Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Season of Miracles

"A Season of Miracles" by Rusty Whitener

This book was a quick, easy read and a lot of fun. It is about a man who looks back on when he was a boy in Little League, a summer that changed him. How finding a friend who wasn't like everyone else and remembering that winning isn't everything made him who he is today. The story was funny and heart warming. It read like a story that actually happened and was a peek into how little boys act and think. The book is going to be made into a movie and I am eager to see it. "I did want to believe. Believing in miracles is the first step. Believing in a personal Miracle Maker is the real hurdle." Everyone wants to believe in miracles and actually most probably do but believing in the One who did those miracles, another story altogether. "You never know what someones going through on the home front that makes them the way they are." I try and remember this so that I don't pass judgement on people. I just never know what they have been through and if someone is going to pass judgement on me I want them to know all the facts. "When unbelievers are nervous about going to church, it often means they see it as something formidable. That can be a good sign. They may be recognizing God as a real Power, and a gathering of his people as significant." Never thought of it that way but that is encouraging. "I was ready to stop talking and come back to this God stuff later. When you're young, there's always 'later.' When we're older, 'later' becomes 'some other time.' If we stall long enough, we might not have to bow down in this life. That's what we think anyway." But there will be a time when everyone will bow down and in this life it is never too late.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Return To Modesty

"A Return to Modesty" by Wendy Shalit

If you are a girl, have a girl or know a girl read this book and make every girl you know read it. It was such an interesting book that had so much truth to it. I had a pencil and couldn't stop underlining all the fascinatingly true things the author said. I could fill this blog with quotes, and I will give you some, but I will let you read it and find the good ones for yourself. The book describes how we as a culture have lost our modesty and how due to that we have lost so much more. It talks about how the feminist movement actually hurt woman and how we need to return to what once was. "It is no accident that harassment, stalking, and rape all increased when we decided to let everything hang out." She states how girls now are not embarrassed to show what they have and how then boys are not ashamed to take what they want. How we as women have the power to shape how men behave. "Failure to sleep with someone is now an act of hostility, whereas it was once understood to be part of the natural process of searching for one's mate." Why is it so wrong in society today to wait for marriage? "Modesty is a reflex, arising naturally to help a woman protect her hopes and guide their fulfillment-specifically, this hope for one man." Modesty was given to us to protect us. This might be my favorite, "How can we expect men to be honorable when a large number of women consistently send them the message that they do not have to be?" She poses the question that if all women said they were going to wait for marriage then what would the men have to do? Wait for marriage! "Sexual modesty says to the world, 'I think I'm worth waiting for, and worth concealing.'" I know that I hope my girls believe this. "Modesty is usually a reflection of self-worth, of having such a high opinion of yourself that you don't need to boast or put your body on display for all to see." So what does that say of those that do put their bodies on display? I was astounded by the truth in this book and think it was very well written with lots of questions to think about. And the author didn't just write what she thought but had many sources to back up her statements. I think this is a must read and one I will read again and will pass on to my girls when they are old enough.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Raising The Dead

"Raising The Dead" by Chauncey W. Crandall IV, MD

This was an amazing book! The author is a doctor whose son has leukemia. When his son is diagnosed he goes looking for God and asking for healing for his son. It is his journey through his son's illness that brings about his heart for God. He has an inspiring thirst for all things God. Throughout his quest he sees many miracles of healing. He radically changes his life and his practice. He decides that not only is he going to give his patients the best medical care but also the best spiritual care because what good is it to heal someone physically if they are dead spiritually. He tells of some of the miracles he saw and the miracles that God is doing through him. God literally enabled him to raise a man from the dead! Amazing stories, this is a must read! It will inspire you and stretch your faith.

