God Has a Bigger and Better Story for You

We are a story-telling family, composing on-the-spot homespun tales, filling up the long minutes of road trips with audio books, laughing together over replays from crazy conversations, and delighting in glory-moments together after the fact. As our family continually rotates in wider orbits, stories have become the fibers that connect us, that keep us known to one other.

I’m grateful that all our story threads are woven into the fabric of the huge over-arching narrative found in the pages of Scripture. This once-upon-a-time-that-really-happened got its start in the mind of God, but the plot first hunkered down in the idyllic setting of Eden. Nancy Guthrie picked up her pen, gathered up the tangled threads of that story set in a garden, and she moves forward in hope through the unfolding of God’s redemptive plan in her latest book, Even Better than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything about Your Story

On her meandering way from the thunderous God-force of creation to the end of the ages, she shares stunning truth about “what the original garden has to show us about the more secure, more satisfying, and more glorious garden we’re destined to live in forever, which will be even better than Eden.” (14) It’s easy to forget that Eden was born out of an uninhabitable wasteland on a planet that was “formless and empty.”

  • Guthrie follows this story of wilderness through the Old Testament and the wanderings of the discontented Israelites, the ruins of Jerusalem after Nebuchadnezzar’s armies had had their way, and into the New Testament where Jesus passed His wilderness testing and Paul lived pinned down by a thorn in the flesh, but found contentment in his spiritual wilderness;
  • Then, there’s the story of the tree, a symbol from Genesis to Revelation that pops up in the appearance of the lampstands in the Tabernacle and in prophetic symbolism. By grace, we are invited to find our way to the tree of life by way of Calvary’s tree;
  • The story of God’s image is full of hope, for though it was marred, it was flawlessly revealed in Christ and will ultimately be restored in us;
  • The story of clothing begins with God providing for Adam and Eve with love and tenderness that points to the truth that one day we will be beautifully clothed in “the greater glory Adam and Eve forfeited” (70);
  • The story of the Bridegroom features Eve as the original bride in the very first wedding conducted by God which went terribly wrong. That pain resonated throughout Israel’s history, but the ruined bride will one day be restored and presented to God’s Son, the second Adam’
  • The story of sabbath began before there was Law and remains as God’s gift;
  • The story of offspring unpacks Psalm 91 within the greater context of God’s sovereignty over evil and the “Offspring of the Woman” (Jesus) who will put an end to evil once and for all;
  • The story of a dwelling place assures believers of God’s intention to make His home with us–an intention that cannot be thwarted even by our own fumbling and fluctuating intention to cling to Him. The tabernacle, the temple, and God’s indwelling Spirit all bear witness to His zeal and devotion;
  • Finally, the story of the city reveals that all of Scripture points toward the story of two cities– “the city of man and the city of God. And what matters most about your story is which city you have made your home.”

Nancy Guthrie renders biblical theology with beauty and a depth of emotion that motivates me to become a better learner, and a more passionate student of Scripture and observer of life. A firm grasp on the gospel-oriented-big-picture of the Bible’s 66 books will change the way you read. God takes a long view of goodness and hope, and his promises for our welfare point to a life that exponentially transcends the three-score-and-ten we fixate upon.

A good foundation in biblical theology also impacts on the way we pray.  For example, God’s promise of protection in Psalm 91 is not the lucky-rabbit’s foot that means our children will “never face danger or death in this life. But [rather that God] has promised to gather his own to himself, where he will protect them from ultimate and eternal harm.”

Following the threads of these nine stories reinforced my understanding of God as both transcendent and relational. Finding myself within the context of His desires for me — a hope that far exceeds my own aspirations for myself and those I love — opens my eyes to the beauty of struggle and the redemptive nature of waiting as we fix our eyes upon the unseen, and trust God for a future home that will be truly (and amazingly!) even better than Eden.


