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We Stood Upon Stars Review by Sheila Quach

Finding God in Lost Places
Roger W. Thompson

Every now and then you come across a book that really pulls you in close and touches you.  Roger W. Thompson’s newest book, We Stood Upon Stars Finding God in Lost Places was just that book for me.  I was unaware of how much it would impact me when I first stared at its stunning cover of a blissful night sky, but I am here to tell you that this book has been well loved over here.  Page after page I have highlighted, creased edges and stuffed it full of little post it notes as I’ve soaked in all of its rich wisdom, truths and light bulb moments.  My tattered book has come with me on my last two camping trips and I’m excited to share just a few of my most favorite things that I have savored from this book.

This book is not a book that must be read from front to back.  I will admit I poked around to each of the chapters to see the locations.  See each chapter hosts a special place in the writer’s life during one of his adventures.  All of them cover the West and each has a hand drawn map.  The maps are a mix of topography, drawings of places and nature, highlighted with adventures taken, places stopped and explored and even a little bit of History.  I love the fun extras like how to find the best tacos, music play lists, what to do in the area from farmer’s markets to chili cook offs.  My family and I took a cross country trip last year and we live here in the west, so it was really neat to see places I was familiar with in Roger’s journeys.  My one and only suggestion to the writer is to complete another book with his maps, this time in color.  This is how lovely his maps are, our coffee table will never be complete without it so my fingers are crossed for another book in the future.

One of my favorite things besides the maps of course is the stories.  This book was like chicken soup for my soul on steroids.  My family went through a huge crisis four years ago and we have all grown closer to the Lord since then.  The outcome of this crisis has also opened up new creative outlets for myself that have been dormant for years.  But, my Husband was a different story.  He still struggles with forgiving himself and letting God lead him on his planned adventure.  This book reminds me that in those “lost places” God is there holding your hand through the good times and the treacherous paths that life sometimes consists of.  We have been reading this book together and we have laughed at times, cried, prayed and have had some pretty deep talks.  As we read Roger’s adventures we were reminded about life’s circumstances and how sometimes you have to just accept the situation for what it is and roll with it.  Like when Roger was out in the Channel Islands with his older son and fought off a beast with huge claws with his pinky toe.  Honestly the way he describes the situation, I feel like I was there with them.  I can’t begin to describe it completely as he did, but I will say he won the fight. 

Another one of my favorite stories shared is the one in the very first chapter.  Wow, the author takes you all the way back to a time when his Grandpa strapped his Father to himself when he was a little boy and rode his motorcycle out of the Oklahoma dust bowl.  The story is sweet and hearty, the struggles, the love and the commitment to God and family is beautiful.  It grabbed my heart as he told of a present day trip with his family riding right past the exact spot his Grandpa built a church in the desert on the way to Joshua Tree National Park.  During this chapter he reveals how he feared he would never measure up to his family history.  Both my Husband and I have struggled with our Family’s past, worrying we would never be good enough or that we could outrun past failures.  But, Roger says you can’t outrun your own story, only with time’s hard pruning can you edit or even rewrite your ending.  That was a slap of goodness right on our backs, 5 pages into the book. 

One last story I will share that cupped my heart was when we were taken on the journey of healing after Roger and his Wife lost a pregnancy.  Explaining the difficult toll this can be on a marriage they took a trip to soak up the deep blueness of Lake Tahoe.  Replacing sadness with anger that slowly healed and strengthened their marriage, the process was very familiar to my Husband and I.  I love how he explains their trip on the way back from Tahoe while visiting some wineries.  How they learned that the best wines grow in struggled soil.  They noticed how the vines were scarred and aged from years of pruning.  Just like I have personally found in my own life that the more struggles and scars you have the stronger and sweeter the rewards.  As in the case of the vines they produce wine grapes with the most richness and complexity.  Roger and his Wife learned on that trip that the careful pruning is an act of love by the vinedresser.  I read this passage several times, it sent shivers up and down my arms.  I too have learned that our God is a careful vinedresser who knows precisely when to prune.  And with each trial and pruning I face personally and in my marriage my Faith deepens.

All this said, it is no question I love this book and I think it would make a great addition to anyone’s shelf.  Perfect for a college student, married couple, single and waiting… honestly anyone who lives and breathes.  If you love travel, adventure, memory lane walking and enjoy the quietness of the Lord’s voice in even the smallest of things you will find something very special in this book. 

-Product review by Sheila Quach, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January, 2018