The Divine Romance

"The Divine Romance" by Gene Edwards

This was an interesting book. It is a story of creation through the resurrection from the perspective of the angels. I think the author took a lot of liberty in this book and tried to make something that is beyond explanation, explainable. But he did have some interesting points to ponder. "I keep a list of all the things He has said He would fulfill, do away with, abolish, void, bring down, conclude, destroy, or annihilate! It grows, I might add, almost daily." Matthew is saying this of Jesus. Jesus has done away with so many things like laws and rules and sin and death. "In His eyes, she was perfect. And, in His eyes, all His rivals-and all her enemies and suitors-no longer existed." Here he is talking about us being the she. In God's eyes we have already been made perfect and all the worldly distractions are no more. Oh to really feel like what He sees. I know I feel far from perfect and I continue to battle the things of this world and this flesh. I also like how the author explained the cross and how all things, ALL things, were crucified with Christ on that day. And since then ALL things no longer have power over us any more. We must live as new creations. Words to live by.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Stumbling Toward Faith

"Stumbling Toward Faith" by Renee Altson

I stumbled upon this book and I don't really know what I think of it. It is a short book that I read in one night. The author was severely abused when she was young by her father (done in the name of God) after her mother abandoned them. The book is about her journey back toward faith. I appreciate the honesty in this book and Renee's freedom to question the God who created her. I don't agree with everything she believes but she does have some profound things to say. I am also in awe of a God who can bring light to so much evil. "All that they offered me, the love and kindness and friendship, was only the beginning of my becoming whole. It was only a birth to my healing, not the completion of it. If I had gone with them, I would never have really found myself, never really found the wounded broken part of me. I would have simply used someone else to cover who I had been. I would have let them recreate me into who I had always wanted to believe I was rather than do the hard work of changing who I had always been. I would never have truly healed." How easy it is for us to be what others want us to be and how hard to change, to the core, who we are. To truly heal from yucky things we have to go back there, it isn't fun, it isn't pretty, but it is the only way to truly heal. "God doesn't always provide when we think he should, and sometimes, his provision looks nothing like what we expect it to. God may not give more than we can handle, but it doesn't mean that we don't hurt under the weight of what he has already given us. God might provide a way of escape, but it might begin past the path of grief or sorrow or betrayal." Wow, I love the honesty in that quote. So many people just give pat answers when others are hurting and forget the hurt the person is feeling. "Can I trust a God who lets me live with an "I don't know' and expects that it is enough?" "My healing has only begun to happen when I have been honest with the pain that I have lived. Rather than simply putting it behind me, I am finding that I have to befriend it. Rather than choosing to forget what happened, I am finding that I must choose to remember." So powerful, so very true, it takes my breath away. When we choose to forget it just manifests itself in other areas of our life. To truly heal we have to confront that pain and see how it has changed us, made us who we are today, good and bad. "I am where I am, and God is bigger than me. God is bigger than any person, than any definition from any person. Bigger than any person's cruelty or kindness. I am learning to reach more toward God with every breath, and in that reaching, and perhaps even through that reaching, I become more able to believe."

The Zookeeper's Wife

"The Zookeeper's Wife" by Diane Ackerman

This is a story about two Polish Christian zookeepers who saved over 300 people. Their story is amazing and it is retold by the author through diaries and historical sources. The risk that people took to save other people from death was so courageous. It is quite funny how many people had animal names and animals had people names to keep everyone safe. It is an intriguing story of risk, love, unimaginable death and courage. "Jan (the husband) shied away from praise and underplayed his bravery, saying such things as: 'I don't understand all the fuss. If any creature is in danger, you save it, human or animal.'" It was beyond this couple to let people suffer, you helped others, that is just what you did. Oh if we could only have this same mentality today. "... for most people in the Ghetto nature lived only in memory-no parks, birds, or greenery existed in the Ghetto-and they suffered the loss of nature like a phantom limb pain, an amputation that scrambled the body's rhythms, starved the senses, and made basic ideas about the world impossible for children to fathom." So much was taken from the Jews, they had to live in conditions indescribable. Nature is a part of all our souls and it was taken from them. Jan also said, "I only did my duty-if you can save somebody's life, it's your duty to try. Or: 'We did it because it was the right thing to do.'" They did what was right, never questioning.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Gift of Valor

