on spring, Kiefer, and seven books I got in the mail

Like many of you, my kids are on spring break this week so I’m going to be taking a little time off. I would have just not posted at all, but I felt weird about having Kiefer and his twin sister at the top of my blog all week.

springInstead, you get a generic photo of spring which, to me, is infinitely better than Kiefer Sutherland as a man (and, let’s face it, as a woman.) Also, let’s just think for a minute about the name “Kiefer.” He’s had that name his whole life, not just when he became famous. Which meant the sentences “Kiefer, go clean your room” and “Honey, will you change Kiefer’s diaper?” and “Kiefer, you’re grounded!” have all been said with a straight face.

And then, when he lost his house key, his mom was all, “Well, I have to get another key for Kiefer.”

And while I’m doing this, did you know his full name is Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland? I promise I didn’t make that up. It’s right there on Wikipedia.

Speaking of names, did you know my sister finally shared her real name on her blog last week? She’ll still go by The Nester online, but for those of you who have been losing sleep over it, you can read all about it now. (Hint: Her nickname was Mikey in high school.) (I thought it was cool that she had a boy nickname even though she was a girl.)(I never had a nickname.)(My parents called me Emmy, though, which I guess half counts.) (I wonder if Kiefer had a nickname?)

She also announced last week that she is writing a book! Wrote. Wrote a book. She already turned it in, actually. And of course I’ve read it and can’t believe y’all have to wait until March 2014 to read it, too. Because it is fantastic and heart-felt and honest and hilarious.

Speaking of spring (weren’t we?), have you ever participated in Tsh’s Project Simplify? Every Tuesday in April she encourages us to tackle a different hot spot in our house – drawers and shelves, that pesky closet, piles (oh the piles!) and that other project you’ve been putting off. It’s a manageable way to spring clean without feeling like you are spring cleaning. It starts next Tuesday and I think I’m going to join in.


Speaking of books, (now I’m just confusing myself) here is a stack of books I received in the mail last month. A perk of being an author and/or/also of having a blog is people send you their books for free. I’ve read and offered endorsement for a few of them and look forward to checking out the others

Sparkly Green Earrings by Melanie Shankle :: Loved every minute of this book. I laughed, I cried, I craved donuts.

The Church Planting Wife by Christine Hoover :: I haven’t read this one yet because I am a procrastinator, but I really like the way Christine positions herself as someone who is always open to learning from others. In her book she does this by interviewing other women to get their perspective on church planting.

Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist :: I haven’t read this one yet, either, but I have been reading Shauna’s blog (she got a blog makeover!) and look forward to settling in with her book.

Be The Sunshine by Angela Thomas :: Angela is a real life friend (we go to the same church and her kids are in our youth group.) (And whenever I get the chance, I sit at her feet and learn smart things.) (I don’t get that chance often enough.) This is a gift book based on a funny family moment – I haven’t read the book yet (it’s very short) but I have heard her give the Be The Sunshine talk and it was fantastic. I heart me some Angela Thomas.

Life After Art by Matt Appling :: Matt’s book just released this week but I read it around Christmas. I offered an endorsement for this one so I read it when it was only in PDF form (although Matt graciously had it spiral bound for me because I have an emotional allergy to reading books on my computer). It’s always fun to get a book you’ve already read in the mail – bound, covered, and lovely – when you’ve only seen it in a raw form.

Asking for endorsements on your work is one of the most humbling and vulnerable things an author is required to do. I have a deep respect and appreciation for other authors and know what a gift it is to receive endorsements – and the gift it is to give them.

The Artist’s Daughter by Alexandra Kuykendall :: This is another book I endorsed this year. I don’t know Alexandra personally but we share an editor at Revell and I was honored to read her memoir. I sat down one day and read it straight through without stopping. She grew up as the only child of a world traveling mother and a famous Spanish artist who wasn’t really in her life. She has a gentle voice and is honest about her struggles with identity, motherhood, and forgiveness.

Taylor’s Gift by Todd and Tara Storch :: Todd and Tara’s daughter Taylor died in a skiing accident in March 2010. With only a few minutes at the hospital to consider their options, they made a quick decision to donate Taylor’s organs. The book is their story and the story of the organ recipients. I haven’t read this one, but I have to tell you that they brilliantly sent nail polish along with the book in Taylor’s favorite color blue (also the color of the book) and I painted my nails before I even opened the book. I’m not sure what that says about me, but it does tell me that these parents are two people who love and miss their daughter and want to honor her life by encouraging others toward organ donation.

I had every intention of this post being one paragraph and now I’ve gone and told you all about my free books.

Speaking of books, I don’t always think to tell you about the books I’m reading 1) because I’m embarrassed that I tend to have several going at once and 2) because I don’t always finish the ones I start. I plan to add a small section in my monthly newsletter dedicated to the books I’m reading.

Speaking of the newsletter, I’m sending out a letter every week in April to gain some momentum. After that I plan to make it a monthly thing. I’m enjoying the challenge of sending it out weekly, though. So far, of the more than 12,000 people subscribed to Chatting at the Sky (those who receive blog posts in a reader or through email), a little over 10% of you have signed up to receive the newsletter.

If this blog is like a house, then the newsletter is like a smaller room within the house. The house is still home, but in this small living room I can share a little more intimately with a smaller group of friends.

If you would like to receive that monthly living room letter, you can sign up on this page – make sure to click the box next to “newsletter.” The next one goes out on Tuesday.

Speaking of going out, I’m out. I’m finished. Now I’m going to officially take some time off for spring break. Which means I’m going to vacuum, play airplanes, visit my parents, sit outside in our cul-de-sac, and give the dog a bath (and when I say “give the dog a bath” I mean “watch my husband give the dog a bath.”)



