This Life I Live // Rory Feek

I have to admit that I don’t listen to country music. If I do hear a country song, it is purely by accident. So, there are a lot of country music stars that I simply don’t know. I may recognize a name or two, but couldn’t pick them out of a line up or name any of their popular songs.

And here’s another thing I must admit: until I received a copy of This Life I Live, I didn’t know the names Rory or Joey Feek.  I didn’t know their story or their music or the fact that they have a TV show.

Several weeks ago I happened to be watching the TODAY show and there was an interview with Rory.  Matt Lauer was talking to him, asking him questions and referenced Rory’s story like everyone watching knew it.

I didn’t.

But after reading This Life I Live, I’m glad I do.

The book tells the compelling story of Rory and Joey’s relationship: how they met, the fact that she saw herself marrying another man even while talking with Rory, the courtship and marriage that followed, the birth of Indiana and her battle with the cancer that ultimately took her life.

Rory and Joey’s story is both real and powerful.  Each chapter in the book reads more like a journal entry than a typical biography and Rory writes from his heart.  It was more like having a conversation with him and he was transparent about his successes and his failures.

While This Life I Live is the story of Rory and Joey, it is so much more than that.

The first half of the book gives Rory’s back story: about his upbringing, his family’s constant moving and the on and off again relationship with his father.  All of that leads into the man he is as he begins his relationship with Joey.

While This Life I Live is the story of Rory and Joey, it really is the story of how God was working in the life of Rory to make him the man he is today.  Through a rough upbringing, many broken relationships, a lot of mistakes, successes and failures, parenting, marriage, having a child and losing his wife to cancer, God used all of that to shape and mold Rory.

A quote that jumped off the page at me is from chapter 52 where Rory writes about his daughter Indiana. She is born with Downs syndrome and this was his conclusion:  I have a feeling – I’ve had it for a while now – that Indiana is here to teach me something.  To teach me everything . . . She will teach all of us.  Just because she’s different. Her extra chromosome will be the thing that changes our DNA. What we’re made of and what’s down deep inside.

Her extra chromosome will be the thing that changes our DNA.

This Life I Live is ultimately about change.  And growth.  And growing up.

While This Life I Live is the story of Rory and Joey, it’s really about how God doesn’t give up on His children and will teach us and grow us as long as we allow Him.

You can see more about Rory and Joey on their website which features a blog, videos and information where you can get a copy of the book.

Advertisements

Life Is _____________

life isI had the opportunity to read Jesus Is ____________ about a year ago. Judah Smith’s follow-up Life Is _____________ was a good continuation of what he shared in his previous offering.

Smith uses solid insights, personal stories and doses of humor to reveal from various passages of scripture that Jesus is life. In one chapter he writes these words: “Jesus is always more. More than what? I’ll let you fill in the blank . . . He’s more than bankruptcy. More than sickness. More than sin. More than murder. More than divorce. More than tragedies, tsunamis, wars or famines . . . What are you facing? He’s more.”

Most of the Biblical accounts that Smith uses are probably not new to those who have grown up in church. He brings a new perspective that is refreshing for those who have familiarity with the passages, but writes in a way that communicates with a reader who might be new to these verses. Smith also writes with a practicality that is helpful to the reader. He brings the person of Jesus into our current culture and context.

As an example, he writes about one of the most well-known verses in scripture – John 3:16. Then he asks this question that puts that verse in a new light: “God loves the whole world? This doesn’t make sense. This is crazy. What about bad people? What about indifferent people? What about those who mock him to his face, who flaunt evil and flout his commands?” It gives a new filter through which to think about God’s love.

Probably one of the most powerful moments of the book for me was what Smith shared about his daughter’s birth. He writes about his dad’s battle with cancer and how one day God told him that Smith and his wife would have a third child, a girl, who they were to name Grace. When she was just a day old, they took Grace to church. Smith felt a strong urge to go hold his newborn daughter and took her to a room off stage. That moment, as he looked at his little girl, it was a reminder to him that even though life doesn’t always go the way we want (his dad lost his battle with cancer), God is good and loving and sustains us. He gives us grace to sustain us.

Life Is __________ is an encouraging book that points people to the love of God and how it has the power to change our lives. This book would be a good resource for personal reading and for small group discussion.

Undone – a Compelling Memoir

undoneI first heard about Undone from my wife. She is a friend of the author, Michele Cushatt, having attended college with her and now being Facebook friends. I wasn’t planning to read the book because I put it in the category of a “chick book.” I know there are movies that guys refer to as “chick flicks” so I kind of put this memoir into that category – a book for women written by a women. My wife started reading it and kept talking about how much she enjoyed it, so I decided to get a copy. I’m glad I did.

The subtitle of the book is “a story of making peace with an unexpected life.” Not only is Cushatt a gifted writer (she has a way with words), but part of her story had similarities to where my wife and I have been. She writes about the pain of divorce, an ongoing battle with cancer and managing a family with a biological child, two step-sons and three foster children. While I have never struggled with cancer, I related to enduring divorce and experiencing blended families and adoption.

Cushatt writes with an honesty that keeps the reader turning the pages. She shares the lessons she’s learned, the struggles she has add and how she handled adversity – including the good, bad and ugly.

I appreciated her humor that is sprinkled throughout her book. In discussing her diagnosis of cancer and the responses she received from people. This example reveals her sense of humor and she related this response from one person – “And my personal favorite: ‘My friend was diagnosed with the same kind of cancer as you. He died a few months ago.’ Thank you. Super helpful.” Now that’s funny!

This is potentially my favorite quote of the book from a powerful chapter. In chapter 16 she tells about going to Christmas Eve service with her three “littles.” You have to read the chapter to appreciate all that is going on, but as she brings the story to an end, she writes these words that she shared with a friend: “Just because something is hard doesn’t mean we’re not called to it. And just because it’s hard doesn’t mean it’s not good.”

Undone was a compelling read and as I read it, I know the Cushatt’s story is not over. If your life has ever taken an unexpected twist, you will appreciate the words this book contains.

Syd is #Chillin4Charity

I’ve seen several videos and pictures of college basketball coaches and players participating in the #Chillin4Charity, which is a fundraiser for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

Sydney, along with several of the U of L players, was called out to do it. You can see other players and coaches participate on the Louisville Cardinal Athletics YouTube page. Looks fun and freezing all at the same time.