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My grandson Noah, who is seven and in the second grade, is hesitant this year to enter the school day with a full heart. With regularity at night he says to his mom, "How 'bout I don't go to school tomorrow?"
That's the sweetest way I've ever heard of saying, "With your permission ... I quit."
It isn't that Noah doesn't like school, his teacher, or his classmates. On the contrary, he is quite the ambassador of goodwill. But Noah finds school seriously eats into his playtime. It cramps his exuberant style. C'mon, it interferes with him romping with Sammie, his puppy.
I so get Noah's perspective. My life responsibilities mess with my dreams of an extended rocking chair retreat. I travel most weekends of the year to do conferences, which is both a joy and a pain. The pain is packing. I must have missed that class in high school home economics because I'm really poor at it, even after thirty-five years of perpetual travel.
On the night before a trip, I often want to say, "How 'bout I don't go to the airport tomorrow? How 'bout I just stay home?" Yet here's what I know about me: after a few months of tipping lemonade on the front stoop, I would be saying, "How 'bout I go somewhere?"
I'm so grateful for a light-bearing Savior who came to redeem me from my self-absorbed viewpoints and my broken-glass perspective, lest I give in to my childish whims and miss my calling, my potential, and the opportunity to make legacy-bearing contributions.
This is my third book dedicated to the topic of light and redemption—two topics wed by God's benediction over creation in Genesis that continue to intrigue and inspire me. Two topics that can elevate us to a Pikes Peak perspective. Two topics that fill stained glass windows around the world with timeless inspiration. And two topics that move us past the temptation to quit before we have finished "school."
What might surprise you in this tome, however, is the timbre. I'm known for my playful approach to life, which is fused within me; but to those who are closest to me, I'm also known for my need to pull on galoshes and wade into a thought. I guess when you've lived sixty-plus years you collect a lot of heartache from this wind-whipped world that causes you to search the shadows of the forest. In my childhood I would have skipped through the woods oblivious to anything more than the path ahead, but today I've learned to check the secret places for the treasures of darkness (Isaiah 45:3).
This book, more than my past writings, reveals the solemn side of my heart etched in by loss. But I also plan to explore fascinating art that will potentially enrich our minds. We will enjoy music that hopefully inspires a zippier life-dance; we will consider nature's display of God's glory; and we will dig into Scripture, knowing it will enhance faith. Of course my funny bone is still intact, and if you know me, there's no telling when I might act up.
And no, I'm not an art major, a dance instructor, a conservationist, or a theologian. I'm a bona fide, card-carrying cracked pot, grateful that it pleases God to make himself known to us all ... which brings us back around to redemption and light.
Light thrills me with its unexpected twists and turns as it bathes distant peaks and then plunges to the valley, illuminating paths below. As I pen these thoughts, I'm in a rocking chair on a Tennessee hilltop, watching the sunlight gyrate through the tops of thousands of acres of trees. It's like a living stained glass window where, for a weekend, I get to view amazing displays of God's handiwork.
Just as light does, redemption brings hope. Really, it's hard to separate the two, for wherever redemption is, the light of revelation abounds. And when light pierces the darkness, it's with the proclamation of God's redeeming love. Redemption is the rescue of humanity from sin by a sacrificial Savior, the restoration of the human heart, the reclamation of our dignity, and the revival of our purpose.
Oh, wait. Like a New York yellow cab at rush hour, a sun-drenched finch just dashed into the thickets below, staining the sky with its golden streak. Breathtaking. I like it here. A lot. I've been on this hilltop before but never long enough. Whenever I arrive here, my blood pressure drops, my stress level evens out, my spirits buoy, and I rest deeply in this hand-hewn cedar-and-cypress cabin. Because of the generosity of our friends Nordick and Mary Claire, I can step out of town and sit above the clouds—or sometimes smack-dab in the middle of them. It's a perfect perch from which to share with you my current events as well as those from times long ago.
When as a child I did something outlandish, my dad would quip that I had a "paper head." Funny thing, he never mentioned my stained glass heart. I wonder if he knew then how easily we shatter? I'm certain he was familiar with brokenness since he grew up in the Depression, when times were tough and people desperate. I'm not sure Dad absorbed the chaos of those years with its hardship since most of his life he remained an easygoing man who loved poker, naps, crossword puzzles, toothpicks, and the Charleston.
