Friday, September 30, 2016

The Rakshasa's Bride Paperback Release + Giveaway!

I am super excited this morning to join Suzannah Rowntree in announcing the release of The Rakshasa's Bride in illustrated paperback! This beautiful retelling of The Beauty and the Beast, which I personally loved, can now come to your personal bookshelf!

so cool i can't even 

In celebration of this special occasion, Suzannah is joining me for a wee interview. So pull up a cup of hot cider and some nice doughnuts, and join us for a cozy chat. (Plus, keep reading to the bottom all the way until the giveaway!)




1. The Rakshasa's Bride is a fairy tale retelling. What are your favorite fairy tales, and what attracts you to this genre as a writer?

I grew up on Grimm's Fairytales and also devoured others wherever I found them, so I have a lot of favourites. The Rakshasa's Bride retells Beauty and the Beast, which is obviously a favourite with everyone, including me! Jorinda and Joringel, which I retold in The Bells of Paradise, was deeply comforting to me as a child because of how the power of the witch is so completely overthrown. I always felt a deep kinship with Rapunzel because of the length of my hair, though I've recently had to cut it. The Black Bull of Norroway, with its repeated motifs, is my favourite for telling aloud to children. But my most favourite, for several years now, has been King Thrushbeard.

When I first penned The Rakshasa's Bride I didn't intend a whole series of fairytale retellings. But fairytales are very powerful--sometimes the simplest stories are the rawest, the most compelling. We get lost in the princessy trappings, and forget the underlying meanings that praise humility, diligence, and faithfulness. It's these deep themes, and the raw power of the storytelling, that attract me to fairytales. I don't yet feel completely confident in my own power to invent such tales from scratch--though I am becoming more confident as time goes on--and working on an already-established pattern gives me a creative sandbox to experiement within.

It also gives me an overarching theme within which to experiment with homages to multiple different genres! The Rakshasa's Bride, for instance, is a bit of a homage to what I like best about *ahem* Bollywood movies...

2. Is there a power in fairy tales that other stories can't quite match? What are their unique strengths for conveying a message?

Referring back to my previous answer, yes, I think so! Fairytales are stories that work without a really strong sense of setting or characterisation. They have to rely on raw plot, on situations that everyone can sympathise with. They tend to be deeply mythic, in some ways almost (but not quite) allegorical. In stories like this, it's the plot itself, more than the characterisation, that provides an explanation of the human condition and the divine rescue. Now, fairytales aren't the only stories that work like that - The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars are just two recent examples of mythic stories that have this raw, simple plot power. But myth seems to go closer to the bone than any other kind of storytellings.

As a result, fairytales provide an explanation for how the world works. They lay down certain incontrovertible laws that often echo heavily off Biblical themes - from "He has exalted the humble" to "The elder shall serve the younger". There's a magnificent chapter in GK Chesterton's book Orthodoxy, "The Ethics of Elfland", that explains how reading fairytales as a young man paved the way for his surrender to Christ, by instilling in him an idea of both the fundamental lawfulness, and the fundamental wonder, of the created cosmos. This is not allegory, though it's a close cousin. It's more like catechesis; it makes more definite claims about the way the world actually is.

3. Who's your favorite fairy tale hero?

Well, fairytales tend to be pretty light on characterisation, but I have two favourites from two obscure Grimm's fairytales. There's John from Faithful John, who risks everything to save his master's life. On the more humorous end of the scale, there's the absurd Kate from Frederick and Catherine, who is gloriously dim (we're talking Amelia Bedelia levels of dimness) but endlessly well-meaning, and who winds up saving the day in the end, anyway!

4. Do you love any movie adaptations of fairy tales? Which ones?

Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, seriously. While the CGI bluebirds and the declarations of faith in fairies are about as much as I can stand, I was deeply impressed to see the original fairytale's essential meaning come through with such shining power. Branagh's Cinderella is a paean to idealism, humility, kindness, bravery, and forgiveness, of a kind that I never expected to see adorning the film screen. For someone who isn't apparently a Christian, Branagh's made some of the most Christian movies of recent years--I suspect his long apprenticeship to Shakespeare may have something to do with it.

