There is only one reason I’d violate my “I’m not blogging while in China” declaration.

A book!


And not just any book, a book with a time sensitive invitation.

(By the way, I’m having a grand time in China. Feeding body and soul almost nonstop.)

This summer was a rough patch for me internally. I had one friend text me more than once, “I’m worried about you.” I was worried about me too. I identified “resentment” as my primary emotion. Not good people, not good.

Part of the cause was for the first time since I was four-years-old, I was no longer functioning on an academic schedule. Guess how long it’s been since I was four? Short answer: a very, long time.

For a life time, my sense of time has been rooted in a school calendar. My sense of rest has been rooted in breaks around winter and summer holidays. My sense of busy seasons with the ebbs and flows of semesters.

A primary reason for the oozing-into-my soul resentfulness was the clash between what my body and soul expected from summer time and what my current reality demands. The clash was like fingernails dragging down the chalkboard of my soul.

As I whined to talked with Lane, my spiritual director, she wondered about orienting myself to the church calendar instead of the school calendar. She also happened to be giving away a stack of books and I took more than my fair share. I stuck one of the books into my suitcase and pulled it out on the train from Beijing to Taiyuan.

Guess what?! The Circle of Seasons is about the church calendar and can be read over the year; it includes short activities for individuals and groups. I had decided I’m going to blog through it this upcoming year and invite you to join me.

Guess double what?! The author is Kimberlee Conway Ireton!!! She wrote Cracking Up (one of my favorite memoirs) and the Septebmer 2014 Book Club book for Velvet Ashes. Kimberlee is now a friend and we met in person when I attended the writer’s retreat she and Jody Collins hosted in October.

Kimberlee, Amy, Jody

Kimberlee, Amy, Jody


Guess triple what?! I was purusing blogs I follow and noticed that Kimberlee is running a special on The Circle of Seasons. Here’s what she said:

“A new church year will be beginning in two short weeks.

“Which means it’s time to break out your copy of The Circle of Seasons, my scintillating book on the church year. (Okay, so it’s not actually scintillating. It’s quiet and solid and thoughtful. Rather like its author.) A friend tells me she reads the book a chapter at a time over the course of the year. It helps her embrace the present season with mindfulness and intention. (Every writer should have such a friend!) Perhaps you might like to do the same?

“If by some concatenation of circumstance you find yourself without a copy of The Circle of Seasons, never fear! I have a few brand new copies in boxes in my garage. From now till November 24, you can buy them directly from me for $10 for the first copy and $5 for each copy thereafter. That includes shipping. It’s cheaper than Amazon! And I’ll autograph it for you, to the person of your choice.

“Just shoot me an email with your mailing address, the number of copies you want, and to whom you’d like them inscribed, and I’ll get them in the mail to you. You’ll have them in plenty of time to read the Advent chapter before the season begins on November 29.”


It was the “by November 24th” that got my attention (that, and the amazing price!).

I haven’t made a specific plan yet, but I know this much: I’m going to read this book throughout the year as I start to reorient myself. I would love for you to be read and discuss throughout the year. You might already be familiar with the church year or you might be exploring it like me, either way, we can benefit. I also picture inviting Kimberlee to chat with us a couple of times this year. So, get the book.

In light of Kimberlee’s generous offer, four of you are going to win a copy of her book! Leave a comment and I’ll choose four of you on Wednesday evening (America time)/Thursday morning (Asia time). Who do you want Kimberlee to sign a copy to? You? Anyone come to mind who could benefit from this book?

Want to join me? Please :).


I’ve been oriented to seasonal rhythms by the school calendar, what’s oriented you? Do you follow the church calendar? What draws you to this book? Want to read it along side of me and others this year? So many questions! Just pick one and leave a comment.

(I’ll work out with Kimberlee getting your copy mailed to you! If you don’t win a copy, please consider buying it. You and your soul are worth $10.)





Leave A Comment

  1. Danielle Krouch November 16, 2015 at 7:14 am - Reply

    This sounds wonderful. I would love to be more intentional about following the church calendar.

  2. Michelle November 16, 2015 at 7:23 am - Reply

    Only you Amy would think to violate your rule for a book. LOL. This does sound like a great one though. I have also found resentment creeping in.

  3. Suzanne November 16, 2015 at 7:40 am - Reply

    I would love that book. Ordering even if I don’t win it!

  4. Dorothy Darrah November 16, 2015 at 7:53 am - Reply

    Amy put me on your list for the book.

  5. Mike November 16, 2015 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Amy, for the past eight months I’ve also felt…disoriented would be putting it VERY lightly! Like you, my schedule has been tied to the school calendar. And like you, since I was four (longer ago for me than you! :-) ) I’ve been on one side of the desk or the other. And now, since February, there hasn’t been a desk.

    I keep telling myself that I’m living in Saturday, that gray area between the death of Good Friday and the resurrection of Easter Sunday. Waiting…waiting…waiting…for what, I don’t know. I still don’t know. After more than eight months, I still don’t know.

    The good thing is, I know Whose hands I’m in, and no matter the state of my heart or mind, that’s exactly where I need to be.

    To re-align my schedule to the church schedule sounds like a very good idea, since there’s nothing else yet that I can align it with. So definitely sign me up!

  6. Wyatt E Fenno November 16, 2015 at 8:10 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing! I emailed Kimberlee to order four copies of her book! I look forward to reading and sharing!

  7. Gayl November 16, 2015 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Amy, what a wonderful idea! My church does follow the church calendar but I would like to become more familiar with it as I did not grow up using it. I would love to win a copy and read along with you.

  8. Tina Cook November 16, 2015 at 8:26 am - Reply

    I just e-mailed her for my copy. Really looking forward to working through this book over the coming year.

    When my kids were in school I too ordered my years around a school calendar somewhat. After my youngest graduated from high school I no longer have that guide, that structure. The years just seem to run together with no separation or significance. I am hoping by working through this book over the coming year I can realign my soul and find direction and significance in life again.

  9. Bess November 16, 2015 at 9:07 am - Reply

    I have read other books on the church calendar but this one sounds new and different. I would love to join you in reading through it this year. Thanks for the heads up on the book even if I don’t win it!

  10. Laurie Klein November 16, 2015 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Oh, wouldn’t I love to get lucky and win a copy! Madeleine L’Engle, who (graciously) shared my birthday (November 29), always looked at our birthday as the start of her personal new year, a custom I adopted. I didn’t know November 29 was also the start of the Church Calendar year. Here’s hoping I make the cut! : ) Either way, really nice post, Amy. Stay safe on the world’s far side. And please keep sending back reports.

  11. Elizabeth Trotter November 16, 2015 at 9:27 am - Reply

    I’d love a copy! I’ve actually wanted to read it but it was only available through 3rd party sellers on Amazon and I never took the time to try to get it that way. So count me in!

    Also, so glad this trip has been good for your soul. So very very glad.

  12. Katherine November 16, 2015 at 9:42 am - Reply

    Ooooooh! I so need this book! Like you, was oriented to the school calendar all my life until moving back from China and my soul is weary from no longer having those rhythms! And thank you for choosing a winner in time for us to figure out how many copies we need to order for ourselves. :)

  13. Jen November 16, 2015 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    I’ve been contemplating a reorientation to the church calendar for an entire year now – and drifting a bit in the sea of uncertainty. It’s felt a bit overwhelming to learn what this means after so many decades of school schedules dictating the seasons, both as a child & a parent. I’d love to read and discover together a soul feeding focus instead. Thank you for the opportunity to discover together.

  14. Nancy Ruegg November 16, 2015 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    I would LOVE to join you, Amy! Especially having met Kimberlee (and you!) at the writers’ retreat. Sounds like a divine way to stay connected throughout the coming year! I’ll hop over to Kimberlee’s and order my copy–you can leave my name out of the drawing.

  15. Leslie Verner November 16, 2015 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Pick me! Pick me! This sounds amazing! And I totally relate to always being on the school calendar, then being thrown off when you’re not. I still use a little paper calendar that follows the school schedule, though, so maybe that contributes to the problem?;-) Hoping to be more intentional with Advent this year, so this sounds perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  16. Lisa McCook November 16, 2015 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    I’ve never heard of a church calendar. I’m all too familiar with school calendars and I’m no longer in school. What is the church calendar? I do enjoy your thought-provoking posts. Keep them coming!

  17. Jill W. November 16, 2015 at 8:35 pm - Reply

    sounds lovely. :) I’ve been looking for a way to change up my devotional time.

  18. Erin November 16, 2015 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    I’m always, really, in need of more structure/routine/rhythm. At least that’s what it feels like. In all reality, I’m probably just TOO settled in my rhythms to allow healthier rhythms to carve new spaces.

    What orients me? Yes the school year, liturgical year (to a lesser degree), seasonal weather. But I think my world has become more micro-oriented. I orient myself around did the kitchen and living space get cleaned up late at night so I could begin a new day less burdened-feeling? Or did I choose relaxation over dishes and use those silent hours after kids are in bed to feed my soul and now must face the consequences the morning after like a hangover? Is the bathroom floor picked up or are my husband’s clothes there from the night before? Did the kids actually practice piano throughout the week or are we shoving it into a single cram session? The pattern I see myself most orienting towards is a to-do list on a 24 hour cycle. And it quite often results in me feeling like a failure. You can see this type of orientation is not headed toward anyplace healthy.

    On a lighter note, the past few years have DEFINITIVELY been oriented around a couple key PBS Masterpiece British programs that air for 6-8 weeks each winter-spring. Occasionally I step back and have a panic attack. “Could an entire year have passed and what of my home life between these ridiculous t.v. programs I anticipate for 10 months of the year?” Then I breathe and remember I have walked, scraped, built up and crawled through an entire year of homemaking (which is, after all, an all encompassing career which is truly admirable despite its archaic connotations). My children are growing, learning, thriving. My marriage is headed more in a better direction than a worse direction. I may not be achieving my young-adult goals of living overseas and changing the world. But I am undoubtably changing the world from within this home & outward. And then I’m kinder to myself and say, “Cheer up lad, and go put on a kettle of tea to brew before that programme starts!”

    Maybe I need that book more than I realized. :)

  19. Leah November 16, 2015 at 8:56 pm - Reply

    This is awesome! I’m going to think about buying it. I have been committing to too many things.

  20. Amy Boucher Pye November 17, 2015 at 9:48 am - Reply

    I love the church calendar – I wanted to write my own book according to it, but the publisher advised to go with the academic year. Would love to read a ‘quiet, solid and thoughtful book.’ :)

  21. Nita Kulesau November 17, 2015 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Yes! I’d like a copy of the book! I, too, have spent many years attuned to school calendars and I’m eager to learn more about the church calendar as it would impact my new leadership role!

  22. Amy S November 17, 2015 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    I’d love a copy if it’s not too late to enter!!

  23. Lynn November 18, 2015 at 4:17 am - Reply

    I really want to try this!!! Thx for the offer!

  24. Amy L. November 19, 2015 at 12:04 pm - Reply

    I can read this book with friends + Bible and discuss once/month to fit our schedules (babies, jobs, etc.) ^_^

  25. Spring November 20, 2015 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    My life has been ordered around a school calander for a long time as well.. through school myself, college, my husband in college, my husband working in the school system, and homeschooling 4 children. This year as we prepped to do missions for the first time, it felt overwhelming to be so busy in our time of rest. I still feel like I’m trying to find that rest. (this also could be an adjusting to a new culture thing

  26. Loran Epp November 21, 2015 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    I totally understand! My life has been ordered by all those things also until 6 months ago. My church was closed and we moved to be close to family and friends. As a underemployed pastor with SLE this has been my greatest challenge. Love your blog! Can’t wait till a new one comes and Pecksniffian my brain from the fog! Blessings!

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