to have and have not

title: To Have and Have Not

author: Ernest Hemingway

genre: Fiction, illegal trade, boating

suggested by: Will F.

dates read: July 6th – July 8th

review: 4 out of 5 stars

summary: Harry Morgan is trying to support his family, his wife and three girls.  He owns a boat that he’ll rent out and take people fishing.  As money gets tight he’s forced to take on illegal jobs that put him at greater and greater risk.  Among the cast is Albert Tracy, Richard Gordon, and Marie Morgan.  Each of them adds their voice to the community in Key West and the dysfunction they all live in.

personal thoughts: This was infinitely better than “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”  I was actually interested in the story and more engaged in what was happening.  It was a bit disjointed with the various characters sometimes having a third person perspective, and other times having a first person perspective.  I think Hemingway was trying to show the greater scope of the story, that it was not just about Harry and what he was going through, but it sometimes left me confused as to why I was reading about these people who were only marginally involved in the main plot.  He would sometimes have a stream of consciousness for a character that was very repetitive and didn’t always contribute to the story.  However, I can appreciate the realistic way he showed the character’s thought processes.  Still not a book that I would say I love, but definitely a better experience than last time.

favorite quote:
“Richard Gordon could hear the clock ticking and he felt as hollow as the room was quiet.” p. 190

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stardust

title: Stardust

author: Neil Gaiman

genre: Fiction, fantasy, falling stars

dates read: May 28th – May 30th

review: 5 of 5 stars

summary: Tristran Thorn lives an unremarkable life in the small town of Wall, so named for the wall that separates the town from Faerie land on the other side.  Lovestruck and wanting to prove himself, he goes on a journey into Faerie land to find a fallen star, which he promised to bring back to the woman he loves.  On this journey he finds that the star is actually a person name Yvaine.  Together they begin the journey (she less willingly) back to Wall.  Unbeknownst to them, Tristran was not the only one seeking her out. . .

personal thoughts: Beautiful, imaginative, and witty.  I love the movie and feel like it followed the book quite well.  Of course, the books are often better than their movie counterparts and this was no different.  I loved the different characters and the intertwining stories.  The world of fantasy that Gaiman created is dynamic, a place that I would want to visit, maybe even live.  Well done, sir.

favorite quotes:
“It was chilly that April, with the awkward changeability of English spring.” p. 8

“Tristran Thorn. . .was half the way between a boy and a man, and was equally uncomfortable in either role. . .” p. 37

“Tristran could smell the distant winter on the air – a mixture of night-mist and crisp darkness and the tang of fallen leaves.” p. 41

gathering blue

title: Gathering Blue

author: Lois Lowry

genre: Fiction, orphan, gifted

dates read: April 18th – April 20th

review: 5 of 5 stars

summary: Kira is a young girl with a gift for embroidery and has a terribly deformed leg.  When her mother dies and she becomes an orphan, the others in the village want to cast her out, since those with deformities are typically left out to die in the field.  Her supernatural gift is her saving grace and she is taken in by the town leaders to help repair a robe worn every year during an important ceremony.  She meets another gifted boy who is a carver.  As she learns how to dye thread from an old woman, she also begins to find out the secrets of her town.

personal thoughts: I’ve read “The Giver” a few times and really loved it.  When I found out there were other books in the “series,” I was really excited, though I never read them.  This is the second book and though it doesn’t really continue the story told in “The Giver,” there are some similar themes.  I love Lowry’s work and have also read “Number the Stars.”  I definitely want to read the rest of the quartet and see what other stories are told there.  Her books are YA, but they are not childish, they deal with real struggle and the ideals of compassion and courage.

favorite quotes:
“As she watched the spirit of her mother drift away, she had seen the cindered fragments of her childhood life whirl into the sky as well.” p. 2

“it made her smile, to see it, to see how the pen formed the shapes and the shapes told a story of a name.” p. 89

“In a dreamlike way, Kira felt herself, small, inside the curve made by his arched fingers, inside the memory of her mother.” p. 200

kony 2012

Whether you agree with Invisible Children’s methods or not, I don’t think there’s any argument that Joseph Kony is an evil man that needs to be stopped.  I mean, abducting children and forcing them to fight in a war that has no purpose?  Yeah, definitely think something needs to be done about that situation.  Maybe you don’t agree that he should be number one on the International Criminal Court’s list, but it’s pretty clear he’s not a good guy.  And Invisible Children is raising awareness of who he is and what he’s doing.  I can stand behind that cause, this awareness has no monetary cost.

flutter

delicate
butterfly
wings
made of glass
fluttering
in my cupped hands
cuts me deep as it struggles
to be free

but i don’t think i can let go
of this beautiful
and terrible
thing

so

i’ll continue to hang on
to this that
hurts me so
and one day
maybe
i’ll let it fly free

outtakes

I love my little family.  They are all so goofy, each with his or her own personality.  Here are some outtakes for our Christmas family photo.  I love how Knives looks progressively madder and Vash just looks like he’s found the most amazing thing in the world (when he’s not a blurry mess).  And Jason’s expression never changes.  Seriously, my favorite “people” ever.

