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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Spring for Susannah by Catherine Richmond

After long weeks, illness, fatigue – I reach out for a simple novel to read. Escape?  Ponder what might have been had I lived 100 years or more ago? Amish Novels, Homesteading novels, families traveling west, immigrants making good in sod homes. After reading so many of these, they start to blur together. Like watching old reruns of favorite sitcoms. The family asks – Have I watched this one before?

On the story line – one might ask – Have I Read This One Before?  Tiny girl, squashed emotionally and physically by the blows of death and running from her life of privilege after reports of her father loosing his monies after death – she escapes as a mail order bride type, to seek the brother of her pastor out on the Dakota Prairie. The ebb and flow of the relationship building is to be expected. Love – Security – conquers all – the Lord is found, along with love.

The thread of the ideas of this particular story – how it is woven – should make one stop to ponder a bit. Of relationships. Of Public Shoulds. What Should a person do to please others? Their Spouse? Their Parents?  Many a theme from conversations with girlfriends who have or are facing divorce ring through in this story. Loss of income. Loss of Hope. Loss of a child. Geographical distance from a spouse. The entire town encouraging you to marry another. The Loss of everything you worked to build on this earth. Run. Run. Run. The desire to talk with a girlfriend the things not seemly to talk to your spouse about. The loneliness that comes when you do not see your spouse as your best friend, but rather a business partner.  There are questions in the back of the book to help you bring this novel into a common day life question list  - of what is happening to marriage today  - And how to cling to those vows, no matter how thin a piece of paper they are written on – and place your hope and trust in the Lord – and not a man.

On the Historical Novel Side – I enjoyed the time frame – the events that occur in the late 1860’s. The details of several nationalities forming a town from a patch of grass, forming a community with language and cultural barriers. Stepping up to fill the roles of banker, preacher, and storekeeper.

The BIGGEST plus I enjoyed about this book – that I will try to always mention in these reviews – is the “thought pattern” of the main character.  In this book we are not subjected to endless thought –retelling – of their life. Thank You Very Much!

Looking for a way to hunker down and rest for the afternoon – being caught up in the lives of those on the frontier?  I recommend this book!

Description From Book Sneeze -

Book Description

When Susannah goes to Dakota territory as a mail-order bride she finds something she never dreamed she would—true love.

With no prospects for marriage and her parents recently deceased, Susannah Underhill agrees to go west to the Dakota territory to marry her minister's homesteading brother, Jesse. But Susannah is painfully shy, doesn't see herself as worthy of love from either a husband or from God, and lives in constant fear that Jesse is going to ship her back to Detroit.

In spite of her petite size and the fact that Susannah doesn't look like she could survive on the prairie, Jesse quickly discovers that his new wife is a greater blessing than he even hoped for. The years she spent as her father's veterinary assistant allow her to save Jesse's ox and twin calves and to help neighboring farmers with their animals.

But Susannah's feelings of unworthiness are deeply rooted, and she can't believe that Jesse's praise—or the tenderness and love he shows—could possibly last. The thawing of her heart seems almost as distant as Spring in the midst of the winter blanketing the Dakota prairie.

I received this ebook for free
in exchange for an honest review
from Booksneeze.

I review for BookSneeze®

Friday, May 20, 2011

Unleashed–Erwin Raphael McManus

I have a confession to make. I have not once read this book – I have read it twice – 3 times in parts. I have been carrying it around with me – and plan to read it again this week.

I received the book for free from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.  I saw the cover. Girl Laughing. Saw the Yellow – Unleashed. And set the book down.  I thought – Unleash the Holy Spirit in your life. Unleash the Gal inside of you.

The first pages of the book seemed to confirm that. Dry. Dad driving with daughter. Conversational boring tone.

And then. He Explains.

- he was explaining the “Life that reveals the power of God through an unbridled, childlike faith.  - and urges you to Unleash it.” Page XIX.

