Friday, April 25, 2014


"Her" by Christa Parravani

This book was a little strange, a little hard to get through, but overall interesting.  A warning that there is swearing and some crude language.  The author is an identical twin whose twin died.  The twin was raped and never emotionally healed from that rape and destoryed herself with drugs.  After losing her twin she too begins to spiral downward.  He whole life she has been attached and linked with her twin, she doesn't know how to live life without her.  In the end, through writing this memoir, she finds hope.  She finds that she has been given a gift, life and many days to live it.  This is a story of brokenness, heartache, despair, but hope and love.  "I was one of the insensitive people whose only power in a powerless situation is to deny it away, to ignore it, to hope the truth will fade."  She tried so many times to help her sister but she couldn't save her and sometimes we feel so powerless to help those we love.  In the end we love and do the best we can and leave the rest up to God.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Taylor's Gift

"Taylor's Gift" by Todd and Tara Storch with Jennifer Schuchmann

This book tells an amazing and heart wrenching story.  A 13 year old girl was killed in a skiing accident and her family is devestated.  They decide to donate their daughters organs and hope blossoms out of the despair.  It is a tragic story that will take your breath away.  The first chapter had me in tears and overwhelmed me so much that I had to put it down for a while.  But when I finished I went to my computer and looked up anything I could find on this story and watched numerous interviews of the parents.  This story is one of God's amazing hope and how He never fails to be with us, heal our brokenness and turn what was meant to harm us into good.  "I cried for us, for them, and for the fallen world we lived in that let things like this happen."  That's truly it, our heart and soul cry out when bad happens as we know that we were not meant for this world.  "...if you deny people the opportunity to help, you're taking away their blessing.  You're taking away a gift they want to give you."  We think we can do it ourselves or we don't want to burden others but we were designed to help others, we are the body of Christ.  Being able to help those in need is what we are called to do and it blesses us.  "Grieving people are hard to be around.  Grief can get ugly.  It's messy.  Some people don't want any part of it.  Others choose to get involved.  They enter your story without concern as to the sacrifices they'll have to make to love you."  Grieving is such a hard process and we often don't think people are doing it right because it looks so different to everyone.  Being willing to step in and love someone through the messiness is a gift.  "You're going to have to crack before you can find your gold."  Hardship and loss refine us and can make us shine if we choose.  We don't know what we are made up and where are faith really lies until we have gone through the fire.  This family found the only way to make it through this tragedy was to hang on to their rock, God.  He pulled them through and showed them beauty from ashes.  

The Middle Place

"The Middle Place" by Kelly Corrigan

I really enjoyed this book a lot.  The author, Kelly, was born into a very close family, she was the only girl with two brothers.  She was adored by her father who was a very positive, outgoing man.  She never doubted what she could do because she had the constant encouragement from her father.  She grows up and gets married and has two little girls of her own and is told that she has breast cancer.  She wants to be a grown up and be strong but she feels so small and needs to be taken care of by her family.  It is a story of triumph, love and strength.  It is the story of being someones child, mother, wife and friend.  "When you're a mother and your kid's in pain and you can't stop it-it's hell.  Absolute hell." Such a true statement and one that is hard to accept.  We can't shield our children from every pain, life is full of it.  We must guide them through it and help them to be stronger because of it.  This story is also full of pain but the triumph that comes with enduring and the importance of fiercely loving those around us.

Knocking on Heaven's Door

"Knocking on Heaven's Door" By Katy Butler

The subtitile of this book is, "The Path to a Better Way of Death".  I was intrigued by the title.  It's not an easy book to get through but I did find it very interesting.  The author writes about her father's illness of dementia and how today our doctors do everything to postpone death for as long as possible.  We have become so afraid of death, taking great measures to prolong it but at what cost.  Gone are the days where people die at home amongst family and friends in the comfort of the place they know and love.  Most people die in a facility amongst wires and tubes and beeping and sterile environments.  There is a time and a place most definitley for life saving means but when is it become almost cruel?  This subject has so many facets to it with religion, morals, science, technology and love intertwined.  "How greateful are we for the gift of life and what are we willing to undergo for more of it?"  Often times in older people one life saving means or device leads to additional complications and the need for more life saving means.  I think we allow these things beccause we, the living, aren't ready to let go of the person dying.  "After the mid-1950s, the attitudes of many doctors and patients shifted from faith in God and acceptance of death to faith in medicine and resistance of death."  As we do more research and technology gets better our faith in medicine and what things it can do for us begins to deepen.  "Dying can be postponed, but aging cannot be cured."  Inevitable we all must die and we all age and with that comes the loss of many things.  Aging is just as inevitable as death.  "My father could no longer strive and do.  He could only love and be loved.  The race was run."  I think that is a beautiful picture of what the end of our lives should look like.  "...that as we all one by one quit this earth we may one by one re-form the family circle in Heaven."  Our ties are not severed when we leave this earth if we believe in Jesus, we will be reunited again and there is great comfort in that.  "Dying is hard on the dying.  Death is hard on the living."  The author is not a believer so this book isn't written from that perspective and has lots of medical history giving background to how we got to where we are today.  I don't agree with all of her thinking but I was intrigued and it got me thinking about the end stages of life and what that should perhaps look like.  I would be interested to hear your feedback and take on this book if you read it.  I'd love to have a discussion on it.  

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk

"How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk" by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish

This might be the book that has the longest title ever but it is a great resource.  I think the information in the book is a lot of common sense but as parents we get so exasperated with our children that common sense tends to go out the window.  There are many great steps to not yell, to keeping your cool, and to giving your child choices.  The main point is to see our children as humans with valid feelings and capabilities.  We often don't give our children enough credit or we think what they are feeling is silly.  I know that when someone overlooks my feelings it makes me feel not heard or that I don't matter, this is not what I want to portray to my children.  The book has lots of examples, lots of different situations and exercises that you can do.  I thought the book was very helpful and had tangible things I can say with my children when a problem arises.  "It's a bittersweet road we parents travel.  We start with total commitment to a small, helpless human being.  Over the years we worry, plan, comfort, and try to understand.  We give our love, our labor, our knowledge and our experience-so that one day he or she will have the inner strength and confidence to leave us."  I recommend reading this book if you have children in your life in any fashion, as a parent, a grandparent, a foster parent, an aunt or uncle, a teacher or even as a neighbor.  It will encourage you and give you tools to better communicate.