"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, July 31, 2015

July Books

Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth -- blogger Crys recommended this YA book awhile back so I found it at a local library; good story of a young Indian girl whose life changes drastically when her husband (whom she doesn't live with quite yet) dies from a snake bite.  Instead of going to live with him and his family (who seemed to really like her), she has to learn how to deal with life as a widow - all at the ripe age of 13 or thereabouts.

The Language of Hoofbeats by Catherine Ryan Hyde -- I'm generally not a huge fan of stories or movies with animals as a main character, but this book captivated me pretty quickly, and I enjoyed it better than I anticipated.  This was on a new books shelf in the Mebane library, and I decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did.

A Not-So-Simple Life: Diary of a Teenage Girl by Melody Carlson -- this was another YA book I picked up the other day. It's a story about Maya, a fifteen year old dealing with a mostly-absent father (who does at least send support checks) and a drug addicted mother. Something about her story appealed to me - at least enough to check out the book and read it. I may look for more in this series to see what happens to Maya.

I'll Watch the Moon by Ann Tatlock -- this book is told from the perspective of a lady who grew up in a boarding house run by her mom and distant relative.  In it we learn the struggles of a family in 1948 and stories surrounding some of the boarders including Josef who came to the United States from Poland, and the girl's own brother as he deals with polio.

Doesn't She Look Normal by Angela Hunt -- imagine being newly-divorced, looking for a job to support yourself and your two boys, and suddenly inheriting a funeral home in Florida!  Well, that's what happens to Jennifer in this book. I like the reminder about praying and patience and God's grip on us: His never letting us go.  I struggle with some of those things.

The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss, and Love From Iran to America by Rahimeh Andalibian -- I didn't expect to have much in common with this author, but some parts of her story hit close to home.  This book challenged me to consider children and what they endure when family members argue and have conflict.  I felt sorry for the the children many times.

Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter -- an OK book about a girl, Madison, who takes sailing lessons from a guy, Beckett, so that she can win this race in her dead twin's memory; it was a pretty easy read, and wasn't terrible

Seven Events that Shaped the New Testament World by Warren Carter  -- each month I've been trying to read at least one book that I have on my book shelf. This month, this was the chosen book. I think the title is pretty self-explanatory.  One of my favorite chapters dealt with the Jews in covenant with God and how they weren't trying to earn God's grace or favor, they already had it. But keeping the Law was just their way of staying in covenant with him. Also the Law provided a means of forgiveness.  I knew that, I suppose, but hadn't thought of it much.

Things We Once Held Dear by Ann Tatlock -- after his wife's death, Neil leaves New York City to visit the place where he grew up in Ohio. He sees several friends and relatives from the past, and an old murder mystery is solved.

When Audrey Met Alice by Rebecca Behrens -- the story of a First Daughter of the United States (Fido) and her quest to have some fun in a world where her every move is monitored.  She happens to find the journal of a former Fido - Alice Roosevelt - and enjoys reading Alice's accounts.  This book made me look up Alice Roosevelt: quite an interesting character!

A Spoonful of Sugar: a Nanny's Story by Brenda Ashford -- a book written by a 92 year old Nanny from England telling of her childhood, training and work as a nanny for over sixty years.  At times I felt this book was a tad too scolding, but I figure when you are 92, it's OK.  Overall I enjoyed reading about her experiences, and I appreciated the example her parents were to her in giving her and her siblings a happy, loving home.

Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell -- can you imagine your mom signing your family up for a summer vacation where you go to some remote place in the US and live as if you were a family in the 1800s? Well, this YA book covers one girl's experience at doing just that. 

The Elevator by Angela Hunt  -- three women stuck on an elevator as a hurricane is approaching Florida; little did they know (at first) that they all have ties to the same man!

The Awakening by Angela Hunt -- the story of a 35 year old lady who was the caretaker for her mom for ten years, her struggle with agoraphobia, and how she met a father she had been told abandoned her when her mom found out she was pregnant; I actually liked this story more than I thought I would. I typically don't like stories that have a lot of dreams in them, but this one interested me more. Maybe it's because of the helpful neighbor.

