Saturday, December 8, 2012

Remember Tuesday Morning

"Remember Tuesday Morning" by Karen Kingsbury

This is the final book in the 9/11 series.  It was my least favorite but it was still good.  It was a little slow moving at first and took some time to get into it.  But I'm of the type where I just want the main point to happen, forget all the fluff around it, who cares.  Once I got about half way through I blew threw it.  The book is about a young man whose father was killed on 9/11 and on that day his heart was killed too.  Alex leaves those he loves and becomes a policeman fighting crime so that no other family has to suffer the loss that he has.  His life doesn't matter, all that matters is putting the bad guys away.  But when he his own life is on the line and he realizes there is always another bad guy, Alex begins to ask if this is all there is.  Who can help Alex tear down the walls of his heart and find life again?  "She didn't understand that releasing her was maybe his greatest and final act of love, because it nearly killed him to do it."  Sometimes letting someone you go is the bravest thing you can do, and the hardest.  It is also often misunderstood.  "Healing was definitely happening when people could find their way out of the dark clouds of grief to love again."  Choosing life, choosing love after loss, that is what brings healing.  "You don't have to feel God to know He's with you.  The Bible tells us God is with us, and that's all the proof we need to know.  It's a fact.  Feelings or no feelings."  Sometimes our feelings get in the way of truth.

Beyond Tuesday Morning

"Beyond Tuesday Morning" by Karen Kingsbury

This is the second book in the September 11th series.  This is about God's redemption and healing.  It is about finding life again after tragedy.  It's been three years since Jamie lost her husband in the attacks but the pain is still so great.  She volunteers to help others who are also trying to get past the pain of that day.  In the midst of helping others she finds love again, but the guilt is great and what she finds out about this man shocks her.  The God she has just started believing in couldn't have this plan for her.  Only the strong love from this man, words from her dead husband, and her precious little girl can help her live again.  "It was the same story again and again and again.  Different faces, different names, different floors of the Twin Towers, but so often when the walking wounded found their way here it was with one question.  How could God let it happen?"  I think it is a question we have all asked, at different tragic things in our lives.  God is good, all the time.  But we live in a fallen world where evil is allowed to happen.  For me it just reinforces the fact that I don't belong here, this is not my home.  "Loss was part of the package of living, but the fighter remains.  He fights the good fight, he gets back in the ring, he never gives up.  He chooses life."  And this is what we must all do in our lives.  We must choose life and God gives it to us abundantly, that is what He wants for us.  So no matter the pain, no matter the loss, choose life.  We can choose that life with God's help.  "Now-with a pain that knew no bounds, she was letting God break her heart again so that it might heal correctly."  Sometimes it takes brokenness to finally truly heal and boy does it hurt but life on the other side of it is oh so much sweeter.  "God believes in you, even if you don't believe in Him.  He'll keep calling to you the way He's been calling to all of us since the beginning of time."  I love that.  That is something to sit and soak in.  God believes in you and He's calling you and He won't give up on you.  This gives me hope for those of my loved ones that don't believe.  God's calling them, just keep praying.  "Because if you cry a lot when you say good-bye, it means you loved a lot."  Good-byes are hard but when they are then you know you have loved a lot.  This book is a testimony that God can heal all hearts, no matter the pain, no matter the loss.  And He is calling you.

One Tuesday Morning

 
"One Tuesday Morning" by Karen Kingsbury      
                              
I have been wanting to read this trilogy for quite some time and it didn't disappoint.  I don't know how Karen can keep turning out such good books.  This is the first book of three and my favorite one.  It is about September 11th, that awful day when the world changed.  It is about the firemen who chose to go up the stairs when everyone else was trying to get out.  It is about loss and love and healing.  It is about a fireman who was thought dead and then turned up at a hospital with amnesia.  It is about love winning and God healing the broken.  "God's message for you here this morning isn't that everything will be okay here on earth, because it won't.  The rotten, sorrowful smell of death is still too strong among us for me to tell you anything but the truth.  But death will not have the last say.  For those who believe in Jesus-in a God who would cry alongside you-death will never have the last word."  This book reminded me of that fateful day.  It is easy to put that day in the back of our minds, especially for me who wasn't personally touched by that tragedy and who live on the other side of the states.  But hundreds lost their lives and for them that day will forever be etched on their hearts.  They live their lives in two separate categories, before and after September 11th.  I loved the perspective of this book, from those that lost loved ones.  It showed how hard it is to get past the anger of that day but how all the people whose lives were lost would want one thing, love to prevail, life to be lived again.  It's a book you wont want to put down.
 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Her Daughter's Dream

"Her Daughter's Dream" by Francine Rivers

This is the second and last book in the series Marta's Legacy.  I enjoyed this book more than the first although they were both very good.  As I said of the first book, they are long, more than 500 pages, but they read easily.  I finished both in less than two weeks.  This book carries on the struggles between mothers and daughters.  How we have the best of intentions and yet are misunderstood.  The past has a tendency to repeat it self when not dealt with and talked about.  In this book it took the faith of a daughter to mend all the mother daughter relationships in her family.  It took realizing that life is fleeting to remember relationships are worth mending and fighting for.  "Love people for who they are, pray, and leave them in God's hands."  Good words to take to heart.  We all want to be loved for who we are not who others want us to be.  "Life isn't easy.  We do the best we can with what God gives us.  I've made a complete mess of everything.  It's not about what you've done.  It's about what you're going to do now."  Let the past be the past, it's not what matters.  What matters is what you are going to choose to do with that past.  "In this life, we will not love perfectly.  In the next, God promises we will.  I hold on to that hope.  I cling to that dream."  We are in a fallen world, we can not love perfectly, but God does.  With Him we can love better.  And in the next life all love will be perfect love.  What a wonderful thing to look forward to.  "Man might plan, but God will prevail."  God has the best plans for us, we just need to let go and let God.  Let Him take our lives, trusting He has what is best for us.  "May the Lord bless you and keep you.  He goes ahead of you.  He stands at your side.  He dwells within you.  He is your rear guard."  I love that.  I think it would be a great prayer to say every time your children go out the door.  It is so reassuring.  "God won't take you where His love won't protect you."

Her Mother's Hope

"Her Mother's Hope" by Francine Rivers

This is the first in a two book series.  They are long books, over 500 pages, but good reads.  The book is about a daughter whose father belittles her and a mother who encourages her to fly.  It is about the relationship of mothers and daughters.  Marta, the daughter, grows up and longs for a better life.  She strives for a better life for her children.  But she has found that only the strong survive and so her tough love is often misunderstood.  Marta's daughter, Hildie, feels the rebuff the most.  When she has a family of her own she vows to do it differently.  Tragedy strikes and mother daughter relationships are pushed to the breaking point.  We all have moms who loved us, who did their best.  And as moms we vow to do one better.  We are fallen people and so our relationships mirror that.  "We grieve for those we've lost, but it's the living that cause us the most pain."  Relationships are hard and they can hurt.  But what is life without them? Life not worth living.  God created us to live in community.  "Sometimes all you need is one true friend, just one you can depend upon to love you no matter what."  That one friend, who loves you through it all, is priceless.  If you have a friend like that hold on for dear life.  If you don't, find one, your life will be better for it.  "You are not going to let that man turn you into a prisoner to your fears."  Let go of the past, those who have hurt you.  Forgive so that you can be set free, don't let them have any more say in your life.  "Brian belongs to You, Lord, not me.  I give him into Your mighty, healing hands.  Your will, not mine, be done..."  A good prayer to remember to pray for those we love.  They are just on loan to us, they belong to the Lord and He is the one watching over them.  "They're afraid.  Fear makes people mean.  Fear makes people act stupid."  This was a good book, a book that made me think about my relationship with my two daughters.  It made me think about why I do things and how often we misunderstand each other.

