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

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Books

The Wish by Beverly Lewis -- When Gloria's Amish family moves away and becomes fancy, she leaves behind a sister-friend, Leona, who grieves for the abrupt ending of their relationship.  After not hearing from Gloria for years, Leona is surprised to receive a letter inviting Leona back into Gloria's life.

Summer of Joy by Ann H. Gabhart -- I wasn't sure I was going to stick with this one because I felt I was beginning a book which jumped into a family I was unfamiliar with.  Later I realized there was an earlier book which would have helped introduce the characters, but it worked out.  This is a story about Pastor David Brooke and his children, Jocie and Tabitha, and David's girlfriend Leigh whom he decides to marry. Stuff like that, but more to it, too.

From a Distance by Tamera Alexander -- This book combines characters like a Yankee photographer lady who journeys to the West in order to compete for a job, a former Confederate sharpshooter, and a former enslaved person. I enjoyed it. It's somewhat predictable, yeah, but it's better than many.  Book one of the Timber Ridge Reflections series. I'm going to look for the others.

The Moment Between by Nicole Baart -- Abigail follows the trail of her sister's ex-boyfriend to confront him about some things pertaining to Hailey. At first I wasn't sure about this book, but grew to like it pretty well. 

The Breaking Point by Karen Ball -- A husband and wife have an accident on the way home, and the book deals with their marriage issues. 

Grave Risk by Hannah Alexander -- kind of a medical mystery story, but not super-interesting; but an OK easy-read

Discovering North Carolina edited by Jack Claiborne and William Price -- a collection of stories about people, events, the environment, and social fabric of NC.  I wrote a bit more about it in a previous post

A State of Grace by Trace Depree -- an easy-read about a small town in the Tennessee mountains; the pastor's wife involves herself helping a widow and her daughter who has leukemia

Maid to Match by Deeanne Gist -- I like that this took place at Biltmore in Western NC.  This is the story of a young girl who had been trained to become the top lady's maid.  One requirement though: don't get involved with a man!

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd -- A book based on the lives of Sarah and Nina Grimk√© from Charleston, South Carolina.  Mostly the book focused on Sarah with a second story from Handful (Hetty) the slave given to Sarah when Sarah turned 11.  Handful was ten.  A great book. My mom read it first, and highly recommended it. 

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher -- Lancaster County Secrets series; Carrie was anticipating following her Amish boyfriend into the English world as Sol plays baseball, but when her father dies, she has a choice to make regarding staying or leaving for the sake of her little brother, Andy.

Comrades by Stephen E. Ambrose -- a short book about friendships - some historical figures, and some of the authors' own close friends. One chapter was about Richard Nixon and how he didn't have any really close friends.  I felt I identified much with Nixon because I don't really share my inner thoughts and secrets with anyone, either.

All The Presidents' Children: Triumph and Tragedy In The Lives of America's First Families by Doug Wead  -- I bought this for twenty-five cents, and it was a really good way to learn more about the presidents' families.  It made me want to learn even more about certain individuals.

The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher -- book two in the Lancaster County Secrets series, but it has nothing to do with the previous book's characters; this one dealt with Jorie and her waiting for her boyfriend to come back from Vietnam...stuff like that

If by Mark Batterson -- "Trading your 'if only' regrets for God's 'what if' possibilities"  -- lots of good reminders for me!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Catherine's Journal

One of the essays in Discovering North Carolina (see more here) contains excerpts from the journal of Catherine Ann Devereaux Edmondston.   There are entries from Election Day 1860 when she was sure Lincoln wouldn't be elected.  Then there is the grievous disappointment expressed nearly three weeks later.  The diary entries give glimpses of the home front from the perspective of a lady from the planter class in Halifax County.  

After Robert E. Lee surrendered in April 1865, Mrs. Edmondston writes that she had "reduced [her]self, to an utterly paperless condition."  Except for her journal which she must have hidden pretty well.

