My Name is Mahtob by Mahtob Mahmoody

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My Name is Mahtob is written from the perspective of the daughter from the book and motion picture, Not Without My Daughter; Mahtob Mahmoody. She shares her memories of how her mother and her escaped Iran and made it back to the United States. Only to live the rest of their lives in fear that her father would come and take Mahtob back to Iran. Her story also included how she forgave her father for what he did and continued to do in her life. She tells of how her mother, family friends, teachers, and the Lord helped her reach a place where she did not hate her father for the wake of destruction he caused.

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The recurring theme throughout this book is forgiveness. Her mother, realizing that Mathob was growing bitter, sought out ways to help her remember her father as a person, not the monster he had become. And also showed her that her heritage was not a bad thing, but something to be celebrated. Another recurring theme in this book is the fact that neither Mahtob nor her mother would say anything ill of the man who kidnapped them.

My Name is Mahtob was a page turner from the very beginning. My heart ached for the five/six year old girl who ran away with her mother from her father. I wanted to protect Mahtob, as a young adult, when her world was shattered once again by her father. My favorite part was in the last few chapters. Mahtob is still affected by the abuse her father caused but time and distance has made her realize a few things:

  • She has sorrow for a father that let his “dysfunction rule his life”.
  • That her own adaptability was due to her father’s absence in her life.
  • Her memories of her father were not “distorted” by others.

I thoroughly enjoyed my journey into Mahtob’s life.

I was given a copy of this book by BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.

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Control Is Hard To Give Up

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God is in control so we don’t have to be.

titanicI’m not too sure what is going on anymore. The company I work for has built it’s business on school bond elections. We design schools, gymnasiums, and administration buildings with bond issue funds. A workable and sustainable business model with one major hiccup, voters. Back in the beginning of May, voters shot down two of the three bond issues we were counting on for work. Thankfully, we have learned a bit from a similar failure last year. We have since diversified our client base and moved into areas not targeted by large Dallas architectural firms. What is odd is that one week we were talking about hiring, growth, and technology upgrades. In the weeks following the bond election, optimism has disappeared and silence rules. Just like last year. I have no idea whether my company will lay off anyone within the next few months. I do not think we have diversified enough/obtained enough clients to sustain our company long term. While business may seem normal for now, I keep waiting for the hammer to drop like it did last year when I lost a fellow co-worker due to layoff. Frustrating to be back in a situation where I have no control.

Health-wise, I’ve been seeing a couple doctors and having some tests run. Will be getting the test results next week. I am nervous. My body is tense and I feel sick. I have zero control over the situation.

nineveh02This past Sunday (5/17), my small group leader asked me to teach during our morning hour together. Knowing that the kids were having a lesson from the Book of Nahum, I decided to dive-in and see what the book is all about. Turns out Nahum is a sequel to the Book of Jonah. Nahum takes place a 100 years after Jonah visited the City of Nineveh. By this time, Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian Empire, had returned to idol worship. The Minor Prophet Nahum steps in and speaks aloud (an oracle) that the destruction of Nineveh is coming.

The people of Nineveh must have laughed at Nahum. Their city walls were a 100 feet high with a 150 foot moat extending out from the walls. The moat, for anyone who is wondering, was 60 feet deep. Who knows what lived in there. Situated on the Tigris River, Nineveh had a series of dams throughout the city. Now what is interesting is that Nahum prophesied that the city would be destroyed by water (2:6). The dams that held back water-giving life would end up unleashing water that would undermine a part of the city walls. Like a sandcastle, the walls would fall, allowing the Babylonians access into the city.

640px-Nineveh_map_city_walls_&_gatesOne of the key verses that stuck out to me was 1:3 –

The Lord is slow to anger but great in power;
    the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.
His way is in the whirlwind and the storm,
    and clouds are the dust of his feet.

God gave the people of Nineveh a chance. He sent Jonah, a reluctant prophet, to tell them to turn from their evil ways. And they did! A hundred years later though, the people had forgotten all about Jonah. What stuck out to me in 1:3 is that God is slow to anger. He could have destroyed Nineveh a hundred years ago, but He didn’t. Another verse I noted was 1:7 –

The Lord is good,
    a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him,

The head and heart disconnect, I call it. I know that God is good, no matter what the situation. I know that He is a refuge, ready to catch us/hold on to us when all seems to be falling apart. I know that. But sometimes my heart forgets. I want to be in control.

I am not sure where my job is going to be in six months. I have no idea what is going to happen next week at the doctors office. What I do know is that God is good. He will take care of me. I just need to tell my head and my heart that.

Satisfaction: Unquenchable in Thirst Like Death

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Good morning,

Did you know that it is dark outside at 6am? Couple that with the freezing air conditioned air and you’ve got a certain someone who is not willing to surrender his blankets. This morning though, I got out of bed earlier than normal and ate breakfast with my wife. She had made a wonderful breakfast cake that tasted quite good! Afterwards, we dove into Proverbs 27. As we were reading, verse 20 really stuck out to me:

20 Death and Destruction[a] are never satisfied,
and neither are human eyes. (NIV)

Every day we hear about the latest death tolls and destructive forces menacing the planet. Death seems to have an unquenchable thirst. Think about this for a moment, every seconds 2 people die. In the time it will take me to write this over 1,200 people will have died. Weird to think that that many people can die within a ten minute span.

Destruction is also something that is constantly surrounding us. Places that have been untouched for over a hundred years are now experiencing the destructive forces of hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes. When destruction isn’t being caused by nature it is unfortunately being caused by fellow humans. War and terrorism seems to be a staple in our modern society. If it isn’t the United States fighting somewhere in the Middle East, it is some African country screaming out in pain under the latest warlord of the month. Death and destruction are universal, two forces constantly at work in our world.

So think about verse 20 again:

20 Death and Destruction[a] are never satisfied,
and neither are human eyes. (NIV)

Have you ever wondered why you’re never happy with the stuff you have? In the beginning you thought that, “If I just had this” you’d be made whole or at least happy. As you’ve grown older, you have discovered that this is not true. Just as death and destruction are never satisfied, neither will your desires for more. Ultimately, we can only find satisfaction in the Lord Jesus Christ.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail. – Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)

25 I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.” – Jeremiah 31:25 (NIV)

Shank: The Demo

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Ultra violent. Gritty. Extreme.

Awhile back I downloaded the demo for Shank, an old school side-scrolling brawler of sorts, on the PS3 (also on PC and 360). The game follows the title character through the dirty streets of some nameless town (at least in the demo). Shank is after THE BUTCHER, a luchadore that beat the crap out of him and stole his girl. Wrought on revenge, through any means necessary, Shank battles to win not only his pride but his woman back. Sound like a typical Tarantino script? I’d say yes!

So the demo starts as Shank begins his road of bloodshed and violence. Ultimately ending with him killing the wrong masked wrestler. “WHERE IS HE?!?”, Shank yells questioningly in rage. Fueled by Shank’s anger, I can only assume that he completes his mission by the game’s end.

Overall I enjoyed the demo and wish it had been longer. The game’s M rating has me questioning just how much sex and language are in the rest of the game (the demo really didn’t showcase anything but violence). As of right now, I’ll be passing on Shank.