That is until my brother, Don, Dad's only son, died in a car accident and knocked the dance out of Daddy. I saw his heart shatter. When word came out of the operating room that there was no hope for Don, I found Dad alone, leaning against a wall in the hospital. He was clutching his chest as if he were trying to catch pieces of his heart as it broke. I took Dad outside, and when his color improved, we took him home to mend. That was one day of many to come when I was reminded that all God's people have glass hearts. Even dads. We aren't alone in our fragile design.
So come on into my storybook. Look around. Yes, I know it's personal, but you have my permission to ruffle the pages. While you're here, I'll share my tattered life with its crashes and recoveries because I believe in community wellness; we each contribute to others by sharing our successes and most certainly our failures. I believe we help each other know a fuller picture of Christ through the drama of what's happened to us and how he goes about daily redemption. I will also talk about the new vision and eventual version of us that comes with holy rescue. And I would like to chat about our stained hearts and our limited—as well as our expansive—perspectives that color who we are and how we relate to others.
First, though, I want to take you back to a miracle moment in the vortex of my once-suffocating existence ...
For a long time I believed that if I just tried a little harder, I could fix my broken self, but no matter how thoroughly I rifled through my bag of tricks, I didn't have the tools recovery required. Then I bought into the lie that if I could redesign my life to circumvent my fears, I would make it through this scary maze called life. Only my fears multiplied, further constricting my ability to function. It seemed the more I adjusted my life to avoid what scared me, the more tightly fear coiled and hissed venomously.
Finally I gave up trying to reason my way out of my fear-based lifestyle and instead waited for a Clark Kent intervention. Then one morning I woke to the startling realization that I wasn't going to survive my agoraphobic self, much less the world, and that no cape-clad superhero had been assigned to my case.
I had, over several years, become emotionally and physically housebound; then I became bedbound and drug dependent, and my physical health was precarious at best. My weight had dropped to eighty-five pounds, and I was strung out on caffeine, nicotine, and heavy doses of fear. I popped tranquilizers like kids gobbled jawbreakers, trying to escape the darkness and panic that had seized my mind.
So what life-altering event caused a shaft of light to finally enter my debilitating gloom and bring me a glimmer of hope? Did I invite Christ into my heart? Actually, I already had done that. Unfortunately I filtered Scripture through my twisted thinking, which at best left me with a distorted picture of who God was. I read of God's judgment, and that aspect of him Velcroed to my overdeveloped guilt, but his words and acts of grace slipped through the cavernous hole in my heart. Grace was, in my thinking, reserved for someone more deserving, like the Abigails and Ruths of the Old Testament.
Did an angel finally appear and touch my bruised mind and restore my ragged health? Nope. I would have been thrilled with that kind of divine Jiffy Lube quick start. I was an eager advocate for fast, easy, and convenient restoration.
No, nary a flapping wing nor a fiery chariot arrived at my bedside to liberate me. Instead the turnaround came on a day when three simple yet startling words rose up inside of me and flashed like a neon arrow.
Before I tell you those life-changing words, though, I would like to talk about Chihuly. How random is that?
Have you heard of Dale Chihuly? Dale is a glass artist. In 1976 he was in a serious automobile accident that threw him through the car's windshield, causing him to lose his left eye. Vision is an important part of an artist's ability to maintain balance in his art and scope.
Then Dale injured his shoulder scuba diving, and those combined accidents forced him to step down from his coveted master glass grinder position. It appeared Chihuly's career in the art of glass would be greatly altered or perhaps even be over, but then a life-changing moment occurred. Listen to Dale in his own words ...
"Once I stepped back [okay, get ready, here it comes], I enjoyed the view," said Chihuly. Did you hear that? "I. Enjoyed. The. View." He lost his vision in one eye, he lost his esteemed position, and he likes what he sees?
What he saw was his art from a new angle. His unwanted change gave him a different perspective. Dale couldn't have imagined that his limitations would position him to see limitless possibilities. He is now considered by many to be the premiere glass designer in the world. Chihuly's light-bearing work is displayed in hotels, castles, gardens, and museums throughout the world.
"Once I stepped back, I enjoyed the view." Selah (Hebrew for "Ponder this thought").
Now, return with me to my story and my breakthrough moment. The three words that pushed their way through my cloying fear, bleak melancholy, and blinding stuck-ness were (drums, please) "Make your bed."
Yep. Not "Change the world," not "Go forth and conquer," but "Make your bed."
I pressed myself that day to respond, and I made the bed that I had been hiding in and "once I stepped back ..." I experienced a ping of hope, a moment of personal triumph, a shred of dignity. Why? Because "I liked what I saw." Suddenly I had a visual boundary, a starting point, an opportunity to reenter life.
