Where Have I Been?

Yes, it’s been a little quiet here.  There’s been a couple of reasons for that.  First of all, I’m a judge for the INSPY awards this year and I’ve been having a wonderful spring reading 5 books that I’m not allowed to talk about online.  I’m passionate about good Christian fiction, so the cone of silence has been tough for me.  The INSPY award winners should be announced today, so keep an eye on their webpage!

In the meantime, while I can’t say anything about the books yet, I figure I can tell you that all of the books on the General Fiction shortlist are worth your time:

– A Cup of Dust by Susie Finkbeiner

– The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert

– Secrets She Kept by Cathy Gohlke

– Water from my Heart by Charles Martin

– The Bronte Plot by Katherine Reay

So, between reading award contenders and having early pregnancy kick my behind in terms of energy, I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Not for long, though!

I’ve read a few other good books that I’ll be talking about on here soon, so stay tuned and let’s all keep reading.  If you’ve made any good book finds this spring, let me know in the comments. My reading pile could always use feeding. 🙂



An Unexpected Treasure

treasure An unexpected gem recently came my way. For as long as I can remember, my grandmother and her sisters have been devoted readers (I wonder where I get it from?) I have many memories of them reading and discussing books.

One of my great-aunts is getting ready to move to a smaller house near her children and during the packing process, she called me. She had 3 boxes of books, and wanted me to keep what I wanted from the box and then donate the rest.

I drove out and picked up the boxes this weekend. We had company, so I only got to open them last night. Friends, it is a treasure trove!

I knew these ladies read a lot of Christian fiction, and these boxes are full to the brim with all sorts of books. There’s some non-fiction mixed in, but these are mostly fiction books.  So far, most appear to be from the 1980s and 1990s.  There are some classics I remember seeing as a child, such as Love Comes SoftlyThis Present Darkness or the House of Winslow books.

However, there are lots of new-to-me treasures to discover, too.  And that’s where readers come in.  I plan to read through the books here, and see what new treasures I discover. There’s a pretty wide selection, so if you can think of any older (pre-2000) Christian novels that you’d like to see featured on here, I’ll happily read them if I’ve got them.  Just let me know in comments.  Thanks!

Christians Reading Romance?

lovestory Do you read Christian romance? I do, on occasion.  As with all things, it depends upon the book. My husband and I both want to be wise with regard to the materials we allow into our home and more importantly, into our hearts and minds.

And then there’s the matter of personal taste. Some folks like deeply emotional stories, where all of that emotion is pretty much the whole plot.  And me? Well, I like my books to have a little more adventure, history,  or suspense mixed in. Well-written emotional scenes can move me, but I love getting a window into different facets of characters’ lives rather than a series of emotional scenes strung together.

I read a fair amount of nonfiction so that I can hopefully learn from what I read.  And I also enjoy it.  The same applies to romantic novels, believe it or not. I do enjoy a good story. However, sometimes when I read about the inner struggles of fictional characters, it helps me to see pieces of my own life more clearly. After all, it’s hard to read a well-written novel and not relate to the characters on some human level. For instance, reading about a character struggling to forgive an old wrong can sometimes help me see places in my own life where I might have hardened my heart. Continue reading

How I Love My Childhood Favorites!

Stacks of books

Stacks of books

Favorite books….
Just thinking of their titles brings back a wealth of memories and emotions for me.

I remember seeing Beatrix Potter’s books for the first time, sitting in the windowseat and letting my eyes just soak up the pictures. I half-listened to the stories at first, but I loved the beautiful illustrations.

There have been so many books I’ve loved. When we moved most recently, I would smile as I saw them emerging from boxes. My much-worn Little House on the Prairie set, What Katy Did, all of my L.M. Montgomery books, my Winnie the Pooh books, the Chronicles of Narnia series, and my Janette Oke books.

As I got older, these were joined by Bodie and Brock Thoene’s Zion books, Shakespeare, great poetry, and novels by Dickens and Austen. And some nonfiction works that also seared my heart and made me think – Knowing God by J.I. Packer, books by Elisabeth Elliot and R.C. Sporul.

I have so many memories and imaginary friends floating in my mind thanks to these books that I have treasured. And there is one that holds constant for me.

For, within my collection, there are Bible storybooks, children’s Bibles, the study Bible I got at 13, and the one my husband gave me.

So many wonderful books, and from one, a guide to so much life in abundance.
I wrote this piece in 5 minutes. It’s a writing exercise that takes my mind into all kinds of interesting corners, and (I hope) strengthens my writing. Best of all, it lets me see beauty in my own unpolished thoughts and those of others. You can find more on 5 minute Friday here.