Friday, November 26, 2010

Black Friday Madness

I am awake.........not by choice but because a houseful of girlfriends are staying with my sister.  They have decided to experience Black Friday for the first time.

They try to be quiet but in a house this size you hear the doors open, the shower running, and the sound of the hair-dryer; you might as well get up. Which I did.

Thankfully they decided 5 am was a more reasonable hour than say 3 o'clock to go catch the deals of the day.  After a good breakfast of eggs, toast, muffins, tea, and milk they have just left - off on a new adventure.  Part of me would have liked to go with them and part of me says "crazy" but the decision has been made for me - I have to go to work today.

Six friends making memories together are what holidays are for.  That's what I am thankful for today - friendships that are strong enough to withstanding getting up in the cold, dark wee hours of morning to road trip to the mall.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lovely Fall Day!

Each nice day in November is a gift from the Lord.  Since today the weather is promising to cooperate I am planning to be outside in it.

Clothes are going to go on the line to be sun-dried and cool air fresh.  Sheets flapping in the wind...and I might even hang out the quilts since the bugs should all be dead by now.

Last night I went crunching through the leaves. It was wonderful.  There was very little wind and the grove was silent and still, taking a nap before the wind comes again. The only sounds were our feet moving through the grass as my sister and I hunted for pinecones.  

I'm not sure what kind of evergreen trees are in our grove but they produce the cutest little cones -only 2-3 inches long and many are smaller than that.  Once they dry out some I think I will make them into a garland for Christmas.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Healing Noelle

What do nanotechnology, cancer, angels, spiritual gifts of healing, and Nebraska have in common?  Nothing unless you've just read Healing Noelle by Michael J. Huckabee.  It isn't the most well-written book out there but I think there are some good questions raised about faith vs. science that bear thinking about.  

A young man discovers he has the "gift" of healing, a doctor is giving some strange treatments to patients, a man in an olive trench coat keeps disappearing, and a church is praying for God to pour out His spiritual gifts in their midst. 
This thriller is a short book and reminds me of This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti.  It's tone is similar...maybe not quite as scary but still edgy.

I suppose you could find fault with the "science fiction" sounding medical advances...however, I humbly suggest that you do some research on nanotechnology. Scientists are researching and testing this right now...see for just one example.
  • How do we as Christians approach new technology such as cloning, nanotechnology and genetic modification?  
  • How do we possibly regulate it?  Should we?
  • Is "just because we can do it doesn't mean we should" a better answer?
Just some questions to ponder...and pray about...and maybe start discussing in our churches, with our friends & family, and our government leaders.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

New Author

Have you read anything by the author Rumer Godden?

I just picked up a book "This House of Brede" by Ms. Godden.. 
Did she write a child's book called "The Doll's House"? Her name sounds vaguely familiar to me and I can't recall why.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Bargain Books

I am kind of picky about which books come home to my personal library.  
Reading new books or authors for free from the local library helps me save my cash for the ones that I really want. 
The only exception is if I'm at a fundraiser where the books are really cheap - there is one held once a month in Pipestone, MN where most of the books $0.50 up to a dollar or two.  For that price whatever looks interesting comes home. If I like it it stays - if not I donate it back the next month.  There is another great one at the Minnesota Arboretum.  Two years ago my sister and I attended that one and I came home with a whole stack for the cost of one hardcover.  It was great!!!

Do you have some favorite book sales?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Library vs. Bookstore

I am taking an informal non-scientific poll.  No study will be published.  It is just for my own curiosity.

Do you get the majority of your books::
A. at the library
B. at a bookstore
C. order on-line ie, Amazon or Borders
D. download them

Please leave me a comment with your answer.  Thanks!

I have several reasons for using the library for most of my books.
1. It is free!
2. It gives me a deadline to meet.
3. I have limited space.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

A Wonderful Thing!

My favorite blogger is opening a bookstore.  How cool!  Check out Lanier's Books for some great reading and Christmas presents. (Christmas is only four months away!)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

2010 - Year of Bridal Showers & Weddings

It has been the year of all things wedding-related at my church.
Here is the current count-down:
  • 7 bridal showers
  • 5 weddings at the church  (I attended one over the weekend.)
  • 3 weddings in other churches
  • 3 more bridal showers in August
  • 2 distant relatives are married and 1 is engaged to be married.
  • 1 neighbor (my brother's best friend) is getting married.
That makes for 15 weddings and the year isn't over yet. Must be something in the water. LOL!

I wonder what the total amount of money spent on these 15 weddings would add up to...
How much debt did they incur?
How many starving children could have been fed?

I'm not trying to be cynical or anti-wedding. I am very much for marriage but do you ever think about how much is spent on just one day in the grand scheme of things?  I'm trying to put it in perspective for my own sake.  I can get caught up in the whirlwind of wedding excitement like most girls.

This is what is on my mind today.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

I Am a First-Born...

There is nothing I can do about this fact.

I am a first-born and all that comes with it...Type A, perfectionist, list-maker, planner to the smallest detail, everything lined up, "t"'s crossed and "i"'s dotted..

