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7.28.2011

The Waiting Place - A Book Review

Waiting…waiting on family. Waiting on God. Waiting on a decision. We all have times when we must wait. Eileen Button has spent a lot of time waiting and she writes about it in her memoir, The Waiting Place. This is a collection of her own experiences told in a way that the reader enters the story and experiences it with the author.

By all of my normal standards, I wouldn’t like this book much. Button is irreverent and bold. She talks about things most pastor’s wives wouldn’t. She uses words like “dang” without shame, and she’s just plain edgy. Like I said, by my normal standards, I wouldn’t be impressed. But that’s exactly what I like about this book. The author is real and raw. She isn’t pretentious or acting like she has it all together. She just puts it all out there and lets the reader like her, or not.

Unlike my experience with Donald Miller’s Blue Like Jazz where the entire memoir depicted Miller’s big ego (in case it isn't clear from that, I didn't like it), Eileen Button’s The Waiting Place is a gentler memoir, drawn from a place of humility. And it’s artfully told. The first person present tense draws the read into the moment. And I love the poetic way that Button describes things. She has a way with words that few have. For example, she talks of her mother styling her hair and says the ringlets “hang like Hostess Ho Hos along the sides of our heads.” She weaves humor and sadness together and grips the heart of the reader.

I had to laugh when she told the story of her weddings dress. Like the author, I bought my dress off the rack to save money and chose to wear 3 inch heals so I wouldn't have to pay for alterations. And like hers, mine was "pretty in an eighties kinda way." Like the author, I had to stand in line to pay for my children's food with WIC checks, despite having a college degree, because I was committed to staying home with them. And I experienced the exact same shame she did from the treatment of cashiers and judging stares of other customers.

Is it deeply spiritual? No. But it is deeply moving and faith is woven throughout the book. I grew up in a very different environment from the author..much more sheltered. And yet, there were so many times in the book when I thought, she’s telling my story. That’s because Button touches on emotions and feelings and not just on the what—what happened. It’s about how it changed her and made her depend more on God.
The Waiting Place: Learning to Appreciate Life's Little Delays
I enjoyed this refreshingly honest book and I highly recommend it to anyone who has ever longed to find God in the middle of life’s painful circumstances. The author proves it can be done.

I received this Kindle version of the book for review purposes from Book Sneeze and Thomas Nelson Publishers.


Are you in a waiting place? How have you seen God at work while you are waiting? Or how have you grieved because you can't see him at work yet? Share your comments below.

7.25.2011

Free Book from David C Cook...While they last.

While supplies last, David C. Cook has an offer where you can receive a free copy of a book by Frances Chan. Choose from 6 titles, including Crazy Love, and Forgotten God. Just click on over to David C. Cook for details. One offer per household.

I can't wait to get my copy of Forgotten God. I read Crazy Love and it was great!
Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

7.22.2011

The Chocolate Diaries - A Book Review

Are you a chocolate lover? Do you crave it when you're under stress? Author Karen Scalf Linamen can relate to you.

The Chocolate Diaries: Secrets for a Sweeter Journey on the Rocky Road of LifeIn The Chocolate Diaries, Linamen tackles some heavy topics with a light touch. She addresses some of her own difficult seasons in life using the chocolate analogy of a rocky road. Throughout the book, others have contributed to the call-out boxes with advice about how they handle their own rocky roads. Each chapter contains part of Linamen’s story, some practical wisdom for someone else in the same situation, as well as a section called “food for thought” that helps the reader process what she has read. Plus, each chapter ends with a recipe for some chocolate concoction.

Linamen writes well, and she does a good job of addressing something specific in each chapter. Much of the book is devoted to processing life as a divorced woman and the challenges of starting over as a single mother. The author talks quite often about dating. I think if I were in a similar situation to the author, I might perceive the book differently.

Some readers will think the book sends a message that drowning our sorrows and stresses in chocolate is okay. In many ways, it does. But it does include biblical counsel as well. There were a few places where the humor crossed a line. For example, on page 104, the author mentions her dog running through the room with a specified birth control device in her mouth. However, the author isn’t clear about whether or not this incident occurred when she was married or single. Since most anecdotes in the book occur when the author is single, this doesn’t come across right.

I know there is an audience for this book, but I just didn’t connect with it. However, I recommend the book for anyone who needs a lighthearted approach to life’s little disappointments and stresses.

I received this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for review purposes. My reviews are objective and honest.

Your opinion matters. Be sure to rank my review if you think this was helpful in your decision to read this book:

7.13.2011

Duct Tape- It's All the Rage

It used to be that only if you were a MacGyver type did you ever rage about the benefits of duct tape. I'm married to a guy who thinks you can fix anything with duct tape. He'd probably tape the front bumper on the van if I didn't complain about it being hideous. But when it comes to duct tape, I bet he never dreamed that Mrs. MacGyver was out there making purses and jewelry with the stuff!

Several of my friends are just caught up in the duct tape obsession. I love how it looks...just haven't had the creative energy to start a new hobby. If you'd like to see what what you can have with duct tape, check out the post from Living Locurto about all the stuff you can make from it.
Photo from Living Locurto
You'll also find great step by step instructions on a very helpful post by Tip Junkie. And if you're more of a video learner, Duck Tape brand duct tape has a tutorial on You Tube.
Photo from Etsy shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/tattfae

I'm thinking maybe I could start with the bracelet...

Oh, and one more thing. Those of us who have a terrible time restraining our inner grammar and spelling police will appreciate knowing that it is acceptable to call it Duck tape or duct tape. Duck is a brand of duct tape. I speculated that they gave up on getting people to say it right and just caved to the masses when they named their company. But then I found another story about the name, and boy, was I wrong! Check out the explanation if you're a trivia buff. Turns out, it started as duck tape before it became duct tape!

7.12.2011

Book Drawing Winner

And the winner of a copy of Smart Girls Think Twice is....Judy, from Be Present Be Real.
Smart Girls Think Twice: Making Wise Choices When It Counts

Thanks everyone for linking up your blogs last week!

Watch for another drawing soon.

7.07.2011

Knowing God, Knowing Myself - Book Review

 I'm delighted to tell you about a book I just finished reading. I think it's an excellent book for personal enrichment, but it's also appropriate for gift-giving too.
 
About the Book  
Knowing God, Knowing Myself: An Invitation to Daily DiscoveryBehind the scenes of his successful career, Cecil Murphey is on a personal quest for a deeper knowledge of God and himself. Out of this thirst for the transcendent comes Knowing God, Knowing Myself, a collection of reflective statements captured with Murphey’s inimitable style. These aphorisms are often surprising, meant to startle the reader out of “common wisdom” into uncommon meditation; the goal is God- and self-discovery.
 
Whether readers begin with a desire to know God or to know themselves, Knowing God, Knowing Myself will invite them to discover how these two longings are inextricably entwined. As they reflect and journal through this unforgettable book, readers will experience a growing awareness of God’s presence and a deepened inner life.
 
My Review
Cecil Murphey is a master at transparency. In Knowing God, Knowing Myself, he isn’t shy about revealing his own struggles and how he’s working through them. That’s what makes this book touch the hearts of readers. Each short chapter is based on one of Cec’s aphorisms, a reflective statement that reflects some truth he has learned.

Readers will be encouraged and inspired by the stories Cec tells, and they will likely see themselves in the book. They are Cec’s stories, but our lessons, too. Readers could use the book for daily meditation with a chapter a day for 68 days, or for inspirational reading in a shorter period of time.

Examples of some aphorisms:
“God answers after we ask; sometimes God answers before we ask.”
“ My negative feelings are emotions; my negative feelings are not reality.”
“When I try to show others I am perfect, they see me as less perfect than I am.”
“It’s impossible for God to love me more tomorrow than he loves me today.”

Towards the end, some of the chapters seemed redundant and covered topics that had similarly been covered earlier in the book. But, sometimes we need repetition. I know I needed to hear a lot of what was in this book.

Note: I received a review copy of the book from the publisher.

About the Author
CECIL MURPHEY, known as “the man behind the words,” is an award-winning writer who has collaborated on a number of bestselling books, including 90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven Is Real with Don Piper, Touchdown Alexander with Shaun Alexander and Rebel with a Cause with Franklin Graham. He is a recipient of the Gold Medallion Award, two-time recipient of the Silver Angel Award for Excellence in Media, and the inaugural recipient in 2007 of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association. Dr. Murphey is the author of Christmas Miracles, I Choose to Stay and The Immortality of Influence. He writes a weekly devotional for Crosswalk.com.

7.06.2011

Why I Think People Are So Obsessed with Casey Anthony

She has been on our minds for months, because the news media won't let us forget her. We've seen her face on the television every day. But I don't think that is why we're so obsessed with her.

On one hand, we want to believe she's innocent, as the courts have decided. We want to believe in justice and we want to believe that if we were in her shoes, we'd get the best legal defense and the best outcome possible. It's entirely possible that she's truly innocent and they jury did her right.
But on the other had, part of us can't fathom her actions. Innocent or guilty, it doesn't make sense. What kind of a mother waits for 31 days before notifying authorities that her daughter is missing? What kind of mother parties it up like she did when her daughter is either missing--or dead? And we wonder, if her story is true that her daughter accidentally drowned in the pool, how can she act so wild and carefree?

Photo from TIME.com
Our compassionate side wants justice for Caylee whose lifeless body decayed in a trash bag in the woods for months. We want someone to pay for the horror of it all.  We want the stain of human pain wiped from our imaginations and we don't want to think of what the child must have suffered.

Social media buzzes with angry comments about the outcome of the trial. And I'll confess, I have a difficult time believing that Casey is innocent. But our justice system works that way. Sometimes guilty people go free and innocent people get locked up.
I don't think any of this is why we're so obsessed with Casey Anthony.

I think we're obsessed because we wonder if somewhere down inside us, we might be just a little bit like her. We wonder if we were faced with the same circumstances, we might do exactly the opposite of what we think Casey ought to have done. We might just have acted like her. We can't tear our eyes and ears away from the news because we wonder if Casey's painful past might contain just one element that pushed her over the edge. And we wonder how close we are to succumbing to that same element.

We weren't the ones accused. But, if we've suffered a painful childhood, taken wrong paths, and ever made foolish decisions, we can thank God that by his grace, and that alone, we aren't standing in her shoes. Perhaps her story can inspire us to reach out to a young mother who desperately needs a friend. Someone who longs for someone to understand. Maybe in our obsession, we can be the ones to prevent another story like Caylee's and Casey's from occupying the news in the future.

7.05.2011

Freezer Meals- Does it Work?

Today's everyday idea focuses on meal planning.

Money Saving Mom has regular posts about "freezer cooking" where she makes up several meals worth of something all at once. Have you ever tried this? And did it save you time?

I'm curious, because I've seen the posts and I'm considering it. Money Saving Mom has pages of info about how she does it, plus she has a bunch of recipes. The busier my schedule gets, the more I've realized I need to come up with a better system for meal planning. I know I can't afford to buy pre-packaged foods. And they aren't healthy anyway. So, I'm researching some ways I can make my kitchen time more productive and less time-consuming while keeping the nutrition factor high.

I'd love to hear your ideas on organizing and planning meals.

7.04.2011

Happy 4th of July!

I hope Independence Day is wonderful for you! I'm spending mine at Arrowhead Bible Camp speaking for 3rd and 4th graders. Fun!

7.01.2011

Blog Friends, Show Us Your Blog

Smart Girls Think Twice: Making Wise Choices When It CountsFaith, Creativity, Life Friend Day

One of the best parts of blogging is that you find other blogs and make great friends. I know many of my readers have their own blogs. So, stop by and link up for a chance to win a free book. Smart Girls Think Twice by Jan Silvious.This book is great for personal study, or it can be used for a small group with the discussion questions in the back.

All you need to do is find your favorite recent post from your blog and then copy the URL (the www. line from the top of your browser). Then paste that into the Simply Linked tool below. 

Leave your name or blog title in the Link Title box, and be sure to add your e-mail address (I'll be able to see your e-mail address in order to contact the winner, but it will not be made public and I will not use it for any purpose other than notifying the winner)


On July 8, I'll close the list and use random number to draw the name of a winner. Don't have a blog? Then leave a comment in the comments section below to enter the drawing.

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