Friday, July 22, 2011

Another Book Review

Last weekend I finished I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. If you never heard of him, don't worry. It's a pseudonym for James Frey and Jobie Hughes. This is the first of a new series. But it's not for everyone - it's about aliens. As in outer space aliens from another planet not illegal aliens from another country.

Over all, I enjoyed the book - and will probably keep an eye out for the next book in the series (due out later this year, I think.) But I was disappointed in the choice of language within the book.  Overall, it wasn't too bad, but there was one word that was used over and over to describe one character. The majority of the characters are teenagers and I know teens don't always use polite language, but I do have a problem with an author using language in a book for teens that would get them in trouble at school.  And my child would get in trouble with me as well as a teacher is used that word to describe someone.

There is a movie based on this book - I have yet to watch it. I do have it on hold at the library, but will have to pass at this time and watch it when life is a little slower.

I, also, read Voodoo River by Robert Cais last week. This was a book my mother (hey, mom!) recommended. The main reason she thought I would enjoy it was because it was placed in South Louisiana. The main character is a private detective from Los Angeles trying to solve a mystery in South Louisiana. Of course, his reaction to the locals was quite funny - which is why my mom (and me) enjoyed the book.  Will warn you, some of the language was stronger than I like.

I did receive the book that I won, How Shall We Feed Them by Marty Girardier. It's a fast read - it's more of a booklet than a full-length book. But it's packed full of great information of how to set  up and run a food pantry.  I'm not sure how I'll use this information, but it'll be fun to see what God has planned.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

My American Idol Concert Re-Cap

 Last night Drew and I went to the American Idol Concert in Dallas - amazing!! They really did put on a great show.
For the most part everyone preformed the songs you excepted them to.  Each did about two solos (some with the others singing as back-ups) in addition to several group songs.  I felt that all had improved in their 'stage presence'. Even Lauren Alaina - but I still don't think she's very comfortable on stage. And I'm not sure who is her stylist, but she needs to get a new one!  She wore basically a tutu with cowboy boots....just  about the most unflattering outfit ever...even Drew thought it was bad.

But the most amazing performers were Pia Toscano and Stefano Langone. Totally amazing! If either one had preformed like that on the show, they would have gone so much further. The songs they did were perfect for their voices. I'm a fan now! You can listen to Pia's here. (not the best as it's from a fan at one of the concerts)

Outside of the singers, we also enjoyed watching one couple a few rows ahead of us. Both were in their sixty and both  were...well...shall we say, "plump"?  At one part of the show, the rocker James walked between this couple and us. She even got to shake his hand. And that's when she put on her own show.

It was like she was having a religious experience. Or a sexual one.  It was quite funny. All through James' rock songs, she was waving her hands in the air - widely clapping. So much so, I thought she was going to take out her husband!  I wondered what he was thinking seeing his wife act so wild over another man.

Even if it was one that she was old enough to be his GRANDMOTHER!!

Then Haley came out and HE had his own religious experience.

But they were cute two-steppin' to Scotty's songs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another Blog

I usually don't post a link to another blog, but this one is just too good to pass up. A friend posted it on facebook and it piped my interest. It's very well written!  It's just a reminder to teens that life is the way it's suppose to be - so hang on for the ride!   I sent it to many teens in my life - maybe you'll do the same.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Mark 2

Thougths on Mark 2 are up....

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Study Group

As I said in an earlier post, being apart of some type of ladies Bible study group has been apart of my life since college (and I was actually in one during one part of my college years as well, now that I think about it).  But I have struggled with finding a group here in north Louisiana. Still now sure what all my options will be during the fall, but I have joined an on-line group.

Back in the spring a friend from Guam (but now is DC) started a Facebook Bible study group that is made up of mostly from ladies from Guam.  The first book that was chosen did not work out very well. It seemed that a lot of the ladies had a hard time getting into the book or even understanding some of it.  

I have to admit that I didn't even buy the book.   I had just finished a book similar to it on my own and I was trying to finish up two other Bible studies. My plan was just to read people's comments, but not really participate. 

Since that study fell apart, the group has just sort of floundered.  A few times a member would post something  - a prayer request or a verse, but with some many people busy for the summer nothing got off the ground.

Last week I finished up the book I was reading (Lies Women Believe) and decided to study the Book of Mark next. Then I thought that maybe others would like to join in. So, I'm posting my thoughts, comments, questions about the Book of Mark on this facebook group's page.  Today I thought I would share them here as well. I'm created another page at the top and have posted my thoughts on chapter one there.

