Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Whatever your circumstance is today, I hope you have a wonderful day!
Take some time to remember and reflect on why we celebrate this wonderful day.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

January 2010 Selection

It's time to get the book club rolling for 2010 and I sure do hope you all are as excited as I am about starting our 2nd year. The only change is that we will now be meeting in our new facilities at church! Beacon of Life has been good to us but for our 2010 year we will meet in one of the classrooms in Swift's new building. This will make our first meeting for 2010 on January 30th at 8:30 AM.



Our January selection for the book club will be, The Ultimate Gift by Jim Stovall. This is a small book (125 pages) but has such an enormous impact. You may recognize the name of the book which is also a movie and is just as good too. As we come off the busy Christmas season giving and receiving our material gifts lets take a minute to read about the gifts found in this book. Being what the title of the book is, at first it might lead you to believe we are reading about God's Ultimate Gift to us, Jesus. But the gift the author describes is a gift from one person to another that helped change a life. Here is what the book flap has to say:




Red Stevens was a self-made man who gave his family everything – and ruined them in the process. Now, as his estate of mega companies is divided among greedy and self-serving relatives, one member is singled out for a chance to do something special: Red’s great-nephew, Jason. The Ultimate Gift takes the reader through Jason’s incredible work to gain his Uncle Red’s inheritance through a series of challenges. Every step of the way, there is a lesson for Jason and the reader. It’s a quest for what it means to live life well that has captivated millions of readers throughout the world, and has also become the basis of numerous educational and philanthropic initiatives that build upon the inspiring insights that unfold in this stirring story. (End quote)




This book is an inspiring fictional novel. Please keep this in mind when reading the selection and that in no way are we trying to take away from the gift of Jesus. Because this book is so short I thought I would let you know that there is a sequel that goes along with it that you are welcome to read but it is not required for discussion. The sequel is, The Ultimate Life by Jim Stovall and is equally as short as the first book.




If you are interested in a Pre-order please contact Kathy at the church office. As always local libraries and bookstores have some copies available. I have sometimes seen this one and it’s sequel at the $5 Christian bookstore at the Tanger outlet mall. We welcome you to invite your family and friends to join us in reading. If you have any questions, please let me know. Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (Whole Series)

You might remember that I read the first book in this series and told you about it back here. I have since completed reading all 5 books in the Percy Jackson series, squeezing them in here and there between other reads. And I have to say I enjoyed it. I always enjoyed learning Greek mythology and it was interesting to see it all play out in a story. You can certainly tell the writing is for a younger crowd but nevertheless it was a fun read. Here is a list of the series in order:


Book 1 The Lightning Thief (See above)







Book 2: The Sea of Monsters



























Book 3: The Titan's Curse

























Book 4: The Battle of the Labyrinth
















Book 5: The Last Olympian




















Of course this will not be a book club selection but if you are interested in these kind of fiction novels I thought I would share. A friend of mine who is also a Harry Potter fan had told me about these and thought I might enjoy them so might as well pass along. If you are a HP fan just keep in mind that the writing seems to be for an even younger crowd. To go to the official Olympians website to check out the different books, click here. Happy Reading!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Dewey by Vicki Myron

Well I have just (finally) finished up reading Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat who Touched the World by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter. This is a 271 page book of non-fiction about a small town library cat written by the librarian of that small town library. Here is a description from Barnes and Noble of the book:


DEWEY is the heartwarming story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa, as told by his owner and companion of nineteen years, Vicki Myron, the librarian who found him on a frigid January morning when he was abandoned as a kitten in the book drop slot. It is also the story of a remarkable small town, which burned down at the beginning of the Depression, only to rebuild itself, and which was almost shuttered during the farm crisis of the 1980s, before regrouping and rededicating itself to small town American values. Dewey's local charm and worldwide fame became a symbol of hope for this recovering town. Through Dewey's antics, we come to know and love many of the colorful and inspiring people of Spencer. But perhaps the most inspiring person in Spencer is Vicki Myron herself, a single mother who survived the bankruptcy of her family farm and working in a box factory to put two of her brothers through college to become one of the leaders of the Iowa library system. Dewey is one lovable, roguish cat who managed to transform an entire town and inspire people across the globe. (end quote)


It took me a while to get into the book because in the beginning it is alot of background information on the author and the town of Spencer with some Dewey story mixed in. But as I continued through the book it just got better and more entertaining as more items focused on Dewey and the lives he touched. Now... I'm not a cat person... I did grow up with cats but I'm not really the expert here. In my opinion though Dewey was different. And you can tell by the stories that Vicki told that he was so much more than just a cat. Her stories are descriptive and do a good job of painting a picture in your mind. I love when she would write in italics what she thinks Dewey was probably thinking in certain situations. The ending is very sweet and whether you are a cat person or not this story is sure to touch your heart. I almost cried at the end. It made me want to be a Librarian and have a cat when I grow up. ;) This won't be a book club selection but it is a good read. As always share your thoughts if you have read it or plan too. Happy Reading!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Toddler Book Giveaway


Hello and Happy Thanksgiving! I know it has been awhile since I gave you a book review but it's been slow in the reading department of my life lately. Busy Busy! I wanted to take a moment though to let you know about a book giveaway I am having on my personal blog, LittleMrsDomestic. This giveaway will run until December 8, 2009. You will need to read the post to figure out how to enter. If interested in ordering a copy of the book I also have that information for you.



I hope you and yours are enjoying our time off and are having a great Thanksgiving weekend! Happy Reading!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Every Now and Then By Karen Kingsbury

I have just finished up reading the last book in Karen's 9/11 series. And I have to tell you I was not disappointed. I enjoyed reading this book and Karen really kept me focused and not wanting to put it down. Like the other books in the 9/11 series this one was just as intense at times. Here is what the book flap can tell you about this story:


A wall went up around Alex Brady's heart when his father, a New York firefighter, died in the Twin Towers. Turning his back on the only women he ever loved, Alex shut out all the people who cared about him to concentrate on fighting crime. He and his trusty K9 partner, Bo, are determined to eliminate evil in the world and prevent tragedies like 9/11. Then the worst fire season in California's history erupts, and Alex faces the ultimate challenge to protect the community he serves. An environmental terrorist group is targeting the plush Oak Canyon Estates. At the risk of losing his job, and his soul, Alex is determined to infiltrate the group and put an end to their corruption. Only the friendship of Clay and Jamie Michaels-and the love of a dedicated young woman-can help Alex drop the walls around his heart and move forward into the future God has for him. (end quote)


This book was 308 pages long but it was an easy page turner. I found myself brought to tears a few times as the lives of the characters are brought back to God and redeemed. I don't want to give away to much but I would recommend the read. Remember if you are just now tuning in this is the 3rd book in Karen Kingsbury's 9/11 series. The first two books were One Tuesday Morning and Beyond Tuesday Morning. I hope you enjoyed our dip into Karen Kingsbury's life changing fiction. If you have any questions or comments, as always please share! Happy Reading!





Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Your Library Part 2!

Welcome back for part 2 of your Library! We are going to go over how to place an item on hold using the Baldwin County Online System. Regardless of what branch you are a member of in BC you can use this system online. And you can have books from all over the county sent to your local branch. If you are reading this and you are not in the Baldwin County area be sure to check with your local library because they may have a similar set up.

First we are going to go to the search catalog on the website. You have several different options here. You can search by title of the book, authors last name, etc. and you can search for a book at a specific branch or all branches. Many options! I like to click all branches because I know in just a couple days I can have a book sent to the branch of my choice.



Next I have typed in that I want to search for the book Redeeming Love. I want to search all branches. Click Search and you are on your way!


You will see that our search results pulled up copies of the book and what branches of the Library it is available. If you choose to select this book for hold you will need to check the box on the left hand side (I have circled it in red for you) that says hold request. After you check the box click on where it says Hold Request.



