Andrew Smith's Blog

My name is Andrew. Come and have a look inside my life and watch me share what is on my heart.

Shifting Shadows: How a New York Drug Lord Found Freedom in the Last Place He Expected by Herman Mendoza Book Review



In Shifting Shadows, Herman Mendoza has written his brand-new autobiography and in it, he revealed his background of growing up in Queens, New York. He shared how he had a trouble childhood and how he had a loving family. But he still fell into peer pressure and how he joined different gangs. He struggled with drugs and selling them and living the tough lifestyle. He opened up about how witnessed one his gang leader at the time was shot and killed. He shared this was the first taste of him seeing a violent crime. He also revealed how his first charge was grand larceny and he was arrested. His parents sent him to stay with his grandparents' in the Dominican Republic. He shared his experiences and how old habits die hard and how he still got busted there and was eventually sent back to New York. He met his future wife, Alexander and he explained how they fell in love. He goes into detail about how they struggled with making ends meet after their first child. He eventually began a cocaine selling business with his brothers. He describes how this changed him and affected his marriage. He even is open about how he had multiple mistresses. One of them became pregnant at the same time his wife was pregnant. He opened up about how he was caught many times and eventually was sentenced with a number of years in jail. He decided he wanted to commit suicide but he was rescued and told about God. He even began preaching and influencing others in the jail. Towards the end of the book, he revealed how his life dramatically changed and how was able to lead his wife to Christ. After he was released, he became an associate pastor at Promise Ministries International and was a leader at Powerhouse Kids.




I would recommend this awesome book to anyone who enjoys reading a memoir. I read this book in about two days. It is a very fast page turner and as I was reading it, I kept wanting to learn how it ended. This is the first time I had heard of Herman’s story and I appreciated the transparent way he explained his crazy drug and gang stories. He was very open and didn’t hold back in being honest about his challenges and the mistakes he made in life and in his marriage. I immensely believe readers will be able to relate and they will be inspired about how God was able to change Herman’s life and his family. And in turn, he was also able to help other people to come to know Christ. It was amazing to read how he dramatically change his life around and I loved the ideas he had of helping people in jail and the story of how he became to do full-time ministry. If you’re ready to read an inspiration story about how God can turn anything around, then read this book!





"I received this book free from the publisher, Bethany House/ Chosen for my honest review.” 





If you would like to purchase a copy of Shifting Shadows, check it out on Amazon.com:



Revival Rising: Embracing His Transformation Fire by Kim Meeder Book Review



In Revival Rising, Kim Meeder explained how there needs to be a revival rising up inside us and in our hearts. She going into detail about how Jesus died for us and He came to break the bondage of sin off of our lives. She describes how the world is dying without hope and we are called to be the light and to reach others. Revival begins inside of us and when we experience the true love and presence of Jesus this love should overflow and be on display to a dying world. In the book, she looked at, reawakening your heart, restoring your soul, renewing your mind, and much more. She first starts the book off by exploring the power of real love and how he expects us to truly love others. She shared one story about how she was called to love a man she met at a gas station and she felt the Holy Spirit telling her to make this guy laugh and how she would always talk to him after that day. She explains the power of letting the outpouring love of Christ and how it can greatly change someone’s life by just letting it flow through you. She encouraged readers to look for ways to connect with others and to see the unseen and possibly even leading them to Christ in the process. 




In the book, she also looked at the power of your testimony and how it can encourage and help others. She opened up about her own life story and how she grew up believing her mother was beautiful and how she wanted to be just like her. She also describes her dad as being a superhero and he loved to have an adventure. One day, at age nine her whole world changed her dad’s best friend came and picked her up and her two older sisters from school. She reveals the drive to her grandparents' house and how her grandmother told them what happened. Her father murdered his wife and took his own life and she never imagined her father bring capable of murder. She remembers running from the house and she cried out to Jesus. She explained she didn’t know Jesus and wasn’t raised in church. She explained how during this time, Jesus love and hope filled her life. She explored the verse Revelation 12:10-11 and this one talks about salvation and how in the end Jesus defeats satan by the blood of the Lamb and their testimony. She stated how as believers we should all be ready to give a testimony to help others to get free and to break the power of satan off their lives. 





I would recommend this life changing book to anyone who is ready to ignite a fire inside them and to have a revival in their hearts. God is always with us and we can all be transformed in our hearts, minds, and spirit. I immensely loved the many stories she told about loving others and how she was able to reach out to others in need. One of my favorite stories was a story about a boating accident and how God was with her during the event and how He helped her and this story is a remarkable story about living for God’s will. I also liked the chapter about her testimony and how she shared it with others and how it changed other people’s lives. Each chapter had a statement, scripture, and a special prayer to encourage readers in igniting their hearts in a revival. This book is perfectly released during this virus season and I truly feel like God is trying to stir up a revival in all believers and there is no time like the present to let the believers reach out to the lost and hurting. 





"I received this book free from the publisher, Bethany House/ Chosen for my honest review.” 