I'm not big into the Disney animated canon, and I detested Ever After as passionately as I loved Cinderella, so I think that's my sole recommendation!

5. What's your favorite way to celebrate the completion of a writing project? Chocolate? A fun day? A shopping spree?

Well, my idea of a really good time usually involves silence, solitude, and a really good book, so that's what my celebrations usually look like! Otherwise, I might relax with a favourite movie, or buy a long-awaited book or some listening music. Champagne is also very festive. ;) When I finished the first draft of OUTREMER, my major historical project, I treated myself to a leisurely shopping day with my sisters - sorting through books at a book fair, sniffing and sipping in the tea shop, looking through silk skirts and silver jewellery at the Indian importers.

All of which is fun, but sometimes the most exciting thing is simply getting to move on to the next project!

6. If you could have one iconic item to own from literature, what would it be? (Cinderella's glass slipper, Aragorn's sword, etc.)

Ooh. Oh, let's say Queen Lucy's healing cordial. That's something that would definitely come in handy, plus who else can say they have the juice of the fire-flowers that grow on the Sun?

7. What are your favorite things to do to restore your creativity?

I find all I need is some time away from the writing. It can be as little as a half-hour afternoon walk, or as much as a month juggling toddlers at a friend's place, but stepping away from a deadlock for a while has always been enough to get the creative juices flowing again.

8. Which fictional land would be your favorite place to take a vacation?

I've always wanted to go to Narnia. I still want to go to Narnia, though I suppose it's a bit late for it now; they might not let me in. (Not my fault; I used to sit in my wardrobe waiting to be let through!) In that case, I'll take a holiday in a treehouse in Lorien, definitely.

9. Tell us one little known fact about you.

I am such a tea snob. Loose-leaf, without milk or sugar (unless you've got a good masala chai), is the best way to have it - teabag tea is prone to be bitter, taste faintly of teabag, and not lend itself to reinfusion. Gunpowder green and oolong are particularly good, but Russian Caravan, smoky and smooth, is romance in a mug - one sip and you're making the long trek by camel from China, bearing tea to the aristocrats of St Petersburg. Mmm.

10. Any hints as to your next fairy tale project?

I have a couple of projects in various stages! Nearing completion, there's Death Be Not Proud, a retelling of one of the well-known Grimm tales, set in Jazz Age New Zealand, in the style of a Mary Stewart romantic suspense thriller. Look for that to be published pretty soon! I also have plans to release my other fairytale retellings, The Prince of Fishes and The Bells of Paradise, in paperback at some stage.

I also have a host of little fairytale plot bunnies hopping around in the back of my mind. This week I actually sat down and started to rough out the plot of the next one. I'm keeping this one pretty quiet at the moment, but suffice it to say that it will be a particularly outrageously fun story, and will feature a scene in which a character orders tea in epic detail. *nods*

(Giveaway code)

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Happy Birthday, Lady B! (From Junior and Co.)



Someone had a Birthday recently, and the blog was silent.

THE BLOG WAS SILENT.

We have not forgotten, but duty called, and so we were delayed in getting the party together. Now Jaeryn, Terry, and Ben (and me!) have finally assembled to try to figure out some sort of Grand Happy Birthday Blog Post.

Terry: IT’S SCHUYLER’S BIRTHDAY. I’M SO EXCITED. HOW ABOUT WE CELEBRATE WITH CAKE AND CANDLES? AND BALLOONS?

Me: Terry, Schuyler’s gone at a writing conference right now which is why we can post here. We have to stay F-O-C-U-S-E-D.

Jaeryn: I can’t find Small. Do you think she left it?

Ben: No, I saw her take the Kindle along with her laptop. I hope she has a good time.

Jaeryn: *mutters something*

Me: What did you say? This is the one day of the year when we’re best friends, remember.

