Back in the (blog) saddle and a book giveaway!

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, so I appreciate those of you who’ve asked about my absence. I’m humbled, actually.

Many of you know that my Mom passed away in January. I posted some ramblings on death and dying  back in March, but have laid low since then, especially online.

To be honest, I needed a break from all the cybernoise. (To some degree, I still do.)

While on that break, I wrote quite a bit. I also read quite a bit and I’ll be sharing some of those books with you here on the site. I’ll also be sharing some guest posts and other random thoughts/friends as I prayerfully consider my posting schedule in the days to come.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook may have seen that I’ll be spending the month of June in Israel with my dad. Yes, you read that right — the ENTIRE MONTH OF JUNE!

This will be my first FCA trip there, and we’ll be working with the Palestinians in the West Bank. I can’t wait to meet some of Dad’s friends in Bethlehem, as well as hang out with my fabulous cousin Laura for part of the trip. I’m also looking forward to going back to Petra!


Dad and me on Mt of Olives

Dad and me on my first trip in 2009

So stay tuned as things change here. I’m excited for the opportunities the Lord is providing!

Spiritual MisfitAnd speaking of excited, I’m thrilled for my friend Michelle DeRusha! We met online a while back, but got to meet in real life at Allume last October. Her new book just released, Spiritual Misfit, A Memoir of Uneasy Faith.

Few memoirs have made me laugh like Spiritual Misfit. Michelle’s brave honesty will have you looking at your own uneasy faith and perhaps even voicing a few shaky feelings to God.

Michelle deftly walks you through her tenuous faith journey. From her Catholic upbringing to her personal doubts to the warming of her heart, she testifies to a God Who loved her completely and pursued her passionately.

Spiritual Misfit is a perfect selection for a book club and is sure to invite a lively discussion. Her experience is unique, but her ponderings are universal. Michelle writes in such a way that everyone can connect with her and may even breathe a sigh of relief that they’re not alone in their questions about God.

I’m giving away a copy of Michelle’s book, but you have to leave a comment to be eligible! Check back next week to see who won.

Having just celebrated Easter, I’ll leave you with this verse to ponder:

The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you.
And just as he raised Christ from the dead, he will give life to your mortal body
by this same Spirit living within you.
~Romans 8:11 (NLT)

Tweetable: Check it out: Susan Stilwell reviews #SpiritualMisfit by Michelle DeRusha and a book #giveaway!

Susan signature for blog


  1. I am jealous! Dare I confess that here on your lovely blog. Israel for a month–and how special-with Dad. Spiritual Misfit sounds great; will have to get it one way or the other. Blessings Good to see you back.

    • Thank you, Marcia! Yes, you’ll love reading Michelle’s memoir. I sure enjoyed reading yours!

  2. Brenda A Saball

    Missed getting to see you at church Sunday. Back in Maine once again. Enjoy your time in Israel and with your Dad. Will keep you all in prayer.

    • Oh Brenda, I was THERE! Sorry I missed you, but please let me know when you’re in town again so I can be sure to give you a hug.

  3. Hi Sweet Susan,

    Excited to hear about your trip . . . and your needed sabbatical. 😉 I look forward to gleaning your wisdom . . . love to you dear sister, 😉

    Thanks for mentioning this book too – it definitely peeked my interest. 😉

    Much love, Hester

    • Thank you so much, Hester. I especially appreciate your prayers for us. I’m looking forward to inching back into the blogosphere and will visit your site soon.
      Love to you, sweet friend :)

  4. So happy to have *seen* you in my inbox today. What an amazing opportunity to be in Israel for such an extended amount of time. Looking forward to hearing what God has planned! PICTURES. Don;t forget pictures :).

    • Hi Donna! Thanks so much for stopping by. And don’t worry about pictures — there will be MANY!

  5. Welcome back! I’d love to win a copy of the book. This looks like something my wife would really enjoy.

    • Thank you, Jon! Yes, Michelle’s writing style is fun and real, and her story will connect with nearly everyone.

  6. So excited for you and your dad. Sure wish I could hide in your luggage!

    And thanks for the info on Spiritual Misfit. Sounds like a powerful, thought-provoking book! I’d love to read it. :-)

    • I would love to HIDE you in my luggage, Vonda! I’m excited to go back, and I know it will be a great time with Dad.

      I know your affinity for memoirs, and Michelle’s would definitely hold your attention!

  7. Mary Gemmill

    Susan, it seems like God is using this Journey with your Father as a part of your healing from the grief at the loss of your mother. How absolutely wonderful that you can spend June In Israel together !

    I have found this past year looking after my 90yr old stepdad a redemptive experience after the sadness and grief of Mum dying without salvation- [or at least not that I know of at the last moment….]

    Isn’t God wonderful to allow us this time with our Dad’s as we heal and learn to be whole again? I thank Him for this time, over and over.

    May this time with your Dad be precious as you make memories together,

    With love,


    • Your stepdad is 90? Wow, Mary! What a blessing to be able to spend time with him. I know you’ve been a big help, and you’re so right about the redemption God sends our way as we grieve with Him. He is GOOD.

      Love and hugs to you!

  8. Mary Gemmill

    senior moment Susan- I’ve repeated almost what I write yesterday- sorry- when these little things happen I loudly proclaim: I am NOT GETTING OLD. haha.
    Thanks for your reply from yesterday- and sorry for my short-term memory loss.

    • NONE of us are getting old, Mary — we’re seasoning 😉

  9. Welcome back to the fray, Susan. Tread in at your own pace. Will be great to hear your “voice” again!

    • Thank you, Kirsten. Looking forward to inching back in and seeing how the Lord leads me.

  10. I’m excited for you — what an amazing adventure awaits! I’m also excited for us — welcome back to the blogosphere. You’ve been missed. :)

    Can’t wait to give you a BIG ((( hug ))) at BRMCWC!

    • I can’t WAIT, Cathy! You’ve been a sweetie and such great prayer support. A BIG hug is coming your way next month!

  11. I’m so glad to “hear” from you again, and I’m very excited for your opportunity to travel with your father. How wonderful. You’ve been on my heart this Easter season- I remember that the first Easter after my mother died was especially important to me. The message of hope and life was especially comforting to me in my time of grief. I hope it has been and will be to you too. I hope the foot is healing well. Sending hugs, Love Julia

    • You’re so sweet, Julia. Thank you. Yes, the resurrection holds a special meaning to us this year and gives us such sweet hope. And the foot is healing fine! I’d say I’m about 75%. I’ll be back to full speed by July (I hope) when I can start running again.
      Love and hugs to you :)

  12. Susan,

    Glad you are back in the saddle ( blog ). So glad you will travel with your Dad to Holy Land during the month of June and minister together. I am going to travel some in the month of May; so, maybe we can get together during the month of July!



    • Susan

      I’d love that, Judy! I’ll make a note on my July schedule and contact you when I get back.

  13. I am so very excited for you to get to spend a month in Israel with your dad. What a blessing for you both. One day I hope to go but for now I will greatly enjoy seeing it through your words and photos. I look forward to following along. Petra is a place I hope to go one day. After all, my married name is Petras. :)

    As far as the book giveaway, it sounds very good. I would love to read it. Thanks for the opportunity to enter this.

    Blessings and love,

  14. Oh how I would love to see Israel. I bet it is a beautiful place. Good luck on your travels. God bless!!

  15. Susan,
    How exciting! Praying for a trip filled with God’s joy as you spend time with your dad and the people you’ll be meeting….((Hugs))

  16. Gina Goodwin

    Susan, I was interested to read your site and when I saw Michelle’s book in very much interested me because I too was raised Catholic, I am a born again believer but over the years have noticed how being Catholic can spill over into your life with you NOT even knowing it. It’s crazy, and you don’t mean for it to happen its part of what shaped you into the Christian you see in the mirror.Thanks