Next the following box will pop up. It will already have marked for you that you want the first available copy. If you need to change that of course do so. You will then need to fill in your patron ID number and PIN number. Mark the branch you want the book sent to when it's ready. I choose Gulf Shores because it is easy for me to run over on my lunch break.



After I type in my information and click the button that says, Submit Request, the following box will pop up with a confirmation that the book is on hold.

And there you have it! We just put a book on hold! I have it set up where when my book becomes available for pick up they send me an e-mail. Talk to your librarian about whatever method is best for you, by phone or e-mail. It can take a couple days for an available book to be ready for pick up at your library or it could take weeks. It just all depends on if alot of other people have it on hold in front of you. Don't forget this method works the same for books on CD, movies and more!

I hope you found this information useful. Again I hope that you take advantage of your local library and save some money! Have a great week!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Beyond Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury

I just finished up reading the second book in the 9/11 series by Karen Kingsbury. If you will remember we read the first book as our September Book Club Selection. This book is Christian Fiction with some fact as far as events of September 11 are concerned. It is about 303 pages and here is what the book flap tells you:








In this sequel to the bestselling One Tuesday Morning, to Jamie Bryan it is still September 12, 2001. What will move her from living in the past to living the life God has given her today? It's been three years since the terrorist attacks on New York City, but FDNY widow Jamie Bryan keeps waking up to the aching pain of that one Tuesday morning, the morning of September 11, 2001. Determined to find meaning in her grief, Jamie pours her life into volunteer work at St. Paul's, the small memorial chapel across from where the twin towers once stood. In the stream of broken, grieving people who make their way through the church doors, Jamie connects with two men - a firefighter forever changed by the attacks, and a Los Angeles police officer. Unsure and feeling somehow guilty, Jamie opens herself to the possibility of loving again. But what she learns about one man sends her reeling. How can this be God's plan for her life? Now only the persistence of a tenacious man, questions from Jamie's curious young daughter, and words from her dead husband's journal can move Jamie Bryan beyond one Tuesday morning - toward life. (end quote)












I have to tell you that I enjoyed this book just as much if not more than the first one. Karen Kingsbury truly is a talented writer. This one has more of a love story running through it and just seemed more fast paced I guess. I know it may not feel like that for everyone but I really enjoyed it and I look forward to reading the third book. The third and as far as I know last book in the series is Book 3, Every Now and Then by Karen Kingsbury. After I finish this I will be moving on to other books to chop my stack down some more. Stay Tuned! Please share any thoughts! Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Make good use of your Library! Part 1!


Foley Public Library (picture source)




Now you may have heard this before but I decided rather than take the chance, I would share the information! Have you realized what a great resource your public library can be? Especially in today's economy, rather than buying books or renting movies, check out your local library! You can't beat free membership! Grant it, it is paid for by our tax dollars so really you are already paying for it....you might as well use it!





Alot of people don't realize that libraries are not just a bunch of old books. They have new books that come in constantly. They even have ton's of movies on tape or dvd as well as books on cd or tape. A couple years ago when I learned that the library had DVD's we were subscribing to Netflix online. I sat at the computer one day and went down my Netflix list and found that my library had half the movies on the list. I made myself a list of movies in Word that I wanted to see that were also at the library and then I wouldn't have to use my Netflix movies on ones I could get for free. And even now that we don't have Netflix anymore, you won't catch me spending $ at movie rental places. I can be patient and just wait for the movie at the library to become available. Which you do need to take note, movies at the library can sometimes take a long time to become available as more and more people realize this great source.





I am going to show you the online screens to get to where you can log in to your account on the Foley Public Library Site. Check with your local library if you are not in Baldwin County, Alabama because odd's are yours has something like it. If you are fortunate to have a membership with one of the Baldwin County Libraries you can check out books from any of the branches in the county. What is so great about this is because you can go online and see where a book is available. If it is not at your branch you can request a copy of it and they will send it from whatever branch has it available to your home branch for you to pick up. This usually takes a couple days.



Below you will see a portion of the main screen when you go to Foley's website. Look down the left hand sidebar and you will see several options. Click on the one that says Patron Accounts.




Next you will be taken to a screen that has the following. Here you can click on the "Your account" button and it will take you to where you can sign in.



This is the screen it takes you to that is the same for all branches of the library. Here you can sign in or you can call the number it has for the library to help you set up your online account. It is so easy if you need to call and takes less than 5 minutes. Just be sure to have your library card handy.



Once you are signed in this is what the screen will look like no matter what branch you are a member of at the time. It's very user friendly.

Well that wraps it up for today. Next time I will break down for you searching for a book online and placing it on hold! Easy stuff but sometimes we need visuals! I hope that this has gotten you thinking about using your library and all it's great services. Don't forget that your church may have a free library too. Swift Church does and our librarian has been doing an excellent job of getting it organized. Put some money back in your pockets!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Christ the Lord, The Road to Cana By Anne Rice

I have just finished up reading Christ the Lord, The Road to Cana by Anne Rice. If you have been paying attention you will note that I finished up all 321 pages of this book much faster than the 1st novel in the series. Here is what the book cover tells you about the book:

It's a winter of no rain, endless dust, and talk of trouble in Judea. All who know and love Jesus find themselves waiting for some sign of the path he will eventually take. After his baptism, he is at last ready to confront his destiny. At the wedding at Cana, he takes water and transforms it into red wine. Thus, he's recognized as the anointed one and called by God the Father to begin a ministry that will transform an unsuspecting world. (end quote)

This is a christian fiction book based on historical fact about the life of Jesus as an adult. This book highlights the baptism with John the Baptist and the wedding at Cana. I got through this book alot faster than I did the previous and have to say I enjoyed it much more. Even though it took me longer to get through the first I do not believe reading one without the other is helpful. I recommend that you read them both even if the first is harder to get through. Again Anne Rice offers an Author's note at the end of the book which is helpful in understanding where she got her story from and how she feels about it. I like that at the end she tells you that if this book doesn't help bring you closer to Jesus then put it away. She does plan to have more books in this series as she continues the life of Jesus and I'm sure I will read them when they come out. I still do not believe this book or the 1st will be a selection for our book club. As always if you have any thoughts and decide to read the book, please share them with us! Happy Reading!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Christ the Lord Out of Egypt by Anne Rice

I have just finished up reading Christ the Lord Out of Egypt by Anne Rice. You may have noticed that this book was on my sidebar for quite some time as I worked to finish all of its 322 pages and wrap up the Book Club for September. Here is what the book cover and flap tells you about the book:



"Having completed the two cycles of legend to which she has devoted her career so far, Anne Rice gives us now her most ambitious, and courageous book, a novel about the early years of Christ the Lord, based on the gospels and on the most respected New Testament scholarship. The book's power derives from the passion its author brings to the writing and the way in which she summons up the voice, the presence, the words of Jesus who tells the story." (book flap)


"A riveting, reverent imagining of the hidden years of the child Jesus...A triumph of tone-her prose lean, vivid-and character... Christ the Lord is a cross between a historical novel and an update of Tolstoy's The Gospels in Brief; it presents Jesus as nature mystic, healer, prophet and very much a real young boy...Essentially it's a mystery story, of the child grappling to understand his miraculous gifts and numinous birth... As he ponders his staggering responsibility, the boy is fully believable-and yet there's something in his supernatural empathy and blazing intelligence that conveys the wondrousness of a boy like no other... With this novel, Anne Rice has indeed found a convincing version of him; that is fiction that transcends story and instead qualifies as an act of faith." (Kirkus Reviews - book cover)


