Monday, October 18, 2010

Choosing to See

Book:  Choosing to See
Author:  Mary Beth Chapman

I’ve told my kids for years that God doesn’t make mistakes,” writes Mary Beth Chapman, wife of Grammy award winning recording artist Steven Curtis Chapman. “Would I believe it now, when my whole world as I knew it came to an end?” Covering her courtship and marriage to Steven Curtis Chapman, struggles for emotional balance, and living with grief, Mary Beth’s story is our story–wondering where God is when the worst happens. In Choosing to SEE, she shows how she wrestles with God even as she has allowed him to write her story–both during times of happiness and those of tragedy. Readers will hear firsthand about the loss of her daughter, the struggle to heal, and the unexpected path God has placed her on. Even as difficult as life can be, Mary Beth Chapman Chooses to SEE. Includes a 16-page full color photo insert.


For those of you that know me - you know Steven Curtis Chapman is the one person in the world I would love to sit down & have dinner with - talk to & get to know more about.  This book was the next best thing - written by his wife - so I also adore (heck, I love the whole family!!!)

I loved that it had some background on Mary Beth & Steven meeting & their young marriage & the birth of their children.  Then the adventure into adoption that God led them on...

And then we go through the horrible accident that involved their precious Maria & the way this family that puts their faith in God, how they withstood the attack that satan threw at them....

But you really do get a glimpse into the Chapman household... which made me zoom through this book in 2 days time.  I sighed at the young love of these two young college kids... I laughed at the idea of Steven Curtis Chapman putting a fire out in his underwear... I cried at the personal letters everyone in the family wrote to Maria to include with her "shell" at the funeral. 

Being a big fan as well, I remember Steven Curtis Chapman changing his 'look" when the accident happened.  This book even explained what happened with that - why his head was shaved & where the beard came from... that small story just broke my heart... I even had to read it to Ricky to share... that's the kind of book this is.  Small parts that will reach out & grab your heart & you see a family that has struggled through so much...

But a family that has also been so extremely blessed - with each other & the ministry that they share.

Of course, being a SCC fan, you knew I was going to love it - but I think any mother will appreciate this story - anyone who has adopted will appreciate it - anyone who sadly has lost a child will appreciate the sharing of Mary Beth's grief & openness with it...

My rating:  5 skeins (was there ANY doubt?)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sun Stand Still

Book:  Sun Stand Still
Author:  Steven Furtick

This book is not a Snuggie.  The words on these pages will not go down like Ambien.  I'm not writing to calm or coddle you.  With God's help, I intend to incite a riot in your mind.  Trip your breakers & turn out the lights in your favorite hiding places of insecurity & fear.  Then flip the switch back on so that God's truth can illuminate the divine destiny that may have been lying dorman inside you for years.

In short, I'm out to activiate your audacious faith.  To inspire you to ask God for the impossible.  And in the process, to reconnect you with your God-sized purpose & potential.
-Steven Furtick


First Line:  I can't lie - its a pretty cool feeling to have Bono as your opening act.

In the Bible - Joshua was in the midst of a battle... the sun was getting ready to set & Joshua knew he'd lose his advantage if it got dark... he prayed to God for help... & God answered... by making the SUN STAND STILL... the sun stayed in the same place ... causing Joshua to become the overcome... God being the VICTOR!

So the book is about having that same sort of prayer - an audacious kind of prayer...

I'm a fan of Steven Furtick anyways & his messages online.  I've always said I've GOT to get to Elevation church one day & experience it in person.  But this book is exactly how he talks - & its why I really soaked in every word.

From stories of what a "Page 23 Vision" is - to being a "Wave Jumper" & "Praying like a Juggernaut" - I loved every chapter.  My favorite was "Mistake into Miracle" - when you feel like God cant use you & your vision & listen to your audacious prayers because of your mistakes you've made... when its for those mistakes that usually God WILL use you!!!  The story of Norm & his mistakes & his journey had me in tears.

I loved how the chapters had personal stories - from Steven's life - or from others in his church - examples of today & of Biblical examples, that made the point hit home.