Many thanks to Crossway for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

Grace and peace to you,

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase Even Better than Eden: Nine Ways the Bible’s Story Changes Everything about Your Storysimply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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Celebrating the Labor and the Love

Most days on this country hill are a blur.  With every line in my planner filled, there’s also the background music of laundry and continual cleaning.  In the winter, there’s a voracious wood stove; in the summer there’s a garden that needs constant attention. Stuffing a ratty t-shirt into the washer’s maw, I try not to think about the fact that it was only yesterday that I hung this very same t-shirt on the clothesline.

The steady thrum of activity is the glue that holds a home together, and one of the most startling discoveries of my life has been that it is possible to find a fulfilled and meaningful existence in the midst of mind-numbing routine.  It turns out that it’s not what you’re doing that makes a life.  It’s why you’re doing it.

Why do I do what I do every day in my home?
Why do you do what you do?

Hopefully, we are both coming to the conclusion that our labor of love is a fulfillment of God’s great commandments: to love God and to love our neighbors.
And sometimes, for me, the hardest “neighbors” to love are the ones who share my last name and my DNA. Loving others in our homes is more than a feeling, and it is likely to include the inconvenience of vacuuming the mud from their shoes, replacing the groceries they consume, and washing loads and loads of dishes and bedding.

To Love Is to Labor

To love is to labor, and for the believer, there is an inseparable connection between the routines of domesticity and the quotidian mysteries of spiritual practice.  Just as the swiping of crumbs off the dining room table will never be a once and done affair (at least at my house!), neither are the practices of spiritual formation.  In tending to the health and wholeness of our souls, every day there will be “crumbs” that need brushing away, and this is a good thing, for it keeps us mindful of our creaturely dependence on God. 

In Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home, Jen Pollock Michel, asserts that “housekeeping” corresponds to a term found in the Hebrew Scriptures: avodah.  It shows up in the contexts of “work, service, labor, duties, ceremony, [and] ministry . . . It is also the word that signifies the priestly work of the tabernacle and temple.  ‘Avodah reminds us that worship — and its attendant calls to vocation — can share the banality and ordinariness of everyday work.” (116)

The Spiritual Discipline of Housekeeping

It is, therefore, possible to draw parallels between the nature of worship and the importance that hands-on housekeeping plays in the ebb and flow of a well-balanced Christian life:

1.  Housekeeping is an act of generosity.

God’s work in creation and in redemption is clearly housekeeping.  In Scripture, He finds lost things; He prepares tables of abundance and blessing in hard places; He kills the fatted calf and invites the neighborhood to a party.  Therefore, engineering the comforts of home, taking on the mess in the bottom of the refrigerator, and performing the domestic routines that preserve order and hold chaos at bay create a feeling of home wherever they are performed with love, and they pre-figure God in His role as Homemaker.

Mired in the here and now, we forget that the work of home is the work of spreading God’s glory throughout the world.  By entering into the reality of that today, we leave a mark on those we serve and prepare our hearts for a future of greater work and greater joy when we will see that there has never been a mundane task without purpose in God’s incredible universe in which nothing goes to waste.  Every little task, every intentional act of service points back to the God who made us and forward to an eternity in which the connection between worship and work will be forever eliminated.

2.  Housekeeping is a work of welcoming and provision.

Just as the incarnation brought dignity to the mortal body and to the notion of occupying a particular time and space, God’s compassionate homemaking sets the standard for the work of His women and men who long to create safe and welcoming spaces for His glory.

There is meaning to all the mundane tasks that are stuck on replay in this mothering life.  In our ordinary chores and in the act of corralling chaos into order, we image God. Organizing a cluttered closet, sanitizing a nasty high chair tray, distributing clean and folded laundry to the four corners of the house — these are all as quietly mundane as the work God does in our time to water His trees with rain or, in history, to arrange for the Exodus 16 manna that faithfully fed a generation of Israelites.

God has instituted practices of housekeeping that draw His children into the hands-on love.  Mercy, justice, and sandwich-making hold equal real estate in the values system of heaven, for the God who works and has worked on our behalf invites us to join Him in the Great Work:

“Let your work be shown to your servants,
and your glorious power to their children.
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us,
and establish the work of our hands upon us,
yes, establish the work of our hands.”  (Psalm 90:16,17)

Let the work of housekeeping continue, and may we find fulfillment in the smallest task performed for the greatest worship of God!