The winner, and actually the first one we took (go figure):

chilled

I was not expecting the frost this morning.  I don’t know where my nifty little ice scraper is so I had to use the squeegee.  *sigh*  Anyway, I was a little late to work but I did enjoy the nippy air and the nice frosted look everywhere.  I do really love this time of year.

completion

I did it.  I posted every day for an entire month.  Sure, a lot of the posts were about nothing, but I did it.  It feels good.  I picked this month because it’s also NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month) where people write 50k of a new novel over the month.  I’m not really interested in participating in that but I liked the idea of writing every day.  Anyway, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and now I can check it off my bucket list as it were. :)

thank-full

I am so blessed.  This list will by no means cover everything, nor will it even scratch the surface.  But here we go nonetheless.  In no particular order. . .

Family (immediate, extended, adopted):

 

I have a wonderful support system and I’m so grateful for everyone in it.

Nature and the changing seasons:

 

 

I am always amazed at the beauty that I find around me.  I sometimes feel like the universe is sharing a secret with me when I’m able to capture it in the simplest of things.

 Despite all its flaws, I am thankful to be born in the USA:

I have so much freedom because I was born here.  I can’t believe how simple and profound that is and I’m so thankful that it’s mine.

I’m thankful for my salvation:

While aspects of faith are still not clear (and some I suspect will never be, otherwise why would I need God?), I am so thankful for the simple message that I am saved because God decided to sacrifice His son for me.  Avoiding eternal damnation creates a strong sense of gratitude.

I love our babies:

They are crazy and frustrating and cute and cuddly and silly and and and.  They are extremely precious to me.

And I love my job.  I am so blessed to work with the people I do.  They really care about the services we provide our clients and working well with the rest of the team in the office.  My supervisor is an amazing woman: humble, gentle, kind, affirming.  She is willing to hear my questions and really work through problems with me.  I appreciate the grace she extends to me.  And I really love the other people in my unit, people who are open to help out and lend a hand or go the extra mile.  I love my clients (even if they really frustrate me at times, but really, who doesn’t?) and that I’m able to really feel like I’m making a difference in their lives.  I love getting to know them and their quirks, how I can treat them with respect and how I can best support them.  They are all beautiful individuals and I’m so blessed to get to work with them.  God is showing me the beauty in every person and it makes my work with them go that much smoother.

I live a charmed life.  I’ve been given so much and I only hope that at the end of the day, I’ve given all I can to make the world a better place.

boo

I just discovered the blogsome is closing down after December 7th. This makes me really sad as I have been using them since 2006. I do want to do a “thankful” post but we’re at my in-laws’ house and I’m writing this on my phone. Also. I’m really bummed about this blog. I’ll figure something out and redirect as appropriate.

ugh

Is this going to be an annual thing?  I really hope not.  Last Thanksgiving I got really sick.  I was throwing up like crazy (lovely, right?) and all the nurses at work told me we shouldn’t go back home as planned.  We didn’t listen I was not up to eating much the whole weekend.  This year I’m not as sick but I am feeling the beginning of a cold/flu thing coming on.  I’m trying to fight it but we’re not gonna be able to leave tonight as planned.  Boo.  I hope this isn’t becoming a Thanksgiving tradition.

At least I’ve got a really cute kitty cuddling with me. :)

really?

We went to a movie tonight with friends.  And while it was not an especially violent or sexualized movie, it was rated PG-13 and I don’t think it’s appropriate for anyone under 16 to see it.  Seriously, I think they should have a rating between PG-13 and R, that’s really a huge gap.  Anyway, it’s irritating on several different levels.  One, the kid was sitting behind me and starting kicking my seat somewhere along the line.  Also, he kept asking his parents what was going on as a lot of the dialog and such went over his head (if he could even see over the back of the chair, I didn’t check).  Also, I’m not sure children of that age should be watching those kinds of things.  And someone brought their infant into the theatre.  What is up?  You really couldn’t find a babysitter?  And if you’re child is too young to be left with a babysitter, you probably shouldn’t be taking him or her to the movies with you anyway.  It’s okay to take a break from movie going to raise your child, really.  Last time we came to this particular theatre we went to see “Cowboys and Aliens” (surprisingly okay) and I swear the same people with the baby were there.  They sat in the same spot, somewhere in the very back row over on the right.

