Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Long Time Coming

"Long Time Coming" by Vanessa Miller

Deidre is a teacher with no children to call her own, her life long dream.  Kenisha has three kids, each with different fathers.  Kenisha has been handed hardship her whole life and being diagnosed with cancer is just one more thing to add to that list.  Both woman feel abandoned by a God they thought they knew.   When their paths cross neither could have known what God was up to.  "Deidre had certainly learned that some of life's journeys were simply too great for her, and she needed to lean on the Lord to get through them."  I've been there, life can hand out some doozies and the only way to muster the strength to keep on is with the Lord by my side.  "I do believe that God answers prayers.  Whether He answers mine or not does not change the fact that God is good and that He is well able to do anything we need Him to do."  This is a truth that I am learning.  He does answer every prayer, just not how or when we want, but He does answer.  And His answers are always the best answers even when I had other plans.  I enjoyed this book as a quick read full of God's grace and surprises.  It was a book I just randomly picked up at the library.  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

And the Mountains Echoed

"And the Mountains Echoed" by Khaled Hosseini

This was a long book and took a little while to get into but it was a good one.  The story is set in Afghanistan and tells of the bonds we have as family.  A brother and a sister without a mother are separated and live their lives with an absence.   A child who lives with a mother who looks to her daughter to fill the holes of loss in her life.  A daughter whose father holds tightly to her, afraid of losing what is most precious.  One event is tied to the others.  Ones loss is a whole generations loss.  "But, sometimes, it is only after you have lived that you recognize your life had a purpose, and likely one you never had in mind."  We all have these great plans of what our lives will look like but really it is only when we surrender those plans to God will the greatest plans take place.  "I learned that the world didn't see the inside of you, that it didn't care a whit about the hopes and dreams, and sorrows, that lay masked by skin and bone."  The world can be a cruel place, judging on only the outward, but then we miss the amazing beauty of the soul.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Saving Each Other

"Saving Each Other" by Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy

I found this book while watching an Ellen clip on YouTube, she had the authors on the show.  It is the story of a teen girl who becomes suddenly very ill and when she is taken to the doctor for tests they discover that she has a very rare and deadly disease, NMO.  The disease is like MS but attacks at a much faster rate and with worse symptoms.  Doctors knew little about the disease or how to treat it.  There were no foundations to help and so little information.  So the mother, Victoria Jackson, took it upon herself to get her daughter help.  She started a foundation, connected with other people with the disease and started connecting doctors.  It is a moving story, written from both the mother and daughters perspectives.  It is about the fierce love of a mother and a strong will of the daughter, Ali.  "Maybe I can't be saved from being a mom.  My consolation is knowing that I'm not so alone in my incurable condition."  All of us mothers live with our hearts outside our chests, we have babies of all ages that we will never stop worrying over or loving, but we are not alone.  "Be happy for what you've accomplished today, and be grateful, hopeful, and positive about the things you will do tomorrow."  One day at a time, one grateful, hopeful moment to the next.  I enjoyed the lessons this mother and daughter learned from each other in their trial.  Ali learned just how strong and tough her mother is.  She learned that her mother would never give up and would fight and stay with her through all of life's ups and downs.  Victoria learned that her daughter has quiet strength and amazing perspective in the midst of the worst of times.  The worst you can imagine may happen but we are not alone and we can choose what we will do, lay down or get up and fight.  

Tell My Sons

"Tell My Sons' by Lt. Col. Mark M. Weber

The author served in the U.S. Army and found out he had stage IV intestinal cancer.  This book is about that fight and also it is a letter to his three sons about life and death and the lessons he learned.  Mark is a man with great courage and amazing perspective.  He was a fighter, a hero and most of all humble.  "I am proposing that 'can do' is often just one or two short steps beyond 'can't do,' and the territory in between is fertile ground for personal growth and professional achievement."  We have to push ourselves just a bit further, just a little bit beyond what we think we can, just a little outside our comfort zones and we find we really can.  "And success with humility comes (and will come) not by trying to be the best but by doing your best every time and letting the results speak for themselves-to others and to you."  When we do our best all the time it speaks of character, of not settling for less than what we are called to.  "In the end, laughing and crying are more like cousins than strangers.  They're how honest human beings respond to a life they allow themselves to love, and my hope is that you have plenty of tears in your lives-of all kinds."  This book was well written and had some good lessons in it.  It isn't easy to face ones early death and continue to be courageous, humorous, positive and uplifting but that is exactly what Mark did.