The Beautiful ESV “Illuminated Bible (Art Journaling Edition)” ~ Review & Giveaway

Have you ever marveled at the illuminated Bibles or Books of Hours lettered and painted by monks during the Middle Ages or the Renaissance?  These gorgeous works of art use vivid paints and gold leaf to bring letters and Biblical scenes to life.  We can see these today in museums, books or online…but how would you like to own your own copy of today’s version of an Illuminated Bible?

 

 

Today, I’d like to share with you about the ESV Illuminated Bible.  FlyBy/Propeller Promotions sent me my very own copy (free!) to use and review, and they’re also going to be giving a copy away to one of my readers in a giveaway!  Keep reading to learn more and to enter to win!

 

What is the ESV Illuminated Bible?

First and foremost, it’s the complete Bible (from Genesis to Revelation) in the English Standard Version (ESV).  Housed in a slipcase, this hardback Bible is navy cloth over board.  Inside, its smooth, cream-colored pages contain the Scriptures in clear, readable font.  Each page has wide margins.

But then, there’s enormous visual beauty on many of the pages.  The ESV Illuminated Bible is illustrated and lettered by artist Dana Tanamatchi.  The illustrations include:  beautifully hand-lettered Bible verses (over 250 of them in page margins), 50 full-page verse illustrations; 64 full-sized book opener illustrations; and over 100 additional illustrations.  All of these are lettered and designed in gold.

But this Bible is not only designed to bring beauty to the reader’s eyes and Scriptures to the mind and heart.  The wide page margins provide space for the reader to journal and take notes…but also to create art!  Tanamatchi’s verse and book illustrations can be left as-is or the reader can color them in.

One additional bonus that I discovered as I was turning the pages of the ESV Illuminated Bible was that the illustrator, Dana Tanamatchi, included an illustration key for the book opener illustrations.  I personally love to study art and to discover artists’ motivations for their artwork.  Tanamatchi’s musings on her artwork made the lovely artwork even more meaningful to me, as I discovered that she’d illustrated Revelation with a door (reminding us of Revelation 3:20); 2 Peter with lanterns (for the prophetic word “as lamps shining in a dark place), Psalms with a deer (as the deer pants for the water), and so many more wonderful “Word” pictures.

 

How I used the ESV Illuminated Bible

I love Bible journaling; the practice of thoughtfully illustrating Scripture verses.  I find that the process is peaceful and restful for me, plus there’s the additional bonus of the Scripture coming alive even more as I color and illustrate it.

For Bible journaling, I’ve used tempera paint sticks, colored pencils, and art pencils.  With this Bible, I found that coloring pencils worked the best.  The pages are on the thin side so the pencils don’t bleed through very much.  I appreciated that because I still want to be able to read the Scriptures on the back sides of the illustrations!

I used three different types of coloring pencils; art pencils, Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, and Crayola Twistables.  Of the three, the art pencils and the Twistables were most effective.  For some reason my erasable pencils didn’t lay the color down as well.  The beautiful cream-colored pages might have been just a little slick to take the erasable ones.  But the art pencils (think Primsacolor-type pencils) and the Twistables created beautiful effects.   The colors did mostly turn out on the light side when they were applied to the paper.

So what could you do with the ESV Illuminated Bible?

  • Well, Christmas is coming–and this would make a delightful gift for someone!  (You could even include a set of colored pencils with the Bible!)
  • You could display it on an easel, with the pages opened to one of the gorgeous Scripture illustrations
  • You could use it in your devotional reading time
  • You could do Bible journaling in it!
  • You could even use it during family worship; give everyone some colored pencils and work on it together!
  • And if you’re a person who’s not completely confident in your own artistic ability, the ESV Illuminated Bible will enable you to make beautiful art anyway!

 

You can enter to win!

