Book Review – Where I End

About the book

Kate Clark was at her son’s school – whirling about the playground in a merry game of tag – when, suddenly, a little boy jumped off the jungle gym and landed on her head. Kate fell to the ground and lay motionless, paralyzed from the neck down. The doctors said she would never walk again.

But God had a different ending in mind. In Where I End, Kate recounts her tumultuous journey and shows us a God who is peculiarly near to the broken-hearted. Whatever you are facing today, Kate’s miraculous story – told with a winsome honesty that avoids easy answers – will captivate and encourage you. A deep well of theological truth, Where I End will leave you less afraid of suffering and wanting more of Jesus.

About the Author

Katherine Elizabeth Clark is a wife to a gifted theologian and mom to two bright kids, all of whom bring merriment and humor to her days. When she’s not writing, Kate enjoys spending time outdoors, cooking new recipes with her kids, and immersing herself in books. The Clark family currently resides in Wheaton, IL, and worships together at Church of the Resurrection.

My own thoughts about the book

I enjoyed Where I End. I mean, I read it front to back in one day, if that’s any implication. The author’s writing style made it obvious she has prior experience with writing, as the story flowed right along from chapter to chapter. The story is definitely sad to read. In the last chapters, she described what her life is like today, and it’s hard to imagine. She is able to help herself and do most normal things, but she’s clumsy and awkward. She describes herself as a young person in an old person’s body. She has to be conscious of every detail she does, every step she takes.

One thing that stuck out to me was how she missed wearing high heels. I love wearing heels, and all of a sudden I find myself grateful that I have that ability. That’s what this book will do to you. It’ll help you become aware of small, insignificant details in your life and make you extremely grateful for them.

This book has quotes taken from other books at the beginning of each chapter, a feature I enjoyed very much. These quotes matched what happened in each chapter perfectly. For example, in chapter 7, there’s a quote from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Return of the King:

“What do you fear, lady?” [Aragorn] asked. “A cage,” [Eowyn] said.

And then she proceeds to describe how after her surgery she felt like she was trapped in a cage – and her own body was the cage. She could not move, not breathe, not see, and there was a pressure building inside her. But I’ll stop now before I tell you the whole story; I’d much rather you’d get the book and read it yourself.

Her story is miraculous. And heroic. She constantly thought of her children, how to spare them from even more pain and trauma, even while she herself was in the midst of extreme pain. The last chapters clarify that she still does that. Her life – hers and her family’s – will never be the same, will never be “normal” again. But she has found a way to cope and handle it. She knows how her incapabilities might only get worse as she ages, but despite that she’s profoundly grateful for the healing that has taken place and for how far she’s come.

This book is praised by Joni Eareckson Tada. Read what she says about it: “I’ve heard a great many stories about people who have suffered life-altering injuries. But some rise above the rest . . . and that’s how I feel about the book you hold in your hands. I give Where I End my strong recommendation.”

Me too. Definitely.

(I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. These are my own opinions; not in any way influenced by the publisher.)


Simple Cure for Headaches

I had a headache today.

Nothing new; nothing strange. I think headaches are among the most common “sicknesses” that humans have. It’s incredible how easy it is to acquire one of those bastards. I have, over the years, learned that my headaches occur mainly because of two reasons:

A) Stress. When there’s a throbbing spot in the back of my head and my neck is sore, I know it’s a stress headache. There’s those knots (like actual tiny lumps that I can feel) inside my neck and head that tell me I’m stressed.

B) It’s because of dehydration. How can I tell when it’s a dehydration headache? Well, for starters, it almost always is because I never drink enough water. One reason that I don’t drink enough is that I don’t want to make us stop 48 times in one day for bathroom breaks while we’re driving. So yeah, add not drinking enough water to downing mug after mug of coffee at our daily meal in truckstop diners and we have brought ourselves into a good state of dehydration. (By good I obviously mean bad.) I read somewhere that about 90% of people are alway dehydrated without even knowing they are. And when it gets really bad, they get killer headaches. Another telltale sign that lets me know it’s a dehydration headache is when I can literally feel my sinuses being “dry”. Hahaha I promise it’s legit; it’s not as made up and weird as it sounds. You know when you have done a lot of cardio or garden work and you feel so thirsty and your mouth is dry and all – well that’s what I feel in the back of my nose and eyes and… gah I’ll just stop talking before I sound even more mental.

But yeah, I believe that a lot of people would be able to cure chronic headaches with one simple solution – water. I often hear complaints of not wanting to drink as much as they should because they can’t take time for bathroom breaks all day. And I hear ya; I don’t/can’t do that either. But the thing is, if you decide to drink more water and you find yourself escaping to the loo every 5 minutes, that’s a sure fire-sign that you are dehydrated. Your bladder works kind of like a sponge in regards to holding liquids/pee/water. If it’s dry/dehydrated, the water it takes in will flow right through, making you pee all the time. But once it’s wet/hydrated and saturated, you’ll be able to drink liters of water before needing a bathroom trip, enabling you to hold it for way longer. So now you know: if you drink a lot and you need to pee all the time, keep drinking. A few days later, once your body is freshly hydrated, you’ll be able to hold a lot more.

I have also noticed that a lot of people like to call their headaches “migraines”. HAHAHAHAH y’all don’t know what you’re talking about. It’s the same as when people who are neat freaks say they have OCD. HA! My dear, you don’t have migraines, nor OCD. Don’t be a child. Nobody wants to pity you. (Except when you have an actual diagnosis from a doctor. In that case, I’ll shut up. Migraines and OCD are serious disorders and need to be medicated and not made fun of.)

So yeah. Next time you have yourself a doozy of a headache again, try to determine whether it might be a stress ache or dehydration headache. If it happens to be a stress ache, or a tiredness headache, ask someone to give you a neck rub and then take a nap. If it’s because of dehydration, get some electrolytes in you.

If all else fails, take a couple of Advil and chase those with a cup of coffee. That’s what I did today and I kicked mine to the curb in like 30 minutes. After that I of course drank lots of water to avoid a repeat occurrence tomorrow…

11+ Fascinating Differences Between Canada and the United States

I grew up just south of the American border so technically I couldn’t say I really know what I’m talking about. But culturally I was heavily influenced by the US since since we regularly went to shop there. And the school I attended while growing up got most of their curriculum from a US publishing house, so needless to say, I learned all the things about the United States just like someone growing up there.

Now I live in Canada, but spend more time than not in the US because of my husband’s job. I always thought Canada and the USA were just about the same, but after living there for a couple of months I realized how different they really are. Some dissimilarities are vastly different; others are significantly minor.

The first thing I always notice, although it’s not the biggest, is the

  • Language. The spelling and the pronunciation. Here are some spelling examples: Canada spells words like honour and colour with what I deem an unnecessary U in the last syllable. It’s because Canada remains loyal to the crown. I was taught that the only reason to include the U was for honorable documents, like wedding invitations or letters to authoritative figures. Another example is the spelling of the color grey – where grey is the British spelling and gray is the American preference. Both are acceptable just about anywhere; both are correct. And about pronunciation – obviously Canadians have different accents then Americans do. But there are words that have a very distinct pronunciation, one example being the word data. Canadians use a long vowel in the first syllable, as in “dayta”. Americans use a short vowel, just like “data”. Again, both are acceptable and correct. Also kilometer. In Canada it’s spelled kilometre and said “KILL-ih-metur” and in the US it’s spelled kilometer and said “kill-AH-metur” And another small thing: Canadians pronounce the letter Z like “zed”; Americans say “zee”.
  • Currency. It’s no news that Canada has “colorful money” and US has green bills. Canada also has loonies and toonies, something I was unaware of before I moved there. Canada also doesn’t use pennies anymore. No more finding lucky pennies. Bummer, but then again, we Canadians create our own luck.
  • Thanksgiving. You either celebrate Thanksgiving, or you celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. If you invite your mom over for Thanksgiving, it’s understood she’ll come in November. However, if you want her to come in October, you have to make sure you say “Canadian Thanksgiving”.
  • Uber. Uber services have become increasingly popular in the US the past few years. Canada isn’t so far advanced yet, except in a few major cities, I hear.
  • Coffee Houses. Canada has the ever famous Tim Horton’s, which has recently also been introduced in the US and even Mexico. The United States has Starbucks, which is great for them, I guess. I couldn’t tell you which one is better. I like the quiet, “studious” vibes in Starbucks. You know, Starbucks makes you feel like that’s where work from home bloggers actually work and students come there to study just so studying doesn’t suck so much. Tim’s is often a full, hurried place that is behind in their cleanliness inspection. Both places drinks and pastry are delicious though, albeit one of them is way more overpriced. Also, in Canada you might often hear someone order a double-double, and I’ve heard that American baristas meet your request with a blank stare as they have no idea what that means. This, however, I cannot find out if it’s true or not.
  • Headwear. Shortly after I moved to Canada I began hearing the word toque a lot and I had no idea what it referred to. Turns out other people call it a beanie. But I get the idea that beanies are often worn purely as an accessory and toques are mainly to keep your brain cells from freezing. (Also, I can’t figure out how to spell that word. Some say toque, others tuque, others touque… I give up.)
  • School. I have noticed that Canadians talk about going to University; Americans talk about College. Simple as that.
  • Measurement Systems. Canada uses metric measurements in most places. Vehicles drive in kilometers. Roads are divided in kilometers. However, I have heard that land is divided in miles. This is something I’m not sure if it’s true everywhere or not. The USA obviously drives in miles.
  • Labels and signs. Canada is widely French speaking, they say. (I’ve met very few people that even speak French.) But this is the reason Canada puts up two signs for everything. You drive past an English sign that says Winnipeg, 60 km and two seconds later comes another sign that says the same thing, but in French. Groceries have an English label on one side of the box or can or bottle and a French label on the other side. The US has ONE language and that’s it. If you can’t understand or read it, you better learn it. (I have seen labels, signs, and menus with small Spanish translations actually.)
  • Netflix. It’s no secret that American Netflix has more/better shows than the Canadian one. The great US of A wins this round. Luckily for me, I get the best of both.
  • Banking Systems. Now I will admit I don’t know anything about American banks, but I do know that Canadian banks are further advanced in their tech systems. One example is the “tap” option on credit cards. In Canada, you can pay for your BigMac by HOLDING your credit/debit card close to the terminal, and it beeps and you’re good to go. No need to swipe the card or insert and punch in the PIN. Literally just “tap” and boom, you’re off! This is supposed to work so you don’t need to take your card out of your wallet even; just hold your wallet to the terminal. Now, the United States knows of no such thing. They have recently gotten things like ApplePay, the system where you can pay by simply holding your phone on the terminal if you have the credit card entered into your phone. American credit cards don’t have this tap option yet, but since their ApplePay terminals work the same way, we can use tap to pay in the States as well. Most cashiers have never seen this before and they laugh in glee when they see us do that. I have to admit – it feels good to surprise them when they start to say “Oh I’m sorry, you’ll have to insert–” and boom, we’ve already paid and they’re like “OH MY GOODNESS, THAT WORKS! LOOK AT THAT!”
  • Other minor differences. In Canada there are Prime Ministers and Postal Codes and social insurance numbers and provinces/territories; In the US there are Presidents and Zip Codes and social security numbers and states.

These are some things I’ve noticed over time; they might or might not ring true 100%. Leave me a comment if you know of other similarities or differences! And remember, next you’re confused about a spelling or pronunciation or custom, they’re probably both right, just different.


Let Me Ruin Romantic Things For You.

Some things are never as great in real life as what romantics make them out to be. We may try to see the beauty in everything, but some of us just aren’t Anne Shirley who could find the beauty in a dried up twig. Here are some things that sound amazing and fun and extremely romantic, but in retrospect are plagued by the reality of life just like the best of us.

