And the Winner Is . . .



So there were a goodly number of names to put into the ol’ hat . . .



But there was only ONE name that came out of that ol’ thing!


So, congratulations, Anna! I’ll be emailing you very, very soon!!

And the Winner Is . . .





Marsha, I’ll send you an email to get your snail mail address and then I’ll ship Deidra’s lovely book off to you tomorrow!! Congratulations!

“Every Little Thing” — A Review, and a Give-Away


When you read a book written by a friend, you can feel a little nervous, you know? What if I can’t get through it? What if it’s tough to find something positive to say? How do I handle it if I really wouldn’t recommend this to anyone else?

Well, my friend Deidra Riggs has written a book that is launching next week. And, yes, I was a tad nervous as I began the rough draft I received as an advance copy (only the format was rough, by the way — not the writing!). You know what? By the first sentence, I was hooked. And also? Relieved and so very grateful.

“Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You are,” is a gem of a book. An absolute gem. Every page glistens with love, attention to detail, lovely writing and thoughtful theology. Yes, theology. Deidra would tell you (and she does) that she is ‘no theologian,’ but I beg to differ. She is the best kind of theologian, in my book, because she takes the truth that she finds in scripture and the truth that she discovers in her own walk as a follower of Jesus and she wrestles with it, distills it, and serves it up with joy and delight. That’s what I call theology. She lets her own experience of the surprising grace of God shine through her words, looking at characters in scripture and telling pieces of her own story along the way.

The heart of her message is exactly what the church needs right now: the beauty of the ordinary, the truth that small acts done in love can change the world, that no one is unimportant to the work and health of the kingdom in this place. “Every little thing” done with heart and commitment is what it’s about, beloved church. Every.Little.Thing.

Not big programs
Not big numbers
Not a business plan
Not even a visioning process.

No. The simple, beautiful truth is that WE — you and I, every single one of us — are the church, the hands and feet of God, the living, breathing presence of grace and gospel good news in this world. And none of us is too little, too unworthy, too insignificant for the task and the joy that is ours. Not one.

Every chapter is rich, but the two on wilderness and breathlessness are simply stunning. And I mean that with everything that is in me. Stunning. And exactly what I needed right now. Maybe you need them, too? If you would like to be entered in the drawing for the beautiful, brand new copy I have in my hands, just leave me a comment and I’ll pick a name from a hat and send it off to the lucky recipient. Last date to leave a comment is Launch Day, October 6th – that’s next Tuesday!


I have six typed pages of favorite quotes from this little book and I’ll leave you with one from each of my two favorite chapters:

“I have to be honest and tell you that a God-sized dream might surprise you because of its smallness. It will push you to the very edge of your comfort zone and right into the desolation of the wilderness. And it won’t always stop there. . . the wilderness is uniquely suited for putting us in a situation where God can get a hearing from us. Without resources, stretched far beyond our abilities, and with hope consigned to the garbage bin, we want out of the wilderness, but God desires to bring us through. And he is right there with us. He doesn’t send us into the wilderness and wait for us to emerge on the other side. No. God walks every step of the wilderness journey with us, and he shapes us as we make our way through.”

“God is in the wilderness. Go there. You can trust him to meet you right in the middle of your wild and worn and weary places. Take off your shoes. Tear off your pretense. Skip over the polite conversation. It’s you he wants. Simply you.”

And from the one on breathlessness:

“Sometimes breathing is the only prayer we can pray, and God hears our sigh and once again breathes the breath of life into us. We exhale, and it seems like such a little thing. But some days, it is everything. It is communion — intimate and more than breathing oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. It is sacred and it is holy: this agreeing with God that we need God, for all of everything, and his joyful entering into our lives and ourselves and our very souls to make us one with him.”

Yeah, you need this book. You really do. I happen to know and love Deidra. But even if I didn’t – I would be thrilled to send you this book. And if you don’t win? BUY ONE. You will not regret it.


And the Winner Is . . .


Today was the day!

The Big Drawing for a copy of Jessica N. Turner’s fabulous new book, “The Fringe Hours: Making Time for You.”

It has been delightful to read through the comments on the original post and to have the opportunity to help out one young mom with a free copy of this good book. Our commenters ranged from not-yet moms all the way to grandmothers-wanting-to-help-granddaughters. 

And I am DELIGHTED to tell you that a longtime reader here — and another grandmother, one who has grandkids even more grown up than mine – is the winner.

Please congratulate CAROL J. GARVIN!! I’m so happy to send you this book, Carol. Please give your grandgirl my very best wishes when you give it to her.


And the Winner Is . . .

This week, the drawing was for Laura Boggess’s fine new book, “Playdates with God.” Twenty-five friends asked to be included in the hat but only one could win . . .


