On “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

I’m not going to write about The Hate U Give in terms of pros and cons: this book doesn’t fit into standard categories and is way beyond a simple review.

It took me a while to read The Hate U Give because it was so intense. Although I feel uncomfortable reading something with so much swearing in it (and other edgy material), the writing was beautiful. Angie Thomas knows how to use words – she is amazing. I cried and I don’t think I’ve ever cried reading a book before – so that says a ton. But I won’t let my kids read it until they are in high school (I’m pretty liberal about what I let them read, but this book was no walk in the park).

Angie Thomas used the characters to show me a world I had no clue about. I enjoyed her commentaries on faith, family, community, race, economics and relationship. Like I said, there is so much in this book. So much to process.

The part that I loved most, but that also left me most puzzled (because I’m trying to figure out how to relate it to my own life) was on friendship – starting at Momma’s advice to Starr when they are eating pancakes and how that all unfolds: the story left me wrestling with the concepts of forgiveness versus reconciliation versus breaking ties (not that they are always mutually exclusive, but from the book there is definitely a clear message about breaking ties). Hard questions.

That’s what I’m left thinking about. Weird probably, but that’s what it is. I think it comes down to relationship and figuring out how to handle destructive and hurtful ones. When do you draw the line and how? What happens when you get hurt over and over again? Hard questions, especially if you are trying to follow Jesus.

Okay – that’s all I feel like sharing about the book for now.

It’s a beautiful, but heart breaking book.



Love Lives Here, by Maria Goff

maria goff

If you are looking for a good mother’s day gift, consider Love Lives Here, by Maria GoffLove Lives Here is a sweet and encouraging read – sort of like a portable retreat. Throughout the crazy busy of the last few weeks, the book has helped keep me at least partially sane.

What appealed to me:

  • I love the vulnerability with which she shares her many different stories.
  • She doesn’t try to tell you what to do: she shares her experiences and then lets you draw your own conclusions.
  • You can tell, she has a beautiful heart and she loves her family fiercely.
  • She has a super extrovert husband, just like me, so I could really relate to that.
  • She is inspiring.

What was less appealing:

  • The stories definitely come from a place of huge privilege, social and economic, so sometimes it feels a bit ….can’t find the right word…she just lives in a different world than I think many of us do. But still relatable.
  • She twists together a few stories in each section which sometimes works, but sometimes if feels a bit much/awkward.

Overall, there are so many beautiful nuggets of wisdom in this book. Well worth the read. Here are a few quotes:

“I’ve worked hard to make our home a place of rest not only for me, but also for the people I love […] resting places are safe places. When people walk through the door, I don’t hit them with a list of problems or issues or suggestions or complaints. I welcome them with the ambiance of a warm home embroidered with peace.”

“For many of us, we’re insecure enough or cautious enough or have been wounded deeply enough to think we don’t deserve to find love. I think God understands this and so what He sometimes does is to send love to find us.”

“The truth is, if you know who you are, to whom you belong, and what you want, your time is now.”


Writing Christian Fiction

Jeff Gerke

The art & craft of writing Christian Fiction, by Jeff Gerke

People think I’m pretty laid back, but that’s only most of the time. Occasionally, I have high standards, and either the ordinary becomes extraordinary, or I become super irritating and somewhat irrational. The former is when I apply my high standards to myself. The later is when I try to apply my high standards to others (usually resulting in some sort of disaster).

Anyhow, the actualization of a high standard in my own life (I’m learning not to inflict them on others) is a lengthy and passionate process.

Reading helps and grounds me on that journey.

I’m currently working through Christian Fiction, by Jeff Gerke. I’ve read a bunch of books on writing, but this one is having the greatest impact on my story so far.

When I started Mirror of Sparrows, I had a definite theme …God sees even the sparrow, so He for sure He sees us, despite all the insanity. But I lost track of God as I delved into the story. And, I feel like I’ve unlocked a treasure trove of writing advice. I’m only on page 62, so I may add more to this blog later – to see how things turn out.

Here are some valuable quotes so far:

“I believe every Christian struggles with areas of greed…”

“Invisible is good-it’s what you’re striving for.” (out of context this sounds weird, but he’s talking about the author in the novel)

“So toss aside your s’mores and put on your director’s chapeau.” (on the manner of writing).


Live loved: Uninvited, by Lysa TerKeurst

When I came back from camping this past Sunday, I had a super cool surprise waiting for me. I received my first Faithbox. I had no idea what I would find inside…so fun!


When I opened the box, I was stunned to find the book Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst. It’s not even supposed to be released until later this week! And here I had a copy of it. I had read a blogpost/interview with Lysa about the book, and I wanted to read it. Honestly though, I felt weird buying it, and wasn’t sure if I was going to.

But there it was…the book had come to me! How beautiful is that!?


So, I’ve sort of temporarily dropped all my other reading and am soaking this one up. So far, Lysa is funny, vulnerable, and wise, and I highly recommend Uninvited. The title of this post is “live loved” because that’s the topic of the chapter I just finished. Not to sound dramatic or anything, but reading it, I feel a deep settling in my soul, and joy.

Here are a few good quotes:

“[H]onesty wants to speak to the least tidy version of the woman I’ve become.”

“I have to keep my mind focused on what the Holy Spirit whispers, not what my flesh screams.”

“What consumes my thinking will be the making or breaking of my identity.”



This morning I finished A Writer’s Guide to Persistence, by Jordan Rosenfeld. I digested it slowly, a chapter a day, over the course of the summer. Not only did the book help motivate me, but it also gave me solid practical wisdom and food for thought.

Because of this book, I started exercising again; even with just ten push-ups and ten sit-ups a day…oh, and walking around looking for Pokemon, getting my blood moving has helped a ton. I’m also daring to be more authentic and vulnerable in my writing – Chapter 11 was my favorite because of those themes.

Some of the information I already knew, or may not have agreed with entirely (it would be weird if I agreed with everything), but overall, if you are a writer who needs help persisting, then I highly recommend this book!

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

“Don’t apologize for the space you take up, your opinions, your perspective, where you come from, or any of your experiences.”

“Bold writing is vulnerable writing.”

“The only requirement of being a writer with a writing practice is that you keep writing.”