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Category Archives: non-fiction

There are misfits everywhere…

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Black Cat Book Review

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Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha

Michelle DeRusha was raised in church but she didn’t believe what she heard there. She married a man who did believe. She went to church with him most of the time or at least some of the time. For a while that was okay with her.  She didn’t need God in her life, forspiritualmisfit twenty years that is what she thought. Then she and her husband and small son moved from their home in Massachusetts to Nebraska where she had no friends or extended family.  Now she began to question God, if He existed, what was He all about and why was He so important?

She would look at other people at church and know that she wasn’t like them, she didn’t fit in, she didn’t belong.  That was when she began asking herself why and did it matter?  She was more attentive in church, bought a bible, went to bible study, and small group. She spent a lot of time frustrated with the answers of other people and the way they seemed so sure they were right.  The answers to her questions were unclear and often confusing.

She continued on her journey and came to faith, her faith.  Faith in God who she knows is real. She believes and doubts and journeys on knowing it is okay to doubt.  There are few black and white answers and she is sometimes uncomfortable in her faith.She knows that doesn’t change God  but it does change her when she honestly seeks Him.

This book may be surprising to some in its honesty and candor.  DeRusha writes clearly with humor, and without apology for who she is, which to this reader was refreshing.  This would be a good book for someone who struggles with doubts or someone who doesn’t understand a friend or family member who has doubts.

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Blogging for Books provided this book to me
free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

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A church lady wrote…

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Black Cat Book Review

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Heart Wide Open by Shellie Rushing Tomlinson

Shellie Rushing Tomlinson has been in church her whole life.  As a child she attended with her parents and did all the usual church child things;  Sunday school, vacation Bible school, annual revivals, prayer meetings. As a wife and mother she was at church when the doors were open.  She was a Church Lady.  Then one day she realized she was a hypocrite.heartwide

She was doing all the right church things but for the wrong reasons.  She was in church because it was what she had always done, it was what was expected of her, it was what Christians do.  With this came the knowledge that she wanted more, she wanted to love Jesus whole-heartedly without reservation.  But she didn’t know how.  Her prayer became “I admit it. I don’t love You like I should, but I want to love You. Help!”

In her book she tells how she came to know Jesus, not just know of Him, but to have her heart beat in tune with His.  It’s a choice she made and she shares her journey in this book.  With stories of her life she shares the steps she took to know God and to truly love Him.  Though the subject could be heavy and burdensome there is a lot of down home humor that shows Tomlinson’s Southern roots.  She asks questions and gives the answers she found while encouraging the reader to ask their own questions and find their own answers.  At the end of each chapter is a prayer that will help the reader begin their conversation with God as they get to know Him and love Him with all their heart.  If you have the church blahs this is a good place to start to turn it around and have a renewal of faith.

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Blogging for Books provided this book to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

Raw Faith…

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A Black Cat Book Review

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Raw Faith by Kasey Van Norman

Thirty something Kasey, is happily married with two children.  She and her family have just moved to a new town, joined a new church, are making new friends.  She has a thriving ministry, and a book about faith.  Her life is good.  Then the phone call comes. She has an aggressive form of cancer.

Now there are questions, lots of questions. Not just about the cancer and treatment but about faith, about Kasey’s faith.  What is faithraw and what is her faith. She has taught bible studies and wrote a book about faith.  She has told others that in crisis there is nowhere to go but to God.  Now she wonders; can she, will she, live what she has taught.

After the diagnosis there is chemo.

This shows Kasey that sometimes God does give us more than we can bear to prove we cannot handle things on our own.  We need Him when there is nowhere else to turn.  She tells of her doubts and learning that Satan uses doubt to separate us from God.  She tells of knowing that the power of Satan cannot beat God’s power.  She tells of drifting and depression. Drifting and not trusting God fully but going her own way.  Depression that makes her draw into herself and learns that when there is nowhere else to go then she draws closer to God.

Through her cancer treatment she finds that the true foundation of faith is not what we experience of faith but in the person of Jesus Christ.  We choose what to believe; God does not  force us one way or the other.  We choose where to place our confidence; in our emotions or God.