If you would like to purchase a copy of Revival Rising, check it out on Amazon.com:


Broken Roads: Returning to My Amish Father by Ira Wagler Book Review



In Broken Roads, Ira Wagler has written a follow up book to his first book. This one opens up about the Amish lifestyle and goes into details about his desire to leave. He was born the ninth child of eleven children. His parents were David and Ida Wagler and they was raised in Daviess County, Indiana. His parents moved their family out to smaller communities. His father helped start Pathway Publisher with a few of his friends. They wrote on historical subjects and articles related to the Amish community. Ira shared how he felt they were all less than truthful and try to appear like they were perfect people. In the book, he shared why he decided to leave at 26 and travel down a broken road. He ran away from marrying an Amish girl, Sarah and his father warned him that he would pay for it. He left and decided to pursue and get his GED and how he made his way into Vincennes University. He goes into detail about his life in college and even how he wound up at Bob Jones University. He eventually entered law school and revealed how the Amish community doesn’t really use any lawyers because they don’t sue. 


In the book, he opened up about how he met his wife, Ellen and how they struggled in their marriage. He shared how broken their marriage was and everything that played into the fallen out and the decision to get divorced. He shared how his childhood friend ended up dating Ellen later for about a year and how that affected him. He shared how he later was able to forgive his friend and how he even joined a Bible study with him. He also opened up about how he wrote his first book and how it sold a great number of books. He also shared how he returned to his father and what their relationship was like after leaving the Amish. He also got personal in sharing out his mother pasted and then years later his father pasted. He opened up about what their funerals was like. 



I would recommend this amazing book to anyone who is wondering about the Amish lifestyle and they are curious on how someone was able to leave it. I immensely liked how honest Ira was in revealing the painful past and going through a divorce. I haven’t read his first book but I was able to still follow along with his life story. I also liked how he explained how his father relationship changed over the years and how God was able to turn it around. The book had a few God teachable moments throughout the book but it was more of an autobiography of his life. It didn’t include tons of scriptures. But I still believe readers will be able to connect and learn from the book. 




"I received this book free from the publisher, Faithwords for my honest review.” 




If you would like to purchase a copy of Broken Roads, check it out on Amazon.com:


Reinvent: Start Fresh and Love Life! By Beth Jones Book Review



In Reinvent, Beth Jones begins the book by defining the word reinvent and this basically means to change something that make it look new. Beth is a preacher at Valley Family Church and has noticed that many people are struck in life and they are ready to reinvent their lives. In the book, she shared her personal story of her parents divorcing, enduring bullying in school, feeling rejected, overcoming cancer, and how she dealt with her dreams shattered. She also shared how she walked to church and found out who God is and how she suffered persecution from being the first believer in her family. She opened up about how God has reinvented her own life and changed it for the better. 



In the first part of the book, she looked at four reasons to reinvent your life and this included, “the gaps, crossroads, future, and love.” One of my favorite area she looked at was when she discussed gaps and how we need to explore our spiritual fruit in our life. She looked at the parable of the fruitless tree and one of the verses that stands out was found in Luke 13:8. This talks about how Jesus tells a man to leave the fig tree alone for a full year and he is instructed to dig around it and fertilize it. She was encouraged by this parable and she challenged believers to focus on one or two areas that they want to reinvent in their life. She created a list to display and show how some famous people lives changed in one year. Some of these included: Tina Fey, Oprah, Stephen King, Harrison Ford, Martha Stewart, Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman, and much more. 



In the second part of the book she looked at 4 questions, “what do you want, what do you have, what will you do, and why will you do it.” She explored the whole story about the Maven by going into detail and looking at the four questions. She is recently widowed with two sons and she is in a great debt. She is about forced to sell her sons as slaves to repay the debt owed. Elisha asked her what does she have and all she has is a jar of oil. She is told to go borrow a few empty vessels and come back and shut the door and pour the oil into them. Then she must go sell them to repay the debt and they will have enough to live on the rest. Beth goes back and retells the story in her own words and adds the key words from part one into her recap to explain it to readers. 




I would recommend this awesome book to anyone who is ready to reinvent their life. I immensely liked how open Beth was about her story and I was able to easily to connect to it. I enjoyed reading about how she was able to reinvent her own life and how God has used her since. One of my favorite topics she discussed was the power of renewing your mind with the word of God. I liked how she included scriptures to encourage believers on how to do just that. These verses included topics such as favor, blessing, joy, strength, wisdom, and much more. One of my favorite verses was Isaiah 43:16 and this one discussed how God can make a way where there is no way. I also loved how she looked at the Maven story and I will admit reading her take on the story was a really powerful example. I was able to see how God is able to reinvent everyone’s story, if they will just let Him.




"I received this book free from the publisher, Faithwords for my honest review.” 




