Thursday, August 17, 2017

Vienna Prelude (Brock and Bodie Thoene) - Book Review

Vienna Prelude (Zion Covenant, #1)Vienna Prelude by Bodie Thoene
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

So I don't know if this was simply the right book at the wrong time or what, but I found myself groaning every evening when it was reading hour because I just could not get into this. It didn't move quickly, and the history was very over my head. History is not my fave so the long, dry paragraphs of details didn't do anything for me.

Also, the only character I cared for in the entire book was Rudy. The others are just way too selfish, fickle, and cliche. Also, the Christianity that was barely there felt forced, so I didn't really connect with it on that end, either.

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The Practice of the Presence of God (Brother Lawrence) - Book Review

The Practice of the Presence of God (Paraclete Essentials)The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is by far the most Catholic book I've ever read. I was surprised to discover that, apart from one chapter, the book is not written by Brother Lawrence, but rather it is a compilation of letters and conversations collected by a friend of his, who wanted Brother Lawrence's life and service to be remembered after his death.

While I found the idea of constant prayer and moment-by-moment submission to the will of God to be motivating and inspirational (albeit a little mystical perhaps), I mourned the obvious lack of salvation understanding on Brother Lawrence's part. Here was a man who for years endured much suffering and humble labor out of pure love and adoration for God, but believed in penance and purgatory, refused to trouble himself over heaven or hell, and would do such unnecessary things as purposely lying on his infected side so he'd be in more pain for God. He was lacking doctrinal truths that would have freed him from many stresses, both physical and spiritual.

While I do believe in rare cases Catholics can be saved and bound for Heaven, from what I read in this short book, I was not convinced Brother Lawrence was one of them. His chapter called "Spiritual Maxims" was very sweet and helpful, but on the whole I could not in good conscience recommend this book to anyone.

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Thursday, August 10, 2017

We're Back!

These recent days have been happy and busy ones, as we officially moved back into our house Saturday night! I am busy cleaning, organizing, shopping, and moving things over from my family's house, finally, but when I'm finished, I'm going to do a before/after post on here. Also, we're getting another family photoshoot done Saturday so I'll try to post some of those as well. :)

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Old Yeller (Fred Gipson) - book review

Old YellerOld Yeller by Fred Gipson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Boy, reading this bittersweet story for the first time brought back so many childhood memories of watching the endearing Disney film over and over and over, and crying every time! As I read this, I couldn't help but think how excellently cast everyone was. I have to say this is one case where the book and the film are equally good! I loved reading this from Travis's point of view. It's a rare thing these days for teen boys to aspire to manhood, and it was great to read the old-fashioned country story of a boy taking care of his family while his pa is away. Loved this so much!

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Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Being Mortal (Atul Gawande) - book review

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the EndBeing Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The tears on my cheeks have not yet dried as I type this. I did not have many expectations going into this book, but still, its making me cry was certainly unexpected. I'm crying for many reasons.

- This book was written so beautifully, tastefully, carefully, sacredly. Atul held a painful subject in his hands and gently made it graceful.
- I am so personally drawn to ministry to the elderly and dying, and this book made me even more eager to search out ways to be of help.
- My grandma would have loved this. Many of the scenarios presented throughout the book were ones we went through with my grandma, and I couldn't help but admit it hit close to home. She always hated the thought of losing her independence, of being put in a home, of hanging out with the "old ladies," of, frankly, dying. She always wanted to volunteer to make those on their way out feel that they have a friend. I remember her telling me, "People always celebrate and make a big to-do about a baby entering the world. But where are the people helping people leave it?" As I said, she would have heartily agreed with Atul's thoughts, and I cry because if only I had discovered this book sooner. :(

This might not look like your cup of tea, but I do feel like everyone should read it. We all will die someday, and perhaps already know someone dying, and this book will give you a good starting place to encourage and prepare for the final days and decisions. I need a copy of this on my shelf. Definitely want to read again.

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