Joining you in the holy work of sandwich-making and laundry-folding,

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase Keeping Place: Reflections on the Meaning of Home simply click on the title within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

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God Has an Ever-Unfolding Vision for You

The knock at the door came as no surprise. Rahab was used to furtive visitors at all hours as male customers came to her door, and yet this pair was different, for they were part of Israel’s advance surveillance strategy, the first wave in their mission to conquer Jericho for the glory of God. It was Rahab’s quick thinking that saved the spies, rescued her own family, and earned her a paragraph in the Hebrews 11 honor roll of faith.

God’s vision for Rahab was larger than anything she had ever dreamed, and it was this dramatic turn-around that inspired Becky Moreland to name RAHAB ministries in 2002, when her vision for impacting lives on the streets of Akron, Ohio was just getting off the ground. Reaching Above Hopelessness and Brokenness, RAHAB’s outreach ministries serve women and children who are trapped in lives of addiction, prostitution, abuse, and fear. Team members do their work directly on the the streets of Akron, exposing the darkness of the sex trafficking industry, praying on the spot with the needy, and cooperating with law enforcement officials to protect women who live in continual danger. Their safe house provides a refuge to women with nowhere else to go, and their plans for a juvenile safe house will be an invitation to home for girls ages 11 to 17.

God’s Ever-Unfolding Vision

Bring Me a Vision: A Story of Redeeming Hope is the true unfolding of Becky Moreland’s story. Founder of RAHAB, she lived her own miracle of turn-around and her co-author Pam Ecrement bore witness to it, first as her counselor and then, later, as her friend and colleague in ministry. When Becky first approached Pam for counseling, she was seeking help for her children, but Pam soon learned that Becky’s own traumatic childhood was impacting her mothering in ways that were detrimental, in spite of her best intentions.

Becky learned early on that the world was a dangerous place, and it was risky to trust even the adults who were supposedly in her life to protect and care for her. A victim of serial abuse, Becky learned to close off her early memories, setting the stage for poor relational choices and a downward spiral into alcoholism and immorality.  Pam Ecrement brings a counselor’s voice to her description of Becky’s life, lending a helpful sub-narrative that spills over to educate the reader on the complexities of tangled generational webs of sin and sadness. The glory of God is put on display as His story runs its course in the life of an ordinary woman who has been impacted by the love of an extraordinary God.

RAHAB continues to provide rescue and resources for victims of trafficking, and you can learn more at their website. Furthermore, all proceeds from the sale of Bring Me a Vision will go directly to fund RAHAB’s continued outreach. The book is available only through the Resources page of Pam’s website, A New Lens, and you can click here to order your copy.

Let the unfolding of Becky’s story encourage you that God has a vision for you as well, for these are His Words to His beloved:

Thus says the Lord,
    who makes a way in the sea,
    a path in the mighty waters. . . 

 “Remember not the former things,
    nor consider the things of old.
 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
    now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
    and rivers in the desert.”  (Isaiah 43:16, 18-19)

Because God’s Vision for You Is Also Amazing,

Many thanks to the author for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

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Do Good So That Goodness May Be Done

When the herald sounds the arrival of a Great One,
Heads turn.
Eyes focus on The Coming.
This is the goal, of course,
For greatness must be seen.

But
“Sound no trumpet,” said Jesus
To those who would do good for others.
Fold the bill to hide Ben Franklin’s face in the plate.
Avoid the conversational boast, so casual:
“When I took on my third Compassion child . . .”

In the synagogue,
In the streets,
In the moment,
Mute the fanfare,
Shut the door,
Shut your mouth.

And do good.

Do good, so that goodness may be done.
Do it for the Father who sees in secret
And for Him alone,
For His Greatness must be seen,
And this is your reward.

