I will be reading more of Amy Tan. Her voice and characters resonated with me. This is a story about identity, generation gaps, personal worth, and understanding one another. At its center it was about the redemption of a mother/daughter relationship before it was too late.
I enjoyed this book, but I don’t think it is the author’s best work. This story is set in a small town in Ireland. The story is made up of the stories of children and adults connected to the village school. It takes a while before the stories start intersecting. It is warm and sweet with a satisfying ending.
I have been wanting to read this both this book and Frankenstein since I read a world-view book (The Deadliest Monster – Baldwin) comparing these “monsters” several years ago. I have always loved Robert Louis Stevenson and was charmed into loving his work even more than before. This is not a horror story, but a treatise on humanity and the effects of evil on and within a person. The book is short but very thought-provoking.
The second part of my comparison of monsters. The use of language and vocabulary was beautiful and challenging. We have become such an “instant” society that we neglect great literature because of the work it entails to read it.
I don’t watch scary movies or generally read this genre of book, but I am so glad I did. Mary Shelly creates sympathy for Frankenstein’s monster by relating its sad story of being spurned by society and being alone. Shelly gives these circumstances as the reason for his murderous and revengeful ambitions. Although much longer than Jekyll and Hyde, it too, is a book that will have your thinking deeply on the origin of evil and a human’s relationship to it while on this earth.
I don’t know why I chose to read this book, but it seemed fitting after a summer of reading the previous two titles. I am surprised that I stuck with it long enough to finish it. But I had to know how it ended. I keep wondering if stories of vampires and werewolves originated here or if it was much earlier. I was surprised by the international cast of characters involved in the novel. I can’t say that I recommend this, but I will say it was entertaining.
It seems the other genre I have been attracted to is World War II and the atrocity of the Holocaust. This is a biography of a Romanian Jewish boy. It is short and to the point. It details his time in 3 different concentration camps (Buna, Buchenwald, and Auschwitz) with his father. He waited 10 years after his release before attempting to chronicle this time in his life. It was most touching to me to read of his feelings that “God was dead” and yet God was so woven into his life that I expected him to realize that God is not dead. This title is the first part of a trilogy (NIght, Dawn, and Day) but it appears to be the only autobiographical one.
I am always looking for health books that don’t make promises that can’t be kept. I like this book and agree with the author that health is a complex issue. The author promotes balance in diet, exercise, and stress management. He has a PhD in nutritional biochemistry, and several undergrad and grad degrees in sports medicine, fitness, and nutrition. After suffering for a year with plantar fascitis, I am glad I read this and because of some changes I made (mostly getting enough and better sleep) I am finding relief. I need to make some more health changes, but this is a start.
This is a children’s mystery. It was fun to read. I am baffled by the work it must take for an author to come up with the mystery and then to incorporate the players and their dialogue into revealing just enough to keep you interested – but not so much that you figure the mystery out ahead of the characters. I think we might do this as a read-aloud later this year.
This is a short book about the courage of a young girl during the Irish Potato Famine. It is sad and satisfying. This girl, in the midst of fear – of the landlords, and crisis – in the shortage of food and other necessities, and the work – in helping a sister keep a home for a brother and grandfather while her father is away; rises up and does what has to be done. She takes chances, learns skills, and scratches and clings to life for her family and community. She is a worthy heroine.
My other Holocaust selection. This is a children’s story. It is about the escape of a Jewish family from Copenhagen through the Danish Resistance. The central character is a young girl, Annemarie Johansen. Annemarie’s best friend Ellen Rosen and her family are in danger of being ”re-located” by the Nazis. Through the ingenuity and connections with the underground movement, along with the attention to detail and bravery of Annemarie. the family is smuggled to safety.
This is our current read-aloud and I had forgotten how much I loved this story of a budding apprentice silversmith who was crippled and had to find another way of living. It is set during the very earliest days of the American Revolution. It is a story about overcoming obstacles, discerning the times, and standing for what you believe. Our young and arrogant hero must decide what he believes, about himself, his friends, and “family” and then he must act on those beliefs.
All in all, the summer has provided an interesting list of books and I think I even left out some. I have a huge stack of books to start and a few to finish. What are you reading these days?
Ahh, my favorite season has arrived! Fall in Colorado is beautiful. True, this year’s fall started out with atypical flooding and rain – but it still promises to be gorgeous. In my neck of the woods, we have dried out and are enjoying the warm, sunny days along with cool, crisp nights. There are those farther north who are not as fortunate and are still cleaning before they can even assess the damage. My prayers are with them.
We did get some water in the basement, but looking back it was a blessing for a few reasons: I hated that blue shag carpet that was thrown down in the storage room and is gone now. And the room needed a good thorough cleaning – which it got.
I had been busy canning and gardening – plum and peach jam, peaches, pears, and pear butter. I had high hopes for canning more beans and making salsa and spaghetti sauce – but the hail that came with the storms, stripped my garden bare. Even the carrots are done. There are a few tomatoes that are ripening on battered vines, but the only garden job left is the clean-up. I think I will purchase some tomatoes for soup and try my hand at jalapeno jelly yet.
We have started our school year, and soccer, and pre-season wrestling Which keep me shuttling players or giving up my car to my newest driver. Having a newly licensed driver will improve your prayer life! Congratulations and thanks David for driving me to my knees – again!
We did manage to get away for a long weekend of camping over Labor Day. We had planned to do more hiking and scouting of our hunting grounds, but ended up relaxing, reading, and fishing. Carl, the youngest convinced his older siblings to help him build a fort, but he lost interest a bit before they finished, grabbed a pole and headed for the lake. The others finished it.
Life continues to go by too quickly and I have to keep reminding myself to enjoy this busy family – because I have a tendency to get caught up with the details and am too busy too step back and count my blessings. So I will take this opportunity to remind you – along with myself – that we need to give thanks now for the trials and the pleasures, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Enjoy!
A former pastor used to speak of a “having a platform,” meaning place of honor where we could (and should) glorify God. He was referencing any talent, ability, or accomplishment that would allow an audience where you could give God the glory for that ability.
I agree with this. In this world where self-esteem is preached more than the gospel and where excessive pride in accomplishments is the norm, if we are given the opportunity to say “Thank you, God for the great work You have done! Thank you for allowing me to accomplish this feat, because You are my strength.” We should let the world know that we are His – bought with a price to glorify God.
In my case, I find myself on the platform of humility rather than of grand accomplishment much more often. How can we glorify God in those “losing” situations? Wouldn’t it still be true – that God is worthy of thanks in the midst of a trial and that He is still our strength?
Our response to not only good, but also the bad should be more similar. It should all be thankfulness and praise.
I have seen people call attention to financial need as if it were some seal of spirituality. I have seen those without need flaunt their status as if it were a sign of God’s blessing upon them. Neither of these things is necessarily true.
Our eternal God doesn’t “bless” with such temporary things. True, he provides for our needs and he provides the tools for His servants to carry out His wishes. Remember, every good gift is from Him.
Our ability to glorify Him in any and every situation has to do with our humble response to fame and fortune – or to infamy or loss. It lies in our faith that God is good, and that He has a purpose in taking us on a path that might involve either pain or great victory.
I don’t understand why things happen the way they do, but I remember that His ways are not my ways and of this I am confident: He loves me with an everlasting love, evidenced by the giving of His own Son, and He will strengthen me to accomplish his will.
I will walk the path that You, O Lord, have set before me. I will learn to trust you more and more, and I will thank you in everything.
My garden that almost wasn’t … I have been meaning to post about it for two weeks….. but better late than never, right?
The garden started in late February, when I gently poked my tender little seeds in an egg carton, then moved the seedlings into the newspaper origami pots I made. (That was a Pinterest idea that really worked! Yeah! The first website did not have clear instructions, but I kept looking until I found one that did. When transplanting, I ripped the newspaper off, instead of planting in the paper pots.)
When April rolled around we finally had snow – nearly every weekend in April, we had snow. When April gave way to May I was busy. And the more May days that passed, the more I considered not even planting a garden this year. After all, a garden takes work and I was not keeping up with my regular workload already. Besides, it was already so late.
I thought I might transplant the seedlings I started and call it good….. but I couldn’t. So into the earth went the seedlings and then the seeds. The puppy promptly ate all the leaves off the cantaloupe and broke some tomatoes. Oh, well.
The pole beans are a bit disappointing – all “pole” and no bean yet, but still I hope. The cucumbers are blooming like crazy with itsy-bitsy little cukes on them. And I’ll be picking jalapeno peppers soon.
The store was out of the largest bamboo supports for my tomatoes – so they were looking a bit neglected. But while I was visiting my grandson last week, my husband and David rigged a support trellis for them! I usually get nervous when Paul tells me he worked in my garden.
I had planned on planting a perennial herb garden this year, but since its location is currently being used as a track where Muddy runs, I decided to wait another year and put my herbs in pots for now. Their abundance is being dried and stored. It is so easy to dry herbs and flowers in Colorado’s low humidity. Just wash, bundle with rubber bands, and hang upside down.
So while other gardeners are enjoying their produce, I am patiently waiting. But I am glad I planted. I guess it shows a little bit of faith in the future; a promise of reaping after planting. So, how are your gardens growing?
This past year has been a bit harder than normal. Hard in many ways: health, finances, family, jobs, and even more. My emotions have run the gamut – sometimes all in a day. It has been a stretching and trying time for everyone in this household.
I have written, but I haven’t published much because I was unable to write what I thought might be valuable. It has been a year that my God seemed distant – but yet I always knew He was there. This past year, I have clung to His promises even though I did not “feel” like it was helping.
That – clinging to those promises – might have been the only thing I did right. I am convinced that you can not go wrong in trusting an Almighty God. I am not sure my circumstances are much changed from what they were 3 months ago, but I have been strengthened to take on the future.
I cannot look back and see great strides of personal or spiritual growth. I don’t know why God has led me on a path through this valley. But I don’t have to know why or how long it will last, I don’t have to know if I will see a value in this journey. I don’t even know if this respite is temporary or not.
What I know is this:
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 and 39
This is enough.
This is my absolute favorite salad to make for pot-lucks. It is huge and I only make it we are having company or going to a gathering. The reasons I LOVE it are: It is EASY and it has feta cheese!
Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad
- 1 large head of broccoli
- 1 head cauliflower
- 1 can black olives – small to medium
- 1 jar green olives
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- 8 oz. crumbled feta cheese
- 1 cup Italian salad dressing -oil-based type ( you may need just a bit more)
Wash and cut broccoli and cauliflower into florets. Drain olives and add them. Add the washed tomatoes and cheese. Mix the vegetables and pour salad dressing over the top. Mix it up again, then let it marinate in the refrigerator for an hour. Serve. And if you are lucky enough to have left overs – enjoy them the next day. I think it tastes even better then.
NOTE: You will need a large bowl to mix this in.
Happy 4th of July! Enjoy all your gatherings and stay safe.