Monday, March 31, 2014

The Wind is Not a River

"The Wind is Not a River" by Brian Payton

This book was intriguing.  It is a novel but it does tell about an actual little known battle of WWII.  John is a journalist who has lost his brother in the war and is determined to write about what is actually happening.  John leaves his wife behind and go to Alaska's Aleutian Islands and his plane is shot down.  He survives the crash only to have to survive being undettected by the enemy and surviving the elements.  His wife is determined to find out what has happened to her husband after not hearing from him for three months.  Will love be able to bring them back together?  Will she be strong enough to find her answers, no matter what they are?  This is a story of sacrifice, love and courage.  "The sacrifices made on our behalf must be known before they can be remembered, he said."  We can not be thankful to those who have sacrificed for us if we do not know what was sacrificed.  We all have a story to tell and as I get older I am wishing more and more that I had heard the stories of those who went before me.  "We're walking through life in the present, changing along the way.  The past is something somebody else did long ago.  What happens tomorrow is someone else's problem.  All that's real is the here and now."  Hopefully we are changing, adapting and makes adjustments along this journey we call life.  The past is done, and we are different for it.  We can't control tomorrow and it's not our job to.  What we have is today, that's all we are guaranteed and we need to do the best we can. "How many millions of lives have been diverted by this war?  Unlike the tally of ships, dollars, or casualties, there is no math for personal losses, losses quiet and unseen.  No restitution for what could have been."  Wars losses are great.  Many lives are changed, never to be on the path they once were.  "There are enough hard facts to confront each day without letting our imaginations get the better of us-without letting worry drain our real lives away."   I would recommend this book.  It has a touch of history, a lot of courage and love and faith in humanity restored.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dinner with the Smileys

"Dinner with the Smileys" by Sarah Smiley

This story is about a military family whose dad/husband is deployed for a year.  The wife and three sons are home to endure a year without their dad/husband.  They decide to have someone over for dinner every week to mark the weeks.  Dinner can be a lonely time as they can physically see the empty chair.  The dinners turned into so much more than they could have imagined.  They had teachers, senators, athletes, musicians, neighbors and many others over for dinner.  The boys got to learn about many things and meet lots of people.  Many people rallied around this family and showed support when they needed it most.  I'm so proud of those who serve in our military and the families that also sacrifice so much for our freedoms.  "I believe parents always have one child who keeps them in a state of suspended, uncertain emotion."  I know I do.  "I don't want to be the mom who thinks things are impossible.  I don't want to teach my kids that doing less is better.  I don't want them to think that anything stands in their way."  Sarah had to go it alone and be both mom and dad for a year. She had to think about what her husband would say or do in many different circumstances with the boys.  She had to be willing to take some risks, willing to see that the lesson learned was worth it.  We all want our children to soar and that always involves some risk.  I know I want my children to know that they can face hard things and do them with the help of their community around them and with God.  I enjoyed this book as it gives an inside look on military families and the hardship they endure when a parent is deployed.  I liked that the community and friends joined with this family.  It made me grateful to our military and their families and grateful for my family.  

Monday, March 24, 2014

Wake the Dawn

"Wake the Dawn" by Lauraine Snelling

I just happened to pick this book up at the library.  Most of the time I am not dissapointed when I am just looking through the shelves and grab a book.  This book did not dissapoint and in fact kept me turning pages.  The story is about a small town that gets hit by a big storm.  Ben is a border patrolman who lost his wife and turned to the bottle.  Esther is the only physician in town and has an emotional battle she is hiding.  Both are forced to work together during the storm under stressful circumstances and with little supplies.  An abandoned baby might just turn Ben from the bottle and his heart might just heal Esther.  A story of the force of love and friendship.  "I can't help you walk if I'm still crippled.  I want to help you."  When we become healthy, whole people, it is our turn to help others find that same healing.  This was a quick and rewarding read.  

The Kite Runner

"The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini

Alright, now I've read all of this authors books, this being his first book.  I really like this author and how he has brought a face and people to all that has gone on in Afghanistan.  My heart has been burdened for the people their after reading his books.  This book is definitely a difficult read in that it is heavy and is somewhat expilicit.  It is about two boys born in Kabul, Afghanistan who shared the same wet nurse and are friends but grew up in two different worlds.  One boy, Amir, is the  son of a wealthy man.  The other boy, Hassan, is the son of Amir's father's servant.  Amir and his father eventually flee the country but Amir can not leave behind his past and his friend Hassan.  There is heartache, betrayal and eventual hope in this story.  It is a story of a past that will haunt until it is reckoned with and made right.  "Children aren't coloring books.  You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors."  Nope, children come with their own sense of who they want to be.  As parents we don't get to choose for them, thats already decided by the One who made them.  We just get to gently direct with Gods help.  "...but time can be a greedy thing-sometimes it steals all the details for itself."  "And that, I believe, is what true redemption is, when guilt leads to good."  Guilt from the right source should always prompt us to change.  And that is what this book is about, being prompted to change and make the past right.  

Monday, March 17, 2014

I Speak For This Child

"I Speak for This Child" by Gay Courter

I was given this book to read as I am going through some training for a volunteer position.  It is a heavy read but a very good and eye opening book.  The author is a volunteer that works with foster children.  The book is stories of children that she has worked with in that system.  Most people will tell you that our social service system is a very broken system and while I agree, there are many, many people that work within that system that are good and doing their best to bring about help.  These are heartbreaking stories of children who need someone to stand up for them, willling to listen and fight for them, and that is just what the author has done.  Something must be done to help these kids and we can all have a part in making a difference.  The back of the book has many different resources for getting involved.  This book has urged me to get involved, to not be on the sidelines any longer.  It has also opened my eyes to the hurt these children are facing and how that affects all of us in the long run. Our society can not sit by any longer, these children need someone to care or we will continue to live in a world where violence is an every day occurrence, where suicide continues to skyrocket, and where drugs and alcohol are abused more frequently.  I encourage you to not only read this book but after you are done to take a step of action, our future is depending on us all.

Monday, March 3, 2014

A Thousand Splendid Suns

"A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini

Khaled is becoming a favorite of mine.  His writings about Afghanistan have intruiged me.  Iv'e yet to read The Kite Runner, his most famous work, but it's on my list.  This story tells of the turmoil and devastation Afghanistan and its people have endured from all of its wars.  It gives faces to those who have suffered.  I'll admit it was a bit hard to read as the reality of what has gone on in this country is hard for this American to swallow.  But it tells a tale of great sacrifice, of love and of friendship.  This was a great book, heart wrenchingly good. I would highly recommend reading it.  I honestly don't know a lot about the culture or the history of Afghanistan except what is portrayed in the news, and I think this book, and his others, tell a more personal story of it all.  It is a powerful book.