my friend erica

Today I’d like you to meet my best friend Erica.  I call her “Eir.”

In 2001, I met Eir at summer camp when she was a camper and I was a counselor.  A couple months later, we ended up talking at another retreat, and this time I got her email address.  What followed was this incredibly fun adventure of getting to know this bright, young high school student whose faith defined her identity.

It’s hard to say when I realized she had transitioned from being one of my campers to being my best friend.  There are so many memories packed into the last eleven years that it’s difficult to choose a moment of definitive realization.

Here are some of my favorite memories with Eir:
* our picnic with dear friends at the Plummer House gardens
* taking her to a college Bible study while she was still in high school
* crying and praying together that night at Moody Bible Institute
* ringing in so many new years together, but especially these last two
* creating and playing our own camp version of Apples to Apples
* developing a DYNAMIC long-distance friendship while she lived in Chicago and the Czech Republic
* years and years of camp memories, including when Eir threatened to kiss Sir William and all the time spent on the dock
* White Ribbon Day … huh?

Erica has such a beautiful heart for at-risk youth and for families in hard situations and for missions and for the gospel.  She is lovely, and she does things that matter.  At the same time, we love to spread a blanket over our knees and watch ridiculous shows on cable; we love looking at pictures of babies online; our jokes never seem to get old.  We pray for each other andwitheach other.  Just like Jonathan and David, our hearts are knit together.


How many times does this have to happen before I realize that I cannot skip my medication?  Last week I was running late to work, and I decided to skip my morning meds (Prozac and Effexor XR), thinking how– since CBT– I have been in control of obsessions.

Bad idea.

I was pretty depressed that evening, had ridden the rollercoaster down to the very bottom, had no idea what to do with the story I’m working on, felt pretty confident I will never be published, and had very little energy for anything.  I fell asleep that night feeling like a failure at life.

I realized later that my lack of meds was probably the culprit for the low.

When will I learn?

How about you: do ever skip your meds?  How long before it affects you?

falling in love with fictional characters

Those of us who consider books to be among our best friends often find ourselves in this … situation … where we fall in love with people who don’t exist.

How many of us have wished to be bosom friends with Anne Shirley or to play Himmel Street soccer with Liesel Meminger and Rudy Steiner?  How many finished that epilogue in Deathly Hallows and then cried because our adventures with the Hogwarts trio were over?  And I know that I discover “my perfect boyfriend” from time to time– someone who exists only in the ink on pages– Gilbert Blythe, Jonah Griggs, Augustus Waters.

When I think of all the friends I’ve made through literature, I’m reminded of the power of books.  I hope I can create characters whom people consider friends someday.

Molly Grue, Stargirl Carraway, Leslie Burke and Jess Aarons, the Pevensie siblings, Dickon, Winnie Foster and Jesse Tuck, Swede Land, Cal Trask, Pi Patel, Diana Barry, Prince Caspian, Richard Parker, Max Vandenburg … who are your best literary friends?

LOL cats (that look like hitler) in sinks

Did you know that the internet is full of cat humor?  It’s true.

Warning: these sites may steal your time like bandits.

is the book always better?

I’m a reader and a writer, so it naturally follows that I would be more in favor of a book instead of its movie companion.  There are few exceptions to this rule for me, but they do exist.  Here are a few where the movie versions really held their own!!

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix
Book: 870 pages of Harry being a moody 15-year-old.
Movie: a lovely condensed version of that angst, along with incredible cinematography.

Meet the Robinsons
Book: a silly but wonderful little children’s book
Movie: a brilliant expansion of the book, along with a clever twist

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Book: perfection.
Movie: almost perfect– a very well-done interpretation!

What are some stories of which you’ve both read the book and seen the movie?  Which one was better?

YA literature

Young adult literature is probably my favorite kind of book to read.  It’s fun, accessible, and– if you’re a picky reader like I am– it’s incredibly well written.  Here’s a list of some of my all-time favorite YA lit.

1) Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
2) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
3) The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
4) Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
5) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
6) Ordinary People by Judith Guest
7) Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
8) Bridge to Terabithia by Kathleen Patterson
9) Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta
10) The Pigman by Paul Zindel

… and so many more (Saving Francesca, Finnikin of the Rock, The Sky is Everywhere, Tuck Everlasting, The Secret Garden …)!  Do you like YA lit?  What are your favorites?  Have you tried writing YA lit before?  What are the critical elements to include in any YA story?

Happy 32nd anniversary to my parents!

After reading this post, some of you will be envious of me.  And perhaps you should be.

You see, I happen to have the most wonderful parents in the whole world.

