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I read a book lately.  OK, so I tried to read a book lately.  I am a part of an awesome site that you should check out, if you are a reader, that is anyway.  I had this book for months and finally forced myself to take some time to read it.  I chose it because I thought it sounded interesting but it was just too much.  I tried repeatedly and it was not poorly written, it was just too politically bent for me.  I hated to stop reading, it goes against my obsessive tendencies.  But even more I just could not stomach the severe one-sided nature of the book.  It does have some good information in it though.  The second chapter, I believe it is, has some firsthand experience shared which is interesting and eye-opening.  But I just couldn’t get past that part.

In general I am conservative, and if you are conservative Republican, you may really enjoy this book and learn from it.  I suggest you check it out from the library first though.

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I think that a big thank you is due to every teacher I have every had, from kindergarten through graduate school.  They all, in some way, fostered a spirit of the joy and adventure of reading.  There’s just something about having a book in your hand that is comforting, encouraging, challenging and knowledge forming.  It’s very common in my family to see at least 2 of us reading something at any given time.  Dad loves Westerns, one year we branched out a bit and gave him the entire Mitford series.  He’s from a small town.  Mom and Dad both loved it.  When we go shopping, Dad sits in the car or the food court and reads a book until we’re ready to go.

Mom received a Kindle for Christmas and has decided to go back to the classics.  She’s loving it, especially since Dad cheated and gave it to her several months in advance and they were sneaky and just didn’t tell us (we all gave her accessories for Christmas).  I remember the local public library doing the summer reading program.  They would have a drawing contest for a bookmark and I won one year.  I can’t imagine since my drawing skills are far from awesome.  It was a worm wearing a mortarboard coming out of an apple.  I’m sure it’s in a scrapbook somewhere.  I remember Mom suggesting books and me finding myself lost in the worlds of Romona Quimbly or a Mexico I’d never yet imagined.  She may not realize it, but I would bet my love of reading is part of the basis for my love of travel.

The last few years I’ve set a goal of how many books to read, thanks to my friend, Rachel, who has done the same.  2009 was 40 and I made 36 1/2.  2010 was 30 and I made 46.  2011 had a goal of 25 with the addition of the goal to watch 15 documentaries.  I almost have 2 on the list thus far.

I thought I was doing so well until a friend posted on FB that she read 130+ books last year. Awesome!  I’m content with my small number and am certain I will pass it but it’s fun for me to have a goal.  I’m competitive with myself and so read I shall.  I have a variety of things on my list and keep it updated as I go on FB.  I shall post it periodically here as well as on the new site another friend, Lora, suggested – http://www.goodreads.com.  I’d love to hear about your reading, any suggestions (as long as they aren’t scarey, I am a chicken) or any memories you have of reading and why you read.

I was saddened one day to hear from a coworker how he and his wife use reading as a punishment for their children and I pray that someday the whole family will see reading as a joy.

What are you reading right now?

I love to read.  There are always fond memories of my reading.

I have a recollection of the summer reading program as a child.  I remember walking the shelves of the city library looking for books and my mom recommending one.  It was something about a boy in Spain, I think.  I cannot remember exactly but that book has been on my mind often in the past months.  I don’t know why.

Last year a friend had a goal of reading 40 books so I thought I would join her.  I almost made it.  This year I cut my goal back to 30 and have surpassed it and it isn’t November yet.  Yea!

I love to read fiction, as well as things that will improve my knowledge of the world.  You?

Right now I’m in the middle of several books right now.  My non-fiction reading always takes a bit longer than my fiction.  I have a stack of books waiting to be opened, as I’m sure many of you do as well.  I thought I was doing so well with all of my reading until a women mentioned that the first year after she retired she read 200 books or some such craziness.

I’m involved in a book club right now.  It was started in the 20’s by a bunch of teachers that didn’t have time to read everything they wanted to so they came together twice a month to hear the stories others had read.  We meet and have a brief meeting and then one woman reports on and reads from a book she chooses to share.  It is a wonderful time of hearing what strikes others’ hearts and sharing stories afterwards as we share dessert, coffee and tea.

It was my turn to share a book last month.  I had been thinking about which book to share since I joined the club and still couldn’t decide.  It was the day before when I was finally decided.  I opted to go with one of my favorites, Safely Home by Randy Alcorn.  I did my thesis on this book and I love it.  It’s about the persecuted church in China.  I ended up crying through the telling and people seemed to enjoy it.

