Chatting Books with Cheryl + Michelle + giveaway!

If we're mid-way through the month, it's time for THE BOOKBAG.  I've been writing short-ish book reviews for about 15 years now and the icing on the cake has always been connecting with so many passionate readers from all walks of life.  Over time, you guys have ramped up my curiosity, enlarged my borders, grown my faith, and toppled my TBR (to-be-read) list.  

And I can't help believing that avid readers are the most fascinating conversationalists!  That's why the comment section at the end of a bookish post is THE place to connect with like-minded people.  Be sure to join the dialogue ... and get in the running for our giveaway!


Cheryl Smith has done what many of us have dreamed of doing but never set out to accomplish.  She's complied her favorite writings into a second quiet time companion, Homespun Devotions: Volume Two50 short stories of God's loving impact on her life's journey.

My friend writes, 'Homespun Devotions: Volume Two continues a series of books that record the piecing together or many of the stories of my life and the rich spiritual truths that God has imparted along the way.  As you read these homespun narratives of faith, family, love, marriage, motherhood, friendship, and the music that is such a part of my heritage, you will discover glimpses into moments of the soul-searching and intense struggles I have experienced while journeying to a place of complete surrender to the One who bled and died for me.'

Cheryl's writing is spiritually refreshing and yes, authentically homespun. She's the real deal and I'm happy to highly recommend her second devotional not only for your personal use but also to jump-start a family devotional time if that's something your gang is lacking or has given up on.

Cheryl is generously giving a paperback copy of Homespun Devotions: Volume Two to one reader!  Please leave a comment to enter the giveaway by this Friday, March 17th, at 10 pm {eastern}, USA only.  And be sure to check back to see if you've been randomly chosen!

Sorry - I am not able to track the winner down or ask for your name and mailing address!  I must have your snail mail address within 48 hours or, sadly, you will forfeit your book.
linda stoll @ juno . com



I seldom watch the news anymore (it ratcheted up my anxiety level), but I do appreciate a good read from those who've served on the frontlines, no matter what their political persuasion.  Every person has their own unique storyline woven from a lifetime of influences, especially those early formative years.  I find this reality to make for fascinating and informative reading.  

Both of these authors go there.  Come with an open mind and a discerning heart.

The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times
Michelle Obama
- on empathy -
'For each little point of connection between us, I also felt the possibilities for a kind of understanding that went beyond the things we shared.  Because the truth is, for whatever we have in common, there is plenty we do not.  We are different.  The same way you can't truly know the innermost contours of my life or feelings, I can't know yours ... 

All I can do is try to draw closer to your uniqueness, to feel linked by the small overlaps between us.  This is how empathy works.  It's how differentness starts to weave itself into togetherness.  Empathy fills the gaps between us, but never closes them entirely.  We get pulled into the lives of others by virtue of what they feel safe and able to show us, and the generosity with which we are able to meet them ... I think the most we can ever do, really, is to walk partway across the bridge toward another person and feel humbled that we get to be there at all.'

So Help Me God
Mike Pence
- on forgiveness -
'The truth was, as reckless as the president's tweet was, I really didn't have time for it.  Rioters were ransacking the Capitol.  Some of them, I was later told, were chanting, "Hang Mike Pence!"  The president had decided to be part of the problem.  I was determined to be part of the solution.  I ignored the tweet and got back to work.'

'I was still angry at how his reckless words had endangered my family and all those serving at the Capitol.  President Trump was wrong, I had no right to overturn the election ... That said, I believe in forgiveness.  My faith instructs me to "forgive those who trespass against us," and the Bible also admonishes to "forgive as the Lord forgave you."  I have been shown grace in my life.  So that morning I prayed for the strength to meet the remaining days of our administration in that spirit.  But that was easier said than done.'
(466 & 476)


When Michelle Watson asked me to join her for a Page-Turners by the Dozen feature, I couldn't say yes please fast enough.  Click here to meet 12 reviewers and authors talk about our favorite all time page-turners.  

Michelle puts out a weekly 'balm for your bookish soul' newsletter with reviews, printables, and all kinds of worthwhile goodies.  I love it.  Click here to subscribe.


Brene Brown


The Last Song
Nicholas Sparks


Lauren Winner

Sarah Young

What's on the top of your TBR pile?

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linking with Anne & Paula & Jeanne & Donna & Richella & Lisa

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