Sacred Marriage

"Sacred Marriage" by Gary Thomas

I put off reading this book for probably over a year.  My mom gave it to me.  I read every other book I had and when I finally ran out I picked it up.  This book rocked my world!  God knew when I needed to read it, it was the perfect time.  He is so good!  So I give a fair warning, you will not read this book and continue with the status quo in your marriage, at least you shouldn't.  The premise of the book is that marriage is not for our happiness but for holiness.  (Did you just read that and think What?!)  Oh this book was so hard to read, so hard to swallow, I was convicted on every page.  I think everyone needs to read this because who doesn't want their marriage to be better?  I'm blessed to be in a marriage with an amazing man but there is always, always room for growth.  This book pointed out how much room there is.  "Romantic love has no elasticity to it.  It can never be stretched; it simply shatters.  Mature love, the kind demanded of a good marriage, must stretch, as the sinful human condition is such that all of us bear conflicting emotions."  Good marriages must have some give in them to last, they can not be rigid or they will break.  "If the purpose of marriage was simply to enjoy an infatuation and make me 'happy,' then I'd have to get a 'new' marriage every two or three years.  But if I really wanted to see God transform me from the inside out, I'd need to concentrate on changing myself rather than on changing my spouse.  In fact, you might even say, the more difficult my spouse proved to be, the more opportunity I'd have to grow."  How many people leave a marriage because their spouse is just not making them happy? We hear this all the time.  What if they decided to let God work on them instead of how their spouse needed to change?  "As long as a couple is married, they continue to display-however imperfectly-the ongoing commitment between Christ and His church."  "How can I tell my children that God's promise of reconciliation is secure when they see that my own promise doesn't mean a thing?  They may get over it, but in that case I will have presented a roadblock rather than a stepping-stone to the gospel."  Ouch, right?  "The first reason I keep my marriage together is because it is my Christian duty.  If my life is based on proclaiming God's message to the world, I don't want to do anything that would challenge that message.  And how can I proclaim reconciliation when I seek dissolution?"  I tell you, there are some powerful words in this book.  "In a society where relationships are discarded with a frightening regularity, Christians can command attention simply by staying married."  That in itself speaks volumes!  "We show our love for God in part by loving our spouses well."  "My wife was created by God Himself!  How dare I dishonor her?  In fact, shouldn't it even give me pause before I reach out to touch her?  She is the Creator's daughter, after all!"  Powerful!  This goes for our husbands too.  We are all His children.  How can I treat His child less than I would want to be treated?  Makes you see your spouse differently doesn't it?  "Husbands, you are married to a fallen woman in a broken world.  Wives, you are married to a sinful man in a sinful world."  This really stuck with me.  I can't have a perfect marriage this side of heaven because we live in a fallen world.  That helps ease the pressure I put on myself and the expectations I have for my husband.  "Godliness is selflessness, and when a man and a woman marry, they are pledging to stop viewing themselves as individuals and start viewing themselves as a unit, as a couple."  So what I want isn't what matters anymore, it is what we want, together that matters.  "What marriage had done for me is hold up a mirror to my sin."  Yuck.  "We don't like what we've done or become; we've let selfish and sinful attitudes poison our thoughts and lead us into shameful behaviors, and suddenly all we want is out.  The mature response, however, is not to leave; it's to change-ourselves."  Oh boy, tough stuff.  "Sin is a reality in this fallen world.  It's how we respond to it that will determine whether our marriages become a casualty statistic or a crown of success.  I want mine to be a crown of success, I don't want to be another statistic.  "How hard does a heart have to be to not be moved by the suffering of someone you once loved?"  "Don't abort your history with the spouse whom God has called you to love."  "When you entered this relationship of marriage, you committed to keep moving toward your spouse.  Any step back, any pause, any retreat, is an act of fraud."  This is another one that really hit me.  If we aren't stepping toward our spouse we aren't helping our marriage.  Sometimes I just don't step.  I didn't see that as wrong but in reality it is.  Doing nothing, not moving towards is not moving and then it's not for my marriage.  "All of us face struggles, and each one of us is currently facing a struggle that we're having less than one hundred percent success overcoming.  If we're married, the fact is we're also married to someone who is failing in some way."  "What are we doing each day for our spouse that involves sacrifice?  What are you doing each day for your spouse that is costing you something?"  Such good questions, such hard questions.  Questions that make me uncomfortable.  "Marital dissatisfaction, on whatever level, is best met with the prayer, 'That's why I need you, O God.'"  Our spouse can't be everything to us, only God can.  "A spiritually alive marriage will remain a marriage of two individuals in pursuit of a common vision outside themselves."  There's that selflessness again.  There is so much in this book.  Sorry this is so long.  I think everyone, everyone, should read this, and read it again.  I plan on reading it a second time with someone else so that we can discuss it together.  I want to buy a boxful of these books and pass them on.  It will change you.  It needs to change us, our marriages need changing.

The Girls From Ames

"The Girls From Ames" by Jeffrey Zaslow



I was staying at a B&B in Portland, OR and the owner recommended this book to me.  It is a book about 11 girls who met in grade school and have remained friends throughout their lives.  The author wrote a column in the New York Times about women's friendships and received a ton of responses.  He decided to take one of the responses and make it into a book.  So he interviewed and spent time with them.  It is intriguing that it is written by a man about women.  These 11 girls go through life together, all the ups and downs.  To this day they still continue to get together once a year for a reunion and now they live all over the U.S.  "We root each other to the core of who we are, rather than what defines us as adults-by careers or spouses or kids.  There's a young girl in each of us who is still full of life.  When we're together, I try to remember that."  There is something comforting about a friend who knows you before all your responsibilities name you.  I have two friends that have known me since first grade and I love that we are still friends, that we have shared so much of our lives.  "But in that moment, all ten of them later realized, they saw clearly that true friendship means a willingness to share both joy and complete despair."  Life isn't always good and being a true friend means sticking with a person through all that life hands out.  "Sometimes the only thing keeping a woman from falling over is the girlfriend right beside her."  Oh how true this is.  I've had my moments where I didn't think I could walk on but I did, and I did because I had a friend beside me.  Those friends mean the world to me, I couldn't get through life without them.  Also, the best friend you could have, a friend that will never fail you, is Jesus.  He is a true friend who will be with you always, through every step of your life.  He is the best friend a person could have because others may fail you but He never will.  "Having these women in my world has meant not only acceptance, but radiant joy and laughter that knocks me right out of my chair.  Through our darkest moments, we have lifted each other up.  In every moment of grief we've shared, our laughter is a life vest, a secure promise that we will not go under."  Oh I love that.  I love that analogy that laughter is a life vest holding us up so we will not sink.  We all need more laughter in our lives, I know I do. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

In My Hands

"In My Hands-Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer" by Irene Gut Opdyke

