A debut devotional book blends anecdotes, thoughts on incorporating faith into everyday life, and recipes.
Growing up the daughter of a Methodist minister, Hartman learned to value Sunday as a day of rest. Over the course of a decade, she compiled these 31 reflections on the Sabbath’s significance for Christians. She whimsically likens Sunday to “a comma penned into a runaway sentence” and calls it a “day for discovering (or rediscovering) the miraculous within the routine and the everyday.” Whether she’s spending the day directing a Nativity play, weeding her garden, teaching her teens to drive, making jam, or entertaining bittersweet memories of her dead parents, Hartman believes God can use any experience to nourish one’s faith. Even when she’s on duty on the occasional Sunday as a lab tech at a hospital blood bank, she turns it into a spiritual benefit: “When our work is done mindfully, it can feel as sacred as worship.” Each chapter is in two parts: a personal anecdote is followed by a short section suggesting wider application. The “I” of the first part is thus balanced out by “you” and “we” in the second. The pieces end with recipes for suggested Sunday dinner dishes, most of them Southern-tinged, down-home fare—a main course, salad or side, and dessert, all accompanied by approximate calorie counts—simple yet special enough to warrant the weekend effort. Hartman’s style, an appealing cross between self-deprecation (she describes herself as “the atomic fusion of a Martha Stewart wannabe and the Tasmanian devil”) and religious exhortation, should endear her to readers of Shauna Niequist and Anne Lamott. Although most readers can appreciate a message about keeping Sundays special by prioritizing family time and avoiding technology and stressors, this will be an especially meaningful bedside book for harried mothers who want to cherish life’s meaningful moments. An imagined month of Sundays is a novel format, though the material starts to get slightly repetitive at Chapter 26. But a final chapter about letting go remains an overall highlight.
These wise, well-crafted inspirational essays, worth any Christian’s time, should prove especially relevant to busy women.