Tag Archives: Courage

Anti-Procrastination Tuesday – My Post for Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Goals This Week


Complete Outstanding Book Reviews::

1) Completed The Nature of God by Mona Hanna

2) Completed Everblossom by Larissa Hinton

3) Completed The Imitation of Patsy Burke by John J. Gaynard

4) A Marked Heart by David George Ball

5) Completed Recipes for Disaster by Sheryl Browne


Books to Read This Week (and Hope to Review!!)::

1) The Devil’s Legacy by Tom Jackson

2) A Life Lived Ridiculously by Dr Annabelle R Charbit

3) Seven Point Eight by Marie Harbon

And, if I accomplish all of these goals…..  I will definitely bring myself some Joy!!!

Please visit Amy at “New Nostalgia“, the originator of Anti-Procrastination Tuesday. Amy has a wonderful blog!



Choose Joy!



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Book Review: “Amazing Grace …As Christ Walks By – My Journey from Brokenness… to Wholeness” authored by Carol Cline

Carol Cline (photo Jeff Cline)

Are you living life as a prisoner to your own darkness within?

Do you find yourself feeling ashamed or riddled with continuing guilt? Do you live in fear? You can find your way to live a life of freedom…if you take the first steps of a journey that grows in love, knowledge and service for Jesus Christ. He died to give each of us abundant life, free of shame, free of guilt, free of fear. Bible scholar Carol Cline takes us on her journey from a broken, dysfunctional family life, through one act of cruel and shameful violence done to her, to her own first steps to recovering her wholeness as she learns to live with the love of Christ. You’ll learn from her the spiritual practices she uses daily and which have shaped her journey and led her confidently to Christ. Daily spiritual practice is like exercise, she tells us. At first you start with a coach or a guide or even a partner, but with continued practice you are able to deepen your intimate relationship with Christ each day yourself. Amazing Grace as Christ Walks By can lead you from being broken to being whole, in Christ. (from Outskirts Press back cover)

“Amazing Grace as Christ Walks By can lead you from being broken to being whole, in Christ”.

The above line is copied from Outskirts Press book description for “Amazing Grace… as Christ Walks By”, written by Carol Cline. While this is a very large claim to make, there are elements of this statement in the book.

I see Carol Cline’s book more as a short story collection, than a progressive autobiography. While the book is autobiographical, it also reads as a Daily Devotional – or maybe a Weekly Devotional. The book is written as a chronological telling of how Carol let Christ work in her life, and at times she is quite candid about very personal issues. The chapters are divided into years, (i.e. 1975-1980, 1983-1985, 1989-1991), but does contain some overlap – which I think is an excellent characteristic of Carol Cline’s writing. The chapters are divided, but also cross over critical topics.

One of the things I most appreciated when reading this book, was how open Cline has been about such issues as illness, rape, death, and family life. Both her biological family and the family she married in to. As I read about these often painful memories of Carol, I felt privileged to be a part of them.

There are some sections of the book that are a little disjointed and contain statements that seem out of place. For example, when speaking about one of her family moves, Carol’s paragraph includes a statement about having family members over for dinner the night Princess Diana died. I am not sure how that information fits the topic, other than giving us an additional time perspective – although I do not think that is necessary. I am not convinced this line is pertinent. This happens a few times in the book, (although not the same sentence about Princess Diana!), and I found these points to be distracting. I was left with a “what does that mean” feeling.

Carol Cline’s writing style is comfortable and free flowing – has almost a rocking sensation as the reader is lulled through up and down, back and forth, sentences. I find this writing style immediately draws me in to the feeling of “I’ve been here before” – has a familiar sound to it. This makes it easy to read.

Cline’s beliefs and emotional attraction to Christ is evident immediately from the title, and continues throughout each chapter. There is no doubt that Cline has journeyed from “…Brokenness to Wholeness”, and she wants the rest of us to acquire the feelings she has grown into and matured with. While that may not be possible during this short work, (87 pages), Carol’s energy jumps off the page, and hopefully into the reader’s heart – to be led who-knows-where! Anything is possible!

“Amazing Grace …As Christ Walks By” may seem like a short, easy read – but do not kid yourself, there is a lot packed into these pages.

As I mentioned earlier, I think this book would work well as a Weekly Devotional – one chapter each week. I also think it lends itself to a small group setting for faith discussions. The chapters can be taken in sequential order, but I do not think anything would be lost by taking the chapters in random order. After all, Christ’s movement in our lives is not always sequential!

I do think this book might be better appreciated by Christians who are at the beginning of their faith journey. Christians who are farther along on their journey might not find enough substance to satisfy their needs. I also think that, should she want to do this, Carol Cline could turn this short book into a much longer read, by getting more detailed about facts, as well as more detailed abut her faith experience.