 I'm not sure where I heard about this book but I am named after Corrie Ten Boom so it seems that anything to do with the holocaust interests me.  I bought a used book and to my surprise it is signed by the author!  This book was simply amazing.  It is about a women who protects numerous Jews during the holocaust.  She works for a general in the army and hides 10 Jews in his cellar!  The courage this one woman had is simply beautiful.  "It is a terrible irony of war, that nature itself does not rebel when man turns against his brother.  I have seen nightmares take place on beautiful spring days.  The birds can hop from one branch to another, tipping their heads and honing their small beaks against the bark while a child dies in the mud below."  "We did not speak of what we had seen.  At the time, to speak of it seemed worse than sacrilege: We had witnessed a things so terrible that it acquired a dreadful holiness.  It was a miracle of evil.  It was not possible to say with words what we had witnessed, and so we kept it safely guarded until the time when we could bring it out, and show it to others, and say, 'Behold.  This is the worst thing man can do.'"  The horrible things that this woman and others saw is really beyond comprehension.  When I read of the holocaust I always find myself asking, how could people be so cruel?  How could the killing of millions be allowed?  And always the hardest question, what would I have done had I lived at that time?  I would highly recommend this book although it is not for the faint of heart.  But it does tell of the courage of one woman who refused to believe anything other than the fact that ALL are created equal. 
 

 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Language of Flowers

"The Language of Flowers" by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This book was recommended on a blog I read.  This is the authors first book.  She is a mom, a woman who has taken in foster kids.  A mom who has decided that change needs to happen in our foster system and is doing something about it.  She has started an organization called Camellia Network that helps support youth making the transition from foster care to independence.  You should check out her site, www.camellianetwork.org
This book is about Victoria, a girl who has spent her life in the foster care system.  She has now aged out and is on her own.  She loves flowers and has used them to communicate.  But never has she used them to communicate love or trust.  She must deal with her past in order to have a future but is she willing to be honest and risk everything for a chance at happiness?  This book tells how flowers in the Victorian era had meanings and people would communicate with them.  I found it very intriguing all of the different meanings for different flowers, I had no idea.  The book was also a eye opener to the hardships of foster care for the children in it and what happens when they are emancipated from the system.  The struggles that Victoria faces are all too real for many 18 year old foster kids.  And this book shows that there has got to be a better way.  (Which is why the author started the Camellia Network.)  I love how in the book a few people dared take a chance on Victoria and how love wins.  "Perhaps the unattached, the unwanted, the unloved, could grow to give love as lushly as anyone else."  These kids that age out of the system truly are the unwanted and unloved.  They are the ones that got passed around with no permanence in their lives.  But if someone gives them a chance, if someone believes in them, love can abound. 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Coming Home

"Coming Home" by Karen Kingsbury

This is the last book in the Baxter series.  And it was such a sad book.  I am a tragedy junkie but this one had me in tears and I think I'm good with tragedies for at least three months now.  But the book was oh so good.  Karen does such a good job of interweaving faith in her books.  Not just faith we speak but real faith, faith played out in the midst of tragedy.  The whole Baxter family is getting together for their dads 70th birthday.  But before they can celebrate tragedy strikes.  It will take all their faith and prayers to get them through the darkness.  Will their love be stronger than their heartache?  Will they be able to remember God's promises?  I'm tearing up just writing this.  So forewarning, you will cry, you might even have to put down the book for a breather.  But it is worth it.  Karen did good.  She ended the Baxter family well.  "Love between two hearts, two souls was never the same from one person to the next."  Love looks different between all of us.  God designed us all different so our love looks different.  Read this book, it will give you faith.  If you are in the middle of a trial, of your own dark time, this book will bring hope and renew your faith.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Miles To Go

"Miles To Go" by Richard Paul Evans

This is the second book in the Journal of the Walk Series. It continues the journey of Alan who began his walk across the country after his wife dies and he loses everything. But his walk comes to an abrupt stop after he is stabbed. Where will he turn? To an Angel. "I have found that the people who shout their opinion the loudest are usually the ones most insecure in their position." When we know that we are right we don't have to shout. "How do you live when you don't want to live anymore? One day at a time." And one day at a time God will meet you there. "I guess sometimes we are lucky to have someone to miss so much." Yes it hurts to lose someone we love but its even worse to not have loved them at all. "When a man loses his vision of the future he dies. There's a lot of talk these days about living in the now, but if you don't have a future, there is no now." Being thankful for today is important. We aren't guaranteed tomorrow but if we don't look to tomorrow what will we live for? "Worst thing you can give a man is what he wants. The lookin's the thing. When a man gets what he been lookin' for, the road ends, don't it." And usually whatever we are looking for doesn't satisfy.

The Walk

"The Walk" by Richard Paul Evans

Alright remember the book The Road to Grace? Funny thing happened. I picked that book up at the library without knowing it was the last book in a three book series. I found this out after I finished it. That weekend my parents came up for a visit and my dad brought the whole series for me to read. He didn't even know I had read the last one! So I read the last one then the first and second one but it didn't really spoil anything. The last book could have stood on it's own. So this book is about a man whose wife is killed and he looses her and his job, his house, his cars, everything. So he packs a bag and starts walking. Walking as far away from Seattle as he can. Key West, Florida is his destination. The journey is what matter though. The author delivers and there is so much good stuff in this book. "In each of us, there is something that, for better or worse, wants the world to know we existed." We all want to be remembered. We all want to leave our mark, do something good. You know what the best thing to be remembered by is? Love, the love of Jesus. Now that is something you take with you when you go. "It's a shame that humans don't come with reset buttons." Oh how I wish we did! "How can you hurt a person you love more than yourself? It's like punching yourself in the head." "We can deny reality, but we can't deny the consequences of denying reality." Sure we can deny what is happening but the doesn't change the consequences, they still happen. "When your mother died, I felt as if half my body had been amputated. The half with the heart. At first I wasn't sure if I could keep going on. Frankly, I wasn't sure why I would want to." It hurts so much when someone we love dies. But we must live. "The only way to remove pain from death is to remove love from life." No thanks, guess I will take pain if it means I get to love and be loved. "It is in the dark times that the light of friendship shines brightest." We all need friends and no better time to know who they are then when the darkness closes in. "You can tell a lot about a man by watching how he treats those he doesn't have to be nice to." So true. What are they like when they think no one is looking? "I just wonder why it is that we blame God for everything except the good." Sometimes we forget to give credit for the good but are quick to pass judgement when the bad happens. "That's all that death requires of us, to give up living. The thing is, the only real sign of life is growth. And growth requires pain. So to choose life is to accept pain. Some people go to such lengths to avoid pain that they give up on life. They bury their hearts, or they drug or drink themselves numb until they don't feel anything anymore. The irony is, in the end their escape becomes more painful than what they're avoiding." We have to accept the the rain because there is always a rainbow to follow. "You know, she's not really gone. She's still a part of you. What part of you is your choice. She can be a spring of gratitude and joy, or she can be a fountain of bitterness and pain." The people who pass from this life that we love would want us to live and remember them with joy not sadness. "Some people in this world have stopped looking for beauty, then wonder why their lives are so ugly. Don't be like them. The ability to appreciate beauty is of God. Especially in one another. Look for beauty in everyone you meet, and you'll find it. Everyone carries divinity within them. And everyone has something to impart." Always look for the good, for beauty. It is there, sometimes it is just hidden.

