Archives for posts with tag: Ann Voskamp

BookClub1I had good intentions of simplifying my life. I’d just take a year off of the whole Simply Faithful book club thing.

Who needs the hassle of scheduling interviews with authors? The struggle to balance work and home and extra reading? The nervousness of keeping up with Facebook chats?

Apparently, I do.

I’ve missed the Simply Faithful book club, and I’ve missed visiting with you.

Can we try this again? Can we read spiritual books together as a community?

The last time we did this was in 2012, and I picked a non-fiction book by Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts. That summer, we read the novel Rooms by James Rubart, and then in the fall, I chose three books for children.

This time, I’ll announce a non-fiction book on Feb. 3. I’ll sprinkle in discussion questions on www.simplyfaithful.com for the following six weeks. Then, we’ll host an online chat with the author in late March.

I’ll be looking for people willing to host in-person gatherings the night of the author chat. I’d like people to open up their homes, or their places of worship or their favorite coffee shops and invite their friends to meet and talk about the book – and I’d like those hosts to help with the technology that night because we don’t want anyone left out of the discussion just because they aren’t familiar with Facebook or Google Chat or whichever platform we settle on.

Then, I’ll announce the fiction book June 9 and we’ll chat with that author toward the end of July.

Now, in the meantime, I’d love to hear your book suggestions. What books do you think we should all read? Are there authors you would love to visit with? 

I really enjoy discovering great authors who haven’t had a lot of attention, so feel free to suggest first-time or little-known authors. I also like introducing topics that people of all faiths would be interested in discussing.

My one stipulation is that the author needs to – how do I say this delicately – be alive. It makes interviewing the author and hosting a chat for readers much easier.

Give it some thought. Talk it over with your friends who like to read, and let me know by Jan. 20 what books you’d recommend.

I’m looking forward to reading and learning with you again.

Watch2

It flashed across my screen, this question about how to be closer to God when daily commitments are pulling and tugging at the seams of good intentions.

I thought at first maybe it was a question meant for someone else, someone who dutifully spends an hour each morning reading and praying. But she meant it for me, a mother whose house is rarely quiet and whose life is anything but routine, so I prayed and began my answer.

It starts with how we view time.

13AdventLogoSquareIt’s not a matter of carving out an hour to dedicate to God, it’s about realizing that every hour belongs to him. Every moment and every task. The nine minutes after you hit the snooze button and roll over in bed, the commute to work, the hours spent typing or tinkering, the 10 minutes spent folding each load of laundry. That’s his time, too.

You pray in the shower. You tuck a devotional in your purse. You put a Bible on your bookcase at work. You read books about faith to your children and listen to spiritual music while you wash dishes. You watch the ordinary unfold before your eyes and you search for the extraordinary, the thread that leads you back to God and his handiwork.

When you find God in those little moments, he becomes seamlessly part of your day.

I also like the idea of praying at certain times of the day, something I’ve seen while visiting the Trappist monks at the Abbey of the Genesee. I imagine it stitches the hours together and steadies the life. One of the monks suggested that those of us outside of the monastery set alarms on our telephones and computers – that we use everyday objects to call us to prayer.

IMG_1274

And that pesky Ann Voskamp, a writer who makes it hard to splash around in shallow spiritual water, has been urging people to memorize scripture. I think secretly she’s talking to me. I fell out of the habit of memorizing scriptures back in middle school, and I hadn’t thought of it much until the author of “One Thousand Gifts” reminded us how important it is to commit words to memory, to heart.

I’ll start my memorization work in January because this woman who asked the question, well, she’s not alone in wanting to be closer to God.

watercolor cross1

I like how Ann Voskamp calls it a visible parable… how her mix of moss and dirt and stones tells the story of Jesus’ resurrection. I like how other writers — other people of faith — take sticks from the yard, fashion them into crosses and drape the purple of Lent around the middle cross to symbolize the one where our Jesus died.

The Internet is full of ideas for resurrection gardens, of Easter projects that ask us to make hope tangible.

watercolor cross3A few days ago my bunch sat around the kitchen table and made watercolor crosses. All of us, from 2 to 41, dipped the brush into water and then swirled the color. We used tape to map out the cross, and in the end, only the cross was left white. All that chaos of color and still there was Christ, there was hope.

I meant to turn our masterpieces into Easter cards, but now I’m not sure they will all be mailed away. We might need a few here, too. A few visible parables of our own.

watercolor cross2

Watch2It flashed across my screen, this question about how to be closer to God when daily commitments are pulling and tugging at the seams of good intentions.

I thought at first maybe it was a question meant for someone else, someone who dutifully spends an hour each morning reading and praying. But she meant it for me, a mother whose house is rarely quiet and whose life is anything but routine, so I prayed and began my answer.

It starts with how we view time.

It’s not a matter of carving out an hour to dedicate to God, it’s about realizing that every hour belongs to him. Every moment and every task. The nine minutes after you hit the snooze button and roll over in bed, the commute to work, the hours spent typing or tinkering, the 10 minutes spent folding each load of laundry. That’s his time, too.

You pray in the shower. You tuck a devotional in your purse. You put a Bible on your bookcase at work. You read books about faith to your children and listen to spiritual music while you wash dishes. You watch the ordinary unfold before your eyes and you search for the extraordinary, the thread that leads you back to God and his handiwork.

When you find God in those little moments, he becomes seamlessly part of your day.

I also like the idea of praying at certain times of the day, something I’ve seen while visiting the Trappist monks at the Abbey of the Genesee. I imagine it stitches the hours together and steadies the life. One of the monks suggested that those of us outside of the monastery set alarms on our telephones and computers – that we use everyday objects to call us to prayer.

And that pesky Ann Voskamp, a writer who makes it hard to splash around in shallow spiritual water, has been urging people to memorize scripture. I think secretly she’s talking to me. I fell out of the habit of memorizing scriptures back in middle school, and I hadn’t thought of it much until the author of “One Thousand Gifts” reminded us how important it is to commit words to memory, to heart.

I’ll start my memorization work in January because this woman who asked the question, well, she’s not alone in wanting to be closer to God.

 

Colt and Jessie reading in the closet.

I’m looking for three books to feature this fall in the Simply Faithful book club: a picture book, chapter book and teen book. All of them need to have some sort of spiritual theme and they need to be the kind of book that you make your friends read.

Typically we like to offer an online chat with the authors, so they need to be… ahem… living.

Give it some thought. Talk it over with other book lovers and let me know what you think by Sept. 10.

I’ll announce the books we’ve selected on Oct. 8.

Thanks in advance for all of your help!

Read about our past book club selections:

http://simplyfaithful.com/2012/03/14/a-chance-to-learn-more-about-ann-voskamp/

http://simplyfaithful.com/2012/06/29/theme-of-freedom-finds-its-way-into-all-james-rubarts-books/

Benjamin, who memorizes the stories for now, reads to Colt.

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