 


Because the Sermon on the Mount demands an exceeding and often unseen righteousness,

michele signature rose[1]

Photo by Wim van ‘t Einde on Unsplash

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Run Toward the Darkness with Borrowed Light

In times of danger and disaster throughout history, true believers have made their mark by running toward the darkness. Whether it was a plague in second century Rome or a twenty-first century hurricane in America’s deep south, if we follow Mr. Rogers’s advice and “look for the helpers,” we might be surprised by how many of them are Christians who have chosen to be part of this particular dark setting in order to put the Light of the World on display.

As Christians, we have no light of our own, but the nature of our Borrowed Light is so compelling that others are drawn to its warmth and luminosity, just as we are drawn to the borrowed light of the moon against an inky sky.  In her poetry collection (The Consequence of Moonlight: Poems), Sofia Starnes has expressed this exact quality of sainthood, the here-ness or there-ness of a life that “orbits the earth but [is] not of the earth.

It is the discipline of recalling the source of our Light that keeps the underlying Presence in proper view. G.K. Chesterton borrows the same reality for his own timeless metaphor, for “just as the sun and the moon look the same size” at first glance, a right understanding of the universe soon reveals that “the sun is immeasurably our master, and the small moon only our satellite.” (229)

An accomplished poetess, Starnes employs delightful wordplay to embody the intangible to convey the loveliness of her observations:

“I wonder how such puny a word as pit,
could be both seed and slum, both dormant agency
and tomb; both conflict verb–met up against–

and scoop; a stone that yields, yields small,
yet hurts the hand. I wonder how,
but pittances deceive; thus is the way of potency

and plea; the oil is notched by hooves
and by the Fall, and then by falling fledglings,
insecure.

How measured is the earth for gift and scar,
for creaks and croons, for the precarious child.”  (69)

Borrowed Light for Living

One of my favorite elements of poetic writing is the surprising Scriptural connections that arise. Writing of Israel’s waste and desolate places, the prophet Isaiah imagines the complaint of future generations:  “The place is too cramped for me, make room for me to live.” (Isaiah 49:20 ESV) The poem “Catacombs” (64) adds to the imagery with comparison to an 80-year-old woman’s real-life six-day confinement in earthquake rubble, prompting the reader to examine her own surroundings. From what cramped places may I also emerge unscathed and with a great story to share?

Let us continue to trust in the borrowed Light that dwells in power, living our way into richly share-able tales by holy risk and trusting in the the “Lord of spill and swell” (118). May we also, in our own day, run toward the darkness with a glorious excess–“not merely patched: pampered, festooned, unspent,” but instead (YES, Lord!) trusting in the future of “a risen body our flesh has never dreamt.” (118)

Many thanks to Paraclete Press for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase The Consequence of Moonlight: Poems simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Rejoicing in the Brilliance of Our Borrowed Light,

Image Credit:  Calvin R. Morin (on the bridge to Rackliffe Island) 

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Remembering Grammy Morin on Her Birthday

**This post was written in 2014, the year my grandson was born. He will be four this week, and his great-grandmother would have had her 100th birthday two days prior to his big day. I’m updating this post in her honor and memory.**

Fall 2014

I spent some time today making curtains for my grandson’s bedroom.  I have to go back and re-read that sentence, because he has not been born yet (due October 14), and my mind and my heart are not yet one on this matter of grandparent-hood.  I doubt if my grandson will notice that the hem is not exactly perfect or that the header is not perfectly exact. There are, apparently, rules for such things, but I do not know them.

My mother-in-law knew all the rules for sewing, and when I sew, I always think about her.  (It keeps me from thinking bad words.)  She loved to sew and did so in a way that I can only describe as reverent.  Occasionally, it became necessary for her to consecrate the entire living room with a sewing project.  I still have a bathrobe she made for me nearly twenty-five years ago.  She presented it as an offering of love both to me and to the Lord, and I received it as such.

