Archives For C. S. Lewis

That’s the Deal

Renee Ann Smith —  July 28, 2014 — 23 Comments

Why love if losing hurts so much?

Probably every one of us who ever lived has asked that question.

After four short years with the wife he lost to cancer, C. S. Lewis answered it this way,

“Why love, if losing hurts so much? I have no answers anymore: only the life I have lived.
Twice in that life I’ve been given the choice: as a boy and as a man.
The boy chose safety, the man chooses suffering.

The pain now is part of the happiness then.
That’s the deal.”

And you can tell he’d do it all over again if he had the chance.

(If you haven’t seen Anthony Hopkins saying these lines as C. S. Lewis in the movie Shadowlands, you need to go right now to Netflix or Amazon Prime & reserve a copy. But come right back!)

In her novel When I Fall in Love, Susan May Warren answers it this way,

“When we suffer, it forces us into God’s arms.
That’s where we find not only what we need, but more than we can imagine.
We find Him.”

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Susan May Warren

I couldn’t help but think of C. S. Lewis’s real-life love story as I read When I Fall in Love.

Both stories reminded me that love is most beautiful when its cost is great. And both stories made me thankful for the people God has brought into my life—even those I lost too soon.

But unlike the C. S. Lewis story which has reached its eternal happy ending, When I Fall in Love explores those ‘What If’s with which we torture ourselves . . .

  • What if I risk my heart & end up rejected?
  • What if the person I love leaves?
  • What if I bring children into this dangerous world & it damages them?
  • What if God doesn’t stop the things I fear from happening?

As it says on the back cover: “If love means having to sacrifice her ideal happily every after, Grace’s faith will face its toughest test yet.”

The story focuses on predictable Grace Christiansen, who likes to play it safe, and daring hockey player Max Sharpe, who will risk anything but his heart. Grace & Max find themselves paired up for a cooking class and then a cooking competition (and all in exotic Hawaii!). Though they make a perfect team, they each harbor private fears that prevent them from pursuing a future together.

How they work through their ‘What If’s and fight for love makes for a beautiful story! It’s amazing how author Susan May Warren can touch on our most deeply felt needs and fears, present heart-breaking situations, and find the romance & happy ending in it all. She always leaves me feeling uplifted and hopeful.

What I liked best . . .

When I Fall in LoveWonderfully real, relatable book people

Memorable, romantic scenes between Grace & Max

Vicarious travel to Hawaii & the Deep Haven resort

Swim buddies & hockey dads

Great recipes & descriptions of food

The preacher on the beach

The secondary storyline involving lonely but brave Raina

The charming, exasperating, break-your-heart younger Christiansen brothers

Another favorite quote . . .

Susan May Warren quote

“I think everyone who gets to have dreams should reach for them.” ~Susan May Warren~

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What you should do next . . .

Follow this link to purchase When I Fall in Love. ***Thanks to Susan May Warren & Litfuse for providing a copy for me to review.

Click on the image below to enter the cool GIVEAWAY!

Susan May Warren Giveaway

About the Author:  Susan May Warren is the bestselling, RITA Award-winning author of more than forty novels, whose compelling plots and unforgettable characters have won acclaim with readers and reviewers alike. Susan May WarrenShe served with her husband and four children as a missionary in Russia for eight years before she and her family returned home to the States. She now writes full-time as her husband runs a lodge on Lake Superior in northern Minnesota, where many of her books are set. She and her family enjoy hiking, canoeing, and being involved in their local church.

Several of her critically acclaimed novels have been ECPA and CBA bestsellers, were chosen as Top Picks by Romantic Times, and have won the RWA’s Inspirational Reader’s Choice contest and the American Christian Fiction Writers Book of the Year award. Five of her books have been Christy Award finalists.

In addition to her writing, Susan loves to teach and speak at women’s events about God’s amazing grace in our lives. She also runs a writing community for authors.

Visit to learn more.
***For any writers out there, joining My Book Therapy was one of the best decisions I’ve made yet in my writing journey. I attended the MBT Deep Thinkers Retreat and found that so many things connected for me during those five days. (I can’t wait to go again!) You should hop to the website and at least check out the free level today!

You can connect with SMW

Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!

***Photo Backstory: I made the first graphic with an image from RGB Stock Photos & the second from an iPhone pic of Copake Lake here in upstate New York and tweaked them with PicMonkey. Feel free to Pin, Tweet, download & share. (Follow this link for more Free Graphics.) Continue Reading…

Favorite Quotes about Love

Renee Ann Smith —  February 14, 2013 — 9 Comments

 Mother Teresa

“Let us always meet each other with a smile. For a smile is the beginning of love.” ~Mother Teresa~ Continue Reading…

The Screwtape Letters“I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death. I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.” ~C. S. Lewis~

Some of my favorite and most vibrant Christians fixed their eyes on Heaven, set out to pursuit it, and never looked back. Let’s soak in their influence and learn to love Heaven with them! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing my top five picks from their books. Coming in at number 4 is The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis.

The Screwtape Letters is a series of letters from a master tempter named Screwtape to his nephew Wormwood. Screwtape shares his advice, garnered from centuries of tempting humans, on how Wormwood can either keep his “patient” from becoming a Christian or steal his joy and keep him far from Christ once he does.

Screwtape inhabits a topsy-turvy world, where he calls God the Enemy and refers to Satan as Our Father Below. But this unique viewpoint makes The Screwtape Letters one of C. S. Lewis’s most creative and powerful works. Looking at Christians from the tempter’s point of view opened my eyes to my own sins, hypocrisies, and compromises. 

Consider these gems of wisdom from Screwtape . . .

“Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.”

“It is funny how mortals always picture us as putting things into their minds: in reality our best work is done by keeping things out.”

“A woman means by Unselfishness chiefly taking trouble for others; a man means not giving trouble to others…thus, while the woman thinks of doing good offices and the man of respecting other people’s rights, each sex, without any obvious unreason, can and does regard the other as radically selfish.”

 “All you then have to do is keep out of his mind the question ‘If I, being what I am, can consider that I am in some sense a Christian, why should the different vices of those people in the next pew prove that their religion is mere hypocrisy and convention?’”

And I love Screwtape’s description of a Christian’s first moments in Heaven. Here’s a little taste of that section . . .

“He had no faintest conception till that very hour of how they [heavenly beings] would look, and even doubted their existence. But when he saw them he knew that he had always known them and realized what part each one of them had played at many an hour in his life when he had supposed himself alone, so that now he could say to them, one by one, not ‘Who are you?’ but ‘So it was you all the time.’

All that they were and said at this meeting woke memories. The dim consciousness of friends about him which had haunted his solitudes from infancy was now at last explained; that central music in every pure experience which had always just evaded memory was now at last recovered. He saw not only Them; he saw Him [Jesus]. This animal, this thing begotten in a bed, could look on Him. What is blinding, suffocating fire to you is now cool light to him, is clarity itself, and wears the form of a man . . .”

heaven 11 resize

Are you beginning to see why The Screwtape Letters is one of my students’ favorite books?  You can purchase your own special illustrated copy for $3.99 at this link.

Focus on the Family also did a fantastic job transforming The Screwtape Letters into Radio Theatre. Check it out here!

Here’s another link you might be interested in: A Year with C. S. Lewis: Daily Readings from His Classic Works. Enjoy!

What about you, friends?

  • Do you think about Heaven much?
  • Are you curious to know how our lives will be there?
  • Is there someone special you look forward to reuniting with one day?
  • What’s your favorite verse about Heaven?
  • What non-fiction book or novel changed your perspective on spiritual journey in a big way?
Please know that, though I may not respond right away, I eventually visit the blogs of all who leave comments. And whenever I see your names here, I always, always pray for you! Blessings!
Read about my number 5 pick, Safely Home here.

This week I’m linking up with Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Soli Deo Gloria, The Better Mom, Covered in Grace, Rachelwojo, Modest Mondays, GraceLaced Mondays, Raising Arrows, A Mama’s Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesdays, Just Write, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Tell Me About It Tuesday, Tuesdays Unwrapped, Teaching What Is Good, Mom’s Library, Tuesday Tips, What I Learned This Week, Heart and Home, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Raising Homemakers, Deep Roots at Home, God Bumps, Wednesday Walkabout, Think Outside the Blog, Word-filled Wednesday, Thankful Homemaker, Wisdom Wednesday, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Thursday Favorite Things,Thriving Thursday, Hearts for Home, Legacy Leaver, Thoughtful Thursday, Life in the Comments, Almost Friday Thursday Blog Hop, Favorite Things, Faith-filled Friday, Friday @Homemaker by Choice, Just for Fun Friday, Fellowship Friday, Womanhood with Purpose, Weekend Whatever, and Heart Reflected.

When tragedy blindsides us, we cry out, “Why?” Our faith wavers. We beg for some explanation of the purpose behind life’s pain. Don’t let well-meaning friends or life’s busy-ness silence those doubts and questions. Take time to seek the answers from God. He’s equipped some of His most faithful servants to help us make sense of suffering and cope with tragedy. Here’s a list of their books. May they give you hope.

books tragedy websiteOn Asking God Why: And Other Reflections on Trusting God in a Twisted World by Elisabeth Elliot. Elisabeth Elliot’s first husband was martyred on the mission field during their newlywed years. She lived many years as a single mother. Her second husband died after a painful battle with cancer. Her book is a collection of meditations that confront the many issues we must deal with in our daily lives.

If God Is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil by Randy Alcorn. Suffering and evil beg questions about God. Why would an all-good and all-powerful God create a world full of evil and suffering? How can there be a God if suffering and evil exist? Best-selling author Randy Alcorn challenges the logic of disbelief, and brings a fresh, realistic, and thoroughly biblical insight to the issues these important questions raise.

When God Weeps by Joni Eareckson Tada. After more than thirty years in a wheelchair, Joni Eareckson Tada’s intimate experience with suffering gives her a special understanding of God’s intentions for us in our pain. In When God Weeps, she and lifelong friend Steven Estes probe beyond glib answers that fail us in our time of deepest need.

The Problem of Pain by C. S. Lewis. Why must humanity suffer? In this elegant and thoughtful work, C. S. Lewis questions the pain and suffering that occur everyday and how this contrasts with the notion of a God that is both omnipotent and good. An answer to this critical theological problem is found within these pages.

One Minute After You Die by Erwin Lutzer. This book opens a window on eternity with a simple and moving explanation of what the Bible teaches about death. Lutzer brings a biblical and pastoral perspective to such issues as: channeling, reincarnation, the justice of eternal punishment, the death of a child, trusting in God’s providence, and preparing for your own final moment.

This week I’m linking up with Monday Musings, Hear It on Sunday, Soli Deo Gloria, The Better Mom, Covered in Grace,Rachelwojo, Modest Mondays, Raising Arrows, A Mama’s Story, Teach Me Tuesdays, Gratituesdays, Just Write, Titus 2 Tuesdays, Tuesdays Unwrapped, Tuesday Tips, What I Learned This Week, Heart and Home, Domestically Divine Tuesday, Word-filled Wednesday, Thankful Homemaker, Wholehearted Home Wednesdays, Little Things Thursday, Thursday Favorite Things, Hearts for Home, Legacy Leaver, Favorite Things, Faith-filled Friday, Womanhood with Purpose, Weekend WhateverYour Sunday Best, The Sunday Community, Heart Reflected, and Fresh-brewed Sundays.


Did you ever wonder if God plays favorites? Have you looked around at the blessings others received and worried that God had forgotten you? Click on the video below to hear some encouraging words concerning “God’s favorites.”

Here’s the whole story from John 11:

6 “So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, 7 and then he said to his disciples, ‘Let us go back to Judea.’

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home. 21 ‘Lord,’ Martha said to Jesus, ‘if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.’

23 Jesus said to her, ‘Your brother will rise again.’

24 Martha answered, ‘I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.’

25 Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’

27 ‘Yes, Lord,’ she replied, ‘I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.’

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. ‘The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.’ 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.’

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.

So the next time you worry that God has been playing favorites or that God has forgotten you, open your Bible to John 11—or pop back over and re-watch this video!

Follow this link for “Does God play favorites–part II?

This week, I’m linking up with friends at Playdates with God, Women Living Well, Thought-provoking Thursday, Thankful Thursday, Imperfect Prose, and Good Morning Girls.

No Ordinary Blog Hop

Quote of the day

Renee Ann Smith —  January 14, 2012 — 5 Comments

“A man can no more diminish God’s glory
by refusing to worship Him
than a lunatic can put out the sun
by scribbling the word ‘darkness’
on the walls of his cell.”

~C. S. Lewis~

Quote of the day

Renee Ann Smith —  October 30, 2011 — 2 Comments

“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” ~C. S. Lewis~

The inner fire

Renee Ann Smith —  October 19, 2011 — 20 Comments

“In everyone’s life, at some time, the inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner fire.” ~Albert Schweitzer~

C. S. Lewis

Corrie ten Boom with Billy Graham

Darlene Deibler Rose

Jim Elliot

J. R. R. Tolkien

Elisabeth Elliot

Amy Carmichael

Who would you add to this list?