Sunday, March 17, 2019

JOMO . . . Here I Come!

Let’s invest in our own space well. Our interior spaces, our living spaces, our relational spaces. Let’s quiet ourselves, simmer down, be content with less stimulation, inspiration, and opinions. Let’s mind our own affairs, working with faithfulness within our homes, jobs, and resources, with full focus, clarity, and bringing the first-fruits of our best selves.  
Aimee Kollmansberger
A Middle Mercies Blog Post


It's the joy of missing out.  It's replaced FOMO.  The fear of missing out.  And I'm all in.


This is my last post for a few weeks.  Or four or six.  I don't know when I'm coming back.  All I know is I will return at some point.

Lord willing.

Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
- 2 Corinthians 9:7

As winter crawls to a close, I've been feeling that old striving creeping in ... those vexing whispers of ought or should or must or need to when it comes to blogging.  These demanding kind of taskmasters have the propensity to knock a cheerful heart right out of commission.  They serve as rather persistent informants that things have gotten a bit off kilter.  

For any wisps of authentic creative energy or spiritual insight are held hostage and rendered ineffective when reluctance or compulsion come to call, put their feet up, and burrow into one's heart-space.


I've been craving more peaceful stillness in extended times with God.  I am sitting, listening, reflecting these days with these two women and am finding them to be excellent quiet time companions.  These superb resources are encouraging me to slow way down and focus more fully on the Lord rather than what might be awaiting on my ever-present phone.

Christ-centered, calming, soul nourishment.

'Spring cleaning for the soul.'  Yes, please.   


As the weather warms up a bit, I'm heading outdoors again ... walking, exploring, connecting with people and discovering new places and opportunities that are in front of me, right here, right now.  And I'm more than happy to return home to putter and create and make and re-imagine and rearrange my surroundings.

And I have an upcoming procedure to remove a little fingertip 'thorn in the flesh.'  Literally.  Ugh.  Knowing that tapping away at a keyboard might be a bit painful for a time has been the needed confirmation to say yes to God's whispered prompts to embrace a blogging sabbatical.


I'll respond to any comments you leave, will pop in on LinkedIn from time to time, and you might spot me at a blog here and there.  But otherwise, my footprints will be light and my voice will be fairly still. 

Honestly, I'm missing you already.  Truly.  I'm guessing it'll take a bit of time to detox from the blogging schedule I've embraced this winter.  Releasing and reclaiming the time and energy I invest in this space will require some focused effort.

But all will be well.

the winner of the 
$25 Amazon gift card
is the gifted writer


photo by

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Becoming Mrs. Lewis * Book Club & Giveaway #4

I can't believe this is our last Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis Book Club session.

* sigh  *

You're telling me that you've really appreciated the dialogue following the posts, that you've heard the heart of your sister readers, that you've been nudged to go a little deeper in discerning how you feel about challenging issues you might not have considered before.

And some of you never wanted the book to end ... as Pam Ecrement so eloquently put it, 'I have finished the book, but as I did so I slowed each paragraph and sentence savoring it as one would the deliciousness of the very finest chocolate as it melts in your mouth. I didn't want to stop tasting it.'

It's not too late to backtrack and jump in on the topics at hand ... you can grab your Kindle edition right now.  Every person who leaves a comment {limit 2 per post!} on any of the four Book Club posts will be eligible for a $25 Amazon gift card.  {U.S. only ... and please be sure your comment links to your contact info.} 

The winner will be announced this weekend!

So, here we go ... another lovely video chat with author Patti Callahan and a few quotes to prime the conversational pump ...

watch video on YouTube


'The Truth: I was beloved of God.

Finally I could stop trying to force someone or something else to fill that role.

The pain of shattered illusion swept through me like glass blown through a room after a bomb.

All had been turned around.'
{Joy, chapter 44, page 324}


'Hadn't God known all along?  Hadn't he seen the cancer growing, eating away at my insides?  Could he not have intervened in human form?  Sent a doctor to diagnosis it long before it ate me alive?

How could my body have gone on destroying me while I mustered my courage and resolve to rebuild a new life?  My body worked against me as I tried hard, so bloody hard, to start over?  Couldn't one doctor of the dozens I'd seen notice that cancer ravaged my body?  That it coursed through my flesh?

I wanted to cry, "Thy will be done."  It would be the best thing if I could, but instead, alone in that hospital room, I wept long, hot tears of despair and begged God for a miracle.'
{Joy, chapter 51, page 363}


"It is not hopeless," he said with surety.  "It is uncertain, and this is the cross God always give us in life, uncertainty.  But it is not hopeless."
{Jack, chapter 52, page 368}


'But just because we love God and are committed to him doesn't mean we are exempt from the pain and loss in this world.  We can't ask to be the exceptions.'
{Joy, chapter 54, page 378}


The author pens a number of pointed discussion questions at the end of the book.  A sampling ...
Did you know much about Joy Davidman before you read this novel?  Did you come with preconceived notions of who she was?  How did those change during the novel?  What was the most surprising part of this story for you?

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<<  The Bookbag ... and Share-Your-Link!