"The Gift of Valor" by Micahel M. Phillips

I got inspired to read this story after I read Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital. The author of that book told about a man who had come into the hospital injured from a grenade. This is a true story about a marine in Iraq who put his helmet on a grenade to protect his men. The blast caused serious head injuries that he was not able to recover from. Jason Dunham paid the ultimate sacrifice and was given the Medal of Honor for his actions. "The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest award for military valor, saved for those whose actions are considered so self-sacrificing, so risky, so far beyond the requirements of duty that nobody would have criticized them for choosing to do something else instead." I was again humbled by the men and women who serve our country so that I may have the freedoms I enjoy. This was the letter drafted for his award: "Corporal Dunham's courage and sacrifice was far beyond the call of duty. In the confusion of battle he was unhesitant in his leadership and advance toward the enemy. Realizing the enemy possessed a hand grenade Corporal Dunham may have been able to avoid his fatal wounds by simply moving away. However, this was not the way this non-commissioned officer led. There was an enemy to engage and his Marines were in danger. I deeply believe that given the facts and evidence presented he clearly understood the situation and attempted to block the blast of the grenade from his squad members. His personal action was far beyond the call of duty and saved the lives of his fellow Marines. He is worthy of the highest recognition and honor of our nation." "A Marine is taught that he isn't really fighting for a country or an idea; he is fighting for the Marine to the left of him and the Marine to the right of him." This is what Jason Dunham did, this is what he lived. "We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm. Your son is one of those rough men, and you can be very proud of that." This was told to Jason's parents as he lay dying from his wounds. I am proud of Jason Dunham and all the others like him. I am proud to be part of this county whose sacrifice is so great. It was a great story of what so many of our troops do on a daily basis. My eyes have been opened and I am so greatful and thankful for their service.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Blind Side

"The Blind Side" by Michael Lewis

Most people have seen the movie and I really like the movie. I wanted to see what the book had to offer. The book had a lot more information about football, my husband is now impressed with my knowledge. But it also added more of who the person Michael Oher was. It really is an unbelievable story of a poor, homeless black teen who is brought in by a rich, Evangelical, white family. The love they show Michael and the devotion he returns is heart lifting. "God gives people money to see how you're going to handle it. And she (Leigh Anne-the white mother who adopted Michael) intended to prove she knew how to handle it." She used her money to buy Michael clothes, of which he only had one shirt and a pair of shorts. She used her money to feed him, send him to school and cover his basic needs. May we all prove we know how to handle God's money. The father, Sean, was asked how he felt about the experience. He replied, "It's ruined us. Because so far as I can see, there's no downside. We can't look at a kid who's in trouble now without asking, 'If we had him, could we turn him around?' So what do we do when he leaves? Do we do it again?" I love the heart of this family. They are so giving and willing to take a chance on someone who needs the love of Christ. This is an amazing story and inspires me to be willing to help those in need.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital

"Rule Number Two: Lessons I Learned in a Combat Hospital" by Dr. Heidi Squier Kraft

I read this book in a day. It was a book that reminded me of the sacrifices of every day people that do extraordinary things. It reminded me of the sacrifices so many people make so that I can have the freedoms I enjoy. It humbled me and made me oh so thankful. There really aren't words. It is a true story of a psychologist who gets deployed to Iraq, leaving behind her husband and twin 15 month old babies. She writes about life in Iraq and the Marines that she helps. "There are two rules of war. Rule number one is that young men die. Rule number two is that doctors can't change rule number one." This is the most frustrating thing for Heidi and she says "War damages doctors, too. They are damaged by rule number two." Doctors are meant to help and save but in the places and under the conditions they were in they couldn't and because of this they were damaged too. She was able to get a ice cold coke one hot day in Iraq and said, "Sometimes, heaven was redefined." It is the little things. "Can you believe that these sorts of absolutely insane situations face these people half our age every single day out here? Do we actually, realistically, expect them to be able to cope with this and not have any complications?" Our troops face things no one should ever have to face, ever. Yet they do. And how can we expect them to come home unchanged? We can't and we shouldn't. No amount of therapy can change what they see and have to do but at least it can make them feel like they aren't the only ones and they aren't crazy. They are true heroes and I am so grateful to them.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Zion Chronicles

"The Gates of Zion"; "A Daughter of Zion"; The Return to Zion"; A Light in Zion" and "The Key to Zion" by Bodie Thoene

These books have been sitting on my shelf for over a year. I always had something else to read so I never got to them. And, admittedly, they didn't look that good from looking at the cover. But as they say, don't judge a book by it's cover. The books are about a few key characters in the struggle of the Jewish people after the Holocaust in the Middle East. There is a lot of sound historical information but it is wrapped around a story that captures the reader. Here are a few quotes. "We must continue to trust. That there is a purpose and a plan for everything. God is paying attention and, though we may grieve now, the whole story is not known to us yet." How hard it is to remember that this is not all there is. We have so many questions because we do not see the whole picture. "There can be no peace unless it is found in a man's heart. And that cannot be unless he first knows God and then comes to love himself and others with a love like Jesus." Peace is hard to find these days amidst the troubles of this world but God gives a peace that isn't based on what is going on around us. I really enjoyed reading these books and am looking forward to the two more series that follow them so stay tuned.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Brotherhood of Betrayal

