Plain Faith by Irene & Ora Eash
Non-Fiction. Published 2014.
Read: June 2014, 208 pages
This is the true story of Ora Jay and Irene Eash, Amish farmers from northwest Montana whose lives changed in an instant when a semi-truck struck the family buggy, killing their two young daughters. After the accident, the couple turned to their Amish community for comfort, but they remained haunted by the thought that they might not see their girls again in heaven. Eventually Ora Jay and Irene learned that grace, not works, was enough to ensure their place in eternity. But with that knowledge came the realization that they could no longer live in an Amish community that didn’t share this precious belief. This is the story of their journey to the hope that is heaven, a hope stronger than the loss of children, family, and a way of life.
Impressions & Thoughts:
I received Plain Faith through booklook. The Eashes share their personal stories and journeys about how they became Christians despite the setbacks and criticisms they endured. The story depicts their Amish lifestyle centering around rules and traditions. The family was concerned about doing enough good works to meet their children in heaven. After such a major loss they stopped identifying with being Amish and sough English ways and were able to gain comfort in their new faith. The book is helpful in understanding parts of the Amish culture and lifestyle.
God planned it all just so; they were too sweet to stay. -p50
Let Hope In by Pete Wilson
Non-Fiction. Published 2013.
Read: December 2013, 219 pages
It can disarm guilt, shatter shame, and put your past in its place. All you have to do is make the choice to let it in. It won’t be easy. It won’t be quick. But it is possible and we serve a God who promises over and over again that anything is possible. Pete Wilson presents a new look at the power of healing through hope, revealing 4 unique choices that have the potential to change your life forever. With Wilson’s telltale cadence and candor, Let Hope In explores accounts of seemingly hopeless moments in the Bible illustrating God’s ultimate plan for healing by letting hope fill the dark places of your past. Discover how pain that is not transformed becomes transferred. Embrace the freedom of being okay with not being okay. Learn that a life of trusting is far more magnificent than a life of pleasing. Because hurt people hurt people, but free people have the power to free people. So make today the day that you get unstuck. The day you fill your past with the light of hope, the day you say good-bye to regret and shame. The day you choose to change your future and embrace who God created you to be, simply by making the choice to let hope in.
I LOVE this book. I don’t mean that lightly, I have proof! Generally, I will dogear several pages in every book I read for the worthy quotes, funny stories, and best qualities of the book… My just read copy of Let Hope In has about 33% of the pages dogeared! Did I tell you I love this book? The concepts in this book are things I get to use daily, now backed with good insight and lovely scripture. This book delivers a wonderful read that is best used when applied. I took my time to complete this book to try and retain its’ knowledge. I received Let Hope In through booksneeze. I want to quote every page for you, but it’s better you get your own copy I suppose. I highly recommend it to all of those who have ever hurt (that’s you, and you).
Let Hope In is a book for everyone who needs to walk closer to God, to learn to really trust God, and let go of the past. The last chapter of the book talks about Jesus the vine and God the gardener. Are there things in your life you will let God prune so you can become more fruitful?
‘Loving Deeply’ is one of the chapters that ends with the idea of a Reverse Economy. Love is meant to heal. If you want to receive, you give. If you want to lead, you follow. If you want to live for certain things, you have to be willing to die for them. There is “healing, peace, and life” when we can extend God’s love for us to those around you.
Let Hope In is a chance to transform, forgive, and rebuild. There is strength in letting go.
God’s main purpose for you is not what you do. It’s who you become. -p125
The Tiger’s Child by Torey Hayden
Non-Fiction. Published 1995.
Read: February 2013, 264 pages
When Hayden first met Sheila, she refused to speak, her only communication coming through bursts of destructive, violent behavior. After five intense months, Hayden successfully broke through to Sheila, and successfully fought to have her placed in a regular classroom.
Hayden did not see Sheila again until she was 13. Much to Hayden’s astonishment, Sheila remembered little about their extraordinary time together. As Hayden continues to renew her relationship with the teenage Sheila, the memories slowly come back, bringing with them feelings of abandonment and hostility.
The Tiger’s Child is the squeal to One Child where it catches up to Sheila and Torey’s life years later. I adored One Child- you can check out my review of it here. Although it fills in the rest of the story for the reader, it neglects to be pleasantly delivered. This book is “more honest” as Sheila puts it.
It is far too often that children are mistreated and abandoned. Sheila is no exception. You learn of further abuse she suffered and the difficulties that remain ahead of her as a teenager. Sheila begins working with Torey as an aide for a summer program with children. Torey sees Sheila more as a client than as her caretaker, which is what Sheila is longing fore. I was appalled that Torey got a letter from Sheila reaching out about suicide and did not respond. It takes a whole year more and more letters from Sheila until she visits her a children’s residential treatment facility.
