Read Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts by Sara Frankl MaryCarver Online


>Sara Frankl knew she had a terminal disease, but she didn't let it stop her from living. In the face of immeasurable pain, Sara chose joy--again and again. Her unforgettable message of hope and purpose lives on, even after her death, in her words.CHOOSE JOY is a compilation of the lessons Sara learned while she was dying, written in her own words and sewn together by h>Sara Frankl knew she had a terminal disease, but she didn't let it stop her from living. In the face of immeasurable pain, Sara chose joy--again and again. Her unforgettable message of hope and purpose lives on, even after her death, in her words.CHOOSE JOY is a compilation of the lessons Sara learned while she was dying, written in her own words and sewn together by her close friend Mary Carver. It is a reminder to see the beauty in life, even when it looks nothing like you hoped or planned.In a world full of tragedy, choosing joy is no small task--but, as Sara knew, the importance lies in the choosing. Once you learn to make that choice, every day, no matter what happens, joy will come....

Title : Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781455562817
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 208 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts Reviews

  • Sarah Anne Carter
    2019-03-15 10:08

    Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts by Sara Frankl and Mary CarverBy Sarah Anne CarterIt’s easy to say that a person’s attitude can set the tone and that each person is in charge of his or her own feelings and life, but living those sayings day in and day out, especially when facing challenges, is a completely different thing. Sara Frankl was a person who believed in God and faced a daily battle against pain, loneliness and depression and rose above it every day by relying on her faith.Choose Joy is a book that tells Sara’s story by using her blog entries from her Web site,, mixed in with commentary by Mary Carver, a fellow blogger and friend of Sara’s. Sara suffered from a rare autoimmune disease and spent several years homebound before passing away in 2011.I am part of the book launch team for this book and received an advanced copy. I read it in less than three days and earmarked too many passages to mention here. The book offers a life-changing perspective, so don’t read it if you don’t want to change any aspect of your life. Here are a few of my favorite parts:“She told me once that the most important gift you could give someone was your full and undivided attention.”“I’m starting to think that life mainly consists of learning to accept things we say will never happen to us.”“I wrote my list of Life Goals on that wall, reminding myself that my goals weren’t things I could ‘do’ or ‘accomplish.’ They were goals for how I wanted to live in my spirit.”“But I am so incredibly blessed.”“Moments are my favorite things,” she said. “Moments can’t be taken away or replaced. They can only be given. Moments are now officially my favorite things.”“I guess if there is one major lesson buried in that experience it’s this: it takes just as much effort, if not more, to resist the inevitable as it does to go through the inevitable.”“I’ve stopped trying to compromise between what I want and what I have – and I’ve learned instead to want what I’m given.”“God has an intention for me. My life here is not random.”“Accepting what is, living with it, embracing it, and finding joy in it is the only way I know to live a productive life.”“I’ve learned (over and over) that being tough and being strong are completely different things. I just had to stop being tough and start being strong to figure it out. Now I’m strong enough to live the life I’ve been given instead of the one I think I’m tough enough to make.”She believed God has the capacity to see the big picture and that her suffering was not about her, but about God and her spirit. Sara is worth taking the time to get to know. You will be changed by her story. If she could see the blessings in her life, we can, too. We can all choose joy!I would highly recommend this to any teenager and adult. It would be a great book study for a church group or book club book. Choose Joy Web site: Joy Facebook page:

  • Jennifer
    2019-02-18 05:58

    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 knew this book would 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. Putting Sara’s blog posts into book form, while not taking over the spotlight, must have been no easy task, but Mary masterfully pieced her own thoughts, explanations, and transitions together with Sara’s words in a way that only highlights Sara’s writing voice. I was privileged to be part of the Choose Joy Book Launch Team and receive a copy of Choose Joy to read in advance.Faith was a big part of Sara’s life and outlook, and as such, references to Heaven, God, and an eternal perspective are woven throughout Sara’s book. Whether you are religious or not, I think reading Choose Joy can be a deeply life-altering experience that will leave the reader thoughtful for some time to come. Although Sara’s circumstances were extreme, I believe anyone going through challenging things (be it illness, pain, isolation, loneliness, or loss) will benefit from Sara’s words.You may very well find your perspective changed for the better from reading this book.

