Review: Picking Dandelions

Author Sarah Cunningham asked me to review her new book, Picking Dandelions (Zondervan, Feb. 2010), as part of her blog tour. I’ll admit that I have to give Sarah my deepest apology because I thought I had given myself enough time to read her book, but somehow life got in the way and I’ve only just begun her memoir. Today is my tour date and I’m only on part two of the book.

So Sarah, I apologize for not being able to read the entire book by the day I’m supposed to review it. I hate to be one of “those bloggers” because I know that as the manager for the Tyndale Blog Network, I want bloggers to post their reviews for scheduled blog tours on time. How horrible that I can’t even manage my own schedule to do that.

From what I’ve read so far though, I’m enjoying Sarah’s writing. This is a memoir of her spiritual journey and I can relate. She sets the beginning of her story in small town Michigan, which reminds me much of the small town of Upland, Indiana where I went to college. We had our single blinking traffic light too and the sole restaurant in the town, Ivanhoe’s, which I happen to like. :)Small towns have their charm.

From the back cover copy:

Sarah Cunningham, the daughter of a pastor, is exceedingly familiar with coming to Jesus and being born again. But it took her a while to realize that a real Christian grows from the point of rebirth–that a God-following person is a changing person.

Cunningham admits that her conversion was sandwiched, almost unnoticed, between ordinary childhood moments. In recounting some of these moments, Cunningham candidly explores how she got stuck in her laissez-faire Christianity and shares what she learned along the way. Whether describing life as a child living next to a cemetery, or her grandmother’s life as a WWII bride from England, the author’s images of growth and renewal, planting and reaping, greenery and weeds remind us that life, even in God’s grace, involves challenges and change.

My Thoughts:
Although I haven’t really gotten very far in the book, I like how Sarah share about her child-like faith–believing so easily in God, Jesus, miracles, and the power of prayer. I can relate to that in a way because I grew up in a Christian family and always knew about God. It wasn’t until later that I realized I needed to allow God to transform me too. It’s not enough to just know about Him.

I also liked Sarah’s subtle, yet satirical ways of describing things Christians get hung up on–like arguing over what color the shingles should be as part of the new church expansion project. When you see this through a child’s eyes, it seems so innocent, and yet you feel the conviction when you realize that what the child perceives is true. Funny how kids often make adults see things the way they really are. I also really like the dandelion metaphor carried throughout at the beginning of each new section. Before part II, I love this last line:

“The seed cannot grow unless it detaches itself from the original plant and braves unfamiliar soil.”



How true that those of us who grow up believing in our parents’ faith cannot fully grow in our own faith until we separate our faith from that of our parents and go out on our own spiritual journey, learning more about God through the trials and joys of life. When our faith can stand alone (on nothing but Jesus Christ), that is when we know our faith is genuine.

I’m sure I haven’t quite gotten to the “meat” of this narrative yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing more of Sarah’s perspectives and insights as I continue reading.

Sarah also asked for three book recommendations. Given that I work for Tyndale, these all happen to be Tyndale books (that’s mostly what I read), but I hope you’ll check these out!

1) Her Mother’s Hope by Francine Rivers (and watch for Her Daughter’s Dream in September!)
2) Imaginary Jesus by Matt Mikalatos
3) Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes

Happy summer reading!

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