#21, just finished Adultery by Paulo Coelho

I picked this book up in the airport last October and didn’t read it. I had read the Alchemist years ago and loved it and so thought I would read another one by him. I think the title is what put me off. Of course.

It is such and interesting book. I am writing this probably too soon after finishing it because I really need to think about different parts of what it has to say. Upfront I will say there are probably 10 pages out of 255 that were a little….awkward to read. Kind of like being in a movie when I want to close my eyes for a few minutes. But for a book titled adultery I was really expecting more, probably less then the romance novels out there (which I haven’t read so I am just guessing).

It is about a woman, a woman and her loving, perfect husband and her 2 children. And yes another man and sort of his wife. But really the book is told in the woman’s voice. You are in her head. You hear what she thinks and what she says. At times I feel angry with her, sad for her, hopeful for her. She is tormented by her own thoughts. I can’t tell you the story because I could never do it justice you need to read it.

Passages that left an impression:

“Not everyone need to feel happy all the time. Besides, no one can be happy all the time. I need to learn to deal with the reality of life.” (P. 29)

“You don’t choose your life; it chooses you. There’s no point asking why life has reserved certain joys or griefs, you just accept them and carry on.” We can’t choose our lives, but we can decide what to do with the joys or griefs we’re given.” (P. 83)

“Should someone beg forgiveness for harbor an impossible Love? No, certainly no. Because God’s Love for us is also impossible. It’s never required at the time, and yet He continues to love us. He loved us so much that He sent His only son to explain how Love is the force that moves the sun and all the stars.” (P.111 ) * the rest of this page is amazing but you will have to read it on your own, this was just to whet your appetite :)

“Everything we seek so enthusiastically before we reach adulthood-love, work, faith-turns into a burden too heavy to bear. There is only one way to escape this: Love. To love is to transform slavery into freedom.” (P. 127)

“Because, ever since we’ve moved away from God, we live a fragmented existence. we try to find oneness, but we don’t know the way back; thus, we are in a state of constant dissatisfaction. Society prohibits and creates laws, but this does not solve the problem.” (P. 174)

“When you love each other, you have to be ready for anything. Because love is like a kaleidoscope, the kind we used to play with when we were kids. It’s in constant movement and never repeats itself. If you don’t understand this, you are condemned to suffer for something that really only exists to make us happy.” (P. 214)

“Life offers us thousands of opportunities for learning. Every man and every woman, in every day of our lives, always has a good opportunity to surrender to Love. Life is not a long vacation, but a constant learning process.” (P. 255)

I do recommend the book…

I leave you with this “And the most important lesson is leaning to love.”

#20

So I know this is ridiculous…it is like I feel like I disappeared from this blog. It is on my mind but definitely fell off my to-do list this summer.

So book #20 I read over a month ago and actually met with a group of fine ladies to discuss back in June.

Unashamed by Christine Caine

I have seen Christine Caine speak a number of times, most recently at a conference in May at the DAR hall. She has an amazing story and an amazing message to share.

I don’t have a lot to share. I have mixed feelings about the book. However the basic idea is that shame is not something we need to carry through life. We need to not hold onto our own shame and even to take it a step further we need to not be the cause of someone else feeling shame. The book focuses on women and the ways in which we are trained to feel ashamed but I would use this same principle for all groups who are made to feel ‘less then’. None of us, not one has the right to treat someone in a way that makes them feel ashamed, about anything, their race, gender, sexual orientation, weight, IQ, their career…and I could go on. But we are probably all guilty of doing that, maybe we don’t realize it, or maybe we intentionally do it because it makes us feel better about ourselves.

“We are called to join God in his work on this earth.” (P 57).

There are many stories in Jesus life that are examples of how that looks. The people he came in contact with. The unconditional love.

“Of all places on earth, the Christian church could be the most significant place of healing and hope-” (p 73)

…should be….and so when it isn’t to we stand back and criticize or leave or do we become the one who transforms our churches into places of healing and hope? I love the idea of church, I love the idea of community, I love that a group of flawed people come together to acknowledge the existence of a perfect God who loved us and a sinless man who showed us what that could look like. I am not sure always my place in the ‘church’ but I know it is a place where one can find peace and hope.

