Books

The Depth Of Six Feet Under (SPOILERS)

Last night I pretty much finished my fourth round of watching Six Feet Under all the way through. Each time I do a different character stands out to me. This round didn’t disappoint.

If you haven’t ever watched this highly popular HBO drama, then you are missing out. The only warning I have is there is a hearty dose of colorful language, nudity, violence and of course different death scenes at the start of every episode. If you find funeral homes fascinating, then do proceed.

A quirky family that owns a funeral home in Los Angeles. You’ve got the three offspring. One is following in their father’s footsteps (David), the elder son who escaped before getting sucked into the family business (Nate) and the youngest, Claire whose moody, artistic and still in high school. Their mother, Ruth is a repressed woman who secretly is having an affair with her hairdresser. Their father, Nathaniel, Sr. is engrossed in his family business with occasional time with his kids. When the father is in a fatal accident his sons have some big choices to make. It doesn’t help that it happens on Christmas Eve.

This show delves into the psyche of the different characters. This fourth watch had me change my angelic like view of Nate and how the character Brenda gets royally screwed over ultimately after she worked through her own issues, to focus on staying true and present with Nate and his young daughter, Maya. I saw the realistic representation of a person off their antidepressant medication through Billy’s character. Seeing Ruth’s character blossom after she grieves her husband’s passing is epic. Not only does she deal with deep grief, but menopause. David’s character is very adolescent like at the start when he’s still coming out to himself and learning his self worth and confidence. I still can’t say I’m a fan of Keith. Claire is one of my favorite characters. She’s moody, but how she comes into her own throughout the show is inspiring.

This time around the character that stood out to me most is Brenda. She’s a complex character whose always been thrown into the motherly role with her brother since her academic parents are too, obsessed with their clinical work. Billy is a ball of ranging emotions he helps curb with medication and having Brenda at his beck and call. When Brenda attempts to create her own life without Billy being front and center it doesn’t go over well. Brenda loves Nate, but commitment feels foreign and scary, so she acts out different fantasies. After a turn of events she chooses Nate and they marry, but sadly things aren’t as they seem.

This show deals with topics that are very adult. The subject of death is the central theme with other topics that range from suicide, marriage, divorce, domestic abuse, mental illness, coming out, children and more. I don’t know why I love this show so much. It never fails that anytime I hear the end finale song I’ll bawl my eyes out. I think I love how deep each character is in their own weird, twisted way. This show can be challenging to stomach at times, but to me the end result shows just how important family relationships are and that dynamic can be varied.

Personal

42 Reflections On My Life

1. Being a preemie survivor is a lot to mentally digest.

2. I have no shame in eating pizza with a fork and knife.

3. Were braces worth the four years of headgear torture?

4. Being a bookworm has always been a comfort to me.

5. I always seem to be drawn to the underdogs because I, myself am one.

6. Fashion is overrated compared to wearing comfy clothes.

7. Being babysat by a lady who rakes inside her house? Priceless.

8. First kisses sometimes don’t count.

9. Friendships come and go like the seasons.

10. I never allowed myself to be a classic girlie girl after my brief stint liking the color pink in 1st grade.

11. I don’t like odd numbers.

12. I can be very chatty or quiet depending on my mood.

13. I love writing poetry.

14. My first celebrity crush at 8 was Fergie.

15. I got to be in the audience of “Kids Inc.” as a preteen. That experience opened my eyes to the cruelties of Hollywood.

16. As a little kid I would dutifully look in the newspaper for any local movie auditions. I wanted to be an actress.

17. I still recall how much I loved my cheesy Punky Brewster high tops that had her hologram face on the side.

18. I loved being a tomboy with enjoying He-Man and Transformers.

19. As kid I had a big imagination (still do) and enjoyed exploring a ditch behind my house. Loved to make up stories to go along with random items found.

20. I was a dare devil as a little kid. I’d ride on my plastic imitation big wheel and fly down the street. It was a very steep street. I’m shocked I was allowed to.

21. I always wonder what my life would be like with a different name.

22. When I was 8 I wanted to be a pastor.

23. I was quite the legalist as a child. No drinking soda in the car.

24. I lived through the Loma Prieta earthquake. Once you’ve experienced one you never forget.

25. Reaching 100 books read in one year is a great feat, but a lonely one.

26. I will always love Six Feet Under, This Is Us, The Fosters and Gilmore Girls.

27. Trees energize me as does rainy/cloudy weather.

28. I can’t stand dresses, but a part of me longs to wear 40’s/50’s vintage style dresses.

29. Worst haircut of my life was a buzz cut.

30. Coming out to oneself is the hardest thing EVER.

31. I’ve always felt ‘different’ from others since I was a little kid.

32. As a small child I was always nervous hearing planes flying overhead, afraid of b**bs. I didn’t watch war movies growing up, but then fell in love with WWII in 4th grade. A few years ago watching a documentary on that topic I had a flashback of living in that time period. That freaked me out. Maybe there is something to past lives.

33. I believe God is BIGGER than any Holy book.

34. I was bullied for being so small and short.

35. I have a Booktube addiction.

36. I studied with a JW for four months. Fascinating to be challenged to explain my faith and why I believe what I do. Sadly that friendship’ was not legit.

37. I don’t know why cults are fascinating to research (JW, Mormonism, etc). I think it’s the desire to belong and have your life scripted for you. I think there’s a comfort in that and a feeling of safety.

38. I am learning in life it’s not about how many friends you have, but the quality of friends, those you can truly trust with your life.

39. I can’t believe I’ve been a book blogger for over 3 years.

40. I never expected to love reading fiction from Thomas Nelson Publishers.

41. I’ve always felt awkward about receiving gifts, like I’m not worthy to.

42. LOVE is not cookie cutter.

Book Review · Books

Awful Beautiful Life

I just finished the last page. Becky Powell’s memoir is memorizing in its crushing, Hellish storyline. Honestly I’m shocked her faith held out through her whole ordeal. That’s how faithful God is. I can’t fathom having a spouse, or family member chose suicide. Just that mere tragedy alone is mental breakdown territory, but Becky’s faith surged on day one after her husband, Mark’s passing. She started her day off reading her Bible. Heck I would be too, mixed between sobbing hard or raging to be able to sit and read the Bible. I’d most likely be mad at God. I’m sure Becky struggled with that, but she pressed on in trusting Him when the average person would be like, “Not now.”

Not only did Becky deal with the passing of her spouse and best friend, but she had to solider on to muddle through the financial scandal her husband left her with. This is a whole can of worms topic. So many marriages have the traditional role of the husband strictly handling the finances while the wife takes care of the home and children. I vote for wives to be fully aware of and involved when it comes to their team finances.

I’m still mentally and emotionally processing this memoir. It was so intense, powerful, and such a testament to how life can turn crappy, but God is still there along side you.

I received my complimentary copy of Awful Beautiful Life by Becky Powell with Katherine Reay from Faith Words. The views are mine and of my own choice. Thank you Faith Words, Hatchett Book Group for the opportunity to read such a beautiful book. It’s going to be a while before I’ll be able to come back to earth once this book hangover subsides.

Book Review · Books

Book Connection

Some books you just soak up. I noticed this book at a local used bookstore, but it was a tad pricy hardcover, so I resisted. When I saw it at the library my eyes lit up. I just finished The Path Made Clear by Oprah Winfrey. It was a gem filled with gorgeous photos, quotes and interviews with a wide range of individuals. Each section covers a different topic.

I’m not an Oprah groupie by any means, but this book she put together is so inspiring, convicting, educational and eye opening. I definitely want to secure my own copy so I can book tab it all over.

Thank you Oprah for opening your soul and allowing the world to see you fully as you are. You are a wonderful woman who blazes a path ahead for those of us learning to take our first independent spiritual steps.

Book Review · Books

Life At 8mph

I dragged finishing Life At 8mph. I didn’t want this memoir to end. It was too, rich in life to have to get to the last page. This book will have you laughing about every page. The author has a way of describing a scene that is so vivid you just need popcorn while reading.