FlyBy/Propeller Promotions has provided one copy of the ESV Illuminated Bible for one of you to win!  Simply click on the pink “Enter Here” link below.  That will take you to a Giveaway Tools entry form.  Just follow the directions to enter!  Giveaway closes on December 2, 2017.  One winner will be selected from all entries.  Best wishes!

Enter here!

You can also check out the ESV Illuminated Bible on social media

IlluminatedBible.org

Video: https://vimeo.com/237851665

The ESV Illuminated Bible on Amazon

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”):  Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway.  Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.  I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller /FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days on the same blog, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again.  Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Advertisements

ADORED: A Review & Giveaway of Lindsay A. Franklin’s New Book (Ends 11/27/17)

I have a lovely book to tell you about today.  The BlogAbout Blogger Network was kind enough to send me a copy to review AND a copy of this lovely book to give away to one special reader!

 

 

If you are a young woman, do you ever wish that you had someone to help guide you through the ups and downs of life, emotions, relationships, and challenges?  I know that I certainly did.  The adolescent and young adult lives that we live carry so much change, so much identity-formation, so much of the internal life that we don’t necessarily even realize as we walk through life.

Most of all, do (or did) you realize that there is a God of the universe, the God of the Bible, who doesn’t just like you or tolerate you but ADORES you?

Author Lindsay A. Franklin certainly understands this and communicates it vibrantly and joyfully, (not to mention, at times, hilariously) in ADORED.  Subtitled 365 Devotions for Young Women, this book is filled to overflowing with daily Scriptures and devotional writings that speak wonderfully to the hearts of young women.  (Or even women who’d fit more into the Titus category, or moms of children or teens, like me!)

About ADORED…

ADORED is just a gorgeous book, inside and out.  It’s a smooth hardback book that feels substantial but isn’t too heavy in the hands.  Its gold and blue artsy cover is echoed in the pages, which have illustrated blue borders plus lines for journaling thoughts and prayers at the bottom of the pages.  Each day’s reading (and there are, as mentioned in the title, 365–so one for each day of the year) begins with a Bible verse and its address printed at the top of each page.  To go along with each of these, Franklin has written devotionals that address ways we can understand the verses, be encouraged by them, or even live out their instructions in our daily lives (both inner and outer).

How I used this book…

I love to start my day with devotional and Bible reading, or Bible study.  So I really enjoyed reading ADORED in the mornings with my coffee.  Sometimes, I’d look up the daily Bible verse in my own Bible, so that I could glean more of Scripture and the contexts the verses were set in.  And although I live with men in my home (my husband and teen son) rather than young women, I often found inspiring and encouraging words that I could share with them during family Bible times or devotionals together.  They’re not the target audience, but there was so much rich content that really affects all of us.

 

 

and what I thought about it

So why did I find that ADORED was so applicable to my whole family?

I really think that it’s because all of us, whether we’re male or female, younger or older, deeply need to know that we are loved.  Even adored.  Lindsay A. Franklin makes that point in her book again and again, in different ways, with different words.  And we all need to hear that!

Here are some of my favorite words from this remarkable book:

  • “But given how much Scripture talks about waiting, specifically waiting on the Lord, we can guess patience is listed as a fruit of the Spirit for a reason.  God is never in a rush.  This God who is always the same says, “Wait on me.  See what I have for you in my time.”…God’s not in a rush, so why are we?”  (Day 23)
  • “You have a God who offers peace.  You have a God who hears your prayers.  You have a God who never backs down, even from the very gates of hell.  You are never alone and your God is never overcome.  So stand tall.  You can trust God to help you overcome those who are trying to intimidate you.”  (Day 18)
  • “Our God–the one of unchanging purpose, constant love, utmost consistency–never discovers greener grass and decides to graze over there a bit.  He knows all the grass.  He’s not wooed by the bigger, better deal.  He’s not suddenly walking alongside you in life, only to be distracted, shout “Squirrel!” and take off after it.  God won’t give up on you.  He won’t forget you.  He won’t leave you.  Ever.”  (Day 17)

That’s only a tiny taste for you of what comprises this most wonderful and encouraging devotional.

