Friday, August 26, 2016

Make a Choice

I just finished reading Make a Choice by Jeff Benedict and I found it to be really thought-provoking. This book consists of seven true stories of people who have faced tragic, heart-wrenching experiences and found amazing outlooks on life to get them through their challenges. As the cover says, When we are at the intersection of happiness and despair, we have the power to make a choice.

Benedict begins his book perfectly with a quote from Old Yeller, which he had been reading to his daughter. After Travis goes through the awful ordeal of having to put down Old Yeller, his dad gives him this wise counsel: "It's not a thing you can forget. I don't guess it's a thing you ought to forget. What I mean is, things like that happen. They may seem mighty cruel and unfair, but that's how life is part of the time. But that isn't the only way life is. A part of the time, it's mighty good. And a man can't afford to waste all the good part, worrying about the bad parts."

Commenting on this quote and other tragedies in the world, Benedict makes the point that we never "get over" these things. But we can get through them (his emphasis, not mine). He then goes on to share the stories of people he personally knows and how they got through their difficult experiences (or, for some, are still getting through them).

This book made me grateful for my life, which has been very easy compared to the lives of the people mentioned in this book. Although my challenges are not nearly as great, this book provided me with great insights on how to deal with my challenges, and still choose to keep an optimistic, hopeful attitude throughout my life, no matter what comes my way.

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Washington Hypothesis

I was excited to read The Washington Hypothesis by Timothy Ballard as soon as I learned it was coming out. I really enjoyed his previous work, The Lincoln Hypothesis. This book did not disappoint. I have always loved American history and have always had great respect for our first president. I always knew George Washington was a great man, but reading this book solidified that belief more than ever.

First of all, I had no idea how many miracles were involved with the Revolutionary War. I knew that as a whole it is a miracle that the Americans won against the greatest superpower in the world at the time. But it was fascinating to read about the successes Washington had because of nature (God) working in their favor. It was neat to read how often Washington urged his men to fast and pray and show their devotion to God.

Ballard also makes interesting arguments in favor of Washington being familiar with the American Covenant, an extension of the Abrahamic Covenant that applied to Lehi and that now applies to us. I won't go into detail because I don't want to spoil the book, but it is very interesting to note how the pieces came together for the author.

I don't know what Timothy Ballard will write next, but I do know that I will be among the first in line to read it. His research is fantastic and his passion is contagious. It makes me personally commit to better live the American Covenant.