Ever After

"Ever After" by Karen Kingsbury

This is the second and last book in the Lost Love series. It's another good one by Karen. I don't think she ever fails to deliver. She has a gift I tell you. Emily finds a man who changes everything for her. Their relationship is built on Jesus. Emily's parents who are recently reunited after many years are struggling to over come their differences. Tragedy strikes and the question is can they over come? "Whenever people are praying there is always hope." Prayer storms the gates of heaven and with God there is always hope, even in the darkest of nights. "The cost was high, and too often the cost had a face, a name, a history." This is talking about the cost of war. There is a cost to defending our freedoms and people are paying those costs with their lives every day. "The Bible had much to say about peace. But almost always the picture Scripture presented wasn't one of God calming the storm. Rather He calmed the person caught in the storm." Trouble is going to come, guaranteed but with God there is hope and peace. "Sometimes life is so hard you can only do the next thing. Whatever that is, just do the next thing. God will meet you there." Sometimes that is all we can do, take one step. And when we do God meets us there to hold us up and light our next step. Somehow they were going to survive without him. And deep inside, Emily knew they would. They would survive, but without Justin, how were they ever going to live?" When someone we love dies its hard to even breathe. You know you have to keep going but you don't know how. You don't know how to live without that person you love so much. Again, God meets us there. He knows our pain, our sorrow and our deepest hurts. He is there to comfort. "Love never has enough time." When you love someone there is never enough time to be with that person, to show them how much you love them. "Love and sacrifice. It is impossible to have one without the other." Love is sacrifice. Sacrifice is love. The greatest example of this is Jesus dying on the cross for us, for you. "Most of all, I promise to lean on God through life's trials and tragedies and triumphs. Because if I lean on Him, you can always lean on me." I love that. If we are leaning on God then those around us can lean on us because our strength is from Him.

Even Now

"Even Now" by Karen Kingsbury

I've been in a reading frenzy lately. And you know how much I love a Karen Kingsbury book. There is two in this series. My dad gave me these books to read and as always they delivered. Shane is ready to get married but does his heart really still belong to a long ago lost love? Lauren doesn't believe in happy endings after the blows that life has dealt her. Emily was raised by her grandparents and won't give up her search to find the mother she never knew. Three lives that were torn apart are about to find meaning again. But can they find ever after? Oh what a good book this was. Lives torn apart by good intentions and tragic mistakes. Things that make up who we all are. "It was just one year blended into the next, and pretty soon the road home was so overgrown with blame and hurt she couldn't find her way back." The hurt becomes to big, the blame so large we forget that love was there once too. "God made it clear to me a long time ago that we can't go back. We can only be glad for today." We can't go back and change things that happened but we can move forward and be thankful for the road we are now on and for the gifts today, that God has provided.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Home Front

"Home Front" by Kristin Hannah

I just happened to pick this book up at the Library. I loved this book. Of course it had a bit of tragedy, you know I am a sucker for that, real life struggle but best of all(*spoiler*) it all ends well. Michael and Jolene's marriage is starting to unravel. But they must hold on for dear life when Jolene is deployed. Michael must be a single parent to their two girls. War changes Jolene and Michael. Now they must fight for everything that matters. "In the army, she'd found herself; in the air, she'd found her passion. But it wasn't until she met Michael that the missing part of her began slowly, cautiously to fill back in." "I don't love you anymore. Five words to change a world, to dissolve the ground beneath a woman's feet. It was a tidal wave, that sentence, whooshing in without warning, undermining foundations, leaving homes crumbled in the aftermath." Words are so powerful, they build up or destroy. How careless we are with them. "Here's what you need to know: some cliches are true, and war is definitely hell. It's being afraid all the time, and when you're not afraid it's because you're so pumped full of adrenaline you could literally burst. It's watching people who you love-really profoundly love-get blown to pieces right next to you. It's seeing a leg lying in the ditch and picking it up to put it in a bag because no man-or part of a man, your friend-can be left behind. It's the dark night of the soul, Michael. There's no front line over there. The war is all around them, every day, everywhere they go. Some handle it better than others. We don't know why, but we do know this: the human mind can't safely or healthily process that kind of carnage and uncertainty and horror. It just can't. No one comes back from war the same." Powerful words, powerful description. I believe it, no one comes back from war the same. How could they? "He'd lived with her, slept with her, and still somehow had forgotten the woman he'd married." We all take for granted to people we live with, the people we love, our families. They will always be there we say. We will hug them tomorrow, tell them that we love them later. But what if later doesn't come? Right now, right now is the moment we need to appreciate and show our family we love them. Right now. "We don't receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us." Oh those journeys, I so wish someone could walk it for me oftentimes. "Heroes. They are heroes, our soldiers, the men and women who go into harms way to protect us, our way of life. It doesn't matter what you think of the war, you have to be grateful to the warriors, of whom we ask so much. To whom we sometimes give too little. How do you help someone deal with horrors you can't imagine? And how does a soldier come home from war, really? As a nation, these are questions we need to ask ourselves." A really good read. I highly recommend. It makes me appreciate what our soldiers do, what they sacrifice, and their families. I think our nation needs to do so much more to help them when they come back from war. We do so much to prepare them for the war but they come back changed and unprepared.

The Road to Grace

"The Road to Grace" by Richard Paul Evans

Alan lost everything, his wife, his business, his home. So he left and decided to walk from Seattle to Florida. A journey he wouldn't soon forget. A journey of healing and revelation. The people he meets are what makes his journey meaningful. "I may be a closet homebody, but life has taught me that home was never a place. Home was her. The day McKale died, I lost my home." Home is the people we love and the places we live. "I'm looking for hope. Hope that life might still be worth living, and hope for the grace to accept what I must live without." We all need grace to accept those things that we must live without. That may just be what we need the most grace for. "When you have an affair with someone, the affair itself becomes the core of the relationship. The secret of the affair fuels the passion and the excitement. But once it's legitimized, it's just reality like everything else." I thought that was a good explanation of an affair. The excitement of it lies in the secret and when it comes to light all that you have is reality. "As we walk our individual life journeys, we pick up resentments and hurts, which attach themselves to our souls like burrs clinging to a hiker's socks. These stowaways may seem insignificant at first, but, over time, if we do not occasionally stop and shake them free, the accumulation becomes a burden to our souls." If we don't deal with our hurts they just pile on top of each other becoming so heavy. Deal with them as they come, it hurts but so much less then dealing with a pile of hurts. "A man's words say more about a man than his clothes." Who cares what you are wearing, it's your words that make the most impact. "The things we do to others become our world. To the thief, everyone in the world is a thief. To the cheater, everyone is thinking to cheat him." This is how we look at the world, through the eyes of the things that we have done. I want my world to consist of love so that is what I must give. "We chain ourselves to what we do not forgive. Should a Holocaust survivor chain himself forever to Hitler and his crimes? Or should he forgive and be free?" Forgiveness is so much more about us than the person who wronged us. Unforgiveness forever keeps you chained to the person who wronged you. Why would anyone want that? I want to be free of that person and so I must forgive. I've read a few books by this author before and I haven't been disappointed. This was a good read. Gets you thinking. I gathered that this was the third and last book in a series. I didn't read the first two but I wasn't lost reading the last. I wasn't left feeling like I had missed something, although now I would like to read the first two.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Sisters

"The Sisters" by Nancy Jensen

I picked this book up at the library.  It had  a tea cup on the front and I'm partial to tea cups, I'm an avid tea drinker.  It is about sisters whose mother has passed away and they are left with their step father.  They only have each other as he is a threat to them.  The older sister has good intentions that go terribly wrong and divide the sisters and future generations to come.  It is about family and secrets and where they lead us.  "Some damage could never be undone.  One could only try to stand, take another's arm, and stagger on."  Some damage can't be undone but I believe we can help each other and through God continue on and heal.  "So this is what a soul feels like, Alma thought-weightless but solid, a mystery that could warm beyond its warmth.  Here was love that expanded.  Love that multiplied, past measure."  She was holding her new grand baby.  "Millions of years of human life, and still there was no more arduous battle than crossing the border into someone else's heart.  Or to stand aside and wave him across your own.  Maybe it wasn't possible to know another person, not entirely.  Maybe it wasn't possible to do more than show the desire to know, offering some sort of symbol, creating a touchstone."  Love is hard, matters of the heart can be messy as they say.  We need to tread carefully with one another.  I want those with my heart to tread carefully.  "Whatever we carry inside us shapes everyone we touch."  Our hurts, happiness, sadness and whatever else affects those we come in touch with.  I liked this book.  I liked the truth in it.  It's a good read.

