Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Five Brides- A book review

Five Brides
I enjoyed the setting of this light reading novel. Five women end up being roommates in Chicago in 1950. Betty is local. Joan is arriving from England and Evelyn from Georgia. The other two flat mates are sisters from Minnesota who want to escape the restrictions of their Bible professor father. City life holds excitement and new freedom.

The author reserves space in the story for each girl’s history and personality, however developing five characters doesn’t allow for extensive background on each individual. The information is sufficient enough to help us appreciate the unique challenges each one encounters.

Buying a wedding dress together symbolizes the mutual desire of the girls to one day marry someone special.  By the end of the book, the reader has followed five romances and become marginally acquainted with five gentlemen. The courtships are sweet stories although the story lines are very predictable. Each girl approaches her faith from different levels of maturity, but the book espouses moral excellence and fits culture mores of the time period.

The author has based the book on a true story related to her by one of the original five partners who bought the wedding dress together.  This women’s experience is represented factually while the other four stories are completely fictional.  Prepare for a cozy read that will warm hearts that enjoy romance.

I received this book from Tyndale publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl- A book review

 Product Details

Remembering days of my youth, my grandma heart was drawn towards the candor of this book title. Paula Hendrick’s voyage through boy-crazy turbulence holds many too-familiar descriptions of seeking attention of boys and needing to feel liked and attractive to them.  I see my grand daughters involved with guy relationships at very young ages. Add in the “helps” of technology like texting and facetime and it becomes a faster paced boy-craziness.

I was hoping this book would help me understand my past better and that it would be a good resource for the grand girls. Paula has helped me look back and confirm neediness that I experienced in my teens and young adult years. I could identify with lack of emotional relationship with my Dad, total focus on getting a guy to like me, reading Christian romance novels and wanting to feel loved and beautiful. Her evolving understanding of how immensely God loves her and allowing him to transform her thinking about herself is right on.  I reached similar conclusions in my own story.

Paula starts her story from the point of self awareness of her neediness and how her pursuit of boys had become an idol in her life.  The chapters are set up almost as a devotional with journal prompts, to help the reader do some reflective thinking. Her message is non-judgmental and very Bible based with scriptures, prayers and encouragement to the reader to be a student of the Bible. I come from a strong faith background and have a working knowledge of scripture, so I get where she is coming from and where she hopes to take young women.

However, I’m not certain the author’s style would engage the average teen reader who is saturated with today’s pop culture and media. She makes no reference to popular culture  in her own experience nor does she address current trends and the challenges of  technological influences. I would have liked the book to give more “story” about Paula's experiences before emphasizing her spiritual transformation and how she applied scripture to learn the lessons God was teaching her. The book will probably have best appeal to late  teens and on up who are actively seeking to live a faith-filled life.

Overall, this book contains a wonderful testimony that is very encouraging and will hopefully help many young Christian women who can identify with boy-craziness. I will donate my copy to the church library as a great resource for young adults and keep it in mind for sharing with family members as they get older.

I received this book from Moody Press publishers in exchange for my review.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Summer Visits 2015

The Okie Visitors- Josh, Kira and Brayden

Give thanks to the Lord of lords, for his grace continues forever;  Ps. 136:3 (CJB)

May summer graces set your paces today!

Summer is stepping out to the mailbox in the stillness of early morning and seeing a young buck staring me down from the side yard. I turn first to go back inside for my camera; he is gone.  There was majestic grace in the brief encounter.

Summer is having off from work for 5 weeks! I may not get paid high wages, but I do like the benefits of my academic library job. There is appreciative grace each morning I awake and say thank you for the new gifted day.

Summer is visits from kids who live far away.  The preparation is grace of anticipation, the time together priceless and the clean up, negligible. When are you coming again?

Summer is celebrating special days and outdoor fun.

Summer is garden goodness and hard sweaty work.

It was time for the visit from Josh and part of his family.  I bought a new vacuum cleaner for the occasion, well at least the purchase coincided with cleaning time for their arrival. To say my new nifty red upright made cleaning fun would be stretching the truth, but I did enjoy the huge improvement over the sucklessness of the old canister.

After sweeping carpet that only gets raked when rooms receive occupants and then scouring auxiliary baths, I was close to ready.   Grocery shopping and some baking thrown in finished the process.

The travelers numbered 5:  Josh, Kira, Brayden with Neo and Cozette, the dog members of the family. Our usually quiet quarters were filled with activity and movement.  The dining table became office space for Josh and Kira who both work from home. Brayden stretched his lanky body over sofas or insisted we play games with him whenever possible. His 14 year old energy source seldom took a break, so trips to the driving range, across the street to the basketball courts and out to eat helped keep him under control.

During evening games playing Rummikub, Euchre or Up and Down the River we trash talked our way to victories and mishandled defeats. Days included eating out in hometown restaurants, fixing sandwiches at home and keeping up with exercising. A fitbit competition among co-workers, kept Kira, counting every step she accrued during morning runs with Josh or walking the dogs, while Josh added workouts to his routine at the local gym. I stuck with my normal two mile walk, content with this 60s something body and it’s familiar limitations. Gone are any longings for fitbitting challenges or sore muscles from workouts!

Everyone played!!

 What else was in the family visit?  Good chats and discussions, a visit to cousins out of town,(thanks for hosting us, Chupps!) watching fireworks over the lake, an excursion to a Detroit Tiger’s game with an over- the -border visit to Windsor, Canada, and a grand cookout where I played sous chef to Josh who wowed us with his grilling skills. Austin and Ashley and Rowan joined us for a couple of days and Dan and family along with Kevin’s parents came over for the cookout. Later that night my sons and I had to honor the family tradition of a Scrabble skirmish.

Saganaki and Pasteries in Greektown.

Everyone loves Baby Rowan!

Trying the new Goshen Brewery


Is that Kevin holding a dog??

Thanks for coming, Josh, Kira and Brayden!  We enjoyed our time together very much!

I’m gearing up for our next family visitors. Changing bedsheets, walking the floors behind the upright,  making plans to keep little people busy and anticipating good times with Jodi and her three preschool boys as they join us next week. I’ll need to pick up some more TP and take some naps and I should be good to go.

Thank you, Father, for family and kids who become friends and good company.  Thank you for grandchildren and for the fun of making memories. Your grace, indeed, continues forever.