 

Finished #15, The Obsession

imageDuring a quiet rainy night alone. I finished the book. Not sure why it took so long???? I really enjoyed it and read half of it in the last 2 days.

Writing the blog is hard because I don’t want to spoil books. I want to encourage/inspire 😃 you to read them.

I liked the book. I really like Naomi, the main character. Her development was what you hope people experience after tough life situations. Don’t be put off by the gruesome start-that really is the worst of it.

i ended the book in tears.

On to my next book.

#16-#19 BIP (books in progress)

I am about half-way through The Obsession, had a slow down because our friends were here visiting for the week. Will finish soon because I am really enjoying the book when I find time to read.

However I am also reading some other books at the same time and wanted to share them with you. They are easy ones to pick up and read.

#16- One Good Deed by Erin McHugh- 365 days of trying to be just a little bit better. Starting today….and today’s was ‘put your 2 cents in’. It is about writing a review, a positive one on social media. So I am going to review Hanks Oyster Bar on King Street in Old Town. We were there for lunch yesterday. Eric ordered a special. The Salmon Rueben and later on in the day he said it was THE BEST sandwhich he has ever had. OK that is my 2 cents for day and I will post my review on Trip Advisor :)

#17-See America by CREATIVE*ACTION*NETWORK. Picked up this book yesterday from a local store. Our son & daughter-in-law will be starting a  year long journey across our county, hopefully seeing and staying in lots of National Parks. So on Saturday while our friends were visiting we went to 2 near here and purchase an annual pass :) and bought a book so we could keep track of the ones we need to go to this year, the year of the national parks. Sounds like a year of great adventures.

#18-Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. I read Savor a year long devotional (still pick it up once in a while). Love the way she writes and her honesty. The book says it is a ‘love letter to life around the table with recipes.’ Love life around the table and recipes so I know I will enjoy this one. It was a Christmas gift I got from Eric…

#19-Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr John Townsend. ‘When to say yes , how to say no, to take control of your life.’ I guess it is obvious why someone would read a book like this. Need to learn how to have more quality time and less quantity…boundaries

 

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The end of an era

 

Good bye 2003 VW Passat

So, one of the accomplishments I am proud Eric and I managed to achieve is maintain a car for 210,000+ miles. I will admit that in most part it was due to Eric’s dedication to getting the car serviced and tracking repairs religiously. As we say good bye to the car I hope that we continue the streak and the new car we are getting will last as long as this one.

I was thinking about how our life has changed over the course of the 13+ years we have had it….

* my dad was still here, doing life with us

* the car is almost as old as Bailey

* our 2 children graduated from high school, college, got married, and one has 2 children

* I completed 2 graduate degree programs from 2 different schools

* we lived in 3 different states and 3 different homes

* I have had 6 different job titles

* Eric has had 5 different job titles, gone from active duty Air Force reservist to retired military working in the ‘civilian’ world

* the car made the trip from NC to Disney World…often :)

* the car for the most part was housed in a garage of some sort when we weren’t using it

* we never had an accident in the car (the scratches are my poor judgement, fortunately not involving cars or people)

* Eric perfected his skill of parallel parking !

Welcome to our new 2016 VW Passat (of course we got another one :))

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#15 is The Obssession by Nora Roberts

This book came my was as a recommendation by a friend. I was hooked on page 1. I am kind of hoping the worst is over because it is a gruesome start but I am addicted and it has been a while since I have read a book that I can’t put down. So I am guessing even though it is 454 pages I will finish it in the next few days.

till then ….happy reading

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#14, One plus One by Jojo Moyes’

By now you are thinking….looks like she is no longer embracing a book a week. I won’t lie I have been struggling. Hoping moving forward I can pick up the pace and get back on track and maybe even read more then a book a week so I can meet my goal of 52 by the end of the year.

I finished this book this morning. Read 75% of this book in the last 3 days. I read Me before You by Jojo a while ago and when I saw a movie coming out it reminded me of how much I enjoyed her style of writing so I picked up this book.

I am going to give you some reasons why I liked the book-

* second chances, it really is a book about second chances. Who doesn’t need to acknowledge that we all, all including me, have made mistakes, make mistakes, will make mistakes, and need a second chance?

