Tag Archives: grace

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

Book Review – The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

About the book (from the publisher):

The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson, 2015)

What if you met your twenty-three-year-old self in a dream? What would you say?

Brock Matthews’ once promising life is unraveling. His coffee company. His marriage.

So when he discovers his vivid dreams—where he encounters his younger self—might let him change his past mistakes, he jumps at the chance. The results are astonishing, but also disturbing.

Because getting what Brock wants most in the world will force him to give up the one thing he doesn’t know how to let go . . . and his greatest fear is that it’s already too late.

My thoughts:

The premise of this book is enticing and something most people have probably considered. What would you change about your past? What would you tell your younger self to help change things, if you could? How would any of those changes–even the small ones–affect all of your future?

The author dives into these situations and explores various possible outcomes in this book. Because the main character doesn’t know what’s really happening and what’s really being changed or not, the reader is kept guessing as well, which helps create intrigue and quick page turns.

However, I did find myself pulled out of this world and its believability. I don’t know too much about time travel theories, but I kept wondering, wouldn’t Brock be a completely changed person in each of the time lines? Wouldn’t even his memories change? Or wouldn’t those changes erase the “now” Brock? Something the author reveals at the end of the book helps to partially explain these questions, and includes the stance that God can do all things, even what we would consider impossible, but I still found that these holes pulled me out of the story several times. I also didn’t find myself connecting wholly with all of the characters at all times. I feel like I didn’t get to know some of them as Brock did before they changed in “alternate time lines.”

That said, the themes included in this book of healing, redemption, grace, forgiveness, and God always giving second (and third and fourth…) chances are fantastic themes to consider and reflect upon. Readers will find themselves reflecting on their own lives and whether what we are investing our time in are truly the right things.

Check out the Litfuse page for more information about the author and the book.

What’s your favorite time travel novel?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher as a part of the Litfuse blogging team in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

As Waters Gone By - Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon, 2015)

Imagery, Analogies, and Hope {Book Review – As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti}

I’m always drawn to great analogies and setting details, and the most recent book I read definitely shares some of that.

As Waters Gone By - Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon, 2015)

As Waters Gone By by Cynthia Ruchti (Abingdon, 2015) introduces the reader to Emmalyn Ross in the midst of a very trying time. Her husband is imprisoned for a rash action and serving a 5-year sentence, which has become a 5-year pause on their marriage. Emmalyn sells their main home and moves to a small cottage they own on a remote island in Lake Superior, wanting a place of exile for the remaining 8 months of her husband’s sentence. Only, when she gets there, she finds more surprises (good and bad) than she expected.

This book features a slightly unique twist on third-person, past tense writing. While the writing remains past tense, the specific voice the author uses allows the reader to follow directly along with Emmalyn’s thought process, even to the point of reading Emmalyn’s train of thought switch mid-sentence. This immediacy helps the reader think and feel as Emmalyn is in the story.

At times in the early chapters, Cora and Bougie’s advice and anecdotes seemed more realistic than Emmalyn’s own thought processes. Some of Emmalyn’s internal analogies and insistent recurrent thoughts made me pause a bit because they disconnected the flow of the narrative. But this was a small distraction compared to the great plot and writing in this book. Most of the setting imagery and analogies were beautiful and heighten the visualizations of the environment. I found myself deeply caring about many of the flavorful and varied side characters by Chapter 4 (the side characters ended up being my favorite!), as well as loving the little island town (and wanting to visit!).

This book tackles so many more themes than just what it takes to make a marriage work. We reflect on friendships, work, family issues, children, lack of children, imprisonment, shelters, grace, communication, and hope. This book is a thoughtful, introspective read that doesn’t present a perfect ending, but does offer a hope-filled one.

What hope-filled book have you recently read?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group as a part of their blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Never Say No: Raising Big-Picture Kids by Mark and Jan Foreman

Offering the Openness of Yes {Book Review – Never Say No by Mark and Jan Foreman}

I’ve read quite a few Christian parenting books, all aiming to share a blend of encouragement to seek after grace-drenched parenting styles and practical tips on everything from talking to your children to discipline to sleep tactics. Some of these books create a bit of disconnect between the author who is seen as a “master” here to teach the reader, while other books effectively reach the reader through sharing personal stories.

Never Say No: Raising Big-Picture Kids by Mark and Jan Foreman

Never Say No: Raising Big-Picture Kids by Mark and Jan Foreman (David C. Cook, 2015) is definitely one of the latter – an inspiring and intriguing book that welcomes to the reader into a journey of growth in parenting, a journey that doesn’t separate the parent from their child, but rather shows a parent and child can grow up together, hand-in-hand.

Mark and Jan take alternating turns telling stories of their own upbringings and of their two sons, Jon and Tim.

Mark and Jan do not dare label themselves as “parenting experts,” but only two people who have stories and lessons they’ve learned to tell. I found myself agreeing quite a bit with much of their parenting ideals, which fostered trust between me and the authors, while still finding I have much to glean from their journeys.

“We never saw ourselves as parenting authorities; we just knew we’d been given two phenomenal kids to be raised. It was more about not messing up God’s ingenious creations.” – p. 17, Never Say No

Mark and Jan begin by breaking down the process they underwent to look at what parenting should accomplish and the why behind it. Did they want kids who thought the main goal of life is to be happy, do good, have success? As believers, that’s often too limiting in scope. Playing their part in God’s story is bigger. And, as parents, to guide our children to their God-given purposes, we need relationship – with both God and our kids.

“Staying close to our children was critical not only for their survival but also for finding their purpose in life. We believed that as we fed and watered our relationship, we would grow our children’s confidence to find themselves in God’s big story.” – p. 34, Never Say No

This couple addresses reflecting on your own childhood and your current ideals as parents to make new family roadmaps, self-sacrifice as the highest form of love, leading by example, creating space for creativity, truly enjoying our children (and realizing that God enjoys us), discipline while still being open to “yeses” and opportunities, raising children who think, and parenting young adults. Through the book, Mark and Jan share their own mistakes and the joy in seeing their own children become unique individuals.

I’m one of those who usually can’t write in books, but because I was writing down a quote from nearly every single page, I may have to take a highlighter to this book in the next read through. I’m reading this book at a perfect time: the start of our “official” homeschool journey. (Mark and Jan didn’t homeschool their kids, yet intentional parenting is essential in homeschooling, so this book is helping shape my home environment!) My husband and I also plan on reading this together to discuss options together.

“An open environment leaves room for wonder and doesn’t try to fill in the blanks. Wonder is the gift that grows a robust imagination. And imagination is what can change the world.” – p. 110, Never Say No

Added bonus: My husband and I have been emphatic fans of Switchfoot for 12+ years. Switchfoot is in the top three kinds of music requested by our young kids in the car (whether it’s a long trip or a short jaunt to the library). It’s absolutely fun to picture young Jon and Tim in the entertaining and sobering stories Mark and Jan share in this book. Plus, I found several spaces where I read a great though from Mark and Jan and thought, Huh, this sounds rather supportive of a certain Switchfoot lyric.

I fully see myself rereading this book in the future, and I can’t say that for most books. I highly recommend parents taking a look at Never Say No.

How do you truly enjoy your children daily? What do you look for in a parenting book?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the Litfuse Publicity Group as a part of their blogger program in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

I am an affiliate for Amazon Associates. If you click on an Amazon link and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker

Listening and Learning {Book Review – Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker}

Ever since my son was 1 or 2 years old, I’ve said that I’ve learned much more from being parent than I ever did in the years in was a public school teacher. And that statement keeps growing in truth.

Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker shares numerous examples of this growth in her book Small Talk: Learning from My Children About What Matters Most (Zondervan, 2014). This memoir-style book follows Amy Julia’s journey through several years of parenting two, then three, children, including one of whom has Down Syndrome. This series of stories encourages readers and highlights how we can see grace in the small moments of our lives.

“In the midst of snow days and sickness, in the midst of yelling and tears, grace enters in.” – p. 12, Small Talk

Amy Julia tells the story in present tense with some past tense reflections to draw readers in. She lets the reader know in the introduction that this is not a how-to book. She utilizes a lot of “I think” and “I wonder” and “I understand” sentences to show her own thought processes and conclusions on what she’s learning as she grows along with her children.

My favorite components of these stories are the family conversations. The dialogues between children (child-to-child and child-to-parent) are so realistic and so pure. Any parent can identify, and, as a parent of a child with multiple special needs, I especially relate to many of those conversations and specific fears. She doesn’t present herself as perfect, and these thoughtful stories help spur reflections of the reader’s own family and circumstances.

She covers holding on to certain things, letting go of others. Her children help her realize the importance of forgiveness, understanding, growth. She recounts stories of waiting, of tragedy, of community, of understanding dependence, of marriage. All while exploring God’s presence in all of it.

The reader won’t leave this book with all the answers, and the reader might not even agree with all of the author’s conclusions. But the book will allow readers to marvel in the insightfulness of children and the ability to reflect and grow, no matter one’s situation.

“…But the reminder of God’s promises quiets my soul. A gentle encouragement to trust. This Christian life of ours if messy and mysterious and beautiful. Like water, running down and spilling over.” – p. 219, Small Talk

What have you learned most from your children?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (through the BookLook bloggers program) in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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The Hiding Place - Corrie ten Boom

On Forgiveness, Grace, and Hope

As much as we can learn from others’ stories, sometimes we just can’t understand them. The “how”s. The “why”s.

Corrie ten Boom has such a story. As a holocaust survivor, she endured and witnessed atrocities no one should. We can’t understand why her story happened or how such things existed. But we can, as she did, still learn from it.

Join me at Do Not Depart today with a look at Corrie ten Boom’s story and some wisdom she drew from her outrageous circumstances. Her story teaches much about God’s presence, about accepting grace, and about holding on to hope.

Also, read her book, The Hiding Place. It’s on my top 10 list of books everyone should read at some point.

The Hiding Place - Corrie ten Boom

While you’re at Do Not Depart, check out the other posts from this month on various godly women and what their stories share.

Share your own stories of hope and grace over at Do Not Depart today.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

Shop Signing Time

 

This site is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.