Gone A Girl, A Violin, A Life Unstrung Book Review

I have been a musician all of my life.  My mother would stand me on the table in the local restaurant and I would sing my little heart out.  What did I sing, you ask?  A perfect, 3-year old rendition of “You Are My Sunshine”.  To this day I know every word and love to sing it.  I moved on to vocal lessons, playing flute in the school band, the piano was self-learned until college then I discovered it’s beauty and to this day practice often and play whenever the opportunity arises. I was not a child prodigy.  I was very talented, I still am, but living, breathing, and dying music is not what my life is all about.

Let’s talk about Min Kim.  A child prodigy, who, from the age of six, shared her violin ‘voice’ with the world.  Well, at least until it got stolen.  That’s a huge part of this story and understanding the child prodigy.  Many musicians will tell you, myself included, that your instrument is a real extension of who you are.  If something happens to it, it is quite possibly the most destructive thing that can happen in life.  Min’s story is of a life that is very, nearly destroyed by the loss of her Stradivarius. Living, breathing, and dying music, as a violin soloist, is what her life is about.

This incredible autobiography is both motivating and frightening.  It tells of a life controlled by outside influences and influencers.  Of a child who has no voice until she discovers the voice of the violin.  Of victimization, of an eating disorder, of a dysfunctional family, of…  Through it all, a musical treasure hones her craft and becomes world renowned.

My favorite quote is in the section that speaks of her anorexia.  All those with talent will recognize the truth in these words.

Talent is a burden you can’t throw off.  It can drink or drug you to death.  It can depress you into suicide.  But you can’t have the talent surgically removed, the weight of it.  Only with death do you part.  (pg. 207)

I highly recommend this book.  I’ve been motivated by it, frustrated with some of the characters in her life, really angry at those who wanted to use her talent for their own gain, and above all delighted that she was able to move on to a great future becoming stronger and stronger each day.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Crown and Blogging For Books.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

5 Sentence Friday – Judging Others

I’ve given a lot of thought to judging others lately.  It seems our culture wants us to not be openly judgmental.  That somehow it’s against God’s Word.  I’ve concluded it is not. We are human.  We will judge but, we need to be sure we are doing so in line with what God/Jesus has to say about it (John 5:30).


  1. Jesus was totally human and totally God. He judged.  I am totally human.  I judge.
  2. It is not wrong to judge.
  3. When judging we have to take ourselves out of the situation making it ALL about the other person, and what is best for them.
  4. When we choose to judge we must know His Word to know His will.’
  5. I can do nothing apart from God.  NOTHING!!!

So there you have it, with a final thought.  Knowing the Word is paramount to knowing God’s will.  Stay in the Word, my friends.

Blessings to you and yours!


Gail, over at Bible Love Notes, has written a great post on this issue.  Check it out!

5 Sentence Friday – Obedience and Submission

While reading my Bible this morning I came across Samuel’s words to Saul when God displaced him on the throne for not obeying His command to destroy every Amalekite and all they had.  The words of 1 Samuel 15:22-23 are powerful and convicting words for all of us.

22 But Samuel replied,

“What is more pleasing to the Lord:
    your burnt offerings and sacrifices
    or your obedience to his voice?
Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice,
    and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.
23 Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft,
    and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.
So because you have rejected the command of the Lord,
    he has rejected you as king.”

  1. Listen gives me the picture of my mother holding my chin between her thumb and forefinger to give her my total attention.
  2. God is pleased with my obedience and submission
  3. Obedience is simply doing what is asked of you
  4. Submission is knowing that someone who truly loves you has your best interests at heart when asking for your compliance.
  5. Rebellion and stubbornness are sins we often don’t recognize because they are part of the culture we live in.

I am convicted and challenged by these words.  Are you?

Blessings to you and yours!


5 Sentence Friday

  1. When we argue and/or complain we are showing our “me attitudes”.
  2. Our light is dimmed by our perverse choices.
  3. As children of the King, we are held to a higher standard.
  4. This world is so perverse (warped) Believers will stand out.
  5. Complaining and arguing are sins.

