Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Monday, June 08, 2015

Have a Beautifully Bookish Summer

Though this is a painful, sobering book of the real cost of following Jesus for a former Muslim, Rifqua writes naturally of her head over heels love for her Savior which makes it surprisingly uplifting.   She wants the world to know that she does not regret fleeing from the death threats of her own family into the arms of Jesus.  Her courage in the midst of extreme persecution and severe testing is extraordinary.   This is a story told about life in America as a Muslim background Believer and the disturbing world of Child Protective Services and court rooms.  It is a powerful read.
Maybe because I can't read music, I have a natural awe of those who can.  The lyrics of music and haunting melodies stir the heart of a young boy and make him into a musical genius.  I found this an interesting read about the man who preserved many of the negro spirituals for an entire new generation.  The author weaves Burleigh's parents and grandparents stories into the narrative and it makes for a rich multi-generational reason why songs can act as oral history and help cause people to remember that which shouldn't be forgotten.

Here a raw, real life wife shares why sharing her husband did not bring about marital bliss.  As a polygamist's wife she learned firsthand how another human can't satisfy and her works-based salvation was a hoax.  If you have Mormon friends, this is a book that might give insight into how their communities are very closed and cautious with outsiders because of the fact that their founder and forebearers were pretty much all polygamists.  How social services are needed for such large families is not surprising or how the young pretty girls become prey for ridiculously older men.  It is a frightful existence and a once staunch supporter of polygamy shares how her dreams were shattered.  The best part about the book is that in her later years Jesus mends her broken heart and she encounters the love she always wanted in Jesus' unconditional, full attention way.
 In the former Soviet Union persecution as a Christian was as common as food shortages.  This testimony of a pastor's child shares how her world turned upside down when her family members were arrested.  The conditions of their multiple internments were faith building, yet bitter with longing to be together as a family again.  God preserves her family in an 11th hour miracle, but it comes at great cost.

First I'll say the author is a scoffer of Christians.  However, she writes with soul-searching candor about her year in North Korea teaching ESL that the book proves fascinating.  Though she doesn't quite understand all she sees, she wants to dig deeper and expose her students to the world outside of their birth country prison.   This is a book that you can feel the author's pulse rise and legitimately so. I think the author unwittingly argues for the softening effect of Christianity as she is distressed to see the winsome boys morph into foul-mouthed rabid animals.  It is not surprising that a nation that arrogantly topples Jesus' rules become foaming at the mouth fanatics that scare even another unbeliever.

By being smuggled out of China, Tiananmen Square comes alive through the eyes of a highly-visible leader and speaker of the student movement.  Besides recounting the bloody democratic push of China's young elite college students, Chai Ling vents her other frustrations with the communist system through her own personal story.   I learned a bunch about the land of my fifth treasure and am extremely thankful for the author's present push to expose the horrifying way the government handles population control.  She is a woman full of courage and a warrior for truth and freedom.

Like the last book, I read this one and couldn't feel more blessed to have been born a woman in America.  Life is hard for most of the world's women.  One unusual man is trying to influence a male-dominated Muslim culture with the idea that girls deserve an education along with their brothers.  A former mountaineering bum becomes a resourceful, committed promise-keeper and repays a small community that saves his life by coming back to build a school for their children.  The building doesn't stop there.   He tirelessly travels thousands of miles on behalf of his rural children and asks to build further schools in the world's most dangerous pockets.  The fact that he gets permission and follows through and constructs is quite astounding.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Monday, June 01, 2015

The Mental Institute

Alias: Happy Reindeer

Alias: Happy Beaver
Alias: Little Monkey

Alias: Bashful Squirrel

Alias:  The Chipper Chipmunks
photos courtesy of Fritz Photography Studios

The Mugshots

Alias: Brinx

Alias: Mak'n Hamburger

Alias: The Smolder

Alias: Whisk
photos courtesy of Fritz Photography Studios