Hi there, dear readers! Good morning if this post finds you before noon and good afternoon if it finds you then.
I recently discovered Lydia Howe’s blog, Noveltea, (thanks, Jessica, for sharing some things from her on Goodreads). I was inspired by her review of the month of August and the goals she sets for herself. They have a fresh feeling and seem full of the joy of life. I thought I might try it with my own twist.
So from the 16th of September to the 16th of October, here are some goals for my blog:
Dear praying friends,
A friend of mine – referring to her own project which she’s inviting others to join – said it well: “I know you probably follow a dozen other blogs. There are hundreds of messages, lessons, and words floating around you each day. I don’t expect you to drop everything and join me.”
In the same way, I recognize that you may be surrounded by prayer requests and projects beg or beckon for your support.
But would you read on and quietly consider (with prayer if you need to) joining me in the following way?
River of Grace by Colleen K. Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Collin Walker, a twenty-six year-old youth worker on the hard downtown streets of Oakton, Ohio, has come to West Virginia to an extreme sports challenge camp. Single and single-minded, she is there for one purpose: to show her ward, Robbie, that there is more to life than the ‘hood.’ Collin has no way of knowing that the week ahead will force her to face the river she has feared since childhood, a murderous assailant, and perhaps the greatest challenge of all: the possibility of love.
The first night there she meets the twenty-eight year-old camp maintenance man, Jeff Farrell. His easy banter, gentle humor and quick wit intrigue Collin. Through the week, as their paths cross over and over – and over and over – Collin finds herself drawn to the man as none before. Yet for all his openness, Jeff seems to be keeping secrets. Though he shares freely about his background, he hedges when pressed for details. He talks with familiarity about the camp owner but refuses to reveal the man’s identity. Collin suspects there is more going on than she is being told.
Then Robbie chooses to take the class in white water rafting and asks Collin to come along. Collin must summon all her faith to face her fear of the river. But when a serial killer makes her his next target will she still depend on faith to see her through? Can she “walk the talk” when the challenges of the week spiral out of her control?
This is the day!
Okay… so it’s not the day, as in the day that Jesus returns (as far as I know). Neither is it the day as in the release day of Isolated.
But it is the opening day of the Isolated blog tour. Six kind people have opened their blogs up to me and my debut novella, In doing so, they’re helping me gain some visibility with readers.
These bloggers are posting exclusive content on their blog, meaning that’s the only place where you’ll find it: interviews, reviews, spotlights… So for you who already know of Isolated, there is still some incentive in checking out their posts. Here is the schedule (links to be made clickable as the posts are published):
Monday, September 4th – Kellyn Roth, reveriesreviews.wordpress.com
Tuesday, September 5th – Lana, themusicofwords.wordpress.com
Wednesday, September 6th – Emily, apurposeandapromise.blogspot.com
Thursday, September 7th – Leona, GreatBooksForGodsGirls.wordpress.com
Friday, September 8th – Hosanna Emily, HavingaHeartLikeHis.blogspost.com
Saturday, September 9th – Crystal, purelybyfaithreviews.wordpress.com <—we are here!
God has blessed me time and time again through the small community of blog commenters who engage with me. Two weeks ago, we discussed the things about fiction that hinder us (born-again believers) as runners of the race marked out for us.
I’m grateful for friends who take the liberty to explore meaningful rabbit trails. One such friend said:
But then again, can reading even clean books become a waste of time?
There was a time where every book I read hindered my relationship with God. Not because of the book in itself or the content, but because I relied on the books to calm my anxiety, instead of relying on God. Sometimes, I still have to ask myself, “why am I reading?”. Is it to have a good time reading a book or to run away from my anxiety or responsibilities again?
I think that second comment captured one of the pitfalls that avid readers fall into.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
I once heard someone use these verses to teach that Christ-followers need to be wary of more than just outright sins. There are non-sins that would woo us away from Christ as our first love. That’s the “everything that hinders” that the author of Hebrews lists as a separate entity alongside “the sin that so easily entangles.”
I don’t know about you, but I speak for myself when I say that it’s those gray areas that stump me. Give me black and give me white. But if you put something less defined in front of me, I don’t always know what to do with it.
A couple of months ago, I had the privilege of participating in Kellyn Roth’s blog tour for the first two books in her Chronicles of Alice and Ivy. I had a front row view to how she managed and organized it – or at least the parts where she interacted with her hosts. Though she (probably) didn’t know it, I paid close attention. After all, my own blog tour was fast approaching and I have never done this before!
That brings us to the Isolated blog tour!
I first mentioned this some time ago when I unveiled the cover. Now the tour starts in a month, God willing, and it’s time for me to get serious about finding bloggers who would be so kind as to host me. If you don’t know what a blog tour is and/or if you would like to host me on your blog, click here. I’ll explain what I mean when I talk about a blog tour (and then give you an opportunity to join in).
If you’re reading this, Kellyn, thank you for putting your techniques out there for me to study. 😉 I was impressed with your organizational skills.
Last week, I shared 7 signs that you or I have taken our reading habits to the point of idolatry. Needless to say, it was a weighty topic. One reader described it as sobering. It had the same effect on me as I wrote it.
By my own reasoning, I’m an idolator. That’s someone who reveres or delights in something more than God.
I’ll go ahead and admit that this whole idol thing isn’t new to me. For years I’ve known and regretted that I tend to love certain people and things more deeply and freely than I love God.
I started a book again!
I hadn’t read a paperback in months and I felt guilty. Of all people, writers are meant to read.
But this past Tuesday, I finally picked up a new novel, River of Grace.
I savored it from the beginning. The pleasure of reading returned to me like a neglected friend. I rediscovered the urge to read in every spare moment, the bittersweet (mostly sweet) guilt of reading past my bedtime, the adrenaline rush when I thought about the next chance I would get to crack open the cover, the secret relief when I got stranded somewhere because of the rain and… oh well. *Sigh* I guess I’ll just have to read as I wait it out, even though there were a dozen more import things I should be doing.