Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Latest Arthur publication & other updates

Greetings, friends & fellow readers!

I'm pleased to announce the latest Arthur publication, which is not, as you might expect, from yours truly. Rather, my husband Tom is a contributing writer for a new book entitled Mere Christians: Inspiring Stories of Encounters with C. S. Lewis (Baker Books, 2009; edited by Mary Anne Phemister and Andrew Lazo). Other contributors include Philip Yancey, Francis Collins, Thomas Howard, Walter Hooper, Chuck Colson, and a host of folks who share how Lewis's writings have changed their lives. Interested in a signed edition for the book lover or Lewis fan on your holiday list? Copies can be purchased through my website here. Tom is happy to personalize books for you: simply send me an email with details at

Meanwhile, I am currently offering a 50% discount on Walking through the Wardrobe, my youth devotional on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Books can be purchased for $4.99 plus shipping by visiting my website here. Again, I'm happy to personalize any orders, so just let me know.

Blessings as you journey through this Advent season!

In Christ,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The end of summer

Wow. I'm not sure what happened to summer. One minute I'm graduating on Mother's Day in Durham, North Carolina, and the next I'm canning late August tomatoes in the kitchen of our new home in southern Michigan. It's been a busy, delightful, challenging three months as we adjust to our new life here...and I can't say I've done much writing. But I've read a lot, including Kathleen Norris, Wendell Berry, Barbara Kingsolver, and (drum roll, please) a myriad of cookbooks. Yes, cookbooks! By some odd miracle I have overcome 35 years of kitchenphobia--including the fear of knives, boiling water, hot ovens, and fractions (shudder)--and discovered that I actually kind of enjoy cooking. Quite a lot. It helps that our new kitchen is spectacular, that we've signed up for a weekly share of produce with an Amish farmer, and that someone, somewhere, invented the food processor.

On the writing front, there's the slow chipping away at a novel, the opportunity to contribute chapters for two different book projects, writing various curricula, the continued development of rites-of-passage material for families of teen girls, and shaping a book proposal or two. And meanwhile my speaking schedule will kick into high gear starting in mid-October (details can be found here). After a two-year sojourn camping out in the reference library at Duke Divinity School, I'm grateful to find that I'm still employable as a freelancer.

Normally I sign off with a quote, but (just in case you didn't think I was serious about the whole cooking thing), this time I leave you with--yes, you guessed it--a RECIPE. For chilled watermelon soup. It's sort of my own concoction based on other recipes out there, so you'll want to keep taste-testing to balance the various ingredients. It makes a great lunch soup or first course. Enjoy!

8 cups fresh local watermelon, seeded and cubed
1-2 cups plain yogurt
2-3 Tb white wine vinegar (some recipes call for 1/3 C)
1-2 Tb lemon juice
2-3 Tb sugar
1 bunch fresh mint, reserving some for garnish

Combine SIX cups of watermelon and the smallest suggested amount of each ingredient in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste the soup, then add more of each ingredient as needed (if you add more yogurt, you will need to add more sugar). The consistency should be thick enough to be creamy but not as thick as a smoothie. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Ladle into small bowls (I use glass pyrex ones that I've chilled in the fridge). Garnish with remaining watermelon cubes (I pile them in the middle of each bowl) and a sprig of mint. Makes 4-6 servings (or more?). NOTE: If you do this in a food processor, you are maxing out the liquid level--trust me, I learned the hard way--so you will want to do this in several batches. Onward!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Spring Update

Spring 2009
Dear friends,

I'm happy to announce that I graduated from Duke University Divinity School
on May 10 with a Master's in Theological Studies. It felt very, very good. I'm so thankful for the many people who encouraged me on that journey, including my patient readers. Now I can turn my energies back to freelancing--hurrah!

A few quick updates in that regard:

  • Check out my articles (and other great stuff by Lewis scholars & authors) on the HarperCollins C. S. Lewis blog.

  • The Northern Michigan C. S. Lewis festival is now hosting a week-long C. S. Lewis Summer Academy. In addition to morning seminars with Chris Mitchell of the Wade Center at Wheaton College, I'll be leading writing workshops in the afternoons. You can't ask for a more gorgeous getaway than Petoskey, MI in July! It truly is "Narnia and the North." (Hey teachers: CEUs are available, so check out the website.)

  • If anyone feels inclined to write a really favorable review of "The God-Hungry Imagination" on Amazon, I'd be most grateful!

  • My husband has requested that I finish a novel during this next year. It is a life goal of mine, so I might as well tackle it sooner rather than later, right? Pray for persistence and playful creativity (and maybe a publisher down the road).

But first, my husband and I are moving back to Michigan next weekend. Yes: finally and for good. He has been appointed to a church outside of Lansing, so we are packing up our earthly belongings and leaving Durham, North Carolina after four wonderful years. We will miss our church, Asbury Temple UMC, and the Duke Divinity community. But most of all we will miss our housemates at Isaiah House of Hospitality (to whom "The One Year Daily Grind" is dedicated).

There is a kind of tearing that happens when you've gone through daily spiritual formation with a group of people who are trying to follow God's call in the abandoned places of the world. I imagine this is what the Apostle Paul felt like as he said goodbye to the Ephesians, knowing they would never have that kind of close connection again. The church is like family; it is more than family. We are engrafted to these people through baptism and the breaking of bread. How does one say goodbye?

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Winter update

Well, since my last post was in September, it only seems fair to reward those who keep checking this blog with something like a new post. So here it is, short and sweet. I am presently completing my final semester in the master of theological studies program at Duke Divinity School, attempting to take a full course load (plus audit a fifth class), complete my master's thesis, AND head up the first annual juried arts exhibit at DDS. Oh, and maintain some semblance of a freelance writing & speaking career (for updates on where I'll be speaking in 2009, click here). Perhaps the craziest thing in all this is that last weekend, VERY short notice, my husband and I were flown to Lansing, MI to meet the church where Tom will be appointed as pastor come July 1. Yes, it's official! More details to come...