A Book Begins (with a question)

A Book Begins (with a question)

Posted By on Sep 20, 2016

I’m sitting at my new kitchen table, with a wash of pale, pearly sunlight over my hands. Autumn has come in a rainy rush the past few days, but the air this morning is crisp, clearing, and that sense of a new season tingles in my skin and begins to burn in the leaves outside. I always feel quickened in autumn, with new ideas, with freshly gripped ideals that must be well begun before winter sets in, and this year I burn with all I want to create; a new home, new books, new friendships and traditions…


Our first Sunday breakfast… with the mountain of boxes in the back ground.

My hearty dose of reality this morning is a mountain of empty IKEA boxes to my left (which, if you don’t have a car, become suddenly difficult to dispose of) and a room crammed with all of the downstairs furnishings as the (very old) ceiling in our front room decided it was time to crash down, evidenced by a large and sinister crack in the plaster. We managed to delay this by propping wood under it, and the builder comes this week, but for the moment the settling and ordering of this new little house is on pause, so I am turning my autumn-freshened energy to the next thing that burns in my heart: writing.

I have three notebooks open on the table, all with scribbled lists of what I want to write. Oh, there is so much I want to tell and explore, so many stories, so many truths I’ve gathered in the last year of study, of love, of watching God’s grace thread through my life, weaving so much hope. There’s much I will write on the blog here– daily wonders, theological discoveries, favorite books, the usual. But the time has also come when I am ready to begin another book, and I think I know what it will be.

Here’s the thing, I want to ask you about it first.

As many of you know, much of my writing in the past years has focused on children and reading; why reading is important, how it shapes the soul and self, and why a strong imagination is so vital to the development of mind and soul. I only grow more passionate about these ideas, but as I have studied theology and spiritual formation, I’ve been startled to realize how many of the things I learned about how children develop and grow are still just as vital for adults.

We equally need to cultivate a capacity to wonder, a love for learning, a strong imagination. We equally must read because all of this is central to the way we see ourselves, the story we create, the faith we hold in the midst of grief, the beauty we bring to a hopeless culture.

I’ve spent the last year asking the same questions of myself that I asked for children: How can I cultivate wonder in myself (something I think is necessary to worship)? How do I nourish my own imagination? How do I strengthen my faith, broaden my own ideas, educate my mind so that I have roots in truth and the capacity to interact wisely with the world around me?

As I have asked and answered these for myself, I’ve begun to realize that a new book is beginning to out shout for creation in my mind. And it’s this:

20120611083104143What if there was a ‘book on books’ for women? A book to be a companion as you learn to fill up your own soul, learn afresh, strengthen your own imagination. What if there was a book with favorite booklists, resources, essays, and suggestions for habits that met women in the midst of their ordinary lives, which is, after all, where most of our learning takes place. A book on development of mind and soul that also focused on imagination and reading, but was written to adults. Not an academic book, or a college course, but one that explores, creatively, personally, and with practical application, what it looks like to educate, nourish, and fill the rooms of your heart and mind and soul, wherever you live, whatever your story.

This would be a book of personal stories and ideas, of book recommendations and suggestions for how to begin, of favorite resources and chapters focusing on education, reading, devotion, culture, community, a book meant to encourage you to learn, to grow, to nourish the inmost rooms of heart and mind so that you can be strong and creative, and better equipped to flourish in whatever work God has given you to do.

So here’s my question (really, a series of questions), but it boils down to: would you be interested in that kind of a book, and if so, what would you want it to provide?

Would you want an all out ‘book on books’ with reading research and book lists and reviews written specifically to you?

Or one that included books but was focused on a more holistic vision for becoming self-educated, how to go about it, how to think about it, how to create a community to do it?

Would you want vision or pragmatism? Stories to fill your imagination, or practical lists to help you begin, or both?

Would you want to hear from other women writers or thinkers? Would you want the book to be a handbook with stories or a memoir with lists?

In short – I’d love to hear your ideas, would be delighted to know your own desires in this whole area of self-education and soul development. I’ve already begun work on this book, putting together lists of beloved books, talking to mentors and friends about the habits they’ve practiced to fill soul and heart with beauty. My heart and mind flare to life at thought of women reading, learning, growing afresh together.

So, tell me what you think. I’ll be so grateful. (And it will distract me from the IKEA boxes.)

A beautiful day to all you beautiful people.

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I did (say ‘I do’)

Posted By on Sep 16, 2016

O come, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together. 

