Title: Here, Now
Author: Kate Merrick
Major Themes: Christian Living, Purposeful Living
Synopsis: A thoughtful book about taking more time for the things that matter—and connecting with the Lord in a deeper way.
Some books I get for review because I’m really intrigued by the premise. Some books I know I will enjoy because I’ve loved other books by the same author. And some books, like Here, Now I’ve gotten because I wanted something different in my reading diet. I know I’ve mentioned before that nonfiction books and I don’t have the greatest of relationships; I’d love for that to change, and I know it has some over the years, but I still am pretty cautious when it comes to books in that genre. Not just because I know the story might not be so easy to read, but also because I absolutely adore stories in and of themselves, so it’s hard for me to get out of the fiction groove sometimes. But it’s ever so good for me! (As I’ve done in other reviews, I’ll intersperse a few of my favorite quotes, but this is only a few of the highlights I made!)
One thing that has been a constant for me in the last couple years—and actually, probably before that even—is my desire to really make sure that the time I spend on the computer and online is actually worthwhile time spent. So often, I get to the end of my day and say, “what happened to my time?” and all I can chalk it up to is useless surfing or fiddling around with projects that really don’t end up anywhere. I hate that. I know it’s not really good for me in any sense of the term, so I’ve often been on a quest to discover new ways to help myself cut down or at least be more purposeful with my screen time.
“Slow down, take in your life, find the beauty, and see God moving all around you—it’s worth it.” —Jamie Ivey
That’s where Here, Now comes in. Kate Merrick had a very difficult season to walk through several years ago, and one choice she made as she was dealing with her daughter’s cancer was to cut out social media and a lot of other online stuff in order to focus more on the family and moments God had given her right then. I admire that step, and I can really relate. So often I feel like I’m missing out on my own family in pursuit of something else…which often ends up being pretty hard to track down, unfortunately.
“Each phase that crops up in life—whether it’s raising a teenager, having another baby, starting a new career, or planting another church—calls for courage, because, whether we asked for it or not, it is ripe ground for building a beautiful life or for tearing it down.” —Kate Merrick
Kate’s story spoke to me on so many levels. She did include stories—just enough to satisfy that portion of my readerly heart—but each one served to point to a bigger truth. I highlighted so many quotes—this book wins in that department by far this year, I think. One special thing to me was the fact that as she talked about her daughter’s cancer journey, I knew it sounded somewhat familiar. I was looking through one of my old blogs about the same time looking for something else, and just happened across a mention of a little girl’s cancer story that had inspired me back then. Turns out it was the same girl—so I’ve been touched by this family more than once, even though I didn’t realize it! Isn’t the Lord good?
“In our current tech-obsessed fast-paced culture, engaging in anything slow or challenging almost calls for a complete reprogramming of the mind. […] It’s almost like we’ve given a piece of our hearts and souls away in the name of efficiency and productivity. And yet it seems like we’re more vexed than ever, living in a world dominated by what others say and think. But we continue on in our fast-paced ways.” —Kate Merrick
It’s hard to know how to sum Here, Now up in just a few paragraphs. I feel like I’ve learned so much, but I also have so much growing to do yet, too. My biggest takeaway by far was the challenge to seriously consider how I’m spending my internet time, especially, and making more dedicated time to enjoy being with my family. The years ARE so short, and as I love quoting from a really lame movie (the quote was the best part!), “there’s no other day—no other hour—that will be exactly like today or right now!” Kate encouraged and inspired me, and I’m sure her words will continue to bless me, as well. I hope I can get a paperback copy someday. If you’re wanting encouragement in your own life, and want to be more purposeful and draw closer to the Lord, I think this would be an excellent choice!
“The Creator of the Universe wants to be with me; he wants to be with you! […] Picture that with me. Let’s sit in that a moment and let it stir our hearts and remind us we are adored children; let it bring out all the wonder and hope we’ve been missing. He sees us. He loves us. He hears us. And he wants to be with us.” —Kate Merrick
I requested a free review copy of this book from BookLook Bloggers, and this is my honest opinion of it.
WARNING: The word “dang” is used in ch. 1. The word “darndest” is used in ch. 2. The word “gosh” is used in ch. 4 and 12. Chapter 7 tells of a family’s accidental visit to a nude beach. The word “darn” is used in ch. 8. The word “freaking” is used in the acknowledgments.
Reading Independently—Ages 12 – 15, 15 and Above, Adults