We Got to Meet! {Book Club}

I’ve missed you! But I also enjoyed the quietness of the last week. In part, that is the gift of Sabbath, isn’t it? God uses it to refresh and connect us to him AND anticipates parts of life that may have lost some luster in its familiarity.

Tuesday, as you know, is book club day. Guess what I got to do last Tuesday?! Meet Michele in person!!

Michele and Amy

We spent several hours talking, talking, talking. It was glorious. The only downside is it was too short and it made me wish we could all be in person.

Several impressions:

1. We might be doing this book club on line where we don’t get to “actually” meet each other, but finally getting to meet one of us in person debunked this misconception. We are actually meeting each other. Michele and I could easily talk because we already had here, throughout the comments. We know each other more than we give ourselves credit. Was it a treat to be in person? Yes! Do I hope we get to see each other again? Yes! (One of my secret hopes is to do a world trip some day and visit as many of you as possible! Oh for funding :)). But even if we never see each other in person again, the connections formed here, are real.

2. It was refreshing to hear more about each other’s lives. Understandably, certain parts of our work and lives is not appropriate to share here. Adding a bit more flesh to the structure of what we have learned about each other was fun.

3. Michele is as delightful as you imagine! Do you see that smile? She is kind, funny, engaging and fed me lunch. Her husband even stuck around to meet me :).

4. We didn’t talk about books too much, but when we did it got me wondering if we would like to maybe try and find a time quarterly for anyone who can to be part of a conference call of sorts and actually talk about the books. Thoughts?

Amy reading LiliasSo, that’s a little bit about what I did during Sabbath. Did you take a picture of yourself reading? We’d love to see it! You can add a photo to your comment below. I did my best to time it so that it looks like I am super holy. HA! No, I did my best to try and show you some of the trees behind me, but spacial relations are not my strong point and taking selfies is a hilarious exercise in showing how completely disoriented I can get when it comes to the physical space I’m in.

One small note of disappointment before we get to today’s section (chapters 11-21) in A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter by Miriam Huffman Rockness. I have not heard back from Miriam, the author. So, I’m sorry to say we will not get to pick her brain and hear from her. Rats. Still, I’m thankful we are reading this book!

As you read, were you struck by the sensation that though much has changed in the world, it hasn’t really changed all that much?!

These are just a few of the notes I made:

  • page 165 reminded me of VA retreat—”‘Four days with God’ was what we had given out, but it was soon evident that He meant more than that and the whole thing was just Him and seeing His plans unfold.”
  • Breaking Ramadan and the implications—it might not be Ramadan in your context, but we’ve all faced some part of culture that new believers have had to navigate.
  • Roles of dreams in the culture (and therefore the work)
  • Lilias spent time with her ill sister Margaret
  • Equipped girls so they were not stuck in young marriage
  • The heartache for those you minister to who turn away
  • The influence of world events on life and the work
  • Opening windows when doors close
  • Drugs were more prevalent than I realized
  • The importance of contextualizing—tracks with local phrasing and illustration in local garb
  • The amount of transition with workers coming and going
  • The need (and difficulty) for organization to change and restructure or become obsolete
  • We don’t hear much about the other people Lilias ministered with, and I understand since this is about Lilias, but I’d like to know more about them
  • The ways newsletters and circulations within organizations evolved with technology
  • The heartache when a teammate dies

We are getting to Lilias’ latter years and I’m curious to learn from her at that stage of life. There were so many significant quotes, I couldn’t choose and went with this list for this post :). So, in the comments, share a photo of you reading (you can block your face it you want!) and let’s talk about this section. See you in the comments . . .


P.S. We finish A Passion for the Impossible: The Life of Lilias Trotter by Miriam Huffman Rockness next week (chapters 22-26, or the last five chapters in your copy) and then read City of Tranquil Light: A Novel by Bo Caldwell. Plan to come :).

Disclosure: Amazon Affiliate links included in this post. If you click through to Amazon, any purchase you make supports this site. 


  1. Elizabeth July 25, 2016

    SO MUCH FUN that you got to meet Michele! Jealous! (But I’m actually super happy for you 🙂 )

    I haven’t been reading along with the book this time, but in the Sabbath week I did finish the fiction books I was reading (Helena Sorensen’s “Shiloh” series) AND was able to meet with another mom for a playdate and book chat. It was very refreshing 🙂 I also found a great new (old) way to sing the Psalms to hymn tunes, and finished up a science book I’d been working through for years (but am still confused about some sections, so I’ll probably re-visit them). I love discussing books here at book club, but with limited about of time to read, I sometimes have to choose my own books, ha! And VA Sabbath week coincided with one of my 4 weeks of homeschool summer break, so I have been eating up Sabbath.

    Love you Amy and Michele and everyone else!

