review: Chasing Dandelions

every now and then, if you're lucky, you come across a book that helps you understand your life in a way that you didn't even realize you needed to, until you begin turning its pages.

Sarah Cunningham's Picking Dandelions has been just such a treat for me.

Sarah chronicles key moments in her life, from her childhood as the daughter of a pastor in Michigan, to her years at a college that more chose her than she chose it, to her many outreach experiences, to her gig as a church's 'Director of Outreach' because, as she writes, "overzealous social activist didn't sound as good on business cards", and beyond.

using the analogy of summer's ever-present dandelion throughout the stages of her life, this beautiful and unique spiritual memoir shows how, if we are observant, the extraordinary can be found in the ordinariness of life. Picking Dandelions reminds us that our conversion, like life itself, is rarely as linear or straightforward as we would like it to be…but beauty can be found in the chaos if we choose to look for it.

i love Sarah's storytelling ability. her conversations with Mr. God, a homeless man she met at a Chicago warming shelter are brilliant. for those of us who weren't able to go to New York City and hand out water to firemen and rescue workers in the days immediately following 9/11, she offers a beautiful and heartbreaking look into those days. couple that with the fact that she was even brave enough to ask her brothers what they thought her biggest flaw was. having three of my own brothers, whom i fear would be far too willing to answer such a question, i cannot help but admire her gutsiness.

{she ends the chapter where she questions her brothers with a perfectly ironic sentence, which happens to be one of my favorites, "I am a paragon of maturity."

with a distinctive and fresh perspective on life and its many challenges, reading Picking Dandelions is more like spending a perfect, sunny afternoon with a good friend at the coziest cafe you know.

it is not too much to say that through this book, Sarah has inspired me to live a stronger life.


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