A Time To Mend

"A Time To Mend" by Sally John & Gary Smalley

A picture perfect marriage. A family that has it all together, a beautiful home and four wonderful children. But it isn't really picture perfect. Claire, the wife is tired of living the lies, she is tired of being silent. Sometimes healing begins with hurting and sometimes the truth just has to come out. I enjoyed this book. I thought it was written very well and gave lots of depth to the characters. "I'm tired of pretending things don't hurt. I'm tired of acting like I've got it all together. Of giving the impression that I feel safe and secure." Don't we all pretend? And doesn't it get old? We try so hard to appear we have it together but who really does? I think we all long to be more real and I think if we were all more real we would feel better about being real. I admit, I am so far from having it together and when I hear someone else admit it too I feel so much better. God wants us to be real and when we are real He can step in and heal. "But I realize I've tried my whole life to be perfect. And you know what? It hasn't worked." It doesn't work, nobody is perfect no matter how much we try and it is just exhausting trying anyway. Why is it so hard to just be ourselves, our messy, don't have it all together selves? "The secret your mother and I have learned is to make each other feel safe. So safe we don't have to hide anything. We can be mad, sad, happy, and say whatever we want, even if it's wrong, because we know nothing can kill our love for each other." Feeling safe to be who you are is priceless, especially in a marriage. If we can't be who we are with our spouse then who can we be our true selves with? That's the key, feeling safe to be who we are so we don't have to pretend we are perfect or have it all together. We all long for that safe place. The safest place of all to feel that is with God because He is perfect. The book has a happily ever after ending, in case you were wondering. Good read, real stuff, good advice.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

To Heaven and Back

"To Heaven and Back" by Mary C. Neal, MD

I know, I know, another died and gone to heaven book. I told my dad I was done with these but he gave it to me anyway. I'm glad he did, it was a good one and it wasn't like the others. This book is less about the author's heaven experience and more about what she learned from it. Mary drowned in a kayaking accident and came back to life. When she was under the water she was told that it wasn't her time and she was specifically told the reasons why she was still needed on earth. One of those reasons was to help her family through the death of her son, which was still to come. Because of this experience her life was changed and she had a new understanding of her purpose on earth. She talks about her longing for heaven and how that has stayed with her. I enjoyed the book and the author's perspective. It made me think about my purpose and my desire for things of this earth that are only fleeting and pale in comparison to heaven and the things of God. I pray for a deeper longing of everything God and realize the ache for heaven when things on this earth don't satisfy.

Sweet Misfortune

"Sweet Misfortune" by Kevin Alan Milne

This book was a great one. It was funny and kept me wanting to read. The book is about a woman who has always had bad luck. She learns that everything good comes to an end. She is a baker who makes misfortune cookies. Cookies that say things like, "You will soon fall in love. Caution: when people fall, something usually breaks." The misfortunes are hilarious. "Some people are lucky in love. You aren't one of them." She started the misfortune cookies when her fiance breaks up with her. Through many twists and turns her ex-fiance convinces her life will have love that doesn't end. I liked how the book kept me guessing and since I am an honest person, to a fault sometimes, I loved how honest the character was in this book. The misfortunes will keep you laughing and the twists will keep you reading.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

"The Boy in the Striped Pajamas" by John Boyne

This is a book I have been wanting to read for a long time. I haven't seen the movie but that is when I became interested in the book. Truthfully I was a little disappointed in the book but just because I thought the writing was a little juvenile. The book is written from the perspective of a little boy. The little boy's father is a soldier and is in charge of a concentration camp. The little boy is clueless to this fact and befriends a boy from the other side of the fence. The book's message I would say is how often times we are oblivious to the things that are going on around us, things are what they are because they have always been. We don't ask questions and because of this change doesn't happen. I won't give away the ending but it is sad and shocking but not surprising.  Now I am curious to see the movie.  Good book, not great but it does get you thinking.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Ketchup is a Vegetable

"Ketchup is a Vegetable" by Robin O'Bryant

I got this book from my sis who is a brand new momma. This book is hilarious! Every momma should read this, every single momma. This book will make you laugh out loud. This book will remind you that you are not alone and your children aren't the only ones who do unthinkable things. The book is written by a momma with three little girls. It is a totally honest book written about the things children do and the days us mommas endure. The honesty and truthfulness of this book make it so funny. Trust me, you want to read it. It is an easy read and one you will want to pass on to every mother you know. One of my favorite lines from the book, "Every day there is an opportunity to let God use your children to sand off your own rough edges, making you more like them and ultimately more like Him".

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Gift of the Red Bird

"Gift of the Red Bird" by Paula D'Arcy
This book was amazing!  It got handed to me by a friend and was a pure God thing.  I could have written it.  My mouth kept hanging open as I read it in disbelief that it could be so perfect at a time I so needed to read it.  It is the authors story of loss and spiritual renewal.  It is her story of a divine encounter.  It is a story of finding God in the world around us, taking the time to find Him.  "But all of our stories, as spiritual journeys, matter.  We affect one another.  We are all reflections of a great Mystery."  "A God so personal and loving that He is in this pit with me."  We are not alone, not ever.  "She is mine to hold, but not to possess.  It makes all the difference.  You treat a gift differently than you do a possession."  She says this about her daughter.  Our children are gifts and we should treat them as such.  "To be out from under the pressure of trying to be so many things that I can't remember what it means to just be myself.  Some sane part of me reasons that you can't know anyone without spending time with that person.  So doesn't that go for me, too?  How can I know myself if I am constantly busy and never alone?"  We are all so busy and in that I think we loose ourselves.  "I consider that fact that God might have created me with special purpose.  Maybe I need to think about what I am here on earth to do.  But to find that I need to be able to recognize my own preferences and my own needs.  That's the hard part.  I am so programed to respond to others, I don't know me at all."  Hello, any moms out there feeling like this is so profound?  That hit me like a ton of bricks!  Now I'm not saying go out and leave your kids behind, our place is in the home serving our kids and husbands but we can't forget that He made us special and we have gifts beyond our home.  "I couldn't help but think what a gift it must be to know so truly the purpose for which you exist."  "Except that God is found in abandonment, and not in fear."  We all live in some sort of fear and that is not what God has for us.  He finds us when we are willing to let go, fear and all.  "How can our lives become so full that God calls, and we do not even hear?  How can we miss that we are in the presence of extravagant Love?"  This book is so, so good.  It is a very short book, an easy read but gets you thinking.  If you are struggling with who you are or where God is, read this book.

