I was imagining a Chicken Soup for the Soul style devotional book and that isn't want I received. Once I moved past my preconceived notions about what to expect, I found myself delighted and read quickly through the entire book in a short time.
Robert Petterson's book is described as "90 Devotions on Seeing God's Hand in Unlikely Places" and that is a very accurate depiction. Ancient and modern stories, set all around the world are told taking up an average of 2 1/2 pages each. Since the pages are just shy of 5x7", it takes only a few minutes to reach each devotion. I, however, found them fascinating enough that I had a hard time putting the book down.
While at first I felt a bit put off by it, I truly appreciated Petterson's selection of stories to include. Many of the stories would not at first glance seem to have anything to do with faith, religion, or spirituality. This is just the point, I believe. If we are paying attention, God is everywhere. There are no events in history He didn't attend!
I'm a sucker for books and movies that are inspired by true stories. I'm also a fan of being honest about mental health struggles. There can be a tendency to meld our struggles, whether with health, career, or relationships, into our identity. Or, equally damaging, into others' identities. "That's the lady with cancer. He can't keep a girlfriend to save his life. They only care about their jobs." We need to focus our eyes on beauty. Look for people's strengths instead of their flaws. This movie captures the complexity of human relationships and the entanglement of our actions and others' emotions. I found it to be captivating and relatable with strong acting.
This film has clean language by most standards, the violence is confined to PTSD flashbacks which were not guts and gore, and the core messages are pro-family. Due to the war-scenes, I would suggest parents of tweens/sensitive teens preview this movie prior to watching it with them. The singular "love scene" is done so tactfully that not even an article of clothing needs to be shed for the plot to move along and the characters' relationship to be portrayed. The actors brought a romantic connection alive through their [appropriate] body language throughout the whole film. They chose to use interaction, glances, and responses between a man and a woman to reveal the state of their romance. So much more classy than having them strip down and make-out in front of the camera as some films do. I have to admit, I'm impressed. I don't come by many wholesome movies with original content. I appreciate the realistic portrayal of life after/during trauma and the urging for parents to stand firmly in a healthy family unit, not allowing the pressures of this world to derail the precious calling of raising children.
Love your family, spend quality time with them, put their needs higher on your priority list and pay attention to the cues they are sending you in your relationship. Appreciate that which is good and be wary of fear, bitterness, and avoidance tactics. Love shown through a servant's heart is a strong and clear testimony.
While this book had less action and/or suspense than some of the others in the series, it kept my interest and the interest of my children ages 5-10. The way that relationships are depicted is very easy for children to relate to and ask questions about. My kids say things like, "I know someone who acts that way!" or "How come some people do/say that?" They can see the main characters struggle with how to respond in various scenarios, but reason and sound moral choices end up prevailing.
This book touches on the fear of losing a loved one. A relative tests positive for TB and is sent to a sanatorium to heal. The young girl has heard that sanatoriums are where TB patients are sent to die, so she is reluctant to talk about the matter, write to the patient who has gone away, and secretly fears the entire process. Eventually, she opens up and asks a relative, who is a trusted source of medical information, about sanatoriums and her fears are lightened. No parts of this book were too intense for my young listeners, but it is always a good idea to read ahead if you are planning to present the book to particularly sensitive children. For someone who may have lost a close relative to illness, for example, this book may trigger many emotions.
These are excellent historical-fiction books and we'll be sad when we've finished the series. I highly recommend them as my kids are more apt to learn about history when it's made to seem real and lifelike to them. Also, the subject matter is chronological and it helps my children to see how earlier events in our nation's history have shaped the nation as new challenges arrived.
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I am not much of a blog reader. There's only a couple I check on occasion:
Love this girl's writing... feels like she's a long distance friend. Well, her sister is my long-distance friend, so that probably helps. Either way, what an inspiration and encouragement- you just need to check out some of the places life has taken Leah and be strengthened and inspired by the love that oozes (yes, oooozes) from her heart for Jesus, His people and His creation!
If you like nummy recipes, or have special dietary needs (or both!) check it out. ALL of her recipes are Vegan, and many can be made gluten-free. I stumbled upon it when searching for dairy/egg free treats to make for my kiddo and have gotten hooked on several recipes. Okay, "hooked on" doesn't portray it well enough. How about "addicted to"? That's more fitting. Will definitely be going back for more!