Category Archives: Books

Books I’ve reviewed or commented on.

Selling Pebbles in My Shoes

Pebbles in My Shoes poetry collectionYou may have seen the title, Pebbles in My Shoes, or read poems from my book on this site in 2008. Now you can purchase the book directly from me. You can read more on my work website.

This is where I will make available future titles, too. All part of my mega plan to spread my verses far and wide. Really, it was because I was doing some research for a friend that I finally got around to doing this thing that I’ve been thinking of for years.

Visit The Word ‘Mage book page for details. Clicking the book cover will take you to the bottom of that page where you can click the link order it via Paypal.

What are You Reading?

I have a lot to read, including learning more about web design. It’s all a pleasure, to be sure. Learning this stuff and getting good at it, competent even, is a joy because I like it so much. Still, it’s work.

Poetry: A Given

Reading poetry is a pleasure. I read from a lot of different writers. And with all the great blogs I’ve discovered since participating in poetry writing projects, I’ve tapped into even more writers who express themselves in most intriguing and entertaining ways. It’s a great deal of fun, and I learn a lot from their styles, presentation and promotion.

You can check out some of the great poets I’ve come across by visiting my blogroll in the “All Thins Poetry” section. And this resource is deep, as you can explore the poets’ blogrolls to see who they’re connected with.

Continue reading What are You Reading?

A Poetry Handbook

A Poetry Handbook: A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing PoetryA Poetry Handbook:
A Prose Guide to Understanding and Writing Poetry

© 1994 by Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver published her first poetry collection, Voyage, and Other Poems, in 1963. Since then, she’s published more than 20 books of prose and poetry. She’s won several awards including a 1984 Pulitzer Prize for American Primitive, and more recently the National Book Award for New and Selected Poems, in 1992. She’s earned praise from many. Her poems, renowned for their poignant illustration of the natural world, are lovely and evocative. They entreat you to attend to nature and ponder the deeper, broader implications they bring closer to focus.

With the same adeptness, she turned her skill to writing a handbook for the genre she’d commanded for more than thirty years at the time of it’s publication.

Continue reading A Poetry Handbook

The Poetry Home Repair Manual

The Poetry Home Repair Manual The Poetry Home Repair Manual:
Practical Advice for Beginning Poets

©2005 by Ted Kooser, United States Poet Laureate 2004-2006

Writing poetry is serious work. And the best thing you can do to learn to write poetry, is to write poetry. Other things that you can do to learn include reading poetry, as well as reading about writing poetry. And this book about writing poetry, gave me many insights.

Continue reading The Poetry Home Repair Manual

Morning B.R.E.W.: A Divine Power Drink for Your Soul

2003 Written by Kirk Byron Jones
Author of seven books including
Rest in the Storm:
Self Care Strategies for Clergy and Other Caregivers

A Divine Power Drink for Your Soul by Kirk Byron Jones

It’s been a couple of years since I reviewed this book and I’m still just as excited about it today. It revealed to me a spirit-infusing practice that I continue to use as I prepare to take part in my days.

Dr. Jones introduces us to his practice for greeting the day. In his devotional time he calms his spirit by making still the concerns of the day. By emptying himself of lists and obligations, everything that threatens to distract him. He encourages us to do this important first step, respecting that it is sometimes uncomfortable to face new aspects of ourselves and quite necessary.

Attempt to persevere by riding through the place of initial dis-ease. Breakthrough growth often begins in the tension of the familiar rubbing up against the unfamiliar.

Dr. Jones recognizes the challenge of being your best self and the effort required to optimize your mental and emotional state. The grace that allows him to be his best is from being open to God. And an equally important part of this process is the respect that must be given to Self.

The B.R.E.W. self-embrace moment is a good time to listen to the dreams and desires bubbling up inside you. Thank God for writers like John Eldridge and Erwin Raphael McManus, who have rescued the sacred meaning and value of words and realities like desire and passion. Use B.R.E.W. self-embrace to nurture your God-given desires and passion.

