Thursday, April 18, 2013

Moon Over Edisto: A Review

Moon Over Edisto by Beth Webb Hart was such an amazingly good read!  I wasn't absolutely sure how good it would be when I read the short description while searching for a book to review. But let me tell you, this book far exceeded my expectations!

Julia has faced several heartbreaking situations in her life, situations many never have to face.  She has loved and lost.  And now, when she is asked to do the unexpected and to step far outside of her comfort zone, she finds inner strength that she did not even know she possessed.  Will she also find something else along the way? Something lasting?

I give this book 5/5 stars! Yes, it's that good!

What I loved about the book: I loved the characters. So very real, even where human emotions are concerned, difficult ones like bitterness, resentment, fear, longing, happiness, grief, etc.

What I didn't like so much: I don't know. I don't think there was anything I didn't like, except perhaps that I wished it was a longer book and had more at the end!

Thank you to BookSneeze for giving me a free copy of this book in order to procure my review. Please note that all opinions expressed are original and honest.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Sick of Being Sick: How Being Sick Makes Being Well That Much Better

Dear Friends,

Of late I've barely found the energy to do much beside the on a per-needed basis, laundry, school work and projects and papers for graduate studies.  That's about it.  Sprinkle in a little reading for relaxation and that's my life right now.  Oh and sleeping. Because once I was finally able to sleep again I made certain to sleep a little more than usual to try and recover. Did I mention I've been sick? Because I have. Very, very sick for several days. Sicker than I can really ever recall being with any sort of stomach flu.  Just finally starting to feel a little recovered when I had to go to the Emergency Room for severe and excruciating pains in my stomach and radiating into my back, so bad that I literally could barely breathe and was crying out from the pain.  Apparently it was not my gallbladder (thankfully), a conclusion made after many, many tests and hours upon hours of being in the ER, drugged and "out of it." It was supposedly complications with the acid reflux/GERD I've battled for several years.  Trust me when I say, I had NO idea that acid reflux could become that complicated. That painful. Since then I've been put on four very strong medications for a 10-day treatment, in an effort apparently to clear all the bad out and heal up what needs healing, etc. I am praying that the meds do what they are supposed to do . . . . because right now, in the first 1/3 of the treatment, I am hating all the side effects. I feel almost as bad from those as I did when I was so very, very sick a little over a week ago from the terribly violent stomach flu strain I picked up somehow. When I'm feeling "good" I'm still fatigued, dizzy and nauseated.

Has it been a rough 1.5 weeks? Yes, to say the least.  On so many fronts.  To be quite honest, I feel like the enemy just decided to take the biggest swing possible at me.  I have no idea why. But when these massive tsunami force storms of life come my way, I like to dwell on the possibility that God has something even bigger and better (and I do mean positive) in store for me, waiting in the wings . . . .and perhaps that bigger and better something is precisely why the enemy is trying to take me down, yet again. Of course he doesn't want me to have what God has for me.  And we know he is loaded with discouragement to hand us by the fistfuls. I have fought that discouragement this whole time.  I have prayed and I am still praying. And it does help me get through and to feel excited when I think that God has something (whatever that may be, be it a physical blessing or a spiritual one) better in store for me!

Perhaps you don't agree with my train of thought here. That's okay. You don't have to.  I respect your thoughts on why these tsunami storms blow into our lives, and how important it is to deal with them even while we keep our eyes and hearts turned toward our Heavenly Father in faith.  But I am pretty certain you will agree with me when I say this . . . . have you ever noticed how absolutely marvelous it is to feel well after you've been ill?  Just stay with me for a moment.  I think honestly that's the only upside to ever being sick; the getting-well. The recovered. The happy and healthy.  Because it's much like when the sky has been gray and gloomy for days on end and the sun finally bursts through the clouds and fills the air with golden life. You realize just how much you missed the sunshine, and how much it means to you. 

While I'm not quite there yet, not recovered and so I cannot say that I'm fully healthy and happy to be so, I feel I am on my way there. I'm partway there. And for that, I'm so very happy.  I'm glad for the little bit of health I've gained back and I'm anticipating being all well again . . . . because that will be the sunshine for me after a very long, very dark period of stormy weather.

Here's hoping your life is full of golden sunshine! But if you are going through a stormy period, please remember . . . . the sun will shine again. And when it does, you will notice it more than ever before! 

Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favor and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.
 Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you.

Psalms 84:10-12 (bold added) 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix

"It was a massive challenge to affect the lives of others while maintaining the private life required of a proper Boston woman. She felt her heart quicken. Howe echoed what Channing had once told her, about every person being our brother's -- or sister's -- keeper.  She gleaned a certainty she hadn't known before.  Here at last might be her glorious ambition." (One Glorious Ambition, pg. 200)

This book is a fictional novel based on a real person, Dorothea Dix, who lived in 1800s America. She always felt she had been created for a purpose, a God-given purpose and was driven to fulfill it. Eventually she realized her "one glorious ambition."  In helping others, she helped herself overcome a life of sadness, loss, and rejection.  In reaching out to the orphaned and dejected, she helped herself cope with being an orphan first in all ways that mattered and then for real, overcoming abandonment and stern criticism from her family. This is an inspiring story of someone who took the pain and loss that could turn a person into a bitter recluse and molded it, with God's help, into a life of great good. From helping her own family to teaching poor children to reaching out to the mentally unstable and rejects of society, Dorothea Dix chose to live a life well spent.

Things I liked about this book: I loved the story line, the main character. It was inspirational.

Things I didn't like so much: It seemed to run a little long on some of the details about federal government, house and senate, etc.  Otherwise there's nothing I didn't like.

I would give this book 4/5 stars.

To check out the author's website, visit Jane Kirkpatrick here.

Thank you to Blogging for Books for a complimentary copy of this book in order to procure my honest review. Please note that all opinions expressed are my own. You can purchase your own copy of this book from several retailers, including Amazon by clicking here. You can also find other reviews for this book and the author's page this way.  If you'd care to rate my review, please visit Blogging for Books and search for Rachel Rudin under Bloggers by clicking here

Monday, April 1, 2013

The Heiress of Winterwood: A Book Review

The beautiful cover of this book as well as the brief description of it caught my attention. This is a book for lovers of novels by the famous Jane Austen, or for any bookworm who loves a good mix of human striving, romance, adventure, a touch of suspense and a good dose of Christianity in a very authentic way. This book was far from cheesy or the usual Christian romantic fiction! I loved it! 

The protagonist, Amelia, is a very real character. I was able to relate to her and to Graham, very much a supporting character, throughout the book and more so as the story progressed.  Amelia gave her word to her dear and dying friend that she would raise and love her friend's baby. But her promise could mean a life of misery and extreme sacrifice for her, or worse . . . . Through the course of the book, her faith in God and in herself and others is tested repeatedly. Will she stand through the trials? Will she find true and commendable love? And will she be able to give the loving home she desires to the baby her dear friend left behind? 

You'd have to read The Heiress of Winterwood by Sarah Ladd to see for yourself how it all wraps up! But trust me when I say, you will be ever so glad you did! I give the book 5/5 stars! 

Thanks to Booksneeze for a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Please note that all opinions expressed are original.