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I am waiting for the day to end. Just end.
I am sitting on the left side of my red couch, flip ping through the most recent edition of Newsweek. Since I am a newspaper columnist, I am hoping-praying, actually—that an idea for my next column will jump out of the magazine's pages and smack me in the head.
Come on. There must be something in here worth writing about, I think as I scan the boring stories.
Most of the time I have a lot to say. In fact, I have an opinion on just about everything, which is a very good trait to have if you're a columnist. But today, I'm in a slump. And I know from Dr. Seuss's Oh, the Places You'll Go! that "when you're in a Slump, / you're not in for much fun. / Un-slumping yourself / is not easily done."
The fact is, I'm stuck in "a most useless place. The Waiting Place." It's a wobbly place to be.
It's March. I live in mid-Michigan, where I am surrounded by thousands of disillusioned auto workers, many of whom have lost their jobs in recent years. The weather is a horrible mixture of ice, rain, and snow. Although I am a runner (who runs mostly in her mind), I haven't run in several months. My diet consists mostly of cookies. My pants are tight (go figure), and my gluteus maximus is maximizing itself. It has an obvious agenda to take over the entire back side of my body. After it accomplishes that there is no doubt in my mind it is going for world domination.
If someone asked me, "If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?" I would answer, "In bed." The fact that I would choose flannel sheets over, say, Italy is more than a little concerning to this Tigger-like, energetic woman.
My eleven-year-old daughter, Kristina, is home from school, sick. She's curled up on the couch next to me, engrossed in her latest book. A bowl of green grapes sits between us, and we take turns reaching into it and popping fruit into our mouths. I might not know where my next column will come from, but it's nice to be here with my little girl.
Kristina is sick but not too sick. Together we're bored but not too bored. I reason that our boredom is even a little healthy. That it's a good thing to just sit and read and think and wonder every once in a while.
Kristina breaks the silence as she peeks up over her book at me. "Can I ask you a question, Mom?"
"Sure," I answer. She's reading My Little Red Book, which is a wonderful collection of personal essays all written about first-menstruation experiences. I know that a book comprised solely of first-period stories sounds odd, but it is truly terrific, funny, and poignant. Kristina has my full attention as I put down the Newsweek and look into her beautiful face. I am ready to spend the entire day talking about what it means to become a woman while her brothers, Stephen and Jordan, are at school. In my daughter's eyes, I soon will be Mother of the Year.
"Well," she says. "Uh ... is this what you do all day?"
I'm taken aback by her question and laugh nervously. "What? You mean, like, sit here? Oh, no, no. Gosh, no," I say.
"Good. Because if this is what you do all day, it would drive me crazy!" she says. "So, what do you do all day?"
Suddenly I glimpse myself through her eyes and see a middle-aged woman who appears to be a little lost while her husband works and her kids go to school. My stomach turns, and I have to push down the defenses that rise up within me. I am tempted to harangue long and hard about the fact that I am a newspaper columnist and an adjunct professor and a mom of three who makes dinner every single stinkin' night! Plus, I'm a pastor's wife who loves her husband but often dislikes his job that overshadows our life together.
I am also a neighbor, a sister, a daughter, and a friend. I volunteer at the local library, church, and school. I do the laundry, clean the toilets, sweep the floors, weed the garden, and wash the dog. I drive kids around in my proverbial minivan (a vehicle so unremarkable we call her the Stealth Bomber) to school, lessons, practices, and doctors' appointments. In short, I'm freaking amazing!
But I don't say any of that. Instead, I calmly say, "Oh, I work. You know, I write. I grade papers. I plan lessons for class. I don't just hang around here and sit on the couch."
"Well, you can work now if you want to," she says.
"I know. But I just ... I want to be here with you."
"Okay," she says as she turns back to her book. "It's just that, I'm fine. So you don't have to stop whatever it is you normally do."
"Uh-huh," I say, and I look blankly at the pages before me. So this is what my life has come to. I am utterly defeated.
* * *
When my three children were old enough to watch Spy Kids but young enough to still be gullible, they became convinced that my husband, Brad, and I were spies for the US government. They believed we did our spy work while they slept cozily in their beds. When they asked us if we were members of the CIA, we sometimes said yes, and they accused us of lying. But when we said no, they thought we were lying, too. Either way, they were convinced that whatever it was that we did while they were sleeping was much more exotic than simply snoozing. We were their heroes.
My children are no longer gullible. More often than not they call our bluff. It is hard to admit that the person I am at this very moment—the woman who sits soberly on the left side of her couch holding Newsweek in one hand and a bitter cup of lukewarm coffee in the other—is not the person I meant to become. Certainly I'm not acting like the mom I want my daughter to believe she has. I want her to think that I am adventurous, creative, inspired, and important. Instead, I feel cautious, vulnerable, a little lazy, and just plain stuck.
I never dreamed of becoming the mother who kisses her children good-bye as she sends them off to school in the morning, presses the Pause button on her life, and resumes living once her offspring return home. After all, I am the mother who unashamedly allowed—even encouraged—her children to believe she was the cunning, cool-headed CIA agent who flew to Moscow and back as they slept or went to school. Certainly I never just stay home.
Kristina looks at me nonjudgmentally, but her eyes plead for me to do something with my sorry life. Isn't there something on this random Tuesday in March that I need to do? Isn't there someplace (Cuba, perhaps) that I need to go?
Instead, I am trapped in the waiting place. And so it is here, on the left side of my very comfortable couch, that this book is born.
* * *
The Waiting Place is for people like me who get stuck in their precious, mundane, gorgeous, absurd lives. It is for those who work hard at the "business of living" only to find that they seem to be caught in one long, boring meeting. (The kind held around a long, laminated dark table in a windowless room where the boss, who forgot to bring donuts, is giving a PowerPoint presentation that includes about fifteen thousand pie charts.)
It's for those who wake up one day and find themselves repeatedly sighing and thinking, This is so not the life I dreamed of living. It's also for those who wonder what is worse: to remain in the day-in, day-out lives they have created or to risk it all and make a change, even if that change results in falling on their faces.
The waiting place is never cozy. In fact, when we find ourselves there, most of us try like heck to escape. While stuck in traffic, we take the nearest off-ramp and find an alternate route. While waiting at the deli, we gather a few more groceries from adjacent aisles so as not to waste time. While waiting at the mind-sucking Department of Motor Vehicles, we take a number and watch the numbers click, click, click until we are called to the desk. (Effects of the torturous wait at the DMV can be seen in virtually everyone's pitiful driver's license picture.)
Sometimes our inability to wait has more tragic implications:
While waiting to grow up, we forget to embrace our childhoods.
While waiting to lose weight, we fail to enjoy the youthfulness of our bodies.
While waiting for true love, we forget to relish our freedom. (Or worse, we settle for second best.)
While waiting to have children, we forget to nurture and enjoy the love and freedom of a childless marriage.
While waiting for our children to grow, we forget to notice their beauty as infants, toddlers, children, and teens. We fail to burn the memory of them into our souls.
While waiting for a loved one to get well (or to die), we fail to appreciate the days—even those filled with sickness and medications—we have with one another.
The following essays breathe life into common (and not so common) waiting places. I hope you find yourself in these pages and conclude, as I have, that some of the most priceless gifts can be discovered while waiting for something else.
I am absolutely convinced that some of the most beautiful things happen if we are willing to quiet our hearts, lean into the waiting place, and listen to what it tells us. When we do, we will often be astonished by what it has to say.
I am waiting for a place called home.
I've driven by this house a thousand times over the last thirty years. When my kids are in the car with me, I slow down, point, and say, "There it is, kids. That's the house I grew up in."
They glance and say, "Oh, yeah ...," and quickly go back to their own thoughts.