And now…my giveaway!

So who would be the perfect recipient of this lovely book, ADORED?

  • A young woman (whether she’s a teen or in her twenties)
  • A new believer, who needs to know the character and purposes of God
  • Any woman—even if she’s not the target audience—who’d like to know more about the amazing love that God has for us
  • A dad who’d like to bless his daughter with this incredible book
  • Or, anyone else whose heart is captured by the idea of ADORED

All you have to do to enter is to click on the pink “Enter Here!” below.  That will take you to the Giveaway Tools entry form.  Just follow the directions there!  One winner will be selected after the giveaway closes on 11/27/17.

Enter here!

Best wishes!  –Wren

 

DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

Kim Frauli’s “When No One Was Looking–Project Mnemosyne” ~ A Review

Earlier this year I was offered the chance to read a fascinating book by Kim Frauli when I was given a free e-book copy to review.  When No One Was Looking–Project Mnemosyne is an engrossing read about a young woman in a post-apocalyptic America, that doesn’t look much like the America we know.

 

 

About the story:

Julianna Brenner is a bright, personable young woman.  Although her life was dramatically reshaped by the terrorist attacks that blew across her nation, especially when her parents were killed.  Julianna was brought to the Scholars Compound, where she lives and works on scientific research.  Her work is focused on discoveries that will enhance and benefit the remaining humans who live in the country.  She’s fortunate to work daily with Declan, her best friend.  Her life is very regimented and controlled; there are places she can go (and not go), security personnel who take her almost everywhere she goes, a bedroom which looks much like everyone else’s in her division.  Julianna’s work challenges her and excites her on a daily basis.  She also loves working with Declan; in fact she’s becoming emotionally connected to him in ways that the New Regime might not appreciate.

Guardian Costma is the man in charge of the New Regime, and of Julianna’s area in general and her work in particular.  One day she is taken off the work she’s doing and reassigned to a new project; and the more she works on it the more concerns she has about its ethics and moral rightness.  This new project seems awfully like something that could be used as a weapon, or to harm others.  In addition, she discovers that she is to be “matched” or joined in a sort of marriage with another young man with whom she has NOTHING in common.  In fact, she can’t stand him.  And Declan, it turns out, is as unhappy about this as Julianna is.  They decide that, for their (and humankind’s) survival, they have to try to leave the compound.

Declan and Julianna have a journey before them that they cannot imagine.  Can they get away from teh guards and the compound?  What will they discover in the outside world?  Are there people there, will it be safe….and will they get caught?  And what is Project Mnemosyne?

My thoughts:

I enjoyed Julianna’s and Declan’s story.  Kim Frauli has written an interesting and compelling story. Young adults and those who enjoy YA fiction will be captivated by When No One Was Looking–Project Mnemosyne.  This book is appropriate for teens and would definitely be considered family-friendly.  I recommend it!

Where to find this book:

You can find When No One Was Looking–Project Mnemosyne at Amazon.  Even better, I understand that Kim Frauli is working on book 2 in the series!

About the author:

Kim Frauli lives on a farm in rural Illinois with her husband, three children, and a menagerie of animals. She spent several years in marketing and communications for non-profit organizations, including serving as editor-in-chief of a hospital’s health magazine. She took a break from full-time work to focus on family and volunteer work and became involved in education. She has served as a PTO president, board of education member, reading tutor and youth sports coach, in addition to chairing various events.

Enjoy!  –Wren

“Hope Prevails” ~ A Review & Giveaway (Ends 7/16/17)

Have you ever gone through challenging times and found it difficult to hang onto your hope?  Or, have you even struggled with depression?  Have you wondered why your faith wasn’t enabling you to kick that depression in the teeth?  Or, have you ever found it difficult to believe what God says about you?  If so, you’re going to love Hope Prevails by Dr. Michelle Bengtson.  The BlogAbout Blogger Network sent me a copy of this amazing book to review and a copy to bless one of our readers with….as well as a gorgeous & incredible gift box from the author!  (I’ll be sharing some goodies with my giveaway winner from that as well!)