It breaks your heart to see the pain Sheila endures and her strained relationship with Torey. One thing to take from this book is that Sheila felt ‘Torey/social services/the system’ should and could have done more for her. She was continually forced to remain within an unstable, abusive, and dangerous environment.
What I remember are the colors…as if my whole world had been in black and white. -p61
The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
Non-Fiction. Published 1992.
Read: January 2013, 203 pages
Skillful communication is within your grasp. While love is a many splendored thing, it is sometimes a very confusing thing, too. And as people come in all varieties, shapes, and sizes, so do their choices of personal expressions of love. But more often than not, the giver and the receiver express love in two different ways. Dr. Chapman identifies these and guides you towards a better understanding of your unique languages of love. Learn to speak and understand your mate’s love language, and in no time you will be able to effectively love and truly feel loved in return.
The Five Love Languages was enjoyable and insightful. It offers a guide to specific and personal ways people express their love. Everyone has different needs and when they aren’t met it’s hard for others to reciprocate love. Dr. Chapman insists that speaking the love language of your mate will even rekindle a relationship that appears to be broken beyond repair. I recommend this book to all who are seeking to improve their relationships with others. At times the book is wordy and technical, but the author adds many relatable examples of real couples to illustrate his points.
We all have unique preferences when it comes to expressing and receiving love. Dr. Chapman lays out what each love language is and how to identify which category a personal falls in to. Your love language is the way that you most feel loved and cared for. The problem is most people know how they want to be loved, but that doesn’t tend to align with how their partner wants to be loved. You have to learn to speak your partner’s love language. The five love languages are:
- Words Of Affirmation: Encouraging words, verbal compliments, kind words, appreciation, humble words, admiration
- Quality Time: Togetherness, focused attention, quality conversation, listening, expressing emotions, scheduled activities
- Gifts: Purchased gifts, physical presence, made gifts
- Acts Of Service: Doing something for your partner that you know they would like for you to do
- Physical Touch: Holding, intimacy
Requests give direction to love, but demands stop the flow of love. -p92
Love doesn’t erase the past, but it makes the future different. -p130
Is it possible to love someone whom you hate? -p147
Happily Ever After by Craig Groeschel
Non-Fiction. Published 2007.
Read: January 2013, 230 pages
What do you do if you want a marriage that doesn’t just survive, but thrives? That doesn’t just begin romantically but ends magnificently? You do something different.
For today’s generation, “getting what you want” is often a substitute for love, and disillusionment about marriage is the new normal. But you can have a long-term, love-blessed marriage. Whether you’re still considering it, are about to be wed, or have been married for a while and want to make changes, Happily Ever After delivers an infusion of hope. Author Craig Groeschel clearly and honestly lays out the choices and commitments you can make now to change the way you think and act—to build the relationship you want for the rest of your life.
With an invigorating mix of personal story, practical guidance and biblical truth, Craig invites you into a candid conversation about first dates, intimacy, communication, integrity, forgiveness, and commitment. Along the way, he shows how you can build a soul-enriching, God-honoring relationship with the one you love. This book was previously released as Going All the Way.
Craig Groeschel is the founding and senior pastor at LifeChurch.tv. Craig, his wife, and their six children live in Oklahoma where LifeChurch.tv began in 1996. He speaks frequently at conferences and has written several books.
Happily Ever After is a quick read that doesn’t have a lot of depth to its’ points, but covers some good issues. His book addresses many of the big questions on finding the one, friendship, intimacy, how far is too far, cohabitation, responsibilities, and break ups. His philosophy- God is your number one and your spouse is your number two. So many times priorities get mixed up and leave marriages hurting. People place their children and wealth above their covenant to God. Craig wants you to be successful in marriage and work for it.
The book misses a big opportunity as it lacked depth. Happily Ever After is still encouraging in ways. In the chapter Habits of the Heart, Craig discusses the habits which will nurture a godly marriage. The greatest thing you can do is invest in your relationship with God. The more you lead like Jesus, the better all your relationships will be. Spend time in solitude and prayer. Serve others.
Craig connects the book to his personal experiences. He seems genuine in having a passion to help others.
He will empower you to find His beauty dormant in her heart. Look for it. See what others overlook. Encourage her. Build her up. Lift her high. -p164
A covenant is serious business. -p208
One Child by Torey Hayden
Non-Fiction. Published 1980.
Read: September 2012, 318 pages
The time had finally come. The time I had been waiting for through all these long months that I knew sooner or later had to occur. Now it was here.