  1. Travel the world. Traveling costs money. Lots of it. No matter how frugal you think you are, it’ll cost money. And unless you’re Blair Waldorf or any of her friends who spend summers in the Hamptons or shopping in Paris, you probably won’t travel the world. Perhaps a handful of countries though – if you’re lucky.
  2. Watch sunsets. I bet you have a telenovela image in your head right now. Me too. Can’t really think of a thing in the world that would ruin the romantic feels of a sunset. Unless, of course, it should start the rain the minute before the sun starts sinking.
  3. Watch the stars on an empty field. Again, nothing really can ruin the beauty of a starry night. Unless, again, clouds and weather, of course.
  4. Run through/kiss in the rain. It’s not like it sounds. Or looks like in The Notebook. You’ll be cold. No, you’ll be freezing and shivering in your goosebump skin. Your clothes will cling to every part of your body in cold folds. Your makeup will run. Your hair will whip you in your face in sharp wet attacks as you run. Romance will be the last thing on your mind.
  5. Get lost together. Which part of this sounds romantic to you? The part where you starve because you can’t find food? Or the part where you sleep in an alley because, well, you’re lost? Or where your car runs out of gas and you’re stranded beside the road for the whole night? Or the part where you have to fend off hungry animals from eating your guts? I don’t get it but apparently some people dream of getting lost with their significant others. Huh.
  6. It doesn’t matter where we end up, as long as we’re together. Aww, you’re so cute. If you love each other, of course it won’t matter where you are. At least until the initial stage of excitement passes and you realize it does matter after all.
  7. Van or tiny camper trailers filled with blankets and pillows and string lights for cuddling. It’ll all be fun and games until the tiny space starts smelling like, um, human waste. Until there’s dust mites filling every nook and hair shedding all over the blankets and pillows and your romantic cuddle spot is just gross.
  8. Cooking together and feeding each other homemade sauces on wooden spoons. In the movies, they’d carefully nibble on the saucy spoon and then declare it the best thing they ever tasted. And it can be romantic. It really can. It can also spell disaster in a few short seconds. The sauce is hot and burns your lips. Or it actually tastes horrible. Or the food you’re cooking burns while you’re being romantic and necking on each other. Or you cook and eat and forget about cleaning up until everything that’s left is dried crusty remnants and smelly peelings that are so gross you’ll forget all about romance.
  9. Take long roadtrips together. I’m confused. By “long”, do you perhaps mean 3 hours? Longer than that and it takes more strategy and pee breaks and less romance.
  10. Have a picnic. Spread a blanket on the ground, set a basket with food in on corner and have a good old picnic. Sounds like fun. Until there’s a sharp little pebble poking your leg no matter where you sit. Or ants smell your sandwiches and come to join the party, invited or not. Or bees. Or bears. Or that tiny little fly that keeps buzzing into the corner of your eye no matter how much you swat at it.
  11. Have dinner outside overlooking a lake on a table covered in white linen and laden with candles and champagne as the sun sets. It’s all fun and games until the bird in the tree overhead drops a big one in your glass of champagne and while you drink you spot a turd instead of a ring. Or a seagull flies past and swipes up your chocolate covered strawberries you’re feeding each other while flapping you in the face with its wing.
  12. Bubble bath for two. The water is too hot for one, but just right for the other. Then the water cools down to perfect temperature for the both of you. The next minute the one is already freezing and shivering while the other one can now finally enjoy water.
  13. Sitting in front of a fireplace and drinking hot chocolate while it’s snowing outside. All while worrying how you’re going to get to work the next day if you’re snowed in. The floor is also hard and uncomfortable and you’re wondering why in the world you couldn’t sit on the couch that’s three feet behind you.
  14. Couples Massage. Frankly I can’t imagine anything more awkward. You’re lying facedown on a strangers table with a towel covering your private property and can neither see nor touch your partner, who’s right there three feet away, also lying facedown with a towel covering his estates, also not being able to see nor touch you.
  15. Making out in a dark theater and sharing a tub of popcorn. It could be fun to make out in there, I’ll give you that, but theaters are among the grossest public places ever. Ew. Kissing is not that romantic while trying not to think about the sugary drink stain you’re sitting on and the thick, long hair hooked into the screws on the arm rest, not to mention all the dust and old food crumbs inside your drink holder.

There are more ideas I’d be able to come up with, but for appropriateness sake of this blog I’ll not share. I’m sure you’ll have some of your own. By all means, please drop them in the comments below. I’d love to hear them and share a laugh!


When You’re at Rock Bottom

This post was originally published on Forever Beloved, one of my favorite blogs, as a guest post.

If God told you to move, would you? If God told you to quit your job, would you? If God told you to sell your house, would you?

Yes. The answer is yes. A thousand times. Of course you would. When God speaks, you listen. When God commands, you obey.

Or what’s there to think about?

So God told you to quit your job. Obediently, you begin to look for another job close to where you live, so you won’t have to move. A job that’s paying as well as what you’re making now, maybe even a bit more. After all, you have lots of experience to glitter up your resume; it shouldn’t be too hard to land a well-paying job.

The surprise comes a bit later when all the interviews you went through seem to have been in vain; you call back and ask them to reconsider, but the answer is a firm no.

You’re crushed. Confused. Don’t understand. If God told you to quit your job, why can’t you find another one so you can quit your current one? Did you misunderstand? Maybe God told you to do something thing else… because following God’s will can’t be this hard.

Allow me to clarify your problems for you. The reason things don’t seem to be working out for you is because you aren’t doing what God asked you to do. You may think you’re trying, but the reality is, you’re not. Listen to this:

God told you to quit your job, not to try to find another one. God told you to quit your job, yet here you are, blasting away your resume to every known firm in the city. God told you to quit your job, and you’re doing everything else but quitting your job.

That’s why things aren’t working for you. Because you aren’t doing what God told you to.

“But, I have to be practical about quitting a job!” You yell. “I can’t quit my job before I have assurance of another income to fall back on because I have a family to feed, I have a mortgage to pay off, I have bills to pay.”

That all sounds very practical and yes, realistic. That’s what a realistic person would say. That’s also what a person with no faith would say.

Faith isn’t practical. Yes, you can put faith into action in practical ways, but that still doesn’t mean that faith is practical.

Faith is putting your trust in something you don’t understand. Faith is not just saying you believe in one God. Even the demons believe that. (James 2:19) Faith is taking that step that God wants you to, even though you can’t see what your next step will be.

Faith is selling your home when God tells you to, even though to the human mind it might look like you’ll end up homeless if you do that. Faith is moving across the country to a new life when God tells you to, even though the human mind perceives that as an act of foolishness.

How far will you go to trust God? How far are you willing to go to obey? Are you willing to jump even when you don’t know what’s at the bottom?

It’s extremely hard. For all you know, there may be a pit of snakes at the bottom, and if you had known that, you’d definitely not have jumped. Not in a million years. That’s just not something a sane human would do, jumping into a pit of snakes.

But if God told you to jump, he has a plan. And it’s there, at rock bottom, where you landed breaking your bones and bruising your body, where he’s forming you into his pot of clay, and preparing you for the wealth, for the perfect health, and for the happy carefree life and unending blessings he has in store for you.

And in the end, you’ll be glad you jumped. You’ll remember how frightening it was, and yet you know that if you hadn’t, you’d still be stuck at your old job, in your old life you didn’t have the faith to give up, and you’d have coasted through life on mediocre blessings. Yes, God will bless and take care of you even though you didn’t take the leap of faith, because God is good and that’s what He does for his children, but you have no idea what you missed out on. And all that just because you wanted faith, but wanted it practically.

Faith isn’t practical. Faith is putting your trust in something supernatural, something you can’t see nor understand, and clinging to his promises all the way into the pit.

Rock bottom. That’s where God works.


Thoughts on Valentine’s Day

When I was a child and in school, I loved Valentine’s Day. It was always a day when I’d come home with a backpack laden of homemade paper hearts and pink lollipops and heart decorated pens. Every kid in school brought something to share with everyone, and we’d all go home happy and excited to show off our gifts to our parents.

One year, (I’m actually pretty sure it was in first grade) one kid’s mom brought individual sized heart shaped frosted cakes for everyone. We came in from recess and there was a small white box sitting on top of every kid’s desk. It HAD CAKE IN IT! That was something I’ll probably never forget.

For me, Valentine’s Day wasn’t about finding a valentine or romance. I didn’t even know what romance was. All I knew was that it grossed me out when my parents kissed. Ew. Valentine’s Day was all about friends and friendship for me. During the school year, I might have had some problems with a few other kids about not wanting to be friends with them, but not on Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day, everyone all of a sudden liked everyone. Everyone had friends on Valentine’s Day.

Now? I’m married and I’m convinced I’m the least romantic person alive. I don’t do gifts. I don’t do long candlelight dinners. I don’t like hallmark movies. I don’t do long, cheesy Instagram captions on birthdays and anniversaries. Valentine’s Day is a day like any other.

My parents celebrate it every year. They make a yummy meal and sprinkle heart confetti on the table and light a candle and fill up some champagne flutes with red juice. I remember my dad giving my mom flowers and my mom baking my dad’s favorite cake in a heart shape for him. Romantic, right?

Today would be my grandma’s 73rd birthday, if she was still here. She died of cancer when I was 10. Ten years old is pretty old and yet I barely remember her. I remember her diagnosis and her being sick and then suddenly dying, and that’s pretty much it. I wrote a lengthy story about it on my old blog. Maybe I’ll link it down below, or maybe I’ll actually import it to this blog.

If I remember correctly, grandma was 22 when she had her first baby – my mom. I’m 22 right now. Although for me it’s too late already to have a baby at 22, haha. My mom was pushing 30 though when she had me – her first. So maybe there’s no rush yet. We’ll see how things pan out.

Anyway. Happy Valentines Day, however you celebrate it.


Book Tour – They Were Single Too

“How long, Lord, will you continue to ignore me? How long will you pay no attention to me?” (Taken from Psalm 13)

As a single man/woman, you may have cried these words to the Lord over and over. Your friends are getting married. They’re starting families of their own. They’re moving forward, and you’re still where they were five years ago. You’re left behind.

It wouldn’t be so hard if you knew one day you’d follow suit. It would be easier if you had the assurance you’d meet your soulmate one day. And it’s not just feeling left behind that makes this season of your life hard – it’s feeling left out as well. You don’t fit into any social groups at church and don’t know where to hang out in public.

Paul. Anna. Martha. Jeremiah. Ruth. Joseph. Nehemiah. John the Baptist. They Were Single Too.

You may have heard tons about Paul’s single life, how he says it’s good not to marry, and all that. But have you ever thought about Anna, how lonely she must have been, what kind of life she lived in the temple? Unlike Paul, Anna appears only briefly in the Bible, and thus is often overlooked as a biblical role model. The fact that she denied physical relationships and vowed herself into a life of celibacy in the temple may be of great encouragement to you. This book has a whole chapter with an in-depth look at her life and points out facts and thoughts you’ve never thought about before.

Not only that, this book also features whole in-depth looks at the other seven role models mentioned above. Even though you think you know all about Paul, read his chapter in this book. I’m sure you’ll come across eye openers there as well. No matter what stage of life you’re in, what situation you’re struggling with, you’ll see yourself in one of these eight characters, and you’ll be able to gain a fresh perspective on the single life.

One thing you’ll appreciate is the quote at the beginning of each chapter. These quotes are all – you guessed it – by single people too! And so not only will you be inspired by eight biblical characters, you’ll also be inspired by eight of these “real life” single men and women. One example of such is a quote by Mark Lowry, a never-been-married-comedian and southern gospel singer.

The end of each chapter includes a “For Reflection” section, which is a handful of questions you can answer so you’ll remember the important points.

This book is especially for

  • Men and women who are past the “normal” age for marrying
  • Women who are getting older and beginning to fear they’ll never be able to carry a child
  • Divorcees without children

This book is not for

  • 15 year olds who are scared that their crush will forget about them and they’ll never be able to get married
  • Divorcees with children
  • Couples in committed relationships

If you fall into one of the last three points, however, or are married, don’t think you can’t read it. You definitely can, and you should!

About the author: David M. Hoffeditz is cofounder and director of Ancient Tours, which leads several trips a year to biblical lands, and president of Iron-2-Iron Ministries. He also teaches part time at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. David has authored iVocab Greek materials and was a contributing author to What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.


It's a Wonderful Life