 

I have read a lot of good books over the past year.  However, I must say that in all my reading, I don’t know that I’ve seen an author open the door on her own struggles and then describe them in such a way that I felt that she was talking about my own.  I endured a season of depression myself following a couple of serious surgeries and family difficulties several years ago.  While I would say that depression doesn’t describe my emotional state at this moment, I am in a place where Dr. Bengtson’s words are still of enormous value and assistance.  Readers of the finchnwren blog know that after having abdominal pain that just wouldn’t go away, I required surgery to remove a cyst in early May.  That cyst turned out to be cancerous, to my utter shock and disbelief!  The surgeon felt optimistic about having gotten all of it out, but he still recommended chemotherapy.  So I’ve completed the first third of the chemo journey (having had 2 of 6 sessions) but I am discovering that for me, the battlefield of the mind is almost as important as the battle being waged in my body.  How do I endure the physical challenges while hanging onto my hope, my faith, my belief in  God and that He is FOR me?  What a perfect book Hope Prevails is for my journey!

What will you find in Hope Prevails?

Author and neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Bengtson found, after treating patients for years in her own practice, that she required treatment for depression herself.  And she discovered that there was a crucial ingredient missing in common treatment options for depression; the spiritual aspect.  In Hope Prevails, you’ll find out what depression can look like, what it can do to you spiritually, and how you can integrate care of yourself spiritually to work alongside traditional treatment.  And receive true healing!

Each chapter begins with identification and description of depression plus the key elements of YOU, yourself, that can be tended on your walk toward healing.  Next, Dr. Bengtson gives the reader an Rx (prescription) to follow, that includes anything from Scriptures to read and review, brief research, prayers, and more.  She writes the most meaningful prayers for the reader/sufferer of depression, and concludes each chapter with a Recommended Playlist of praise and worship songs that are keyed to each chapter.  (You can find them by searching YouTube or iTunes.  Worth a listen!)

And Dr. Bengtson shares her own life, transparently, and how to address the spiritual component of the healing of depression in the following chapters (and others):

  • This Thing Called Depression
  • You Are Not Alone
  • The Underlying Causes of Depression
  • Recognize You Have An Enemy

These first chapters define depression in all its lack of glory, and remind us that there is an enemy of our souls who seeks to do us in, as Jesus instructs us in John 10:10:  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”

But then Jesus goes on to encourage us and remind us of the truth:  “…I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”  Life!  Not just painful existence.  The remainder of the chapters in Hope Prevails tell us about this full or abundant life, and how we can apprehend it:

  • Recover Your Joy
  • Reclaim Your Peace
  • Reestablish Your Identity
  • Know Your Worth
  • Remember  Your Secure Destiny
  • Be Confident That Nothing Separates You from God’s Love
  • God Uses Your Pain
  • The Way to Hope

Each of these chapters is so rich; each one speaks to a component of our spiritual identities (you know, the invisible part that makes each of us uniquely us), how each is affected by depression and its spiritual battles, and how we can regain strength and joy in them.

 

 

How Hope Prevails affected me

So…I’ve mentioned a bit to you about my own current physical, mental, and spiritual journey.  How I am walking through chemotherapy: one day–6 hours, actually–getting the IV infusions and then 20 more days of letting that medication do battle in my own body.  Then starting the whole process over again.

