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Into the Light

13 Oct

After 69 days in the darkness, the operation to save 33 miners began last night.  Though it takes nearly one hour to retrieve each miner with the rescue capsule, as I watched coverage this morning, there was an electricity in the air.  A renewed hope.  A new freedom.
I can't imagine the thoughts going through the minds of these miners, as they individually climb into the small capsule.  Once inside, as the capsule is being pulled up slowly, imagine the fear, the hope.  The sense of being on the edge of light.
Mario Sepulveda, the second miner to be pulled from the darkness, is quoted as saying, "I have been with God and with the devil. I fought between the two. I seized the hand of God, it was the best hand. I always knew God would get us out of there."
In all things, light overcomes the darkness.
We have hope.  We have freedom.
Image of Mario Sepulveda appears courtesy of the New York Daily News

Book Review: Bending Toward the Sun

11 Oct

I recently had the pleasure of reading Bending Toward the Sun, a powerful memoir composed by former NBC executive Leslie Gilbert-Lurie and her mother, Rita Lurie.

The story begins with the voice of Rita Lurie, who reveals that she was forced to leave her home in Poland to hide from the Nazis.  From 1942 to 1944, her family hid in the dark attic of a sympathetic neighbor.  Barely surviving on scraps of food, Rita endured the loss of her loving mother and younger brother, as they died before her very eyes within the confines of the cramped attic.  Miraculously, Rita, her father, and her sister survived the horror of World War II, and began to look for a country that would accept them within their borders.

Years later, Rita is married to a man who gives her the security she’s always longed for, and never found with her father, his new wife Clara, and her sister Sandra.  Now a mother herself to daughters Leslie and Gwyn, and son David, Rita sees that her feelings of fear and guilt have been passed down to her children.  When the book turns to Leslie’s point of view, we find a daughter who desperately wanted to take care of her mother, for fear that any pain would remind Rita of her horrible childhood and the suffering she endured.  And while Leslie makes a name for herself as a lawyer, executive and philanthropist, she finds that her mother’s past still influences her outlook on life, as well as that of her own daughter, Mikaela.

This memoir serves as a powerful reminder of the devastation caused by the Holocaust, and similar tragedies that have a lasting impact.  By conducting interviews with those who knew young Rita best, Leslie and Rita begin to understand how those tragic two years (and the years of recovery that followed) affected Rita, and the generations to follow.   

A copy of this book was provided to me by FSB Associates.  I received no compensation in exchange for this review.  All opinions expressed here are my own.

Thinking about it…

7 Oct

I'm thinking about transitioning to WordPress.  Anyone out there have any pros and cons that they'd mind sharing?
My one con is that I'd probably have to change my web address (which I've been thinking about anyway), but that's really the only thing holding me back.

I miss…

6 Oct

…a time when writing was a passion.
…when words flowed effortlessly from my heart to the page.
…when I truly believed that I could make a living doing the thing I love most.
How do I return to that place?
Image courtesy of TESL Malaysia

Friday Finds: Thirst Edition

1 Oct
I'm taking a break from my normal search for weekly finds, as I've had a lot going on this week.  My car was totaled on Sunday, and though I'm trusting in God's provision, this week has been a long one.
Last weekend I had the privilege of going to a young adult conference with 12 other young adults from my church's group.  We had a great time listening to some fantastic speakers…all from different walks of life, with their own unique styles. 
When I came back from the conference, I added many of these speakers to my Google Reader, and have been inspired by their posts during this tough week.  Be sure to check them out!
Margaret Feinberg – At the conference, author and speaker Margaret shared about the mention of sheep, bees and wine in the Bible.  Very interesting, compelling information.  After checking out her website, I realized that she's the author of several books I've heard about, but have never read. 
Stuff Christians Like – Authored by Jon Acuff, this blog is a hilarious look at the things that Christians like.  Jon was even more hilarious in person, but his session was also really inspiring.  Make sure you read his recent post about burning barns.  Really important stuff.
Anne Jackson – I loved Anne's transparent, vulnerable style.  The posts on her blog are equally inspiring and thoughtful.
Land of A Thousand Hills Coffee – Land of a Thousand Hills provided free coffee for everyone who attended the conference, and it was amazing coffee.  But far beyond that, the mission of this incredible company is awesome.  Stop by there today to read how this company is making a difference for the once civil war-torn Rwanda.

The burning…

30 Sep
This post from Jon Acuff, who I saw at Thirst last weekend, really inspired me.
Please read it.  Then tell me how you want to burn those barns in your life.
What are barns, you might ask?
They are the things we run to, instead of turning to Jesus.  These things take our minds off of our situations, dulling the pain, but never fully stripping it away.
Things like pride.  Affirmation.  Drugs.  Sex.  Relationships.  Entertainment.  Anything that we could use as an idol in our lives.
I am guilty of looking to everything but Christ to solve my problems and heal my heart.
So how do we burn these barns in our lives?  And how do we take those first steps toward fully trusting Christ to be the Master of our lives?

Book Review: The Mockingbird Parables

21 Sep

For those who love Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird, Matt Litton’s The Mockingbird Parables: Transforming Lives through the Power of Story, is a must-read.  Either read alone or as a companion to the original work, The Mockingbird Parables examines characters and well-known scenes of the classic novel through the lens of faith, tying these examinations to a practical issue relevant to the modern reader.
A few topics addressed are finances, caring for our world, the role of women in faith, the importance of compassion and communication.  While Litton’s observations are certainly grounded in a firm understanding of literature and religion, those looking for a more classically academic-sounding work might consider looking elsewhere.  Litton’s personal first-person style of writing made me feel as though I were participating in a conversation, not just reading his words on the page.  Not only does he relate modern concepts to each chapter, but he also tells stories from his personal life that serve to emphasize the importance and relevance of his discussions.
All in all, a very enjoyable read.  As a literature major and person of faith, I am always interested in the connections between so-called secular works and the acts or practices of faith.  In To Kill a Mockingbird, Litton has found parables that we can all apply to our lives in order to make an impact on those around us.
A copy of this book was provided by the Tyndale Blog Network.  I received no monetary compensation for this review.  All opinions express here are my own.