  • Mary Gramlich
    2019-02-21 07:58

    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.

  • Robin
    2019-03-07 06:54

    This book...oh my friends, I won't be able to do it justice. There are lots of books that tell us how to live well. How to hold onto our faith, how to to choose joy. I love reading those books, but honestly, very few of them have changed my life. This one is different. Sara, a beautiful vibrant young woman, developed a rare autoimmune disease and suffered with ever increasing debilitating pain for nearly 20 years. Throughout that time, every "normal" aspect of her life was slowly stripped away as her body grew weaker and the pain increased. But something else was increasing throughout those years...Sara's trust in God which resulted in Sara exuding this fantastically beautiful spirit of joy. Through her blog, when she was still with us, and now through this book, she gently takes us by the hand and shows us how to find the "joy (that )is hidden in the cracks, in the unforeseen places God builds into our hardest times".I can not come close to explaining the impact of Sara's life- her words. I can only tell you that I've ordered (pre-ordered) books for all my reading family members and friends. (For the non-readers, I'm going to suggest the Audible version)And I wish I could send every single one of you a copy. Here's to learning from Sara's beautiful life, how better to live our own~

  • Joanne Viola
    2019-02-23 06:01

    Blogging and social media were waters which I had tread upon slowly and with caution. Over the last few years, they have proven to be a place where rich and meaningful bonds have been forged in my life. New friendships have been founded and old ones renewed. Life has been enhanced through each and every one.People have often questioned as to the authenticity of friendships made online. In looking back over the years, I have discovered those which were rooted in love – for God, His Word and people – have lasted the test of time. My longest online friendship began during Beth Moore’s first online study, Believing God. There I met Bev and over the pages of that study and our Bibles, our friendship grew as our love for God did as well.We have now shared children growing up, bridal showers, weddings, baby showers, anniversaries, and crises together. And through all of it, we have laughed, cried, and encouraged one another to hold onto our God.It was with this in mind, I signed up to join the launch team for Choose Joy by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver. I had heard of Sara through social media but she had already left this earth by that point, so I did not ever experience the delight of getting to know her. The thoughts of her friends, as they wrote and shared of her, moved me.Every word of this book touched me deeply – growing in me the desire to connect better, reach out to others, and to always choose joy.This is a story of a woman’s journey with both life and death. Yet it is the living which speaks louder and more boldly with each page. Sara lived well and loved better. She valued the people God placed in her life, always sincerely more interested in them than in her own circumstances.In the midst of struggling with a rare autoimmune disease which would eventually take her life, she chose to make others laugh and share their lives with her. She chose joy – being joyful and spreading joy to those around her.This is what she noted about friendships: “I never cease to be amazed how, in every stage of my life, God has opened my heart to so many friendships. I love that I have friends who make me laugh until I cry. I love that some of my friends are so shy, until they get comfortable, and then they shock the life out of me with things they say or do. I love that some friends are intellectual and planners. I love that other friends go totally on emotion and spontaneity abounds. I have friends who are so much like me I think we may be the same person, and I have friends who are so opposite of me they keep me looking at life from different angles. I love that God knew I needed all of it and placed me right where I needed to be to find each and every one of them.” (page 7)This is a book about life and friendships and joy. I laughed. I cried. The book brought reflection about the mysterious way God weaves His people together.Sara challenged me to love well. Truly the most important gift we can give one another is the gift of our full and undivided attention. This is the gift that will long be remembered. Even after we are gone.Yes, I was given a copy of the book to review. It has truly been my joy, and to my own benefit, to read each word. It’s a powerful book which will impact every reader deeply.

  • Sandy Sandmeyer
    2019-03-11 08:04

    I've spoken about choosing joy before on my old blog, Uncompromising. In my first post in May 2012, Choose Joy, I wrote about my meeting two women, Phyllis and Sara. I shared the reason why I got one of Sara's doodles on my arm; a reminder to choose joy.In October 2012, I wrote in Choose Joy - an update, about how I met Lindsey McCaul, a Christian singer, who was writing a song about Sara and choosing joy.In July 2015, I was contacted by Sara's sister, Laura, and wrote about it on my new blog, Sandy's P.O.V., in Choose Joy 2015. She wanted to tell me about a book coming out, "Choose Joy", about Sara and she was hoping to get a hold of Lindsey. She asked me then to share about the book and I asked her to be a part of the launch team.I'm here to share that book with you. It's available on January 5, 2016 and, let me tell you that it's a great one! Taken from Sara's blog posts at Gitz written from 2008 to 2011 and with added wisdom from blogger Mary Carver, readers are given insight into Sara's life dealing with the chronic pain of a condition of ankylosing spondylosis and how she didn't give into depression and misery. Instead, Sara chose joy. She chose to seek the joy in her life and lived in the joy of others' life celebrations. Sara chose to be small, so that in her wisdom, in her life, God could be glorified. Even in her death, Sara's testimony is living large. She continues to be Jesus to the world by the words she left behind. She continues to live on in people like me. I have told Sara's story to many people when they ask about my tattoo on my right forearm. I continue to choose joy because Sara told her story and I listened. She knew what it was like to be small. I highly recommend this book. Get it. Read it. Share it. Let's start a revolution by choosing joy.

  • Berta Hartzell
    2019-02-25 12:00

    I loved meeting Sara Frankl through the pages of this book and through the words of her friend, Mary Carver. One of Sara Frankl's life goals was to spread joy, not fear. She did so in the lives of the people she loved, the life-affirming words she wrote, and the way she lived her life in courage and humility. Read her story...her words continue to encourage and spread joy. This book...Sara Frankl's words, her life made me want to live out my faith in a deeper, more intentional way. It profoundly impacted this whiny self-absorbed girl. This a memoir about the life of a woman who battled ankylosing spondylitis and leukopenia. Homebound for the last two years of her life, Sara chose to live a life of JOY in spite of excruciating physical pain. Her faith, friends and family define imprint she left on earth. Sara's overwhelming gratitude kept her planted when life seemed too hard, too big, and too lonely. "I'm learning how to fully live right in the middle of the hard, in the here and known, because if this is my life, if this is where I am - then this is where God is, too. And if I'm wasting all of my time and energy trying to control the unknown of the future rather than fulfilling what He many need from me right now, then I am wasting God's time as well. It all boils down to this: none of it is unknown to Him." Sara FranklIt was a tremendous honor to be allowed to read this book as part of the book launch team. This is a book I will share with many...

  • Kristin Smith
    2019-03-08 06:06

    This book is a MUST read for the new year. I read it straight through in 3 hours. I found Sara's blog the year before she passed and was always encouraged by her. This book is a journey through her hard, unimaginable struggles where she fought to find and really life joyfully regardless of how she felt. We all have a choice how we are going to respond to life...I want to choose joy like Sara did.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-20 08:09

    Sara and Mary combined to weave a story of Choosing Joy quite beautifully.I really enjoyed the honest humor and everyday truths.It brought me to awareness of how single women feel.It also,changed my heart about embracing the joy of quotes, people, and physical ability. I highly recommend reading this book and sharing a copy after you finish.

