Review: Ascension of Larks by Rachel Linden

I was excited to read this new book by a new author set in the San Juan Islands off the Washington Coast. Though I have family living in Washington State, I’ve never visited this area.

The first part—probably about the first quarter—of the book was hard for me to get through. Authors are told over and over again to “show, not tell” but that can be taken to an extreme. In Ascension of Larks, Rachel Linden spends so much time describing everything in the first 25% of the book, it bogged the story down for me a bit.

Yes, I get that Maggie is an artist and her attention to detail is what makes her an excellent photographer and it’s part of her personality to notice these things. And others may enjoy that much detail but it slowed me down a bit.

Ascension of Larks Rachel Linden

With that said, it did get better. As Maggie settles into her new reality, the story turns from details about her surroundings to the emotional aspect of what she’s experiencing. Personally, drawing me into a character’s emotions is what makes a story great.

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The Beauty of Community Done Well

Do you long for friendships that last longer than life itself? Friends you can count on for anything. Friends who show up no matter how hard or busy your lives are, no matter what kind of suffering any of you are going through?

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During her lifetime, Kara Tippetts cultivated her community carefully.She and another member of that community, Jill Lynn Buteyn, teamed up to write about what sharing life with someone going through suffering looks like in the flesh. Kara Tippetts’ suffering was not an easy road. Not for her, her family, or those friends who love her. Her journey with cancer was chronicled on her blog, Mundane Faithfulness, and the blog only expanded her community.

In the book, Buteyn carries the burden of explaining what showing up in suffering looks like and Tippetts offers her own insights at the end of the chapter.

This book was hard to read. There is sadness and sorrow in sharing, as Tippetts calls it, the hard in someone’s life. We want to be able to fix the problem, to offer answers. But that’s not always what God calls us to. Sometimes all our loved one needs is someone to run to the store for them, to do a load or two of laundry for her family, or to simply sit and be still.

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After reading this book, I long for a community like this, and now I have a blueprint as how to make it happen. Kara Tippetts loved those around her with a big love. A love that will touch lives well into eternity in heaven as her community rejoicing in seeing her whole and healthy again.

If you know someone who is suffering, if you’re suffering yourself, or if you just long for lasting and meaningful friendships, this book is a resource filled with practical and specific insights, observations, and suggestions. Just be sure and leave the tissue box near!

Just show up is available at your local Family Christian or online

***David C. Cook and Family Christian provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

90 Minutes in Heaven

I’m sure that in 2004 when Don Piper’s 90 Minutes in Heaven was released, I scoffed at the title in bookstores. Like some of the people who have written to Piper over the years, I’m skeptical of people’s near death experiences. But I am so thankful I’ve been given the opportunity to read this book and share the message with others because it was so much more than I expected.

90 minutes in heaven

Piper’s experience in heaven is such a small part of this book. His journey through both emotional and physical pain, his purpose in life, and the power of prayer carry the weight of this book. The author’s vulnerability reaches off the page to pull you into his pain, his depression, and his longing to return to a place of peace.

On September 11, 2015, 90 Minutes in Heaven is making its way into theaters. And here’s my hope for the film: That the printed words of the book reach those people who need the message the most. Whether you are grieving the loss of a loved one, recovering from an illness or injury, or wanting to encourage someone in your life, go see this film. Grab a friend or two or three and make a night of it. Go to an early showing and have a late dinner to discuss what you saw or pray for each other. Check out the trailer.

About the movie presented by Giving Films:
Releases in theaters everywhere September 11, 2015

Rating: PG-13 (for intense accident and injury images)
Starring Hayden Christensen (Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones, Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith), Kate Bosworth (Remember The Titans, Blue Crush) Michael W. Smith, Fred Thompson, Dwight Yoakam, and Jason Kennedy, 90 Minutes In Heaven is based on the inspiring New York Times best-selling book that has sold 7 million copies.

And guess what? The people behind this movie want to pass on the profits not to themselves but to people in need. You can even choose the charity you want your personal profit to go toward.

About Giving Films:
Giving Films is passionate about sharing hope-filled movies and donating ALL of their profits to charities and ministries who serve those in need. Beginning with their first film, 90 Minutes In Heaven, Giving Films is allowing all of us to be a part of making a difference. Anytime you go to a Giving Films movie in theaters, visit http://www.givingfilms.com and select which charities you want to receive the profits from your ticket. Their charitable organizations are Christian Alliance for Orphans, Faith Bridge Foster Care, Hire Heroes USA, Hope International, LifeWater, Street Grace, and World Vision.

Not to sound like a cheesy infomercial here, but there’s even more. Flyby Promotions has offered one lucky reader of this blog to receive their own copy of Don Piper’s best selling book, 90 Minutes in Heaven. Just enter the raffle below.

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******Flyby Promotions provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own*******