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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

February Books

Sweet Sanctuary by Sheila Walsh and Cindy M. Coloma -- a story about a single mother and her son living in a small coastal town in Maine; Wren has to work through some sibling issues after her grandmother comes to town wanting to throw a birthday party for herself; a library book my mom had on hand that I decided to read 

Talk of the Town by Lisa Wingate -- yet another library book my mom had that I decided to read. I need to read more serious books, but she keeps throwing these my way!  This book is told by two women - the chapters alternate between the voices of Hollywood TV producer Mandalay Florentino and small-town widow Imagene Doll. 

Undaunted Courage  by Stephen E. Ambrose -- I got this book at a book exchange sometime last year. I decided to start it on January 1, read a little most days and see how long it took to finish. Well, I had nearly all of it read by the end of January, but didn't care to rush through the last fifty pages so I could add it to last month's book list.  Instead, I whittled away on those last few pages, and finished it February 8.  This book is about Lewis and Clark's expedition to the northwest.  It focuses on Meriwether Lewis' life (his first name was his mom's maiden name in case you were curious).  There were many interesting tidbits throughout this book. I didn't realize Lewis had such a close relationship with Thomas Jefferson.  Nor did I realize blue beads were such prized trade items with some of the Indians the explorers encountered. 

This book told of encounters were grizzlies (yikes!  Eight balls passed through one bear before he was shot in the head and killed p. 224), the value of beavers, how the Indians passed around their women for the explorers' use (yuck, yuck, yuck...no wonder they all had STDs!), and the men were flogged - like Saudi Arabia does now - if they did really wrong (like falling asleep on guard duty!  Serious stuff!)

I made note of the White Cliffs mentioned on page 228 as the author said he had been several times and it was very beautiful. 

Also, Ambrose's talk of Meriwether Lewis' possible drug addictions and manic-depressive bouts was interesting.

By the way, the explorers sometimes "enjoyed" dog meat when elk wasn't available or even when they tired of elk.  Apparently some Indian tribes raised dogs for food, whereas, others would not eat dog meat even if there was nothing else. 

This was something I shared on Facebook because I found it funny/interesting.

 "Dispensing with Drouillard and the sign language, he decided to use a translation chain that ran from Sacagawea, speaking Shoshone to the Indians and translating it into Hidatsa, to Charbonneau, who translated her Hidatsa into French, to Private Francis Labiche, who translated from French to English." (pg. 277)

A Garden in Paris by Stephanie Grace Whitson -- my mom saw this was about Paris so she brought it from the library for me. It was OK; nothing spectacular, but it did make me want to move to Paris! 

Turning the Paige by Laura Jensen Walker -- another Getaway Girls novel.  Hah. What can I say? My mom has supplied me with library books so far this year!  This one was about a thirty-something lady who was left caring for her somewhat suffocating mother.  I rather enjoyed it especially when she and her sister visited Scotland. Made me want to go!

Preemptive Love: Pursuing Peace One Heart at a Time by Jeremy Courtney -- I got this book for Christmas. I can't remember now who recommended it, but I recall putting it on my Amazon wishlist last year.  This book is about a man and his family and friends and many others who wanted to help the children in Iraq who were hurt by life there. So many with heart defects, in need of surgery - yet there were few able to get help.  Such a wonderful story of pursuing peace, offering life in spite of fear and secret police and tribal folks who want to make life hard for you.  I really appreciated many things about this story.

Claire Knows Best by Tracey Bateman -- a cute, light, somewhat amusing fiction book from the library telling of an author Claire and her four children, exhusband, his wife, Claire's boyfriend, and such.   This book takes place after a tree fell on her house during a tornado.

Close Your Eyes by Amanda Eyre Ward -- a story about Lauren whose mother was killed when she was a child, and her dad was charged with her murder; Lauren travels back to her childhood home in New York to follow some leads about the case

Tropical Fish by Doreen Baingana -- these were "tales from Entebbe," a place in Uganda.  Somewhat interesting stories from three sisters at boarding school, at work in Entebbe, and for one, coming to America and then back home again

You've Got Libya by Greg Livingstone -- I can't remember who recommended this book last year, but it was on my wishlist and I got it for Christmas.  Not the best book ever, but it was pretty neat to see how God used this unwanted child born to an unmarried couple in 1939.  Quite an adventurous soul!

I Love Claire by Tracey Bateman -- another book in the Claire series. I realize now that I read books two and three without the first one. Still a cute story, and I could follow it fine. 

Facelift by Leanna Ellis  -- another easy read from the library; a lady who has her ex-mother in law come live with her after a botched face lift.  The book is about more than that, of course.  It deals with issues as a single mother raising a teenaged daughter.

Friday, February 13, 2015

February: a baker's dozen

1 -- Zach's grandparents visiting; pleasant walk at Burlington City Park; shopped at ALDI

2 -- visited Uncle Carr at the hospital (almost ulcers)

3 -- walked in downtown Graham; bought blue-framed, lace-and-burlap thing for the house from Amy at The Main Line

4 -- Children's Museum with Zach; watched Sophie some

It was pleasant enough to go outside for a little while

5 -- cannot remember anything special, but let's take a minute to remember six years ago during this time when Andrew and I were visiting Syria for twelve days (we did this remembering several times throughout these first days of February: great memories!)

In Damascus, 2009

6 -- visited a thrift store, and two consignment shops - bought nothing; Zach did a bunch of pages in his preschool workbook

hard at work

7 -- Steve Austin came by to put the screens in our windows; Zach and I visited Hawfields cemetery to find the "old rugged cross"

right away he found his name

Also, he found plenty of crosses

8 -- gorgeous 72-degree day; opened three windows (screens were put in just in time!); spent two hours at the park with Zach; he played with siblings, Abby and Noah; I met small twins named Roy and Etta

9 -- Zach and I explored the grounds near the library, arts house and children's museum in downtown Graham

This is a gliding bench which Zach is trying to move

Captain White house with the cool scrap-metal ball hanging from a tree

10 -- went to Southpoint in Durham with Andrew and Zach; Stephanie's birthday


11 -- woke up to the very sad news about the three young people who were murdered in Chapel Hill the evening before.  Chapel Hill is about thirty minutes from me in the neighboring county, and the fact that the man, at least, was Syrian-American and the three of them just looked like enthusiastic, friendly people whom I would have loved to have known...and apparently they had hearts of gold...it saddens me that the world has been deprived of them in such a cruel way!

 Here is a brief story about their funeral held today in Raleigh, my state capital. This was said by one of the victims, Yusor, in an interview last year:

"Growing up in America has been such a blessing," she said. "And, you know, although in some ways I do stand out, such as the hijab I wear on my head, the head covering, there's still so many ways I feel so embedded in the fabric that is our culture. That's the beautiful thing here, is that it doesn't matter where you come from. There are so many people from so many different places, of different backgrounds and religions. But here we're all one - one culture."

I hate her beautiful life was taken away from us!

Zach and I read (mostly) Little Critter books on the deck; we had to enjoy the sunshine while the temps were still warm enough for it to be a pleasant experience

At this point, there wasn't much sun left on the deck

12 -- saw some of Zach's family as they picked him up for a trip to the mountains; also saw Megan and Sophie; went out with Michael and Andrew to the mall (saw Michael's good friend Blake with his dad and sister); got a couple UNC shirts at Dunham's (told Andrew they could be my Valentine's gift); ate frozen yogurt at YoZone (even thought it's so cold outside);

she thought something was very funny

Zach and Sophie

finished Preemptive Love

"In spite of my fear, however, I remember being genuinely overjoyed by the mullah's conclusion: 'this treatment may lead our children and ...

Although this was right side up on my camera, it wanted to load funny so turn your head if you want to read it

13 -- to Four Seasons Town Centre (it's a mall), REI, and Guilford Courthouse Military Park (we walked in the cool air and nice sunshine) with Andrew

Saturday, January 31, 2015

January Books & Movie

Bomb by Steve Sheikin -- I ended 2014 with one of his books, and the first book I finished this year was his story about "the race to build - and steal - the world's most dangerous weapon."  Someone had recommended this to me several months ago, but I had other books to read and reading about making bombs didn't seem all that interesting.  Then I read one of Steve Sheikin's books plus I was reading Hiroshima so I figured "why not?"  Lots of spy talk, physics, interesting characters in this book.  One of my favorite stories took place in Norway when the resisters there were given the job of destroying Germany's heavy water supply.  I learned more about the importance of uranium and science.  Quite an interesting book!

by John Hersey  --  a friend sent this as part of a Christmas present and I decided this would be the first book I started reading.  It made me remember Bomb so I checked it out at the library to read more of the race to build the atomic bomb.