I can tell you (see my Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator for confirmation) that I am a great beginner.  I love starting new things, new classes, new projects.  But there is that spot, sometimes, in the middle of the journey where the fun isn’t as obvious, the grind has become the grind, and the newness has worn off.  Now nobody is really going to call chemotherapy a fun journey.  But there has been that newness of it: the not knowing what’s coming next, the unforeseen challenges.  All those kept me on my toes, really depending on God for what was around the next corner because we just had no clue.  But now I’m kind of noticing that we’re in that middle part; the routine.  Not that there won’t be unexpected surprises or challenges; but now I’m thinking that suddenly the circumstances (the pain, the medications/their effects, the trips to the doctor) aren’t my fight, I (my choices, my relationship with God, my mental battle) am my fight.  Or rather, my reacting to each day; knowing I might not be feeling my best or feeling well at all, but choosing to ENGAGE.  Engage with God; believe His truths; attempt to walk out my best in my life and with my family.  Sigh.  The middle.

What a powerful tool, what a valued companion Dr. Michelle Bengston has provided for me in my fight.  In each chapter, she defines what I am needing, whether it’s hope, joy, peace, identity, etc., and kindly and lovingly explains how I can grasp or attain it.  She provides truth to counter the enemy’s lies.  She includes Scripture that I’ve written in my journal or on cards for my vision board, so that I can remember what is real and true about my journey and about me.

How could Hope Prevails help you?

Now…most of you (and maybe even none of you!) are NOT undergoing my particular journey.  But perhaps you have experienced depression.  Maybe someone you love has.  Or it could be that you just desperately need to learn, remember, and know the truths the enemy would love for us to forget, but that God has given us in His Word.  Or, what if you’d just like to learn how you can grow in your own relationship with God?  If so, this book is for you!  (And keep reading because I have one copy to bless a reader with…that just might be you!)

I have to tell you that discovering that there had been a cyst in my body that was cancerous, and then going thru six rounds of chemotherapy, was NOT something that I was hoping for in my life!  But God has spoken Romans 8:28 over every one of us that loves and believes in Him…and He has spoken it over me and my life and journey to defeat illness as well.  I know that there will be a day when I can richly and fully say that I can rejoice in having gone through this.  If this also is something you desire to be able to say about your own pains and struggles, then that’s another reason to read this incredible book!

 

The unboxing of encouragement

Before I get to the giveaway, though, I have to share with you the absolutely wonderful gift box that I received from Dr. Michelle Bengtson.  It came to me at just the right moment, when I was home from surgery but still in significant pain from a wound infection.  WHAT an encouragement and blessing this box was!  Just at a moment when I needed something beautiful and wonderful to encourage me.  (Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Dr. Bengtson and The BlogAbout Network!)

 

 

Of course, you know after reading my review that I adored the book.  But at a time when I needed some beauty and love (and isn’t it nice to get that in a physical form from time to time?), I was blessed with that gorgeous scarf and the beautiful pearl bracelet that reads “Hope”!

 

 

I have to tell you that I wear the bracelet every time I go to chemotherapy.  It reminds me of beauty, that God is good, and that I have a hope to look forward to…not only in the life to come but in the here and now!

 

And now…enter to win some Hope Prevails goodies!

One reader will be selected to win a copy of Hope Prevails, a dog tag necklace with Jeremiah 29:11 on it, AND a delicious bar of chocolate from Dr. Michelle Bengtson!  Just click on the pink link below to be taken to the Giveaway Tools entry form.  Giveaway closes on July 16.  Best wishes!

Enter the giveaway here!

 

Don’t forget to visit Dr. Michelle Bengtson on social media, where you’ll find more encouragement and beauty

 

Her website, DrMichelleBengtson
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest
Instagram

 

Thank you for letting me share this powerful book (and goodies!) with you all.  Blessings!

Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow Owl Workshop’s Make It Yours by Christine Schmidt ~ A Review

I love art books, craft books, creative how-to books. So when I had the opportunity to review Yellow Owl Workshop’s Make It Yours by Christine Schmidt, I was ecstatic…because this book is all those things in one!  Blogging For Books was kind enough to provide a free copy of this amazing book so that I could try it out and review it, and share my thoughts with you!

 

 

What is Make It Yours?