Today, if I could map my trek to wellness and draw you a visual of the path I've been on, it wouldn't fit inside the outline of my home state of Michigan. Nor would it fit inside the twenty-two hundred acres where the Tennessee cabin abides. Actually, it would require an atlas of the world. The trip (I did a lot of tripping) toward stability took me through jungles of emotions, pits of despair, ledges of fear, deserts of loneliness, wind shears of relationship, and white, churning waves of anger. Ah, but the vistas from mountaintops, the bounty in gardens, the beauty on beaches, the serenity inside forests, and the vibrancy of rainbows would cause the journey to have life-breathing purpose.
"Make your bed" was a divine doorway for me to reenter life. I know it sounds too simple and obvious to be a breakthrough; yet in that step-back moment, that's just what it was for my trapped heart. I should have known to get up and set things in order, but I was too overwhelmed and intent on someone else taking responsibility for my recovery. I didn't think I had what it would take to get well. I was neither brave nor competent. I would have to grow into those big-girl shoes.
How tender of the Lord to make the invitation toward change attainable. He knew it would take all I had to even make the bed, and he also knew I was desperate enough to finally risk trusting him for what I couldn't do. To look at myself through an achievement instead of from under blankets of weighty failure spurred me on; it offered me a new way of seeing.
I selected the theme "stained glass hearts" for this writing project for a number of reasons. First, I think even the phrase "stained glass" conjures up not only the usefulness of brokenness, but also its potential beauty. And even though the stained glass pieces are artistically designed, they still have been broken, sanded, and soldered. They didn't naturally fit the redemptive pattern without holy repairs. Also, stained glass art doesn't begin to show its beauty or its inspiration or release its story until light touches the dark. The light transforms an otherwise subtle picture into a brilliant, dimensional experience.
Isn't that how we are? Broken? Sharp edges? In need of repair? Longing to be, yet frightened of being, seen in the light? I know I'm all of the above and then some. And I deeply identify with the stained heart: tainted by my own spiteful nature, disruptive and addictive tendencies, with longings for my life story to be infused with purpose and meaning.
In the chapters ahead I have included elements that have spiritually nurtured my heart, and I hope they will yours as well. At the close of each chapter, you'll find a section called "The Art Gallery." It will include quotes, poetry, music, scriptures, artists, and more.
My suggestions of, say, art may send you on a quest to a library or the Internet, and the music may take you to iTunes. This will be an interactive adventure during which I think you will find the stories, songs, and pictures inspiring, comforting, heart-expanding, and revealing.
Sometimes simple is profound. And sometimes the answer for change in our lives is so close we can miss it ... unless we gain God's perspective. Hopefully our art, music, and book exploration will give us some step-back time. And then we can begin to "enjoy the view."
Friend and author Ian Cron said to me, "Christianity is not something we do; it's something that gets done to us."
So true. I wish that thought could be etched into the stained glass windows of our souls. Our faith journey is about grace, and grace is such a scandal because it whispers that it's not about our efforts but about God's provisional love. That's so hard to embrace because in our humanity we are certain if we try harder, serve more, love better, we will somehow earn our wholeness and make points with God.
When God whispered, "Make your bed" to my fear-ravaged heart, he knew I needed to move out of my self-made hiding place, which had become a dungeon for my soul, and to step into the light of his grace.
Today at times I still wrestle with my tendency to think that what I do qualifies me before God instead of what he's done and completed. In my mind I know the truth, but my emotions still are susceptible to the lies of the evil one as he bellows, "You haven't done enough!" "You aren't enough!" "Try harder!" I have a natural leaning toward legalism, strapping myself to works and buying the lies. I'm grateful the gift of God's love continues to liberate me and help me to see Christ in his grace-based holiness and to see others and myself with our delicately designed stained glass hearts, each with a redemptive story to tell ... In the pages ahead are some of those stories.
How 'bout we get started?
Today I stood on a broken heart.
That felt odd.
And even though it was a mosaic set into the floor in a studio where I was recording sound bites for radio, it seemed personal. I mean, I was smack-dab in the middle of that tragic art. Actually, when I think about it, I've known people who have stood on my achy-breaky heart, and I think that's why it felt inappropriate to stand center stage on that delicate design.
Excerpted from STAINED GLASS HEARTS by PATSY CLAIRMONT Copyright © 2011 by Patsy Clairmont. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted November 22, 2011
Patsy Clairmont became one of my new favorite speakers at the Woman of Faith conference I went to a few months ago. That event was the first time I had heard her speak and quickly decided I wanted to read her books as well. So when I was offered Stained Glass Hearts by Patsy Clarimont from Thomas Neilson Publishing in exchange for a review, I quickly accepted.