A couple interesting things from the Hiroshima book. The Red Cross hospital where "Dr. Sasaki worked for three straight days with only one hour's sleep" had only 8 doctors for 10,000 patients at one point. (pg. 56) Also, American army doctors "came by the dozen" to Tokoyo to observe Father Kleinsorge's "ridiculous scratches" which would mend and then open again when he moved.  (pg. 75)

"People who suffered flash burns were protected, to a considerable extent, from radiation sickness. Those who had lain quietly for days or even hours after the bombing were much less likely to get sick than those who had been active.  Gray hair seldom fell out."  (pg. 78)

Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin -- another rather interesting tale from US history about the length some counterfeiters will go to in order to free their best engraver from prison: how about robbing Lincoln's grave and holding his remains for ransom? 
By the way, did you know the Secret Service was started to catch counterfeiters?  After the Civil War, 30-50% of money in circulation was fake. That's enough to doom an economy so the government fought back. Until 2003 the SS was under the Dept of the Treasury, but now they are part of Homeland Security.

The Notorious Benedict Arnold by Steve Sheinkin -- yes, another of his books!  Well, this was a really interesting look at Benedict Arnold. I remembered he was a traitor, but not much else about him.  Never knew he was so tight with George Washington, and many details about his adventure in invading Canada, and who was involved with him in the betrayal. That part was super-interesting to me. 

Outcasts United by Warren St. John -- this is adapted for the YA audience, and tells the story of a Jordanian woman who came to the US, graduated, defied her parents by staying here, and eventually coached groups of refugees in soccer.  Such a neat tale of their struggles and hard work on and off the field. Made me wish I lived near Clarkston, Georgia, so I could meet Luma al-Mufleh and the Fugees. 

Down by the Riverside by Jackie Lynn -- Recently divorced and headed west, Rose Franklin's car breaks down in West Memphis, Arkansas, where she is forced to stay for a few days.  Since she has a camper, she stays at Shady Grove campground where she gets involved in a little mystery concerning the man pulled from the river the day she arrives in town. 

The Pleasure Was Mine by Tommy Hays  -- a story about a man who had to put his ailing wife into a nursing home...and the summer his 9 year old grandson came to stay with him for nine weeks.  A rather sweet story that I found at the local library.

Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul? by J.R. Daniel Kirk -- I think this book was recommended to me by Amazon awhile back. I tend to enjoy books that talk about Jesus and Paul so I added it to my wishlist and received it several months ago.  This year I'm going to try reading all these books on my shelves that I've put off reading.  This book is "a narrative approach to the problem of Pauline Christianity" and at times my mind had a tough time engaging with the author, but other times I thought it made a lot of sense and was quite understandable - even challenging.  I'm still struck by the fact of the importance of community (or family of God) vs. individualism (which my somewhat loner nature tends to prefer).   I enjoyed the author's take on those 'do not judge' verses from Jesus, and I liked how he dealt with the issues of women in churches, and even homosexuality (even though I realize most liberal/progressives won't like his stance, yet most conservatives probably wouldn't like other parts of his stance...so, fun for him,  I'm sure.) The author speaks much of narrative or story "because both Jesus and Paul believe that their own lives, and the lives of Jesus's followers, are continuations of the narrative of Israel -- the story to which the one true and living God has bound himself, and through which the true and living God is bringing about the reconciliation and rectification of the entire created order.'  (pg. 193).

The Life We Bury by Allen Eskens -- When Joe's college classroom assignment is writing the biography of someone, he heads to the local nursing home.  With a long- absent father, no grandparents in the picture, and a horrible mother, he looks to write the story of a stranger.  The director introduces him to Carl, a dying Vietnam vet who spent thirty years in prison for raping and murdering a fourteen-year-old girl.  As Joe and his friend Lila read the court transcripts and hear Carl's story, they come to some surprising conclusions.  I found this on the new books shelf at the local library. 

JANUARY 21 -- I watched The Book Thief -- got the DVD at the library on Sunday in case I wanted to watch something this week, and I actually took the time out of my life to do so.  Touching story!

Becca By the Book by Laura Jensen Walker -- apparently this is part of a series about a book club called The Getaway Girls. They like to read books and go on adventures together.  This book dealt,of course, with Becca, and it starts with this adventure-loving woman skydiving!  The book talks about a bet she makes with her friends who think she won't commit to anyone. So she gets stuck with this Christian guy and finds herself hearing all this "Christianese" which her friends translate for her.  Pretty cute, light fiction reading if you are into this sort of thing. My mom read this book from the library and passed it along.   It gave us reason to discuss terms we use as Christians that nonChristians might find weird.

