Sunday, August 11, 2013

Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis

Every Friday, a postcard.
Every Friday, a love poem.
Every Friday for sixty years.
Adam Colby is just doing his job, sorting through the unsold Alexander belongings after the estate sale. He is unprepared for what he finds in an old photo album, overlooked by the bargain hounds and treasure hunters—six decades of postcards and poems from Gabe Alexander to his wife, Pearl. The mystery of the Alexanders’ love entices Adam, a man unhinged by divorce and puzzled by the depth of commitment that he finds in the unabashedly romantic cards.
Forever Friday invites you to travel back in time to the early twentieth century Texas Coastal Bend where a young couple—Gabe and Pearl Alexander—are swept up in a miraculous love. As the heartwarming, pulse-quickening story of their relationship develops through Gabe’s poems, the Alexanders reveal a new way to consider what it means to be truly devoted to each other. Could the secrets of their love affair, laid to rest twenty years ago, hold the key to one man’s future?

Once again I have had the privilege of reading a book not yet released. Forever Friday by Timothy Lewis was a treat to read. You can get your hands on it on September 17, 2013. 

Adam Colby, the main character, gets to do what all of us can only dream of! Adam Colby gets his hands on an album of old postcards written with words of love from a devoted husband to his wife. (I have personally always dreamed of finding old letters written back and forth between a couple who had a rich marriage.) Timothy Lewis does a masterful job switching between "present day" (for the novel) and the days of Gabe and Pearl Alexander. The reader is able to experience Adam Colby's journey through learning more about how the Alexander's marriage lasted and experience the great love story of Gabe and "Hutch," as Pearl is affably called.

As a single woman, who has thought about marriage a lot lately, this book definitely made me jealous of these fictional characters who have a honeymoon that spans some 60 years. Gabe and Hutch's relationship is not without struggles, but they always remembered that "they were two hearts commanding devotion."  

As you read this book you will be touched by Gabe's weekly postcards to Hutch. Each postcard illustrates his devotion and with each new postcard my heart sighed a little. Just to give you a glimpse.

"Beneath midnight stars
Caressed by spring's pure breeze
Two lovers strolled
Hand in hand
While waves lapped moonlit sand
Connecting souls."
Forever, Gabe

While this book is written by a Christian author I did not find the message of God's love or Christ very strong. The emphasis was placed more on angels. Gabe and Hutch are said to have faith in God, but they seem to cling to each other more than openly sharing their love of Christ to the reader. However, the story teaches the reader how to choose to to have a forever love everyone dreams of, but do not quite understand how to capture. This message is certainly needed in a culture filled with quick marriages and even quicker divorces.

If you are looking for a good read this fall Forever Friday should definitely be on your list.

Thank you to Timothy Lewis for an inspiring novel and to the publisher for a free copy in exchange for a honest review.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Most Important Dance Ever

This past weekend I spent some time visiting my cousin. Before I went on my trip to see him I decided that I would get out of my comfort zone as much as possible during the trip. It started with driving three hours away by myself (I made it!) and ended with going two-stepping. 

Not only had I decided to get out of my comfort zone that weekend, but I continuously prayed that God would be closer to me and that I would learn more about Him through each experience I went through. It is amazing that when you ask God to draw close to you He really does! I never would have guessed that dancing would teach me more about my relationship with God.

* Wow, if my (very traditional) grandmother were to read this she would either fall over or fall to her knees praying for me. Thankfully she has no access to the internet. ;) *

Sunday night, as I learned to dance, I realized that I had to surrender control to my partner. The moments where I didn't follow his lead, or when I tensed up (or thought too much--I tend to do this a lot) we would miss a step or lose contact. But when I allowed him to lead me we moved smoothly and I ended up making moves I never would have imagined I was capable of.

I've realized that my relationship with my Heavenly Father is like this. If I hold back a part of my self or try to take over control, life doesn't seem to go very smoothly. I may stumble or feel like I am losing contact with God, but if I give complete control to Him He will lead me to places I've never been. He will allow me to experience amazing things I could never imagine on my own.

When we were dancing I also had a hard time knowing when I was supposed to do something. There were at least a couple of moves that I was actually supposed to place my hand on my partner's shoulder, or duck under his arm a certain way. If I didn't act quickly or accurately we usually got all tangled up (making for some good laughs).

The same goes with my relationship with God. I am going through a stage in life where I don't know when I am supposed to do something. After you've given up control, how do you know when you are supposed to act? Thankfully, much like my dancing partner, God will lead me through the next move and whisper cues in my ear when I need them. He won't leave me out on the dance floor alone and totally confused. He has a plan, He knows the steps and as long as I follow His lead without taking over control He will allow me to experience more than I could ever ask for or imagine.

Ironically, as I started this blog post in the dark last night I read Psalm 37. A lot of the verses in this chapter tie into my theme.

"Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act." 
Psalm 37: 3-5

"The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way; though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand." Psalm 37:23-24

The way I see it is that my relationship with God is the most important dance I could ever be a part of. Yes, I often dream about the daddy-daughter dance at my wedding, and my first dance with my future husband, but I am not in that season of my life yet (though God clearly knows that is one of the desires of my heart). So, while I am waiting I will give control over to my Heavenly Father and allow Him to spin, twirl, and dip me to His heart's content. When I stumble I will get back up and look to Him for guidance. When He teaches me a new move I will listen with an open heart.