Mondays with Michael

That’s what we called them.

Monday is my husband’s day off, and when the rare Monday came around that Michael’s pastoral vocation allowed him to be home with us, he would. Just the three of us: me, Michael, and Boo Radley.

IMG_1063“It’s Monday with Michael!” I would holler as I trotted down the stairs, unlocking Boo’s cage and setting free five pounds of furry fluff. Boo seemed to understand what those words meant, for he would kick up his heels in a series of adorable binkies at the announcement and race around his rug.

Then would ensue some of my favorite in-home sensory memories: the sight of my husband on the couch with a book in hand and a rabbit on foot; the earthy smell of barns mingling with living rooms as my husband replenished the rabbit’s stash of Timothy hay; the ridiculously soft feel of Boo’s fur against my cheek and the simultaneously sharp sting of one of his fine hairs landing behind my right contact lens; the loud, staccato rim-shot of my husband’s laugh reverberating up the stairs as Boo hopped, flopped, and plopped his way around the room; the gentle, muffled bass line of my husband’s murmurs as he told the rabbit what was on his mind.

IMG_5888Pets are confidants. They are keepers of our secrets. They listen attentively and love unconditionally through tear-storms, shouting matches, and fits of skulking. They snuggle us when we smell, kiss us when we have bad breath, greet us when we are grouchy, celebrate us when we don’t deserve it, and wait by the gate for us to come home.

Pets are gifts from a merciful, loving God.

And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:25 ESV).

IMG_2861God saw that Boo was good, and we are so thankful to have been able to share in his little life.

For this past Monday with Michael was Boo’s last. 

Our sweet bunny had been declining for months, but by yesterday morning, Boo was no longer able to stand upright for very long on his own. He kept falling onto his right side and was unable to get up without our assistance. We had thought perhaps he had an ear infection, and though the medicine was keeping the infection somewhat mild, his mobility problems were getting worse and worse. The vet confirmed that it was time, and my husband held Boo while he died.

We are sick from missing that little buck, but we are also grateful. While we were his caretakers, he in turn cared for us. He also managed to inspire a book, snuggle entire communities of people, comfort hundreds more, and bring laughter and cheer to thousands. If you are one of those thousands, then I am so sorry for your loss. xo

uQwvGdD9SJ2hNs+81gTIJQ

Boo Radley (2012 – 2018)

Wondering why Alice…?

choir-featuredHi Katie,

I am contacting you with a question about something I read in one of your books.

First of all, thank you for your books, they are very engaging. I enjoyed reading The Choir Immortal, especially (as an LCMS member and choir member) your inclusion of relevant Scripture references!

On page 190, two characters have a conversation about faith and its testing. When Rebecca asks her mother, “God will never give us more than we can handle, right?” Alice replies, “…God never promises such a thing.”

I read the conversation a few times and then looked up one of my favorite Bible verses in 1 Corinthians 10:13 where Paul writes, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”

As a fellow Christian, I have always taken great comfort in this and am wondering why Alice does not share this with her daughter?

Carla


Dear Carla,

First of all, thank you for your kind regards. I am blessed beyond measure that you read my books, let alone find them engaging. I pray that they will continue to be a source of encouragement for you as you turn their pages.

Second, what a thoughtful question!

If it helps, here is why I did not have Alice reference 1 Corinthians 10:13 when talking with her daughter about the burdens of illness and suffering:

Notice that the Apostle Paul, in this verse, is speaking particularly about God’s promise to give us a way out of every temptation. That is a promise to give us a way out of sinning, not suffering, and suffering is what Alice is specifically addressing on page 190 of The Choir Immortal.

If God never gave us more than we can handle, then we would never die. The mortification of our flesh is, literally, our being given more than we can handle. We cannot keep ourselves alive, and we cannot raise ourselves from the dead. So, we trust in Christ to handle the matter for us. We trust in His promise to raise us from the dead on the Last Day.

Alice knows this, and so, rather than encouraging Rebecca to put her faith in the work of her own (Doomed to fail!) hands, she encourages her daughter to put her trust in the sure and certain work of Christ’s hands — His pierced flesh, mortified for her salvation and risen for her justification.

Jesus tells us that we will have tribulation in this world (John 16:33), but we are to take heart — not because we can handle what the world gives us, but because Jesus has overcome the world. Thanks be to God!

In hindsight, I do wish that Alice had referenced one of Paul’s letters to the Corinthians during that conversation with Rebecca, but it is the second epistle that perfectly applies to their (and our) plight:

“[W]e were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9).

May God give us faith which trusts in His promises!

Yours in Christ,

Katie

Getting to know . . . me. Anticlimactic. Sorry.

HRMS front coverYours truly is a contributing author to He Restores My Soul, so I interviewed myself.

I know. I’m still debating whether or not it was a good idea.


Describe a normal day in the life of Katie Schuermann:

  • Dutifully stretch my plantar fascia before getting out of bed
  • Stand to pray certain prayers and recite certain creeds while looking out my bedroom window
  • Ride a bike or take a walk down the middle of our small-town roads
  • Try to do a pull-up and fail
  • Prepare a substantial amount of calories for my husband to eat and consume most of them myself
  • Spend the next several hours trying my absolute best to live up to my husband’s explanation for our life on this earth: “What are we here for if not to create things and take care of people?”
  • Mark three things off my to-do list
  • Add five things to my to-do list
  • Feel guilty for all of the ways I fail to care for people
  • Overanalyze something that is best forgotten
  • Stand to pray certain prayers and recite certain creeds while looking out the living room window
  • Dutifully stretch my plantar fascia before getting back in bed
  • Read until the drool begins to run down my chin

What three words best describe your personality?

Observant, organized, oversensitive 

Who do you go to for advice?

God in His Word, my husband, my parents, my pastors, my friends

What do you like to read?

Hymns. I also enjoy reading books about music history, composers, opera singers, nutrition, cooking, exercise, and the theology of the cross (not necessarily all in the same book) as well as stories that make me laugh and cry (namely, anything by James Herriot, L.M. Montgomery, or Bo Giertz).

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Forgiven and forgiving. Someone my husband likes and admires and enjoys. The author of a stand-alone novel that is worthy of a spot on your shelf.

Beverage of choice?

Kombucha

Mac or PC?

I am not sure which activity has taken up more hours of my life: driving a car or running updates on PCs.

Also, PCs try to kill manuscripts. My books have the scars to prove it.

Mac. all. the. way. There and back again. Like a good hobbit.

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

I want to press my fork into a crispy whole-grain waffle topped with pools of butter, a steady drizzling of Maple syrup, fresh blueberries and raspberries from the garden, semi-sweet chocolate chips, and newly whipped cream. No, it’s not too sweet.

Confirmation verse?

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16).

Which song do you hum the most?

“I Am Jesus’ Little Lamb”

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Emily Duke. Or Arlene Scheinberg. Or (you’ll have to wait and see).

What is your superpower?

Noticing you. Knowing you. Understanding you.

And putting together jigsaw puzzles.

What is your Kryptonite?

An open bag of kettle chips sitting next to a pint of French onion dip

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

I study them devotionally for comfort, I memorize them for edification, I sing them aloud as warfare against the devil, and I attempt to compose them for the joy of bringing good order to chaos. 

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

I am happiest gazing upon the farmland that lies west of my parents’ house in central Illinois or the coastline that lies north and east of Pemaquid Point Lighthouse in Maine.

Shoe of choice?

Alegria with an orthotic (That pesky plantar fascia!)

Favorite movie villain?

Microsoft Word. Oh, wait. That’s a villain from real life.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

Psalms 13 and 51

What is your part in this book?

I served as the content editor for He Restores My Soul.

I also wrote two chapters: Chapter One is about how the Good Shepherd sometimes uses suffering to keep me in the fold, and Chapter Five is a story that considers how best to care for our sisters in Christ who regret their abortions.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Rebecca Shewmaker.

HRMS front coverA book is more than just the sum of its title page, chapters, and appendixes, you know. The cover art gives the reader her first impression of the book as a whole. It sets the tone for the words that follow, and in the case of He Restores My Soul, it introduces the main characters of the book itself.

For this reason, you don’t want just anyone painting the cover art. You want someone thoughtful and intentional. You want someone theologically minded. You want a professional. You want Rebecca Shewmaker.


Describe a normal day in the life of Mrs. Shewmaker:

My schedule is very flexible these days since I work from home: Up around 7. Drink coffee. Let the cats outside for a bit so they can eat some grass and roll around on the patio. Think about doing some work. Answer emails/make lists of things to do. Start work around 8:30 in my studio. Eat breakfast. Work a bit more. Eat lunch. Exercise a little bit. Shower. Work a bit more. Start household chores around 4. My husband gets home from work sometime after 5. Eat dinner. Knit or watch brainless TV. Bed around 9 pm.

What three words best describe your personality?

Introverted, bossy, diligent

Who do you go to for advice?

When polling my two sisters, my mom, and my husband, I can usually get 5 or 6 differing opinions on things.

What do you like to read?

Anything that is British/set in Britain, not too serious, and a series. I recently finished Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Chronicles. I’m always up for Terry Pratchett’s witty insights or P. G. Wodehouse’s absurd quandaries.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I want to keep doing what I’m doing. I love being able to make art that is beautiful to me.

Beverage of choice? 

This is tough. My husband does the dishes in the evening, and usually he finds a half-finished cup of coffee, an empty teacup and saucer, an almost full bottle of beer, an empty hot chocolate mug, and a half-full ice tea glass sitting in the sink. For my birthday this year, both my mom and husband bought me several types of tea and coffee. I need there to be a variety of beverages in my life.

Mac or PC?

Mac. Always.

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking?

Anything as long as it is served in her nice china. She has the most beautiful setting, and I feel special and all grown-up when she uses it for special occasions.

Confirmation verse?

Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”

Which song do you hum the most?

My husband is constantly amused by my singing little ditties that I make up myself.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called: 

I really have no idea. Something alliterative.

What is your superpower?

Organizing things into bins and boxes.

What is your Kryptonite?

I get trapped in stores that sell multiple flavors or scents. I have to smell/taste everything and need to buy samples of at least half the store before I can leave. This is especially a problem in tea shops. See above regarding beverage choices.

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

My husband and I discuss hymns a lot. We are always interested in hymns that have a good text-tune pairing. My husband is the music director and organist at our church, so there is usually practicing, playing, singing, planning, etc regarding hymns in my house.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

At long as it is cool and rainy, I don’t care. Sunshine and heat get oppressive where I live.

Shoe of choice?

Cozy socks

Favorite movie villain?

I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I do remember thinking that the raptors in Jurassic Park were pretty amazing.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

I always hum Ralph Vaughn Williams’ O Taste and See. And “The Lord redeems the life of His servants; none of those who take refuge in Him will be condemned” speaks comfort to me.

What is your part in this book?

I painted the cover image.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Rick Stuckwisch.

HRMS front coverEmmanuel Press and I asked the Rev. Dr. D. Richard Stuckwisch to write a pastoral response to the chapters of He Restores My Soul that will appear at the end of the book. His words of wisdom are such a help to me personally. I pray that they will be a help to you as well.


Describe a normal day in the life of Pastor Stuckwisch:

Not sure there is such a thing! But many of my days include e-mail correspondence, phone calls and pastoral visits, reading and study for myself, and reading aloud to my children. I listen to music on my computer and in my car, multi-tasking all the way. Several times a week I’m gathered with Emmaus for daily prayer or Divine Service, and most of my days conclude with a glass of wine with my wife, LaRena.

