Friday, February 19, 2016

Love Is with Julie Cosgrove and Greener Grasses

LOVE IS Series from Prism Book Group

First Corinthians 13:4-8a New International Version (NIV)  

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8. Love never fails

Today's Special release features Julie B. Cosgrove's Greener Grasses


Two twins are so envious of each other's lives they can barely stand to be in the same room. It has soured their relationships and their marriages. So why did their mother state in her last bequest they spend fourteen days together with their husbands in her house preparing it for auction? Can they do it? If not, neither will get a penny from the estate.

Here is an excerpt:

Hot tears dripped down Erin’s not-often rouged cheeks. Sorry, Mom. But I have a right to cry. It is your funeral, after all. She brushed them away with her fingers, checking for mascara smudges. Out of the corner of her vision she caught John’s stern glare. He nodded as the pastor continued.

“Marilyn’s legacy is witnessed by this fully packed church. Her Christian charity touched many lives, and for that we should praise God. She would not want us to be sorrowful, but to raise our hands in hallelujahs that she is finally walking the streets of gold, free of the pain, suffering, and heartaches of this dark and fallen world on which she once trod.”

Erin’s stomach felt as if Boy Scouts practiced their knotting skills in it. How could she rejoice? She and Ellen were now orphans. Dad had been killed in a car wreck five years prior. They had no other siblings. No more buffers lay between the twins’ tendency to squabble. How would she face Ellen the rest of the day with a plastered smile? Could she survive the sharp verbal pricks and superior, disapproving glances unscathed? Deep down, she admitted to the ugly, forbidden thought. Erin not only hated her sister for being born first, she despised her mother for bearing twins.

The thought made her bite the inside of her lip. She bowed her head and prayed John wouldn’t make a social faux pas in conversation or her boys eat with the wrong fork at the reception. And Lord, please keep me from dribbling anything on this blouse. It’s the only good one I own.

Sibling Love

I guess most sisters bicker as they grow up. We have a tendency to be a tad jealous of each other. “How come she gets to…” and later, “Why do all my boyfriends notice her?” Even later, “Why doesn’t my husband treat me like hers treats her?” or “”Why are her kids so well-behaved?”

My sister and I are six years apart so by the time I entered my teens she was married. I felt a deep loss and for a long time I felt the odd person out. She and my brother’s wife were closer in age, so they bonded. They always huddled at family events. I felt the pangs of exclusion like the wimpy little kid slumped on the sideline bench whose muscles would never fill out his uniform.

Until my husband died suddenly in the shower getting ready for work. Though five hours away, my sister dropped her life and rushed to my aid. She boarded her animals at the vets, packed a bag and drove to my door. I honestly cannot tell you how long she stayed with me. Certainly until after the funeral five days later. Having lost her husband a year previously, she guided my numbed mind and aching heart through the planning, the visitations and the arrangements as I sniveled for days on in overwhelmed by it all.

When I sold the house and moved to a one bedroom apartment, all I could afford at the time, she returned. We spent hours rubbing masking tape onto the floors mapping out where furniture would go and plotting what I could bring and what I should leave behind for the estate sale. She then monitored the estate sale like an award winning  car salesman, raking in the bucks so I could afford the moving company.

My brother, an attorney, drove in to handle all the legal affairs pro bono without blinking an eye. All I had to do was show up at the courthouse and swear my husband to be deceased—by far my highest hurdle. Declaring him legally dead before a magistrate made it real, too real. My brother stood by my side as my knees quaked. His even-toned professionalism became my boulder. I watched, wide-eyed and tear-blinked as he handed off paper after paper to the court clerk. Documents all identified by letters and numbers which I never understood. 

Growing up, my brother seemed a phantom. Eleven years older than me, he was a teenager locked in his world by the time I could toddle. Then came the college years away. When I was in third grade, he walked down the aisle. After that, he moved away, had a child of his own and built a life. Eventually I did the same. For decades we acknowledged each other like shadows at family gatherings. But that day at the courthouse, he became flesh and bone to me.

God purposes good from tragedy. My husband’s passing brought me closer to my siblings and showed me what family-bound love is all about. Five years later, we are able to communicate at a deeper level, share our feelings openly, and be there for each other through this rollercoaster called life. Now, that’s true love— a love akin to no other on earth.

My Review of Greener Grasses:
Author Cosgrove’s example of Love does not envy in Prism Book Group’s Love Is... series based on I Corinthians 13:4-8 uses a family situation. Twin sisters each outwardly and secretively envy the other’s life choices and circumstances—education, husband, children, lifestyle. They’ve allowed themselves not only to drift apart, but let the chasm of their disappointments build until it’s Grand Canyon deep. It takes the death of their mother and her unusual request in her will to force them to choose whether to bridge the divide and eventually work at backfill, or remain bitter and at odds.

Told from multiple viewpoints, each side of the story reveals the misfortunes, both real and assumed, as Erin with her blue collar life and growing boys and Ellen with her higher-society frets and illusions face each other at their mother’s funeral. From there, they are forced to spend a week together with their husbands, who have managed an arm’s length relationship at best. As they reminisce, secrets come to light, and twists on old dreams and who got what when, why, and how, show them that envy stagnates the soul and existence. Even their children receive some life lessons as they spend the week together with an aunt and uncle in a different locale.

Many good lessons come from this short sweet read. How we treat others is a sure sign of our faith life; how we respond to tragedy is the mirror of our souls. Allowing another, even a dear sibling, to share our hearts and gently point us in a better way is a diamond blessing. 

Check out Julie’s contribution to Prism Book Group’s new Love Is series…
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