Just Like Going Home

Renee Ann Smith —  September 7, 2014 — 22 Comments
I'm fourth down on the right: the small blonde child facing the camera

I’m fourth down on the right: the small blonde child facing the camera

 My childhood was marked by large family gatherings, like the Thanksgiving in this photo

I grew up in the same small town as the families of my dad’s three brothers & my mom’s two siblings. My cousins walked the halls of my school with me, and I seemed to stumble over at least one relative every place I went. At one point, of the twenty or so homes on our street & extension, about seven of them housed relatives—granted some were distant.

The presence of my extended family left me with a strong feeling of being loved and watched over, of being part of something good.

Some of my best memories involve family dinners—my four siblings, I, and my parents sitting around the table during those few short years when we were all home and healthy and happy How quickly the time has flown since those days under my parents’ roof.

I enjoyed my childhood, but I truly did not realize what a rare treasure it was until I began teaching. I teach high school English at a small-town Christian school, and I calculated that in our tiny community of 80 kids, 20% of them come from fractured homes &traumatic pasts. Unlike me, their childhoods include abuse, foster care, a parent in prison or on drugs, death of a parent, being raised by grandparents, no father, never met their father, or unhappily married parents who divorced. So they are highly entertained when I share stories from my growing up years!

I enjoy going home again in my mind. I think that’s why I’m drawn to books about large, chaotic, loving families facing life together even after they’re adults. I call it my Walton’s Syndrome.

The latest book to provide my Walton’s Syndrome fix is Deborah Raney’s charming story Home to Chicory Lane.

Chicory Lane is where Audrey & Grant Whitman raised their five kids. Now that those kids are grown, they’ve invested a large part of Grant’s retirement and much sweat equity into transforming their home into a bed & breakfast. The book begins as they’re ready to jump into the new world of innkeeping. However, little do they expect their first—nonpaying!—guest to be married daughter Landyn, who has run back home after a fight with her husband. Though shocked that the newlyweds have run into trouble after just six months, Landyn’s family rallies around her and her husband Chase in a beautiful way.

Because that’s life in the Whitman family—parents, adult kids, and grandkids, supporting each other through tough times with grace, humor & prayer. And then, as Grant says, “Learning to enjoy the lull between catastrophes.”

What I liked best . . .

  • The gentle flow of the story—perfect for a crisp fall day & a cup of tea!
  • The whole idea of running a bed & breakfast (My Lorelai Gilmore Syndrome!)
  • Getting to know the Whitmans & their adult kids (They’ll be featured in more books to come!)
  • Going along for the ride as Audrey & Grant learn to handle scheduling and preparing and unruly guests (even young beauty queens)
  • Seeing their daughter Landyn grow & change as she puts her life back together
  • Speculating on the future relationship between Link & Bree

My favorite quotes . . .

deborah raney quote“We’re just imperfect people trying to follow a perfect God. We try to be obedient to all we know of Him. And we have to trust that He’ll take care of the rest.”

Deborah Raney quote“The more we see Him work in our lives, the easier it will be to trust Him.”

What you should do next . . .

You can grab a copy of Home to Chicory Lane at this link. ***Thanks to Deborah Raney & Litfuse PR for providing a copy for me to review.

Deborah RaneyAbout the author: DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A VOW TO CHERISH, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title. Her books have since won the RITA Award, ACFW Carol Award, HOLT Medallion, National Readers’ Choice Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. HOME TO CHICORY LANE released in August from Abingdon Press Fiction. Deb and her husband, Ken Raney, enjoy life in Kansas. They have four children and five small grandchildren, who all live much too far away.

You can connect with Deborah . . .

At her website

On her Facebook page

On Twitter

So glad you stopped by to soak in some nostalgia today. Blessings, friends!

***I’ll Tweet your post! I enjoy tweeting the posts and/or graphics of my visitors. If you’re on Twitter, I’ll follow you—if I’m not already. Let me know in the comments how to find you in the Tweet-world!

***Photo Backstory: I made the quote graphics with images from my account at RGB Stock Photos & tweaked them with PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share.

This week I might be linking up with  Motivation Monday, Playdates with God, The Art of Homemaking Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Inspire Me Monday, The MM&M Monday Link Up, Sharing His Beauty, Mommmy Monday Blog Hop,Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Modest Mondays, Make Your Home Sing Monday, Unforced Rhythms, Salt & LightBusy Monday, Tell Me a True Story, Turn It Up Tuesday,Titus 2 Tuesdays,What I Learned This Week, Titus 2sday Link-up, Testimony Tuesday, Raising Homemakers, Imperfect Prose, Worth Casing Ms Mystery Case, Woman to Woman, A Little R&R, Wake Up Wednesday, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Winsome Wednesday, Wise Woman Wednesday, Three Word Wednesday, Works for Me Wednesday, Whimsical Wednesday, Capture Your Journey Wednesday, Adorned from Above Wednesday Link Party, Words of Life Wednesday, Coffee for Your Heart, Juana Mikels Wednesday Link-up, Mom’s Morning Coffee, Hope in Every Season Homemaking Party, Thursday Favorite Things, Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Booknificent Thursday, Tell His Story, Thought Provoking Thursday, From House to Home Link Party, Share the Joy Thursday, Time Travel Thursday,Grace at Home, Little Things Thursday, Hearts for Home Hop, Christian Connection,Christian Fellowship Friday, Faith-filled Friday Faith & Fellowship Friday,Friendship Friday, Equipping Godly Women, Freedom Friday, Essential Friday Link-up, Friday Finds, Coffee Date @Dearest Love, Fridays Unfolded, Everyday Jesus, On Your Heart, Anything Goes, Paula’s No Rules Weekend Hop, Blessings Counters, Missional Weekend Link Up, Saturday Sharefest, Saturday Soiree, Saturday Situation,Heart Reflected, Recommendation Saturday, Still Saturday, Beauty Observed, Weekend No Rules Blog Hop, Fresh-brewed Sundays, Sunday Stillness, What I Learned This Month, and The Sunday Community.

Renee Ann Smith

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I teach literature in a Christian high school by day and write inspirational fiction by night. I love to share heart-touching quotes and stories here on my blog. So glad you stopped by!

22 responses to Just Like Going Home

  1. What a nice memory you have, and you are so true in how sad it is that today’s families are anything but what we remembered from our past. I remember when my girl friends parents separated in the 70’s it was devastating! I too didn’t realize what I had until I was an adult and looked back at how I was raised in a big family with two loving parents and how blessed I was.

    • So glad you also have sweet childhood memories, Tracy! And speaking of cozy family memories, I enjoyed visiting your blog. The pics of your life on the farm & your grandchild make it a very homey place to visit! Blessings!

  2. Now that I am grown, I too have found that loving, unified, families are more of a rarity. I cherish the memories and warmth of my family. This book sounds like a fun read! I hope to enjoy it soon!

  3. Thanks for the excellent review—definitely makes me want to check it out! I hope you’ll stop by and link up with my homemaking party, if you’ve not already. I’m trying to build a positive atmosphere at my blog and your post would fit in well!


  4. I think God designed us for big families that make us feel “The presence of my extended family left me with a strong feeling of being loved and watched over, of being part of something good.” Was it you that introduced me to D E Stevenson – I love all the family in her books:) Thanks for the reading suggestion!

  5. A lovely post as always. Love the graphics and enjoyed the book review. I will love this one~

  6. What memories you bring back! I also grew up surrounded by a large extended family and loved those big family dinners. Now, we don’t live near any of our family and it’s just as likely to be only the four of us on a holiday.

    • I miss those big gatherings also. But small can be good, too. When it comes to love & support, God makes any size family work! Thanks for visiting, Kathryn. I enjoyed reading your most recent posts. Thanks for sharing. Blessings!

  7. Oh I’m a sucker for the Walton syndrome too! 🙂 Add that to a good book and I’m there. Thanks for sharing this review with us and for linking up at Testimony Tuesday!! xoxo

  8. Hi Renee! I saw your link on Booknificent Thursdays and the title caught my attention. It’s always nice visiting other Christian bloggers. This isn’t my first visit either.

    The reason why your title caught my attention is because I’ve missed too many family gatherings, including Thanksgivings. It’s my 19th year in South Africa and we are trying to sell our house to relocate to the States. One big motivating factor is that I miss family and I want my kids to get to know our family better that side. Too bad everyone lives in different States. That makes it harder. Please send a prayer our way! Thanks! Tina from Amanda’s Books and More (also Light and Life Bible Ministries) God bless!

    • Praying for you today, Christina! I left a comment at your sweet blog but will say again here that I asked that God will help sell your house quickly & that you won’t miss many more extended family gatherings. I enjoyed the pics of your Superhero Daughters 🙂 Blessings!

  9. Beautiful review of a beautiful book. I love your graphics!

  10. Thanks for sharing here, ladies! I got around to visit all of your blogs & so enjoyed soaking in your posts. Have a great week. Blessings!

  11. Great book review! Our family always tries to have a huge family dinner every Thanksgiving. There is something just so special about having everyone together and sharing a meal together. Those are some of my favorite memories!!

  12. Love this! Such a beautiful post. I, too, treasure the wholeness of my family, the meals we have shared together, and the safety my parents provided for me. I’m reminded every day at my high-risk/low income area school that what I experienced growing up is sadly not the way my students are. It breaks my heart.

  13. This book sounds like it’s such a wonderful one! Thanks for linking the review up with the Faith and Fellowship blog hop!

  14. This looks like it will be a much-loved series, much like Karen Kingsbury’s Baxter books. Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday! Hope to see you again next week.

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