Book Review

Author, Spoken-Work Poet, Prophet

Meet Amena Brown!

I love discovering new authors. Meet Amena Brown an author and spoken-word poet.

Her book How to Fix a Broken Record released in November and it’s a keeper.

Do destructive messages ever play like a broken record in your mind? I am raising my hand.

When God heals that broken record of your soul, you’ll be ready to step into your calling, speak up for what’s right, and dance your own story of God’s grace.

Amena shares truths with an exceptional sense of humor. Her book is divided into seven sections paired with a vinyl record: love and be yourself, dating, marriage, lessons in adulting, ctrl+alt+surrender, home, searching for the groove. Funny and profound. Full of faith.

The job of a poet is to be a prophet, and it is not the job of the prophet to only say the things that make people happy and comfortable. Sometimes poets must say the hard thing, must bring up sadness and anger lingering beneath people’s sentences and actions, must dismantle work by work and brick by brick the systems that oppress anyone who bears the image of God.

I am thankful for Amena’s prophetic voice. Her debut is beautiful, like her voice. A voice I hope to hear much more of in the future.

I’m giving away a copy of How to Fix a Broken Record. Just comment below to be entered to win. How do you stop destructive messages on repeat and rest in what God can do?

A Song of Home

I love having the opportunity to share the work of powerful voices in fiction and non-fiction.

The last chapter of Pearl Spence’s story releases today, from author Susie Finkbeiner. Pearl navigates childhood through the Dust Bowl, The Great Depression, and now as a pre-teen the Swing Era. Susie is a master at writing vivid characters and Pearl is actually based on her own Grandma!

Hard times have the power to change people”

Pearl knows hard times deep down in her soul. She knows abandonment, poverty, and prejudice. What I appreciate most about Susie as an author is her ability to write what is real and hard. Her stories don’t find perfect beauty or happy endings. Yet, they always hold fast to hope.

In her Aunt Carrie and her best friend Ray, the town librarian and Opal, Pearl finds home.

 

When hard times befall us, we ask ourselves the same question.

What is home?

What is steady in hard times?

Home is who holds us in love and us them in return.

Over here at About Proximity, we navigate hard places where we desperately need God’s justice.

In the same way, Susie navigates hard through her fictional characters, place in time, and the gift of story. We are thankful for her voice and all the ways she challenges us.

Follow Susie Finkbeiner on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

What is home to you?

Hold Fragile Hope

I love Susie Finkbeiner’s writing, because her stories don’t portray life to be glossy perfection.

The endings do not tie life up with a fancy bow.

Her characters struggle. They navigate difficult times. Answers do not come easily. Faith is tested.

Somehow her words continue to hold fragile hope.

Seemed to me the God who hung the stars and spread the waters over the earth could do something so small as that.”

We live in a time that could be looked back upon as a trying period. I think we can learn so much from the voice of Pearl.

Hers was a song of hope.”

A Trail of Crumbs is the sequel to A Cup of Dust. Narrator Pearl Spence, knows enough loss to fill a lifetime. Her family has lived through the Dust Bowl and now navigates The Great Depression. In the midst of loss they leave Oklahoma for Michigan. As they establish a new home, everything Pearl knew shifts and settles uncertainly.

The storyline follows all the members of her family and how they face grief, transition and change differently.

 

Learn more about her work and previous books at susiefinkbeiner.com. The third book in the series A Song of Home releases February 2018 and takes place during the Swing Era.

If you love book recommendations, follow Susie’s ever-growing bookshelf on Instagram.

Leave a comment to win a copy of A Trail of Crumbs.

How do you hold onto hope during hard times? 

Tough Guys and Drama Queens

tough guys and drama quenns

Mark Gregston writes with Heartlight Ministries about parenting today’s teens. Heartlight is a residential counseling center for teens. He has worked with teens and their families for 38 years.

When I had the opportunity to review his book, I was very excited. My daughter is eight cruising on to nine, and honestly it freaks me out. We read tons of books when we learn we are expecting and during the baby and toddler years, the teenage years should be no different.

 

I love how all his words center around the work he has actually done with teenagers and their families. This is a good read because of his daily experience with teenagers. In his findings, kids today are overexposed to everything. They have information overload. Teenagers pull toward electronics and virtual worlds prevent them from having deep connections. Parents today, tend to be over responsible and this leads to irresponsible kids.

 

My favorite points of encouragement:

*As long as my Mom and Dad do everything. I don’t have to do anything. Gradually transfer age-appropriate responsibilities.

*Don’t expect perfection from your kids. We don’t live in perfection.

*I don’t need criticism and ridicule right now… what I need is help. Offer love not judgement.

*Having a relationship with your teenager is essential for their survival. Give them your TIME. Every relationship is important; parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts.

*I love his examples of what grace looks like in a family. Love even when you don’t feel like it…

*Home should be a place where teenagers can rest and feel safe, accepted, and loved.

 

Our kids NEED us.

That is something we can all offer.

To be there, FULLY PRESENT in the chaos of life.

To love them fully with all our hearts.

 

(The book has a great appendix of conversation starters and ways to discuss conflict.)

Do you love that this is not a complicated theory or formula? What are your greatest parenting challenges?

Win a copy of Tough Guys and Drama Queens by leaving a comment below!