Tuesday, November 13, 2018

The Bookbag & The Giveaway * November 2018

It's that time of month again, friends, where we're talking books, sharing all those great links and finds, resources and reading-related goodies with one another.

It's like a book club open house.

And I love doing this with you. 

A great big welcome to Modern Mrs Darcy readers.  Each month hundreds of you well-read book aficionados drop in around the 15th for Quick Lit, 'where we share short and sweet book reviews of what we've been reading lately.'  Please know I'm so very happy whenever you find your way here.  Feel free to sit quietly and soak up the conversation ... or jump right on into the discussion in the comment section.  This is a safe and welcoming place, not at all cliquey.

And be sure that if you take the time to leave a comment, I'll be returning that grace over at your place.  That's how we roll around here.

* * * This month, I'm excited to be giving away a copy of one of my ALL - TIME beloved books from one of my favorite authors, Adam McHugh, Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture {revised and expanded}.  Read on ...


You are such an incredible resourcer of great books, Linda!  I know I can count on you to find the latest inspirational read or two! 

I always love your book reviews/recs.  Thank you!

When I read your lists, I am always left wondering if we are bookish twins that were separated at birth . . .

You always leave us with so many good choices!

I get excited when I see "The Bookbag" in my news reader!  Your books always look so inviting to me too, Linda.

I always enjoy a peak into your book bag, Linda!

Linda! So kind of you to share about Rhythms of Rest.  I'm honored and humbled by your generosity. You've got some great recommendations in your list and what a gift to be included among them!

Invitation to Retreat: The Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God -
Ruth Haley Barton
I've always considered Ruth to be a mentor-from-afar.  Her books on women in ministry were much-needed companions early on.  And Invitation to Solitude and Silence was an absolute game-changer in my life, kind of a north star reorienting me to what was most urgent and valuable in the growth of my faith.

Earlier this year we did a 6 session discussion on that book right here on the blog.  If you missed it, I encourage you to head here to read through readers' heartfelt insights and hard won observations in the comment sections.  It truly was one of 2018's highlights.

Back to Retreat.  This is a fine book, a lovely guidebook for retreating well.  We're not talking ice-breakers and party games, friends.  We're talking about a gentle invitation to intimacy with God, a 'yes' for souls who are parched and yearning for something deeper that can only be discovered in the still and solitary places.

As Ruth said, 'many of us are looking for more - and we have a sense that there is more if we could create more space for quiet to give attention to God at the center of our beings.'  I've attended one of her retreats and I can testify that not only is our yearning real, but there is a re-fueling for our weariness that awaits those who open themselves up to the Spirit's wooing.

Invitation to Retreat podcasts start this week.  I'm betting they're going to be a rich offering.  Click here to go there.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis -
Patti Callahan
In the last year, I've become a great big fan of historical fiction.  And hands down, Patti Callahan's beautiful saga of the intimate relationship between C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman is now tops on my list.  Captivating, enthralling, all those good things.  The dialogue is so real and rich, their journey into the depths of intellectual and spiritual truths so mesmerizing.  And yes, love finds a way although there are numerous twists and turns that finally take them there.

This is an absolute MUST READ for your book club.  There are so many layers to unearth and reflect on.  Be sure to tell me what you think.

Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture {revised and expanded} - Adam S. McHugh
Way back in 2009, Adam opened up a whole new world of understanding for this introvert.  Who I authentically was deep in my soul.  How that impacted the way I related, my reaction to stress and crowds and craziness, how I preferred to do community, and the potential for non-Type A people like me to lead in the church.

I saw myself in every page.  It was quite the adventure.

Adam's back with this updated edition with a renewed emphasis on 'celebrating our temperament and embracing the gifts we have to offer society and the church.'  I, for one, am so happy that he's opened the dialogue yet once again and I want to share a FREE copy of this, one of my favorite books of all time with you.

Read on to find out about this giveaway.

And if you want a peek at Adam's writing and our lengthy discussion earlier this year, head right over to my post Adam McHugh Is In the House! where you can get to know Adam and check out a fabulous book open house on his other outstanding book, The Listening Life.

Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff -
Myquillyn Smith
What a fun book to page through!  If your house is kind of blah and uninspiring, Myquillyn walks you through the steps to seeing your home with fresh eyes and getting brave enough to reconfigure what already's there.  She's practical and not at all pretentious, having lived in a number of rentals along the way.

You might be surprised at the order in which she proceeds, but if you follow her lead, I'm guessing you're going to be very, very happy with the results!  This is a laid back, completely unintimidating journey toward clearing out and then cozying up your home, wise suggestions on needed purchases, keeping what you love and use ... and saying 'farewell' to all the random tchotchkes and stuff that's taken up residence in your rooms.

I'd love to hear your stories.

Anne Bogel

Susan Orlean

Michele Morin

Emily Belz

To enter the giveaway of a copy of Introverts in the Church: Finding Our Place in an Extroverted Culture {revised and expanded}, leave a comment on this post by Friday, November 16th at 6 pm {eastern}.  U.S. only.  Please be sure that your contact information is readily available when I click on your name.  You may enter via email as well.  Send your comment to lindastoll @ juno . com

Whatcha been reading in recent weeks?



Congrats to the winner
Lisa Burgess


The Ellie Clair Art Journal Giveaway

The Chris Tomlin HOLY ROAR CD Giveaway 

Loose Ends newsletters 

The Bookbag posts

and more!



talking books with

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

5 Choices That Are Saving My Life This Fall

Every once in a while, I like to jot down a few life-savers that are bringing some sort of stillness or sanity or grace to my daily routines.  Forever a student, I'm learning to be more fully present to what's going on right in front of me rather than being distracted by every random happening that wanders through my brain or intersects with my field of vision.

Multi-tasking is so last year, ya' know?

And the older you get, the lousier you are at doing it well.

I'm learning to focus on one thing at a time, preferably the person right in front of me.  I'm getting the knack of letting go of things that aren't mine to fix or control.  I'm listening to my body telling me what it's yearning for.  A drink of cold water.  A short afternoon snooze.  A healthy snack.  A brisk walk in the leaves.  An evening with absolutely no screens up and running.  A great big hug.

A hefty piece of chocolate.

Here's 5 choices that tend to recalibrate and redeem my days:

1.  Invite light to shine bright.
New England can be a gray place to be this time of year.  So the shades in the bedroom go up right after my feet hit the floor.  Every window in our home is curtain-less and I like it that way.  Two Yankee Candles in a luscious sweet fig scent get lit mid-afternoon.  Candles in the windows and the dining room chandelier get put to work around dusk ... which these days is shortly after 4 pm.

2.  Tuck a small book in your bag.
A bit weary of endlessly scrolling through my phone or paging through 4 month old magazines in waiting rooms has led me to bring along a little something to read while idling time away.  Keeping me company while waiting for a haircut yesterday was Maria's winsome and practical I've Been Thinking: Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life {especially the prayers at each chapter's end}.  My next carry along will most likely be a re-read of Anne's already beloved I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life.  {My review is here.}

3.  Get outdoors each day.
Even 10 - 15 minutes is better than lapsing into permanent couch-potato mode.  Catching a few rays.  Tending the remnants of flowers that refuse to give up hope.  Sweeping the patio of leaves and debris.  Great big bonus points for chatting with a neighbor or going for a long walk.

4.  Reach out via pen and paper.
It's become way too easy to shoot off texts right and left.  I'm resurrecting all those pretty note cards that have been tucked away for far too long, pulling out the colored pens, stamps, stickers, and occasional bits of confetti {when appropriate} to slip quietly into an envelope.  This week's notes have included a few thank-you's, a get well card, several 'atta-girl!' notes to granddaughters, a very few carefully chosen words to a grieving new friend.