This is a christian fiction book based on historical fact about the life of Jesus as a child. It did take me a while to get through this book because I had some difficulty getting into it. I am not very educated on the family of Jesus outside of Mary and Joseph so it was a bit confusing to me and I was questioning often if this or that is true or not. I know that we don't know what the days of Jesus boyhood were like but I think Anne, being the talented writer she is, does paint a good picture of what could have been. It wasn't until near the end of the book that I became more engaged in the book and able to get through it faster. I really enjoyed reading the Author's note at the end. Anne Rice provides a bit of her testimony of what brought her to writing about Jesus and I have to say this made me like the book more. I do not believe this book will be a selection for our book club but just because I don't think it's right for the club doesn't mean you shouldn't try it out for your own. I have a few friends that love this book so it's all different strokes for different folks. I am now into the second book, Christ the Lord, The Road to Cana and have to say it is going better so far. :)

As always if you have any thoughts, please share them with us! Happy Reading!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Review of 2009

We have finished up our book club meetings for 2009. I am looking forward to this well deserved break of October - December. I can promise you I have a few stacks of books sitting around staring me down waiting to be read. Several of you are owners of these books and I promise I have not forgotten. I will keep up the blog with what I am reading during the break and welcome anyone who would like to participate with a review of a book they read. All you have to do is e-mail me. If you come across a good book that you think the club will enjoy please let me know, I love recommendations! You never know, what you suggest may end up as the next month’s book. We will resume meetings in January 2010. Stay tuned in December as details for January are announced. I hope you have enjoyed our year and look forward to the next. I thank each one of you for your participation, recommendations, conversation and company. A Special Thank you to those who selected me to lead our Book Club and Thank you to Beacon of Life for allowing us to use their space for meetings.

Here’s a list of all the wonderful books we read this year in case you want a reminder:

January – Traveling Light by Max Lucado
February – Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
March – Same kind of different as me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
April – The Shack by William P. Young
May – Having a Mary heart in a Martha world by Joanna Weaver
June – The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
July – The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom
August – The Five people you meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
September – One Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury

If you have any questions or need anything please feel free to contact me at abookjunkie(at)gmail(dot)com.

P.S. Don't forget to take advantage of the Public and Church library! They are Free!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Last Meeting of 2009

This past weekend we had our last meeting of 2009. We met and discussed our last book, One Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury. The overall feel is that everyone enjoyed the book and plans to read the two that come along after it in the 9/11 series. (Keep reading for more info.) They said they will definitely recommend it to others! That's always a good sign!




I know I haven't written much on this book at all but as I have mentioned before I just don't have alot to talk about on it. I'm glad the faith of the characters (and lack of it) is demonstrated in this tragic time and that she shows that anything is possible with God. I pray that others will read it whom have been struck by a tragedy and the Holy Spirit might use it to help restore their faith. During our meeting we discussed how/why God could let something as terrible as 9/11 or any other terrible event happen. We of course have no answers only what ifs and maybes. I pray that if you struggle with questions such as these that you are comforted and can gain a sense of peace that even if we can't have all the answers now, God has them. I pray that you trust him with these answers. I want to take a minute to bring up a subject from a past book, The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Something I didn't comment on the blog at the time, but during the reading of the book there is a moment when Corrie's father talks to her about how our parent carries the burden of knowledge for us until we are ready. Casper Ten Boom says that he wouldn't be a very good father if he allowed his child to carry a heavy burden she wasn't yet ready to carry. Corrie is satisfied with him answering her question like this. I challenge you with this thought, When you are questioning God our Father with whys and what ifs, Why not take a moment and think about what Mr. Ten Boom told Corrie. Do you think maybe God doesn't give us all the answers right when we want them because He is carrying the burden for us? Just something to think about.

If you would like to share what you will most take away from this book please do. I know I have a renewed appreciation for the time I have with my family. I am even more sure now to remember to tell others I love them every moment someone leaves the house. It's very important to tell others how much you love them, don't take it for granted!


I hope that you took time during the month to remember all those affected by the attacks on September 11th. I ask that you continue to pray for our Country as just this past month another attack was foiled by the FBI. I hope this book was enjoyable to you and that you continue on to read the next two, I know I will. I will tell you about them on the blog when it comes time. Here is the information in case you need it:


Beyond Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury: This is the sequel to One Tuesday morning. I myself have not read it yet but wanted you to be aware in case you were interested. The book is 303 pages long and here is the description from Karen’s website:

“In this sequel to the bestselling One Tuesday Morning, to Jamie Bryan it is still September 12, 2001. What will move her from living in the past to living the life God has given her today? It's been three years since the terrorist attacks on New York City, but FDNY widow Jamie Bryan keeps waking up to the aching pain of that one Tuesday morning, the morning of September 11, 2001. Determined to find meaning in her grief, Jamie pours her life into volunteer work at St. Paul's, the small memorial chapel across from where the twin towers once stood. In the stream of broken, grieving people who make their way through the church doors, Jamie connects with two men - a firefighter forever changed by the attacks, and a Los Angeles police officer. Unsure and feeling somehow guilty, Jamie opens herself to the possibility of loving again. But what she learns about one man sends her reeling. How can this be God's plan for her life? Now only the persistence of a tenacious man, questions from Jamie's curious young daughter, and words from her dead husband's journal can move Jamie Bryan beyond one Tuesday morning - toward life.”







Every Now and Then by Karen Kingsbury: This is the third book in Karen’s 9/11 series. I myself have not read it yet but wanted you to be aware in case you were interested. The book is 308 pages long and here is the description from Karen’s website:

“A gripping story of danger and heroism by New York Times bestselling author Karen Kingsbury. Sheriff’s deputy Alex Brady and his K-9 partner Bo, are on a mission to protect the people of Los Angeles. Domestic terrorists are trying to make this the worst fire season in California’s history. Can Alex stop this senseless destruction in time, or will he lose himself in the process? A wall went up around Alex Brady’s heart when his father, a New York firefighter, died in the Twin Towers. Turning his back on the only woman he ever loved, Alex shut out all the people who cared about him to concentrate on fighting crime. He and his trusty K9 partner, Bo, are determined to eliminate evil in the world and prevent tragedies like 9-11. Then the worst fire season in California’s history erupts, and Alex faces the ultimate challenge to protect the community he serves. An environmental terrorist group is targeting the plush Oak Canyon Estates. At the risk of losing his job, and his soul, Alex is determined to infiltrate the group and put an end to their corruption. Only the friendship of Clay and Jamie Michaels—and the love of a dedicated young woman—can help Alex drop the walls around his heart and move forward into the future God has for him.”





Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Time is short

I know I haven't been a very good blogger this month. I have found difficulty coming up with what to write about with this book. Not to say it isn't a good book with good themes (I wouldn't have chosen it, if I didn't think so). But I just haven't had much to say.



As you read through the book you find out the stories of the Bryan and Michael families. A part of me questions how believable this story is but at the same time I have never been in that extreme situation so who knows what I would have done. I love the way Jake had made notes for Jamie in his Bible and how he would write letters to her in his journal. Something I think many probably don't do or think about doing for their spouse whether they are a believer or not. Or even for your children. I think keeping a journal (Even if not updated everyday) or making notes like that is a treasure that those left on earth when we go home will appreciate forever. No doubt the Holy Spirit used this to reach Jamie and Eric's hearts in our story. I know many people who do keep a faith or prayer journal. I wonder if it will be an inspiration to others after they are gone, but I think I have my answer after reading this book. I keep a journal for my children. I started it when my son was about 3 years old and one for my daughter when she was about that same age. I don't write in it everyday but it is better than nothing. I had read the book The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright. At the time I thought about how neat it would be for my husband to write me letters every week as was done in the book. So much is forgotten as years go by and what a good way to remember. In this book Jake is again the husband writing to the spouse but there is no reason why a wife couldn't do the same for her husband. Grant it when I read this I dream of my husband writing for me but rather than waiting for that to happen, why shouldn't I start writing for him?



