Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wounded-God's Love Heals by Anne Graham Lotz

Wounded by God's People: Discovering How God's Love Heals Our Hearts


Two weeks ago, as part of the Booklook Blogger program, I requested Let's All Be Brave by Annie Downs. 
Yesterday, I opened the box and discovered Wounded by Anne Graham Lotz. 
A mix-up? Is there really any such thing? 

So I will be reviewing this book instead.

I love Anne's Just Give Me Jesus! She writes with grace and power, speaking about a genuine Savior who lives, loves, and acts on behalf of His people.
She writes with tenderness, and she acknowledges both frailty and sin... the pain of being human and therefore breakable and fallen. 
She digs deep into the riches of God's word, and in this book she adds quotes from The Valley of Vision, which is a collection of prayers. 

I like the way she weaves her stories, and other people's stories, into her books. She writes out of our common "real life" experiences, and she's always really telling a God-story, because that's the only place God ever shows up: Reality. 

Yep. The only place you will ever feel the love of God is in your mess, not your perfection, because you'll never be perfect.
And He is good with that. 

But this book has a specific purpose: to minister to those who have been shattered, betrayed, and cut down by fellow Christians. 

Whether you were physically, emotionally, spiritually, emotionally, or psychologically trampled upon, Christians can really hurt you. 
And because the abuse comes from one who claims to serve the King of grace, peace, and self-giving, it makes the wounds bleed harder and run deeper. Men and woman mistrust the faith everyday based on the acts of Christians. 

Wounded may help shed some of God's light, love and life on the broken-hearted. Anne chose the story of Hagar, a woman used and disadvantaged if there ever was one.  She walks us beside Hagar, showing us how Abraham wounded his wife and his servant/mistress, and both his sons, and then talking about recovery and reconciliation. 

The best part of this book? The continual reminder that God will not lose us. Doesn't plan to leave us. Won't stop loving us. Will always care for us.
Never forgets his Child. And He promised not to forsake us or leave us as orphans. 

Thank you Booklook for my review copy of Wounded. I'll be looking for Anne's The Magnificent Obsession next.




A Christian Survival Guide... by Ed Cyzewski


A Christian Survival Guide


If you have ever asked yourself "What the hell do I do with the Book of Revelation?" then part of this book is for you.
(Some of it is absolutely beautiful. I love Revelation. But the chaos and the One World Order political overtones are enough to leave me terrified.) 

If you think you're a failure at evangelism because you can't get up the courage to "mug" people on the street with the Good News, then part of this book is for you. (And don't worry... there *is* a more whole life/shalom type of evangelism.)

If you want to experience Church as more than just that-white-building-with-a-steeple, but you don't know how to find a good one, then part of this book is for you. (It only took me twenty years to realize that "Church" should be used to describe a pack of Christians, not a stationary structure.) 

I did not read all of this book. Let me say that upfront. At this point, I didn't want to read the chapter on evil, hell, or violence in the OT, and I don't struggle with Genesis. 
(Main point of Genesis 1-3 being that God created a glistening, brand-new, wild, wondrous world with his Words, and we should stand amazed.) 

What I did read, though, were some thought-provoking and ultimately reassuring chapters on Prayer, Doubt, Community, Money, Apocalypse, and the Holy Spirit. 

It is possible to drive ourselves mad trying to master Christianity- as if it were an engine and we needed to take it apart and put it back together. 
Personal relationships fall apart and blog firestorms erupt because we are sure that we are putting those parts together The Right Way. 

We can hurt ourselves and other people deeply when we think it's our task to get our faith- and their faith- rolling and then keep it on the straight and narrow. A rather mysterious relationship with God Himself- a search for truth beauty and goodness- becomes a fight to keep it all together. 

I think, along with this book, readers should try Mike Erre's Astonished. That is another volume that deals with truth and paradox, life and eternity. 
I think they would combine admirably. :-)

Thank you Kregel Books for my review copy!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The King's Hand~ Sequel to The Traitor's Heir





Where to start, where to start! 
How do I describe a tale that surges with life and sings of beauty and goodness? 
One that puts down roots deep into your heart and then spreads out and fills your imagination?

Well, as I said in my review of The Traitor's Heir, I do not compare fantasy books to Tolkien's. 
There are so many attempts to reproduce LOTR, and none of them work.
Anna Thayer, our author, lectures on the work of C. S and JRR. She was clearly influenced by their prose and poetry, but she did not try to retell their stories. She tells her own story of a world and a hero, and she tells it with passion. And now this is my favorite fantasy series since Narnia and LOTR. 

In some fantasies, the clash between good and evil is so large that the individuals are lost. Not so here.
By the end of this second volume, you will have read over 1,000 pages about Eamon Goodman. His growth as a human and as a Hand, step by step, with falling and faltering, makes you love him. The maturity he acquires and the way he grows into his role- loving the King while serving a city under throned rule- gives depth to his character. Eamon becomes a servant to become a leader. 

His comrades (Anderas and Ladomer, Callum and Mr Bellis) and enemies are also well drawn. Each one, noble or evil, keeps his dignity, and his deeds speak for him. 

The city of Dunthruik is a microcosm of all humanity. It teems with people, all needing work, needing food, needing care, needing hope. The systems that run the city promote poverty and crime, and they punish without justice. The Master rules by force and fear, and the city bleeds dry under his rule. 

How could this captive and oppressed people not respond to news of a coming King, one who will set them free and establish peace? But how can Eamon tell them about the King, when the punishment is death? 
And how can he not tell them, because there are fates worse than death and life under the throned is one of them. 

Final note~ 
Obviously, there are people who will avoid this series because it has been called an allegory. 
I say this: If you recognize Christ in this book, it is because both He and the King overflow with truth, beauty, and goodness. (That's the essence of the Gospel after all, the news that a good King is coming.) 
This is a fine story for anyone who wants to read it, simply because it is a story that resonates in us as real, and adventurous, and it affirms all that is right. 

Thank you very much to Lion Hudson Publishing for my review copy. 
It is a wonderful feeling to look at my bookshelf and see this series there, waiting for a reader to 

dive in.




Anna Thayer (née Slack) graduated from the University of Cambridge with first class honours in 2005 before living and teaching in Sicily for two years. She writes and lectures internationally on the works of fantasists J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis, and has edited a volume of essays on the latter’s work.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Love Well~



Love Well: Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck


"Living Life Unrehearsed and Unstuck." 
Isn't that a wonderful idea? 

Imagine if we could be done with the pressure to plan our performance and the temptation to angle every conversation to protect ourselves. Imagine if we could just live in the moment without panicking over the next step or regretting that this sweet slice of time will have to end so soon.
Imagine if we lived like it was true when the Bible said "It is for freedom that He set us free." 

Jamie George has written Love Well to help launch us on the journey to wholeness and happy holiness. 
(By the way, who doesn't desire to live like that? And if I were living a life like that, think of how many people would be attracted to the Gospel that produced it inside of me!) 

There are sections here with titles like "Open Yourself up to Goodness," "The Hidden Deep," "Touch Someone's Life," and "Love is Immeasurable."  Don't those sound great?  

Jamie tells a lot of stories in this book, because as Muriel Rukeyser said, "The Universe is made up of stories, not atoms."  

These are stories about being stuck and feeling trapped and emptied of all hope and meaning. These are stories about suddenly discovering the human beings all around you, waiting to be loved. These are stories about risking your heart in a world where hearts get broken all the time, but where God put his own Heart right in the middle of the mess. 

As Jackson Browne sang in Running on Empty- Everyone I know, everywhere I go, people need some reason to believe. 

This book is a fine one to encourage you. Stuck? It's not without hope. Lift up your face. God is here. 
And an un-stuck life is possible for you and me. 

Thank you David C. Cook for my review copy. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Just 18 Summers

Just 18 Summers


Just 18 Summers is a story with a lesson. 

Some parts are truly moving, and the characters really grow and change. 
Some moments are very cute, and I had a big grin on my face while reading them. 

This book is based off the script of a movie that is in the works now. I think it will make a very gentle comedy, and take well to the screen. 
The dialogue and action, the kids escapades and the parental neuroses, will make this a movie that I think a whole family could enjoy. 
It doesn't take itself too seriously, even when pointing out obvious wisdom. 
The characters first appear to be caricatures: the pizza boy who wants to marry your daughter, the over-controlled neighbor kids who can't climb trees, the father who is obsessed about money and the teen who doesn't fit in, and backstory is introduced slowly to show you fuller personalities. 

The wisdom in this book is expressed in this quote: Everything changes. And parenting is the hardest work you'll ever do. You don't know it yet, but you'll love in a way you didn't know you were capable of.

That is sho'nuff the truth. 

Thank you Tyndale House and Bookfun.org for my review copy. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Surviving Henry.

