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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sometimes Books Can Help Us Through Times of Transition

Ever since I can remember it seems like I've been "learning the hard way" - you know, do it wrong the first time, and then figure out THAT doesn't work so redirecting into another way.  I reckon if I wasn't such a rebel and maybe a better listener I'd master the art of "learning the easy way."  I'm not talking about "book-learning" or "formal education."  I'm talking about LIFE.

But in the last few years some books have come along to help me through some transitions or struggles.  Of course, my Bible has been my mainstay since my late 20's, but  there have been some recent books I would like to recommend with caution.

Sharon's Pearl book is one.  This book came along at a time when some of my relationships were in transition.  Not so much my immediate family relationships, but more distant family.  Sharon so very bravely shared some very personal struggles in such a way as to help the reader to see there is a path to forgiveness and healing.  Sharon helped me to understand that forgiving someone is not approval of what they had done, or permission to continue to do, but simply forgiving them.

[Making a Pearl from the Grit of Life is the first book by Sharon Rainey, Writer, Entrepreneur, Wife, Mother, and Lyme survivor. It allows us to follow Sharon Rainey on a very private path of early trauma. It leads us through depths of the human spirit – depths we come to recognize as very much like our own – and, through hard-won lessons, emerge onto a higher place of inner strength and happiness.
“If my life had been easy I would have been short-changed. Now I thank God for the challenges. They forced me to leave the path I was on – one that led deeper into disappointment – and to find the path of spirit.
“My world is not perfect. I suspect the world is not meant to be perfect. But today my life is truly like a pearl, more beautiful than I could have imagined.”  –Sharon E. Rainey]

And then there's the book I just finished reading yesterday:  This Life Is In Your Hands by Melissa Coleman.
  • "This Life Is in Your Hands is the search to understand a complicated past; a true story, both tragic and redemptive, it tells of the quest to make a good life, the role of fate, and the power of forgiveness."
This book has really hit me hard.  I am pretty slow, so I'll be mentally & emotionally digesting this for a while.  Chewing on my cud, so to speak.  My initial reaction is that if you read a book that inspires you to begin farming, BEFORE you sell your house & all your belongings & pack everything into a yellow truck & begin your farm dream, READ THIS BOOK.  I will caution you that this is not a neat & tidy book that you can read to your little ones.  Unless you consider skinny-dipping, and some of the other hippie-style social interactions okay.  I won't be reading this to my kids.  But I'm glad I read it.

I am really impressed by the courage of Melissa Coleman and Sharon Rainey.  These women have endured various traumas, and not only survived, but have grown into beautiful, strong women.  They are opening up their sorrows and hardships so that you will be blessed.

I have been thinking a lot this year about the challenges of parenting.  How we as parents want to bring our children up in the nurture and admonition of our beliefs, goals, ideals & purpose.  We endeavor to encourage the shaping of their core, hopefully without destroying them.

My parents valued education, culture, material success – and pushed me hard in those directions.  My bad:  I ended up not achieving their goals for me, but living & pursuing my own. 

How much of what we are is a result of striving against our parents' goals? How much of what our children will become is a result of them doing the same? How can we nurture w/o smothering? How can we encourage without stunting?

So I am going to leave this post in its open ended work in progress form, work on my cud, and finish later.

Next book on my plate is my Dad's Pieces of History: The Life and Career of John J. Harter.

John Harter's thirty-year diplomatic career included foreign assignments on four continents, a master's degree in economics from Harvard, a seven-year writer/interviewer stint at USIA, and representing the United States at many international meetings. After retiring from the Foreign Service, he served as oral historian at the National Gallery of Art, organized sixteen conferences on international economic issues for the American Foreign Service Association, and worked twelve years as a declassifier for USAID. He has three adult children, six grandchildren, and, as of 2011, one great-grandchild. He is currently writing his memoirs.

Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 
Luke 6:37

But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses. 
Mark 11:26 

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
Colossians 3:21 

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