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SAND IN MY SANDWICH by SARAH PARSHALL PERRY REVIEWED

Sand in My Sandwich
By Sarah Parshall Perry
Published by Revell
ISBN#978-0-8007-2410-8
224 Pages

Back Cover: You know that thing when you're in Walmart at noon before you discover you haven't brushed your teeth? Sarah Parshall Perry gets that. She also gets weird things showing up in her bed, her daughter asking for war paint, and her son crawling into a giant blue sock on Christmas morning. Mainly, she gets that conflicted feeling of finding her kids hanging out in the dogs' cages and happily realizing they have stopped getting into trouble for a minute.

According to Perry, "The hardest stuff is the quickest way to God," and readers get to watch the systematic destruction of her carefully planned life, laughing at her missteps, aching at her tragedies, and recognizing themselves along the way. A mother of three children, two of whom are on the autism spectrum, she has experienced plenty of ups and downs, but from the chaos of her "ordinary" life she pulls the universal truths of motherhood, addressing them with humor, poignancy, and a naked honesty that will make the reader think, that sounds a lot like my crazy life. Perry helps mothers realize they aren't alone, even if they've fallen off the straight and narrow of their intended path and are instead lying in the ditch next to it. Life's a mess. But as Perry reminds us, it's all for a purpose.  Perfect for mothers, this book will encourage, inspire, and enlighten.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Sarah Parshall Perry (JD, University of Virginia School of Law) is a wife and mother of three young children. She is the coauthor of When the Fairy Dust Settles (with her mother, Janet Parshall) and the author of numerous magazine articles, award-winning short stories, and poetry. Sarah has served in youth ministry for over ten years and is currently writing for www.ChosenFamilies.org  where she encourages other families living with disabilities. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where she spends most of her days fighting for time in front of the computer. Learn more at www.sarahperrywrites.com.

REVIEW: I’m thankful for the review copy of an emotionally charged, engaging and funny read. It also introduced me to author Sarah Perry and her journey through motherhood and raising a child with Asperger’s syndrome. The full title is Sand in my Sandwich and other Motherhood Mess, I’m learning to Love. Learning to love and laugh through it all makes a difference.

Parenting isn't easy and can get messy when you have more than one child. This is a memoir about the challenges of parenthood, raising a high functioning Autistic child alongside others, learning to keep her eyes on her heavenly Father; and keeping the main thing the main thing. She seeks God’s help in seeing her children through God’s eyes not her own.

The author says, “In the first 10 years of our marriage, Matt and I experienced trials that some people never seen in a lifetime. Our theory was that the bond was made stronger because the challenges would prove likewise formidable. The two of us? Well, we must have looked to everyone else like a sinking ship. And you have to be pretty committed to be going down with the vessel to ignore the part of you that’s fighting the urge to scan the deck for the life rafts. Yes, from..,, those gaps of hardship between the quiet, prosperous periods, a precious and essential faith has sprung. Essential faith. Essential to my not making off in a Honda with a suitcase full of chick flicks and a bag of dirty laundry. Essential because our life is a mess. But then, God loves messed-up people….Messy and delightful. This, I have found, is pretty much what it’s like to be a parent.”

She continues, “Attempting perfect control is impossible in an imperfect world. It’s even more unattainable a goal in parenting, where we parents flail and lunge and trip toward raising decent children who love the Lord and sometimes eat their broccoli. There is no perfect family; there is no life free of mess…What an untidy, ever-wise work in progress we are. Matt and I have often asked ourselves, “In a million years, could you EVER have anticipated our lives would have turned out this way? The answer is no. No, we could not.”

“This is the story of how God used my children and my life’s messes as instruments of His presence. It is a tale of how things had to fall apart before they could be put back together the right way. And I learned that, in this grand adventure, Chaos looks a lot like perfect order in disguise.”

I liked this couples since of humor in the thick and thin of it all. I liked the Chinese proverb she shared on children, “One is like none, and two are like ten.” So true! You gotta smile.

I like this authors transparency, and how she describes herself, “I’m part of this new culture of confession,” Those of a tribe that believes there is value in transparency – that the realities of flawed characters and ugly struggle are to be esteemed because of the healing value they might have in someone else’s life…If there’s something to be said for where I am, it is that none of this journey has been in vain. He shows me every day what He is doing with these lessons and these children of mine. I am a woman blessed beyond measure…My cup over flows. I just took me a while to figure that out.”

I highly recommend this book. It's an encouraging look at life, love, and everything in between.  God uses everything in our life. Nothing is wasted. I value her sharing her heart and the messy things of life. It’s encouraging to know I’m not alone and that God is there even if I can’t feel Him.

Nora St Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com

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