The premise of the book is focusing on your emotional health and how it relates to how God created us. She begins to explore this concept by using the picture of the broken glass put together to form a beautiful stained glass window. Our brokenness coming together to form God¿s beautiful stained glass image in our life is a powerful picture.
But how do we get to that beautiful picture and not just stay in the brokenness? That is the true focus of her book.
It honestly has taken me quite a while to get through this book. Its an easy read, but I think God had me read it in sections for a reason. Relating to God through different creative elements has been a journey I¿ve been on for a while, so her book reminded me of things I already knew rather than challenged me to think through new concepts. However, the reminders are really good and needed in the busyness of life.
For example, around this time every year, I forget that I relate to God through nature and stillness and poetry and books, and each chapter of this book took me back to that simplicity of life that I sometimes hurry through. That simplicity is what we all need in life so that we are be able to hear God¿s voice. His voice and presence in our life is what allows our brokenness to be healed and turned into that beautiful picture.
¿Peace offers such a sacred perspective. Unruffled behavior. Quiet confidence. Calm heart. Untroubled mind. Tranquil outlook. Aren¿t you drawn to people with a serene center who have the space and grace to receive others?¿
This simplicity and wholeness of life is what I¿m pursuing wholeheartedly. Its where I¿m most at peace, and I¿m thankful God put this book in my path to remind me and bring me back to the emotional place He desires me to be.
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Posted October 30, 2011
"The puzzling pieces of our lives, like the misshapen glass pieces in a stained glass masterpiece, don't seem to fit until the Creator sands, foils, and solders them into place. Then we see, and what looked hopelessly missing is pieced together in such a way that the picture appears seamless" (pg 137, "Stained Glass Hearts")
A menagerie of personal thoughts and perspective, Patsy Clairmont shares a heart felt book, about how though we maybe imperfect, God can can use us in many ways. Filled with recommendations to paintings, music, scripture, poetry or even videos, at the end of each chapter, reader will find, "Stained Glass Hearts" to be a reminder how God can turned brokenness and darkness into light that lifts and edifys His name.
"Stained Glass Hearts" read like a personal journey and it was heartfelt in that it really exposes Patsy Clairmont's heart to the reader and the open heart words she shares, really lifts the reader up to be encouraged in hard times.
Mixing themes of art and creativity with personal ancedotes, "Stained Glass Hearts" was a very unique read.
***In exchange for my personal opinion and review, I received this book from Thomas Nelson Publishers/Booksneeze***
Posted October 25, 2011
I received this book free to review from BookSneeze. I have to admit, prior to being selected to attend the Women of Faith Conference in November, I had never heard of Patsy Clairmont. I was thrilled to see her book as one of those offered by BookSneeze for review. I had no expectations, so I began this book with a completely open mind. This is a book filled with stories from Patsy's life that somehow all seem familiar in my own life. The premise is that we are all broken, but in that brokenness we can become beautiful. One particular element of this book that I absolutely loved was the suggested art, music, scripture, poetry, etc. that was included at the end of every chapter. In the course of reading this book, I was in tears more than once, but only because I identified with her emotions so completely. The chapter that I enjoyed the most was about poetry, in which I am not typically interested. She included a vast array of quotes from poets as well as poems that touched my heart. This is a nonfiction book that I would definitely recommend to many, if not all, of the women I know.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 11, 2011
I don't even know how to summarize the point of this book - that's how bad it is in my mind. Unless you learn from stories, and stories, and lots more stories... in fact, nothing but stories, then maybe you'll get something out of Clairmont's cluttered, unorganized life stories. And maybe you enjoy the two (rather pointless) chapters on how great poetry and reading books are. But I don't see what any of these things have to do with stained glass hearts (aside from the end of chapter reflections and suggestions and maybe one chapter or two).
I expected a book on redemption and finding beauty in the broken pieces, but the majority of the book didn't really deal with that. I was left so bored that when I got to the chapter on books (where Clairmont gave the reader permission to stop reading a book that didn't catch the reader's attention in the first 50 pages), I stopped reading and started skimming... which quickly led to reading the first and last sentence of paragraphs... which led to skipping to the end of chapters... which led to being glad I was finally done with this book.
Maybe if you're a Patsy Clairmont fan or a Women of Faith attendee you'll enjoy this book. But I consider it shallow spiritual growth if this is all you can learn from. My advice: Read a book that gets deeper into Scripture, or read Scripture, and skip this book entirely.