Peter was needing a new job and saw a job posting at his seminary. Little did Peter realize the adventure he was about to embark on part time. When he arrived to meet Richard he didn’t realize that Richard has Cerebral Palsy and is in a wheelchair. Richard didn’t let Peter escape with the, “I need to pray about if I should accept this job,” since Richard was a reverend of sorts, so he just offered they prayed together on the spot. This memoir is Peter’s journey helping Richard with seminary classes and day to day things. The adventures these two go on are hilarious, sobering and inspiring.

This book was so satisfying that I hope Peter will write a sequel. If you need a great book on the power of friendship then this is a wonderful book to splurge on, or gift to a new friend. Peter is not preachy, though there are Christian nuggets of wisdom sprinkled throughout this book.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Life At 8mph by Peter Bowling Anderson from KiCam Projects. The views expressed are mine and of my own choice. I can’t shut up about how much I love this memoir. Now all we need is Richard to write his memoir.

Book Review · Books

Dare To See

This book cover does not do the meat of this book justice. Dare To See is a collection of vignettes from Katie’s life and how God has changed her life. Each chapter is unique and covers different subjects from fitting in at school growing up, to being single and buying your own home, to going through the journey of adoption. Katie writes in such a way you feel as though she’s your best friend sharing with you.

If you are new on your Christian walk, a seasoned believer, or wondering what it all means this is a great book to pick out. Katie shares her faith through the different life stories she shares and doesn’t dumb it down, or go over your head. I found each chapter relatable to my own life and things I have gone through. I am at an interesting place in my faith. This book wasn’t Christianese in verbiage, which could have been triggering for me, so I’d even recommend it to those burnt by the church. This book is actually spiritually comforting.

I received my complimentary copy of Dare To See by Katie Brown from Faith Words. The views are mine and of my own will. I don’t have TV (shocking!), so I have never heard of Katie Brown and her TV show, but this woman of faith is the real deal. She is not showy, fake, but genuine in her love for God and her faith story is relatable. I have read a lot of Christian Living books and this one is a new favorite of mine. I look forward to reading more books by Katie.

Book Review · Books

Once You Go In

Some memoirs you read and wonder where has this particular author has been all your life. If you have been disenfranchised by the church, dealt with spiritual abuse, or are wanting to find a different church expression then this book might be calling out to you.

Carly takes you into her homeschooled world of Northern California. She’s always felt different, wanting to belong and one day when she discovers Pine Canyon Assemblies Of God Church she thinks she may have found a place to fit in.

This book is Carly’s journey into the world of the charismatic church. Her descriptions of what the services can be like is spot on and the peer pressure to speak in tongues even when you may think the whole idea to be weird is huge. When Carly does finally speak her special language she describes the spiritual high she gets from it and how everything else in life sort of fades away when she’s in that mode.

I recall when I visited a charismatic church and there was pressure to be slain in the spirit. When the piano player timed the music a little too, planned I sensed the whole sham that I felt it was. Were church goers truly under the Holy Spirit’s power, or was it a false spirit? Is having what looks like seizures truly a move of God, or demonic? I left that service with my charismatic interest snuffed out.

This church is Pentecostal and on fire for Jesus which includes speaking in tongues, long prayers and being monitored by the leadership. It’s all in love right? Carly’s parents are believers, but not as intense as this church body is. She longs for approval and to be seen as worthy, to be as spiritual as her youth pastor’s wife, that befriends her.

When something goes terribly wrong on a mission trip Carly tries to chalk it up to her not listening to the rules for the trip. Other things happen where logically she feels the leadership is being overly legalistic. Carly wants so badly to do the right thing that she brushes off her gut reaction.

How do you know when a church is unhealthy, or spiritually abusive? How do you stand up for yourself when your spiritual leaders have you under their spell of sorts (not an actual spell)? Carly deals with these vital topics and more.

I received my complimentary digital copy of Once You Go In by Carly Gelsinger from She Writes Press, care of NetGalley. The views expressed are of my own will and mine. I commend Carly for writing so candidly about her church experience and faith journey. It’s not easy to share such personal moments. Thank you for baring your soul, so others know they aren’t alone in their journeys to find their spiritual home, whether that’s in a church or in a park.