Book Review: Life, In Spite of Me ** Win a FREE copy**

Title: Life, In Spite of Me:  Extraordinary Hope After a Fatal Choice

Author: Kristen Jane Anderson with Tricia Goyer

Publisher’s Synopsis: She wanted to die. God had other plans.

Why does my life have to be so painful?
What’s wrong with me?
It’s not going to get better.
It could all be over soon, and then I won’t hurt anymore.

Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture-perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook: three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a seemingly bottomless depression.

One January night, the seventeen-year-old decided she no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited for a freight train to send her to heaven…and peace.

But Kristen’s story doesn’t end there.

In Life, In Spite of Me this remarkably joyful young woman shares the miracle of her survival, the agonizing aftermath of her failed suicide attempt, and the hope that has completely transformed her life, giving her a powerful purpose for living.

Her gripping story of finding joy against all odds provides a vivid and unforgettable reminder that life is a gift to be treasured.

Includes notes of encouragement Kristen wishes she had received when she was struggling most.

With a title and synopsis like that, I knew this would be a difficult book to read.  I both looked forward to it and dreaded it.  The depth of her pain before the horrible night on the train tracks alone were enough to make me want to take her home and help wipe the pain from her life.  Of course, had someone done that, she might never have gotten out of the, “I’m a good girl so I’ll go to heaven” mentality.

The story is well-written and almost makes you feel as if you’re living it with her.  I kept wanting to shake my head with her as she wondered, “Did I really try to kill myself?”  I, just as she did, felt like it wasn’t possible.  It was a horrible mistake, or maybe she’d been drinking before hand or something.  This book was truthfully one of the most inspiring stories I’ve read in a long time.  A twenty-first century true story that reminded me of Christian classics such as Joni or The Cross and the Switchblade.

Don’t hesitate.  Buy the book.  You won’t regret it.  There is so much more I want to tell you about the book, but I can’t do it.  You really need to read the story for yourself.

Multnomah gave me two copies of this book, but I think I’m keeping one.  This book is one I think my daughters would enjoy reading and I have a few friends here in town who would also appreciate it.   Just leave a comment and I’ll enter you in the drawing for the other copy.

Book Review: 360° Life ** Win a FREE copy **

Title: 360° Life

Author: Billy Joe Daugherty

Publisher’s Synopsis: What if you only had a few days to live?
Would you love?
Would you laugh?
Would you give?
Would you live differently than you do right now?
–Billy Joe Daugherty

If possible, would you do a makeover on parts of your life? Most of us would gladly say “Yes!” to a fresh start, and that’s exactly what God offers.

So many people live empty and frustrating lives, which is tragic because God desires a full, productive, and satisfying life for His children. 360° Life explores how ordinary people, regardless of their challenges, can experience life-altering change through simple faith.  Billy Joe Daugherty weaves material from the Bible, his own experiences, and riveting interviews with contemporary Christians to reveal how not just to survive struggles, but to rise above them.

That’s the fulfilling result of a 360-degree life.

First, I’d like to apologize.  I found a bunch of unsubmitted reviews in my drafts folder.  This was supposed to go up a couple of weeks or more ago.  I can’t tell when they were supposed to go up, because that’s on the old laptop and Kevin hasn’t moved them over to this one yet.  I’m frustrated over it all.  Here I thought I’d been on the ball, but I wasn’t.  Sigh.

Ok, this book.  First, I was sorry to hear that Mr. Daughterty passed away before this book was published.  I have to confess, I wasn’t sure what I’d think of it.  In several places, I was very pleasantly surprised.  There was a heartbreaking sort of irony to see the book open with the question, “What if you only had a few days to live?”  I admit, I know nothing about the author aside from this book, but that brought a lump to my throat.  It was compounded by the personal commendations by his friends that seem to indicate that he lived what he taught.

The book addresses ten ways to live “more richly, deeply, fully.”  Each chapter begins with questions that are designed to make you think.  I loved those questions.  I loved how they made me think.  Each chapter was filled with anecdotes from the lives of people changed in powerful ways and are used to illustrate the point.  I found many of the stories inspiring.

Technically, the book isn’t anything earth shattering.  We all know that we need to put our trust in the Lord and to “fear” Him only.  We need to be thankful and not let our circumstances keep us down.  We are more than conquerors.  However, what this book does do, is remind us, with the stories of those who have walked this pathway before us, just how to do it.

My guess is that those with a charismatic bent will appreciate this book the most.  Due to theological differences in places, it isn’t one I’d buy to give to friends, but I’d give it to my more charismatic friends in a heartbeat.  I know a few who would be truly blessed by it.

I have two copies, generously provided by Water Brook, to give away, so leave a comment and tell me what number one thing you do (or try to do) to live “more richly, deeply, fully.”  I’m going to have a boatload of books to give away this week, so snag your chance now.  You might have a whole box coming!

On the Topic of Clothing…

I was reading Nancy Wilson’s blog today and this sentence popped off the page and slapped me upside the head.  (She really needs to teach her words some manners.)


