Monday, May 31, 2021

Sisters' May Reading Challenge

Did you enjoy reading in May? We did!

This post contains affilant links.

1. Read a book of letters (fiction or nonfiction).

Charity - The Letters of E.B. White

I knew this author only from his children's books, but through this compiliation of letters, that span his life, I glimpsed into the real person behind the most beloved pig. I didn't complete this book, but enjoyed it in little moments, especially before bed. White's humor and life experiences are a blast to tage along with.

Gina - Last Christmas in Paris by Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb

I've read lots of historical fiction set during World War 2, but I didn't realize until I read this book how little I knew about World War 1. Thousands of letters traveled between English troops stationed in France and their family and friends back home. This book uses fictional letters to share stories of hope and grief. The plot isn't gripping, and it was hard to feel attached to characters known only through their short letters, but I enjoyed this glimpse into another era.

2. Read a book set in a country you've never visited (fiction or nonfiction).

Charity - Green Dolphin Street by Elizabeth Goudge

Goudge is one of my favorite authors, and this book was another emotional roller coaster. Most of the book is set in either the Channel Islands or New Zealand. The main characters are two sisters and their childhood friend, William. The book follows their entire lives and their battles with each other and love. As I read this book, I was reminded of surrender and how our will has the ability to destroy our lives. I loved how this novel was entertaining but also personally challenging.

Gina - I read a travel memior from Austrailia and discovered that I knew almost nothing about this huge fascinating country. While I learned an immense amount from the book, I'm not going to mention the book by name because of its off-color humor. 

3. Read a book that your mother or mentor enjoys.

Our mom has great book tastes, and I always like to check out what she is reading when I visit her house. 

(Fun fact: There are more years between Charity and me than my mom and me. My mom was twenty when I was born, and forty-three when Charity was born - which means that Charity and I are twenty-three years apart. So glad that books have bridged the years between us. We have seven siblings in between us.)

Charity - The Gospel Comes with a House Key by Rosaria Butterfield

Rosaria has shattered my view of home and family. Along with her husband and children, the author challenges you to make your home a place of refuge for your neighbors, no matter what their background or current life. As believers, we have something wonderful to offer, the Gospel. How will we use our house key? Hospitatlity took on a whole new meaning after reading this book.

Gina - Missional Motherhood by Gloria Furman

I've read a lot of parenting books, but none like this. Furman took me on a journey through the Old Testamen to see God's plan for humandkind, then shows how Jesus fulfills God's plan as prophet, priest and king. How does that relate to motherhood? Furman says "mother" is a verb and challenges all women, whether biological mothers or not, have been called to help others find new life in Christ. I'll be rereading this book.

4. Read in your backyard, on your porch, or on your fire escape.

Charity - One very exhausting Tuesday I arrived home from work with only one goal in mind. Rest. And when I rest, I read. I spent two delightful hours in my backyard with a hammock and an entire bag of books, journals, and pens. I read, listened to the chatter of my neice and nephews, and traveled to New Zealand (aka Green Dolphin Street). Moments like those got me through the crazy weeks this month.

Gina - When I sit on the hammock or the porch to read, it rarely lasts five minutes before I'm interrupted. But that doesn't keep me from continuing to try. At this point in my life, I find most of my reading time at night, but maybe since it is warmer and the sun is up earlier, I should try reading on the hammock before breakfast. 

5. Ask someone at church what they are reading.

Charity -Books are quickly a conversation between the youth girls at church. Recently we have been reading a book together and enjoying lots of conversations about it. But I also love chatting about books with random people at our little church library.

Gina - One Monday in early May, a friend from church texted to tell me she had finished reading a particular book and would love to discuss it with me. Since it happened that my oldest three children were away that morning and we weren't having a typical school day, I invited my friend to come over. I was thrilled when she agreed. It was such fun to set aside the Monday projects and enjoy some unexpected book (and life) conversation. 

I'd love to hear what you read in May. 

Look for the Sisters' June Reading Challenge tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 25, 2021


I could tell you of the pleasure of May gardening and spring flowers, of a delightful tea party and picnics with friends, of the excitment of new projects and future plans.

I could write about sadness and the longing to spend one more spring with Ed, to have another conversation about all the important and mundane details of life, to be able to tell the children "ask dad."

Both would be true in the conflicting days of May.

The Miss Kim lilac Ed gave me the first year of marriage, bloomed right on cue on my birthday as always.

Daughter playing with her dolls in the falling cherry blossoms.

New kittens.

Food tastes best outdoors.

Last week I taught Sunday School from John 10. I love verse 10. "I (Jesus) am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." The word "abundantly" gives the idea of unmeasurable, and not only in quanity, but in superior quality. Life on earth can be rich and fullfilling, despite sorrow, because of Jesus. Even more, we can rest in knowing that eternal life will be even better.

I looked for verses that speak of God's abundance. I hate to pull verses out of context but here are some favorites. I encourage you to look them up and read with the surrounding verses.

2 Corinthians 4:15 For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.

Romans 15:13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

1 Thessalonians 3:12 And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Whatever the physical details of your life - whether you are weak or strong, whether your life could be described as delightful or drudgery, may you cling to the abundance that God gives through the Lord Jesus.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Sisters' May Reading Challenge


I'm excited about this  month's reading challenge. So much potential for great reading! 

This post contains affilant links.

1. Read a book of letters (fiction or nonfiction).

For example: 

84,Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (A New York writer sent letters to a London used book seller after World War 2 and their coorespondance has become a classic.)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer (Fictional letters between a London writer and the islanders of Guernsey and a celebration of the role literature played in their survival of World War 2 occupancy. Delightful book though there is a gay character- a minimal part of the book.)

Let Me Be a Woman by Elisabeth Elliot (These notes to her daughter were written decades ago but are still relevant.)

2. Read a book set in a country you've never visited (fiction or nonfiction).

We were going to suggest a book set in Mexico or Latin America for Cinco de Mayo, but that seemed too restrictive. But I would love to learn more about the  US neighbor so if you have some book suggestions set in Mexico, please let me know.

Examples for this challenge - they are endless.

Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan (Middle grade fiction from India)

Peace Child by Don Richardson (A missionary classic from New Guinea)

In the Land of Blue Burquas by Kate McCord (Powerful story of a woman reaching out to the women of Afghanistan.

3. Read a book that your mother or mentor enjoys.

In honor of Mother's Day, ask your mother for a suggestion of a book she has particularly enjoyed.

4. Read in your backyard, on your porch, or on your fire escape.

5. Ask someone at church what they are reading.

Have fun reading in May!


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