If you would like to purchase a copy of Reinvent, check it out on Amazon.com:



Happy Campers: 9 Summer Camp Secrets for Raising Kids Who Become Thriving Adults by Audrey Monke Book Review



In Happy Campers, Audrey Monke explored the topic of camping and how positive experiences with camping can greatly change our children’s lives. She shared how she is a mother of five and an owner of Gold Arrow Camp in California Sierra National Forest. She revealed how she saw countless children who benefited and was in turn became a happier child for having the tools and experiences of attending a summer camp. In 2014, she also did a survey with six other summer camps that confirmed 80% of them felt happier. She also shared how mental, emotional, and physical health issues is rising and making it more difficult for summer camps. The other big issue she is seeing is the use of social media and phone usage that summer camps are having to help kids break free from. Another big issue she sees is parents trying to be in control and are being to overparenting. Her goal with summer camp is to teach children life skills to take home and thrive when they aren’t at camp. She wants kids to learn how to be self-sufficient and to help with daily chores and to grow into becoming more responsive adults. In the book, she tackled 9 secrets of camp such as, “connection come first, catch them doing something right, positive practices produce optimistic kids, grit is grown outside the comfort zone”, and much more. In the book, she also looked at the impact of counselors and how they train them to be positive and how they can influence children for the better. She also shared how she has them do a one on one chat with each child daily and many days they ask for a word of the day to describe how their day was. In each chapter, she does a sticky note solution, make it fun, around the campfire, family meeting topic, and diving deeper. 



One of my favorite chapters was the one about grit and living outside of our comfort zone. This chapter discussed the importance of helping children to step outside their comfort zone. She looked at three different zone areas such as, “blackout, growth, and comfort” where children live and engage in life. She explained 5 ways to grow grit to assist children into growing up and she also looked at 3 things parents can do to help their children to step out. She was very open in sharing that she has recognized that kids do better on trying new challenges when their parents aren’t watching them.  



I would recommend this awesome book about how camping can change your children lives to anyone who is looking for something fun and different for their kids. I liked how she went into detail about sharing her experiences with camping. She included personal stories she heard about how some of the children’s lives changed. I immensely liked how she had a “make it fun” activity for every chapter such as watch a family video, 100 memories recap, and shared outdoor activities. I also liked how she included instructions on how to limit the phone usage for children and rules we can put in place. This book opened up my eyes about the power of camp and how it can be a great tool in helping children to discover new things and to gain responsibility and to take the lessons learned back home. 




"I received this book free from the publisher, Faithwords for my honest review.” 




If you would like to purchase a copy of Happy Campers, check it out on Amazon.com:



Supernatural Courage: Activating Spiritual Bravery to Do Great Things by Mickey Robinson Book Review




In Supernatural Courage, Mickey Robinson explored the topic of tapping into the power of supernatural courage and this courage can only come from our Creator. He explained how the Holy Spirit is always there to help us through all of our circumstances. The world is constantly bombarded with fear and many of us struggle with how to handle and deal with our fears. Mickey looks at one of the commandments found in Joshua 1:9 about fear. This talks about how God commands us to be strong and courageous, and God is with us wherever we go. Some of the courage topics he looked at was, “hope, be humble, fight, strengthen yourself, use spiritual gifts, forgive, preserve”, and much more. In the book, he looked at Biblical examples how they handle supernatural courage from God and some of these included Jesus, Joseph, David, Paul, Peter, Joshua, to name just a few. 



In the book, he shared how he discovered his career in becoming a professional skydiver. He loved to live in the moment and loved the thrill he felt in jumping out of planes. He shared a personal story about how his life changed. One day, he took a trip with four other skydivers and two of them were rookies. The engine quit and the plane ended up crashing. Mickey revealed he was on fire and he ended up suffering from third-degree burns over his whole body, loss of using his right hand, a brain contusion, and blindness in his right eye. In the weeks to come he was down to 93 pounds and he had multiple infections. The doctors gave him no hope and his body functions started to shut down. He describes how he felt like he was dying and how he realized the power of Christ’s spirit was alive in him. He felt God healing him and the same power that raised Jesus was inside him. He explained how he declared how he was going to walk out of the hospital again and how he experienced supernatural courage from Jesus and he was able to walk again. He also shared how he had supernatural courage in believing and commanding blood to flow in his right hand to help revive the use of his hand. Miraculously, his right hand was healed and the doctor couldn’t believe it. He also goes into details about the healing he experienced in his right eye and how God gave him hope and caused his spirit to rise alongside with the use of the Holy Spirit. 





I would recommend this excellent book on supernatural courage to anyone who is ready to discover the keys in relying on God’s power to assist you in overcoming and facing whatever life throws at you. I immensely connected with all of the stories that Mickey shared and even through his personal pain he still believed God for His incredible power to guide and help him through whatever he faced. One of my favorite examples, he revealed was the story about forgiveness and how he had to practice this during a difficult time. His son Michael was born with cerebral palsy and they always believed God would bring them a miracle. When he was 12 years old, they took him to a top specialist to help him with his back and spine. The surgery didn’t work and caused him to lose many more functions of his body. He explained the hurt and the malpractice of the doctor and medical staff and how he had to choose to extend mercy and forgiveness. I also liked how each chapter included meditation scriptures and promises found in the Bible, prayer, activation statements, and a declaration to say over your life and circumstances.



"I received this book free from the publisher, Bethany House/ Chosen for my honest review.” 





If you would like to purchase a copy of Supernatural Courage, check it out on Amazon.com: