Monday, July 20, 2015

Leaving Time: Three- Sentence Book Review

You think it's the daughter's story, but it's really the mother's. And the elephant's. Like many Picoult novels, I knew a twist was coming, but this time the twist shocked me.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Sister: Three-Sentence Book Review

The Sister, by Poppy Adams

A fascinating look through the eyes of a mentally ill Moth Woman. Or is she the only "normal" one in her life? This book raises questions about what life would be like if you were different, but no one ever told you.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Pact: Three-Sentence Book Review

The Pact, by Jennifer Sturman

Good cross-over of chick lit and mystery. Complaint: all of the women have suspiciously varied hair colors. But other than that, the people are pretty realistic!


Monday, January 7, 2013

A $400 Lesson in Humility

Let me start out by saying: God is good.

Since Robert and I have moved to Georgia, God has been using money in a variety of ways to teach me about Himself.  For a good while, He's been using our lack of money to teach me about trust and about His providence.  You know, I've been earning and keeping track of my own money for about ten years now, and never ever ever have I wanted.  For ten years, God has provided financially for me (and eventually me and Robert) through the generosity of others, the timing of paychecks and bills, and the blessings of financial surprises.  While in Georgia, I was seriously stressing about money.  Finally, one day, I felt God asking me why I was worried.  He pointed out everything I've just said; so why, when I had ten years of proof that money-wise, I'd be okay, did I insist on worrying?

So that was my lesson in trust.  And I thought I was doing pretty good on the money-God front!  Good for me!  Less worry, more trust, commitment to tithing...I was a good steward!

And then yesterday, God started to teach me a lesson in humility.

See, even though so many of our financial blessings have been gifts from others, and while I was incredibly grateful for those gifts, I had come to feel that Robert and I somehow deserved these gifts.  Either we really needed the $700 my parents lent us (we couldn't have moved without it), or it's tradition for Granny Volner to hand out $50 "Granny dollars", or it was just my parents' way of showing love by giving us a VISA gift card for Christmas.  I can't stress enough how grateful I was and am for these people's generosity, and how much I saw God working through them; but I have to admit, a part of me had come to feel as if the gift was a given.  Of course we were getting money!  We needed it, and God provides!

But yesterday at church, our pastor came up to Robert and me and handed us an envelope.  "Someone has asked me to pass this on to you," he said.  "They'd like to remain anonymous."  Inside the envelope?  A note saying "Dear Robert and Joy, Hope this helps the New Year start off with a little less stress, a few more smiles, and some quality time together. Enjoy!"  And $400 cash.

What a blessing, right?  But my immediate reaction was "We don't deserve this!"  I mean, we'd just had a nice Christmas where we bought some friends breakfast, so clearly we couldn't be doing too bad, right?  And even though both our motorcycle and our health insurance are coming up in the next three weeks...we didn't need $400!  And we haven't paid our tithe for December yet, so God couldn't be rewarding our tithing faithfulness.  I mean, I certainly didn't want to give the money back, because God knows we could use it, but my immediate reaction was not gratitude: it was confusion.

So I prayed about it and Robert and I talked, and I read my Bible, and here is what God is teaching me: He provides.  Money, shelter, clothing, friends, family, His Love.  And He provides always.  Not just when we deserve it, not just when we think we need it.  He knows our lives and our needs much better than we do.  He gives out of His goodness, not out of our necessity or expectation.  My pride of thinking I had cracked the God-money system (pay tithe=more money, keep budget=more money...) was folly.  What a humbling experience, to be reminded that God is always in control.

So what did I learn?  God's gifts are always, always, always gifts.  Never givens.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Bumped: Three-Sentence Book Review

Bumped, by Megan McCafferty

An interesting YA-level answer to the question, "What if ONLY teenagers could get pregnant?"  Characters were not quite fleshed out, and some of the dialogue was stilted, but otherwise I enjoyed this!  I'll definitely look forward to reading the sequel.

Stacked: Three-Sentence Book Review

Stacked: A 32DDD Reports from the Front, by Susan Seligson

I'm not sure what I was expecting with this book.  Probably something less statistics-based and more cultural.  But regardless, this book depressed me with it's candid explanation of women and how they see their bodies.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

God Believes in Love: Three-Sentence Book Review

God Believes in Love: Straight Talk about Gay Marriage, by Gene Robinson

The logical arguments in this book are made more effectively than the emotional arguments.  The emotional arguments are written as if his experience as a gay American is the same as all gay-American experiences, which is just not the case.  Read this if you just want information, rather than to be convinced.