I had been reading through the book, thinking – Oh I Like that – Oh He put that so well – wow that describes my heart – wow I wish 6 of my friends could read this. That’s when I had to re-read it with a colored pencil.

I marked places where he so easily explains how Christianity has become civilized, domesticated, and complacent (XIX) – of people choosing life defined by security and safety – than life of faith and risk.

I live the life of risk. Hubby’s job requires that he move at a moment’s notice.  Hubby prayed to go to the mission fields a few years back – and here we are. In a county where there are no thriving youth groups. No failing ones either. Women have selfish views of motherhood and wifehood. Where the external opinions are held higher than the real life truth of the deep. Where people are so shielded and hurt and broken – that they can’t even find healing – for fear that even the healing will hurt. Where people have built bubbles of “Spiritual Truths” that medicate them at their point of comfort level, lies that help sooth them as they use them to justify their current living.  But Wait. That happened in our last two towns – Maybe I just described yours too? Even in the thriving churches – so we see loads of love? Forgiveness? Community? Active Warriors? Praise? War Cries? Servanthood? Wait. Still the same 5 people doing all of the work for the 100 attending?  I thought so.

I am feeling / have been feeling the call towards this Barbarian Way that Erwin speaks of in his books. He describes the Barbarian Way – as a way that we live our lives – every step moving forward with ever fiber of our being – fighting for the heart of our King. Jesus Christ is my all consuming passion of my life – and this is his description of Barbarian. He says – The lack of respect for tradition or ritual makes them seem uncivilized to those who love religion. When asked if they are Christians, their answer might surprisingly be no, they are passionate followers of Jesus Christ. Pg 6

He speaks often of those who have become domesticated, civilized. Urging you to live with love, intimacy, passion, and sacrifice. Barbarians love to live, and live to love.

I talked with a friend last night – of wondering how to write a review – I have most of the book underlined. As it turned out – it is not a book about unleashing anything you have – but having God. Unleash the Faith. Will you dare allow God to unlock your primal spirit, allow him to unleash the raw and untamed faith within? Will you choose the Barbarian Way?

What if? What if your entire day was lived on Faith?  Last evening we were reading about Sin. It was listed as James 4:17 – To know and not do it. Is Sin.  1 John 3:4 Lawlessness. Is Sin. 1 John 5:17 Unrighteousness. Is Sin.  I think most of us have a handle on those three things – but what about Romans 14:23 – Whatever is not of Faith – Is Sin.

Did I just read that?  Whatever is not of Faith  - Is Sin.

Where do you become domesticated?  Where have you believed man’s opinion – man’s law – comforted by science or religion? Are you basing your relationship with Christ on the vision and passion  or past revelation of a historical figure or person in the now? Are you believing people? Do you Believe God?

In 2 Samuel 12 – The Lord says to David – through Nathan – Why have you despised my Word?

When you fail to see God for who He is. Fail to See Christ for who He is. When you start living through justifications and domestication. When you need facts to back up every word of the Bible. You fall into the most favorite trap of the enemy. You no longer need to live by Faith. And it is Sin.

So – Since this is not my Ponderings Blog – but my Review blog -

I have re-read the book Unleashed, Release the Untamed Faith Within by Erwin Raphael McManus – 3 times in the last week. The corners are bent, and there are markings on every other page. He puts to writing what has been in my heart. He is man. This is his writing of his heart – but I know and confirm from the desires that the Holy Spirit has laid on my heart – that this is truth for our World today. We need to break out of the mold of domesticated Church – and become primal – take on what most would consider insane barbarian actions – not thoughts – but actions – to live out this Faith. I have experienced two congregations that have lived this out – and they are not on fire – they are on Faith. Unleashed.  If you are looking for a feel good, you’re doing the right thing kid, type of read – this might not be the nightstand book for you . If you are looking for someone to put into writing – what you have found hard to articulate to friends – that has been stirring in your heart – read this book. I received this book for free from BookSneeze Blogger’s program in exchange for an honest review.

Unleashed: Release the Untamed Faith Within