I'm never too disappointed by their response. After all, my childhood house in East Rochester, New York, (population sixty-six hundred) is not much to look at. The corner lot is tiny and comprised mostly of dirt. The once-white siding on the small two-story house is brownish gray from decades of harsh western New York winters. In this part of town, no one ever power-washes his home or contracts with ChemLawn to spray her grass. Here, residents are much more concerned about basic survival—a roof overhead, food on the table, a working car in the driveway, and a source of steady income.
I am the only one in my family who has moved out of state. My mom, dad, and two sisters all live within a few miles of each other. This fact often makes me terribly jealous and more than a little sad. I travel back to the east side of Rochester for most of the important stuff: weddings, major holidays, funerals.
But it's the ordinary, everyday stuff I miss the most: Sunday dinners ... the Buffalo Bills versus Miami Dolphins football game ... taking my sisters to lunch for their birthdays ... hanging out just because we can ... running out of things to say ... stopping by a sister's home without her thinking she should pick up her house and clean her toilets first. My heart longs for these simple things.
The unspoken rule for just about every family I know is this: the one who moves away must also be the one who visits. I don't mind being the one who hauls my family to Rochester because I want my kids to know this place. I'm happy to trek back several times a year to be in the presence of the people who have known me the longest and love me the most. Sure, I wish they'd come to visit me more often and take the time to understand my life as I do theirs. In spite of that, whenever anyone asks me about my home, this is the place I think of first.
It's hard to believe that this is the same small town my high school classmates and I could hardly wait to leave. How ironic it is to no longer feel that way. Instead, I feel like I've been missing something beautiful all along: the knowledge of which deli in town sells the best homemade kielbasa or pepperoni bread ... the awkwardness of banging into an old boyfriend at the grocery store ... the weirdness of watching former classmates' kids walk across the stage at graduation. Every town is unique, and heartstrings are pulled tightly around it, even if it's hard to explain exactly why.
My childhood house is located halfway between my dad's trailer and my sister's home. As I drive past it en route to Susie's, my heart leaps when I see the For Sale sign from Canal Walk Realtors sitting crookedly in the yard. I memorize the phone number and the Realtor's name.
"Hey, Susie," I say, walking through her front door, down the hallway, and into her aroma-filled kitchen. "Do you want to go see a house with me?"
"What house?" she asks, stirring the pasta for tonight's dinner.
"Our house. The Apple Street house. You wanna see it? It's for sale."
"You want to buy the Apple Street house?" she asks, incredulous.
"No, of course I don't want to buy it. I just want to see it. Will you go with me?"
Over the years, Susie and I have dreamed together about the possibility of seeing the house again. "Are you serious?" she says.
"Yeah. But only if the Realtor will show it to us."
"I'll go. Absolutely."
I grab her phone and head into the quiet of her upstairs, rehearsing what I will say to the Realtor when he answers the phone. If he answers the phone.
"Frank DeCiantis," a man's voice says.
"Uh, yes. Hi. My name is Eileen, and ... well, I'm interested in seeing one of the houses you have listed, the one on Apple Street. But I don't want to buy it."
"O-kaay," he says hesitantly.
"I know it sounds crazy, but ... I grew up there, and my sister and I have always wondered what it would be like to see it again. Since it's on the market ... ," I say as my confidence tanks. "Gosh, I'm so sorry to ask you this. I don't want to waste your time. I'm sure you're busy and ..."
"Well, the house has sold, but it's no problem. I'd be happy to show it to you. When do you want to see it?"
I swallow and hold my breath. "Now?"
I hear him shuffling papers. Then he says, "Meet me there in twenty minutes."
* * *
It's hard to believe it's been thirty years since Susie and I stood on the cement stoop of our eight-hundred-square-foot childhood home. She and I have both bought and renovated a few houses as adults, but no one has given similar attention to this place. We grip the black wrought-iron railing with its chipped paint, and I can almost hear my mother banging her clapperless brass bell against it, calling us to dinner. Frank unlocks the familiar side door, and Susie shoots me a look in anticipation. Although we've talked about doing this, we never thought we'd get the chance to walk through these doors again.
