Thursday, July 29, 2010

Win a book!

 I'm having a drawing on my other blog, Stuff Mamas Like, tomorrow! Tell me what picks YOU up as a mommy and be entered to win this book by Edna Ellison and Linda Gilden. Better hurry!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


As I was growing up, I was well familiar with the name Billy Graham. I can remember seeing books he had written, hearing grown-ups talk about him, and watching his evangelistic crusades on television. I think you would be hard-pressed to find any adult in America who hasn't heard the name of this famous preacher--"America's pastor," as he has been dubbed.

Billy Graham has had an amazing life, and David Aikman has well documented it in the book Billy Graham: His Life and Influence. Truthfully, I was already fascinated by Graham's life before reading his biography, but now I am even more fascinated and inspired by him. This man not only has led millions of people to faith in Christ, but he has also had incredible influence in the political world, having had personal relationships with several Presidents and other world leaders. He has also contributed greatly to racial reconciliation in various countries, including the United States. And although Aikman's portrayal of Billy Graham is incredibly positive, he still does not attempt to portray Graham as a perfect man; through both Aikman's and Graham's words, we see that Graham is a man who struggles with sin just as everyone else does. But his honesty and authenticity are what have made Billy Graham so endearing to people all over the world. Of course, his natural charm helped, too!

Though this biography is rather lengthy, it still held my interest. I thought, at first, that I might not like the fact that it isn't a chronological record of events, but the way that Aikman breaks up Graham's life into topical segments is actually helpful in portraying Graham's influence. And anyone who loves history will really enjoy the way that Aikman weaves in so many historical timelines and details throughout the book.

If you have any interest at all in the fascinating and inspiring life of Billy Graham, you will not be disappointed when you read this book!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their Book Review Blogger program. 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.”

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Identifying with Eudora

I couldn't help but think of myself and my eldest daughter as I read this in Eudora Welty's One Writer's Beginnings . . . 

"It seems likely to me now that the very element in my character that took possession of me there on top of the mountain, the fierce independence that was suddenly mine, to remain inside me no matter how it scared me when I tumbled, was an inheritance. Indeed it was my chief inheritance from my mother, who was braver. Yet, while she knew that independent spirit so well, it was what she so agonizingly tried to protect me from, in effect to warn me against. It was what we shared, it made the strongest bond between us and the strongest tension. To grow up is to fight for it, to grow old is to lose it after having possessed it."

And then I identified with Miss Welty again in this . . .

"(As certain as I was of wanting to be a writer, I was certain of not wanting to be a teacher. I lacked the instructing turn of mind, the selflessness, the patience for teaching, and I had the unreasoning feeling that I'd be trapped. The odd thing is that when I did come to write my stories, the longest list of my characters turns out to be schoolteachers. They are to a great extent my heroines.)"

At least I gave teaching a shot for a couple of years. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Savage Mama

Ruth Graham, the late wife of evangelist Billy Graham, kept a journal throughout her life and often wrote about raising her five children. I've just finished reading Billy Graham: His Life and Influence by David Aikman, and he included the following entry from Mrs. Graham's journal, to which I could greatly relate . . .

"The children misbehave. I reprimand them more sharply--more probably, peevishly. The very tone of the voice irritates them. (I know, because if it were used on me it would irritate me.) They answer back, probably in the same tone. I turn on them savagely. (I hate to think how often. And how savage a loving mother can be at times.) And I snap, 'Don't speak to your mother like that. It isn't respectful.' Nothing about me--actions, tone of voice, etc.,--commanded respect. It doesn't mean I am to tolerate sass or back talk. But then I must be very careful not to inspire it either."