  • Rachel Lundy
    2019-02-20 06:00

    Sara Frankl was one of my favorite bloggers. She wrote about her life with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a chronic illness that caused great suffering for Sara. She was completely homebound in the last years of her life, and she lived in extreme pain at all times. Yet through it all she chose to live with joy and to faithfully submit to God’s plan for her life.Sara passed away on September 24, 2011, but her words and her legacy live on. Some of Sara's best blog posts have been made into this book! Reading Sara's words in her book has been such a gift. I have been encouraged, challenged, and inspired again by Sara's life.Choose Joy was co-written by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver. Mary introduces each section of Sara's, giving the reader background information, sharing stories from friends, or sharing stories of her own.One thing that stands out in reading Choose Joy is Sara's absolute trust in God's plan and purpose. She was okay with being completely homebound for the last several years of her life. She was okay with being in severe pain. She gladly submitted to God's plan for her life. She chose to live faithfully and with joy, and she showed others how to do the same.There are many words of Sara's that have encouraged and challenged me. I cried on a few occasions while reading Choose Joy, and I don't typically cry when I read! It is good, but hard, to read a book by someone who was homebound from a severe chronic illness. It's hard because it is hard to see her pain. It is hard because I see some of what I am currently going through in what she went through, and that reminds me of my reality. But it is good because I am encouraged by her perseverance in the midst of loneliness and extreme pain. I am encouraged by her absolute trust in God's plan and purpose.This book will be encouraging for anyone, whether you are familiar with Sara's story or not. I especially recommend this book for those who have chronic illnesses, are homebound, or are living with a disability. Sara will help you to keep things in perspective and to choose joy when life is hard.One thing that I found especially nice about this book is that it is primarily made up of short blog posts. For those who struggle with brain fog, this book will be easier to read than many others since it can be read in very small sections at a time.I had the privilege of being on the launch team for Choose Joy, and I received an advance copy of the book. All opinions are my own.

  • Pamela Hunter
    2019-02-25 06:11

    When I met Sara in 2008, I was a mess. My husband and I were separated. I was living with my sister in NW Indiana, while my husband and and sons were in a St Louis suburb. I was living with chronic pain and had been for years. I could not understand why my husband and family were not empathetic or understanding, and no matter what I did it never seemed enough. I had pushed my body to the point that I could not even take care of myself, let alone my sons. I was deeply ensnared in the abyss of self-pity.And then I met Sara. I was new to social media. To Twitter and Facebook. Through Divine intervention and seemingly random connections, I met my Sweet Soul Sisters; Tammy, Alece, Jenni, Cathi and Sara. Let's not forget Matthew Paul, Chad, Mark, Pete, Blake, Anne Marie and all of the folks at Each and everyone of these people would have a profound impact on my life and still do, but it was Sara who changed my life.I remember very clearly the first time I read her blog. It was called "A Week in The Life", and it was a brutally honest series of posts about her life, her autoimmune disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and what it is like to live every moment of your life in your home. Being allergic to the very air we breath and take for granted. The amount of medication she took on a daily basis to just live astounded me. Yet, the most amazing and impactful thing about Sara was how she chose joy and was completely grateful for what abilities and amenities she still had. Her faith and trust in God was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Sara gave me a true picture of what it means to be a faithful follower of Christ.The more time I spent with Sara on social media, her blog, and CPTV, the more I realized that I had that same choice. I found that my diagnoses did not define me and even though I was in pain all the time, I didn't have to live like I was. I could choose joy. And I did. I still do every day. This gift that Sara gave me is one that I will forever be grateful for and will share her story until my final breath. This book is a reminder of her voice, when choosing is hard, That "no moment from my God is a rock of burden. it's just a rock waiting to be broken apart into stepping stones."

  • Maren Lynch
    2019-02-28 08:15

    I don't think my words will come close to doing this book justice. If there is one book you should read this year this is it. Sara words surrounds you and makes you feel that you are curled up on the couch with an old friend. Sara talks about her illness and her faith and relationship with God in a way that just makes you take pause and look at your own life and where you can find joy! This book is easy to read and you just savor every word. I never wanted this book to end. This book has opened my life to finding more joy and reconnecting to my faith and looking closely at my relationship with God. People this book is a treasure. I know Sara would be tickled with joy about this book. To see her message about overcoming challenges and surrendering to his mission for her will leave you speechless. Enjoy this book and all it has to offer. Don't forget to keep Choosing Joy!

  • Jill Hartley
    2019-02-20 14:10

    Simply put, one of the most amazing books I have read in a long time. As a mother of a busy toddler, I often put books down because there are so many "other things that need tending to." But, this one I couldn't do that! So many of the stories just touched my heart and it was such a great read that rejuvenates the soul. Nightly I would read it in the bathtub after a long, long day of parenting and it just brought such joy to my heart. What an amazing overcomer that found the good in everything. So many would be blessed by this book! Take a moment and read it! You will be filled with joy and love beyond what you can even imagine!

