Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Muir House

She left one life behind for another, quite different than how she grew up, but she's learning she hasn't left it behind.  Haunted by dreams and memories that she can't remember or place in her life, she begins a journey to claim the truth.  Willa Muir goes home, to the house she grew up in, The Muir House.  She finds the memory of her cherished father, the failing health of an unloving mother, and the mysterious grumpiness of the house caretaker.  Old and new friends help and hinder her quest.  Will she find the truth or will she learn to live with mystery?

What is the secret to Willa's past?  Who wouldn't love that?  Personal mysteries are among my favorite reads.  This book does a fairly good job of taking the reader along on the journey.  Early on I felt that some of Willa's actions were over the top, but as the book unfolded, I better understood the direction DeMuth was trying to take her.  The other characters are nicely developed and realistic.  Another interesting aspect was the development of Willa's faith.  At the beginning, she isn't sure what she believes, if she can trust God.  As everything else is stripped away, she's left with God and learns what she believes.  By the end of the book, she knows God can be trusted, even when nothing/no one else can.  The Ruminating Reader will award The Muir House four pieces of bacon.

Mary DeMuth is a wife, mother, and writer of both fiction and non fiction.  She teaches and mentors writers.

 "My guess is that you're so used to believing the crap in your life that you've crowded out the beauty." 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Walking from East to West

"You see, of all five siblings in my family, I had the unhappiest childhood."

Born in India in 1946, Ravi's life was filled with uncertainty and lack of purpose.  Today he travels around the world speaking to governments, Ivy League universities, and on the radio.  His message is that of certainty and hope in Christ.  Firmly believing that the Christian faith is grounded in absolute truth, he has written/co-written over twenty books as he shares through philosophy, apologetics, and theology.  How did he make this transformation?  Walking from East to West; God in the Shadows is his story.  He writes of his family background, what it meant to be Indian, how he ended up in Canada, met the woman who became his wife and mother of their three children, and how God brought him into ministry.

If you've never read anything by Ravi, I strongly encourage you to do so.  I believe he is the forefront philosophical and moralistic apologist of our day.  Do not be intimidated by such words; he defends the Christian faith on levels that few people dare to acknowledge, but are underlying issues for many.  His personal story is amazing and gives a new insight into his work.  I understand the passion that comes through in his words and voice (he has many audio lectures available in addition to his radio broadcasts).  If you are family with his work, but not the man, this book will enlighten you of some of the stories he shares in his other works.  You will understand why he thinks and works as he does.  Apart from his other works, this book is an amazing testimony to the work of God; perfect for biography lovers.  This is easily awarded five out of five pieces of bacon. 

Walking from East to West by Ravi Zacharias with R.S.B. Sawyer, published by Zondervan

Friday, June 3, 2011

Jump Off the Hormone Swing

"That day-when I lay on the floor in the bedroom closet, curled in the fetal position, sobbing-I didn't need medical insight about why..."

All women experience symptoms related to their monthly cycle, it's just a matter of severity.  From tender and sore body parts to crying jags, it can be difficult to deal with the most common of life.  Lorraine Pintus believes that "the most horrible symptoms of hormonal swings are often not the aches in our bodies, but the assaults on our souls that rip our identity and tear at the fabric of our noble calling as women."  Pintus examines the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of PMS and perimenopause.  She states that the spiritual component of this female issue is under-examined.

There are many books available that talk about PMS, menopause, and other cycles of a woman's life.  They are helpful and by incorporating their suggestions, you can improve your physical and sometimes mental health when your hormones make you feel terrible.  What sets Pintus' book apart from the rest is the extra step she takes in talking about how our cycles effect us spiritually.  She does not ignore the physical and mental aspects, in fact, she begins with them.  She briefly talks about why women feel poorly, how hormones effect us, and gives tips to alleviate the symptoms.  She then begins to explore how women can be effected spiritually.  She gives suggestions for being and acting like a godly woman even when you feel crazy.  She challenges you to look at your view of menstruation.  She even provides benefits of PMS and perimenopause.

This book provides excellent insight into the many aspects of the monthly cycle.  Her insight into the spiritual component makes this book different from others and thus, the one to get.  There is also a helpful 10 week study to do alone or in a group.  Her chapter notes provide further reading and insight into the topic.  It's well written and easy to understand.  The suggestions are varied to fit a variety of time limits, budgets, and needs.  I award this book 5 out of 5 pieces of bacon.

Lorraine Pintus has been involved in politics and public relations, sales and the corporate world.  She left that behind to raise her girls although she wrote in her spare time and had some weekend speaking engagements.  As her girls grew, so did her ministry to women.  She is now an author and speaker encouraging women.  She has also worked with Linda Dillow.