Recent Reads: Colors of Goodbye by September Vaudrey

What the book's about: Colors of Goodbye  is a beautiful memoir about the life and death of September Vaudrey's 19-year old daughter, Katie. Using flashbacks as well as Katie's art, it's a story about  grieving, choosing life after a devastating loss, and the rediscovery of both hope and joy. 

Why I read this book: Colors of Goodbye kept showing up in various blogs I follow. Since I love memoir, I decided to read it. 

My favorite quotes from the book: 

- "Becoming a Christian means saying yes to Jesus - not only as your Forgiver but also as the Leader of your life." 

- "True healing from deep trauma requires facing the pain head-on. No shortcuts, no avoiding. Just raw, honest grieving, which means walking out of the pit one step at a time. It's hard work. From your vantage point at the bottom of such a pit, you think the pain is more than you can stand, but it's not. And there is life along the way." 

- "Is it wrong to create levity in the depths of life's pain? Is it irreverent? I don't think it is. Sometimes - not every time, but sometimes - it's OK to laugh to keep from crying, laugh in order to breathe, laugh to survive the moment." 

- "The hardest moments for me often came when people failed to say anything at all about our loss." 

- "I began to notice that the people I looked up to most had this in common: Life had dealt them deep pain or disappointment, from the death of a loved one or from divorce or a significant illness or the demands of raising a special-needs child - any type of life-altering loss. But rather than becoming stalled in their grief or letting it drive them to bitterness, over time they became more alive, more joyful, and wiser than might have been possible before they became acquainted with heartache. They had allowed their sorrow to do its transforming work in their souls. They had stewarded their pain well." 

- "As my capacity to face pain had increased, my capacity for joy had grown deeper too. while I still had far to go, I had begun experiencing life more intensely by saying yes to all that it means to be human: joy, pain, sorrow, love, anger, laughter - a full painter's palette of emotions." 

- "Our circumstances do not have the power to steal our joy without permission. If our purpose, our identity, our sense of God's direction hinged upon a pain-free life, how precarious the world would be. How weak God would be. How few would ever find true joy." 

Who I'd recommend this book for: September is an outstanding writer. Her story is compelling. Those in the midst of grief will find this book particularly meaningful.   

Jen Bradbury on Youth Ministry

Jen serves as the director of youth ministry at Faith Lutheran Church in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. A veteran youth worker, Jen holds an MA in Youth Ministry Leadership from Huntington University. Jen is the author of The Jesus Gap: What Teens Actually Believe about Jesus (The Youth Cartel), The Real Jesus (The Youth Cartel), Unleashing the Hidden Potential of Your Student Leaders (Abingdon), and the forthcoming A Mission That Matters (Abingdon). Her writing has also appeared in YouthWorker Journal, Immerse, and The Christian Century. Jen is also the Assistant Director of Arbor Research Group where she has led many national studies. When not doing ministry or research, she and her husband, Doug, and daughter, Hope, can be found traveling and enjoying life together.

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