  • Shauna Tharp
    2019-03-10 11:00

    This is a great book, which takes the blog postings of Sara Frankl and pieces them together by theme. It works really well. Her message through her pain (and death) come across so clearly and poignantly. I feel lucky to have been able to read it pre-release.

  • Jennifer Nelson
    2019-02-27 06:11

    Amazing Sara gets five stars, but sadly this book does not, suffering from a hard-to-follow timeline and severe repetition. Sara is a woman full of faith and joy and I learned a lot from her. Her acceptance of God's will for her life and her fierce determination to be thankful and joyful in the hardest of experiences is an example I want to follow.

  • Karen
    2019-02-22 12:15

    This is one of the best of best books I have read lately. Sara was a blogger who dealt with debilitating pain as her illness got worse throughout the years. She continued to choose joy and God. The book is mostly blog posts, but written in a way that makes me sad to not have known Sara.If you are looking for inspiration in your walk with God, read this beautiful book.

  • Jen
    2019-03-11 13:17

    Joy can be an elusive thing in this world. Can I get an amen?It's something fleeting, too often, dashing into our life and our again. And far too often, finding joy feels like a battle. One that's hard-fought and ever-present. But fully worth it.I recently read the book Choose Joy: Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts, and can I just say "wow"? This book is a beautiful mix of Sara Frankl's writings and blog posts and Mary Carver's beautiful commentaries. Sara lived the tagline, "finding hope and purpose when life hurts", as she declined and eventually passed away from an autoimmune disease. Despite a long battle and facing more and more restrictions, Sara chose joy, which is evident in her writing. Mary met Sara while she was battling her disease, and became a close friend during the most difficult parts of Sara's journey through sickness. And she has cultivated the many posts written by Sara and crafted a beautiful story of Sara's life and choice to cling to joy.Choosing joy meant that no matter how difficult life became, it wouldn't diminish her enthusiasm for life. And Sara shows that choosing joy means serving, gratitude, surrender, and always waking up and deciding to live the day well. While it isn't always easy, joy is always the best choice.We all need a reminder to choose joy, and so I recommend this book to you...because I'm sure you need help finding more joy too. Take these words of Sara and Mary and treasure them, letting them open your heart to finding joy, no matter what life brings. Joy doesn't necessarily diminish our pain and magically make things better. Yet it plants seeds of hope and centers our hearts, letting us dwell in a place of goodness, rather than a place of darkness and pain. Read Choose Joy, because our hearts can't afford to choose anything else and make it through life whole.I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

  • Lori Stilger
    2019-03-17 08:09

    This book has been a true life-changer for me. It helped me to have a couple of difficult discussions about my own health with loved ones, conversations that are they types I avoid at all costs. It has challenged me, made me examine my own heart and walk with Jesus, and helped me (by Sara's ability to put what she believes about healing into words) to have peace that what I believe may not be so whacked, after all.I've already told my mom she NEEDS to read this book; there are several people I know who may be getting a copy from me during the year. Life is not easy; just because we have Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior doesn't mean everything is going to be smooth sailing, or that we can have everything we WANT. That includes health and wealth - and I think we get in real trouble when we believe otherwise.Sara's words will make you laugh and cry; Mary's way of knitting her blog writings together into a cohesive whole makes the book flow easily. Not only is it broken into chapters - SO many great topics! - but each chapter is also broken up, so if you only have time for a page or two at a time, you'll still be able to really chew on the meaning of what you've read.I had never heard of Sara Frankl before joining this book team; what I've read makes me wish I had known her when she was alive. Her deep faith in Christ continues to point the way to Him through this book - and I look forward to spending eternity with her.I can't pick my favorite part of the book! There's SO MUCH richness here. I will read it again and again throughout my life; I need the reminder to choose joy in the middle of pain, of trial, of hard times. And to hear it from someone who actually made the choice herself - there's a depth to that voice I can't explain.I guess you'll just have to read for yourself!

