Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Spring Books

I mixed up my numbers at some point, but even I am not OCD enough to go back and fix it nor will the 2 people who read this blog ever care, so it is what it is.

I skipped The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells, a classic book and entertaining read. Enjoyed it thoroughly. That was about #13-ish.

18. Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire

19. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. I loved and hated this book in equal measure.

20. Presumed Guilty by Tess Gerritsen. This is the author of the Rizzoli & Isles book series and TV show. I like the show a lot so I thought I might enjoy her work, but it wasn't awesome. The story was okay but predictable in some parts and lame in others. Meh.

21. The Shock of The Fall by Nathan Filer. Reminiscent of The Bell Jar but with more swearing and weed.

22. Last to Die by Tess Gerritsen. This was a Rizzoli & Isles title and again it was good enough to keep me reading but I probably won't read her work again. I'm not a fan of using God's name as a swear word.

23. The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. Very twisty story, good stuff! The ending was weird though, it leaves you wondering what the what??  Looking forward to when the movie comes out and the ending may be cleared up.

24. My Story by Elizabeth Smart. Heartbreaking, terrifying, redeeming. I knew her story from the news but this filled in a lot. Her attitude towards what was done to her is inspiring.

25. The Mom's Guide to Asperger Syndrome & Related Disorders by Jan Johnston-Tyler.

26. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King. Fantastic! Pretty sweary but incredibly insightful and brilliant.

27. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. This book really drew me in, intriguing storyline. Was disappointed as it grew more and more vulgar and I hated the ending.

28. The Eternal Wonder by Pearl S. Buck. I had looked forward to reading this recently found & published lost book but was sadly disappointed. I will say that it is clearly an unfinished book that wasn't ready for publication. That said, it was a Forest Gump-esque story of a young man who is insanely smart with no ability to read people. An unsatisfying read.

29. Just Do Something by Kevin DeYoung. Absolutely fantastic book and a must-read for any Christian.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

February/March Books

Lazy list of recent books:

11.  N or M? by Agatha Christie - This one was a good read but for some reason just didn't hold my interest very well.

12.  The Betrayal, Precinct 11 Series by Jerry B. Jenkins - Got this one for free on the Kindle. It's the second book in the series and I enjoyed it; kept my interest and an easy read. I probably won't pay for the other books but if they're ever offered for free I'll grab them too.

13. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis - A classic book, not an easy read but really thought-provoking.

14. Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling - So I have reread this book series countless times, feel free to judge me since it's technically children's literature. I don't care; these are extremely well-written stories with wonderful characters and themes. I read them at bedtime because they help me wind down but don't keep me up late since I already know what's going to happen next.

15. Harry Potter & Prison of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling - See above

16. Still Alice by Lisa Genova - You've likely seen the trailer for the movie currently in theaters starring Julianne Moore and Alec Baldwin. I'm undecided on if I'll see the film or not, but the book was beautifully done. Genova tells the story of early onset Alzheimer's Disease from the point of view of the patient, making for a bittersweet story.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Longing and Loving


Book #9 and Book #10: Longing and Loving by Karen Kingsbury
I finished the Bailey Flanigan series and still have mixed reviews of them. I think Longing, the third book in the series, is the best one, or at least it's my favorite. I enjoyed Loving, the final book, but once again found myself skimming past multiple pages of scenes that were completely unnecessary. I was happy for the protagonist but once it was clear she was going to get married, I was ok with the story ending there. Instead we got several extra chapters of wedding planning, parents pontificating on their children growing up, and endless reminders about sexual purity. I get it, really I do, but this kind of blathering on is for people who enjoy soap operas, and I am not one of them. I'm still recommending them to my daughter because the story is engaging and the overall messages are great.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Harper Lee

If you felt a disturbance in the force yesterday, it was probably all of us book nerds crying out at once in reaction to this news:

Harper Lee, Author of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ Is to Publish a Second Novel

If you're not familiar, the short version is that Harper Lee wrote one book in 1960 and then sat down. She didn't write another book, and in spite of all her fans clamoring for another, she didn't need to. That one book was enough to make every author's dreams come true. My 15 year old daughter was even excited about this news, as she just read To Kill A Mockingbird this year in school. I called my mother immediately and we rejoiced together. The new book will be released this summer.

