"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Sunday, November 1, 2020

October Books


Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin -- After being replaced in her band, Claire licks her wounds and accepts a job as a musician for a playgroup full of wealthy, perfect mothers in New York City. Alternating between the perspectives of Claire, Whitney, Amara, and Gwen, this book tells more about their experiences.  Pretty entertaining story!

The Bedford Boys by Alex Kershaw -- I don't usually read a lot of war books or watch war movies, but Bedford is a small town in Virginia that Andrew and I have passed through several times on our way to hike at the Peaks of Otter. We had noticed all the memorials to their World War II heroes, and when we stopped at their nice visitor's center this summer, we decided to get this book to read more about "One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice." I don't know that I've read a book with as much dread since I knew ahead of time that these guys who mostly just joined the National Guard in order to make a few dollars for their families, were killed. Many of them were in Company A, which landed first on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. As the book alternated between the boys in the service, and folks waiting back home, I shed a few tears at this great loss.

It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell -- Aubrey, Jenny, and Kate were freshmen roommates at Carlisle and became close. Twenty years later, one of them is urged to jump from a bridge where someone died during their college days. A pretty good suspenseful book alternating between the ladies' perspectives.

What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty -- Imagine yourself at your Friday spin class, you fall and bump your head, and wake up thinking it's ten years ago. That's what happened to Alice in this book only ten years ago for her was 1998. She can't remember the turn of the millennium, no remembrance of 9-11, she can't even remember her children!  Good book; I love the characters!

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio -- After Emily's husband leaves her for another woman, she travels to Bainbridge Island in Washington to visit her aunt, in a place where she spent summers in her younger years. Aunt Bee welcomes her, and soon Emily is interested in reading the journal from someone named Esther who wrote it in the 1940s. It's a bit of a mystery: was this Esther real or was this a novel someone started writing? Pretty good story.

The Spies of Shilling Lane by Jennifer Ryan -- After getting demoted from her job with the Women's Voluntary Service, Mrs. Braithwaite decides to visit her daughter who is doing some job for the war effort in England. Mrs. Braithwaite arrives at her daughter's boardinghouse to find out she hasn't been seen in a few days. Thus, the search for Betty and her involvement in spying and such. Quite the cute book with loveable characters such as Mrs. Braithwaite and Mr. Norris.

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks -- The story of David as told from the viewpoint of Natan (Nathan), the prophet. I knew much of this Bible story, but it was still an interesting perspective. 

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine -- a pretty good story about two women: Amber and Daphne. When Amber "accidentally" bumps into Daphne at the gym, the women bond over their shared experiences of losing sisters to cystic fibrosis. Amber finagles her way into Daphne's life and gradually lands a choice job as the personal assistant to Daphne's handsome and super-rich husband.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer -- Alice's life is busy with a gifted child and another child on the autism spectrum, but when her beloved Babcia asks her to go to Poland to solve some mysteries, Alice takes the trip. Alternating between Alice's life today and her grandmother's life in Poland during the German occupation... well, this is a pretty good story!  And I love that bits of the author's family inspired it.

Deep in the Alaskan Woods by Karen Harper -- I often enjoy this author's historical fiction books (particularly The Royal Nanny), but this book left much to be desired. Alex left her home in Chicago, fleeing an abusive fiancé who happens to be her boss. She meets up with her twin cousins, Megan and Suzanne, who run a B&B in Alaska, and I just thought it was kind of cheesy. But I did finish it.

The Sixes by Kate White -- While recovering from a plagiarism charge, Phoebe Hall is teaching at a small university in Pennsylvania where her good friend from boarding school is the president. Glenda or Dr.Johns asks Phoebe to look into a secret sorority rumored to be vandalizing property and up to no good. When one young lady winds up drowned in the nearby river, Phoebe wonders if the two are somehow connected. Pretty good suspenseful-type book.

The Yellow Bird Sings by Jennifer Rosner -- A little girl, Shira, has to hide in the barn loft of her mother's former customer because German soldiers are on the prowl in their part of Poland. Later Shira's mom is faced with a choice of giving up her daughter to a Catholic orphanage or continuing the hiding which is tough on a five year old child. A good story!

