Monday, August 15, 2011

Just Beyond The Clouds

"Just Beyond The Clouds" by Karen Kingsbury
This story continues from 'A Thousand Tomorrows'. After four years Cody is not over his wife's death and doesn't want to let go of his brother Carl, who has Down Syndrome. Carl's teacher is helping him learn to become independent and so is at odds with Cody. The more they battle the more then find a connection. And this leaves Cody with a choice: to finally put his dead wife to rest and move on or hold on to his love for his wife and die with her. This book was also touching and left me struggling with honoring someones memory and choosing to move on. It is about seeing the sun through the rain, Just Beyond the Clouds. Letting go is something we all struggle with and as a parent there is this constant battle of protecting and letting go. I appreciated the struggle of the characters and choices they faces that were so true to life.

A Thousand Tomorrows

"A Thousand Tomorrows" by Karen Kingsbury
This is one of the best books I have read. It is the most heartfelt book I think I have read and it got me into tears more than once. I felt what the characters felt and wrestled with the choices they made. A Thousand Tomorrows is about Cody who was abandoned by his father when he was eight and because of this he vows to never love again. Ali keeps a secret from everyone but lives life to the fullest, no matter the consequences. When they meet they hide behind the walls they have built until they can no longer deny the love they feel even though there are grave consequences. This book reminds the reader that life is meant to be lived and that love can heal even the deepest wounds. It speaks of broken families and the brokenness they leave behind. It speaks of deep and sacrificial love. About not being afraid to follow your heart and reach for your dreams. I do not do this book justice in this short review but I would urge you to read it. It was a very touching story that moved me.

Stuck In The Middle

"Stuck in the Middle" by Virginia Smith
This is another free book on Kindle but beware it is the first book in a series. Joan is the middle child and her life is amounting to living with her mother and ailing grandmother and a job as the manager of a furniture store in the small town she grew up in. Her older sister is having a baby and her younger, good looking, sister has a great career. All this changes when a handsome, young doctor moves in next door. "Still, she knew the same God as Mrs. Sachs. Why, then, did He choose to be so evident in this woman's life, but not in hers?" Man I feel this way sometimes. I see God so much in other people's lives but fail to see Him work in mine. It is then that I know I need a new perspective and I need to reflect on all that He has done in my life. "You see, our God doesn't supply only what we need to scrape by. The almighty God is our Father. He loves us. He delights in delighting us. He wants to give us treats and enjoys hearing our joyful laughter in return." I have never thought about God this way. But as I look at how I love to delight my own children it only makes sense that God would love us in the same way. "I was thinking that God's life-changing power is the same no matter how good or how bad the person is who accepts Him." And that is true, God changes all of us no matter the road that we have walked. His power works in all of us no matter where we have come from or the things we have or have not done. Who we are does not diminish or increase His power. Another fun read that makes you laugh and also makes you think.

Heaven Is For Real

"Heaven Is For Real" by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent
I read this book in the relaxing setting of my family's cabin in less than 24 hours. I had seen this book and heard about it numerous times. I also read the first chapter via my Kindle. I read '90 Minutes in Heaven' quite some time ago and was intrigued with the thoughts of visiting heaven. This book is a quick read and not very in depth but tells the story of a little boy who had his appendix burst and who went to heaven while on the operating table. What intrigued me the most was that Colton never died but he still told stories of visiting heaven. The little boy proceeds to tell his parents at different times his experience. He visits his great grandfather who had died way before he was born. Although this book lacked any real depth it was interesting and gets the reader to think about what happens when we die and what realities await us. Colton no longer has a fear of death because he knows what is in store. If only we all could have this same lack of fear. And he also truly felt and knew the love Jesus has for him and for all of us. If only we could all live in that reality every day.

Devil's Plaything

"Devil's Plaything" by Matt Richtel
As another review said, "From page one, you'll not be able to put this book down." I don't read many thrillers and I'm not a big mystery reader but this book was a good one and I found myself wanting to read more thrillers. A journalist named Nat was nearly gunned down in a park and finds out it wasn't a random attack. He doesn't know who to trust and the one that seems to have the answers is his grandmother who is suffering from dementia at a rapid rate. This book tells a story about how technology that was supposed to be for our good can be used against us. It was a definite thriller and kept me wanting to read page after page. I also loved the easy banter in the book and the sarcasm, it gets me every time.

Like Dandelion Dust

"Like Dandelion Dust" by Karen Kingsbury
I am reading more and more of this authors books, thanks to my parents, and continue to like her. Many of her books, this one included, have been made into movies. This book is about a boy who is caught in a custody battle. He was adopted as an infant and is now 4. His biological dad just got out of prison and found out he had a son and wants him. His adopted parents will do anything to keep him, even take him and just disappear. This book makes you think, what would you do if one of your children was to be taken from you? To what lengths would you go to keep them, would you break the law? Running throughout this story is a lesson in faith. "I can only believe that we-like children-are in the backseat however long the journey lasts. God is driving, and we must trust that in the end, if we stay with Him, He'll get us safely home." So hard to trust but really it is the only way to go. Jesus is the only one who sees and knows all so why don't I trust Him?


"Shame" by Greg Garrett

This is one of my favorites. It is just so real, so heartfelt. The writing is unique, like you are inside the mind of the main character, almost like you are reading his journal. It is about a man who is caught up in the monotony of his life and how he thought he would have amounted to more than just a farmer. He begins to question every decision that he has made that led him up to this point in his life. Complacency has set in and with his 20th high school reunion coming up, an exhibition basketball game with his old team and his high school sweetheart newly single will he choose a different life? Who hasn't gotten bored with life or thought about how things might have been had you made different decisions? This book pinpoints how all our decisions make us who we are and how to be thankful for whatever life you have. "It's never to late to do the right thing, to make the right choice, to correct the mistakes of the past." Such good words, it is never to late. We can always decide to stop making the wrong choice and decide on the right one, always. "But at some point even the greatest of heroes has to put his feet back on the ground and take his own faltering steps, to live and breathe and love and make mistakes like any ordinary human..." Even those we look up to make mistakes and have to take their own steps and live life just like we do. We are all just human. "I want to do what is right. I've wanted that all my life, but I am so tired of doing what is right for everyone else and wondering if it will ever be right for me." I know that I grow weary of doing right by everyone else and then I have to remember that the only One I should be doing right by is Jesus and then I will be doing right by everyone, even me. "Words are not the most important things we offer those in pain. It's standing behind those words. Being there. Not giving up." It is really easy to say words and really hard to stand behind them. Most of the time words can not fix things but being with someone can. Words are meaningless when you don't stand behind them.