A Barn and Two Debuts

I snapped our neighbor’s barn a couple of times during Christmas week, as snow and fog shrouded its 1890’s frame.

When I awoke a few days ago, however, the structure lay flattened—toppled by a night-long gale. The owners roused predawn to its thundering collapse, not an hour before the storm blew itself out.

One minute, a long-familiar view; the next, a farm forever changed.

The windstorm—and the barn’s startling demise—reminded me that a single moment . . . or hour . . . or day . . . can transform a landscape—and people—for better or worse. In December I read two debut, contemporary Christian novels that illustrate how.

In The Sowing Season by Katie Powner, 63-year-old Gerrit Laninga finds himself adrift after irrevocable change: in the span of a few minutes, he signs sale documents for the dairy that has held him captive since his brother’s death—an event that froze him in time and alienated him from his family. In a domino progression, his newly freed-up hours allow 15-year-old Rae Walters to enter his life. Paralyzed by her own fears, she offers Gerrit a chance to thaw them both.

Now I’m the wife of a dairy veterinarian, and I live a short drive from the story’s setting. No surprise that the novel’s concept drew me. I am not averse, however, to setting aside stories that don’t hold me. Time’s too precious to spend on books that don’t resonate.

But this one did. With humor and finesse, the author (who draws all of the book’s characters well) excels with protagonist Gerrit. He’s beautifully dimensional, and came to life on the page so vividly that if he walked into our home, I would know him instantly—and would empathize with his deepest yearnings.

A heartwarming, well-written debut.


In Amanda Cox‘s debut novel The Edge of Belonging, homeless Harvey James’s discovery of an abandoned newborn also initiates a life-changing trajectory. His story intertwines with that of Ivy, who, cowed by an abusive fiancee, seeks truth about her life from fragments of her deceased grandmother’s past.

Curious about the logistics of how a lonely homeless man would care for an infant, and sympathetic to Ivy’s plight, I followed clues through the gently suspenseful dual narrative to a surprising, satisfying conclusion.

How’s that for vague? Intentionally so. You’ll enjoy the story more without spoilers. Know, too, that you’ll stand in shoes of both adoptees and homeless people who defy categorization—and that you’ll be the richer for it.

An inspirational novel with characters motivated by the yearning for family and truth that readers of Christian fiction will enjoy.


And IN AN EGGSHELL, here are photo posts that appeared elsewhere this week:

When a serpent roars.

“And the great dragon was thrown down…”

—Revelation 12:9


Winter wardrobe.

.”When it snows, she has no fear for her household…”

—Proverbs 31:21



“The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the LORD— and he will delight in the fear of the LORD.”

—Isaiah 11:2-3



“He uncovers the deeps out of darkness and brings deep darkness to light.”

—Job 12:22


Thanks for reading, friends. So glad you’re here.


Watching Nature, Seeing Life: Through His Creation, God Speaks.

Posted by

Love the outdoors? I can take you there. Rural & wild PNW posts and photos from a naturalist, faith writer, and author of three books, including the award-winning novel Sugar Birds. Member of Redbud Writers Guild.

10 thoughts on “A Barn and Two Debuts

  1. Thanks for sharing Cheryl. Your book recommendations I’ll be passing on as a next read to book club next week. Your photos are truly amazing. I always look forward to my “tomorrow morning” as a rely on my “this morning”photo and ponder the verse attached with it. Isn’t God wonderful!! Sad about that barn😟. I love old barns. Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

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