JOMO ... Here I Come!  >>

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Bookbag . . . and Share-Your-Link!

'Decades had passed and I was three thousand miles away, but I felt like I had been lifted up and whisked back to that time and place, back to the scenario of walking into the library with my mother.  

Nothing had changed - there was the same soft tsk-tsk-tsk of pencil on paper, and the muffled murmuring from patrons at the tables in the center of the room, and the creak and groan of book carts, and the occasional papery clunk of a book dropped on a desk.'
Page 11


This is the place where we make room
for each other to unpack our bookbags!

Bloggers, I'd love for you to include the link to 
your recent book post in the comments!  
I'm curious / nosy / fascinated as to what y'all 
are paging through.


- Barbara Bradley Hagerty -

Life Reimagined: The Science, Art, and Opportunity of Midlife
Barbara Bradley Hagerty
Don't let the title throw you.  This is in no way a scientific tome, but a lovely exploration of the opportunities that midlife opens to all from 40 - 65.  I was delighted to see that I still fit the category.

If you like Brene Brown, you'll like Barbara Hagerty, that compelling combination of astute researcher and delightful storyteller.  Expect to toss that whole mid-life crisis mindset to the wind, and be challenged to live with purpose, challenge your brain to work smarter, and invest fresh energy into your relationships even as you're open to reinventing your professional work.

Two quotes I've tucked in my pocket ...
'Your thinking, your approach to triumphs and defeats, joys and pain and losses, the stuff no one escapes - that calibrates one's happiness.'

'How will I use these glorious days remaining to me?'
Kindle - $11.99
Paperback - $10.87

The Library Book
Susan Orlean
A book for all true library aficionados.  From the author's own personal investigation of the disastrous 1986 L.A. Public Library fire, to the joys of books, the life of librarians, the quirkiness of those who hang out in these beloved public buildings, the behind the scenes ins and outs of the magical world of books that have captured the essence of who we are ... this is a must read for your book club.

If the library's long been your best, safest friend ... if you crave the scent, the touch, the heft of a much-borrowed book in your hands, this one's for you, friend.
Kindle - $14.99
Hardcover - $17.98

Taste and See: Discovering God among Butchers, Bakers, & Fresh Food Makers
Margaret Feinberg
Margaret's approach to life and God's Word and all things culinary is refreshing, winsome, a breath of fresh air.  If you're a foodie, you'll find her book will nurture something deep in your soul.  Meanwhile, pack your bag and go exploring olive orchards, Texas butchers, and descend 410 feet into a salt mine.  Along the way you'll discover the delights of fish and figs and bread, some fun new recipes ... and the depths of God's Word for today's day and culture.

Here's a great little interview with Margaret on the secret spirituality of food.

This book would be a delightful boost to a waning devotional time ... and there's even a DVD series for small groups that would spark interest in the connection between God's Word and the delicious creation He's given us to enjoy.
Kindle - $7.99
Paperback - $11.55
6 Session DVD & Leader Guide {video notes, group discussion questions, personal study & reflection materials} - $24.87

Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love 
Dani Shapiro
You will not put this down.  Promise.  Author Shapiro grabs hold of readers and takes us on a whirlwind exploration into the world of secrets, paternity, the destruction and reimagination of her entire heritage and how she views her identity.  Along the way, she leads the reader through the murkiness of DNA testing, artificial insemination, medical ethics and the rapid development of technology.

A gripping, fascinating read for your book club, sure to spark some important dialogue.
Kindle - $3.99!!
Hardcover - $16.48

The Minimalist Home: A Room-by-Room Guide to a Decluttered, Refocused Life 
Joshua Becker
Joshua's a low-pressure, guilt-free, minimalist guide, taking the reader through one project, one room at a time, step by step, inviting you to a simpler, less stress lifestyle.  I do love this book because I've seen the impact of minimizing possessions in my own life and home ... the endless collectibles, the boring tchotchkes, the clothes you never reach for, the junk that seems to multiply overnight.

Truth is you do end up feeling freer and lighter and less encumbered and stressed out.  Absolutely.

Unexpected bonuses of this book include a minimalism maintenance guide, a discussion on downsizing your home, and living a more purposeful life once our possessions aren't running the show.

'Sometimes we think we're honoring our departed loved ones by keeping their stuff, but let's ask ourselves if they would want us to be burdened by their belongings. Doubtful.  The best way to honor those who loved us is to live our best life possible, not to be weighted down by their things.'

Enough said.
Kindle - $11.99
Hardcover - $13.51

Dear Jesus: Seeking His Light in Your Life
Sarah Young
I've been a huge Jesus Calling fan for years ... personally, in my own devotional times, but also for use at the end of counseling sessions.  Sarah's soothing words point directly to the Lover of our souls and have a beautifully calming, recalibrating effect on anxious hearts.

I love this newer volume, Dear Jesus, even more!  The aqua and gold colors are soothing to the eye, and the author inserts complete Scripture verses into each of the 120 daily dialogues with Jesus, not just the reference, which makes it perfect for spending 5 minutes quietly meditating on specific Scripture verses after you read the day's offering.

