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Monday, January 27, 2020

Holocaust Remembrance: Books Create Empathy

We must teach others empathy for all humanity.


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I read The Diary of a Young Girl and the Hiding Place in eighth grade. I can vividly recall the shock I felt sitting in my desk as our class read the books aloud. I had seen much of the underbelly of humanity at that age, but it was still so shocking. In fact, I am still processing it nearly thirty years later. Over a decade ago, I received a box of my great grandmother’s books. In it was a copy of Corrie ten Boom’s book entitled In My Father’s House. It was my favorite of her works. Do you know that she wrote nearly 50 books as she traveled the world and shared the gospel? One year, I read as many as I could find still in print. I’m still finding them. 20 or so that I’ve read. Her books on her life before the Holocaust are so rich. She talks about how her Papa ten Boom instilled a deep love of Jewish people. She learned how to simply teach the gospel by mentoring hundreds of young women and volunteering in a hospital for handicapped children. Even in death, she mentored my heart. Here are some other books I’ve read lately that have further opened my eyes to the horrors of Holocaust and what drives man’s spirit to an intrepid overcoming. The Brothers of Auschwitz, All the Light We Cannot See, The Tattooist of Auschwitz, Out of the Depths, The Lilac Girls, A Man’s Search for Meaning. #internationalholocaustremembranceday #neveragain #books #📚#reading #readinggrowsempathy
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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It took me to a few chapters to get into a groove with this writing style, but once I did, it got ahold of me. This story is told how you would hear it in an interview. The text is choppy as if you were listening to someone recount a deeply heard memory. I have read quite a bit from he WWII era, but this gripped me int he pit of my stomach. It’s truly shocking to see how humans can behave. The babies hot me hardest. They would hit them in the head with the butt of their rifle and throw them in the pile. One recounted tale told about the soldiers playing kickball with a baby until it died.

As with every horrific recounting of these times, I found myself staring at the words on the screen. How did humanity ever get to that point? How were so many people convinced that it was a good thing to treat human life as refuse? How do we keep this from ever happening again? How on earth did these people survive this?





Monday, January 13, 2020

I’ve Seen the End of You by W. Lee Warren, MD


My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I thought this book was going to be more about diseases of the brain. I thought it could help me to understand things going on within the minds of my family members. What I found was something I could barely put down. This is a book about a neurosurgeon who struggled with faith and prayer as he performed surgery on tumors that were almost always fatal. His honesty is compelling.

Let me be honest. If you like nerdy scientific information about the brain and your heart being ripped out by story, this is the book for you. This is about a man who started writing as a way to deal with the horrors of war that he saw as a surgeon of war in Iraq. He then kept writing as a way to deal with his feelings on faith as he operated on Glioblastoma, treated trauma victims, tried to save brains ravaged by suicide. Then he used it as a way to shepherd his own kids through pain and loss. It’s riveting.

I have seen so many of my family members die. It is a sacred space. I cannot imagine walking through or carrying the weight of being present during death nearly every single day. Lee has so much on his shoulders. Instead of going through the motions of it all, he has thought deeply about what he was dealing with and wrestled with God through it all. It gave me quite a bit to chew on and I came away with so much. I am thankful for the hard work that was put into this. I am thankful for the perspective that he had when he realized how we are all very much the same at our core. Fantastic.



This book was graciously given to me by the publisher for review.

Tuesday, January 07, 2020

You’re Not Listening by Kate Murphy


  A few months back I was sitting in a room attempting to share something deeply personal. The people there started discussing it amongst themselves and formulating opinions out loud about it. No one asked me any questions or dialogued with me about it in any way. My sharing felt completely pointless. 

That evening I came home to the first 55 pages of this book in my inbox from the publisher. You’re not listening. Exactly. I read those first pages right then and quickly fell in book love. 

I’m a listener. I have fought hard against shyness, introversion, and anxiety to learn to ask good questions. My heart ebbs and flows on people feeling seen and finding healing. I love people. The personality type that I would call the kryptonite to my calling is the no breath, no pause, non-stop talker. If you can’t stop talking, I know you have no desire to listen and I don’t talk. My brain shuts itself off.

Dear extreme extroverts, never underestimate the power of a good edit. 

I cannot even begin to tell you how brilliant, thought out, researched, and well-written this is. Kate has interviewed everyone from CIA interrogators in bulletproof cars to grandmas over tea. Her background at The New York Times is on full display. She has learned the uncommon art of listening to learn and hearing what isn’t being said. 

I read one person’s comment that this is a perfect tool for dining table or board room. You can stop talking at and talk with. You can stop being distracted and engage. You can change the questions you’re asking to build real relationships with the people around you. You can stop putting your ego ahead of other people’s vulnerabilities. You can learn to listen. 

Listening to others changes our inner dialogue. How we talk to ourselves effects how we hear others. The main regret people have at the end of their lives is how they related to their family. Learning to listen will change the conversation at your table and the depth of your relationships. Read it...for all of us.

Celadon Books graciously gave this book for review.



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