The Silence by Susan Allott -- Alternating between 1967 and 1997, this book tells the story of Isla who left London to return to her home in Australia after her alcoholic father is questioned in a missing-person case. The lady had been missing for 30 years before someone looked for her!  Mandy's husband struggled with his role as a police officer who had to remove Aboriginal children from families as part of a racist project. Pretty good story.

Kindred Spirits by Sarah Strohmeyer -- Years ago, Lynne, Carol, Beth, and Mary Kay met at the end of a PTA meeting and bonded over martinis. When Lynne dies after a long illness, the other ladies fulfil Lynne's request to go through her things, and there the ladies find a message from Lynne asking them to find someone from her past, which they attempt. Pretty good story.

When We Were Young & Brave by Hazel Gaynor -- great book! I loved the setting at the China Inland Mission School where British, American, Dutch, Australian, and other English-speaking children studied while their missionary or diplomatic parents did their work. Things changed when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and suddenly these students were considered enemies to the occupying Japanese forces. This is told mostly in the voices of a teacher, Elspeth Kent, and her student, Nancy, as they faced the years together. I really enjoyed this book!

Hush by Kate White -- a fast-paced, suspense story about Lake Warren, a marketing consultant who uncovers possible unethical practices at the fertility clinic she's working for. Also, a guy she's interested in winds up dead. What's going on?

Daughter of Rome by Tessa Afshar -- A fun look at ancient Rome when Priscilla and Aqulia of New Testament fame meet, and later serve the Church with the apostle Paul.

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

September Books


The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith -- When Theo and Marijke are arrested by Nazis for their work in the Dutch resistance and sent to work camps as political prisoners, Marijke vows to do whatever is necessary in order to survive and be reunited with her beloved husband. Karl is an official at the camp where Marijke is imprisoned.

The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow -- At just over 450 pages, I wasn't sure I would continue this book if it didn't grab my attention in the first 100 pages, but it did and I really enjoyed this story of Mary Bennet!  The first bit dealt with Mary living at home with her nuclear family, and later as she lived with various relatives. Cute story!

Behind Every Lie by Christina McDonald -- Eva Hansen wakes up from being struck by lightning and discovers her mother has been murdered. Her fingerprints are at the house and the police suspect she is involved. Unfortunately, Eva's memory from that night is gone. While looking at her mother's house, she discovers a note about her birth and Eva heads from Seattle to London, looking for clues. A pretty good book.

Outsider by Linda Castillo -- the second Kate Burholder mystery that I've read recently; this time Gina, one of Kate's friends from when she first left her Amish community, comes back into Kate's life after Gina is on the run from dirty police officers. Pretty good story.

The Wife Who Knew Too Much by Michele Campbell -- oh good, I found another suspense author, and I liked this book. It alternates between the voices of Tabitha, a struggling waitress in rural New Hampshire, and Nina, an ultra-rich, famous woman fearful that her much-younger husband is plotting to murder her for her fortune.

If I Were You by Lynn Austin -- Eve and Audrey were good friends growing up even though Eve was a servant girl in Audrey's house. They grew apart for a while, but the war brought them together again. This book delves into some of that and a bit of the story in the US where both women end up after the war. Good book!

The Book Charmer by Karen Hawkins -- I wasn't sure about this book at first thinking it would just be a little filler book between other good books, but it was rather charming on its own. Sarah Dove is the youngest of the seven Dove sisters from a small mountain town in North Carolina. Dove Pond, NC, has seen businesses shuttered and folks leaving for bigger areas like Charlotte and Asheville. Sarah is the town librarian and like the other Dove family members she's a little quirky. Grace is a former foster child who brings her troubled niece and her beloved foster mom, Mama G., to Dove Pond after a couple of unfortunate events. Pretty cute story.

The Wife Stalker by Liv Constantine -- This book alternates between the voices of Piper who has assumed a new identity and started a new business in Connecticut after fleeing her past, and Joanna who is determined to cheer Leo and make him love her and the kids, Evie and Stelli.  A pretty good story!