Angel Song by Sheila Walsh and Kathryn Cushman -- a story about a lady currently living in New York City who comes home to Charleston, SC, to see her sister graduate.  After a bad accident, Ann is forced to make more trips home where she solves the mystery of the angel song, and finds some good friends.

Daring Chloe by Laura Jensen Walker - this book is part of the series mentioned above, and actually explained more of the adventures referred to in the Becca book. I especially enjoyed their trip to Paris, and thinking of our time there in late 2013. Good memories!

Reconstructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker -- a novel about a young woman diagnosed and undergoing treatment for breast cancer; although it is written by the lady who wrote the series about book club girls (above), this book precedes that series; good story about the importance of faithful friends

Also this month we watched White Collar season 5* beginning on January 8 and finishing on the 17th.  The season had 13 episodes.

*Andrew received this for Christmas. It's only the 2nd show we've ever watched this way.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Twelve Days of January

Except for books reviews, I've not done a whole lot on this blog in the last few years.  I wanted to keep up with what I did this year - maybe not every day, but highlight a few things here and there. I doubt I'll blog about each day of 2015 like I did here, but I wanted to get into the habit of noting some things so I'll start with this...the twelve days of January!

1 - made Cincinnati chili; saw Sophie at my parents' house; Andrew left for youth trip in Virginia; started reading Hiroshima

The little Sophie bear

2 - started reading Bomb; fell off the stairs (hardwoods hurt); received 7 Christmas cards - one from Germany, the others were all forwarded from our old address; helped with Allied Churches of Alamance County's (ACAC) food pantry at the mall

3 - put away Christmas stuff; Andrew home around 3 PM

After I put away my Christmas decorations, I put out a few things

4  -- cleaned blinds in sun room; talked to Samer via Skype for the first time since before Christmas; finished Bomb, Hiroshima, and started and finished Lincoln's Grave Robbers

5 -- morning walk in Graham; got more library books; started reading biography of Benedict Arnold outside in the glorious sunshine (chilly, and a bit breezy, but not bad in the sun); Zach home from the mountains

6 -- to Tanger with Zach; Will started Masters class with North Carolina State (online class)

After running around in the play area, we sat in the sun for a few minutes

7 -- ACAC food pantry; colored My Little Pony pictures with Zach

Decorating the ginger train

8 -- woke up to news about Paris terror attack (Charlie Hebo); 14 degrees when I woke up; did the candy train with Zach and Mama; took Zach to the Children's Museum for a short time before dropping him off at Steph's; Andrew had two top wisdom teeth pulled; started White Collar season 5

The train before it fell apart

9 -- Yo Zone, Ross and Target with Andrew and Michael; put up coat hanger in entry way

Michael at Daniel's house on New Year's Eve

10 -- received a Christmas card from a friend in Massachusetts (had our old address on it); to the train museum with Zach (met 7 year old Nick, had fun with other children); went to the park for 45 minutes (played with Sawyer, Nelson, and Josh)

Zach and his friend, Nick

11  -- survived Harris Teeter (double coupons + Sunday = grocery shopping nightmare); Z rode his tricycle and I walked for about 45 minutes; more White Collar season 5; NC State defeated Duke in college basketball (Duke's first loss this year; Andrew happy)

12 -- played with both Sophie and Zach; decorated a Gingerbread man with Zach and Mama

Sophie and the doll she got for Christmas

Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Meme

Happy New Year to all who celebrate! ;)

1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

helped sort food for the Allied Churches of Alamance County's food pantry on Black Friday and a few times since then

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Well, my gratitude journal got neglected more than written in in 2014 so ...

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

my sister in law had a baby girl, Sophie

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Mema died on July 13. She was 91.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

a trip to visit Samer

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

besides the two mentioned above (birth/death), I will remember September 30 since that is when we closed on both our old and new houses

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

selling our old house a couple of days after putting it on the market

9. What was your biggest failure?


10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got the family sickness a few days before Christmas (cough, sniffles, sore throat, chills).  Probably because Zach was sick and wanted me to hold him, and he breathed right into my face.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

frozen custard

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Andrew's - he's most always a cheerful, helpful guy

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

certain family members

14. Where did most of your money go?

the new house

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

 I really enjoyed a couple day trips I took with my mom, and the beach trip we went on with my sister and nephew

16. What song(s) will always remind you of 2014?

Ummmm, All About That Bass

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. Happier or sadder?

ii. same

iii. Thinner of fatter?

iv. same

v. richer or poorer?

vi. well, we bought a house so probably poorer in some ways, but if a house is a good investment then maybe richer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

hiking in the mountains; visiting Samer since we didn't at all

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
staying home

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

It was our first Christmas without Mema alive - rather odd since during my childhood, we always went to visit Mema and Pop. Even through adulthood we were there at Christmas or somewhere around the holidays.