"Brotherhood of Betrayal" by Randall Arthur

This was a very good book. I love the honesty in it. The book is about a missionary family serving in Sweden. The husband, who is the pastor, mysteriously disappears. The wife doesn't know who she can turn to and can't find any answers for her husbands disappearance. Her family and her faith get turned upside down. This book holds such truth. "Life for a Christian, no matter how out of control it might appear, is never truly out of control at all. God in His sovereignty is always holding the Christian's circumstances together in His loving and almighty grasp." Did you need to hear that? I certainly did. Sometimes I feel like life is so out of control and it isn't, God knows what is happening and He loves me. "May God somehow miraculously embrace you till you once again feel secure." I love that sentence. Sometimes we need His miraculous embrace to feel right again and I so need it. "Humans tend to pardon or condemn, based strictly on their view of a person's actions. Christians especially, because of our moral expectations, look so closely at a person's conduct that we often forget there's a life going on inside that person's heart." I do this so often and have to remind myself that I have no idea what a person has or is going through and that I can not in any way judge their actions. There is always a bigger issue, a issue of the heart and people act out of that hurt. The abandoned wife reaches a point where she has nothing left to face what may lie ahead and says, "I...I just don't have the strength...I-" A pastor says, "I would like to be your strength for you." Sometimes we just don't have it in us anymore and we need someone to lift us up, someone to be our strength for us. What an awesome picture of Christ. "Pain does not have to be wasted. If we can be taught, with the help of God and others, to review our pain and learn from it rather than to fritter away our life regretting it, we will discover that pain, like no other source, can supply our heart and soul with compassion, mercy and understanding for the hurting world around us." What a great perspective on the hard things that we go through and how to use it for good. This book touched me and I highly recommend it. I really appreciate when a book can be so honest even about some of the ugliness in our churches today.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Be Not Afraid

"Be Not Afraid" by Robert L. Wise

I really enjoyed this book! It is about an old woman whose husband has died and she is cleaning out her garage. She finds a box with old letters that she once wrote to a pilot she was in love with. She finds herself wondering whatever happened to him as her letters had gotten returned saying he was missing in action. She grieves thinking he is dead. Then she decides to find out the truth and ends up finding out he is alive. It is such a great story of love, duty, sacrifice and courage. "You better do today what needs to be done and not wait for tomorrow. What you put off only comes back to haunt you. Don't live for what somebody else thinks." Such good words to live by. I know I have put things off only to wish that I had taken care of them the first time. We do need to live for what God thinks but He is the only voice we should listen to. This book also gave lots of great info about WWII and being a prisoner of war. I appreciated the reality yet the great story of love that was intertwined throughout.

The Rats of Hamelin

"The Rats of Hamelin" by Adam McCune & Keith McCune

I am not sure why I read this book, another one that I started and wouldn't put down due to principle of finishing what I started. The story is about the pied piper. He sets out on a mission to rid Hamelin from a plague of rats. He runs into much trouble and his easy mission isn't so easy. It is a strange story, fantasy mixed with history. It got better towards the middle but it left me wondering what was the main point of the story, I really don't know. I guess if you like fantasy this is a read for you, not for me.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Political Thriller Series

"The Last Jihad"; "The Last Days"; "The Ezekiel Option"; "The Copper Scroll" and "Dead Heat" by Joel Rosenberg

I was surprised at how much I liked these books. There was a lot of political and military jargon that I don't really care for but I skipped over some of it and what did I expect from a political thriller. The books are about how the prophecy in the Bible regarding the end times playes out today. I was fascinated by all of the end time prophecy and how the author viewed what would happen. There were a lot of scripture references which made me search the Bible for the things he was talking about. I got really interested in what the Bible has to say regarding all of the happenings in the end times. I liked that there was a love story woven throughout and the books certainly kept me on the edge of my seat and wanting to keep reading. The last book was just as good as the first. The author doesn't claim to be prophetic although his books seem to come true. It is really a fascinating series that will get you thinking and reading more about the end time prophecies.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sunrise Series

