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Number of Pages: 240
Publication Date: 2016
|Dimensions: 8.40 X 5.50 (inches)|
Year of Plenty: One Suburban Family, Four Rules, and 365 Days of Homegrown Adventure in the Pursuit of Christian LivingCraig L. GoodwinSparkhouse Press / 2011 / Trade Paperback$10.99 Retail:
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Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity, Revised & ExpandedJen HatmakerNavPress / 2014 / Trade Paperback$9.49 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 5 Reviews
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Esther Emery was a successful playwright and theater director, wife and mother, and loving it all - until, suddenly, she wasnt. When a personal and professional crisis of spectacular extent leaves her reeling, Esther is left empty, alone in her marriage, and grasping for identity that does not define itself by busyness and a breakneck pace of life. Something had to be done.
What Falls from the Sky is Esthers fiercely honest, piercingly poetic account of a year without Internet - 365 days away from the good, the bad, and the ugly of our digital lives - in one womans desperate attempt at a reset. Esther faces her addiction to electronica, her illusion of self-importance, and her longing to return to simpler days, but then the unexpected happens. Her experiment in analog is hijacked by a spiritual awakening, and Esther finds herself suddenly, inexplicably drawn to the faith she had rejected for so long.
Ultimately, Esthers unplugged pilgrimage brings her to a place where she finally finds the peace - and the God who created it - she has been searching for all along.
What Falls from the Sky offers a path for you to do the same. For all the ways the Internet makes you feel enriched and depleted, genuinely connected and wildly insufficient, What Falls from the Sky reveals a new way to look up from your screens and live with palms wide open in a world brimming with the good gifts of God.
Esther Emery used to direct stage plays in Southern California. But that was a long time ago. Now she lives with her husband and three children off the grid in a yurt, tending to three acres in the foothills of Idahos Rocky Mountains. She writes about faith and trying to live a fearless, free life at www.estheremery.com. Website: http://www.estheremery.com
I tore through this book like the pages were on fire. Esther Emerys courageous, gritty, and self-aware experiment with fasting from the Internet is nothing less than a freedom song. This book is a must-read for anyone who has struggled with finding connection and meaning in a world where communication is reduced to texts, pixels, and emojis. Esthers story will provide fresh perspective and inspiration.
Esther Emery makes me believe in a different kind of world: where the table, not the screen, has primacy of place; where people change; where silence unfurls---and God still speaks. I'm grateful for that world and the Christ who makes it possible.
What Falls from the Sky is a keenly observed exploration of life on the other side of blogs, Twitter, and Facebook. Emery's rich self-awareness and observation of the world harmonize masterfully, and this debut is rich with wit, irony, and grace. A year richly lived, this is a book to be savored.
What started for Esther as an experiment of whittling down turned into a journey of abundance. I was riveted from the first page, and when I reached the last, I felt I had gained a new friend. Profound and gentle, compelling and engaging, Esthers story will spur you on to love and live better.
In this remarkable debut, Esther puts hard stop to the chaos of the Internet and lets the waters settle enough to peer into her own soul. And by showing us, unflinchingly, what she finds there, she gives us the courage to get quiet, get attentive, and listen to our own lives.
Esther Emery's What Falls from the Sky is a joyful pilgrimage into the heart of what matters in a complex and connected world. With wit and wisdom, she takes us on a wholehearted journey of an embodied faith: a faith where heart and hands, mind and body matter equally and the truth of Scripture is confirmed in the truth of the earth. What Falls from the Sky is not to be missed.
Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5The Radical Simplicity of Looking UpFebruary 28, 2017Michele MorinWarren, MaineAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Its nearly time.
Even two weeks ago, standing thigh-deep in snow beside the bush, I could see that the buds had begun to swell large, and so it wont be long until I lop off some of the bushs waywardness and then arrange the bare branches in a vase of water. I will begin watching every day for the delicate, vivid yellow flowers to announce that spring is happening in my house no matter whats happening in the great outdoors on this country hill in Maine
It was for this:
the intimate observation of seasonal changes;
the beauty and joy of a handwritten letter in which grace comes in the letting go;
the thoughtful glance skyward;
the face-to-face rebuilding of a broken marriage it was for this very thing that Esther Emery unplugged her life from the Internet in November 2009. For one year, she lived a life without email, without a cell phone, and without a debit card. No Google, no on-line shopping, no text messages. She walked away from her blog, an encouraging Facebook community, and any trace of an on-line presence in a leap of Stop-doing-everything-you-know-and-start-doing-everything-you-dont-know Faith.
What Falls from the Sky shares this journey in four parts that correlate with four glorious gifts from the sky: snow, rain, sunshine, and fog.
