Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'm Not Wonder Woman but God Made Me Wonderful - Sheila Walsh

Another book not from my shelf but a book I felt I needed to read. I'm not sure I'm going to make it through my goal of reading through my bookshelves in 2010. Maybe summer will help me pick up the pace when I'm not working full time.

Sheila Walsh knows what it's like to pretend you have everything together. To run around in a cape saving the day, your kid, your friends, your employer, the word. But inside you are falling apart or just not as fulfilled as you believe Jesus died so you can be.

In this book, Sheila goes through the myths that we believe and helps us to identify and let go of thought patterns and ideas that keep us bound. She then goes a step farther by talking about the truths in the Word of God and how we need to capture vision from them.

A lot of the materials is concepts I've heard or read before. But I need to keep hearing/reading as clearly it isn't sinking in yet. Otherwise I wouldn't be so driven to live up to the expectations of others - or the expectations I believe others to have of me.

Quote to take away: No human being can destroy what God has purposed [referencing Joseph and the twists and turns his life took after God gave him a vision]. God's timing is perfect, His will is perfect.

The Help - Kathryn Stockett

This was my book club book for this month.

Love, love, LOVED it.

It was a real eye-opener to me about how different our society was even just fifty years ago and made me wonder how much more (good, bad, both) it will change in the next fifty years.

This book tells the tale of white women in 1960s Mississippi and thier African-American (see, now they were referred to as "black" throughout the book and that makes more sense as I said "white" women not Anglo-American but I feel that wouldn't be politically correct - I've been trained well - and wouldn't want to cause offense) household help.

The story line encompeses several maids and their employers but the stars of the show are Aibileen and Minny (as maids) and Skeeter and Hilly (white women). This novel take you through both the good and the bad of these interactions. Sometimes the situations were mutually benefial to both. More often, though, it was a difficult situation for the maids to be in. To take care of someone's home but not be able to eat at the same table or use the same bathroom. To raise someone's kids to the point the kids are now adults and are your employer, treating you with disdain.

I really enjoyed seeing how the characters grew and developed through their interactions and events. I also liked learning a bit more about that time in history through the real events Stockett included.

I could have done without some of the language and the naked man scene.

Over all, an excellent job for a first novel. Everyone in my book club liked it (well, I think one enjoyed it for the most part but not the end).

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Read 100 Books in One Year - Guest Post by Demian Farnworth

**Post by guest blogger Demian Farnworth [link to http://www.fallenandflawed.com/]**

One hundred books in one year is a lot of books to read. Let's do the math.

One hundred divided by fifty-two [fifty-two is the number of weeks in the year for those who are curious and not too bright] equals 1.92307692 books a week.

Let's round that up to 2.

That means you have to read 2 books a week if you want to read 100 in a year. Or about one book every 3.5 days.

Up to the challenge?

Well, if you're like me--an incorrigible sucker for ridiculous challenges and a shameless book addict--then this is right up your alley.

But here's the deal: You're likely to fail. Like me.

Two months from now you and me will be hopelessly behind and wondering what in the world we were thinking.

We're likely to shove our little challenge under the bed and pretend it never happened.

I don't know about you, but I don't want that to happen. I WANT to read 100 books in a year--and I WANT to succeed.

So let's add a little twist to this challenge. Let's make this challenge a competition. You know, an old-fashioned, cut-throat rivalry.

Here's what I mean.

Choose someone you know who likes to read and invite them to join your challenge. Once you've got them nodding their head say, "By the way, let's keep score."

I'm telling you, when it comes to motivation--THIS WORKS.

For example, my wife and I are rabid readers. I tend to keep lists of books I want to read. She keeps lists of books she has read. And when I saw the list of books she had already read for 2010 [this was back in late February], I was floored.

I thought, "She's smoking me."

Since then I've streamlined my life as best as I could to make reading books my single and solitary focus. My goal is not to beat her necessarily. It's simply to read 100 books in a year [especially if she does, too!].

Granted, two months later I'm still hopelessly behind my wife who systematically rifles through hefty books at a blistering pace...but I've vowed to not give up.

I've vowed to read...and read...and read until I see the last word on the last page of the last book for the year.

And hopefully when I do that it will be December 31, 2010 and it'll be book number 100 that I'm closing.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Honestly - Sheila Walsh

This book isn’t from my bookshelves either (I’m not doing so great on that challenge). But I saw Sheila Walsh speak back in March and just really connected to her message. She has been through the ringer and come out victorious in Jesus and her relationship with God. I could relate to so many things she said that I just wanted to read everything she’s written trying to find additional help for myself.

So I got this book from the library. It is basically her story from one of the lowest points of her life through healing and recovery into the amazing life she is living in God now.

Sheila was a talented Christian singer/songwriter with her own spot on The 700 Club. But what she showed to the world wasn’t who she truly was. She was empty inside, crying out for someone to see her pain and help her. When she took a step of faith that many discourage, she found true freedom.

Practical and applicable. Heart-touching and impacting.

I’ll leave you with a quote:

When the pain of remaining the same is greater than the pain of change, you’ll change. –Sheila Walsh

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle - David Wroblewski

This book is not one on my bookshelf. However, I read it on the sort-of recommendation of a friend. She had bought it and thought it might be too dark for her, so I said I’d give it a try. I found it interesting for the most part.

Edgar Sawtelle was born mute but with an uncanny ability to sign and communicate in his own way. He lived on a farm in remote Wisconsin helping his parents breed “Sawtelle dogs.” These dogs have amazing abilities in following commands and as companions.

Edgar’s life is all a boy can ask for until the day his father dies. His mother and he try to continue on with the dogs until his uncle (his father’s brother) steps into both the business and his mother’s arms. Edgar reacts and is forced to flee into the woods with three of the pups he’s been training. There he finds some of the strength he needs to return home.

This story was VERY well told. It was slow starting out but a few chapters in I was really engaged with the characters and the storyline.

As far as it being dark, the first half of the book wasn’t. But towards the middle, there were definitely some darker or more oppressive themes and scenes.

It’s a big book, but in my opinion, worth the read.