So many things have happened since Ma went to heaven.  Two of my sons have no memory of her, but they know about her nonetheless, because her memory is part of our family lore.  Her love for me, her daughter-in-law, was one of the greatest blessings I received with the gift that is my husband.  “She’s mine!”  Ma declared sometime after our engagement, and she spoke the truth.

Strong-minded and passionately interested in every detail of our lives, she shared her opinions freely.  For whatever reason, this never seemed oppressive, and I never felt condemnation if we chose to disregard her advice.  Most of the time, we were thrilled to have someone who delighted to be in our orbit, for whom no detail was too inconsequential to share.

What did you have to eat?  How many jars of beans did you can?  How many is that in all?

She would want to know that my grandson’s curtains are yellow with tiny John Deere tractors in parade formation.  She would undoubtedly have noticed the irregularities of header and hem, but she would have held her peace.

By some miracle of bequest, I have her sewing machine.  It knows more about sewing than I do, and if I left it switched on, I’m sure it would manage just fine without me, but I know this:  Ma would be glad that I am using it today to sew curtains for her great-grandson.  She would also like knowing that I am about to join the “Grammy Morin” club, because that is what my grandson will call me.  This, like the sewing machine, is a miracle of bequest, a title too weighty for me to carry because it still has a life of its own.  Still, somehow, I think the burden will be light because I saw what it takes to be a “Grammy Morin” by watching the original, and thus we carry burdens of being which are beyond us.  I am a following sheep, an inhabitant of the Kingdom of God, and a bearer of fruit because I know Shepherd and Door and Vine.  I do none of these things with perfection — irregularities of header and hem abound on every level — but they are an offering, and, like my grandson’s curtains and my twenty-five year old bathrobe, they are an offering of love.

Happy birthday, Ma.  We miss you.


Afterword:

Fall 2018 —  Great Grammy Morin would be pleased to know that I recently made yet another curtain, this time for a granddaughter. Oh, and they don’t call me Grammy Morin—for now, I’m “Bam.”

Thankful for the gift of Ma, 

 

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Musings: September 2018

Tired metaphor though it be, the transformation from chubby caterpillar to seemingly inanimate chrysalis, and then to elegant and dainty flying monarch was new again to me in this late summer season of 2018, because it was new to my tiny grandson.

“Leafy” had no idea that the milkweed he munched in a retired goldfish bowl was anyLeafy different than the succulent salad he had been savoring in the field adjacent to my garden. He went home with the boy who had christened him and for a few days, it was his job to put the creativity of God on display.

Following the dotted lines back to the glory of New Life, to the comprehensive and bone-deep transformation that comes with New Birth, or even to the patient waiting that accompanies a process would be a stretch for a four-year-old spirit, but awe is very much within his grasp. The God who says, “Do it again!” every day to the sun never tires of amazing his children, both big and small.

In the Morin Kitchen

I will save a final jar count until after the beets and carrots have been dug, the dill dried, and the last of the tomatoes have been harvested, but this has been a banner year for preserving the blessings from our garden. Then, in the midst of all this, after 25 years here on this country hill, we are turning our attention toward the kitchen, and the time has come for new cupboards, new flooring, and a whole new look. I can just barely believe it.

On the Blog

Kitchen reno 1

I shared a video over on the Living Our Days Facebook page, celebrating the new wall along with a heads up for some future books scheduled to appear here soon. If it seems to you that everywhere you look there is an announcement about a new book releasing, your perception is accurate–or at least it seems that way to me! Therefore, I shared six book reviews this  month in addition to pulling together a collection of recommended parenting resources for The Redbud Post.

The Perennial Gen featured my review of Becoming Curious: A Spiritual Practice of Asking Questions by Casey Tygrett. AtBecoming Curious: God has equipped our souls for exploration. mid-life and for all our days, the spiritual practice of becoming curious is God’s gift to His people, and He has equipped our souls to take the shape of an explorer into the deep things that will change our way of seeing the world. The question is, are we curious enough to follow Him there?