Posted October 2, 2011
Having heard Ms. Clairmont speak in the past, I knew some of her story already, but having in written form more about her personal experiences with fear and brokenness was something that blessed me in many ways. Over the course of the last year or two, I have struggled with debilitating and traumatic fears that reached levels I wouldn't wish upon anyone. Reading about her own struggle to get up out of bed, get dressed and face life each day despite the overwhelming fear that plagued her, helped to soothe me and remind me that despite everything, God is in control and I can make it through.
Ms. Clairmont was burdened with agoraphobia for years. This caused her to stay almost a prisoner with her own home, many days in which she did not move from her own bed for fear. Addicted to pain medications and living in fear, she never thought she would rise above and out of the depths of her brokenness. As is obvious by her now nationally known celebrity in the Christian Comedic world, God brought her through. Getting a new perspective through her broken perspective brought about changes in her that would eventually become the basis of her "routine" and her outreach to women and men alike who are struggling with brokenness for one reason or another.
She uses music, art, poetry and an open look at her own life to lead and show us that God is all about redemption and repairing broken pieces. Much like a stained glass window, our souls are made of beautiful broken pieces melded together into this amazing picture that in the end is more beautiful than the original pieces by themselves.
Having struggled so much wondering how God could take my own broken pieces and mold them into anything useful, this book put into place a renewed desire to make something good out of my bits of glass and to create a beautiful stained glass heart for others to see.
I give this book 5 stars and would highly recommend to anyone struggling now or who has struggled with fear, shame, guilt or uncertainty in how God could make anything good out of what or who they are.
Posted October 1, 2011
Last month I attended a Women of Faith conference. Patsy Clairmont was one of the speakers... a bubbly, beautiful, funny, talented woman. She's the kind of woman you think you'd love to trade lives with. Her life must be perfect, right? Well, actually, no. Patsy knows challenges and pain just like the rest of us. She suffered from agoraphobia for years, causing her to be a prisoner within her own home. In fact, many days she couldn't find the strength to get out of bed at all. In Stained Glass Hearts, Patsy shares her life in a personal way, that made me feel as if I was sitting on the couch chatting with her. She shows us how our lives, like stained glass windows, can shine brightly in the darkness, when illuminated with God's healing. Patsy's talent for capturing the audience with her storytelling on stage, continues in this book. It's an enjoyable, easy read, which could be read straight through. But, I recommend making the time to look up the art, poetry, music and scripture that Patsy shares. These examples of beauty will lift you up, just as Patsy's message does. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of the Book Sneeze blogging review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 22, 2011
Reading Stained Glass Hearts proved to be a pleasant experience. I was initially drawn, with curiosity, as to how she would incorporate the recommendations of music, poetry, art, etc into the theme of book, as those are all things that I love. But mostly I was wondering 'how does one see from a broken perspective?' What kind of perspective will Stained Glass Hearts give me that will give me the chance to see my potential for color, sparkle, and great purpose through the grace of God, as it's described on the back cover?
The descriptions the author infused into the chapters surprised me, as I didn't expect such imagery to be found in a book like Stained Glass Hearts. Definitely one of my favorite aspects of the book. Many times I found myself rereading a paragraph because I wanted to fully capture in my mind the
Patsy Clairmont writes with a style that's comfortable and familiar. She starts out the book sharing observances from her perch on a rocking chair on a cabin porch. And the feeling captured then is something that stays with the reader through out the book. You get the sense that you're sitting with her, rocking away as well and she's sharing, kindly and generously, the wisdom that she's accumulated all of her years (and there are miles of the precious stuff in Stained Glass Hearts!).
It's often very personal and sometimes right out heart-breaking, all shared with simplicity and a gentle grace. Very real. Very inspiring.
Having said all that, I found the synopsis and subtitle to be quite misleading. Here and there, what's being said rings true to 'seeing life from a broken perspective', but mostly I saw the book as wanting to infuse in the reader an appreciation for art, poetry, music, and realizing how God means to bless us through the finer things in this life. That's what the hugest chunk of the book was about, anyway. One person who read the book said that it went all over the place, and it's something I noticed as well, but guess what? It works. Every single chapter, every life lesson shared is a different colored shard of glass and the end result is actually something quite beautiful.
Read it, when you get a chance. It's good.
Posted September 16, 2011
BookSneeze chose me as one of a handful of bloggers to tweet, Facebook and blog about Women of Faith. To celebrate that moment, I chose Stained Glass Hearts by Patsy Clairmont to review and to use as a book giveaway. Like her excellent speaking, Clairmont didn't disappoint me. The book matches her personality. It's quirky, fun and real.