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier --  After 14 years of hiding her best friend's murder Geo is sent to prison for five years. Meanwhile the guy involved in the murder is sent to prison for life. After Geo's time in prison is over, she's disturbed to learn of new murders in the area, similar in many ways to the ones committed years ago. Pretty good story.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan -- My mom read this recently and recommended it. It was a collection of journal and diary entries, letters to friends or relatives, a somewhat different way to write a book perhaps, but it was a very enjoyable story of a small village in England during World War II.

One By One by Ruth Ware -- The book alternates between the voices of Erin, who works in a French chalet. She is hosting a tech group for a few days; folks from an app name Snoop. The other voice is Liz, a former worker at Snoop and a minority shareholder reluctant to be among her super-hip, former co-workers. A suspenseful book and pretty good, too!

The Gilded Lady by Elizabeth Camden -- Book 2 in the Hope and Glory series; this one focused on another of the Delacroix siblings, Caroline, who works as the secretary for First Lady Ida McKinley. This was a fun way to learn more about this First Lady from Ohio and also about the secret service's role in protecting presidents. Pretty good story.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson -- a great story about Cussy Mary or Bluet who works for the Pack Horse Library Project in Kentucky. She traveled her route through the mountains to take library materials to her patrons. These women (mostly) were fascinating. Also, Cussy Mary is a Blue which is why some called her Bluet. But many on her route dubbed her "the Book Woman."

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson -- a pretty good tale about a bookstore owner, Malcolm, who is contacted by an FBI agent, Gwen, who is looking for someone murdering people according to an old blog post Malcolm wrote about the perfect murders. An easy, entertaining read if you like this sort of thing.

An Ivy Hill Christmas by Julie Klassen -- Richard Brockwell reluctantly leaves his home in London to return to Ivy Hill where his mom has matchmaking on her mind. Many favorites from past Ivy Hill books make their appearance in this novella. Kind of weird to read a Christmas book in late September, but Christmas IS just three months from today as I type.

Children of the Colossus: The Rhodian Greek Immigrants to the United States by James W. Kiriazis -- Usually this book wouldn't hold my interest as I can't imagine why I'd want to read about Rhodian Greeks in two US cities - Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, and Warren, Ohio. However, since I'd made a connection to the Kiriazis family through my DNA, I have been wanting to read this textbook about James Kiriais's community. Why? Because I'm probably his biological granddaughter, and I figured why not read his book to learn more about this culture that makes up my DNA? I'd given up on buying this book online as it's out of print, and no one seems to have it for sale. Thankfully after talking to a DNA Match in Australia (Kos), I was motivated to reach out to my friend Myrna who works at BYU's library, and she was helpful in suggesting that I check with my library in case they were part of the interlibrary loan program. They were! And the lady from my local library was able to put out a request. Duke University immediately said "no," and Martha told me I might not be able to get it since it's a reference book and some libraries are still closed due to the coronavirus. Over a week went by before she wrote back. I was expecting an update, but didn't expect an email that it was HERE in Alamance County, on loan for four weeks from the University of Georgia! I picked it up Friday, September 25, so I could start reading it over the weekend, and I finished up today (Monday, September 28.)  I took notes on the 8 chapters which I sent to my Rhodian friend/relative and he is discussing them with me by email. Note to self:  The notes are saved in my Gmail folder under Kos's name in case I want to reread them later.

The Clergyman's Wife by Molly Greeley -- This is dubbed "A Pride & Prejudice Novel," and it indeed includes the Bennets, Mr. Bennet's heir, and Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Charlotte is eager to escape the life of a spinster so she's happy to make the acquaintance of Mr. Collins whom her friend Elizabeth Bennet rejected as a marriage partner. A marriage with him means Charlotte is set as the future mistress of Longbourn. This book takes place before that time when Charlotte, Mr. Collins, and their daughter Louisa live in Kent where her husband is the clergyman. Charlotte visits the tenants and has special friendships with a few. This book was pretty good although it left me feeling some sadness especially where Mr. Travis is concerned.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The New Me (according to Ancestry DNA updates)

The other day one of my friends posted her new Ancestry DNA updates, and I didn't even know that had happened so I went to Ancestry AND FOUND IT WAS TRUE!!


So I looked to see if I had changed in the past two years, and I did.  I'm just going to post screenshots of the new me.





my parents







my aunt





and Andrew.  


Things to save

 For my own safekeeping in case this computer crashes.  Documents I've saved to my computer for various reasons.