I dont think I've ever highlighted more of a book in my life!... Here are some of my favorite lines:

*If the size of your vision for your life isn't intimidating to you, there's a good chance it's insulting to God.

*How radically different would modern American youth culture be if we stopped raising our kids to survive their world & started empowering them with a vision to change it?

*Biblical audacity is a mind-set that approaches God with confidence & believes him for the impossible.

*You might be thinking you're unimpressive & unqualified.  That's good.  God performs the most impressive feats through the most unimpressive people.

*Maybe you're afraid that if you pray a Sun Stand Still prayer & live by audacious faith, you'll end up letting God down.  But the reality is, you were never holding him up!

... I have TONS more... believe me...its just that full of good stuff!!!

I'm leaving this book thinking about MY Page 23 Vision & how I pray - how specific I am going to God in what I want for that Vision... I'm excited to see the change it makes.

So - My rating:  4 skeins ..

& its only 4 because I struggle with "non fiction" books... this is the BEST I've read out of that area... but still, this is a personal rating...

Last Line:  Welcome to the middle of a move of God.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Book:  Mockingjay
Author:  Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived even though her home has been destroyed.  Gale has escaped.  Katniss's family is safe.  Peeta has been captured by the Capitol.  District 13 really does exist.  There are rebels.  There are new leaders.  A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arema in the cruel & haunting Quarter Quell, & it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it.  District 13 has come out of the shadows & is plotting to overthroat the Capitol.  Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains - Except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, & to change the course of the future of Panem.  To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger & distrust.  She must become the rebels Mockingjay - no matter what the personal cost.

First Line:  I stare down at my shoes, watching as a fine layer of ash settles on the worn leather.

After getting through the first two books, I was dying to get to this book to see how it would all end.  I even got home from work on Friday, pulled the book out & didnt put it down until I was finished - Saturday morning!

We continue watching the lives of Katniss & Peeta & the after effects of the war against the Capitol. 

I have to say, I'm not a big "battle" kind of girl so the idea of planning attacks & the battles with the different Districts was lost on me.  The "battles" in the games were different - it was more personal.  This was moreof a news report on CNN & that didnt appeal to me.  But when the story turned personal again, I loved it.

I dont want to give anything away (I will in the botton section though!) but I was surprised at some of the turns ... who lives, who died...

While Katniss still is a fighter, I think this book showed more of her weakness & fraility. 

I did enjoy the character of Finnick & the friendship he & Katniss had... as well as Boggs...Haymitch made me style in his "drunken" character that you think is so strict, but you see if really just a lonely man who's looking out for Katniss & Peeta.

I was also surprised at how in this book, the end of each chapter usually made me gasp, but the beginning of the next chapter would be a big jump in time & the story didnt instantly continue... you'd have to read as they would have "flashbacks"... that was different from the other books... took me a bit to get used to.

This definitely wasnt my favorite of the series... I am glad to know how the story ends though.  Feel like I can breath... because I did hold my breath through most of this book...

My rating:  4 skeins
Final Line:  But there are much worse games to play.

WARNING: Spoilers below!!!

OK - I have to talk about some stuff that I question and/or that bothered me....

*What happened to Gale?  I was waiting for some big try from him for Katniss to love him - but he just sort of got lost in the "battle" & war of the last book... that disappointed me
*I was expecting more of a way for Katniss to bring Peeta back from his "insanity" ... disappointing
*It got on my nerves how it was mentioned over & over about Katniss not being able to "repay" when someone helped them...
*I was but wasnt surprised that Katniss killed Coin... got a chuckle out of it...
*Still am not sure who did the attack on the kids in front of the Capitol - which side
*Was so sad that Finnick died...
*had to read it a few times to understand that Prim died... that surprised me... I was expecting Gale or Peeta to die - not her! ... after everything Katniss did to protect her, she died in the end... that was a sad turn of events.
*Couldnt believe ANY of the tributes would agree to the vote of having another "Hunger Games" with the Capitol's children...
*Was happy to see the ending with Peeta & Katniss though... definitely thought they were destined for each other...

Now, I'm just dying for the movie version!!!!!