    1. Amy Young July 26, 2016

      I understand the tension of wanting/ needing to do your own reading :)! We love it when you comment and share whatever is going on with you (and your reading) . . . if you got a bit lost in the science book, game over for me :)! Is there a link or book about the singing Psalms?

      Hoping AC is working :). Don’t low why I said that, it just came to mind!

      1. Elizabeth July 26, 2016

        Thanks Amy! Power has been mostly on 🙂

        Yes I will share about the Psalms! You click on this link to print out a list of hymns and an explanation of metrical Psalms: http://www.inlightofthegospel.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/uu-psalm-project-booklet.pdf I printed out 2 pdf pages per paper page 🙂 Then you go get a Kindle version of a Psalter (both the “Scottish Psalter” and the “Psalms of David in Metre” are cheap). Then just pick a Psalm you want to sing and pray — I flip through my Bible to find Psalms that are heavily underlined — or use the PDF’s list that categorizes the Psalms thematically. And then choose a hymn title to go along with it, depending on which melodies you know and love and also on the “feel” of the Psalm lyrics and the hymn melody. And off you go! I really like it 🙂

        As for science books, I generally use them as worship too — a way to marvel at the way God has made the universe. This particular one was about extreme places in our solar system. I have to say that as a chemist, I am still completely baffled by electromagnetism. This is ironic because all of chemistry is based on electrical imbalances and electric attraction/repulsion, but when magnetism gets induced, I get totally lost! Thankfully there is much to marvel at that I can at least partially understand 🙂

        1. Karen July 31, 2016

          Thanks for the links about the Psalms! I haven’t heard of this before, and it sounds like a GREAT way for me to spend my upcoming two days of personal retreat time.
          Also, can you tell me what science book you’ve been reading? I have to agree … I like chemistry and mechanical physics, but I’ve always had a hard time grasping magnetism … and in college I didn’t like the feeling of working out problems that I couldn’t REALLY seem to picture or understand, but I’m more-and-more learning to marvel at the things He’s made that I can’t understand.

          1. Elizabeth July 31, 2016

            Hi Karen! So much fun to chat with someone who also loves science! (And glad to know I’m not the only one who struggles with magnetism. 🙂 ) The book I just finished was called “The 50 More Extreme Places in the Solar System” and you can find it used on amazon for fairly cheap ( https://www.amazon.com/Most-Extreme-Places-Solar-System/dp/0674049985/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469951544&sr=8-1&keywords=50+most+extreme+places+in+solar+system ).

            And I think singing the Psalms will be so great for your upcoming retreat time. Have a wonderful, refreshing, restorative time. <3

    2. Michele Womble August 1, 2016

      I would love to meet you, too, Elizabeth! One Day….:-)

      I’m behind with this week’s reading (obviously) but hope I can catch up…also wanted to tell you that I downloaded Shiloh and am hoping to read it this month (August – this IS August, right? :-D) So maybe we can “talk” about it – although maybe by the time I’m ready to talk about it you will have moved on…

      1. Elizabeth August 1, 2016

        Oh I’ll never have moved on from wanting to talk about Shiloh! So whenever you’re ready, drop me a private message! (And yes, it is August, and I’m just as flabbergasted as you at that fact.)

  2. Sarah Rideout July 25, 2016

    It’s been a great book so far. I’m a little behind, but I am thankful to be reading it ;-). Will share more later

  3. Sarah Hilkemann July 25, 2016

    I love when VA sisters get to meet up in person! So cool that you guys got to spend time together. 🙂

    I’ve been reading everything on my phone for the last few months, as my Kindle died right before one of our moves. This is at one of my favorite cafes. Not pictured is my lovely caramel latte. 🙂

    Here are some of my bullet point thoughts (following your lead, Amy). There was a lot in this section!
    – Perseverance- there were seasons of discouragement and closed doors, but they pushed through and saw God do lots of cool things!
    – “How the Angels must watch the first day when that light reaches a new spot on this earth that God so loves- and the Great Wall of darkness is pushed back one tiny bit- and oh the joy of being allowed to go with His message that first day. How can His people hold back from that joy while one corner remains unvisited by the Dayspring!” YES.
    – The need for rest and regular breaks- part of this is trusting God will watch over the work, that it isn’t about us always needing to be there. Lilias learned from the times when she got burned out and seemed to make rest a more regular practice.
    – God can bring beauty out of pain and brokenness- how Lilias most likely wrote “Parables of the Cross” during a season of waiting, disappointment and heartbreak.
    – “Trained faith is the triumphant gladness in having nothing by God- no rest, no foothold- nothing but Himself- a triumphant gladness in swinging out into that abyss, rejoicing in a very fresh emergency that is going to prove Him true- The Lord Alone. That is trained faith”. This was super challenging to me throughout this section- seeing the faith of Lilias and her team and the steps they took to trust God.
    – I was also struck with all the ways that they tried to make things fit with the local context, with the tracts and houses and ways of connecting with the mystics.