5.  Agree with what God is doing.
In stilling myself and my schedule, I'm better able to listen for the Holy Spirit's nudges to pray for someone.  Chances are I've already told Him how I feel about a situation and what I hope He will do.  More and more I'm abandoning my laundry list of things He should be aware of {like He doesn't know?!} and my tendency to want to figure out and control outcomes.  So these prayers are turning out to be more agreeing with what He is doing, praying that His will be done, and offering up praise, praise, and more praise in the process.  Especially when I'm not able to understand His mysterious plans and can't fathom His timing.

I'm curious about what's saving your life this fall ... do tell!

P.S.  You might like

Up next?  I'm giving away a copy of one of my favorite books of all-time!  Subscribe here so you won't miss out, ok?


visiting with 

Sunday, November 4, 2018

NIV Adventure Bible, Polar Exploration Edition * 2 Giveaways!

Hands down, there's no more important gift to give a child than their very own copy of God's Word.

I couldn't be more excited about sharing this giveaway, a golden opportunity to receive one of TWO copies of the NIV Adventure Bible, Polar Exploration Edition, a beautiful 1472 page, $29.99 value.


With over 9 million copies sold, the Adventure Bible brand is the #1 children's Bible, beloved by families, Christian schools, and churches. 
Embark on a fun, exciting trek through God’s Word, now in an all-new polar exploration theme!  While on this arctic adventure, readers meet all types of people, see all sorts of places, and learn all kinds of facts about the Bible, designed to draw 8 - 12 year olds {grades 3 - 7} closer in their relationship with God.
  • The same trusted Adventure Bible content in a frosty new theme
  • Full-color images of polar animals, arctic outposts, and icy landscapes throughout make learning about the Bible even more engaging
  • Life in Bible Times—Articles and illustrations describe what life was like in ancient days
  • Words to Treasure—Highlights great verses to memorize
  • Did You Know?—Interesting facts help kids understand God’s Word and the life of faith
  • People in Bible Times—Articles offer close-up looks at amazing people of the Bible
  • Live It!—Hands-on activities help kids apply biblical truths to their life
  • Twenty polar-themed pages focus on topics such as how to know you are a Christian, famous people of the Bible, highlights of the life of Jesus, and how to pray
  • Book introductions feature arctic art and important information about each book of the Bible
  • Dictionary/concordance for looking up tricky words
  • Color map section to help locate places in the Bible
  • Complete text of the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible
  • Cool glacial cover on metallic paper

To enter the giveaway for one of two Bibles, please leave a comment on this post by Thursday, November 8th at 9 am {Eastern}.  U.S. residents only.  One Bible is being provided by FlyBy Promotions and one Bible is provided by me.

Your kids, grandkiddos, nieces, nephews, brothers, sisters, godchildren, friends, students, and church libraries are ready and waiting!

Think Christmas, birthdays, baptisms, award ceremonies, baby showers!

Congratulations to our 2 Giveaway Winners

Faith Spilling Over


Cycleguy's Spin

More giveaways coming this month!
Subscribe here 
to get in on the surprises, 
Loose Ends newsletters,
The Bookbag posts,
and more!



connecting with 


Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC's 16 CFR, Part 255:  Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising):  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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Loose Ends * October 2018

Dear Friends ~

Frost sparkled on the porch roof as I looked down from the bedroom window this morning.  Any doubts that autumn had arrived quickly disappeared as I smiled at those icy diamonds sparkling in the sunshine.

This was the week that the last of the summer clothes were stored away in my big ol' childhood dresser in the corner of the basement.  The week where I hunted for slipper socks in the dead of night because I couldn't get warm enough ... and the week I finally stocked up on a ridiculous number of cinnamon sticks for future mugs of mulled cider. 

And yes, even though I was not at all ready for its arrival this year and held on to summertime as long I possibly could, this is my favorite season.  

In the next few days, we'll plug the electric blanket in, get those storm doors installed, place the candles in awaiting windows, and roll out the carpet, literally, in the living room.

Autumn, I'm so very glad you've come and settled in.  You are most welcome here.