(Psalm 34:3 – our wedding verse)


I got married.

Glory, glory, hallelujah!














(More soon. I have so much I want to write about! And a cottage I’m settling and all sorts of thoughts about it. And a question I look really forward to asking you…)

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Since just about my first day at Wycliffe, I’ve wanted to find a good format for passing along some of the theological treasure I discover all the time in my studies here. I spend most of my days intensively reading theologians of every stripe, many of whose words invest my study here with an aura not only academic, but profoundly devotional and often wildly adventurous in nature.

Whether its Luther thundering down the centuries about grace, or Hans urs von Balthasar casting his splendid vision of a theology founded on beauty, I almost daily stumble over words that seem to reset my understanding of, oh, everything, or grip me with a challenge to faith, or simply refresh my eyes so that I perceive Christ at play in the world in countless ways.

I rarely have the time to write a full post about these gems. I’m too busy turning in research papers on them instead. But the need to share their soul-shaping splendor endures.

Thus, I welcome you to a new series of weekly(ish) posts: Theological Thursdays.

They won’t be long or involved, but each will feature a theologian I’m loving (or wrestling with, or perhaps even questioning) with a few brief facts, a snippet or two of my own thoughts, and the main fare: my favorite quotes culled from the reading of that week.

In this way, I hope to begin to give out a little of the richness I have been so generously offered here. You know, when I came to Wycliffe, I didn’t intend to stay more than a year. But within two weeks of delving into the core ideas of my own faith, I realized that theology changes everything. In studying the creeds, I realized how easy it is to embrace half heresies without even knowing it. In studying Incarnation, I felt as if I had come to faith all over again as I realized the all-encompassing redemption of Christ invading every aspect of human existence. (This is the book I want to write next!) In reading Rowan Williams on theology and language, I encountered a realm of study in which mystery met imagination, reason tangoed with revelation, all of it expressed through the artistry and diligence of people who gave their whole lives to learning about God, I was hooked. I was revived. I felt called afresh to Christ. I just can’t keep that splendor to myself.

So welcome to Theological Thursday. (And let me just say I’d be tickled if the posts spark conversation. Your comments and thoughts and favorite theologians will be most welcome in return. Just sayin’.)

bonhoeffer-1We’ll begin with the subject of my essay this week: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, pastor, writer, and martyr. He is best known for his book The Cost of Discipleship in which he condemns the ‘cheap grace’ of churches that define grace as justification for sin, rather than total renewal and transformation ‘of the sinner’. Bonhoeffer looked at the Sermon on the Mount and saw Christ’s commands as a ‘call’ that every single person is required to encounter in the individuality of their own soul. That call provokes decision; we obey or we turn away, and if we obey, we are called into a moment by moment encounter of Christ who calls us afresh to action, to love, to work in every moment of our lives.

I must be honest and confess that when I first read Discipleship I didn’t love it. I found it convicting, immediate, but somewhat blunt, sere, hard. I recognized its power, and knew it was the passionate plea of a pastor resisting the coming darkness of the Nazi regime, but I felt a bit intimidated by this ‘tyrannical’ (Bonhoeffer’s own word to describe himself) German. Until I started this research paper and delved into the letters and papers Bonhoeffer wrote while in a Nazi prison, condemned to death for a conspiracy to assassinate Hitler (I’m afraid I don’t have time to get into the ethics of a pastor plotting murder- but read Discipleship or his Ethics and you’ll have somewhere to begin in understanding his thought). The Bonhoeffer I encountered there was a profoundly sensitive, insightful, compassionate man whose deep passion for Christ and determination to act rightly drove him to radical and ultimate conclusions.

In prison, Bonhoeffer questioned everything he knew, not in a despairing way, but in such a way as to test every idea he’d held about Christ before. He made his prison cell into a monastic cell, keeping prayer times daily, reading constantly, writing to those he loved, caring for other prisoners. Even as he wrote a poem in which he questioned who he was – the doubter who feared loss or the man whom everyone saw as strong and full of faith – he was described by a fellow prisoner almost as seeming to have ‘a halo of light round his head – his soul really shone in the dark desperation of our prison’ (S. Payne Best).

I think this was because in the waiting, yearning, and grey confines of his prison cell he came to a profound understanding of the way in which Christ makes himself weak in order to save us. He saw, in an even more immediate way, that the call to discipleship by Christ is a summons to share in that profound reversal of worldly values that we see at the Cross. It is to join Christ in his suffering, and in his love for the world. As Bonhoeffer’s friend Eberhard Bethge said:

The belief in the power of weakness was one of Bonhoeffer’s most basic insights, and he was to hold to it throughout his theological life. In the interpretation of the weak Word we are close to the profoundest thought ever expressed by Bonhoeffer: discipleship as participation in Christ’s sufferings for others, as communion with the Crucified. 

