from When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense by Robert Jeffress

April 25, 2010 Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment  

If a perfect God finds it impossible to summarily dismiss sin against Him, why do we think we could ever overlook the serious hurts inflicted by others? Sin creates an obligation and someone has to pay. Whatever forgiveness is, it should not be confused with glossing over the seriousness of a wrong. ~p. 42-43

Frederick Beuchner has written:

“Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back – in many ways it is a feast fit for a king. The chief drawback is that what you are wolfing down is yourself. The skeleton at the feast is you. ~p. 56-57

Forgiveness isn’t a one-time action of the heart, but a continual choice of the will. As someone said, “Forgiveness is surrendering the right to hurt you for hurting me.” ~p. 177

The Bible promises that “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Unfortunately, some people – to echo [C.S.] Lewis – attach a trivial meaning to the word “good.” Those who translate that word as “happiness,” “prosperity,” or “freedom from adversity” are doomed to disappointment. Instead, Paul identifies the “good” that God’s plan is designed to accomplish in the next verse:

‘For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.’ (8:29)

God has designed a unique plan for your life with one purpose in mind: to mold you into the likeness of His Son. ~p. 191-192

I realize you may well be struggling with the issue of forgiveness. Someone or something has caused great pain in your life. You want to forgive. You’re ready to be free from the bitterness that is destroying your life. You’ve spent hours reading about why and how to forgive. But if you release that person who has wronged you, you need something to grab hold of to maintain balance in life.

God is saying to you, “Release your bitterness and grab hold of Me. Allow Me to take responsibility for what has happened to you. Know that I have a plan I’m working out in your life, even if you can’t see it now. Faith means something when it is exercised in the darkness.” ~p. 195

All of the above quotes are from When Forgiveness Doesn’t Make Sense by Robert Jeffress

Book Review: Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter’s Uncommon Year by Laura Brodie

April 16, 2010 Categories: Books , Contests | Comments Off  


Title: Love in a Time of Homeschooling: A Mother and Daughter’s Uncommon Year
Author: Laura Brodie
Genre: Nonfiction, memoir
Publisher: Harper Collins
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the author
First line: On a cold October morning my ten-year-old daughter, Julia, sat at our kitchen table and contemplated the Earth’s layers.

Last year, I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Laura Brodie’s novel The Widow’s Season. While communicating with Ms. Brodie about her novel, I mentioned that I am a homeschooling mom. She told me that her next book would be a memoir of the year she spent homeschooling her daughter, Julia. When she e-mailed me earlier this year about reviewing it, I didn’t hesitate.

I have to admit, as a full-time, long-term homeschooler, I wondered if my philosophy of homeschooling would be so different from Ms. Brodie, who decided to homeschool her daughter for 5th grade only, that it would be an awkward read and review. I needn’t have worried. Ms. Brodie has a beautiful writing voice, and her love for her daughter and desire to tell about her homeschooling experience with honesty came through on every page.

In Love in a Time of Homeschooling, Ms. Brodie decides to consider short-term homeschooling after she loses her 4th grade daughter Julia for an hour one afternoon. She discovers her hiding in a closet – hiding because she had heard her mother say it was almost time to do homework. Julia is a bright girl who loves to read, draw, and experience nature – and she is going crazy in a traditional classroom setting. Brodie is a college professor and author, and knows that long-term homeschooling won’t fit for their family, but decides to take Julia out of school for 5th grade. This memoir tells the story of that decision and the resulting year.

I loved how honest Brodie was about the gap between her expectations for her year of homeschooling and the reality of it. Very few homeschooling books are honest about the fact that while some days are nestled in a rosy haze of delightful learning, most days are full of routine and plugging ahead at work that is not always enjoyable. And there are days when the idea of putting all four of my kids on a big yellow school is immensely tempting, and evenings when I end the day ashamed of the way I lost my temper over having to explain some math concept yet one more time.