    I really enjoyed this section, and am excited to hear other’s thoughts!

    1. Amy Young July 26, 2016

      Sarah, so fun to see your picture! I’m sorry you’ve needing to read on your phone (that is totally me projecting! Maybe you like it! I like reading websites and email on my phone, not books :)).

      Good thoughts! The preserving struck me too and holding the long view in mind more than just the dailyness. With that in mind, I am enjoying a few days with a dear friend knowing that the work will always be there :). Enjoy the last section!!

  4. Jodie July 26, 2016

    I was blessed to get to spend time with Michele last week too! Thankful to be a part of the supportive encouraging community of Velvet Ashes.

    1. Amy Young July 26, 2016

      Jodie!! that is so wonderful :)!! I’m so happy!!!

      1. Michele Womble August 1, 2016

        Amy and Jodie – do you know that you two are not that far from each other (relatively speaking)? Just wondering…

  5. T July 26, 2016

    Hey, Guys! While I have your ear, pls pray for the descendants of those mystics that Lilias and pals hung out with and wrote the tracts for! That is in my country, and we’re still waiting for a breakthru in that oasis city. 🙂 Once, someone, in another southern town found a very, very old Book in his uncle’s library (leading to a happy ending!), and I wondered to myself, was that from Lilias???

  6. Spring July 27, 2016

    I have to admit I am a bit jelous that you got to meet Michelle! I have really enjoyed her posts!

    1. Michele Womble August 1, 2016

      Awww – thank you, Spring – would love to meet you some time! If you are ever in the southeast sometime in the near future (or anytime, maybe I’ll be here since it’s kind of home base for us)…let me know!

  7. Karen July 31, 2016

    I’m so thankful we are reading this book … not sure how I’ve gone so many years without ever hearing of Lilias Trotter. There is so much I can learn from her life, and this has been timely for me.
    Some points I’ve been thinking about:
    1) (from a couple weeks ago) “are our hands off of the very blossom of our life? Are all things — even the treasures that [God] has sanctified — held loosely, ready to be parted with, without a struggle, when He asks for them?” I know I came to a point a few years ago when I was seriously questioning why He would ask me to let go of what I considered to be one of my most beautiful “blossoms,” and ultimately I started thinking that it was my responsibility to keep the blossom at all costs — after all, I knew it was something He’d given me. But now I see that what is His, He can ask for back, and it’s OK to trust Him with that.
    2) Her comments about needing two weeks away to be alone with the Lord, and how she did get away and take that time. Although other sections of the book do talk about her pushing herself too hard, I can only imagine that with all she had going on it took a lot of focus to really step away from the work to seek Him, and she did that. I’ve been trying to do that in my city for the past few days, but to be honest, it’s been really easy to get distracted by other things that seem good and important at the time.

  8. Annetta Bosakova July 31, 2016

    I just found this book club so I’ll be joining in the next book, which I can’t wait to do. So so happy that I found this and to have something to keep me connected.

  9. Michele Womble August 1, 2016

    Sorry I am late late late to book club this week – but I was traveling (as you can see from the picture above) :-)!!!!! I HAVE been reading Passion for the Impossible but I think I’m a little behind and will come back and comment on that when I catch up – but just wanted to say what a joy it was to meet both Amy and to see Jodie (Jodie and I had met before I found Velvet Ashes but hadn’t seen each other in – 4 years? – and our daughters had kept up with each other some in sort of typical TCK fashion (if there is a typical).

    I wholeheartedly agree with Amy – one of the reasons we were able to just jump in, even though we hadn’t ever seen each other in person before, is that we had shared enough HERE and were connected enough to be able to plunge into the pool without a lot of preliminaries. We learn a LOT about each other here, in spite of the fact that there are some things that aren’t appropriate (for various reasons) to share here.

    For example – when Jodie and I got together, we were able to go straight for the adoption topic (we’ve both adopted). Even though we had met before (once, four years ago) I don’t think we would have gone straight there if it weren’t for the fact that we had mentioned it here. But adoption is part of our kids’ stories (not just ours) and there’s only so much I can share online without feeling that I might be invading my kids’ privacy – and I know that sometimes what I think is ok to share online my kids wouldn’t be happy about – so I try to be sensitive about it. It’s not just the whole embarrassment thing (I never know what they’re going to be embarrassed about) but also just the fact that it’s probably only fair that THEY get to decide what about their stories goes online and what doesn’t. But it was wonderful to be able to talk more deeply with Jodie about adoption.

    I loved meeting Amy! We had never been face to face before but it was like I’d known her for years…which, I have. Just online.

    I am, btw, in the Atlanta area indefinitely (transitioning our kids). Just saying, in case any of you happen to be in the area and would like/are able to (I know that’s sometimes two different things!) connect in person.

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