What this meant to Bonhoeffer is summed up in his words here:

…blessing means laying one’s hand on something and saying ‘despite everything you belong to God’. This is what we do with the world that inflicts such suffering on us. We do not abandon it; we do not repudiate, despise, or condemn it. Instead we call it back to God, we give it hope, we lay our hand on it and say: may God’s blessing come upon you, may God renew you; be blessed, world created by God, you belong to your Creator and Redeemer.’

I may just have teared up in a coffee shop while reading those words. I hope you feel a bit of their beauty as well.

Books to begin:

The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer (written regarding the community he founded at Finkenwalde)

Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Dietrich Bonhoeffer 1906-1945: Martyr, Thinker, Man of Resistance by Ferdinand Schlingensiepen


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The World is a Wedding Renewed

The World is a Wedding Renewed

Posted By on Aug 1, 2016

I’m in the clack and clatter of a Starbucks in the middle of small-town Oxfordshire. I’ve ducked in to grab a few minutes of internet for the answering of insistent emails and the googling of a few notes on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the subject of my current paper. And, of course, a quick hello here.

I’ve actually spent the last two days on a lovely campground nearby, with outdoor breakfasts and morning devotions in a big white tent with the birds for choir, and late nights round a roaring splendor of a campfire. Thomas’ family runs a yearly summer youth camp and I’m joining for a couple of days to get the ‘camp’ experience that was so much part of his childhood. The laughter and prayers, the evening singing, the late nights of ‘gezellig’ moments round the campfire (a Dutch word that apparently has no direct translation to England, but think ‘cozy’ and you begin to get at it). The camp staff have kindly given me an inside room (instead of a tent) where I can perch on a bunk bed and work feverishly on my papers in between camp fun.

The theme for the camp is the ‘I Am’ statements of Jesus in the book of John. I am the Bread of Life. I am the Good Shepherd, etc., and the thoughts surrounding the talks have turned me back to yet another perusal of John’s Gospel, the one I have always felt at home in. The thoughts that follow from here were largely written several years ago during another sojourn in John, but as I read through John again I find them to be as radiantly true as ever and want to post them again as I find so much nourishment in John’s portrayal of Christ, particularly at the wedding at Cana. As I plan a wedding feast myself and consider how best to express the joy I find in marrying Thomas, I am struck by Jesus’ actions of renewal, of celebration, of generous (and perhaps rather amusing) gift.

The other Gospel writers seem to tell the story more from the outside in, relating the miracles, the teaching, those high and holy days of Jesus’ life from the viewpoint of what was seen. John tells it from this inside. He tells what it means. At least that’s the sense I get as I read. I feel often that he had an interior room within himself, a place where the Beloved spoke with him. From there he looked out on the spectacle and brilliance of what happened in Jesus’ life and perceived, not just the events, but the meaning of each, the great Reality unveiling itself in each action, word, and miracle. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us…

The first time through John I became aware of a certain theme in John’s storytelling; the way that Jesus invaded sacred or traditional spaces and retold their meaning with his words. He walked straight into days and spaces like the temple, the Sabbath, a Samaritan well, and by his words, his narration you could say, cleansed them of the fear and false law that had obscured the living presence of God within them. Take, for instance, the cleansing of the temple, the significance of the statement, “don’t make my Father’s house a place of business,” as if grace could be bought and sold, as if God’s favor were an object for which we could barter. Clean out, not just the doves and coins and dirt, but the assumptions that attend their presence, the consumer idea of salvation. In the cleansing of the temple, Jesus was renewing not just the physical spaces, but the ideas of the people who inhabited them.

Because of this realization, on my second read-through of John, I encountered the story of the wedding at Cana in a whole new way. And it rather stole my breath. I had always assumed this first miracle ought to be special in some way. This was the first flung challenge in the darkness, a sword of light unsheathed as Messiah began his unconventional conquest of men’s hearts. But the whole thing, if simply read straight through, is somewhat underwhelming. What’s more, I’ve rarely heard this story taught with any sense of excitement. Maybe its simply my own perception, but I feel that we often view this first miracle as a practice run, the flexing of Jesus’ miraculous fingers on insignificant wine before the real work of healing began. A divine token to mark the first try.

But early the other morning as I read this story for the second time in a month, read it with a mind not hurried, but willing to savor, I saw anew. I saw, I think, as John meant me to see, the way in which this story is is the prelude to the epic of the gospel, an embodied poem that told the tragedy of the world and hinted at a coming eucatastrophe. There is meaning, I think, in each word and action of this almost peripheral miracle. For it is the story of the very world told within the tale of a rural wedding feast. A feast that Messiah was about to save.

For in the beginning, not just of Jesus’ ministry, but in the making of the very world he had come to save, there was a wedding. Body and soul, God and man, a joyous joining that was a feast of existence put on by God himself and called life. Joy was the order of existence. Laughter the beat of heart and gladness the thrum of the very earth. The wedding that was creation was meant to inaugurate a world of love, of harmony, of continuous new creation. But the feast was shattered by sin and the marriage  brought to the very brink of collapse. The wine of life ran short, and it was us, God’s beloved who spilled it out, wasted his gift so that our own lives ran suddenly short. And the wedding feast of the world brought into being a whole human race of broken hearts.

But God was not a husband to be so easily defeated. No lover He, to be so quickly cast aside. The ages of the earth marched on and it seemed that the feast was  ended, the joy forever disrupted, the wine run short. But God never abandoned his Beloved. The feast was delayed, but by his own love it would be renewed, for even as we wept, he was planning the great gift that would save the wedding and cause the wine to freely flow again. The gift was himself, bundled up in flesh and blood, invading the earth so that he could take the hands and hold the heart of his beloved again. And when he came, the event he chose to announce his arrival?

A wedding feast. There was Jesus, the answer to the broken heart of the world. Just one more young man at a rural wedding party, he sat amidst a broken people and knew that he was the answer to every yearning of their hearts. The host and maker of the universe, if they but knew it, was the unassuming guest at a marriage that would become the event to announce the reconciliation of the world. All was set. The story was about to be renewed, the miracle announced.

I love it that Mary set the story in motion. She saw the lack of wine and she knew the shame at stake. But I think her insight carries a larger understanding. Perhaps in Mary’s remarkable heart was a sense of the symbolism of that moment. She was the human mother of God, more aware than any other human on earth of what had come, what dwelt so silently among the fallen and was about to be revealed. Perhaps when she confronted her Son with the disaster, she knew she was speaking of a larger lack, speaking to the deepest void in the human heart when she said, “the wine has run short.”

Jesus, in a voice I fully believe was playful and grave at once, says, “what is it to me?” A lively challenge. A parry and thrust, a question that could be our devastation if she really had to answer. For in the end, what ought it be to God? God gave humankind the world and we, the Beloved, cast it away. We flung his love back in his face and by our own choice squandered life itself. We are a band of impossible ingrates forever choosing against the one lover in all the world whose great affection gave us our being. What is it to God? Why should he stoop to save us from disaster?

But the mother of God knows, and I can almost see her steady eyes in that face shaped by a lifetime of “pondering these things.” This woman who has known the Holy Spirit and borne the baby God into the world knows that this is everything to God. For Jesus stands before her. Messiah came. If this weren’t everything to God her Son would never have been born. She smiles and turns.

“Do exactly what he says,” she tells the servants. And her words are an affirmation of faith in the action and grace of her God. He has come and he will save. Despite the stupidity of his Beloved, the fallen hearts, the corrupted loves, he has come to renew the feast, to save the marriage. We will be healed if we do what He commands and believe in the love of the great, redeeming Bridegroom.

Jesus, smiling I feel sure, acts. He points to six great vats set aside for… what? Ritual cleansing. Vats set aside to hold the water that has been our attempt to make ourselves enough before God, to keep the wine of mercy from running short. Throughout the long ages of sorrow, we have struggled toward God, reached for the mercy he still offered. Humankind has always attempted to become enough, to keep life and love and joy alive. But the wine always fails. And now, those symbols of man’s struggle and man’s failure to ever be clean or enough, the perennial symbol of his “fallen shortness” are what Jesus chooses for his first miracle.

“Fill them with water,” he commands. Let them brim afresh at his command. “Then,” he says, “take a dipper full to the steward and let him taste.”

