Books: Whirlybirds and Ordinary Times

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I hold it in my hand—this single wing—and balance it on the tip of my fingers. It sits poised this mid-afternoon…ready to take flight. The day creeps with a gray mist but Lucy Mae and I have been walking. We walked the neighborhood in search of an unlikely treasure. One I have been thinking about since I read this book.

We call them helicopters—have since I was a kid—after the way they twirl like a propeller as they fall. But she calls them whirlybirds, and that’s what she named her book: Whirlybirds and Ordinary Times. It’s a book loosely arranged around the church calendar but rather steeped in the holy of the ordinary. When the publicist emailed me to ask if I’d like to read and review—the title invited me in. Whose heart doesn’t lift at the quick turning of the falling Maple keys? This must be a different kind of book on faith, I mused. And I was right.
More a collection of essays than that typical Christian book that gives a “how to”, Whirlybirds is organized under the headings of Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. But each story stands on its own as a unique perspective on the faith journey. Katie Savage’s voice can range from the brutally honest to the achingly tender and rings of a softer, less experienced (aren’t we all?) Ann Lamott. The voice is authentic and sweet without being afraid to use a curse word here and there.
After walking all over the neighborhood, Lucy Mae and I found the Maple seeds in our own backyard. These fragile, papery winglets have been sleeping under Teddy’s tree since last summer. The edges are frayed and the skin translucent and the tip is inked with a dark stain. I hold the thing up to the sky and examine its persistent being. Why didn’t you tell me you were waiting for me here? I wonder at the seed.

Isn’t this how walking with God can be? We search all over and make big plans and wander far from the home of His heart only to find that what we seek is right beside us—breathing in and out with every ordinary moment of life. Henri Nouwen says, the farther the outward journey takes you, the deeper the inward journey must be.

I think this is what Katie Savage is telling us in her book Whirlybirds and Ordinary Times: Reflections on Faith and the Changing of Seasons: Do not despise the slow passing of the ordinary moments. This is where God moves…and if we watch close, we may just see His breath blow over.
Standing in our back yard, I slowly lift my hand, unclench my fingers. And I watch as the wind carries my whirlybird silently away.

note: I was given a complimentary copy of this book but this post reflects my honest opinions.


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  1. smoothstones says

    Patience in the face of suffering. Patience in the face of…anything.

    These whirlybirds: my son turned them into fish in art class, one year, and I have them framed in my bathroom. One of my favorite things in the log cabin.

  2. says

    Thanks for sharing this book; it sounds perfectly lovely. I’ve added it to my wishlist. I, too, relish finding God in the everyday, and most especially in nature. I love the pensive quality of this time of year and the challenge of finding beauty in gray bark, bare branches, browned grasses and leaves. {And, yes, I play with whirlybirds and acorn cups in my backyard with my little one, even in December.}

  3. pastordt says

    This sounds like a book I’d like to read. Heck, this sounds like a book I’d like to write. But that will never happen… Thanks for this invitation to read it. I just may take you up on it.

  4. says

    Don’t despise the day of the small beginnings, I think the verse says. We all want a splash, a big leap into the world. When really, God works in the ordinary, the simple and the pure.

  5. amyscanderson says

    Just put the book in my Amazon cart—thank you for sharing. I call them helicopters as well~so it’ll be good to expand myself a bit:) For now I think I’ll go take a walk.

  6. Katie Savage says

    Laura, thank you so much for the lovely review. It is so encouraging– especially as a new, never-been-heard-from-before author like me– to hear how the book resonated with readers. I’ve mostly heard from readers I know, which is nice, but compliments are not quite the same coming from your mom!

    I love that Nouwen quote, and a comparison to Anne Lamott is exceptionally flattering. (My husband and I got a good laugh at the descriptor “less experienced.” Haha. Great way to put it!) Thanks again. If I could have verbalized a takeaway I wanted for readers, it would be everything you have in this post. Blessings.

  7. says

    It was my pleasure, Katie, to review the book. It was a breath of fresh air during a busy season. I appreciate your words. Be blessed in this Advent season and may your writing continue to bless others.

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