I can hardly wait to see the inside, but I'm a little nervous about what we will find. What if memories slam back at me and knock me off my feet? But I'm equally nervous about standing here on the steps, exposed for all the neighbors to see. There is very little space between houses, so every car pulling into a driveway, every person standing at the door, is noticed. I can't help the feeling that Fran Kokinda is watching me from her kitchen window across the street, even though she died seven months ago. She watched our family from the shadows of that window for thirteen years. It's hard to imagine she's gone.
Susie and I follow Frank into the kitchen and into the wrinkle in time. The worn-out egg-salad-patterned kitchen floor has been covered with different linoleum, but the pine cupboards, worn red countertop, 1970s refrigerator, and mustard-colored telephone (complete with an extra-long, stretched-out cord) are, remarkably, unchanged.
I'm shocked to find the same brown, nubby carpeting covering the living room floor. That carpet was wicked-ugly in the seventies, and it hasn't improved in the last three decades. I look around the tiny ten-by-twelve room and shake my head at the memory of one of my mother's enormous Christmas trees stuffed into the northwest corner. We had good Christmases here. Mom was the Christmas queen who loved shopping for and wrapping her Santa-sized load. Dad didn't share her enthusiasm for the holidays but was content to watch his girls tear open presents on Christmas morning.
Frank opens the door to the enclosed front porch, and I become dizzy with nostalgia. The damp-wood smell is exactly the same after all these years. This is the place where I wrote my very first story, where I read and loved Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, and where I spent hours perfecting my ability to raise one eyebrow.
Excerpted from THE WAITING PLACE by EILEEN BUTTON Copyright © 2011 by Eileen Button. 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 13, 2011
I love this book! I often read nonfiction slowly, but this engaged me so well that I read it in record time. Fortunately, I was traveling and my plane time flew by as I enjoyed these remarkable essays. Eileen Button is reminiscent of Nora Ephron but with a spiritual emphasis. I love the depth of her love for God and her desire to completely give her life to him. I love her devotion to her husband, children, parents, and siblings. She clearly states her opinions, and her approach is always engaging, whether humorous or heart-rending. Any who have ever struggled with following God, getting along with their mothers, or having a husband with The Church as the other woman will relate to these essays and read them again and again. Don¿t wait! Start reading this book as soon as possible.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 4, 2011
An easy, lighthearted read that is relevant to a woman's life today. Eileen Button shares a handful of times in her life when she was waiting for something with an air of humor and sincerity. Readers can relate to the need to learn patience while facing the unknown while being encouraged to cling to God in each waiting place.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 24, 2011
I didn't really know what to expect having never really read collections of essays apart from at university. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed reading this.
The book is a collection of essays about the waiting places that we find ourselves in throughout the different seasons of life: from student years, to dating, to marriage, to children, and all other areas in between. What really appealed to me when reading this is how separate all the essays are from each other. Some days I didn't have much time to read so I could only read one essay, but it didn't matter and didn't interrupt my flow of reading. However, on days when I had slightly more time to read, going from essay to essay didn't feel too detached.
I liked the very personal element to this book as well as its easiness to read. Although it was lighthearted, the seriousness of some of the chapters cannot be understated - some of the essays were about very serious issues and were still easy to read and I was definitely able to connect with the writer.
Overall a good read for busy people!!!
Thomas Nelson publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a positive review.
Posted August 1, 2011
Eileen Button's book, The Waiting Place, is beautiful work that shares sweet vignettes about life and its special in-between places. An enchanting read, it gently entices the reader to travel down the road of her familiar past, while learning to embrace the unique moments where memories can be viewed as gifts.