In the season of snow, Esther quit her job and made a cross-country move to Boston with two small children in support of her husbands career. This obvious high-intensity-tumult actually pales in comparison with the angst of her Internet withdrawal. Against the backdrop of a snowy New England winter, she began to stop looking for her significance in terms of her electronic self. This unplugging left Esther with plenty of space for wrestling with her ambivalence toward her non-traditional up-bringing and for discovering that the alternative to screen time is table time. She cut her ties with the bulimic teenager she used to be and turned her eyes away from the theater she loved; and then tied on a striped apron and began trying to decipher her husbands recipes for cranberry muffins and lentil soup. Like a snow globe turned upside down, her values swirled, but then re-settled into new patterns in which compassion trumps achievement and humility suddenly has equal footing with leadership.
It was from this humility that Esther traced her spiritual re-awakening. Words from the Bible fell like rain on parched ground as she gulped down the Revelation first and then watched spring come through the lenses of Genesis and Thoreau. A celebration of Easter in community introduced her to the beauty of borrowed power from the crucified and risen Christ and the truth that this is not theoretical at all. The vulnerability of Good Friday left Esther defenseless against the claims of Christ upon her life, and she was captured by the forgiveness that conquers fear, the Jesus of the brokenhearted, the Jesus of the suffering. Ironically, as her spiritual life came into focus, the material world also became sharper, and she and her husband, Nick, took on the joint task of digging themselves out of debt and handling their finances as a team.
Under the bright light of summer days, Esther began to examine her motives for stepping away from the Internet. Is this really about spiritual formation? Or is it about self validation? As her life changed and she and her husband grew closer, they began to feel as it they were on a boat, moving further and further from the shore and further and further from the other people in their lives. Esthers perspective on the church is refreshing: I read and re-read with a smile her assessment of church meetings as jovially disorganized. Too, her tenacity in sticking with her commitment to fellowship is a grace sadly lacking even in more seasoned believers. To her surprise, the God she believed in directed her path to Nicaragua with its enculturated gospel and its unmitigated poverty, where she slept in a room in which the ceiling was carpeted in bats and concluded that this is what you get, I guess, if you say anything somewhere where God can hear you.
The fog of reverse culture shock was waiting at the airport for Esther when she returned to her ecstatic family, deepening her realization that it would not be possible to drag others, still in the center, out to her edge because they had not traveled her road. Ironically, when her familys apartment is burglarized, one of the items stolen is the laptop containing all the notes and files she was in the process of recording during her disconnected months. A tentative foray into gardening, and a commitment to inter-dependency and to the growing health of her marriage all began singing into Esthers life the same song in different keys: things grown again.
With the structure of a memoir and the tone of an Old Testament prophet, What Falls from the Sky kept me reading and curious simply from the sheer impossibility of the experiment. How does a woman who has walked away from her faith and become an outspoken critic of Christianity with a significant online presence (and a husband who is an atheist) make a journey away from the internet and toward a following life? How can the experience of looking up for an entire year noticing the sky and the seasonal changes, delighting in the company of her children and the deepening of her own inner life how can this bring about a transformation that heals the ragged edges of a heart that needs to forgive and to be forgiven? Esther Emery has crafted a travelogue for any heart that longs to recognize itself from the inside out, without the aid of the electronic mirror, and to embark upon a life that has been transformed by the resurrected Jesus Christ.
This book was provided by Zondervan through the BookLookBloggers program in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Kendra5 Stars Out Of 5What Falls From the SkyJanuary 11, 2017KendraQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5In What Falls From the Sky, Esther Emery tells the story of her Year Without the Internet, and the unexpected changes that came to her life as a result.
Fleeing the faith and the chaos of her broken childhood, Esther left rural Idaho for the cities of southern California, where she became successful in theater, married, and had her first child. But things began to fall apart and in the midst of a deep personal crisis, she and her husband moved across the country and began a new life in Boston, while simultaneously and somewhat on a whim, also beginning a year without cell phones or the internet. I had to admire Esther's stubborn tenacity in making a complete break with all things digital--not even using a credit or debit card. During that year, many things changed in her life, most notably encountering God and finding peace and healing in Jesus.
While I don't have much in common with Esther in personality, experiences, or lifestyle choices, I thoroughly enjoyed her book. She writes well and with vulnerability. I often find myself wrestling with the addictive nature of the internet, with the pressure of approval and likes and keeping up with others, and with the way our lives have become so taken up with what is "out there" rather than life right here, right now. In that way, I envy her courage to do the hard thing and let it all go.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my review.
Shaun TabattCottage Grove, MNAge: 35-44Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5An engaging book that will challenge you to consider how the internet is impacting your relationship with God & others.December 29, 2016Shaun TabattCottage Grove, MNAge: 35-44Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Esther Emery is an engaging storyteller. I honestly couldn't put this book down. It felt like I was right alongside her on the crazy journey of going for an entire year without the internet. She'll challenge you to reconsider how much the internet is impacting your relationship with God and your relationship with those around you. It's time to get out from behind our devices and be completely present. Highly recommended!