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.