"'Make your bed' was a divine doorway for me to reenter life." She says on page 10. Clairmont was agoraphobic, and depressed among other things. She is a popular speaker at Women of Faith conferences now sharing her pain and humor so that other women going through the same things can also 'make (their) bed.' I like her outlook. I like her sarcasm and her love of all things art. At the end of every chapter, there are fun exercises to view art, music and poetry through the eyes of one who has been broken.
I first sat with her book in my favorite chair, nursing a cup of tea, while my husband watched baseball, and the first page made me feel as if she, too, sat across from me. We were sharing tea, laughs and tears. I felt as if every page lived up to my expectations of Patsy Clairmont's speaking.
Book given by publisher to review.
Posted September 13, 2011
Stained Glass Hearts came to me at a time of several losses in my life. After a loss of a job and loved ones I was thinking now what now? Patsy Clairmont wrote this book about light. It was what I needed. Patsy reminded me that not only was life full of losses but of God's promises and his graces. I love the way the book is written. I love they way she has placed scriptures, quotes and music to allow you to get into the place of stepping out of your broken heart to a moment or two of looking at your life to see God's promise. She even directs you to video on You Tube that will help. I loved reading this book and was blessed by getting to review it. I loved they way she viewed people like stained, glass broken stained glass for the artist that is our God. She has been broken stained glass to. She has shared her struggles with panic attacks. She showed us how Jesus set her free and was even able to writes with humor. This book was such an easy read. I read it in one setting. I give this book 4 stars. I rate the book I read on a scale of one to five, with one star being the worst and five stars being the best. Get this book it will do your heart good. I must tell you that I received this book complimentary from Book Sneeze in exchange for me to read and review. This review is my own opinion. I hope you get this book and get what I got from it.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 12, 2011
I've heard great things about Patsy Clairmont's humor and ability to apply the Bible to the lives of women, so I decided to read her book Stained Glass Hearts: Seeing Life from a Broken Perspective. I must admit that I expected her witty writing to be shallow, but I was delighted to discover that I was wrong. Through her personal life stories of brokenness and difficulty, Patsy Clairmont displays how God can take our broken pieces and mold them into stained glass beauty that brings Him glory. Each chapter closes with a section called "Art Gallery" where she references works of art that you can peruse on the internet - art that stirred her heart and connects with the chapter's themes - paintings, puzzles, music, poems, museums, etc. She shows how we can reflect on God's beauty through the artistic talent given to human hands in various cultures. If you asked me how this book was organized or what it was about specifically, I would have to thumb through the pages to review it, and even then I might be stumped. It's like an abstract piece of art, or more like a bunch of colorful globs of paint thrown randomly onto a canvas. While I found it delightful and easy to read, it seemed fragmented and consisted of very little sense of organization. If you are already a Patsy Clairmont fan or if you are looking for something meaningful to pass by the time, then I would recommend this book. To comply with regulations by the Federal Trade Commission 16 CFR Part 255, I am disclosing that BookSneeze® provided me a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 12, 2011
I have loved Patsy Clairmont ever since my first Women of Faith Conference more than a decade ago. This tiny older lady captivated her audience while holding a tangle of rubber bands. Her dry, witty, yet compassionate delivery carries over onto every page of "Stained Glass Hearts" and I must say that Patsy's prose just gets better with age!
Unlike most books that can be construed as a Bible study, this book is more of a study in beauty - the kind that comes in a variety of forms. Each chapter ends with suggestions of music, art (and website links to view them) and poetry as well as Scripture. Patsy's heartfelt observations about life and the obstacles we all face (loss, grief, pain, etc.) invite the reader into an intimate setting - much like having a long heart-to-heart with a wise older friend. I know I'm picking up stuff I can use when I start turning corners of pages for things I want to remember.
One nugget I marked was, "It's human to wonder and wrestle. Give yourself permission to pray your doubts and despair. God isn't offended by our frailty." Good stuff, right?
"Stained Glass Hearts" is full of nuggets of wisdom, packaged with humor, grace and insight. I'll be passing this around to all my friends...as soon as I'm done reading it a second time!
I received this book for free from BookSneeze for this review as part of their blogger review program.
Posted September 10, 2011
First off, I have to say I love Patsy. Her tone in this book is fabulous. Her humor and wit is a great aspect to writing a book. She had my attention the whole time. She does not use "big words" that normal people like me can not understand. While reading, it was as if I was sitting on a front porch listening to her telling these stories.