As I read this book, I could easily relate to what Ms. Button wrote. I was able to reflect back on my grandmother, as well as on my husband's once-in-a-lifetime-kind-of-love marriage proposal. I laughed as she discussed everything from the size of her gluteus maximus to her mother's love for big hair, panty hose, and layered clothing. I cried as she talked about her W.I.C. experience, her son's medical complications, and her grandmother's steady decline and withdrawal from life.
I knew this book would be amazing, and I wasn't mistaken. The Waiting Place has something for everyone. It is inspiring, encouraging, and downright delightful. I loved it!!!
Posted July 21, 2011
I recently read The Waiting Place by Eileen Button and it was such an enjoyable read. None of us, at least not really anybody I know, especially likes having to wait. But we all have to.waiting in line at the grocery store, waiting for a check in the mail, waiting for a baby to be born. Much of our life is spent waiting for one thing or another. In sharing her experiences, Mrs. Button shows us that waiting doesn't always necessarily have to be a bad thing - that there's much to be learned by the process of waiting.not just about ourselves but about God as well.
In The Waiting Place, Mrs. Button welcomes us into many different moments in her life where she's been waiting for something. Her writing style is so conversational.most times I felt like I was sitting in a coffee shop with a dear friend catching up on life. Her openness and honestly is very endearing and I found myself laughing out loud one minute and crying the next. She has an uncanny ability to find humor in everyday situations that I found so easy to relate to. But also in her willingness to share the hard things, she invites us into places in her life that have been painful and crushing and again I felt as if I were sitting there listening to her work through these difficult places while seeking God in midst of them all.
The Waiting Place was such an easy read. The chapters weren't really long and they flowed so well into each other.
I loved The Waiting Place. If you're in a place of waiting on God,or even if you think you aren't,I'd certainly recommend reading this book.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted July 20, 2011
I don't know about you. But I love waiting. Of course, I hate queues, but waiting is altogether a different matter. You can bring fun into the process of waiting by taking a book with you, wherever you go - whether a wait is expected or not.
Instead of a book, you may use a music player, or a mobile games console, or paint in your iPad, or simply observe people around you. Whatever may be the technique, with the right attitude, wait time can become very rewarding and enjoyable.
Eileen Button's book "The Waiting PLace" is a very unique work, which contains a collection of essays about waiting. She uses various everyday scenarios where we wait, and tries to describe precise experience from those moments.
When you write about waiting, the challenge is, you will have very few 'characters' and very little 'incidents'. You may have to rely on your thought process and capture it in writing with as many details as possible. On the flip side, it may be VERY boring for others.
Eileen doesn't seem to have this problem at all and describes even the tiniest experience in an enjoyable manner. Me being a fellow-wait-lover, I was able to see myself in the book and love every waiting opportunity. It was a delightful reading experience and I won't mind reading it again, next time I am waiting on a train station queue!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze dot com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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."
Posted July 8, 2011
I just had the pleasure of reading "The Waiting Place" by Eileen Button. It is a charming little collection of essays. Each essay is about a waiting place in life. Whether or not she chose to laugh, cry or both in the situation really told something about her character. Many of life's waiting places are relayed in this book in a real and meaningful way. Eileen Button had a way of going from life as a child waiting on Grandpa to life as a minister's wife and liking the two together to show how life may take you through a journey you could have never imagined but one that you wouldn't trade for the world. While talking about her husband's job as a Methodist minister, she talks about 'waiting' for him to come home. Not home in the physical sense, but in mental sense that he is detached from her and the kids while dealing with all of the stresses that come with being a minister. While talking about waiting for her son to cry, she expresses the great heart ache & sorrow that a stay in the NICU can put on your heart. She then transitions her waiting into the joy that comes from the simple mundane things that the rest of us take for granted; a crying baby. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and believe anyone could find a connection to or relate to the book and essays in some way. Please note: I received this book free from the publisher through BookSneeze through their bloggers book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 8, 2011
I really enjoyed reading this book by Eileen Button. She takes your hand and leads you through her life, finding the joy in waiting in the hard places. This collection of essays brings into the light the trials of waiting for an uncle's death, for a child to breathe, or for a friend to chose what to eat. Her humour leaps out at you from every page, making this book a wonderful for one to read in bite sized pieces.
