Monday, May 11, 2015

Eleven



How did that happen? 

He's eleven. 

And that makes me ... lets not go there yet k?

And that handsome kitty - he's seventeen. 

Oh boy oh boy. My fellas are getting on up there. 

Anybody know how to hit pause? 

I kinda like right where we are thank you very much. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Turn The Page ... Tuesday


From Amazon: "Brilliantly evoking the long-vanished world of masters and servants portrayed in Downton Abbeyand Upstairs, Downstairs, Margaret Powell’s classic memoir of her time in service, Below Stairs,is the remarkable true story of an indomitable woman who, though she served in the great houses of England, never stopped aiming high. Powell first arrived at the servants' entrance of one of those great houses in the 1920s.  As a kitchen maid – the lowest of the low – she entered an entirely new world; one of stoves to be blacked, vegetables to be scrubbed, mistresses to be appeased, and bootlaces to be ironed. Work started at 5.30am and went on until after dark. It was a far cry from her childhood on the beaches of Hove, where money and food were scarce, but warmth and laughter never were. Yet from the gentleman with a penchant for stroking the housemaids’ curlers, to raucous tea-dances with errand boys, to the heartbreaking story of Agnes the pregnant under-parlormaid, fired for being seduced by her mistress’s nephew, Margaret’s tales of her time in service are told with wit, warmth, and a sharp eye for the prejudices of her situation. Margaret Powell's true story of a life spent in service is a fascinating “downstairs” portrait of the glittering, long-gone worlds behind the closed doors of Downton Abbey and 165 Eaton Place."

Yo! Adrienne says: I have just begun watching Downton Abbey. I know. I am sooo behind. It's my reward for getting on the treadmill when I can't get outside and run. I just push my treadmill right up to the TV and stream an episode. It's beautiful. I actually read this book long before I began streaming DA but it was with the anticipation that I would someday actually begin the series. I really enjoyed Below Stairs and quite frankly can't imagine living the DA life or of those in this book. 


From Amazon: "I wonder this: If you take a woman and push her to the edge, how will she behave?" The question is posed by Jean, a photographer, who arrives on Smuttynose Island, off the coast of New Hampshire, to research a century-old crime. As she immerses herself in the details of the case--an outburst of passion that resulted in the deaths of two women--Jean herself enters precarious emotional territory. The suspicion that her husband is having an affair burgeons into jealousy and distrust, and ultimately propels Jean to the verge of actions she had not known herself capable of--actions with horrific consequences. Everywhere hailed for its beauty and power, The Weight of Water takes us on an unforgettable journey through the furthest extremes of emotion."

Yo! Adrienne: I"m a big Anita Shreve fan. I've read quite a few books of hers. The Weight of Water completely shocked me at the end. I did not see it coming. Any book like that gets a two thumbs up from me even if the ending made my heart ache and tears fill my eyes.


From Amazon: "All roads lead to home. It’s easy to go through life believing that we can satisfy our longing for home with a three-bedroom, two-bath slice of the American dream that we mortgage at 4 percent and pay for over the course of thirty years. But ultimately, in our deepest places, we’re really looking to belong and to be known. And what we sometimes miss in our search for the perfect spot to set up camp is that wherever we are on the long and winding road of life, God is at work in the journey, teaching us, shaping us, and refining us―sometimes through the most unlikely people and circumstances. In Home Is Where My People Are, Sophie Hudson takes readers on a delightfully quirky journey through the South, introducing them to an unforgettable cast of characters, places, and experiences. Along the way, she reflects on how God has used each of the stops along the road to impart timeless spiritual wisdom and truth. Nobody embodies the South like Sophie Hudson, and this nostalgic celebration of home is sure to make even those north of the Mason-Dixon line long to settle in on the front porch with a glass of sweet tea and reflect on all of the people in our lives who―related or not―have come to represent home. Because at the end of the day, it’s not the address on the front door or even the name on the mailbox that says home, but the people who live and laugh and love there, wherever there might happen to be."

Yo! Adrienne: Ya'll. I wish Sophie Hudson was my neighbor. She is so funny. I love her blog and her first book so when this one came out I had to read it right away. You will want to read this too. Don't wait.


From Amazon: "According to Pastor Mark Batterson in his book, The Circle Maker, “Drawing prayer circles around our dreams isn’t just a mechanism whereby we accomplish great things for God. It’s a mechanism whereby God accomplishes great things in us.” Do you ever sense that there’s far more to prayer, and to God’s vision for your life, than what you’re experiencing? It’s time you learned from the legend of Honi the Circle Maker―a man bold enough to draw a circle in the sand and not budge from inside it until God answered his prayers for his people. What impossibly big dream is God calling you to draw a prayer circle around? Sharing inspiring stories from his own experiences as a circle maker, Mark Batterson will help you uncover your heart’s deepest desires and God-given dreams and unleash them through the kind of audacious prayer that God delights to answer."

Yo! Adrienne says: My neighbor lent me this book and it sat on my shelf for embarrassingly too long. Then one day I just decided it was time to read it. I really am in awe of what Mark Batterson has been able to do (Lord willing) in his community and how his church had grown. His writing is real (it's not all roses) and he is not afraid to share his doubts, lack of faith at times, and questioning of God's plan. He also does an amazing job of giving us insight into his prayer life and how that impacted his family and ministry. It's definitely a good read if you want to grow in your relationship with the Lord.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Turn The Page ... Tuesday



Oh my. I have no idea why this took me so long to read The Language of Flowers. Sara told me to read it. So I did.

Amazon says: "The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey romantic expressions: honeysuckle for devotion, asters for patience, and red roses for love. But for Victoria Jones, it’s been more useful in communicating mistrust and solitude. After a childhood spent in the foster-care system, she is unable to get close to anybody, and her only connection to the world is through flowers and their meanings. Now eighteen and emancipated from the system with nowhere to go, Victoria realizes she has a gift for helping others through the flowers she chooses for them. But an unexpected encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning what’s been missing in her life. And when she’s forced to confront a painful secret from her past, she must decide whether it’s worth risking everything for a second chance at happiness." 

Yo! Adrienne Says: Listen to Sara. Listen to me. If you haven't read it. Read it. ASAP. Wring your heart out good. 'Nuf said.


I {heart} Susanna Kearsley. I haven't read a book of hers that I haven't like. The Shadowy Horses didn't disappoint. 

From Amazon: "Archaeologist Verity Grey has been drawn to the dark legends of the Scottish Borderlands in search of the truth buried in a rocky field by the sea.
Her eccentric boss has spent his whole life searching for the resting place of the lost Ninth Roman Legion and is convinced he's finally found it—not because of any scientific evidence, but because a local boy has "seen" a Roman soldier walking in the fields, a ghostly sentinel who guards the bodies of his long-dead comrades.
Here on the windswept shores, Verity may find the answer to one of the great unsolved mysteries of our time. Or she may uncover secrets someone buried for a reason."

Yo! Adrienne says: If you are a sucker for historical fiction then any Susanna Kearlsey book is for you. The Shadowy Horses is a great place to start with this author (or any of her amazing books).




So I was lucky enough to haven another "girls weekend" with my sorority sisters and Carry on  Warrior came up. Turns out that one of my "sisters" had read the book and another had gone to high school with the author and her husband. 

It's ok - you can sing it.

"It's a small world after all ..."

Anywho - here's what Amazon has to say: "The inspiring and hilarious instant New York Times bestseller from the beloved parenting expert, public speaker, and founder of Momastery.com whose writing "is like a warm embrace" (FamilyCircle.com).

Glennon Doyle Melton’s hilarious and poignant reflections on our universal (yet often secret) experiences have inspired a social movement by reminding women that they’re not alone. In Carry On, Warrior, she shares her personal story in moving, refreshing, and laugh-out-loud-funny new essays and some of the best-loved material from Momastery.com. Her writing invites us to believe in ourselves, to be brave and kind, to let go of the idea of perfection, and to stop making motherhood, marriage, and friendship harder by pretending they’re not hard. In this one woman’s trying to love herself and others, readers will find a wise and witty friend who shows that we can build better lives in our hearts, homes, and communities."


