I know it has been said, but it never gets old, so again: what a wonderful time we had by being Sustained by God this past weekend! Knowing that you might feel a bit more crunched getting ready for the retreat, today we are taking a short break from Humble Roots and Scouting the Divine. We will get to know Melissa, reveal the summer reading, and share book club announcement. Lots of goodness going on!
Melissa, please introduce yourself. If you can share . . . where are you living? How long have you been there? What do you give a majority of your time to? What passport country do you hale from?
My name is Melissa. I am originally from Michigan. After college, I lived three years in Japan, two years back in Michigan, and the last 12 years, I’ve lived with my husband in Vienna, Austria. Our two boys were born in Vienna and are growing up bi-lingual. At 8 & 9, they now like to correct ME in my German (come on, learning German at 30 years old was NOT easy!). We are involved in a local church planting ministry. My husband preaches and also teaches Bible classes in two local schools (as a side job). I am a stay-at-home mom, keeping track of everyone’s schedules. I also teach in the children’s Sunday School program.
How do you prefer to read your books? Physically or electronically? How has living overseas shaped your preference?
I LOVE to read…always have, always will. I prefer reading with a physical book in hand, especially when I want to dog-ear or highlight pages. In recent years, I also added a Kindle and do like that I can save the space and download books rather inexpensively (I look for the free Kindle deals, and I recently discovered that I could download books from our Stateside library account – check out Overdrive for that!).
I also enjoy listening to Audiobooks. I’ve found it easiest to listen to an Audiobook when I’m walking for exercise.
Do you tend to read one book at a time? Or have multiple books going at once?
I have multiple books going at once! Plus, I still like to read-aloud with my boys, so there are family books, too.
Which Velvet Ashes Book Club books stand out to you? In other words, which do you remember? What do you remember about them?
I learned a lot from Peter Scazzero’s book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. In that particular year, I was facing a lot of challenges, physically, in ministry and even emotionally. God used that book the help me face those challenges and move forward.
In the last year or so, which book or books that you have read would you recommend?
Adorned by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth (Audiobook)
The Quiet Place Daily Devotional by Nancy Leigh Demoss
One with the Shepherd by Mary Somerville
Disciplines of a Godly Woman by Barbara Hughes
Rekindled by Tamera Alexander
The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green
The Magician’s Nephew by CS Lewis (read with my boys)
Grandpa’s Box by Starr Meade (also reading with my boys)
Where do you do most of your reading?
In the warmer months, I read outside. Because we live in an apartment, I take my boys outside to play at local parks. Now that they’re a little older, I send them off to play while I sit on a park bench and read. In the winter months, I read inside at home – on the couch or in bed.
What book has changed you as a person other than the Bible :)? How did it change you?
Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow—I have read this book as a single woman, as a married woman, and as a mom. I have read it in English & German, have studied it in English (questions at the back of the book) and translated the questions to use with a women’s Bible study in German. Pages are dog-eared, sentences are highlighted, my thoughts are written in the margins. At various stages of life, Dillow has spoken right to my heart and what I was going through. She encourages me to not worry, and have an anxious heart, but instead to “Cast my cares on the Lord, for He cares for me.”
What was a favorite book in childhood?
Nancy Drew Mysteries
What are you currently reading?
In the past, I mainly read fiction. Now, I’d say it’s about half and half. It’s really easy for me to get into a fiction book and then I can’t put it down. Non-fiction books take more time and thinking to read. I can’t get into Fantasy or Sci-Fi.
What do you have on your “to read” list?
Revealed by Tamera Alexander
Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (read-aloud to my boys, ages 8&9)
Thanks Melissa, it is fun to add to our to-read this and see old friends here!
And now for our Summer Reading
We will read a classic in June, a Young Adult novel in July, a modern novel in August, and a memoir in September! Summaries from Amazon.
June—free on Amazon for Kindle
North and South by “This is a novel by the English writer Elizabeth Gaskell. The title refers to one of the themes of the novel: the contrast of lifestyles between the North and the South of England. The protagonist is the young Margaret Hale: her father has a crisis of conscience and leaves the Church. Margaret is forced to leave her comfortable home in Hampshire and move with her family in Northern England. Margareth arrives in Milton and she is initially reluctant to adapt because of the ugliness of the industrial town. She soon became aware of the suffering and poverty of the workers of the mill and begins to develop a keen sense of social justice. All this is intensified by her tempestuous relationship with the mill owner John Tornton …..”
July —hosted by Sarah Hilkemann
Hope was here by Joan Bauer (Recommended by Amy’s sister and nieces): “When Hope and her aunt move to small-town Wisconsin to take over the local diner, Hope’s not sure what to expect. But what they find is that the owner, G.T., isn’t quite ready to give up yet–in fact, he’s decided to run for mayor against a corrupt candidate. And as Hope starts to make her place at the diner, she also finds herself caught up in G.T.’s campaign–particularly his visions for the future. After all, as G.T. points out, everyone can use a little hope to help get through the tough times . . . even Hope herself.
Filled with heart, charm, and good old-fashioned fun, this is Joan Bauer at her best.”
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry by Fredrik Backman (We read A Man Called Ove last summer and popular response was “Let’s read more by him! When Sarah’s aunt called it “Hilarious” the deal was sealed.): “Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. When Elsa’s grandmother dies and leaves behind a series of letters apologizing to people she has wronged, Elsa’s greatest adventure begins. Her grandmother’s instructions lead her to an apartment building full of drunks, monsters, attack dogs, and old crones but also to the truth about fairy tales and kingdoms and a grandmother like no other.”
Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali by Kris Holloway: “In a remote corner of West Africa, Monique Dembele saved lives and dispensed hope every day in a place where childbirth is a life-and-death matter. Monique and the Mango Rains is the compelling story of the author’s decade-long friendship with Monique, an extraordinary midwife in rural Mali. It is a tale of Monique’s unquenchable passion to better the lives of women and children in the face of poverty, unhappy marriages, and endless backbreaking work, as well as her tragic and ironic death. In the course of this deeply personal narrative, as readers immerse in village life and learn firsthand the rhythms of Monique’s world, they come to know her as a friend, as a mother, and as an inspired woman who struggled to find her place in a male-dominated world.”
Are you excited?
We are! Leave comment—either in response to Melissa or which book(s) you are looking forward to reading—and you will be entered to win one a copy of one of our summer reading. SIX of you will win :).
Reading plan for Humble Roots and Scouting the Divine:
May 1—Chapter 7 in HR
May 8—Chapters 8 and 9 in HR
May 15—Part 2 (The Harvest) in SD
May 22—Chapters 10 and 11 in HR
May 29—We made it! Two books read in tandem we will review and have a Get to Know