Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Heart Most Certain - Review

Title: A Heart Most Certain

Back Cover Blurb: A Fresh Voice in Historical Romance! 
Lydia King knows what it's like to be in need, so when she joins the Teaville Moral Society, she genuinely hopes to help the town's poor. But with her father's debts increasing by the day and her mother growing sicker by the week, she wonders how long it will be until she ends up in the poor house herself. Her best chance at a financially secure future is to impress the politician courting her, and it certainly doesn't hurt that the moral society's president is her suitor's mother. Her first task as a moral society member—to obtain a donation from Nicholas Lowe, the wealthiest man in town—should be easy . . . except he flat-out refuses.
Despite appearances, Nicholas wants to help others but prefers to do it his own way, keeping his charity private. When Lydia proves persistent, they agree to a bargain, though Nicholas has a few surprises up his sleeve. Neither foresee the harrowing complications that will arise from working together. When town secrets are brought to light, this unlikely pair must decide where their beliefs—and hearts—truly align.

My Take: 

I love the cover! So pretty!

This was an interesting book featuring a topic not covered by many books in Christian fiction. I thought it was thought-provoking and helped give faces and a new perspective to a controversial subject. How can Christians best minister to those thoroughly lost and in horrible situations like prostitution? 

Today it is both easier and harder to move on from your past and get a fresh start. There are still those in the church who refuse to associate with anyone who has been in any kind of real trouble. How can we help if we see them as ... "less" worthy than the rest of us?

I thought it was unique to have both main characters come from a place of judgment and prejudice - but on different sides. Lydia was following the crowd of "moral" women who thought the people in bars and brothels were beneath them and should be eradicated and removed rather than rehabilitated or assisted. Mr Lowe believed the church was full of worthless hypocrites that didn't and couldn't care for those less fortunate and trapped in the "seedy" side of town.

Neither were totally correct and both wanted to please God. It was also interesting that both thought they weren't good enough for the other person to be genuinely interested in them as a spouse. Though their respect and admiration for each other grew, I could see the possibility that they would never end up together because of their steadfast refusal to think the other person genuinely cared about them.

Both had complex back stories that helped make their characters -- and their current reactions and feelings -- seem more realistic. 

It was a good book and well written. I want to thank the publisher for providing my copy, though it in no way influenced my review. 

Friday, August 19, 2016

A Shout in the Dark

I've been working on a book about Fibromyalgia for.... too long. Part of the problem is I wanted to write the book to help people struggling with this kind of.... fuzzy illness that isn't understood well by even members of the medical community. Nobody was there to answer my questions and I wanted to help educate, empower, and encourage people. The problem is that I am not always very inspired, encouraged, or empowered myself.

So, I'm writing this post more or less as a stress reliever for myself. I'm hoping that by putting my frustration into words and sending it out -- it will be a kind of therapy. So, only read on at your own risk.

I am feeling defeated lately. I'm alone, sick, tired, in pain, and I just want it to stop. I'm a Christian - so I keep thinking that I shouldn't feel this way. I should find the lesson, know God is with me, and have hope. I don't lie though -- so I don't feel any of those things. Like Paul, I have prayed and prayed for even part of it to go away. It hasn't. Unlike Paul, I don't feel like God's strength is being glorified by my weakness. I am a failure in every part of my life.

Here's the list: Fibromyalgia, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Asthma, Allergies, Chronic Migraines, Severe Insomnia, Hair Loss, Osler-Rendy-Weber (a blood disorder), Obesity, High Cholesterol, and a severe, chronic, and productive cough that nobody has been able to find a cause or treatment for.

It's not a life threatening list. I have had family members fight MS, Lupus, Cancer, Heart disease, and diabetes. I know my list isn't as serious as all that. Still.... The things I suffer from interact and trigger each other. Two of the most recent things are a particular problem that I can't seem to manage or overcome.

I had two boys. Both were miracles as I wasn't supposed to be able to have children. Both were born early - but both weighed almost nine pounds and I gained a lot of weight with each pregnancy. I retained water when pregnant - so much so that I had legs that looked like columns -- with none of the slimmer areas like around your ankles.

Those boys and the extra weight have weakened my bladder. Combine a weak bladder with a severe chronic cough and you have incontinence. Because physically I don't have an incontinence problem without the cough -- there is no fix for my incontinence. I don't cough a couple times a day. I cough nearly all the time. It's loud enough that we can't hear the tv, it aggravates my asthma, and sometimes it even causes my to throw up.

It won't kill me, but it means I can't do a lot of things. I love my church - and going. How can I when my coughing is a constant disruption and distraction? Plus the gross factor of over half of my coughing spells are productive. That is the case with most outings. We had a family friend who is almost like an adopted son visit and they wanted to meet at a restaurant. I took 4 different cough/cold medications and still had a cough that drew stares and eve some comments. I don't go out much, and it's hard to talk on the phone.

So, I'm isolated. My cats love me, but that's a total cliche, isn't it?

My husband. My poor husband. How can you have sex when you can't breathe and you're constantly peeing yourself? It's been months - and I can't think of a fix. I know he loves me - but it's hard for him. It hurts me that I know I am not meeting that need for him. He's only human too - and part of me does worry that eventually I'll lose him. He had enough to put up with without this last push. And the cough and incontinence aren't a couple months old. It has been years.

Yesterday I hit a new low. Showers are exhausting for me. Maybe that sounds ridiculous - but it's a fact. My husband calls it my "PSRP" (Post Shower Recovery Period). I take a shower so we can go somewhere, but I have to rest for 15 to 30 minutes afterward or I won't have the energy to do anything.

But this shower --- I coughed so hard and then this huge wave of nausea hit. I was so sick that I ended up getting out without even getting all the conditioner out of my hair. I was pretty much worthless for the rest of the day. I took that shower just after 5 pm.

So, when my husband called and asked me about my day... I just imploded. I didn't have anything worth saying. I hadn't accomplished anything and as much as I wanted to be positive and uplifting for my hard working husband - I was feeling defeated, worthless, deflated, exhausted, alone, and angry. I wasn't nice. I wasn't who I wanted to be.

I don't have any answers. I have tried tons of medications (prescribed and over the counter), essential oils, air purifiers, supplements... My next appointment isn't until the end of October. Pray for answers, healing, patience, and most of all for my attitude.