Setting up space in my little corner of the internet to share thoughts on books, home, and life.
Hopefully you will find something that is useful to you.
What I'm Reading
September 2017
Chasing Slow
​by Erin Loechner
It was the title that grabbed me. “Slow. YES, I want slow,” I thought. So I picked it up at the library to see what Erin Loechner had to say about slow. 

My first impression was that this is a really beautiful book. Not too surprising once I learned that Loechner’s background is in design, but its beauty wasn’t just aesthetic. 
The writing feels like you are in her circle of friends and she is telling you her story, sharing the truths she has learned, the joys and sorrows that have filled her heart. By the third chapter I had decided to return the book to the library and purchase my own copy. I knew that this book was going to take time and that I was going to want to go back to it again and again.

I read it in bits. Biting of chunks and ruminating on them. This isn’t my typical reading style. Normally I am a devourer. I want to plow through and take it all in at once. Chasing Slow needed me to go at its pace. Read a few chapters. Put it down for a couple of days and think on it, about how her words relate to my life.

As I read, I found myself repeating the same phrases of agreement. “Yes, I totally get that.” “We went through that too.” “I know exactly what that feels like.”  

It is books like this that make us feel less lonely. 

So often in life we can feel alone in our being. Then someone shares their story and parts of their story are your story too. You can see the threads woven through, how they connect and overlap, and you realize that this was part of a plan. I am not alone in this, I am not the only one. This is why the truths that God gives are not just for us. We must share them even when we would rather hold them tightly.
He did not give us our stories just to be ours. He gave them to us as a way to offer hope and empathy and connection to others.

As we walk on the author's journey with her we cross the United States, travel to other countries, learn about the design and blogging world, and see her grow in faith and truth. These were my favorite parts. The learning what is important. The wrestling she did with those things that gave her comfort and then seeing the comfort that comes from God. I love the moments where we can say, "AH HA!" when we realize how God is trying to teach us, grow us, change us. When what matters to God suddenly becomes what matters to us.

We walk through jobs and marriage and parenting and pain and loss.  We learn from all of these things, not to rush through them, not to hurry onto the next step, the next chapter, but to live in them, to experience them, feel them. What is the slow we are pursuing? The intentional, the deep, the relational - these things take time. The journey takes time and it calls for slow in order to mean the most. We do not become the person God created us to be overnight. We do not rush into Christ-likeness. 

I am very thankful that Erin was willing to share so openly about her life, her walk thus far. I certainly hope that we hear more from her in the future.


What I'm Reading
August 2017

The Mountain Between Us
by Charles Martin

A first post on a new site is a struggle. What do I write? Which book do I choose? What if I choose the wrong one and everybody hates it and no one ever reads my words again? These were the thoughts I had before I decided to just go with it and write about what I am reading currently.​​​

The Mountain Between Us. I will admit that I had some preconceived ideas on what the story would be about: Man and Woman crash land on a mountain, bonding and romance insue during the struggle to survive, realize they can't live without each other once they are rescued and return to the real world, everyone lives happily ever after. This book is not that. Not exactly.

I chose The Mountain Between Us  because I have read other books by Martin that I have really enjoyed. His writing is captivating and real. He does not shy away from the human struggle or raw difficulties that must be faced. His stories hold onto an underlying truth throughout and take you on a journey with the characters to realize that truth. In this book that theme was hope. The need for it to stay alive and keep going. The power in it that makes you take one more step, go one more mile, believe that there is possibility. As one of the main characters states, "hope is what fuels us."

We walk through deep snow covered mountains with Ashley, who was supposed to be on her way to her wedding, and Ben, a doctor headed home to his family. I will say that it was very convient for Ashley, who is badly injured during the crash and cannot walk, to be stranded with a very fit and highly capable doctor.
During their journey Ben frequently talks to his wife by way of a voice recorder. There is another story being told here, a history of their relationship from highschool to the almost present. We learn, along with Ashley, that Ben and his wife are seperated, but that it is something he doesn't want to talk about. That mystery is resolved at the end in what may be an unexpected surprise.

There is a verse that the author references in his notes from Psalm 121, "I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."  The reason that we can have hope is that we have a God that is able in the impossible. We do not have to rely on ourselves, for He provides for us. 

During their journey Ben realizes that the most valuble item he has at the moment is a compass. Without that they would end up hopelessly lost. He states, "Never make it without the compass. In the trees, I'd lose all sense of perspective. Direction. Maybe life is like that."
We must have our own compass. A guide to get us through the forests of life. A soild truth that always points "north" that we can follow even when we can't see a way out. How easily can we lose our own perspective when life overwhelms us? When we are deep in the hardships, deep in the hurt, deep in the our own uncharted territory, we can have hope that the God who is always good, always knows the correct path to take, and is always there to guide us, will do just as He has promised.

Hearts & Homes, LLC

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