From the Bookshelf

I’ll drop some book reviews and recommendations here from time to time.

I hope you’ll do the same!


Adorning the Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling and the Mystery of Making

I have been a fan of Andrew Peterson’s music for some time. His Christmas collection, Behold the Lamb of God, is on replay at my house throughout the holidays. I’ve never read his acclaimed young adult fiction series, Wingfeather Saga, but it’s clear this man is a wordsmith. Adorning the Dark is both a memoir and a handbook for any reader cultivating a creative life. And, as Peterson points out, that includes all of us. As a writer, I especially appreciated his attention to classic literature and his encouragement to learn the craft by reading good works. He applies the same direction to painters, sculptors, photographers and, of course, songwriters. Whatever calls up our God-given creativity should be honored by applying our best efforts to our craft, says Peterson. “Just as Christ is described as being ‘full of grace and truth’ (John 1:14)” so should our art “strive for a marriage of the two…Truth without beauty can be a weapon; beauty without truth can be spineless. The two together are like lyric and melody,” I didn’t want this book to end, so I especially appreciated his Afterword (Nuts and Bolts) with 15 clues to “the mystery of making.”

The Secret Life of Bees

Sue Monk Kidd’s debut novel (a New York Times bestseller published in 2002) came to me by way of a desire to read fiction which accurately depicts people of color in various time periods. I’ve read other works featuring black, Asian and Hispanic characters, but the black beekeeping sisters who guide a white girl in search of her mother in The Secret Life of Bees are the first POC whose story and very nature evoked a kinship that moved me spiritually and emotionally. The story of young Lily Owens and her quest to make sense of her mother’s death engaged me in ways I hadn’t expected. As the realities of this non-traditional (and forbidden) family unfolded, the color of our skin became irrelevant. I read this fine novel as a sister, mother and friend. Indeed, Monk Kidd’s deeply spiritual telling drew me to her nonfiction works, making me wish I had discovered her years ago. This is a novel I’ll likely pick up again.


Everything Is Yours: How Giving God Your Whole Heart Changes Your Whole Life

Author Kris Camealy lays bare her personal journey toward surrender and reminds her readers that it will be a lifelong process. If you struggle to let go and need a guide who will be vulnerable and will root her counsel in Scripture, trust Ms. Camealy’s words in her beautiful book Everything Is Yours. Not one of us finds surrender an easy task, but as we walk in the freedom that comes with letting go, we learn that God’s call to trust and lean into Him is a gift. Ms. Camealy offers examples from her life to assure us that, however difficult it is, giving God your whole heart is an act of love.

Making Peace with Change: Navigating Life’s Messy Transitions with Honesty and Grace

Both inspirational and practical, Making Peace with Change speaks to all of us. Life is riddled with changes, some huge, many small and seemingly inconsequential. The author shares her own struggles with change and gives heart-felt, practical encouragement for finding the good in circumstances beyond our control and even those we chose.

Becoming Sage: Cultivating Meaning, Purpose and Spirituality in Midlife

Author Michelle Van Loon speaks with a voice of both authority and comfort. Her writing is so well researched, while her treatment of the subjects is offered in a tone that says “we can do this.” I am a woman with a lifetime of faith, but I hope to never stop growing. In this season, I’ve cultivated that growth by engaging in spiritual practices that I have in the past taken for granted. Van Loon’s clear, encouraging principles are helping me discover how to navigate this season of “becoming sage.” The subtitle of her book lets us know we have value in the last half of our lives if we find ourselves “Cultivating Meaning, Purpose and Spirituality in Midlife.”

What recent book has moved you to tell others about it? You’re welcome to share it here.

Happy reading!



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