As I worked through the five sentences I was once again convicted of my own sin.  As modern Christians we tend not to see arguing, complaining, grumbling… as sins. Discontent is evident everywhere. In our homes, our jobs, our churches, relationships,… someone is always complaining about something.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  We can (and must) make a conscious choice to stop the animosity.  Both the Old and the New Testament tell us to love our neighbors.  (see Luke 10:27 and  Leviticus 19:18) Are we being loving when we’re constantly complaining about something or someone?  I think not!  Make the right choice.  Quit complaining.

Blessings to you and yours!


10 Ways To Build Lasting Friendships

When I was in my younger years I often wondered if I would have Best Friends later on in life. Guess what? I do. I have incredible friends in a range of friendships from bare acquaintances to BFF’s.

Have you ever met someone and immediately said to them you’re going to be my best friend.  Of course not!  Being a friend is a deliberate process.  It’s about spending time together. Getting to know one another. Sharing ups and downs and in-betweens.  Supporting them, praying for them, sharing with them, accepting them… That’s what grows strong friendships.

It’s nice to have friends that share interests and hobbies.  However, if we surround ourselves with exact copies of ourselves it gets really boring.  One of my BFF’s shares few commonalities with me, except a desire to grow closer to our Jesus.

In building strong, lasting friendships there are a few things that really don’t matter.  Age is one of them.  Yes, people of our own age share similar likes and experiences but those of other age groups have much to teach us.  Friendships cross many boundaries. Things like status, education, marriage, distance, can be overcome when two people say let’s be friends.

There’s a beautiful contemporary Christian song that points to the fact that God gives us our friends.  God Gave Me You by Dave Barnes really says it all.  Check out these lyrics:

God gave me you for the ups and downs

God gave me you for the days of doubt

For when I think I’ve lost my way

There are no words here left to say, it’s true

God gave me you.

What does God say about friendship? Check these verses out:

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12-14

Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses. Proverbs 27:5-6

So, here are my 10 Ways To Build Strong Friendships:

There’s a Kroger commercial that ends with a woman saying, “My momma always said if you want to have a friend be one.” Nothing more needs to be said, does it?

Not all of my friends are women.  Men add a richness to our lives that is unique in its own way.

Blessings to you and yours!
First posted in October of 2016

Bread of Angels Book Review

This is the best fiction book I’ve read in a long time.  In Bread of Angels, Tessa Afshar put her finger on the pulse of the First Century and I felt like I was actually there.  In this delightful story you will find first love… secrets… plotting… jail time… betrayal… successes… failures… trauma… death… life changes…

The book is beautifully written.  The characters enter the story at just the right point.  The story encapsulates the life of Lydia, the seller of purple, from the New Testament.  Each chapter has its own verse of the Bible to help the reader frame that portion of the narrative.

It’s rare to find a quote from a fiction book that is worth keeping in my heart.  But find one I did.  “I follow a scarred Redeemer.  Somehow I think our scars become holy in the shadow of His.  And His plans are made perfect in the demolition of our own devices.”  (page 290)

I highly recommend this book.  Put it on your summer reading list. I’m definitely going to check out some of Tessa Afshar’s other books.

Blessings to you and yours!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  I receive no residual remuneration from the connecting links.    I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Monday Musings

Why is it that every time I try to stick to my healthy eating plan I fail?  I’m much better at sticking to things than this.  This eating plan is really a great way to eat.  I’ve lost a great deal of weight on it in the past and then life-stress got hold of me and zappo….  Any suggestions?

It’s an absolutely gorgeous day in Northwest Ohio.  Sunny.  Mild.  Perfect day for outdoor work (I’ll be going out to spin trim in a bit.  When the batteries charge.).  I’ve been wanting to separate and replant some of my daylilies.  Perhaps that will happen, too.

One of my friends commented that their pastor’s sermon was about giving to God out of our best not out of our left-overs.  His suggestion was to commit to giving God at least 5 minutes of prayer, 5 minutes of worship, and 5 minutes of reading His word every day. That’s not a lot of time.  Certainly, one that is doable.

I have a little flip calendar by this computer.  Today’s verse, in today’s English, is: If you will stir up this inner power, you will never be afraid. 2 Timothy 1:8  I gave this some thought and came to this conclusion, this inner power (God’s strength) is ours to ask for. And yet, we don’t.  Preferring to act independently we choose to do things our way.  Ah, yes, the timeless classic comes to mind – – I Did It My Way.   In my personal experience, when I’ve chosen to do things my way something always happens to turn me to God’s way.

Blessings to you and your’s!


Book Review – What Hope Remembers

Are you looking for a great rainy day or warm summer afternoon read?  Johnny Alexander has written the book for you.  Check out What Hope Remembers.  There’s just enough drama and intrigue to hold your attention for that lazy, hazy day.

Well developed characters and the plot kept me wanting to know what were the secrets they were keeping.  Even the ‘bad guys’ were believable.

Real life issues and challenges kept me turning the pages to discover what was going to add a new twist to the story.

I’m giving this book 5 stars and recommending it highly!

Blessings to you and yours!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Revel, a division of Baker Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Keep Your Lamp Burning

Mother Theresa once said, “To keep a lamp burning we have to keep putting oil in it.”  The same applies to life.  Unless we continue to learn, to grow, to excel, to know, we will stagnate and become just an empty lamp waiting …

There are several Bible verses that refer to lamps.  Proverbs 31:18b tells us ‘her lamp does not go out at night’.  This is not a reference to the night-light we use to get us to the bathroom in the middle of the night because our bladders are shot from childbirth or our bodies are ageing.  The night lights of ancient times were kept lit so a weary traveller would know a welcoming home.  The use of lamps in this verse suggests we are not only to be hospitable but ready to be hospitable.

5 Wick Christian

Multi-wick oil lamp from 1st Century Israel

Psalm 18:28 tells us we do not keep our own lamps burning.  God does.  That is a truly interesting statement.  When we have reached some maturity in our life walk with Jesus, we start to learn that our lives are all about Him.  He is not only the Light of the World but the individual Light of our lives.  As we grow, more wicks are added to our lamps making us a brighter and brighter light.  (Ancient people added more wicks to their lamps to create a brighter glow.)

The Parable of the Ten Virgins is another well-known lamp story (Matthew 25:1-13).  The point of this parable is obedience.  The virgins who were not prepared, they had to go and get more oil.  When they returned they could not enter the feast because the doors to the banquet were closed. (I really doubt anyone could have heard them knocking with the celebration that was going on.) Had they followed the instructions to keep their lamps trimmed and full they would have been attending the feast of a lifetime.  So will we, if we continue filling our minds with His Words and Ways.

Using His Word:

  • Be hospitable.
  • Be ready. (Unlike the virgins who had not thought ahead.)
  • Desire that more of His light shines through.

Heavenly Father, how humbled I am when I realise You are the One filling the lamps.  Oh Lord, fill mine to overflowing with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.  Let my lamp continue burning brightly until I am finally admitted to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.  In His perfect Name make it so.

Rewritten and added to a post written in 2011

Book Review – Paul, The Apostle

I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I agreed to review this book.  Although I enjoyed comic books as a child this was certainly a bit different.  I’m not sure whether I can recommend the book or not.  Here are my likes and dislikes:


  • The story is accurate and portrays some of the difficulties Paul faced in his journey.
  • Each page gave a scriptural reference for what was going on.
  • Very appropriate for the 8 to 12 year age group.


  • Very difficult to follow the storyline bubbles.
  • More violence than I like to deal with. (Yes, I know the time he lived in was very violent.)
  • There were so many graphically portrayed characters I found it difficult to determine who was speaking.

With that said, I recommend parts read through the book first to be prepared for any questions their children might ask.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, Beartruth Collective, LLC  and Bookcrash Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Blessings to you and yours!