"Reading literature, more than informing us, forms us." Karen Swallow PriorKaren Swallow Prior has been on my list of voices to pay attention to since I read her excellent bio of Hannah More. Her new book, On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books, analyzes twelve of the books you may have read courtesy of your childhood library or bookmobile and invites you into the ones you missed. In a non-fiction format, Prior employs the most compelling aspects of fiction to take readers to a new level of understanding in their reading life, and this is a great gift because “reading literature, more than informing us, forms us.”

Self-care is definitely a growth point for me, but in In Four Gifts: Seeking Self-care for Heart, Soul, Mind, and Strength, April Yamasaki 4 Gifts: 4 Ways to Boost Your Self-Care Quotientopens her own life to self-care scrutiny and examines Scripture’s claims about the abundant life alongside biblical promises of God’s care for those who believingly follow Him.  To my great relief, Yamasaki frames self-care with a bigger vision than manicures and a daily green smoothie, as she encourages readers to receive the gifts that flow from the first great commandment:

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”  (Mark 12:30)

Marilyn McEntyre is a delightful thinker and writer. I shared Word by Word hereReview of Make a List by Marilyn McEntyre: Your New Life Beyond the To-Do List some time ago, and her latest,  Make a List: How a Simple Practice Can Change Our Lives and Open Our Hearts,  elevates list writing to a creative endeavor, a writing exercise that is partly spiritual formation, partly imaginative play, and partly a recording of the music of one’s own soul. Putting the pen to paper or the fingers to the keyboard, the list maker asks questions, poses possibilities, and frames her desires.

Pastoral Ministry: The Courageous Calling to a Faithful Love12 Faithful Men: Portraits of Courageous Endurance in Pastoral Ministry successfully dismantles the cool factor that prevails in our view of ministry life. Beginning with the Apostle Paul, who knew well the sting of the lash and the sting of rejection, the record shows that those who have been profoundly used by God “to build the church suffered grinding affliction along the way.” Editors Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson of the Gospel Coalition have provided 21st century believers with a resource to heighten our gratitude for church leaders of the past and our appreciation for those who serve us today.

Conversations about missionaries and missions strategy are commonplace in our A Review of Mapping Church Missions by Sharon R. Hooverhome. We talk about the latest newsletter updates, who’s “home,” and who’s “back on the field.” We wonder about the members of our missionary family when we don’t hear from them, and we puzzle over big picture concerns in an era in which more missionaries are retiring than can possibly be replaced by new recruits. In Mapping Church Missions: A Compass for Ministry Strategy, Sharon Hoover introduces a way of thinking about the genuine challenges of initiating and maintaining a program of global outreach that is in keeping with a biblical view of The Great Commission, while also taking into consideration the uniqueness of each supporting church. Her good work and varied experiences have helped her to produce a road map for intentional missions strategy that will transcend personal interests and agendas.

On the Hill

Maybe this section should be captioned “Over the Hill” because in September, I

I just happen to share a birthday month with these two cuties!
Bam just happens to share a birthday month with her two grandbabies.

left 55 in the rear view mirror, but there’s certainly no time around here for lapsing into maudlin ponderings. The leaves outside my dining room window this afternoon don’t have the sheen they wore in June, but they are still green, and they are still doing their job.

The tiny hand that released the beautifully transformed “Leafy” for his southbound flight was acting in brave faith. Every single cell in his body wanted to hang onto his butterfly friend, to keep him warm for the winter, to enjoy his company. By grace, we are all in a season of letting go in some way or other. My prayer for you (and for me!) in this autumn of gentle warning is that you will have wisdom to know when to let go — and when to hang on for dear life!

Blessings and love to you, 

Image Credit for Pumpkin/Monarch Butterfly/Tiny Boy Hand: Christine Morin

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase any of the books mentioned in this post simply click on the title within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

If you enjoy reading Living Our Days, subscribe to get regular content delivered to your inbox. Just enter your e-mail address in the field at the top of this page.

I link-up with a number of blogging communities on a regular basis. They are listed in the left sidebar by day of the week. I hope that you will take a moment to enjoy reading the work of some of these fine writers and thinkers.