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Books + Stories
Win a Copy of Mystics and Misfits!
June 8, 2018 at 6:59 am 0

I'm giving away a copy of Christiana Peterson's

Mystics and Misfits: Meeting God through St. Francis and Other Unlikely Saints!

    Christiana is a friend and a gorgeous writer. You don't want to miss her book -- the writing style, the vulnerability, what you'll learn and what you'll experience. She writes about Francis of Assisi, Dorothy Day, and Simone Weil and what life in an intentional community looks like. TO WIN a FREE COPY:  a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway ends June 13, 2018.  

I want to leave you with an original post by Christiana Peterson here on this blog so you can get a sampling of her lovely writing.

  Mid-way between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, an ice storm knocks out our power. With an unseasonably warm season, this blast of icy weather has reminded me that we live in the Midwest and it is indeed winter. Our apartment, in a building we share with two other families on a farm, sits only yards from our pigs, chickens, cows, and a large community garden. The well that supplies our drinking and flushing water and the water for all the animals depends on electricity to run. As I get cozy with my three children on the couch, we have no idea that we are only at the beginning of two and a half days without water, heat, a stove, or, gasp, the internet. My two older children and I make a fun afternoon of it, reading and swapping books. When evening comes and the power is still out, my husband grabs his camping stove from the basement. We have a dinner of reheated turkey soup by candlelight and headlamp. As we enjoy the momentary romance of a simpler evening, our parent-child conversations are predictable. Did you know that when my grandparents grew up on a farm, they didn't have any electricity? They didn't even have indoor toilets. Or washing machines. Or movies! They had to make their own music. Won’t we be thankful when the power comes on tomorrow? But the next morning, the lights are still off. The house is 50 degrees. The unflushed toilet has begun to stink. The downstairs wood floors are cold. There is no internet for the kids to watch movies, and I can’t wash the mounting piles of dishes or work on my dead laptop. The lesson-learning on this, Day 2 without power, feels cliché. But oddly enough, I’m not thinking about how thankful I will be when the lights come back. I’m not thinking about how grateful I am to have modern conveniences. I am thinking about St. Francis. Before my fascination with the Saints began, I believed that Catholics prayed to and venerated the Saints because they were holier versions of us. But I’m learning that the wisdom of studying the Saints is because of their humanness. The Saints give us examples, which though exemplary, are still fully fleshly attempts to follow Christ. I need those human examples. When the lights go out and the lessons we teach our children don't seem to change anything, I need to hear what the Saints have to teach about following a different way, a way that took them out of the clutches of their homes, possessions, and the things that made them feel secure. What the Saints, and St. Francis in particular, repeatedly live out is that abundance comes from a smaller life, not a larger one. The less wealth, material possessions and success there are to depend on, the wider a heart can become. When the lights finally come on again, I am having tea with an older woman with whom I haven’t visited in over a year. We are talking about the way things were when she was a child. We are having the same conversations I had with my children. But somehow they take on more meaning when they come from her. Just as St. Francis’ story moves me, so her story, her truth, her life shapes and encourages my faith. I clean up the mess of my thawed and stagnant house. I make no big changes in my lifestyle because of our break from electricity. But I read Richard Rohr’s words as a call to something terribly small but also immeasurably large: “You can now let Francis and Clare show you how to die into your one and only life, the life that you must learn to love.” I long to love my life. To die into it. To be fully present in it. To not wish for more power. I long for the courage to stay with the discomforts, living into the freedom of the duties of life. Accepting that living in a small, old, house on a farm means we will lose our power sometimes. Accepting that being in community will be joyful and painful. Accepting that difficult relationships will bring out the worst in me, and therefore allow God to shine through my brokenness. Maybe dying into my life and loving it are the same. I cannot be a Saint, but I will be a mother, a wife, a writer, a woman. And my efforts in every small human moment will add up to life, death, and love all at once.
 

