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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

All the Pretty Things

We are all products of our environment, so I love hearing people's life stories and digesting what shaped them into who they are. Some rise above their situation and some follow in the footsteps of their parents. Each story is as original as the person. All the Pretty Things by Edit Wadsworth is the story of a child born into extreme poverty in the Appalachian Mountains, with an alcoholic father. You can see right from the very beginning that Wadsworth's father was a product of his family, who all struggled with poverty, addiction, and criminal behavior.

It was heartbreaking to see how even when her father let her down Edie still idolized him. It made me mad at him for putting himself first always, but showed Edie's own compassion and how she was able to separate her dad from his addiction. 

Wadsworth took a different path and rose above her circumstances and was one of the first in her line of relatives to finish high school. She then went on to become a doctor. 


The book was fascinating but I felt it begin to rush over things towards the middle and left several big holes. I know part of the issue is that Wadsworth omitted some names and parts of the story to protect the people she loves, but that left very stale descriptions of her first marriage and her motherhood journey. I learned very little about her first husband or why their marriage was doomed from the start. I didn't have any idea of where the kids were as she studied and graduated medical school or while she practically lived at the hospital during her days as a medical student. It took a lot away from the story and I found myself distracted.

In the end Wadsworth tells us how she found God. On page 134 she writes: "the painful parts of our lives are often the very things that God will use as gifts to bless and change us and the people we meet" which basically boils down to what this book is about. Our pain often has a purpose and it's up to us to figure out how to use our pain for good.

This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Falling Free

I expected to thoroughly enjoy Falling Free by Shannan Martin. She writes about being "rescued from the life I always wanted", in an essence, doing what they feel God lead them to do instead of living the life they wanted. 

I started this book over three weeks ago and have only gotten to page 50 and just can not get into the book. I can't even explain why, as the writing is good and story could be fascinating. I did feel as though there were too many cliche sayings thrown in. While Martin's writing is good, she reminds me a bit of Voskamp, who takes just a bit too long to get to the point. 

I did mark this sentence on page 16: "We so often say we believe that there is no safer place than the center of God's will, but we refuse to believe he would ever lead us to the places of brokenness or danger." 

Isn't this where all our stories truly start? Where we not only allow God to lead us to these places but trust enough to actually follow Him through those places?

So while I didn't/couldn't/wouldn't finish this book due to lack of interest in the book, judging from other reviews I see that people may have found this book to be Martin's own story of following God blindly and seeing His light throughout her life.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
 

Monday, October 10, 2016

Girl Talk

What better way to dispel some of the teenage angst than with a daily meditation and devotion? Girl Talk by Lois Walfrid Johnson is a book of weekly devotions, with daily questions and thoughts to ponder. 

What makes this devotional different than other teen devotionals is that each week you will read a story about a girl who may have situations, thoughts, and feelings just like you. You will then learn ways to process those feelings, the best ways to react, and how to follow God's word in these situations. 

We found that these real life situations make this devotional more relative and easier for pre-teens/teens to apply the week's lesson to their own life. I've decided that this will be part of our religious ed lessons.

This book was given to us by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.
 

Monday, October 3, 2016

R E S P E C T

October is Respect Life month. It's a month before elections and a good time to bring up these issues. What I've come to realize is that debating the issue does not help. You are either on one side or the other and someone telling you their opinion doesn't typically change your own.

It was only 2 days into the month when on Facebook I saw someone complaining about a group holding up pro-life signs at the side of the road. The comments below got heated fast: some people agreeing with the pro-life activists and others telling them they should mind their own business...that abortion is a choice. It's ironic that they didn't see that it is also a choice to be against abortion and that these protesters have just as much a right to stand up for their convictions as pro-choicers do for theirs.

It became disheartening on how quickly it became vile - insults being thrown, crude language, horrible judgements - on both sides. 

It's ironic that in a month that is for respecting life, debating the issue showed little respect for others. 

October is also infant and pregnancy awareness loss. It was sorrowful to see people arguing whether a baby was just cells and not human yet and then seeing other posts where women were sharing their pain with the loss of their pregnancies/infants. That was ironic in the most dismal way. Our words have power and we need to think before we speak (type).

So what can we do if we feel strongly about something that we feel is wrong/right? I once heard, "If you can't change something, you need to stay neutral." I think there is very little, if anything, that we can't change in this world.  


 It's important to stand for something, because those that don't fall for anything.  There ARE things that should be fought for, there are things in life that need to be changed. If you are pro-life you should be fighting for what you believe in and if you are pro-choice so should you.

I don't mean fight in the literal sense. It's not okay to verbally attack someone who has a different view than you. All it does is alienate you and your cause. 


THIS is what I've found works the best. If you're against abortion - pray, donate to crisis pregnancy centers, support the mothers who do decide to keep or put their child up for adoption, and go ahead and picket but do it in a non-hostile way. If you're pro-choice donate to organizations that provide birth control, vote, and hold your own picketing in a non-hostile way.

In the end, we aren't going to change everyone's mind but we can do our part to support what we feel is right. In a respectful way.
   

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Why Not Me?

I loved Mindy Kaling in The Office and really enjoyed her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? so was excited to read Why Not Me?

There were several laugh out loud moments as I read this book. I just didn't like it as much as her first. I still found it an enjoyable read because Kaling's humor matches my own so closely.

I think the only flaw I saw in the book is how Kaling mentions how different she is from most female comedians because she doesn't talk about sex. Then she goes ahead and sticks sex into this book - in a way that didn't even flow. I felt like she sold out on that one as the book could have been perfectly fine without her having to stoop to a Chelsea Handler level. Stay original, Kaling.

This book was given to me by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. 
 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Earth Psalms

Earth Psalms by Francine Rivers is filled with reflections on how God speaks through nature. Accompanied by breath taking photography, ways to apply the week's reflection to your life, and prayers to mediate on. 

As someone who feels the peace, comfort, and awe of God most when I'm out in nature this devotional spoke to me. Romans 1:20 says
"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.


I've often wondered how people can look at the beauty around them and not believe in the God who created it. Wading at the shores of the vast oceans, seeing the sea of color in a wildflower field, watching birds build a nest and care for their young. It is all so awe inspiring. There have been moments when nature has taken my breath away and I have thanked God right then for such beauty. This devotional draws us into these moments and makes us look at God's creation with new eyes. 

This book was given to me by Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Starry-Eyed

Starry-Eyed by Mandy Arito is a book of essays on seeing grace in the unfolding constellation of life and motherhood. 

I have a difficult time reviewing this book as the essays are good and do touch on everything a mother encounters. But being written by the MOPS CEO and published by a Christian publisher I was surprised to find this more of a new age zen-like book than a Christian one. While that in itself wouldn't be so much of a bad thing, it is not what the description of the book states, "the brightest and darkest moments of motherhood alike can become a sacred—and sanity-saving— opportunity to encounter God. There is a way to flourish in the midst of it all, and it starts with embracing the light and darkness in life with expectation and awe."

 This book does mention God but also touts astrology, spiritual healers, and many other faith traditions different from Christianity. If it was touted as just a mothering book I would have had no issues, but I expected it to be completely different based off the description so was left confused on how this was classified as a Christian book.

This book was given to me by BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review. 
 

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