Blog Review: Life In Spite of Me

It's time for another blog tour.  This one is one that you aren't gonna want to miss!  Life In Spite of Me is written by Kristen Jane Anderson.  It's her life story.

Kristen was only a teenager when she decided she wanted to die.  But God had marvelous, and miraculous, plans for her life...

"Why does my life have to be so painful? What’s wrong with me? It’s not going to get better. It could all be over soon, and then I won’t hurt anymore."

Kristen Anderson thought she had the picture-perfect life until strokes of gray dimmed her outlook: three friends and her grandmother died within two years. Still reeling from these losses, she was raped by a friend she thought she could trust. She soon spiraled into a seemingly bottomless depression. One January night, the seventeen-year-old decided she no longer wanted to deal with the emotional pain that smothered her. She lay down on a set of cold railroad tracks and waited for a freight train to send her to heaven…and peace.

But Kristen's story doesn’t end there. In Life, In Spite of Me this remarkably joyful young woman shares the miracle of her survival, the agonizing aftermath of her failed suicide attempt, and the hope that has completely transformed her life, giving her a powerful purpose for living. Her gripping story of finding joy against all odds provides a vivid and unforgettable reminder that life is a gift to be treasured.

This book is a must read.  I started it on a Friday  night and it was finished by Sunday afternoon.  Kristen's story is one of recovery and redemption.  I wish I could tell you about what happened when she lay down on those railroad tracks that night...but you will need to read it for yourself.

You can read the first chapter here or watch a video about the book here

I am giving away my copy of this book.  If you are interested, please leave me a comment or send me an email at sandras_junk@charter.net.  First one gets the book!

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.



After much hard work and help from friends (Emily, Sherri, Susie, Rachel, Lindsey, Steve, Amy, Aimee), the yard sale is about to happen!

If you are a L or XL in women's clothing or 8 1/2 or 9 in shoes, you need to COME OUT!  There is so much good stuff (most of it donated) that you should NOT miss this sale.

Plus, it's for a good cause...sending me to South Africa on a mission trip in the fall.  I'm excited to see how God shows up today.  He's already blessing us with good weather!

Hope to see you!


Weekend plans

Well, the weekend is finally here and I had told myself I was going to enjoy this evening reading and hanging with the family and then tomorrow is going to be spent going through everything and getting ready for the yard sale I'm having next weekend to help fundraise for my mission trip to South Africa. 

As you might have read earlier on my blog, I have ceased "official" fund raising.  I have gotten the question, "Are you still going to accept donations if people want to help" and the answer is "YES!"  I am very much in need of donations and will gladly accept donations.  However...I am not going to actively solicit anymore.  I can't explain why except I had an increasing uneasiness about asking and the minute I made the decision to stop, it was like a huge burden lifted from my shoulders, so I know without a doubt it is the right thing.

Speaking of donations, if you have "stuff" that you'd like to get rid of, you can donate it to me for my yard sale and I will hopefully sell it and the proceeds will go to my mission trip.  Thanks to my friends Susie and Emily who have already donated.  I don't have any grand expectations of how much we'll make next Saturday and honestly, with the way our summer is shaping up, I'm thinking if it rains, we might just have to drop it all off at the Goodwill!!! 

Honestly y'all...I HATE yard sales.  I know, I know...so many good deals to be had, but I just don't have the patience.  My mother was a yard sale queen.  Every spring she had a yard sale and my entire family put stuff in it.  She KNEW how to do it too.  She'd raise tons of money and we were in a great spot at the corner of two roads that pretty much everyone had to cross to get through the neighborhood.  Here, we are in the back of the neighborhood (which we love!) and no one comes through here unless you live back here...so I'm wondering how much foot traffic we'll have.  Whatever.  I can't worry about it.  I'm going to have the yard sale.  And I'm gonig to have it next weekend. 

Unless it's raining. 

And then I'm going to the Goodwill.  :)

But now, I'm off to clean out my closet.


Happy Mother's Day

As most of you know, I lost my mother to cancel when I was 18 and she was a mere 55 years old.  4 years later, my Dad remarried a wonderful angel named Bertie.  And while she'll never be my "mom", she has filled that void since she came into my life and I think of her like a mom.  She is the only "Nana" on my side of the family that Jenna will ever know and unfortunately, the only one she has left.

In 2001, I because a mother myself and my life has never been the same. Outside of finding Steve, Jenna is the best thing that has ever happened to me. 

And then there's my "surrogate" mother, my sister Teresa.  She's old than I am, but she has VERY much taken on the role of "mom" in my life.  She sends me Mother's Day cards, inquires as to the well being of my family, gives me advice (that's usually very good) and sometimes questions my actions (in a Christian way).  I believe she treats me the way my own mother would have treated me had she been alive today.