Ranting aside, I do think it’s unhealthy to bring young children to movies.  I’m of the mind that children shouldn’t even be exposed to screens until they’re at least 3, and even then pretty limited.  I know, I’m not a parent yet and the t.v. is a great way to get things done while they’re distracted.  And I’m not saying parents who do that are wrong, I just don’t agree with that philosophy.  I’ve known plenty of parents who raised their children without the help of a screen.  I myself did not really grow up with a lot of t.v.  We didn’t even have one until I was at least 7, around the time we got our first computer.  It saddens me that children these days aren’t raised outside.  I know that the world is a dangerous place and not getting any better (or so ‘they’ say) but I think it’s a tragedy for children to spend all their lives inside.  The great outdoors are just that, pretty great.  I loved spending time outside with the neighborhood kids.  That’s the kind of childhood I want for my children.  Maybe we’ll move to a farm. . .

agreed

At the end of the day, when I am lying in bed and I know the chances of any of our theology being exactly right are a million to one, I need to know that God has things figured out, that if my math is wrong we are still going to be okay.  And wonder is that feeling we get when we let go of our silly answers, our mapped out rules that we want God to follow.  I don’t think there is any better worship than wonder.

Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller : page 206 : copyright 2003

Oh, Don, you’ve hit the nail right on the head.  I feel this so much right now.  So many times I want to throw up my hands and say, "who cares?"  There’s so much squabbling within the church over really stupid issues.  And sometimes I think we’re so focused on those issues that we miss the things that really matter.  And please don’t think I don’t appreciate what churches do, the positive things they have accomplished for many people the world over.  It’s just that we get so stuck in our in-house fighting that sometimes we miss the simple things, like loving people, caring for the widowed, the orphaned, the sick, and homeless.  Jesus’ message was not complicated, it was controversial, but it was not complicated.  And my God is bigger than our little boxes we attempt to put Him in.  Thank God for that.

free

I know it’s not over yet, but the weekends go by way too quickly.  We had our girls/guys sleepovers and I didn’t get nearly enough sleep (but you never do at sleepovers, they’re not very well named) so I’m thinking of taking a nap because I have to babysit in two hours.  Also, we had to take our boy kitty to the vet to get his vaccines.  He was so happy with us!  Not.  Anyway, I just think our weekends need to be at least three days long on a regular basis.  I had Veteran’s Day off last Friday and I really enjoyed having that extra day.  And this week I only have to work three days!  I really love Thanksgiving, and it’s not just because I have two paid holidays back-to-back (though that certainly helps).  I really love the family time, the good food, and the reminders of how blessed I am.  I mean, it’s pretty obvious on a daily basis how much God has given me, but it’s nice to have a day where we really dig deep in our thankfulness.  I love sitting around the table with family and being able to celebrate each other with each other.  It’s a really warm, wonderful feeling.  I really do love this time of year.

now

Oh, man.  So much stuff going on right now.  I’m currently making chili, rice, and bread.  (Also.  I’m writing this post.)  I shredded a butt-load of cheese earlier and I’m about to work on the "major project" that I’ve been talking about.  I should also make a phone call but I’m thinking I’ll let that sit until tomorrow.  Don’t want to overdo it too much.  My body does not move nearly as fast as my brain wishes it would.  Bummer, dude.

I’ve been furiously reading "Blue Like Jazz" and yes, I know, I’m super behind the times.  Everyone and their mom told me to read it and I wish I had already.  I’m borrowing it from a friend but I definitely need to own it.  If I had read it earlier, I would probably have read it about 4 times by now.  Seriously, I love it that much.

Another thing I love?  This.  Jason bought one last year and while it’s technically his, I’m definitely taking advantage of it.  I’ve loaded a ton of classic literature on it and I’ve already read Dracula (which I LOVED btw, wasn’t expecting that).  My friend pointed this out to me, totally amazing and awesome.  I’m so glad we’re Prime members.

