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 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


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

-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


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
- 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 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 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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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

I just finished up reading a fun non christian fiction book in the series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians. Please note, I am going to share with you whatever I read, be it a inspirational or Christian book or not. This is Book 1, The lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Here is what the book flap tells you:

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believe Percy about the monster incident; he's not even sure if he believes himself. Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp. Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he's coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. And worse, he's angered a few of them: Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Now Percy has just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. On a daring road trip from their summer camp in New York to the gates of the Underworld in Los Angeles, Percy and his friends-one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena-will face a host of enemies determined to stop them. To succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him, solve the riddle of the oracle, which warns him of failure and betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves. (End Quote)

I know this is a juvenile book and just like Harry Potter but I enjoyed it! Soooo get over it you non Harry Potter fans! When I was younger I was always interested in Greek Mythology and so this was right up my ally. And note not interested like wanting to believe in Greek gods or anything I just thought they were neat myths. The book is 375 pages with several different book covers other than the one shown above. If you liked Harry Potter you will probably like this series as well. There are many similarities between the two books. Harry's real world and magic world collide where he discovers he's a wizard = Percy's real world and Greek mythology collide where he discovers he is a half blood god. There is actually a movie coming out in February 2010 based on the first book with quite a few big name actors/actresses involved. To check out the trailer and movie info click here. I have requested the second book in the series from the library and look forward to reading it. Thanks again to my fried SM for telling me about the book! This is obviously not a book club selection but it was a nice easy fun read. If you have read it or plan on doing so and would like to share what you thought, please do! Happy Reading!

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