Jaeryn: You rascal. I was just saying I don’t think a writer’s conference is good for her. Makes her think up too many bad things for us.

Terry: OH NO! You’re right! What do we do?

Ben: *sighs* There’s really nothing we can do. Anyway, where were we? I don’t like hacking blogs like this.

Me: It’s okay, Ben. I’m her sister after all.

Jaeryn: *coughs*

Me: *glances sternly at Jaeryn* What device are we going to post this on?

Jaeryn: None of her accounts are logged in on any of the laptops at home. If she hadn’t taken Small, this would have been a whole lot easier.

Me: Ben, can you think of anything?

Ben: *shakes his head*

Terry: I CAN THINK OF SOMETHING.

Me: You can??

Terry: Look at this CUTE picture. We could post that!




Me: *grins* Terry, we’re not trying to figure out what to post, but HOW to post.

Terry: Oh. Well, where’s Acushla? Maybe she can help.

Me: Acushla’s busy right now, Terry. We agreed to do this ourselves, remember? She’s making the cake, and you can go lick the beater when she’s done.  

[well-dressed figure enters room]

Me: FENTON. You’ve saved us!! *gives him a big hug* You have a device we can post on, don’t you?

Fenton: *gasping for breath* For a price.

Me: C’mon, Fenton. It’s a birthday. Besides, I’m sure you have a ton of money anyways. Help us out.

Fenton: *unmoved*

Jaeryn: *stands up ominously*

Fenton: *still unmoved*

Me: Oh, no, this is disastrous. Fenton! Jaeryn! This is supposed to be a HAPPY birthday! Jaeryn, you’ve got more money than the rest of us. Can’t you give him some?

Jaeryn: No, he doesn’t need any money.

Terry: EVERYBODY BE HAPPY AND LOOK AT THIS CUTE PICTURE.



[everyone momentarily diverted]

Ben: Fenton, it’s a birthday. Give us the device.

Fenton: *considering* As long as you let me come to her party.

[everyone stares in surprise]

Me: Why, of course, Fenton dear, the party wouldn’t be the same without you.

Fenton: *nods awkwardly and pulls out Schuyler’s iPod*

Me: Oh no, is it that small?

Jaeryn: *laughs* Instead of Small, we have something that’s really small to post on. Can you even read Blogger on an iPod?

Ben: I don’t know. I would think so.

Terry: *wondering if Acushla is done with the cake* What kind of cake is it?

Me: Some sort of chocolate ombre cake, maybe? By the way, boys, do you have any gifts for Schuyler?

Terry: OH NO. I forgot. I was planning to, I really was. Do you think she’d like chocolate kisses? 

Me: *grins* Terry, she’d be thrilled with chocolate kisses.

Jaeryn: I bought her a knife.

Me: Woah. That’s awesome.

Fenton: I’m offering her my services for a month.

Me: Fenton, you are being so nice this evening. You’ll be the life of the party.

Ben: I-I’m not sure yet. I thought about a book, but I got her that last year.

Me: Never too many books, Ben. You’re a dear to think of it. Now, are we all ready for our big surprise?

[groans from around the room. Everyone assembles in a circle]
[all sing happy birthday in four-part harmony; Terry a little off key]

Me: That was SO beautiful, boys. She’ll love it. Let’s get this posted before she comes home.

Fenton: *disappears quietly*

Ben: *looks at his watch* I can’t believe it’s so late! I’ll have to buy a book for her before the stores close. And patient calls to do tonight! Goodbye, everyone! *rushes away*

Terry: *goes to lick off the beater and talk to Acushla*

Jaeryn: Just you and me, kiddo.

Me: I am NOT a kiddo. You wanna help with the last part of this though?

Jaeryn: *stretches* Sure, I don’t have much else going this evening.

[Jaeryn and Junior bend over iPod and get to work]


HAPPY BIRTHDAY, PRECIOUS GIRLIE! I hope you have a fantabulous day celebrating, and that this offered you at least a little bit of laughter. ;) Love you lots and can’t wait to see what God does through you this year. *hugs*



As it turns out, the iPod didn't work so Jaeryn and I had to wait until Schuyler got home to "borrow" her computer. XD Good thing Jaeryn was still around to help...

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

A Time to Die + A Time to Rise Release Tour!


I was SUPER excited to be accepted to the Nadine Brandes' team for the A Time to Rise release! I've been wanting to read her books for ages, so diving into book 1 of Parvin's adventures was a dream come true! (Just around my birthday, too--so awesome.)

Come talk with me about my first foray into dystopian literature!

The Book [from Goodreads]
How would you live if you knew the day you'd die?

Parvin Blackwater has wasted her life. At only seventeen, she has one year left according to the Clock by her bedside.

In a last-ditch effort to make a difference, she tries to rescue Radicals from the crooked justice system. But when the authorities find out about her illegal activity, they cast her through the Wall -- her people's death sentence.

What she finds on the other side about the world, about eternity, and about herself changes Parvin forever and might just save her people. But her Clock is running out.

My Thoughts
I started this book after dinner one day and didn't stop until bedtime. It was that exciting. The tension is non-stop, and I had a complete lack of self-control in finishing it. :P

There were a lot of things I loved about this book. First of all, Nadine's world building is really solid. Her technology is incredible (anyone else want a tune chip for music?) and I loved the electronic journal and updating newspapers. It felt real, believable, and so creative. Not only technology, but the terrain, the cityscapes, and the different cultures Parvin encounters have a harsh reality that really fits in with the atmosphere and themes. I'd like to read this book again just to re-encounter everything and catch more details.

I like the fact that Parvin has a real family in this book. A mom. A dad. A brother--all living and very much loving her. That's rare to find in stories, and they have a realistic dysfunction--troubles, but not so much that deny the fact that they're a close bonded family. In fact, wherever she goes, Parvin creates or finds family. It's a key need fulfilled, and a safe place for her. Shalom is found in two are better than one--especially in the context of family bonds.

Parvin herself is a good example of a heroine who really grows well throughout the book. She starts out weak, but not whiny or dislikable--very relatable. Gradually she grows stronger, wrestles with things, finds help, suffers mentally and physically in some pretty big ways. At one point I was completely shocked with what Nadine was putting her through. ;) But through it all, she's a realistic example of growth as a Christian--I could really relate to her feelings at one point when she's made a decision and then regrets it, and can't let go of the regret. The way she talked with God, and refused to accept the brokenness in the world around her was really, really good.

I loved Jude. He's a pretty special guy, which his humor chemistry with Parvin, and his tenacious sense of protection and guidance. Lots of aww moments that felt completely natural and soul satisfying. And yes, Hawke was pretty cool too.

The only part I didn't totally connect with was the romance aspect--at first I really liked Parvin's insecurity and inexperience about how she should feel in a romantic way, but then it got a little distracting with wondering what was a right way to touch Jude (nothing inappropriate, but I just enjoy it more when plot focuses on how a couple relate to each other with personality chemistry).

There is so much potential for future books both in the plot line and in the spiritual themes. Questions to be answered, growth to be achieved--I definitely want to see what happens next.

Order the Book
To check out A Time to Die, click on any of these awesome buttons:

A Time to Die



Order Book #2

You'll want to order book 2 right away after reading book 1. Just sayin'. ;) So to make it easy for you...
A Time to Speak
Amazon BN-iconlogogoodreads icon


And Best of All...

The reason we're all here is to celebrate the release of the final installment--book 3!!


A Time to Rise

IF you pre-order book 3, you'll get some awesome swag. The most adorable bookmarks on the face of the universe. So hie thee forth and check it out on Nadine's website!

http://nadinebrandes.com/2016/07/20/a-time-to-rise-pre-order-swag/



Connect With the Author
To hang out with Nadine on social media, check out her website. Actually, it was her sweet interaction with her fans that first attracted me to her books. I love her newsletter, her Twitter, and her blog--in fact, I love any place she's on! She always makes me smile and gives me new things to think about. :)


I received a free e-copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Autumn TBR


Coming to the reading pile this autumn....