  • Kristy
    2019-03-04 09:49

    I loved the way Sara wrote when I read her blog several years ago. I remember wishing that there was a book that my girls could have some day filled with the wisdom I read from Sara. I read her blog as I moved around a bit and as she grew more ill. Books can be slow to grow, as C. S. Lewis remarked in his dedication for The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, but now I can read Sara’s words in a book. Her dear friend Mary Carver placed many of Sara’s blog posts into the book, linking them with person insights from her own life and memories others have of Sara in chapters.Sara’s words are full of grace and wisdom. She reminds you to always look to God for what you need and he will provide just what you require, even if it isn’t exactly what you might have thought you needed. And she reminds us that JOY is a choice we can make for ourselves.While Sara wrote from a place of pain and seclusion, her words move far beyond that. Sara was Catholic, single, childless, and homebound, where I am protestant, married since before I graduated college, have a house full of giggle boxes, and often out of the house more days than not, but her words are true for anyone who loves Jesus and wants to look for JOY. She was better at it than I am, despite my clear physical advantages in some areas. She saw her seclusion as a chance to serve others and an opportunity to be close to God, though she would have welcomed a different life.Sara knew our God is a great God. One who loves her, and until we meet in heaven some day, we have these words, carefully chosen, with which to remember Sara, and even more importantly to be reminded of He who made her, after all, as Sara would tell you, it’s not about her.

  • Dominique *Mama Bear Reads*
    2019-02-25 09:03

    For me, 2015 was just a crap year. My husband lost his job. We lost our home. We moved with our four kids into my parents house, where I am typing this review. I've cried more than I'd like to admit, and I've been angry sprinkled with bitterness the better part of the year.Then I read, Choose Joy. Talk about conviction. Sara, although plagued with a terminal illness, didn't allow that to keep her from living. It didn't define her. What did? Her joy and the desire to spread it around. She's a great example of how even Jesus, "learned hope through suffering.""So, life has difficult times. That still doesn't mean they are bad times; it just means we have to deal with what is in front of us when its in front of us.""Some hurts aren't actually a long way from my hear. Some hurts reside there. But they don;t change who I am inside. They don't change my faith. Every lesson I learned before remains the same after. Nothing is different. God is the same. Love is the same. No matter hoe much my heart hurts."Reading such words from a woman who has succumbed to her illness-made my heart hurt but my mind change. Her circumstances were tolling. They were difficult and they were physically and emotionally painful but she pressed through-even when there wasn't a guarantee of deliverance from her pain in the end. I'm so thankful for such a book, and I plan on reading it again just to soak it all up even more. I recommend this for any person who is going through a difficult time. It'll give you a different perspective. It'll help you heal. It'll help you press forward.

  • Kimberwidmer
    2019-02-17 06:10

    I "met" Sara Frankl through her blog sometime in 2009 and was captivated by her positive spirit despite her debilitating health issues. How could a young woman in her 30s fighting a losing battle with Ankylosing Spondylitis and incessant pain overflow with joy, humor and hope? As a chronic back pain sufferer, I was intrigued, encouraged and ultimately received an enormous attitude adjustment being in her {online} presence. I credit Sara with giving me a song in my heart and a renewed sense of purpose. I only wish I could have met her in person.When I heard Mary Carver was taking Sara's encouraging words and making a book of her blog posts, I rejoiced that Sara's words would continue to live on and be accessible to a whole new audience who might not know to seek out her blog. I was lucky enough to be included in the Choose Joy Launch Team and received an advance copy {which I wore out two highlighters marking out important quotes} to read and review.Mary did an astounding job of compiling, organizing and giving a framework to Sara's blog posts and weaving her story so artfully through each vignette. I'm excited for anyone who picks up this book. You will be encouraged, inspired and blessed by Sara and Mary's beautiful prose. You will discover the reason for the Hope Sara had and how she winsomely shared that Hope with her audience. There will be tears, so grab you some tissues, but you'll find they won't be tears of despair, but of thanksgiving. May Sara's words continue to live on!

  • Terry Felix
    2019-02-17 08:12

    I was one of the many people who was both challenged and encouraged by Sara's blog for about a year before she passed away. Sara had a deep relationship with God and a pretty remarkable understanding of hanging on to joy when life is hard. Like most of us, I've experienced some difficult things through the course of my life, including recently starting over after a tornado. I truly believe that Sara was one of the people that God placed in my path to prepare my heart for the journey. The new book Choose Joy Finding Hope and Purpose When Life Hurts by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver pulls together many of the things Sara learned and shared on her blog during her illness. She wisely chose to trust the God who loved her and this enabled her to be joyful in suffering and let her joy flow over on everyone she encountered. I love the wisdom in the following quote from Choose Joy: "He (God) fixes the problem when I ask Him to fix me. I believe He can do anything. I think He can physically heal me, I think He can stop a tornado and halt a flood. But I think what is most powerful is when He lets natural things happen and lets people use their free will, and at the same time fixes my heart and spirit to handle them." Such a wise perspective enabled Sara and all of us to face the difficult and the unknown with joy. Choose Joy is one of those books that will change your perspective on today and prepare your heart for whatever tomorrow brings.

  • Cathy
    2019-02-28 11:53

    A book that can make you believe the impossible...This book is a glimpse into the life of someone who mastered living as her true self. You know, the true self, not the one we think we need to be for the various roles we hold in life or the ones we want to hold. But, living in a way that brings us peace from knowing we are exactly who we are meant to be and are doing exactly what we should be doing. We know that kind of living will bring us unending joy. And we think that is impossible because no one can live in a state of constant joy. But what Sara’s life helps us to see, is that once you realize who you are in God’s eyes, and live that way, there is a joy inside you that nothing can touch. Not people, circumstances, surroundings or even pain and suffering. It is possible for each of us to have this joy in our lives and it comes from choosing it, and from believing that God is all that He says He is. It is possible that even after your death; your life will still be affecting others and drawing them closer to God and a life of joy. But don’t take my word for it. In the words of Sara herself “This is not the life I imagined for myself, but it’s the life I’ve been blessed with and I won’t take a moment of it for granted. And if you’re taking a moment to read this, I’m not taking that granted for either.” Enjoy.

  • Megan Byrd
    2019-03-08 12:58

    When I first picked up this book I wasn't sure what to expect. I had no prior knowledge about Sara Frankl, her blog or her terminal illness. The title of the book piqued my interest as I don't generally feel like I am a person who radiates joy. I was very encouraged by Sara's determination to choose joy each day and lean in to God as she dealt with new issues and limitations related to her illness. It blew me away that she could have so much joy despite so many hardships. Her trust in God and desire to serve and encourage others in the midst of her own struggles was so inspiring. I have no excuse not to be more joyful and service oriented. Even after she has left this world she continues to speak truth and wisdom to those of us who are fortunate to read her thoughts and experiences and those of people who knew her while she was living.If you are someone who tends to have a negative perspective about life and this world, pick up this book. Sara's optimism and hope are contagious. If you are someone who desires to grow in faith and hope and joy, this book is also for you. Her perspective on God and life will continue to influence my way of thinking for years to come.I challenge you to read this book and not be changed!

  • Lauren DeVries
    2019-03-14 14:05

    This book, about Sara Frankl's choice to walk with joy through a disease that caused her chronic pain and confined her to her house for the last years of her life, has been so inspiring to me. Although my loss is different - Sara's was loss of health and the dream of a "normal" life - I've experienced it through miscarrying two babies. There was so much growing and changing and trusting God that came out of that, however, I have held back in the embracing joy department.Books play a huge role in my life. And there are certain books that have been absolutely pivotal in my journey through miscarriage. Choose Joy is turning out to be one of them.Some might think this book is only for those going through intense physical difficulties. I say this book is for everyone. Because everyone, at one point or another, will experience loss of some kind. It may be losing a job. It may be losing a loved one. It may be losing health. It may be losing the dream of what you thought life would be. We have the choice to choose joy in our circumstances, and Sara's life is an encouragement to do just that.I whole-heartedly recommend this book!

