Tag Archives: memoir

Review: When the Bough Breaks, by Bobbi Junior

When the Bough Breaks, by Bobbi Junior #bookreview #memoir #griefWhen the Bough Breaks, by Bobbi Junior (Angel Hope Publishing, 2016)

Nothing can prepare parents for the pain of losing an infant, either during pregnancy or following the birth. Bobbi Junior’s brief memoir about the death of her second child shortly after birth is, on the one hand, one couple’s personal story, and on the other hand, a window on how friends and loved ones can offer support to the grieving parents.

Told in short, conversational chapters, each charmingly illustrated by Ramona Furst, this is a quick read with a good take-away. Readers learn some of the things not to say, and in fact that it’s okay to say nothing but to be present in silence and with tears.

The book includes simple and practical things, too, creative means of comfort that worked for the Junior family and which may work for others. As the author points out, though, every person’s grief is different.

Favourite line:

Like carefully pushing aside a spider web before it could cling to me, I took great care in moving the comment aside before passing it by. I wouldn’t forget it, but I wouldn’t wear it, either. [On dealing with an unintentionally hurtful comment, page 29]

Bobbi Junior is also the author of The Reluctant Caregiver. For more about the author and her work, or to check out her blog, visit bobbijunior.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Serving Up God, by Colin MacDougall

Serving Up God: My Workplace as Ministry, by Colin MacDougall #bookreview #ChristianlivingServing Up God, by Colin MacDougall (WestBow Press, 2017)

This book is subtitled “My Workplace as Ministry,” and its memoir-style vignettes illustrate author Colin MacDougall’s premise that “Your purpose in life, simply put, is to live Christ where you are” [page xi].

With candour and gentle humour, chapters explore various facets of work and relationships: with customers, co-workers, and employees. It’s clear that the author doesn’t consider himself to have achieved perfection. As he “serves up God” in his business, as much as that impacts those around him, they in turn impact him – for the better.

Since most Christians spend far more time in the marketplace than in faith-based settings, books like this are a valuable resource on how to avoid a Monday morning disconnect from the Sunday morning worship.

The book begins with the idea that work is a gift given by God to be given back in worship, and that doing so involves seeing those around us as children of God: not judging, not trying to push people into their final identity as mature believers, but doing our best to help them move one step closer to God.

Employers and managers are encouraged to take time to know and pray for the employees in their charge, to lead by example, and to discipline fairly and always with the goal of helping employees reach their potential. Jesus is cited as the ultimate example of how to be a leader, as well as how to be a follower (in how He followed God the Father).

Favourite lines:

No matter how big or how small you may feel your job is, do it for the glory of God, and who knows the lives you will be able to impact. [page 6]

It’s important for me to recognize that, although I refer to my workplace as my ministry, it is really God’s ministry. I am quite fortunate to be along for the ride. [page 32]

This book is only 110 pages, but it’s filled with wisdom for Christians who want to live their faith on the job. Some sections apply specifically to managers/owners, but employees will find insights for co-worker and customer relationships as well.

Colin MacDougall has an extensive background in management, and at present he and his wife, Joanne, own a thriving cheesecake restaurant in Halifax, Nova Scotia, called Sweet Hereafter. Serving Up God is his first book. For more about the author and his book, visit servingupgod.com.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: The Kidney Donor’s Journey, by Ari Sytner

The Kidney Donor’s Journey, by Ari Sytner (Sytner Publishing House, 2016)

When Ari Sytner wanted to learn about live kidney donation, most of the resources he found were medical, and the connections he made often wanted his contact information… way before he was ready to take that step. Persistent and patient research over time did answer his questions and help him and his family to make the decision to donate one of his kidneys to a total stranger, but he knew there should be an easier way.

The Kidney Donor’s Journey is a safe, commitment-free way to learn more about what’s involved physically, medically, and morally. The author emphasizes that, as much as he encourages people to consider live kidney donation, this book isn’t about convincing readers. It’s about sharing the information and starting the thought processes necessary for an informed choice.

Kidney donors tend to be reluctant to discuss what they’ve done, because some sacrifices are best kept private. Nonetheless, Ari Sytner chose to share his story with the goal of raising awareness of the opportunity to save another person’s life (and by so doing to impact that person’s family).

This book is subtitled “100 Questions I Asked Before Donating My Kidney,” although the author laughingly admits that he didn’t really ask if he could get pregnant afterward. That question’s included for women who are investigating the prospect.

