The cancer diagnosis, and the godly wisdom of Cheyenne redeemed both tender and painful memories in the loss of a dear young almost-daughter, and a grandson. Both spoke love and hope into others and changed more lives for eternity in their short walks than most I’ve known who lived long and “full” lives. I was encouraged to do the same. I was not able to hold my daughter as our grandson died, and just as Jenny would react, I almost felt I’d go mad, but for assurance of God’s presence and sovereignty holding the pen of their lives and mine. How gracious of Him to give a character named Cheyenne words to heal those lost longings, and wisdom to look deeper, whatever the cost, to a future with God’s perfect peace. How precious to know that as God through Tara held Chey, God also provides arms to hold my daughters when I cannot be there.
Stories where characters change through submission to God also change me. Ultimately in this book, every character presented some personal longings before God, accepted the grace to love freely or to freely let a loved one go, and each one trusted God alone for the outcome. What a remarkable and personally encouraging life illustration.
I thank God that He is the one who holds Karen Kingsbury’s pen, and through her, he’s written comforting words to me. Words of peace for the longings of my past, words of wonder at being married to one who would fight for me, and hope for longings of generations yet to be fulfilled through wise decisions that will count for eternity. Longing truly is another example of fiction that changes lives.
Often, in the Christmas rush, we look to the new things we will get, and fail to recognize gifts we already have. I love stories that stay with me because the characters’ lives meaningfully change. Walsh’s story of renewal is like that – a gift of entertainment with unpredictable events sure to keep you reading, yet more. Subtle surprises and poignant characters struggle to find restoration from Christmas past, a place to slow down and savor Christmas present and a hope for Christmas future. Rarely do I read Christmas books before the season, but I’m glad Revell sent an advanced reader copy so early because this is a classic that will be read again, this year and next.
Saffy’s Angel – Hilary McKay – YA Novel – 2002
Ten Lies About God and How You Might Already Be Deceived… Erwin Lutzer – 2000 – One of those books you will read, re-read and use as reference in counseling. As usual Lutzer’s book is firmly grounded on God’s Word.
Take Four – Karen Kingsbury
If you haven’t read Karen Kingsbury’s “fiction that changes lives” you should. This has more of Bailey Flanigan’s story (character in the Baxter family series). Incredibly well done of course, and makes me want to find Unlocked, and read that next.
Cape Light by Thomas Kinkade and Katharine Spencer – 2002
A slow beginning as characters are introduced, but worth it when you get into the story. A Christian romance with characters that made me want to read the sequel.
Week of Dec. 1
Girls Meets God – A memoir by Lauren F Winner – 2002
The child of Jewish father and a lapsed Southern Baptist mother, Lauren first chose to become an Orthodox Jew, after which she feels drawn to Christianity, eventually converting, and ultimately attempts to reconcile both sides of her religious identity.
Lifestyle hardly ever matches the creed of choice as the character seems obsessed with sex outside of marriage, yet is shocked by a married friend’s determination to have an affair and then continue the marriage. One review called it a charming and humorous “and sometimes abrasive recollection of a religious coming of age.”
The parts I enjoyed the best was her introspection and the description of the books and quotes from her constantly fluctuating theological library filled with books on Judaism and Christianity. I also found interesting her intellectual struggle to reconcile the two faiths and her total spiritual background.
A Perfect Day by Richard Paul Evans
This was a re-read for relaxation – a 2003 story of writer’s fame, lost perspective, and a stranger sharing truth and brings an awakening. I’ve only disliked one of Evan’s books and keep several for light re-reading. He is certainly a skilled writer.
In The Company of Others by Jan Karon
It was not as easy as usual to ‘get into’ this Karon book because much of the book involved the characters reading an ancient journal. This greatly slowed down the first half of the book. Father Tim and wife Cynthia’s personalities are what kept the pages turning until the journal reading began connecting to other characters and situations in the story.
The Walk by Richard Paul Evans -2010 – Another want-to-read-more novel has me in line with other Evans’ readers, waiting for the sequel in April. The storyline of a walk across the country and the people and situations that change the main character’s perspective easily causes one to look on the situations and characters of our personal walk through life. Intriguing and entertaining while also thought provoking. This is one I’ll keep to read again.
In the Shadow of Evil by Robin Carroll
Under the Mistletoe by Irene Brand and Anita Higman
The Noticer – Andy Andrews
Bride of Honor – Ruth Axtell Morren
The Edge of Light – Shorey
The Red Bird ….
At the Back of the North Wind – George McDonald
200 Men, One Woman – Nancy Price
Tales of O’Henry
One Church – Many Tribes – Richard Twiss
Behind the Glittering Mask – Mark Rutland
Personality Plus – Marita Littauer
Silver Boxes – Florence Littauer
One Thing You Can’t Do In Heaven – Mark Cahill
Bible Characters from the Old and New Testaments – Whyte