There of course must always be at least one Debbie Downer on the Interwebs, and some are already blogging about conspiracy theories, etc., since Lee's sister and protector just died three months ago. I do hope that nothing funny went on, and hope that the reception this book is getting brings joy to Harper Lee's heart.

Monday, February 2, 2015

January Books

I read 8 books in January! Feels good to be reading so much. Towards Zero by Agatha Christie was # 6. I started reading N or M? by Agatha Christie but took a break from it and read the first two books of Karen Kingsbury's Bailey Flanigan Series. I just needed something easy and fun to read, which these are. I do have a love/hate relationship with this author's books if I'm being honest. She writes great stories about faith and family, but they are often cheesy and predictable. We have to suffer through the lengthy inner monologue as characters work out their feelings and decisions, and the mom & child conversations with baby talk are just torture. I end up skipping over long sections like this because they make me a bit stabby. That said, I'm still reading them and enjoying them as crazy as that sounds. It's nice to have something a bit mindless to breeze through and they do have a good message about living out your faith.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Agatha Christie books etc

I'm on my 6th book of the year so I figured I'd better catch up now or I'll abandon the idea completely.

Book #2
Kingdom Wars II: Tartarus

I enjoyed this one but found the ending a bit lacking. The overlying problem that the protagonist has is not resolved. Perhaps Jack Cavanaugh has plans for a third book where it will be resolved, but I haven't heard about it.

Books #3, #4 & #5
I'm currently working my way through a collection of Agatha Christie stories all in one volume. They're long enough that I'm counting them as individual books.


This book gave me a really great quote to save: "The young people think the old people are fools, but the old people know that the young people are fools!" ~ Miss Marple

This was a unique mystery as Hercule Poirot is brought into the story in order to attempt to prevent a murder, rather than after one has occurred. I read on another blog an interesting tidbit about one of the main characters, Ariadne Oliver: "Ariadne Oliver plays a central part in this novel, with many seeing her as Christie's alter-ego. Indeed the house that the novel is set at was based on her own home." (Thanks to Mysteries in Paradise for the quote.)

This was a good read, with some nice unexpected twists. I confess that I have no idea what the title means however.

I am truly enjoying reading these. Old enough to be classic and intelligent literature, but not so old that they are a difficult or stuffy read. I really want to call them delightful but I'm fairly sure that makes me sound old.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Empty Shelf Challenge

Jon Acuff is hilarious and you should be reading his blog/following him on Facebook/stalking him like I am. Outside of being truly funny, he is gifted at motivating others. At the end of 2013 he issued the Empty Shelf Challenge. The challenge was simple; take a picture of your empty shelf and then add each book you read to it during 2014. He started a Pinterest board for us too. I loved this idea and started my own Pinterest board to keep track of what I read. I read 43 books last year! He hasn't reissued the challenge but I've already decided to do it again for 2015 and I'd like to share my books here as well.

Book #1

Kingdom Wars I: A Hideous Beauty by Jack Cavanaugh. This is reminiscent of Frank Peretti's Darkness duology, with angels and demons engaged in spiritual warfare. I really enjoyed the story and the characters. I loved that the main character has a sarcastic sense of humor and used it even in the presence of angels. I'm already starting the next book, Tartarus, which I'll blog about when I'm done reading.


From time to time I think about resurrecting the blog. This is about as far as I get and then I bail. Maybe I should just start.

I'm out of school right now. It was a very hard decision but I think I just need to get E through middle school and then revisit the idea. My grades are still really good but this past school year was just too much and I felt hysterical way too often. Plus I really couldn't wait to write that student loan check every month, and why deny myself that pleasure?

So when we last left off, life was hard and I was sad and please Jesus just come back and get us already. I still feel that way about many things. I've always been a cynic but I feel like a much darker and twistier person in the last two years. Still working on that. I've found myself walking more and more with Jesus every day though, something that brings me joy. That time with Him is sometimes awesome and sometimes convicting and sometimes boring, but I'm trying. I love keeping a prayer journal and writing down verses that comfort or or doodling little colorful pictures that amuse me. I like talking to God this way. (I started a Pinterest board for inspiration.)

The holidays are over and we're on the last few days of winter break. I'm ready to get back into the routine and madness. I had the flu for Christmas so I wasn't exactly in one-horse-open-sleigh mode this year. I already put most of the decorations away. Time to start focusing on 2015?? Is it seriously 2015? My daughter turns 16 this year. My son will become a teenager this year. Maybe now is not the time to start blogging again....

Friday, June 20, 2014

School's Out!

School is done, praise the Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Was this thee longest school year ever, or what?! My kids are now getting to ages where I can't post details about their personal struggles, but suffice to say that the 2013-14 school year was PAINFUL. My daughter started high school and my oldest son started middle school. I think it's a big adjustment for any kid, but for mine there were other factors in play that made it extremely rough. We all learned a lot about ourselves and God this year, and He was faithful to comfort us, and to put the right people in our lives to help. I am proud of my kids and honestly proud of myself, because the challenges I faced as a mom have definitely tested me in new & painful ways. We can't change or grow without facing pain and trials, and accepting that has kept me sane many a day. I generally loathe summer with its heat and humidity and sunburn and mosquitoes, but the relief I feel at surviving this school year is just overwhelming. God sustains us, He provides, I was never alone. He always sent the right people to me, friends who pray, who show up at your door in your hour of need, who pray for your kids, who offer help & compassion. God is good.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013


It's been ages since I blogged, obviously. I've been avoiding it, not wanting to deal with a multitude of negative feelings and crummy attitudes. It's been a good year in many ways, and God is always faithful. But there has been so much grief that I just could not write about for fear it would just overtake me.

When the people you love suffer terrible loss, and when you yourself are one of those people who have high empathy, it can be devastating. Last year when my Uncle Dane died I grieved terribly for the loss of him in my life, but even more so for what I knew the loss was like for my Aunt Candy and my cousins. As my cousin Ross said at the funeral, "What are you doing, God?!"  It was such a shocking, sudden loss and my heart was flooded with grief.

When my sister's marriage ended my heart was broken for her, for the loss of all that could have been, for the life & marriage that was taken from her, the grief that was left behind and for the two small children in the middle of it all. None of us ever saw this coming and my heart aches for my little sister.

This year my mentor and dear friend went through her own shocking and sudden loss when her daughter was killed in a car accident. I cried constantly for weeks, unable to comprehend the death of a 24 year old woman with so much life ahead of her. I thought of the stupid things I was doing in my early 20s, and wondered why God had spared me and not her, she who was so good and sweet and doing all the right things. My cup overflowed with grief, my heart was shattered for those I loved and what they were going through. I sat in my grief for them, wishing I could sit with them, feed them, do something, anything that would give action to my grief. I went to the memorial service with hundreds of other people, clenching my husband's hand and waiting in line for an hour so I could hold my friend for just a moment as she sobbed. I sent a salad for the funeral luncheon and tried not to cry into it. I left muffins by their door. I prayed without ceasing, something I had never quite understood before.

For my own selfish part, I lost the counsel and friendship of someone I love very much. I needed someone to give me wisdom on how to walk this road, but the very person I needed was the one suffering herself. I should have seen sooner what God was doing and how He was using this. He used it in that most exasperating way, where He uses pain to teach us to rely on Him fully, and to grow patience and resilience in my heart. I fought Him and railed against Him and sobbed at His feet. How could He let this happen to them? How could He leave me so full of grief for others that I could not get through one day without crying?

I spent time with Him daily somewhat out of spite, asking Him to FIX THIS because I did not know how. I saw my friend from the distance which she now held me at, and I asked Jesus to come back now and take this cup from us all. I watched my sister from hundreds of miles away as she packed up her things and moved into an apartment. I thought of my uncle and how much He loved Jesus and how his family must go on without him. I yelled at God repeatedly. When my tantrums were done, I found new peace in Him. He waited until I got over myself, and showed me how closely He had drawn me to Him in the past year. I know He holds my friend in His hands. She always told me to remember what I know is true and all of His promises. I'm holding on to that as a lifeline; I know she's right. I don't know where God is taking her. I don't know what this is like for her beyond unimaginable pain. I know that none of us can go with her on this journey, but I trust that our Jesus is walking it with her. Because in the end it isn't about me. It's not about her. It's about Jesus. This is the comfort to which I have to cling, even if I do so at times with angry or bitter hands. I am finding peace, day by day, and I know that only comes from Him. God is good.