A Fresh Batch of Book Reviews #9

If you want to learn about simple hospitality or how to teach your little ones about Jesus, I have two books to recommend today.

The Turquoise Table will inspire you to reach out to your neighbors in fellowship, without all the hassle of a house party. Author Kristin Schell was inspired by the story of Ludmilla, an elderly woman in Prague, who opens her home to anyone who wants to talk. Kristin placed an ordinary picnic table in her Texas front yard, painted it turquoise, and neighbors began showing up. She’s built a ministry from this table, and in this book she shares lots of ideas for building community.

Kristin encourages you to keep it simple and just be present in your neighborhood. So many of us shutter ourselves inside our homes, and we miss out on potential friendships. But if we put ourselves out there, whether by placing a picnic table in the front yard, holding a barbecue in the back yard, or welcoming people inside our homes, we can change the world for the better.

She offers great ideas for icebreakers and encourages you to become a more intentional listener, all because Jesus calls us to create community. This is one of my favorite quotes from the book:

I believe most social ills can be healed or prevented by the simple act of talking to one another, face-to-face, at a common table.

I liked her light, encouraging tone along with all the quizzes and extra content boxes that sparked my thinking. The photos were beautiful and calming. She even includes several simple recipes, and I can’t wait to try her Easy No-Knead Bread with her Pumpkin and White Bean Soup, once the cooler fall days arrive.

Even though I live in the woods in a rural area, and my neighbors aren’t close by, this book opened my eyes to my closed-heart attitude. I can put on the Front Yard People attitude she describes, even though I don’t really have a front yard. I can become more welcoming to strangers, and I’m grateful that The Turquoise Table inspired me to have a healthy change in perspective.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review from the Booklook Bloggers program.

52 Commands of Jesus for Children is a great resource for parents with children ages 4-8. If you’re looking for a new family devotional, Susan Shipe writes with an entertaining voice, using scriptures for fun, easy lessons with discussion questions. Each lesson is brief and to-the-point, ideal for shorter attention spans. Each lesson also includes a coloring page, and extra coloring pages are available at Susan’s website. This is a good resource for families or small group/Sunday school classes.

I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.


You’ll find the Women Who Jesus Loved series here every Wednesday morning through the end of July.

Read the three previous posts in this series:

Portrait of a Shamed Woman

Portrait of a Desperate Woman

Portrait of Mary, mother of Jesus

***Print copies are now available!***

My book The Fruitful Life is a study on the fruits of the spirit, and my book Newness of Life is about trusting in God’s perfect timing.  Both books are available now on Amazon.

Free resources for these books await you if you sign up for my email list below.  Sign up here to gain access to these free resources, plus lots of other exclusive content!

* indicates required

 If you liked this post, I would appreciate your shares on social media!

This post will be linked up at #mommymoments, #mondaymusings, #dreamtogether, #glimpsesofhisbeauty, #soulsurvival, #modestmommondays, #theartofhomemakingmondays, #mondayminute, #lmmlinkup, #tuestalk, and #teaandwordtuesday. Visit my linkups page to find links to these wonderful blogs.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links.


Enter your email address to receive 5 Days to Greater Peace instantly!

* indicates required


  • I enjoyed your review of The Turquoise Table. Community has been something on my mind lately so I am going to check out this book. I also reviewed Susan’s book and found it to be an easy to use resource that children will enjoy.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Joanne, the hospitality encouragement is powerful in the book. And I’m also glad to promote Susan’s book, like you did last week too!

  • I keep seeing the Turquoise Table and wondering if it would apply to me, because I also live in a rural environment. I could set up tables all day, and no one would even know it! It sounds as if it’s teaching a mindset as well as a method.

    And of course, I love Susan, so her book for kids must be just amazing.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Michele, I’m sure you would be a great host in your rural area, because you are so kind and hospitable as a blogger. Yes, Susan’s book is great too!

  • I’ve been seeing The Turquoise Table pop up here and there too. You make it sound so inviting, Sarah, like something even I could do. Thanks for sharing these reviews!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Lisa, it’s an easy, breezy read with lots of inspirational tips. Hope you like it!

  • The book sounds like it has something for all of us.

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hello Theresa, yes, I agree! So many quizzes and tips in the book. I’m sure we can all learn something new from it.

  • I love this and her beautiful heart and teal table! Thanks, sarah!

    • Sarah Geringer

      Hi Sue! I enjoyed the peek into her heart in this book too. Blessings to you!

  • Brandi Raae

    Love the title since I’m quite fond of turquoise!! Love the idea of a picnic table in the front yard, too. 🙂 Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup!