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Friday, October 28, 2011

The Encounter, Stephen Arterburn

Wow. It’s 3 a.m.  I considered going back to sleep, after waking up at one thirty for just a few more pages. I started reading this book this morning, well, yesterday morning, and just couldn’t put it down. I even took it to the park, a walk, and in my truck to read between appointments.  The story, simple and of itself, presents as a mystery, people story – very gripping, pulls you in, fast paced – and urges you to want to know how it will turn out.  From the author, it is a parable about a combination of real life events, to help you identify with one of the characters, and to help you with where you are in life also. If you have a wall built up around you – and the anger, hurt, resentment is killing you – read this book. He talks a lot about walls, the ones we build. Perception. The story we think we know, may not be the truth. We walk though this man’s story – as he works to take down that wall.  I didn’t really come to personalize the story to me – until the final pages of the book.  Page 147 “But you have to go beyond the entitlement of resentment so you can have the freedom found in acceptance”.  This isn’t some big self help you’re going to be fixed book. It isn’t another book saying forgive and forget. It is the very forgetting from hurts long past gone that are causing the troubles. Seeing someone elses persepective, being willing to hear their story, without the tainted glasses of  how that story effects you. Drink it in. Finding a way to forgive through Mercy and Grace. Giving Grace – when you can’t find the emotions for forgiveness. Acceptance.  It is funny that the author is the creator/founder of Women of Faith – this topic of Perspective, Acceptance, and your Role in the Healing kept coming up a lot, and since, in all of my readings of books this past month, passages of scripture, it just keeps coming up.  Meekness. Mercy. Grace. Perspective.

Stephen has another book out about healing, I think I’m going to request it to review next. Again, this book isn’t a fixer type book – but something to help you see – what you may not have even been looking for.

I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion from  Again, Thank you Book Sneeze, and thank you Stephen.

From the Publisher:

Book Description

A wealthy businessman travels to Fairbanks, Alaska, to learn why his mother abandoned him when he was a child, and in the process learns that not everything is as it appears to be.

The Encounter, the unique new book from best-selling author and counselor Stephen Arterburn, is a moving parable involving Jonathan Rush, a wealthy and famous entrepreneur, who is tortured by bitterness toward his mother who abandoned him when he was four. He travels to Alaska to find her but instead meets an enigmatic old woman known only as Mercy. Mercy has the information he needs but is strangely reluctant to talk to him. Somehow Jonathan must find a way to persuade a frightened woman to unlock the secrets of his past.

The book includes an invitation to the readers to verify the facts of their own stories, to accept the reality of their existence, especially the most painful ones, and to live in forgiveness. The end result is a healthy new way to look at life with an ability to share hope with others for the future. Healing is possible but requires truth, acceptance, and forgiveness, including of oneself.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Behind the Veils of Yemen by Audra Grace Shelby, a Review


Oh –I REALLY enjoyed this book.  I could have read it in an afternoon, however, I mistakenly started reading this on a Monday, and our Mon – Weds is really packed with activities. I finished it this morning – Weds. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I requested this book from  Bethany House as a free review book – maybe an inside look at the Muslim faith? The trials of the American Missionary in Yemen? What I received, are wonderful quotes, heart felt relayed experiences, Audra’s transparent real thoughts, as she doubts her own faith, her own, walk, her own motives. And – How the voice of the Lord pulled her through each step revealing His Truth. I am definitely passing this book on to a friend, already have had it requested, and it might become a gifting Christmas gift to a few of my friends.

My first favorite passage is on page 12, just a few pages into the story, as she sits on a plane, watching men come back from a Holy Experience type holiday – “How long do you think the spiritual high from the Hajj will satisfy you? Will it be enough?” I wanted to ask. I wondered if they were seeking God or simply pursuing self – fulfillment.” – Wow. I had to seek out my own heart on that question. Coming back from Women of Faith. Seeking out new groups that have been created at our church fellowship, activities around town, homeschool studies. Am I still seeking GOD, or seeking self-fulfillment? Are you?

As you read the book – another favorite part was on page 88. I don’t want to get into copy write laws so I won’t quote more – but it talking about a tree- that seemed strong, but had fallen in a windstorm, revealing disease, and a hollow trunk. I too, want to be careful not to just resemble a safe strong climbing tree on the outside.  She relayed this experience to another – about other faiths, but again, I had to take it to heart in my own life.