If you could share only one story with some friends, which would it be?

I’m trying to get into the groove and into the community here in Lamar.  I moved in 1 Oct and still mostly only really know those at the college that I work with and it’s a good thing I work with some awesome folks up there, I tell ya.

I have been invited to join and have been attneding the Tuesday Book Club since the beginning of Jan.  We meet twice a month and share a tasty treat of literature and food and tea.  This club is in the vein of The Gurnsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows if you have read it.  My understanding is that it started back in the ’20’s here in Lamar.   A group of teachers really wanted to read more books than their time allowed so they decided to get together twice a month and hear book reports.  We have a constitution and by-laws and annual dues ($4 – with your first year free).  It’s fun and a neat a varied group of women.  I’m enjoying getting to know these women.

The public library in town is starting a new book club this coming Thursday and it’s more along the traditional book club lines.  We will meet once a month and should all have read the book and we’ll discuss it.   I am really looking forward to this club!  This is really what I was looking for in the first place and I’m excited to meet some more folks.  Our first book is Songs for the Butcher’s Daughter by Peter Manseau.  I have not even started.  It’s looking to be a book filled week with very few movies.

Today, besides doing the dishes and laundry and making supper, my goal is to finish up one of my ILL.  I tried to do so before Christmas but couldn’t get it done before it was due.  It’s by Aminata Forna – The Devil that Danced on the Water.  It’s about the war in Sierra Leone and I’ve only got about 100 pages left.  I think I’ll start a fire before long and set to reading.

I love to read and to be able to share books with others is a real treasure.  If you have any books you think I should add to my ever-growing ‘to read’ list, feel free to let me know the title, author and why I should read it.  Note that I’m a chicken and live by myself so nothing scary please.

How beautiful will be the day

when all the baptized understand

   that their work, thier job,

     is a priestly work,

that just as I celebrate Mass at this altar,

so each carpenter celebrates Mass at his workbench,

and each metalworker,

each professional,

each doctor with the scalpel,

the market woman at her stand,

is performing a priestly office!

How many cabdrivers, I know, listen to this message

   there in their cabs;

you are a priest at the wheel, my friend,

   if you work with honesty,

consecrating that taxi of yours to God,

bearing a message of peace and love

   to the passengers who ride in your cab.

November 20, 1977

 

OK all you Reformed folks – sound familiar?  I want to thank each of you who living this type of priestly life and modeling that for me.  We are all missionaries to those around us.  Candy missionary or not – we’re in this together.

 

I think I need to shake things up and not always post about what is going on in Kenya.  This will help my own mental stability and hopefully yours. 

Parts of life are awful in Kenya.  Parts are fine.  Nothing will be the same, but life goes on and so this is my small attempt at going along with it, I guess.

I know a dear woman in Japan.  This sounds like some beginning to a story or limmerick.  Nope.  It’s true, I know a dear woman in Japan named Kim.  In fact the two times I went to Japan Kim was there and why I went, well, Kim and God.  Isn’t it great how he uses our friends and mentors. 

I digress.  Kim has a blog about books and this post was particularly home-hitting for me and I thought I’d share.

I’m currently in the middle of some assigned reading while I’m in Mali.  One of the books is about the gift catalogs that organizations send out for the holidays.  You know, you pay so much and get to give your family a goat for Christmas.  Only your family doesn’t get the goat, a family in Malawi gets a goat in your family’s honor.  CRWRC has a catalog along these lines.  These are great ideas that are countercultural in North America.  Instead of giving more stuff this year, I encourage you to think about giving sacrificially of yourself and your resources.  Donate money in honor of your family; donate your time together as a family year-round to an organization near you.

I have several quotes from Strom’s book that I’ll be offering you over the next several posts.  I hope that they make you think and reflect as they did me.

Microloans and microenterprise are happening in a lot of places around the world.  I’ve talked with people whose organizations are making loans as small as $10.  It’s amazing what someone can do in some countries with $10 and some training.

Poor people are not stupid; they just don’t have the financial resources at hand that non-poor people do.  Poverty strikes far too many people and Jesus tells us that the poor will always be with us.  That’s hard to hear.  Who is poor?  Am I poor?  Why not?  What would it take to happen to make me poor?

“’It’s naive to think that people are too poor to repay a loan,’ David said.  ‘So far, everyone who has received an animal from these banks has repaid.  This is what helps this program sustain itself.’” – Harvest of Hope by Kay Marshall Strom, p32

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