Please note that all posts are copyright. Do not reprint in whole or in part without permission of the author. You may refer to one of my posts in your own writing; simply include the link(s) so readers can be taken directly to my work. Thank you, and enjoy! ~Susan

Friday, 30 June 2017

#Friday Five, Canada Day edition

I'm sure we all have things we could grump about, but the fact is complaining leads to the opposite of joy. Want to increase positivity and happiness in your life? Make a list of things you are thankful for to develop an attitude of gratitude! Here's what I'm thankful for this week. I call it the Canada Day edition - tomorrow we celebrate 150 years as a country!

1. Clearly, I'm grateful to have been born and raised in Canada. I have a heritage here that dates back to the 1700s, and while that's not as distant as the First Nations, I'm proud of my Canadian roots. My Irish ancestors made good decisions in settling here.

2. Everyone in Canada has the right to an education. In Ontario, students are required to stay in school until they are eighteen. The most successful countries recognize the importance of education and ensure it's available and of good quality. 

3. We have a pretty decent health care system. 

4. We have the ability to choose our leaders and make our voices heard.

5. We enjoy many freedoms. 

6. When we travel, we are generally well received wherever we go. Canadians are known as polite, respectful, well-behaved. And apparently, people like our "accent". How aboot that, eh? (We actually don't say "aboot," but others seem to hear so!)

Happy Canada Day to all my fellow citizens and expats. May we never lose sight of who we are and who we want to become as a nation. May we choose leaders who seek godly, rather than man-made, wisdom. (See this excellent post for more on that subject).

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Right Now

Apologies for not posting more regularly lately. Just been busy! And yesterday there was no Hodgepodge. But for all those who are interested, here's what I'm up to right now:

Drinking: Had French vanilla flavoured coffee this morning, and a kefir-based smoothie. I think I found the recipe online. It was pretty simple: 1/2 cup kefir (mine was strawberry and banana), 1/2 cup plain yogurt and 1 cup of frozen berries (I used strawberries). It was pretty tangy at first sip so I added a teaspoon of maple syrup. It could have used more, but I managed. The naturopath says fermented foods may be beneficial for me, so I'm trying...

Eating: I had a small bowl of plain Cheerios for breakfast, and the smoothie. For lunch I have a garden salad, raspberry dressing, a plain dinner roll, and an oatmeal muffin with flax and dried cranberries. Still not sure what I'm having for supper, but I'm leaning toward quinoa.

Reading: Just started a couple of new books - Black Ice by Linda Hall and When God Says Wait by Elizabeth Thompson. Enjoying both so far.

Watching: Been too busy for movies lately, but I'll probably watch something this weekend. Should probably choose something quintessentially Canadian seeing as we celebrate our 150th on Saturday!

Listening: Just the radio, when I'm driving to and from work.

Creating: The odd blog post, the odd novel revision.

Buying: Nothing but the essentials; the bank account is struggling to keep up with the bills these days.

Anticipating: Canada Day weekend! A get-together with neighbours on Saturday and the church picnic Sunday. And friends over tonight for dessert and games!

What are you anticipating?

Monday, 26 June 2017

On Leadership

My grandfather used to have an expression for not being in a hurry: "there's no place to go." This is fine in that circumstance, but when it comes to being a leader, if you have no destination in mind it shows in the results.

Friday night my husband and I watched the 1983 movie Rumble Fish. Based on the book by S.E. Hinton, when Motorcycle Boy returns to New York after a long absence, he offers his brother Rusty James all the wisdom he's gleaned, including this gem:

Rusty James looks up to his brother and, I think, is puzzled by this statement. Motorcycle Boy seems a born leader but he doesn't seek leadership, recognizing that he has little to offer. His ability to show "courage" in a fight is no more than a response to feeling scared spitless and his "charisma" is based on a sense of mystery about him. He doesn't speak or think like the rest of the crowd.

If we want to be leaders, we should ask ourselves why. Do we have something valuable to offer or is our desire more about selfish ambition and ego gratification? If others are following us, are they wise to do so? Are we leading them down a garden path to destruction or up a mountainside to glory?

When we follow others, we should do so wisely. Are they taking us into a fight where we may get killed? If so, is it a cause worth dying for? Is the end goal worthwhile? Will we change the world, or be changed, in a positive way? Rusty James identifies Motorcycle Boy as a modern-day Pied Piper. Who remembers whether or not that story has a happy ending?

