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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Pass the Gumption: I read While the Men Were Gone



Pass the gumption. While The Men Were Gone was a fabulous read. The story about this woman who bravely coached a football team during World War II is interesting in many ways. You can see things about the time and the harsh reality of how war crushed families and spirits. Many people were losing their boys to the fighting as they were shipped off at an age that seems far too young. Our female protagonist saw a deep need for the small Texas town of Brownwood to keep the Friday night lights lit because she knew it kept the heart of a community alive during tragedy. As you can imagine, this was greatly frowned upon by the male population of the area. She truly had to fight to keep the football season going after the coach was shipped off to war. Tylene seemed like a woman with a lot of grit. I would have loved to have met her. 


This is a fictionalization of a true story. The author, a female sportswriter did an amazing job writing this. I loved it. It made me feel at home. Y’all should read it.

When the Men Were GoneWhen the Men Were Gone by Marjorie Herrera Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pass the gumption. While The Men Were Gone was a fabulous read. The story about this woman who bravely coached a football team during World War II is interesting in many ways. You can see things about the time and the harsh reality of how war crushed families and spirits. Many people were losing their boys to the fighting as they were shipped off at an age that seems far too young. Our female protagonist saw a deep need for the small Texas town of Brownwood to keep the Friday night lights lit because she knew it kept the heart of a community alive during tragedy. As you can imagine, this was greatly frowned upon by the male population of the area. She truly had to fight to keep the football season going after the coach was shipped off to war. Tylene seemed like a woman with a lot of grit. I would have loved to have met her.

This is a fictionalization of a true story. The author, a female sportswriter did an amazing job writing this. I loved it. It made me feel at home. Y’all should read it.


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Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The Ministry of Ordinary Places



My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I just loved Shannan's book. It is exactly what it says it is, ministry in the ordinary space of your every day life. I can completely identify with her story of selling her white picket fence dream home to move to a scary place that needed a lot of love.

These words are a breath of fresh air reminding us to keep opening the door. Keep inviting people to dinner. Keep reaching out to the addict, the imprisoned, the hurting. Your light is a lifeline. Will you get hurt? Absolutely. Keep pressing on.

Shannan's husband is a jail chaplain. She gives us a window into his life ministering to and loving inmates. It is a great encouragement to see people pouring out their hearts to love the unwanted of society. Thanks for being brave and sharing what you are learning.






Monday, December 03, 2018

What's Your Dream


I keep hearing the guy on the street in the movie Pretty Woman.
"What's your dream? Everybody has a dream."

At the beginning of fall, I began praying through what I felt like God was leading me to do with my life. It is ridiculously easy to get to the end of the day (month, year) and not actually accomplish anything. We are a distracted people. We can also strive so hard to accomplish goals that we miss the humans we are meant to care for. I pondered through Bob Goff's question about what we would do if we weren't afraid anymore. I thought deeply about Mary Oliver's Summer Day poem that asks what we are going to do with our one wild and precious life. I made several lists and talked down fear over and over. I wrote out all the visions cast in my heart and things I have been too afraid to do. I laid out a step by step plan for each item on my list and I keep placing each item back into the hands of God. 

Each day, I have been asking him to do the work. I have been asking him to dig up every painful thing in my heart and use it for his glory. My constant prayer has been that he will himself pull up things that the enemy wants to use to shame, ridicule, and to defile me to paint wild pictures of healing. He is working. I keep going forward even when I feel stupid or desperately afraid. I keep going when people hurt me. I have learned that pain and fear are usually signs to pay attention to the path. 

My first dream is to spend time writing. I have stories etched in my soul that are longing to be told. I have put this on the back burner with motherhood and missions. I am realizing that it is time to write the words.

I listed out 10 dreams and I am going to begin sharing them with you. First up, I am going to Haiti for 10 days. I am not a foreign mission junkie or missionary tourist. I went to Haiti last year because I wanted to know how I could best pray for and support my friend Christy (Executive Director of an orphanage in Port au Prince). I went to serve her and help make her dreams for Haitians a reality. I am headed there again at the end of the month. I will be teaching art and helping at the orphanage. I have almost met my goal to buy art supplies and pay for my lodging. My ticket is booked! Would you pray for me? Last year before I went, my husband cut off his toe. This year, my daughter broke her ankle and had surgery. God hems us in behind and before. So, the plan the enemy had for harm made me book the flight. 



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Kingdom Citizen by Tony Evans

Kingdom Citizen: Your Role in Rebuilding a Broken NationKingdom Citizen: Your Role in Rebuilding a Broken Nation by Tony Evans
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a tiny little book that packs a punch. There are so many things we want to waver on every day because our culture tells us we are unloving. Tony reminds us that pointing people away from God's truth and righteousness is hateful. It is not loving. I closed the book being reaffirmed to stand the ground that God has given us. Actually invite the kingdom and love according to God's word. May we be a kingdom people.



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The news is filled with stories of violence, division, and despair. American politics have become polarized. Effective leadership is in short supply. Change may seem outside our reach. And Christians struggle to understand their role in reversing the downward spiral of our nation.

Dr. Tony Evans offers a healthy dose of hope: the solution to our nation’s problems and unrest isn’t out of reach. The solution is here―and each one of us as Kingdom Citizens has a vital role to play.

Be assured that our God is greater than any challenge―and He has promised to equip His people. In Kingdom Citizen, you’ll discover how to respond in faith, in spite of a country and culture in decline.

Here is a powerful call to action for concerned Christians. Here is a call for unity and restoration. And here is strong assurance that each of us has the ability to walk justly, to seek truth, and to stand in the gap for our land.

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.