I am not much of a fan girl, to be honest. I don’t do author autographs. I don’t try for backstage passes. I don’t get swoony over being near famous people, except Anne Lamott, Bono, and Desmond Tutu – I’d probably faint for them.
But right now, I’m feeling a lot of big love for Jen Hatmaker. She’s someone whose name I’ve known for a while through the Christian writing circles that I step into and out of depending on how much I love the idea of Christians at the time. But it wasn’t until her show My Big Family Renovation aired on HGTV that I spent much time pondering her way of being in the world. Such authenticity.
Let’s just say that her humor, her kindness without being overly sweet or nice, her generosity showed me something special. That’s why I’ll be taking her new book For The Love to Alaska with me when we leave on Saturday. I’m eager to see what she has to say about grace, a tenet of my own faith that I fall more and more in love with as each day passes. I’m eager to see how she loves authentically in her words.
As I pondered Jen’s work this morning, the beautiful sky at the edge of the Blue Ridge plowed with clouds, I felt this overwhelming lift of burden from my heart.
Lately, life has felt heavy, too busy, too much about things that must get done. I suspect you know that feeling. We all seem to slide into that place often, and if we’re lucky, something as simple as a walk back from the farm stand lifts us out of it.
Here’s what I came to as the prayer I didn’t even know I was praying cried out one more time to the Love behind this gorgeous sky:
What if you lived, Andi, in such a way that encouraged people to know they are always loved and to remember that living their lives with authenticity, kindness, and gentleness was enough?
That’s our dream here at God’s Whisper Farm. That’s the center of the dream I set forth in God’s Whisper Manifesto. That’s what I hope comes through in Writing Day In and Day Out. But sometimes I lose track of that, get twisted all up inside myself, too focused on me. I forget to turn outward so that the inward and get sorted.
So that’s where I am, at this moment, a bit overwhelmed by joy and the gift of gracious reminders that come just when I can hear them and when I have two weeks to carry them with me in the wilds of Alaska’s gorgeous.
During those two weeks, I’m going to be reading a lot – can you feel me quivering with glee from where you sit? I’ve got audiobooks for the plane and for quiet evenings when I can sit and sew. Plus, I’m carrying a packed Kindle and just a few print books, too. Here’s what I’ll be reading, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on these if you’d read them or hope to.
- Mailbox: A Scattershot Novel of Racing, Dares and Dangers, Occasional Nakedness, and Faith by Nancy Freund
- Shutter Step by CM Niles and Others
- Farm Together Now by Amy Franseschini and Daniel Tucker
- Palmetto Poison by C. Hope Clark
- Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Narrated by Wil Wheaton – I had to throw that in.)
- Neverwhere and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
- Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor
- For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
- Harriet Wolf’s Seventh Book of Wonders by Julianna Baggott
- Strange Glory: A Life of Deitrich Bonhoeffer by Charles Marsh
- When Mockingbirds Sing by Billy Coffey (The Kindle edition is FREE right now.)
I realize this list definitely lacks an Alaska titles, so if you have recommendations there, let me know. I will look to buy them up there at a local bookstore if I can.
I’ll still be blogging while I’m away, and I’ll be posting pictures all over Instagram during the trip. I hope you’ll follow along.
But most of all, I hope you know that you are loved more deeply than you could ever imagine in every way. No matter what.