Our very own Val Cottee has written a book!
Those of you who know Val will know her as one of the wisest, humblest, kindest people you could hope to meet and a pillar of our Kerith community over many decades. She has faced a number if challenges in her life, but from my experience of her has faced every one of them with a smile and a deep confidence and trust in God.
I guess the interesting question for me was whether Val could translate all of that experience into book form - well the answer is that she has more than managed to do that.
I honestly thought that writing this I might be saying things like "well done Val for writing a book". I do want to say that (I know how hard it is to actually finish writing a book let alone start), but much more than that I want to say how deeply it challenged me, encouraged me and how God spoke to me through it.
In each chapter Val takes a story or character from the Bible and then weaves her own story in with their story. She manages to be incredibly vulnerable about her own struggles and shortcomings and how God has helped her come through them. Each chapter finishes with some questions for reflection and application. In particular I loved the chapter on Hosea which really spoke to me. My copy of the book is heavily underlined with some of Val's great one liners, such as "I'd rather be in a storm with Jesus than on calm waters without him" and "Jesus has provided a feast but instead we snack on phone calls, television programmes, computers, hobbies or shopping".
You can get Val's book either from Amazon, or by finding her on a Sunday and asking for one! All proceeds are going to the Serenje girls' dormitory. I think it would work really well in a small group or book club context - I'm sure Val would come along if you wanted an authors reading!
Finally I want to encourage others in Kerith who feel they've "got a book in them" to have a go. I wrote in the Peach and the Coconut how we now live in an age where anyone can self publish a book, removing many of the traditional barriers to producing a book. I'd love to see many of us express our God given creativity in this way.