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

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.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July Books

Still Waters by Jennifer Lauck -- the last book I read in June was about Jennifer's growing up years - well, until around age 12. This book takes off from there, and talks about her life with her new parents, reuniting briefly with her brother, schools and work and starting a family.


Show Me the Way by Jennifer Lauck -- so, yeah, the library had another one of her books and this is three in a row that I've read by this author.  This one had a few flashbacks from Jennifer's childhood and young adulthood - a few familiar, and a few new stories. But mostly it was stories from her pregnancies, children's births, and dealing with her young children. I know parents adore their children, and I do love my nephews, but I was reminded throughout this book of how happy I am not having any children of my own. 

All In by Mark Batterson -- we read his first book just before going to Syria. He always challenges me, and makes me want to DO something. Which I rarely do.  Boo.  Lots of good stuff, but one thing I noted that applied to me:

"Our prayers tend to focus on external circumstances more than internal attitudes because we'd rather have God change our circumstances than change us."  (pg. 121)

Miracle in the Hills: The Lively Personal Story of a Woman Doctor's Forty-year Crusade in the Mountains of North Carolina by Mary T. Martin Sloop, M.D.  -- my mom found this in the library...fun to read about this lady's life in Crossnore, NC

A Farewell to Mars by Brian Zahnd -- "an evangelical pastor's journey toward the Biblical gospel of peace."  -- I saw this on the new book shelf at the library, and then one of my favorite authors whom I follow on Facebook recommended it a few days later.  Such a challenging book!  Especially for those like myself in a culture that often seems to want to bring peace through violence (war).  Great read!

The Guns of August by Barbara W. Tuchman -- a friend sent this to me for my birthday. We had been talking about World War I together, and I suppose he thought it would be good for me to read more about it. He googled "best English books on WWI" or something like that, and this was recommended.   I didn't even know who sent it until I inquired on Facebook about a book appearing in my mailbox.  There were parts of this book that I found interesting, but I must admit I'm not a big fan.  It took me exactly 2 months and 1 day to finish this - though I did not read some every day. I did try to read a page or ten most days, but there were plenty of days where this book was completely ignored.  So glad I finally finished it today (7/25) so I can included it on this list!

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman -- the author recounts her 1986 trip to China with a friend from college - wow

Stronger by Jeff Bauman -- I saw this in the new book section of the library; it's from one of the guys who lost his legs after the Boston marathon bombing in 2013 - I enjoyed reading his story

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June Books

Can't believe it's already July! This year is flying!

Shadowed by Grace by Cara C. Putman -- I found this novel in the new book section.  It was about a photographer who went to Italy during the final months of World War II in search of her father.  It wasn't really all that interesting to me although it made me think of my times in Europe which have been nice.  Need to visit Italy one day.

Last Train to Paris by Michele Zackheim -- another book from the new books shelf at the library, and I liked this one much better. It's about a reporter who covers news in Europe during WWII.  The reporter is Jewish, and it was interesting reading about her adventures, her family, and her friends there.

Listen to the Squawking Chicken by Elaine Lui -- a Chinese-Canadian tells her story which includes so much about her mother's influence on her life. I learned quite a bit about Chinese culture (at least her version of it) in this book. The part about filial piety (pg. 58) was quite interesting especially at how much it differs from how people raise children here.

Jesus, My Father, the CIA, and Me: a memoir ...of sorts by Ian Morgan Cron -- I found this book at Goodwill awhile back and finally read it this month.  The author recounts his years growing up with an abusive alcoholic father, and his own struggles with drinking too much, too young in an effort to earn his father's love.  My favorite part was when he recounted his childhood to an elderly black woman whom he met at a church he attended in Denver when he was in seminary.  The part about Jesus asking him for forgiveness and her reply that "love always stoops," really touched me.  (pg. 175)

The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James  -- I read a similar book about Louisa Mae Alcott that I really liked more than I thought I would. So when I saw this one at the library, I decided to see if it were similar.  I liked it.

In The Presence of My Enemies by Gracia Burnham -- I'm over a decade late reading this memoir, but I saw it at a local thrift store, and it drew my attention. I remember when New Tribes missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham were kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf, a terrorist group, in the Philippines in 2001.  It was interesting reading this account of how they were treated, and how they passed the time during their year-long captivity.  I especially enjoyed reminders of God's faithfulness to them even during those very low points, and found myself praying for these awful men, that God will show them their need for salvation through Christ. I prayed that the lives of the Burnhams showed them the peace and joy they can have in following Christ rather than a horrible ideology. 

Blackbird by Jennifer Lauck -- a biography my mom finished and said was good.  It was. But so sad, too. I wanted to jump into this book a few times and intervene on this child's behalf. Goodness, there are some mighty cruel people in this world.  I'm reading the sequel to this book now. Not sure if I will finish it in time for this post. (nope)

Saturday, May 31, 2014

May Books

Roadside Assistance by Amy Clipston -- a girl tries to find her faith after losing her mother to cancer

Secrets Over Sweet Tea by Denise Hildreth Jones -- this book is based around a community and church family - eh, my mom read it and passed it along

The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O'Connor McNees  -- So this author enjoyed reading about LMA, and wondered if there was a romance in her life so she uses a summer the Alcotts went to Walpole, New Hampshire and creates a story about Louisa's "lost summer" of meeting some guy that she adores, but also her attempts at getting published. I liked this more than I thought I would!  And I got it at an area book exchange.

The Bible and the Land by Gary M. Burge - I enjoy these colorful books, and I requested this one on my Amazon Wishlist.  The author talked about the wilderness, water, bread, names and such things mentioned in the Bible from that culture.

Rainwater by Sandra Brown -- I found this at one of those book exchanges. I realized right away that I'd read it before, but decided to read it again. It was an easy read - just an ol' fiction book

Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall -- a friend sent this to me for my birthday.  Interesting read.  "My story of growing up in a polygamous sect, becoming a teenage bride, and breaking free of Warren Jeffs"  -- I won't even bother mentioning yet again how much I detest men who "speak for God" and ruin so many lives

December 1941:   31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World by Craig Shirley -- this is quite a big book that I bought on a whim at Barnes & Noble a few months ago.  I remember it was in the bargain books, and I thought the subject was interesting. Curious what the US was like just before, during and after the bombing of Pearl Harbor?  This book shares interesting tidbits not just about what was happening militarily, but also cultural news such as:

The power of movies in 1941... "One of the biggest stars of the era, [Clark] Gable, took off his shirt in the movie 'It Happened One Night' to reveal his bare and masculine chest.  Unlike most men in America, he did not wear a T-shirt and as a result T-shirt sales dropped 40 to 50 percent in one year."  (pg. 32)

Of course I got to wondering later if perhaps the war and maybe a shortage of cotton or people using clothes more contributed to this drop.  This book was so-so.  Not terrible, but not the best either. 

Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne  -- "Avoiding pride, exclusivity, and the other dangers of overzealous faith."  -- I had this one on my Amazon wishlist and got it for my birthday. I think a friend recommended it to me.