Far from the Madding Crowd, by Thomas Hardy
I've wanted to see the movie ever since it came out--so, I'm doing my traditional, and reading the book first as a way to work towards the movie.

Anne of the Island, by L.M. Montgomery
A continued foray into my second time all the way through the Anne of Green Gables series. I'm currently enjoying this one. Patty's Place and girl chums. Such richness.

Grace for the Good Girl, by Emily Freeman
I've been reading books that have taught me much about deep comfort and kindness from the Lord. This is another one on my list.

Everyday Grace, by Jessica Thompson
Another book on relationships, ditto above.

The Portrait of a Lady, by Henry James
It's been on my to read list for FAR TOO LONG. This must be remedied!

Polly and Newton, by Jody Hedlund
This one is on its way in the mail to me! My first Jody Hedlund novel, and such a pretty cover. ^_^

The Shattered Vigil, by Patrick Carr.
CANNOT WAIT. JUST CANNOT WAIT. PLEASE RELEASE QUICKLY.

Veiled Rose, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Not *immediately* on my fall list, but I'd like to read this one in the fall season.

Lark Rise to Candleford, by Flora Thompson
Also because I'd like to dig into the TV show, and the book looks so pretty and delicious.

What's on your autumn reading stack? I'd love to know! Have you read any of these books? What do you think of them?

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson

"I wanted to lend this to you."

A friend handed me Gilead, after an afternoon of sipping chai lattes and chatting about life. I'd seen it around the book community and wanted to read it, so I was excited about the chance. In the midst of a very crazy week of life, the simplicity and depth made it a perfect haven to slip away to.

I love the cover. It makes you think of stained glass, or watercolor--the same muted nostalgia that is the trademark of this book.

The Book 
John Ames is dying. He's lived through three wars, a Depression, and at least one drought. His life as a preacher has been abnormal and normal all at the same time. He's lived a long time--and now, in his seventies, he wants to leave a record of things to remember for his seven year old son.

At first, he sets out chronicling things about his past, his grandfather, and the charming little town where they live--Gilead. But when Jack Boughton returns to Gilead after years of wandering, John's letters become a very present-day wrestling--though still in that gentle, nostalgic strain--of unresolved threads from his past.

And unwittingly, in his wrestling, he leaves a more authentic picture of his humanity for his son than he ever could have with just a thoughtful chronicle of past memories.

My Thoughts 
Gilead is one of those books I read as a writer, and I'd love to know more about how the author felt during the writing process. It reads in such a way of random memories and lingering over small details that you almost thing she couldn't have scripted it in advance. But it is so beautiful and simple that you know this book probably took some very hard work and multiple drafting to pull out that simplicity. Clarity is rarely a mark of first drafts. And Gilead is so clear and full of the very essence and feeling of memory, that I want to know what Robinson felt like as she wrote it. Was it hard? Did she pour over some of these passages multiple times, wondering if she would ever say what she wanted? I'm sure she did.

I love the way John Ames sees the sacredness in small things. Perhaps it's his age--he is in his seventies after all. But oftentimes he has a way of gripping the reader's heart by his ponderings over the simplest details. I especially loved his breathless wonder at the beauty of Christian sacraments. Communion was, to him, more than just the Lord's Supper shared in church. He found communion moments in taking biscuit from his father outside a burned down church as a boy. One of the most shining memories in the book is when he gives communion to his seven-year-old son. It struck me so much because it's likely he'll never give it to him again.

I believe in believer's baptism. But while I disagreed with it theologically, I could appreciate the beauty of John Ame's descriptions of baptizing infants as a pastor--laying his hand in blessing on their faces. His ghost of guilt is a vivid one, over the one baby who he felt went unblessed because he had been in turmoil of mind as he performed the ceremony.

