I was blessed to receive the book, Whirlybirds and Ordinary Times: Reflections on Faith and the Changing of Seasons, recently for review. I included the subtitle here because that is one of my favorite parts of the book!
I mentioned recently how shallow I was in choosing a book because I loved the cover. Well, this is another book with a lovely cover!!
“Author, Katie Savage, was born into the Protestant Evangelical Christian tradition and has been writing about it ever since.” (taken from her bio found here.) I can appreciate a lot of what Katie shares in this book because I, too, was “born” into the faith as a pastor’s daughter. Like Katie, I also find intrigue and peace in the changing of the seasons and the liturgical year, which oftentimes is neglected in the Baptist churches that I have grown up attending.
This book is broken up into sections: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. There are short essay-type chapters for each season, which are reflections from Katie’s life as she has walked through these seasons.
What I love most about this book is Katie’s fresh honesty and transparency about her faith, her walk with God, how that plays out in her life and the fact that she doesn’t know it all. I will say that sometimes her honesty is a bit less-than-reverent. Sometimes I enjoyed this as a more humorous side, sometimes I wanted the conversation about God to be a little more about beauty and reverence. But, I fully understand why Katie chooses to write in this way.
My favorite line in this book might be the very first one from the introduction:
“There was a time when I knew everything about God.”
Katie Savage, page 1.
I love this. I have often said that I loved being a mom before I had children. ha! If you, like me, grew up in the church or were even brought up in a pastor’s family, you probably grew up thinking you knew a lot about God as well. (I’m so glad I read this book so that I know it’s not just me. Just being honest here.)
As we grow older, however, we learn just how much we don’t know about God. (and parenting and marriage and life.) Isn’t that so true? So, I just chuckled at this honest beginning to a book on faith. I love it because I completely empathize with it.
This book read, to me, almost like a memoir. As I read the book, I found that there were sections of the book (on the different seasons) that I enjoyed more than others. This is true with a lot of books, I suppose, but because this book read like a memoir to me, I found myself thinking that we should all write a book like this.
I’m not at all trying to be arrogant and make anyone think that we can all be writers. But, I love the fact that Katie has preserved these stories of her faith for her children and grandchildren to read some day. Wouldn’t you love to capture memories from your own life as a teen, questions you had about God, the fears, the heartache? I would.
I want to be sure to mention my most favorite part of this book. I mentioned I grew up as a Baptist pastor’s daughter; well, the first chapter (or essay) written in the Ordinary Time section of the book is entitled The Preacher’s Wife.
I could resonate with this section so very much. I am not married to a pastor, but so many of the things she mentions in this section were very true for my growing up years as well!! Let me share an example with you…
“Being a pastor’s wife comes with a lot of responsibility…a pastor’s wife should respond appropriately to all announcements, public and private, from the parishioners. She should appear concerned when someone falls ill, pleased when someone ‘comes to the Lord,’ and serene and worry-free even in the face of hardship. She should wear skirts and nylons and enough make-up to look respectable but not too pretty. She should sing or play the piano – extra points for doing both. A pastor’s wife should volunteer in the nursery on some Sundays and be generally aware of what’s going on with children’s ministry most of, if not all, the time. She should know how to cook a roast and be ready to entertain guests in her home at a moment’s notice. She should sit in the front row at church.” Katie Savage, Whirlybirds and Ordinary Times, page 170.
I loved reading this. I am fairly certain that my mother felt a lot of this pressure. But, as the pastor’s daughter, I felt a lot of pressure too. Looking back, I don’t even know if people really put it on me or I made it up in my own head…but I know it was there! I think I loved this chapter just because it gave credence to my feelings, I suppose.
Finally, I enjoyed the honesty in this book because I think sometimes we are afraid to admit that we have questions, too. It’s ok to admit that we don’t know all there is to know about God. It’s ok to have questions, that in all actuality, I believe, strengthen our faith. I actually think these questions are good for our faith. Ask the questions. Ask God. I think He grows my faith as I listen for the answers.
**I received this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion shared here on my blog.