Not sure how fast I'll go through the book.... I did chapter one yesterday and today did some follow-up studying on the verses that are quoted from the Old Testament (but did not post those on the FB page nor here). More than likely  I'll go through the book  in a few weeks - it only has fourteen chapters. So much smaller than something like Isaiah with sixty-six chapters!

Anyway, check in every few days to see what I have to say there. Or not.  Add your own comments. Or not.

Life is good either way.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Yes, More Books (& eBay) again

We (okay, let's leave the kids out of this one this time)  ME! listed four more items on eBay.  One I really didn't think would sell at all - It did.  One book I thought would have LOTS of bids. It did not.  Just one. But that was enough to have it sell.  Another item got a decent amount. And the fourth I really thought would have several bids as well, had none.  All in all, three more items sold and out of my house (Well, as soon as they pay and I can get to the post office.)

I finished the Hotel on Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  Very good book! Really enjoyed it. And yes, I would say it's a favorite of mine now. It was very nicely done.  I love how Jamie Ford explained the culture of Chinese Americans (along with Japanese Americans) during the 1940's - it was really a time when a new type of Americans were being born and created.  The parents wanted their children to be Americans....but without losing their Chinese ways. It's a hard balance to maintain.  But more and more immigrants are walking that balance every day.

After I finished Hotel I picked up Escape by Barbara  Delinsky - one of my all-time favorite authors.  Escape is about a women who walks out on her life - just needs to escape all the pressure and stress - so, she does.  Once again, Ms. Delinsky creates characters that they seem so real you want to go find them and have a visit with over coffee.  One theme she has woven through-out all the books I have read, is marriage is honorable. Worthy to be fought for.   I love that.

I got a surprise today - I WON a book! I'm so stinkin 'excited!! It's been AGES since I've won anything. It's the first time I've won anything on the Internet, I think.  The book is How Shall We Feed Them.  It's how to start and maintain a food pantry.  This goes right in-line with the work the kids and I do at the soup kitchen.   I'm looking forward to reading the book as well as passing it along to the soup kitchen so they will be able to gleam ideas.

I have two other books from the library sitting on my table....not sure when I'll pick-up the next one....laundry and several other chores are calling my name.....

Saturday, July 9, 2011

And the Day is....

What a wonderful way to start the morning: sleeping in 'till nine! Not something I do a lot. I'm a horrible sleeper - usually after I wake up, I'm awake for the day. But for some unknown, but wonderful reason this morning, I rolled over and actually went back to sleep.

Loved it.

After I did finally get up at nine and got dressed, I wondered into the kitchen to get something to eat. And there on the computer was my beautiful twelve (going on twenty-five) daughter.  All dressed for the day. That, also, was usual. The usual is for her to not get dressed for awhile on Saturday. But there she was - showered and dressed for the day - even had her purse over her shoulder like she was ready to go somewhere.

"Well, don't you look all cute this morning!" I greeted her.

She turned and looked at me in my tee-shirt and shorts, "Aren't we going to church today?"

" But I plan to tomorrow. Today is Saturday."

"OH!OH!!!!!", she yells as she puts her head in her hands, "I thought it was Sunday!!"

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ebay Update

eBay was a great success!  We ended up listing nine items and sold six of them.  Each child got $21.  Not bad. Not bad, at all - especially since I usually just give away our out grown items.  I refuse to do yard sells anymore.  eBay and Craig's List work so much better.

We now have four things listed on eBay for this week.  And the one item I told the kids that I didn't think would sell? That's the only item that has a bid on it at the moment.  Funny what sells and what doesn't.

Books, Again

As usual, I've been reading - several books in fact!   While at the lake with Drew's family, I read  Uncharted by Angela Hunt. This week I read Second Chance by Jane Green.  Both are about a group of college friends reuniting twenty years after college at a funeral of one of the friends.  

But that's about all they have in common.  Angela Hunt is a Christian author and so wrote about the spiritual impact of the choices these friends have made. Jane Green's book was placed in England was about these friends re-connecting and how they lived their lives.

I hate to say it, but I think I enjoyed the Jane Green book better - even if some of the language was stronger than I liked (and since it was placed in England there was some references to stores or other English things that I didn't understand). Angela Hunt's book ended with more of a feel the TV show Lost had - mystical, I guess would be the word.

I'm not much into the mystical.

Another book I finished this week was Lies Women Believe by Nancy Leigh DeMoss (read as a part of my Bible/prayer time).   I had read parts of it last spring, but just this summer read the book all the way through.  Very good.  The author listed forty lies the world tells women - and many times we fall for them and believe them.  Lies such as God could never forgive me,  I'm not worthy, Being a wife and mother are not important, I can't control my emotions, etc.    I really enjoyed it - at several different points in the book I had to stop and look up the Bible verse for myself and read it.  I think overall the one verse, I now claim as my favorite is John 17:17 - Sanctify them with the truth,  your word is truth.

This verse is from the prayer Jesus prayed right before he was betrayed - He prayed for Himself, His Disciples, for us.  It's an amazing prayer! But I love how He prayed that we would know the Truth. And in case we were ever confused - He told us what the truth was - God's word!  Makes me look at my life and beliefs to see make sure all are based on God's word - not just what the world or my friends or my pastor says is true - but only on God's word.

And the best part?  We have the Bible that we can look it  up and read it for ourselves!! Love that!

Okay - enough preaching for the day - back to books.  Right now I'm reading Jamie Ford's Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  My friend Janean recommended it to me - so far (half-way through) it's very good!  It's placed in the late 1980's but goes back to the 1940's during WWII and how the American Japanese were treated - by our own government.  Sad. (how they were treated - not the book)  This book just may be a favorite of mine!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Year Later

We have been back in the States now a year. In fact, last year's 4th of July was the first night the kids and I spent in the house (Drew had spent several nights as he had to work and I was with my mother helping her recover from knee replacement surgery).  A year later finds us about where I thought we would be - spending a lot of time visiting with family.

That's the best part.  We have been able to spent time with our families - we just got back from a week with Drew's - a few days at a lake house relaxing and a few days in  Dallas celebrating the 4th of July as well as  attending a niece's baby shower.  Wonderful. Just wonderful.

I think over all Melissa has had the roughest ride in getting settled.  But at the same time, I think she is the most settled into our new life.  Roughest because  she was very ill in December and just because she's a girl (and all the drama that being a girl these days bring) and a very social one at that. She actually cares that she has friends - and wants lots of them.  It took her a few months, but she has lots of friends at school and is close to two girls in the neighborhood  - both of which go to our church and seem to come from stable normal families.   Hopefully, the three of them will challenge each other to be better in the years ahead.  She is settled at school as well - she is on honor and advance classes and will be running cross country and track.

Then there are the boys.  I was most worried about William.  He is the quiet shy one.  He just doesn't really understand the social games.  Small for his age doesn't help.  But he is so smart. And can be so funny when he forgets to be shy.  And still has such a sweet disposition.  He has a few friends - not nearly as many as Melissa. But he doesn't care.  He's always had just  one or two friends that he can relax with. And so far, that's what he has here as well.  I do think he's somewhat worried about starting high school next month.  He did take one class at the high school during the fall semester last year, so he's not totally clueless. Also, he was on an indoor soccer team this summer where all the other players were from the high school team.  Most of them were very nice with him - even though he was younger - and smaller - than they were. (Of course, it helped that in many games the only goals we scored were the ones that William kicked in!!!) He's also in advance and honor classes and will be on the high school soccer team.

Benjamin. Sweet funny - out right hilarious Ben. He totally gets the social game. And just doesn't care.  He has no patience for silly games or pranks. In fact, that's the main reason he choose not to attend church summer camp.  He didn't want to have to deal with all the pranks and games the other boys would be playing.  He just wanted to stay home and hang out with his family.  Mainly, William. He loves that older brother.  They are such good friends (for right now, anyway). There are five or six boys his age on our street - and he plays with them some, but just rather be home.

Drew likes his job - I love his job. Why, you ask?  Because this job doesn't keep him nearly as busy as his other jobs have.  He actually is home for dinner most nights. And can actually take off and really enjoy the day - not just sleep in and still spend the rest of the day working.  He is so much more relaxed.  I love him being around more.

And then there's me.  I think out of all of us, I feel the most unsettled still.  At the year mark of any of our moves, I have been settled with good friends, work, Bible study, a place to serve at church.... Here has been different.  There are several ladies that I talk to some.  Not sure if I would call these relationships as "good friends"  yet....strong aquaintances maybe.  I think I still feel as the "after thought"...meaning plans are made and late in the game it crosses people's mind to invite me. 

I'm slowly finding my place.  It's just not where I thought it would be. I really thought I would be more active at the church we go to, but it's just not how it's worked out.  Drew and I have felt a lot of closed doors - and not just at our church but at other places as well.   But one open door that the kids and I have enjoyed is working at a local soup kitchen.   It's hosted by another church, but I feel very comfortable there. And I feel needed - like they really enjoy and apreciate me helping there.

Not sure what I'll do about Bible study this fall.  A strong ladies Bibles study has been apart of my life since college.   I miss it. I have attended several here - a few at our church and one at another church.  None have felt right...yet, anyway.  I will be subbing again this fall.   That's one place in my life that is settled.

But in the end it's all good.  Sometimes the bits and pieces may not be right, but somehow the whole is.