B.R.E.W. is a book about self-awareness and appreciation. It helps us to release the power that is inherent in us as Christians, power that God graced us with before we knew who He was. This is power that we were meant to use to prepare us for the adventure that comes on the wings of each new day.

Pay attention and drink with great freedom and joy from those wells that inspire you most.

B.R.E.W. is the map for the devotional practice.

Be still
Receive God’s Love
Embrace Personhood
Welcome the Day

I use this devotional practice regularly to bring out my best self. My statement to the day is: This is the day that the Lord has made; I will rejoice and take part in it.

And for those situations that are especially straining, this is a great meditation on the fly. I am able to return to my center, restore my calmness, to again be focused.

My final words come from the beginning of the book. Dr. Jones offers this guiding request to set the tone for reading Morning B.R.E.W.:

When you think of Morning B.R.E.W., I don’t what you to think first of a book authored by Kirk Byron Jones. I want you to think of your own daily deepening, energizing, and transformative experience. In this sense—and I believe this with all my heart—B.R.E.W. is less my book; B.R.E.W. is more your experience.

Holy Play: The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing Your Divine Purpose

2007 Written by Kirk Byron Jones
Author of seven books including
Morning B.R.E.W.: A Divine Power Drink for Your Soul

The Joyful Adventure of Unleashing Your Divine Purpose by Kirk Byron Jones

This book presents a wonderfully fresh approach to the way we choose to live. We give over to God, big choices that He gave us free will and guides to handle. We are designed to be more responsible for what we do on earth in a way that takes nothing of power and glory from God. In fact, it is honoring God to exercise the freedom that He placed before us.

Purpose is not something we passively receive from God;
purpose is something we actively create with God.

Dr. Jones’ deft explanation of this responsible way of living is clear and provocative. Infusing and enlightening. And on the heels of Morning B.R.E.W. which focuses how we prepare ourselves to enter the day, Holy Play is the book that focuses on what we do in the world.

I have read this book and written to the author in the margins of the pages in my usual exchange of my ideas with those presented. I wanted to do a review as soon as I finished the last word, last year when I got the book.

There wasn’t time because I immediately began to put into practice, the conclusions that I’d drawn. In the inscription in my book from Dr. Jones he wrote “Keep playing your song.” It took me some time and some meditations to realize that my song was indeed playing in the background of my life.

I have been interested in many things in my life. And I sought the one thing that I was supposed to do for life. No matter the jobs that I had, three things always came to the forefront, usually under “other duties as assigned.” I had often thought that I would love to place these things in the forefront of my job and work at them for a living. And then I let it go as something perhaps not meant for me.

According to Dr. Jones, it’s acceptable, even natural to have many interests. In fact, we have the strength to achieve things not readily available.

The third layer or zone of your strength is the most potent and underused element. It is your capacity to create options, to develop opportunities that would not exist apart from your capacity to conceptualize and enact them. This is the power of carving a path where there is none, or as Isaiah hears God saying, “making a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isaiah 43:19).

Dr. Jones’ book Holy Play provided the impetus I sought, the external permission in compliment with my self permission, to play my song. To increase the volume so I could hear it in the foreground. I began to allow my dreams to inform my choices and to silence my “monitor” that was always present with “Perhaps you shouldn’t.”

Today I live my dream on several fronts and I know that it’s because I chose to do it. And I don’t doubt that God had been preparing me all my life—all I had to do was choose. One of my favorite passages in the bible is that of God asking the lame man if he wanted to be healed. That has resonated with me ever since I learned it so many years ago.

It seemed that so many pieces came together for me with this book at this time in my life. What I got from it all is this: Even the obviously lame must choose to accept the blessings available to them. You have to ask. I asked, I said yes, I sought and it was given me. And I am grateful every day.

I choose to participate in my life, to create in joyful communion with God, the path I walk. Holy Play is an excellent book for those of us who are willing to see God as the author of our human freedom. It’s for those of us willing to participate in developing our opportunities.