Author: Heidi Joelle

I identify myself as a storyteller. Sometimes I sound more like Nemo's dad from Finding Nemo, but sometimes the story tells itself and is beautiful.Thank you for stopping by. Sincerely, Heidi Joelle

Book Review: Make Haste Slowly

I sat down to read this book and really didn’t know what to make of it. I read it in relatively few sittings and I never really knew where the story was going, and it ended in a way I didn’t expect. In short- Make Haste Slowly does good work of being a mystery.

Callie Erickson has started a new life in small town Texas, content to live life with her friends, her pugs, and her new flower/knitting/book shop. She is settling in nicely to routine and the author made me laugh out loud a few times at the antics of Callie’s pugs. This new calm life is not meant to be when Callie discovers a mystery bag and a dead body on her doorstep.

In feel? This reminded me of watching Murder She Wrote with my mom. I liked how it told a solid story, but definitely left room open explore more about these characters. My only criticism is while I generally really like references to other stories and books, these references were so ingrained into the story that if I wasn’t familiar with the book the characters were talking about, I couldn’t follow that part of the story. It seemed to assume the audience had read all the same books.

I look forward to reading where this series goes next.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

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Book Review: At The Crossroads

I loved this book. I was having trouble figuring out what I’d say in this review because normally I do a small summary, the stuff I liked, the stuff I didn’t like and then my concluding thoughts. But I can’t think of anything that wasn’t done well. It was that good.

At the Crossroads has a widowed mother with two kids who is making do and getting by, and lives in a manner that she is always expecting the other shoe to drop. And unfortunately? You don’t blame her, she has had a rough go of it. The last thing she needed was a crush on the pastor who may or may not be staying because his heart really is in the mission field overseas.

Christa MacDonald expertly portrays both small towns and private Christian schools, in that she shows the good, and the bad that come with those environments without feeling like she’s trying to make a point to the merit of either of these things. Private Christian schools can be great, but they can also be legalistic and condemning. As a single mother the heroine Erin, gets both ends of that. In the previous book her daughter was pregnant out of wedlock, and now she gets nastygrams from parents saying she should resign from her position as the physical education teacher. And she is clearly treated as a “lower class” than the other moms.

Dan Cooper is the pastor of the small town church, but he always meant this to be a temporary gig while he waited for his mom to recover from a stroke. Then the years rolled on and his mom didn’t improve, and he was still pastor. At the same time that he really notices Erin is when he reaches a crossroads. Is he going to lay down roots, or still aim for far off lands.

Yes, this is a romance novel, but that isn’t what I got out of being the point of the novel. Whether you get on a plane to serve in a mission field with a brand new language and culture, or you preach to a small town, or are a single mom to your two kids- that is your mission field and an equal calling to any.

What pushed me over the edge from “this is a really good book” to “ah I’d love to meet this author and tell her how good she is” is this one scene where you have this character who is in full time ministry and she’s preparing to go overseas and she is on fire. And while she’s in the small town she offers to help this newly divorced woman move. Now this divorced lady not only had her husband cheat on her, leave her, she’s having to majorly downsize her life. Our on fire ministry lady has zero compassion for her because she’s “an educated white woman. she’ll be fine. She’s better off than so many woman in the world.” Just because she’s not wrong about the facts, doesn’t mean she hasn’t missed the point. How are we to show love to people if we’re always comparing their sorrows to “well it could be worse”.

As I said, I think this is a great book, and I think especially people who have been in ministry will love it and probably be convicted by it as well.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Of Goals and Striving

I am a goal oriented person. I have to be careful because I can get hyper focused on a goal and in the process become not a great friend.

When I did 30 before 30 it was a vivid reminder that I have had the opportunity to do so much and I am so grateful for the opportunities I have had. I’ve achieved things that 12 year old me never would have dreamed. Those four sheets of paper represent the current four Huge Goals I have. The two on the right I know I can achieve given time and effort. Both feel big and scary? But I can work hard and achieve them.

The two on the left are different. I cannot work hard or save up my way into them. If there was  a way, I would have done it. But these aren’t strive until you get there goals. And that is frustrating as we have all had those things. But for me, what I have found is when I strive for those left two goals…I move farther away from the right two. While I try to catch what I cannot seem to figure out it sabotages me for the goals I know I can do.

I have decided to stop striving.

And because I am a visual person, I lit those two sheets of paper on fire. I will no longer try to create situations that will make those two goals come alive. Instead I will take a deep breath, step back, and if those are in God’s plans He’ll have to open the door and likely push me through it. I am going to focus my energy on pursuing those things that I know I am supposed to be pursuing and goodness knows, those are big enough on their own.

Book Review: An Anchor on Heart

McKenna Nichols is a situation she never could have imagined. After having an autistic daughter, her husband can’t handle this difficulty thrown into their “happily ever after” and goes away for work indefinitely. The checks still come and they are still married, but she hasn’t seen or heard from her husband is two years. Enter Rudy Taylor, who naturally has the ability to love her daughter like she had always hoped her husband would.

An Anchor on her Heart pulls no punches and asks difficult questions. McKenna is married, a fact that both her and Rudy are honoring. And Rudy is in the unique situation to have the opportunity to try to convince her husband to come home to his wife and daughter. And that all does not play out how you would imagine.

What do we anchor our lives on? When everything else is swept away you are forced to ask that question and ask it honestly of yourself and this book focuses on that theme.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.

Book Review: Finding Love at the Oregon Coast

This, was a fun collection of stories. When I first heard this was a collection of novellas and not just  one story? To be perfectly honest I was kinda disappointed, I’m not a big fan novellas. But each story connects in such a way that it feels more like a new self contained chapter in the book.

Christina decides on her wedding day that she is making a mistake and standing there with makeup done and her wedding dress on cancels the wedding. She is supported by her three friends and bridesmaids and each following novella tells what happens next to each of the bridesmaids and concludes with Christina’s story.

First we meet Liz. Liz is a reporter who has lost her spark, and is feeling stuck at her magazine. Her life gets much interesting if she likes it or not when her old friend (and one of the groomsmen) comes to work with her. Next is Anabeth who takes this time to visit her mom and literally runs into a new friend…and meets his son. And last, Kadence, whose life is just crazy right now and looking for inspiration to write her next song. And finally coming back to Christina, who is starting over and seeing what her life will look like now.

I really enjoyed how each of these ladies had very different lives, in different parts of the country, and they were living their lives and careers and not just waiting for someone to come change their lives. They build each other up and are there for each other and we cannot have enough stories like that.

Note: I received this book as an advance pre-reader copy.