Thanks for stopping by my corner of the world to read my tales of life, love and adventure. I’m a writer, and the thoughts rolling around in my head — big ideas and little ones — need a place to land. So here I am, blogging away, reminding myself that it is the little things […]
For some time I have wanted to track the books that I’m reading, so I can look back at the end of the year, or decade, and see all the different places I have traveled, experiences I have undertaken, friends I have gotten to know, lessons I have learned through books. 2016 June: The One-in-a-Million […]
I am absolutely loving the Inspector Gamache series, but I am trying to make it last all fall and at least up to the holidays. (Props to me if I can make it last all winter!) The Brutal Telling is the fifth in the Gamache series and at this point I love that I am getting to know all of the characters, including the best character of all — the town of Three Pines itself — a little more with each story. They are believable, enjoyable, engrossing mysteries. But it’s about so much more than murder, it’s about humans and emotions and real life. Penny’s writing has caused me to pause and think about my own life in new ways.
Adventures don’t have to involve travel to a distant place, they can take place right next door. When Hurricane Matthew struck the Virginia Beach area this past weekend, we ended up with flooding, downed trees, and closed roads. By Sunday morning the rain had ceased, but there was no getting out and about. By the afternoon, I knew Husband and Fiona had cabin fever and even me, homebody that I am, was ready for some fresh air. So we ventured out, just down the street to our local park in search of a baby swing for Fiona.
The park entrance was closed due to flooding, but we parked down the street and walked in. We had a delightful time in the crisp, fall-like air, enjoying the sunshine after such a storm. We found walnuts (and ate a few) and multiple bird nests that had blown out of the trees. Our walk in the fresh air and playtime with the babe lifted our spirits in more ways than one. I pray that I always remember that sometimes, adventure is just around the corner.
I love children’s books, and now that I have a child of my own, I have an even better excuse to pick them up at every chance! I sometimes shy away from “Bible” story books, only because I have several storybook Bibles for my daughter and I was raised with plenty of Sunday school experiences to show me how cheesy these books can be.
But when I received Zacchaeus and Jesus by Dandi Daley Mackall and illustrated by Lisa Manuzak, I had a feeling it would be different. The story is the age-old, familiar tale of Zacchaeus climbing the sycamore tree to see Jesus. But, it’s told with a bit of a twist to capture my little one’s attention.
Read from the front to back, it is the tale told from Zacchaeus’ perspective, but from back to front it is told from Jesus’ perspective. I love this device to teach my child not only a Biblical story, but also to help her understand perspective, point of view, and perhaps how we see ourselves vs. how Jesus sees us. To help her learn more than just a story.
This book has large, colorful pictures and just enough text to tell the story without taking too long to flip the pages (very important for an impatient little one!). I would recommend this book to Christian moms and dads thanks to its new and innovative storytelling technique!
Want to win your own copy of Zacchaeus and Jesus? Enter here! (Open to U.S. mailing addresses only, entrants age 13+.)
One Thing: Where I share one thing that is making my life better or bringing me joy.
So I’m super excited about this opportunity for readers. Crown Publishing and Penguin Random House are hosting a free “Season of Stories”: an incredible collection of short stories featuring writers who have won the National Book Award and topped the New York Times Bestseller list. A bit of culture and truly good writing all the way through the end of 2016? Sign me up!
Starting October 11, for a limited time we’ll be emailing eleven fiction tales directly to readers, all written in the first person. Dive into a great story when you need a quick escape from daily stresses.
Finn has packed away his combat instincts — but he may need them again when danger begins to stalk his quiet hideaway . . .
After a disastrous Middle East mission ends his six-year Army Ranger career, Finn McGregor needs some downtime. A peaceful month in the woods sounds like the perfect way to decompress. But peace isn’t on the agenda once he crosses paths with publishing executive Dana Lewis, a neighbor who is nursing wounds of her own. Someone seems bent on disrupting her stay in the lakeside cabin she inherited from her grandfather. As Finn and Dana work together to discover who is behind the disquieting pranks, the incidents begin to take on a menacing tone. And when it becomes apparent Dana’s foe may have deadly intent, Finn finds himself back in the thick of the action — ready or not.
