Friday, December 28, 2012

It's Just You and Me, Lord (a book review with a giveaway...)

So, I am having some difficulties here. Perennially sunny in spirit and mood, I have begun having very dark days. Since banning conventional medicine even for my chronic Multiple Sclerosis, I hesitated to contact a doctor and have been treating naturally, based on my homemade diagnosis...perimenopause. I suppose I will eventually see a doc, but my fermented cod liver oil and other health store supplements seem to be helping. Still, it was a tough month or so while everything kicked in. My daughter had begun laughing every time I started to cry, to the point that I was increasingly embarrassed and that would make me cry again...sigh. And as much as I would just love to blame it on my "old lady" hormones, there has been an awful lot to cry about lately...one senseless shooting after another, fiscal cliff and $7 a gallon milk prices...the price of gas. It is enough to put me over the edge any way you look at it. Then there was my long overdue reconciling with my health diagnosis. Last summer I embarked on my new career, teaching. I love teaching and learning how to do it...I was energized. I had begun to feel unappreciated at home, despite our adoptions, and was looking, like many women, outside the home for more appreciation. Only halfway through my program, I began substituting in our school district. It was then that reality sunk in...I really don't have the ability to teach. Oh, I might have the knowledge and even the desire, but I don't have the stamina.

Yes, I know that it was a big order to think that while raising a family with 11 children, I would still find the time and energy to work outside the home. Even if I didn't have MS, it would be difficult. However, the reality that my professional life was dead coupled with some dissatisfaction with parenting 11 children most of whom are somewhere on the spectrum, made the depression that much more intense and overwhelming. Is this really all there is, Lord?

'Its Just You and Me, Lord' Blog hop

In the middle of all of that, I received an invitation to read this book , Its Just You & Me, Lord and review it for the official blog hop. No disrespect to the author, Marion Stroud, but I wouldn't have gone looking for it. I was beyond looking for solutions and was firmly entrenched in despair; quite comfortably settled there, in fact. But since it came looking for me, I eagerly dove in hoping to at least be distracted. Thank-you, Ms. Stroud...what a treasure you have written. The book contains many prayers and reflections that women with various life circumstances would find interesting. I devoured it in two days.


According to the publisher,"It’s Just You and Me, Lord' offers heartfelt prayers to inspire and encourage women no matter where they are in life’s journey. Addressing common issues and providing practical prayers, Scripture, and quotes, author Marion Stroud encourages women to express honest and heartfelt communication with God." The book did all that for me, and more. Because it breaks down the issues women face at different stages of life, I was able to read the whole book in one fell swoop, and still have the ability to easily find prayers and inspiration for whatever age or stage is currently troubling me at that time. With children ranging in age from 6 to 19 and life issues that cover everything from early parenting years to caring for aging parents to downsizing in the workplace and in our homes, it is a treasure that touches on many difficult but real issues women face everyday; issues I face every day. It also brings home the answer for all of it...it really is just you and me, Lord. And that really is enough. Thank-you, Ms. Stroud for writing such a timely and inspiring book. If you would like a chance to win a copy of 'It's Just You and Me, Lord,' the publishers have supplied a copy for me to raffle off...Just leave a comment on this post for a chance to win. You may also earn a chance for following my blog and one for liking my Dwell in Glory facebook page...just follow the link here: Dwell in Glory facebook page. I will leave the raffle open through the New Year, in case the holidays keep people from participating, and will close this give away on January 6th, 2013! Good luck! I have been provided free of charge, a copy of "It's Just You and Me, Lord" free of charge, however the opinions of this book are my own.

Approved Publishers Excerpt from the book, Its Just You and Me, Lord...


Contents

Introduction

A Woman Within

Summer Suns Are Glowing

Will the Real Me Please Stand?

A Different Kind of Fast

Rest

What’s in a Name?

Hide-and-Seek

Free Indeed

How Big Is Your God?

Wholehearted

All Change . . .