And her name is:


Congratulations, Stephanie! I’ll ship your brand new book to you tomorrow morning, book rate, so it will take about a week to arrive!

My thanks to all who have entered the Giveaways the past two weeks – it’s been fun to have the chance to share these fine new books with you all.

And the Winner Is . . .





My sincere thanks to all 17 of you who left nice comments last week and asked to be entered into the drawing for Preston Yancey’s new book, “Tables in the Wilderness.”

And yes, I did put them all on paper and toss them into my favorite beach hat and about midday today, I drew out the name of the winner. And it is . . .



Congratulations, Hannah! Your new book will be winging its way to you very soon now!

And to all the rest of you who entered, please check today’s 31 Day Challenge post, because there is YET ANOTHER GIVEAWAY in that one. Laura Boggess’s lovely new book, “Playdates with God.” Be sure to leave me a comment, and I’ll put you in the hat for next week’s drawing!!

31 Days of Looking for the Little: Playdates + a Giveaway!


Sometimes I read my friend Laura Boggess’s words and I wonder, “In some alternate universe, are we related?” Because this woman writes my heart, and she writes it beautifully.

And this little book is a gem. A GEM. Laura tells us stories about her life, she quotes lots of great authors, she plumbs mysterious and wondrous truths from the worlds of psychology, theology and ministry — because that’s who she is. She is a psychologist, a closet theologian, and a pastor.

I adored every page of this book, and I read it in one sitting. She asks terrific questions and she finds meaningful answers all the way through. I highly recommend that you order a copy today and plan to use what you find there as you walk out your days. She helps us to re-think how we live by doing one of the things I’m writing out during this challenge: focusing on the ordinary, the small, and discovering God, right there. Right there.

I received a free copy and I also ordered one and that one I am giving away! So if you would like your own copy, please leave me a comment and I’ll enter your name on a slip of paper into my famous name-pulling hat. It’s definitely a worthy read. A little book that can.

Just Wondering

Book Review & Giveaway! “Tables in the Wilderness”


Preston Yancey is a favorite of mine. He has an artist’s soul and a deep and wide knowledge of theology and literature. His first book is officially launching TODAY, and I recommend it to you.

As you read, you must come to peace with the truth that Preston is ridiculously young. Yes, he is. He might deny this, but I know it to be true. In many ways, he is an old soul and that adds gravitas to his words, burnishing them with lived experience and grace.  

This memoir slice is the story of a relatively short season of life — the college years. The years of growing up and growing out, of finding lifelong friends, discovering what you love and what you don’t, and maybe, if you’re truly blessed, finding your life partner.

Over the pages of this lovely book, he does all of these things — he grows up, he grows out, he makes (and loses) friends, he discovers what and whom he loves. And in the process, he learns a lot about God — something that he was certain he already knew.

That’s the way with us humans, isn’t it? We think we know so much. And then . . . we don’t. Preston tells us about his faith journey, about the professors who inspired him, about the parents who loved and honored him, about a few girls he dated and the one he married. And he does it in the inimitable Yancey way. . . by talking in beautiful, lyrical circles.

So my primary word of advice is this: carve out a half day and read this book in one sitting. I did not do this and I wish I had — because Preston circles back to where he began more than once, as the quote above boldly tells us. Take it from me that tracking names and relationships can get a little more difficult when you’ve let time elapse between reading spells. 

And the second word of advice is like unto the first: as you read this lovely story, try to remember as much of your own growing up years as possible. If you read “Tables” in one sitting, this remembering will be easier to do. 

Most of us who’ve lived a bit longer than Preston will recognize ourselves as we read. We’ll remember what it feels like to love and lose, to visit strange congregations, to wonder if God has forgotten us, and to discover our faith all over again. 

I think that kind of remembering is one of the primary joys of reading memoir. It’s a good thing to find companions on the way, even ones we’ve never met. And Preston Yancey is a very fine companion, indeed.

I happen to have one extra copy of this book and if you’d like to put your name in the hopper for a chance to win it, just leave me a comment. I’ll draw names one week from today — Tuesday, October 7, 2014 and I’ll post the winner here that evening. Please be sure to leave me your email address!


And the Winners Are . . .

My thanks to each of you who entered your name into the drawing for a copy of Michelle DeRusha’s wonderful new memoir, “Spiritual Misfit.” Yesterday afternoon, I rounded up my two 8-year-old grandchildren and we drew two names from the hat. (Warning – I begin to sound like a very lame game show host pretty quickly. So sorry!)

Here’s the proof, although you may have to squint a little to see your names!




Congratulations to Martha and Gwen! PLEASE send me your snail mail addresses ASAP so that I can send off these great books. My email address is dtrautwein at gmail dot com.