Monday, August 31, 2020

August Books


Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble -- This book was a murder/thriller type without the real scary aspect which was fine. It wasn't as good as some books of this type, but not too bad.  I think some of the characters are from past series as I noticed LOTS of them by this author. In this book Harper meets her half sister, Annabelle, after a DNA test matches them. Both ladies have a mystery surrounding the deaths of their moms. Also both women are suddenly being sought by someone with sinister motives.

The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold -- Bridget and her mom both recommended this book last year, and I got it for my birthday. Although much of the book is speculation based on social norms and "what people often do in these situations," a lot of it is fact-based due to all the research on census forms and registers. I enjoyed learning more about this interesting period in history. I noted the soldiers' lives and their women (pg. 77), abstinence from drink pledges (pg. 109) and how sex workers were checked by local officials for syphlllis and other STDs (pg. 148, among others.) There was lots more in the book, but for some reason I noted those pages.

Liberation by Imogen Kealey -- I read a book about Nancy Wake a few months ago, so this was a nice surprise to open up to read it and discover it talked about her some more. Since I'd read the earlier book, I knew most of what would happen, but it was a nice refresher course. She was a brave lady! I admire how she did things despite her fears and the many obstacles in her way!

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah -- an interesting look at the Kenai Peninsula area of Alaska in the mid-70s! Leni's father came home from Vietnam a changed man. The family was never able to settle in one place for long until one day when the Allbright family is informed about a bit of land and a cabin left to her father in a remote area of Alaska. The family moves there, and learns how to be Alaska Tough (which all that was rather fascinating to me!). Leni's father continues to struggle with nightmares especially in winter when they only get a few daylight hours each day. A good story!

Officer Clemmons by Dr. François S. Clemmons -- This is a memoir by the man who played on the popular children's program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. He discusses a bit about his childhood in the South, and their relocation to Ohio to escape his father. He also talks a lot about his music education and career, his friendship with Fred Rogers, his experiences as a black man and a gay man.  (I'm listening to him sing Swing Low, Sweet Chariot on YouTube as I type this.  He loves old Negro spirituals.)

The Wrong Man by Kate White -- When Kit hooks up with a stranger while she's in Key West, she never knows showing up at his apartment in New York for a second date will be an extremely disturbing experience. The guy who answers the door and answers to the name of the guy she met in Florida is NOT the same person! Somehow Kit ends up involved in some mystery where two people are murdered.

Until the Mountains Fall by Connilyn Cossette -- book 3 in the Cities of Refuge series; In this book Rivkah is betrothed to her late husband's younger brother who is two years younger than herself, but she doesn't want to marry Malakhi because she remembers what a teasing, troublesome child he was. When her friend Nessa decides to flee the city to escape her own betrothal, Rivkah joins her. What awaits them in Laish, and beyond?

Mrs. Lincoln's Sisters by Jennifer Chiaverini -- a somewhat interesting look at Mary Todd Lincoln and her family through the eyes of her sisters - Elizabeth, Frances, Ann, and Emilie. It went from present (to them) time to flashbacks when Abraham Lincoln was a rising political figure. Several parts were quite a good way to learn about his character.

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty -- this book centered around a kindergarten class and their parents. A new kid in town, Ziggy, is accused of bullying at kindergarten orientation and that rep follows him and his mom, Jane, as they try to make friends in town. Madeline believes Jane, whereas other powerful moms circulate a petition to get Ziggy thrown out of kindergarten!  Another good story from this author!

Before I Let You Go by Kelly Rimmer -- I felt like I'd read this book before because so much of it seemed familiar, but I checked my blog and my paper list of books I've read and didn't find it. And there were enough new things in it, but wow, there must be a very similar story out there. It was somewhat predictable (as are many books), but it was a good story about doctors who are engaged, and Lexie's sister Annie calls her when she's having trouble with her pregnancy. Annie hadn't told her sister she was pregnant. Not only is she pregnant, but she's been taking about a gram of heroin a day. Poor baby having to get off that stuff. This is a very touching book and would probably be very sad for readers especially if you know someone struggling with drug addictions.

