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


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!