Guys. I’m honored to know TWO real life authors. And I finished each of their books this month – how cool is that?!
The Girl Who Said Goodbye by Heather Allen is an absolute must-read! (I met Heather several years ago when she came to the DR to serve with a short-term team.) In this gripping memoir, she tells the inspiring story of her aunt, Siv Eng, who grew up in Cambodia during the time of the country’s takeover by the Communist Khmer Rouge. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, but the fact that this story is true makes it so much more powerful. There were times I couldn’t see the blurred words on the pages for the tears. How incredible that Siv Eng was fighting for her very life about 40 years ago – just 10 years before I was born. My advice: don’t skip over the unfamiliar-sounding names and places. Refer often to the “Family Tree” at the beginning of the book – really get to know Siv Eng and her family. Throughout these pages, you’ll experience incredible heartbreak, horrific evil, and the depths of despair. But you’ll also see tiny ribbons of hope, unlikely kindness from others, and a clear picture of a God in control of it all.
Brian is the Executive VP of WPAR. When Scott and I lived in VA, I worked at one of the Christian radio brands, Spirit FM. (Close to the time I left my job, Brian, who wasn’t even my boss, found out we were headed to the mission field. He brought me a copy of Piper’s Don’t Waste Your Life. It meant a lot that he cared enough to talk about where we were headed next.) Brian’s book, Leadership Endurance, hammers home the idea of leading others well. The chapters are easy to digest – they’re short and written conversationally. My suggestion? Read a chapter a day instead of plowing straight through the book. The last 2 sections – on facing critics and dealing with failure – were important for me to work through personally. Some good lessons amongst these pages. (And Lincoln is my favorite President, so it was fun to learn more from him, too.)
This was my second time reading The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player. A lot of truth packed in here. I read it more slowly this time through, but it’s one of those classics that I could probably read multiple times over and still find more nuggets of goodness. This won’t be the last time I open it up.
This summer, I’ve given my kiddos the goal of reading 80+ books each. Caleigh and Leyton aren’t quite able to do it on their own yet, so I’m letting others read to them. We recently finished this Usborne Five-Minute Bedtime Stories compilation. (The kids were mad that I didn’t let them count each separate story as its own book. Heh.) The stories weren’t terribly exciting for me, but the illustrations were cute and colorful, and the dialogue seemed to keep the kids’ attention.
Below are a few of the quotes I read this month that made me stop to think.
The songs of Cambodia had been lost and abandoned. Oh, to be a bird. Our country had become a cage, but the birds were free. If only their songs could tell of our plight. Would anyone listen?¹
There is a certain beauty in a scar. No two look the same, and the skin of the scar is tougher and stronger than the skin it replaces….¹
… her husband was a communist Chief for the Khmer Rouge. He was recently killed because of some disagreement, and she was sent to prison because of her association with him. Even the communists weren’t safe from the communists.¹
Set your mind to beat your hurdles…. Life is hard. You can spend time whining about the harshness of it or focus on a way to make the world a better place.²
[Leaders] place the goal in a greater historical context.²
Do not wait to be perfect to start changing the world. If you do, you will never change it.²
As Alfred A. Montapert observed, “The majority see the obstacles; the few see the objectives; history records the successes of the latter, while oblivion is the reward of the former.” Someone who thinks in terms of solutions instead of just problems can be a difference maker.³
To see far is one thing; going there is another. – Constantin Brancusi³
¹ The Girl Who Said Goodbye: A Memoir of a Khmer Rouge Survivor, Heather Allen
² Leadership Endurance, Brian Sanders
³ The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player, John C. Maxwell