Saturday, July 23, 2011

[courageous] book review


Screenplay by Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick. Novelization by Randy Alcorn.

Those of us who watched Fireproof have been waiting in anticipation for Courageous: Honor begins at Home. It won't disappoint. The story is filled with God moving and changing lives and bringing hope to a hopeless world.

It starts with four men, police officers, who are striving to keep the streets safe from gangsters and drug dealers. They have to face the facts: inner city fatherless kids are ending up in jail, on drugs or dead.

And then another fact hits home: What about their kids? Are they being the kind of fathers that God calls them to be to their children?

When faced with their own failings, one by one, they fall on their knees and ask God to help them change. And that's when the story really starts.

It is really really good. Funny, beautiful, full of God.

However. Yes, there is a however. The novelization isn't done very well. I hate to say that. I think Randy Alcorn is a good writer. But it isn't done well. It reads like a choppy commentary. Not a riveting story. The characters are hard to keep track of. Names are repeated over and over until you almost get dizzy.

I'm sad about that.

However. Yes, there is another however! It is still a good story. If you can ignore the choppiness, you will enjoy it. And once the movie comes out, the names won't seem so confusing.

It is hard to take a movie and make it into a book. Just like its hard to take a book and make it into a movie. The original is always the best. That's just the way it is.

But I will tell you: come September 30th, I will be in a theater watching it. Enjoying every minute.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

[shelter] July 23, 2011

"There were a few days of darkness. A few days of crawling and crying and longing for something to break free. There were a few days of me without you. Dark days indeed."

I have a good husband. Have I ever mentioned that on here? Its true. He hears my tears. Feels my pain. And takes me on Ferris Wheel rides to distract me from my sorrows. He's a good man.

Then, when I think he's done it all- he pulls me from my seat on the couch and says, "I have someplace to take you..." and off to the fair we go again so I can watch the polka dancers. Because I mentioned one time that I love that part of the fair. And he remembered. And knew I needed comfort. So we went and I laughed and when we got home he swung me around the room in our own version of the polka. And I laughed again.

God has blessed me. So deeply and richly that I am overwhelmed. But I forget. So many times I forget. I stare at the pain and wallow in fear and cry in darkness. Oh, God. Forgive me.

And then He says, when I am snuggled safely into bed without tears or thoughts of sorrow, "Tasha, your husband's love is but a shadow of mine.
I am the kind of God who takes you on Ferris Wheel rides.
In your pain, remember that I will be your shelter.
I won't take it away but I will dance and laugh with you through it."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

[Billy Graham in Quotes] book review

Billy Graham in Quotes

By Franklin Graham with Donna Lee Toney

I heard Billy Graham speak one time. I was about fourteen. I don’t remember a word he said. (we were in a stadium and it echoed badly, that’s all I can recall!)

I always thought that Billy Graham told the truth about salvation but as for his stand on anything else… it must have been toeing the line because everyone, on all sides and in all faiths, tolerated him.

That was a pretty harsh assessment and completely wrong.

The reason for his good standing with so many must simply be the grace of God in his life because he simply spoke truth.

As I read through his quotes on a plethora of subjects (abortion, the Bible, creation, greed, race, society, success, war, etc…) I was amazed at how directly he confronted the lies that have perpetrated our world.

To give you a little taste:

The issue [of] abortion is not whether you have a

right to terminate the life of a child…

The real issue is whether or not you will insist on running your own life

according to your own standards,

or whether you will instead let God run your life.

As for the book itself, there is no doubt that it would make a lovely addition to any library. The soft cover makes it easy to handle, the sections are clearly marked with an easy-to-use index.

As a writer and Sunday School teacher, I will greatly appreciate the use of this book in years to come!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, July 14, 2011

[Never the Bride] Book Review

Never The Bride

By Cheryl McKay & Rene Gutteridge

Never the Bride: A Novel

I have to admit, it is not very often that I pick up a Christian chick-lit novel and anticipate reading it. Usually I am thinking, “Here we go…” The reason is: they’re all the same. The same story. The same situations. Often the same “popular” names used.

When I started reading this novel, I was expecting the “same”. There’s this girl, Jessie, who wants to get married (naturally). And there are eleven bridesmaid dresses hanging in her closet (reminisce of that one movie with all the dresses…?) She has an ex-boyfriend who cheated on her. And, surprise, surprise, a “best friend” that she is secretly in-love with. She’s working at a dead-end job (aren’t they all?) and has a hard time liking blonde girls because they get all the guys.

I would have been bored to tears except that the authors really are funny. And then, once I settled in to a laugh a little… the sameness disappeared.

God shows up. Jessie’s story becomes something new and different because it shows a glimpse into what life would be like if God came walking up to you one day…and asked you to surrender all your dreams, trusting him to write your life story in His way and in His time.

It wasn’t perfectly done. There are some things, like her childhood imaginary friend, that weren’t quite explained enough to make sense.

But I’ll forgive that.

And I’ll give the authors ten extra points for being original!

If you like chick-lit… this is definitely one to read and pass around. If you don’t like it… give this one a try anyway. J

I received this book in exchange for my honest review through Blogging for Books.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

[from ashes] July 5, 2011

Mornings. Chores. Tired. Garden. Laundry. Meals. Hay. Errands. Chores. Tired. Sleep.

That is pretty much a reflection of my life these days.

Some days I revel in the work. The dirt. The sweat. The feeling of the wind in my hair. The calluses on my hands. The knowledge that I am strong enough to lift twice what the average woman can without even breathing hard. The feeling of accomplishment when I see the milk tank swirling with creamy white milk. The garden blossoming and blooming with vegetables. The line of round bales growing. Thirty. Sixty. A hundred. Only a hundred left to put up before winter.

Then come the other days. The ones when I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. When the thought of hanging out another load of laundry could almost make me cry. The days when Amos can't get in from the fields and I have to face the barn full of cows and know that I'm all alone. The days that I avoid the garden and its weeds. When I turn my back on the sink full of dishes. When I crawl into bed with my eyes closed so I can't see the clothes on the floor.

And on those days I start to crumble.

A day came when I was crumbling. I cried over everything. The morning. The cows. The manure. The flies. The pigs. The laundry. The garden. The dishes. The dirt. The heat. My husband. My friends. The fact that I still wasn't pregnant. The fact that despite all our hard work there wasn't any extra money. The fact that no matter how carefully I planned or worked it seemed that I was always disappointing someone.

I looked around and only saw the ashes of the life I desired.

And I heard clearly through my tears the voice of my Father, reminding me of something he once told a friend of mine. "I would not have promised beauty for ashes, if I wasn't going to burn anything down."

I wrote a song that day. One that has been swirling through my head ever since. His answer. His promise. In the end...

He offers beauty for ashes-- strength for pain. Hope for all who call on His name.

He offers-- to hold all our tears. Clothe us in white-- turn the dark into light.

Yet so often we forget

To get beauty for ashes, something must burn

To get strength for pain, something must hurt

For Him to hold all our tears, we must cry

To turn the dark into light, we have to face a black night

All His promises are true-- He'll do just what He said He'd do

But so many times, in the fire, pain and tears--We hide in the darkness, and cry out in fear

"Where are you, God? Where are you, God?"

And He says...

To get beauty for ashes, something must burn

To get strength for pain, something must hurt

For me to hold all your tears, you must cry

To turn the dark into light- you have to face a black night,

But I promise you,

In the end,

I will make all things new.