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

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)