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Monday, August 07, 2017

I read Giddy Up, Eunice by Sophie Hudson

Let me be honest. I didn't read this book when it came out because of the title. I never even read past the title to what the book was about. It was too goofy for me. Recently, as I was trying to find something to give to a friend of mine, the cover flashed in my head. Then I ran across it and actually read the premise. I thought, oh, I need to read this. So, I bought a few copies.

Sophie is a great author. Maybe you remember her from A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet.
I loved that book. This one did not disappoint either. I needed to read it because I was reading some other heavy books and even though Sophie deals with hard hitting subjects, she does it in light-hearted story form. Sometimes, she drives me crazy because she says "like" a whole lot and then I start doing it and annoy myself. Past all of that, she has such a way with communicating things.

I have been going so hard all summer and ended up neglecting myself, especially my heart. I needed to be reminded of the beauty of friendship and how it nurtures our spirit (to give and receive). If you follow me on the interwebs, you'll know how much it all spoke to me. Here are a few screen shots.




I read that 60% of women in church feel lonely. Reading all of the quotes above, I was reminded of why people are so important. We need each other. I am thankful for the people who take the time to love me and those who let me love them. As she shared about the women generationally behind and ahead of her that are part of her life, I became very thankful for mine. These pages are packed with humorous, convicting ways to minister to the generations around us.

What stopped me dead in my tracks last night at the end of the book was when she started talking about her mama acting funny, withdrawing from people, not doing what she had always done. I knew what was coming. Her mama was diagnosed with dementia. Oh the pain of having someone be there physically, but withdrawing in every other way. I have been wading through this pain. It seems like personality shifts often and my help is not wanted. This is our new normal. It's not normal at all, but we have to trust God with it.

Read Sophie's book. You won't regret it. You might even become a better friend.


Friday, August 04, 2017

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

I decided to purchase this book to read for two reasons. It was a hot summer read and I am curious about what people around me are drawn to. It is also something I wouldn't normally read. Let me tell you, I had a difficult time getting going with this book. As I began, I was sure all of this book's readers were crazy. It's written as though you are reading portions of diary entries from people who could not spell or formulate sentences. My head wanted to implode. Even at page fifty, I tried to come up with how I would describe this book for a review. One line from from Truvy in the movie Steel Magnolias came into my head. "The nicest thing I can say about her is that all of her tattoos are spelled correctly." I read on.

Let me tell you, I finally came to see how George's writing style is brilliant. I actually felt like I was interacting with these people. The book made me do quite a bit of research. The story is based off of evidence that when President Lincoln lost his second son to Typhoid fever, he would go to the cemetery and hold his body. (They believe he contracted this from tainted water coming into the White House. His son sat in a borrowed tomb for 3 years until his body could be moved to their home state.)

The idea of the bardo is akin to a holding place. It's the idea that there is a space between when you die and when you go on to the next life. George mixed all manner of theologies in his cemetery tale. Some people were taken by demons. Some went with Christ. Some went on to become something else. Obviously, this doesn't line up with my own beliefs, but it is interesting to see what people put their hope in. 

There were many moments in the pages that you could compare to life as we live it. You can see how pain, grief, and regret keep us in this empty gap where we neither move forward or heal. As Lincoln released his son, you can see how healing it is to not hold on when you are meant to release. 

There were a few times when a random raunchy paragraph popped up out of no where. I'm not sure if Mr. Saunders was trying to engage our current culture or simply paint a picture of deeply depraved souls. I could also understand this base nature of humanity that tries to pour anything it can on hurt to numb oneself.

After all of that, I have no idea how I feel about the book. I wanted out of it. I found it riveting. I wanted to throw up on it. I wanted to know more. It is skillfully written. In my theology there is no bardo. I have however seen grieving people held captive in this holding place when they refused to let go of a loved one or something else that grieved them. This is a story of making peace with that pain.