What three words best describe your personality?

Analytical. Introspective. Shy.

Who do you go to for advice?

Depends on the particular topic, but I probably consult with my wife more than any one other person. I’ve got several go-to guys for computer related questions, all of them friends and members of the congregation. I’ll talk to my married adult children to get their perspective on many aspects of life, because I admire and appreciate their insights, and I enjoy talking to them anyway. There are a handful of colleagues that I rely upon for pastoral conversation and pastoral care for myself.

What do you like to read?

I like history and theology, and I’ve enjoyed various books on personality, psychology, and sociology, though I have to filter those latter selections pretty carefully and consistently. I probably read as much or more fantasy-fiction for my own entertainment as anything else. But one of my foremost passions in life is reading aloud to my children, and that really runs the gamut of children’s literature and young adult fiction.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I’m still trying to figure that out! I can hardly imagine being anything else other than a pastor, honestly. But there are days when I wonder how my life would differ if I had followed the advice and encouragement of my high school guidance counselors, who suggested that I should be an actuary. At one point I seriously considered the military academies (West Point or Annapolis), but I’m glad I didn’t go that route.

Beverage of choice?

Give me a hazelnut latte or a regular unsweetened ice tea during the day, a good dark beer or a glass of Riesling in the evening.

Mac or PC?

PC all the way.

What do you want to eat when your wife is cooking? 

She makes so many good things, and I’ve never been a picky eater. I do enjoy several of her casseroles, and she makes a great homemade pizza.

Confirmation verse?

“My Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (St. John 14:27).

Which song do you hum the most?

No way I could nail that down to a single song! My life runs to a pretty varied soundtrack, and music of all kinds is a constant in the background. I love good Lutheran hymnody, so that sometimes becomes my earworm. But I also enjoy country, pop, rock, and heavy metal, so it really depends on my mood and the circumstances at any given time. I more likely to sing along than to hum a tune on my own, but Shinedown is my go-to band more often than not.

If you could name the hero of a fiction book, he would be called:

I’d have to have a particular story in mind to think of an appropriate name. But I did get to name eleven of the heroes in my own non-fiction story: DoRena, Zachary, Nicholai, Monica, Ariksander, Oly’Anna, Justinian, Frederick, Gerhardt, Job, and Katharina.

What is your superpower?

My wife, our children, and our growing number of grandbabies!

What is your Kryptonite?

My grandbabies! They’ve had me wrapped around their fingers before they could even say hello!

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

I often turn to them for inspiration and comfort, and I find myself drawing on their words in my preaching and pastoral care. They are an important part of our family catechesis and daily prayer, as well. But they come to life, for me, in the Divine Service and daily prayer with the congregation.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

I like mountain views and ocean scenes, though I’m not a terribly adventurous traveler! Honestly, the scene I love the best is pulling up to the homes of my faraway children, which would look pretty nondescript to almost anyone else.

Shoe of choice?

Basic cross-trainers. I’m not devoted to any particular brand.

Favorite movie villain?

Hannibal Lector, maybe? I’m normally not a big fan of the villain!  Recently, though, I was impressed with Thanos in the Avengers: Infinity War. He outshone the heroes in that one. Darth Vader was impressive back in the day. Voldemort makes a great villain, but he could never be my “favorite” anything.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

Boy, that’s a tough one. There’s a dozen or more that I turn to with regularity. I don’t know that I have any one favorite. If I don’t have to narrow it down to one, I’d list at least Psalms 8, 16, 19, 23, 29, 51, 67, 84, 91, 96, 98, 116, 121, 127, and 130. But that’s already 10% of the Psalter!

What is your part in this book?

I had the privilege of responding to the profound stories of these brave and courageous women with the Word and promises of the Lord, in the hopes that they and their readers might be comforted by the Gospel, encouraged in their callings, and strengthened in their faith.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Mollie Hemingway.

HRMS front coverMollie Hemingway is an award-winning journalist, political analyst, contributor to Fox News, and — wait for it — pastor’s kid.

