Friday, September 18, 2020

Book Review: Gracelaced

 


Gracelaced: Discovering Timeless Truths Through Seasons of the Heart by Ruth Chou Si;mons

This is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. But it’s not just the art. Ruth Chou Simons offers insight into 32 spiritual concepts themed around the seasons of the year. Winter, “Resting in God’s Character,” offers topics such as “dwell,” “lean,” and “rest,” with all of the author’s thoughts supported by scripture. Spring, “Rehearsing the Truth,” addresses “new,” “beloved and “delight,” among others. Then there’s Summer and Fall.

Simon illustrates her points with beautiful paintings. Printed pages are edged with blooms; some are lined to add your thoughts (although I couldn’t bring myself to write in the book). Some pages show a plain background with a verse or quotation in calligraphy. Others show photographs taken by the artist; including some of her husband and six sons. All are equally impressive. Reading the book is a walk through an inspirational art gallery.

Published by Harvest House Publishers in 2017, the book is 7 ¾ “ x 1.25” by 9.25”. Slick pages and a textured cover add to the book’s coffee table appeal. This is a gorgeous gift book, but you’ll definitely want to keep a copy yourself.

 


Monday, September 14, 2020

Book Review: Countdown 1945

 


Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days that Changed the World by Christ Wallace with Mitch Weiss

This book gives you a glimpse into the personal life of Harry S. Truman, who was probably as surprised as anyone when he became president upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. But an even greater shock was to find himself facing the decision of whether or not to drop the atomic bomb. The book delves into the lives ordinary people who found themselves working on the development of the bomb without ever realizing the magnitude of their assignment.

From European conferences with heads of state to life at Los Alamos, a community of thousands worked together on a secret project, you’ll read of conversations and emotions that led to the development and detonation of the atomic bomb. And you read of the aftermath, the impact of realizing what they had created, after Hiroshima and Nagasaki were bombed in 1945, an event that ended World War 2.

I liked the way the authors organized the book around events that occurred during the 116 days leading up to dropping the atomic bomb. I also appreciated photos, such as that of Colonel Paul W. Tibbets waving good-bye from the Enola Gay before leaving for Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Back matter includes extensive notes, bibliography and detailed index.

The extensive research required to write this book is obvious with documented conversations and behind-the- scene glimpses into duties and after-the-fact feelings about the event. An important read to remember the struggles faced by the men and women who peopled our history.

 

 

 

 


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Three Ways to Handle Life's Muddles

 

I had no idea which button I accidentally pressed when a snowstorm blew across my television screen. Input, perhaps? Nope. Clicking on it changed nothing. After 15 minutes of trying to restore the picture, I called technical support. A very nice man assured me he would help. He even asked how my day was going up until I found myself in this predicament. I assured him it had been going just fine. Until. Now.

The man suggested I try this/try that. Turn off/turn on. Disconnect this/reconnect that. Nothing worked. I shed the robe I wore over my pajamas. We continued to work on the problem—him, giving directions in a soothing, patient voice. Me, following his prompts, more agitated by the moment and finally calling my husband to connect/disconnect, do this/do that.

Back and forth. We chatted for 15 minutes or so. I then did something that lighted the modem box, and I knew we were onto something good. This kind gentle man finally led me through steps that restored my television picture—just in time for a movie I wanted to watch.

Isn’t that how it is with life? One split-second misstep may take ages to correct. One misspoken word may take long conversations to undo. A spouse irritates you, so you snap back. A child tries your patience, so you yell. A coworker offends you or you offend a coworker. And like my television experience, sometimes we’re not even sure what caused the storm.

Just as I need to be mindful of the buttons I press on the remote, I need to be mindful of what I say. It’s easy to spill words all over myself and others. But the cost of cleanup in time and hurt feelings can be as costly as the cleanup following Hurricane Laura. Better to proceed with caution.

“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3 NIV).

Here’s my advice du jour:

Approach life with prayer: Prepare yourself for the day by praying for God’s direction and His Hand on your life. If an awkward situation looms, ask for wisdom. If you expect challenges from children, spouses or coworkers, ask for a heart filled with love and discernment. Call for God’s help on the spot as needed.

Accept responsibility: Develop a mindset that refuses to allow irritation to rob you of kind responses. If you’ve already said or done the wrong thing, ‘fess up. You meant well, but it didn’t turn out that way. Apologize. Say you’re sorry. Push comes to shove when we fail to accept responsibility for our words and actions. If you meant well, let your good intentions be known and they will be appreciated.

Apply loving concern: Keep your cool. Calmly express concern. Harsh language only muddies the waters. Like the soothing, friendly technical support guy, offer assistance and suggest ways issues might be resolved. While you may not see eye to eye, the other may hear your heart and accept your basic motivation as sincere. If customer service people can be trained to respond to all voices with patience, so can we as moms and dads, sons and daughters, friends and colleagues.

Life’s muddles and puddles will do us and others good if we use them as invitations to draw closer to God and to each other.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels