Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Courageously Soft by Charaia Rush


Courageously Soft: Daring to Keep a Tender Heart in a Tough World…. as I picked up Charaia Rush’s beautiful new book, the subtitle caught my attention. I have to admit that sometimes wonder if I have fallen victim to the ‘hard heart’ syndrome so as I read the back, “If you have been feeling exhausted, bitter, or beaten down by disappointment, betrayal or suffering, this grace-filled book will help you find your way back to a posture of love, trust and hope.”, I knew that this was going to be a must-read for me.

The first line of the book is ‘Growing up, I lost count of the number of times my mother sat me down and explained the need to toughen up’, oh how I understood that. I too had been taught to toughen up from an early age. When you hear this often enough your reaction is to cover the softness with a shadow and pretend that world has not had an effect on your heart. Charaia uses biblical wisdom to show that you cannot arrive at regaining that tenderness by avoiding honesty. Her words are inter-woven with humour, hope and hard-won wisdom. As someone who has had enough hardships to render herself occasionally cynical, I was impressed that as she shares her story, she does not sugar coat the disappointment and bitterness of life but points us to the tenderness of Christ. I love how empathetic and powerful her words were as she pointed to the faithfulness and goodness of God without denying the realities of how hard life can be.

This book is a fantastic read for anyone seeking to cultivate hope and a fresh perspective in their life. The author’s willingness to go beyond the surface and expose her own vulnerability highlights the resilience of the human spirit when you allow God’s word to permeate your every day life.


Friday, April 12, 2024

Fog Harbor Series by Nicole Deese

Every once in a while, we find an author that speaks to us…Nicole Deese is one of those authors for me. As often happens, I was first attracted to the cover of The Words We Lost. As I picked it up two things stood out on the front, first she is a Christy Award-Winning author and second, she was endorsed by one of my favourite authors.

The back cover reads Three friends. Two broken promises. One missing manuscript. Obviously, the book made it into my purse and arrived on my side table that very night. As a book-buyer I have hundreds of books come across my desk each year and simply cannot read them all (but I would sure like to!)  This book however seemingly had it all and I was completely hooked within the first couple of pages!

We start at Fog Harbor Books, a publishing company located in San Fransico where Ingrid Erikson is a Senior Acquisitions Editor. After the death of her best friend, she has lost her ability to escape into the manuscripts she represents jeopardizing her career. Her only hope is to find best-selling Cecelia Campbell’s lost manuscript. Then arrives the letter, will Ingrid be up to the challenge of having to solve the riddle with the help of her ex-fiancĂ© Joel Campbell as they strive to honour the last wishes of their beloved friend Cecelia?

I could not put this book was a rich, vibrant, emotional work that resonated with me and tugged at my heart strings. Nicole tackles many tough subjects in this novel with the utmost care and understanding and reminds us that many lives are full of circumstance and past traumas others might not see or understand.

Last week I was able to get a copy of The Roads We Follow which is the second book in the series. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was just as compelling as the first…I cannot wait to finish the last few chapters. Nicole is masterful in carving out journeys of grief and complicated relationships. Her prose is almost poetic at times, her pacing impeccable, and her characters are deep and complex. You cannot help but lose yourself in her beautifully crafted stories of loss, love and healing. If you are willing to pick one up, I am positive you will not be disappointed!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

He Knows Your Name

     Working in a bookstore means that you have many options for your next book. This can be influenced by cover or title, author however sometimes it only takes a quick scan of the introduction to seal the deal. That is how started reading He Knows Your Name by Paige Allen, the subtitle How 7 Nameless Women of the Bible Reveal Christ's Love For You, caught my attention but the introduction had me hooked.

But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. Isaiah 43:1

    Regardless of where we are in life, woman (and men) long to be loved and appreciated, yet so often can feel invisible even with the promise of God's presence and salvation. Allen's book invites us to take a look at the life changing moments of 7 unnamed women in the Bible encountered when they came face to face with Jesus. I will admit that growing up I never really gave much thought to the idea that many women of the Bible were not named. These women (and their stories) made it into God's Word so they were obviously important, but why? As I read, Allen's ability to weave personal stories along with Biblical truths allowed me to clearly see how these women were known and loved by Jesus. Although the world around them did not know their names, Christ did, He called them daughter.

When thinking of our identity, we know that God’s word tells us we are precious and worthy but it can be difficult to fully digest and believe at times.  Allen says, “I believe we are in a season where God wants His daughters (and sons) to wake up to the truth that He knows us better than we know ourselves. He sees, He listens, He comes close, and He understands” and she does an amazing job of outlining those truths through her thoughtful and relatable prose. The stories she shares are both funny and touching, now that I have read through it once I think I will go back with my pretty purple highlighter and spend a bit more time with these women as I gain a deeper understanding of what they endured, why the stories were told and the love that they felt by being both seen and loved by Christ. I am so glad that I picked this book up, it was a wonderful read that gave me opportunity to take a deeper look at who I am and how God sees me, even when I feel anonymous.  I look forward to seeing what she writes next. What is on your reading pile this week?

Courageously Soft by Charaia Rush

  Courageously Soft: Daring to Keep a Tender Heart in a Tough World …. as I picked up Charaia Rush’s beautiful new book, the subtitle caug...