Monday, October 07, 2019

Crescendo by Allen Cheney

Crescendo: The Story of a Musical Genius Who Forever Changed a Southern TownCrescendo: The Story of a Musical Genius Who Forever Changed a Southern Town by Allen Cheney
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book appealed to me because it looked soulful, creative, and deep. I did not know anything about the story beforehand. First, I'll tell you that this was a well-crafted story. Being able to tell history in such a powerful way is a gift. Allen Cheney is a gifted story teller. Second, this is a story that will make you gasp and bring you to tears. I do not want to share any spoilers, but I want you to experience this man's story.

You can read the info about the book to see that this is a book that tells the story of a man that was a musical genius. He had risen to the top of his game as a producer when he came face to face with a mental breakdown brought on by the trauma of his childhood. That caused him to wrestle with some huge decisions in his life. You can see how that all played out in the subtitle. He changed the lives of countless people with his passion, gifting, and by sharing his healing.

The words in these pages shone like a bright light in my heart. Our healed hurt is the richest of gifts when we share it with others. It was a good reminder for me. I am grateful to have read it.

Some favorite quotes:

"When someone we know starts to forget they have something to offer, it's our job to remind them."

"It's about the light you shine for others, not the light that shines on you."

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*This book was graciously provided by the publisher for review.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Jesus in Me by Anne Graham Lotz

Jesus in Me: Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant CompanionJesus in Me: Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion by Anne Graham Lotz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I remember the first time I heard Anne speak over a decade ago. As she was talking, I had this palpable overwhelming sense of the peace of God. I loved her clear and powerful way of conveying the rich love of God. This book is much the same. I could curl up in it. I have read and reread portions to simply feel the beauty of the character of the Holy Spirit. Reading his names and attributes have brought calm, joy, and resolve to my spirit.

In the last few years, Anne has lost her father, her husband, and gone through breast cancer. This book is her journey to experiencing the Holy Spirit as a constant companion. Her personal, vulnerable stories touch the heart. Seeing that Billy Graham's daughter is traversing difficult paths helps me to see that I am not alone on this journey of life.

When I opened the book, I stared at the dedication page for quite some time. It wasn't a big long list of thanks to those who helped her like most books. It simply said, "to the lonely." That got to me. Even when we are surrounded by people, we often feel lonely in our problems, perceived defects, and trauma. Anne had experienced it herself and is sharing how God himself became her best friend. We always get farther when we walk with others than when we walk alone. I know this book will speak deeply to you. I hope you read it.

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Monday, September 30, 2019

Be the Bridge by LaTasha Morrison

Be the Bridge: Pursuing God's Heart for Racial Reconciliation

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have never in my life understood the racial divide in our country. I was always asking questions about why there was clearly a spot of town where black people lived. It was on the other side of the tracks, down where the river floods. The houses were different from the houses on our side of the tracks. I would hear people say words and be worried about how it might look to mix races in any way. There has always been a part of me that wanted to fix this. That is why I was drawn to read this book. I want everyone to feel fully human.

I will admit, some of this was hard to read. I cannot wrap my head around torture and murder. I most definitely cannot understand it when it is done with the blessing of the church. It has made me sick to read these stories recounted. It goes beyond ignorance. How on earth is there so much willful hate inside of us and how do we get it out of the collective us.


LaTasha has done an amazing job breaking down and explaining things that we might not understand. She lays it on the line. Family does not leave family in bondage. If there are things that cause divide in the body of Christ, we in the body should labor to fix them. We do not have to personally have done them to repent and pray for healing. We can get to know one person. We can ask questions and we can be the bridge to healing. Going through this book with a few people would be an excellent way to begin learning. There were several things that I was not aware of that people find hurtful or offensive. There are ways that we can advocate for others. There are prayers we can pray and actions we can take. This is a great place to begin being educated and take the first step toward healing the great racial divide in our nation and world.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book made my heart stop beating a time or two. The author did a powerful job giving these characters humanity. Her years spent working with refugees and her careful study of people is clearly reflected throughout these pages. This gut wrenching story gave me a view into a world I would never want to see. It cultivated a mercy that will never leave me. My eyes are open to the tragedy that is swept away from public view. The story is so well told that I feel like I know the people in it. I wanted the beekeeper to find his way and his wife to be healed. I grieved with them. I cried. I was in shock. 
This is a powerful story.