Chapters address specific topics, from what prompted Rabbi Sytner to start his journey, to the screening process, to how to tell the various people in one’s life that one’s considering such a thing, and on to the surgery, recovery, and future life.

The Kidney Donor’s Journey is written in a gentle, easy-to-read style, carefully worded for clarity. It’s an approachable resource that tells one man’s story in a way that allows others to discover if they want to go further in the process. Even if they decide against donation, they’ll be better informed on the subject and can share what they’ve learned with those around them.

The book is based on the author’s experience in the US health-care system, so readers around the world will find differences in their local opportunities. Even within the US, there will be differences between states. More personal investigation would be needed anyway, for the reader who wants to go ahead with kidney donation. As the author points out, he’s not a doctor or a lawyer or other official expert. He’s just giving us the layperson’s insider view of his own story.

The back cover of the book tells us that “Ari Sytner is a serial optimist. He is a rabbi, social worker, therapist, inspirational speaker, Huffington Post contributor, blogger, CEO, organizational strategist, consultant and proud kidney donor.” For more about the author, visit asytner.com, and stop by his blog.

[Review copy provided by the author.]

My Corner of the Vineyard (Guest Post)

My Corner of the Vineyard

by Christine Lindsay

Looking back almost 17 years ago now, I started out as a writer hungry to share my memoirs as a birth-mother, a woman who relinquished her baby to adoption.  But I was far from ready to write that book, far from ready to give comfort to others. The Lord redirected my energy into writing Christian fiction.

He used that time to refine me as a birth-mother, to refine me as the woman He wanted me to be. He did that by helping me see who I really was in His eyes. I had so much healing still to go through at the beginning of my writing career. Like I say in my non-fiction book,

“Typical. Most people going through emotional healing think they’re healed long before they actually are.”

I’m so glad today that my heavenly Father held me back from publishing that non-fiction book in the year 2000, when I was chomping at the bit to stand on a soapbox and tell the world how I felt—that relinquishing my baby broke my heart. That book would have done little to help others. It would have only allowed me to toot my own horn.

This past summer the Lord opened the doors—after all these years—to publish that true-life story that started me writing in the first place. Finding Sarah Finding Me is my birth-mother memoirs, about what God taught me through that tumultuously emotional journey, and also the heart-wrenching and joyful stories from other adoption triads. But with relief I see that long-held-back book is now helping others through their adoption story. It’s helping women see themselves as God sees them.

Christine Lindsay and her birth-daughter, Sarah

Whenever I speak in public I get the great honor of hugging some hurting woman. They range from adoptees, to adoptive moms, women who suffered infertility, or women who married the man they used to call Mr. Wrong because of an unplanned pregnancy, and most quietly of all, women just like me who sidle up to my side—birth-moms.

It’s been a long journey, certainly not an easy one, but to see God working in this part of the vineyard, the part where one woman gives her baby up to another mom and dad for the sake of the baby, is a really special corner. I live here and at long last this birth-mom is happy.

Finding Sarah, Finding Me, by Christine LindsayBook Blurb:

Sometimes it is only through giving up our hearts that we learn to trust the Lord.

Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.

Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up…and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way.

Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers will see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.

AUTHOR BIO

Christine Lindsay is the author of multi-award-winning Christian fiction with complex emotional and psychological truth, who always promises a happy ending. Tales of her Irish ancestors who served in the British Cavalry in Colonial India inspired her multi-award-winning series Twilight of the British Raj, Book 1 Shadowed in Silk, Book 2 Captured by Moonlight, and explosive finale Veiled at Midnight.

Christine’s Irish wit and use of setting as a character is evident in her contemporary and historical romances Londonderry Dreaming and Sofi’s Bridge.

A busy writer and speaker, Christine, and her husband live on the west coast of Canada, and she has just released her non-fiction book Finding Sarah—Finding Me: A Birthmother’s Story.

Please drop by Christine’s website ChristineLindsay.org or follow her on Amazon on Twitter. Subscribe to her quarterly newsletter, and be her friend on Pinterest , Facebook, and Goodreads

Read Chapter One of Finding Sarah Finding Me: Click HERE

Purchase links:

Amazon (Paperback and Kindle)
Barnes and Noble

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Review: Simply Tuesday, by Emily P. Freeman

Simply Tuesday, Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World, by Emily P. FreemanSimply Tuesday, by Emily P. Freeman (Revell, 2015)

Subtitled “Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World,” Simply Tuesday calls readers to live in the everyday moments without the pressure to perform or to push on to the next big thing. Even the cover art, a quiet bench with birds and dragonflies, calls us to slow down.