* the impact of blogging…wow, that was unexpected. I appreciated the role it played in the story, a positive role, at first for just the person blogging but then the extended impact it had.

* a female character, middle school age, who likes math, not just likes math (maths as they say in England) but excels in Math. Go STEM :)

* Jess. I really like Jess. That’s all.

Favorite quotes

“It was Ed’s mother who had once told him that real friends were the kind where you pick up where you’d left off, whether it be a week since you’d seen each other or two years.”

“It was about the theory of emergence. Strong emergence says that the sum of a number can be more than its constituent parts. You know what I’m saying.”

“The law of probability combined with the law of large numbers states that to beat the odds, sometimes you have to repeat an event an increasing number of times in order to get you to the outcome you desire. The more you do, the closer you get. Or, as I explain it to Mum, basically , sometimes you just have to keep going.”

The book was laugh out loud funny at time, sad, unexpected, touching. This book reminds me there are lots of people ‘out there’ who live much different lives then me and maybe I need to show more grace and love and less criticism.

I will read more of her books.

Thanks to all those families out there whose loved one paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Today we remember to be grateful for your sacrifice.

 

 

#13, Where The Light Gets In by Kimberly Williams-Paisley

“This is the arc of a family. Over the years, there are a series of arrivals and departures. And in the midst of that, part of the challenge is encouraging the people we love to become independent, and to love them as they are.”

So this is a first, I just finished the book. I hesitated to post I was reading it because I wasn’t sure I would be able to finish it. I did while shedding some tears. Do you remember the girl from Father of the Bride? This is the book she wrote about her mom. He mom suffered from a form of dementia.

I heard about it on a blog I read , https://instagram.com/p/BEMsLaHS9qH/ . I am glad I read it for a lot of reasons.

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This is my mom and dad, Millie & Connie.  I chose this picture because of all the pictures they had taken together this was my dad’s favorite and it hangs still in my bedroom. On both of my parents death certificates the cause of death is listed as dementia. I am not sure to this day if I agree but it is what it is. So this post will be a combination of their story and the book.

My parents were from NY, but migrated to Florida in 1983 to escape cold winters. They probably would have stayed there for a lot longer but a doctor decided my mom had Alzheimer’s. So in 1999 (if I remember correctly) they moved to Goldsboro, NC to be closer to me. When we sat down around my kitchen table to tell my mom what the dr thought and that they would move closer, she really was not upset, she always wanted to live closer. So they purchased a lovely little place about 1 mile down the road from me. Her symptoms increased pretty quickly over the next few years. I was thankful she lived close by so I could help not just her but support my dad during this time. I know she loved being near her grandchildren.

On a nice fall day in October, 2001, things took a drastic turn. She had been having some serious mental challenges and memory challenges and her health was becoming an issue. But on a Sunday afternoon at my son’s soccer game (they never missed sporting events) she stumbled and was clearly confused. We all went to the ER, again. This time was different. While we were waiting for the Dr. Eric, my husband and I were there with her and she said to him, “wouldn’t you like a bowl of ice cream?” I can barely recall that moment without getting choked up because it was the last words she ever said. Of course it was to him….I married him because she loved him before I even knew I would love him. Her greatest advice to me in my life was “he is a great guy, marry him.” For a women who didn’t ever give me advice I felt sort of compelled to listen.  She was moved from hospital to a nursing home but never recovered and in November of 2001 she passed away. I still wonder if it was a succession of mini-strokes or Alzeheimer’s or dementia. I guess I will never know.

