Sunday, April 30, 2017

What I'm Reading - April 2017

I've become obsessed with books and reading.  I've always enjoyed reading, but in the past few months, I've really looked to reading as my release, outlet, and vehicle to wind down.  Lately I've watched less television and aside from listening to podcasts, books fill up most of my down time.  As I said when I was a guest on What Should I Read Next, I feel like I'm dating books!

What is to follow is a recap of what I read this month and what I'm reading.  I recently joined Litsy, an app for bookish people - think Instagram for bookworms.  My username is RosieBoo65, so look me up there as I'll be charting my course of reading on that app.

What I Read

The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon 
Judge Joe Crater goes missing in August 1930, never to be heard from again.  Yes, this is a true story.  This historical fiction novel focuses on the three women who had a connection with Judge Crater - his wife, maid, and mistress.  I love historical fiction, and add the layer of female protagonists and you've got a winner for me.  I enjoyed this book, but wasn't enthralled by the story.  I felt like it was a bit slow in the beginning, and eventually picked up pace.  I don't regret reading this book as I learned a lot about a historical disappearance I'd never known about before.  I read this as part of my online book club and participated in an author chat.  Ariel was so interesting to listen to as she explained how she wrote this, her first book, over 18 months only on Saturdays.  And she got contacted by a real life relative of a character in the book!  After hearing her interview, I want to read her other works.

The Measure of Success: Uncovering the Biblical Perspective on Women, Work, and the Home by Carolyn McCulley and Nora Shank
Being a career woman, and not a wife or mother, I often question what that looks like in light of the role of women in Scripture.  This book is solid look at how God ordains work for all of us - whether working inside or outside the home - and to have a purpose in fulfilling that role.  If you are a working woman, you'll benefit from reading this book to get affirmation that being a successful businesswoman isn't of the devil.

The Forgotten Room by Karen White, Lauren Willig, and Beatriz Williams
You never know when three authors write a novel what you are going to get.  This book surpassed my expectations.  The story of three women spanning three generations and how they are connected make up the tapestry of this book.  It felt like piecing together a puzzle and I had a hard time putting this book down.  I'm assuming each author wrote each of the three main characters, but you'd think all of it was written by the same author.  These ladies write in perfect harmony.

What I'm Currently Reading

A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell, #2) by Deanna Raybourn
A second in the series of a lepidopterist who has an amazing lineage and solves crimes.

The Patriots by Sana Krasikov
The book based in Russia in the 1930s and 2008 is segmented into different segments of "Books."  It was slow starting, but now about halfway in, I'm hooked.

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
This is a small book, but with a heavy theme.  This book won many awards in 2016 and I know the epilogue was written by his wife after the author's death, so I'm moving slow as I know the outcome will be heart wrenching.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Day in Between

Good Friday and Easter are the focal days that we Christians celebrate each year.  Good Friday is the remembrance of what Jesus did for us on the cross and His brutal, unthinkable crucifixion.  Easter celebrates (spoiler alert!) His Resurrection and hope for all of us who believe to have eternal life.  This Easter season, I've been doing a Lent study through Sacred Holidays, focusing on the final days of Jesus.  This is the first time I've done a specific study during Lent and it has been amazing.  I've read the various accounts of Scripture in a new and fresh way, and although I've heard the resurrection story my whole life, it continues to present itself anew.  

What we don't always focus on is the day in between Good Friday and Easter.  Jesus is dead.  In the tomb.  Hopeless.  We scurry about filling Easter baskets, hiding Easter eggs, and choosing our Easter outfits on that day now.  But this day 2000 years ago wasn't as joyful.  You see, the end of the story hadn't happened.  We can celebrate this day in between because we know Easter is coming.  But I've reflected today on the people present on the first day in between and what they could have been thinking.

The disciples.  "It's over.  All that Jesus talked about, what does it mean now?  We didn't always understand what He was telling us, but now, He's dead.  What do we make of this?  Maybe we followed a Man who wasn't telling us the truth.  Could He not have been the Messiah?  We followed Him for three years, gave up our livelihoods.  Now what?"

The Pharisees.  "We won.  Thank goodness that distraction is dead and buried in the tomb.  I don't know who He thought He was to have tried to challenge what we know to have been true forever.  A new covenant?  What's wrong with the old one?  At least our teachings and leadership can go on now without that pesky Jesus trying to persuade our followers of His unbelievable message."

Pilate.  "What have I done?  I allowed a persuaded crowd to encourage me to let a criminal go and crucify an innocent man.  I've made a lot of decisions and many I regret.  But this one.  This one seems more dire than any of the past decisions I questioned.  It's over now.  Nothing I can do about it.  Time to move on with my life."

Mary, Mother of Jesus.  "This can't be real.  I know what the angel told me when I conceived Him.  I know His purpose in coming was to die.  But this way?  I'll never get over seeing my baby on that cross.  Suffering for me.  How is this all going to work out?  I know what the prophets said.  I know what Jesus said during His short 33 years here on earth.  But did I believe a lie?  No.  Surely not.  I love my Son.  He was the Son of God.  My tears may never end, but I simply can't lose hope." 

These people lived between hopelessness and hopefulness.  There was a time - the day in between - when Jesus was dead.  The emotions, the questions were surely endless.  I can't even fathom dealing with that mourning and grief, not knowing how God was going to respond the next day.  But we know the end of the story.  Resurrection is coming.  Hope is on its way.  Mourning is turned into joy.  And we don't have to grieve as those did at the cross because we know Jesus is alive.

I live each day with the hope of eternal life as my security.  Do you?  If not, you are living in an endless "day in between" without hope, only the end.  By choosing to follow Christ, and turning from your sinful lifestyle, you can have this hope too.  If you don't know how to do that, contact me.  I want you to live life everyday like it's Resurrection Day.