I think the biggest thing that I took away from this book is the reminder of how short our time here is on earth. We never know when it could be the last time we lay eyes on a family member. It's a scary and sad thought but a realistic one as well. So often I hear the words about not taking for granted the time we are given but so often it goes in one ear and out the other. This book has helped me to remember that everyday. Not that I didn't before but even more so now am I more aware of being sure of telling people what I think and that I love them. Not that I have any plans to but it makes the thought cross my mind more often, If I were to die tomorrow, Would my family know how much I loved them? Or if one of my family members died tomorrow, Would they know how much I loved them? I think that Jake Bryan was a good example of someone who was sure when he died that those he was leaving knew where he stood with them. Thankfully even though Eric didn't have that peace he got a second chance to make it happen.


I'm sure the people who have endured hardships due to 9/11 and countless other tragedies can give the advice of not taking time for granted. We should all be so smart to wise up to what it means now rather than when it is to late. If you want to, share what you will take away from this book. Will it help you to appreciate how short our time really is here on earth? Will you make more of an effort with those around you? Will you stop letting loose ends hang and tie them up already? Will you break through those emotional barriers and start living your life? Will you stop putting it off and give yourself to Christ?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck

This week I finished up another book, The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck. If you are wondering why I am reading a Christmas Book in September it is because I am trying to find some books to recommend for the book club while we are on holiday break. So, It is a fictional novel with some truth of Beck's life woven through it. The book is 273 pages long and an easy read. Here is what the book flap tells us:


When Eddie was twelve years old, all he wanted for Christmas was a bike. Although his life had gotten harder-and money tighter-since his father died and the family bakery closed...Eddie dreamed that somehow his mother would find a way to have his dream bike gleaming beside their modest Christmas tree that magical morning.What he got from her instead was a sweater. "A stupid, handmade, ugly sweater" that young Eddie left in a crumpled ball in the corner of his room.Scarred deeply by the realization that kids don't always get what they want, and too young to understand that he already owned life's most valuable treasures, that Christmas morning was the beginning of Eddie's dark and painful journey on the road to manhood. It will take wrestling with himself, his faith, and his family-and the guidance of a mysterious neighbor names Russell-to help Eddie find his path through the storm clouds of life and finally see the real significance of that simple gift his mother had crafted by hand with love in her heart. (end quote)




I did enjoy the book for the most part even though it was quite sad in some areas. The message about the sweater and how we treat the ones we loves rings true for all ages. Beck did a nice job I thought of making the emotions of the characters easy to relate to. It is a nice reminder of what we should be doing and how we should be treating others. I did not care for the way it ends. (Not saying it ends bad) And I may just be being picky. If some of the story was true of the authors I felt like it would have been better for him to just tell his story rather than change it around the way he did to make this one. Anyways this will not be a book club selection and I don't know that it will be one of my recommended reads for over the holidays. I felt like in many parts the author was glossing over his faith and the subject of Jesus. In the end you do have a note from the author that clarifies some things which made it better. But of course read it for yourself to make your own opinion. If you have read it and want to share your thoughts, please do so! Happy Reading!

Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11/01



I decided since it is 9/11 today that it's about time I start writing about this month's book. One Tuesday Morning opens with the author telling us how she researched for the book and prepares us for the story. She starts out giving us some background information about our characters so we have an idea of what their lives were like before that terrible day. Kingsbury tells us how this story is her way of grieving through the events. I think she is right, it's a nice way to remember and not lose hope.





In chapter 1 we are introduced to Jamie and Jake Bryan. They are a happy married couple with one child, Sierra. We get to know this family, Jake is a Christian together with his daughter Sierra. Jamie on the other hand is not and doesn't believe or attend church with Jake. The Bryan family lives in New York and Jake is a firefighter in New York City. In chapter 2 we meet Laura and Eric Michaels whom are not so happily married anymore and have 1 son, Josh. The Michaels family is in California. Eric also has a brother who is a main player in our story, Clay Michaels. In the Michaels family, Laura, Josh and Clay are the active Christians as Eric has become a workaholic and allowed it to put a strain on everything in his life. As we continue through the book we will flash back and forth between these two separate families on opposite ends of the country and read how their lives end up intersecting. Chapters 3 through 7 give us some insight as to the beliefs of our characters, the relationships between them and where they all stand in life as September 11th comes crashing down on them.





In Chapters 8-15 the author begins to breakdown 9/11 into a timeline throughout the day of what is happening in the lives of our characters. Jake is a firefighter trying to help those in the 2nd tower. Eric is in a meeting on the 64th floor of the 2nd tower. The story unfolds minute by minute and tells us what happens in the lives of all these people as the terrible events of the day unfold. Jake and Eric's lives intertwine for a brief moment on the stairwell. They realize that they look alike but now isn't the time to dwell on it. Eric continues down the stairs and Jake upwards. We find out that Jake Bryan survives or what the people in the story think is Jake Bryan, really though it's Eric Michaels. Eric has amnesia and those around him recognize him as Jake Bryan and since he has no clue who he is, he goes along with it. The author tells us in the beginning of the book that Amnesia was something that did happen to some with head injuries after 9/11. I think it is good to know this as under normal circumstances it might be harder for someone to believe that this mix up of identification could take place.





We will read on how the lives of these families in our book are forever changed. And this is the truth, real lives of thousands of people were changed that day. Take time today and as you read this book to remember and pray for the families who's lives changed forever. Take the time to pray for all of our service men and women. Remember that God is in control. I pray that you have the faith of Jake Bryan and remember where your real home is always. I wrote a little bit more of an extensive remembrance about this day on my personal blog. You can check it out by clicking here. God Bless the U.S.A.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Inside my Heart by Robin McGraw

I just finished up reading, Inside My Heart: Choosing to live with Passion and Purpose by Robin McGraw. My office manager had read it and recommended I read it. She graciously brought me her copy to borrow a few weeks ago. This book is an inspirational non-fiction that tells you stories about the McGraw family, the lessons she has learned and things that you can put into place in your life with confidence. This book is 221 pages and here is what the back cover says:


You've seen her on television with her husband, Dr. Phil. But now it's time for a heart-to-heart conversation with Robin McGraw. In Inside My Heart, Robin speaks woman to woman, inspiring you to embrace and celebrate the many roles you play and encouraging you to make deliberate choices that lead to a richer, happier, and more meaningful life. She shares with you the life-changing moments of her childhood years, dating and marrying Dr. Phil McGraw, raising two sons, and asserting herself as a woman in a man's world to show you that you have the power to make choices in your life. In fact, she's convinced that you must choose to go after the life you want. With a deep and abiding faith in God, Robin McGraw shares her story so you, too, can make choices that reflect your own heart's truest priorities and highest goals. (end quote)



To be perfectly honest, I really was not that interested or ready to read this book. But if someone takes the time to recommend something and bring me the book to borrow I am going to read it. Thankfully I was pleasantly surprised. I have enjoyed the book even if the chapters were a little toooo long. (Editor should have done something about that.) But it was good, real good. She is a good storyteller and paints a great picture of the ups and downs that their marriage has had like everyone else. Even being married to Dr. Phil, their life isn't perfect. I also feel like the stories she tells she brings up great points with lessons to be learned. Robins says in the book flap,



"My Wish is for you to perceive as I do, the presence of God within us and around us and feel the love He feels for us all. I want to get you excited about being a woman in this day and time, excited about being the woman that God created you to be. And it's all there for the choosing, because I believe in the core of my soul that how you live, how I live, how we all live as women is largely a matter of choice."



I really enjoyed the stories she tells us about bringing up her children. She brings alot of good points out about the differences between men and women and what different things children will or need to learn from each. She tells us quite a few little stories of things that have happened between her and Phil and her reactions and good ways to handle situations. I like that she reminds women that we have the choice to be in the situation we are in, we have a choice to get where we want to be or sit by letting things move along for us with no input. I am undecided as to if this will be a book club selection for 2010 but I do recommend it! Let me know if you have read it or any thoughts. As always Happy Reading!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Tala and our Conclusion

We get a couple more flashbacks of Eddies life and he comes to his 5th person, Tala. Eddie doesn't know why she is his 5th person but she explains, he killed her. We find out this is the little girl he saw in the hut all those years ago. There really was someone in there and here she is, his last person. Tala has Eddie wash her scars away with the stone from the river and tells him that his life at the pier was not in vain. But he made good for her because he kept children safe.

Tala also tells him the answer he has been waiting for through all his meetings. He did save the little girl at the ride when he died and it was Tala's hands he felt as he came to Heaven. Here is the question from ReadingGroupGuides.com concerning this part:

-What does Tala mean when she says "you make good for me"? Discuss whether or not Eddie's life is a penance, and why. What is the significance of Tala pulling Eddie to safety after he dies? Why is it Tala that pulls him to heaven and not one of the other four?

Now it is Tala's hands that guide him to one last place. He is back at the Pier filled with thousands of people. The author tells us that, "these people were there or would be because of all the mundane things Eddie had done in his life, the accidents he prevented, the rides he had kept safe, the unnoticed runs he had affected every day." Eddie is finally home with Marguerite, in heaven, his pier. The epilogue gives us a few last details of what happened after Eddie passed away. We find out that the ride eventually re-opened under another name. Dominguez took over Eddie's job. The boy, Nicky, who's key had caused the ride to malfunction that day was the great grandson of Ruby. Eddie waits for the day when he will be one of the 5 people a little girl meets who had been saved at Ruby Pier. And the author wraps up with one of the main themes from the book, "Each affects the other and the other affects the next, and the world is full of stories, but the stories are all one."


I love that at the end of the book the author included a picture of what the real Eddie looked like on his Birthday. I always like stories that have some sort of truth woven into it. I really enjoyed this book and it has actually always been a favorite of mine. I know that this is not the Heaven that I believe in or imagine when I get there, Jesus Christ will be who I see. But at the same time I still like it. I love the characters, the lessons and the creativity. We had a good meeting this past weekend and it really wasn't a favorite among the group but as we had our discussion it seemed to grow on people more.


I think this was one of the better meetings of discussion we have had. We had a good turnout and hearing the stories from the women and what they came away with from the book was inspiring. I am glad that these women were affected by it, even if the book was only an inspirational novel rather than very spiritual. At the meeting, JBM did a great close up of discussion by reminding us that when we really get to Heaven, every tear will be wiped away and we won't have to go through the anguish that Eddie did trying to figure his life out. I hope the book inspires you to do something about the present, what loose ends do you think you might should tie up? None of us ever know the hour we will go Home, let's live each day as if it is our last. Remember that whatever you do in life, it matters. Every little thing that everyone does matters.


There is a movie out that goes along very close to the book. I know you can get it through Netflix & Blockbuster or maybe even your library. I have really enjoyed the movie too. I hope that you enjoyed this month's selection and I look forward to hearing from you if you didn't make it to our meeting. I also look forward to our September book. Happy Reading!


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Thursday, August 27, 2009

Marguerite

Eddie comes to meet his 4th person, his wife. Marguerite is in the heaven she desired, a never ending supply of weddings. Marguerite looks like she did the day Eddie met her and he is how he was when she died with all the pain and old age. Eddie is so happy to see her that it's hard for him to believe that it's really her.

Eddie and Marguerite spend time together and we get to see some flashbacks before we come to the 4th lesson. Marguerite tells Eddie about how life does have to end but love doesn't, she knows and felt how much he loved her even after she died. She says, "Lost love is still love, Eddie. It takes a different form, that's all. You can't see their smile or bring them food or tousle their hair or move them around a dance floor. But when those senses weaken, another heightens. Memory. Memory becomes your partners. You nurture it. You hold it. You dance with it." Eddie and Marguerite have one last sweet moment together and dance. Eddie asks her to change herself to be the way she was right before she died, He thought she was still beautiful then too. She does and then soon after she's gone.

Here are a couple points from Reading Group Guides.com:

-Why does Marguerite want to be in a place where there are only weddings? How does this relate to her own life, and to her relationship and life with Eddie?
- Discuss why Eddie is angry at his wife for dying so young. Examine what Marguerite means when she gives Eddie his lesson, Why does she say this to Eddie? Do you think he gets it? Discuss whether or not you agree with her, and why.


After Marguerite's time with Eddie we get another flash forward to what's going on after Eddie's death. His friend from work is at his apartment trying to find some papers with an attorney. Meanwhile Eddie is on his way to his 5th person and 5th lesson.


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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ruby

We come to Eddie's third person and he is at a Diner in the snow. He sees different people in the diner but one especially surprises him, his father. Eddie is screaming at his father, but no one seems to care. At this time the author takes us through a series of stories to show us the relationship between Eddie and his father. Eddie and his father had a bad relationship but even now Eddie still wants to be able to talk to him. It is here that the third person appears, Ruby, whom Ruby Pier was named for where Eddie worked.

Ruby tells Eddie all about her life and how Ruby Pier came to be. He is confused and does not understand why she is here as his third person and his dad is over in the diner. She explains to him it is so he understands how his father died. At this time all Eddie knows is that his father died from pneumonia because of a drunken stupor he had been in one night. Eddie knows that to take care of his mother when his father passed he had to move and work at Ruby Pier taking over his dad's old job. He never stopped resenting his father for dieing the way he did and the way things turned out. Ruby is here to tell him about what he didn't know about his father but had always assumed and for him to learn his third lesson.


Eddie has held so much hate in his heart for so long over his father. Ruby shows him the real reason that he was wet and caught pneumonia, he was saving a friend's life. Eddie doesn't understand why everything had to happen how it did or why his father acted the way he did. Ruby tells him that the reason the diner is there is for her, to be reminded of her days before the pier. Her father is sitting there and this is Eddie's chance to forgive and let go of all those years of hate. She tells him, "Learn this from me. Holding anger is a poison. It eats you from the inside. We think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do, we do to ourselves."

Questions from Reading Group Guides.com:
- Examine whether or not you agree with the old woman when she tells Eddie, "You have peace when you make it with yourself," and why. Consider what she means when she says, "things that happen before you are born still affect you. And people who come before your time affect you as well." How does this relate to Eddie's life? Who are some who have come before you that have affected your own life?
- What is Eddie's father's response each time Eddie decides to make an independent move, away from working at the pier? Examine how Eddie's father's choices and decisions actually shape Eddie's life. Why does Eddie cover for his father at the pier when his father becomes ill? What happens then? Share your own experience of a decision your own parents made that affected your life, for better or for worse.
- Ruby tells Eddie that "we think that hating is a weapon that attacks the person who harmed us. But hatred is a curved blade. And the harm we do we do to ourselves"? What is the significance of Ruby in Eddie's life? Why is this important for Eddie to understand? Is it important for all of us to understand? Why? Discuss whether or not you agree that, "all parents damage their children. It cannot be helped." How was Eddie damaged?

Eddie did forgive his father and let all that hate go. Have you ever or do you have a hate or a grudge you keep burning inside? Is it really hurting the person you are using it against? I think that this moment for Eddie releasing his father and forgiving him was probably like a breath of fresh air and a huge burden taken off of his shoulders finally. Don't you want to have that weight released? Eddie still doesn't find out what happens to the little girl he tried to save when he died. Next we will move on to the 4th person Eddie meets in Heaven.