All of us except my brother's family (they were in the mountains visiting his wife's family)  and Lorraine (who was visiting her mom for a few days)* met at my sister's house around 4:30. Andrew and I had eaten lunch and exchanged a few gifts with Andrew's parents, brother, and his wife earlier in the day.  It was wonderfully sunny for the first time in a few days so we ended up going to see the horse.  My sister in law was taking pictures of herself and the horse - trying out her new phone. 
Anyway, later in the day we went to Steph's house where we ate, watched The Andy Griffith Show (Opie the Bird-man), played one game of Apples to Apples (Will won) while Daniel watched "Frosty the Snowman" since he'd not seen it this Christmas season (yeah, really!)  We decided to see the lights on Marye Drive. They were in time with some music on the radio.  A really nice display which we enjoyed!  Then we drove up to Walgreens since they were open.  I guess we were bored and wanted to see what was happening.  I bought some Combos which were 2 for $2. Then we went by Sheetz for free hot chocolate or coffee or whatever.  Walgreens and Sheetz are both close to my sister's house. 
Andrew and I got home around 9:15 or so, and I made our online reservations so we could leave for Southport in the morning.  I had to pack then. 

* We had our family meal/gift exchange the Saturday before Christmas since some folks would be out of town on the 25th.

21. How many one-night stands?

I still hate this question

22. What was your favorite TV program?


23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

Time Warner Cable (corporations are people, right?)

24. What was the best book you read?
This is always a tough one for me because how can I pick the best out of dozens of books?  Among my favorites were the memoir from the deaf man, and the lady who helped blind people around the world

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Zach singing

26. What did you want and get?

a rug for the living room

27. What was your favorite film of this year?
I don't think I watched a movie this year

28. What did you do on your birthday?

watched Zach some; went out with Michael and Andrew that evening

29. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

practical, comfortable

30. What kept you sane?
several short trips just to get away and enjoy nature; walking, walking, walking

31. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Peppa Pig (especially when Zach introduced himself as Peppa to someone at the park)

32. What political issue stirred you the most?


33. Who did you miss?  

Pop, Mema

34. Who was the best new person you met?


35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

remind your fears how big your God is (although, truthfully, I still don't think I've learned this lesson; still, it's a good thought)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

December Books

A Girl Named Zippy by Haven Kimmel -- The subtitle is 'Growing Up Small in Mooreland, Indiana' and it was a cute book. Liz recommended it as one of her favorites awhile back. I think she enjoyed it more since she lived in Indiana for part of her married life.  My library had it in the Biography section so I read it. She's a pretty good story-teller. 

Last Lessons of Summer by Margaret Maron -- in this book a lady from New York City comes to a small town outside of Raleigh, NC, to close out her grandparents' estate. In the process, she has to solve the mysteries of her grandmother's and mother's deaths.

Once Was Lost by Sara Zarr -- the tale of a fifteen year old pastor's daughter, and the troublesome summer when her mom was in rehab, and her world seemed to fall apart.

From Beirut to Jersusalem by Thomas L. Friedman -- I found this one at a book exchange and just took my time reading a little bit nearly every day.  I began it on October 25 (my wedding anniversary), and finished the nearly 600 pages yesterday on the cool date of 12-13-14.  Lots of interesting stuff in here, but I felt like I needed an up-to-date tale from the author. As it ends, "Rabin himself is not talking regularly about 'separation' from the Palestinians," Arafat is still alive, and Hafez Assad still rules Syria.  So much has happened since then! I do wonder what the author would say in regards to his predictions of the future in that part of the world.  I enjoyed reading about his life in Beirut and Jerusalem; great reports from those places!

Hallie's Heart by Shelly Beach -- an aunt and niece share a few days together as they come to grips with a bad accident in their pasts.  Both learn the importance of forgiveness.

You Had Me at Good-bye by Tracey Bateman -- a book my mom finished while I was at her house so I decided to read it. Rather cute book, cute characters. Predictable, yes, but an easy read about a young editor in New York City.