The Lazy Genius Collective

Michelle DeRusha

Kristen Milligan

Kimi Harris

RAINN {Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network}

Sara Austin

Emily Freeman

Addie Zierman

J.R. Briggs

I've got a love / hate relationship with technology.  

Figuring out how to get a DVD going requires focused concentration on clearly written step-by-step instructions. Panic creeps in quickly when a password refuses to let me into a must-access website.  These days, I do my online business with a bit more purpose and then close the laptop and go on my way.  A twinge of relief and a sense of freedom washes over me ... and if possible, I think the rapidly aging laptop feels the same way.  

This month I deleted 1300+ emails.  Removed my name from a bunch of lists and unsubscribed from a few blogs.  Maintained my goal of having an almost delightfully empty inbox by the end of most days.  If that's your goal, too, you'll probably enjoy my post, In Praise of the Empty Inbox.

My faithful phone died a slow, peaceful death after 4 years of service.  I'm still learning how to navigate my new phone and in the process have chosen to refuse an endless parade of intrusive notifications startling me with obnoxious noises.  Yes, I hear the phone when a call comes in, a little blue light blinks politely when an email hits the inbox, and a single inobtrusive bing lets me know when a text arrives.  

As much as possible, gentle silence has become my byword and my lifeline.

Peace, be still.

Last week it was the Chris Tomlin Holy Roar CD.  In the weeks ahead I'll be donning my Santa hat and be working overtime to share some sweet gift-giving giveaways with you, my dear and faithful readers!  

I've lined up some treasures for you including one of my favorite books ever.  A beautiful art journal.  The NIV Adventure Bible: Polar Exploration Edition for kids.

And who knows what else?!

Click here to subscribe so you don't miss an opportunity to jump right into these giveaways!  I'm so excited!


If you're a regular around here, you'll recall Pam and Becky's book, Bring Me a Vision: A Story of Redeeming HopeClick here to read my review.

Pam sent a recent email with this link - 'Praising the Lord for this great blessing for RAHAB and eager to share this with you!! 

And then Becky followed up with this message -
Hi Linda, Becky here. 

First of all thank you for your review of Bring Me A Vision. You are spot on when you cover the importance of having someone in our lives to come along side us to help the broken see their worth. Pam has been and still is that person for me! 

You had asked about the plans for the grant that Rahab was awarded.  Although there are many arms to the ministry I would say that the Safe Houses are the most costly.  With this grant Rahab will be able to move forward to open its 18 bed home for the minor victims of sex trafficking.  The home is complete and paid for however the cost of staffing and operating such an enormous home is approximately $500,000 annually.  Some funds will be put in reserve for emergency as well.  The other vision for the ministry is to open a home that will be for Mom's with children. The needs are endless and the money will help meet some of those needs.

We continue to thank the Lord for all His provision and remain obedient to His calling for Rahab.

Thank you again, for support and for prayers!

I'm glad that Pam and Becky have let me share their good news with you all.  Click here to check out what God is doing at RAHAB

This has been a rough season for our country.  Seemingly unsolvable divisions abound.  Our national discourse is rough and harsh, kindness is in desperately short supply, and it seems like there's no end in sight.

As Christ-followers, while we might strongly differ with others on politics or policies, we are called to love our neighbors well.  Our fellow sojourner across the aisle is not the enemy.  The Enemy of our souls prowls around looking for whoever he can devour.  The evil one can only rejoice in our combative rhetoric, our distinct lack of lovingkindness, and our blood pressure raising dialogue.

I rest peacefully knowing God is in control.  All our hope rests in Him.  He is the One we trust.  Praying that His will be done loosens my own opinionated agenda, allows me to have a better chance to respectfully listen to those I might not agree with, and respond in ways that truly honor Christ.

More days than not, I've been turning off the news sooner rather than later ... and find myself singing quietly as I go about my business, 'Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy on us.'

Be kind.  For everyone you meet
 is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
- author unknown -

Be kind and compassionate to one another
forgiving each other,
 just as in Christ God forgave you.
- Ephesians 4:32 -

Kind comments only, please ...


Connecting with