Sections consider our home, work, relationships and souls, as well as a vision for what’s ahead. Readers are invited to find ourselves and our loved ones in the present, and to be present to Jesus with us. The book is part memoir and part an exploration of Christian living, shared by one who’s still learning through life (as opposed to one who’s nailed the answers).

It’s approachable and easy to relate to, an invitation to embrace and celebrate our smallness instead of condemning ourselves for our humanity. My favourite lines:

What gives moments meaning is not the moments themselves but the presence of Christ with us in the midst of them. (p. 47)

True belief is movement toward God even in the midst of confusion or frustration or fear. (p. 78)

I can’t prevent storms from coming, but I can decide not to invent my own. (p. 209)

Emily P. Freeman writes with a transparency and a conversational style that will be familiar to anyone who follows her blog. Something I hadn’t noticed in her blog posts that made the book a little harder for me is the fluidity with which she shifts from past to present and back again. We do this in conversations, to add immediacy: “Fifteen years ago, I’m working at a local high school… It’s morning and the bell rings…” (p. 206) In printed form, I find this jarring. Maybe it’s the editor in me.

Simply Tuesday offers refreshment for anyone struggling in the try-hard life while her soul aches for a simpler pace and a bit of fresh air. It’s not anti-performance or opposing busyness. Instead, it’s a glimpse of what life might look like if we began to nurture the small things in our lives and if we accepted ourselves as who we are instead of always pushing to be more than we are. Highly recommended for weary souls.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Love Triangles, by Bobbie Ann Cole

Love Triangles: Discovering Jesus the Jew in Today's Israel, by Bobbie Ann ColeLove Triangles, by Bobbie Ann Cole (Scrollchest, 2015)

Part travelogue, part memoir, and part biblical exposition, Love Triangles is a an insightful read for Christians. The book’s subtitle is Discovering Jesus the Jew in Today’s Israel.

Bobbie Ann Cole and her husband went to Israel as short-term volunteers, and stayed for a few years as immigrants. Love Triangles paints a picture of a land of beauty as well as danger, rich in heritage and full of meaning for a Christian wanting to know Jesus better.

Bobbie Ann is a Messianic Jew, and her husband, Butch, is a Christian. She talks about Jesus’ birth and death and certain instances of His life, and shows the extra layer of meaning which His Jewish culture would have given them. In some cases she expands the stories with some prayerful “what if” imaginings, for example Joseph’s reaction to Mary’s pregnancy. The book is clear that these are wonderings, not facts, but it does make a person stop and, well… wonder.

I’d like to re-read those sections of the book again, to deepen my understanding of Jesus’ earthly life. That’s definitely my favourite thread in the narrative.

The couple’s experiences living in Israel are interesting, as well. I had no idea about the difficulty faced by Messianic Jews, who believe Jesus (Yeshua) is the Messiah. Bobbie And explains why this is so offensive to other Jews, and reveals that, although it may be changing, the immigration process is designed to accept Jew, Christian, atheist or believer in anything else, but to reject Jews who believe in Jesus.

Love Triangles will entertain and educate… and it will inspire Christians to pray for Jewish believers and for the chosen Land of Israel itself. The book actually ends with some suggested prayers.

Bobbie Ann Cole presently divides her time between Canada and the UK. She’s also the author of the spiritual autobiography, She Does Not Fear the Snow. You can learn more about the author at her website, Testimony Train.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Review: Out of the Blue, by Jan Wong

Out of the Blue, by Jan WongOut of the Blue, by Jan Wong (Jan Wong, 2012)

This book’s subtitle says it all: “A memoir of workplace depression, recovery, redemption, and, yes, happiness.”

Jan Wong was an award-winning journalist and best-selling author, on staff at the Toronto Globe and Mail, one of Canada’s largest newspapers. She was tough, focused, and unstoppable. Until national backlash to one of her articles triggered death threats and caused the paper to withdraw its support (despite having approved the story in the first place).

I love the title of this book, with its double meaning. The crisis hit “out of the blue” but also the book is Ms. Wong’s story of coming through and out of the “blue” of depression. In the preface she says, “I want to tell you that there is day after night, and hope on the other side.” [p. 10]

Oddly enough, I heard about the book in a conversation about independently-published works. Since I’m now an indie author myself, I listened closer, only to recognize the author from her syndicated columns in my local newspaper. I like her columns, and her story caught my interest.