 
Surviving Henry: Adventures in Loving a Canine Catastrophe


  This book is 70% funny, and about half of that is genuine-chuckle-to-straight-up-laughter humor.
Even when the story is yanking on your heart strings, comedy is always there.

Henry was an adorable boxer puppy when he came home with Erin Taylor Young and her husband and sons.
As a child Erin's best canine friend was a beautiful and brawny boxer, the easiest dog you could ever hope to own.
It was time to replicate that experience for her boys.
Henry had an impressive pedigree. His breeder had spared no expense to pair the finest animals, and the numerous offspring were destined to be standard-setting champions. Except there were only two pups, and neither were show quality.
But they would be perfect pets, of course.
I bet you can guess that this wasn't the case.
Henry was something else entirely.

Thus begins this dog's tail, and we get front row seats to the drama!
We hear about....
K9 University, where Henry was enrolled after a fellow customer in Petco diagnosed him as "dominant."
(I don't think Henry ever graduated from this obedience school.)
Doggie life-vests, for visits to the lake, and rides in a bass boat, and discovering flocks of ducks.
Erin's strategies for wearing out her high energy pup. These include riding a motor scooter while walking the dog. Riding a bicycle while walking the dog.
Ending up in the hospital after the bicycle incident.

I'm not doing the humor here justice at all. You really have to read it, and it's great for read aloud sharing!

I love laughter, but a book has to *make* me laugh. Some of Mary Roach does. Some of James Thurber does.
Now I know that Erin Taylor Young does too.

Thank you Revell Reads for my review copy!
 




Erin Taylor YoungErin Taylor Young is a humor writer living in a comedy with an all-star cast including one well-meaning husband, two polar opposite sons, and a noncompliant dog. When she isn’t writing or rescuing the dog from mortal danger, she works in a library where she gets to wander among books.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

If I had lunch with C. S Lewis...



If I Had Lunch with C. S. Lewis: Exploring the Ideas of C. S. Lewis on the Meaning of Life

Alister McGrath's book entitled "If I Had Lunch With C. S Lewis" is a great gift for all the aficionados of this 20th century Christian apologist. 
It could also serve as a catalyst to prod someone who has no idea of who this man was into taking a look for themselves. 

What I still find most intriguing was that C. S was a WWI Infantryman, who had every reason to be an atheist after witnessing "man's inhumanity to man." His own intelligence, his thoughts, his reason, his learning, and his reading all led him to just the opposite.

If you're a non-believer, or a not-always-thoroughly-convinced-believer, take a look at this book by Alister McGrath. The author will lead you to his well-known subject, and also to Someone more wild and awesome than them both. 

I Thank Tyndale's Summer Reading Program for my copy of this book.

Ps... C. S Lewis wrote plenty of books. I myself want to procure a copy of Mere Christianity and do a much more thorough reading of it than I did with my library copy. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Faith Morgan... the Reluctant Detective


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I really, really like Faith Morgan. 
A cop-turned-vicar, she's got the essence of both her past profession and her current ministry inside of her. Sometimes they seem to be polar opposites, and she questions whether she is made to be either. And then their are times she can see Christianity and police-work meshing together. 

This mystery, the first in very promising series, is just the right length with just the right plot intensity and fine character building. 
The author strikes the balance between unfolding a serious mystery and letting us peek into small town politics and private relationships. 

Faith is sensitive- to fine details in a crime scene and to a breaking human heart. She's also tough without being hard- she can deal with a terrible scene and yet remember the humanity that exists within it. 

And that's what sets her apart from her former partner, Inspector Ben Shorter. Ben is a good cop, but his worldview sees only criminals and victims. He sees tragedy, with no real redemption possible- only justice and punishment. And that is where Faith disagrees with him. 
She sees the Image of God- broken and tarnished and horribly disfigured, but she still sees it. 

Read this one, and then go get The Advent of Murder, and continue your friendship with Faith Morgan.

Thank you Kregel for my review copy! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Under the Heavens





"Sometimes the most difficult things in life make the best memories." 
~Leonard's mother.

Under the Heavens is a powerful coming-of-age story. The idea of a young person spending a summer on a farm- out of their typical environment, close to the good earth and its rhythms, finding peace and perspective in the cycle of harvest and toil, it is a great beginning for a story. 
And this story delivers. 

