Saturday, September 17, 2011

Review of Grumble Hallelujah

When I read the title, I expected this to be a book that would make me laugh at myself while overcoming complaining. That is not what this book is about. It is about the author's own complaints about her own life, most of which are very petty. Some of the complaints she has include 1) that her electricity went off because of a storm, 2) that her nice expensive home is not as nice as the person's across the street, 3) that she doesn't have a lake house, 4) that her friends get to take "dream vacations" while she takes stay-cations, and that her book "...ended up in publishing purgatory for years." (quote from page 53.)

I expected to be challenged to find the truth in God's word that gratitude is better than complaining. I expected to laugh at how silly I am to complain when my life is so good. But what I got instead was a theology based on other people's Facebook posts. She constantly quotes Facebook status updates and then takes that one line quote, internalizes it, and forms her chapters around that. 

This was not a good, enjoyable read for me, and I cannot recommend the book unless you want to hear a lot of complaining, no real answers for your problems, and many, many Facebook status posts. Ugh.

If you would like to be challenged and helped to overcome real problems, I would recommend The Blessing of Adversity: Finding Your God-given Purpose in Life's Troubles instead. 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Tyndale for the opportunity to read this book.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Encouragement for the Weary Gardener or Farmer

Back in July of this year, I really contemplated giving up the garden. I thought I would admit defeat, and throw in the towel.

I had been working in the garden every day, most of the time at least twice a day. I sowed. I watered. I weeded. I picked bugs off by hand. I refrained from using pesticides. I refrained from using chemical fertilizers. I prayed. I composted.(And, really, sometimes I found that to be really gross   Vertigo Smiley I read every book I could get from the library (about 40 of them).

But with all this effort, and time, sweat and toil, I only harvested 5 cherry tomatoes and ZERO slicing tomatoes out of 23 tomato plants of different varieties (because they all contracted a disease carried by whiteflies and died). I harvested 5 eggplants total. I harvested at most 10 green beans at a time, about 10 times. I harvested 5 green peppers, and 5 hot peppers.

To be honest, I did harvest 58 jars of pears, but I had nothing to do with that harvest. The tree was well-established before I was even born, and much before we ever bought the property. I also harvested a jar of dried basil, half a jar of dried oregano, and a jar of dried lemon balm (for winter teas).

So, all in all, I began to feel that this whole gardening thing was not worth the effort. Maybe I should go back to flowers. I never seemed to have any trouble growing flowers. Or maybe I should just give up altogether.

That's where I was when I got the following encouragements from scriptures.

I found it amazing that scripture speaks directly to the exact problem I was having. Sometimes you succeed, and sometimes you fail, but keep sowing. You don't know whether this will succeed or that will, or both will do equally well. (That would be a harvest I would like to see.)

Sow your seed in the morning and at evening do not let your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that,  or whether both will do equally well.  Ecclesiastes 11: 6

Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. James 5: 7-8

Also, it was amazing to me to notice that the James scripture specifically connects waiting for harvest to waiting for the Lord's return. I had never noticed that before. I will not give up looking for my Lord. And I will be patient and stand firm with the garden, too.

So my encouragement to you is the same one that I received. Don't give up. Keep trying. Try something new if this isn't working. You will eventually learn this. You will eventually harvest something. Just keep trying and  keep learning. Add your failures to your education and you will eventually succeed. The only real failure is quitting.