Thursday, July 20, 2017

Praying for Girls by Teri Lynne Underwood



I was reading an article the other day telling moms that being overwhelmed and unable to think is completely normal. It's called mental load. I have since dubbed this inability to think, process, conjugate, or think of what to make for dinner the MOTHER LOAD. Can't remember how to make pb&j? That's the mother load. Can't remember your first name? That's the mother load. Most days we coast on through and no one gets hurt.

The thing about mother load that drags me down is that often I cannot even think of what I would like to pray for my children. There are basic reactionary prayers and response prayers to scripture I am hearing or reading. I am always left wanting more. 

When I saw this book, I felt an ache to have it. Reading through it, I was truly overwhelmed by the wonderful, thoughtful prayers and guidance it offered. I prayed through the hundred or so prayers over my girls. They are beautiful. Praying them prompted me to start writing them out for all of my girls on note cards individually so we could all pray through them for each other. I am even making a set for myself. Prayer changes us and it helps us anticipate the presence of God. I highly recommend this book.

This book was graciously provided by Bethany House Publishers for review.


From the back cover:
What Are Your Biggest Concerns for Your Daughter?


Do you feel uncertain about what or how to pray for your daughter? You're not alone! Praying for our daughters can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. This easy-to-use book features 200 Scripture-based prayers that cover key areas of every girl's life:


Her identity--finding her security and strength in God's love and acceptance
Her heart--pursuing a life of purity and devotion to the Lord
Her mind--committing to growing in wisdom and discernment regardless of her circumstances
Her relationships--developing skills and attitudes to foster healthy relationships
Her purpose--trusting God with her life, gifts, and passions

With simple ideas to nurture your daughter's faith from toddler through teen, this encouraging book will equip you to pray with more confidence and power.

"This book is a lifeline. I might not be able to bubble wrap my girl away from the world, but I sure can wrap her up in fierce prayers and send her out into it bravely."
--Lisa-Jo Baker, author of Never Unfriended and Surprised by Motherhood

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Love Lives Here by Sweet Maria Goff

Most of the books I read and review are given to me by publishers, but I chose to buy this one. I had been waiting on it since I heard that it was being written. I had purchased to audio book because I was making a lot of long trips to care for my parents. Audio books seem to make the end of long drives go faster. I knew that the words in it would be encouraging. It turned out to be something I needed more than I realized. Sweet Maria's voice coming through my car speakers soothed my weary soul. It was like having a dear friend speaking into my heart when I desperately needed it. Being honest, I have had days where I have cried all day through this. Waves of emotional exhaustion overtook me when I stopped moving for a second. Then I'd hear her voice. It felt okay to cry. She kept reminding me that love is always the best option. It sows a deep unseen harvest in the lives of the people we are loving and those watching us. Love does live here. 

In this book we follow Maria through some of her most challenging and most beautiful moments. She navigated her way through hard days and best days with Christ and it is seen in every word she says. Her life is a beacon. As a person that struggled with opening my heart and life to others because of abuse, I wholeheartedly recommend this book. Buy the audio. Let her read to you. It's lovely.




Tuesday, July 11, 2017

We Stood Upon Stars by Roger W. Thompson

I was about to go on a road trip when I saw this book pop up in my queue to review. I thought it would be a great thing to accompany me through a few states. It was a bit difficult to get into at first. I don't know if it was my mindset or what felt like choppy story telling. Never the less, I pressed on. The stories were pretty interesting, but I was rarely drawn deeply into them. There were several things I could connect with personally. Most of us can connect with loss. Roger shares about losing people he loves and why he loved them. He tells of how adventure connected them. His story is one of redemption. His grandparents ended up raising him. I think the main thing I took away from the book was to go on adventure and create memories. 

*There are maps in the chapters of different states and things he loved there. That could be helpful if you are experiencing some wonder lust. Happy travels.

This book was graciously provided by Waterbrook Publishers for review.