Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What I have been Reading Lately

I usually have a bunch of books on the go, and it takes me a while to get through any of them.  I don't tend to spend a lot of time reading, but I still value reading and want to do more of it.  Here is some of what I have been reading lately:

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
Food Rules, also by Michael Pollan
Trim Healthy Mama by Serene Allison and Pearl Barrett
Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome by James L. Wilson
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
I've been reading/skimming these titles and taking notes as I try to formulate a "philosophy of eating" for my husband and I.  We are both interested in healthy eating.  I am trying to find a balance that works for us - balancing time spent in food prep, enjoyment of food, and healthiness of food.  For example, right now it works for us to make kefir and kombucha to drink regularly.  I am looking for things like this that we can easily incorporate into our daily routine.  One thing that isn't working for us is switching to homemade sourdough bread.  We aren't fond of the taste, which means we don't like to eat it and it just ends up going moldy if we don't force ourselves to use it up. 
The Little People by David Wilkerson with Phyllis Murphy
This one is a short, but hard and sad read.  Wilkerson writes about his experiences with Teen Challenge and about the children he sees growing up in big-city slums.  I read it in one afternoon, and I think it should be recommended reading for anyone who will be working with children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
A Tangled Web by L. M. Montgomery
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (on audiobook)
I have been reading these titles, trying to figure out what separates a great author from a poor one.  The questions I want answers too include, How do the great authors use the same English language to such great effect that poor authors manage to butcher?  What is it that makes some love stories inspiring and others sappy and boring? How can I write well?
Return by Karen Kingsbury
Snow on the Tulips by Liz Tolsma
These two I found quite sappy.  Return is the third in a series of five which I have slowly been working through.  They aren't my favourite, but they satisfy the occasional desire for a light romance novel.  Apparently there are a few more series's after this one that follow the same family.  I don't think I will read them because at the end of the third book I am already getting tired of the characters.  They don't have a lot of depth to them and seem to either be doing everything perfectly or suddenly having their entire lives fall apart.
Snow on the Tulips annoyed me enough I didn't finish it.  It is set in the Netherlands in World War II.  Being from Dutch background myself, I felt that the book was much too sappy and mushy compared to what I know of the Dutch people and their character.  It felt forced and not authentic.  Also any book that talks of someone "strolling" across a room to bring something to someone (or anything along those lines) reminds me of Grade 5 language arts and having to come up with interesting words in place of normal ones.  Interesting words are all fine and dandy when they add to the story, but when they force your notice to the grammar instead of the narrative, they are too much!  I was disappointed that I didn't enjoy this book because I borrowed it from my husband's grandmother who enjoyed it.  She is a dear sweet lady and I don't want to tell her I didn't even finish it.

Books I want to read:
A food memoir.  It sounds like an interesting genre, and I love autobiographies and memoirs.
The Diary of a Journalist: Later Entries 1890 - 1910 by Sir Henry Lucy.  There is an interesting story of how I picked this one up, but it will have to wait for another time.

What are you reading?  What would you like to read?

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Happy Wednesday

I am tired and discouraged.  Consequently I am sitting on the floor eating a carrot and chocolate.  However, I live with mental illness.  Being tired and discouraged is normal for me.  In fact I would consider today a good day.  To keep my mind off the tiredness, I am going to list today's good things:
I did the groceries.  It took less than an hour! 
I did the dishes.
I went for a walk.
I posted some stuff for sale on Facebook.
I crocheted.
I am alive!
Some day we will be in heaven and we "shall mount up with wings like eagles, [we] shall run and not be weary, [we] shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)  This is a great promise.  I can't even imagine being out of bed for more than an hour without getting weary!
So, today is a happy Wednesday.  Or at least, a positively focused one. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016


How do you, in one morning a month, even begin to communicate God's love to a child?  How do you, in a week of VBS, share the good news of Jesus Christ when all He is to them is a swear word?  When you have kids threatening to kill each other or themselves, what do you say?  How do you spend 45 minutes a day teaching math to a child who has been hurt so bad that his mind is blocking memories and doesn't function normally?

I need God's help.  We need God's help.  If we are to reach these little people, it begins with prayer.  Today I don't even have the words to pray.  Today I just beg God to take care of these kids, knowing that He knows what I mean, and that He cares infinitely more than I ever could.

I want to provide a home for these kids.  I want to take them home with me and hug them and feed them, play games with them and tell jokes and tuck them into bed at night.  I want them to feel safe, to be able to act out and get mad and cry so that they can work through their deep down hidden inside traumas.  I want them to learn words for their feelings, for their thoughts, for their needs.  I want them to know with every fibre of their beings that THEY ARE WORTH IT.  They need to know their own value before they can learn the value of love, morality, structure, goals, education, faith.

I do not think I am up to this task.  I am a slow, tired person who can barely take care of this household of two.  We are moving soon, and my husband is going to school.  But I pray that God will use us in a small way wherever we are, and will some day use us in a bigger way for the good of the children.  So let me see the value and personhood of every child and every adult I come across.  Let me treat each human with dignity.

Life Lessons Courtesy of Netflix

I love Netflix.  It keeps me sane.  My brain exhausts me on a daily basis so having something to distract it for a while is amazing.  I just love watching people experience drama that doesn't matter and that will invariably be solved in 45 minutes.  That being said, there are some basic common sense lessons that people on TV just don't seem to get.  Here they are:

1) Tell your significant other things before you tell others.  Don’t expect him or her to understand when they hear about something important in your life through the grape vine.
2) Listen before you talk, especially with your kids.
3) Never say, “He or she doesn’t need to know about this.” Inevitably the person will find out and will wonder what else you are keeping from him or her.
4) Never hang out with a member of the opposite sex when you are upset with your significant other.
5) If you tell your kids to do what feels right for them, be consistent.  When they do something wrong or stupid and the only reason they can give is, “I didn’t think.” or “I had good intentions!”  you have to accept that.
6) The people you spend time with will be the people you are close to.  Don’t spend more quality time with your coworkers than with your family if you want to be close to your family.
7) Your ideas are not more important than those of your spouse.  Decide together what is best for your family.  If your spouse seriously disagrees with something you want to do, it's probably wise not to do it.

Do you have any to add?