And the water is turned to wine. Because Jesus has come, the struggle is going to end, the thirst will be slaked, the wedding feast of the world will swing back into being and it will be a revelry such as the world has never seen. Because of the coming of Jesus, the wine of life will never run short again. The sign has been accomplished, the first miracle flung, the first note of celebration sounded. Jesus goes quietly back to his seat, meets the beaming glance of his mother, and knows that his doom, and his glory, have at once begun. With his own life he will stay the shame of the world, save his bride and renew the wedding feast.

“You have saved the best for last,” sputters the astonished steward, stumbling up to the wedding party, holding out a wine finer than any he has tasted in his life.

And the best One in the world sits quietly amidst his people. Mary grasps the arm of her son, feels the pulse of his warm, sweet, human blood, touches the skin that houses God himself and knows that the wedding of the world has been restored. Perhaps she aches as well, knowing somehow that the wine required for this restoration is the blood of her son. But its giving is the seal of an eternal love, a marriage that never again will be broken. The feast begins anew, never now to end. The final word of the great lover God, the best word, is Jesus. And the wine of life will never run short again.

I like to think of my own wedding as one more joyous proclamation of this fact…


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My Comfort Books

My Comfort Books

Posted By on Jul 27, 2016

When the world is a tad grey or my mind too weary to see much good in it all, I usually sit down with a sigh on my little couch, pull my curtains closed and reach for a good book. While I do identify on some level with the three kinds of people mentioned in the last post, it is to books, most often a novel, that I usually turn in times of distress, discouragement, or general disillusionment with life. I think this is because usually what I am in need of is freshened sight, rekindled wonder, or just a good stiff dose of hope.

My best beloved stories are the ones in whose vision of the world I can dwell as in a shelter. I love books that allow me to see the beauty of the world afresh through their words, whose narrated worlds reaffirm the possibility in my own. Tolkien made quick, scornful work of the critics who accused readers of fantasy or fiction of ‘escapism’. The critics, huffed Tolkien, confuse ‘the escape of the prisoner with the flight of the deserter’. We read fantastical tales and imagined worlds not to escape reality, but to discover it afresh. When our capacity to see and wonder has been diminished by exhaustion, grief, or boredom, a fairy tale (or any good novel in my opinion) puts us in an imagined world where we realize anew ‘the potency of words, and the wonder of things such as stone, and wood, and iron; tree and grass; house and fire; bread and wine.’ (From the essay ‘On Fairy-Stories’.)

Tolkien’s word for it was Recovery. Recovery of vision, of wonder, of hope. And the books I read for comfort are the ones whose worlds help me to win back my own sense of wonder and with it, my will to create, to love, to work once more in my own circle of days. My favorites?

The Scent of Water by Elizabeth Goudge :: The tale of Mary, a competent and accomplished London woman who inherits a country home and decides to leave the whirl of modern life behind to inhabit the deep quiet of the countryside and keep faith with the wise and suffering woman who gave her the house. One of the most atmospheric stories I’ve ever encountered, this book has a power to still and nourish the soul by the sheer quality of description. Goudge doesn’t describe the echoing hush of a country night, she evokes it. You feel immersed in it, in her own thoughts as they turn toward prayer, her growing capacity for hush, and in that illusive thing called ‘the scent of water’.

Other beloveds by Goudge: Pilgrim’s Inn, The City of Bells, The Bird in the Tree, The Rosemary Tree, The Little White Horse

The Genesis Trilogy by Madeleine L’Engle :: I first read this when I was sixteen years old and heartily doubting God’s love. L’Engle, with her grateful joy in the beauty of the earth, her embrace of doubt as a way of walking toward faith, and her trust in the utter goodness of God’s love, restored my capacity to hope. In this trilogy, she takes biblical tales like those of Jacob, Abraham, and Adam, weaving them with memoir, poetry, and her own stories in a sort of contemplative journey toward faith.

Other beloveds by L’Engle: The Irrational Season, A Wrinkle in Time, Walking on Water

Remembering by Wendell Berry :: A strange, and at first, discomfiting book, this short novel is meant to liven the reader to the strange and estranging ways of the modern world. I didn’t like it at first. But as I read, as I journeyed with the protagonist Andy, as he faces his bitterness and disillusionment, discovering again the essential ‘blessedness’ of his life, I was able to grasp afresh the blessedness of my own, and the possibility of thanks that is always present because of the way we are held by the love of God and others, even when ‘we cannot hold’.

Other beloveds by Berry: Hannah Coulter, The Art of the Commonplace, Fidelity, Life is a Miracle

The Sign of Jonah by Thomas Merton :: I stumbled upon this book in a used bookstore several years ago. I didn’t expect anything dramatic, but as I explored this early journal of the famous monk and writer, Thomas Merton, I was refreshed and delighted by his workaday observations on life in a Trappist monastery. His small delights in a cloudscape or a note of music, his frustration with his brothers, his boredom with details, his hunger for something beyond the horizon matched the ruminations of my own restless soul and helped me to see that whether in the cloister or the world, the possibility of wonder, the presence of joy, and the need to love with grit and grace, are ever the same.

Other beloveds by Merton: Seeds of Contemplation, No Man is an Island, Bread in the Wilderness

Speak What We Feel (Not What We Ought to Say) by Frederich Buechner :: I read this when I’m sorrowing, angry, grieved, or just a bit peeved with the shatteredness of the world. With a title based on King Lear’s famous statement in the moment of his undoing (‘the weight of this sad time we must obey, speak what we feel, not what we ought to say’), Buechner examines four writers – Gerard Manley Hopkins, Mark Twain, Shakespeare, and G.K. Chesterton – whose times of greatest darkness forced them beyond the bounds of popularity or reason to speak, in story and poem, the deepest and hardest truths they knew. A beautiful account of the way that suffering can sometimes reveal hope in a depth and quality we have never touched before.

Other beloveds by Buechner: Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Comedy, Tragedy, and Fairy Tale, The Sacred Journey

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien :: I think I will always return to this book as the one to ‘stab my spirit broad awake’ (as Robert Louis Stevenson says). Having encountered it in my first sorrow, I will always be shaped by its high beauty and alpine courage, its knowledge of pain and its pilgrim journey toward hope. The characters in Middle Earth taught me to live the hard life (which is all life in this world) well, and I will always return to its pages to remember that anew.

Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery :: I simply can’t not include an Anne book. A couple of years ago I had a conversation with two other women my age about how a whole generation was raised to see the world along with Anne. That meant a world that sparkled with personality, with beauty that pulsed afresh every day, with quirky people to love, with boundless scope for imagination, and an endless supply of adventure. I wouldn’t trade a childhood immersed in these books for anything. Anne of Avonlea is one of my favorites because it is steeped in the homey world of Green Gables, but with Anne old enough to dream and desire and explore. I am always refreshed by a mental ramble in PEI.

Other beloveds by Montgomery: Anne’s House of Dreams, Rilla of Ingleside, The Golden Road, Emily of New Moon, Kilmeny of the Orchard

Tasha Tudor’s World :: This isn’t a novel, but it feels like a storybook. Tasha Tudor was an eccentric, stubborn, and utterly delightful old woman who lived the whole of her modern life (she died just a few years ago) in the style, rhythms, manners, and work of the early 19th century. A keeper of corgis and goats, a gardner extraordinaire, marvelous cook, and very beloved illustrator of children’s books she lived in her own vivid, chosen world of earth and garden, friendship and artwork and steadfastly kept it until the end. In a day and age whose work and craze seems intent on robbing the world of wonder, Tasha Tudor is an agent of re-enchantment for many, and I have always loved her for it.

I have so many more. I’m just getting to love Marilynne Robinson, I’ve long loved Evelyn Underhill. And Malcolm Guite’s poetry. But I must stop! Thank you so very much for the comments with lists of your own comfort books in the previous post. (Keep them coming!) I now have a booklist and wishlist to keep me in curiosity the rest of the year. I look so forward to discovering new worlds…

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Books for Comfort

Books for Comfort

Posted By on Jul 25, 2016

In the past two weeks I’ve gone home to beloved Colorado and flown back to merry old England, I’ve bought a wedding dress, written a paper, packed up most of my belongings, and carted three suitcases, the dress, and myself across the Atlantic. I’ve also reveled in long afternoons with my girls, pondered the adventurous (and mysterious) future, planned surprise parties, and danced with my sister and mom in the rain. All of which leaves me, on this golden and blue Oxford afternoon, glad and exhausted and definitely without a sentence to string coherently together.

So instead, I offer a rather humorous quip I found this morning as I was poking about in search of literary comfort. This from my oh-so-beloved Elizabeth Goudge:

Humanity can be roughly divided into three sorts of people – those who find comfort in literature, those who find comfort in personal adornment, and those who find comfort in food.

This really tickled me. I think I fit all three categories, though I proved her point by turning to a book for comfort for my ragged brain.

What sort are you?

And what have you recently read for comfort? (I love knowing the novels people return to again and again!)

I’ll publish my own official list of comfort books soon…

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