And tomorrow is the girls’ sleep over.  Ah, life is sweet.

community

As much as I can’t wait to live closer to our families, I’m so in love with the community we’ve created here.  We’re in two different life groups, one which has been meeting for over two and a half years.  These people have become my extended family.  As crazy and tragic as life is sometimes, those nights are my oasis.  I love sharing our lives together, I love laughing, crying, celebrating the Sabbath, eating together (we just had a fondue party :).  On Friday we’re having a girls and guys sleep over.  This will be our third time doing this.  The guys will probably play video games all night and we’ll probably stay up way too late talking about anything and everything.  The first time we did it a few of us ended up staying up until four in the morning.  I really love these people and I’m thankful everyday that God chose to bring us together.


this was taken over a year ago and we’re missing Dave, Holly, and Laura

me

I’m a self-righteous, lustful, sinful, hateful, angry, depressed jerk…I’m jealous.  I’m deceitful. I’m impatient.  I’m judgmental.  I’m selfish.  I’m all this and more.  I’m a human who needs You.  Badly.

I am perfect.  I love you.  I created you.  You are beautiful.  You may be sinful, but through me, you are perfect.

 

Feb 15, 2004

*******

I wrote this when I was 16. . .8 years ago.  Weird.  It’s interesting seeing how much I’ve changed over the years, and how much has remained the same.  Obviously some of those qualities are ones I wish weren’t still part of me, but really, who’s completely satisfied with themselves?

Bed calls.

poor reflection

I’ve been thinking a lot about the “Christian experience.”  It seems that most people have negative connotations surrounding the word “Christian.”  But when speaking about Jesus, most people have very positive things to say, how he loved people and showed mercy and grace.  Unfortunately most Christians are a poor reflection of Jesus and the way he lived his life.  Of course, we are only human and we make all kinds of blunders of the simplest things, but sometimes there’s no excuse.  I find it so ironic that many non-Christian people I’ve met seem like they really are Christians.  I’ve recently made a friend who says he’s an Atheist because he hasn’t had an encounter with God yet.  But apparently a lot of people who talk to him say he’s an anonymous Christian, one who believes but just doesn’t know it yet.  I feel like I meet a lot of people like that.  I know there are people out there who are anti-theists, they believe that religion is actually harmful to society.  I can totally see where they are coming from.  Like I said, as humans we make a mess of things more often than not and those are the things that are highlighted.  I wish we were known for all the good we’ve done, all the positive things that Christ-followers have done for society and individuals.  Unfortunately what sticks out in most people’s minds are the negative things.  *sigh*

It is discouraging to me when I see how people like to pick and choose what their religion is, it’s like a buffet.  I’m on the fence about the whole “one destination, many paths.”  I’d like to believe that God is loving and understanding enough that even those who don’t say they are Christians will, you know, not be eternally damned.  But I’m not totally sure.

*****************

I wrote that earlier this year.  January 9th to be exact (2:47am if you want to get really exact).  Since then I’ve gone through a lot of soul searching and questioning in regard to my faith.  I’m still not sure I know which way I fall on the idea that there are many paths to God.  Part of me thinks that each religion is a piece of God, looking at Him through very flawed, human eyes.  But then, as a Christian we have the Bible which states that Jesus is the only way to God (by that same logic, Christianity is another religion, another view of God and faith).  But then, there are those who argue about the people in isolated villages, who have never and will never hear about Jesus and the Christian message.  What about them?  If they found their own form of “Christianity,” are they saved?  The cynical side of me thinks yes, that it does not require a first-world white man proclaiming his strain of faith to save someone.

In reading “Pagan Christianity” I’ve struggled with a lot of what modern Christianity holds dear about our whole faith experience.  The authors give voice to a lot of my frustrations with what I’ve seen in first-world Christianity today.  I long for the organic, early church experience I read about in the Bible, the one where everyone contributes, where everyone is a part of the body every week.  I want to feel the Spirit move amongst God’s people and see His hand at work in our lives.  I get glimpses of that, but I know there’s something missing in my “church” experience now.

Anyway, this is just a thought dump.  I’ve been rolling this stuff around in my head for a while, thought it was time to get a little out and about.

desire

I saw this bumper sticker a while back.  And for all the things I love about this season, what I really don’t love is how much the consumerism of our society really stands out.  I keep getting catalogs that proclaim their products will bring “joy.”  Everyone wants me to buy their junk and it makes me sad.  There’s such a mentality to fill our life with stuff and that will make us happy.  So many people try to fill up whatever cracks exist with things, thinking when they have this, that, or the other thing they will finally be satisfied.  “If I only had that house” or “that car” or “that job”… “then, then I’ll be happy and want for nothing.”  I know sometimes I can get caught up in that lie, it’s so easy to let it take over.  But.  Really I know true joy cannot come from material items.  Or even wanting less.  I’m thankful every day for the salvation I pin my hopes and dreams on.  I’ve got a Savior who’s bigger than my problems, bigger than my sorrows, and He’s willing to bestow upon me true joy and happiness.