Diving into "Stained Glass Hearts" you get a sense of Patsy opening up and spilling it all out. You can catch the emotion with every sentence. At the end of each chapter she introduces us to "fascinating art that will enrich our mind", say's Patsy. How awesome is that? Not only a great book but a tool, opening us up to the world around us!
The two things this book revolves around light and redemption. Patsy says, "Just as light does, redemption brings hope. Really, it's hard to separate the two, for wherever redemption is, the light of revelation abounds. And when light pierces the darkness, it's with the proclamation of God's redeeming love. Redemption is the rescue of humanity from sin by a sacrificial Savior, the restoration of the human heart, the reclamation of our dignity, and the revival of our purpose."
Like I said earlier, I absolutely love this book. This was my first Patsy Clairmont book, but it will not be my last. This book really inspired me to open my focus on more than the bad things in life. We all will have bad times, but picking up those broken pieces to make something beautiful is what really counts. Let the light shine through! Thanks Booksneeze!
Posted September 8, 2011
After reading several of Patsy Clairmont's books and she shows through this book that she does have a serious side. Many times people cover up their serious sides, their problems and life's difficulty's with humor and we never see the real person underneath . And that's what this book is about, women who in one way who have suffered from difficulties, God can take the broken pieces and put them back together again. Anyone that has see how stain glass is put together, knows that the pieces are broken and scattered askew, but put it all together and what you find is one beautiful window. Just as the pieces come together to form a beautiful window, God takes the broken pieces of your life and turns you into someone beautiful . As I read this book I did find some parts that I could compare to my own life. I feel this is a book to read on a personal level and would not be a good one to use in a women's bible study or small group session. I did find myself not reading this as fast as I have most of her books. I had a harder time getting into it or through it and feel like for myself I did not gain as much insight spirituality as I have in some of her other books. I think the main thing I received out of the book was God is always there to pick up the broken pieces of one's life and put it back together. Just hand them over to God and he will reshape the pieces and have one beautiful person. I received this complimentary copy from the publisher through their Book Sneeze Bloggers program. A positive review was not require and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted September 5, 2011
Patsy Clairmont is a delightfully entertaining speaker and author, and she knows how to make people laugh. I had the privilege of attending a Woman of Faith conference several years ago, and Patsy was one of the speakers. I have been a fan of hers ever since. In Stained Glass Hearts, we see a more serious side of Patsy. Her life has not always been easy and filled with laughter. She is transparent and honest about her own life, and how she was able to make positive changes with God's help. There are a variety of topics in this book - including song, prayer, poetry, books, nature and so much more. Each chapter is interesting in itself, but also ends with suggested projects/research to make it an even more personal journey. Patsy recommends things like listening to Mandisa's song "Broken Hallelujah", or looking at Norman Rockwell's artwork "Girl at Mirror". She also recommends some of her favourite books, several of which I have now added to my personal wishlist. Overall, this book is a beautiful journey to find wholeness and beauty in the broken and shattered pieces of each of our lives. I can't recommend this one highly enough, it is fabulous!! I received a copy of this book courtesy of Book Sneeze, in exchange for my honest review.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 31, 2011
I had never thought about my heart or my life , for that matter, in the terms of a stained glass window but now with that new perspective it seems to help all the pieces fall into place.
I really liked this book. One passage that I truly enjoyed was:
"Just as stained windows require ongoing repair and protection through the years, so do we. But you knew that. Life is a strong teacher of such things. But I have to repeat to myself some truths again and again or they slip my mind. My busy-about-many-things lifestyle can cause me to buzz right past my needs until I start to shard. Then, stopped in my tracks, this truth comes to me: 'Oh, yes. I need to be still for repairs.' To the degree I respond, I gain a healthier perspective."
We all know that we need to take time for "repairs" , to pray,or just some me time. It is the time that allows us to heal and be better people. I like that although Clairmont points out that we need to do that she does it without being condescending.
Posted August 25, 2011
Spiritual wholeness can come from our brokenness. The author points out while old eyeglasses distort our images and cause headaches; new eyeglasses make the world crystal clear.
Auther shares the brokenness in her life and how God's amazing love and redemption has slowly mended her "stained glass heart" through a myriad of people, prayer, poetry, Scripture, nature, and books. She notes how Vincent Van Gogh was "broken" by mental illness, but painted complex, brilliant masterpieces.
I enjoyed Stained Glass Hearts tremendously. Chapters highlighted different perspectives of the heart, and my own heart was affected. The chapters on "Prayer," "Poetry," "Nature," and "The Garden" soothed my own emotions and brought tears, smiles, giggles, and prayer to my heart.
As Patsy says, "Supernatural grandeur expands our souls and helps us throughout the day to live not in glass-breaking tension but in tiptoe perspective."
At the end of each chapter is "The Art Gallery" that further explores the subject. She suggests works of art, music, video, poetry, books, and Scripture. I enjoyed following her suggestions, finding them easily online. I found these a unique and clever way to explore a given topic. I ended up bringing home CD's by some of the musicians whom I would otherwise never have heard.
This book was a complimentary copy given to me through BookSneeze®.com.
Posted August 23, 2011
Stained Glass Hearts is the newest book from one of my favorite Christian authors, Patsy Clairmont. Patsy has always been one of my favorites! I went to hear her speak at a church earlier this year. I spent most of the day between fits of laughter and buckets of tears! She has long been a favorite of Women of Faith attendees. I have always felt a connection to Patsy. That connection has deepened after reading Stained Glass Hearts. This book is a mixture of devotional readings, art lessons, literature suggestions, and music appreciation. Patsy has paired each chapter with songs, literature and music suggestions. These suggestions especially appealed to my creative side and enhanced my reading and understanding of the chapters. Being a stained glass artist also made this book quite appealing to me. The subtitle of the book is seeing life from a broken perspective. Patsy uses each chapter in this book to help us understand that while God didn't intend for us to be "broken", He does want to use it. We must be ready and willing to be mended and molded by a father who loves his children. In the book, Patsy uses a quote from Maya Angelou which states, "A bird doesn't sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song." This book doesn't have all of the answers, but it, like the song the bird sings can be enjoyed and can spur us on to a closer walk with the mender of stained glass lives.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 22, 2011
Stained Glass Hearts, by Patsy Clairmont, purports to discuss the feelings of brokenness - the sense that life must be something more - that many of us have. The book is advertised as showing the reader how to see her life in a new way. The reader is to be led to see her life as a work of art.
I was excited to read this book to see what wisdom the author had to impart. Certainly, she is an interesting writer, with tidbits and anecdotes meant to stimulate the mind of the reader. At times, however, I found these anecdotes to be rather disjointed, making the book hard to follow.
There were a few ideas in this book on how to mend one's emotional health. The author gives sound advice, but I found that the advice was thin based on what I expected.
The real beauty of this book lies in the interactive portions at the end of each chapter. The reader is invited to experience God's world through music, art, and literature, and nature. These sections awaken the reader's senses that, yes, there is something more to life than day-to-day existence. So many people have used their God-given talent to provide the world with meaning and life. This book will lead the reader to explore the sheer artistry of our world, and to learn to enjoy the intricacies of life despite having broken, stained-glass hearts.
Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Posted August 21, 2011
I'm not sure what I expected from Stained Glass Hearts by Patsy Clairmont. The subtitle, Seeing Life from a Broken Perspective, certainly seemed to apply to anyone who has lived a life which contained disappointments. So, I kicked back, cracked it open, and dug in. To start with, the author's writing style is very, very chatty. I could almost hear her. I really enjoyed, at the end of every chapter, her suggestions for healing activities: Scripture, music, art, literature, museums and the like. Clairmont is very personable, seemingly very open about her own struggles with agoraphobia. She seems incessantly cheery, almost to the point of being flip. In fact that became a problem for me; I could not imagine sharing such a book with a suffering friend. I almost put it down. But somewhere around the middle, in a chapter appropriately entitled "Stained Glass Prayer," the author truly let the reading have a glimpse of her broken heart. I began to get a real sense of the caming that holds her broken heart together: " . . . when we lose our joy, the Spirit replaces it with endurance, that indestructible internal insistence to keep on keeping on." And so, finally, I saw how the Almighty pieced together her broken heart through prayer, reading, poetry, nature, and grace. That is what I needed to hear. Would I share this book with a broken-hearted friend? Probably not. But I would certainly share it with one whose heart is healing.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 19, 2011
Author Patsy Clairmont gives us the chance to see ourselves through new eyes. To see our beauty, our color, our purpose. She shines a light within and and we see sparkles.
Her words made me ponder, considering that perhaps God has a place for the broken pieces. Perhaps He has plans to use those jagged edges as a part of a masterpiece, Turning the ugly into the beautiful. This book is about mending, about seeing things from a new perspective. It's about our Creator and His masterpieces--us. With a finger pointed towards paintings, music, books, poetry, gratitude and scripture, Patsy Clairmont welcomes beauty.