Forever Faithful

"Forever Faithful-The Complete Trilogy" by Karen Kingsbury
If you have been a follower of this blog you know that I enjoy Karen Kingsbury's books a lot.  This trilogy is a good one although with three books in one it is a rather large and heavy book totalling 1122 pages.  The first book, Waiting for Morning, is about a family torn apart when the husband and oldest daughter are killed by a drunk driver.  The wife seeks revenge and all that she can see is her hate.  The remaining daughter wishes that she had died in the accident and loses her will to live.  It is a story of struggle and how when tragedy happens God sometimes gets blamed.  But hope is found in the end when prayers are answered and forgiveness is given.  The second book, A Moment of Weakness, is about a couple making a fateful decision that changes the course of their lives.  It tells how sin can lead us down a path we never saw coming and how it affects so many people.  The book is also about our forgiving God and how He can turn beauty from ashes.  The third book, Halfway to Forever, brings the first two books together.  All the characters and in the final book.  Both couples have survived much but tragedy strikes again.  How will they all respond this time around?  Why is God doing this when they have already endured so much?  This book tells how glorious God is and how He has plans for good for all His children.  All three books were great reads and as always Karen uses very real life situations and emotions and shows how God is in it all.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cutting For Stone

"Cutting For Stone" by Abraham Verghese

This is a good book, long, slow to start, some hard words but worth the read.  I love a book that keeps me reading and that doesn't quite fit with how I think it should go or end for that matter.  This is an ending you will never see coming.  This book is about twin brothers that were born in Ethiopia and left orphaned by their mother's death and their father's disappearance.  The story involves, medicine, poverty, death, revolution, love, betrayal and miracles.  "The greatest sin is not finding it, ignoring what God made possible in you."  We all have special gifts and when we don't use them, I think, everyone misses out.  We are called to use our gifts for His glory, and what wonderful things can happen due to those gifts and Him using us.  "We are all fixing what is broken.  It is the task of a lifetime."  "God will judge us by what we did to relieve the suffering of our fellow human beings.  I don't think God cares what doctrine we embrace."  I love that statement.  Sometimes I think doctrines are the very thing that separates us instead of helping those in need to bring us together.  "All sons should write down every word of that their fathers have to say to them.  I tried.  Why did it take an illness for me to recognize the value of time with him?  It seems we humans never learn."  Value the people in your life that you have been given, you don't know how long you will have them.  "A mother loves her children equally...but sometimes one child needs more help, more attention, to get by in the world."  This was such a poignant book, I highly recommend it.

A Time To Embrace

                                            "A Time To Embrace" by Karen Kingsbury

This is the sequel to A Time To Dance. After almost getting a divorce, finding their way back to each other, tragedy strikes. Can the couple who have already been through so much survive the biggest blow to their marriage yet? "The girls you're looking at belong to someone, too. They're someones sister, someones daughter. Someones mother, in many cases. Someones future wife. Why is it okay to treat them that way? That's the first lie; that a woman is merely a body." In the book the son is dealing with some pornography issues. The dad confronts his son and I love what is said. Those woman belong to someone and we are so much more than our bodies. "Because we forgot about being intimate. We stopped talking and sharing our hearts with each other. We let life and busy schedules rule our relationship, and because of that we almost walked away from a love that, other than God's, is greater than any I know." How easy it is to let life get too busy and take us away from the things and people that really matter. "It was crucial that she see the truth-that any marriage could be saved so long as both people were willing to hear God's voice above their own." Key: hearing God's voice above our own. Oh how hard that is sometimes. We are such selfish beings. We have a right to be mad, we have a right to feel what we feel, we have a right to do what we want. Soon we are hearing so much of our own voice God's is drowned out. "Sometimes love makes a mistake. Even a series of mistakes. When I married John, I promised to love him in good times and bad. No matter what happened." When bad happens we forget those vows and we forget often that if the roles were reversed we would want our spouse to love us through those bad times. It isn't easy, never is, but with God it is possible. "Pride. It's why Adam and Eve took the apple-because they thought they were smarter than God. They wanted to be like God. And it's why good couples start going in different directions and wind up believing divorce is the only solution. When really, the only solution is to grab tight to each other, forgive, and go on."

A Time To Dance

"A Time To Dance" by Karen Kingsbury

Another great one by Karen Kingsbury.  She never disappoints as far as I'm concerned.  This book is about a marriage on the brink of divorce.  The happy, Godly, have-it-all couple is falling apart and no one knows it, not even their three children.  Their lives became hectic, they each did their own thing and before they knew it they were strangers sleeping in separate rooms with not a thing in common.  "It can never be better to divorce, Abby.  Never.  That's a lie from the pit of hell; mark my words."  I think it is the grass is greener in the other pasture kind of mentality and sometimes we don't know what we have till its gone.  It divorce is from the pit of hell, Satan's way of breaking apart what God destined for forever.  "There will always be naysayers, son.  The key is to listen to God's calling.  If you're doing that, then everyone else's opinion amounts to little more than hot air."  Oh if we could only all take this to heart.  What matter is the Voice of Truth, be still and listen.  "Maybe that's why God asked couples to wait.  So they could learn to love each other.  Because over the years it would take that kind of love to make their relationship a beautiful thing."  It takes more than physical love to make it through life's trials and learning to love like that is priceless and long lasting.  "She was losing this-her family's ability to grieve together, to suffer life's dark and desperate times under the strength of her husband.  In a few months she would be on her own, forced to shoulder every major setback and milestone by herself."  Oh the strength of a family.  I do not know how I would have gotten through some things without my husband and girls.  God intends for this community to not be broken, to not be alone through trials.  "I don't care if it kills me; I want to love you like an eagle loves his mate.  Like the Lord wants me to love you.  Holding on until death makes me finally let go." "Fight for your marriages friends.  Pray for wisdom and Godly counsel; seek God and find a way back to the place where love began, a place where love can begin again."  Such a good book with such good truths.  It truly is never too late.

Unfinished Love

"Unfinished Love" by Sherry Tucker

I'm sure you have figured out that I am a sucker for tragedies.  I love the sadness and the triumph, just can't get enough.  So when I saw this book in the discount section at the Bible book store, it was mine.  It is a true story of a 7 year old boy who is diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.  The book talks about his struggle and how his family deals with this drastic turn in their lives.  This was such a beautiful book.  It is amazing what a little 7 year old can endure and with such grace.  It is also amazing the strength and hope you can have in the face of such a trial when you have Jesus.  "Ushering him into God's arms would be my last gift I could give him."  The mother of this child had such a privilege to be able to hold her child as he entered the arms of Jesus.  "Parents, please use these lessons and remember that all children are true gifts from God.  God has blessed us with the chance to mold and teach these precious souls while they are here with us.  Do not waste this chance.  Help to make them all that they can be by living your life with purpose and guiding them to do the same.  Cherish each and every moment-bad and good.  There is a reason for them all!"  Life, a gift we so often take for granted.  When I was reading this book I was grumpy about some situations in my life and just feeling discontent.  As I was reading the author was talking about how she wishes she could have just one more ordinary day, a day without the word cancer, without sickness, without doctors and needles.  I began to be thankful, thankful for the ordinary days I was living with two very healthy beautiful girls.  Thankful that I could stay home and teach and take care of them.  So thankful for the mundane.  It is truly all about perspective.

