Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Journal of Antonio Montoya

by Anna Joujan

Holy. Holy. Holy is the Lord. The familiar catch of breath. The sting in the eyes. And the tears begin to flow with the falling rain. Or do the tears fall with the flowing rain. What is it in these words that I whisper that wrenches at my heart so? Why does Mary's prayer touch the core of my being, so many centuries after it was spoken?

I think it must be because I know that she was just a girl, just a human being, with a woman's heart like my own. And so, when I hear her wondering words, I can feel with her the emotion she must have felt. To bear the son of God-what wondrous mystery, what glorious honour! And she was, like me, just a young woman-much younger, in fact, than I am now. And so, no matter how often I hear the story and read her words, it still has the power to bring abrupt and unsought tears.

What a gracious God, to work wonders with such frail and faulty creatures as us!


Anna G. Joujan was born in South Dakota, as a Canadian citizen, and was raised in Zambia, the child of missionary teachers. Since her family's move to the U.S., Anna spent her childhood and early adulthood traveling throughout the world thanks to various educational and work opportunities . . . France, China, Peru, and Jamaica being some of the stops in her journeys. Her undergraduate degree in French Literature led to a Masters in Information Sciences, and to work as a college and high school librarian, and a cross country coach. She has also returned to Zambia multiple times to teach for individual families and for local schools. All the while continuing pursuing her passions of writing, artwork, photography . . . and running to a fault. She blogs at Full of Grace.


A three strand pearl necklace will be given away on New Year's Day. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is leave a comment here. Come back on New Year's Day to see if you won!

12 Pearls of Christmas Series and contest sponsored by Pearl Girls®. For more information, please visit

The Journal of Antonio Montoya by Rick Collignon takes place in the Sangre de Christos mountains but has a sense of timelessness. Ramona has isolated herself in her dusty hometown after returning from severl years away trying to find success as an author. She lives alone in her grandparents' house with no sense of purpose or intention until her brother and his wife die, leaving their son an orphan. When the boy's mother sits up in her casket at the graveside and tells Ramona to take care of Jose, Ramona thinks that her mind is starting to slip, but when she takes the boy home, they are greeted by her long dead grandparents who proceed to take care of the pair by cooking and irrigating the fields. Her grandmother gives her an old journal that pulls into the life of the mysterious Antonio Montoya. This book is nearly impossible to summarize. The story quietly unfurls in front of the reader, gently pulling him/her in to Ramona and Antonio's lives. Collignon's quiet prose captures the steady rhythm of small town life and how it can beat down the gentlest of souls. In the end, Ramona is changed by her discoveries in the journal, and the reader may share in her revelation.

Thank you to Unbridled Books for providing me with a copy of this book for review.

Today is another opportunity to sign up to win a pearl necklace from Pearl Girls. Just leave a comment here to be entered. For another contest, read my post from Monday and take a look at the picture, then submit your entry via email before 10 pm on Thursday, Dec. 24th.