Out of the Blue is a transparent look back at one person’s major depressive episode. Jan Wong is a gifted writer, and the text flows like a novel except where she adds portions of relevant research. Those never feel like info dumps, but they do remind us we’re reading non-fiction. The author has reconstructed this period in her life from detailed notes and conversations with family and friends, and she offers the disclaimer that her perception of events may not have always been accurate. (For example, was the doctor’s receptionist shrill and impatient or merely efficient? Hypersensitivity affects the interpretation.)

Although every person’s experience with depression is different, I learned a lot from the information she shared. Perhaps my chief take-away was that talk therapy is at least as important as medication, and that the sooner a person can admit they need help, the sooner they can begin to heal. I was startled to learn that one reason we don’t hear more about workplace-induced stress and depression is that employer/employee settlements routinely involve a gag clause forbidding the employee to speak of what happened. Imagine what that does for your healing! Fortunately for us, Ms. Wong held her ground against that clause in her own settlement.

As a Christian, I didn’t necessarily embrace the evolutionary theories in the book, but overall it gave me a much better awareness of the effects of depression. It was also an interesting read, and I was glad to see a positive ending. Because I normally review faith-based writing, I do want to include a language warning. Chapter 3 begins with a burst of profanity. If that’s an issue for you, just skip the first few paragraphs. These words are snippets of quotes from the overwhelming amount of hate mail Ms. Wong received in response to her news article. Their inclusion is to give us a sense of her circumstances.

Canadian author Jan Wong teaches journalism in Fredericton, New Brunswick, and is a columnist for Toronto Life. For more about the author and her work, visit her website: janwong.ca. If you visit, take note of the image showing that Out of the Blue made the bestseller list (despite being independently published) of the very newspaper that failed to support her as an employee in distress.

[Review copy from the public library.]

Review: Living Beyond My Circumstances, by Deb Willows & Steph Beth Nickel

Living Beyond My Circumstances, by Deb Willows and Steph Beth NickelLiving Beyond My Circumstances, by Deborah L. Willows with Steph Beth Nickel (Castle Quay Books, 2014)

Deb Willows is a Canadian athlete who has competed internationally in swimming, slalom, wheelchair soccer and boccia. She’s a Paralympic medal-holder and record-setting swimmer, and a woman of courage and faith.

Her memoir gives readers an inside look at life in a wheelchair (as a child and an adult), at representing Canada on the international sports stage, and at how faith, determination and family support enabled Deb to indeed live beyond her circumstances.

This is a short book, engaging and conversational in style, and well worth reading. It’s organized into sections instead of a straight chronology, to better highlight facets of Deb’s life and experiences.

Because Deb is most famous for her sporting achievements, that’s where the book starts. Then it peeks into her childhood and growing-up years, including the challenges of school, prom and travel with a disability. Deb credits her parents and siblings for not making things easy for her. Her supportive parents made sure she had the necessary tools to do things herself—some built by her father—instead of doing everything for her.

Deb writes:

“I’m so thankful for family, friends, teachers and others who stood behind me. They didn’t try to curb my enthusiasm—even when they had no idea how I could reach my goals.” (p. 63)

Because of that, she reached many of her goals, becoming a Paralympian, a business-owner, taking a Hawaiian cruise, and living on her own. Independent living for Deb requires personal care staff and a service dog.

Reading this book felt like getting to know this amazing woman, and I appreciated the insights into the different facets of her life experience. My favourite part was learning about service dogs, but what I will take from this book is a truth Deb learned after a disappointing Paralympics event in Seoul, and which applies to us all:

“In the process of realizing I wasn’t going to win any medals or set any records, I made some important discoveries. I was still Debbie Willows. God could still use me to do many things. I still had value. And I was still in His care.” p. 72

Deborah L. Willows and her co-writer, Steph Beth Nickel, have given us an interesting and encouraging true-life story that can change how we see people in wheelchairs and those with other disabilities. To learn more about the authors, visit their websites (links at the beginning of the paragraph). And check out my interview with them.

[Review copy from my personal library.]

Interview: Co-authors Deb Willows & Steph Beth Nickel

Living Beyond My Circumstances is a story “of hope and inspiration for everyone who has a dream they want to achieve and obstacles to overcome.” I’m excited to have former Paralympian Deb Willows and her co-writer, Steph Beth Nickel, visiting today.