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Books + Stories
Win a book every mom needs! Catherine McNiel’s Long Days of Small Things
February 21, 2018 at 6:43 am 0
Friends, I'm so excited for you to read Catherine McNiel's book: Long Days of Small Things. I've introduced you to some great books by my friends Dorcas Cheng-Tozun (on start-ups and marriage) and Beth Bruno (on raising girls). Catherine McNiel writes to open eyes to God’s creative, redemptive work in each day—while caring for three kids, two jobs, and one enormous garden. Catherine is the author of Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline (NavPress 2017), and loves to connect on TwitterFacebook,Instagram, or at catherinemcniel.com.  
 

Her book, Long Days of Small Things, is a must for every mother who has felt the beauty, the monotony, and the blessing in doing small things on many long days.

I don't know about you, but I am hungry for words to help me live this mothering life well. You'll find that in Catherine's book.   Long Days of Small Things is a book that looks at the real life work we do in our everyday lives, and finds God right here in the midst of it. It’s a book for moms (or dads…or grandparents…or caregivers…) who know they don’t have any extra time or energy, but still want a way to connect with God and discover how to find Him.  In each chapter Catherine tells stories from our real lives—the seasons and stages of motherhood, pregnancy and delivery, infant days, sleepless nights, caring for children of all ages—and the tasks that fill them. She looks at spiritual tools that already hide there—like sacrifice, surrender, service, perseverance, and celebration—and considers how we can open our eyes to the spiritual boot camp we walk through every day. Without adding anything extra to our live or to-do lists, we practice so many disciplines every moment of the day.
 

Guess what friends? I get to give a copy away!!

Here's what you need to do: simply put in your email here (or comment if you're already a subscriber) and you'll be entered to win! Giveaway ends in one week.

Win a copy!!

   

Want to hear more?

Catherine was so kind to answer a few questions about her book:

  How has motherhood impacted your understanding of spirituality? We think of spirituality as something that happens in our minds, in silence. We are taught that our bodies, our mess and complications and noise hold us back from being with God. That doesn’t leave a lot of hope for moms, whose pregnant or post-partum bodies, newborns, toddlers, and van-full of carpool kids have no end of loud, messy, physical, chaotic needs. But God made us, didn’t He? Genesis describes Him getting in the dirt and forming us from the dust by hand, then breathing His own breath into our mouths. That’s pretty physical and messy! Then He actually took on a body Himself. The King of Kings wiggled around in a woman’s womb, surrounded by amniotic fluid. He entered the world through her birth canal. God was born, you guys. That’s our Good News. All this physical stuff that we feel keeps us from Him is the same stuff He used to meet with us, to speak to us, to save us.  So Long Days of Small Things is a book for moms “who have neither quiet nor time” as the cover says—or dads, grandparents, and other caregivers.   Describe an experience that first caused you to understand motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline. I was shopping with my three kids. Can you imagine the scene? Lugging my infant in one of those terribly unwieldy baby-carriers. Holding my toddler by the hand, while my preschooler zoomed around the store. The diaper bag was falling off my shoulders, and I clenched the grocery bags with the same hand that grasped my toddler. And then…the door. I couldn’t figure out how to get us all through. The baby was wailing for milk and a nap, the toddler and preschooler needed lunch (and a nap). I wanted lunch and a nap too, truth be told. But mostly I just wanted to get us out the door. No one held it open for me, but plenty of people watched me make a fool of myself trying to wiggle us all through without banging any heads or pinching any fingers. It felt like a hero-feat, an epic win. When I finally got everyone home, fed, and sleeping, I sat down to read an article I’d been saving; a short biography of a favorite Christian teacher. The biographer described this hero of the faith as so spiritual, he radiated peace just by walking through the door. This stopped me in my tracks. The memory of how I looked going through a door was so fresh in my mind. I realized that if spiritual growth entailed developing an aura of peace and radiance, I was never going to arrive—at least not without getting rid of these precious babies! The contrast between this teacher and myself was so stark, and I realized he and I were simply on two separate paths. I was seeking God through the chaotic but life-giving seasons and tasks of motherhood, and this was going to look entirely different from the classic spiritual practices. “Results may vary” as they say.   How is this book different from all the other books and conversations out there regarding motherhood today?  There are so many books out there for moms on the topic of devotion and spirituality.  Almost all of them have this in common: after admitting that moms are exhausted, stretched too thin, without any margin or time or energy, they look for a few extra minutes here or there which might be harvested for God; or offer a Bible study or prayer list that might fit in the tiny slots. Get up at 4:30am before the baby wakes at 5am! Read two minutes of the Bible each day! I’m all for doing these things when it works, but I’m convinced that we don’t need to exit motherhood to have a spiritual life. Our children are what we create, and this is where our Creator God meets us. I’m certain of it. Without adding more “should’s” or “to-do’s” to our days, we can open our eyes to a unique spiritual journey, made just for us—and find him here. We’re already doing it. All that waits is for us to breathe deeply and being to drink.
 

