Thursday, February 23, 2017

Book Beginnings: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Ok, Jenny Lawson is not for everyone, but I find her books compelling reading. If you like the cover, you might like Jenny. Yes, there is humor in her memoirs, but also honest and revealing writing about mental illness and physical conditions she faces like a true warrior. I honor her courage. But you might find her books (and a few cuss words) simply not for you.
I am linking to Book Beginnings at Rose City Reader where the rule is to post the first sentence of a book you are reading.
So "Furious Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things" begins:
"No, no. I insist you stop right now.
Still here? Awesome. Now you're not allowed to blame me for anything in this book because I told you to stop reading and you just kept going. You're like Bluebeard's wife when she found all those heads in the closet. (Spoiler alert). But personally I think that's a good thing. Ignoring the severed human heads in the closet doesn't make for a good relationship. It makes for an unsanitary closet and possible accessory charges."

I am also linking to Friday 56 at Freda's Voice where we share something from page 56.
"The second advantage of being on antipsychotics is that they can actually help. In the time I've been on them I've hurt myself less. I feel more stable. The blue men who live in my closet try to sell me fewer cookies and most of those squirrels plotting against me have disappeared."

Personally I salute this brave young woman. Her supportive husband gets my admiration too.

Here is the cover of her first memoir.
Her dad has a love of taxidermy which affects her life today and as a child, and explains the two subjects of the two book covers.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Magic Rabbit

Did you ever have a pet rabbit? My grandpa, Elmer Pelkin, was a professional magician and he pulled a white rabbit out of his top hat and gave it to my sister and me as a pet. So I had a magic rabbit.

We named the bunny Fluffy and his favorite times were when I let him hop around the yard eating clover. I picked clover for him and he found his own.
Now thinking of rabbits has me thinking ahead to Easter.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Best Books I Read in 2016


Some of you bloggers count the books you read each year. I have not counted them before, but since 2011 I have been writing down each title I read, so I decided to look at my list and found I read 92 books in 2016. That is a nice number of books. Now that I am retired I have time to indulge my reading passion.
The list includes several 500 page Anthony Trollope novels and the Bible which I read in a year.
Reading Highlights
"The Belton Estate" by Anthony Trollope. I love this book: who will Clara marry?
"Bilbury Grange" by Vernon Coleman, the memoirs of a U.K. country doctor. I read the first two in this series before figuring out it is fiction. It is fun to read and very realistic.
"God's Smuggler" by Brother Andrew. One of my top 20 all time favorite books, this is the true story of how Brother Andrew smuggled Bibles to countries where it was illegal to buy or give away Bibles. He was in dangerous situations, fell in love, had almost no money, but a lot of faith and courage.
"The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper" by Phaedra Patrick. Upbeat book about an older widower who uses his wife's charm bracelet to track down more about her past. I reviewed this on my blog recently.
"Cruelest Month" by Louise Penny. This is the third in the series about Inspector Gamache, a mystery set in Canada in a small town south of Quebec. Gamache is a man of high character and his own unorthodox ways of solving mysteries.

"The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine" by Alexander McCall Smith. Number 16 in this series about Mma Ramotswe, a lady detective who lives in Botswana. I give all in this series 5 stars.
"The Enchanted April" by Elizabeth von Arnim. Another book on my 20 all time favorites book list.
"Even Dogs in the Wild" by Ian Rankin. Rebus, Fox and Shiobhan are back in this great detective series.
"A Man Named Ove", a curmudgeon at age 59. One of my favorite books this year.
"Pursuit of Love" by Nancy Mitford. Witty, upper class England between the wars.
"The Three Clerks" by Anthony Trollope. I like all 15 of his novels I have read. The 3 clerks all take wildly divergent paths in life, careers, and love.
"Ralph the Heir" by Anthony Trollope. There is more than one Ralph in this novel, which one will be the heir?


"Is He Popenjoy" by Anthony Trollope. Love and inheritance. Is the child legitimate? Is the man a pretender to a title and an estate? This novel echoes an actual scandal in England in the 1870s of a pretender to a title.
"Let's Pretend This Never Happened" by Jenny Lawson. Brilliant, dark memoir by young woman who copes with mental illness. I bought her next book "Furiously Happy", haven't read the new one yet.
"Mother Was It Worth It?", number 3 in humorous memoirs by Tottie Limejuice, who moved to Auvergne in rural France from England with her ill mother and troubled brother. Start the series with the first book so it makes sense.
I like reading books other bloggers enjoyed and hope you like my list of reading highlights from 2016. I recommend all of the above.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Finding peace in Scripture


I wrote this post a year ago, holding it in reserve to post in future. I wrote this before the unexpected death of my darling husband, Will, in November of 2016.
These words are even more meaningful to me now, and I hope will touch your heart too and help you if you need to feel peace. I know our Shepherd cares for us tenderly.
 
Sometimes I need help in finding peace or ease, in a stressful situation. This may be true for you too.
One thing I did years ago is to type my favorite Bible verses on a small piece of paper, laminate it, and keep it in my purse. You can buy little packets of laminating paper at office supply stores, 3 x 5 inches or so, that are sticky on one side only, so use two of them a bit bigger than your paper. Easy peasey and cheap protection for your verses.
The verses I have in my purse are about God protecting us and quite a few of them are in Psalms.

"Behold! I send an angel before you to protect you on the way and to bring you to the place that I have prepared." Exodus 23:20

"But I will sing of Your strength, in the morning I will sing of Your love; for You are my fortress, my refuge in times of trouble." Psalm 59:16

"But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary, and they shall walk, and not faint." Isaiah 40:39 KJV 

Many translations of Psalm 91 speak to my heart. Here is the poetic KJV. " I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. 
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; ... There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.  For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. Psalm 91:2-11

What a beautiful thing, that he gives his angels charge over us, to keep us in all our ways. 
"The answer to anxiety is the adoration of Christ", Ann Voskamp.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Favorite Book, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper





It is only a few days in to 2017 and I am sure The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick will be on my favorite novels of the year list. Arthur is lonely and depressed after the death of his wife when he discovers a gold charm bracelet of hers which he did not give her and had not seen before. He gains a new passion for life as he searches through the help of the charms to find out more about his wife’s early life, and begins with a phone number which leads him to a man in India. He has an encounter with a huge tiger roaming on a rundown British estate, and I laughed out loud at the comic danger Arthur was in. He makes friends far and wide on his quest, from his nearby neighbor Bernadette to a woman who owns a dress shop in Paris. This is very upbeat, fulfilling and hopeful, and a needed antidote to hard times  at my home.
I am joining Rose City Reader for her Book Beginnings on Fridays posts.
Here is the beginning of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper:
"The Surprise in the Wardrobe." (Chapter one). Each day Arthur got out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m. just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. " Skipping ahead a few sentences, his kind neighbor brought him food, which he did not appreciate. The book continues "Last week he had found a sausage roll in his hallway, peeking out of its paper bag like a frightened animal."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

My new dog companion Bounce

My sons and I visited five times to three places to pick out an ideal dog companion for me, and we found him. In the shelter he bounced up and down, meaning "pick me, pick me." He still does that.
Above is a Christmas time photo of us, and below Bounce in a favorite spot, looking outside.

At the animal shelter they pulled two of his teeth and neutered him. He is a Chihuahua Terrier mix and was found as a stray and weighed only 7.8 pounds. After a month at my house he weighs 10.4 pounds which the veterinarian says is the ideal weight for him. She said he must have been skin and bones when they picked him up. He looks a lot like my childhood dog, Chili Rey of Martini, a Chihuahua.
He is very Bouncy now and deserving of his name. I love this little guy and so do my sons and he loves us right back. My cat is fine with him, thank goodness.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas to All

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16

Yes, friends, this is my first Christmas without my dear husband, Will, and our sons and I will spend Christmas together. Hug your loved ones please.