The strongest people I know are the same people who have dealt with or are now dealing with what in Church circles is often referred to as adversity. There's something about seeing people take hard knocks and instead of crawling off in a corner to cry, they get up and keep fighting. My dad used to say "when the going gets tough, the tough get going," and my mother used to add "nobody gets out of this life alive."
In my lifetime I've become convinced that no one gets an easy ride. We all face our moments, days, or even years of adversity. Whether we face the loss of a loved one either physically or spiritually, face devestating illnesses, send a son off to war, lose our homes to flood or fire, become unemployed, are victims of violence, or are subjected to any of a million different hurts or trials, it's how we deal with those adversities that establishes our character and defines who we are. What separates the winners from the losers in the game of life is not speed, money, the most toys, or even crossing life's finishing lines ahead of all the others. The winners are those who face challenges, losses, disappointments, and all life can throw at them and continue to have faith in God, show their fellow travelers respect and consideration, continue to love their families, and get up each morning to do what needs to be done. The losers whine, blame their woes on others, and expect someone else to solve their problems.
The three books I chose to highlight for this contest are Promise of Spring by Kristen McKendry, Saboteur by Dean Hughes, and Livin' in High Cotton by Jennifer Leigh Youngblood and Sandra Poole. The one key element these three books share is that of a character finding her/himself in an unfamiliar devastating situation that appears hopeless, yet becomes the catalyst to exemplary personal growth. One of these books (or any of the previously highlighted books that hasn't yet been claimed) will be the prize for whoever is chosen from those who place a well thought-out comment in the comment trail of this post. The contest begins now.
Promise of Spring is the story of Melinda Keith who was never a "farm person." She grew up in Albuquerque with electric lights, gas heating, and two cars in the driveway. But after a painful divorce, she decides that life on an isolated farm in the Texas Panhandle is what she needs. Fiercely independent, Melinda is determined to live completely off the land and keep other people at a distance. But that was before a widower with a two-year-old son moves in next door and she becomes the victim of a series of sinister acts of vandalism.
The year is 1943 and Andy Gledhill trains to become a paratrooper. But he soon discovers his government has other plans for him. Because of his language skills, having a French mother, he is to be dropped into France behind enemy lines to serve as a Saboteur and spy. Andy's new life of deception and sabotage is worlds away from his smalltown upbringing and raises serious questions of conscience. Yet back home his small town is changing too with the addition of a nearby Japanese relocation camp, his sister's rejection of religious values, and the changing nature of his relationship with his longtime girlfriend. The things he sees and the things he has to do create core changes in him that will change his life, values, and relationships forever.
"Cultured, graceful, feisty Shelby Collins is the epitome of a southern lady. She tries to prove her competence by looking after her siblings while her mother is away caring for an ailing relative. Shelby's secure world is turned upside down when her father, in a drunken rage, attacks her. Fearing others will learn of his treachery, he kidnaps her, takes her to a reform school, and abandons her. In utter despair, Shelby is sure that her life is over---but sometimes life's blessings come in the most unexpected ways." Set in the South during the late 1920s and early 1930s, this is a story of love, betrayal, and the indomitable human spirit.