There are no “weak” or “strong” chapters but I found the one about prayer had the greatest impact on me.  Kasey emphasizes that prayer is more than the spoken word. It is  conversation with One we have a relationship with.  There are two parts to prayer: speaking and listening.   Both are important.

There are many personal moments shared in her book and many stories from the Bible.  Everything she writes she reinforces with scripture.  The book is one that can be read quickly, which I did.  But if you to go back and read it more slowly and let the lessons Kasey learned speak to you, which I did, you will find depth and encouragement for your struggles.  You may not have cancer but everyone at some time will find themselves in a fight that only God  can win.  This book is a good starting point to help you focus on the Victor.

As Kasey says, “Raw faith is not based on what God does but on who God is.”

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This book was sent to me free of charge by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. in exchange for this review.

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G is for My Guy…

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g4pThere was a little girl who

had a very special friend, My Guy.

She met him the day she was born.
Her grandfather, Pa, brought him to the hospital to meet her.
It was love from the beginning.

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My Guy was more than her friend.
He was her lifeguard.

He was always there for her.
At night he made her feel safe;
he made sure the nightmares didn’t win.
When she was sick he stayed with her.
Even when she threw up on him he didn’t get mad.
He didn’t get mad when she wet the bed either.

When she was sad, angry, or scared he was there.
When she was happy, excited, or silly he was there.
Whether she was good or bad it didn’t matter; he was there for her.

He listened to everything she had to say…without criticism.
He was never too busy.
She was never boring or bothersome to him.
He was never angry with her.
He understood everything, even the biggest mysteries of life.
He never left her alone.

When she had to go away he was there when she came back.
He never betrayed her trust.

The little girl needed My Guy.
There were times he made her life bearable.
That’s part of a teddy bear’s job;
and he did his job very well.
He loved without complicated conditions.

He just loved her; unconditionally and always.

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Image: morgueFile

F is for flying…

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f4pThere was a little girl who

could fly.

She could fly free and high wherever she wanted.

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She didn’t fly like Superman.

She would be upright, standing straight and tall.
Well, not all that tall she was a little girl after all.

She would just sort of  lift off the ground and move around.
Sorta like floating.
But she could decide the direction and speed.

It was wonderful!

Then she would wake up
and she couldn’t fly anymore.

Bummer.

Image: calmtwood

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E is for escalators and elevators…

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E4PThere was a little girl who
loved to go downtown with her Gramma.

They would take the bus from Gramma’s  apartment
to the transit station and get on a train.

The train would take them to the center of the city.
They would have a fine time shopping and having lunch.

The only thing was

Gramma always wanted to take the escalator
to go up and down in the stores.

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Gramma didn’t like elevators because
they made her stomach go flip-flop.

They sometimes made the little girl’s stomach flip-flop.
But she still wanted to take the elevator.

Escalators were boring;  just stairs that moved.

Elevators were magical.

The elevator doors open and there is a little room.
You get in the little room and the doors close.
The little room goes up or down…you tell it which way to go.
When the elevator doors open again you are in a different place.

Magic.

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Image escalator: pixabay
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mage elevator: flickr-jayson trevino

D is for dancing…

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D4PThere was a little girl who

wanted to be a dancer, a gypsy dancer on Broadway.

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She took dance lessons twice a week.

She loved everything about dance.

She loved the music and the classes and the practice
and the recitals and the costumes and the shoes.

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Especially the shoes.

But the little girl knew early on that she
probably wasn’t meant for a chorus line on Broadway.

Seemed like she was always a bit ahead of the music.. or a bit behind.
When the other dancers were going left she often went right.
If they went right she turned around.

It was discouraging.
She so loved to dance.

The little girl thought hard and decided
she would be a dancer on Broadway.
But not in the chorus line.

She would be the star!

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Everybody knows the chorus line keeps in step with the star.
She would be a leader not a follower.

Problem solved.

Image shoes: morgueFile

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