So, to Bertie, Teresa and all those other moms out there, HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!  I hope it is a wonderful one.


We Are Nashville

A friend of mine sent this link to me (thanks Lisa!) and I think for all 3 of you that read my blog (especially my out of town friends), it's worth the read.

The historical flood that hit Nashville has been glossed over by the national media and many of us aren't too happy about it.

This guy puts it into words better than anyone else I've read lately.


Radical Blog Review

Are you ready to get Radical?  I'm not joking.  If you aren't really ready to hear some tough stuff and be changed, then read no further.

A few weeks ago, the Bible Study I'm in on Tuesday nights started watching a series of sermons by David Platt from The Church at Brook Hills, which is a mega-church down in Birmingham, Alabama.  Being from a similarly situated church, let me say, watching these sermons is not easy.  On the tails of Crazy Love, it's hard.  REALLY hard.  And then a few weeks ago, I was presented the opportunity to review David Platt's Book, appropriately entitled Radical:  Taking back your faith from the American Dream  There is also a companion book called The Radical Question  which is available in small packs for you to hand out to friends, family or church members.

What I've learned so far through this book and watching the series of sermons is that we have modernized scripture and somehow made that OK because it's the scripture that makes us uncomfortable.  My friend Leigh Ann explains it better than I can in this post

"It's easy for American Christians to forget how Jesus said his followers would actually live, what their new lifestyle would actually look like. They would, he said, leave behind security, money, convenience, even family for him. They would abandon everything for the gospel. They would take up their crosses daily... BUT WHO DO YOU KNOW WHO LIVES LIKE THAT? DO YOU?"  Certainly not I!  (ok, maybe I'm a little closer to it since Steve's been unemployed!)

"In this book, David Platt challenges you to consider with an open heart how we have manipulated the gospel to fit our cultural preferences. He shows what Jesus actually said about being his disciple--then invites you to believe and obey what you have heard. And he tells the dramatic story of what is happening as a "successful" suburban church decides to get serious about the gospel according to Jesus. Finally, he urges you to join in The Radical Experiment --a one-year journey in authentic discipleship that will transform how you live in a world that desperately needs the Good News Jesus came to bring."

So the question is, will you do it?  Are you ready to get Radical?  Because if you are, then you need to get this book.  But I will again warn you...be prepared for change.  We did not get to where we are today overnight.  It's taken generations to develop this love of materialism "stuff".  It will take generations to move the dial the other direction where things no longer matter, but the lost and suffering do.  Why not let it start with you?  With us?  Let's do it.  Let's get Radical!

Normally I would have an additional copy of the book to give away, but this time I only have one copy and I'm bequeathing it to my dear friend and Bible Study leader for introducing me to this Radical way of life!  Thanks LAS!

However, if you are interested, you can read the 1st chapter of Radical here.  And if you just aren't sure, you can actually request a FREE copy of The Radical Question here.

Disclaimer:  This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

A few things on my mind...

There is so much more I want to say about these thoughts in my head, but I don't think I'm where I need to be to feel comfortable spewing ALL my thoughts.  :)  So, for your reading pleasure (no sarcasm there!), here are my random thoughts and questions...

*I think people are more mean than they used to be.  I don't know if it just seems that way because God is dealing with me on being nicer or what.  But some people around me who used to be nice are now meaner than before and the mean people seems substantially meaner.  Again, probably not best to elaborate much here.

*Why is it that the blogs I follow (and there are a lot of them...I'm a blog 'ho) are just now starting to realize the devastation in Tennesee?  I know this isn't Katrina, but to the people whose homes and worlds were washed away, it's their Katrina.  That bothers me.  I do read a couple blogs that have noticed...check out MckMama's blog and what she's doing to help. 

*Does it seem that people are taking this Crazy Love and Radical (stay tuned for more Radical) stuff to heart?  I mean, everywhere I look there are people changing their lives.  I read a variety of blogs whose authors come from every part of the nation so it's not just the Church at Station Hill or my Bible study girls...it's everywhere.  Several of the blogs I read are downsizing their homes, cars or adoption needy children.  I am wondering...what is my part in this?

