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Coming Up For Air
Author: Margaret Becker
Publisher: Navpress
Pages: 232
Itís not hard for a person to lose his or her way in our fast-paced society. There is so much to do, and many contend with a daily grind that includes the monotony of mundane tasks. One can quickly begin to feel like they are just going through the motions. An inward disconnect makes people believe that they are in some way off-trackónot living as they should.
Something similar provoked Margaret Becker to take a month-long seaside retreat just over ten years ago. Coming Up For Air is a series of journal-like reflections from that time and the present. She writes of how that retreat and the ones that have followed have changed the course of her life. Her dreams have guided her towards a more fulfilling life.
Becker draws profound meaning from ordinary events without it being forced or preachy. Her thoughts are more philosophical in a down-to-earth way than they are devotional. Thatís not to say that her faith doesnít shine throughóitís the center from which everything else flows. 
Most surprising, and unfortunately too rare in our day, is her transparent honesty. She cloaks it with whimsy and extraordinary insight. Whether itís a humorous story or a more sobering truth, Becker shares in a lighthearted way, which makes for delightful reading. 
She writes with the same depth, creativity and artistry found in her music. In the process she shares the truths that have made her freer. Her engaging stories will help others toward the same end. 
Itís hard not to see yourself as she examines her own life. Her thoughtful reflections can be challenging, but are not discouraging. Becker has devoted her life to encouraging others, especially those who need it the most, and thatís what happens indirectly as she shares her life. 
One of those moments comes through a keen observation on her failure to accept Godís provision. "We are raised to be emancipated, to seclude ourselves from one another in order to limit our exposure to one another. I wonder if it is a thinly veiled attempt to escape the Ďiron sharpening ironí process that occurs naturally when, due to mutual dependence or survival, you canít just walk out the door. This expectation of striking out on oneís own can be destructive to community, both familial and extended."
This book chronicles Beckerís journey of discovering and focusing on what matters most. Those who want to slow down, reconnect with God and others, and learn to live in the moment, will find inspiration here. Margaret Beckerís music is worth a listen, and her writing is worth reading. 
Michael Dalton
June 23, 2006



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