Yellow Owl Workshop’s Make It Yours
is a beautifully photographed, clearly written project and idea manual for those who love to craft or create…whether they’d consider themselves creative or not.  Each project contains photos of the process itself as well as the finished version of the project.  These range from stationery, to kitchen items, to home decorative furnishings, to gifts, and more!

Author and artist Christine Schmidt intros the book with a chapter that’s all about how to use the book, making it perfect for the seasoned artist and crafter and the newbie alike.  She talks about ways the reader can use the book and describes all the various art media and crafting supplies mentioned and utilized.  From that brief introduction, she jumps right into creative instruction.  The projects are divided into these six broad categories, with each chapter containing 4-7 different ideas:

  • Abstract & Geometric Patterns
  • Everyday Patterns
  • Custom Motifs
  • Occasions & Celebrations
  • Flora & Fauna
  • Travel-Inspired Patterns

 

 

Here’s what you’ll find in it:

  • Step-by-step instructions for 31 different extremely cool projects
  • Gorgeous, full-color pictures of projects the author has made
  • A complete list of supplies needed for each project
  • Instead of a slipcover, the softcover book’s front and back have 3″ wide bent covers that you can use instead of bookmarks to mark your place
  • Templates for various designs
  • Photos of supplies needed for design categories
  • Recommended reading
  • And more!

 

Some of my favorites…

Well…how would you like to learn how to gold-leaf a table?  Or carve your own stamp?  Make fondant cake decorations?  (Because, really, isn’t fondant the coolest??)  What about painting decorative plates, or doing a new sort of tie-dye?  This book is so packed full of so many different types of projects, the reader will never get tired of using it!  Because of course, if one completed every project in the book, she’d then have the mastery to start back over again and tweak the projects with her own learned skill and creativity!

 

And things I’m looking forward to making myself!

I received this book for review at sort of a challenging moment.  I love art and teaching art.  But during the time when I could have whipped out some of these amazing home and gift ideas, I had surgery which turned into almost 2 weeks in the hospital, followed by weeks of at-home recuperation.  So I haven’t yet been able to make ANY of these!  But here’s a short list of some I’d like to try first!

  • Shibori pattern tie-dyeing with indigo dye
  • Painting decorative plates with markers
  • Making my own stamps and stamping clay ornaments
  • I’m also hoping to adapt the leather-working aspects of Schmidt’s plaid tote to create an art display board for next year’s art classes
  • And more!  What a drool-worthy book!

 

Who would enjoy Yellow Owl Workshop’s Make It Yours?

  • Artists
  • Crafty folk
  • Homeschoolers
  • Art teachers (oh yes, there’s so much in this book to adapt for your classes!)
  • Families who like to do art together
  • Those who aren’t crafty or artistic but would love to be
  • Someone who’d like to update or personalize her home’s look or furnishings
  • A book club; what about reading this book together then doing some projects?

 

And my conclusions:

I think that Yellow Owl Workshop’s Make It Yours is a fantastic resource, well worth its purchase price of $22!  It’s easy to read and use, and gorgeous to look at.  Readers have the opportunity to learn printmaking, clay work, stamping (including how to make your own stamps), painting, dying…and so much more!  Really, it’s like a year-long art class packed into one nice thick book.  I am happy to recommend it!

 

 

I hope you enjoyed this brief glance of a wonderfully creative how-to book!  Thanks for joining me today!

–Wren

Disclosure:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog. We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews. We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products. We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.  I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

#Keyword Reading Challenge March: C.S. Lewis’ “Out of the Silent Planet”

Hello, everyone!

So March is over…and due to a nasty infection (not to mention a painful visit to the orthopedic surgeon) I am a little late getting my #Keyword Reading Challenge post up.  But I did actually read a book with a variation on one of the March keywords in its title, which included  Shall, Go, By, Silence, Her, Saga.  I got a book I’d first read as an early teen, and thoroughly enjoyed dipping into again:  C.S. Lewis’ Out of the Silent Planet.

 

 

Out of the Silent Planet is Lewis’ tale of Dr. Elwin Ransom, philologist, who is kidnapped by the amoral Professor Weston and Ransom’s old (yet not very much-liked) schoolmate Devine.  Ransom is manhandled into a spaceship, and the three leave earth for Malacandra, a planet that’s in our own solar system.  Neither man is willing to admit to Ransom exactly why he’s been brought along, yet he discovers on the journey, via overheard conversation, that he is actually intended to be a human sacrifice for the Malacandrians.  He makes mental plans to try for an escape as soon as they land, and he’s successful.  Ransom leaves Weston and Devine behind, and sets off on his own.

Ransom meets Malacandrian residents of three distinct (yet interconnected) species, each of which has a particular set of gifts and talents.  There are the hrossa, the poets; the seroni, the wise ones; and the pfifltriggi, the miners and engravers of Malacandra’s metals.  Because he is a philologist, he is able to build a bridge of language with them all, and even develops deep friendships with some.

Ransom discovers that Weston and Devine have (of course) terrible plans involving Malacandra.  He also learns that he is from the planet Thulcandra, the silent world or planet; and that there are other beings, which aren’t sometimes quite visible; the eldil.  The hrossa plan to take Ransom to Oyarsa, who seems to be some sort of keeper or ruler of Malacandra.  But before they leave, a tragedy occurs.

Out of the Silent Planet is the story of Ransom’s fight against the plans of evil men, his hearing of Maleldil, and an incredible tale of a fascinating world out of C.S. Lewis’ own imagination.  Anyone who’s read the Narnia books won’t be in the least surprised at this.

What may come as a surprise, however, is Lewis’ astounding way with words, and the level of scholarship and intelligence from which he writes.  The Narnia books contain Christian truths within their fantastic stories.  So does Out of the Silent Planet; but the brilliance with which they’re expressed here reminds the reader that Lewis was not only a Tutor and Fellow of Magdalen College of Oxford, but a professor at Cambridge University as well.

Out of the Silent Planet is fantastic fantasy/science fiction; but it’s also a beautiful reminder of the eternal truths of the Christian faith.  Oh, and also here’s a fun fact:  Lewis may have patterned the good man Ransom’s character after that of his dear friend and colleague J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings books (and others).  What a compliment!

I’m linking this up with the #KeywordReadingChallenge from the My Soul Called Life blog.  Hop over there by clicking on the button below to find some fascinating reads from other bloggers containing this month’s keywords list in their titles!

Enjoy!  –Wren

Win a Copy of “Choosing Real” ~ Responding to Life’s Unexpectedness (Giveaway Ends 3/19/17)

I was captivated by the idea of Bekah Jane Pogue’s new book Choosing Real.  How do you respond to life–and to God–when life doesn’t go as planned?  When schedules become overfull?  When suffering and difficulty press in?  I had the lovely opportunity to read Choosing Real when the BlogAbout Blogger Network provided a copy for me to review–as well as a copy to give away to one reader!

 

 

So what is Choosing Real?

Subtitled “An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned,” Bekah Jane Pogue’s wonderful book addressed the questions that every woman has to face sooner or later.  We all have that image of the picture-perfect life; you know, the one we’re striving for.  The one that our list-making ought to be achieving (if we just get everything checked off and accomplished).  That our Pinterest boards should be illustrating.

But, life doesn’t work that way.  Although it feels as though it should at times.  Life intrudes with messiness; with suffering; with unexpected pit stops and sharp turns that we weren’t planning for (and, by the way, that weren’t even included on our to-do lists).

So what exactly do we do when we’re exhausted, or sidelined by illness or tribulation, or simply struggling with the fact that life doesn’t look like we thought it would at this point?  When we’ve served and volunteered and run ourselves ragged but we’re not satisfied and we’re not at rest?  And where exactly is God, what does He expect of me anyway, and how much more can I possibly do to meet His expectations?

Except maybe they’re not His expectations for me at all.

There came a day, after Bekah’s dad passed away unexpectedly, that she sat on a bench and told God she was done.  She had nothing left to give, no ability left to serve; no more smiles; she was empty.

And she discovered that He was okay with that.  In fact, maybe even happy with it.  Bekah had lived as though she was the pursuer of God; that she was the one responsible for everything; that the faith life was all up to her.  And the idea of God enjoying her, just as she was?

Until she came to the end of herself, I don’t know that she would have imagined that.  And yet that was what she found at that point.  The invitation comes from God, not from us.

Bekah said that this–that realizing that she could be completely REAL with God–actually saved her life.  (I can relate to that!)

So how do we live, being real with God?

Bekah shares about her experiences–that can also be our own.  Sometimes it’s an outlook we can pursue.  Sometimes it’s questions we can ask.  Sometimes it is just stopping and taking another look at the way we’re used to behaving or acting.  Here’s a list of some of the ways Bekah, and we, can inject realness into our lives:

  • Saying “yes” to God’s invitations
  • Learning how to really experience rest
  • Finding God in the middle of the loss
  • Understanding our identities in the messes and transitions of life
  • Knowing we are “seen”
  • And more

What Choosing Real is meaning to me

Have you ever read a book and thought, “Eureka!  Exactly!”

This is a book that so resonated with me.   I don’t know Bekah in person, only from reading her book.  But so much of what she describes was not just something I recognized, it was experiences I’d lived.  And I’d guess I’m not the only one!  I’ve definitely been a woman who took the entire responsibility of my relationship with God on myself; as if He weren’t going to be doing any approaching and it was all up to me.

Exhausting!

And not really even logical.  If my husband doesn’t just sit on the couch all day, ignoring me and our son and waiting for me to approach him and for him maybe to talk to me (which he DOESN’T–he is awesome!), why would I think that God is just sitting up in heaven waiting for me to do all the work in our relationship?

That’s not even a relationship.  But it wasn’t until I saw Bekah describing her own experiences that I could see the pieces missing from my own perspective.

So no spoilers, but…

here are some of the most meaningful things I’ve read in Choosing Real.

  • Learning to seek His presence when I’m feeling loss
  • Separating my identity from my roles or my emotions
  • Asking if I am sacrificing “my sanity or my family” to make things happen
  • Choosing to engage all my senses when I am in a place of “overwhelm”

There’s so much more.  But I want you to be able to experience it during your own read!

Finally…

Would I recommend this book to you?

Yes.  I love Bekah’s friendly manner of writing.  It really does feel that she’s writing to you personally–who happens to be her very good friend.  So the book is a pleasure to read.

But even more important, the themes she shares and the perspectives she offers are words of wisdom that I believe we as women desperately need to hear.  We all have questions about our value, our identities, and how we’re “supposed” to interact with God–and what He wants of us.  The way we answer those questions is often shaped by our own experiences (both painful as well as positive) rather than by God’s own truth and His own value of us.

Choosing Real reminded me often of a beloved childhood book, The Velveteen Rabbit, which emphasizes the importance of being Real; Real with a capital R.  It turns out that we don’t have to be well-worn and threadbare to be Real.  Rather, we can engage in Realness in the relationship that defines us the most clearly, which will affect not only our perspectives of ourselves, but also our relationships, and the work of our lives.

And it can set us out on the road we long to be on; the place of Rest with a capital R with the God who loves us.

 

 

And you can enter to win your own copy!

Just click on the pink Enter Here link below, which will take you to the Giveaway Tools page with the entry form.  Giveaway ends March 19, 2017 at 11:59 PM.

Best wishes!

Enter here!

 

Enjoy!  –Wren

DISCLOSURE:  From time to time, finchnwren may receive a free product or service in exchange for our honest opinions expressed in our blog.  We are not required to write a positive or glowing review, nor are we additionally compensated for these reviews.  We share our own opinions, and our family’s opinion, of these products.  We’re disclosing this in accordance with FTC regulations.