Sunday, February 17, 2013

Come to the Table - Book Review

Some books are so lyrical, the prose rains down from the page (Peace Like a River). Some are so well-written you delight in the way the words were put down (Anne of Green Gables). Some books, like Neta Jackson's Come to the Table read more like a movie than a book.

While I admire Jackson once again for tackling issues that are often left untouched (race issues in the church, urban problems, homelessness and food pantries), her writing didn't do it for me. There were just so many details in the book (who was eating what, who was going where, what so-and-so was wearing), and the characters agonized over every conversation they had, meaning we re-hashed it all with them a la high school crushes, that getting to the meat of the story wasn't easy. (Just like getting to the meat of that sentence. Ha.) I found myself just wanting to sit the characters down and say, "You tell him what you want to say. You tell her. Okay. Done deal." Instead I watched them dance around issues, drop hints, and get frustrated that their two-minute conversations were constantly interrupted.

The main character of the book, Kat, is learning about poverty, Jesus and food, feeding the hungry, how to help. All good and necessary topics for Christians to explore. I wish the issues were explored more thoroughly, but at least they opened up areas to think about. (I remember that Jackson's Yada Yada series also brought up good topics). The transformation Kat undergoes seems realistic and easy to follow. But overall, I feel that the book could have just been written better. Harsh, I know. But there it is.

One problem I had with this book was that one of the characters is HIV-positive, and a lot of the information shared about living with someone with HIV is, as I understand it, incorrect. FYI.

If you're looking for an easy read, likable characters, and a straight-forward plot, this book might be for you. If you want really good writing, a story to lose yourself in, and depth, you may want to keep looking.

Note: Booksneeze has provided me with a complementary e-book in exchange for my honest review. The opinions are my own.

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Created for Care

Sometimes in the never-ending, always-repeating, happy-mostly, tired-usually life that is motherhood to many small children, the opportunity comes up to step away. To leave the precious babies in the capable hands of their father, and go be with other women whose heart beats to the same rhythm as mine, in a place where we ask God to meet us.

I'm sure there are multiple ways to find this type of retreat. But for me, Created For Care is one of the highlights of my year. For the third time (and they've only had three years of it!), I've gone away with some of my favorite people to be not only rested, refreshed, and renewed, but to be challenged, convicted, and changed. It's the type of retreat where there are quiet places for being still, times of incredible, life-changing corporate worship, plenty of laughs and conversations that go deep, and practical teaching that affects my parenting, marriage, home, and life, and walk with Jesus.
(Hearing 450 women who have stepped onto the hard and uncharted paths of adoption and foster care singing Jesus' promises back to Him and declaring Him strong, good, loving, faithful, full of was almost too much to take this side of heaven.)

The fact that these ladies who truly are some of my favorites on planet earth go too is too good to be true.
 (Adrienne, Laura, Alison, me. We all travelled to Rwanda together to bring home our kids. So thankful these women are in my life.)

It was so good, too to meet more Rwanda Mamas and connect with some I hadn't seen since the last C4C. I love the Rwanda adoption community!

Thanks to some car trouble, Adrienne didn't get to meet Mason and the big boys. Sad! I'm glad that Laura and Alison did. Did I mention I love these three ladies?

And while I'm sad that C4C is over for another year (for me anyway; there's another one in March!), I'm glad to be back doing more of this:

...and doing my best, by the grace of God, to steward these blessings in my care. And listening to Candi Shelton on repeat. :)