I'm guessing this is my third go round on this, my favorite devotional of all time ... and I've used dozens of books along the way.  This little gem is just the right size to fit in your bag or keep on your guest room nightstand.  A super graduation or birthday gift.

And look at the Kindle price.  Yes, please!
Kindle - $5.99!!
Hardcover - $14.48


Sharalee Armitage Howard

Anne Bogel

Self-Development Secrets

A bookstore owner was in the hospital.
So his competitors came and kept his shop open.
Allison Klein

Miracles and Other Reasonable Things: 
A Story of Unlearning and Relearning God
Sarah Bessey

The Next Right Thing: 
A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions
Check out Emily's cool pre-order bonus
Emily P. Freeman

Glorious Weakness: Discovering God In All We Lack
Alia Joy

The Last Year of the War
Susan Meissner

The book is riveting ... the videos, stunning ... and the conversations around our virtual table have been heartfelt, sometimes quite 'fervent,' and deeply thought-provoking.  It's not too late to join the party ... grab your Kindle edition and join right on in.  

Every person who leaves a comment {limit 2 per post!} on any of the four Book Club posts will be eligible for a $25 Amazon gift card.  {U.S. only ... and please be sure your comment links to your contact info.}  The winner will be announced a few days after our final March 14th discussion.  

Start right here.

Bloggers, I'd love you to share the link to your latest book-related post with my readers in the comment section!  Please be sure to catch their bookish eye with a quick overview or a highlight or two ... 

Dear book lovers, please encourage these writers by visiting their sites ... and tell them Linda sent you!  

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book prices were accurate 
at time this post was published


sharing good reads with
Anne  .  Mary  .  Kelly  .  Sue  .  Diane

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Becoming Mrs. Lewis * Book Club & Giveaway #3

Well, hello again ... and welcome back to our third in a series of four Book Club gatherings.  I hope you don't mind my arriving in your inbox a day early!  

If you're new around here, we've been sharing focused conversation on Patti Callahan's historical fiction bestseller, Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis.  Whether you've been steadily sharing your heart in the comment section ... or are quietly sitting on the sidelines soaking it all in, I'm so glad you're here.

And no, it's not too late to join us!  You can grab your Kindle edition and jump right in.  Or leave a comment even if you're not reading the book.  Absolutely.

I want to call your attention to an exceptional interview that Christianity Today did with Patti Callahan ... Joy Davidman: The Woman Who Wanted Something More.  This is must reading, especially if you've been unsettled about the intersection of Joy's 'heartbreakingly slow' faith journey and her blossoming relationship with Lewis.

Patti says, 'I approached the pages with humble reverence but also with the knowledge that they were both human and their pedestals were just as cracked as anyone’s. I didn’t want to portray the marble image but, instead, the woman and the man in their daily struggles, doubts, and fears as best I could ... 

Joy and Jack's story isn't meant to be a lesson in Christianity or a how-to book on living a good life.  If I wrote this novel to reach anyone with a message, it would feel insincere.  The story reaches our hearts because it is true and because it involves the suffering and joy that comes with intimate connection, the meaningful search for God, and the effort to make sense of what seems senseless.'

A superb piece.  A lovely melding of grace and truth.

- Christianity Today


Thanks for letting me know that you're finding the videos to be glorious and informative.  I'm happy to have stumbled onto this little series during my research for the Book Club.  I almost feel like I'm right there with you, touring Oxford on a bright spring afternoon, soaking in the old beautiful brick architecture, traipsing through the woods, glimpsing the captivating gardens.  Oh, wouldn't that be fun?

For sure, these little online jaunts have turned out to be the icing on the cake, haven't they ...

watch video on YouTube

As ever, this week's quotes below are available for you to weigh in on.  I'm especially interested in what's caught your eye and grabbed your heart in your reading.

May your words display that lovely melding of grace and truth mentioned above.  May our dialogue be even warmer and more gracious because you came by to visit.

Every person who leaves a comment {limit 2 per post!} on any of the four Book Club posts will be eligible for a $25 Amazon gift card.  {U.S. only ... and please be sure your comment links to your contact info.}  The winner will be announced a few days after our final March 14th discussion.


'Discernment fell down on me with great weight: You must know when it's enough ... and I must trust God - again and again I was learning and relearning to trust the Truth who had entered my sons' nursery.  The rusty and decrepit habit of trusting in only myself, only abiding in my own ability to make things happen, died hard and slow.'
{Joy, chapter 40, page 294}


'When love becomes a god it becomes a devil.'
{Jack, chapter 43, page 318}


'I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer.  You are yourself the answer.  Before your face questions die away.

Questions that die away.

Answers I sought.

Questions that haunt.

All my life I'd been searching outside myself for the answer to this one inquiry: do you love me?

Seeking, always seeking.  Always scrambling.  Always losing.  This I'd thought more times than I could count, this is the answer and this is the mask and this is the way.'
{Joy, chapter 44, page 323}

What are you discovering about yourself 
as you make your way through this story?  

And what are you learning about God's redemptive love?

If you've written a post on Becoming Mrs. Lewis 
or have come across some Joy resources, 
please do share those links ...

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