Deb Willows and Steph Beth Nickel

Steph, Deb and Sugar

A little bit about our two guests:

Deb Willows has represented Canada numerous times on the world stage in swimming, slalom, wheelchair soccer and boccia, winning medals and setting world records. She has written several articles and spoken in many venues. Deb’s work has appeared in the books Heal Our Land and Everyday Grace, Everyday Miracles.

Steph Beth Nickel is a freelance writer and editor. She is a member of The Word Guild and part of the InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship and Christian Editing Services team. She blogs about her various interests at Steph Nickel’s Eclectic Interests and guest posts on several other blogs.

Janet: Welcome, Deb and Steph, and thanks for taking time to join us. Congratulations on the release of your new book! All releases are special to the authors, but what’s it like, Deb, when it’s your personal story?

Deb: Thank you. It has been very surreal. I still get up in the morning and check for the boxes of books in case it was a dream. I’ve wanted to write my story since I was 10.

Janet: Such an exciting dream come true! Not your first, either, Deb… your book shares many accomplishments. And Steph, what’s it like bringing a true story to life when you first had to learn the story?

Steph: Deb made the learning part easy: from recording events she wanted included in the book to inviting me to the Cerebral Palsy Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony (wow! were my eyes opened to the world of Paralympic athletes; and make no mistake, they are athletes in every sense of the word). We also spent a significant amount of time together at her home in Huntsville. It was wonderful getting to know Deb and her family in that environment. Believe me; my life is much richer because of this whole experience. I am humbled and honoured to have been allowed to help Deb fulfill yet another of her dreams.

Janet: Tell us a bit about Living Beyond My Circumstances—just a teaser, because readers will see the full summary after we chat.

Deb: It’s about life and living it despite what the world said. It’s about hopes, dreams, challenges, going for gold, and learning to depend on a faithful God.

Steph: Runaway wheelchairs. A mischievous poodle. World travel. Trails blazed. A woman who saw every obstacle as something to be conquered. The family and friends who encouraged her. And so very much more.

Janet: Deb, it sounds like your whole life has been marked by courageous choices. Did sharing your experiences in book form call on a different type of courage?

Deb: Yes, many of these stories were hard to write because I had to re-live the pain and the excitement. But if this book gives courage and hope to others, it was worth it.

Signing copies of the book.

Signing copies of the book.

Janet: What do you hope readers take away from this book?

Deb:  That God is faithful and trusting in Him is the only way to have joy. I also hope people will learn that people with a disability are people first and start seeing the person not the disability.

Janet: Steph, what are your thoughts?

Steph: By God’s grace and in His strength, we can face whatever challenges life presents. Deb refers to CP as “a slight setback.” I believe we can learn to view the challenges we face in the same way.

Janet: How did the two of you connect for this project?

Deb: A family friend introduced us over email. I’ve known Ruth Waring most of my life.

Steph: Through our mutual friend and fellow author, Ruth Waring.

Janet: I know Ruth too! Small world! Probably every team has a different approach, but what worked best for you in terms of collaborating?

Deb: I started by putting info on tapes. Steph took those tapes and typed it on the computer; then we worked on stories one at a time. Steph knows a lot about me. I’m glad we’ve become good friends! I type with a pen in my mouth, so I’m slow. It was so cool to see the pages unfold as we worked over email and some days, by phone. Steph stayed with me a few times and we accomplished much during her visits. It was good for Steph to see how I live because it helped her write more authentically.

Steph: Deb’s incredible patience and hospitality. Plus her enthusiasm when we got a scene “just right.” That fired me up and inspired me to keep writing. Deb is so much more than my co-author; she has become my friend. And that is one of the greatest treasures I’ve gained from our partnership.

Janet: What’s something that you look back and laugh over?

Deb: Steph suggested we have raspberries on the orange sherbet and I thought it was strange, but let me tell you, it is good!

Steph: It’s just a little thing, but I remember visiting Deb – and her wide supply of hot drinks for the Keurig. When I was ready to leave, she asked if I’d miss Tate, her service dog, or the coffeemaker more. Um . . .

Janet: Memoirs are often difficult to market. What are some of your plans to help readers discover this book?

Deb: I believe God is the greatest choreographer and His timing is perfect. Yes, it’s been a long process and at times, I was tired of waiting, but He has a reason for this time. Being an Olympic year, I believe will be a benefit. I hope to get some books into the hands of some of the Paralympians.

