Book Review

Hold Fragile Hope

I love Susie Finkbeiner’s writing, because her stories don’t portray life to be glossy perfection.

The endings do not tie life up with a fancy bow.

Her characters struggle. They navigate difficult times. Answers do not come easily. Faith is tested.

Somehow her words continue to hold fragile hope.

Seemed to me the God who hung the stars and spread the waters over the earth could do something so small as that.”

We live in a time that could be looked back upon as a trying period. I think we can learn so much from the voice of Pearl.

Hers was a song of hope.”

A Trail of Crumbs is the sequel to A Cup of Dust. Narrator Pearl Spence, knows enough loss to fill a lifetime. Her family has lived through the Dust Bowl and now navigates The Great Depression. In the midst of loss they leave Oklahoma for Michigan. As they establish a new home, everything Pearl knew shifts and settles uncertainly.

The storyline follows all the members of her family and how they face grief, transition and change differently.


Learn more about her work and previous books at The third book in the series A Song of Home releases February 2018 and takes place during the Swing Era.

If you love book recommendations, follow Susie’s ever-growing bookshelf on Instagram.

Leave a comment to win a copy of A Trail of Crumbs.

How do you hold onto hope during hard times? 

Tough Guys and Drama Queens

tough guys and drama quenns

Mark Gregston writes with Heartlight Ministries about parenting today’s teens. Heartlight is a residential counseling center for teens. He has worked with teens and their families for 38 years.

When I had the opportunity to review his book, I was very excited. My daughter is eight cruising on to nine, and honestly it freaks me out. We read tons of books when we learn we are expecting and during the baby and toddler years, the teenage years should be no different.


I love how all his words center around the work he has actually done with teenagers and their families. This is a good read because of his daily experience with teenagers. In his findings, kids today are overexposed to everything. They have information overload. Teenagers pull toward electronics and virtual worlds prevent them from having deep connections. Parents today, tend to be over responsible and this leads to irresponsible kids.


My favorite points of encouragement:

*As long as my Mom and Dad do everything. I don’t have to do anything. Gradually transfer age-appropriate responsibilities.

*Don’t expect perfection from your kids. We don’t live in perfection.

*I don’t need criticism and ridicule right now… what I need is help. Offer love not judgement.

*Having a relationship with your teenager is essential for their survival. Give them your TIME. Every relationship is important; parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts.

*I love his examples of what grace looks like in a family. Love even when you don’t feel like it…

*Home should be a place where teenagers can rest and feel safe, accepted, and loved.


Our kids NEED us.

That is something we can all offer.

To be there, FULLY PRESENT in the chaos of life.

To love them fully with all our hearts.


(The book has a great appendix of conversation starters and ways to discuss conflict.)

Do you love that this is not a complicated theory or formula? What are your greatest parenting challenges?

Win a copy of Tough Guys and Drama Queens by leaving a comment below! 

Book Review: Jonathon Kozol

Book Reviews:  Literature that draws readers into the proximity of renewal.

Jonathon Kozol’s stories remain in readers thoughts long after they are read.  His words are sometimes uncomfortable to take in and nudge readers from complacency.  His writing is also deeply moving because the stories are authentic.  Kozol has traveled the city streets, sat in homes, classrooms, and immersed himself in the people whose stories he tells.

Each one of Jonathon Kozol’s books draw readers into the proximity of renewal.  These books are life-changing to read.

Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools focuses on the disparity of resources in public schools in East St. Louis, New York City, Camden, Cincinnati, and Washington D.C.

Rachel and her Children  touches on families that encounter homelessness.

Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation looks closely at the Mott Haven district of the South Bronx in New York City.


Other titles by Jonathon Kozol:

Ordinary Resurrections: Children in the Years of Hope

Death at an Early Age

The Shame of a Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, Letters to a Young Teacher

Free Schools

The Night is Dark and I am Far from Home

Prisoners of Silence: Breaking the Bonds of Adult Illiteracy in America

Visit a website dedicated to his work .


A Response:   Visit

This non-profit organization partners donors with classrooms.  100% of the donation goes to the classrooms.

  • Teachers post their specific needs
  • Pick the classroom you want to donate to
  •  In return you receive correspondence to witness your impact
  •  Donations are accepted in a very easy to navigate, shopping cart method
  •  The donation allows teachers to buy critical supplies that make a difference in the lives of their students.