Pages & Paws

Writing, Reading, and Rural Life With a Border Collie

Breaths, Bear Hugs & Best of 2021


A Breath of Fresh God

Kha’ris Books, 2021

Via: Author request

“Sit down with me. We have much to say to each other.”

We’re closing out the year with one of the most unusual and uplifting reads of 2021.

We thought about including this title in a “Best Of” year-end post. Naw. We decided to give it a stand-alone post instead. Here’s why:

A Confession

As described by the author:

“This book is filled with breaths – divine sighs portrayed in images and word pictures that attempt, however awkwardly, to help us explore who this God really is.”

I received an ARC of A Breath of Fresh God shortly before the holidays hit. My initial reaction was I just don’t have time to give this book a fair reading. You know the drill: Holiday rush-rush. Hustle -bustle. Racing around at 90 mph with your hair on fire. And so on.

But one wet, gray afternoon as I watched rain cascade down my kitchen window in sheets, it struck me that maybe I don’t have time to not read it.

But I still had Too. Much. To. Do! I mean, hey. I’m too busy during the holidays to sit down and read much beyond, “Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and bake for 30 minutes.”


Then something happened I didn’t expect (which just shows you what I know!). Something like this:

“Most of the time, I am busy thinking about my daily responsibilities and the common minutiae of my life, and I don’t notice that He is hanging around.”


“Please remind me that even when my mind is distracted from you, Yours is not distracted from me.”

Wham again!

So I began gingerly turning pages.

I started to slow down. Unwind. Come back to earth.

Then I started turning more pages. Intentionally. Joyously. Gloriously. I found Astonishment. Reminders. Gentle nudges. More pages. And somehow, some way, I reconnected with a dear Old Friend. I felt inspired. Challenged. Invigorated. Refreshed.

I guess I didn’t expect that. Which just goes to show you what… Well. You know.

“… he also bids me to leave the porch and walk, not away from Him, but with Him into a world in need of His love.”


In fact, as I read through this highly engaging, beautifully written book, I made some decisions. I made a list of “junk” that was cluttering up the ‘ole cerebral hard drive. And I deep-sixed it. (The irrelevant, time-wasting, useless “junk,” that is. Not the cerebral hard drive. In case you’re wondering.)

“Perhaps here, we must return to Eden.”

Then I went outside. Stood in the rain. Lifted my face to the drooling gray sky. And took a deep breath. Then another. And another. And smiled.

A Breath of Fresh God is a clever, creative collection of personality and panache, wrapped up with a red bow of inspiration and effervescence.  The style is a unique blend of free verse, personal narrative, travelogue, personal reflection and devotional. It’s also a conversation, as the author invites readers to join her in her faith journey.

“In Him, all things hold together.”

No Pulls or Pollyanna

Additionally, the author pulls no punches. She asks the hard questions. There’s none of that pie-in-the-sky, bye-and-bye Pollyanna stuff here. 

Instead, Breath features a “where the rubber meets the road” kind of authenticity that’s as scarce as a slim sow in many similar books (I know. I’ve read them.) It’s inspirational and faith-filled without being preachy. The author draws from her own life experiences and observations, opening a window to the soul as well as letting light out.

It’s a little Patches of God light. A bit The Shack. Some Ben Hur with echoes of The Applause of Heaven. Lots more.

“I am royal again by His compassion.”

Brief, Bite-Sized

Chapters are brief and bite-sized. “Breaths” are interspersed throughout the text. These are “short italic scenes written in the present tense. They’re designed to “remind us all to stop and notice that God is, indeed, here.”

“… He did not give up without a fight. In fact, He has no intention of giving up at all.”

Chapters conclude with a blank “Your Turn” page for readers to write down their own observation, question, or musing. Or, “If nothing comes to mind, just turn the page.” They’re followed by several pages of Questions and Activities to prompt further thought and/or discussion. A list of Recommending Readings is also included.

“… as we stand shivering in the weather, a Tailor beckons.”

Come Thirsty

It’s a quick read. But I’d slow down and savor it ‘fize you. Give it time to soak in. Marinate. It’s as refreshing as a spring breeze. As light and lithe as a ray of warm sunshine after a cold, gray winter.

Reading this delightful blend of insights and inspiration, you’ll feel like a weary desert traveler who’s just stumbled into a vast vat of verdure in the middle of the Sahara Desert.

I did. In fact, I didn’t want it to end.

Indeed, A Breath of Fresh God is more than “a keeper.” It’s one of the year’s finest.

“… I stepped up to shake the King’s hand and thank Him for inviting me, but he caught me up in a bear hug instead.”

Our Rating: 5.0

6 thoughts on “Breaths, Bear Hugs & Best of 2021

  1. I’m so glad you enjoyed this AND got something out of it. Nice review.

  2. I liked reading this book. It made me stop and look at things in a different light.

  3. Hi! At the end of last year, you gave me a wonderful review of my book, A Breath of Fresh God. Thank you again!

    I have the review link listed on my website, but in looking back at it, I’ve wondered if it would be possible to reprint the whole review there instead of just the link. It would still, of course, be credited to your site and show the link back to it. Is that OK? If this isn’t OK, and my request violates general etiquette, please forgive me. I’m afraid my grasp of social media dos and don’ts is loose at best.

    Grace and Peace Charissa Fryberger

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