Steph: Deb has connections all over the world. That will help. (grin) Also, Deb’s willingness to organize book launches and attend speaking engagements; our social media presence; and the diligent support of the online community and our publishers, Larry and Marina Willard of Castle Quay Books, will help a lot.

Janet: What would you say to someone considering writing their memoir?

Deb: Just do it. Keep Kleenex® close.

Steph: Never underestimate the value of your story. Instead of (or as well as) writing a book, you may want to start a blog and build an online following (if you don’t already have friends all around the globe like someone I know). If you are not a writer, you may want to partner with someone who is. And if you are a writer but don’t know much about creative non-fiction, I would encourage you to do some research . . . and read Living Beyond My Circumstances. (another grin)

Janet: Is there a particular song or Scripture verse that’s made a big difference for you?

Deb: Philippians 4:13, which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” and the song “Because He Lives.”

Steph: When NJ Lindquist introduced the attendees at the Write Canada conference to Johnny Reid’s “Today I’m Gonna Try and Change the World,” it made me cry. I have claimed it as my theme song.

Janet: And my random questions of the day: Cake or Pie? What’s your favourite season?

Deb: Pie, blueberry or raspberry. Autumn: the colours, the smells, no bugs, no snow!

Steph: Just about any flavour of cream pie. Coconut. Raspberry. Chocolate. I love the autumn – always have. The colours. The smells. The crunch of leaves underfoot. And now I want to go for a walk in the leaves and come home to a big slice of pie.

Janet: See how well the two of you match! And I’d love to join you for pie and an autumn outing. Ladies, thank you both for taking time to chat with me today, and congratulations again. I hope your book inspires many. I’ll be posting my (positive) review next week.

===

Living Beyond My Circumstances, by Deb Willows and Steph Beth Nickel

Living Beyond My Circumstances, by Deborah L. Willows with Steph Beth Nickel, foreword by Joni Eareckson Tada

When Deb Willows was diagnosed with cerebral palsy 50 years ago, her parents were advised to “put her in an institution and get on with your lives.” Experts believed parents were incapable of raising disabled children. But God had other plans.

Deb’s parents challenged her to see her severe limitations as opportunities, to dream big dreams and to work hard to accomplish them. Overcoming many challenges, Deb has blazed the trail for other disabled people, representing Canada around the world as a Paralympian and the first disabled boccia ball referee.

Her story is one of hope and inspiration for everyone who has a dream they want to achieve and obstacles to overcome.

Deb Willows has truly lived beyond her circumstances and demonstrates that with God’s help we can all accomplish great things!

Living Beyond My Circumstances is available through your local bookstore or at www.castlequay.com or other online retailers. To learn more about the writers, please visit Deb Willows and Steph Beth Nickel.

Review: 30 Days: A Devotional Memoir, by D. M. Webb

30 Days: A Devotional Memoir30 Days: A Devotional Memoir, by D. M. Webb (Ambassador International, 2013)

Spiritual growth and change often spring from the everyday moments. In 30 Days, D. M. Webb shares through Scripture and anecdotes how God met and cared for her in a 3-year stretch of trials and turmoil. 30 Days is a transparent look at one woman’s life lessons that will encourage and challenge readers in their own lives.

This is a memoir devotional, but it’s not the conventional “life story” autobiography type. These are memoir snippets, each focused to the theme of the particular day’s selection.

Although our life experiences have been very different, D. M. Webb’s devotional memoir connected with me in several places. We both value the book The Search for Significance, by Robert McGee. We both believe that “prayer is the strongest medium there is.” (Kindle location 76)

The lesson that stood out most to me was that it’s okay to ask God “why?” in the hard times – it’s not lack of faith, nor is it demanding and ungrateful. D. M. Webb helped me understand that there’s a way to ask in trust, and that the asking opens us to understand what God wants to teach us in our circumstances.

My favourite line:

My prayers are for those lost in the dark to realize that the Light is nothing to be scared of. (Kindle location 229)

I love how 30 Days ends with two stories passed on from the author’s mother. The stories in this book – and our own personal experiences with the God Who Cares – have value. They need to be shared with our peers and with the generation to come.

30 Days is available in ebook and paper. D. M. Webb (Daphne Self) is also the author of Mississippi Nights. She blogs at Rebel Book Reviews.

[Review copy provided by the author.]