I think the stories that I enjoyed the most were the ones about the pain of the church being your husband's work, and her long journey with her child born unwell. Not all of the essays are so good, but I'm sure there's one there for everyone.
Please note: I wrote this review for BookSneeze's blogger review program. All opinions are my own.
Posted July 7, 2011
If you have ever found yourself eagerly waiting for a letter, someone to call, or something to happen in your life then The Waiting Place by Eileen Button is a MUST read! Eileen shares several times in her life where waiting was something she was forced to do but learns that it can be a blessing in disguise. Each chapter contains another reason why you might wait in life. Wait for a letter, wait for husband to come home, or wait for a job. Sometimes it can be so hard to wait for things, but this book reminds us that it is God's plan not ours for our life here on Earth. You will laugh, cry and connect to Eileen and God in ways you did not realize were possible. While you are waiting or in a happy place in your life, pick up this book and find that the waiting place is a great place to be.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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."
Posted July 1, 2011
The Waiting Place is a collection of essays inspired by different moments and events in Eileen Button's life, from childhood times to present times. The book is very well written and I have to say that I laughed out loud so many times reading this book . she is so funny you will instantly fall in love with the book and have a hard time letting it out of your hands until you finish it. It happened to me J I loved the fact that she is so open and honest about the events she talks about in the book - her waiting places - that you can't help but feel very comfortable "listening" to her life, as if in a coffee shop with your best friend talking about life. And the fact that she is very funny contributes to this as well! I loved the book so much that I was sad when I finished it, I wanted more of it! So I would definitely recommend this book to those of you who want to learn how to make the best out of your waiting places and to those of you who want to read a really good book and laugh out loud reading it but at the same time learning something valuable for your lives, because as the author concludes: . to live is to wait. It's how we wait that makes all the difference.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 30, 2011
This book is recommended for people who are finding it hard to understand the very concept of patience through all the confusion of daily life. Through a collection of essays that are more like memoirs of her life, Eileen Button presents us with various ways that our lives resemble being in a 'waiting place'. She writes in such a way that makes it feel like you're merely having one of those random chats with a random friend over a cup of tea.
It has made me laugh, cry, and feel a whole lot of other emotions through both the author's entertaining way with words and the insightful thoughts and ideas contained therein. It is the perfect companion book for when you're riding the bus to work, waiting in line at a grocery store, or just basically anywhere we need to take a number and wait our turn.
It reminds us that while we may not often understand the workings of God's ways, it really does pay to just sit back, relax and wait for life to take its natural course. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.
Posted June 28, 2011
I must admit that I was not at all prepared for the way "The Waiting Place" would pull at my heartstrings
Based on actual life experiences, the author shares several very intimate experiences from childhood into adulthood. These stories are written almost the same way you would write in your diary. Some things she writes about are not "life-changing" (although several are), but they prove the point that life is not one big action packed movie. There are times in life when the tempo slows and we are left with no other options except to wait.
Through quite a few good chuckles and definitely some tears, the author is able to convey that we all spend time in a waiting place. Sometimes we pass through and other times we are stuck there for years.
I did not feel like I read this book. I feel like I sat down each evening with Eileen Button and a cup of coffee to have a chat with a friend. I was a bit sad to finish the book because I will miss those evening "chats".
Maybe that is what led me to be a tad disappointed with the ending. Then again, most true stories do tend to have a let-down ending because we are so use to fairy-tale endings. I don't know what I expected; I just wanted more.
Overall, I would definitely suggest this book to a friend. It is warm and a great reminder that we all experience ups and downs in our lives. It reminded me how much I appreciate those closes to me and how much we NEED each other.
"The Waiting Place" is a book that I highly recommend you check out.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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."
