Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Reading Up a Mid-Summer Storm

Today I'm dropping back into your life for just a bit, a quick break from my mini blogging sabbatical.  I just had to share all the great books that are piling up here, there, and everywhere as summer reaches its peak.  For while I might not be writing these days, I am reading up a storm.

Love it.

Land of Silence -
Tessa Afshar
Christian fiction at its best ... a seamless, compelling weaving of story, history, and Scripture.  Tessa's book was voted by Library Journal as one of the top five Christian fiction titles of 2016.  Born in Iran, she came to faith in Christ in her 20s and received her M.Div. from Yale University where she cochaired of the Evangelical Fellowship at the Divinity School.  I burned the midnight oil on this one ... a worthy read for sure.

The Opposite of Worry: The Playful Parenting Approach to Childhood Anxieties and Fears -
Lawrence Cohen, Ph.D
If you have an anxious little one in your world, this will quickly become your go-to handbook.  Insightful, hopeful, practical.  I'm reading slowly, I'm earnestly recommending this little volume penned by a psychologist specializing in children's play, play therapy, and parenting.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy -
Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant
A #1 New York Times bestseller, the authors take us by the hand and walk us through stunning grief to discover resilience, joy, and renewed hope ... at home, at work, in community with others.  Sheryl's wrenching personal story and Adam's superb research blend together in a way that will grab hold of your heart as well as your mind.  I was hooked by page 2.

Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture -
Adam McHugh
Adam's The Listening Life was my favorite 2016 book {remember If You Read Only One Book This Summer ... This Is It}?  He's back with a revised and expanded edition of the first book I'd ever read on introversion.  The 2009 version was a game changer for me personally and professionally ... and I can't wait to put my feet up with this fresh read in this current era of social media's onslaught.  He's giving us a special emphasis on ministering to youth and new research on the neuroscience of introversion.  Easy to read, filled with personal stories, deeply insightful.

The Evangelicals: The Struggle to Shape America -
Frances Fitzgerald
I've been greatly disturbed with the way that evangelicalism has become so interwoven into the political fray.  I'm quite interested in diving into this 700+ page historical tome, written by a Pulitzer Prize winning author.  I'll be reading from my own Christ-centered faith perspective and encourage you to do the same if this subject has been tugging at your heart ... or if you see life through evangelical faith eyes.

*   And check out my most recent selection of not-to-be-missed posts from around the web.  You'll find an unexpected potpourri of quick inspiration on life / ministry / culture.

What pages are capturing your attention this summer?

I'd love it if you'd subscribe before you head off!  And you'll be one of the the first to know when I emerge from my mid-summer sabbatical ... 



in the stacks with 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Hitting the Pause Button

Dear Friend ~

July's been lovely, hasn't it?  I want to capture each and every grace, every unmerited favor that God has allowed me to enjoy.  Soaring squawking seagulls, little smiles, sweaty daybreak walks, comfy shorts and well-worn flip flops.

Simple suppers on the grill, the crashing sound of wind and waves, late night reading marathons, surprise answers to fervent prayers, fresh corn on the cob, conversations that go deep.

Extra helpings of patience and humor when my natural supply drastically waned.

Leisurely visits with dear friends and quart bags of blueberries safely jammed in the freezer.

And the promise of the days ahead, hopefully filled with quiet adventures with all 6 of my little people and their delightful parents.



As has become my custom, I won't be blogging for some / most of August.  I'm not all that good at multi-tasking and too much excitement drains my energy tank.  Like many of you, recent months have brought challenges, decisions, and bittersweets to our extended family.  So I plan on focusing on what's happening right in front of my nose in these next weeks.  Spending more quiet time with the Lord.  Pretty much leaving my laptop shut tight and my phone upstairs somewhere on my desk, idle and unattended.

If you leave a comment here, I'll most definitely be responding.

If you're writing online, there's a good chance I'll stop by your place but will most likely leave quietly without saying 'hi.'  I hope you won't find that rude.

If you drop me an email, I'll answer it, but not as quickly as I usually do.  I think you understand.

See you later.