"Sunrise"; "Summer"; "Someday" and "Sunset" by Karen Kingsbury

This was a great series. I really like the author. The were easy reads but kept you intrigued, wanting to read more. It is about a close knit family, the Baxters, and all the trials that they go through in their individual lives. It is about how a family comes together in times of trials and in times of joy. It really is a beautiful thing. The first book talks about new beginnings as a couple is getting married. "Marriage is certainly a time of new beginnings, as anything can be when we allow God to work. An anniversary, a birthday, a first of the month. Since we are subject to a forgiving and gracious God, we ought to be intimately familiar with new beginnings. New beginnings are crucial if we're ever going to find victory in our life with Christ." I love that we can find new beginnings in anything and really every day is a chance to start anew. The second book is about a testing of faith and the third book is about a reconciliation. "They had complemented each other, and now-even into death-they would complement each other in this. That each of them would spend their days knowing they'd become the person they were because of the other." I love growing old with my husband and going through all that life has for us. I know that I couldn't do it with out him and to God I am thankful for giving me such a wonderful partner and I pray that we would continue to become who Christ has us to be because of the other. Book four is about redemption, love and healing. "God, we come to this place not sure of what's next. So lead us, please. Whatever is said today, give us the right words to bridge the gap between us, the strength to see tomorrow on the other side of today, and the grace to love each other no matter what." Isn't that a great prayer? I love that prayer. "A marriage isn't something you lose. It's something you work to keep...or it's something your willingly let go." Oh if we could only remember those words we would have a lot less divorce. "In the process of forgiveness, people needed to think the best of each other also. Otherwise thee could be no progress at all." Remembering that my spouse, or whomever hurt me, has a good heart helps me to forgive so much more easily. After I finished these books I realized that there are two series previous to this one. So if you get the chance read those first. I am going to try and get my hands on them too!

Monday, May 24, 2010


"Riven" by Jerry B. Jenkins

This book was amazing! Sometimes when I read a book I am left to wonder how in the world the author could come up with something so amazing. This was one of those books, I found it exceptional. Let me quote from the cover, "When a condemned man with nothing to lose meets a weary man of God with nothing to gain, everyone washed by the endless ripples of that encounter will forever recall the day a little bit of heaven invaded a whole lot of hell." That is what this book is about and it will make you think, cry and wonder at the things God can do. I couldn't get through it fast enough and when I was done I put it down and all I could say was, "wow". This book will allow you to see God through the eyes of a condemned man. I have never read a book like it and probably won't ever again. The book shows how God relentlessly pursues us no matter the sin committed. I am left praying that God would use my life like He uses the life of the man in this book.

Monday, May 17, 2010


"Heartland" by Davis Bunn

This was a very lighthearted book, an easy read. This book is about a man who finds himself on a TV set as an actor after leaving his home town and getting into a crash where he thought he had died. He doesn't know how he got there but everyone is looking to him to be their hero. There is a bit of a love story mixed in too. I actually loved the simplicity of the writing. "You don't want to believe God can use you. But God has decided to use you. Don't let your weakness be an excuse to turn away." Sometimes we think we can't be used by God because of our failures and weaknesses, but He can and He does.

The Poisonwood Bible

"The Poisonwood Bible" by Barbara Kingsolver

I really enjoyed this book. It made me laugh and also made me angry. I enjoy a book that can invoke different emotions in me. This book is about a preacher who moves his family to the Congo for a mission trip. The story is told through the words of his daughters and his wife. One of the daughters is a teenager and totally self-centered. Her writing is just hilarious. This was a well written book and though long it kept me hooked throughout all 550 pages. A quote I liked, "Misunderstanding is my cornerstone. It's everyone's, come to think of it. Illusions mistaken for truth are the pavement under our feet. They are what we call civilization." I would say this book is worth a read. It gets you to thinking what missionaries give up to serve Christ and also how we go into other cultures with many misconceptions, trying to push our ways on them.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Breaker's Reef

"Breaker's Reef" by Terri Blackstock

This is book #4 in the Cape Refuge Series, the last book. And again, it was a thrilling as the first. In this book a famous mystery writer moves to Cape Refuge. A teenage girl is found murdered and a scene in the novel matches the crime scene, exactly. Then a second murder happens and the police chief is a suspect. In this book the couple that have been forming a relationship since book one finally tie the knot. I am usually pretty good at predicting plots and I thought I had this one tagged but literally in the very last ten pages of the book I was thrown for a loop that I never saw coming, it was great! I love it when the books ending is unpredictable. I would strongly recommend all four of the books in this series and any other book by this author.

River's Edge

"River's Edge" by Terri Blackstock

This is book #3 in the Cape Refuge Series. I really like the author and how she uses God's grace in her books. I was just as captivated in this book as her first two. A mayoral candidate's wife goes missing and he is the prime suspect. The police chief's thinks foul play is involved. There is love, strife, murder, mystery, alleged affair and struggles with infertility. All of this is woven together in one page turning book. There is a part in the book that talks about putting on the armor of God. A mom would "put on" the armor of God on her girls before they went to school. I think this is a great way to teach children about the armor. Here also is an explanation, "the helmet of salvation, you got that the minute you gave your life to Christ. You don't have to pretend to put some imaginary steel cap on your head. It's already there. The belt of truth is in God's Word. You get it from studying it, learning it, knowing what is says. The breastplate of protection because you exchanged your sins for Christ's righteousness, and your shoes of the gospel of peace you get buy studying God's Word and making it a part of you. Spreading the Word, telling others about the peace you've found. You have something they need. You strengthen the shield of faith by studying God's Word as if it were your very lifeline. Because it is. As you get to know the Word of God, front to back, layer upon layer, hunger for it, breathe it and the sword will get sharper and more effective." I loved that explanation and how practical it is.

Bearing The Body

"Bearing The Body" by Ehud Havazelet

Let me start by saying please don't read this book. I really can't even tell you what this book is about. I can't even come up with a plot or any reason at all why the author wrote this book. It would be a complete waste of your time to pick it up, this is your warning. I wanted to put it down so many times and don't know why I kept at it. I finished it and was just as confused as when I had started it. An adult son is killed and his estranged brother and father come to find out why he died. It is a very dysfunctional book with very dysfunctional characters who as far as I can tell come no closer to resolving anything or being better people by the end of the book. So, again, don't even attempt this one.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Treasure Box

"Treasure Box" by Penelope J. Stokes

This was a good little easy read novel. It is about a women who has built walls around her life due to past hurt but when she buys a treasure box she discovers all that she has been missing. We shield ourselves from getting hurt but we miss out on all that God has for us. With life comes hurt but there is so much more. More love, more joy, more laughter, more of everything. And the risk is worth it. "In this new reality she had to deal with the painful rasp of heart against heart, mind against mind, soul against soul, as the people she loved sandpapered away her rough edges." I love the word picture of the people we love "sandpapering away our rough edges". I need help being all that God wants me to be and I am thankful that God put such loving people in my life to help me become that special person.

Blue Like Jazz

"Blue Like Jazz" by Donald Miller

This book is a look at the Christian faith through every day circumstances and how the author came upon his own conversion. I really appreciated the honesty and realism of this author. It was refreshing to hear Christianity defined and explained through everyday happenings and not lots of "holy" words. "I mean to be in a relationship with God is to be loved purely and furiously. And a person who thinks himself unlovable cannot be in a relationship with God because he can't accept who God is; a Being that is love. We learn that we are lovable or unlovable from other people. That is why God tells us so many times to love each other." It is hard to accept a God who IS love if we don't love ourselves and He created us! I have a lot of work to do in this area, do you? Loving people for who God made them to be, seeing God in them and not judging them. Good book for a fresh perspective on the things of God.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Postmarked Heaven

"Postmarked Heaven" by Jack Cavanaugh

This book is letters written from four different characters that have died and gone to heaven. They write letters to encourage those of us on earth to keep strong and to keep living for God. I thought it was an interesting concept so that is why I got the book. It lacked a little but it was insightful. It was fun to think about how great it would be to receive a letter from a loved one in heaven and how that truly would encourage me to keep on keeping on. I loved one letter that talked about heavenly treasures. It told of the woman going to Jesus to get her heavenly treasures and there was a room so full of people that she couldn't even see them all. She didn't know most of them or even recognize any of them. But one person stepped up that she remembered and he told his story of how he was encouraged by her. Then another person stepped up to say how they were encouraged by him and one by one they all came forward, every person in that room was her treasure! Because of one kind word all those people were affected and they became her treasure. It made me think about all the "things" we have in this world and how they mean nothing. I need to be more intentional with my words and actions so my treasure room in heaven is overflowing with those that I have touched through Jesus!

