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Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts Hardcover – January 5, 2016

4.9 out of 5 stars 84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Sara never stopped choosing joy--and her life never stops inspiring me to do the same.
Ann Voskamp, author of New York Times bestseller One Thousand Gifts

Sara was one of the kindest, most generous souls I've ever known...This book [is] chock-full of her spunk, zest, and grace-filled wisdom.―Lysa TerKeurst, author of New York Times best seller, Made to Crave

[Sara's] story only grew louder, bolder, braver with her death. It's a story that we all need to keep hearing.―Lisa-Jo Baker, bestselling author of Surprised by Motherhood

[Sara's] words, faith, and joy still echo in my heart...All of us need Sara's message of resilience and hope in a hard world.―Holley Gerth, bestselling author of You're Going to Be Okay

This isn't a story about dying. It's a story about living.―Liz Curtis Higgs, New York Times bestselling author

About the Author

SARA FRANKL entered into the arms of Jesus on September 24, 2011, but her legacy of Choosing Joy lives on. Sara's writing tells about her commitment to embracing the life God had planned. Her illness stripped her of the potential for a job and family, but that didn't stop Sara from chasing down community. You can read Sara's story on her blog, www.gitzengirl.blogspot.com. To assist in continuing Sara's discipleship, visit www.choosejoyfoundation.com.

MARY CARVER is a writer, speaker, and recovering perfectionist. She lives for good books, spicy queso, and television marathons, but she lives because of God's grace. Mary writes about her imperfect life with humor and honesty, encouraging women to give up on perfect and get on with life, at www.givinguponperfect.com. She is also a regular contributor to incourage.me, MomAdvice.com, and MothersofDaughters.com. Mary and her husband live in Kansas City with their two daughters.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: FaithWords (January 5, 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455562815
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455562817
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,037 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mary Gramlich VINE VOICE on January 5, 2016
Format: Hardcover
The perfection that is provided in a book is something that I enjoy every day and am thankful to have the power to read. Some books I seek out, some find me, but the book Choose Joy I believe was delivered to my door by divine intervention. This book is told through the words of Sara Frankl who should by all rights be doing nothing but wallowing in her pain and suffering which she has been afflicted with more so than any woman should be. However Sara does not do anything but spread her joy to everyone she knows, provide encouragement to everyone else even though she was the one that needed it the most, and above all she never lost her faith in God or her ability to believe that there was a reason she had been chosen to go through her ordeal.

Sara suffered from a painful, terminal disease resulting from a car accident that daily robbed her of what we all take for granted as our right to enjoy. With each last time experience of some small piece of life Sara never said I want to give up, instead she wanted to share and remind She was loved by all and the words she decided to share on her blog are brought to life in a moving book by Mary Carver who knew Sara and made an effort to tell the world about how much more there is to your existence than looking for more than the gifts you have been given. Take the talent you have been blessed with and blossom where you bloom while you enjoy the love and life you have been given.

Even as I write this review I am reminded of passages in the book that she wrote and it brings tears to my eyes as Sara reminded me of how important faith, family, and life is every day and how it should never be taken for granted and thanking God is always a good place to start.
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Format: Hardcover
Getting to know Sara through her blog changed my life. We were both bloggers in our 30s when we met in 2009. I was captivated by her bouncy red curls and her infectious spirit. Faith was another thread that wove us together. At the time, Sara was living with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks the spine and joints, and I was being tested for it. She was gracious to reach out to me during that time.

Over the following couple of years, I was diagnosed and both of us experienced worsening pain and quality of life. There were many nights of severe pain, when I would lie awake in bed and re-read her blog posts. Sara was one of two bloggers living with severe health problems and pain that inspired me to adopt an attitude of joy, gratitude and positivity. I credit Sara with showing me how to live life with a debilitating, painful health condition with no cure. Joy has been as much a part of my toolkit as any treatment program. I firmly believe that without knowing Sara and reading her blog, my life with AS wouldn’t have been as manageable as it has been.

Sara passed away from complications in 2011 and I grieved along with so many others who knew her. A light went out when she died, but her candle of joy had lit so many others’ that her legacy has created a glow that burns brightly still.

That’s why I was so thrilled when I heard that Mary Carver, another of Sara’s blogging friends, was working with Sara’s family to put together a book of Sara’s writings. It was titled in tribute to Sara’s motto: Choose Joy! I know this book will help continue to spread Sara’s remarkable legacy of choosing joy.

I have no words to express how thankful I am to Mary for putting this book together.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was a beautiful tribute to Sara, and also a convicting and encouraging read for me. I've never dealt with chronic physical pain, but I could still identify with Sara on many things. (Like this: "I couldn't figure out for the longest time that what was hurting me was people looking at my life and viewing it as something other than complete. To them, I was less than -- less than perfect, less than their idea of what I could be, less than I used to be, less than I should be. It took a long time for me to sort through all of the noise and clutter of it all to realize I am whole.")

I love how she believed and lived out that God's grace is made perfect in our weakness. She saw the blessings in everything, that others might miss. What a testament to His grace! I found myself wanting to be more like her, wishing I had her attitude, but as she said, "it's not about me." I love counter-intuitive, paradoxical stories, where there are blessings and strength in weakness, where God does the complete opposite of what you would expect or shows that His ways are not our ways or the world's ways. We serve a beautiful God and should all choose to be a part of His work like Sara did.

I was all set to pick my "one word" to focus on for the year to be "obedience" or even "unplug" (sometimes I spend too much time on Facebook), but after reading this book I'm thinking I might choose "love." Sara demonstrated that she understood that love is the most important thing. And I think Mary showed the kind of selfless love she talked of Sara showing, in that she humbly focused on Sara and the message she would want to share. But she still kept it light with some humor, which it sounds like her friend Sara would have appreciated.
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