Retreat Reflections (2022)

In which the Redeemed Reader team has a retreat after eight years, talks about books, eats wonderful food, talks about books, plans strategically, and talks about books and culture.

Reunion

betsy and janie

Eight years ago the RR team members met in person for the first time (Emily Whitten, our co-founder, was part of that gathering, but she has since moved on to other things). At the end of January, we reunited to share a weekend of worship, table fellowship, lots of tea, book discussion, and strategic planning over a wide range of projects, needs, and opportunities that the Lord has brought to us.

What opportunities? Ah, those will be revealed eventually. For now, I’ll simply assure you that the next Quarterly issue and the summer reading program are coming right along. We continue to pray for wisdom over the rest, and we’ll keep you posted.

hayley and megan heading to the retreat

From Washington State, Minnesota, and Virginia we boarded flights to Missouri. Betsy arrived Friday evening. Lo and behold, Janie was at the airport, picking up her son who kindly came to help care for his dad during our stay.

Megan and Hayley found each other in the Atlanta airport on Saturday.

Betsy picked them up in Springfield, and then, oh, the happiest of reunions began over dinner with Janie. If you are ever in Bolivar, MO, or even within an hour’s drive, it’s worth a trip to The Mediterranean. The food is even more delicious when you get to chat with the owner, even if her secret spices remain a mystery.

Fellowship

Doug's trains

Sunday we worshiped together at Janie’s church and met a sweet fan (hi Rachel!). Then lunch at Janie’s cozy home where we enjoyed getting to know her husband, Doug, and Tielman, their son, who illustrated Janie’s Wordsmith series. We admired Doug’s hobby, and Janie’s writing office nearby. Did you know Janie likes miniatures?

Janie's miniatures

Back at the Air B&B we enjoyed tea in our lovely mugs. Yes, it tastes better when shared with friends.

The Newbery Awards

Monday morning we watched the 100th anniversary ALA Youth Media Awards, frantically writing down titles and deciding who would cover reviews based on library availability. Betsy wins the hot library card award! It’s so nice to have a team with diverse literary tastes.

ALA Youth Media Roundup of Review Roundups:

lovely mugs at the retreat

“Serious” work

After lunch we spread out our notebooks and laptops, fortified with cups of tea, and discussed our vision for Redeemed Reader, our inspirations, invitations from others, and how they fit with our priorities in the more-near and less-near future. It was a grounding reality check, because somehow the great ideas that we get excited about either need to be abandoned, or we have to commit the effort to see them ALL the way through.

"serious" work at the retreat

The biggest concern we have is that there are only four of us and the need is great. We want to review more books because the resistance from the world is increasing. Thankfully, excellent books are still being published by both traditional and Christian publishers, and we want to cover not only as many of those titles as we can, but also those that are messy (but worth reading), as well as some (if necessary) that are offensive.

Of course, there is more to running a website than posting reviews, and all of us have family obligations that come first (caring for a husband of fifty years, raising children, or anticipating marriage). We are working on solutions that will help us serve you better, while not sacrificing our priorities.

Stay tuned.

We’re reading ahead for you.

RR team at the retreat

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Get the information you need to make wise choices about books for your children and teens.

Our weekly newsletter includes our latest reviews, related links from around the web, a featured book list, book trivia, and more. We never sell your information. You may unsubscribe at any time.

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Megan Saben

Megan is Associate Editor for Redeemed Reader, and she loves nothing more than discovering Truth and Story in literature. She is the author of Something Better Coming, and is quite particular about which pottery mug is best suited to her favorite hot drinks throughout the day. Megan lives with her husband and five boys in Virginia.

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2 Comments

  1. Emily Perez on February 14, 2022 at 7:18 pm

    I just love you all so much, and I thank you for what you do to serve God’s people, particularly parents seeking to nourish our children’s hearts and minds with lovely and true ideas. God bless all your efforts.

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