Patterns are defined as a normalcy or recurrent way of acting by an individual toward a given individual or situation. Life patterns are created according to us our thoughts and our mindsets. At times we choose to let go of the things we cannot control and make a bad turn into a good time which we call a pattern of life. What would happen if you could reflect on these patterns and create your own courses and roadblocks and obstacles learning how to deal with them and withstanding the good vs the bad even before you are born? If God was your mentor and instead of a menu of food that we receive when entering a restaurant or even a store that has a brochure of its services, he hands you a menu of attributes to choose from creating and setting your life’s patterns both good, bad, joyful and obstacle filled hoping that you will understand the lessons you need to learn and tat are set forth as you enter this complicated and intricate world.
Phinn Reed enters the world hoping to find his soulmate but first meets with God to set his course and choose from the menu and then he hands him a book which is his life’s ledger which will document his journey until he returns home to him. Our lives are our greatest gift and to squander it is a sin. His journey is about to begin but we as Phinn have been given one more quality: free will meaning to make our own choices. Every decision we make which is chosen from the menu we are presented is our own and only Phinn will be accountable for his direction and accountability. Imagine everything you do in life will be recorded in this book and upon his death and returning home to God reviewed. Will he embrace this and set a positive course. Will he take chances and make mistakes?
Love is powerful and the reason for everything is as we see his birth and then we meet him 25 years later.
Meeting Phinn at this juncture we learn about his relationship with Tina and the sadness, anger and uncontrollable anxiety he exhibits when learning that she might have been unfaithful and as a result he has to come terms with what she does as the author flashes back to Phinn and his friend Doug hustling in a bar at the pool table. Meet our central character, Mr. Terreault who is his guide, conscience and spiritual mentor guiding Phinn on his patterns and paths hoping he does not veer too far in the wrong direction again but mistakes are part of life and he has many more that will change his life patterns and hopefully find his soulmate and happiness.
The flashbacks within each present time discussion helps Phinn hopefully move ahead and past his feelings for Tina, then meeting Katie again hoping that he will become a mentor to a young boy named Micah. Mr.Terreault comes into view and shows up at the right times when Phinn needs guidance and centering to deal with Tina’s betrayals, her right to have an abortion, meeting Katie that turns out positive and hoping that he will bring on his on life changes.
Courtships are unique and the journey we take along with Phinn when he meets Maddie through an online dating site is inspiring, heartwarming and proves that two people can get to know each other in a respectful and proper manner. As an architect he does not use technology to create his prints and his work, he draws but he’s immersed in it that at times he extends himself more than others do in his company but it’s appreciated but Maddie does not know he’s taking the extra time for a reason and even her mother, Julia won’t give it away.
Things are tense at times and he still mentors Micah who as any kid wants to spend time with friends but he’s in his own way an inspiration for Phinn and hopefully he will not veer in the wrong direction. Fear is something that he understands and yet does not fully comprehend nor does anyone until you face it head on. The menu he chose has much more to go before his days are over and we learn his final accounting when he goes home to God. Love is the key to everything but so is honesty but remember everyone faces the opposite of both.
Author Steven Manchester takes us on many lives journeys but Phinns’ we experience along with Maddie’s from start to finish hearing their pasts and mistakes made, hoping they won’t have to pay dearly for them as you come to love, embrace and learn much about life and more from each of them including Micah.
When Phinn and Maddie finally take the next step the author reflects on Phinn and his relationship with his father as we learn about the birth of his son and we hear conversation with God, we understand his fears, what happens he feels if he makes mistakes and the fact that he has to use his time wisely, live as himself and be true to who he is as we meet Maddie in the present after Phinn reflects on the past when his father leaves, hoping that he will be a better parent to Phinn Jr.
Each person that comes into this world has his/her own menu or life’s choices and I wonder after looking at the menu created by the author what anyone including myself would pick as part of my own life’s choices if I could restart it over again and choose my journey and my own path. Added in the poems define their relationship and they define Phinn as a person as he expresses his love and hope for himself and Maddie.
Life has a way of changing your direction and then Maddie realizes that hers is about to end and dealing with it takes its toll on her family. Her life had meaning, and her legacy will live on as you hear a special poem that her brother reads at her funeral which says it all. An angel floating over the congregation and Phinn at the end learning that his life and his future will have more time and he is not done yet. Menu 2
As the journeys come to an end each character will reflect on the choices made and how the bar at times turned into the good. Patterns are created when making garments or even architect plans as Phinn did in his work but creating your life’s pattern requires dealing with different emotions and understanding that you take the positive along with the negative as part of life.
As their lives unfold at the end and you understand their wants, goals and final thoughts the reader revisits the choices made and realizes that every life and every person’s patterns are intertwined and will encounter and will endure both sides and every item on the menu. “ We are all connected even before came into this world.” We are still connected forever. An inspirational book that will bring you hope, love, despair, unhappiness and yet at the end you will feel stronger.
Fran Lewis: Just reviews