Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Joys of Fiction

Ever feel a little twinge of guilt while reading fiction? Of course we need to read the good books on marriage and parenting sometimes. We need to challenge ourselves to dig out those deep issues that are holding us back spiritually and emotionally. We need the encouragement of those godly men and women whose lives are a testimony of the grace of God.

But sometimes we need a work of fiction. I'm not talking about the common trash that passes for fiction these days. Full of immortality, pettiness, foul language, and teenage style drama. Leave those  on the shelf at the bookstore. Those will not enhance us.

Why not enjoy a good Christian novel? Or a classic work of fiction? Even an occasional clean secular work (if you can find it)? What is the benefit it will give us?

1.  It can lighten the soul.
People have so much daily stress in their lives. We put much of it there ourselves. Just feel the tension roll off as you sit down in the evening to read a work of pure imagination.

2.   It can free the imagination.

Turn off the remote. Play some soothing instrumental music in the background and get totally immersed in your own imaginary world for a few moments. When was the last time that happened?

3.  It can take you to places you may never see in this life.

I have always wanted to travel to Great Britain. That may or may not happen but I have visited there many times in books.

4.  It can illuminate a situation in which you find yourself.

You may suddenly realize you are in a similar situation in your own life, and this fictional scenario will help you picture a solution to a very real problem.  I had this happen to me just last evening.

5.  It can speak to the heart.

With our guard down just a little we find we are more receptive to hearing a truth we have needed to face for some time. Maybe it will challenge us to take action to assist others in their plight.

There are many other joys to be found in fiction. I'm sure I could elaborate on this subject all day. What comes to your mind? We would love to hear your thoughts.

Some of the best works fiction I have read were by...


George MacDonald
Michael Phillips
Jan Karen
Karen Kingsbury
Robin Jones Gunn
Janette Oke
Christmas Carol Kauffman
Lori Wick
Beverly Lewis
Francena Arnold
Elizabeth Prentiss
Grace Livinston Hill


LM Montgomery
Martha Finley
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Jane Austen
William Shakespeare
Charles Dickens
George MacDonald

Give them a try.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

Reading on Kindle

This year began with a new reading experience. Reading on Kindle!

Very exciting! Just like my physical bookcases at home my kindle "bookcase" is getting crowded. But I have found some wonderful free or nearly free books and have loved them and look forward to more.

I have read...

Hope for the Weary Mom by Brooke McGlothin and Stacey Thacker
The Power of a Praying Church by Stormie Omartian
Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle far. I realize I probably have more in my app than I will actually read but I couldn't resist the one-day free prices for some of these tomes. Oh well. They sure take up a lot less room in the house.

Some other great books I have read this year (not on kindle)...

Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey by Countess Carnarvon
It's Not that Complicated by AnnaSophia and Eizabeth Botkin
Wake Up, Generation by Paige Omartian

They couldn't have been more different, but each was highly interesting. I'm now in the middle of a few books.
Girl Talk by Carolyn Mahaney and Nicole Mahaney Whitacre
Igraine the Brave by Cornia Funke (children)
The Silver Chair by CS Lewis. (read-aloud)
Little House In the Big Wood by LI Wilder (read-aloud)

I'm not pushing myself for numbers like I have other years. Just as the spirit moves. If you're not reading something, get to the bookshelf and get crackin'.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Out with the Old in with the New

As I close this year, I am finally able to post on this blog. Computer problems, of course. I am looking forward to a new year of wonderful reading, and Lord willing, posting.

I was able to log 37 books in my reading journal this year. How did you do? Some of those were read-alouds to my little one. I seem to have a huge pile of books I want to get to this year. And I am really looking forward to that!

Here were a few great reads from this last year.

PP Bliss Songwriter by William Guest (*Favorite of the year)
52 Things Kids Need from a Mom by Angela Thomas
The Unselfishness of God by Hannah Whitall Smith
A Love that Multiplies by JimBob and Michelle Duggar
Beach Dreams by Trish Perry
Raising a Daughter After God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George
With Daring Faith: Amy Carmichael by Rebecca H. Davis
Canary Island Song by Robin Jones Gunn

I love to mix up fiction, biography, Christian living, and parenting/marriage altogether in the year. I hope you will be challenged to expand your reading horizons. Keep it uplifting and acceptable to the Lord, but challenge yourself to read from a genre you haven't lately. My reading tastes changed once I became a parent. Now after several years they are changing again.

Have a wonderful year.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Sweet Violet

I've been so busy but I apologize for the long break here. We have had interruptions throughout this semester and I'm trying to do a little catch up work.

Saw a great saying on FB over the last week.

"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy books and that's kind of the same thing." 

A few weeks ago I finished a good book called Sweet Violet by Catherine Palmer. The story is set in India during the time of William Carey. (He has a minor role in this novel.) I love mission stories. I especially liked that this one was set in India. We know several wonderful national ministry couples in that country. This fictional book, though set back about 150 years ago, gives you a good flavor for the land there. I'm not sure that it has truly changed much in the rural areas. God has been doing some wonderful things in that country since the days of Bro. Carey.

If you get a chance I suggest Sweet Violet, missionary biographies, and stories of great men and women of faith.

May I suggest a few names?
Charles Spurgeon
Robert Murray McCheyne
George Mueller
David Brainard
Jim Elliot
Amy Carmichael
Eric Liddell
Gladys Aylward
William Carey
Adonirum Judson
Hudson Taylor

Sorry, that was more than a few. I have read about many of these wonderful people. They were just regular people who were completely surrendered to the Lord. Each will leave you with a challenge!


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Words to Remember

Patches of Godlight by Jan Karon is a book of quotations collected by the title character of her Mitford Series, the Reverend Timothy Kavanagh. Below I share a few gems from this collection. All are beautiful examples of the power of words.

"I cannot live without books."   - Thomas Jefferson

"The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good, and the best book for regulating the concerns of men. The man, therefore, who weakens or destroys the divine authority of that book may be accessory to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer."           - Peter Marshall, 1902-1949

"The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time."    -Abraham Lincoln

"By words the mind is winged."  -Aristophanes

"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?"  -Henry Ward Beecher, 1815-1887

"If you cannot read all your books, at any rate...peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hand, arrange them on your own plan so that you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them be your acquaintances."      -Winston Churchill, 1874-1965

"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire."   -William Butler Yeats, 1865-1939

"The world does not need more Christian writers - it needs more good writers and composers who are Christians."     -C.S. Lewis

Have a great New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Reading Journal

As far back as I can remember, my mother has kept a reading journal. I suppose it goes back about 40 years. In the 1980's I started one as well. Originally in a small spiral notebook, I eventually transferred my log to a pretty pink kitten journal given to me by a friend. It is nearly time to start a new page for the new year 2012.

This was not a record breaking year for reading. I managed about 30 medium to long books this year. I enjoyed nearly all of them. What a difference they added to my days! I definitely agree with the saying, "So many books, so little time." We fit time in wherever we can...the doctor's office, ballet practice, after the kids are in bed. And we are enriched and transported to another time and place.

If you've never kept track of your reading it is the perfect time to start. You can do it so many different ways...whatever works best for you. List your book and author, rate your book, mark if you would give it as a gift, if you had any objections to it, or if you absolutely loved it! It's nearly impossible to remember your reaction to all your books if you let too much time pass.

I can always look back and see if I read something and what my response was to it. It is helpful not only to yourself but to other people. I particularly like to stock up on my favorites and give them to friends or guests to my home. I couldn't tell you how many copies of Stepping Heavenward I have gifted to a friend. Used bookstores are filled with your favorites just sitting there waiting for you to find them.

Have a wonderful new reading year. Hope you'll discover some great new authors and renew your acquaintance with old favorites.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Christmas "Story"

In all your reading this season, please remember to include the account of the birth of Jesus given to us in the Scripture. Remember that the first schools in our country were fashioned to teach the children how to read God's Word.  Thereby, they were bringing up good and righteous people to be the next leaders of the New World.

There is an abundant of wonderful Christmas literature to read this time of year. Let us not neglect the greatest Words of them all.

An Angel Promises the Birth of Jesus to Mary  -  Luke 1:26-38
Mary Visits Expectant Elizabeth & the birth of John the Baptist  -  Luke 1:39-80
An Angel Appears to Joseph -  Matthew 1:1-24
Jesus is Born in Bethlehem  -  Luke 2:1-7
The Shepherd's Angelic Encounter and Their Visit to Jesus  -  Luke 2: 8-20
Mary and Joseph Bring Jesus at the Temple (Simeon and Anna)  -  Luke 2:21-39
The Wise Men Arrive to Worship  -  Matthew 2:1-12
The Escape to Egypt  -  Matthew 2:13-18
The Return to Nazareth  -  Matthew 19-23
Prophecy of the birth of a Messiah  -  Isaiah 7:14
Prophecy of the character of the Messiah  -  Isaiah 9:6-7
Prophecy that Messiah will be out of Bethlehem  -  Micah 5:2
The Timing of Christ's Birth  -  Galatians 4:4-5


Some of these passages are moderate in length and are something that can be read each day with your children. By the end of December they may even have a portion memorized.  What great and important things to commit to memory!

May you have a very Merry Christmas.