Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I Read The Tattooist of Aushwitz on a plane

I bought this book in the Birmingham airport a few weeks ago and finished it on our day of travel. It is fantastic. Deeply moving.

The Tattooist of AuschwitzThe Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather   Morris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do not usually buy books in airport stores because they are incredibly overpriced. We flew from Birmingham to Chicago to Austin and then drove to Waco. That meant I had 9 hours of travel on my hands. I have been seeing this book and had it on my wish list, but had not picked up a copy. With the recent shooting in the Jewish Synagogue (and Jewish nurse working on the shooter), my heart was pricked to remember the story once again. Angry, empty people are everywhere looking for a target. It’s good to remember the people who stood against atrocity. It’s good to reread the horrific acts and see the hidden heroes in unlikely places. That’s what this is.

I had wondered if this was a true story because it says it’s historical fiction. The publisher tells us that the designation because it can not verify every conversation. The story seems to check out though. They have done quite a bit of fact checking. There are pictures and our author spent many days interviewing the tattooist.

This is a behind the scenes story that will make your heart fall and rise. We are given a first hand look at what a savage society looks like. We see death, physical and sexual assault, starvation, belittlement, and fierce courage. I simply could not imagine seeing the face of every single terrified person to enter Auschwitz. He drug a needle through their arm and dumped ink into it. Men, women, children. He numbered them all. He watched people get shot, worked to death, be beaten, & be gassed. Somehow, he held on to the resolve to survive the camp. The story of his love for a woman he tattooed is remarkable. Read it and remember. Read it and be filled with the hope of the beauty of the human spirit. This is one of those books you’ll remember for the rest of your life.

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Book Description from Publisher: The #1 International Bestseller & New York Times Bestseller
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a T├Ątowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Prayers for the Battlefield by Heidi St. John

Are any of the rest of you desperate for good words to pray over your children? Parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done. From conception to training to loving through pain. Often, I find myself unable to even formulate a decent thought because I am overstimulated. Can you empathize? As I read through these pages, I found myself breathing more deeply than normal. These are the words in my heart that I was too tired to speak. I keep reading them repeatedly. Perhaps you are weary from the battlefield and need some backup artillery. This is it. These are prayers for your arrows to fly true.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a book that you keep out to read over and over. There are thirty-one topics and prayers in this book and in each one I was moved to pray for myself or someone else. The words resonate. As I would read through the warfare prayers, I would think that this is exactly the words my heart needed to pray. These are the words I’ve been looking for. This is a must read for every warrior mom in the fight for her family. It’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and forget to pray or not be able to formulate your needs. This will minister to your heart so that you can speak to God about your family. 

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**This book was graciously given to me by Tyndale Publishing for review.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Brave Art of Motherhood by Rachel Martin

Three books have spoken deeply to my heart this year. One line in Bob Goff's Everybody Always keeps coming up to me. "What if we weren't afraid anymore?" I have lingered in Dr. Barry C. Black's Nothing to Fear. The Brave Art of Motherhood has been the third installment in my semester of God turning my heart upside down. It's not that I haven't been brave. I have done plenty of things that take gumption. The thing is that I have done those things through fear and they have caused so much pain to release.  I picture myself packaging up presents, leaving them on doorsteps, and running. Maybe no one will know it was me. I want to be brave enough to bear my pain for the healing of others and greater glory of God. 

This book grabbed my attention because of three words that I pray for regularly. Brave. Art. Motherhood. I come form the tribe of "I'm not equipped for this." Somehow, with no formal training, I am here. I have realized that desperation can very often lead to depth. I have realized how unequipped I am to mother and create. That has led my heart to try things and ask God for things that the equipped person would not ask for. It requires something extra. Creative engineering requires you to say that you are not like other people. You don't fit in. You are going a different way. Putting yourself out there like that feels painful. 

God has prompted some complete changes in everything I am doing. He has been moving my heart to do new things in new ways. I move when he says to move. My trouble has come in the form of being stuck. The voices in my head and the voices out of my head tell me all of the reasons that I cannot do it. I can't see my way to the next step or I get lost in helping others and I cannot see my way back to the thing I desired to do. Then this.

Often in motherhood, my mind is always spinning and I can't think. Rachel didn't just write a book telling you not to be stuck anymore. She wrote a book telling you how to bravely hunt down your dreams and make them your reality. It's comprehensive and directional. Keep following the steps. Here are the steps. You can live again. You can quit blaming others for your failure. You can live out the life you are desperate to live. You can quit hiding and enjoy your life. I can't recommend it enough.

Rachel's story is powerful. Her trauma is relatable. Her help is needed. If you need help with any area of your life, I urge you to get it. If it is a business, a health change, debt relief, or simply not being afraid to jump in the pool, you'll find courage in the pages. 

What do you want to be brave enough to do? This is your how to.

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This book was graciously provided by Waterbrook Publishers for review.

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Life Giving Leader by Tyler Reagin

The Life-Giving Leader: Learning to Lead from Your Truest SelfThe Life-Giving Leader: Learning to Lead from Your Truest Self by Tyler Reagin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that makes you pause and think about the type of person you want to be as well as what is needed from a leader. So often, we see churches being run like businesses. They plow people down to get where they want to go and then blame those other people for the issue. This book challenges that whole mentality. Tyler reminds us that we aren’t here to build our church. We are here to serve and build up people. One of the great goals of leadership is humility. Vulnerability with others is where true connection and life change occurs. I enjoyed reading this and was moved by several ideas in the book. I passed it on to my 11 year old who has tremendous leadership qualities that need to be used for God’s glory. She got a lot out of it and it has opened up some great dialogue for us.

With all of that said, there were a few points of the book that seemed like they needed a good edit. The thoughts were a little scattered. One reviewer I read said that the book gave no real steps to achieving these leadership goals. I could see that. For me, as I read, I made the words a prayer. There were some practical points about humility, vulnerability, and building others up. All in all, it’s a helpful and needed book.

Tyler is the president of Catalyst. I can see how his extroverted style would be a great asset there!

*I loved seeing that Tyler was in the youth group of our favorite Archbishop, Foley Beach.

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**This book was graciously given by Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for review.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Daily Question For You and Your Child

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It's launch day for this great little book! We received this a few weeks ago. It is supposed to be you and one child, but we decided for all five of us to do it. This has been tons of fun. I thought that some of the questions were silly at first, but then I realized how interesting it would be to see your answers about simple things evolve over the years. I have also learned things about my children...things I wouldn't think to ask. One question was a talent they wished they had and one was something they wished they could learn to cook by themselves. We are doing the things. I'm even learning more about my husband. We do this at a meal time each day. All the girls look forward to answering the daily question.

We also had to write a story about a talking grapefruit together one day. We each wrote a line. It was pretty humorous.

"Once there was a talking grapefruit. It's name was Grapey Raisin. He worked in a politician's office. He had a dog named Fruity and a unicorn named Tooty. He married an eggplant named Tabatha and they opened a bistro in New York City."