Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"The Baker's Wife" Book Review

Who wouldn't be captivated by the book's description? 
It read.... "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger, so why is Audrey weakening day by day? 
It's been a tough year for Audrey's family. Her husband Geoff, a pastor, lost his job after a scandal rocked their congregation.Audrey hasn't lost faith. She's held her family together. Their attempt to resurrect a failing bakery is an effort to heal the family wounds and restore their place in the community.Late to the bakery one dim, foggy morning, Audrey turns into the intersection in front of the shop and strikes a vehicle that she can't see even after the collision settles. Emerging from her car into the fog, she discovers she's hit a motor scooter. There's no rider in sight. There's blood, though, so much that she slips in it, injuring her wrists.The absence of the scooter driver is a mystery, especially to Sergeant Jack Mansfield, the detective and church member who drove Geoff from his pulpit. The scooter belongs to Jack's wife, Julie, a teacher at the local high school. She has vanished like morning fog.Though there is no evidence to support Jack's growing suspicion that Audrey and Geoff were involved in Julie's disappearance, the detective is convinced of their guilt. Jack's ability to reason slips as the leads on his wife dry up.When Jack takes the tiny bakery and its patron’s hostage, Audrey must find Julie and unravel the secret of her own mysterious suffering before Jack comes undone."

Almost immediately I developed a love/hate relationship with the story line and its characters. Audrey, at first, seemed to have her own unnervingly strange quirks which caused her to have unusual and, at times, almost life threatening ailments in response to the distress of others. What was that all about? But then her compassion and sensitivity kind of grew on me as she became ever more endearing, especially as she struggles though her own issues and her responses to the less-than-lovely others in her story.

Then there is Jack, who believes himself to be a godly, just and righteous man of God while being harsh, judgmental and even cruel, until finally...!  He is an interesting and difficult character study. 

Audrey and Geoff's son Ed was certainly the most true-to-life character and I liked the addition of Diane (the ex-con) and Leslie (the nerdy student). They helped give the story depth and volume as the plot unfolded. Another interesting element is the unpredictable ending. I won't give it away...you need to read it for yourself.

This is not one of those fairy tale Christian romance novels with a few references to God or church and then not much more. This is a dig down deep look at the real dilemma of dealing with the most difficult people and circumstances in one's life. I especially appreciated the discussion questions at the end of the book. I wish I had read them sooner so that I would have had a clearer understanding of what the author was trying to present. This is a book I will probably read again, just to pick up what I missed the first time around. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pondering: The Gift of Common Sense

So we were out on the lake.
Two couples.
Eight children-9 and under.
(Five of them belonged to me.)
We were in an aluminum boat, late in the afternoon.

It had been a great day and we were having a wonderful time, but I was keeping a close eye on the storm clouds in the distance, until finally I said, "Burt, (his name has been changed to protect his innocent wife) those clouds don't look very good and they are coming this way. Don't you think we should head home?"

To which "Burt" responded, "Oh, come on! Where is your faith?" And I responded, something to the effect... "I have great faith and it never fails me, but God also gave me common sense. Now get us off of this lake."

Burt wasn't very happy with me, but at that point I was much more interested in getting my babies out of danger than I was in what he thought or how he felt. Good Grief! That was the last times I put our lives in his hands. (I guess I lost ALL faith in him that day!)

Maybe you've heard this joke?
A religious man is on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says "get in, get in!" The religous man replies, " no I have faith in God, he will grant me a miracle."

Later the water is up to his waist and another boat comes by and the guy tells him to get in again. He responds that he has faith in God and God will give him a miracle. With the water at about chest high, another boat comes to rescue him, but he turns down the offer again cause "God will grant him a miracle."

With the water at chin high, a helicopter throws down a ladder and they tell him to get in, mumbling with the water in his mouth, he again turns down the request for help for the faith of God. He arrives at the gates of heaven with broken faith and says to Peter, I thought God would grant me a miracle and I have been let down." St. Peter chuckles and responds, "I don't know what you're complaining about, we sent you three boats and a helicopter."

So here's what I'm pondering...and it all started with the incident at the Indiana State Fair when, what was described as "an ominous cloud" rolled in, bringing high winds that caused an outdoor stage to collapse killing a number of people. Of course, in the aftermath, there were all kinds of investigations being launched and probably some hefty lawsuits. In the days that followed the question was asked, "Why didn't those in authority warn or demand that the audience flee to safety?"

And my question is, "What has happened to the common sense God gave us?" My faith never leaves me, but common sense certainly kicks into high gear when there is an alarm, impending danger or ominous clouds. When did the American public become so thoroughly dependent on those in authority/the government warning us about every possible danger in life that we can no longer look out for our own safety or our family's? Or...for that matter, why do we expect God to do what we should be doing in the first place, take advantage of the opportunities to save ourselves instead of expecting... I don't even know what that guy in the flood was expecting God to do!

 I could go on and on, but I have faith that you know exactly what I'm talking about. Trust God to deliver you when you can't help yourself, but for the love of God, when there's an ominous cloud in the sky, for heaven's sake GET OUT OF THE BOAT!

Proverbs 4:7 "Getting wisdom is the wisest thing you can do! And whatever else you do, develop good judgment."

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Fifteen Reasons for Moving

So, people keep asking me, "Why did you move?" (Especially since I only moved out this window and into that door!) Well, for those of you who are seriously curious here is my list of reasons....
1. NO upstairs neighbors stomping around!
2. I now have a patio, tiny garden, yard and places to sit outside as opposed to none!
3. I have off the street parking.
4. The rent is $95.00 less.
5. I'm closer to the basement laundry/storage.
Before I moved in my landlord....
6. Installed new windows...
7. ALL new laminate floor/ceramic tile/carpet...
8 Had EVERYTHING repainted...
9. Added new ceiling fans
10. New light fixtures/handles/faucets
11. I really like the "galley" kitchen
12. It has a screen door
13. And TWO bathrooms
14. And a library/office/treadmill room
15. And great storage
Those were enough reasons for me.
HOWEVER, I hate moving and do not plan to do this again anytime soon! PROMISE!