Friends

Take A Moment

You befriend a fellow bookworm on social media and the next thing you notice is they have posted a Go Fund Me link. You click the link and realize it’s for their mom, whose recently been diagnosed with stage 1 cancer. You can’t imagine being a senior in high school ready to graduate then having this life crushing news hit you just weeks before graduation.

I’ve never met Colleen. I have had family members have cancer. It’s a diagnosis you never want to have to encounter for yourself, or anyone you love. We all know treatment is beyond pricy. Every little bit helps. Think on it. Know that every donation helps ease Colleen and her family’s stress a little bit. I helped out a little myself. I couldn’t not.

Shannon’s Cervical Cancer Treatment

Book Review · Books

Aly’s Fight

The family on the cover look picture perfect. Do I really want to read a book about a couple that has it all together? Their smiles look too, happy if that’s possible. I decided to read and find out the story behind the title.

Aly and Josh Taylor met in high school. Josh knew Aly was different when on a school trip he noticed her reading her Bible in her room instead of socializing at night with the other students. They get married after high school and of course want to start a family, but there’s a health challenge. Aly discovers a lump on her breast. Enter stage III cancer.

This memoir is Aly and Josh’s journey through Aly battling her breast cancer and walking the difficult road of infertility. This couple might look too, perfect on the cover, but their story is anything but. It is told with raw honesty, no holds barred. Their faith isn’t perfect. They struggle with doubt, anger, frustration, but most of all hope at miracles God can preform.

I received my complimentary copy of Aly’s Fight by Aly and Josh Taylor from Worthy Publishing care of Hatchett Book Group. The views expressed are my own and of my own accord. Are Aly and Josh the real deal? Yes.

This book is one of my all time faves this year. I wasn’t expecting that. I was bad and at first judged the book by its cover. Too, perfectly Christian. I was in for a reprimand. Aly and Josh have been through a Hell few will ever deal with and their faith has survived and thrived through it all. They are truly best friends, not merely husband and wife. Their journey is an important one you can’t read and stay the same after the last page. Please, write another book Aly and Josh.

Personal

RIP RHE

I’m sitting here in shock. We think we are invincible until reality slaps us in the face. An author I admire, whose books helped me know that questions within Christianity are ok has passed this morning. I still remember reading the originally titled Evolving In Monkey Town and how thought provoking it was to read about a believer who understood the need to revisit what you’ve been raised to believe and to carve out your own faith apart from your parent’s faith. She was only sick in the hospital for 2 weeks. Such a short time.

I can’t fathom He took her home. RHE was young with a husband and little kids. She still has books I’m sure she was intending to write. You never plan to go home early (spiritually speaking). I can’t imagine the pure guttural grief her family and close friends going through. I know so many readers out there were praying for her to recover.

This passing is going to take time to process. I didn’t know RHE personally, but her books are such a gift to those who struggle with their faith, church and Christianity in general. Rachel’s books lead me to read Elizabeth Esther’s book, Girl At The End Of The World and Sarah Bessey’s book, Jesus Feminist. RHE you are leaving quite the legacy. Thank you for writing your heart out, being honest with your own faith journey.

Book Review · Books

Beauty In The Broken Places

What would you do if your spouse had a stroke right in front of you and you are only in your early 30’s? What if this happened in the air on a plane? Novelist, Allison Pataki experienced this on their way to their Hawaii vacation to celebrate the daughter they were going to be having. Beauty Of The Broken Places is Allison’s memoir of what happened after that fateful June day.

This memoir was a front row seat to what it’s like to experience your loved one ending up with a traumatic brain injury and how to care for them. Allison doesn’t hold back the raw fear, frustration and sadness over what happened. She also, shares how her and her husband, Dave’s friends, family, strangers they met along the way helped out. Allison also, covers the topic of faith, doubt and hope.

I received a complimentary digital copy of Beauty In The Broken Places by Allison Pataki from NetGalley. The opinions expressed are my own. This memoir is my second favorite book I’ve read this year. This book is intense and such an important read. This memoir is truly about the power of family and friends, how even the smallest assistance given when someone needs it is huge for them.

Book Review · Books

The Girl In Building C

I can’t fathom being 16 and stuck living in a sanatorium with tuberculosis. Marilyn Barnes lived this reality in the 1940’s, during WWII. Marilyn lived with having different treatments and having strict bed rest. Getting letters from family and friends kept her spirits up and the different roommates she had throughout her stay at Ah-Gwanghwamun-ching State Sanatorium in MN. The Girl In Building C is the collection of her letters and photos from her three year stint at the sanatorium.

Only select activities were allowed. Marilyn’s life mainly consisted of reading, naps, and writing letters. She was only allowed certain privileges till her tests came back negative for tuberculosis and even then it was baby steps to doing normal things like going to the restroom. I love resting, napping and reading in bed, but what would my view be of it if that was my life for 3 years? Can you fathom not being allowed outside for months, or to even just walk around in the building? I always thought that expressions from the 50’s was a tad exaggerated in movies, but Marilyn’s hearty use of words and/or expressions like: swell, kids, gee, folks was fascinating. I didn’t realize those were from the 1940’s.

This book was educational. The procedures and surgeries that Marilyn endured boggle my mind. The mid 1940’s was not that long ago. Can you imagine having ribs removed?

This review is for an ARC of The Girl In Building C edited by Mary Krugerud from Edelweiss Plus care of the Minnesota Historical Society Press and is my unbiased, honest opinion. If you enjoy reading nonfiction that is in letter format you won’t be able to put this book down. If you enjoy researching different ailments then this book is a must read, though if you tend to be a hypochondriac or a vivid imagination then I might caution you.

Book Review · Books

My Glory Was I Had Such Friends

Memoirs are my favorite genre to read. When I was asked if I wanted to review My Glory Was I Had Such Friends I said, “Yes,” without even reading what the memoir was about. As long as it’s a memoir I’m down for reading it. When I got my ARC copy in the mail the hummingbirds on the cover stood out to me in their different colors. Now that I finished reading Amy’s story I know the symbolism behind the hummingbirds.

Amy’s memoir takes you on a front seat tour of what life is like living with a heart transplant and realizing it’s time for needing a new one. Her descriptions of procedures are not for the squeamish, but are important to fully understand what her life and many other’s lives are like who have a donor’s heart. Amy is candid, funny, grumpy and strong-willed. She will make you laugh and cry throughout this gem of a book.

This book is not only about Amy, but about her assortment of close girlfriends who rally around her to help her out while she is staying in the hospital waiting for a second heart transplant. The one she’s had since age 25 is waving its white flag now that she’s 50. That feat in and of its self is a miracle. Each of Amy’s close girlfriends are depicted in all their uniqueness, quirks and all. One of her best friends puts together a spreadsheet of whose coming to stay with Amy when and each time someone stays they email the circle of friends to update them on Amy.

I received an ARC copy of My Glory Was I Had Such Friends courtesy of TLC Book Tours to review and give my honest assessment. This book shows how friendships change through the years, but close friends are vital to our lives. It’s sad to me that superficial friends seem to be the norm. I don’t know how many girlfriends in my life would do what Amy’s friends did for a weeks and sometimes weeks at a time. These women had their own families and obligations, but they made Amy their priority even when it wasn’t easy or pretty. May we all have the depth of friendship Amy is blessed with. Thank you for blessing me with your memoir. To get your copy click here to purchase from HarperCollins.