She writes:
"Every letter I possessed, letters which I had cherished as my heart's blood, mementos of those I had loved & lost years ago, literary memoranda, excerpts, abstracts, records of my own private self examinations, poetry - all, all destroyed..."


"...the thought of seeing them in Yankee hands, of hearing them read in vile Yankee drawl amidst peals of vulgar Yankee laughter, or worse still, of knowing them heralded abroad in Yankee sensational newspapers, restrained me!" [She had thought of snatching out one letter from the packet that contained letters to and from her husband.]

"This has been the fate of thousands of my fellow countrywomen, for the Northern journals teem with private papers stolen from Southern Households & published to a vulgar curious world as specimens of Southern thought, Southern feeling, & Southern composition."   (pg. 50)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


A friend shared this on Facebook two days ago.  I thought it was clever, and planned yesterday how I would post it here after a woman made history in becoming the President of the United States of America!  What a day!

Not this time

But, I hadn't counted on the pre-election headlines and polls that came across my Facebook news feed being so wrong.  I should have learned from Brexit and the Colombian vote a few months ago.

Someone shared this on Facebook a few days ago, too.  The language is terrible, but it helped me understand the rural vs. city divide a bit more.  Also, a friend in Scotland read it, and she saw parallels to the Brexit vote.  

I stayed up until just after one this morning.  Trump was poised to take Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and possibly Michigan, and with the recent time change making it feel more like 2 A.M. (and I am not a night owl at all), I was beat.  And stunned.

Oh, wow.

How are you feeling?

Friday, November 4, 2016

Refusing to Feed Others

"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

I'm reading a book Discovering North Carolina which has dozens of stories, newspaper articles, and accounts about the state in which I've lived most of my life.  I found it at the twenty-five cent sale at Fifth Street Books in September, and started reading it in mid-October.  

It's divided into four sections: Environment (which includes things like how NC got its name, sailors' impressions, a visit by President Monroe, the Civil War on the Home Front, and so forth), People (an explorer-historian's description of "a well-shaped, clean-made people" i.e., the "Indians in colonial North Carolina"; Daniel Boone "who lived in North Carolina longer than he lived anywhere else"; several governors, Andy Griffith, Buck Duke, etc.), Events (the hanging of Tom Dula, visits from George Washington and Robert E. Lee, Walter Hines' attack on the "mummies" in the NC legislature, "The Camels Are Coming," and so forth), and Social Fabric ("Quarrels among the Baptists," life in the cotton mills, descriptions of a country church service, etc.)

Yesterday I was reading the latter part of the Events section about Greensboro, NC, where "The Sit-Ins Begin."  I grew up and still live about 30 minutes from Greensboro. I was there just last week when I took Zach to the Science Center where he likes seeing the aquarium, and we were able to see the tiger before his afternoon snooze.  We travel through Greensboro nearly every time we go to the North Carolina mountains, and our "local" news stations are from out that way.

I read this line in this Events story: "Still others pointed to a December 1959 episode when McNeil returned from a trip to New York and was refused food service at the Greensboro Trailways Bus Terminal." (pg. 275)

That made me so sad!  I want to think if I were a white Southerner back in those days (pre-Civil War, during the Civil War, and in 1959!) that I would treat people with respect and kindness despite the fact that they were black.  I don't see how people justified this racism. How some perhaps had the audacity to use the Bible to justify this.  Yes, quote me those verses about servants and masters. Whatever. But refusing to feed a paying customer? Making black people use separate water fountains?  Sit at the back of buses and theaters and churches?  Why?  Do you think they will give you cooties

Why do people who often say they love "the good Lord," go to church, think they are going to heaven because they are basically good or said a prayer, do these things? Do you just ignore all those teachings about loving others as you love yourself?  In honor preferring one another? washing others' feet as Jesus showed us? even loving your enemies (if you consider them such..guess what? you gotta love them if you follow Christ.)

I don't get it.

I had a very small taste of this when I went to Syria in early 2009.  We'd had a wonderful visit there, and were treated exceptionally well.  But one person - one friend who had joined us several days to walk us through Damascus neighborhoods - said something that hurt me. Even his Syrian friends looked at him like he said the wrong thing and somewhat scolded him.  I really don't think he meant to hurt us.

We'd met with several Syrians that week.  A couple had had us over to their houses or taken us out to eat. This particular guy had joined us many times, but unlike a couple of others, he'd not had us meet anyone in his family.  Apparently his parents were super-pious and American Christians would have contaminated them because one day towards the end of our visit B commented, "My parents would have liked to meet you...if you were only Muslim." 

On the other hand, I remember one specific instance where I know I hurt someone because he was different than I so I know I've hurt others, too.  Probably many more than I want to admit - or even realize.

Have you ever been shunned or hurt because you weren't the right gender, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation, or _______?  Even though you tell yourself so and so might not have meant it quite the way it came out, it still hurts a little (or a lot.) 

Anyway, this was just something I'd been thinking about.  I know we are in an election time when people are dividing and sometimes telling how stupid the other side is, but let's remember to be known for loving and serving others, fellow Christians, even if they differ from us.   Yes, even if they vote for that candidate you really, really don't like! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

October Books

Black Dragon River: A Journey Down the Amur River at the Borderlands of Empires by Dominic Ziegler -- an informative book; lots of history; a little deep for me at times

The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden -- This story introduces us to Clara who is a journalist seeking to expose child labor practices that put children in danger. It also speaks of a friendship from long ago, and how she got back in touch with her friend, Daniel.

Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden -- I didn't realize someone mentioned in the above-mentioned book would have his fuller story told in this story.  Alex "Bane" Banebridge was part of Clara and Daniel's story.  In this book, we see what else happens in his life. Also we are introduced to Lydia who has great language skills, and becomes a helper to Bane.   I enjoyed this book!

The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club by Wanda E. Brunstetter -- When Emma decides to supplement her income so her children don't have to support her, she places an ad for a quilting class.  This book is about the six people who answer this ad, and their stories as they grow to be a bit more than classmates.  A really cute book.

Sanctuary of the Chosen by Dave Hunt -- I got this at one of those book exchanges around town many months ago. Figured I should finally read it. Ugh...it was pretty dreadful.  The character was so unbelievable, and I couldn't help but feel I was being fed some political agenda through the first three-quarters of the book.

Reunion by Lauraine Snelling -- When Bjorn surprises Keira with a trip to Norway for their anniversary, she goes on a hunt for her official birth certificate in order to apply for a passport (not sure how a lady this old doesn't have a copy already, but whatever).  What she finds shocks her.  Also, her brother and his wife deal with the pregnancy of their daughter who is just getting ready to graduate from high school and go to college in the fall.  All of this...before the big family reunion.

The Tattered Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter -- I didn't realize there were more in the Half-stitched quilting club series until I saw this when I went back to the library.  This follows another of Emma's quilt classes, and brings back some of the former class members.

For Such a Time As This by Ginny Aiken -- Kind of a modern-day Esther story, in a way.  Olivia offers her services to nanny two particularly difficult children, and later gets involved in a situation where someone is trying to make farmers lose their land.

The Healing Quilt by Wanda Brunstetter -- Another book in the above-mentioned series.  This one takes place in Sarasota, Florida, where Emma and her husband have gone for the winter.  A new set of quilt class characters, with some from the past visiting.

Remember Me When by Ginny Aiken -- The story of Faith who is accused of murder after her abusive husband is found dead. 

She Shall Be Praised by Ginny Aiken -- Emma's life drastically changes the afternoon her coach was held up and she was taken to live with some sheep rustlers for a short time. Thankfully, she was rescued, but the sheep rancher can't take her back into town until the end of the season.  She's forced to hang out at camp with the ranch hands and the rancher's young son.  What a contrast to Emma's high-society life!

A Most Peculiar Circumstance by Jen Turano -- Arabella challenges the men in her life with her ways - attending rallies encouraging women's right to vote, trying to help ladies of the street, ending up in jail!