And I also loved his Holy of Holies. The silence in the church in the mornings, when he could just sit and think, even though he knew all that memory and holiness of fellowship would be torn down with the old church building after he died.

In between the celebration of worship and sacrament, you get thumbnail sketches of the chequered people that made up his community--the strain between his pacifist father and his warrior grandfather--his brother Edward who walked away from the faith--his keen, lifelong friendship with Jack Boughton--his love for the beautiful woman who married him so late in life and gave him his precious son. And Jack Boughton--the outcast wondering if there is any way back to grace.

Without spoilers, I can say the ending was poignant and almost brought me to tears. It has a deep strain of honesty as Jack's coming makes John Ames face old regrets...memories...and even a form of guilt as he feels his own lack. The tension of relationship crackles on the page as we see into the depths of his soul.

It's a rare gift to see inside a soul like that. Reading Gilead is a rare opportunity. I highly recommend the experience.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal

So I'm totally supportive of this trend of adult coloring books. It started with hearing about them through Ann Voskamp, and before long I bought one of my own--a beautiful Joanna Basford's Enchanted Forest.

Not having a natural artistic bent with colors, I'm slowly learning what looks good and that it's important to keep your pencils sharp. But when Tyndale offered one specifically having to do with gratitude, I thought it would be fun to try out a coloring journal combined with prayer.

The Book 
Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal invites you to bring creative journaling and the calming act of coloring into your quiet time with God. This beautifully designed interactive prayer book from Tyndale's Living Expressions collection helps guide your thoughts as you pray about concerns such as health, overcoming stress, personal relationships, and more. Gratitudegives you a way to celebrate and give thanks to God for the many blessings he provides. Filled with over 100 designs to color, plenty of space for journaling and sketching, and 40 needs-based prayers, Gratitude helps you express your devotion to God with your whole heart!

My Thoughts 
I like a lot of factors about this journal. The pages are small, and less overwhelming than some of the bigger coloring books, so when you're sitting down to pray it's easy to break it into manageable chunks. I've done a coloring session every day this week to test out the book for review, and each time I enjoyed the ten minutes or so I spent with it. I would throw on some instrumental Christian piano music by Eric Nordhoff, choose a prompt that stood out to me, and for ten minutes I would color and pray to the music background. If I didn't get a page done, that was OK. I chose another prompt the next day, and there's still lots of room  to return to a prompt I didn't finish multiple times. The good thing about this book is, you can custom-tailor it to your preferences and time limits. It's a beautiful way to make prayer time a treat.

Sometimes the drawings are a little too cute, but there are a lot of pages I would love to try, and even when I don't always connect to the pre-written prompts, I love the subject matter they make my own prayers springboard into. The subjects are varied and good, and as I meditate on them, my heart is refreshed.

If you love art but struggle sometimes with prayer, this might be a great platform to bring alive your own prayer life. Or if you have a younger girl artist you know who you want to encourage in her faith, this might also be a great gift. I'd encourage taking a look at it in store to make sure it's what you expect and want, but it turned out to be a lot more fun than I was expecting, and I'd love to do more with it in future.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for an honest review.

Cry Out Prayer Night 
For another opportunity to join in prayer, Nancy Leigh DeMoss is hosting a livestream prayer night over the internet on September 23. From 6-9 central, join thousands of women around the world crying out to God for national and international repentance. It's coming soon, and you won't want to miss it! Go to cryout16.com to see if there are any groups gathering in your area, or to sign up and participate right from the comfort of your own home.



What do you think of coloring books? Do you have a favorite one? What are your favorite ways to keep track of your prayer life?

Check out Tyndale's  Inspire Creativity board on Pinterest for downloadable samplers and shareable coloring pages and www.livingexpressionscollection.com for more inspiration about their coloring products.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Uninvited, by Lysa TerKeurst

I've been savoring this book for weeks. Underlining, meditating, tucking truth into my heart and mind from its pages. This is my first foray into Lysa TerKeurst's books, and I was deeply blessed. 

