ASK ANY CHRISTIAN, AND HE/SHE WILL TELL YOU, “JESUS IS THE REASON FOR THE SEASON.” We hear this at Christmas especially, so I wish to take a moment to discuss the life of a long-time friend, a pastor, who lives as if Jesus is the reason for any season. Al Perry, whom I have known since I was a daily coffee drinker at Whataburger, along with friends who ranged from just s few years older than I to my Best Friend, Jane, who was twenty something years my senior. Al worked at Monsanto, a chemical plant near Alvin, our home town and also pastored a church in nearby Rosharon, TX. Since his retirement, he has been a member of South Park Baptist, my church, even serving as interim pastor for over a year and a half. When he asked me to “look at” his “life story” as he then called it, I jumped at the chance to earn some editing experience. His autobiography, The View from the Top of the Chicken Coop, was a delightful reading experience, which needed only minor punctuation corrections.

Written in 2022, this memoir’s title comes from the following:

“”…One of the things I vaguely remember is our uncle and aunt from Texas coming…A letter would arrive saying they were coming. When it was near the time of the visit, one of the boys would get ON TOP OF THE CHICKEN COOP to look for their car… We would wait with anxiety for the cookies and goodies they would bring…”

The book is both humorous and inspiring, and as any preacher, Brother Al managed to end with a mini-sermon:

“I think about the letter we would receive from Texas and the scout who would jump on the chicken coop, and announce the dust stirring on the dirt road…[Today], I’m looking up because of a letter I’ve received about something coming down ‘the road of my life’.” (John 3:16) “While on this imaginary chicken coop, I am looking up with anticipation because of another portion of the letter (1st Thessalonians 4:16-17), ‘For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven’ … [I] look forward to the time when I will be with all of my loved ones…There is a longing in my heart to see my Savior…”

If you knew this author, personally as do I, you would soon determine he was the “real thing,” not just a professing Christian, but one who lives out his faith.

Thank you, Brother Al for allowing me to read and edit your life’s story.



This second week of nonfiction celebrated in November asks the blogger, once again, to pair books.

The third pairing of books I shall do this second week of November is to assure you, my reader, that if you like book x, you will surely enjoy book y. The books that will be paired are both inspirational and both from the category of self-help. Also, they both deal with the theme of trying to be perfect and learning to accept one’s imperfections.

A very helpful book I purchased on line.

The first of the pair, Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, was reviewed earlier here on PWR. My takeaway from it was that being uncool is ok. Brown published this book back in 2010, but I just got around to reading it this year.

Pairing Gifts with this next book by Shauna Niequist, one might wonder if the author had read Brown’s book before she published her own in 2016, for she subtitles it, “Leaving Behind Frantic for a More Soulful Way of Living. “

I am reading this now.It was donated to my LFL (Little Free Library).

More memoir, and filled with many anecdotes, more so than Gifts, this second book is both helpful and subtle, as Niequist allows the reader to make her own conclusions and acquire her own life lessons as she reads. Like Niequest in this respect, Brown also tends to “teach” through gentle, thoughtful “conversations” with her readers rather than relating as many stories from her past.

Both books are darned good reads, and thus, make a likely pair to select for related reading objectives.

Life’s a puzzle, and a good self-help/inspiring book can help one sort it out.




This book, which was donated to my Little Free Library has been very helpful. I am using a chapter or two a day as a lead in to a morning “thought-time.”

Week Two of Nonfiction November asks the blogger to pair up books. I will attempt to do this at least two times this week, starting right now. I would pair up the book posted above to one by Anne Lamott:

A story about Lamott’s becoming a grandmother when her son became a father

The books are alike because both are books of introspection and encouragement while offering lovely anecdotes in the memoir category. Both were engaging and thought-provoking nonfiction reads that often required me to close the book and ponder the words I had read. Both had some humorous moments as well as warm, moving scenes from the authors’ lives that made me tear up.

Both are darned good reads and make me dream about my own past.

Dreams prompted by books can reflect on one’s past as well as help her look ahead.



In the comments/reply box below, type the first line or so of your current read.

Today’s Friday Firstliner comes from Shauna Niequiist. Her inspirational book Present Over Perfect is one I chose to read to accomplish my goal of reading seven inspirational books in 2021. I believe this is number six.

So far, this has been a very helpful book, showing me that perfection is not a good goal to have; living in the present, is.

“This is a love story, like all my favorite stories… And it’s about the single most profound life change I’ve encountered.”

This book comes highly recommended by Brene Brown, one of my favorites, who wrote the Foreword.

Thanks to Evin for the lovely sign-off

THE CHRISTIAN ATHEST by Craig Groeschel: A Revew

Yes, the title sounds like an oxymoron, but it is really more of an exercise in finishing sentences. The subtitle is, “Believing in God But Living as if He Doesn’t Exist.” This “life- changing read” includes chapter  titles like:

When You Believe in God, but…

…don’t think He’s fair.

…still worry all the time.

…pursue happiness at any cost.

…trust more in money.

…don’t share your faith.

…not in His church.

This is a convicting read from a self-proclaimed recovering Christian atheist. The book attempts to help the reader move “toward an authentic God-honoring life.” Its relevance to current times and society makes it a very useful read to those hoping to grow their Christian walk.