Oh, and the tears were a flowin on page 102 when the Lord spoke to her, revealing the difference in her faith and those around her – Jesus is Alive – Oh. Please go read this book! I could have underlined a line out of just about every page.

I hope it is ok, but I would like to share one more passage -

“My heart ached as I looked intently at her. I longed for Fatima to experience for herself what she kept trying to experience through me. She wanted my prayers, my strength and my hope, but she wanted to get them her way. When her way was not enough, she relied on me to provide what she was looking for. She saw the relationship I had with God and wanted it, but she would not accept that Jesus Christ was the only way to have it.  She pondered it, but then backed away.”

Oh my dear friend.  Are you looking, attached to someone – seeking self fulfillment – wanting the peace and hope of their life? Does it always seem just out of reach no matter what church you try, denomination you study, book you’ve read, friends you’ve had? Have you looked to Just Christ. Simply Jesus? Jesus alone to find that peace?  I beg you. Read.  This. Book.

Ya, know, the funny thing is, no where in this book do you come to the moment when they share about any “converts”, where anyone got “saved” or that they “rescued” anyone from sin.  It was about their family, learning all of the detailed ways that the Yemen People lived – helping them – sharing their lives – and showing them the Love of Christ.

From the Publishers:

Behind the Veils of Yemen by Audra Grace Shelby
With only prayer and a faith that always seemed too small, Audra Grace Shelby departed with her family on a one-way flight deep into the heart of conservative Islam. Here she recounts her harrowing journey as a Christian woman thrust into a culture dangerously different from her own. From the friendships she forged, to her gnawing doubt and fear, to her offers of hope when her friends' religion failed them, she gives us glimpses into a world most have never seen. And she shows how the grace of God transforms lives--even in the midst of an Islamic stronghold.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Wonder of Your Love


I received a copy of The Wonder of Your Love by Beth Wiseman from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review on my blog and

I had a hard time getting into this book, which is rare for Beth Wiseman’s writing.  I restarted the first 35 pages several times (e-reader pages), and then gave it a 4th start to see how I liked it after page 70.  She did introduce a new character and gave a bit of a mystery story line that held my interest to see how it all panned out.  I thought it mixed too much Englisher life with the Amish life, introduced to two people who would marry by the end of the book in the first couple of pages, and didn’t really create the characters or families as richly as her other books. I was sad to see in the end of the book – a few lines of how the Amish judge harshly the Englishers – which would conflict with their beliefs, according to the character – but Beth wrote in a jean and t-shirt or tight pants and mid riff shirt abused teen girl with piercings that wanted to be friends with an Amish male teen as a “good friend” to help her get better. I can see why the mother was not pleased with the friendship. It was such a short story line, but short enough that if this teen came hanging out at my house, I’d discourage the friendship as well.   All in all – I did read it to the end, but only out of a day of feeling ill and wanting to know what the mysterious house would turn out to be. I’m not giving it a great review.

I review for BookSneeze®

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Doctor’s Lady

I was able to review The Doctor’s Lady by Jody Hedlund this week as part of being a reviewer for Bethany House.

The book came at a good time where I needed to take a day’s break and curl up with a good book.  I followed Priscilla from Angelica on the East Coast to Fort Walla Walla on the West.  The characters were richly built, easy to identify with, and quickly sparked the “pulls ya in” quality that I like in a book.  I did /do tire of characters that seem to always whine and wonder to themselves parts of their lives that we are pretty sure will work out in the end, or through the book, so the whining/not communicating part got old. But – for these characters – I do think that on the trail, in few numbers of company, they, like us, only had a few thoughts to ponder on those many months. It reminds me not to continuously ponder a “what we said/what we think might happen” dialog in my own use of time.

I was so pleased to hear that the story had, in fact, been based on Narcissa Prentiss Whitman and Eliza Hart Spalding, the first White Women to cross the pass in 1836. As all good little missionary minded school girls of Oregon – we know / have learned quite a bit about these two courageous women.

Looking for a great book or kindle download? I suggest that you might really enjoy this one!