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Monday, August 24, 2009

The Captain

After the visit with the Blue man we get some flashbacks from Eddie's life, we learn about Marguerite and a little about what's going on at the pier where he just died. Then we fast forward to Eddie finding himself where he had been back in his days in the Army. He notices his body doesn't feel quite as good as it did with the blue man, but as it did when he was in the Army. He meets his second person, his old army captain.



They meet up in a tree and exchange a brief catching up. Then the author takes us through flashbacks of Eddie's time in the army and the time he spent with this captain. The most intense part of all when they got out of the prisoner camp. Eddie ends up burned and with a shot knee because he thinks he saw someone in the buildings they were burning down as they escaped. He let the knee injury change his life forever, he believed it ruined his life. The captain gets to the point of this long conversation because he comes clean to Eddie that he was the one that shot him in the knee. Eddie is filled with anger and the Captain tells him to let it all out. The captain explains to him about what he had to do to save Eddie's life. Eddie starts to realize the reasoning behind it all as the captain shares with Eddie how he died. The Captain died saving his men just after he saved Eddie by shooting him in the leg.





This is where Eddie learns his Second lesson. "Sacrifice. You made one. I made one. We all make them. But you were angry over yours. You kept thinking about what you lost." said the captain, and he continued, "You didn't get it. Sacrifice is a part of life. It's supposed to be. It's not something to regret. It's something to aspire to. Little sacrifices. Big sacrifices. A mother works so her son can go to school. A daughter moves home to take care of her sick father. A man goes to war...." The captain continues to tell him how his sacrifice and Eddie's sacrifice were not in vain. He tells him, "Sometimes when you sacrifice something precious, you're not really losing it. You're just passing it on to someone else." The captain is able to receive Eddie's forgiveness for shooting him in the leg and Eddie finally seems to understand why this had to happen to him like the captain said, "I shot you, all right, and you lost something, but you gained something as well. You just don't know it yet. I gained something too. I got to keep my promise. I didn't leave you behind."

Another Question from ReadingGroupGuides.com: Think about Eddie's war experiences and discuss your reactions to Albom's evocation of war. What did Eddie learn by being in war? How did he "come home a different man"? Why did the captain shoot Eddie? Explore what it means when the captain tells Eddie, "I took your leg to save your life." Why does the captain tell Eddie that sacrifice is not really a loss, but a gain? Examine whether or not Eddie understands this, and the significance of this lesson.



Eddie and the captain's conversation finishes up and they talk about the Heaven the Captain has chosen. Eddie also asks in desperation what happened to the little girl he was trying to save when he died but the captain won't tell him anything. Thinking about the second lesson that Eddie learned, Have you ever had to sacrifice something or acknowledged what someone else's sacrifice did for you? Think about the ultimate sacrifice, Christ died for us so that we might live. How often do you remember to thank Him for it?

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright

The other night after I figured out what we would be reading for September; I decided it was time to start thinking about what books I would recommend for our off time. Earlier this year someone recommended the book, Christmas Jars by Jason F. Wright. I know we are a ways off from Christmas but like I said I was getting my research out of the way. Here is what the book flap says:






"Where had the money come from? Whose money was it? Was I to spend it? Save it? Pass it on to someone more needy? Above all else, why was I chosen? Certainly there were others, countless others more needy than I..." Rising Newspaper reporter Hope Jensen uncovers the secret behind the "Christmas Jars"-glass jars filled with coins and bills, anonymously given to people in need. But Hope discovers much more than she bargained for when some unexpected news sets off a chain reaction of kindness and brings about a Christmas Eve wish come true. (end quote)





I have the large print edition from the library because that was all that was available and it was 132 pages so the smaller print may be even smaller. This book is fiction and a really easy read. I decided that it is okay to go ahead and share this book with you to inspire you to think about the idea of the Christmas jar. Have you ever done a random act of kindness for someone? Has someone ever done one for you? The idea of the Christmas jar in the story is something that is fictional but that real people all over have turned into real life. If you go to the authors website you will see countless stories and testimonies of those who have received and given Christmas jars. There is even some information for some sequel's coming soon. This is something you can think about doing now. Get a mason jar or some type of jar and start putting all your spare change in it. Maybe skip those extras every once in a while and put that money in the jar. You never know, you may have enough to make some one's day this Christmas. And then maybe next year you can start putting your change in your jar even earlier in the year. I encourage you to read the book, to be inspired that there are still good people out in the world and you can be one of them. Even in economic hard times a difference can be made just by some nickels and dimes. Look around and think about the blessings that you have. I hope you take the time to read it and think it over, Make a difference! I will be presenting more information about this book at our September meeting so stay tuned! Happy Reading!




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Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Blue Man

As Eddie has now died the author begins to describe to us the journey Eddie takes as he travels to heaven. Eddie ends up back at Ruby Pier but it's different, it's back like it was when he was a child. Eddie even feels better, like he had when he was a child, gone are all the aches and pains. Eddie comes across the blue man and is confused because this isn't what he thought his heaven would be like. He's not sure why he's there talking to him. The blue man explains all of this and the process of meeting the 5 people. He also explains that the five people Eddie will meet will help explain his life as they all crossed paths with him before they died whether he realized it or not. Eddie finds his voice to talk to the Blue Man and finds out that Eddie was the one who killed him.

Of course this knowledge causes Eddie to become defensive and confused. The blue man begins to tell Eddie his story and we find that this isn't Eddie's heaven, it's the Blue mans. The blue man tells us the story of what happened that day when he died and the way his and Eddie's story unfolded. Every story can be looked at from more than one angle because always more than one will be affected by every action. Eddie feels terrible and confused as to why he is here finding all this out. The blue man assures him it is because he has a lesson to learn and that each person he meets will be teaching him something. The blue man explains to him that, "There are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind." He continues, "Fairness does not govern life and death. If it did, no good person would ever die young."

Eddie learns that he was there at the man's funeral but was too young to know or understand what was going on at the time. He wonders what good came from the death of the blue man and it is a very simple answer. He lived. Then the blue man reminds him that the fact that they were strangers does not matter because "Strangers are just family you have yet to come to know." It's time for the blue man to leave and Eddie wants answers as to what happened when he died so that he knows that he saved the girl and his life wasn't a waste. The blue man leaves him with no answers but one more bit of wisdom, "No life is a waste, The only time we waste is the time we spend thinking we are alone."

Now I know that this is just an inspirational novel and there is no clear representation of our gospel even though the characters do reference God. But I do feel like these are truths that we need to be reminded about. Remember that God does have a plan, we are all connected as we are all children of God. Even though others may be strangers to us or Christ, we are ambassadors of Christ and must remember to reach out to others. Because no matter what you may feel or think at the moment your life is not a waste nor meant to be, No matter what or where you are, you can always Glorify Christ. I found some discussion questions online at ReadingGroupguides.com and thought I would share them with you below:

- What affect does it have on you when you look at the same story from two different points of view -– The blue man and Eddie's? Can you share any events that you have been involved in that can be viewed entirely differently, from another's point of view? How aware are we of other's experiences of events that happen simultaneously to us and to them? Why?

- Think about what it means that "That there are no random acts. That we are all connected. That you can no more separate one life from another than you can separate a breeze from the wind." What does this mean to you when you read it? Why?


I hope you are enjoying or have enjoyed the book thus far. Let us know what you think of the lesson the blue man taught Eddie. Have you ever thought about the way our lives intersect with others so easily?



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Friday, August 21, 2009

The beginning at the end

I know it is terrible I am just now beginning to write about our August Selection and for this I am sorry. Sometimes I just don't have that much time to write. Let's begin!