If I Get To Five

"If I Get to Five" by Fred Epstein, M.D.

This book is about a pediatric neurosurgeon and the patients that he treats. There are some amazing stories of survival and some heart wrenching stories of death but they are all laced with courage immeasurable. This is a doctor who decided he wanted to do "medicine" differently and treat his patients as people and learn from them. He never turned down a patient, he was always willing to operate, no matter the risk. His patients adore him, his staff looks up to him and the families praise him. He wrote this book after he himself had an accident that left him in a coma for a month. He fought to gain his life back just as so many of his patients do. "Compassion isn't a passive state. It's an act of will, an act of courage: the courage to cope with every parent's worst nightmare, the courage to be emotionally honest, the courage to risk having your heart broken, the courage to care enough to push yourself to do what's scariest." There is so much in this world that takes courage. Sometimes it is just getting out of bed, letting go of your children, saying what you have been keeping in your heart, loving again, and the list goes on. What do you need courage for today?

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cape Refuge and Southern Storm

"Cape Refuge" and Southern Storm" by Terri Blackstock

This was a two in one book. A very large book that I couldn't put down and raced through. It has a little bit of mystery, crime-drama and love all thrown together. There are also two more books in this series that I am going to have to get my hands on. The books are set on a little island town. The first book is about a double murder then rocks the little town. The second book continues the lives of the characters when another murder occurs. The books also involve faith and how God is still present even in the midst of grief and heartache. The second book talked a lot about Numbers 35 in the Bible and the cities of refuge. It was very interesting to me and something that I hadn't read about and want to do more reading on. "...that God makes provision for accidents." I'm sure glad He does because I make a lot of them!

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Choice

"The Choice" By Nicholas Sparks

Another great one by my favorite author. This story is about a man who has no time for love. He has it all and a serious relationship would only get in the way. Then he meets his next door neighbor and everything changes. When tragedy happens he has to decide how far he will go in the name of love. Sometimes love pushes us where we never would have thought we would go, good or bad. We do a lot of things in the name of love that we regret and other things that we are proud of. I personally have put my reputation aside, given up everything to be by someones hospital bed for months on end, thrown caution to the wind, forgotten who I was and moved from family all in the name of love. Most of these things I would do again without a thought. Love can make a person do that. This book asks how far you would go for love. I know that I have gone pretty far and now that I have been married for 9 years with two children I am not sure there isn't anywhere I wouldn't go. How about you?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sex God

"Sex God" by Rob Bell

Another great book by Rob Bell. Again, I know he is controversial but I think he is a great writer and he makes me think. I even read all of the endnotes. And he quotes so many other books that my to-read list keeps growing and growing! This book is about the connection between sexuality and spirituality. It is really fascinating. I think I could fill this blog with quotes as I did a lot of underlining but here are two, "Because how you treat the creation reflects how you feel about the Creator." Profound. That might just change how I treat that person that cut me off or the bum on the street. And quote two, "Because with every decision, conversation, gesture, comment, action, and attitude, we're inviting heaven or hell to earth." I am sure not all of my words, actions or attitudes have brought heaven to earth but that is what I want to strive for. Because of God shining through me, I could be a little piece of heaven for someone. This book has scripture to back it up and lots of history to bring the scripture to life. Read it, you won't be sorry.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

At First Sight

"At First Sight" by Nicholas Sparks

If you have read my blog before you already know that I am a HUGE fan of Nicholas Sparks. Somehow I missed a few of his books down the line, this was one of them. And like all his books, it too is a winner. Man this guy can write. This story is about a man who never intends to love again after a failed marriage but alas he does. And just when he thinks life all is right with the world again, something happens. (You will have to read for yourself just what that "something" is.) I love how Nicholas makes the characters so real, such every day people that could live next door. I appreciate how he doesn't waste time on the details of scenery, nothing irritates me more. Favorite quote, "I love you more than there are fishes in the sea, and higher than the moon." That is a big love and I think it is a love that we all want to give and get in return.

