Without further ado, I am pleased to introduce you to a few of my friends:
here. I am honored to count her as a close friend. Lisa is one of the most delightful women I know and has made quite a name for herself as a Southern writer, in addition to her other gifts. This last book, which boasts my favorite title to date, is the final installment in a trilogy, but don't worry...you don't have to have read all three to enjoy this marvelously well-crafted and engaging story. Southern as a Second Language can certainly carry its own weight. I am happy that much beloved character Leelee is back in all her glory. She is a friend that will stay with you long after you have closed the pages of the book. She is delightfully and totally "Southern"... and this book is filled with the things that make Southerners endearing to many. Yet if you are looking for a perfect book to curl up in a corner with, a book that will bring you to laughter and tears, this is the one for you. Oh, and there is also a thread of suspense that pulls you in and along just like an undertow. You'll keep turning page after page just to find out what happens in the end. And if you are not Southern when you pick up the book, when you finish you are going to have a better understanding of the rest of us Southerners. You are also gonna wish you were one of our much vaunted tribe.
Appointments with Heaven by Dr. Reggie Anderson. It is a deeply personal story and Reggie shares much about his Southern upbringing in a small town not far from Selma. Alabama. His walk with God is an integral part of the story, as is the story of how he met Karen and fell in love with her, but the treasure of the story lies in the way that God reveals himself over and over again in Reggie's life and in the lives of those he serves. If you want to be encouraged, about not just what lies ahead for believers, but what is ours for today, read this lovely gem of a book. It will warm your heart and satisfy your soul.
3. Singer/songwriter Ashley Cleveland has the gravelly power house voice of a rock-and-roller. Think Janis Joplin in her prime. Yet the woman can belt gospel with the likes of Mahalia Jackson. When she performs this woman is a combustible force onstage, and with three Grammy's to her credit, she shows no signs of slowing down. Her voice, if anything, has become more powerful and angst-filled as she has aged. This is not a vocal artist who will lull you to sleep. My life connected with Ashley's when she had just moved to Nashville and had begun attending the same church as I. Our daughters were the same age and in the same small school. She and I also were part of the same small women's Bible study group. After I heard her sing, I always wondered why she had not hit the "big-time" as the world knows it. She seemed immensely more talented that other artists who were singing in the same genre. I'm still puzzling over that one. But enough about the music and onto the book. It's a fairly slim volume but like the woman who wrote it, it conveys powerful truth. This is not a story for cowards. This is a book about the childhood roots of adult addiction, redemptive grace and the love of God for broken people. If you can identify with any of these, this book will carry a ring of truth. Ashley is fearless. She leaves no holds barred in her autobiographical work, Little Black Sheep. If you want the truth about how hard life can be, and how powerful and good God is, read this story. It will be freeing for your soul, and keep you searching for more. Trust me when I say that this is a uniquely Southern voice that must be heard.