All posts filed under: Good Books

‘God Still Speaks to Us Today’: Write for 31 Days

 My “God-Spot” for Day 30 of Writing for 31 Days is my dear friend Betsy Tacchella. Betsy and I are of the same generation and sisters in Christ. She is a wonderful speaker, mentor, author and an inspiration to so many. She recently published her second book, “Speak to Me, Lord, I’m Listening.” It is a wonderful collection of biblical examples of God speaking a rhema word as well as Betsy’s stories of hearing God’s voice in her own life. Here, she answers my questions and shares an excerpt from her book. To read more posts from my 31 days of blogging, click on the button above. 1. What is your desire in writing this book? My desire in writing “Speak to Me, Lord, I’m Listening,” is to raise the reader’s awareness that God still speaks to us today just as He did throughout the Bible. Through more than fifty stories, you will recognize that you, too, have heard God’s voice of encouragement, comfort and direction. Have you ever had a Bible verse seem to pop off the …

When All You Can Do Is ‘Do the Next Thing’: Write for 31 Days

In the days when my life was filled with diapers, alphabet cards, math books, stinky boys’ gym socks and  the never-ending question “what will I make for dinner?”…. When it felt like I’d never see the laundry room floor, never get to read that book waiting on the shelf or find a moment to paint my nails and talk on the phone with a friend…. In those halcyon days of young motherhood, these words dropped into my lap. “Do the next thing.” For a long time, I thought they were first said by a favorite author, Elisabeth Elliot. Elisabeth’s biography of Amy Carmichael “A Chance to Die” was pivotal in my growth as a woman of God. Her personal account of her marriage to her first husband, Jim, and his death on the mission field was one of those books I longed for time to read during busy mothering days. In researching Elisabeth for an essay awhile back, I learned that the words she often quoted came from a poem whose author is unknown. Those four …

Remembering “A Girl of the Limberlost”

A late-summer afternoon custom-made for an outdoor birthday party drew me to the nearby home of Hoosier author and naturalist Gene Stratton Porter. Mrs. Porter would have been 151 on August 17. Guests at her home on Sylvan Lake near Rome City, Indiana, celebrated the author’s birthday with music, storytelling, walks through the garden and birthday cake on Saturday and Sunday at an annual festival called Chautauqua Days. Mrs. Porter supported the adult-education movement of her time, named for Chautauqua Lake in New York state, where the first gatherings were held. Mrs. Porter was born in Indiana and had homes in Geneva and on Sylvan Lake. She loved the swamp and woodlands surrounding this man-made lake and explored them regularly. Her biography on the Limberlost web site says Mrs. Porter wrote 12 novels, 7 nature books and 3 books of poetry, as well as numerous children’s books. Local storyteller and writer Lou Ann Homan portrayed Mrs. Porter on Sunday afternoon, to the delight of her friendly audience. As she moved in and out of character to …

Two Stops on the Blog Tour and a gift ‘to those who see…..’

Before I share my reflections, I want to direct you to the blogs of two special women. They willingly joined the World Blog Tour today at my request. I know you’ll enjoy meeting them as they give you a glimpse into their lives. Please hop on over to meet Connie at her blog, My Days Well-Lived. In addition to her World Blog Tour post, spend a minute reading her heart-felt essay about motherhood. In an entirely different vein, I know you’ll have fun reading about the adventures of Lou Ann at her blog Stories from a Small Town. As I write this, Lou Ann is en route home to northeast Indiana from her summer island home on Okracoke Island. Enjoy! In the waning of summer, I can’t help but notice a subtle shift in the weather. Until this weekend, I never considered how much I love the month of August. Spring and fall are my favorite seasons, but August has her own unique characteristics. Floating in a kayak on a local lake Sunday afternoon, the …

Still, “So Many Books, So Little Time”

There are books we read for pleasure. Others we scan for facts, information. Some books are meant to be read slowly, to be absorbed in bits and pieces, pondered and then read again. Selah And still others carry us along on adventures, affording the opportunity to live vicariously through the author’s chronicled life. In this latter half of my “summer reading list” (see the first half here) there are books that fit all those categories. I offer eight more bookmarked choices inhabiting my reading stack: Spiritual “The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism” by Timothy Keller. This book is inspiring on several levels. Reading it is pleasurable, it’s full of information and it must be read slowly to absorb all that is contained within. And certainly an examination of the reasons to believe in God’s existence by examining His Word is an adventure. I began this New York Times Bestseller last fall, only to set it aside after a few chapters. It is important and challenging, but it’s also serious work to examine …

Graceful or Gullible? and A Summer with “So Many Books”

“I’ll walk you to the door, Miss.” I didn’t know whether to thank my AT&T salesman or laugh in his face. So I did a little of both. “I haven’t been called ‘miss’ for about 40 years,” I said with a girlish giggle. “But thank you.” “I wouldn’t have known. Honest, I wouldn’t!” he called out as I walked to my car. I shook my head and slid in behind the wheel. Okay, maybe I blushed a little. Thanks, sonny, but I’m not buying a new phone. Why is it so difficult to take a compliment — assuming it’s intended as a kindness and not a subtle form of mockery? I’ve been called gullible more than once in my lifetime, so I’ve acquired a touch of cynicism in my old age. But when true compliments come my way, I want to field them with grace and gratitude. I know that when I say something that is sincerely complimentary to someone, I want them to receive and appreciate it — like a gift. So, because I’m …

Tell Me a Story: Sharing Our Lives in Words, Music and Pictures

Don’t you just love a good story? I know I do. The stack of books (fiction and otherwise) by my favorite chair, on the desk, at my bedside, lining my bookshelves and residing in my Kindle attest to my love of story. Want me to remember something? Narrate it, wrap a story around it and I’ll hang onto it for weeks — or at least for a few days. Stories are all around us, just waiting to be shared. I started this blog because I felt like maybe I was missing some of life’s stories, some of the details that make this life worth living. Over the past year and a half I’ve told stories about my children, my parents, my encounter with breast cancer, my garden, my vacation, even strangers I observed at the coffee shop. And I’ve invited others to share their stories, memories and deepest thoughts. Next week, I’m going to share some of my Dad’s stories and memories with guests in an event at a nearby art gallery. My father is …

God’s Bigger Than All This: On Women and Reality

I’ve had women on my mind lately. Maybe it’s the season. Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and we have a special event planned for the ladies at our church this weekend. Or maybe it’s life…… my little sister turns 60 in a week, my birth mother’s birthday is days after Mother’s Day, my mother-in-law has cancer and is awaiting treatment, a dear friend is undergoing tests for cancer, another friend is fearful for her son, a runaway facing prison. I’ve been reading books about women’s issues a lot. Ministry to women is something God has planted in my heart, and I care deeply about the trials and struggles we women face — young and old alike. Laying on the table in my reading corner are “Lioness Arising” by Lisa Bevere, “Lies Women Believe” by Nancy Leigh DeMoss and “Leading Women to the Heart of God” edited by Lysa Terkeurst. They sit there right alongside  “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp and a little volume of prayers from the writings of Teresa of Avila. …

In Good Company for a Nostalgic Journey

I call the biennial Festival of Faith and Writing my “guilty pleasure.” What could be better than spending three days surrounded by people who love to read, have a passion to write and like nothing more than talking about both? My fifth Festival experience is awash with nostalgia as I hike back and forth across the beautiful Calvin College campus in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Here is where my oldest son acquired a college degree and found the love of his life. Eight years ago, when he was a junior at Calvin and engaged to his lovely wife, I signed up for the Festival. I had no idea what to expect, and I spent the weekend in awe of the esteemed authors who were willing to share their writing lives with me, a former newspaper reporter with dreams of writing a novel, essays, anything but a news story. This morning, I sit in the beautiful Calvin Seminary Chapel with three published authors talking about “What Fiction Can Do”. Later I’ll find my way to workshops on …

Determination, Ducks and Doubt

About determination….. “Stop fighting the current of your life and struggling to be somewhere else. You are exactly where you need to be. This is your (writing) life. There is no other like it.” Sage Cohen, The Productive Writer Our family is transitioning — which is a less painful way to say we will soon be empty-nesters. Well, not exactly “empty”. We are nudging the last of our four offspring out of the nest and on down the road to college. Hopefully, he’ll come back for a couple of summers, but, like his three older brothers, he’s stretching his wings and ready to fly. Compared to just 10 years ago, it will be darn quiet and lonely around Springfield Farm in a couple of weeks. Sometimes, I’m a weepy mess when I think about this. But, most of the time, I’m determined to take Sage Cohen’s advice and prepare to “seize the day.” I’m gearing up to do something I’ve waited a good 20 years to do — focus on writing. I’ve spent the past four …