I live with a creative, "good enough", free-spirit fourth-born sister who I love and can't stand all in the course of two minutes. (is it supposed to be who or whom? I can't remember.)  That is beside the point.

She is gone this week and I was opening up our house for some guests.  So being the first-born person I am - I cleaned from top to bottom. Washed the sheets, scrubbed floors, dusted all the crown-molding and mop boards, making a to-do list, etc.

You get the picture.

As I was spending an inordinate amount of time making sure the sheets and blankets were even on both sides of the beds- it hit me.

"Look at yourself. You're fussing over how long the sheets are on each side.  Your sister would have just thrown them on, made sure it was kind of even and called it good. Here you are going crazy because it is 1/2 inch off.  No one will notice."  And I chuckled.

copyright: needmorebookshelves 2010
I think that is the first time I have actually laughed at my idiosyncrasies. Usually it is other people who come along side and tell me to "stop stressing out!"

Maybe my sis is rubbing off.
To show myself that I could be just as easy-going ---I threw the sheets on my own bed and tucked them in.

(I only checked to make sure they were mostly even ... twice.) LOL!
Thank you, Lord, that you love me in spite of myself

Have You Seen the Rest of My Book? It's Missing.

There is a pet peeve...well one of several...that really bugs me.  Like a stone in my shoe - it doesn't bother anyone else usually. Just me.

I recently purchased "The Count of Monte Cristo" from a well-known bookstore.  Blissfully, I brought it home and started reading it.

During the nagged at me. Some bit of story is missing since the first time I read my brother's copy.  The characters have lost some depth; some descriptions are less colorful; a sub-plot seems flat.

That's when I flipped to the title page and saw the dreaded word!


These should be banned from all self-respecting bookstores. If stores must sell them - then clearly mark them as such with big red letters across the cover of the book so buyers know ahead of time.  Not sneakily and quietly placed inside on the title page where nobody looks!

Why would I want to pay good money for a book and only get part?  That is like getting a piece of cake without the still tastes good but it would be even better with the frosting.

Now I have a watered down book.  It's a good story and if you've never read the complete novel you won't miss the cut-out parts.  But I miss them...the count becomes too tame.  He loses some of the single-minded revenge that builds up through the book. Some of the irony is gone.

As my friend Pooh says, "Oh bother".

What is your opinion?  Abridged or not abridged?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's been a very warm and humid few weeks here.  I've been camped in front of the fan reading.  What have I been reading you ask?

  • And the Shofar Blew by Francine Rivers
  • I am the Clay by Chaim Potok
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (more about this in a later post)
  • The Little Princess by Frances H. Burnett
  • Waking the Dead by John Eldredge
  • The Dead Don't Dance by Charles Martin
I admit it...I like the old classics. But I try to throw into the mix a few books that make me think - both non-fiction and fiction.

I am the Clay is not at all what I was expecting.  My past experience with Mr. Potok has been The Chosen and The Promise - both are set in NYC, both are kind of "coming of age' books.

This one is nothing like that.  It is set in Korea during the war. The style of writing feels Asian...almost like reading a haiku.  It is more descriptive and you are inside the character's heads as they think and plan and survive.  There is a sense of loss that flows through it all. The sadness of war.

A little boy has lost his whole family and village. An older couple rescues him from death as they weave their way through the country-side just ahead of the battle.
The couple lost their only child as a toddler and the old lady feels this is her second chance at motherhood.  The old man resents the boy, the food he eats, the burden of his care -eventually the man changes his mind.

Together they try to rebuild a shattered world.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Topic of Discussion

Living in the Midwest there is one topic that is probably discussed more than any other.

The weather.

I ran across a diary account from 1886 that talks about a spring storm.

Wednesday, April 14, 1886- we witnessed what was know as Cass county and Audubon County cyclone.  It was preceded by a terrific hail storm which stopped suddenly and it was followed by a ground fog which we noticed was traveling rapidly to the south.  Going out on our front porch we first saw it coming towards us form the south in the form of a black, funnel-shaped cloud several miles distant.  It gradually swung to the east and went directly through Grove City where we first saw the buildings, trees and wreckage flying through the air.  The whole storm was in plain view of where we stood about two miles southeast of us on the opposite hill across the valley.  It passed through the Troublesome Creek valley directly east of us tearing its way through the trees and demolishing houses, and disappeared to the northeast leaving a swath of destruction in its pathway that was marked for many years after.
 by Abbie Mott Benedict
                      ~ excerpt taken from Prairie Voices: Iowa's Pioneering Women edited by Glenda Riley

  We still have tornadoes, hail, wind, rain, snow and everything in between.  Weather hasn't changed much in 120+ years.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Brownish Pinkish Yellowish White

Have you ever read Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein? 
Some of his poems are delightful, some are silly, some are strange and some speak truth.  My current favorite is "Colors" because this describes my thoughts.
My skin is kind of sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are greyish blueish green,
But I'm told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
But it's silver when it's wet.
And all the colors I am inside
Have not been invented yet.
by Shel Silverstein               

I suppose some would read this and say "it's about tolerance and being nonracist". And that would be one way of interpreting it- I don't know exactly what the author had in mind.  

But when I read this I see someone who doesn't have life all figured out yet.  A person who sees possibilities and potential and maybe is a bit confused.  Which color should I be today?  Am I a blue?  Or am I supposed to be teal? 
As adults we're supposed to have life all figured out, right?  
We're not supposed to waver about what we think, feel, or value.  
We have opinions!  We have convictions!  We have rights!  

We are adults.

But lately I've been looking at my ideals, my plans, my 'this is how life should be' and wondering if I'm missing out on the "reddish blondish brown, silver when it's wet" adventure.  

Am I living out all that the Lord has planned for me?  
Am I living too safe?   
Am I too comfortable?            

Monday, May 3, 2010

Buffering vs. Streaming

Blogging for some people fulfills a need for expression - an outlet for frustrations, joys and sorrows.  I tend to use a personal journal for my private musings and save this venue for more general observations.
Some things are just not meant for public viewing!

However, that might explain why I am not a very consistent blogger...instead of 'streaming' my thoughts as they come I am stuck in the "buffering" mode.  Evaluating each sentence, rewriting, reviewing, critiquing each word and phrase- my type "A" first-born perfectionist self gets in the way of sharing what's in my heart.

From this point forward, this blog may be about what I'm reading
or it may have some totally random ramblings - Time will tell.
So fasten your seat belt, strap on a helmet or go get some chocolate...
It might be a crazy ride. :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Write a Book!

The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.
Benjamin Disraeli

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Detours and Standing Stones

Some friends and I were conversing about how our lives had not followed our original "plan" but had been full of detours as God changed our plans to fit His Plan.  Afterward I started thinking about some of the authors and books that helped me see and accept these detours as a good thing.  I decided to write them down as 'standing stones' - a record of God's faithfulness to future generations.  (Joshua 4:1-7, 20-24)

Here are a few of titles that I came up with:
  • Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis
  • Hinds' Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
  • When God Writes Your Love Story by Eric & Leslie Ludy
  • When God Writes Your Life Story by Eric & Leslie Ludy
  • Moulder of Dreams by Guy Rice Doud
  • Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold by C.S. Lewis
  • Authentic Beauty by Leslie Ludy
  • A Man Called Peter by Catherine Marshall
  • A Rose In Bloom by Louisa Mae Alcott

There are others but these are a few that have challenged my faith, gave me a new point of view and/or gave me an example to follow.

What books have impacted your life?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Who Needs Thriller Movies?

Have you read any of Joel C. Rosenberg's books? He has been on the New York best-seller list quite a few times but I hadn't read anything by him until now.  Wow.

I have just finished The Copper Scroll and it was way better than the last movie I attended for suspense and thrills.  The clock was into the early morning hours when I turned out the light...just had to read one more chapter and then one more...

His storyline is so well crafted and so realistic that I almost forgot it was fiction.  It is kind of alarming in some ways because of his depiction of future events and discoveries in the Middle East - especially Israel and Jerusalem.  The plot is so well thought out that all you would need to do is change the characters' names and it could be tomorrow's headlines.

If you haven't read them start them in order:
The Last Jihad
The Last Days
The Ezekiel Option
The Copper Scroll
Dead Heat

I didn't realize they were a series and started with the last one first!  I could follow the plot but some of the back-story of the main characters and history of events wasn't as clear as if I had started at the beginning.

In my humble opinion these are better than the Left Behind series and I highly recommend them.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quote for the Day

When I get a little money, I buy books; And, if any is left, I buy food and clothes.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Snow, Snow, Snow

This winter feels like we're living in Narnia under the rule of the White Witch -it is always winter and never Christmas!  The drifts on the road are now taller than a pick-up truck in places. If the joy of new snow has lost it's luster read The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. It captures the wandering adventures of a little boy named Peter as he explores his snow-covered world.

If you would rather count your blessings of food, shelter and warmth read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  When you read it in the middle of a winter storm the determination and strength of that little house takes on a whole new meaning.  Make sure you have plenty of hot chocolate on hand to keep you warm while you read!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More tools from Google

I have recently discovered this website

It is a great place to search for all kinds of books. If the book is an older one you can actually read it right there on the site.
I've started reading one of George McDonald's books there. It is a scanned copy of Malcolm from 1896. The Scots dialect is a bit difficult but I like the challenge of it.

His books are hard to find so I snatch them up when I come across them.

What out-of-print books do you wish they would republish?

Monday, February 22, 2010

If You Cannot Read All Your Books

If you cannot read all your books, at any rate handle, or as it were, fondle them, peer into them, let them fall open where they will, read from the first sentence that arrests the eye, set them back on the shelves with your own hands, arrange them on your own plan so you at least know where they are. Let them be your friends; let them be your acquaintances.
Sir Winston Churchill

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book Club Titles

When I lived in Pipestone I belonged to two book clubs. Since moving I have not kept up - so here is a list of books that I need to read yet.
  • The Shepherd's Prayer by Richard M. Barry
  • The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary by Susie Larson
  • Summer of Light by W. Dale Cramer
  • June Bug by Chris Fabry
What books do you suggest for next month's book club meeting? I'm always looking for "good discussion" ones.