Like Flames in the Night by Connilyn Cossette -- final book in the Cities of Refuge series; Tirzah gets a role as a spy for the Hebrews; meanwhile Liyam vows to avenge the death of his little girl who was run over by a trader. A look at what that area might have been like during the time of the Judges.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue by Fiona Davis -- I like how this author tells the story of an interesting building - in this case the New York Public Library - by creating a cast of individuals to make it come alive. Laura Lyons lives in the apartment within the library with her husband and two children. Laura's desire is to become a journalist, but in 1913 it's a tough career for a married mother. In more contemporary times, Sadie works at this library where her great grandmother lived. When a series of book thefts happen on her watch, she delves into her family's past to learn more about them and their former home - the library.

The Boy Who Followed His Father into Auschwitz by Jeremy Dronfield -- using Gustav Kleinmann's cryptic diary, his son Fritz's short memoir, plus many other sources, the author shares a gripping tale of this father and son from Vienna who survived over 5 years in concentration camps. I was amazed at their resourcefulness and found it interesting to learn about life within the camps, kindnesses that kept them going, yet I was once again saddened by the evil of many Germans and other people at that time who thought that this cleansing was acceptable and needed!

Shamed by Linda Castillo -- I decided to try this author, and enjoyed this suspenseful novel which takes places in Holmes County, Ohio, among an Amish community. The chief of police is a former-Amish lady, and Kate Burkholder is trying to figure out who committed a gruesome murder of an Amish grandmother, and took a seven-year-old girl. 

Midnight Rising: John Brown and the Raid that Sparked the Civil War by Tony Horwitz -- Unlike most of his books, in this one the author doesn't mix history with his present travels, but tells the story of John Brown. While I missed the Tony aspect of the story, he really kept my attention sharing intriguing facts about John Brown, his family, his beliefs, friends, supporters, and so forth. Good story. I still hate that Tony Horwitz died last year, as I really enjoy his books. I think I've read most of them now. My library didn't have this one, so I got it for my birthday.

East Coast Girls by Kerry Kletter -- Blue, Maya, Renee, and Hannah were best friends in high school, but after a tragedy, the girls have had a hard time staying connected the last twelve years. When Blue informs Maya of her grandmother's plan to sell the family cottage where the girls used to go each summer, Maya wants to recreate those wonderful days one last time.

Monday, August 3, 2020

July Books

The Return by Rachel Harrison -- Elise's friend, Julie, was gone for exactly two years before she reappeared. Most everyone thought she had died after disappearing from a hike, but Elise had a gut feeling that her best friend was alive. Elise, Julie, Mae, and Molly agree to reconnect at a resort and Julie's appearance shocks the other friends. Strange things keep happening at the hotel, with the staff's disappearance, and this book takes a really weird turn. I liked it OK, but then it just got a bit too weird for my tastes.

Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier -- A parent's worst nightmare - Marin's son is kidnapped while they are at a crowded market days before Christmas. As she works through this nightmare, the private investigator she hired finds out that her husband is having an affair with someone named Kenzie. Marin gets advice from her best friend, Sal, on what to do about Kenzie. Meanwhile Kenzie is trying to see how she can advance her status in life with her rich, married boyfriend. Sounds terrible, I know, but it was actually an interesting story if you like this sort of thing.

The Half Sister by Sandie Jones -- most all the books I've read recently are New Books that I put online at the library pre-covid shutdown. Most were still On Order, but have come in in recent weeks so I have had lots of holds arrive...and most of them are decent. I read two from this author earlier this year, and this was pretty good as well. It begins with Kate and Lauren with their families visiting their mom for the traditional Sunday lunch. Kate is struggling with getting pregnant, and Lauren is struggling with her bully of a husband. What else does the family need than a knock on the door with a young lady claiming to be their half sister (thanks to a DNA match on an ancestry site.)  Kate thinks there is no way that her beloved father had another child while Lauren doesn't seem surprised. 

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty -- I've found another author whom I enjoy a lot! I've only read two of her books, and am happy that more books exist so I can get to them eventually. In this story Cecelia finds a letter her husband wrote for her to open in the event of his death. Initially she abides by his wishes to not read the letter, but when he returns home from America and she finds him rummaging in the attic for the letter, she decides she better take a look. This puts her in a bind as to what to do about his secret. Meanwhile Tess has come home to Sydney after her husband and favorite cousin have surprising news. Also, Rachel, the school secretary, deals with her emotions after her daughter was killed over two decades ago. Interesting story and characters!

The Blue Cotton Gown: A Midwife's Memoir by Patricia Harman -- I really enjoy her fiction midwife stories, and this was similar except it was her own story! Really interesting tales. I got this for my birthday, but it was late coming and then I got to reading a bunch of library books, finished all that I had of those, and decided to read this until the library reopened today (July 6). Good book!

Transcription by Kate Atkinson -- Pretty good story though I had a little hard time following it at times. I saw someone at the local library recommend it so I checked it out. I really like the main character Juliet Armstrong and how she sees the world. She gets a job with MI5 during World War II, and this story follows that as well as ten years later when she runs into some of her former coworkers.  I may check out more from this author.

Eyes on You by Kate White -- Another fast-paced suspenseful novel; Robin is part of a hit TV show focusing on celebrity news and a little bit of crime. She and her co-anchor, Carter, have that spark that makes it a ratings success. Robin is stunned when nasty notes and mean things start happening to her. Is someone at her workplace out to get her?  And if so, why?

Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer -- Beth struggled to get pregnant, and now that she has a sweet little boy, she struggles with feelings of not wanting to be a mother. Or, rather, that she can't parent him properly. While cleaning out her father's house, Beth comes across notes from her mother, and learns more about the woman who gave birth to her, and died when Beth was a small girl. A good story.

Dead to Her by Sarah Pinbrough -- about a third of the way through, I wished I hadn't read this book because there were just some things I didn't like at all (I have my own level of ick factor in books), but I kept reading because I really wanted to find out what happened. And the rest of the book was decent enough that it was redeemable in the sense that I liked the bit of mystery (whodunit) if not the activities of certain characters. Keisha is the new foreign second wife fresh in the South from London. Margie notices how all the guys are attracted to her because she's stunningly beautiful. Margie is jealous that Keisha is after her husband, but then Jason asks her to become friends with Keisha in order to influence Keisha's older, super-wealthy husband.  And it goes on from there. 

The Book of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd -- Have you ever wondered if Jesus were married? And if so, what was his wife like? And how was he as a husband? This book delves into this a bit with the story of Ana, a product of the author's imagination. It was interesting looking at Jesus's life through her own perspective, and not always from a front-row seat as you may expect.

Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia -- When a young man turns up after disappearing with his father ten years ago, he is taken to a psychiatric hospital where Maya Stark is asked to help him "find his voice."  As a former resident and later orderly, and now speech therapist, Maya is determined to help Lucas. Lucas finds Maya fascinating, and she connects with him in ways no other staff are able. What happens when she finds out that Lucas's dad is still in the Boundary Waters forest - and in desperate need of help?

The Alchemist's Daughter by Katharine McMahon -- the story of Emilie who grew up in a very scientific household with her father training her from infancy to be a thinker. Later her head is turned by a visitor to her family's estate, and, well, her time in London with her husband Aislabie is a learning experience since she'd never been out of the country. A pretty good story.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty -- This book goes back and forth from present day to The Day of the Barbeque where something happened to forever change the lives of Erika, Oliver, Clementine and Sam, Tiffany, Vid and their children.

The Lost Orphan by Stacey Halls -- When Bess gives up her infant daughter, she vows to one day come back for her little Clara. Six years later, when Bess has saved what she thinks she owes the Foundling Hospital for caring for her child, she learns that someone took home her daughter the day after her birth. That someone signed Bess's name and address, and Bess has no idea where to find her child! Meanwhile Alexandra's story is told, how she came to care for Charlotte. Pretty good story.

Murder at the Mansion by Sheila Connolly -- Kate is drawn back to her hometown by her former best friend who calls asking Kate if she can "save" the town. She is intrigued by the Barton house and while there discovers a murdered lady on the doorstep. This book was decent enough, but not super-exciting or interesting. I might read more in this series just to see what becomes of the town. (It's a Victorian Village Mystery, in case I need to find that information again.)

March by Geraldine Brooks -- Have you ever read Little Women and wondered more about the girls' father. In this book the author imagines life for Mr. March as he serves as a chaplain for the Union during the Civil War. Pretty good story.

Something Needs to Change: A Call to Make Your Life Count in a World of Urgent Need by David Platt -- quite often Andrew has me pick up books for him at the library and this was one he finished last week. I had finished my final library book so I decided to read this one before picking up the book the library had on hold for me. It was a good challenge from this pastor as he hiked in the Himalayas with a local person who worked with the various villages to meet needs. In the book we were introduced to a man who lost his eyeball due to an infection that could have been easily treated in many places in the world; we "met" villagers who sold their daughters to sex traffickers, and even a few followers of Christ. I appreciated the pastor's prayer in his journal where he asked God to "teach him what that means."  "That" being how to love God with all our hearts and minds and how to love others as God called us to do (see pgs. 82-89).  Around page 97, I appreciated the reminder to come to God boldly in prayer and how privileged we are to have Someone love us and care for us so that we may come to Him for our many needs. Page 158 reminded me that it's not easy to be a Christian in many parts of the world. No one there followed Christ because it was "culturally acceptable to be a Christian, and not one person is here because this is the most comfortable way for him or her to live." They knew it was a sacrifice, made things hard, and often cost them their families, yet they wanted to follow Jesus.

The Lost Husband by Katherine Center -- After her husband dies in an auto accident, Libby and her young children, Abby and Tank live a couple years with her mother before "crazy Aunt Jean" invites her and the children to live in the Texas country on a goat farm. Eager to get away from her mom, Libby decides to give it a try. Not only does Aunt Jean not believe in carbs (except for her whole-wheat pancakes), she doesn't own a television! Libby learns how to milk goats and make cheese, and has hairy O'Conner, a neighbor, to help her learn the ropes. Pretty cute story; an easy read.

Friday, July 31, 2020

More 2020 Sadness

I was nearly at Aldi around noon today when I got a call from my mom. Usually we text so I figured she had more information she wanted to share than she had time or inclination to type.

Unfortunately, it was the sad news that my dad's sister, my aunt Dorothy, had died while at the dentist this morning. She was a few weeks shy of 71.

Five of the 6 siblings at a birthday party - July 2020

I don't know all the details or even if this part is correct, but what Mama told me is that Dorothy was in the dentist chair, said she couldn't breathe, then had a heart attack. They tried CPR, but couldn't bring her back.  (In all this, I feel so bad for the dentist staff as well...that had to be so hard for them!)

Hard to believe my aunt is now with Christ! I was with my dad on Monday when he called her and I heard her because my dad likes to talk with his phone on speaker sometimes. I'm glad of that now since I was able to hear her. She was frying squash, and they chatted about 5 minutes or so.

My dad checks on his siblings nearly every day - whether by a brief call or text.

The officer who came to my parents' house - after first calling - said that they found my dad through Dorothy's cell phone contacts, and he looked to be the one she chatted/texted with the most. And the one who said "I love you."

Indeed my dad got to looking at their last texts - which were from last night, and Dorothy ended it with an "I love you," and he replied the same.

My aunt was widowed several years ago, and my dad made sure if she didn't have food that day, he'd drive to her house with food! He'd have my mom fix her things, he'd fix her things, he'd take candy and ice cream. I remember he said she really enjoyed butter pecan. And also Tootsie pops (suckers).

She had just been at my parents' house, in the driveway, yesterday as my dad had some food for her. She'd even bought a watermelon for herself and brought half for my dad. She text to tell him she made it home safely, and later that night that it was lightning. Those were among their last words to each other. 

Little did anyone know, within 10 hours or so, she would be gone from this life.

I've comforted myself today thinking of her happy, pain-free, welcomed to heaven by her loving grandparents and husband, Bobby - who called her "Red." They both were red heads, but I remember Uncle Bobby calling her Red.

I have probably posted some of these pictures before, but I wanted to share them again, on this post dedicated my aunt, Dorothy, on her Home-going day.

I updated my Ancestry family tree and it was really somber adding her to it, and having to add 31 Jul 2020 as her date of death.

2020 continues to be a tough, tough year.

( I was going to caption some of these pictures, but Blogger has changed and made it so much harder to add pictures or captions. Thanks, Blogger!)