Her Amish Man by Erin Bates -- I got this book while at the library recently. My sole quest was for easy reads, and this one was. But it was a rather silly book. Still, it fit the bill of being an easy book to read during this holiday season.  Lawyer Leah hides out with the Amish after being accused of murder. Exciting, right? 

The Tyrant's Daughter by JC Carleson -- can you imagine leaving your war-torn home country where your family was the "royal family" only to find out in your new country that your father was a dictator who approved many crimes against your countrymen?  That's the gist of this book. Quite an interesting tale.  Bridget recommended this one.

Little Bee by Chris Cleave - a friend recommended this one to me; a Nigerian girl makes her way to England where she is an illegal refugee. She meets up with a couple she met years before in her home country.  This book makes you feel more for those leaving troublesome pasts. 

A Likely Story: One Summer with Lillian Hellman by Rosemary Mahoney  -- A few years ago, I read one of her books about living in China, so I must have put her biography on my list for that reason. This book takes place when Rosemary was 17. She wanted to work one summer for a favorite author, and wrote asking if she could.  Ms. Hellman agreed, and it was quite an eye-opening experience for Rosemary.  I just looked up Lillian Hellman as she's not a famous person that I'm familiar with.  Anyway...if this sort of thing interests you, great.  Sometimes famous people aren't what they seem from their stories or movies.  Sometimes this is a blessing, and other times it is a great disappointment.

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker -- this year I've been jotting down books that people recommend on their blogs especially if my library has them. This is one book Crystal wrote about in September.  I found it in the Junior Fiction at my library so it's not really in my age group, but it's a cute story of two young girls who are trying to survive one summer in Cape Cod when their caregiver suddenly dies.  Neither wants to go into foster care so they bury Louise in the garden and live as if Louise is inside with a broken leg or out with her boyfriend. 

Dreamers of the Day by Mary Doria Russell -- I think Niki recommended this book, and I finally found it at a local library. It's the story of Agnes Shanklin, a school teacher in Ohio, who inherits some money, and eventually goes on a trip to Egypt, Jerusalem, and Gaza around the time of Lawrence of Arabia and Winston Churchill.  In fact, she speaks with both of these men at some length while traveling. 

Four Mile by Watt Key -- another YA recommended by Crystal.  I read this in one sitting.  Foster and his mother are preparing to sell the family farm when a stranger happens by.  For some reason Foster instantly likes Gary, and this book is about their times within about a month when Gary is helping to get the place ready to sell.

Which Way to the Wild West? by Steve Sheinkin -- my friend Jennifer's twelve year old son really enjoyed this book. I think she read it as well, and she recommended it to me. It was written by a former textbook author who saved all these cool stories - that the editors didn't have room for in a history book full of dates and charts - for a book of his own. Quite interesting and a quick read for my last book of 2014.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

After-Christmas Trip to the Beach and Southport

A few days before Christmas, it was gray and rainy. I am grateful for rain because I know it's needed, but I admit sunshine cheers me more.  Christmas day was lovely, and we saw the forecast was going to be nice at the beach for the weekend. So Christmas night - around 9:30 - we got back from my sister's house, and I made online reservations for a small motel on the Cape Fear River at Southport.  We had stayed there back in April, and enjoyed the location very much.

So we headed out Friday morning and arrived in Wrightsville Beach (pictured above).  I walked there while Andrew got in a nice bike ride.  Later we headed to Southport where we stayed much of the next day and a half (two nights).

Saturday we drove over to Caswell Beach which is where we sat for awhile and I decided to put my feet in the water.  'Twas cold!

Both nights we watched the sunset over the Cape Fear River in Southport (below).  Several other people gathered to enjoy it as well.

At night we would dress warmly, and walk around the streets to see the houses lit up for Christmas.  I didn't take very many photos of them, but they looked festive!

Today we stayed around Southport for morning walks and Andrew took a bike ride.  I talked to some people on the pier and around the swings each day. Met folks from New York, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Raleigh, and "here." 

We went to Wrightsville Beach for another walk before we headed home. The temperature was in the low seventies, and we sat along the marina watching the boats on the intracoastal waterway. We were just getting ready to leave for home when Andrew saw this boat about to tip over.  It did. So we stayed to watch the rescue. The men were fine, but their handmade boat took on some water and when we left, they were trying to remedy that. 

What a great after-Christmas trip!