And yes, I miss you already!


one final visit with 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Outdoor Bouquets + The Giveaway Winner

That whole 'lazy days of summer' anthem can turn out to be one great big disappointing myth.

If we're not careful to consider an occasional 'no, thanks' to the myriad of opportunities and invitations that descend, these long anticipated months get jam packed with far more than we intended.  And then autumn will roll on in and we'll wonder how those precious weeks vanished without a trace.

When you're done running hither and yon ... or if a rainy day holds you hostage inside the four walls, I've gathered yet another bouquet, two handfuls of online links that caught my eye in recent days.  Feel free to bookmark, to share, to tuck away for a time when you have a few minutes to spare.  I'm guessing there's 1 or 2 here that might hit home for you.

And if nothing catches your fancy?  Well ... maybe next go 'round.

Anne @ Modern Mrs. Darcy

Barbara @ one hopeful year

Jane Burnett

*   *   *

And the winner of Nichole Nordemann's


Pam Ecrement
writer  .  photographer  .  therapist  .  teacher  .  lover of God & family

Pam's a woman of keen perception and godly wisdom!
Click here to savor her written words ...


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Every Mile Mattered * The CD Giveaway

Most late Sunday afternoons find us slow driving somewhere between here and there.

Church and brunch and naps complete, we leisurely head down the back roads and sandy paths where we are assured of a slower pace, a quieter vista, less hustle and bustle than the crazymaking Route 6 which defines the Cape's major roadway.

Sometimes a familiar destination beckons, but oft' there's no clear plan in mind as we randomly wander where the Spirit seems to lead, wondering what might pop up 'round the next bend.

On our most recent chocolate milkshake fueled Sabbath interlude, every mile mattered, for Nichole Nordeman's soul soothing music accompanied our rather aimless wandering.

This one's for all the wayward journeyers, the impatient wanderers, the stubborn ones who veered off course.  Here's to all the weary travelers, the victorious survivors, the one with griefs still too great to bear.

Dove award winner, deliverer of 7 Top 5 radio singles, Nichole Nordeman is back with a message we all need to embrace as our own ... Every Mile Mattered.

She reflects ... 
'These songs have been working their way into my heart for years, long before they were bound by lyric or melody.  They are mile markers.  Places I've been.  Things I've seen, and maybe see a little differently now.  Every mile on the road mattered.  The endless miles of God's mercy and goodness.  Every bump and bruise.  The long stretches I'd rather erase.  The journey really does change us, or should, anyway.  I hope these songs offer grace to any traveler who stumbles into them.'

And all I can think of is this ... 
'And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose {Romans 8:28}.


I'm more than happy to have a copy of Nichole's brand new Every Mile Mattered CD to gift to 1 random commenter.  Yay!  Please share your own meaningful mile or two in the comments section of this post by Friday, July 21st at 9 am {eastern}, continental USA only, please.



sharing Nicole with Holley


Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.  Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Bookfest : : A Splendid Hodgepodge

I handed my card to the librarian, with a cheerful 'Good Morning!' and a bit of a smile.  

'Oh, so you're Linda Stoll!'  

'Uh, yeah,' I replied, a bit surprised as I wondered what she was getting at.

'I see your name here all the time to pick up reserved books,' she chirped.  

I smiled. 'Yep, I love reading.'


The library's been a welcoming haven, a site tinged with pleasant anticipation, a bit of a treasure trove as far back as I can remember.

The scent of many books gathered under one roof is like no other.  Scientist Matija Strlic attempts to describe it as, 'a combination of grassy notes with a tang of acids and a hint of vanilla over an underlying mustiness.'  

And in a test of unlabeled and concealed smells, a vast majority of 79 participants identified old books as smelling kind of like chocolate and coffee.

No wonder an armload of books is sheer delight! 


The year's half over, with 27 books read.  About half and half, fiction and non.  

Most of the fiction would be classified as historical fiction =  love of biographies + love of a good novel.  And yes, most of what I read is from the 36 CLAMS member libraries on the Cape and Islands.

Six Reviews ...
Pursuing Health in an Anxious Age  ~ Bob Cutillo, M.D.
'Despite all the care available to us, our society is more concerned about health than ever.  Increased technology and access to health care give us the illusion of control but can never deliver us from the limitations of our bodies.'  

This book has nothing to do with political posturing and maneuvering and everything to do with 'a bigger view of health care and a hope that is more secure than our physical wellness—hope with the power to transform our communities.'  

Dr. Bob writes from a strong faith worldview mixed with a lifetime of serving vulnerable communities here and abroad. This is a wise, gentle, intellectual offering for all Christian health care professionals as well as those with a heart for justice, the pursuit of health care for all. 

{Bonus ... Bob's wife Heather is a dear childhood friend of mine!}

Monticello : A Daughter and Her Father; A Novel ~ Sally Cabot Gunning  
I loved this novel ... complex and beautiful, detailed and mesmerizing.  You won't put it down.  Promise.

The author says, 'I can't tell you how excited I am about this novel.  When I discovered a letter Martha Jefferson wrote to her father when she was fourteen, "I wish with all my heart all the poor Negroes were freed . . . " I knew I had to read more about her.  I poured through her letters to her father and his to her and realized that she and I had embarked on a similar mission: to figure out her father. This now meant, of course, that my new mission was to figure out Martha. The relationships between father and daughter, between daughter and husband, between daughter and children, complicated by the reappearance of an old love who haunts her conscience kept me happily awake over many long nights.' 

Camino Island: A Novel ~ John Grisham
I'm a huge Grisham fan ... but this latest novel was a bit disappointing.  It's a good read, but the riveting trademark Grisham twists and turns that we've grown to love and expect were few and far between.  However, if you're fascinated with authoring and publishing, funky bookstores and mysterious rare books, the storyline will do more than hold your attention. 

The story's locale?  A seaside island.  And that makes this an ideal book to toss in your beach bag. 

Fuel Your Faith: A Practical Guide to Fueling Your Spirituality ~ Jean Wise  
This is a lovely little guidebook, not a heavy theological tome, but a source of encouragement for those who desire to cultivate a deeper, healthy spiritual life.  The author leads us to ...

•  Discover a potpourri of spiritual practices to move you from stuck to unstuck. 
•  Gather ideas applicable right away to your life to awaken your spirit.
•  Learn ways to pray, study, connect, and celebrate God’s presence.
•  Find inspiration, encouragement, and courage to explore your faith.

I appreciated Jean's thoughts on topics that are near to my heart - journaling, community, and gratitude.  And that she's offering a FREE Kindle version is an incredible grace.  She talks about her book here.  What a meaningful addition to your devotional library. 

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel ~ Barbara Kingsolver
This is my second read of this 1998 classic novel, 'a story told by the wife and four daughters of Nathan Price, a fierce, evangelical Baptist who takes his family and mission to the Belgian Congo in 1959.  They carry with them everything they believe they will need from home, but soon find that all of it—from garden seeds to Scripture—is calamitously transformed on African soil.  What follows is a suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.'

Powerful, beautifully written, disturbing, compelling.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Happens in the End ~ Atul Gawande
'In the inevitable condition of aging and death, the goals of medicine seem too frequently to run counter to the interest of the human spirit.  Nursing homes, preoccupied with safety, pin patients into railed beds and wheelchairs.  Hospitals isolate the dying, checking for vital signs long after the goals of cure have become moot.  Doctors, committed to extending life, continue to carry out devastating procedures that in the end extend suffering.'

Gawande, a practicing surgeon, addresses his profession's ultimate limitation, arguing that quality of life is the desired goal for patients and families.  He puts four simple yet profound, clarifying questions on the table that will assist those struggling with endless options, helping shed light and sanity to huge personal choices that can enable us to live well right to the end of our days.

A second read for me, I see this as a solid, vital resource for those facing life-altering medical choices ... and a must-read for every health care professional out there.


Upcoming books by two of my favorite authors ...
Adam McHugh ~
Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Introverted Culture {Revised and Expanded} - August 1
The author chats with Psychology Today about listening and introversion here.  A great interview!
Sarah Bessey ~
Everyday Resurrection: Living Out the Biggest Story Ever Told - March 2018


What books are keeping the midnight oil burning around your house?


talking books with