I have a tendency to buy books based on their covers. I allow the cover art to draw me in even if the inside flap synopsis does little to intrigue me. Naturally, there have been times I have been smitten by a cover only to succumb to boredom as I they to get into the story.
THE MOTHERS not only drew me in with it’s radiant cover of a hidden image made with brilliant colors; its story line captivated from the beginning.
As the plot weaves in and out of the black church experience, grief, young love, and friendship, it is easy to find yourself unable to put this book down.
I could smell the salt from the ocean.
I could picture the mother’s praying at Upper Room Church.
I could feel the varied emotions from each character.
The writing indulged in dialogue and description that at times almost made me feel uncomfortable for how true to life it was. Fascinating writing.
Even after putting the book down and trying to move on to another novel, the characters are still lingering. Two of the characters actually made me so upset that I considered not finishing the book. But, I had to.
There’s way too much use of the “F” word . It’s frequency was absolutely unnecessary for the telling of the story. And, I hated the ending.
Other than that, this book was near perfect.
4.50 stars our of 5 in my book! Definitely a must read for the summer!
For many who work in churches or even serve in their communities over the weekend, Monday’s can be a mixed bag. Sometimes the excitement of the weekend’s services and activities serve as a bit of adrenaline for people in ministry, ; especially creatives. Often, we like to jump right in and start planning and collaborating in preparation for what’s coming up next. But, just as often, Monday’s can seem like the continuation of a productive and meaningful, but very long weekend. Here are a few suggestions I’ve made part of my Monday routine in order to recuperate and refresh for the week ahead.
- Morning Pages – Morning Pages have become especially helpful for me. I take the 1st 30 minutes of Monday morning (and often other weekday mornings as well), to first brain dump . This might sound crazy to some of you, but I do a brain dump even before I pray. I spend 5-10 minutes writing down all the things that are on my mind. Sometimes, my thoughts are all over the place. Sometimes, my brain dump ends up looking like a to do list. Other times, my brain dump actually is a prayer in written form. The goal is to clear space in your mind and release the thoughts and worries that you may have carried into Monday from the weekend. After the brain dump, I spend the remaining time writing. I take the first thought or prompt that comes into my mind, and I write uninterrupted for 20 minutes. This is done to stir my creative juices and spark inspiration. I find it much easier to jump into my creative tasks for the week ( songwriting, writing, arranging, service planning, family activities, etc) when I’ve spent time in the morning creating space for my brain to ponder, imagine, and express.
- Reflect, Repent, Receive – One of the things that naturally comes from my morning pages is an awareness of the state of my heart and mind. It is easy to enter into conversation with the Lord when I’ve taken the time to acknowledge my struggles, worries, needs, and victories. Find some music or a psalm that keeps your heart tender towards God and use that as a way to enter into His presence. When we are accustomed to leading, teaching and serving, we often do so out of habit rather than heart. It’s imperative that we keep our relationship with God open and healthy, so we can minister to others from that place.
- Check In with a Mentor – I can’t encourage this enough. It is so important that we seek out wise, godly counsel. Find someone you can speak honestly with who will not only correct you, but help you to take steps toward your goals and growth. A good mentor desires that you grow and experience even more than they have. Seek out someone who can not only speak to your now, but your future.
- Lastly , Make Room For Rest – When I was working full time, I didn’t schedule after work activities on Mondays. Meals were simple and took little prep. Housework was minimal. And I’d leave work on Monday’s an hour earlier than other days, and added that hour to a day later in the week. I purposely carved out time on Monday evenings to catch up on a show on Netflix, read or go to bed early. This made for both a gentle but productive entry into my workweek after a weekend of ministry.
Monday doesn’t have to be a day of dread and exhaustion. What works for me might not work for you. Make it personal. Find a way to extract things that can wait from your Monday schedule. Care for yourself so you’re caring for others from a full cup.