This book has a much wider appeal than simply homeschoolers, though. Readers of memoir will recognize a talented author and enjoy reading about a year in which she decided to take a different path than she had expected, and how that year turned out. Parents will be in agreement with the difficulty in assuring a good education for our children in today’s public school system, the struggle to balance enriching extra-curricular activities with mountains of homework and the need to simply let our kids be kids while they can.

The thing I most appreciated about this book is that Brodie came away from her experience with the conviction that all good parents are homeschoolers, whether they are doing the day to day teaching themselves or entrusting their children to others. She realizes that as parents we bear the ultimate responsibility for our children’s education – and she didn’t hesitate to try something different when it was needed.

Some favorite passages:

As I thought back on my mom, it occurred to me that all good parents are homeschoolers. Homeschooling is what happens when families turn off their TVs, cell phones, and iPods. It occurs in long, thoughtful conversations at the dinner table, as well as at baseball games and ballet recitals, and in the planning of a vegetable garden. Parents who enrich their children’s lives with art and sports and multiple trips to the library provide the backbone of American education. Unfortunately, in our busy lives, parents and children have less and less time for hours of thoughtful interaction, which is one reason why homeschooling has been on the rise. Homeschooling provides family with the quality time that used to occur after school. ~ p. 52-53

Most homeschooling books don’t mention these troubles; they don’t dwell on shouting matches and slammed doors. Perhaps other homeschooling households are more placid than mine, or perhaps the first foray into homeschooling is always rocky, and years of practice are required to smooth the path. But I suspect that even the best homeschooling families have their ugly moments, from minor annoyances to major fights… ~ p. 145

Above all, homeschooling enabled Julia and me to understand one another more deeply – to witness each other’s flaws and strengths and practice the art of patience. I wish I could claim that my angry outbursts have disappeared, and that I am now a model of meditative calm. But who would believe it, especially in a house with four opinionated females? Truth is, the emotional weather in our family alternates between sunshine and storm, with the occasional hurricane looming (never more than a category two). Homeschooling taught Julia and me to comprehend each other’s tempests, and to appreciate all chances to bask in warm, cloudless love. ~ p. 237

I have an ARC copy and a hardcover copy of Love in a Time of Homeschooling to give away to two of my readers. Click over to Books and Movies to enter.

(Disclosure: Love in a Time of Homeschooling was provided to me by the author for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on it and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small percentage in commission.)

Movie Review: The Great Mouse Detective

April 10, 2010 Categories: Movies | 3 Comments  

From the creators of The Princess and the Frog and The Little Mermaid comes the story of a clever little hero on a great big adventure. Join the Sherlock Holmes of Mousedom on a heroic journey unraveling clues through London. If you like Sherlock Holmes, you’ll love The Great Mouse Detective.

When the diabolical Professor Ratigan kidnaps the city’s master toymaker, the brilliant Basil of Baker Street and his trusted sidekick Dawson set off to track down Basil’s lifelong nemesis. Little do they know that the evil rat’s trail leads all the way to The Queen at Buckingham Palace!

Get on the case with Basil, the master of disguise, as he tries to elude the ultimate rattrap and foil the perfect crime. Now digitally remastered, fully restored and complete with exclusive bonus features, The Great Mouse Detective is better than ever in The Mystery in the Mist Edition!

My kids were so excited to get The Great Mouse Detective on DVD to review – we’ve checked out the VHS tape from the library enough times that we’ve pretty much worn it out. :) They love the idea of a mastermind detective – and the clever way he solves problems. Jonathan still remembers when he was much younger, Professor Ratigan scared the living daylights out of him.

The quality of the DVD is much higher than the VHS version, obviously, and I love the hand-drawn animation. This is definitely a must-have for families and Disney collectors alike.

(Disclosure: The Great Mouse Detective was provided to me by Click Communications for the purpose of review. The above link is an Amazon affiliate link. If you click on it and subsequently purchase anything, I will receive a small percentage in commission.)