  • Britta
    2019-03-05 12:05

    What a game changer: to live life pursuing joy, instead of waiting for it to come to you!God used Sara Frankl to teach this lesson. The idea sounds too far-fetched, too "easy for you to say," but Sara lived it. Sara *showed* how to choose joy in spite of living the worst of the worst. Sara had experienced crushed dreams and a crushed body, but she would not allow her joy to be crushed. Amazing.I stumbled across Sara's blog a few years ago, and I fell headlong into it before I realized that she had already gone to be with the Lord. What a surreal moment when I finally understood. Her life was a testimony—like Paul or Peter—but people here and now knew her personally, people like Mary Carver. I love that this book has both Sara's and Mary's words, woven together, like their hearts. I love that they don't pretend that choosing joy is easy. Choosing joy is hard sometimes, but it is a fight worth winning. Thank you Mary and Sara, for showing that God is good, all the time, and that joy is right there, for the choosing.

  • Lisa Appelo
    2019-02-18 11:00

    This book will fill you to the brim with HOPE. We've all had circumstances or seasons of life that were less than. Plan B when we so wanted and had worked so hard for Plan A. Sara Frankl knew all about it. She daily penned words that turned expectations on inside out. As her world closed in, her perspective opened wide to see beauty, good, contentment, and JOY all over her life. While her words poured out of her difficulty and pain, the truths she found in the hardest of places apply to our hard places. I found myself nodding in agreement and my own perspective opening wider to the JOY here and now. Mary Carver deftly narrates the reader through Sara's writing and navigates us through Sara's life story. Even as Sara Frankl -- the Gitzen girl -- became confined to disability, then her condo and finally her bed, Sara's love, encouragement and impact spread across the internet. Her words continue to impact and teach us that while we cannot always change our circumstances, we can choose our life IN those circumstances. One of my top reads in the last year.

  • Camilla Cruz
    2019-03-05 11:03

    "...Sara shares her story with humor and honesty and ends up working her way to joy despite the pain."The words in this book hit me square to my gut, to my soul. They reminded me to hang on, to hold on, to trust and believe God's promises. In good or in bad.These words were said by one who lived and died while pouring out love to her family, friends, and strangers alike because Love Matters. These recollections and thoughts are a testament to God's faithfulness and provision in spite of, and through, trials and challenges of life."He used the circumstances of my life to help me grow. He used those circumstances to change my heart. We are here to be changed, to be made more like God in order to prepare us for a lifetime with Him. And more often than not, being changed hurts. I've come to understand that the only thing I can control is whether or not I open my heart "The call to "choose joy", no matter what, is like a role call to faith, like a mission to live with intention. I can do nothing else, but tell you about it, so you, too, can be encouraged and blessed.

  • Laura Hix
    2019-02-27 11:53

    When I think about my life I think about all of the things that God has blessed me with.God also gives me tests, great, beautiful, blessed tests.However, I have to believe that those things ARE blessings.Otherwise, you can get a really great idea that things are perfect, because God makes us perfectly, imperfect. in that imperfection, you must CHOOSE JOY each time there is a Sara Frankl and Mary Carver say in this fabulous book, Choose Joy. It is a matter of Choosing Joy. Sara's life was full of those kinds of tests. an auto immune disease that confined her to her home, allergies that would make her severely ill, and in all of that, she CHOSE JOY each and every day.Sara learned to see the good side in everything.Between her real life world and her blogging world, Sara changed lives with the movement Choose Joy.This book explains that.I highly recommend it and the blessings you will receive while reading it!

  • Julie Keefer
    2019-02-19 11:14

    I came across Sara Frankl's blog years and years ago. She quickly became one of my favorite bloggers. She wrote about her life with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a chronic illness that caused great suffering. Leading up to her being home-bound for the last few years of her life. Instead of fretting about the things she could no longer do....she made a conscious decision to CHOOSE JOY and trust God.Sara passed away in 2011. This books is a compilation of sorts of her best blog posts. It will leave you feeling challenged and renewed and it will remind you that God has a plan for all of us. This book will make you smile, make you cry and make you want to Choose Joy even when hard things befall you.Choose Joy was co-written by Sara Frankl and Mary Carver. Mary introduces each section of Sara's, giving the reader background information, sharing stories from friends, or sharing stories of her own. It is a very easy read!