Psalm 100

I thought this would be an appropriate poem to post for today, especially given that the title reads, "A psalm. For giving thanks."

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

--Psalm 100, NIV



by Kathryn Hewitt

Snow is a very tough coming-of-age novel in which 15-year-old Ruth struggle to learn the meaning of love and, tragically, removes God to the backseat. It could be called a romance, I suppose, but once you read this book you will understand how terribly misguided that label is. Rather, it's a Christian YA novel--fiction, and yet the story of so many very real teens. This novel quickly overtook control of my emotions thrust me on a winding journey.

I liked the premise of Snow, and for the most part I enjoyed reading it. However, I think Snow falls short of its full potential. Sometimes I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again as Ruth maintained the same emotions, repeated the same questions and argued the same points. She seemed like a very close-minded and somewhat flat character, even given her situation.

What bothered me most, though, was that Ruth's boyfriend is portrayed as a villain. His motives were selfish, heartless and seemingly inhuman, and he never felt the slightest amount of remorse for any of his offenses. Yes, he did some terrible things, but the book felt like an attack on him, without stopping once to think that he is human, too, that he has a soul.

Overall, I think Snow was a decent read with a very important message. Because of the difficult topics involved, I recommend this book for ages 15 and up.

3/5 leaves


(Thanks to Kathryn Hewitt for sending me a free book in exchange for an honest review!)


The Jesus I Never Knew

Philip Yancey

Wow. I thought this book would be a glorified retelling of the Gospels, and that I would have a hard time working through it. After all, it isn't fiction--it's not even a devotional--so I expected it to be a bit dry. I didn't once get bored. Not once. Every idea was new, or at least from a new angle, and I drank in every word.

Philip Yancey begins with "The Jesus I Thought I Knew"--the Jesus we all think we know--and spends the next 250 pages explaining what we don't fully understand about the Son of God, or perhaps what we don't think hard enough about. He starts at the beginning, at Christmas, and then takes a step further back to describe the Jewish culture into which Jesus was born. From there he moves chronologically through Jesus' life, ending with the Ascension and the Kingdom.

None of it is lofty or preachy, and it is clear through Philip's style of writing that he is on a faith journey like the rest of us and therefore doesn't have it all together, like some authors would have us think. I like that. It's real and raw and human. You should read it.

5/5 leaves

The Jesus I Never Knew

words borrowed from John Caddy

As I watch leaves
fall from trees,
I become incredibly aware
that air is really there,

that even in this windless
autumn daydream,
air in its own reverie
eddies like a stream,
slides a leaf this way, that,
then spins it down to ground

to sink into soil and wait
to be pulled up by roots again
to dance in the air
that really is there.

-John Caddy, Morning Earth: Field Notes in Poetry


just for fun: book-ish quizzes

I happened upon a book quiz the other day, and, well, my productivity went downhill from there. Bored? Pick a quiz and share your score--mine are pretty easy to beat! :)

Are you as well-read as a 12th grader?
--my score: "a few books short of a full shelf (0-35)"
Young adults books quiz: Can you match the quote to the book?
--my score: 81%
Think you're well-read? Take our World Lit quiz
--my score: 42%


To Liv From the Ruin

by Adrienne Stewart Patton

Adrienne has created her own genre here, so much so that I hardly know how to begin to describe this book. It's an allegorical Christian fantasy, I suppose, with a touch of dystopian. I kept losing myself in the story, falling in love with the characters, but this is a thinking book, and I had to continually pull myself back (dig deeper in?) to  see the bigger picture. I'm still chewing on it.

When Liv Raines was six years old, she imagined within herself a world inhabited by the personified Pieces of her soul. The reader enters this landscape four years later, when Liv suffers an unknown tragedy and the Pieces are left in darkness and chaos. Liv's struggle is told through their story, as they work together to find Liv and bring her back, and to learn what that all means.


Blog Tour: Rain by Kathryn Hewitt

For every decision made there is a consequence that is certain to follow. Whether the consequence is beneficial or distressing, it must exist. 

Rain continues the story of Ruth three and a half years after the miraculous event that changed her life forever. Now a mother of a toddler, Ruth is found moving herself back in to the college dormitory for the second year.

Feeling as though she isn’t worth the love of a good man, Ruth sabotages her relationship with James; the man she believes is her one true soul mate. Unable to accept his love and grace, she sends him away believing it is the right thing to do. But Ruth has much to learn about love and grace. Like she felt with James, so she feels about her faith; undeserved and unworthy.


how to get free Christian books

I just discovered a new way to get free books, one that does not require owning a blog to participate. Tyndale has a reward program that allows participants to earn points by completing surveys, signing up for newsletters, and inviting friends. Accumulated points may be exchanged for free books or Bibles, but only from a select list. Though I've just recently signed up I already ordered a book for only 50 points. Of course, since shipping requires a few weeks, I can't really say anything about their delivery system yet.

Interested? Click on the link below and get 25 points just for signing up (and I get 10 points for recruiting you--thanks)!


If you do have a blog, some options for getting free books for review include Blogging for Books and BookCrash, both of which provide ebooks as well as good ol' print copies. I have enjoyed participating in both of these programs--all you have to do is sign up, request a book and post a review within the required time frame. Again, you can only choose from a select list, but hey, you get free books!


remember when

Do you remember
when we were young and unafraid?
It was only a year ago, or two,
when all our idealistic
dreams and goals
had no boundaries, knew no walls.
Yet here we sit, enslaved by money,
confusing happiness with complacency.


what's your favorite Advent devotional?

I am a firm believer in fully appreciating Thanksgiving and waiting until after that lovely holiday before moving on to Christmas. However, I would like to read through a Christmas devotional this year, and seeing how Advent begins three days after Thanksgiving, I thought I'd start putting my feelers out now.

Do you have any suggestions for me--any devotionals you've read in the past and absolutely love? I'd like something thought-provoking that walks through the Christmas story in a chronological fashion. I'm extremely hard to please as far as devotionals go: they can't be too shallow or preachy, yet if they get too theological I lose interest.

In any case, go ahead and share your favorite Advent devotional and we'll see if my obnoxiously perfectionistic self approves (don't worry, I won't hold it against you if I don't like your suggestion). :)


check out this awesome review!

A huge thank you to Laura at Blogging for Bloggers for reviewing poetree and giving suggestions for improvement! Poetree received 4/5 stars! You can read the full review here.

Blogging for Bloggers

A Timbered Choir

by Wendell Berry

I don't know that I've ever read a book of poetry cover-to-cover before now, but I couldn't help but read every poem in A Timbered Choir. It is a collection of poems Wendell Berry wrote on Sunday morning walks between 1979 and 1997, with themes of nature, farming, community, God and the Sabbath.

Berry's words flow together so well, and yet the verses are accessible to common people--they're not lofty and overly metaphorical. These poems inspire readers to slow down, take a Sabbath rest, and notice the "small" miracles around us that reveal the awesome power and glory that is God.


creature comforts

never underestimate the power of
fuzzy blankets
and warm lamplight