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

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Arab Spring

I had an interesting talk with a friend yesterday.  He and his cousin are both Syrians living in Germany, and while visiting together last weekend, they got to talking about how well they were treated by the Germans.

S said he ponders how non-Muslims treat them better than Muslims. How that saying about going to the West to see true Islam, but not as many Muslims was maybe true.

I countered, "Ah, but you know Muslims in Muslim countries aren't that way! Dictators rule so that is why people are mistreated!"

What he said surprised me. Otherwise I'd not have jotted it down for this post.

Here's the gist of it:

Before the Arab Spring I would have said the same thing: Arabs are oppressed by their dictators.  But now, no.  Arabs are at fault!  A sizable majority like their dictators, and the ones who don't - the ones who want freedom from dictators - are not willing to put aside their differences to make something better.  

They go back to "primitiveness" and tribalism takes over.  No common goals, but each person for himself at the expense of the whole country.  

If we really wanted freedom, we would be different.

I don't have time to go into any more right now, but that made me curious what the Arab Spring has taught others.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Anxiety Help

Someone shared these on Facebook from a book she was reading.  I liked them, and wanted to keep them somewhere easy to find.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

November Books

Wow, five fiction books this month. I remember a few years ago when I read hardly any fiction the entire year. I used to almost only read fiction.  I'm more than halfway through two other books (a memoir, and a non-fiction), but I only list here books I finished within the month.  Hard to believe that tomorrow is December 1.
The Passions of Chelsea Kane by Barbara Delinsky -- a book I found at a book exchange; a lady goes to a small New England town in search of the story around her adoption nearly four decades prior. Somewhat interesting story (I like the part about patriarchal small towns...just because I find small communities of interest), but I could have done without some of the details in other areas of this book.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult -- I enjoyed this book about a teenager with Asperger's syndrome!  I have a few friends with children on the spectrum so this was a really interesting read to me.  As the book jacket states, this book "looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way - and fails those who don't." 

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead -- earlier this year I got a small notebook which I've used for keeping up with books recommended by blogger friends. Crystal mentioned this particular one back in September, and I finally went by the library and got it.  It was short enough to read in a couple of hours, and I enjoyed the break reading this YA book brought.  Can't say I followed the time travel talk, but I liked other aspects of it.

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata -- This story is told through the eyes of a Japanese-American girl, Katie, as she moved from Iowa to Georgia around 1960.  I found it on the Newberry shelf while searching for the book above.  An easy read, and pretty interesting to hear about life through her eyes. Since I have lived in the South all my life, I try to think of how I would treat people who are different than I.  Would I welcome a Japanese family into my life? Would I say hello on the street or would I ignore them?  I'd like to think I would be friendly and welcoming back then, and it challenges me to be that way today to people who may be less welcomed by society.

Jane Austen in Scarsdale or Love, Death, and the SATs by Paula Marantz Cohen -- an easy read I found in the library. I learned quite a bit about the job of a guidance counselor and how they help students preparing for college. The main character is a guidance counselor in a rich public school. This book is also about her meeting up with her long, lost boyfriend...that sort of thing. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

We moved

Way back when it was still warm outside, we moved a few miles away from our previous house.  I sometimes wish it were a more drastic move to, say, Syria or something, but we aren't those types of folks, I reckon.

We closed on our new-to-us house on September 30.  One of our rooms was green.  It was the former owners' nursery, and it looked really cute with the black crib and matching bedding. But it didn't really go with my mismatched furniture so we had that room painted when we had the two pink rooms painted.  (Did I mention they had three daughters?) 

Here is a picture of the room before it was painted, and a couple others of it now with the variety of creams and whites, and the old furniture given to us when we married that we just never replaced. 

Friday, October 31, 2014

October Books

Try to Remember by Iris Gomez -- the story of a teenage Colombian girl growing up in an immigrant family in Miami; I found this at a book exchange

Expats by Christopher Dickey  -- the author's recollections as he travels around the Middle East;  not my favorite book of this sort, but there were several interesting tidbits throughout

Captured by Grace by David Jeremiah -- I've read this one before, but came across it while unpacking books and decided to read it again. I love the subtitle:  "No One is Beyond the Reach of a Loving God."  Some good reminders for me in here!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

September Books

Tumbling Blocks by Earlene Fowler -- another book I found at a book exchange (so free), and it's "a Benni Harper mystery" which meant nothing to me. Still, I read it - a bit of a murder mystery, but nothing scary in the least.  OK filler book, but I doubt I'll look for more Benni Harper mysteries.

A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley -- from the front cover:  "As a five-year old in India, I got lost on a train. Twenty-five years later, from Australia, I found my way back. This is what happened in between."   Pretty neat story!

We'll Always Have Paris by Jennifer Coburn -- after losing her father at a rather young age, the author believes her own life will be short and decides to visit Paris, and a few other European places with her daughter so her daughter will always have these wonderful memories with her mother.  The book is part "this is how our trips to European cities went" and part flashbacks to the author's life growing up with divorced parents who were still friends and rather dysfunctional or perhaps typical for this era. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

August Books

Julie & Julia by Julie Powell  - a Texan living in New York City decides to go through Julia Childs' cookbook and make a few new dishes most every night. And she blogs about it and gets somewhat famous.  She's a pretty funny writer with a sailor's mouth. And she doesn't like Republicans.

Global Mom by Melissa Dalton-Bradford -- as I started this book and read through the first half or so, I thought "oh, yet another nothing-much-ever-goes-wrong, charming Mormon family life."  It was very neat reading about this family's years in Norway and France. So interesting especially when the author contrasted the two - and had to get her second son's name approved when he was born in Norway.  About two thirds of the way through the book, however, I was stunned and flipped back to the acknowledgements and "about the author" sections to see if what looked like was going to happen, really did. And it did.  Ahhh, tear out my heart.  I think I was teary-eyed or downright crying through much of the last third of the book.  I first heard of this book from Bridget's blog.

Once Upon a Town by Bob Greene  -- a book about a small town (North Platte, Nebraska) that set up a canteen to meet the soldiers during World War II as they were traveling across the country by train. The author talks to some of the soldiers who passed through, to women who were children or adults back then, and talks a bit about life in North Platte today (well, when he visited there researching for the book.)

Sword of God by Chris Kuzneski -- this is totally not my usual type of book. I saw it at a book exchange (it was free) so I decided to bring it home.  And for some reason it was the book I chose to read earlier this week when I needed a new one. I'm trying to read some of the books I have at home before going back to the library.  It was about a couple guys who were finding clues in a terrorist plot involving one of their former comrades.  Parts of it take place in South Korea while other parts take place in Mecca.  I occasionally felt like I was watching an episode of Hawaii Five-0 except there was no Steve, Danno or Hawaii.