Win a copy!!

 

Giveaway winner will be emailed within one week.

   
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Books + Stories
Win a Copy of Beth Bruno’s New Book: A Voice Becoming!
January 31, 2018 at 6:00 am 0
Friends! I'm so excited to introduce you to Beth Bruno, author of A Voice Becoming: A Yearlong Mother-Daughter Journey into Passionate, Purposed Living. Her book is a beautiful introduction to how we help our daughters grow up to be passionate, purposeful women.   You'll get to hear more from Beth and enter to win her book!  

What does it mean to be a woman? How do we help our daughters past the tween and teen years where everyone else says obsess with boys or create drama with your girlfriends?

  If you're looking for some big ideas and practical wisdom (and a ton of practical how-to's) about raising women to love God and love others, this book is for you.  

Here's a bit about the book and why I can't wait for you to read it:

  A Voice Becoming: A Yearlong Mother-Daughter Journey into Passionate, Purposed Living is a year-long exploration of what a womanly rite of passage might mean. It's not meant as a cheesy way to talk about the birds and bees, but rather an intentional message of hope, agency, beauty, truth, and extending the goodness of the gospel to all corners of the earth as we work out justice on behalf of women. Even if you're not a mom to a daughter, this is an important book to consider if you care about half of humanity. As a mom to four (one of whom is a daughter), I'm desperate to have some intentional, life-giving parenting resources to help my children through the tween and teen years. This book, along with Beth's husband's book (Man Maker Project: Boys are Born. Men are Made.), will be a terrific start.  

Can you imagine how beautiful a legacy we could give to the next generation if we could help our children answer: Where have you come from? And where are you going?

   

Beth was so generous to answer a few questions about A Voice Becoming:

  1. Why did you decide to write this book?   I did not set out to write a book like this. While my husband researched and designed the year that became the Man Maker Project: Boys are Born, Men are Made, I did my own research. Even less had been written about rites of passage for girls. And what I found felt insufficient given current culture and the realities youth face. My girls did not fit the archetype described in many existing books and I knew I would miss their heart if I employed those models. That, paired with the enormous expectations they had after my son’s “man year,” meant creation of our own journey was inevitable. 2. Tell us a little bit about you and your girls. What is your relationship like? We are some pretty independent women! Once we got over the initial toddler Sunday school tears, my girls marched confidently away from me toward every new adventure. The youngest started overnight camp at age 7 (which I still can’t believe we did!) I’d say we’re close, but not intertwined. As in, I never struggled with being a helicopter mom. We share the passion gene and get fired up about strong women doing cool things. They play along with my quirky interests, but the older they get, the fiercer their sarcasm and teasing gets. I give them a lot of fodder, but down deep, I sense they love it. 3. Can you share about a difficult time parenting your tween daughter? How to choose one? Lest you think all is easy and swell all the time in our household, believe me when I tell you I have been called “dictator of the universe.” My kids are still kids and I am still a very human and fallen parent. The biggest challenge for me is sustained empathy. There are a few themes on repeat in each child’s life and I tend to go through cycles of mercy and exasperation. In the Appendix, I write about Ella’s theme with friends and I have to tell you, this is one of those cycles for me. Deciphering between truth and perception, emotion and reason, makes it difficult to navigate problems with tweens. My challenge was to show up every time she needed me to. To be present in the pain and not checked out in fatigue. I did not always succeed. 4. How did your daughter feel about the year during the year? After? Ella ate up my intention toward her. Honestly, it made me realize how much she needed my attention. She understood it was a big deal to “become a woman” and knew to take serious each thing we did together. I even think she was proud to tell her English teacher the books she brought to class were “assigned” by me. Since completing the year, I’ve noticed a beautiful, albeit difficult, by product: She is more mature than peers. Recently, she articulated this by saying “I’m going to run for President and make it mandatory that all girls have a Becoming year.” 5. How does your work to prevent human trafficking intersect with raising strong girls?   I spend most of my time addressing two different types of girls: “at-risk” and overly active. With community service providers, I am working on intervention models with vulnerable kids, response protocols, and prevention tools for those most at risk of being exploited. In high schools, I speak to the whole student body, but it is often the overly involved, good students who want to take on leadership. These two groups have something in common however: girls who live small stories are often more vulnerable to traffickers. It doesn’t matter if she comes from a chaotic home or a church-going family, if a girl has a gaping hole in her heart and she fills it with whatever feels good at the time, she is easier to manipulate. My passion to cast a vision for a bigger story, to lift girls’ eyes out of the daily obsession with bodies, boys, and besties, to a life of purpose and passion is my antidote to exploitation and ultimately, human trafficking.  
  I'm sure you can't wait to read A Voice Becoming. Scurry on over to purchase it or enter to win a copy right here. (Or better yet, buy a copy for a friend and win one for yourself!)

TO ENTER TO WIN A COPY:

All you need to do is enter your email address here.

Leave questions in the comments for Beth!

 

GIVEAWAY CLOSES on Sunday, February 4 at 12pm Pacific.

Winner will be notified by email. 

*When you enter your email, you'll get my once-a-month newsletter with writing news, where I'm speaking, and the chance to win more free books -- exclusive to subscribers! You can always unsubscribe at any time.
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At other places
Book Giveaway and Link-up!
November 30, 2014 at 8:00 pm 5

I'm joining some other bloggers to give away some books and start a weekly link-up during the month of December.

Book Musing Hosts Our blog hop, Book Musing Mondays, is born out of a desire to promote family-friendly books and literacy activities. To kick of this new hop we are also having a giveaway! Here are all the books you can win: Mary at Mary-andering Creatively is giving away two books, 365 Pocket Prayers and A Donkey's Little Tale (a great Christmas book): DSC_1111 A Donkeys Tale Win Here at Circling the Story, I'm giving away this wonderful cookbook, Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast: Weeknight: photo 1 Melissa from My Recent Favorite Books is giving away a family-friendly romance! mrmiracle Carole from the Power of Words is giving away the novella Evergreen,   One winner will receive all 5 books. To participate in the giveaway click on and complete the entry form below. You have until December 14 to complete the entries. Good Luck!
If you've written a blog post about books or reading or literacy we want to see it! We hope you'll participate by linking up your post(s).
Here's how it works:
      • Include a link back or the blog hop button linked to this hop on your posts.
      • Link up the urls to your posts not to your blog.
      • Please remember this is a family-friendly linkup. We reserve the right to delete any posts that are not family friendly. We love all kinds of literature and genres including family-friendly inspirational romances. We do not welcome anything with excessive sexual content or cursing.
      • Be sure to visit at least two other bloggers' posts and share comment love! Remember it is also nice to follow them on their social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
      • Tweet about the link up too!
Click below to add your posts to the link-up!
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