Sunday, March 30, 2008

"Cold Tangerines" - Book Review

I first heard about "Cold Tangerines" by Shauna Niequist through Sara's Blog "Shortstop". It was there that she shared her love for this book, and offered 10 copies in a giveaway to the those who left comments on her blog.
Instead, she was brave enough to ask Zondervan Publishers to provide 30 copies, one for every person who commented. They agreed! How cool was that? I was very excited to have actually won something and then to have the book arrive on my doorsteps soon thereafter.

"Cold Tangerines" reads as fresh as it looks, with its glossy, vibrant orange cover.

As I read her stories it was like sitting down to coffee with a good friend as he/she opened up the pages of their life that had been written for them, and the lessons that had been learned along the way. Between the pages there was laughter, tears shed, and head nods in agreement. There were numerous quotes and chapters with green post-it notes that I had tagged just begging to be shared. There were entire sections I wished to simply tear out, and send in the mail to a friend or family member who could really use these words of refreshment.

The writing was deeply honest. Many stories were shared that most of us would never imagine divulging to just anyone, let alone a good friend, but the author does this with amazing faith in her readers, lest she would sit in the seat of judgment from those less willing to be true about themselves. I respected her for that. So often relationships with people are so superficial. When I first meet someone, I quickly grow weary of the customary "foo-fa" of conversation. I really just want to say to them, "Tell me who you really are, what is your story, and what makes you tick?!"

This book is for anyone who has ever experienced love, jealousy, family, death, a new baby, sin, failure, frailty, joy, disappointment, and friendship. It is especially for that aspiring writer who needs boost in the arm and is wondering if the world will ever allow them to share their own words, too someday.

Some of my favorite chapters were: "swimming" (wonderful definitions of friendship), "eggs and baskets" (where the disappointment's in life can be "good" Romans 8:28), and "soup from bones" (how God can make the crumbles of our lives into something glorious). There were simply too many wonderful quotes and stories to share, therefore I can only highly recommend you place this book at the top of your "to read list" and experience the flavors of these stories for yourself.

In closure, this was a wonderful book about the celebrations of life. It made me want to make the most of every day. To turn the stagnant parts of my own life and home into something beautiful - worthy of sharing and an offering to my Lord.

Truly the authors own words best described her book:

"You pray for wonderful, honest, gritty, tender stories to write, but then you have to live through them".


*Please be sure to visit "Shortstop" for additional Book Reviews and later this week for a "Question and Answer Session" with Author, Shawna Niequist.

*Special thanks to Sara at "Shortstop" and Zondervan Publishers for the opportunity to experience "Cold Tangerines".

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Welcome Spring and Celebrations!

Well here we are, March 20th, the First Day of Spring. So thrilled that it's official!

For weeks now, in the midst of the dreary weather we've been having, I've been pining for this day.

The crocuses are blooming. The daffodils are begging for a beautifully warm day to open themselves from their cocoon, the tulips, and the lilacs are growing in stature as they await for their appointed time. The seed and flower catalogs are arriving in the mail. The seed pods we've purchased are needing to be planted. We are waiting for a nice day to dig up the dirt in the new raised garden beds that my husband built from railroad ties. Of course the weeds have started their ritual of taunting us as they stake their ground in any place they can possibly find fit to grow.

With the arrival of spring, we are quickly ushering in the celebration of Easter. This year is the earliest Easter any of us will ever see the rest of our lives! And only the most elderly of our population have ever seen it this early previously (95 years old or above!). And none of us have ever, or will ever, see it a day earlier! Here are the facts:

The next time Easter will be this early (March 23) will be the year 2228 (220 years from now). The last time it was this early was 1913 (so if you're 95 or older, you are the only ones that were around for that!).

Pretty interesting!

Along with Easter, 3 days later we will be celebrating our son's 5th Birthday. I had already been feeling like this year had gone by surprisingly too fast, but when I think back to the day that he was born, it makes these last few years seem like they have gone by even faster! Our plans are to have a party at Carl's Jr. Play Land with some buddies of his. Have some pirate theme cupcakes and open presents. He of course is very excited to be a big boy!

Here's hoping you have a reflective and celebratory Easter weekend!