2015
NOTE: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, Valerie Woerner (self-published at NyreePress) through Litfuse Publicity Group for an honest review.
Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1K9ghpY
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