Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

I first heard about this book from the film Sister Act 2 when I was younger, but I was reminded about it when I watched both Sister Act 1 &2 the other night with my kids to show them the great musical performances. Don’t make fun! These movies are great! 😄 Anyway now my son and I go around singing all the songs, and he loves them as much as I did. But I was determined afterward to read this book, a book Whoopi Goldberg gives to Lauryn Hill and encourages her to keep singing. She quotes from the book saying, “If the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning is writing, then you’re a writer and if the same is for singing you’re a singer.” Something like that. Both films encouraged me to join my church choir and get involved in church at a young age eventually inspiring me to go to summer church camp three years in a row—a wonderful place I’ll never forget.

Great films and sure to be an inspiring read!

The Remains of Robert Murray M’Cheyne

Today I’d like to remember Robert Murray M’cheyne who gives so much richness and truth in this letters and sermons, which thanks to Andrew Bonar, M’Cheyne’s good friend, we now have this Presbyterian Reverend’s entire collection of writings, sermons, and letters—his “remains”. I come back to his work time and again because his words are so alive with the Holy Spirit that his work serves to strengthen me when I feel dried up and brittle like a dead branch.

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“He became a babe, and was laid in a manger, for there was not room in the inn. The inn was like your heart; it was filled with other lodgers, and had no room for Jesus.” —Robert Murray M’Cheyne. (A letter “To One Awakened: A call upon a soul to choose Jesus. 1842).

M’Cheyne died when he was only 29 years old of Typhus and was buried at St. Peter’s church in Dundee, Scotland where he served. There was an estimated 7,000 people at his funeral. 💕

M’Cheyne Photo credit: lukesblog.org

A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis

I read A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis on the car ride home from our vacation. Felt like a journey or a walk with Lewis himself. Written after the death of his wife, a Grief Observed began as his journal to work things out, but he thought it might help others cope with their own loss so he published it. As he says, it is the story of him first, his wife, and God. In that order.

Thomas Merton: The Seven Storey Mountain

Finished it over the weekend. It was so good! I could have done without part one, but I guess it was useful to see how far he came from not giving any thought to the existence of God to becoming a Trappist monk. Wish I were still reading it. Merton is an excellent teacher, I feel like I finished a long journey with a dear friend. If any of you out there are in a discernment period to possibly go to seminary school, which is something I wrestle with often, you should definitely read this!💕

Halfway through the Bible. If you’re on Instagram follow this hashtag!

We are halfway through the Bible! Since the Fall of 2019, I have been writing really brief reviews of the books of the Bible. They are my own contemplative thoughts that no one has to agree with, but I hope speak only truth and leave room for your own contemplation.

The order I have been following is the below. Given to me by a priest and a friend. .

Genesis John

Exodus Matthew

Leviticus Galatians Numbers Colossians

Deuteronomy

Joshua Hebrews

Judges

Ruth Acts (of the Apostles)

1 Samuel

2 Samuel Mark

1 Kings

2 Kings 1 Corinthians

1 Chronicles

2 Chronicles 1 Peter 2 Peter

Ezra

Nehemiah Romans

Esther Philemon

Job Revelation

Psalms (I SUGGEST READING ONE A DAY THROUGHOUT)

Proverbs

Ecclesiastes 1 Timothy 2 Timothy

Song of Solomon 1 John 2 John 3 John

Isaiah Luke

Jeremiah Titus

Lamentations Philippians

Ezekiel Jude

Daniel 1 Thessalonians 2 Thessalonians

Hosea

Joel

Amos James

Obadiah

Jonah 2 Corinthians

Micah

Nahum

Habakkuk

Zephaniah

Haggai

Zechariah

Malachi Ephesians

Confessions of Saint Augustine

I had to track this down. It was recommended by Thomas Merton, and I think it led in part to his conversion. F. J. Sheed’s translation is supposed to be the best. I’ve read compared to other translations Sheed kept the words of Saint Augustine alive and breathing, rather than dead. I’m very excited to read this! . Plus it was mailed with an old letter in German still stuck inside from the 60’s. .

The Cooking Gene by Michael W. Twitty

As a student of the American Civil War I realized to my shame that I have not one book about the African American experience. Studying military strategy and the life of soldiers kept me from really SEEING this special part of the story. So I thought I would pick up a book. Of course there are plenty of books out there about race, and I hope to read some of those too, but for the beginning of my journey I thought I would start with food. I found this serendipitously while searching for colonial history and thought it would be perfect. Michael W. Twitty is a culinary and cultural historian, he’s a TED fellow and speaker and has appeared on/in NPR, The Guardian, and has been a participant in many talks abroad.

“As he takes us through his ancestral culinary history, Twitty suggests that healing may come from embracing the discomfort of the Southern past. Along the way, he reveals a truth that is more than skin deep—the power that food has to bring the kin of the enslaved and their former slaveholders to the table, where they can discover the real America together.” — Harper Collins (publisher). It has excellent reviews. I’m so excited to begin my journey here!

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Aunt Sally: A Narrative of slave life.

“The writer hopes that this little story may be the means of leading those who read it to think and feel deeply upon the truths which it involves, and that many more similar books may be written for our Sabbath Schools, so that the young may grow up imbued with the spirit of liberty, and rejoicing to labor for that oppressed and unhappy race with ‘Aunt Sally’ represents, so, at length, this unfortunate people shall be slaves no longer, but shall find that, to them all, the Cross has been the Way of Freedom.”

Brooklyn, N.Y., May, 1858

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. *Book borrowed from my grandma. Thanks Grandma! .

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