I love in the beginning that the author dedicates this story to a real live character/person, his uncle Eddie. I'm glad he starts out telling you that this is just a version of Heaven, just a story to get you to realize your importance here on earth. Mitch Albom starts in the first chapter with what happens at the end of Eddies life but while also giving us some flashbacks to get to know Eddie a little better. Eddie is someone that ended up stuck in a job that was his fathers that he never wanted to carry on in the first place. He's older and lonely. He does his job with great care and is always looking out for others. This is what brings us to the moment of Eddie's death. Eddie dies trying to save a little girl from a ride that is collapsing. The author even connects us to the reason the ride is collapsing, a innocent mistake that one person made, riding with a lose key in his pocket. Something so simple can cause something so monumental. Do you ever think about the small little things that happen and what a impact they can have or do you only look at the big events? Eddie was certainly someone who noticed the small details but didn't really think his small job was worth much. We learn later in the story more about Eddie and how much his job really was worth. I pray that you will realize your worth in the job you do as you read through the story.





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Thursday, August 20, 2009

September Book Selection

Our September selection for the book club will be, One Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury! I want to tell you that this is an inspirational fictional novel, while some events are true the story itself is fictional. Here is what is on the back cover:


The last thing Jake Bryan knew was the roar of the World Trade Center collapsing on top of him and his fellow firefighters. The man in the hospital bed remembers nothing. Not rushing with his teammates up the stairway of the south tower to help trapped victims. Not being blasted from the building. And not the woman sitting by his bedside who says she is his wife. Jamie Bryan will do anything to help her beloved husband regain his memory, and with it their storybook family life with their small daughter, Sierra. But that means helping Jake rediscover the one thing Jamie has never shared with him: his deep faith in God. Jake's fondest prayer for his wife is about to have an impact beyond anything he could possibly have conceived. One Tuesday Morning is a love story like none you have ever read: tender, poignant, commemorating the tragedy and heroism of September 11 and portraying the far-reaching power of God's faithfulness and a good man's love. (end quote)
This book was intense because of the events of September 11th but it was a great reminder of a day that affected so many lives and how God is always in control. I questioned whether this book would be appropriate for the month of September. With guidance I decided it would be a great way to remember that day and lift up prayers throughout the month for all those affected. I also questioned if we should read it because it is the first book in a 3 book series. But after reading it, this book can stand alone and ends with closure. The second book in the series continues this story (And I haven't read it yet) and the third book is a new story line. So I decided this would be okay and in the off months you could read the sequel if you wanted. This book is 337 pages long with no study guide or discussion questions. OH and a warning that it is a tearjerker... or it was for me anyway! :)

If you are interested in a Pre-order please contact Kathy. She will send out an e-mail with the information for a possible Pre-order soon. As always local libraries and bookstores have some copies available. Sometimes you can even find our monthly book at the $5.00 bookstore in the outlet mall but it's not a guarantee they will have it.


Our August meeting is coming up on August 29th and our September and last meeting for 2009 will be September 26th. Yes, Last meeting will be in September and we will take Oct-Dec off for holidays. I will have some suggested reading at our September meeting for anyone interested as I will still update the blog with what I'm reading during the break. Then we will start back up in January 2010. Happy Reading!!


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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Since then

I'm not sure what editions of The Hiding Place have this and which ones don't. I happen to have the 35th Anniversary Edition that has a part in the back titled, "Since Then." It gives us an update on what happened to all the members or those connected with the Ten Boom Family. Things that Corrie found out months or years later. The projects Corrie worked on that were Betsie's dreams were very successful and still operating today in a new building. The Beje is now a museum and I would love to be able to visit it one day. You can look up information about it online. Corrie traveled all over the world telling people the story of Jesus love for them. She even made it back to Ravensbruck one day where she learned that her own release had been part of a clerical error; one week later all women her age were taken to the gas chamber.







The co-author tells us of the friendship they made with Corrie and a few other little tidbits of the impact she had on their lives. This edition also has some great pictures and time lines and family trees of the Ten Booms. If the story of The Hiding Place touched you as much as it did me you may want to check out the Movie that was produced by Billy Graham. I watched it again over the past weekend and it was good. The real Corrie even surprises you at the end with a few brief words. Make sure you have time for it though because it is about a 2 and a half hour long movie. I liked the book better but it's always nice to watch the movie too. And on that note, There will be a showing of The Hiding Place in our church sanctuary August, 24, 2009 at 6:30 pm. For more information contact the church office at 251-943-8367. Or you can get it from netflix, where you rent your movies or possibly your local library.

I think God used this book to help me have a better outlook on life and the things I complain about. This story of the faith of Casper, Betsie and Corrie is so inspiring, it is like getting a shot of faith into your veins. I love that Corrie showed us not just the times she was faithful but when her faith wavered too .She shows us that she is no better or no different that anyone else and that she had struggles too in her walk with Christ. At our meeting back in July when we discussed the book, everyone loved it. Yes, it is a sad story but at the same time it's such an inspiring happy story. I think the fleas story is something I will never forget nor the words that Betsie said, "There is no where so deep that He is not deeper still." Share this story with others and I hope God used it to touch your life so that you will pick it up again and remember. I would love to hear from you and what touched you about this story. Give us some feedback if you have the time. As always, Happy Reading! May we all remember the motto of the Ten Boom family, Jesus is Victor.




Corrie Ten Boom did go home on her 91st birthday on April 15, 1983. (Picture Source)

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

His love is deeper still...

We are finishing up the overdue blogging on The Hiding Place. We come to chapter 14 where we find out the reason to be thankful for the fleas. Betsie is very sick and is assigned to knitting where she stays in their barracks all day. Corrie comes in one day from working and Betsie has news. She tells her how they needed a guard to come in to the barracks to clear up some confusion, but the guard refused to come in to check on them because of the fleas. They had so much freedom to discuss the bible all because of fleas. God certainly does work in mysterious ways. Betsie not only reminded Corrie but all those who read this story, "Give thanks in all circumstances, for everything...even fleas."

Corrie continues to tell us the ins and outs of the camp life as harsh winter sets in. Corrie describes to us a time she goes through when she does selfish things in secret and she becomes unahppy with worship time. One day she reads from Paul and realizes the way she has been acting and renews her faith all over again. Corrie continues to help Betsie teach and reach out to the women who need to know God's love. But Betsie is getting much more sick and ends up in the hospital twice more. Betsie tells Corrie the mission they are to have. A house with gardens to help those affected by the war and a camp like the one they are in but painted green with flower boxes to teach others to love again. She reminds Corrie that they have to tell people all about what happened and about God's love. Betsie tells her, ".... We must tell them that there is no pit so deep that He is not deeper still. They will listen to us Corrie, because we have been here." Corrie listens and wonders when all this will happen. Betise assures her that they will be out of prison by the new year and that they will do it all together. The only thing is that Betsie left the camp a different way than Corrie. This last time in the hospital, Betsie went home to her Father's house. Corrie was upset of course but happy because she knew she had the hope of Heaven and would see Betsie again one day.

In our final chapter, two days after the death of Betsie, Corrie gets some good news. She is to be discharged as soon as her Edema in her legs stops swelling. Getting this news so soon after Betsie's death gets her wondering of all the "what ifs?" What if Betsie hadn't died so soon? What if she could have been able to be discharged too? But as Corrie runs through all this she is also reminded from deep in her soul, "There are no "ifs" in God's Kingdom. His timing is perfect. His will is our hiding place." And Corrie quickly prays, "Lord Jesus, keep me in your will. Don't let me go mad by poking around outside it." How often do we let the "what ifs?" of the world take over? Do you let it cloud your mind and vision to the point it's all you can think about? As you have finished up reading I pray that we can all remember to not go poking around outside God's will. Corrie tells us of her release and her trip back to the Beje. She describes to us for a while how even though she kept busy she felt like something was missing. She finally realized the missing part of her was Betsie. She decided it was time to start doing like what Betsie had said and tell others about their story in Ravensbruck.