If you feel rejected, broken, or unloved, or even just having a case of the blues, Lysa's book will minister to you. There is so much gentleness and truth tucked away in its pages. 

Also, I think the color scheme on the cover is extremely pretty. It's a happy thing to look at. ;) 

The Book 
The enemy wants us to feel rejected . . . left out, lonely, and less than. When we allow him to speak lies through our rejection, he pickpockets our purpose. Cripples our courage. Dismantles our dreams. And blinds us to the beauty of Christ’s powerful love.

In Uninvited, Lysa shares her own deeply personal experiences with rejection—from the incredibly painful childhood abandonment by her father to the perceived judgment of the perfectly toned woman one elliptical over.

With biblical depth, gut-honest vulnerability, and refreshing wit, Lysa helps readers: • Release the desire to fall apart or control the actions of others by embracing God-honoring ways to process their hurt. • Know exactly what to pray for the next ten days to steady their soul and restore their confidence. • Overcome the two core fears that feed our insecurities by understanding the secret of belonging. • Stop feeling left out and start believing that "set apart" does not mean "set aside." • End the cycle of perceived rejection by refusing to turn a small incident into a full blown issue.

My Thoughts 
While I'm not suffering from a deep and traumatic relationship break-up, I was in need of fresh reminders of God's sustaining love when I picked up this book. I think what I most appreciated about Lysa's book was the truth it gave me about God's power, sustenance, and love. As Lysa says on pg. 23, we need our minds braced by truth. My own mind feels weary right now, so I need more time in the words of God, and the life that he gives through Scripture.  Throughout Uninvited, I was comforted by the reminder of God's character. So often, when we suffer, we have wrong behavioral reactions of resentment, withdrawal, or hopelessness. Those can only be fixed by a better, deeper understanding of who God is, and who he is to me. God is very, very good at all times, and once our confidence is founded in that, we can begin the healing process of healing pain and gaining spiritual strength.

A couple things that stood out: people aren't meant to be used as life support. People can do CPR, but clinging for life support from someone continually goes beyond their human strength. If you're going from person to person looking for life support, you're doing it wrong: only God is designed to offer that constant level of sustenance. Yes, we need community. We need help from others. But we need to be careful to have proper expectations of what belongs to God, and what belongs to people.

It's all about perspective. Truth. When I believe the truth about God, and have abundant life in him, I am better able to have real expectations and not get unnecessarily hurt by others. I'm also better able to look into the raw, hurt places and find healing for them. I can lived deeply loved on a daily basis, full to the brim with the love of God.

The second to last chapter, about Jesus in Gethsemane, was also really good. Lysa talked about how olives are pressed, processed, and ultimately destroyed. But they're destroyed to be edible and preserved. The hard process of refining ultimately leads to a better product than the olive in its raw form. Sometimes the processing seems incredibly hard, but Jesus is using it to make us better than we were before. We are not being destroyed. We're being given better life.

There was one spot with an example about David's feelings that I think Lysa read more into Scripture then can rightly be inferred from the passage. I don't connect to every sentence or how she says it, but overall I connect to the heart of the book, and I learned so much from it. The only thing that bothered me as I went through it was the underlying jokes she made about body image. They were meant to be a light-hearted, relateable "me too" thing, but it was a subtle undercurrent of putting down herself that might cause others to struggle without knowing where or why those feelings had come from. There was no truth to combat it, and I didn't like that unresolved and troubling strain in an overall lovely book.

I underlined a lot in this book, finding truth to tuck away in my heart again and again. I want to revisit some of the underlining and copy it down in a notebook to have that truth nearby to review and remember. Also, when you purchase Uninvited, you get a free audio download of Lysa reading prayers from the book that is incredibly beautiful to listen to. If you've ever felt hurt, betrayed, or simply lonely, then Uninvited will give you an invitation to a closer trust in Jesus.

Prepare to live loved. 

I received this book for free from BookLook bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. 
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