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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Review: Day of the Elephants

Day of the Elephants
By: Ron Swager and Ed Chinn

Book Description:

Try to imagine that you are an eight-year-old boy living a village life of peace, safety, and familial love. But, suddenly, you are caught in the explosion of death. In an instant, everything familiar is destroyed. You leave your childhood forever. For the next twenty years, you see the darkest possibilities of humanity. And then, you touch the majestic beauty and grace that triumph over the darkness. This is a story you won't forget.

My Review:

This is one of those stories that will cause you to look at your own life and realize that no matter how "bad" you may think things are, they could be worse.  Roland Deah was a young boy who had his whole life turned upside down, went through unimaginable horrors, and still manages to keep a positive attitude and focused on Jesus.  I am amazed at what he has overcome and the way God intervened so many times in his life, truly showing that His plans are for our good.

While the writing is not amazing,(Ron Swager primarily writes manuals and business plans) the story is such that it doesn't matter.   Ron Swager meets Roland Deah when Roland shows up to apply for a part time job.  He then begins to tell his story, and this is the story that Ron Swager shares with us.  

Towards the end of the book, Roland (already in America) questions why the atrocities in Liberia are not on our news channels.  How can we as a country not see the killing of so many people as being news worthy?  I ask the same question.  While I knew the history of Liberia's creation before this book, I was admittedly unfamiliar with the struggles and strife in the country today.  This book puts a name and a face to the reality of what is going on in that country.  

But Day of the Elephants does so much more than that.  It reminds us that although the bull elephants may fight, the grass does not always lose (despite the African proverb that says otherwise).  We are not alone in this, and although terrible things may happen around us and even to us, we can overcome them with Jesus.  He never leaves us or forsakes us.   

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

review: The Noticer Returns

The Noticer Returns
The Noticer Returns: Sometimes You Find Perspective and Sometimes Perspective Finds You

By: Andy Andrews

Book Description:
Perspective is a powerful thing.

Andy Andrews has spent the past five years doing a double take at every white-haired old man he sees, hoping to have just one more conversation with the person to whom he owes his life.
Through a chance encounter at a local bookstore, Andy is reunited with the man who changed everything for him – Jones, also known as “The Noticer.”

As the story unfolds, Jones uses his unique talent of noticing little things that make a big difference. And these “little things” grant the people of Fairhope, Alabama, a life-changing gift - perspective. Along the way, families will be united, financial opportunities will be created, and readers will be left with powerfully simple solutions to the everyday problems we all face.

Through the lens of a parenting class at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama, Jones guides a seemingly random group to ask specific questions inspired by his curious advice that “You can’t believe everything you think.” Those questions lead to answers for which people have been searching for centuries:

  • How do we begin to change the culture in which we live?
  • What is the key to creating a life of success and value?
  • What if what we think is the end…is only the beginning?

  • What starts as a story of one person's everyday reality unfolds into the extraordinary principles available to anyone looking to create the life for which they were intended.

    My Review:

    It's no secret that I am an Andy Andrews fan, especially his fiction titles.  They inspire, they cause the reader to do some critical thinking and self-evaluation.  This one is no different.  Although the story revolves around a parenting class, the premise applies to parent and non-parent alike.  The culture we are creating in our children is not working.  We are not teaching the next generation the skills they need to succeed.  Change begins with

    Before you think, "I don't have kids so this book just won't be for me," let me say that the WHOLE story isn't about parenting class or even the next generation.  It's about us, you and me, taking every thought captive.  It's about changing our focus and finding our purpose.  Sounds like a tall order, and perhaps it is.  But Andrews covers it in his laid back, real life, comfortable way.  

    In this edition, Jones returns and we meet a few of the people whose lives he has previously touched.  We see the impact he has had on them both financially and spiritually.  And we meet a few more.  A family that has spent their whole lives struggling to keep up with the Joneses-only to lose it all.  Jones steps in and has a lesson for all of us in this one.  

    So with the newest Andrews book I can honestly say, I am still hooked.  The message is clear, the writing in engaging, and the story is interesting.  How can you go wrong with that?