A Heart on Fire by Danielle Coke Balfour

Book Review: A Heart on Fire by Danielle Coke Balfour

Finally, a picture book for grown-ups! If you’re looking for an uplifting and insightful read that can change the way you see and exist in this messed up world, check out my latest review of Danielle Coke Balfour’s “A Heart on Fire: 100 Meditations on Loving Your Neighbors Well.” It’s not just a book, it’s an invitation to become a better, more empathetic person. Dive into vivid art and powerful words that make big issues easy to understand and tough action easy to take. Click to discover why this book is a must-read!

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“Can I Just Hide in Bed…” by Bolton

Book Review: Can I Just Hide in Bed 'til Jesus Comes Back?

When I first spotted this book cover, I knew it was a “must read” for me. First of all, with everything going on in the world right now, I could identify with the desire to hide from it all “’til Jesus comes back.” And let’s just keep this real: I love my bed. I love sleeping in my bed. I love my pillow. I love my comforter. I love my blackout curtains. I love laying in bed, listening to the nature sounds app on my phone, and falling asleep. Kinda makes me sleepy just thinking about it. ? Where was I?

book coverCan I Just Hide in Bed ’til Jesus Comes Back?: Facing Life with Courage, Not Comforters by Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield (published by Focus on the Family) was written to encourage exhausted women to face the day(s) ahead head-on “with joy and hope (and, of course, a few bonbons).” Sadly, the bonbons were not included. But I digress. 

Bolton and Ditchfield are incredible communicators. Bolton has written “more than eighty-eight books of inspiration and humor” (not to mention writing comedy for Bob Hope and Chonda Pierce), and Ditchfield has authored “seventy books” herself (not to mention being an internationally syndicated radio host). In other words, together, these two women have influenced the world with their wit, humor, and writing 158+ books!!! I admit, that reviewing a book penned by such prolific authors is a bit daunting. I kinda don’t even want to bother. Obviously, people adore their work—who am I to opine?

Can I Just Hide in Bed ’til Jesus Comes Back?

Therefore, rather than my typical review, I’m simply going to explain how Can I Just Hide is organized and what you can expect to find when you crack the cover. The book is divided into four sections: 

  • Facing Your Feelings When You’d Rather Hide
  • Facing People When You’d Rather Run
  • Facing Loss When It’s Not on the Agenda
  • Facing Life —And Getting Yours Back!

Within each section, the authors share at least ten short stories—some silly, some serious—from their own lives. Mentor-worthy wisdom is skillfully woven throughout its forty-three chapters including lessons learned, encouragement to persevere, pointers towards spiritual growth, and way too many references to staying in bed, getting out of bed, and pajamas. Who needs those?! Just checking to see if you’re awake. ?

Easy Read ~ Independent Chapters

Unlike other books I’ve read, this is one book I could put down, pick up later, and put down again.

The feature I enjoyed most in Can I Just Hide is each story’s independence from all the others—each one stands on its own. The chapters do not need to be read in order, so if you’re struggling with a recent, unexpected loss, you can skip to the “Facing Loss” section, read those chapters, and they will make perfect sense. If you’re dealing with difficult people, flip through the “Facing People When You’d Rather Run” section and read what seems immediately applicable. 

Favorite Quotes

Here are a few of my favorite wisdom nuggets from Can I Just Hide:

In our weaknesses, God’s power and strength are revealed. Through the cracks in our broken, messed-up lives, His light shines brightly. We don’t need to be perfect or pious or put together. We don’t need to match up to what others think we should be. What we need to do is allow God to heal us, restore us, and grow us in His grace. We need to be wiling and available to let Him do His work in us and through us—even in our brokenness.” (p. 77)

He created you with a clear plan in mind. No matter what has happened in you life, His plan hasn’t changed. Your life is meant to go on until you’ve seen all you are meant to see, gone everywhere you are meant to go, and accomplished everything you were born to do…No obstacle that someone tries to throw in your path can truly block what God has intended for you.” (p. 91)

Be who you were meant to be, and do what you were meant to do. Don’t worry about what the gossips think. After all, they are not living your life. You are.” (p. 112)

Don’t think you know better than God! That difficult person may be in your life for a reason. You may be in his or her life for a reason. Never pay back evil with more evil. That’s an addition problem that always multiplies your troubles.” (p. 122)

If you’re smart, you never stop learning. You can learn from those with more experience than you have, as well as those with less. you can always learn. (One thing we’ve learned is to count all of our life experiences as “material”—we’ll use most of it in a book somewhere!)” (p. 190)

Metaphorical Overkill

The only issue I have with this book is the constant referral to the book title. It’s not like they literally referenced it, but over and over and over and over they make comments like “You just have to be willing to push back the covers and get out of bed” and “Staying in bed just saves time on the return trips, right?” and “When you stay in bed, you…” (as if the readers are literally and forever staying in bed). I found this to be extremely off-putting. It was funny at first, but to be reading “Why not just stay in bed in my pajamas and get really comfortable?” on page 126 is a bit ridiculous. Unless this book was written for bed-ridden women, the constant references to the bed were overkill. 

Can I Just Hide in Bed ’til Jesus Comes Back?: Facing Life with Courage, Not Comforters will be enjoyed by women of all ages who periodically feel overwhelmed by life, liberty, and the pursuit of bonbons. Click here to order.  ?

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”