Tag: Jan Karon


new poetry books
and journals in the mail
a pumpkin on the ash tree stump
flowers from a store
and a new plant on my desk
still life arrangements

I am also looking at novels by Jan Karon on my shelves. Her books are a great blessing.

Friday notes

I received an email from the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. They began Virtual Field Trips today.

We also receive helpful emails from the Aurora Health Care Foundation.

Karl and I continue at home, and we are grateful. I am home all the time. Karl bought groceries today, and he wore a face mask and gloves.

I have been home for an extended time before, with personal health experiences. And I also spent a lot of time simply being with my mother during her last years. We brought the world to her – everyone needed and she blessed us simply by being herself. When I think of my parents, I think of unconditional love and “big picture faith.” They lived through a lot of history too, including the Great Depression and World War II. My father was a veteran.

Many writers and readers of books, for example, know the experience of feeling blessed by an author from another time. Emily Dickinson is an example.

Or an author in our time. Jan Karon is an example – her wonderful novels.

Many ways to know a sense of friendship. I correspond with poets, and had penpals when I was young. Blogs felt comfortable right away.

This morning I thought of a verse I posted here in the past:

let patience have her perfect work

from James 1: 4a (KJV)

We all have skills and life experiences to apply to this new time. After my mother’s passing in 2004, the grief was hard. And now it is 2020, and I am still blessed by what some may have considered sacrifices at the time.

Take care. Prayers for all who serve and are suffering with COVID-19.

Ellen Grace Olinger

Photo by Ana Madeleine Uribe on Pexels.com


I read several books at a time. Perhaps a prayer here, a poem there. The authors I mention in this post I’ve read for some time. So sometimes, a short selection recalls a lot of content.

Here are a few examples.

be the gift let your brokenness be turned into abundance – by Ann Voskamp (2017, Zondervan).

Sea Glass: New & Selected Poems – by Luci Shaw (2016, WordFarm).

The Book of Kells – by Barbara Crooker (2019, Cascade Books).

Bathed In Prayer: Father Tim’s Prayers, Sermons, and Reflections from the Mitford Series – by Jan Karon (2018, Putnam).

Jan Karon’s novels kept me company during times of illness, grief, and recovery. Lots of joy and heart. Her new book also recalls previous work.

Always poetry – and when I cannot read, my heart is full from when I could read! When I spent a lot of time with my mother in a nursing home, someone might be sitting by a window. I know from my times, sitting by a window – every day – the heart may be overflowing with blessings, though no one else can see. The soul greater than the mind, I believe. Always hope too.

Ellen Grace Olinger

Photo by Karl – July 2018 garden journal


We went to Goodwill in Sheboygan this week.  I especially enjoy their books for sale.  One of the books I bought is the life-changing magic of tidying up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing, by marie kondo.  Translated from the Japanese by Cathy Hirano.  Just beginning to read.  One of my goals is to sort through my books, and give some away to thrift stores.  Some of the authors I read are Luci Shaw, Ann Voskamp, and Jan Karon – and many other good writers.  I also enjoy haiku books from small presses.  And I may donate some books back.

We have seen large bookstores close in our general area over the last years.  Now I often discover new-for-me books at thrift stores, and also libraries.  The combination of on-line places to buy books and local places is nice.

Last year we gave gift copies of Quiet Christmas Poetry to staff at thrift stores.  We enjoyed placing a few copies in the Little Free Library collections in our area.

As an additional note, we stopped at Caan’s in Sheboygan.  We saw an area of their greenhouse where they are growing new poinsettia plants.  So much work, which they enjoy.

Jan Karon

Jan Karon is another favorite author.  I recently read her most recent novel, To Be Where You Are.  Then I began rereading earlier novels in her Mitford series.  All wonderful, so much heart and hope.  I love her characters.

Happy Spring!


Karl and I went to Goodwill, as well as Bethesda Thrift Store in Sheboygan this past week.  Both stores have a good selection of used books. I bought A Light in the Window by Jan Karon, to reread.  “The Second Novel in the Bestselling Mitford Series.”  Then I checked her website, and her new novel will be available on September 19, 2017.   The title is To Be Where You Are, and the book continues the Mitford series.

Please visit Jan Karon’s site if you wish more information.  I love her novels and admire her craft as a writer.

Come Rain or Come Shine, by Jan Karon

Yesterday I finished reading Come Rain or Come Shine, by Jan Karon.  I read for the story and later will reread, as there is so much warmth and wisdom in her books.  Her craft is excellent, and she easily interweaves past and present, so new readers can begin with her work, and other readers may wish to review and fill in some years for the characters.  She also began some new stories in this book, and there is always hope.

new year
and the light grows
hint of blue in today’s sky

Short review and poem by Ellen Grace Olinger