Posts in reading
Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist

n our frantic, overwhelming, too busy world, what does a heart-centered life look like?  For each of us it’s different, of course, because it’s dependent upon what’s in our hearts, whomever and whatever truly reside there.  But it’s very likely – perhaps a guaranteed certainty – that the things we give importance to in our lives are not the same things living in the softest part of our heart.  This is the journey inward that Shauna Niequist chronicles in her book, Present Over Perfect: Leaving Behind Frantic for a Simpler, More Soulful Way of Living.  A collection of thought-provoking essays, Present Over Perfect explores the discoveries we make when we slow down, simplify, and choose to live with more grace and intention.

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readingCasee Marie
Wildly into the Dark by Tyler Knott Gregson

Tyler Knott Gregson is beloved for his typewriter series of poems scattered meaningfully upon found scraps of paper, makeshift canvases for simple, profound pieces of introspection.  He writes of courage and love and wanderlust, and the picture he paints with his words becomes a representation of a life lived wholly, fearless of the dark places and brilliant in the light.  Wildly into the Dark is his third outing in the publishing world – Gregson regularly shares his work on social media – and within the latest collection he goes on a journey into territory deeper still, sharing poetry and poetic wonderings as well as what the book’s subtitle charmingly calls, “rattlings of a curious mind.”

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Dogged Optimism by Belinda Pollard

When writer Belinda Pollard acquired her spunky Australian Terrier in May of 1998, she had no idea in what ways the furry little hurricane would change her life - and herself.  In Dogged Optimism: Lessons in Joy from a Disaster Prone Dog, Pollard compiles the story of her adventure with bright-eyed, ever-inquisitive Killarney, and in her quietly humorous, heartfelt way she fills the pages of the memoir with the meaningful essence of dog ownership.  Through sixteen "lessons" Killarney teaches Belinda how to live fiercely and freely, while she, a natural-born worrier, warily follows Killarney's lead into the sometimes frightening joys of life.

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Questions About Angels: Poems by Billy Collins

Billy Collins is a New York-born, California-educated poet, and his work combines the best of both coasts. Distinctly American in their narrative style, Collins’s poems evoke wit, wonder, and whimsy from the simplistic. In his way of lyrically illuminating the magical of the everyday, Collins teaches his reader how to reach back and grasp the open-hearted experience of youth, and how to search for it in small moments of our disillusioned grown-up lives. His fourth collection, Questions About Angels, was first published in 1991, and in the twenty-plus years since it first became available, the collection has lost neither its power of observation, its relevancy, nor its ability to charm a new generation.

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Edgar Allan Poe's Love Letter to Sarah Helen Whitman

Despite a lasting reputation for both the dark and delusional, Edgar Allan Poe could - on occasion - handle love with a gentle touch. This is evidenced in a letter he wrote to his once-fiance, poet Sarah Helen Whitman. She was a Transcendentalist, he was a Romantic. They met first through their love of words, when she composed a Valentine for him on the occasion of a holiday party (which he didn't attend). Upon hearing her poem, he replied with a poem of his own; thus began a correspondence that sparked a courtship.

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Firstlight: The Early Inspirational Writings of Sue Monk Kidd

Before becoming an international sensation and household name at the age of fifty-four with the publication of her first novel, Sue Monk Kidd was a writer of personal spiritual nonfiction. And earlier yet, writing was not her primary career at all. A longtime nurse, Kidd began her writing career by surprise when a piece she submitted to a contest was published by Guideposts, an interfaith publication founded in the 1940s. She went on to write for the magazine for twelve more years; thus began a superstar bestseller’s unexpected journey. From there, Kidd went on to write and publish an array of personal nonfiction, from pieces in magazines and eventually three memoirs on spirituality before she would ultimately publish The Secret Life of Bees. Her 2006 book Firstlight gathers together these early writings from her Guideposts years and other publications as well.

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