Posted June 26, 2011
For a while now I've been looking for voices like mine within the Christian writing community; primarily authors working creatively with memoir. In Eileen Button I've found a teacher. Her book The Waiting Place is filled with tender and provocative, loosely connected essays, all personal reminiscences, detailing moments spent in waiting.
Button is unusually gifted at painting scenes: her family home, the NICU where her son spent his first days, the waiting room at the WIC office. Each essay constructs a new world within which to experience the pain, frustration and peace potentially found in expectation.
I connected powerfully to Button's experiences partly because they are artfully shared and partly because our experiences themselves are shared. Button and I are both preacher's wives, both adjunct instructors, both mothers of young children, both academic overachievers, both writers. We're alike. (I bring up our similarities only to say that perhaps my enjoyment of her book has much to do with my strong association with her life.)
By far the best content in the book is related to the birth of her third child, a complicated, scary, faith-testing period of anxious waiting. Button describes this ordeal with powerful simplicity and sometimes racing, sometimes wandering prose. It's delicious, warm, and endearing.
Other essays in the book aren't as winning. Perhaps because Button is vulnerable and fully herself. No one is perpetually likable.
The only fault in Button's book is one too large to ignore: no underlying story arch. Each essay stands alone, and while Button indicates this as her intention, the lack of momentum still disappoints. At the end of the book, I wanted to see progress, to see Button learning as she waited so that the last moments of waiting would differ greatly from the first. I ached to see waiting done well.
I also wonder, just wondering, if perhaps the title and idea of waiting weren't inserted after the stories had been collected in attempt at an angle.
Overall, I enjoyed the book (I greatly enjoyed Button's voice), and I'd recommend it to any preacher's wife, mother, or woman struggling to juggle the life she wants and the life she's living.
Posted June 17, 2011
This book is boring! The author tells small stories about her life. For example, one was about the fascination her mother had in her and her sisters' hair and how one time her mom slapped her when she said "Jesus Christ" and the mother thought she was swearing. That is the closest this book even got to bringing Jesus into the daily living. This book serves no purpose, it is a waste of paper (or memory if you have the ebook). I am very disappointed and was hoping it would be a book that would guide readers in how to find God in the daily life. I was hoping that it would show when you are waiting in traffic that you can pray and maybe just maybe God will show you something.
Do NOT waste for money or time on this book.
Posted June 16, 2011
This book teaches you how to be honest, and funny. To care but not be overbearing. To worry but to seek guidance in others. To have pride in yourself but know when to swallow it when you need something the most for your family. Most of all she taught ME that "to wait is human. To find life in the waiting place, divine."
The Waiting Place, has definitely reserved a place in my heart as well as a place on my ever growing bookshelf. I recommend this book to anyone that is looking for a great read, and a little guidance in the right direction, especially for someone stuck in "the waiting place" themselves.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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."
Posted June 16, 2011
The Waiting Place by Eileen Button is one of those books that you don't intend to read in one sitting, but happily find yourself staying up way too late to finish. This collection of essays is beautifully written, both humorous and poignant when it needs to be. I found myself reflecting on various 'waiting places' in my life while enjoying the insight and refreshing honesty in which Eileen shares hers.
The author walks us through various times when her life felt as if it were on hold- and at times she admits that she is barely holding on through it all. What makes these stories so lovely is the way that Eileen shares personal insights and revelations about experiencing God in the midst of her waiting places. She is candid about her feelings and takes us through an emotional journey, riding waves of joy, laughter, tears and heartbreak as she honestly reflects on life. From fishing moments with her father, beauty lessons with mom, visits with various grandparents and the birth and death of family members, Eileen covers all the moments that can take you for a loop and make you wonder what God is thinking!