We are all either leaders or followers. Wherever you land, make sure you're heading in a good direction.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Right Now

Drinking: I've had one of my son's very strong coffees and that may be it for coffee for the rest of the day. That boy's had negative symptoms in the past and had to eliminate coffee and I sadly expect he'll have to go through this again before he gets wise. Not at a stage where he listens to the wisdom of his parents, unfortunately.

I have a litre of water available to drink for the rest of the day, and will try to drink it all, and more.

Eating: For breakfast I had the heel off a loaf of homemade whole wheat bread spread with coconut oil. Also a serving of Honey Shreddies with almond milk. I bought the honey version at my son's behest and didn't realize I wasn't opening original Shreddies this morning. A difference of 7 grams of sugar - pah!
I think this is actually 'Life' cereal, but close enough!
Not sure what I'm having for lunch yet. I'll be at work and I'm sort of bored of brown-bagging it. I brought some "dollars" that we can use at any local business, so I imagine it'll either be a wrap or a salad.

Not sure about supper either. Tired of making those too and aiming for variety. I bought some tofu at the end of last week, so I may try to find a recipe and hope it passes as better than edible to the rest of the family. My son is unlikely to try it. He'll eat sushi and try eel, but forget about Mama's home cooking experiments!

Reading: Just finished reading Francis Chan's Forgotten God. An excellent book; highly recommend it to the Christ-follower who wants a richer spiritual life. It's on my re-read list; as always, it's one thing to have knowledge, another to apply it. Also finished historical mystery, Death Comes to Pemberley, which I reviewed on Tuesday. Today I'm starting one of Debbie Macomber's non-fiction books, One Simple Act, about the power of generosity.

Watching: Saw Rogue One on DVD on the weekend, ane enjoyed it. Brought a few more DVDs home from the library: Rumble Fish, Olympus Has Fallen, and Moonlight. Not sure which one we'll watch first. Suggestions?

Listening: Sirius XM, the Message. Subscription runs out this coming Monday.

Creating: Working on revisions to the novel and on blog posts. In other words, the usual.

Buying: Not much. Trying to avoid big credit card bills at the end of the month. But - massage, today's lunch, groceries... We still have to eat! And we still have to order shower doors, a robe hook and toilet paper holder for the bathroom reno.

Anticipating: Reunion with my husband's side of the family Saturday. My brother-in-law owns a large acreage up north so we usually meet there. Hoping for nice weather; it's been a little cooler this week and today we're expecting thunderstorms. Would be crummy if it's like that Saturday and we have to be cooped up in the house. The house is nice but it's not big and there are a lot of us now.

Anything new with you? What are you reading, watching, creating, anticipating?

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

A Summer Hodgepodge

1.The first day of summer rolls in later this week. What are ten things you'd put on your list of quintessential summer activities? Will you try to manage all ten this summer?

Summer vacation – this summer I’m going east to Newfoundland with my mom and my aunt. Growing up, if we didn’t go to Newfoundland we were usually camping more locally.
Getting together with family – for the last several years, we’ve had family reunions with my husband’s side of the family and less frequent gatherings with mine. We’re trying to up the latter going forward. No one’s getting any younger.
Enjoying summer foods – watermelon, fresh berries, corn on the cob. Yes, yes, yes!
Going for walks in nature – I hope to, though time is at a bit of a premium.

Chilling outside – we have a lovely sunroom in the back and a sitting area out front. Unfortunately, we don’t get as much time as we’d like in either place.
Barbecues – but not often, and three out of four of us eat plant strong. Our barbecuing efforts are fairly simple.

Taking more pictures – for sure when I go east I will be taking lots of photos.
Going to the beach – quintessential but not something we do often.

Camping – also quintessential but we sold our trailer a few years ago and are traveling a little differently now.
Gazing up at the stars – looking forward to seeing them in Newfoundland – otherwise, I don’t think we’ll be out that much late at night or away from a lit-up city.

2. Do you collect seashells when you're at the beach? What do you do with them once you get them home? What's your favorite place to comb for seashells? How many of these '
best beaches for hunting seashells' have you visited? Which one would you most like to visit?

Calvert Cliffs State Park (Maryland), Jeffrey's Bay (South Africa), Sanibel Island (Florida), Shipwreck Beach (Lanai Hawaii), Ocracoke Island (North Carolina), Galveston Island (Texas) and The Bahamas
I do comb the beach for seashells and other treasures. I display some when I get home, but often do nothing with the rest. Note to self: only bring back the most spectacular to show off. I actually haven't visited any of those beaches, but would most like to visit Sanibel Island. It sounds lovely.

3. At a snail's pace, shell out money, come out of your shell, go back into your shell, drop a bombshell, happy as a clam, clam up...which 'shell' phrase could most recently be applied to some event or circumstance in your life? Explain.

Definitely shelling out money. Bathroom renovations don’t come cheap!

4. What summer activity do you dislike? Why?

Tanning – while we need vitamin D and get it naturally from the sun, it’s not healthy to spend too much time soaking up its rays. Too many people getting melanoma.

5. What's something you see as quickly becoming obsolete? Does that bother you?
Manners, and it bothers me a lot!! I still haven't received a thank you note or e-mail for a wedding gift I gave three years ago.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

Finally got around to reading Francis Chan’s Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit. Best 97 cents I ever spent at Goodwill. Highly recommend it to readers who identify as Christian and desire a more healthy spiritual life.
Please join us for the Wednesday Hodgepodge by clicking here!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Book Review

Title: Death Comes to Pemberley
Author: P.D. James
Publisher: Penguin Random House, 2011
Genre: Historical fiction, mystery

First Lines:
It was generally agreed by the female residents of Meryton that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet of Longbourn had been fortunate in the disposal in marriage of four of their five daughters. Meryton, a small market town in Hertfordshire, is not on the route of any tours of pleasure, having neither beauty of setting nor a distinguished history, while its only great house, Netherfield Park, although impressive, is not mentioned in books about the county's notable architecture. (From the Prologue)
Goodreads Description:
The world is classic Jane Austen. The mystery is vintage P.D. James.

The year is 1803, and Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth's beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball, the guests are preparing to retire for the night when a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley's wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham - Elizabeth Bennet's younger, unreliable sister - stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered.

Two great literary minds - master of suspense P.D. James and literary icon Jane Austen - come together in Death Comes to Pemberley, a bestselling historical crime fiction tribute to Pride and Prejudice. Conjuring the world of Elizabeth Bennet and Mark Darcy and combining the trappings of Regency British society with a classic murder mystery, James creates a delightful mash-up that will intrigue any Janeite.

From the bestselling author of The Murder Room, Children of Men and A Certain Justice, comes a wonderful mixture of the nation's greatest romance and best-loved crime fiction. In 2013, this novel was adapted as a miniseries by the BBC, starring Matthew Rhys as Darcy, Anna Maxwell Martin as Elizabeth Bennet and Jenna Coleman as Lydia Wickham.

My Review:

P.D. James picks up Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice six years after Mr. Darcy's marriage to Elizabeth Bennett. Those of you who have read Austen's book will be familiar with these beloved characters. 

Here's the book trailer to give you a gist of the storyline:

Our book club is discussing this title on Monday. It took me a little while to get into the story since the language is a bit antiquated in keeping with the writing style of Austen's time. Once I was drawn in though, I found the plot intriguing and was challenged to uncover the identity of the murderer as well as the truth behind some underlying questions. Was there a woman in the woodland? If so, who was she? What was Colonel Fitzwilliam really up to on his nighttime ride? Is he or Mr. Alveston the most suitable choice of a husband for Darcy's sister Georgiana? Is the accused guilty or innocent of the crime with which he's charged?

James does a skillful job of handling Austen's characters, keeping them consistent with the original narrative. Austen fans will have nothing to complain about with this continuation and will likely be quite satisfied with the story's conclusion.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Book Club Aids:

Globe and Mail Review
New York Times Review
P.D. James article
Book discussion questions 
Reading group guide

Friday, 16 June 2017


Want to increase positivity, joy and happiness in your own life? Make a list of things you are thankful for to develop an attitude of gratitude! Here's what I'm thankful for this week:

1. Sunday was our church's day of celebration, looking back on the past year and seeing all that God has done in us and through us as a church body. What a wonderful day - although we've experienced some hardships, including the death of our much-loved senior pastor - we've also experienced personal growth, unity, and a deeper level of care for each other and the community around us.

2. I always loved choosing courses - whether it was my own in high school and university, or helping my daughter in her first year or two of post-secondary education. Monday I had the pleasure of guiding my son through his first year university course selection process. He wasn't too excited about it (I think he finds administrative stuff stressful), but for me - what fun! He'll be doing two music courses, drama, medieval history and a required English course on academic writing. We both agree that it's a fairly soft entry into university after a year away from school. We want him to experience success to build his confidence. And he's a music major, so he needs those music courses anyway.

3. This is customer appreciation week at the place I get my hair done. Taking advantage of the opportunity to have a mini-manicure for free! This will only be the third professional manicure I've enjoyed. Even the mini version requires quite a bit of time.

My first manicure!
4. My massage therapist gave me a couple of exercises to open up my trapezoid muscles. The one I do on the exercise ball is amazing. Thanks, Jas!

5. Today is the 19th anniversary of my grandfather's passing. I miss him so much and think of him often. I'm very thankful for his life, his character and the legacy of faith he left  Also for the volume of happy memories I have of him and the times we had together. I will never stop remembering or loving him and look forward to seeing him again. 
#FridayFive was started by Lauren at Milly's Guide. What are you thankful for? Leave your reply in the comments or in your own blog post.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Right Now

Drinking: I've had a cup of coffee and forgot to bring my water bottle to work today. I'll have a cup of herbal tea when I get home and follow that with water later in the day.

Eating: Had Multi-Grain Cheerios and a small slice of French bread, toasted, for breakfast. Lunch is potato and leek soup, plain yogurt with frozen mixed berries, honey and homemade trail mix. I'm thinking of making this thyme and white bean pot pie from the Minimalist Baker for supper. Looks like a good recipe.

Reading: Finished up with the books I previously indicated (except George Wood's which I only got halfway through) and have started reading Francis Chan's Forgotten God and PD James' Death Comes to Pemberley. Enjoying both so far.

Watching: We watched Free State of Jones the other night. Interesting piece of American Civil War history. I hadn't known anything about this resistance movement. I find I'm more interested in watching movies based on true stories these days.

Listening: Sirius XM The Message. We're not renewing our Sirius subscription when it lapses at the end of the month. Not that we haven't enjoyed it, but we need to cut back somewhere.

Creating: The usual - blog posts and revisions to my novel.

Buying: Not a lot of extras in the last two to three weeks. Money's tied up in the cost of renovating the bathroom. We still need to order our shower doors, toilet paper holder, and robe hook(s).

Anticipating: My husband's almost finished tiling the shower area - yippee! Once he's done the bathroom, he'll move to outside projects - mulching the front yard landscape, painting the aluminum siding, fixing some of the crumbling retaining "walls".

What are you up to right now?

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. The Hodgepodge lands on June 14th this week, Flag Day in the US of A. Do you fly your country's flag at home? Sometimes, often, or every single day? Have you ever visited the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia)? Did you make a point of seeing The Betsy Ross House? Have you ever made a trip to Baltimore? If so, was Fort McHenry on your itinerary? (where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write The Star Spangled Banner)

We don’t fly the Canadian flag at home, though we have occasionally displayed it when we’ve traveled to other countries. We’ve visited Philadelphia House, but not Betsy Ross House. I think it was generally pointed out to us when we were on a hop-on, hop-off bus tour though. We’ve never been to Baltimore, but we’ve been to Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, a few times. It’s beautiful and very pedestrian/cyclist friendly. George Stanley, the designer of the Canadian flag, was situated in Kingston, Ontario, a city we have also visited.

To learn more about the history of the Canadian flag, go here.

2. Red flag or white flag? Which have you encountered most recently? Explain.

Our flag is red and white.

3. Are you a stay in the car listen to the end of a song kind of person? What kind of person is that?

It depends on the song and whether or not I’m pressed to get to my destination. I’m not sure what kind of person you have to be to stay in the car to listen to the end of a song, are you? Maybe someone who needs closure?  

4. What are some of the traits or qualities you think a good dad possesses? In other words, what makes a good dad? What's an expression you associate with your father?
A good dad is patient, kind, loving, generous with his time. He always tries to see and bring out the best in his children. He corrects them when he needs to, but always in love.

I didn’t grow up with my father, but my wonderful grandfather had numerous expressions I remember and keep alive. One was “little girl gets one.”

5. What's one rule you always disagreed with while growing up? Is that rule somehow still part of your adult life? Is that a good or bad thing?

I wasn’t allowed to go to movies because it was considered to be supporting Hollywood and the immoral lifestyle promoted by the secular entertainment industry. The one exception was Joni, which tells the true story of a 17-year-old girl who is paralyzed in a swimming accident and how she comes to terms with her quadriplegia.

When I started dating in my 20s, my first boyfriend and I used to go to movies fairly regularly. But when I got together with the man who is now my husband, he wasn’t much of a movie-goer and I didn’t really care. Today we will go see the odd movie, but usually no more than once or twice a year. 
Now that movies are put on DVDs, we can often wait until the DVD is available at the library to see something we’re interested in.

I don’t think going to movies is either a good or bad thing, though “Hollywood” still puts out a lot of what I would term “junk.” Today there seems to be somewhat of a push to produce clean movies as well, and I try to support them when I can. These production companies need to make a profit or  won’t be able to continue.

6. Insert your own random thought here.

This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it. 
Please join us for the Wednesday Hodgepodge by clicking here!

Monday, 12 June 2017

A Single Step

I have a chalkboard in our basement bathroom. Right now we are all using it to shower while our main bathroom renovations continue. But normally it's the facility used primarily by my son. I use the board for quotes I hope he'll find inspiring, and the most recent quote is the one pictured here. 

I wrote it two or three weeks ago and last week my son posted some thoughts on Facebook, including these words: 
I am working as hard as I can to make this the turning of a new leaf. so I can look back on my 20s as the fruit of the hard lessons I had in my teens.
That sounds like beginning with a single step to me. And I'm excited about what the future holds for him as I know he's working hard to improve his life.

What do you think? Have you ever faced a life journey where you just had to take the first step, then the next one and the next one? How did it work out? Make it the thousand miles? Please share your personal story in the comments.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Weekly Weigh-In

I usually weigh myself first thing in the morning before I've had breakfast. I forgot to do that today, but as of yesterday my weight is still holding. 

I saw the naturopath again Monday. He says he's seen the best weight loss success comes from cutting the grains way back (not forever) and intermittent fasting. Here's some information from WebMD. It's not the way it was described to me, though, which was to say that when you get up in the morning, you don't automatically eat breakfast. Instead, you ask yourself if you're hungry. If you are, eat until satisfied. If not, wait an hour and see if you're hungry then. If yes, eat. If no, wait another hour, and ask yourself this question again. Repeat for each meal. The idea is to abbreviate the window of eating so you're not eating from dawn to dusk, but during a briefer period of time.

The naturopath also suggests only one serving of fruit a day, protein at every meal, healthy fats at every meal (especially Omega 3 oils, since we typically get plenty of Omega 6's), and lots of veggies. Clearly, lots of sweets are unhelpful. Oh, and drink lots of water - it helps with fiber.

I have a busy day of housecleaning ahead. We're having a few people and two dogs over tomorrow afternoon. There will be food, but mostly healthy. I'll try not to eat more than I should.

You wouldn't think it would be such a challenge to lose 4-5 pounds! My daughter has done so since moving back home from residence. Then again, she's not my age and she doesn't have a thyroid problem.

Friday, 9 June 2017


An attitude of thankfulness is said to increase positivity, happiness and joy. Here's what I'm thankful for this week:

1. The offer of help from my son to fold laundry and dry dishes. It was nice to have support without asking for it.

2. A good conversation with my son following the above. It's not often he sits down to share about his life and his thought processes, so I really appreciate it when he does. He enjoyed it too and thanked me for listening.

3. Everyone loved the song cover my daughter did for her brother's birthday gift. She has a beautiful voice and put her heart into it.

4. We have sleeping accommodation on the train both ways of our trip now. At first it was just the return portion and my mom was worried about not being able to get enough rest. She has enough sleep issues as it is. Getting a cabin was an answer to prayer.

5. My library was selling last year's editions of the Writer's Market and Children's Writer's and Illustrator's Market for $2 each. A bargain! Speaking of books on writing, did you know that Jeff Goins has a new book out? Real Artists Don't Starve. I'm going submit it to our acquisitions librarian as a purchase suggestion, but it's a pretty good price on Amazon as well. 
#FridayFive was started by Lauren at Milly's Guide. What are you thankful for? Leave your reply in the comments or in your own blog post.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Book Review: There's a Fly in My Tea!

Subtitle: The Importance of Maintaining a Christian Testimony
Author: Crystal L. Ratcliff
Publisher: CrossLink Publishing, 2016
Genre: Non-fiction, Christian Living, Bible Study

First Lines
You are probably wondering what "a fly in my tea" has to do with my Christian testimony. Well, I don't know about you but when I am studying my Bible, the most memorable lessons are those visual pictures God gives to me. Recently, my Bible Study group has been going through the book of Ecclesiastes. As I studied chapter ten, God gave me the "fly in my tea" picture to teach me about verse one and the way in which my life represents Christ.
(From the Introduction)

Goodreads Description
 It's true! Despite your flaws and imperfections, your life can bring sweet comfort, joy and blessing to those around you. Each of us have some "flies"--those unhealthy, unproductive, even gross things--that creep into our lives and cause us to lose some of our flavor. But be encouraged. This study will help you discover Biblical Truths which will allow you to live a more flavorful and more satisfying life, like a cold glass of tea on a hot summer day. Ahhhh!

In There's a Fly in My Tea! we'll take a fresh, vulnerable look at the ways we let those pesky flies of doubt, frustration, fear, and bitterness creep into our lives and spoil our testimony. We'll look at the life of Peter, a man who definitely allowed some flies into his life, and learn how our own lives can be used as a sweet savor to the Lord and those around us.
My Review

In eleven chapters author Crystal L. Ratcliff uses the life of Peter to address many issues common in the lives of Christians today. She discusses the difference between salvation and a personal relationship with Christ, our response to challenges and difficulties, our willingness to serve, forgiveness, and more. Everything is supported with scripture and each chapter concludes with reflection questions and a place to answer them.

The style of the book is conversational and Ratcliff shares relevant elements from her own story as well. I would have preferred she use a different version of the Bible than the King James, which (I believe) most contemporary readers find challenging to understand. I also would have preferred she not set the scripture passages in a different font, which I found distracting and unnecessary. As far as content goes, though, she convinces that maintaining a Christian testimony is important, and gives suggestions for achieving that goal.

One of the most encouraging quotes comes from the last chapter:
"Just as Jesus met people where they were in Bible times, He is still willing to meet us where we are today. Often we make decisions that cause our fellowship with Him to be broken... Whatever the cause of our broken fellowship, Jesus is ready to meet us where we are and prompt us toward the next step in our spiritual life."
 My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Full disclosure: I received this book free through the BookCrash program in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Bookworm Meet-up: Book Review

Title: Between Heaven and the Real World: My Story
Author: Steven Curtis Chapman with Ken Abraham
Publisher: Revell, 2017
Genre: Non-fiction, Christian autobiography, musicians

First Lines:
When I was a little blond-haired boy, my older brother, Herbie, and I loved to go to Noble Park, a 135-acre picturesque public property that includes a five-acre lake in my hometown of Paducah, Kentucky. It was a great place where families could take young children, play on the plagrounds, have a picnic, feed the fish, maybe get chased by a goose, and just enjoy the beauty of nature.

Years later, in the gazebo of that same park, I would kneel down before a beautiful young lady named Mary Beth, who'd stolen my heart, and ask her to be my wife.
(From the prologue)

Goodreads Description:
For decades, Steven Curtis Chapman's music and message have brought hope and inspiration to millions around the world. Now, for the first time, Steven openly shares the experiences that have shaped him, his faith, and his music in a life that has included incredible highs and faith-shaking lows.

Readers will be captivated by this exclusive look into Steven's childhood and challenging family dynamic growing up, how that led to music and early days on the road, his wild ride to the top of the charts, his relationship with wife Mary Beth, and the growth of their family through births and adoptions. 

In addition to inside stories from his days of youth to his notable career, including the background to some of his best-loved songs, readers will walk with Steven down the devastating road of loss after the tragic death of five-year-old daughter Maria. And they'll experience his return to the stage after doubting he could ever sing again.

Poignant, gut-wrenchingly honest, yet always hopeful, Steven offers no sugary solutions to life's toughest questions. Yet out of the brokenness, he continues to trust God to one day fix what is unfixable in this life. This backstage look at the down-to-earth superstar they've come to love will touch fans' lives and fill their hearts with hope. Includes black-and-white photos throughout.

My Review

To be honest, I can't write a better review than the Goodreads description. Instead, I'll just leave you with one of my favourite quotes from the book:
 I've discovered that in the Bible, the words wait and trust are the flipsides of the same coin. They go together, and waiting for what God has said will come to pass is not a matter of wondering if it will happen but when.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars