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

Monday, August 31, 2015

August Books

Two Many Brides Too Many by Mona Hodgson -- a somewhat predictable book about two sisters who traveled from Maine to Cripple Creek, Colorado, as mail-order brides; an easy read

Skizzer by A. J. Kiesling -- a sister and wife are missing, and Claire and Rainey follow clues Becca left so they track her down through a part of North Carolina and then on to England

Wild by Cheryl Strayed -- my mom's cousin Erik knows I enjoy meeting people on the Appalachian Trail so he recommended this book a few weeks ago. I found it at my library and read with interest about Cheryl's account of walking more than 1,100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail.  Because in more recent years I've geared my mind to saying such last names with two syllables, I was saying it like Cheryl STRAY YED. I blame transliterated Arabic names for not realizing her last name was just strayed. Like I strayed off the path.

Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in I Corinthians by Kenneth E. Bailey -- this was the book I started on my birthday (April 30) and took my time reading; I finally finished on August 6.  Some parts of it are dry. I am just not that interested in Hebrew parallelism, cameo, homily, ring composition, double-decker sandwich composition and that sort of thing though I know the author mentions it for a reason. I preferred the commentary on the actual cultural part.   Much of that I found quite interesting!

On pg. 115, I like the thoughts on the Trinity, and how in the Christian tradition we have chosen to reflect on how God, his Word and his Spirit form a unity.
The thoughts on slavery (pg. 219), joining people in their weakness (pg. 258), women (pg. 310, 313, and later in the book where I forgot to write down the page numbers) were really good.

She's in a Better Place by Angela Hunt -- Through books I often learn about a variety of topics even if I think the book is just a memoir or just some random fiction book.  In Lynsey Addario's book I learned a few tidbits about photography (like lighting), and this book was no different. Well, I didn't learn about photography, but in the Fairlawn Series, I learned quite a bit about the funeral home industry.  This was the last book of the trilogy, and some aspects of it resonated with me more than I expected.  Parts of this book were mildly amusing while others made me cry.  I could relate to Gerald's prayers for his daughter and his desire for a restored relationship with her. 

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller -- "nonreligious thoughts on Christian spirituality"  -- this is an odd little book that I found at a book exchange in Saxapahaw.  He writes in a weird way, but I kind of like it.  Many things I could not relate to, but many other things I could.  Parts of it are worth rereading so I may keep this one and read it again sometime.

When Mercy Rains by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- this is actual book 1 in a series that I discovered a few weeks ago when I found book 2 in the new books section of the library.  After having read the second book, I found this one figuring I could read the story that lead up to the one I already read. Haha...get all that?  It was good reading more about Abigail, Suzanne, Alexa, Paul, and more of the Mennonite community there in Kansas.

In Every Heartbeat by Kim Vogel Sawyer -- this story follows three young adults - Pete, Libby, and Bennett - who were friends since their days at an orphanage as they go off to college

Remember Me by Deborah Bedford  -- a pastor discovers an old friend who mysteriously disappeared decades before

Tears in a Bottle by Sylvia Bambola -- a fiction book proclaiming the horrible side of abortion through the tales of a teen, an abortion provider and a lady who'd had an abortion who now worked to help those seeking options after discovering an unwanted pregnancy; some of this sounded as if I were reading a pro-life pamphlet

Miracle at the Higher Grounds Café by Max Lucado -- a rather small book about a lady who takes over her mom's café, and is helped by her guardian angel in disguise

Love Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas by Sandra D. Bricker  -- an easy-to-read, somewhat predictable, but rather cute book about a group of church singles who do all these mostly- outdoor activities for a week, and how one of them in particular (Lucy) does with that.

On Hummingbird Wings by Lauraine Snelling -- a lady leaves NYC to care for her "dying" mother in California and the issues she deals with which, frankly, aren't so bad as her mom is basically pretending.  So different from those who truly have to give up their lives to care for others - and don't have the means and outside help that Gillian has. Not that I'm bitter...

Carolina Gold by Dorothy Love -- set in the Lowcountry of SC after the Civil War, this book is the story of Charlotte, a young lady who tries her hand at running her late father's plantation

Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wax -- I read the first few pages of this book, and thought of not going any further, but I'm glad I did because I grew to really enjoy Vivien, Melanie, Shelby and many of the other characters in this story.  In fact I looked for other books by the same author...

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green -- I'd seen this mentioned as a favorite on Liz's blog, and I finally got it from my local library.  It's a touching story about Life With Cancer - or at least Hazel's struggle with it.  You also meet some of her friends and acquaintances including those from Support Group.  A good read.

While We're Far Apart by Lynn Austin -- this follows the life of Penny as she takes care of her widowed friend Eddie's children while he is fighting against the Nazis; I liked this book

The Mailbox by Mary Beth Whalen -- a rather predictable story, but an OK book especially if you want a fast read.  A recently divorced mom takes her children for their yearly beach vacation where she has visited since she was fifteen. 

Ten Beach Road by Wendy Wax -- after being duped by an investor who stole all their money, three ladies - strangers to each other - who have each been awarded one third of a run-down mansion arrive in Florida to decide the fate of Bella Flora.  Fitting that I finished this book as I was leaving the beach for Southport yesterday (8/30). 

Girlhearts by Norma Fox Mazer -- a YA book that I read in a few hours - most of it on the way home from Southport; the story of Sarabeth the weeks after her mom dies unexpectedly at age 29

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Names and Meanings

If you are on Facebook, you know they have these silly quizzes and name things that suck people into doing.  I'd seen a number of my friends post "Origin of:  [insert your name]" and then you'd get some reply like I did.

Sus / Anne were Arabic in origin for Warrior / Princess.

I actually did it twice, and the second time received this:

Sus / Anne from Egyptian for Little / Fighter

Either way it seems I like fighting!

I was really hoping for Susa meaning "difficult" in Malay like my friend, Lat, told me a few years ago.  This amuses me.

From baby name books and websites, I already knew the meaning of Susanna. 

Meaning & History
From Σουσαννα (Sousanna), the Greek form of the Hebrew name שׁוֹשַׁנָּה (Shoshannah). This was derived from the Hebrew word שׁוֹשָׁן (shoshan) meaning "lily" (in modern Hebrew this also means "rose"), perhaps ultimately from Egyptian sšn "lotus". In the Old Testament Apocrypha this is the name of a woman falsely accused of adultery. The prophet Daniel clears her name by tricking her accusers, who end up being condemned themselves. It also occurs in the New Testament belonging to a woman who ministered to Christ.As an English name, it was occasionally used during the Middle Ages in honour of the Old Testament heroine. It did not become common until after the Protestant Reformation, at which time it was often spelled Susan

A Jewish friend, Naomi, chimed in on this topic, and gave me this information about my name and a couple family names.  I basically wanted to save the information so I'm posting it here.

"Susanne is Hebrew - it is a corruption of Shoshana, which means Lily, as in Song of Songs 2:1, "I am the rose of Sharon, I am the lily of the valley (Shoshanat HaEmek)."

About Rebekah, she wrote:

" Rebecca is more complicated. It is a Jewish name but the origins predate Hebrew - if you remember, the Biblical Rebecca was not the daughter of a Jew."

which was a little weird because I hadn't thought of that, and always considered it a Hebrew name, I suppose. Hmmm.

About Rose of Sharon:

"Chavatzelet haSharon ("Ch" as in Bach) In modern Hebrew the accent almost always falls on the last or penultimate syllable."

I asked if a girl were named Rose in Hebrew if she'd be "Chavatzelet" (I got that from the phrase mentioned above), and she replied,


"The word is archaic. The modern Hebrew name is Vered or Varda. Both popular names."

Note:  Although I've always gone by Susanne, my real name is Susanna Rebekah.  My mom is Sharon, and Rose is a well-used name on my maternal grandmother's side of the family.   

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Max Patch and Hot Springs

Note: click pictures to see them larger

Back in May we were in Damascus, Virginia, a week before that town's Trail Days.  A father with two sons (from Arkansas) were hiking north on the Appalachian Trail (AT) and reached Damascus while we were going for a quick stroll along the trail.  We stopped to chat with them, asking about their hardships, trail names, and favorite things thus far.  I remember one of the boys saying he really liked Max Patch. I kept that detail in my mind and googled it later. I noticed Max Patch was closer to Asheville than the Boone area where we tend to go as Boone is a bit closer to our house.  But I figured we'd eventually go back towards Asheville, and as you know already (if you've read the blog), we did last weekend.

So before our trip, I googled Max Patch again and wrote down some directions from Lake Lure.  Those directions turned out to not be very good, but thankfully I was able to find some easy directions when I googled again from Andrew's phone.  We went straight down interstate 40 almost to Tennessee.  At exit 7, we got off the exit, turned right, and it almost immediately turned into a gravel road. Which we followed for a bit over eight miles to the parking area at Max Patch.

You can walk a trail directly up to the summit (and it's really not a bad walk at all), or you can circle around through the wood and emerge along the Appalachian Trail and see the view that thru-hikers would see as they walked north or south.  We took the second route.   Here are some of my pictures.

The white blazes let you know you are on the AT

Applachian Trail

A note in the parking area said back in the 1920s that they would land small aircraft on the flat top of Max Patch.  Also, these areas were cleared by people in the 1800s for their livestock to graze.   

going down to the parking area from the summit

I like these clouds

After leaving, we went a different route to Hot Springs which is also along the Appalachian Trail.  A sign there said it was the first town thru-hikers from Georgia get to after hiking about 200 miles.

Andrew rode his bike for a few minutes

AT white blaze

Hot Springs kind of caters to the AT hikers...and also those who want to enjoy tubing and other water activities on the French Broad River.

see the tubers?

I walked a little bit around a neighborhood, and found some lovely flowers.

Interesting tidbit: we learned that Germans were interned in Hot Springs during World War I.  The lady telling the story at the Welcome Center mentioned a few of them had wives and children join them there - and the children attended Madison County schools.  If I heard her correctly, she claims that after the war 70% of the Germans got US citizenship. She mentioned the towns of Little Switzerland and Maggie Valley being settled by these new Americans. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Carter Lodge at Chimney Rock

view from the road

In the past, Andrew and I visited Chimney Rock and Lake Lure for a few hours at a time.  However, during our last visit (well, last before this time, so June 2014), we noticed a couple of places where we thought it would be neat to stay if it worked out.  As I was looking for hotels in the Asheville area, I considered a couple of places in Chimney Rock - Fibber MaGee's and Carter Lodge.  I had picked up brochures of both, and we ended up staying at Carter Lodge. Here are a few pictures of the lodge, its grounds, and the view from outside our room.

We stayed on the backside which you see here from the river

Looking up from the sidewalk outside our room, you can see the American flag at Chimney Rock Park.  

A few feet outside our room were lounge chairs, flowers, decorations, and a swing!

I am writing a note to my family at home

Down a few stairs, you could sit out here closer to the river.  You could even go down to the river - which we did a couple of times.

Second night's note home

As we left Chimney Rock, we noticed these goats enjoying the kudzu taking over the area between Gerton and Bat Cave, North Carolina.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

The Flowering Bridge

On the mile walk from Chimney Rock to Lake Lure, there is an old bridge that is covered in flowers. 

View looking back towards where we came from - Chimney Rock

This article explains it a bit if you are interested in learning how this bridge was saved from destruction, and taken over by flowers and decorative items, even doors. (click picture to enlarge)

We enjoyed this walk on Saturday morning. First there was this door.

We laughed when we saw this picture:

Susanne as a door

Some other sights.

the tallest part of this is not even knee-high on me

this blossom is about the size of my hand spread out

There are plenty more flowers and decorations that I didn't include here.   You'll have to go look for yourself sometime!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Headed towards Asheville

On Friday morning, August 7, we left home a little after 7:00 headed west on interstate 40 to visit the mountains! Instead of heading towards Damascus and Abingdon, Virginia, or the Boone/Blowing Rock area of North Carolina, we went to the Asheville area.  It's a bit longer to reach, but not too bad. 

We wanted to visit Mt. Mitchell State Park so we got off the Marion exit and went up Hwy. 80 which Andrew decided to bike for a bit.  It had been going pretty flat, but about the time he started riding, the road started going up.  I would park a few places periodically so he could catch up - and let me know if he wanted to continue riding.  He did.

One of my stops was in this church parking lot where I found a stream to enjoy.

We finally arrived at Mt. Mitchell, and while the Appalachian Mountains are much smaller than mountains west of the Mississippi - or elsewhere in the world for that matter - they are still tall enough to experience FOG.  And, boy, was it foggy when we got there. 

You can kind of see it in this picture (above) which is where Andrew was getting ready to take pictures for Sjaak and Lidy, a brother and sister from the Netherlands, and their 94-year-old friend Sherman from the USA.  They are all part of the Highpointers club.  They try to visit the highest peak in every state.  Mt. Mitchell is the highest in North Carolina.

Because of the fog covering up the mountain view, I focused on other things like how much I enjoyed the lovely smell as we walked through the woods, and the lichen, berries, and flowers.

After our hike, we went back up to the summit and the fog had cleared some back to the east so we got a few pictures.

clearing some

Scientist Mitchell is buried here

Later we went down the Blue Ridge Parkway headed south.  We stopped at some overlooks, hiked a bit, and Andrew rode his bike.

The next day we spent over six hours on the parkway doing much of the same. We didn't have an issue with fog that day, and saw many lovely views. It's hard taking picture of views sometimes because cameras just don't do them justice.  Still, here are a few of the photos I took.

We met an international student group from Georgia State University at Devil's Courthouse Overlook.  We talked to a guy from Afghanistan and another from China, and we saw others from Sri Lanka, Iran, and the USA.   From this overlook you can see mountains in North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Devil's Courthouse Overlook

Waterrock Knob Overlook has one of the prettiest parking areas I've ever seen.  It's like mountain views where ever you look.  

Waterrock Knob Trail

Down the trail

The parking area

We also walked the Flowering Bridge in Lake Lure, and stayed at Carter Lodge in Chimney Rock.  We located Max Patch and visited Hot Springs before coming home Sunday. I will talk about those another time.