One Light Still Shines by Marie Monville-- this book made me reconsider how I think of the family members of killers.  Do you remember back in October 2006 when a man went into an Amish school house and ended up murdering some Amish girls before taking his own life?  This was before I was on the computer as much, and I think I purposefully limited myself to keeping up with the details.  They were too much. I do remember the Amazing Grace of the Amish. That was so unAmerican in many ways... to offer such grace.  I didn't really care to know about the murderer's family. I figured they were some low-class drug addicts or something and didn't think much of them. Well, this book is by the shooter's wife, and, man, she is so different from how I would have thought her to be.  I remember seeing this book highly recommended on Bridget's blog. Even then I wondered why I would care to read the shooter's wife's account of things, but since my library had it I put it on my list of books to get. Only it was checked out much of the time until recently. 
I knew it might cause me to cry, but I took my chances that it wouldn't get to me and read parts of this while at the children's museum with Zach. Not the best idea as two days in a row I had to suck down the tears and probably had a couple people wondering why my eyes were a bit ... watery.
I love how she purposefully praised God during her hard times because I really struggle with that. Instead of moving further away because she was disappointed, or hurt, or scared, or life was falling apart, she drew near to God.
In the last couple of pages in the book,  Marie writes:

"No matter how tragic your circumstances, your life is not a tragedy. It is a love story. And in your love story, when you think all the lights have gone out, one light still shines.

You've seen how God, in his bounteous grace, pierced my darkest moments with his light. Over and over again he broke through my pain, revealed his presence, and restored my hope. ...
God didn't grant my every hope. Instead, he calls me to love the moment, confident that he is creating me with the future in mind.  He didn't fix the tragedy. He redeemed it.  ...
He didn't prevent the loss ... But, oh, how he sustains me through it.
On this side of heaven, for all of us, God doesn't always spare us the loneliness, remove the pain, or still the storm. So I ask you:  How often do we miss his light because we fail to look for it?  How many times do we turn away from the tiny flicker that reveals his presence because we shut our eyes tight, insisting that he remove the darkness?
What is your story? Mistreatment, injustice, torment, suffering, grief, or even the worst of what humanity can do to one another?
Or is it a love story of the Creator God sustaining, intervening, redeeming, and restoring?
Live the love story!  Fall into the embrace of forgiveness. Hide in the shelter of his wings. Step inside the wall of grace. Live in the expectancy of seeing him at work. Leap into his mysterious will. Receive the gift of love. Be released to respond to his call.
Tell the world your love story.
And when the lights go out, you too will see that one light still shines."  (pg. 312, 313)

Dancing With Fireflies by Denise Hunter -- this is in the same series as another book I read this month only this book deals with Madison's sister Jade and her return to Chapel Springs from a year in Chicago; I actually liked this book better than the first although I'm sure many people would find it boring

AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller  -- I am not sure why I like books about people hiking a 2,000+ mile trail, but I do enjoy these accounts even when they include many references to foot problems like infected blisters.  It's especially fun when authors talk about areas of the AT that we've been on especially Roan Mountain and Damascus, Virginia and even the Watauga Lake and Dam area of Tennessee. 

It's What I Do: A Photographer's Life of Love and War by Lynsey Addario -- I saw this first mentioned on Bridget's blog, and it was finally available at my local library. What an interesting tale of a lady who travels the world into some of the toughest places. I really enjoyed much about this book!

When Grace Sings by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- I got this off the new books shelf and later realized it was the second book in a trilogy...and I didn't read book number one. I could tell some things were revealed in book one, but I enjoyed it pretty well anyway.  It takes place in an Old Order Mennonite community in Kansas. I've read several books about Amish so this was slightly different since it dealt with Mennonites.  I did like it well enough to find the other books.

She Always Wore Red by Angela Hunt -- this is the second book in the series about the lady who inherited a funeral home in Florida; the author touches upon some difficult topics in a rather humorous way. In this book Jennifer is introduced to a 24-year-old half sister who showed up in Mt. Dora.

No comments: