John and Bethany Arndt

Header image

Category Archives: book reviews

1000 Gifts

December 20th, 2011 by | Leave a comment

1000 Gifts – By Ann Voskamp
If the book cover doesn’t draw you in, then the contents definitely will. My mother in law gave me this book after she told me how much it meant to her. I will admit I thought it was going to be a little Joyce Meyer/ Joel Olsteenish; nothing against them, I just thought I had the book pegged.  Its a common theme it seems; Thankfulness.  Yet with extraordinary words, Ann VosKamp dialogues with her maker about the true summation of life. The reader can expect to enter a deep and twisting journey into a woman’s search for authentic joy. Her story begins with the early & tragic death of her younger sister, which birthed gripping anxiety in her own life. Her personal quest is to exchange fear and distrust for the rare perspective of seeing beauty in ugly circumstances. Her journey began as she started cataloging a list of 1000 things she is thankful for. In doing so, she started to explode with happiness. Gratitude for the small things can lead to opening a treasure chest.  By breathing out thankfulness and breathing in the grace of God, she discovers both the difficulty & the simplicity of obtaining joy through gratitude. Skillfully written with delicate description’s of her own soul, this book is sure to challenge and inspire even the already optimistic reader.

The part of the book that actually spoke the most to me was about living fully in the moment. I had already been working on this; my tendancy is to task master,  think ahead, cover all bases, use my time in the most effecient way, trying to respond equally to all the various demands and responsibilities.  I book too many things in one day and end up feeling rushed, pressed, and internal frustrated. Sound familiar?  Ann wrote, “Haste makes waste.”  I took it all in.

” On every level of life, from housework to heights of prayer, in all judgment and efforts to get things done, hurry and impatience are sure marks of the amateur.”

Hurry always empties a soul. So to relax in the moment, letting go of what is next, and intentionally assessing the glory of God in each conversation and setting; this is the behavior of someone who is truly thankful. Time Full.

I only got it a month ago; and have already passed it on and sent it as a gift to someone.


The Poisonwood Bible

December 15th, 2011 by | Leave a comment

The Poisonwood Bible
By Barbara Kingsolver

This was my second attempt and I am thankful it was more successful and more enjoyable than my first. In fact several people have told me they couldn’t get through it. Yes , it was in Oprah’s book club, but Men please do look past this.  I think I was able to make the long trek  5 years later, because of one thing; I am a learner of Africa. For readers who are fascinated with the “dark continent”, this is a must read. I was slowly drawn into this portrait of the Congo; painted as the backdrop for a fire and brimstone, Baptist, missionary who drags his wife & 4 daughters to “save the pagans”  of Africa. The book is written from the voices of each daughter and the wife. One year in the heart of the Congo, during its noble fight for independence from Belgium and this family is forever changed. The militant religion of the father will provoke outrage in the reader, as he stampedes his way into a precious culture than ultimately refused to let him in. But the villagers aren’t his only victims, his family also suffers greatly. While the character development is less than amazing it eventually hooked me; but this books main value is in its unique presentation of African anthropology. Being unsure of the authors background, I became increasingly convinced that she had to have been a personal witness to post colonial Congo; man eating ants, deadly serpents, the struggle for daily survival, witchcraft, village politics and the heart wrenching effects of governments thinking they can do whatever they want;  this book will leave an imprint.