A summer- the whole three months- spent with step-family in Amish country? Oh no. Lenny wants no part of that. Nothing about the Amish lifestyle intrigues or inspires him... until he watches two glorious black draft horses pull a bogged down tractor free of the mire. 
Those horses, flesh and blood and bone and breath, were like nothing he had ever seen. 

And from there we have our tale. 

The writing caught my imagination right from the first-chapter scene of a drenching rain and a massive thunderstorm. Thomas Nye knows how to write so that you join his characters in the moment. You can hear the thunder's avalanche, see the smooth clouds, and the mist is wet on your face.
As Lenny stands in the barn, watching the sky pour down on the fields, he cannot imagine why he is even here, but even then something is drawing him. 

Lenny's Grandfather, who always calls him "Leonard," spoken in a gentle and reassuring way, who trusts Lenny with the job of Horse Boy and trains him to care for the draft team.
The work he does with Tug and Train, the horses who touch a place inside his heart. 
Lenny's first innocent crush on Amish maiden Leah, and the fun of volleyball at dusk and working in the sunshine filling up the haymow together.
Lenny's wonderings about his own father whom he never met.

It's all here. 
This would make a great read aloud with kids. 

Thank you Bookcrash for my review copy of Under the Heavens. 


Thomas Nye

Thomas Nye, moved to a rural community in Iowa when he was nineteen. His first acquaintances happened to be an Amish family, and they took him to visit Amish Church, Singings and Volleyball games. Over the past two decades, he has owned draft horses, which were acquired from local Amish farmers. Through these neighbors, he learned to work with horses in harness. Almost a time-traveler, Thomas visits the 1800's when with his Amish neighbors; returning to the modern world when at work as a letter carrier in Iowa City, Iowa. A natural-born story teller, he intertwines his own life experiences into his writing.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Rain, Thunder, and Lightning...




Storm Siren. This fantasy is as intense as a hail storm, and it's crackling with magic. The tale is terrifying at times, and then it rains down beauty.

Why do I think you should hurry to sneak Storm Siren in as your last Summer-2014-Read?

Well, we have....

A heroine, who can call a storm out from inside her soul and pour it on the world. Nymia's power is deadly and she cannot force it down, cannot cut it out of her soul, cannot beat it into submission. She has been bought and sold 14 times and has 14 tattoos sliced into her arm and a left hand full of crippled fingers to prove it. She is rejected again and again, and lives under condemnation.
She is shattered, and she feels like she deserves to be broken because of what her curse has caused.

A Kingdom, under attack, a kingdom of black roads and wheat fields and green mountains and slave markets and evil creatures. 
A Kingdom where Nym is supposed to be trained as a precision weapon, and used even more to destroy the enemies. 

Her trainer seems like a man without a soul, unable to care about anybody. Yet he doesn't seem to want to control Nym, as she had expected.
And when she is with him, her storms don't feel suppressed, but gentled. 

And it's all narrated from Nymia's mouth, first person. We are inside her head, inside her desperation, inside her constant fight against herself.
As a "freak of nature" she shouldn't exist, and surely no goodness can come of her power. 
And the whole time, we readers know that she was created this way for a purpose... and it shall soon be made clear. 

This book is 330 well-used pages long, and this is the first book in a trilogy. (Be warned... the ending of Storm Siren will make you crazy with curiosity!!!) 

I think this will be a great series to follow over the coming two years. A heroine who reminds us of ourselves, a glimpse of love in a strange place, great themes to think about, and adventure aplenty. 

Thank you Booklook Bloggers for my review copy!






M. Christine WeberM. Christine Weber is a ridiculously uncoordinated girl plotting to take over make-believe worlds through books, handstands, and imaginary throwing knives. She lives on the breathtaking California coast with her three homeschooled children and an engineering husband who looks strikingly similar to Wolverine.
Her writing experience includes card copy for Hallmark, articles and short stories for newspapers and e-zines, and educational curriculum for a non-profit, although she can also type a mean grocery list when necessary. On her days off, you can find her penning book reviews or conducting silly interviews here at mchristineweber.com amid drinking lattes and instructing her kids on the finer aspects of world domination.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Come be my Light~ Mother Teresa


Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta


I wanted this book for the words of Mother Teresa herself, and Come Be My Light is filled with excerpts of her letters and writings. 

There is so much here to recommend this volume. 

She was a woman who willed one thing: God and the poor, a Yes to Jesus. 
She said: "I long to light the light of love in the heart of every creature of God."
Her life was characterized by her desire to "Smile for Jesus."

