Book Review: Wild in the Hollow

Book Review: Wild in the Hollow

Hi Friends,

It’s officially been 597 years since my last post. But today seems like a good day to tell you about a book I read. In the interest of full disclosure I feel like I should tell you that I received my copy free from Revell Publishing with the agreement that I would post a review here.


Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home, by Amber C. Haines

Amber’s writing is, well, lovely. It’s like a sigh – all airy and spacious and full of images. Quite lovely indeed. In the book she describes her love for the language and everything about the book backs her up. I love that.

Now the hard part…I have been torn about writing this review: I have personally committed to only putting good stuff out there. There are plenty of haters and arguers and critics without me joining the fight. I don’t believe this is the right place for it. Outside of relationship, negativity loses its value, often becoming acidic harpy-ness or angry rants. Not for me. And at first, I didn’t love this book. But I had agreed to write this before they sent me the book. And right next to my personal commitment to put good stuff out there is my commitment to honor my word. Oh dear.

Insert days of stewing over this,
conversations about it with my sister,
deliberating and just plain procrastinating and here we are.

What I didn’t love is this: in her beautiful writing she describes a broken church. Kind of critically. And it seems too easy. We can all criticize God’s saved sinners. I mean, come on. How is that hard? If you’ve ever been to an American church, ever met a believer, you can already tell me what she said. And that doesn’t feel good to me. Her points are completely fair and valid, and likely they are pretty accurate too but I want to read a book about how the church is redeemed, how we-worked-through-the-hard-stuff-and-this-is-where-we-landed. But that’s not this book.

What this book is, is about her personal story and I’m not sure she could have told it without being critical first since that comes the closest to explaining how she got the to the redemption at the end. Which means, if you, like me, find the beginning of the book frustrating because you can find critical descriptions of the Bride of Christ any day of the week, (on your Facebook page for crying out loud!) then I would encourage you to stick with it to the end. Somewhere in chapter 12 it turned a corner for me and became not about what-is-wrong-with-the-church but what-your-life-in-Christ can be. And that made all the difference for me. What I thought was a negative, take-the-easy-way, criticism, became a book about redemption and hope and healing. I finally saw myself in her honest descriptions and quit feeling as though it was my job to defend the whole community of faith.

As a whole, the book is engaging, easy to read, lyric in its prose but challenging in its subject matter. At the end of the day, it’s not my favorite but I applaud her honesty and remarkable vulnerability that revealed a pretty awesome and strong woman of God.

What about you…what do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts or responses in the comments.51eMabthipL._SX342_BO1204203200_-276x400

End of the Term…Again


AmpersandIt’s hard to believe it but the end of the term has come again. At this point I have finished four of six quarters. And I’m still loving it. This fall I took a branding class. My teacher has a studio of her own and I am so impressed with her work. The course assignments were really valuable and pretty creative: at the beginning of the term she assigned each of us a client from her own customers and we took it from there…renaming, researching, three rounds of branding and a final brand book. She and her co-workers acted as “the client” and gave us feedback on our projects, sometimes particularly insightful, design-based feedback. Ha.


To finish up we took our projects and created two books: a brand book and a process book. In real life the brand book would be for the client. Essentially it says, here’s your brand and here’s how you should use it. This is particularly important for a large corporation, university, or franchise where lots of people will be using the logo since it provides a uniformity to the brand implementation. The process book, on the other hand, would be for future employers to show them the work you did and the process you followed. It allows folks to see what you did with input from the client or direction from a design mentor or whatever. It should tell the story from beginning to end, walking you from start to finish.


I ended up designing for a wedding photographer in Montreal. The beauty of the assignment is that each of us came Ligatureup with totally different solutions depending on the particular project we were assigned. (My classmates created some STUNNING projects!) So, without further ado, here are my books. You’ll see the process as well as the final brand and its directives, along with everything in between. Click below to check them out…

Branding Book

Process Book