Women are to exercise and express their faith in God by many means, one of those being how we dress.


Isn’t that the crux of it though?  How do we want to glorify God with what we wear?  Is it a prairie muffin styled jumper with a platter collar and big bow at the back of our waist length hair?  Is it a pair of plaid capris, and a babydoll top with a t-camisole under it for extra modesty?  What about a pair of comfortable jeans and a flannel shirt?  Maybe make those jeans a full jean skirt- or a straight one.  Boots or sandals?  Cut and styled hair or simple straight long locks?  However we choose to dress, we either glorify or bring reproach upon our Lord.  What’ll it be?


As for me and my children, we’re striving to glorify the Lord.

An Example Still Applicable 70 years later!

One of the things I love about the book Are Women Human?  is the logic with which she supports her arguments.  She doesn’t rely on emotion or supposition and she doesn’t start with a faulty premise to begin with.  She takes a situation, applies sense and reason, and then shows where we so often grasp at straws rather than see something in its entirety and without ignoring scripture. 


The following passage is one fine example and since it is quoted all over the internet, I decided to share it as well.

Let me give one simple illustration of the difference between the right and the wrong kind of feminism. Let us take this terrible business – so distressing to the minds of bishops – of the women who go about in trousers. We are asked: “Why do you want to go about in trousers? They are extremely unbecoming to most of you. You only do it to copy the men.” To this we may very properly reply: “It is true that they are unbecoming. Even on men they are remarkably unattractive. But, as you men have discovered for yourselves, they are comfortable, they do not get in the way of one’s activities like skirts and they protect the wearer from draughts about the ankles. As a human being, I like comfort and dislike draughts. If the trousers do not attract you, so much the worse; for the moment I do not want to attract you. I want to enjoy myself as a human being, and why not? As for copying you, certainly you thought of trousers first and to that extent we must copy you. But we are not such abandoned copy-cats as to attach these useful garments to our bodies with braces. There we draw the line. These machines of leather and elastic are unnecessary and unsuited to the female form. They are, moreover, hideous beyond description. And as for indecency – of which you sometimes accuse the trousers – we at least can take our coats off without becoming the half-undressed, bedroom spectacle that a man presents in his shirt and braces.”


Yep, seventy years after she wrote these words, we’re still discussing whether pants (trousers… such a nicer sounding word btw) are acceptable attire for godly women.  And, if that wasn’t enough, one of the biggest arguments is still that it is a feministic attempt to “be like men” rather than a reasonable decision based upon the needs of the wearer.  I’ve often used the example of climbing a ladder as a way of demonstrating that sometimes it is definitely more modest to don a pair of jeans than to wear a skirt.  You wouldn’t believe how often the reply was, “If you can’t do it in a skirt, you shouldn’t do it.”  Hmm.  That’s a nice sentiment but aside from not being scripturally mandated, it is also ridiculous in reality.  So, my family should suffer through 115 degree weather because I cannot climb a ladder and reattach some part of our swamp cooler blown off in the wind?”  Trust me, if my husband was home, he’d do it.  If I had a son old enough to do it, he would.  But twice in 20 years I’ve had to climb up there and both times, while I hadn’t put on jeans in years, I put them puppies on in a flash and did the job. 


When my health went south last summer/fall/early winter (what  a nightmare!) I was relegated to a recliner.  I wore my skirts.  I tend to do that.  I happen to be one who prefers to wear them and prefers to see them on my daughters.  However, sitting in this chair, sometimes my feet needed to go up to give my back a break and encourage circulation.  So i’d put mmy feet on the edge of the recliner footstool thing, my knees would go up, and my skirt would cover nothing.  Even long skirts didn’t do the job.  I put on a blanket when I could but eventually, I bought me more pants.  I needed something decent for the chair. 


Anyway, the point Mrs. Sayers is trying to make is that assertions that women are only wearing pants because they want to be like men are just as ridiculous as stating that men only wear neckties because they want to be like women.  “Women have always adorned themselves with bows and things.  Men just adopted the practice and masculinized the look and tying of them.”  How ridiculous that sounds and yet the reverse argument is supposed to be reasonable and solid evidence against women wearing pants. 


This isn’t an argument, by the way, for or against trousers for women.  I’m not making that assertion, and neither is Mrs. Sayers.  I don’t think she cared two whits what you wear and I know I don’t.  The example is used to show that assumptions about motive are not only illogical, but incorrect.  The point of the entire passage is that we focus so quickly on a method that we can assume we’re violating a principle that wasn’t even in question.  When a woman wears pants, the assumption that she does so in order to make a feministic statement about her philosophical opinions is ludicrous.  The same is true of whether or not a woman wears a skirt.  Who assumes that a Scotsman in a Kilt is secretly denouncing his masculinity?  Why then, must the reverse be true?


I think one could sum up Mrs. Sayers point by stating that majoring on a method can find you playing baseball on a basketball court.