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Thursday, August 31, 2017

I read Falling Free

I had purchased this ebook quite a while back because it was on sale on Amazon. I didn't start reading it until recently after a nudge from the Holy Spirit and my friend Jana. I could identify with the story right away. This woman and her husband had fancy government jobs and the perfect little farmhouse in the country. Then our wild God decided they would be best suited to live in a run down neighborhood in the inner city. 

She goes on to document how God taught her to interact with people nothing like her, people who were scary. Her neighbors were in and out of prison. She brought some of them into her home. This is a tale of laying down expectations, perfection, and control. It'a lesson I have learned in all the stages of construction. Let the people in anyway. The people are what matter. We aren't here to build a facade of loveliness for people to admire. We are here to build into the hearts of human beings.That will hurt more than anything else you will ever do, but you will also bear witness to miracles. 


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I read The Apache Wars slowly ...

It took me several weeks to get through this book. It may be the most intense and bloody book I have ever read. Someone, or many people, died on every one of the 528 pages. It was brutal. Another reviewer stated how heavy and packed with information it was. I can second that. I do have to say that Mr. Paul Andrew Hutton did his homework. I was truly amazed at how he was able to get all of this information in here and still tell it like a story instead of as a text book. Bravo.

I learned many terrible things while reading this book. People this short time period ago were pretty heartless. A few short generations back, people were literally violently killing everyone they didn't agree with. I learned that the Europeans are the ones that brought scalping to our country. The Apaches would rarely even do it because it was so brutal. Reading about how one goes about scalping another person almost did me in.

There were bad people all around in this story. The white man stealing from and herding the Indians as well as the Mexicans and Europeans. This war was bloody. It started when the Apaches kidnapped a young boy and lasted 36 years.

It was interesting that all of these people had racial hatred against another people group. The Indians would say the Mexicans weren't worth killing with a bullet so they would beat them in the head with rocks. The Mexicans hated the Indians and the Europeans. The Europeans who were fighting for freedom for the black people, thought it was perfectly acceptable to have Indian slaves. There were more Indian slaves in the Southwest than there were those of African descent.

I found their different religious practices interesting. The Apaches believed in a creator God. They put their trust in a female prophetess of sorts to guide them. As a people, they were unspeakably violent. Their ending was sad as they were largely herded into small reservations and basically held as prisoners of war for over a decade. The conditions were so terrible many of them were sick and dead in the first year. 

If you are interested in the Apache War, Geronimo, Cochise, Mickey Free, or the times of Wyatt Earp, you will enjoy this. There is also a little information about the Buffalo Soldiers. Fascinating. Terrifying. Enjoy your reading.

Thanks to Broadway Books Publishers for graciously donating this book for review.





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.