This month, the CFRB is featuring Not Far From the Tree by Ruth Smith Meyer.
Those who lived in the twentieth century saw more rapid changes than any previous century. Born at the beginning of this era, to a family that had already faced dramatic change and challenge, Rina seemed to come into the world with a zest for the revolution the 1900's would bring. Based on the story of a real person, the narrative alternates between the daily activities of a still spunky 99-year-old Rina and her vivid memories as she relives vignettes of her life. The impetuous and sometimes capricious nature of young Rina almost exasperates her parents Jake and Ellie.
When she is barely a grown woman, marriage to an imaginative and sometimes impractical dreamer husband, the arrival of babies, the great depression and life in general take over, moulding her into a strong woman not unlike her parents, proving the apple indeed does not fall far from the tree. The unbelievable twists in the lives of Rina and her beloved David will keep readers fascinated with the indomitable strength of the human spirit when there is a solid foundation of love and faith. Although this is a sequel to Not Easily Broken, it can readily stand on its own.
Not Far From the Tree is a great book if you're looking for something a little different. It's based on a true story of a family with ten children (yep, you read that one right). Being a mother of so many is a calling that not many women have, but after the first few come along, Rina starts to get the hang of things and is a good example to learn from. What amazes me most about her is her patience. Obviously, raising 10 children could try anyone's patience, but on top of that, she has a husband who, while wonderful, really asks a lot of her. David is definitely a dreamer, and always has to try something new, particularly jobs. This forces the family to move as much as a military family would. Rina's patience is really put to the test when she sees some of the places they'll be living (I think I read it right when I saw "semi-trailer" somewhere along the way).
It is also encouraging to see how much Rina relies on the Lord to see her through trials and difficult circumstances. One of my favorite portions in the book tells the story of Rina being worried sick that there won't be enough money to feed the family until the next paycheck comes in. Rina takes her concerns to God, and depends on Him to see her family through. Not 2 minutes after she utters that prayer she gets an answer....actually 3 answers! My eyes welled up with tears after that because, even though I've never been that poor, I have had my faith shaken to the core that my only hope was that God would hear and answer my prayer. No doubt about it....He still does!
I truly hope that I'll be able to read the book that came before this one (Not Easily Broken) some day. If it's half as good as this one, I know that I won't be disappointed!