Summer Reading and Resources in a Hard Season

 

IMG_0431As most of you know, this summer has been an emotional roller coaster for our family as my little brother battles cancer. Honestly, I’ve had all the crazy irrational thoughts like…

“If I don’t think about David in pain, it’s not really happening.”

“If I don’t go see him he’ll continue to live.”

I’ve had some precious time with David, and am so grateful for faith-filled family and friends who have leaned in with us. I’ve prayed and prayed til I think if God was lesser He’d tell me to get lost and stop bugging Him. But He doesn’t.

Tuesday David was moved to home hospice.

Bottom line is that I’ve craved a mixture of meaningful and soul-strengthening stuff to read, but most are escapist, with themes of redemption and happy endings.  As I mentioned before, I get a lot of book suggestions from my friend Joanne’s reading blog.

The first isn’t a book, but a great new app I found called Abide. It has guided prayer for many different situations. You’ll quickly find some voices you like better than others (somehow, the men bug me, but I love the women). It’s been a lovely, quiet guide.

Also, most nights John and I watch an episode of the West Wing. This is nothing new, but if someone in our family hasn’t gotten you hooked on this inspiring show, you haven’t talked to us in the past 8 years. Watch the episode, Shibboleth from Season 2 anytime you’ve had a rough day. Here’s a clip.

Then there are some lovely (and fun) books I’ve been reading also…

Joy in the Journey: Finding Abundance in the Shadow of Death

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Last year we walked alongside our friends, Steve and Sharol Hayner from a distance as Steve battled pancreatic cancer. In February he went from life to Life. Perhaps it was God preparing us for this season with my brother. We “walked” this with Steve and Sharol through their Caring Bridge posts. Because those posts ministered to so many, IVP has created a book from that content. I re-read it yesterday and it was a gift all over again.

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The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan – Such a guilty pleasure! American twin, Rebecca Porter goes to study for a semester at Oxford and ends up falling in love with the future king. Although it depicts a debauched lifestyle, there aren’t lurid details and it’s a really engaging read.

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Water From My Heart – Classic Charles Martin, one of my favorite authors. This is the story of Charlie Finn, a former drug dealer whose devastating life choices lead him to Nicaragua where he finds redemption through a relationship with an old man, a young woman, and her daughter.

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The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain “He was about to commit a forbidden act. A transgression. For a man should never go through a woman’s handbag.”  This is the story of a bookseller in Paris who finds a woman’s abandoned purse. When he empties it, there is no phone or contact information, but there is a red notebook with some clues as to who the owner is, which he begins to follow. Meanwhile, the owner, who has been robbed of her bag, lies in a coma. This is a quick, clever, delightful read.

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Ordinary Grace by William Kent Kruger. I loved this book! A beautifully written, compelling coming-of-age story of mystery, tragedy, love and redemption set in a rural Minnesota town in 1961. You can read Joanne’s full review here.

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Your turn! What are you reading that you’d recommend?

 

 

7 Comments

  1. Leah Otterlei

    July 10, 2015 at 7:00 AM

    Oh Laura. I’ve been praying for you, your brother and your family. You word things with such perfection. And start my day with so much to reflect on and stay grounded in.

    • Leah, you know intimately, the challenge of living with pain and circumstances out of our control, but you also know our sovereign God who is good. Thank you so much for joining us in prayer.

  2. Laura, I am so sorry to hear of your brother’s decline. I lost a younger brother some years ago and I experienced how hard it is to keep an eternal perspective while knowing that our earthly time with someone we love is coming to an end. Three of the women in our small group have brothers with terminal illness and I know your sharing is helping them through this season. Know that there are many praying for you and your family in this time.

    • Pat, it means so much if sharing our experience is encouraging to others in similar circumstances. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement and your prayers.

  3. My Paris Dream by Kate Betts. Fast summer girl read, bildungsroman, indulgence. Thanks so much for your list, Laura, and God bless you and your family on the journey, as one of your selected books says, “from life to life.”

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