Monday, June 20, 2022

June Dew

In 2009, I watched my husband bury his father;

his strong, active body had been

no match 

against the burst blood vessel in his brain.

A year and a half later, on Father's Day,

I paged through a hymnal

with Ed's neice and nephew

choosing songs for their daddy's funeral.

Three years ago,

my three-year-old stood on tiptoe

to see into her daddy's casket,

a body consumed

by a monster in his brain.

Three months later,

a dad shoveled dirt onto the grave

of his eighteen-year-old daughter, Ed's niece.

Last week that same dad

buried another daughter,

while her three-year-old daughter watched.

Ed's family has faced too much loss.

Small children will never know

their daddy, their mother, their grandpa, their aunt.

Young lives


before the day was half spent.

We've needed Ed's dad.

He would have been our anchor, 

yet his huge soft heart would have volunteered

to go first.

I can't comprehend heaven. 

Does Dad knows that one by one

his family is joining him 

too early, too abrupt, too premature?

But maybe, 

from his height

above the mist and mountain craigs,

the view looks different.

 "We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work Thou didst in their days, in the times of old." Psalms 44:1

Photos thanks to the photographers who share their work at

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Motherhood Magazine Issue 2

Last fall I shared about a new magazine that I was helping Kerra Troyer to edit. Motherhood magazine is a full-color magazine designed to give encouragement to mothers. It is a non-subscription magazine which is sold as individual issues. 

We are now introducing Issue 2 of Motherhood!

We chose the theme of The Cross for the second issue. We all know that motherhood can mean laying down ourselves and our desire for a full night of sleep, and we wanted to look at how the Cross of Christ pours out His strength to us as mothers. Over twenty mothers share their stories of surrender and God's grace in these pages. 

Compared to the first issue, the second issue has a few more pages and quite a few more words including a few longer articles. I share an article on the topic of identity and how we can find a stable identity in the changing seasons of motherhood. Other women share their journey of laying down their hobbies, desires, even their dreams for motherhood itself. Also included are some turtorials and practical articles such as one with ideas for children helping with chores.

The second issue has been delayed because of the shortage of paper, but the shipping date is set for next week and Kerra is now taking preorders. Each issue is $12 plus shipping. If you place a bulk order or order issue 1 and 2 together, the price is reduced. See the Motherhood magazine website for more information. 

If you live near me and would like a copy of Motherhood, message me and I'll combine your order with mine so you can get the bulk rate. 

Visit for more information. You can also sign up for updates so that you will hear about future magazines.

If you prefer to place an order by email, contact Kerra at stan.kerra2012 .

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Sisters' Spring Reading Challenge

 Here is the report of our spring reading. Both of us were exceptionally busy, but that doesn't mean we couldn't find time to read!

This post contains affiliate links.

Sisters' Spring Reading Challenge

1. Read a classic you think you should have read. 

Charity- North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

This book has been on my TBR list for a while and I was delighted for an excuse to read it. The reader is transported to a factory town in England during the 1800s. In the story, Gaskell explores the conflict that often occurred between mill owners and their employees. Caught in the middle is Margaret Hale, a young woman that has been transplated from a totally different lifestyle. I appreciated learning about another place, time period, and social struggle. The plot, though sad, is also beautiful and sweetened with just enough hope.

Gina - The Enchanted April - Elizabeth Von Arnim - I tried to read this book a few years ago but quit because I didn't like the negative view of marriage that the book began with. But I tried again and found I had quit too soon. Four women who are disastified about their lives (including their husbands) rent a castle in Italy for a month. The book maybe ends a little too glibly, but I loved the sweetness that each woman found in their relationships by the end of the book. I listened to The Literary Life podcast discussion of The Enchanted April which brought out insights I would have never seen on my own.

2. Read a verse novel or a book of free verse poetry. 

Charity - A Symphony in Sand by Calvin Miller
I don’t think I can even describe this free verse novel. The words were beautiful and I wanted to soak up the delight of it. It is an allegorical poem about a young couple whose plans to marry are shaken by a greater Will. I felt as though I was reading the story of Mary and Joeseph and their potential turmoil from another vantage point. Maybe someday I will enjoy more of Miller’s Symphony series.

Gina - The Finale by Calvin Miller - This is the third book in Miller's Singer trilogy. This one is based on end times in Revelation. I like how Miller makes me think of Bible passages in new ways, but this is probably my least favorite of his books that I've read. It is just hard to beat A Symphony in Sand.

3. Ask a friend to pick a book for you--and read it.

Charity - Yours Cheerfully by A.J. Pearce

This sequel to Dear Mrs Bird was pure joy to my heart. After Pearce left me in the lurch after her first book, I was excited  to know what the future was for our heroine. If you enjoy WW2 novels you will definitely need to add these to your list and find time for the charm, tears, and laughter that the author gifts you. My favorite part is that I can recommend it as a very clean novel! 

Gina -The Sound of the Page by Ben Yagoda 

I was studying writing style for a workshop and a friend gave me this book. Yadoda interviewed numerous authors and asked them about writing style. I took pages of notes and recommend it to any reader who wishes to learn more about writing style.

4. Read a book that has siblings as the main characters. 

Charity- My book for this category was disappointing. As I read it I was amazed by the skill of the author and the beautiful way he wove words together and created his plot. But the excessive profanity and a few scenes ruined it. 

Gina - A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus 

This is sweet middle-grade story of three orphans who leave London during the bombing of World War 2 and hope to find their forever home in the country. Maybe everything worked out a little too much like a fairy tale, but I loved the role that books and the library play in the story. Perfect to read aloud to your children.

5. Read a book about a less famous historical event.

Charity - Peony by Pearl S. Buck
I found this book on my pile of unread books and was overjoyed that it was about a time and place in history that I knew nothing. Based in China during the 1850s, I never realized that Jews had emigrated to China to find a better life. The book explores the struggle to maintain their religion and traditions while living in a different culture. Through the eyes of a young Chinese bondmaid in a Jewish family, Buck shows how a people became one with the culture around them until nothing was left of their heritage. 

Gina - The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews
I never knew that German U-boats stalked American ships in the Gulf of Mexico, within sight of the shore. The author found Nazi artifacts buried in his backyard which sent him on history research journey. He wrote this novel based on the amazing story he uncovered. A little preachy at spots, but kept me gripped to the end. 

6. Read a book that has an elderly person a main character.

Charity - Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
Any excuse to read another Dickens will always be accepted. This particular book is unique in that we get a glimpse of the United States through the eyes of Dickens. Though much of the criticism is lost on me since I didn't live in that time, it was still fun to read what he had to say. Though hard to get into at first, this novel of family conflict, greed, and pride will having you turning pages if you only give it a chance. And never be sure that you know the ending! 

Gina - The Last Book Shop in London by Madeline Martin
I didn't plan to get on a World War 2 binge this spring, but this was the third, and maybe my favorite set during this time in history. A young woman from the country finds a job in London working for a grumpy old book seller right before the start of the Blitz. Well researched and such a fun celbration of the power of books. 

7. Read from a book before picking up your phone in the morning.

Charity - My normal morning routine is to turn off my alarm, dress, and leave my phone in my room until after breakfast, devotions, and a few moments with a book. I strongly recommend keeping your phone from taking precious reading time! 

Gina - I typically don't pick up my phone until after I've read my Bible in the morning, but I rarely read other books in the morning. But I have the habit every night of plugging my phone in the dining room, then doing my bedtime routine (which includes reading!) without any phone distraction. If you have trouble finding time to read, try losing your phone every day for an hour or two.

8. Copy a poem (or write one) and hang it where you will see it.

Charity - I found one of my brother’s poems and enjoyed reading it many times around Easter. Maybe I found even more joy in it because I knew whose words they were. I can give him much credit for helping me learn to appreciate poetry.

Gina- I've shared a few weeks ago how I copied out several prayer hymns and propped them where I could see them. I think this is a practice I'll continue.

We'd love to hear what you read this spring!

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Sisters' Summer Reading Challenge

 A new season means a new reading challenge! We are keeping this list a bit lighter and fun for summer. 

This post contains affiliate links at no extra cost to you.

1. Reread a classic you enjoyed as a teen. 


    Little Women by Lousia May Alcott

    The Secret Garden by Francese Burnett

    Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

    Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

2. Read a portion of a book of essays or poetry.


    Essays by E.B. White or Dorcas Smucker

    Endless Feasts compiled from Gourmet magazine

    Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot

    Poetry by Malcolm Guite

    Habitation of Wonder by Abigail Carroll

3. Read a book with a beautiful cover. 

This may be an old book, a new modern design, or whatever says beauty to you.

4. Read a book by an author you've enjoyed.

This can be any genre and any category.

5. Read a book about someone on a journey.

This could be a literal physical journey or a spiritual journey. 


    Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

    Three Weeks With my Brother by Nicholas Sparks and Micah Sparks

    Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus by Nabeel Qureshi

6. Read a love story (fiction or nonficiton). 

Charity's wedding planned for this summer is putting love on our minds! 


    The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

    Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot

7. Choose a Psalm and read it every day for a month (or as often as possible.) 

8. Take a photo of a book you are reading.

We will be back next week with a report on our reading this spring.


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