Corrie tells us how one of the times she was speaking, a wealthy woman approached her and ended up offering her estate for Corrie to use for Betsie's dream. As Corrie went to see the estate she realized it was exactly as Betsie had described. It was amazing how much God had reveled to Betsie back at the camp and Corrie was in awe. Many used the house, those who had been in camps or in hiding. Corrie wanted those that had betrayed their countrymen, NSBers, to be able to benefit from the home too, but it would take more time. She opened her home to the NSBers who had betrayed their county. Eventually planting did help teach others how to love again and those at the house began to listen to Corrie about the people at the Beje who needed love too.

At one time Corrie is speaking and learns the lesson she is preaching herself. She meets a former SS guard that she recognizes from the camp. Instantly she fills with hatred but says a prayer for help, "Jesus Christ had died for this man. Was I going to ask for more? Lord Jesus, forgive me and help me to forgive him. I cannot forgive him, please give your forgiveness." She was able to shake the hand of the SS guard and a realization came over her. Here is what she says,

"And so I discovered that it is not our forgiveness any more than our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on His. When He tells us to love our enemies, He gives, along with the command, the love itself."

This spoke volumes to me. How often do we get hung up on forgiving others? Or caught up in disliking those we can't stand? I've heard it said many times before in many ways, "I could never forgive them for what they did." or "OH I can't stand her, how I would like to tell her a thing or two." Can you think of a phrase similar to these that you have said or heard yourself? I know the Bible tells us what Corrie is saying but the story she tells us and the way she phrases it is eye opening. It's like a "duh" moment. And duh moments are not necessarily a bad thing. When we reach a realization it means that change is taking place and more often than not, for the better.

Corrie finishes up her story to us as she tells about how she was approached to help with another one of Betsie's dreams. She is taken to an old camp that was found to be used for her work. Instantly she tells them that they will need window boxes and yellow-green paint, the color of new things coming in the spring, just like how Betsie had described.



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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The camps

As we continue into chapter 12 of Corries story, she leaves the prison and heads to a concentration camp at Vught. She is thankful to be with her sister again and they are happy to not be heading into Germany. Corrie gives us more stories of the faith and grace that Betsie carries with her always. When they are entering the camp they are given a demonstration by a young girl about punishment in the bunkers and they are having to wait for a long time to be processed into the camp. The following conversation between Betsie and Corrie follows:


"Betsie!" I wailed, "how long will it take?"



"Perhaps a long, long time. Perhaps many years. But what better way could there be to spend our lives?"



I turned to stare at her. "Whatever are you talking about?"



"These young women. That girl back at the bunkers. Corrie, if people can be taught to hate, they can be taught to love! We must find the way , you and I, no matter how long it takes..."


These examples of Betsie's grace and faith are given throughout the book. Corrie is always astonished and amazed by her sister. She even said once herself, "And I wondered, not for the first time, what sort of a person she was, this sister of mine... what kind of road she followed while I trudged beside her on the all-too-solid-earth." Betsie is a great source of strength and guidance for Corrie in directing her many times back to prayer for not only those hurting but those who are hurting others.





Photo of Barracks at Ravensbruck (Picture Source)

The fighting seems to be getting closer to the camp and the prisoners still alive after recent executions are taken to a new camp. They take a long and terrible train ride into Germany and arrive at the concentration camp, Ravensbruck. During the train ride Betsie mentions to Corrie what she is thankful for amidst all that is bad, that their father is in Heaven.


The women are not happy about coming to Ravensbruck. Corrie tells us it was known as a woman extermination camp even back in Harlaam. Corrie describes to us the horrific conditions they were forced to live in and the things they had to do. And even through all this they were still thankful for what God had given them. God had allowed Corrie to bring in the bible and vitamins without being searched when everyone else around her was. A miracle indeed! When they are assigned to their barracks which are terrible conditions, they find out that there are fleas everywhere. The conversation that followed that Corrie shares with us is one of the parts of the book I still remember most and carry with me. It is rather long to type so I urge you to read the book yourself to find out about what Betsie says to Corrie about the fleas in chapter 13. But I will tell you that Betsie reminds Corrie of a part of the bible they had just read that morning, "Give thanks in all circumstances! That's what we can do. We can start right now to thank God for every single thing about this new barracks!" Even Corrie can't believe Betsie to really give thanks for fleas at this time but she comes around later.



Corrie continues to describe for us the conditions and goings on at Ravensbruck. The terrible work and conditions and how the townspeople turned their eyes when they would go by. I wonder what that would be like to see this happening but be unable to do anything? Corrie tells us about the worship service they would hold at the end of the day in the barracks where different denominations would come together and worship. How joyous to learn that this was going on in those camps! Corrie tells us the miracle of the vitamin bottle that never stops producing which Betsie describes as a "Gift from a Father who loves you." Corrie finishes chapter 13 telling us more about the conditions and how Betsie becomes sick. We receive more encouragement from the wisdom and faith of Betsie. And again I urge you to read it to get all the details if you haven't yet. We will continue in Chapter 14 next. If you want to see more pictures or read up on Ravensbruck or Vught you can google it and find lots of sources. Thanks for reading!





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Monday, August 10, 2009

Prison ups and downs

Sorry I have been absent from blogging but life has taken over and I just haven't had the time. You would think it would be easy to spit out a quick little blip about a book, but really it's not. When I am writing about these books it is a long process with lots of thought and prayer. I try to be sure that God is guiding what I write and I give Him Glory and connect with you. Also today is my 100th post. Now those of you not familiar with the blogging community, A post is every time I write about something on the blog. Kinda like a journal, this is my 100th entry. Most bloggers celebrate with a giveaway of some sort, so if you were expecting that, Sorry folks! We're just gonna keep on keeping on here with writing and reading. No celebration or excitement really just glad that we have actually made it this far. So I suppose since I should be writing about our August Book selection by now that we finish up The Hiding Place pretty soon. I plan to finish up this week and lets get started!

When we last left off on the blogging, the raid had just occurred. Our Ten Booms and others are sent to Scheveningen Federal Prison. I have to once again comment on the wisdom and courage that God blessed Mr. Ten Boom with which we get to read about today. In chapter 10 they Soldiers are getting information from the prisoners and sending them through the line. Casper's turn comes up and the solider has pitty on the "old fellow." He tells Casper that he will take his word that he won't make any more trouble and let him go. To which Casper replies, "If I go home today, tomorrow I will open my door again to any man in need who knocks." Of course the solider did not like this and told him to get back in line. I love that Casper stood up and said that. How many people do you think would have just taken the opportunity to just get out of there?

While Corrie is in prison she tells us ups and downs about her stay there. She tells us about when she went to the doctors office and a kind nurse slipped her some much needed items. The most important of all being the Gospels. I thank God for the nurse and people like her that would take the risks to help others. As Corrie is in prison she describes to us what she would do to keep herself occupied and how she would try to find happy things like the ants. At one time the guards were all out for Hitler's birthday so the prisoners were able to find out about family members. Corrie finds out about most except her Father at this time. She later finds out the news that he has passed because of a letter she received from Nollie. This is a difficult time for Corrie and she reaches out to a passing guard for help. But realizes the only help she ever needed was there with her all the time, Jesus.

In Chapter 11 Corrie tells us about a kind lieutenant she meets during her hearings. He ends up asking her all kinds of questions about the Bible, her faith and family. He is desperate to find a light in all the darkness that surrounds him in the war. He questions how Corrie can still have faith even with everything that has happened to her. She thinks back to the time when her Father used the heavy suitcase to remind herself that sometimes things are just to heavy for us to carry and we must give them over to our Father. The arrangement is made for the Ten Booms to come together to hear Casper's Will. The lieutenant allows them a few moments to reunite and chat before their time is up. It is such a joyous time for them all to get to see each other even just for a few moments. They spend a moment in prayer and pray for the lieutenant. I pray that he and his family did come to Jesus in the end.

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