  1. says

    I loved this post for a myriad of reasons. 1. I love the freedom you’re giving yourself (stream of consciousness flair) and, by the way, you’re really funny when you write this way 2. I have tons of books on my nightstand, most of which I’d have an “emotional allergy”, as you say, to COMMITTING to them all. I just like to be NEAR them. I’ll read parts of some. All of others. None of some. 3. the one line that made me tear up was the polish sent with the book. True evidence of hearts in healing (and freedom and joy!) and 4. my dog desperately needs a bath too. So stinky. I’ve resorted to paying my oldest $3. Thanks for sharing your heart. :)

  2. says

    That generic spring picture is beautiful. And this was a delightful read, so airy and funny and I love all the brackets. =)

    Have a great spring break!! And I just added a bunch of books to my ‘to read’ list. =)

  3. says

    I love your writing for how it stirs down deep, and I love these type of posts that let me come back up to the surface and chuckle at my screen.

  4. Christy says

    1. There’s nothing wrong with reading lots of books at once. That’s the best way! What if you’re suddenly in the mood for a novel & all you’re reading is a biography? Variety is good. :)
    2. I for one would love to hear more book recommendations from you.
    3. Happy Spring Break!

  5. says

    Frankly, I appreciate the confession about the multiple books and some unfinished. That’s how I roll, too. I’m ok with the 6-at-once, but the unfinished ones usually bring some guilt. Not sure what’s up with that.
    And now that I know you can get free books (at least when you’re legit), I’m even more into this whole blogging thing :).
    Enjoy your spring break! I’m off to sign up for the newsletter. :)

  6. says

    First, you are adorable! :)
    Second, Love your booklist – I’ll be checking some of them out for myself.
    Third, Reading multiple books at once is perfectly normal, in fact, highly recommended!
    Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing pieces of yourself with us.

  7. Mary Olson says

    So I only got to the part of your posting about Kiefer Sutherland’s long name. My daughter and I totally had this conversation yesterday about naming her future child…”Wilber!” which I groaned over, “Wilber Matthew!” and then she started going with the Downton Abbey characters…”Wilber Matthew Crawley William!” which then led to what if it was a girl and we came up with Elinore (because she likes that name) Sybil Mary Lady Crawley (insert last name)…which led to the discussion of how you would explain to your child that you named her after a character off a TV show who died but you really really liked her and were mad that she died. Anways I wonder if that’s how Kiefer’s parents came up with his name…

  8. says

    Love your stack of books. Finished Bread and Wine in two days and am itching to get my review up. Actually I’m itching to get my pals together for dinner in honor of the book, and then tell everyone all about it. I love hearing what is on anyone’s nightstand even if they don’t finish the books. And I, for one, rarely finish one book if I’m not already engaged with at least one more.
    Now to go scribble down the titles from that stack to add to my going to the library list….

  9. says

    I just pinned all of your book lists…. before I read this post. Please keep sharing what you’re reading because I have a hard time deciding 😉 also, my favorite professor slash advisor always TOLD us to read more than one book at once. She often had at least one fiction going, one non fiction that was good for her to read for work, one non fiction for personal enjoyment or whatever, and one fiction kids book (I studied to teach kids who are deaf).

  10. Carol says

    Emily, I love your blog. I just read it sitting in my van, in a parking lot, and laughed hysterically over Kiefer. Especially the lost keys. And because the weather has turned cold and rainy and dreary on spring break week here in Atlanta, I needed something to laugh about. Thanks.
    I was just give a copy of Green, Sparkly Earrings, too. I can’t wait to start reading it.

  11. says

    Thanks for sharing what you are reading. I always love a good book. I also have to say I like the picture at the top of this blog post much better also! LOL And what is with ALL of Kiefer’s names??? Wow, I love reading your blog, I think it might possibly prepare me for some type of strange trivia game down the road. Kiefer, friends…

  12. says

    All of these Kiefer posts are seriously making me giggle. You’re frequently witty, but these last few have been especially funny!
    I’m excited about all of the book recommendations – they look really interesting! And, I love Project Simplify! This year Tsh is making it simple and easy with an option to play along on Instagram – love it!

  13. says

    I’m with just about everyone else… I LOVED the book list, and would welcome more posts with those! 😀

    And, hey… no need to feel guilty about the unfinished books. Life is too short to continue with books that don’t keep our interest. And, goodness knows there are enough books out there that we can afford to be a bit “picky”. 😉

    I read about 75 books a year, but if you added in all of the books that I start and don’t finish (or, heavens, all of the books that I take out from the library but then never actually get around to reading before they’re due back!), that number would be a lot higher!!!

    Anyway. Thanks, and happy Spring Break! 😀

  14. says

    Thanks for letting me know I’m not along. (And I thought that I was the only one who had a form of ADD with books! I’ve got 3 piles of books that I’ve started to read. And I can’t remember when I last actually read an entire book!)

  15. says

    How I wish I lived in your cul-de-sac! You make me laugh, cry, and dream… all within one post! I love, love, love that you think wierd thoughts like me and that you actually wrote them all down for the world to see. I love that you have spaghetti brain, especially during spring break, and you shared your crazy-random-but-connected thoughts with us. I love that you looked up Kiefer’s name on Wikipedia.
    Let’s just say… I heart me some Emily Freeman. (I promise not to stalk!)

  16. says

    That name is NOT real!! I have no idea what would cause someone to do that!

    I was wondering if Nester ever went by Mike! Which makes me think of Dr. Quinn.

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