People the world over will tell you that she showed them a glimpse of Christ's love here on earth, over and over. 
This same soul endured times of such darkness and dryness, that she felt like she was experiencing hell: separation from God Himself. 
Somehow, even this darkness that wrenched her soul did not stop her. 

Her sweetness and sense of humor come through when she wrote to a spiritual advisor, telling him that she followed Jesus like a little dog after his Master, asking him to pray that she be a cheerful little dog. 

She was even able to minister to her sisters through the emptiness, writing: "It often happens that those who spend their time giving light to others, remain in darkness themselves."

And: "I have given Him all, even my sins, and He has espoused me to Himself in tenderness and love." 

So we can read this book and find the pearls of wisdom that she left us, and hopefully we can begin to wear them ourselves. 
We can be reminded why the live of faith is one of beauty and mystery, a luminous, gentle light in a storm-clouded world. 
And most of all we can be amazed at the very Real, very Alive Christ who worked through Mother Teresa in all moments. 

As she wrote: 
"Remember the five fingers- You-did-it-to-Me.
Remember- love begins at home- our community- our family. 
Remember- works of love are works of peace." 

Thank you Blogging for Books for my review copy! 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Truth be Told by Carol Cox


Truth Be Told

A woman determined to run her father's newspaper, The Granite Springs Gazette.
A man determined to help her, who is troubled with alcoholism.
A man destined to come into her life and make it far richer. 

Truth be Told is a slow-paced historical set in Arizona, with some good South Western details. 
The story revolves around Amelia, her newspaper, and a railroad company that is up to some shady deals. 

The atmosphere of a struggling newspaper with one troubled employee, trying to find stories and keep the business afloat, is brought to life here.

If you're looking for a story with a woman who dares to dream and a man who comes alongside her and joins the dream, Truth be Told is a fine choice. If you also like a little 1800's progress in your stories, with trains and towns and lots of trouble moving West, then let the Truth be Told. 

Thank you Bethany House for my review copy! 



Carol Cox
Carol Cox has an abiding love for history and romance, especially when it’s set in her native Southwest. As a third-generation Arizonan, she takes a keen interest in the Old West and hopes to make it live again in the hearts of her readers. A pastor’s wife, Carol lives with her husband and daughter in northern Arizona, where the deer and the antelope really do play—within view of the family’s front porch.




Thursday, August 7, 2014

When I Fall in Love... Grace Christiansen


When I Fall in Love (Christiansen Family, #3)




Back in February, I read and adored Jace and Eden's story.
Despite having never watched a hockey game or read a Susan May Warren novel, It Had To Be You quickly became one of my favorite stories this year.
She wrote about God's embracing love and people dealing with life's pain. Truth comes across loud and clear in her story, and it's all inside a really good romance.

So I was eager to acquire When I Fall in Love, which is Grace's story. Grace was the sister who kept pushing Eden to fall in love, and Grace seemed way too emotional and "gooey" for lack or a better word. I expected her to fall in love with romance itself, not with a human person.

And I don't think I expected that person to be Max Sharpe. Though I certainly was not disappointed... if you read Jace's story you know that Max was one of his teammates on the Blue Ox. And you also know that Max has some history with the Christiansen family... history that makes me like him more. How would you feel if you harmed your own teammate through an act of massive stupidity?
Max was involved in a hockey accident that hurt Owen Christiansen and almost ruined his career.
He was genuinely remorseful, and that carries on into this book.

And now Max and Grace end up together, in seats 9A and 9B on an airplane to Hawaii.
She's finally chasing a dream, and he's off to his chosen culinary vacation.

I made the mistake of looking at the "Hawaiian vacation" plot and thinking this would be a shallow read. It isn't. This book quickly goes deeper than I had ever expected. Sure, the story is all about whipping up delicious food and falling in love, but it's also about learning to see with an eternal perspective and continuing to share your life with others when it gets sad.

Both Max and Grace have things in their lives that they deem unacceptable and unlovable, and they think they need to hide them. And I'm not talking just minor insecurities here. I was surprised (and then pleased!) by how serious their story gets.

This book affirms all that is right with life- awesome food, beautiful Hawaiian landscapes, and a God who helps us commit and recommit over and over as often as needed. And this book also acknowledges all that is wrong with the world, and always points to our Redeemer.

Thank you Litfuse for my review copy!



I can't help be amazed at the gifts God has delighted me with - a wonderful husband, four amazing children, and the opportunity to write for Him.


I've been writing as long as I can remember - I won my first book writing contest in first grade! Over the years, writing has become, for me, a way to praise God and see Him at work in my life.

God Bless and Happy Reading!

In His Grip,
Susan May Warren







Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Woman of Courage


Woman of Courage

Wanda Brunstetter's latest book takes us on a vivid journey.

We delve into the soul of a gentle Quaker woman, who fell in love and lost that love to betrayal. Instead of growing bitter, she turns her heart outward... and plans to become a missionary.  

Amanda never imagines the loss and desperation she'll undergo, the enemies and the friends she will meet, the gifts she will give and the peace that she will find on her quest.

The people she meets all jump off the page.
Jim, the harsh settler, who adopted a young misfit named Buck. Buck, whose upbringing soured him against Amanda's preaching. Mary, Jim's Indian wife who will fight for you and earn your respect. 

This novel is filled with themes of renewed purpose, and redemption.

This book introduces us to several ladies who are truly Women of Courage. 



Wanda E. BrunstetterA nationally recognized authority on the Amish community, Wanda E. Brunstetter has sold more than seven million copies of her fiction and nonfiction books. Wanda enjoys an uncommon kinship with the Amish and continues to visit their communities throughout the country. Her books have won numerous awards and topped several bestselling charts.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Evergreen Susan May Warren


Evergreen: A Christiansen Winter Novella (Christiansen Family)



And when the storms came through, they found me and you
Back to back together.
Oh, how the years go by,
And oh how the love brings tears to my eyes.
All through the changes the soul never dies
We fight, we laugh, we cry,
As the years go by~
Amy Grant

This song sums up my feelings for John and Ingrid Christiansen. In each of the Christiansen kids' books- Darek's and Eden's and Grace's- their mother and father have been wise, loving, steady presences. It is great to meet them as a couple in Evergreen. 

This Christmas novella raises the question: When the childhood years are over, and the teenage years are completed, and your sons and daughters are men and women, what is left for you?  

When a Christmas with an empty nest looms ahead of Ingrid, and her family is broken in places where she wants so bad to mend it, and she's left to rediscover her husband John as a person again... will she find a sign of hope that is Evergreen? 

This novella was the just the right length to be a satisfying, self-contained story. 

Thank you Tyndale for my review copy!

Susan May Warren

I can't help be amazed at the gifts God has delighted me with - a wonderful husband, four amazing children, and the opportunity to write for Him.

I've been writing as long as I can remember - I won my first book writing contest in first grade! Over the years, writing has become, for me, a way to praise God and see Him at work in my life.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

People.


I think it happens with book lovers. We tend to see people as characters- vividly colored, wildly animated, and infinitely entertaining. (If we read good stories, we also think that everyone is on the verge of a miracle, and on the verge of telling us their own story, and we are eager to hear it.)

I love it when a book character makes me laugh, and often the first thing that I notice about a person is their sense of humor. A joke you tell me will be memorized and repeated over and over, and it's even better if your sense of humor is weird. Make me laugh and I won't forget you.

I love those moments in stories where people connect meaningfully, and I am always on the lookout for those moments of comfort and affection when they happen in my life. A hug or a big grin or friendly wave is like a sacrament... it contains much more meaning than the naked eyes sees.

Little things mean a lot when I think of life as a story, because in stories the little things are the turns and hinges of the plot. Little acts build up to grand redemptions.
Little words heal broken hearts.

And no person, in a well-written story, is a "little" person. They may be small in stature or have a short appearance on the page, but they will always be Important because they are a Person.

For me, the symptoms are compounded because I see very few fellow humans.
I have gone months sometimes and seen nobody except three family members.
And this means that human interaction stays fresh. It stays special.
Each person is fascinating or terrifying, intriguing or disturbing. Rarely do I find anyone boring.
The boredom comes when you think you know all of a person's stories.
That's when meals eaten together become silent, goodnight rituals go uncompleted, and I-Love-You's are not said. Hugs are two second affairs if at all, and you don't look closely at faces and listen to the words that only this person can say with that tone that inflection and that very voice.

I was thinking about this lately.

As C. S. Lewis said,

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures,

 arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is 

immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit - immortal horrors or 

everlasting splendors. This does not mean that we are to be perpetually solemn. We must 

play. But our merriment must be of that kind (and it is, in fact, the merriest kind) which 

exists between people who have, from the outset, taken each other seriously - no flippancy, no superiority, no presumption.”

― C.S. Lewis