That’s something worth rejoicing over.

caring

I love my job.  Seriously.  I’m thankful I have a job, given the state of things.  But I think what I appreciate most about my job is what my clients have taught me.  They have stretched my love so deep and wide that I cannot see the end of it.  I feel like they have, as a whole, shown me to see people the way Jesus sees them.  Something He’s laid on my heart for a long time.  I’ve been trying so hard to let things wash over me, to not let them affect me negatively, but I feel like it’s finally happening in a very real way.  My heart hurts for them and their brokenness.  I know everyone’s broken, we live in a fallen world, but some hurts are more visible than others.  I’m thankful for the way God has shown me the way of compassion and kindness.  He is growing me so much in such a short amount of time.

And to think, I wasn’t sure I wanted another job.  God’s ways are mysterious and great.

soup’s on

Another thing I like about this season: soup.

I made four kinds of soup last night.  And another’s being made as I type.  Corn and Chowder, Tomato Basil, Vegetable Curry, Butternut Apple.  And Minestrone is in the crock pot.  Yum.  I heart soup.

I think we’re set for the week.  Probably.

convenience

I’m writing this from my cell phone. Totally weirds me out. Technology is a wonderful and terrible thing. I’m in both awe and disgust at the dependency of it all. Like how, even though I’m home and could write this from my computer, I’m not. Or the simple fact that I have this weblog at all. *Sigh* The dilemma of the modern man/woman.

seasoning

I really love this time of year.  I’ve never been able to put my finger on why, exactly, but I have some guesses.

1. The Holidays.  I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, the time with family and the time off school/work as the case may be.  Now that I live further from my family, immediate and otherwise, I’m especially thankful for the times when we can all come together.

2. The early sunset.  Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoy the sunshine and being out in it, but there’s something about early falling darkness that makes me feel all cozy and comforted.  On that same note,

3. The chill in the air.  I have a lot of cute jackets and I love having an excuse to use them.  It’s so romantic to bundle up and go visit friends, drink hot chocolate, warm ourselves by the fire.  The nippy air means we have to come closer together to preserve the warmth and there’s an added coziness.  Plus, I feel less guilty about curling up with a blanket and a good book all day since there’s not as much reason to be outside.

Ah, yes.  I love you, Autumn.

i’m sorry, did i offend you?

My friend posted something about abortion on facebook yesterday.  And it got a lot of attention.  It’s probably no surprise to anyone that a lot of people had strong opinions.  And one person in particular felt that my friend who is "enlightened" was being judgmental and self righteous.  I personally don’t think my friend was being either of those things.  Anymore than the person accusing him of being so.  I have to wonder what it is about the world that thinks that we as Christ followers are supposed to bend over backward to agree with things we are in disagreement with.  I feel like if I voice my own opinions, as everyone else is doing, I’m going to be called judgmental, hypocrite, narrow minded, and a slew of other names.  I understand we are to be loving and kind to those we come in contact with.  That does not mean we have to be doormats.  It frustrates me so when I feel like my opinion is automatically invalidated because of my religious beliefs.  I don’t want to be offensive or abrasive, I simply want my opinions to be just as valid as everyone else’s.

Can I get an amen! ;)

dream

sand beneath your curled toes
wind whipping hair across your face
your hand in mine
as we cross this rough terrain

i have dreamed you into existence
and you are more beautiful
than reality can handle

and one day
i’ll hold you in my arms

and never let go

nerd

When I started college my habit of reading fell by the wayside.  I stopped reading for fun and just read for school assignments.  Sure, I would read for pleasure every now and then, but not with the frequency I had before.  I’m happy to say that a year and a half after graduation, I’m finally back in the world of the book worm.  And I have missed it so much.  I love allowing the world of the author to fill my mind and get away from my life (not that my life is bad, it’s just nice to escape it sometimes).  I actually read a 400 page book in less than 24 hours.  It’s good to be back.

Here’s what I’ve been digging into:

Obviously I like Jodi.  She doesn’t write “fluff,” she really gets me thinking.

Currently reading: