Thursday, March 31, 2016

Before I Forget by B. Smith and Dan Gasby

B. Smith is a celebrity, but she was unknown to me. I picked up the book, written by B. and her husband, because the clever title, pertaining to B.’s battle with Alzheimer’s, intrigued me. This book returns repeatedly to four perspectives: B.’s own words about her experiences; Dan’s narrative of the progression of B.’s disease; “Lessons Learned” to educate and encourage the reader with regard to common aspects and challenges of Alzheimer’s; and advocacy for Alzheimer’s research and support. It is, by turns, honest, eloquent, poetic, poignant and inspiring; I found the book to be an absolute page turner with its engaging and empathetic tone. It is especially encouraging for caregivers. One paragraph that struck me, from page 91, was this: “Guilt is, to some extent, unavoidable: it goes with the territory. One way to temper it is not to set the bar as a caretaker too high. Don’t feel you have to be perfect! And don’t punish yourself when you fall short of that self-imposed standard. Aim to be a pretty good caregiver, not a perfect one: B-plus is good enough. Heck, B-minus is just fine. The goal isn’t to do everything right. It’s to keep your household from falling part. Pass/fail--that’s the standard I’ve learned to go by.” The reader comes to understand--and care about-- B., Dan, Alzheimer’s, and the current state of caregiver support and medical research. A list of resources epitomizes the whole book, as it ranges from the broad and organizational (organizations working on Alzheimer’s) to the narrow and personal (B.’s and Dan’s favorite comedies). This book is a Must Read for everyone, as it addresses a disease that will, sooner or later, touch us all. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Seven Laws of Love by Dave Willis

Subtitled “Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships”, this book is well written and instructive. Part One describes how love requires commitment, selflessly sacrifices, speaks truth, conquers fear, offers grace, brings healing and lives forever. Part Two applies Part One to one’s spouse, famly, neighbor (everyone), friends, enemies, self, and Creator. The narrative is easy to read, straightforward and well laced with Scripture. The author effectively illustrates points with real-life situations. The author is in his mid-30s, so his childhood memories (and many illustrations) are centered in the ’80s. This results in his book being aimed mainly at a younger audience, and at times that shows. Those of us who are old enough to have recent technology occupy only a small fraction of our lifetimes can be jarred by, for example, a reference to the Bible as “God’s text message.” All in all, this book gives one much to consider about love and loving. Even if the author’s thoughts are not new to the reader, they are a good reminder. I received this book for free in exchange for my unbiased review through the Thomas Nelson BookSneeze Program.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Love Without Limits by Nick Vujicic Nick Vujicic, born without limbs, wrote this with his wife, describing how they met, their courtship, wedding, and birth of their first child.. Those who have followed Nick’s life story know how, from a young age, he deeply despaired of ever finding a woman who would truly love him. Nick found that treasure in Kanae, whose upbringing and background prepared her to love deeply and for a lifetime. Their story is heartwarming. You rejoice for them both, as they were so blessed to find each other. Her thoughtfulness and ingenuity are remarkable, and his gratitude and love for her are all you could wish for him. This would not be one of Nick’s books if it did not offer lessons for others’ lives, including specific ways in which singles who wish to be married can help themselves wait. In other chapters, Nick and Kanae suggest ways in which other couples can learn to relate well, maintain the relationship, and prepare for and thrive in childrearing. Nick and Kanae have firm beliefs, but they do not shove those at others but rather gently encourage the reader to consider carefully their course, making choices which foster their best growth. If you have an interest in Nick Vujicic, want to read a sweet and an inspiring love story, or wish to read about a young couple starting out with maturity and on solid footing, this is a book you will enjoy. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Raising the Perfectly Imperfect Child by Boris Vujicic

The work of the father of Nick Vujicic, who was born without limbs, this gem of a book encapsulates a lifetime of learning and wisdom. Written in an understated, straightforward manner without a hint of hysteria, this excellent book allows you to read between the lines a bit. It is often touching, balanced with marvelous instruction on how to deal with challenges, especially aimed at families of disabled or special-needs children. The advice provided in this book is spot on. Woven between the author’s narration of the shock and grief accompanying Nick’s birth are important lessons, such as allowing yourself to grieve, letting others help, learning from your child, how to be an advocate for medical care and education, balancing the family’s needs, including those of the parents and any siblings, and preparing your disabled child for adulthood. If you want an encouraging glimpse into a family that adjusted and learned to nurture a challenged child, this is the book for you. It will instruct you as well as lift you up. You will learn just from the example of these parents. One of my favorite parts is an account of a time when Nick had, shall we say, a very hard day. At bedtime, his father went to Nick and talked to him, assuring Nick of the love of each family member and of God. He sat by Nick and stroked his hair until Nick fell asleep. It is glimpses like that, coupled with the wise words of a father who has walked a road few have walked, that make this book so worthwhile. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

The Comeback by Louie Giglio

Subtitled, “It’s Not Too Late and You’re Never Too Far,” this well-written book provides encouragement to keep going. The author blends contemporary stories with biblical ones to make the point repeatedly that there is no such thing as “too low” or “too far gone.” The biblical stories include those of Adam, Abraham, Noah, Moses, the thief on the cross, Joseph, and the prodigal son. Giglio takes a good look at Samson, Lazarus and Jesus Himself. Besides comeback accounts, the author encourages those who need a comeback to focus on Ps. 37:3-5, which says to “trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness; delight yourself in the Lord; and commit your way to the Lord.” This book’s aim is toward younger people, as the life circumstances repeatedly mentioned were transitions made in young adulthood. The principles covered, though, apply to anyone. This book skillfully uses Scripture throughout, and it was a great encouragement to read. I would recommend it. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.