Thursday, July 2, 2009

When and Where Did a Book Meet Your Heart?

(This was one of my books, Real Magnolias, written under my former name. It is a collection of stories of southernwomen friends who inspired me or met me at a moment of real need. Out of print, but used copies can be found on Amazon for a song!)

"Sometimes it's better to be understood by someone who'll never meet me, than to meet someone who will never understand me."—
Martha Beck

Last night Greg and I were visiting with Steve, a friend of ours who just came away from two weeks away to nourish and heal his soul with help of a good wise counseling friend. Steve's friend gave him a book to read, Exquisite Agony, and Steve -- normally not the sentimental type -- said he was overcome with emotion from the first page. Every page thereafter seemed to personally and poignantly answer a long-awaited question. He closed the book a changed man, with a heart well on its way to healing.

A couple of days ago I asked some friends on facebook to share a time when a book became their "friend" in a moment of felt need. I don't think I've ever asked a question that got more response or discussion! In fact, this blog will have to be a two-parter. Next post, I'll share some book "friends" whose authors met my soul at a point of deep felt need, changing my life for the better.

But today I just want to share the kitchen table book talk that I so enjoyed from facebook friends this week.

A word of explanation before letting my friends' comments speak for themselves. It was sweet joy to my heart to hear that some of my old books under my former name (Becky Freeman) from what seems like a another life, had met lives at points of felt need. There are fewer experiences as meaningful as finding an author who speaks to your soul; and knowing I spoke to other hearts, and some still remember it, brings tears to my eyes.

Writing is absolutely the best "job" in the universe; one of the few careers where you create something and it stays around for long time. Unlike cleaning a house, that must be done again and again. You write a book, and the memories stay put between the covers. For my children's sake, I am especially glad that I wrote of the memories of their childhood, of happier times between their father and I.... memories that the heartbreak of divorce (7 years ago now) have left cloudly and dim. Especially now that my feet are so firmly planted in my New Life, New Husband, New Surroundings.

But I regress, back to the literary chick chat.

Here's a taste of the wonderful comments:

April Noel Beauty By The Book by Nancy Stafford. I bought it on a whim at Hearts at Home and it totally revolutionized how I saw myself and gave me a much-needed glimpse of how God saw me and His love for me.

Gretchen Crocker
The first 2 that come to mind are Captivatingand "The Shack". I am sure there is more, will keep you posted as I think of them.

Suzanne Alexander Taylor
Room of Marvels. Bought it after a precious 9-year-old in our church lost his battle with brain cancer and I had given up on God.

Kay Creech
I would have a list of books that have altered my life...the current book is The Magic Never Ends...the life & work of C.S.Lewis. I connected with "he understood the power of story...he knew that when we enter into a story...we enter into another world...BUT...we also connect our own story to it" No story is a waste of time...if I walk away with... Read More one thing...if I allow myself to connect and learn from it. This book also reminded me that my live is as enchanted as a snow covered forest in is all a matter of perspective. My cup of coffee in the a.m can be just as enchanting as tea with a beaver family!...perspective...perspective...perspective...

Nicole Buchanan
At one point when my first two children were very small I overextended myself to the point of crashing. I called my parents and in-laws to take the children and drove straight from dropping the children off to the local Christian bookstore. I walked directly to the humor section and ended up buying Mom on the Run by Nancy Kennedy, Semi-Reformed Overachiever by Lanalle Stiles, and Adult Children of Fairly Functional Parents by you. I spent a week reading those books, rereading some other favorites and letting God restore joy to my spirit. Is it any wonder I'm crazy about you?

Cheryl Vos Steffen Love is a Choice

Nicky Vanvalkenburgh Dare to Forgive: The Power of Letting Go and Moving on By Dr Edward Hallowell. It's a wonderful book-- made me laugh and cry-- and tackle a difficult personal matter as well.

Laura KarlisOne of my "go to" books is not necessarily life changing, but for some reason it soothes me. Each page is an individual poem of sorts each giving life to a different quality (personification, right?)It's called The Book of Qualites, by J Ruth Gensler.
"Courage has roots. She sleeps on a futon on the floor and lives close to the ... Read Moreground. Courage looks you straight in the eye. She is not impressed with powertrippers and she knows first aid. Courage is not afraid to weep, and she is not afraid to pray, even when she is not sure who she is praying to. When courage walks, it is clear that she has made the jorney from lonliness to solitude. The people who told me she is stern were not lying, they just forgot to mention that she is kind."

Sheri Wright Coulter: Captivating by Stasi Eldredge. Changed my life and the lives of those in my world.
Do You Think I am Beautiful by Angela Thomas
A Girl and Her Money by Sharon Durling

There is also this gal that wrote books when my kids were also young and I was "suffering in a tiny town in Kansas" one of them was Worms in My that chick could write things that were happening in life and make me laugh about it instead of cry...just sayin

Strong Women, Soft Hearts by Paula Rinehart

Carolyn Felix Purcell Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X" by Tom Beaudoin forever changed my understanding of my spiritual life and helped me realize that not only are my ideas and experiences valid, but they are very much a reflection of who God created me to be in a specific time and place and shared by many others. Helped me transition to a completely new place in life. I might not be who I am today without this book.

Lucille Zimmerman When the Heart Waits by Sue Monk Kidd and The Inner Voice of Love by Henri Nouwen.

Grace Bower
Oh My!! The penny has just dropped!! I am already a fan of your original personae!! I read A View from the Porch Swing at Donna Partow's home but she wouldn't let me take it back to New Zealand because you had signed it for her!! I wanted to write to you then!!!

Lucille Zimmerman: P.S. I love that particular Nouwen book especially because he never planned to publish it. It was his heart wrenching writings after feeling rejected by a friend. We had to mix with that material for our capstone class in counseling. I love the quote by S. M. Kidd - "Hope lies in braving the chaos and waiting calmly, with trust in the God that loves us. For if we wait, we may find that God delivers us somewhere amazing into a place vibrant with color and startling encounters with the soul."

Grace Bower: I wanted to read Real Magnolias after reading your Coffeecup friendship and Cheesecake fun which I bought when in Australia years ago.

And believe it or not, the conversation went on ... and on...

I would love to hear from more of you now as my list of "to read books" can always make room for one more recommendation. Especially if it was a book that became a dear friend to you in a moment when you really needed it.

1 comment:

  1. Suzanne Alexander Taylor said she read "Room of Marvels." I picked it up today and realized it's by James Bryan Smith who wrote one of my favorite books (An Arrow Pointing Toward Heaven - Rich Mullin's biography). I feel like it's going to be one of those life changing books. Thank you for the recommendation Suzanne, and thank you Becky for this post. Lucille