She had surprised me so much by actually crying that for a moment I did nothing but look at her. Then I gathered her into my arms, hugging her tightly. She clutched onto my shirt so that I could feel the dull pain of her fingers digging into my skin. She cried and cried and cried. I held her and rocked the chair back and on its rear legs, feeling my arms and chest get damp from the tears and her hot breath and the smallness of the room.
Sheila, a 6-year-old girl living in grinding poverty and raised by her single father faced some daunting odds when she entered Torey Hayden’s special needs class. Abandoned by her mother, beaten by her father and facing a court ordered sentence to a hospital after a particularly violent episode, Sheila was extremely aggressive and wary.
I could not put the book down. Torey tells such a fluent and engaging story about Sheila. It certainly spotlights the tragedies of this world. Neglect, physical abuse, and sexual abuse of children are something to be taken seriously. You will see a glimpse of the resiliency of a child in the extraordinary read One Child.
I adored how Torey read Sheila The Little Prince and Sheila knew she was tamed and special to Torey. Sheila desperately needed someone to care for her and care about her. Torey gave Sheila a piece of all the good in the world. It is horrifying what Sheila faces. especially the sexual abuse at the hands of her Uncle. Sheila flourished in Torey’s classroom and the reader becomes attached to the story.
It’s heartbreaking and happy, moving and monumental. I appreciate the compassion and determination of individuals who positively impact the lives of hurting youth.
I think you do be crazy person too. -p75
Why you care? I can’t figure that out. Why you want to tame me? -p144
Call of a Coward by Marcia Moston
Non-Fiction. Published 2012.
Read: September 2012, 184 pages
Moses never wanted to be a leader. Jonah ran away from his missions call. And when Marcia Moston’s husband came home with a call to foreign missions, she was sure God had the wrong number. His call conflicted with her own dreams, demanded credentials she didn’t have, and required courage she couldn’t seem to find. She promised to follow where God led, but she never thought the road would lead to a Mayan village on a Guatemalan mountainside.
From the trecherous road trip to their new village home, to learning to navigate a new culture, to a stateside mission field in Vermont, Moston’s journey reveals that God leads just as clearly today as he did in biblical times. Her candid account tells a story of learning to trust and obey when faithfulness seems foolish.
This book is a sweet and humorous insight into Marcia’s relationship with God and pursuing his purposes. She shows courage and strength as she sets out to be a missionary with her husband and young daughter. I received Call of a Coward through booksneeze. I would recommend this book as a story of faith and God’s power to always provide. Some details are lacking as it seems more of a highlight of several years of her life rather than an in-depth experience.
The goal behind this book is to show that God is always in control and can turn cowards and ordinary people into courageous servants. Marcia relies on signs from God to move her. Marcia’s faith is continually tested as she moves with her family to a village in Guatemala to oversee the orphans and widows home. They experience many difficulties on their trip including the dangers of traveling outside of the United States. This is eyeopening to remember how safe and comfortable we are in the states. She battles between conviction and logic as she forges forward. This book is conversational and light. It’s easy to envision the family on this marvelous trek. Certainly makes you wonder if you’ve got the faith to abandon all that you know and follow God.
At times my faith had the attention span of a four-year-old. I had to keep wrestling down the conviction that God was more in control of her life than I was. -p84
When this life doesn’t make sense, it’s good to remember you are just traveling through. -p129
Hope does not disappoint. -p153
Sins of a Father by Kitty Chappell
Non-Fiction. Published 2003.
Read: July 2012, 227 pages
Kitty Chappell’s childhood was terrifying. She and her family suffered appalling abuse at the hands of her father, who eventually went to jail for attempting to murder her mother. She forgave him upon his release, and they were reconciled–a reconciliation that lasted until he killed his second wife and then himself. Chappell’s story is extraordinary not because of its anguish, but because she has emerged emotionally and spiritually whole. “While my book begins with the horrors of a child born into abuse, it ends with hope, for it is a book about overcoming.” Chappell’s book does not contain psychological theories, but credible, biblical hope for overcoming pain from one who has earned the right to speak on the subject. Her triumphant story is liberating for every woman, because ultimately the choice of forgiveness is before us all.
I dogeared so many pages of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the style of writing and Kitty’s openness. Her story is moving and powerful. If you’re interested in how to forgive, she brings many interesting points to the table. The best part is her connection to God.
Kitty understands she was created for God. She trusted him and chose to forgive her earthly father. She talks about changing her self-image, building character, seeking God, and letting go. God will help us do what we need to do but he won’t do it for us. From survivor to over comer: 1) forgiveness, 2) accountability, 3) gratitude. Personally, I am constantly teaching these three principles to the kids I work with as a therapist. We cannot let our circumstances or our past define us.
What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God. -p143
It doesn’t take a lot of strength to hang on. It takes a lot of strength to let go. -p164