Yo! Adrienne says: Goodness. Glennon is not afraid to share her heart. Life is 'brutiful" (brutal and beautiful). Her blog Monastery is one that I've added to my feeds. She is fresh and real and not afraid to share the broken beautiful bits of herself in hopes that she brings healing to others ... along with herself. She is brutiful.




I have read quite a few of Mitch Albom's books. I've liked them all. have a little faith one that sat on my shelf for far too long.

Amazon says: What if our beliefs were not what divided us, but what pulled us together In Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds--two men, two faiths, two communities--that will inspire readers everywhere. Albom's first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie, Have a Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom's old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy. Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he'd left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor--a reformed drug dealer and convict--who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof. Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat. As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds--and indeed, between beliefs everywhere. In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor's wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi's last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself.  Have a Little Faith is a book about a life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story. Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless."

Yo! Adrienne says: This is a beautiful book. How often have we judged based on appearance or just made a snap judgement based on our own preconceived notions. I love how Mitch Albom admits his own weakness/misconceptions but is open to receiving something deeper. Add this book to your list. It will bless you for sure. Maybe it will light a fire that has been dim for some time.





The bible study I participated in has been studying "Return to Jerusalem". It has been challenging but also a great opportunity to dig in to the Old Testament. Lynn Austin's books have helped me bring the  lives of those we are studying to life.

Amazon says: Return to me: "After years of watching his children and grandchildren wander from their faith, Iddo's prayers are answered: King Cyrus is allowing God's chosen people to return to Jerusalem. Jubilant, he joyfully prepares for their departure, only to learn that his family, grown comfortable in the pagan culture of Babylon, wants to remain. 

Zechariah, Iddo's oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather's ancient beliefs and the comfort and success his father enjoys in Babylon. But he soon begins to hear the voice of God, encouraging him to return to the land given to his forefathers. 

Bringing to life the biblical books of Ezra and Nehemiah, Return to Me tells the compelling story of Iddo and Zechariah, the women who love them, and the faithful followers who struggle to rebuild their lives in obedience to the God who beckons them home."

Keepers of the Covenant: "In one life-changing moment, the lives of the exiles in Babylon are thrown into despair when a decree from the king's palace calls for the annihilation of every Jewish man, woman, and child throughout the empire in less than one year.

Ezra, a quiet but brilliant scholar, soon finds himself called upon to become the leader of his people. Forced to rally an army when all his training has been in the Torah, he struggles to bring hope in a time of utter despair, when dreams of the future--of family and love--seem impossible.

In Keepers of the Covenant, acclaimed novelist Lynn Austin weaves together the struggles and stories of both Jews and Gentiles, creating a tapestry of faith and doubt, love and loss. Here, the Old Testament comes to life, demonstrating the everlasting hope displayed in God's unwavering love for His people. "


Yo! Adrienne Says: If you have ever tried to study the Old Testament and struggled - these books are for you. They help bring the main characters to life and help you understand the times and what their day to day lives were like. Certainly more akin to historical fiction but Ms. Austin is biblically accurate when it come to her main characters and scripture. 



Monday, March 30, 2015

April Fools ...

Early.

Doh.

Turn the page ... Tuesday isn't tomorrow.

See you on the 7th.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Only Half Crazy

I did it.


I not only ran a half marathon (13.1 miles) but I finished only 4 minutes over my original goal. 

Six weeks before the half I had tendonitis in my right foot which sidelined me and then the snow added insult to injury (literally). Three weeks I went without running. Three weeks before the race I had to carefully recondition my aging body.

But I did it.

I was able to work back up to 10 miles.

I know - 3.1 miles shy of the goal.

It was insane but as they say 

Cute shirt here.

And yes, I plan to do it again. 

When you are crazy, your are crazy - even if only half!

~~~~~~~~

Hope you join in for Turn the page ... Tuesday on the 31st. I've got some good ones to share and I hope you do too!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Turn The Page ... Tuesday

Since it's the month of shamrocks and leprechauns I thought I would start out with a great St. Paddy's read!


An Irish Country Doctor is the first in a series of Barry Laverty, M.B. finding his way (sometimes literally) in the Northern Ireland village of Ballybucklebo. 

From Amazon: "Barry Laverty, M.B., can barely find the Northern Ireland village of Ballybucklebo on a map when he first sets out to seek gainful employment there. But Barry jumps at the chance to secure a position as an assistant in a small rural practice.

At least until he meets Dr. Fingal Flahertie O'Reilly.

The older physician has his own way of doing things. At first, Barry can't decide if the pugnacious O'Reilly is the biggest charlatan he has ever met or the best teacher he could ever hope for. Through O'Reilly, Barry soon gets to know all of the village's colourful and endearing residents and a host of other eccentric characters who make every day an education for the inexperienced young doctor.

Ballybucklebo is a long way from Belfast, and Barry is quick to discover that he still has a lot to learn about country life. But with pluck and compassion, and only the slightest touch of blarney, he will find out more about life--and love--than he ever imagined back in medical school.

Previously published as The Apprenticeship of Dr. Laverty."

Yo! Adrienne says: Reading this won't guarantee a pot of gold at the end of your rainbow but it certainly will put a spring in your step. Too fun and light to pass up.


I think Amazon says it best: "Orphan Train is a gripping story of friendship and second chances from Christina Baker Kline, author of Bird in Hand and The Way Life Should Be.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...
As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.
Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life – answers that will ultimately free them both.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are."

Yo! Adrienne says: Read it and prepare yourself to sit with your friend Google and research orphan trains. It happened. It will break your heart. Excellent read.


And since we are on the subject of orphans ... I feel a theme coming on. Every once in a while I like to throw a classic in my line up. I had had Jane Eyre on my kindle for like fo-evah so it was time to get to it.

In case it's been fo-evah for you too - here's what Amazon has to say: "Jane Eyre is the heart-wrenching story of a young girl saddled with both a cruel aunt and a bitter upbringing at Lowood School. Her soul not broken from these encounters, she becomes governess to the children of the handsome Mr. Rochester, with whom she falls deeply in love, but the dark secrets of Rochester's past and outside influence threaten to swallow their budding romance. Explore Charlotte Bronte's world full of shocking secrets, captivating characters, and dark romance. Complete and unabridged, Jane Eyre is an essential collectible that is both elegant and portable."


Yo! Adrienne says: I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed the book. I'd suggest you add this to your collection of classics (and read it!) if you are like me and want to catch up on what you missed in English class. Cliff notes don't cut it.



My cousin told me about a long way gone Memoirs of a Boy Soldier and I was able to track a copy down through Better World Books


Well. Again, Amazon's got it: "This is how wars are fought now: by children, hopped-up on drugs and wielding AK-47s. Children have become soldiers of choice. In the more than fifty conflicts going on worldwide, it is estimated that there are some 300,000 child soldiers. Ishmael Beah used to be one of them.


What is war like through the eyes of a child soldier? How does one become a killer? How does one stop? Child soldiers have been profiled by journalists, and novelists have struggled to imagine their lives. But until now, there has not been a first-person account from someone who came through this hell and survived.

In A Long Way Gone, Beah, now twenty-five years old, tells a riveting story: how at the age of twelve, he fled attacking rebels and wandered a land rendered unrecognizable by violence. By thirteen, he'd been picked up by the government army, and Beah, at heart a gentle boy, found that he was capable of truly terrible acts.
 
This is a rare and mesmerizing account, told with real literary force and heartbreaking honesty."

Yo! Adrienne says: Well. This was a tough read. So worth it despite the heartache and box of kleenex I endured. Often I sat with my mouth agape and my hand over my heart shaking my head in disbelief. Sadly, this is a true account. Even more reason to enlighten yourself to the plight of children in less fortunate countries.


Friday, February 13, 2015

Heartbeat

Me: John (he's 8), will you be my valentine?

John: (does his sweet side smile which makes his dimples show) Moooom, well .... I can for now but one day I'm going to have a wife and she will be my valentine.

Be still my heart.