When DJ Tanner sends you a book in the mail

As part of the B&H Bloggers program, I received a free copy Candace Cameron Bure’s latest book. I spent no less than three days laughing every time I saw it on the coffee table, which is where I thought it might have to remain. I could not in good faith review a book that was the farthest thing for me to reach for, even within the genre of spiritual memoir which is my fave. It just wouldn’t be fair. A good book reviewer will be able to separate the person from the author’s voice; to reserve critique for the author’s character from the author’s content.

I have very little against Candace Cameron Bure. I have listened to her talk at Liberty University. I appreciate the principles upon which she is unwavering as she makes decisions for her career and family. I just don’t think she is exceptionally talented as an actress or inspirational speaker. I didn’t have high hopes for her writing, though I give her credit for letting her co-author Erin Davis have a proper byline. (Ghostwriters get such a bum deal.) Most importantly, though, I was completely prejudiced against the premise of this book. I don’t watch “Dancing with the Stars” which the writer uses as the framework for the events of this memoir, drawing spiritual insights from her time preparing for and performing on this reality TV show. The fact that Bure got a book deal out of a quasi-celebrity TV appearance seemed like–well, I think Uncle Joey’s reaction is apt: Cut. It. Out.

Curiosity got the better of me, though. And you know what? This book is actually pretty substantive. The tone is sincere throughout. Bure clearly cares about the way she comports herself on and off camera. She took her role on the show very seriously and examined every decision through the prism of how she would be representing herself as a godly woman. There are moments that are really inspiring, like how she shares her and her husband Val’s discussion about performing the seductive rumba and the implications for her as a daughter of Christ. The discussion on modesty was comprehensive and not pious. It was accessible, drawing from Proverbs, Psalms, and many parts of the New Testament. I think on these merits alone, the book is worth buying for a young person who is navigating the murky waters on modesty.

Still, the writing is pretty painful at times. In certain moments, it’s as if DJ Tanner is writing the copy. There are sentences like, “Betcha didn’t know that dancing could be such serious business!” Ay. Where is Kimmy Gibbler because we need some comic relief. Moreover, the premise is overall still vomitous. There is a lot of attention paid to social media reactions and the book is written with the assumption that the reader cared deeply about the show and about Bure’s competitive edge. If you have a rabid DWTS fan in your house, this book might be for him or her. However, the spiritual insights within the framework of one season of one show was just not enough for a solid story skeleton. A book like Devon Franklin’s “Produced by Faith” does a much better job using show business as a metaphor wherein the spiritual life is examined.

Bure’s book can probably be read in about a week and is available in paperback.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above (typically those to books) may be “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Discontentment: a play in three parts

The week was going to be impossible to enjoy I decided on Sunday, which is a wonderful parliamentary way to outlaw contentment in one’s heart for a full week. Contentment was banished, by law and edict of Sunday’s decision. An unwelcome denizen, cast out with the chicken bones and fanny packs with broken zippers.

You know the basic plotline of this play.

I, playing a starring role as the Obliger, is huffing as she obliges every appointment and preordained meeting and every other Thing To Which She Said Yes, rueing the day she ever learned to say yes so well.  The other supporting roles are played by the usual suspects, a rotation of students and colleagues and one husband who falls very sick toward Act III and two children who don’t understand why certain things set the Obliger off, I mean, Seriously, Mom, what is one rotting french fry wedged behind a carseat among friends?

UntitledThe action comes to a climax when the inevitable meltdown transpires, the actress is centerstage facing the audience, whilst she furiously scrubs dishes and carries on in a monologue WHO CAN LIVE THIS WAY? that is probably a little too Medea and is not recommended for a younger audience. The denouement is only possible with reconciliation, to her husband, her children and to herself.

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The stage is the place where dramatic irony is at its most delicious. The audience knows something is happening in tandem but the actors don’t. In this play, there is no dramatic irony. There is action taking place in tandem, but it is not known by the audience or the actor. Because God does not demand an intermission. He bids, provides, loves, delights in us. He does it all, onstage and offstage, in spite of our parliamentary banishment of contentment. In spite of our prideful self-reliance, He is still so good. All last week, I know that I was constantly noticing beauty around me. The perfect Bob Ross leafscape in living color. The gymnast bouncing so perfectly on the trampoline at my kids’ lesson. It wasn’t aggressive, just whispers of beauty that blessed me in spite of my pouty comportment. PanoNotice how I just used the word comportment. That’s just a symptom of how pouty I was–I started bandying about words that should only be used to refer to royals. I will never be royal, but I am surely loved by the King of Kings who says godliness and contentment are uber beneficial. (1 Tim 6:6). Untitled

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Let’s all ramble around like Banned Books

All the spiders in Tennessee are the size of the Hamburgler and Michelle Obama is still not my best friend but everything else in life is really good right now. I’m really thankful, in fact. Patti Mayonnaise is returning to Nickelodeon and my hubby loves me and my kids aren’t yet throwing acid glares at me when I walk into a room. It’s a pretty sweet season.

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This morning I realized, whilst standing in my underoos, that today was the morning I had signed up to be chaplain in Baby Girl’s class. It’s amazing how dressed a person can become and how fast a person can drive a scooter when she has 15 minutes to prepare a worship thought for some primary schoolies. I was reminded how completely ape a classroom full of 7 and 8 year-olds can become when they are commissioned to shove their desks back and sit on the floor. Go ahead. Change our seating arrangements? We gon’ get totally crunk. It was a good exercise in patience for me, though. Nothing frustrates me more than poor listeners, poor rememberers, poor engagers of people right in front of them. And to God, I am way worse than a second grader at class chapel. I can’t sit still to listen to Him, I have to keep learning the same lessons over and over, and I constantly skip off LA LA LA rather than face the music of a well-deserved rebuke.

Thank you, second grade, for chapeling the chaplain.

It’s banned book week and it’s capturing my heart this year with a vice grip. We’re such a nation divided right now, standing with Planned Parenthood or visiting with Kim Davis. Those are your two options, pick a lane. It’s terribly easy to curate one’s world; to control the narrative so that it doesn’t allow for any manner of truth to break through from a disparate viewpoint. Isn’t that the spirit that those who ban books want to ignite? That there is no common ground, nothing of worth to learn from radical texts. Rather than invite the germs of truth they may offer, it is easier and perhaps better to pull a book from the shelves, to effectively silence a voice so others in disagreement won’t have to suffer it.

I just want to encourage all of us to ramble around like a banned book, focusing less on our disinvintation from the party, believing fervently in the truth of our contents within.

Here are a few of my favorite “banned books:”

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