Dreams and Visions

Just an Ordinary Day

Pierced Ears

Cultivating My Inner Garden

A Woman and Marriage

Becoming One

The Gift of Words

The Walled Garden

The Other Woman

I Thought He Was THE One

One Day My Prince Will Come—Won’t He?

Loving through the Dark Days

A Woman and Her Children

A Child’s Eye View

Night Watch

On the Outside

Steps of Faith

Blended Families

The Gift of Laughter

Screens

The Trouble Tree

Lean on Me

Lost and Found

A Different Kind of Prodigal

Someone Special

Not What I’d Have Chosen

A Woman and Her Friends

Friends Near and Far

You Never Bothered to Tell Me

For Your Ears Only

Fine Feathers

Grey Days

Speaking of the Unspeakable

If You Want to Walk on Water . . .

Will Someone Please Carry Me?

Love in Action

A Woman at Work

Monday Morning Musings

It Wasn’t on the List

Reaching My Limit

Teachers

Housework

Butterflies

The Enemy Within

Why, Lord, Why?

A Woman and Her Family of Faith

What a Privilege

Belonging

Mystery Worshipper

As It Was in the Beginning

Boundaries

A Christmas Prayer

Just Another Man?

A Woman and the Wider World

The Enemy Within

Have You Given Some Thought to Your Food?

Man Down!

The Suitcase

Looking on the Outside

The Return

Something Beautiful for God?

It’s Not Our Business

Sunlight and Shadows

A Woman Growing Older

Roots and Wings

The Crowning Years

The Past Is a Foreign Country

Prayers in the Night

Seize the Day

Downsizing

A Life Complete

Will the Real Me Please Stand?

I searched everywhere, determined to find wisdom and to understand the reason for things.

Ecclesiastes 7:25 NLT

She wants to live for once. But doesn’t know quite what that means. Wonders if she’s ever done it. If she ever will.

Alice Walker

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10:10

#

“I’m sorry, I don’t know your name,” she said.
“I always think of you as David’s mother.”
“Are you the dentist’s wife?” the nurse inquired,
advancing on me,
ready to take a sample of my blood.
“I think he’s wonderful!”

“I was expecting a real ‘earth-mother’ type
when I was told you had so many children,”
she murmured cheerfully,
waiting for a chance to introduce me
to the noisy group
of coffee-drinking women,
“but actually, you look quite elegant!”

Dear Lord, these people know me
only through my association
with someone else.
And really, I can’t blame them.
For there are days when I stop and wonder
who this woman really is,
whom I see daily in the mirror.
I am amazed at times
to think that she is me.

I’m usually too busy, Lord,
to think about
these challenging life questions.
But today,
when I have been reminded
that you intend your children
to have life in all its fullness,
I really need to ask you what you meant,
when you voiced such an all-encompassing remark
to your disciples.

I have to say,
if you were meaning “lots to do,”
then I’ve received your gift already.
My days are packed
and stretch into the night,
while I whirl around
cooking, cleaning, checking details,
and doing all the rest that must be done
to keep a family headed
in the right direction.

And yet somehow I can’t believe
that this is all my life is meant to be about.
If you have made me
unique and special,
as your Word tells me that you have,
numbering my days,
counting every hair and catching every tear,
blessing me with gifts,
and giving me a purpose to fulfill
in your economy,
then surely there is more to life
than what I do for other people.

Please help me, Lord.
Enable me to find that sacred space
where I can meet with you.
Then you can gently take apart
the many layered Russian doll
that often seems to represent my life,
and show me who the “real me” is,
so that I can embrace
all that I am, and all you have for me
with joy and thankfulness.

At any moment an unsatisfying life may become once more a grand adventure, if we will surrender it to God. The adventure of faith is exciting, difficult and exacting, but full of new discoveries, fresh turns and sudden surprises.

Paul Tournier

 


3 comments:

Lisa said...

I am so sorry that you are going through such a tough time. I will keep you in my prayers. The book sounds wonderful. I would love to win it. :-)

Lisa said...

I "liked" your FB page. :-)

Lisa said...

I am now a follower of your blog, too! :-)