April 9, 2013

book three: freefall to fly (and giveaway!)

Book three in my "Year of Reading" challenge brought new delight to my reading adventures: the chance to read a book written by a friend! Rebekah Lyons shared her own writing journey with me as we sat together in Bryant Park last September, on my first-ever visit to New York City. As we looked out over the lush green lawns of the park, skyscrapers towering on each side, I was charmed by the landscape that I had dreamt of for so many years from movies, books and photographs. And I was charmed, too, by my kind, attentive friend, more of an acquaintance back then, who spoke openly about writing this first book and her experiences living in NYC. I knew right then that I could not wait to read this book!
I was honored with the chance to read a pre-release version of Freefall to Fly a couple of months ago, and Rebekah's story and words have lingered in my heart and mind since. Her book tells the story of her life- her recent move from Atlanta to NYC, her journey into womanhood and motherhood, her experiences battling anxiety and depression, and most of all, her quest for meaning and purpose. Her learnings continue to speak into many small moments in my daily life, whisper-reminders of value and purpose and meaning. I read the book in just two sittings - it captivated and engaged me deeply. Rebekah's writing is lyrical and poetic, yet achingly honest and raw. As she shares the story of her own quest for meaning, she contrasts a world of ideals and dreams with the real daily lives many people lead. She shares the painful journey she followed in order to challenge those contrasts, to find a way to 'have it all' in the most true sense, by living more honestly. She speaks openly  of the difficulties of motherhood. She speaks vulnerably about the pain of mental illness, both in each of us and in those we love. She shares the tumultuous inner path of discovery that led her to question everything about her life and specifically, her faith. She asks brave questions and seeks real, lasting answers. As I finished reading this book, I felt comforted, inspired, and most of all, not alone
In my own life's journey, the concept of spiritual faith and my personal beliefs have been muddied heavily through abuse and hypocrisy. With each passing year, I am given new gifts of clarity and purpose which are fueled and nurtured by my faith. But I still feel fragile, and I am not often likely to pick up books about faith, for fear that I will encounter more of those same things that have hurt me so deeply in the past. What I loved about Freefall to Fly is that Rebekah speaks as a real, down-to-earth human first and foremost. In her journey, she finds comfort, meaning, and purpose in her faith, but she shares the moments of ultimate contrast, too, when she was terrified, lost, and uncertain of how to continue at all. My own faith has been strengthened and inspired by her journey. Whether or not a reader shares Rebekah's faith, they will share Rebekah's fears, hopes, dreams and challenges, as they resonate with the vulnerability in her words. 
In addition to the amazingly gorgeous chalk art cover by the incredible Dana Tanamachi and absolutely beautiful page design within, I loved Rebekah's use of musical terms to punctuate her story: prelude, interlude, and postlude. And here is one of my favorite passages, from the chapter called "Park Avenue Meltdown":
I was reminded by a dear friend, 'If you are in hell, keep walking.' Because somewhere along the way, if you stay in the place where your heart breaks and you put one foot in front of the other, the darkness will eventually lift. The crack of light will burst forth on the horizon, far, far away. It will be the slightest breath of hope... You won't know what that light will yield, but the mere fact that it is light will be enough. 
It will keep you going.   
Freefall to Fly officially releases today, and you can learn more about Rebekah and her book here! With each copy of the book, you will receive some extra bonus gifts, too, including an original art print download by Dana Tanamachi, $5 TOMS gift card, and Freefall to Fly digital soundtrack (which includes music by my amazing husband, Ryan O'Neal of Sleeping At Last!). Also, Rebekah is offering a free sample download of the first chapter to anyone who subscribes to her blog here!

In honor of the book's release, I am delighted to be hosting my very first giveaway here on my blog!! For a chance to win your very own autographed copy of Freefall to Fly, please post a comment below, sharing why you are excited to read it! The giveaway will be open until Monday, April 22nd, and I will post the winner's name here on Tuesday, April 23rd! The winner will have three days to reply by email with their address, otherwise another winner will be chosen. Excited to hear your thoughts about this book and SO excited to choose a lucky winner soon! 