Overall, this is a good read, and one that can be re-read as the reader sees fit. Carol Cline shares events that are deeply personal and the reader can feel her pain – and her joy – through their own eyes. It truly is “Amazing Grace”.


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Book Review: Author: Eileen Flanagan “The Wisdom to Know the Difference – When to Make a Change–and When to Let Go”

From Powell’s Books:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can change; and wisdom to know the difference.
Millions of people have been moved by these famous last lines from the Serenity Prayer to make important and lasting changes in their lives. But how exactly can we know the difference? How can we acknowledge the real limits that we face without negating the possibility for dramatic change? In this wise book, Eileen Flanagan guides readers in determining what they can-or perhaps should- change in their lives, accepting what they cannot, and discovering the “wisdom to know the difference.”

I have a confession to make…….

I have had the book “The Wisdom to Know the Difference”, by Eileen Flanagan, for approximately three months, (maybe a little longer), and I have been reading it for approximately two months, (maybe a little longer). For someone who is generally a quick reader, this has seemed like a long time. Or has it?

A few weeks ago I emailed the author, explaining that the reason the book took me so long to read, was actually her fault!! (Nervy, right?). Well, I did not phrase it exactly that way – ‘her fault’. What I actually said was: “If the book was not so well written, I would have been finished reading it a long time ago!!” And what I actually meant was, had I not been so drawn into the book, its topic, and its effect on my life, I would have been finished reading it much sooner.

Yes, that’s my confession…. This book so impacted me on a personal level, I had to take it in slowly, digest it, and incorporate it into my life.

As a prayer, ‘The Serenity Prayer’, has not been a favourite of mine. My husband, on the other hand, has always had a deep connection with this prayer. As a result, he has tried to help me understand why this prayer is powerful. I always kind of fluffed him away. “Yah, yah, serenity, courage, wisdom – whatever…..”. I had my own favourite prayers.

At the end of May 2011, I read a post by Eileen Flanagan, looking for book reviewers. While writing book reviews was a new idea for me, reading books certainly was not! I replied to Eileen and a couple of weeks later the book arrived in my mail, sent free of charge, for my impartial review. The act itself was spur of the moment, and I spent the next few weeks furtively looking at this book, about this prayer that was not one of my favourites!! I must have been crazy to volunteer for this task! Toward the end of June 2011, I ventured into Eileen’s world, and began to learn a little more about this prayer, and how it has impacted a number of lives, (and not just my husband’s!).

Eileen does not simply go out into the world, ask people if they know the prayer, then ask their opinion of it. Rather, Eileen’s choice of people to write about, are clearly a small sampling of a much larger group interviewed for this book. We learn about these individuals, their life stories, and how the emotions of The Serenity Prayer have played out in their lives. One of Eileen’s literary devices is that throughout the book, some of these main characters reappear. It is not just a matter of them being introduced and described to us, but, at key intervals throughout the text, Eileen brings them back by reminding us of their stories, and how their stories continue to evolve – with The Serenity Prayer continuing to play an important role. In some cases, the individuals themselves are not necessarily aware they are living out the prayer. And that is one of my favourite portions of the book. People, who live according to their own values and characteristics, yet can be an example to me, the reader, of the impact of this powerful prayer. (Notice I now say “powerful prayer”….don’t mention that to my husband….!)
Eileen Flanagan has a knack of writing that I find particularly appealing – repetition. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not mean simply stating the same thing over and over. What I mean is gently, without boredom, Eileen imprints key points for the reader. Making her points stronger over time, but in each telling and sharing, being done in new and informative ways. One of my favourite Christian writers – Ronald Rolheiser – has this same story-telling knack. Gentle – soft – peaceful. Bringing the reader to an “Ah-Ha” moment with skill and dexterity, without being the least bit repetitive or tedious. It is a tremendous way to learn new concepts and thought processes.
Through the reference to other Christian authorities, Eileen brings additional credibility to her own research, and a familiarity to her writings. And not only do we learn more about key characters, as we move forward in Eileen’s book, the author brings forward earlier concepts. Once again, bringing us to a deeper understanding of what Eileen’s focus is on.

The Serenity Prayer holds some big words: serenity, courage, wisdom. Eileen starts by narrowing down these words, to smaller, everyday expressions, phrases, and examples; and concludes the book by bringing them all together in the amazing words of the prayer itself. (Notice I now say “amazing words of the prayer”……do you think I need to share this with my husband?!)

My journey with this prayer, with this book, “The Wisdom to Know the Difference”, has been a very personal one, and this is not the place for review of my prayer journey. But, this is the place for a review of this book. And my opinion to you is that your own prayer journey will not be complete without spending some time with The Serenity Prayer, and definitely some significant time with Eileen Flanagan’s book: “The Wisdom to Know the Difference – When to Make a Change – and When to Let Go”.

P.S. I have since confessed all to my husband, and now, this book is on his reading list!



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