Not having read the first two of this series, I was pleased to see that I had no trouble diving right into the Men of Valor world. Read more →
It’s been a while since I’ve written about loss…but it is rarely far from my mind. I guess that’s really what I want to say. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there, simmering just below the surface. Remember that when you speak with someone experiencing loss.
We lost Michael more than three years ago, almost four. But that loss is still so very present.
There’s the green ribbon from last fall’s Out of Darkness walk, green representing a sibling.
I was glad when Husband and I ventured out to attend the walk. I thought it would be good for him, for us. I had no idea how comforting it would be to walk among so many people and identify their loss through the color of their ribbon. All those wearing green knew the pain of losing a sibling. I didn’t feel so alone anymore. There truly are others who understand. I hope Husband felt that too. Read more →
I had never read anything by Mike Nappa when I picked up The Raven, the second in the Coffey & Hill series. The concept of classic literature and crime drama piqued my interest, for I both love literature and enjoy a good whodunnit. I was diving in on the second in a series, which always poses problems, but I was hoping that it wouldn’t impede my enjoyment of the novel.
As part of his street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience’s pockets while they watch. It’s harmless fun–until he decides to keep the wallet of a prominent politician, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds compromising photos of the councilman and his “personal assistants,” The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named “Nevermore.”
Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues to rescue The Raven from a wild card bent on revenge.
I was glad that while some readers may be familiar with the main characters, namely Trudi Coffey and her ex-husband Samuel Hill, Nappa did a good enough job of introducing the characters and their intricate back story that it wasn’t necessary to have read the first novel in order to understand the second.
Coffey and Hill proved to be interesting characters, Read more →
One Thing: Where I share one thing that is making my life better or bringing me joy.
I love our library. Just a few miles from our house (2.1 to be exact), I have dreams of me and Fiona biking down to the library to five into books or story time or star gazing nights.
Just one of the branches of the Suffolk Public Library, Chuckatuck is easily the smallest permanent library I’ve ever seen, just 2,000 sq ft. And the cutest. The building was formerly the cafeteria of Chuckatuck High School (the building that is now Sauders Supply) and in 1989 it was given new life as a library.
It has everything a library needs: books, a librarian, a few computers, WiFi access, and a children’s section where littles like Fiona are invited to stay a while. Mondays (not every Monday, but maybe once or twice a month) are now my library day. The library is generally only open during working hours on weekdays, but it is also open on Monday evenings. Read more →
I watched my girl this weekend as she began grasping new ideas and learning new skills. She is so close to pulling herself up to her knees, given the chance. And she has realized that when she throws something, she just has to look over the arm of the chair to find it again. I love being witness to each new trick, each developmental leap. Ah, object permanence is such a wondrous thing!
But as I watched, I witnessed something that both amused and struck me.
Playing gleefully with her basket of toys, Fiona found a cloth book that unfolds into one long succession of “pages”. It’s a bit unwieldy for a baby when it’s all open, but she loves it anyway. Having pulled it out earlier, she found herself sitting next to the end of the book. She picked it up, but the book wouldn’t budge. She pulled and pulled on it, thinking surely she could lift it to her mouth to chew on (that’s what 7-month-old babies do, after all), but it wouldn’t work. She look plaintively at me to fix the problem, as though it was I who was keeping her from her desires. Or at the very least, I wasn’t helping fulfill them.
Unbeknownst to her, though, she was sitting on the book. Her own weight kept it grounded. I tried not to laugh as I watched her try with all her might, yet fail because she didn’t notice that she herself was the obstacle in her way.
It struck me just then, that perhaps that’s how God feels. Read more →