Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Yellow Birds

"The Yellow Birds" by Kevin Powers

Not a good book, not worth your time.  This is the first book for this author and I think, should be his last.  I'm not sure where I got the idea to read this book but after I finished I was just plain mad I wasted my time reading it.  It was written very strangely and thus made it hard to understand.  When I got to the end I was asking what was even the point.  It is a very detailed book which is not my kind of book at all, too tedious and boring if you ask me.  It is about two soilders going off to war in Iraq.  It is about what the war does to them and about loss.  They are both young and forced to fight a war that doesn't make sense nor were they prepared for.  "We only pay attention to rare things, and death was not rare."  Death in a war is not rare and in order to keep going and survive I believe soilders shut off their brains and move on auto pilot.  "All pain is the same.  Only the detials are different."  Pain is hard and it hurts and we all experience it in some way, just in different ways.  "I feel like I'm being eaten from the inside out and I can't tell anyone what's going on because everyone is so grateful to me all the time and I'll feel like I'm ungrateful or something.  Or like I'll give away that I don't deserve anyone's gratitide and really they should all hate me for what I've done but eveyone loves me for it and it's driving me crazy."  A soilder said this when he came home from the war.  He felt like everything he did was wrong and he didn't deserve gratitude.  He hated himself for all that he had done and couldn't understand why others didn't hate him as well.  Really this story is sad.  It it yet another glimpse of our soilders and all the pain and darkness they encounter.  How do you unsee what you've seen in war?  How do you ever undo the things you've done in battle?  How do you ever recover from that?  I'm grateful to our soilders and their families.  I pray they find Jesus to bring them peace and healing after fighting for my freedom.  And as a side note this book has a lot of swearing in it.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Chance

"The Chance" by Karen Kingsbury

This is a story about a girl whose family has fallen apart.  She is forced to move and leave behind her best friend, Nolan.  The night before she is to leave town they meet in the park and write a letter to each other, bury it beneath the old oak tree and promise to come back in 11 years and read the letters.  The years go by and Ellie's life looks a lot different and she is ashamed of her choices.  She doesn't ever expect to see Nolan again but that day and her best friend stay hidden in her heart.  Nolan never forgot Ellie and he will do whatever it takes to find her again.  This story is about love conquering all and about forgiveness.  It is a powerful story about choices and how they affect those around us.  "The only right response for the rest of her life was to extend that grace to others, to forgive the way she had been forgiven."  God extends grace to us, and we are so undeserving, in turn we should extend that grace to others.  If your struggling with your choices remember that God forgives and loves you no matter what you have done.  He loves you just the way you are.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Cross Roads

"Cross Roads" by WM. Paul Young

This author wrote The Shack.  Don't know if you read it but it was somewhat confusing.  Well this starts out just as confusing and lost me for a while.  I started it and didn't like it and put it down for a couple months.  When I picked it up the second time I was determinted to get through it.  I will be honest, it took till about chapter 4 or 5 till it started getting good.  But it finally did get good and then I couldn't put it down.  So you have to stick with this one.  It is about a man who is in a coma and meets Jesus.  He is told that he can heal one person, any one person.  The story goes back and forth from earth to the in-between life where the man is while in a coma.  The book is funny, has lots of truth to it and also takes some liberties.  "Hold on to Jesus, Anthony.  You can never go wrong by holding on to Jesus.  And know this, He will never stop holding on to you."  Truth, Jesus never lets us go even in our darkest or worst moments.  "There are lots of folks besides Christians who believe in me. 'Believer' is an activity, not a category."  To believe involves doing.  "Love will not condemn you for being lost, but love will not let you stay there alone, even though it will never force you to come out of your hiding place."  Love never condemns and never forces.  "The arrival of the unforseen reveals the depths of one's heart."  When life suddenly takes a turn it tends to really show whats truly inside of us.  "There is nothin' fair in a broken world full of broken people.  Justice tries to be fair, but fails at every turn.  There is never anything fair about grace or forgiveness.  Punishment never restores fair.  Confession doesn't make things fair.  Life is not about granting the fair reward for the right performance."  Just as things that happen in this world are not fair neither is the grace we receive.  "Sometimes silence speaks loudest and presence brings the most comfort."  Sometimes all we need to do is be there.  "Somehow the pain, the losses, the hurt, the bad, God is able to transform these into something they could have never been, icons and monuments of grace and love.  It is the deep mystery how wounds and scars can become precious, or a ravaging and terrifying cross the essential symbol of relentless affection."  He always turns beauty for ashes if we allow Him.  "What initally kept you safe can eventually destroy you."  Sometimes we build walls for protection and that is good but if we never tear down those walls they will be what kills us in the end.  "But I discovered that when you blame God for evil, there is no one left to trust, and I couldn't live that way."  "Prayer, it seemed, was simply a conversation inside a relationship."  It's really that simple.  There is no right or wrong way, it's just a conversation.  "One never knows if anything's a good idea.  You just make a choice and go with the flow and see what happens.  You only get one day's worth of grace, so why not spend it extravagantly." 

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Longest Ride

"The Longest Ride" by Nicholas Sparks

I got this book for my birthday.  It is his newest book published in September and I think this is the soonest I've gotten one of his books.  I was so excited to read it, he never disappoints.  I dob't know how he continues to write such good books.  This book was a change up from what I have been reading.  It was nice to read something a little lighter.  The story is about an old man at the end of his life, reliving precious memories of the years with his wife and of another young couple just starting out on this road of life.  The couples come from two different eras but soon their lives will connect in ways no one saw coming.  "You kissed me, yes, but it was not just good night.  Even then, I could feel the promise in it, the promise that you would kiss me just like that, forever."  Isn't Nicholas a great writer?  "I think that the point is that people rarely understand that nothing is ever exactly what you think it will be."  That's one of the hardest things to comes to terms with in this life.  We think we will be happily married or we will have well behaved children, or children at all.  We think we will always be healthy or strong.  Often times what we envision our lives to be is rarely what actually is.  But remembering that God has plans even when things aren't what we thought they would be, even in the hardest of times, gives us hope and a rock to stand on.  "For it is one thing to declare one's love for someone and quite another to accept that loving that person requires sacrificing one's dreams."  We say we love but when it comes to sacrificing what we want, that's when love gets real.  That's when love gets hard.  "Your heart is still beautiful.  Your eyes are still kind, and you are a good and honest man.  This is enought to keep you beautiful forever."  Doesn't matter what we look like on the outside, even the most beautiful face will age, what matters and what lasts is the beauty within.  "At night, the space between us in the bed felt like the Pacific, an ocean impossible for either of us to swim across."  Sometimes it feels that way, doesn't it?  A chasm so wide we cannot cross or a wall so big we cannot climb it?  But with God all things are possible and sometimes we just have to show up and be willing to take the first step towards the other person, even if they were in the wrong.  It's sacrificing, putting away our pride-hard love.  "A truth emerges in any long marriage, and the truth is this: Our spouses sometimes know us better than we even know ourselves."  "I know you miss me terribly.  I miss you, too.  But we still have each other, for I am-and always have been-part of you.  You carry me in your heart, just as I carried you in mine, and nothing will ever change that."  Oh I love that.  When you truly love you become a part of each other and when that person is gone a part of you is missing but they are in your heart, forever a part of you.  Another great Nicholas Sparks book, another great read.