I have continued my commitment to carve time for reading out of the day. I spent much of June's "free" time preparing for our PWOC Training Event and a week at VBS - both events both drained AND energized me.....Summer is busy with more time with friends, family and trips - I knew I wouldn't be reading a lot of "meaningful" books this summer. In fact the vast majority of these could be classified as brain candy. Much needed brain candy.
Hearts of Fire - Eight Women in the Underground Church and Their Stories of Costly Faith by the Voice of the Martyrs - This is a wonderful book. It's challenging and convicting. It tells simply the stories of eight women who have chosen not to deny Jesus even though persecuted for that faith. The stories range from the past to current. They cover eight different countries. Highly recommended.
I discovered a new-to-me author. Jeanette Windle is a missionary kid who grew up in the jungles of Columbia. Her detailed research and writing has prompted government agencies to question whether she receives classified information. At times her details bog me down but the characters and plot keep me reading past the first few chapters. All these books were offered over the past few years as free or nearly free for kindles....yep - reading through my kindle these days! My only other quibble with Jeanette's writing is like Terri Blackstock or Joel Rosenberg - I get LOST in her writing......
Betrayed by Jeanette Windle - Engrossing mystery set in Guatemala. Vicki sets about to unravel her sister's murder and in the process discovers much about herself and her parents murders in Guatemala years earlier. As the back of the book states, "A politically relevant tale of international intrigue and God's redemptive beauty and hope."
Veiled Freedom and Freedom's Stand by Jeanette Windle In Veiled Freedom, Amy Mallory arrives in Kabul as an idealistic relief worker. She meets all sorts of expats as she seeks to learn the culture and to serve the women of Afghanistan. Freedom's Stand continues the story and focus' more on a convert to Christianity. I found both books to be intriguing. Michael hasn't wanted to talk a lot about his time in Afghanistan but these books opened several great conversations. Definite bonus!
Realizing I would not be living fully present if I kept reading Jeanette Windle I took a break from her.
Prayers from the Pews: The Power of Praying for Your Church by Teri Underwood. It's become popular in recent years to declare a love for Jesus but a dislike,or lack of need of the church. But Jesus calls the church His bride. We are instructed NOT to forsake gathering together. It is also popular in some circles to critique Pastors and churches online etc. Teri shows us a better way. She writes SHORT chapters - great for devotional use - each encouraging us to pray for OUR church. I found this easy to read and convicting. I am praying for my church much more than critiquing my church these days.
The Potluck Club, The Potluck Club - Trouble's Brewing and The Potluck Club Takes the Cake - by Linda Shepherd and Eva Everson I debated posting these. I'm almost embarrassed to admit I read not one but all three of this series. These books are set around a multi-generational group of women who meet once a month to share food and to pray. I suppose I was drawn in by the story of long-lived friendships, as well as the multi-generational make up of the group. Something I've been thinking about a lot lately. Totally chick lit.
And even more embarrassing than reading three books of TOTAL brain candy? I read the follow on Series as well. ::snort::
The Secrets in the Sauce, Taste of Fame, Bake Until Golden by Linda Shepherd and Eva Everson The women of the Potluck Club begin a catering company. I had to know if Evie ever gets Sheriff Vernon Vesey, which man Donna would choose, if Lisa LeAnn ever settles into life in Summit - and so I continued to read.
About this time I thought I should try something a bit more challenging and so I started (but haven't finished) Mission Drift, Transforming Prayer, Gospel Centered Life, Releasing Your Potential and Kingdom Journeys. I will try to finish at least one of these in August....but it still wasn't time to give up my summer reads. No matter how many "real" books I started.
The Restaurant of Many Orders by Kenji Miyazawa This is more of a short story. Ryu and Kim gave Nolan and Arielle a list of Japanese books to read over the summer. I believe the idea is to understand Japanese culture better. I thought I'd read along. I started with this short story. Two hunters are wandering the woods and find a wonderful restaurant which is sure to serve great meals. Um - well.
With summer nearing an end, I decided I could risk a few more all engrossing books and started a new Terri Blackstock series - the Moonlighter Series.
Truth Stained Lies and Distortion by Terri Blackstock Cathy Cramer is a lawyer turned investigative blogger. She writes about what she sees in cases - not waiting for verdicts. Life changes when her brother is set up for the murder of his wife. She sets out with Michael -police detective turned Private Investigator- to unearth the truth about the murder. In Distortion, Cathy's sister, Juliet, watches as her husband is murdered - and then discovers his secret life. I am looking forward to the release of book three in the Moonlighter Series. Distortion ended with a bit of a cliff hanger.
Congo Dawn by Jeanette Windle - I ended the month sick in bed and decided to read Congo Dawn. The story began slow - because of many details - but WOW - when it takes off it rocks. Ex- Marine Lieut Robin Duncan is hired by a private security firm. She learns nothing is as it seems and the good guys are often hard to tell from the bad guys in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Another winner from Windle!
There it is. Lots of reading this summer but not one meaningful title among the list. I've decided that's o.k. I obviously needed to relax and re-discover the joy of reading for fun - these books did that for me.
Living all of life before the face of God...