I love to host book giveaways. This month I’m featuring a wonderful book called Under a Desert Sky: Redefining Hope, Beauty, and Faith in the Hardest Places by Lynne Hartke. It is a wonderful book about faith and trust in God in the hard times. And don’t we all have hard times at times? Read a selection of her book and you’ll appreciate Lynne’s lyrical, beautiful and inspiring words. Then see below about winning Lynne’s book.

The Promise of a Future Blooming 

by Lynne Hartke

The early morning air no longer holds a chill in the dawn of a desert summer. The sun is warm like a blanket I want to throw off, yet snuggle down deep into the not yet awake. Mollie’s tail wags up dust as she waits for the leash to be attached to her collar before we hike down the trail on South Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona.

The mourning dove laments the only song she knows as I pass the shriveled flame of the ocotillo, the orange petals tossed on the dirt like dried up embers on the packed earth. The heavy deadheads of the brittlebush drag the flower faces downward to the ground, while the brown, curled stem of the heliotrope waves in the slight breeze, no hint of the purple flowers of a few months ago.

“The grass withers and the flower fades,” the Old Book says. I know it is true as I witness the fact that the desert has spent all its yearly currency of desert blooms. Only a few coins remain. A late creamy-white bloom on a saguaro. A single yellow flower on a staghorn cactus.

A quail on a rock outcropping stands silhouetted against a gray clouded sky. His plume bobs forward as he sings the first syllable of his song. Kwah. Kwah. Is he a lookout? Is he performing part of his mating call? I am not sure.

I stop to remove a burr from Mollie’s rusty coat, along with a dusting of brittlebush seeds. Her long fur makes her an unwitting mail carrier of packages—which is also part of the spending of the desert in summer as the dried-up plants prepare for future generations to spill out—promises of a blossoming we cannot yet see.

I find myself in need of the reminder of a future blooming.

I need reminding in the dried-up places of my soul upon hearing the news of two more women who died from breast cancer in a cancer support group to which I belong, bringing the number to eleven this year. 

Emily. Dorothy. Melissa. Kelley. Kathy. Netis. Mary. Cynthia. Jenny. Tracy. Sherry.

I need a breathing on the shriveled flames of remembering at the missing around my table at the loss of my parents and my children’s grandparents.

Mom. Dad. Grandma. Grandpa.

I need a scattering of the fear I sometimes still experience at the thought of a recurrence of breast cancer in my own body. I need the remembering of a hillside of golden poppies, of the trumpeting red penstemon, and the cascading yellow of paloverde blooms.

“The grass withers and the flowers fade,” the Old Book says in Isaiah 40:8, but the sentence does not end there. It continues: “But the Word of our God stands forever.”

Summer in the desert is not only about withering grass and fading flowers. Summer in the desert is also about a future returning of life held by Jesus who stands forever—who promises the same to us.

In His hands, death is always prelude to a resurrection—the promise of a future blooming

You can enter the drawing for a print copy of Lynne’s book by making a comment on this blog post or contacting me on my website. Only US addresses can win. The drawing will end Sunday evening, July 15th, 2018.

Lynne Hartke celebrates the difficult and the beautiful with her husband, Kevin, in Chandler, Arizona where they have pastored a church for over thirty years. When not on the trails avoiding rattlesnakes, Lynne is writing, volunteering, and keeping up with their four grown children and three grandchildren. She is the author of Under a Desert Sky: Redefining Hope, Beauty, and Faith in the Hardest Places. Lynne is also a 2018 Voice of Hope with the American Cancer Society.

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