QLBs for Christmas

In a post last summer – https://rjthesman.net/2012/06/22/the-qlb-in-taos/ – I talked about the quaint little bookstore in Taos, “Moby Dickens.” Don’t you just love that name? This wonderful bookstore with a Southwest flair sports hundreds of shelves filled with all types of books.

Here in the heartland, we have several QLBs that I would like to promote for Christmas.

Herald and Banner Books at 74th and Metcalf, Overland Park, KS. As you drive up to this building, it seems nondescript with its brown and red brick exterior. But once you enter the doors, it is apparent that this bookstore contains the latest in Christian literature as well as many types of faith-promoting items.

It’s the atmosphere that strikes you first. I could actually feel the spirit of God in that place, and even after an hour browsing through the aisles – I hated to leave. If you’re in the area, reserve an hour or so for Herald and Banner Books.

Faith and Life Books in Newton, KS, also carries the spirit of peace and joy. This is a lovely bookstore with decorations that took my breath away and made me want to run home and redecorate.

I saw this bookstore at the brink of the Christmas season and was so enthralled with their creative use of natural items to decorate the trees. Because I was on a limited time schedule, I didn’t have enough time to really experience everything in Faith and Life. It’s on my bucket list to return.

Signs of Life Gallery in Lawrence, KS contains a unique shelving of Christian books along with a grand piano on the main floor. Whenever I visit Signs of Life, I have to force myself not to sit down and play Für Elise. Upstairs is an art gallery, hence the name, “Signs of Life Gallery.”

Other rooms contain tables and chairs, spaces for Bible studies and meetings of any kind. Plus, this bookstore has a coffee bar, so one of the main draws is the soothing smell of mocha and chai.

Hastings in Enid, OK. Although Hastings is a chain bookstore, this one has the feel of a QLB. Also graced with a coffee bar, many of my Okie friends frequent this store and plug into the wifi while sipping from a large assortment of comforting lattes. Hastings also sports a large electronics section, DVDs, CDs and tapes from the latest musicians.

The Gift Shop at Olathe Medical Center. A hospital gift shop has one purpose – to provide a place filled with beautiful things that somehow encourage patients and/or their families.

The staff of OMC work hard to include lots of gifts that celebrate the Christmas season, share joy and instill hope in customers. This shop is so beautiful, it’s worth a trip out to the southwest side of Olathe, KS, just to see it.

What do all these QLBs have in common and why do I want to promote them during this Christmas season?

Because all of them employ managers who gave my book a chance.

"The Unraveling of Reverend G"

“The Unraveling of Reverend G”

All of these QLBs currently hold copies of “The Unraveling of Reverend G,” so I’m hoping that my readers will encourage the staff and buy a book for Christmas.

After all, for those of us who love QLBs, this is the perfect opportunity to support them as they continue in business.

God bless the managers of these QLBs, not only for taking a chance on me, but also for spreading the beauty of Christian fiction.

© 2012 RJ Thesman

Birthday Changes

All my life, Mom made my birthday special. One year, she made the most decadent gooey chocolate cake I’ve ever tasted. I walked into the house after a long basketball practice, plopped into my chair at the kitchen table and eagerly sliced a piece of that wonderful cake. It tasted like love.

During my first year of college, I lived far away on my birthday. But Mom somehow managed to send a message to the dorm mother who arranged for a chocolate chip creation that I shared with all the girls on my hall.

Mom never forgot birthdays for any of us. She schemed and planned for weeks in order to make the best cake, find the perfect present and make the day special. Then she lustily sang the Happy Birthday song, to ensure that each of her children knew what a special day it was for her, too.

This year, my birthday seemed bittersweet. For two hours, I signed books at my hometown Hastings. It was a great time of connecting with friends and family, talking about Reverend G and sipping an iced chai. Afterwards, my siblings and I feasted at the local Western Sizzlin’ where I treated myself to a dish of blackberry cobbler a la mode.

Then I drove to the nursing home to spend the rest of the evening with Mom. We watched television together as she asked me over and over about my son’s major in college. I didn’t tell her about the book signing, because she would have regretted that she couldn’t come.

Every five minutes, she pleaded, “When can I go home? Why can’t I go home? I want to go home.”

No birthday card. No mention of the day. No cake.

I felt guilty for my self-pity, knowing that for me it was only a birthday. For Mom, it’s the rest of her life in a facility and a gradual eating away of her brain by that brutal Alzheimer’s.

But still, I missed the fact that for the first time in my life, October 12 came and went without a birthday acknowledgement from Mom. And there will never be another birthday card from her or a decadent chocolate cake or a colorful balloon. Those days are over.

As I drove back to Kansas, a song on the radio reminded me to hang on to the only One who never changes, the Christ who saved me and now upholds all of us in this Alzheimer’s journey with Mom.

“When my world is shaking, heaven stands. When my heart is breaking, I never leave your hands.”