Review: Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis

This was the first book I ‘checked out’ through the employee loaner program at the book store I just got a job at – and I’m so glad I did! I’m going to talk about religion in this post, which is something I’ve never really done before on the blog, but in the interest of being honest for myself in the future (man do I go back and read my own blog posts way too much!), this book came along at just the right time in my spiritual life, which is perhaps the thing I love most about it.

This book came in to my life at a time when I was again thirsting for Christ – stronger for ever before – and this book just put fuel on the fire. It’s Katie’s memoir about giving up everything good she had as a thin, white, pretty, smart American girl in order to move to Uganda, adopting 12 young orphan girls, and starting multiple branches of a not for profit organization that serves some of the poorest children of the community with food, education, and faith. Katie adopts not only these young girls, but also the belief that, in order for “the least of these” (as Jesus calls them) to know what Jesus’ love is like, they have to know what love is like – what it’s like to have a parent, someone bandaging your ouchies and keeping the nightmares away and laughing with you and telling you you matter. That’s what God does for us. That’s what Katie believes, and I’m overjoyed to be able to say it to you all that I believe that, too. And I don’t judge you if you don’t. I don’t condemn you if you don’t. I pray for you and I love you and I hope there’s a way I might be able to help you see what I see. That’s why it was so awesome to read Katie’s book. She see’s it. She helped show it to me.

“God reminded me how beautiful we all are to Him, after all, we were created in His own image, and He looks at me, at you, in all our sweat and dirt and brokenness, and says, “I choose you. You are beautiful.”

“The truth is that the 143 million orphaned children and the 11 million who starve to death or die from preventable diseases and the 8.5 million who work as child slaves, prostitutes, or under other horrific conditions and the 2.3 million who live with HIV add up to 164.8 million needy children. And though at first glance that looks like a big number, 2.1 billion people on this earth proclaim to be Christians. The truth is that if only 8 percent of the Christians would care for one more child, there would not be any statistics left.”

I find Katie inspirational – and her book uplifting – because it’s an example of what can happen if you get up every day and just ask “What can I do for You and Your people today, God?”. Katie founded Amazima, sponsoring over 500 Ugandan children in providing their education and school supplies, raising money for local medical treatment, and while she say’s it’s never easy, it’s truly easy to be jealous of the happiness and joy that shines from her eyes in every picture you see. I don’t know yet if my calling is to leave my life and journey to a location like Africa. I don’t think it is. But I know that my calling – all of our calling, really – is to show love. And I can do that right here in the life I’m living.

“We bend. I bend to sweep crumbs and I bend to wipe vomit and I bend to pick up little ones and wipe away tears… And at the end of these days I bend next to the bed and I ask only that I could bend more, bend lower. Because I serve a Savior who came to be a servant. He lived bent low. And bent down here is where I see His face. He lived, only to die. Could I? Die to self and just break open for love. This Savior, His one purpose to spend Himself on behalf of messy us. Will I spend myself on behalf of those in front of me? And people say, “Don’t you get tired?” and yes, I do. But I’m face to face with Jesus in the dirt, and the more I bend the harder and better and fuller this life gets. And sure, we are tired, but oh we are happy. Because bent down low is where we find fullness of Joy.”

A Love that Multiplies: A Duggar Review

So, I love the Duggars. I do. I can’t help it. I understand that many don’t agree with the number of kids they’ve had, the way they’ve decided how many children to have, and many of the religious, political, or cultural viewpoints that they hold. And I get that. But here’s my caveat – they may have 20+ children, but they’re all so polite, kind, generous, and respectful. And they have faith. And they actually stick to their moral code (as zealot-y as that might be), which isn’t something that we can say about a lot of the other families we see in the reality TV world. And I don’t have any intention of having anywhere near that many children – but if my kids could turn out like the Duggar kids, I’d be exstatic.

This is actually the second book that the Duggar family has written. Their first book, written just as Anna and Josh were getting married, focused more on the practicalities of running a household that large. This second book seems to focus more on the children themselves – including separate chapters on the girls and boys and the ways in which Jim Bob and Michelle go about preparing the different genders for their roles in life. The book also goes in to how the Duggar’s encourage character and moral development, putting a special emphasis on parental attitude and how much that has to do with raising children.

I want to say a couple of things about reading this book. First, it was an incredibly quick read. It’s written from alternating first-person-perspective (meaning that the narrator always refers to themselves as “I”, but then it’s notated in parenthesis whether the “I” refers to Jim Bob or Michelle) which can get a little bit distracting at times. There were also tips and tricks on time saving and organization, as well as a couple of recipes scaled to feed the Duggar family. This book begins with the tumultuous birth of the last Duggar babie, Josie (which many of you may/probably saw on television), and discusses how that situation tested their faith before moving on to the more “practical” sections of the book. This book is VERY scripture heavy, but as a conservative Christian family, that shouldn’t surprise any reader going in to it.

I think the thing I love the most about this book is that it showed me a way that Christian child rearing can be accomplished in a way that inspires a serving heart, respect for elders, and the foundation of faith. I don’t agree with all of the Duggar’s beliefs (I’m not a conservative Republican or a Young Earth Creationist) but I am proud Christian woman just beginning to push myself to grown and expand in my faith while finding a way to keep that going life-long. I think that’s what the Duggar family is full of – Christian believers looking to be on fire for God. And I bless them in that.

It’s not literary. It’s not enlightening. But it’s inspiring, and a great look behind the biggest family on TV.