This meme, originally hosted by The Purple Booker, has been picked up and posted by many bloggers.  I first found it on Brainfluff. The plan is to copy a sentence at random from what you are reading in hopes of persuading other readers to add that book to their TBR lists. Here is my Tuesday Teaser from God Was Here and I Was Out to Lunch by James W. Moore.

“Have you ever noticed this in the Bible? In the Gospel of John, Jesus calls himself ‘the light of the world’ (8:12. 9:5), but here in the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus calls us–you and me–“the light of the world’ (5:14). What do you make of that”?

The author goes on to say that we, as Christians, reflect Christ’s light…to be “so tuned in to him, so committed to Him, so positioned toward Him that His light of love and forgiveness and hope and service…spills everywhere we go in this world.”

I think I may learn a great many new thoughts from this little book.


Tuesday Teaser is a meme/game originally started by The Purple Booker. The idea is to open a book at random or where you left off, and copy a sentence (or so) which might tease someone into looking into reading the book also. Be sure to include book title and author, and no spoilers/endings please.

My Tuesday Teaser for 12/11/18 is from a book donated to my LFL (Little Free Library) in my yard. It is a 1983 publication by Florence Littauer, entitled It Takes So Little to Be Above Average. I would describe it as inspirational because it often quotes Bible wisdom from Proverbs. I confess that I am not reading it word-by-word or straight through, but here is some advice from a chapter on hurtful words:

“Bill Gates, who is involved in prison ministry, asked a group of inmates how many had parents that told them that they were stupid and would end up in jail. One hundred per cent raised their hands in affirmation.”

Give your URL where you have posted your Tuesday Teaser. OR simply type your Tuesday Teaser in the Response Box below.

Thanks for playing along.



This is an old (1995) title that came into my hands from a friend who was donating it to my Little Free Library; however, it is full of “new” ideas and very inspiring. Don Moore and Lorna Dueck have collected short examples that prove, in Billy Graham’s words from his forward, “…God is still at work using ordinary people to do extraordinary things” and “…amid the apparent chaos and conflicts of our world, God is still at work through the lives of…men and women committed to Christ and seeking to serve Him.”

The examples chosen are mostly from Canada, but could be applied anywhere in anyone’s lives. There are a great deal of inspiring examples that might help the reader choose his own ministry/service as she/he sees needs arise in his/her location and life-situation. Heroes from sports figures to educators, to housewives and moms, to professional, trained leaders are given with each turn of the page. The stories often occur after the “hero” has taken a beating–losing a job or having to downsize, and turns it into an opportunity to serve in a way that is helpful to the Lord’s work and totally fulfilling.

This is an inspiring book for someone who wants to “do something.” Sometimes it is something that makes a difference in one life; sometimes it is something that “takes off” and makes a big difference in a big way. Regardless, the book is full of examples of people who took action, not just paid lip-service.


This inspirational book by Max Lucado was one of the books I read over the holidays. It is a 2017 publication provided by my church library. Lucado has been my favorite inspirational author for twenty-something years, and this is not a reworked, revised, updated older publication, but a BRAND NEW “take” on an idea Lucado has not tackled before.

The book’s theme is anxiety, described as “…a meteor shower of what-ifs.” He defines the difference between anxiety and fear. “Fear sees a threat. Anxiety imagines one.” The writer bases the book on Phillipians 4:4-8 and directs the passage admirably, using the passage’s structure as the structure for his book.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again, I say rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to all men. Be anxiousus for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving , let your requests be known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your heart and minds through Jesus Christ.”(KJV) (italics mine) What, don’t worry? How is that possible? Lucado gives the steps to achieve the promise listed in the end of the passage–peace of heart and peace of mind.

The book is easy to pick up and put down, reading it at odd moments for short periods of time. There are only a total of ten chapters, divided into four sections, so while waiting for kids at the orthodontist, one can read a whole section, or at least come to a stopping place at the end of a chapter before the appointment is over. Questions for Reflection are presented for study groups, and there is a handy reprinting of all scriptures (in more than one version) at the chapters’/ book’s end(s). This is a  very applicable book to one’s attempt to improve his/her Christian walk.  It made me think and evaluate myself, and I intend to apply Lucado’s suggestions as I try to carry out my New Year’s goal of drawing closer to God.


Beloved Mess by Kimm Crandall is a 2016 inspirational book that my church librarian was kind enough to order for our library at my recommendation.  I had read about the book, and it sounded like something that would help me in my day-to-day Christian walk. As the cover’s blurb said, it is “…funny, arresting, radical, and best of all, true.”

The author confesses to being a big mess.  In some ways, the book itself is a mess, but the author reminds us that by God’s grace, the messes are “beloved.”

The book is encouraging for people who have experienced depression and feel they are not good Christians or even good people because they do have these feelings.  Crandall points to our weaknesses, which are ok because we have “Christ who strengthens us.”  We are not strong, but because He is, it is ok.

Another jacket blurb points out, “God is not waiting for you to clean up your act before you come home to Him.  In fact, He wants you to stop trying to fix the mess and allow Him to wash it away.”

In all the messiness of life and the messes we get ourselves into, the author consistently reminds us that we and our messes are beloved by our Heavenly Father.