Monday, November 11, 2019

Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson

Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of MakingAdorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making by Andrew       Peterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I cannot put into words how inspired I am by this book. Andrew Peterson’s writing is more wonderful than I can say. It has encouraged, inspired, and challenged me as an artist and creator. He walks you through the process of the rise and fall and rise of his music as well as the details of his personal life. I am thankful for his humility to share what actually happened in his life and how he has proceeded on through trial. The allure here is that he overcame through building a community of people who resonated with and encouraged each other in their craft.

For me, the story was encouraging because I could see myself in it. The rebuilding of a house. Overcoming self to be creative. Pushing through toward the thing we yearn for. He shared such depth ad insight that went along with his life. The book is full of inspiring beauty. I feel like it gave me six months of homework. Honestly, I can’t wait.

I do not read many books twice, but I will definitely read this again.

Check out Is He Worthy? By Andrew Peterson

Thanks to Andrew’s publisher for generously providing this book for me to review.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

I Give Up by Laura Story

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was completely amazed by the depth of LauraStory’s music when I heard Blessings. Coming to know that it was inspired by her husband’s brain cancer made it l the more powerful. This book touches on that. The parts where she shares her personal struggles and howGod helped her through each hard season really spoke to me. This has been a hard walk for her. Her husband is still disabled and not driving and she has several children and a set of twins. I enjoyed reading her storytelling so much.

The part I had a hard time with was what felt lie regurgitated Sunday School lessons. It felt like a stretch to include these stories in the way they were told. The style changed. The storytelling stopped. It was awkward to me and I had a hard time getting through those sections. It was transference of facts.I wish she would have told it in the same way as the rest of the book. This was a huge chunk of it though.

Her story itself is worth reading. New Christians could get something from her sharing about the Bible stories.

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I did enjoy her white flag prayers at the end of each chapter.

Monday, November 04, 2019

The Complicated Heart by Sarah Mae

I held my breath through some of this book. It was incredibly raw and real. Some of it brought up things from my past that I had tucked away. We often never realize how much we tuck away and internalize until someone else’s story brings it back in the light. When we grow up with an alcoholic or abusive parent, we tend to blame ourselves for everything and then heap ourselves with shame over our reactions. Most of the time it wasn’t about us. It wasn’t our fault. Even the things we ended up doing to ourselves or others are not meant to be hidden under shame. They are meant to be brought into the light for healing. Sarah Mae has done this and modeled it for all of us. She has shown us the beauty of wrestling through trauma with Jesus. It is often hard to read, but it’s worth the struggle. 

The Complicated Heart: Loving Even When It HurtsThe Complicated Heart: Loving Even When It Hurts by Sarah Mae
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think for a long time Christian women wrote books that were ridiculously fluffy. They talked about Jesus, of course, but never shared much meat from their lives. There has been a shift in this area over the past few years. Women are coming out humbly recounting deep trauma, sin, and healing. It has been the most refreshing thing to see. I had wondered if this book would be more of the old type of book, but when I dove in I was blown away by this woman’s candor. She told some hard stories of abortion and abusive relationships. She recounted history that would lock most women in shame. Her backstory with her mama is one for the record books. It is told in the most interesting way. She came across her mother’s journals and put the timeline to what she was going through at the time. You can see both sides. If you have ever struggled with your relationship with your mom, I recommend this to you. It also leads you through a trail of what trauma can do to you and cause you to do to yourself. Read it. I found healing I didn’t know I needed locked in it’s pages.

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This book was graciously provided by the publisher for review.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Healing Together by Anne Marie Miller

Trauma is a powerful thing. It can be suppressed and repressed and change a person’s behavior in unimaginable ways. There are tragedies and horrors in the underbelly of society and church that we cannot even wrap our minds around. Anne has written an incredible work to equip us as to how to begin caring for those who have been abused and assaulted. We can be trauma informed. We can stop blaming women for their dress or location or any other means by which we write off these terrible offenses. This is why people do not come forward. Those of us who should be clothed in compassion are heaping shame on others. Otherwise, we end up like the people writing adult Anne and telling her she should have known better. She was a child at the time of her offense. Her abuser was an adult pastor. He was more than 10 years her senior. Clothes yourself in compassion, my friends.

Healing Together: A Guide to Supporting Sexual Abuse SurvivorsHealing Together: A Guide to Supporting Sexual Abuse Survivors by Anne Marie Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been following Anne’s writing for over a decade. I have been on several of her launch teams and I can unwaveringly say that she has a voice we need to listen to. This book is no exception. She has given the church a gift.

In the first section we learn about trauma and hear about her own trauma. She has had quite a bit of pain turning in her abuser. Well-meaning Christian women basically called her a tramp and said she should have known better...even though she was a child and her abuser was an adult. It is no wonder that people do not come forward after trauma. The people who should offer healing heap them with shame.

The second section of the book is a fantastic resource to anyone who is in trauma care or looking to help someone who has been abused. So often, we look like a deer in the headlights when this sort of thing happens. We are completely unequipped. Anne has clearly laid out scientific and emotional data and strategies for us. The research and thoughtful care she has put into this book is easily seen. Even though I have been helping people navigate trauma for many years, I found some powerful reminders here. I am reminded of my own needs as I address others needs.

Thank you for your powerful work, Anne. It leaves us without excuse in helping those around us.

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 This book was graciously provided by Zondervan Publishing and Anne Marie Miller for review.  

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.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Love Changes Everything by Micah Berteau

Love Changes Everything: Finding What's Real in a World Full of FakeLove Changes Everything: Finding What's Real in a World Full of Fake by Micah Berteau
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to like this book. My husband and I named our 105 year old house after Hosea’s wife because of the lengths he went to in order to restore her. I love the story.

This felt like a poorly retold sermon filled with Christian clichΓ©s. I raised an eyebrow at some of the points given and how he was relating the story to Gomer. It felt like a cheap observation of the story.

I wanted to like it. I looked past the title and the fact that I did not know the author hoping to love the story because I love the original story, but sadly did not. It was hard to read and felt scattered. There are some good points in the book, but it was hard to follow.

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Before & After by Judy Christie

Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home SocietyBefore and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society by Judy Christie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After I read Before We Were Yours, I was moved by the tales of the orphans that went through the Tennessee Children’s Home Society. The thought of thousands of children kidnapped in a modern society in the middle of America with the help of corrupt politicians is bewildering. They estimated number of children that died there is grievous. After Lisa’s novel was published, so many of the people who were stolen from their families began reaching out to her. She formed a reunion and documented many of their stories. These stories are equally beautiful and devastating. There are lives that turned out well and those that have suffered for generations because of torment.

There was one story that spoke to my heart. A couple had been offered a perfect boy and when they went to pick him up, they heard a baby whimpering in the corner of the room. The couple pushed past the operator of the orphanage to the baby. She lay there tongue tied and covered in a rash. They took that baby home against the wishes of the orphanage. This baby would grow up and later find out how Georgia Tann would place ugly or sick babies in the corner and let them starve to death. The estimates are that around 500 babies died there. This couple that refused the perfect child and chose the baby in need of care spoke volumes to my heart. The is beauty amidst the brokenness. Great read.

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

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Monday, September 16, 2019

Blessed Broken Given by Glenn Packiam

Blessed Broken Given: How Your Story Becomes Sacred in the Hands of JesusBlessed Broken Given: How Your Story Becomes Sacred in the Hands of Jesus by Glenn Packiam
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is powerful and beautifully written. The author has a wonderful gift of story and eloquence. I was moved many times while reading. His words on church hurt, lament, and being given out are some of the best I have read. If you are wondering how God could ever use the wreck that is your life, this is a healing balm. I loved it.

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