My dad kept going after she was no longer with us. He kept busy at church, did meals on wheels, babysat for my dog, went to every sporting event, and I mean every at Eastern Wayne High School in Goldsboro. But come late spring, early summer of 2006 he started to change. He was forgetting things. He was confusing day and night. Forgetting to take his insulin. Taking pills twice a day. My son left for the Air Force Academy June 2006 and my daughter left for a year in Ghana August 2006 and in July 2006 we moved him into a assisted living facility. I thought he was ok, or getting better. But really between my mom’s death 5 years earlier and my children leaving town I think he was ready to ‘move on.’ It was hard to watch. We went to a wedding on October 14 and he was so confused. On October 15 we went out to celebrate my birthday and he was not himself. On October 16 he went to a barber shop in a not so good part of town in the middle of the night to get the barber to help him deliver meals on wheels. That is where the police found him sitting in his car at 2 AM. We got the call no one wants and so they next day we took him to the dr. I will not go into all the details but the next 2 months were horrible. He was so confused all the time about everything. He was drinking sweet tea and eating sweets. He fell after a medical procedure and dislocated his shoulder. It was hard to watch this man who was full of life just a few months ago deteriorate so quickly. The day came when we chose hospice. It was a perfect facility for him. When my brother and I did the inprocessing they said he was in a good physical stay and we would have to consider where he would go when his time was up. That night when they brought him dinner he said, ” I didn’t come here to eat.” Shortly after that his days with us ended.

I did the best I could as their daughter. Sure I have some regrets and wish I could go back and be more loving, especially to my mom. However my daughter seemed to excel at that. As I read the book I realized I just wanted things to be normal. But that isn’t the way it works sometimes. Is it? I do feel fortunate that the days of ‘dementia’ type symptoms were not years but months.

Back to the book. It was a great book. If you have a family member suffering or you have watched one suffer it is comforting. I wonder if it will be me one day-when you have 2 parents who faced some form of this dreadful condition you can’t help but wonder. Kimberly says “females in thier sixties are about twice as likely to develop AD sometime in their lives as they are to get breast cancer.”

Significant quotes:

“Everybody I’ve ever met has had some sort of issue with one or both of their parents. It’s what keeps therapists employed.”

“Turn anger into compassion, and fear into faith…”

“The possibility that she might still have normal thoughts and fears that were hidden from us, that she might be feeling the pain and horror of her experience or understand what was happening to her, was unbearable. I preferred accepting the loss and trying to move forward. But to do that I needed to mours, and I was having trouble figuring out how while she was still alive. I was in a holding patter o f confused grief.”

“I need to love my mother in the innocent way my children do. The empathetic way Mom herself has loved people, sometimes total strangers, her whole life. I need to see her as she is, instead of how I want her to be.”

“RIde the horse in the direction that it’s going. Instead of wishing for things to be different, choose to embrace the life in front of you.”

“This is what I came up with: My mother is not only presenting me an opportunity to love unconditionally, she’s also allowing me to practice being comfortable with what is uncomfortable. To grieve and also embrace what is broken. To know that some days I can receive who my mother is now and some days I struggle with it. To allow that two opposing thoughts may exist in my head at the same time.”

I know it is a lot of ‘stuff’ and maybe I wrote it to process my own experience. Maybe it will be something you can relate to. Maybe someday it will be me on the other end.

 

Finally finished #12, Leaving Time

I really have no excuses….this book was a good one, different from other ones I have read by her. But I don’t know why I found myself making excuses for reading. So at last 19 days later I am done and going to share a little about the book.

I am going to be careful because the book surprised me, almost to the end. So I don’t ever want to be a spoiler and stop someone from reading it themselves. I will share some likes/dislikes.

Likes:

* written from the perspectives/memories/experiences of 4 main characters. It was really  enjoyable to read. I likes that these ‘sections’ were not overly long but long enough to keep the story moving and keep me interested.

* continual connection between the lives of elephants and people, specifically as it relates to mothers & children. Yes I did say elephants.

* the unexpected surprise. I thought for most of the book I was able to guess what would happen. This may have added to how long it took me to read. I was so wrong, so very wrong. So when it happened, I actually re-read a section to make sure I was getting what just happened. This turn made me ‘anxious’ to finish the book.

* appreciated the relationships and the way they developed in the book.

Dislikes:

* didn’t know I was going to be reading another book with such intense info about elephants. It was in small doses :) but a lot of detailed info. The end of the book, after the fictional part was over Picoult spend sometime sharing about the plight of elephants, what is being done, and what you can do if you are interested.

* psychics play a huge role in the book. Not sure what I even think about that but it was a lot. I didn however like the character who was the psychic :)

So that is about all I can say without spoiling the story.