Monday, March 11, 2013

A Book Review and Book Giveaway

I was recently given the opportunity to read and review The Repurposed & Upcycled Life~When God Turns Trash to Treasure by Michelle Rayburn.

Here is the review I posted on amazon:

Addicted to pinterest boards?  Have a creative bent towards turning yard sale finds into something new and valuable?  Ever wonder how your own life story fits in with either of these two?

The Repurposed & Upcycled Life by Michelle Rayburn addresses these things and more. 
The author has extensive experience with crafting and trash-to-treasure decorating.  She has been gifted with being able to see the potential in an object that may have first been someone else’s trash, and then able to craft it or “upcycle” the same item into something far better and more beautiful than it was originally thought of.  

But that isn’t necessarily what this book is about. 

Michelle Rayburn shows readers how God has used the same idea of trash-to-treasure decorating in her own life stories.

Each chapter begins with a personal story from Rayburn’s own life. All are relatable and give readers a glimpse into the real life of a woman who, on the outside may appear to have it all together, but on the inside shares some of the same struggles that women in this day and age face. 

Each chapter ends with a section called “Getting Personal.”  This part of each chapter includes three short snippets with a specific action incorporating an exercise in digging a little deeper in the reader’s faith, a creative project to do and how each fits in to everyday life.  This gave the book more of an interactive feel as opposed to just a good read. 

I really liked the personal stories shared by the author.  While I am not a crafty person, myself, I do have an appreciation for those that do and find the trend in “upcycling” fun to follow.  What appealed to me the most about the book is how Rayburn was willing and able to share some of her own “junky experiences” of life and let God turn it around into something new, different and better than how the story first began.  

It was also interesting to see how the author could take each aspect of faith, creativity and life out of their own proverbial boxes and weave them together into a story that is far more complete than viewing each of these three items on their own.  

I found the following excerpt compelling and a way to summarize the major theme in The Repurposed & Upcycled Life:  

When I feature a project on my website, I always show a before and after picture. If I didn’t show the before picture, it would take away from some of the wonder of the after picture. We like seeing a dramatic transformation. The better it turns out, the more we marvel at the change. That’s what God wants to do with our trash. No matter what it is, he can transform it—upcycle it—into something that points others toward his glory so they will say, “Look what God can do.” 

The only thing I did not like about this book was that it was hard for me to sit down and read each chapter in a short sitting.  I would recommend setting aside a half hour to read and absorb each chapter, and for me that wasn’t always possible.  But honestly, this says more about me and my schedule and how focused at the time I sat down to read than it does about the book.  When I go through the book again, I will probably read a chapter at a time, then set aside the next few days to dig a little deeper into the “faith, creativity and life” projects at the end of each chapter.  


This is only the second book review I have ever written.  I really liked the process.  I was given a free copy of the book to read in order to write the review, but my overall positive review of the book is not a reflection of this at all.  

I did not mention this in my amazon review, but another reason I really really REALLY liked this book has to do with my own story.  I've got issues, experienced some proverbial garbage in life, and continue to face certain obstacles that I just cannot see how anything good can possibly come of it.   

The book was a reminder that God does have the "creative eye" that I do not have.  He knows how my own personal stories in life can come out better and more beautiful than they first began.  Certainly an "upcycled" version of what I may have or currently am going through.  

And sometimes, I really really REALLY need that reminder.

Perhaps you do to.

If you want to get to know the author better, visit her on her website:

From there you can follow any of her blogs.  My favorite is the Faith, Creativity, Life blog.

I also want to offer to give away a copy of the print version of the book.  (I have the kindle version, too)

Leave a comment here on the blog and you will be entered into a random drawing for the book.   

1 commenter will also be entered into a grand prize giveaway from the author of the book.  


  1. Great review, Robin! You are always an inspiration. I will look for the book at the library.

  2. Wonderful review, Robin! It sounds like a "must" read! ~Lynn Tuttle

  3. I have to agree Miss Robin, that is a great review. The book sounds like a great read. Hopefully I can get it in while on spring break this week. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Corrie Johnson

  4. Awesome review... May not be able to wait until April to read it, may have to get it sooner! Everyone needs a little "upcycling" in their lives. Can't wait to get my eyes on it!

    Kim Ralfs

  5. Thanks, Robin. Great review. And you've captured my interest - "a woman who appears to have it all together but shares some of the same struggles" (or something close). Anyway, this very thing has been on my heart - how the outside isn't always a reflection of the inside. So, put me in the drawing, friend! And thanks again.

  6. Thank you for the sweet review Robin. And hello to all of your readers. :-)