Cracking The Communication Code

"Cracking the Communication Code" by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

I am a big fan of Dr. Emerson. I read his Love and Respect book and I would recommend it to everyone, married or not. He has some very simple tools to help understand the opposite sex. He is funny and backs up everything with scripture. His books make you think but don't leave your head hurting with too much information. This book is about being able to speak your mate's language. Favorite quote, "Every word you speak to your mate provides you with the opportunity to show your heart to God." He says to picture Jesus standing behind your spouse when you talk to them. Wow! That one made me stop and think. What am I saying to my husband or even my children for that matter, is it uplifting and encouraging? Would Jesus approve? He is there and He is listening. It is time I start remembering that.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Danny Gospel

"Danny Gospel" by David Athey

This is a very different book as it is written through stream of consciousness. It is a little hard to follow because of this. The author does a very good job of it though. It is like you are inside the mind of Danny Gospel and you go from one bunny trail to the next, skipping along with him hoping in the end it all connects, and it does, in the end. Danny sang spirituals with his family when he was young but after all of his family dies tragic deaths nothing seems to work out for him and all that he wants is a normal happy life. The reader joins with him in trying to find this life and realizing that sometimes God is in your own back yard. "If you sing your life, you pray it twice, through the dark days and the sun filled nights. All of creation groans. And everywhere there's a reverie."

The Gift

"The Gift" by Rickard Paul Evans

What a sweet, touching, simple book. An easy, feel good read. It is about a boy who finds he can heal people but in doing so he becomes sick. When we give to people sometimes it takes from us but if we give from the heart I believe that what it takes is worth it. I have come to discover that everything, everything involves some sort of sacrifice. Even our dreams involve giving something else up. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what is worth that sacrifice. But I have been told the very best things in life are worth it. Two quotes that I liked, "All miracles are an expression of love" and "We're all moons. Some are just better at hiding their dark sides." If you want a simple pick me up story this is the one to read.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Cold Tangerines

"Cold Tangerines" by Shauna Niequist

My bestest curly haired friend gave this to me for Christmas. The book is about finding God in every day life. When we do this there is light, hope, love and joy that we couldn't see before. I know that I get bogged down with preparing meals, cleanup, school, discipline, finances and taking care of my family that I forget to see God amidst my busyness. I want to stop. I want to see Him in my every day. I long for this. I long to not live from task to task doing the mundane. I want to remember that God is here, even in the mundane, don't you? "But I'm learning to just keep moving, keep walking, keep taking teeny tiny steps. And it's in those teeny tiny steps and moments that I become, actually, who I am. We won't arrive. But we can become. And that's the most hopeful thing I can think of." I need to become because I know I will never, ever arrive. Who is God asking me to become? Who is God asking you to become?

Velvet Elvis

"Velvet Elvis" by Rob Bell

I got given this book by a dear friend of mine. I admit I devoured it in a measly 4 hours. I have been told that Rob Bell is controversial and I can see why. I have been told to be careful who you loan this book too. But I will say that it rocked me, it changed me and it touched me so that I wanted to scream from my roof. Books get to me, I love them but this book moved me to want to ask all who are close to me to read it. I want to talk about it and to discuss it with all who will listen. Matthew and I have discussed it, I called my friend who read it and talked with him about it, I told my parents and they bought it to read too. For me who has been a Christian since I was little, growing up in the church and reading the Bible for what feels like forever it brought the scriptures back to life. Rob knows a lot about the history and times of the Bible. He really breathed life into the words for me, it was like they were new again and I was reading them for the first time. Part of me feels a little ashamed that this book spoke to me so much because of the controversy but if God spoke to me in the midst I shouldn't be ashamed. I can't begin to explain the feelings that welled up in me when reading this book. You will have to read it and decide for yourself. As with every book I read I glean from it what I can and question what I don't understand so that I find truth and leave behind the rest. One of my favorite quotes, "You rarely defend the things you love. You enjoy them and tell others about them and invite others to enjoy them with you. Have you ever seen someone pull a photo out of their wallet and argue about the supremacy of this particular loved one? Of course not. They show you the picture and give you the opportunity to see what they see." This should be what we do with our faith, exemplifying Christ and letting others see what we see.