She is also a contributing author to He Restores My Soul.


Describe a normal day in the life of Mollie Hemingway:

Get up, check Twitter, answer emails, return calls, interview people, prepare for TV shows, drive children around, write until the wee hours, get to bed.

What three words best describe your personality?

Loyal, goofy, determined

Who do you go to for advice?

My mother, my husband, my best friend

What do you like to read?

Books on political philosophy

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Relaxed, organized, helpful

Beverage of choice?

Tequila or coffee, depending on the hour

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

POPCORN

Confirmation verse?

Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

Which song do you hum the most?

The Te Deum

What is your superpower?

Making my foes angry

What is your Kryptonite?

Bad smells

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

My friends regularly host hymn-sings, and I like to hum my favorite tunes and meditate on my favorite verses — usually not the same ones.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

The view from the top of a 14,000-foot mountain

Shoe of choice?

All of them

Favorite movie villain?

Hans Gruber

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

141, probably

What is your chapter about?

Challenges associated with vocations in the public square


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Julia Habrecht.

HRMS front coverJulia Habrecht, contributing author to He Restores My Soul, used to be the Head of Exhibitions at the Toledo Museum of Art. Now she’s a wife, mother, and headmaster of the largest classical Lutheran school in the nation. The woman obviously did not peak in high school.


Describe a normal day in the life of Ms. Habrecht:

Now that the school year is starting, I rise early so I can leave the house as soon as possible to take advantage of at least an hour of uninterrupted time before faculty devotions at 7:50. By 8:20 the entire staff and student body are confessing the Apostle’s Creed and reciting the Lord’s Prayer together. The rest of the work day could be filled with visiting classrooms, chatting with parents, students, and staff, substitute teaching, administering first aid, responding to email, preparing for meetings, and hopefully enjoying a visit from my son. At some point around 5 PM I wonder where the day went. Hopefully a teacher is free to join our family for a delicious dinner prepared by my husband. After books and the first round of devotions, I spend some one-on-one time with my son singing and saying additional prayers before he goes to bed. My husband and I try to catch up on the day before deciding it’s our bedtime too.

What three words best describe your personality?

Nurturing, generous, and serious

Who do you go to for advice?

My husband, my parents (Dad is an LCMS Pastor), brother, sister-in-law, and a few dear friends (you know who you are!)

What do you like to read?

Current selections on my desk and nightstand include: History of Art for Young People (Janson), Lutheran Education (Korcock), Wise Blood (O’Conner), Thank, Praise, Serve and Obey (Weedon), and Ideas Have Consequences (Weaver)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Director of a world class art museum

Beverage of choice?

In the mornings: black coffee

During teacher parties: any gin cocktail mixed by my husband

Mac or PC?

Mac. Trying to use a PC is an exercise in frustration.

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

Veal parmigiana (my go-to birthday dinner as a child) or any of her pasta dishes

Confirmation verse?

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Which song do you hum the most?

I’m usually humming the hymn of the week the students are learning or whatever is playing on Lutheran Public Radio.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Esther Beck

What is your superpower?

Seeing the potential in people

What is your Kryptonite?

Comic book references

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

The more hymn-singing the better. A great day includes singing with the faculty, hearing ILS students share the faith through song, congregational worship, and playing hymns on the piano in the evening.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

The canals and piazzas of Venice or Florence or beautiful Lake Michigan

Shoe of choice?

Hunter rain boots — a must have while standing in the rain during school carpool.

Favorite movie villain?

Robert De Niro

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

I recite Psalm 23 every night to my son before he goes to bed.

What is your chapter about?

The tension between caring for my son and caring for the many other neighbors God has given me to love.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Rebecca Mayes.

HRMS front coverRebecca Mayes, contributing author to He Restores My Soul, is petite, quiet, and reserved. Except for when she’s not. Her wit and humor are larger than life. They bowl you over, pin you to the floor, and tickle your feet until you can no longer remember what it was that made you sad in life.


Describe a normal day in the life of Mrs. Mayes:

Before the boys get up, I do devotions and then go for a bike ride. When I get back, I do piano with Jonathan, then devotions with both boys. I work with Jonathan on his other subjects, periodically checking in with Caleb on his [homeschool] work. When the boys are working independently, I jump in the shower. Before lunch I prep for the classes I tutor by preparing lesson plans, translating Latin, or doing Logic flashcards. After lunch I read to the boys for a half hour. Afternoons include making a grocery list, baking, laundry, shopping, helping with more school assignments, playing games with the boys, or catching up on emails. After supper Ben and I have been watching the Harry Potter movies in German while I iron or we fold laundry together. I try and get in some reading, too, before bed.

What three words best describe your personality?

My husband says that I am sincere, caring, and matter-of-fact.

Who do you go to for advice?

My husband and parents.

What do you like to read?

Classic literature and non-fiction (topics on parenting, health, education, etc.)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

Wiser

Beverage of choice?

Sparkling lemon-flavored water or a glass of Merlot.

Mac or PC?

PC

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

Queso dip and fried, fresh fish.

Confirmation verse?

Psalm 23:4

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Katharine

What is your superpower?

Beating Ben Mayes at ping pong.

What is your Kryptonite?

Hormones

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

Mountains, water, and evergreens.

Favorite movie villain?

Severus Snape

What is your chapter about?

My chapter features the inner thoughts of a woman who has left behind a homosexual lifestyle and is now part of a loving church family. Based on personal interviews, this story recounts the woman’s journey as she is guided by faithful, Christian friends to receive Christ’s forgiveness and live a new life — a life rich and blessed, even under the cross of continued temptation.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Kristin Wassilak.

HRMS front coverThe most appropriate way to read this interview with Deaconess Kristin Wassilak, contributing author to He Restores My Soul and reigning Greatest Listener on the Planet, is with a glass of full-bodied red wine in hand.


Describe a normal day in the life of Deac. Wassilak:

Up at 5 AM, coffee, devotion, off to the dog park, get ready, work, evening with family, walk the dogs, work out whenever works for that day, asleep by 10 PM

What three words best describe your personality?

Empathetic, goofy, serious

Who do you go to for advice?

My husband and my best friends

What do you like to read?

Thrillers and novels written by authors with a sense of humor and irony

Beverage of choice?

Full-bodied red wine

Mac or PC?

PC

Confirmation verse?

John 8:31-32

Which song do you hum the most?

I’m not a spontaneous hummer.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Jane Eyre. Oh, is that one taken?

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

I have the privilege of singing hymns every day in chapel at Concordia University Chicago and hearing them practiced by student and faculty organists all day. They are what I hum most of the time, but otherwise, I’m not a spontaneous hummer. 😉

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

Water, mountains, and forests

Shoe of choice?

Hiking sandals

Favorite movie villain?

Hard to choose! Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) in Die Hard or Johnnie Aysgarth (Cary Grant) in Suspicion or Khan Noonien Singh (Ricardo Montalban) in the original series and Star Trek II.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

Psalm 34

What is your chapter about?

Christ doing and thinking for me what I cannot do or think for myself (i.e. everything)


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.

Getting to know . . . Christina Roberts.

HRMS front coverKantor Christina Roberts, contributor to He Restores My Soul, has a Zimbelstern, and she knows how to use it.


Describe a normal day in the life of Kantor Roberts:

6:30 – I begrudgingly get out of bed and enjoy the cup of coffee my undeservedly-kind husband poured for me ten minutes earlier so that it would be at exactly the deliciously warm, but not-too-hot, temperature I love.

7:45 – Attempt, with varying levels of success, to get my five children and their stuff out the door and to our Lutheran school where as a staff we (my husband is one of our teachers) sing, pray, and hear God’s Word together before the student body arrives.

8:30  – Once the building is teeming with children we gather again for more singing, praying, and hearing.

9:00 – I usually sneak back home to squeeze in a run or bike ride, shower, and throw something in the slow cooker for supper.

10:30 – Settle into my office to plan and practice the music for our church and school.

1:00 – Teach music classes, band, and choir to K-8 students, and every once in awhile pop across the hall to flirt with the 7th/8th grade teacher.  It’s cool, he likes me, too.

3:30 – We work with one of the most amazing staves of people (that’s how you make staff plural in music, so surely it works here, too, yes?), and after school I love hanging out on the front step of the building to chat it up with them. They constantly remind me of the importance of delivering Jesus to these little ones that surround us. Then, sometimes, we all go get our sweat on with a good workout.

4:00-7:30 – The late afternoon and evening hours are typically filled with a blur of homework, drama practices, basketball, taekwondo, swimming, library trips, choir rehearsals, house work, and meetings.

7:30 – Read-aloud time with our five children. It’s the best. We snuggle, laugh, discuss how we would act, enrich vocabulary, develop inside jokes, and nurture our own relationships with good fiction as our tool.

8:00 – More praying, singing, and hearing as we close our day and tuck our not-so-little-anymore ones into bed.

8:30 – After the children (finally) get settled for the night, my beloved and I spend a couple of hours just chatting, working around the house together, watching a show, sipping an IPA or glass of wine with a good piece of chocolate, and reading. Then we lie down and sleep for the Lord faithfully makes us dwell in safety and rise to His new mercies every morning.

What three words best describe your personality?

Zealous, self-deprecating, devout. (I let my sister pick, see below.)

Who do you go to for advice?

My husband, my sister, and my pastor.

What do you like to read?

My reading log is filled with a good deal of literary fiction, as well as some mystery, fantasy, historical, and science fiction. My friends and I used to blog our way through classic literature, and although they don’t work their way onto my nightstand as frequently, good books of the past are still the rule I use to measure what I love about reading. I also dig a good nonfiction, especially those that are both practical and philosophical as they deal with issues like time-management, organization, achieving productive and meaningful work, parenting, and finding beauty in this busy and distracted world.

Beverage of choice?

Margarita.

Mac or PC?

I use a PC, but I’m partial to a bullet journal and a set of nice pens and pencils.

What do you want to eat when Mom is cooking? 

Vegetables from her huge and gorgeous garden.

Confirmation verse?

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

Which song do you hum the most?

Whatever one I last heard.

If you could name the heroine of a fiction book, she would be called:

Joy

How do you use hymns in your daily life?

Hymns are pretty much my job description. I pray them, I teach them, I practice them, I compose them, I interpret them, I study them, I struggle with them, and I adore them. Meanwhile, they instruct me, they shape my curriculum, they move my hands and feet, they fill my heart, they dominate my earworms, they bring me peace, they remind me who I am, and they connect me to the people around me.

What scenery do you want to be viewing?

A sparkling green field of young corn framed by windmill-dotted sandhills and the full spectrum of colors available in a Nebraska sunrise or -set.

Shoe of choice?

Danskos. Everyday. All day. (Okay, fine, I don’t run in them. For that, there’s Brooks Adrenaline GTS.)

Favorite movie villain?

Here’s how I’m super-awkward at parties: I don’t remember anything about any movie I’ve ever seen.

Which Psalm do you pray the most?

I have the huge advantage of having the Psalms ever in front of me for work, which saves me the decision-fatigue of figuring out which ones I need most. Instead, the Lord, through the lectionary of the Church, assigns me parts of His own hymnbook.

What is your chapter about?

Jesus. At least I pray His presence is what dominates as I share the struggles of being a church musician fighting against despair, fatigue, doubt, and anxiety. I hope the chapter is ultimately an unveiling of the joy that Christ has put into my life so that others may see it in theirs as well.


To preorder He Restores My Soul at 10%-off, visit EmmanuelPress.us.