penny's pages

purposeful ponderings

Five Stars This is one of my favorite books that I read this year. I love learning about new aspects of history, especially during time periods and issues I’ve studied yet, through another story, gain new perspective. I listened to The Summer Country by Lauren Willig while on vacation this summer. I learned about cause […]

Through poetry, Penny J. Johnson explores memories from childhood like this one in “Chicken a la King.” But, The Last Time We Were Children is more than remembering. Her poems describe descending sledding hills, climbing mountains, and playing in fields and fairgrounds. They also profoundly cast light—both with humor and serious faith—on the dark hours […]

If you had been able to choose, would you rather have been an only child or part of a very large family? For many reasons, this is a fascinating topic for me. As much as I’ve studied personality types, I’ve investigated the various effects of birth order on family dynamics. But, that isn’t exactly what […]

Five Stars Kathleen McGurl’s The Forgotten Secret is a captivating tale across time that will keep the reader guessing until the end. I liked that it covered the time between the World Wars, but also helped me understand more about Ireland’s tumultuous history. Definitely a must-read.

Now available in paperback and for Kindle! In 2012, While Bethlehem Sleeps awakened readers to reflect on the Christmas story through poetry depicting character sketches, Advent themes, and seasonal musings. This expanded edition provides devotional insights with poetic highlights. Activities at the end of each daily reading assist in extending Advent throughout the week with […]

Recently, one of my writing prompts asked, If I looked in your fridge right now, what would I find? Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and I could list the items we’ve accumulated for our upcoming festive cooking. Instead, I’m going to talk turkey about what is in my refrigerator most of the time. […]

Five Stars I have yet to read a Catherine Ryan Hyde book that I haven’t liked. Have You See Luis Velez? is another engaging read with excellent character development and an intriguing story line. This book challenges society biases to form new connections and bolsters courage to reach out to neighbors in need. Simply inspiring.

In September 2001, I joined my first book club. I recall my excitement at seeing the announcement in our church worship folder. As a young mom struggling for writing time and craving adult interaction, this book club was an ideal outlet. I remember the first book these women and I read together. I still have […]

In my personal Bible study, I was encouraged to give up all media for 24 hours. I read through the list. Television: I can avoid television. As a young mom, I used to crave the noise and fake interaction. But, as a middle-aged woman, I find I have to be working on a project or […]

Three Stars I felt like The Eighth Sister by Robert Dugoni was a bit of a slog. Maybe it’s because I’m not an espionage fan. I have read more than one book about communism this year, and I watched Chernobyl around the time I read this book. I think I was overloaded on oppressive regimes. […]