Rooting for the Underdog

I’m assuming that my heart for the underdog is why God gave me a quirky kid.

I’m also assuming my fervent desire for any underdog to succeed is rooted in my own underdog underpinnings.

That’s a lot of under.

I like to be out from under, though.

And Frodo Baggins, one of my favorite underdogs in all of book history (next to Zaccheus in the Bible), struggled mightily to come out from under his circumstances.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien is quite possibly one of the best stories of all time. Any age can read it (or at least have it read to them). I can’t imagine a life circumstance that isn’t dealt with in the book. And there are any number of “giants” to be overcome.


And more than all of that, it is the smallest among us, the ones we think will be least effective, both for change and against evil, who end up being most useful and helpful.

It was the character Galadriel who said,

“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”


Who instilled hope in all of humanity?

A baby.

Who was most instrumental in winning the battle for The Ring?


The smallest of All.

Oooh, I love me a good underdog story!

Adding to my love for this series? J.R.R. Tolkien was besties with C.S. Lewis. Oh yes they were!

It just doesn’t get better than that.

The movies were fantastic, but these books were rich in detail and painted a picture of good versus evil that I no reader can soon forget.  And it left me rooting for the underdog, once again.

Yes indeedy.

Click the little button to see other books I’m writing about in this Write 31 Days series.


Can’t Handle the Tooth

In honor of the incredible toothache pain I’m in right this very minute, I’m going to share a quote by one of my favorite authors of all time (and then a book of his, too). Or maybe two books of his. Or three. Or…

“If only this toothache would go away, I could write another chapter on the problem of pain.” -C.S. Lewis

That guy, up there, wrote exceedingly well about the God. And life. And pain. And love.

And friendship.

I like what he wrote about friendship so very much.

The first book of C.S. Lewis’ that I read was “The Four Loves”. Although still hovering over Christianity as though it were a possibility, I was still too full of Bertrand Russell and Friedrich Nietzsche to land.  And as I read Lewis’ take on charity, eros, philia, and storge, I realized there were enough “thinkers” in this Christianity gig to make it a pretty sure thing.

And then, I got to the part about friendship and I exhaled. Because, exactly.

“Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art…. It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things which give value to survival.”

But, then in The Abolition of Man, Lewis brought me down to my knees. I thought I saw through all that religiosity and hypocrisy.

“You cannot go on ‘seeing through’ things for ever. The whole point of seeing through something is to see something through it.”

Oh boy! He had my number. And as I speed read every book I could get my hands on (because, BOOKS!), I realized that there was no more denying God.

So I didn’t.

Ultimately, C.S. Lewis, turned my eyes outward and upward.

And they are ever upward.

Even as I sit here feeling like I can’t handle the tooth (pain). 

Yes indeedy.

If you are hovering over Christianity, grab a copy of C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters. Or, The Great Divorce. Or, if you are more fantasy fiction leaning, The Chronicles of Narnia series. (And no, it’s not just for youth. I daresay you get far more out of it as an adult!)

And then, if you missed any of my previous posts on the Best Books Ever, click the button below. I am writing this series as part of the Write 31 Days Challenge.


Missed It By This Much

Do you know what happens when perfectionist tendencies crash into ordinary realities?

Opportunities happen.

More specifically, growth opportunities.

The kind of opportunity that allows a human to make the choice to forgive oneself for “not getting to it” or “not getting it done perfectly”.

Or not.

I choose to let it go.

That Elsa… she gained some valuable wisdom through her ice crisis.

Today’s Best Book Ever is going to take a page from Elsa’s book.

Or, rather, her story’s author.

Hans Christian Andersen wrote more fairy tales than a person can know what to do with. Each tale was woven with lessons humans are constantly experiencing. I have a favorite, though. And that’s the book for today. (It was also my favorite Disney movie of all time.)

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen was a fairytale I read as an adult because I was so taken with the Disney movie.

Being a Fisherman’s daughter, I was raised in and on the water. If you’ve read around here for any length of time, you know that the Ocean is woven throughout all aspects of my life: my favorite place to be, where I find solace, part of my identity, my awe of its power, just to name a few.

Babysitting during my summers home from college provided me the opportunity to watch a lot of Disney movies. The summer I watched The Little Mermaid, though, was different. I wanted to know more about where this story came from.

Mr. Google was not a fixture in our culture yet, so I resorted to Mrs. Google, a.k.a. The Librarian at our public library.

When she pointed me toward the Hans Christian Andersen section, I couldn’t wait to read the original.

The most notable differences in the animated movie version and the story, as written by Andersen, are the Sea Witch and the ending (heartbreaking). 

The Little Mermaid is never actually given a name in Andersen’s original, but her fascination with the human world and her love for the prince remain the same.

One element of the original story that drew me in, though, was the little mermaid’s fervent desire for a human soul that goes to Heaven.

And on that intriguing note (as I hope you’ll pick it up for yourself, if you haven’t read it yet), I leave you with this quote:

“She laughed and danced with the thought of death in her heart.”


If you’ve missed other posts in my Best Books Ever series for the Write 31 Days Challenge, click the button below. 




Where Your Treasure Is

Ah, Santiago… searching for the elusive “treasure”.

It’s always where we least expect it, isn’t it?

And, you know what the Bible says… “Your heart will be where your treasure is.” -Matthew 6:21

Yeah. Tis true.

Tonight, I leave you with a line from a book that will always be considered one of the Best Books Ever, The Alchemistby Paulo Coelho.


Oh that humanity would strive for this:

“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”


To read other posts on the Best Books Ever series I’m writing for the Write 31 Days Challenge, click the button below.


For the Birds

Reading words that you’ve painstakingly written down on paper or typed out, can be exhilarating. And those same words can flow out of a mind like a waterfall. But also? They can dry up like a creek bed in a drought.

Sometimes, I think to myself, “Writing is for the birds!”

It turns out, it only takes one.

Bird, that is.


Inspiration is hard to find when the words aren’t there. Or the discipline to just get in the chair and bleed onto the page up and walks out the door. One book I can return to again and again for the proper motivation is Bird by Bird Some Instructions on Writing and Life, by Anne Lamott.

Alternating between the drill-sergeant mentality to just get your butt in the chair and write at the same time every day, and the empathetic friendly advice to ‘take it bird by bird’, Lamott inspires. And she expertly provides tools and examples for exactly how to do it.

She also provides laughter along the way. And, I think we all know by now I’m all about the humor in life.

Mostly, though, anyone with writerly thoughts is reminded to start with what is real to you and to keep it that way. Embellishments aside, reality is (if we’ve learned nothing else about modern television programming) vastly entertaining. Emphasis on vastly.

“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal.”

I’ve found that most feelings kept stuffed down inside are universal once they finally bubble to the surface.

And the universe is vast, so there is bound to be something to write about.

Yes indeedy.

 We are on Day 20 of the Write 31 Days Challenge. To read other posts in my series, Best Books Ever, click the button below.


In the Gap

Some days I am exceedingly grateful I’m not a celebrity.

Today. Today is one of those days. If there had been cameras following my every move or reporters looking for a soundbite? Oh my sweet Moses, would they have gotten plenty.

I’m sharing a quote that hits where I sit, right this minute.

It is all I’ve got, today.

May it be enough.

“We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.” 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood


To read other posts in my Write 31 Days Challenge, click the button below.



A Gift Indeed

Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote Gift from the Sea back in 1955. Here’s what astounds me about good books written by good authors: they are timeless. The principles hold despite the changing tides of culture.

And it’s certainly true of Gift from the Sea.


The fact that she names chapters after shells she finds during her weeklong vacation, alone, immediately drew me in.

Getting alone and digging in to the deep places that hurt or peeling back the layers of doubt is the only way I have ever found to alleviate the angst that doubt brings. Or maybe more importantly, to begin the healing of hurts.

“It is only in solitude that I ever find my own core.”

It surely is. Is that true for you, too?

I remember reading this book the summer I was to be married. It was the month before our wedding and I had a treasured handful of blissful days reading on the beach in my hometown before becoming Mrs. P.  I soaked in each sentence, with the sun, as the ocean waves lapped at my feet.

The day is burned in my memory. Literally. As I neglected to slather sunscreen on the tops of my feet that morning. I hobbled around for days full of the stirring words Lindbergh littered each chapter with.

One sentence in particular held deep significance to me. As a soon-to-be bride, I was buoyed by my relationship to this soon-to-be husband. He kept me afloat on many levels. His logic to my feeling. My adventure to his stability. His calm to my storm. When I read the following, I exhaled with a truthful knowing:

“The light shed by any good relationship illuminates all relationships.”

Jesus did this for me. My husband, as well.

Those good, healthy and loving relationships that provide a guidebook are vital. Lindbergh highlights the importance of taking care of self by replenishing, forgiving, and loving. And then, she provides beautiful imagery to spur on the pouring out of all of the filling up.

Love, once again. And I took it in and tucked it into my heart as I headed out on the grand adventure of marriage.

This book was a gift indeed.

 To read other posts in my Write 31 Days Challenge series of the Best Books Ever, click the button below.