*Fundraising...I'm feeling quite guilty (?) about asking folks for money for South Africa.  I'm not sure that "guilty" is the right word...uneasy maybe?  I'm feeling increasingly uncomfortable about asking for monetary donations, donations for yard sales or to buy something.  I'm still praying about this but I'm thinking perhaps I will have my yard sale, close out my Scentsy party (thanks for your orders by the way!) and then maybe do a gold party mainly because a) my friends are buyers so I know it's legit and b) because it actually makes YOU money.  And yes, I've done this before and so has Rachel and we both walked away with a pocket full o cash.  So it's legitimate and gold prices are high right now.  Anyway...I think you will see less of me asking for donations.  I'm feeling like maybe God is telling me to just trust Him.

*My good friend Katelyn is traveling to China today to visit a friend who teaches English there.  She's not a fan of flying and so she's asked for prayers.  Pray for her to have a safe flight and trip.  She's pretty special to me for a variety of reasons so indulge me in this if you will.

OK, that's it...now stay tuned for something RADICAL!


Got Junk?

Because if you do, I want it!  And if you don't, then now is the time to clean out those closests and garages!!!

In order to raise money for my mission trip to South Africa, I'm having a yard sale in which all the proceeds will go towards my account!

I have decided (just moments ago) that I'm going to have the sale on Saturday, May 22.  I know several of you have been doing some spring cleaning and have lots of "stuff" that you need to get rid of.  If you had just planned on throwing it out or taking it to the Goodwill, please consider allowing me to put it in my yard sale.  If it doesn't sell, then I will gladly take it to the Goodwill for you.

No items too big or too small.  You don't have to price it or hang it or anything.  The only thing you have to do is figure out what you don't want or need in your house and that's it.  We'll do all the rest.  The only thing I ask is that if you have something that doesn't work, please let me know.  I don't want to sell someone something that doesn't work and not tell them that up front.

Because I have lots to do (including cleaning out my own closets and garage!), if you could let me know if you have stuff for me no later than the weekend of May 15, that would be great!  I can arrange for a pick up at your convenience.

Of course, I would love for you to come shop my yard sale as well!  :)


Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head...and Thanks....

Well, it's still raining here in Nashville...Right now in the Hill, it is still coming down hard.  There is a forming lake in my neighbor's yard, but hopefully it will stay far down the hill from us.  I never have feared flooding much, until now.

I have watched hours of news footage and you would not believe the flooding...I wouldn't believe it if I wasn't seeing it with my own eyes.  We drove around yesterday afternoon while it wasn't raining as hard and even in our area, there are many flooded areas and washed out streets and driveways.  I just found out that Centennial Hospital is under 3 feet of water.  Almost every interstate is closed at some point.  This is unlike anything I've ever experienced before.

Has anyone else noticed that the world has experienced almost every natural disaster in the space of about 6 months time?  Earthquakes, flooding, volcanic activity, tornadoes etc.  It's a little freaky if you ask me.

Of course, yesterday afternoon, Jenna and I ventured out in the virtual monsoon to buy groceries.  Because you know...we're crazy like that.  We visited CVS, Walgreens, Publix and Kroger.  And we got wet.  Anyway, on our way out, I drove past the mailbox and grabbed the mail because I knew no one was going to be walking out to get it.  I just threw it in the passenger seat and drove on.  When we got to the first stop (Walgreens), I decided to get all my coupons together so I could jump out as quickly as possible.  I flipped quickly through the mail and that's when I saw it...

Someone reading is smiling to themselves right now because they know what's coming next.  I "recognized" the handwriting immediately.  I put recognized in quotes because the writing really is unrecognizable.  It is very obviously written awkwardly to keep us from knowing the author.  But it was the same writing as the first time we saw it.  It was a card...with not only another $100 gift card to Kroger, but also a $25 card to BP.  I was once again humbled and thankful.  God has used someone to teach not only Steve and I about provision, but also Jenna.  She was with me and immediately started shouting, "Is it another one?  Is it another one?  Open it!  Open it!"

I don't know who this person (people) is (are), but if you are reading, "THANK YOU".  Through your generosity, God is teaching us about letting go of the control and trusting Him.  I have started  "pay it forward" list so that sometime after Steve gets a job and we get back on our feet, we can begin thanking people by paying it forward to someone else in need.  And I am so anxious to get started!  So many generous friends have stepped up to help us out.

So, while the rain comes down (and yes, it's still coming down), I'm counting my blessings.

"There shall be showers of blessing:
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

There shall be showers of blessing,
Precious reviving again;
Over the hills and the valleys,
Sound of abundance of rain.

There shall be showers of blessing;
Send them upon us, O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing,
Come, and now honor Thy Word.

There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!

There shall be showers of blessing,
If we but trust and obey;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
If we let God have His way."

Words: Dan­i­el W. Whit­tle, 1883; first ap­peared in Gos­pel Hymns No. 4.
Music: James Mc­Gran­a­han