Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Off the Shelf

It has been months. . .umm. . .make that a year, since I've listed the books I'm enjoying. The last "Off the Shelf" post was last June. Sometimes it seems that all I get read is prereading books for my children, but I still usually have a book or two of my own that I'm reading.

Here is a glimpse into the books that have captured my attention in the last year.

Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food by Lysa Terkeurst
I wouldn't normally read a book about weight loss, but, wow, this book is so much more. It made me consider my obsessions, my pity parties, and if there anything I seek to find strength besides God.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.

Upstairs in the White House: My Life with the First Ladies by J.B. West
The head usher shares stories of his job in the White House under five presidents from Eisenhower to Nixon. I felt like I was able to walk the stairs of that famous house. This is an old book and doesn't contain all the sleazy details that a modern book would maybe feel compelled to share.

Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of a Critic in Disguise by Ruth Reichl
I love food writing and this book was a treat as I followed Reichl as she started her new job as restaurant critic for the New York Times and found that her photo was in every restaurant kitchen in NYC. With disguises, she managed to get inside restaurants without being detected. I enjoyed her writing so much that I read Tender to the Bone where Reichl writes of her own personal food history beginning in her dysfunctional home. I loved the insights into growing up in the 60's though Reichl does not at all write from a Christian perspective.

There's Got to Be More by Melissa Eby
But after reading about expensive restaurant meals, this books was a refreshment. A young farming couple in the midwest wondered if there was more to life than a successful business and a happy family. A farming accident took Rueben's leg but didn't stop him from seeking more ways to serve God. Spending time at a home from handicapped children in VA and far-flung spots such as Haiti, Pakistan, Israel, and Bangladesh, a missing limb never slowed down this couple from sharing the love of Christ. An inspiring true story.

84, Charing Cross Road by Helen Hanff
Immediately after World War 2, a small newspaper ad began a correspondence between a money-strapped writer in NYC and an antique bookseller in London. This short classic collects those letters and gives a window into post-war London. To learn the rest of the story, I picked up Q's Legacy by the same author that tells of her writing journey.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
I'm fascinated with the topic of habits and how to make permanent life changes. Since I loved the Heaths' Made to Stick, I thought they'd do this topic well. And they did. Their many varied stories and illustrations encouraged me as a parent to work at finding the bright spots, encouraging a growth mindset, and shaping a path to build good habits.

The Day the World Came to Town by Jim Defede
What happens when the US air space is closed and dozens of planes over the Atlantic are rerounted to Canada? On September 11, 2001, the tiny town of Gander, Newfoundland hosted thousands of unexpected guests. This warm story describes events and the people who were caught in the drama of that historic day.

In the Land of Blue Burqas by Kate McCord
The five years that McCord spent in Afghanistan gave her a love from the women of that country and she shares that love with her readers. Full of her conversations around the tea tables behind the tall walls, I gained an appreciation for the hope I have in Christ that so many in this world lack. Though it tells some sad stories, it isn't the kind of book that makes me wish I could scrub a few scenes from my mind. This book was a gift to me from a Home Joys reader who thought I'd love it - and she was right.

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
In Gladwell's typical style, he takes us on a journey to visit a familiar Bible story, war-torn Ireland, college campuses, a children's cancer ward, and Birmingham to expose connections that I would have never uncovered. And as always, the trip is a joy.

I haven't been reading a lot of books about cancer this summer. I'm not sure if that is good or bad. A Home Joys reader sent me What Cancer Cannot Do by Phylis Ten Elshof, a small gift book that I found super encouraging. I also read When Cancer  Clouds the Sky by Beverly E. Hannah. Beverly is a local author who recently self-published a book about her personal cancer journey. Since Ed is a printer, he sometimes gets to connect with local authors and it has been a joy to get to know Beverly.

I also bought myself another copy of A Grace Disguised: How a Soul Grows Through Loss by Jerry Sittser. I had given my copy away and this is one book that I thought I needed to reread this summer. Sittser has so many great insights on grief and God's grace. I haven't gotten to far in rereading it since it got on Ed's side of the bed.

What are you reading? By looking at the books I've enjoyed, do you have a book suggestion for me to read next? That is, after I finish the half dozen books that are presently on my bedside.

(This post contains affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase at Amazon, I get a small payment at no additional cost  to you. Thanks.)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Immortal Love

Yesterday morning at church, Ed preached his first sermon in nearly three months. The last time he preached was the day before his intense headaches began. A lot has happened since then.

Ed preached on the will of God, which is a topic he has thought a lot about these last months. Ed has always disliked how easy tears come for him, but I love that he has a soft heart just like his dad. And yesterday I know his audience understood his emotion.

Ed asked the congregation to sing "Immortal Love, Within Whose Righteous Will" which I never remember singing. The words are poignant.

Immortal Love, Within Whose Righteous Will
by Stopford A. Brooke

Immortal love, within whose righteous will
Is always peace,
O pity me, storm-tossed on waves of ill;
Let passion cease;
Come down in  power within my heart to reign,
For I am weak, and striving has been vain.

The days are gone, when far and wide my will
Drove me astray;
And now I fain would climb the arduous hill,
That narrow way,
Which leads through mists and rocks to Thine abode,
Toiling for man, and Thee, Almighty God.

Whate'er of pain They loving hand allot
I gladly bear;
Only, O Lord, let peace be not forgot,
Nor yet Thy care,
Freedom from storms, and wild desires within,
Peace from the fierce oppression of my sin.

So may I, far away, when evening falls
On life and love,
Arrive at last the holy, happy halls,
With Thee above;
Wounded, yet healed, sin grieving, yet forgiv'n,
And sure that Jesus is my hope of heav'n.

I could not find a recording of these words with the tune by Charles H. Purday that Hymns of the Church includes. But I did find a video of the same beautiful tune to different (though equally beautiful) words, "Unto the Hills." If you listen to this recording maybe you can sing the above words to the same tune. (If you are reading by email you might need to click over to the website to view the video.)


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