  1. Hello dear Catherine,

    Once again you have seen right through me. I feel like any book you recommend is like a gift from Heaven. I already feel like I can be overwhelmed by this great book.

    The two big things that caught my attention about this book is her battle with anxiety and being on a journey to find her purpose. I have anxiety from a car accident I was in two years ago and can still have anxiety attacks today.. I always feel embarrassed when I have one, especially when some one else is with me.. it always helps me a lot to hear how other people handle it and fight through it. That would be one reason I would want this book.

    The second reason I would want this book is because you said she tells about her journey to find her purpose. I feel I've really been on that road a lot lately.. for months I've been keeping it in prayer, been a tiny bit nervous and even more excited about what God has in store for me for the future. I've been trying to find my real, true, deep passion.. the thing I absolutely want to do for the rest of my life.. what I thought I wanted to do I feel I'm being pulled away from it, I've been seeing that it didn't really feel like what I was suppose to be doing.. and then God showed me recently.. very recently actually what my true, love and passion is and I'm so overwhelmed. I couldn't be happier with it; it really is my true passion. And so that is something I can relate to when reading it in this book.

    The third reason I would want this book is because it is a faith based true story. These are some of the greatest stories to read.. and I'm always so inspired. I have a friend who is a like a brother to me, Jared Shaffer, who is a Marine. He's non-active and is now a paramedic and volunteer fire-fighter.. I found it so inspiring how he not only put his life on the line in the military service but at home too.. so one day I found a book of true stories from fire fighters and paramedics and it made me think of him, it was faith based and I think some of the greatest and inspiring stories you will ever hear come from this book. The book is called, Angels and Heroes: true stories from the front lines by Robert Lesslie.. highly recommend it.

    The fourth reason I would like to have this book is because you have recommended it.. I mean it. I have already gotten two books that you wrote about on here because of what you spoke about them.. and it put a smile on my face and nothing less. I was inspired by what you said about them so I couldn't even imagine what the books would of been like. I know this one is bound to be extraordinary. And you wrote about it with such in depth detail because she's a friend of yours, which only makes me want to read it all the more.

    Thank you for the insight on this book.. rather I win this give away or not I'm still going to get this book.. you have convinced me. I love how you put such loving words into your book reviews. I really do find it so overwhelming.

    God bless you Catherine! much love,

  2. I believe I will be purchasing this book in about two seconds! As soon as I finish this comment, that is. Great post, it was softening to my soul! Can't wait to read more!

  3. oh my! i was really excited to look for this book and then of course, really happy to see the giveaway in the last paragraph. :) this book sounds like EXACTLY what I need to read right now. I also struggle with anxiety and motherhood and lately I've been turning to my faith more than anything else.

  4. sounds like an inspiring read, and quite the package deal with all the fun gifts that come with it! thanks for sharing your reading recommendations and journey throughout 2013!

  5. I read the first chapter of Rebekah's book online and I would love to be able to read the rest. Thanks for the chance!

    hspruitt {at} frontiernet [DoT} net

    1. Sheri-

      Hoorayyyy, you are the giveaway winner!! See my comment below for instructions on receiving your book!


  6. Congratulations, Sheri!! Pulled your name out of the hat and you are the winner of a copy of 'Freefall to Fly'! Please send me an email with your mailing address to lumierepureblog {at} gmail {dot} com so I can get the book to you!

    Thank you SO much to everyone who entered, so fun to host this first giveaway and can't wait for chances to do this again in future. I hope you will all get the chance to read Rebekah's book - I would love to hear your thoughts if you do!


  7. Hi Cayt,

    Thanks so much for the chance to win this copy of Rebekah's book!! I am so looking forward to reading it!