Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"How dreadfully old I am getting!" {and a give-away!}

That is the first sentence in the book Stepping Heavenward. Those words are very appropriate today, because today I am one year older. {Sigh}

Only the main character, Katherine, wrote those words in her journal when she was turning just sixteen. {Sigh}

I'm so old I can hardly remember sixteen anymore.

Never mind. Bemoaning my old age is not the point of this post.

Last year during ladies' Bible study at my church, the book we were reading referenced Elizabeth Prentiss, author of Stepping Heavenward. The faces of the other women in the group all lit up as they said practically in unison, "I love that book." I had heard the title before, but knew nothing about the book. So I made a mental note to put it on my long to-read list, and I finally got around to reading it early this summer.

I love this book.

It has earned a "forever" place next to my bed, because I love to just open it up and reread short portions. My girls will each get a copy for their sixteenth birthday.

The story, first published in 1869, is the fictional journal of Katherine and documents her spiritual journey as she changes from an emotional teenager to a seasoned mother. So often her words described my own thoughts in a way I could never convey to paper.

It is a marvel to me why God allows characters like mine to defile His Church. I can only account for it with the thought that if I ever am perfected, I shall be a great honor to His name, for surely worse material for building up a temple of the Holy Ghost was never gathered together before. The time may come when those who know me now, crude, childish, incomplete, will look upon me with amazement, saying, "What hath God wrought! If I knew such a time would never come, I should want to flee into the holes and caves of the earth." (p. 208)

To me, Stepping Heavenward is the perfect example of a living book. I could have read self-help books on marriage, more books on parenting, and a whole shelf of books on Christian living, yet still not have received as much guidance as this one small book gave me.

My darling, precious children! For their sakes I am continually constrained to seek after an amended, a sanctified life; what I want them to become I must become myself. (p.209)

Through this book I became much more aware of God's sanctifying grace in my life and how I should respond to this gift.

For me to live to Christ seems natural enough, for I have been driven to Him not only by sorrow but by sin. Every outbreak of my hasty temper sends me weeping and penitent to the foot of the cross, and I love much because I have been forgiven much. (p. 216)

But it's not a book of lessons; it is a beautiful story, which is what makes it so much more appealing than a shelf full of self-help books.

Some of my favorite quotes come from the end of the book, but I don't want to spoil the treasure of reading the words yourself.

Because you are going to read this book.

I insist.

In fact, in honor of how dreadfully old I am getting, I am giving away three copies of Stepping Heavenward for three readers to win. I chose the number three in honor of my last year as a 30-something. {Sigh}

Plus, I'm throwing in a journal with each of the three books for you to document your own spiritual journey or to use as you wish. If you've already read the book, enter anyway and give the book to a friend.

Enter by leaving an encouraging comment about how I do not look a day over 29 -- Oh, I forgot my profile picture has been missing since I changed my Google account this summer. I think I need to schedule another photo shoot in the closet! Any comments that make me feel my age (or even older) will disqualify you from winning. : )

You can enter a second time by telling your friends about the give-away (just leave a second comment telling me you spread the word). Comments must be received by midnight (CST) Sunday, September 19. I'll announce the winners Monday morning. Sorry, only people in the continental U.S. are eligible.

Just a warning: Elizabeth Prentiss also the wrote the hymn, "More Love to Thee, O Christ." Never again will you be able to sing it without crying. Trust me; that's a good thing.


  1. Happy birthday, Kellie!

    I absolutely love this book. I've read it three times. It has so many wonderful little treasures inside.

    I added a link to this on my FB page. :D

  2. i have never read this book. i assure you that you don't look a day over 21. i'm sure of it. everyone looks young to me now that i'm 40.

  3. Happy, happy birthday! I hope it has been a great one. You are not old at all and are very young looking!

    I have not read the book but love the quotes. Thanks for the chance to win. It is now on my reading list. :)

  4. Happy birthday Kellie!

    I don't qualify for the competition, since I live in Australia... but I wanted to say I still appreciate Seven Silly Eaters, so I am going to take your recommendation on this one and look it up. (Not that they're in the same genre or anything!) Thanks for the review. It definitely whetted my appetite.

  5. Happy birthday, Kellie!! I hope you have a gloriously wonderful 29th (ahem) birthday~ I keep celebrating my 27th bday, over and over and over again... even my boys laugh when age is discussed in our house b/c somehow or other, I have managed to stay 27-- it truly is incredile!

    Anyhoo-- I''ve gotta tell you that I've heard OF this book before, but never knew anything about it. What you have shared has surely motivated me to pick it up-- who can't use a little extra motivation and encouragement these days?! SO thanks for the gentle shove... I'll put it at the top of my list :)

    And again-- happy birthday!

  6. Hope you have a fabulous birthday!!! You do not look a day over twenty! I am looking forward to reading this book - whether or not I win! :)

  7. Kellie,

    I found your blog on accident, as I was looking through Barb's OHC blog. We are starting the challenges Friday and I was looking for some good ideas. I enjoyed reading about your nature study adventure.

    The book you have listed sounds wonderful. I look forward to reading it either by winning it or by purchasing it myself. I have placed it on my list of books to read.

    No matter our age, we are all beautiful, as is all of God's creation, as we are made in His image (Genesis 1:27).

    Many Blessings,

  8. ten days late..."Happy Birthday" : )

    Love love love this book. You make me want to pull mine off the shelf and re-read it.