I wasn't sure what to expect from The Waiting Place, as I have struggled with the stagnant periods in my own life. I am so thankful to have read this book and had no clue how easily I would relate to the moments the author chose to share. I feel as though God used these stories to tell me to deliberately slow down- to enjoy this period of my life and stop straining towards to future. It is with heartbreaking clarity that The Waiting Place reminded me how often I wish away today to get to tomorrow. Today is a gift, and Eileen Button writes an inspiring narrative reflecting this very truth.
I would highly recommend reading this book, no matter where you are in life's journey.
Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher via Book Sneeze. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Posted June 14, 2011
This book is a bit like that "trunk in the attic". There are so many good lessons to learn and memories to laugh (and cry) about. Eileen Button's stories are so refreshing and thoughtful at the same time. Whether she addresses "waiting for death" or "waiting for fish to bite", there is a lesson to be learned from all 22 stories. I really enjoyed this book. As someone who is in the "waiting place" right now, it was a perfect, gentle reminder of how important it is to enjoy, even savour this place. In every new term of my life I wait for it to finish so I can move to the next. This is dangerous when I look behind me and miss the times I didn't fully appreciate. Eileen's candid narrative drew me in, reprimanding me and making me pay attention to the beauty around me. This was such a good lesson to learn, and she does it in a way that makes you completely appreciate the waiting place for what it is. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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."Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 12, 2011
In Eileen Button's work The Waiting Place: Learning to Appreciate Life's Little Delays, she talks about all of the different ways in life people wait. They wait for funerals, signs, miracles, the mail, acceptance, breakthroughs, and growing up. These are just a few of the twenty-two topics which are looked at within the book.
I thought this book had a cute concept, in that each chapter is a self-contained short story which looks at the above mentioned issues that most people, at some point in their lives, find themselves waiting for. The book was an easy, entertaining read, and I would recommend it to others who need to slow down and be content in the waiting place they are currently at in their lives.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. 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."
Posted June 10, 2011
What a magical way to look at life from The Waiting Places! By the fifth paragraph Button had me literally laughing aloud! With each essay, each chapter brought something new to my mind, whether it be a memory or a thought of what the future holds. I enjoyed turning these pages as I laughed and cried alongside Eileen and her family as she told her stories. If you've ever found yourself stuck in a place where you were waiting for the next phase, this book will help you to put life into perspective; learn to live while you wait. I was awed by this compilation of essays of Button's life, you will be too! Pick up your copy available now!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 10, 2011
Eileen Button has captured in 227 pages a connection between herself and the reader and a connection the reader will no doubt feel between himself/herself and every human being in the world. We may live in different countries on different continents but we have all been to the same place at one time or another (sometimes several times in one day) - the waiting place. Think of all the places you wait - at a red light, in traffic on the highway, in cue waiting for your popcorn after waiting in line to buy your movie tickets and the doctor's office to name a very few. Most people would agree that this waiting time is pretty useless - in some instances, you cannot veer to the left or leave - you're stuck waiting. But does this time have to be a waste? Eileen Button does not think so. She has found the simple pleasure and oh yes, even humor in "the waiting place". Like the old adage "great things come in small packages" likewise a similar takeaway from "the waiting place" - while waiting maybe you reach out, speak to the person beside you and make a new friend or you brainstorm a solution to a problem you are currently experiencing or .. the possibilities are there if you are open.
She includes stories in "waiting for" the day to end, a place called home, the fish to bite, a baby's healing, church to be over, a husband's return, children to grow, a mother's acceptance and a loved one to die.
This book definitely put waiting in perspective. It does not have to be lost time but found time. I found the book to be inspiring and eye-opening. Everyone who reads the book will be able to relate to and take away from at least 1 "waiting place". This book would be great for individual reflection, book clubs or getting together with friends and discussing over a coffee..instead of saying "oh my doctor kept me waiting an extra 20 minutes because he was overbooked."..maybe you will be able to say "while waiting in the doctor's office, got chatting to the person across from me and found out she is a Coronation Street fan too and we had a nice talk about the latest scandal to hit the Street".
As Eileen says, "To wait is human. To find life in The Waiting Place, divine."
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.