Tom Sommers: my crazy, sometimes spacey dad who loves Jesus, my mom, his kids, Disney World, the Indianapolis 500 and NASCAR racing, his sports card collection, long walks, his lovely little hometown, and a horse named Secretariat.  My dad is one of the most generous people I have ever met, and I love to watch the efforts he puts into making people’s day … especially when there are kids involved!  I have learned so much from this man, and I am so proud to call him Dad!

Ronda Sommers: my crazy, high-energy mom who loves Jesus, my dad, her kids, exercise, Junior Mints, her kindergarteners, the Kimball Church of Christ, anything crafty, SAVERS, and Sgt. Anderson from Tour of Duty.  My mom is lovely, really, truly lovely, and she’s one of my best friends.  I can tell her anything.  She is a prayer warrior.

And they are both hilarious to boot.

I know that these days most people can’t boast about their parents’ marriage, but I can honestly say that these two have an incredible marriage and a wonderful friendship.  They have given me and my siblings an incredible example of what it is like to be committed to each other and to choose love every day.  I can honestly see that each year they love each other more than the last.

Thank you, Mom and Dad, for your commitment to each other and to keeping God at the center of your marriage.  Congrats on 32 years together … here’s to the next 32! 🙂

a poem


Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”  None of the disciples ventured to question Him, “Who are You?”  knowing that it was the Lord.  John 21:12

Galilee is in one of her moods.

The stubborn sea has refused our nets for hours, all night even,
the slight wind whispering a sharp ache into my ears,
the night air annoying my muscles into unyielding aggravation.

Fish bowels from more successful outings rot in quiet corners,
the soft staleness contrasting with the slick slime on the wooden sides.
This tiresome enterprise hurts my forearms and back.

As the sun rises, it brings with it that fusty morning-breath feeling,
a natural all-over reminder that a cycle has passed and I have ignored it.
One hundred yards away, a man watches my weakness from the shore.

He speaks: “Children, you do not have any fish, do you?”
The answer is decidedly no.
This time: Abracadabra.  “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat.”
And we cannot lift the net.  It is Him.

Like a moment when your own falling forward wakes you up suddenly,
my heart rate rockets.  Peter takes no time to consider wave-walking, only
jumps into the water like a lover in a hurry.

I hold the net, now wide-awake.  My heart burgeons; I feel my pulse in my arms,
my chest, my throat.  I wish my devotion was now a soaked outer garment,
but at the same time, my head has been snapped into alertness
too quickly, and I feel mute even while I yell to hold the net.

Stepping to the shore is like crossing a thick line into another land
where silence is king and stillness is queen.  Only God is over them both,
so He speaks: “Come and have breakfast.”

A charcoal fire cooks God’s catch, and we add some of ours to the fire.
My hands shake, not only with cold.  I look at the dead eyes of the fish
as they cook.  Their open eyes and open mouths make me their
breathing brother.  My mind spells peculiar out slowly:

To sit across a man who is more than a man, once dead but now
serving breakfast is too much.  All things collide:

prophecy, the Word become flesh, promises and wine, blessed are the poor in spirit, prayer and peace and psalms and palms, overturned tables and the look on His face, blessing the children, rebuking the demons, His offer of rest, all the metaphors, the stories, the quiet explanations away from the crowds, Truth for the first time, freedom, excitement, fervor, reality, wisdom, honor, purity, healing mud mixed by the King, that devastating dinner in the upper room, the washbin, the water, the way that He stooped, Gethsemane where I slept while He suffered, the crowds, the chants, Barabas unchained, the cheers, the jeers, the scorn, the blood,

the blood, the blood, the blood, the blood,

the walk, the tree, splintered wood on Calvary, the words, the orders, the dramatic curtain making a scene, the rushing terror, the torture, pain, emptiness, loss, the women, the tomb, the rock, the angels, the appearing, victory
and all
for my sake.

He offers me bread in the quiet on the shore.

Lord, forgive me! my heart pleads across the coals.
His wild eye meets mine: That was the whole point.


Last fall, I had the priviledge of hearing John Dickson speak at the Global Leadership Summit.  Dickson is the author of the book Humilitas, a book about humility in leadership.  After hearing him speak, I purchased the book and read the entire thing.  It was brilliant.

Dickson, for his thesis for his Ph.D. in history, set out to find the origin of humility.  The findings were incredible.  Long ago, humility was looked down upon– but now it is a virtue society praises.  What happened to force such a change?  Dickson’s conclusion was the cross of Christ.

Before the cross, the thought was that humility was a showing of weakness.  When Jesus Christ was crucified, the early church had to look on the cross and say, “This is what humility looks like.  I need to either reconcile it with what I currently believe– that humility is weakness– or I need to change my thoughts about humility.”  And now, over 2000 years later, the world looks on humility as a lovely and beautiful thing.

The cross.  Oh how I love it, that history-altering moment in time.