Friday, April 27, 2012

One True Love

"One True Love" by Barbara Freethy
Here is another freebie on my Kindle.  It was a good one, not too bad for free.  Warning though, it did have some sexual content.  It is about a woman named Lisa who gets a frantic call from her best friend that she needs her to come watch her kids for the weekend.  Lisa then finds herself face to face with her ex-husband, her past and her present collide.  It is a story of how love wins and overcomes.  This was a feel good book.  "You're not failing.  You're just being human."  So often we feel like failures but isn't good to know that we are just human like everyone else?  "Don't you get it, Lisa?  I love you no matter who your father is, no matter what your mother does, and no matter what you do.  I'm never going to leave you.  So you better get used to having me around for the next fifty years.  You and I-we're bound for life."  Oh how we need this kind of commitment in our world today.  "I know now that I took everything out on you.  I didn't know how to deal with my emotions, my anger.  I wanted to break something, to hit someone, and you were the closest one."  Why do we always hurt the ones we love, because they are the closest.  "Because you don't believe does not make it false."  So true, so true.  "Because in order to survive, you had to leave, you had to forget.  The only way I could survive was to face the memories head-on every day, to think about her, to remember her.  Otherwise, I felt like she would have died for nothing."  Grief takes many forms and we all have to deal with it differently.  It's hard not to judge when others deal with it differently than we do.  "She realized that when she turned her back on her life with him, she'd locked away not just the bad memories but the good ones as well."  "That's the hardest part about being a parent, accepting that you can't protect your children from getting hurt.  You can take all the precautions in the world and worry yourself like crazy, but each individual comes to this world with a life to live, no matter how long or how good or how scary it might be.  We give out children life, but sometimes we forget that they're the ones who actually have to live that life."

Not In The Heart

"Not in the Heart" by Chris Fabry
This was a great book!  I really enjoyed this book and mostly because it had such great dry humor in it.  It was funny yet griping at the same time.  It is a book you won't want to put down.  It is about a man who is a writer, a famous writer who is out of work.  His family is also falling apart and his sons heart is failing.  Then he gets a story of a lifetime, a death row inmate willing to donate his heart, to his son.  As he investigates the story he finds that the inmate might not be guilty at all but if he stops the execution his son will surely die.  Truman must make a choice.  (Bet you wanna read it now huh?)  "He's doing something good from the heart, making sense out of the bad.  Your son is just the recipient of the grace of God."  Gifts we don't deserve, grace.  "He just wasn't able to get the drawbridge of his heart down far enough to get across."  Sometimes we need help getting that drawbridge down, or the wall to crumble.  "His words left a bad taste in my mouth, like one of those energy bars that are supposed to give you the nutrients that you need but just leave you feeling full of oats."  That gives you a taste of the authors writing, witty and funny throughout you just have to laugh out loud.  "I try to project the image that I'm together, but underneath there is always a need to escape, to rush to some other place where the pain and trouble aren't rising like a tide, ready to engulf."  How many of us are trying to project the image that we have it all together?  I would bet every last one of us.  So why can't we be the messes that we are and let God handle the rest?  I think we all need to be a little more honest with ourselves and each other and show a little more grace too while we are at it. 

Unplanned Journey

"Unplanned Journey" by Tanya Unkovich
I picked this book up in a bargain bin at the bookstore, I just can't help myself from a tragic story.  It is a true story of a women who finds herself in a life she never planned, a life where her beloved husband is dying of cancer.  The book was written from journals that both her and her husband kept through his battle.  It is raw and honest and beautiful.  "So don't let the written word from a doctor upset you.  The only written word that we have to check is from the Bible.  He is the great and divine healer, end of story, and I believe totally in Him."  These words were from her husband trying to bring comfort after they got news of the cancer.  And I love them because yes we go to doctors for help but God has the ultimate say and often in the most trying times His word is what we have to hold on to.  "In the face of emotion, don't move, welcome it."  So often we try and get out from under what we are feeling or stuff it.  Tanya learns that the best things to do is feel it, whatever it is, and then and only then will you get through it.  "Carry the cross with grace and strength."  We all have our own crosses to carry and I pray that I carry mine with the grace and strength of Jesus.  "I am thinking about how hard it is being alone.  God made Aden and Eve for a reason!"  I love this line.  I think God made us for community and being alone is never easy.  We were made to be with one another.  "It is such a relief to actually know and experience that no matter how bad you feel, these feelings do pass and all you have to do is go through them.  Attempts to escape them one way or another leads to more pain.  Just sit and be with these feelings and get up and just do it."  Again, feelings do pass, thankfully, we just have to move through them.  "Experience is not just the best teacher, it is the only teacher.  As we look back at our trials and hardships, we realize that, rather than being tragic and destructive, our difficulties have given us endurance, resilience, and patience.  This is the direct outcome of going through trials.  This is where hope comes from."

The Silent Gift

"The Silent Gift" by Michael Landon Jr. and Cindy Kelley            
This story is about a single mother with a disabled child struggling to make it but devoted to love and protect the gift she has been given in her son.  Then she finds out that her disabled son has a gift of his own to offer.  Can his gift bring hope to their life full of struggles?  This was a unique book written very well.  It exemplifies what it means to truly hope and have faith despite the circumstances.  And I love that it ended happily ever after.  "I ask right now, Lord, that those who see little Jack here will see God.  Those that touch him, come in contact with him, will realize that he is special.  A gift."  Don't we all want this, for others to see God in us and especially in our children?  I pray every day that He shines through me so my girls will see Jesus and want to be like Him.  I pray the places they go that He will shine through them and Jesus' love will pour out of them. I pray that others will see the gift that they truly are.   


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Bailey Flanigan Series

"Leaving"; "Learning"; "Longing" and "Loving" by Karen Kingsbury

This was a four book series and if you like Karen Kingsbury you won't be disappointed. These books are about Bailey, a daughter who has grown up and is now looking for the path God has for her. In the first book she is leaving home and spreading her wings. The second book she goes through some trials, searches for God in those trials and learns from them. The third book she longs for the promises God has given her and the final book is the fulfillment of those promises. I enjoy Karen's writing because it is so real and current. Also throughout all her books are the truths of God woven so beautifully in her stories. The final book didn't turn out quite like I had thought but it was true to life that sometimes how we see things are not what God has for us.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stepping Heavenward

"Stepping Heavenward" by Elizabeth Prentiss

I bought this for my Kindle, it is only $1. It is a book, a journal really, of a woman's journey with God. It starts when she is young all the way till she is old. It is a wonderful account of the ups and downs and it is filled with truth and honesty over her struggles and the hard things that come her way. Here are some passages that stood out to me.
-"'I do wish I could make you love to pray, my darling child,'" mother went on. "If only you knew the strength, and the light, and the joy you might have for the simple asking. God attaches no conditions to His gifts. He only says, 'Ask!'"
-"God notices the most trivial act, accepts the poorest, most threadbare little service, listens to the coldest, feeblest petition, and gathers up with parental fondness all our fragmentary desires and attempts at good works. Oh, if we could only begin to conceive how He loves us, what different creatures we should be!"
-"The truth is, the journey heavenward is all up hill. I have to force myself to keep on."
-"But He often deals far differently with His disciples. He lets them grope their way in the dark until they fully learn how blind they are, how helpless, how absolutely in need of Him."
-"And let me assure you that as you penetrate the labyrinth of life in pursuit of Christian duty, you will often be surprised and charmed by meeting your Master Himself amid its windings and turnings, and receive His soul-inspiring smile. Or, I should rather say, you will always meet Him wherever you go."
-"We only know ourselves and what we really are, when the force of circumstances bring us out." -"What I am, that I must be, except as God changes me into His own image."
-"Nothing but prayer stands between my soul and the best gifts of God."

Ella A Life Unaborted

"Ella A Life Unaborted"

I was given this book by my friend and the author is her friend. It is an unbelievable story about a little girl who's life is nothing other than a complete miracle. The authors water broke at 18 weeks and Ella was born at 29 weeks. No doctor thought she would make it but God told Jennifer, the mother, that He was with her and to have peace. This is an amazing journey of peace in a world of unknowns, where death is at her daughters door trying desperately to get in. You won't soon forget this mother and her courage or this little girl and God's hand on her life. This story renewed my faith in a God of miracles, a God who cares and hears our every prayer, a God who works all for good. "I have said ever since I was a kid that if God hasn't taken us right up to heaven after we're saved, there must be a reason that He has us on this earth; I believe it's so that we can lead others to Him. That is the one and only reason I can logically think of that God would leave us here in this harsh world and not take us up to be in His awesome presence." And this is what the author lives by, through her trials her first thought is how can I use this to show others Christ. Read this book and be encouraged.

The Dead Don't Dance

"The Dead Don't Dance" by Charles Martin

I picked this book up at the Salvation Army for a couple of bucks. The title and cover caught my eye and I can't lie, the tragedy within the pages. I just can't pass up a tragedy, I tell myself it is because I like to see how people overcome (at least I hope that is why). I also love discovering new authors and I like this one. It is a story about love and a baby about to be born when tragedy hits. It tells about how and who and why we must rise above but also how hard it is to move on. It is about treasuring all we have, every second, every breath. It's a journey of despair but of finding the light of hope. "When you boil it down, all we got left, all anybody's got, is faith...and hope...and love. And we all gonna make it. All three of us." Those are the three things all of us have, if we choose them, and all three of them are the things that are going to last, going to get us through when we think we can't. "Cause you need to hear that there are folks in this world who got lives just as bad as yours. Life ain't fair, and welcome to earth." Sometimes self pity takes over and we think we are the only ones going through this or have trouble and we are oh so very wrong. "If God is who He says He is, then He's big enough to handle my ranting and raving. And all my questions." And I think sometimes that is just what we need to do, He understands, He hears and He loves us all the same. "I had played my best, Maggie would be proud, but I felt empty, not full. I guess that's because playing your drum only has meaning when you share it with someone else." "We scar, but in the end, we heal." We don't forget what we have been through and a lot of it leaves scars but we heal, we move on with God's grace. I loved how the character in this story found hope in the most unlikely of places and I love that hope won.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rooms


"Rooms" by James L. Rubart

This book was good but not my favorite, a little to sci-fi for me, but sci-fi with a spiritual twist. A man who appears to have it all gets a letter that makes him look at all that he has with new eyes. The letter is from a deceased great uncle he has never met. A great uncle that has built him a home in a place he loves, a place he never wants to visit again. He goes to see if the house is for real and finds the house feels like home. He is drawn to it. Many strange things happen in the house, spiritual things. "Songs from the deepest part of you: your heart. So many good things are trapped there. So much of My glory. Your good heart cries for that glory. Remember who you are." Songs can speak to the deepest part of us and here is where God resides. Sometimes music can bring us back and help us remember who we are in Christ. "A stronghold is anything that keeps us from the freedom of being in Christ Jesus." This sentence made me think about strongholds in my life, things that are keeping me bound up and not able to experience the freedom Christ gives. "To heal a wound the Lord needs to bring it to the surface." That sentence hurts because so often we just want to put a band aid on our hurts and will them away. In order to fully heal they have to be brought to the surface, talked about and dealt with so that Jesus can completely heal. This is usually not a fun process but the wholeness and growth after is worth the pain. "The King calls us to a life of risk, adventure, and a continual journey into the unknown. The Bible says the Word is a lamp unto our feet. Not a lamp unto our head or a set of running lights where we can land our aircraft. So take one step at a time. Right now you're desperately trying to figure out how your journey ends. But you must have faith enough to let it go and let Him unveil it in His timing." Oh how I always want to know the end, how all things will work out. How will this new job look in a year? Where are we supposed to live? What will my girls excel at? So many end questions, wanting the answers now. Faith is taking one step at a time, one step at a time into the unknown.

"Utterly engulfed,
And wanting more.
Buried,
Drowned,
Intoxicated,
With the vastness of Love.
Losing myself as the waves wash over me,
Through me,
Surrounding me,
Caught up in a hurricane of overwhelming peace,
I have let go,
And He has found me."

Admission

"Admission" by Travis Thrasher

This book was really good. Jake is in his last semester of college and all seems to be going his way. Then something terrible happens and his life is turned upside down. He comes back to college 11 years later to sort out the questions of the that last semester and make amends with his past, his friends and his lost love. This book was really gripping. I loved the mystery involved and the story of how lies can ruin lives. But also that truth can bring redemption and it is never to late for truth. This author is worth the read.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Flight To Heaven

"Flight To Heaven" by Capt. Dale Black

Another one of those died and gone to heaven books. Don't know if you believe it but this is the third one that I have read. It is about a nineteen year old boy who has his flying license and is in a plane with two others. The plane crashes and he is the only survivor. He has extensive injuries. He doesn't understand why he survived and survived only to suffer. God does a lot of miracles healing he broken body and through it and vowes to serve God completely. He tells about the brief time he spent in heaven after first being taken to the hospital. Most of the book is about how the crash changed the direction of his life. He went on to do amazing things for God. Truthfully I was more fascinated with what God did with his life than the heaven experience. "I wasn't going to get faith by simply praying for it. Faith would come by believing and then acting upon what God said in His Word." Sometimes I forget the acting upon part. I do the believing and not a lot happens. I need to remember I have to do something. "Growth can be a lonely place, but it is a necessary place." Growth is sometimes hard but who wants to remain stagnant? "I knew then and have always known since that although I am small, I am connected to a very big God." Yeah for a very big God, I know I need Him.

Change Your Brain Change Your Life

"Change Your Brain Change Your Life" by Daniel G. Amen, M.D.

I read this book to see if I could find some insight into my daughter who has been having some difficulties all around. This was an eye opening book for me. Dr. Amen is a psychiatrist and a neuroscientist. He does these brain scans on the flow of blood in the brain and finds out all sorts of things. I want everyone I know to get one of these scans! He states that even what is considered a "minor" head injury can damage the brain. The book has pictures of a healthy brain and then other pictures of brains such as drug abuse, ADD, Alzheimer's and such. It is unbelievable the difference. He says that many addicts after seeing the picture of their brain on drugs stop using as they can see how much is being eaten away. It is amazing what the scans reveal and then in turn the medicine and therapy that follows help people finally be able to function in the world. He helps the most extreme cases and even uses the scans for severe marital problems. The book is filled with many checklists and prescriptions. It shows how anxiety, depression, anger, obsessiveness, or impulsiveness could be related to how specific structures in your brain work. The book does have a lot of medical jargon but he tries to break it down so the every day person can understand. I found this book fascinating.