Booking It 2011

I know…the month is closing down and I’m just now posting my 2011 reading list!  But I must speak to my inner guilt, and say..well, at least it’s still January!

Once again, with encouragement from LifeasMom, Carrie’s Busy Nothings, and Beth Stone’s Studio, I’m committing myself to another year of good reading with the Booking It 2011 project!  If you check out any of these blogs, you can see what they are reading, and read their reviews as the year progresses.  Last year I posted my reading list for 2010 HERE.  However, as things go, some were dropped and others added, so this is what I actually read:

Before Green Gables (reviewed here), by Budge Wilson
Broken-Down House (reviewed here), by Paul D. Tripp
Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens
The Pilgrim’s Progress, by John Bunyan
Shelter in a Time of Storm, (reviewed here), by Paul D. Tripp
Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, by Lucy M Montgomery
Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers, by Arthur Bennett
Transforming Together: Authentic Spiritual Mentoring, by Ele Parrott
Stuff Christians Like, by Jon Acuff (funny!!!!!)
A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens
Now That is Amazing Grace, by William McDonald
Learning to Pray in 28 Days, by Kay Arthur
What Did You Expect?  by Paul D. Tripp, this time, about marriage


For 2011, I’ve compiled this optimistic list and am really looking forward to all the great reading ahead!!

Les Miserables, by Victor Hugo
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy, by Eric Mataxas  (in progress)
Orthodoxy, by GH Chesterton
Generous Justice,  by Timothy Keller
Nicholas Nickleby,  by Charles Dickens
The Confession,  by John Grisham
Planet Narnia, by Michael Ward

And more ‘Anne‘ books:
Anne of the Island 
Anne of Windy Poplar  
Anne’s House of Dreams
Anne of Ingleside
Rainbow Valley
Rilla of Ingleside

And I’ve added Faith Alone, by Luther, to my devotional list.  I hope Spurgeon won’t mind too much.


This list could take a wide detour if my courses in M.Ed assign copious reading projects!  So my ambitious aspirations, as Captain Barbosa would say, “are really more like guidelines.” 

Please join me, and many others over at LifeasMom, for good reading, discussion, and encouragement!  What are you reading?

Broken-Down House

I’m one-month behind in my reading plan…but I doubt anyone noticed.  However, I feel like I have a ‘great cloud” of anonymous reading partners from Lifeasmom, who are all committed to a personal reading plan for the year..and watching me.  So, I press on!   

Over the past year or so, I’ve read three books by Paul David Tripp, and each were perfectly suited for the time.   I probably shared the most from A Shelter in the Time of Storm, and still count it as my favourite.

But my May book sounded so intriguing and did not disappoint–Broken-Down House.  I think the title’s the reason I bought the book!  Over three years ago, we bought a little house in the country, which, though not truly broken-down, certainly needed some repair.  And as anyone who have ever owned a home knows, once you fix one thing, it’s time to fix something else.

Tripp shares that the world we live in is a lot like a broken-down house.  He acknowledges that “sin has ravaged the beautiful house that God created,” then he graciously, and often poetically, reminds the reader, page after page, of the reconciliation, restoration, and hope we have in Christ.  In the last chapter, he aptly summarizes the book’s context:

Yes, you are living in a broken-down house.  Here, you will face discouragement, danger, disappointment, and grief.  There will be times when life will seem overwhelmingly hard…

But you can, beyond any question, live productively in this broken world.  There are things worth living for and things worthy of celebration.  You can, beyond any question, be one of God’s tools of rescue and restoration.

…You can do these things, and know these things, because of grace.”

GRACE is the primary theme of the book.  Grace is the only way we can live in this world, or have hope for the next.   Here’s one of my favourite passages:

Grace is the most transformational word in Scripture.  The entire Bible is a narrative of God’s grace, a story of undeserved redemption.  By the transformational power of his grace, God unilaterally reaches into the muck of this fallen world, through the presence of His Son, and radically transforms his children from what we are (sinners) to what we are becoming by his power (Christ-like).  The famous Newton hymn uses the best word possible for that grace, amazing!

Broken-Down House not only encourages the reader of the need for grace in this less-than-perfect world, but also challenges believers to action.  With chapter titles such as, “Reject Passivity,” “Be Good and Angry,” “Determine to Love,” and “Minister Everywhere,”  Tripp confronts us with the fact that (I) we are tools of God’s restoration and reconciliation.  As another Paul said 2000 years ago:

“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us, we implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”  2 Corinthians 5:18-20

Broken-Down House is more than a reminder of the state of this dilapidated world.  Through it, Tripp provokes us to “live productively in a world gone bad,” and “to fight the urge to give in or give up.  [God] calls you to live with perseverance now and invest wholeheartedly in what is to come! ” 

Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  Hebrews 12:1


Presently reading/next to be reviewed:   The Pilgrim’s Progress: From this World to that Which is To Come, John Bunyan.  Edited by C.J. Lovik

Sneak Peek

As you know, I reading some great books listed HERE, as inspired by Lifeasmom’s Booking it 2010 challenge.   I already changed my list (!), by adding a book mentioned in my last post, called A Shelter in the Time of Storm, by Paul David Tripp.

I highly recommend this book for everyone!  The author provides a very thoughtful, gentle study of Psalm 27, composed of 52 short chapters, some poetry, and a few personal and insightful study questions.  If you’d like to know more, please listen/watch this 3-minute YouTube video from Crossway books.  The video will minister to you, even before you get your hands on the book   PS. I’m not making any money on this—I jus think the book is TERRIFIC!

Anne of Bleak House

The vale of tears is but the pathway to the better country.
C H Spurgeon


If you plan on reading Before Green Gables, by Budge Wilson, don’t read this post!  It’s full of spoilers, such as, Anne takes a train to Prince Edward Island in the last chapter, to be adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert. (Oops!) 

Or, if you don’t like reviews, skip past this one, for words of hope and grace from the Scriptures and Paul David Tripp.!  It’s really all related, somehow.


Before Green Gables, by Budge Wilson was on my must-read list that I posted HERE.  This book was given to me by an extremely devoted fan of Lucy Maud Montgomery, who has read every single one of her books–none other than my son-in-law, Andrew.  He hasn’t read this book yet,  so I hope he doesn’t read my review. 

For fans of Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, Avonlea, Windy Poplar, this self-proclaimed, “Prequel to Anne of Green Gables” may be received with mixed emotions.  You can probably detect my sentiments by the title of this post. 

The book starts off much like any other “Anne” read, and one falls immediately in love with her endearing parents, Walter and Bertha Shirley.  But we know, before ever opening the book,  Anne could never have boarded that train to Prince Edward Island if things went well for the sweet Shirleys.  They die…and the bleakness begins.

Anne’s life goes from bad to worse, as she’s taken in by an angry, over-worked mother of five, with an alcoholic husband.  Fast-forward eight or nine years, and she’s placed with another family with three sets of twins under four years old, then finally, on to a Dickensesque orphanage.  LMM alluded (in her books) that trials were the very making of young Anne, so I was prepared for some hardships.  However, I couldn’t help but yearn for more light and happiness for our “Anne girl.”   As one reviewer on amazon. com wrote, “the only thing that bothered me about the book was that it was DEPRESSING.”

However, I could get past the bleak backdrop of her daily life, knowing that Green Gables lay in wait for Anne in a mere 11 years… But, the most disturbing aspect of the story was the uber-wise, hyper-intellectual Anne of 4 years old!  True, she’s a unique, gifted, insightful, opinionated and verbose young lady when we and Matthew Cuthbert first meet her, but as a toddler (?)–her thoughts, emotions, and conversations depart from reality too much for this reader.   

Well then, do I recommend the book?  Actually, yes!  Surprise!!  The bleakness of Anne’s childhood contrasts so significantly with Green Gables and Avonlea, that the reader gains a greater appreciation for all that lies ahead for our kindred friend, making the real Anne series shine brighter, happier, and thankfully, full of promise and hope.

~~~~End of Review~~~~


Our lives are much like Before Green Gables, filled with pages, or maybe chapters, of struggles and difficulties, highlighted with some joys and a lot of grace.  We don’t know what a turn of the page will bring, but we do know how the story ends! 

 “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” John 5:24

The riches of such an ending, or beginning, is beyond our understanding: 

 “As it is written, ‘No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.'”  I Cor. 2:9 


Paul David Tripp, puts it like this:

“The world is still a terribly broken place, not yet restored to what it was created to be. [But] we live with celebration and anticipation.  We celebrate amazing gifts of grace what we’ve already been given, while we anticipate the end of the struggles that will face us until the final chapter of the great story of redemption comes.

We do live in the in between. We do live in the hardships of a world that teeters between the beginning and the end.  But we dont need to be discouraged and we don’t need to fear, because the end of all those struggles has already been written, and so we’re guaranteed that the things that are not yet, will someday be!”  [1]

 [1]  Paul David Tripp, Whiter than Snow: Mediations on Sin and Mercy, Crossway Books, 2008. Wheaton, IL.  pg 92.


Want some other perspectives of the reviewed book?  Try here: