Sunday, December 23, 2007

I am smarter than 29.53% of the rest of the world.
Hardest Quiz Ever


Okay I know that is nothing to brag about but just try to beat it!

Dragondrums by Anne McCaffrey

This was the third book in the Harper Hall Trilogy. I loved it! The ending was a bit rushed but I think there are some other books that take off from the end so that is okay.

I love all her dragon books. They are very fun to read and full of adventures. This one was about a boy. He is kind of like a spy for the main guy at Harper Hall. He also has to be sneaky and some of the other drummers are jealous at the privileges he gets and because he learns the cadences really fast. In the end he ends up going on the biggest adventure ever and finds his place in the world.

Fun read. Healing book not quite Whole because of pre-marital sex...now really, she could have left that out and the book would have been all the better for it!

Three Cups of Tea

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

This was a very fascinating book about a journey of one man making a difference in the lives of millions. It takes place in Pakistan. Part also takes place in Afghanistan.
It is a true story about a culture very misunderstood in America. Practicing devote Muslims. NOT TERRORISTS!
This guy named Greg was going to climb a mountain called K2. He didn't make it and ended up in a little village in a remote part of Pakistan. The people there saved his life and helped him get home. He promised to return and help them build a school for the girls in the village that had to meet outside in the cold for lessons and use sticks to draw in the dirt instead of pencils and paper. NO one thought he would keep his promise but through much sacrifice and enduring all the odds stacked against him he raised money and eventually fulfilled his promise.
BUT his story doesn't stop there it only gets started! He builds many more schools and provides humanitarian aid to many people. He builds relationships even amongst a nation in war and as distrustful to Americans as you can get. He makes a huge difference and gets many to join his crusade.
Read it, it will be well worth the time.
Healing Book

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

After reading the last book I needed something a bit lighter. I found this book in the stack my son said I have to read because it was so good. Well, it turned out to be short and light yet intense in it's own basic way. It didn't have the happiest ending either.

A little boy's grandfather gets sick and he needs to earn money so they don't loose the farm. He does everything he can and eventually enters a dog sled race. He races against an Indian that has never been beat before. THEN right before he crosses the finish line....ha ha I'm not going to tell you.

Good Whole Book

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

This was a very disturbing book. I was also educational and well written. I am so glad I live in America with the freedoms that I take for granted and enjoy every day. I would not survive very long in Afghanistan and especially not in an arranged marriage or with an abusive husband.

The book is about two women. They begin there lives in very different ways and the story is in two different separate parts but they eventually come together in a most amazing friendship. They endure more then any human being should endure in life. They are abused and scared and pushed to the limits and over.

The History of this country is interwoven in the story. Luckily unlike the kite runner it ends happily ever after and I think I literally gave a sigh of relief. It was that intense to read this book.

Broken/Bent/Healing

Friday, November 09, 2007

Crime Files: for-Minute Forensic Mysteries by Jeremy Brown

I used to be a CSI TV series gunky...way back when we actually had TV. Well, the shows have progressively become worse and more graphic I hear. I'm glad I am not watching them anymore. I did like the mystery and suspense and of course the unique cases they came across.
This book was like CSI but for kids. It is a collection of short stories with a silly quirky kid humor twist to them. Easy to read, sometimes a bit gross but most of them are based on true crimes solved by crime investigators. Kept me on my toes but I don't think I will have nightmares like some of the shows gave me!

Healing book

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

Wow, this book was actually pretty good. I couldn't put it down. It was written in such a style that you couldn't wait to see what would happen next in the little girls life. Her family was poor, starving and surviving. They were so dysfunctional they are off the charts. It is an amazing story from the little girls perspective.

Her mom was a bit loony and tried to be an artist. Her dad turned out to be an alcoholic, brilliant but always going on a binge. I guess the best way to describe their lives would be eccentric.

This autobiographical account made you think her life was hard yet easy. She usually described tragic events that would have been huge stumbling blocks in most peoples lives as humorous and not a big deal.

Her first memory was from three years old having an accident with boiling water, hot dogs and her tutu catching fire. She was in the hospital for a very long time. The book starts out with her wondering if she is over dressed driving down the street in a Taxi then she looks up and her mother is scrounging through a dumpster. Her mother thinks being homeless is such an adventure. Her parents even after having four children didn't become conventional. They were a matched pair even to the end.

The little girl was starving and smelly yet she survived the hardest life and even turned it around to become a very successful writer in a big city. You would have thought they all would have perished long ago but all the kids keep on trying and pulling together despite their parents and situation.

Broken and Healing book - not recommended for children

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater

Have you been day dreaming lately? Do you want to be somewhere else? Have you seen all the places you wanted to before you got married, had children and went to work everyday? If you answered yes to any of those questions then this is the book you can relate too.
I read this book to my second child and the 1st child took it and finished it way before us. It is a very silly book about a man that wants to explore the poles. He gets a penguin and the next thing you know he has 12! They have some adventures and travel all over the USA. In the end this ordinary guy, Mr. Popper, has his wishes come true. Almost made me cry...just kidding the book is too funny for tears!

Great read out loud...Whole BOOK.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

This is a book about a crazy women that hates the wallpaper in the room she is "forced" to stay in. Okay it is about a bit more then that but not that she actually leaves the room...but the wallpaper is like an allegory of her life. She is feeling coddled and belittled by her husband and other Doctors and professionals. She feels caged in as her life gets so boring she starts hallucinating. She goes completely crazy in the end. The wallpaper peels and fades and gets ripped...

It takes place in the 19Th century when women were just supposed to fit stereo types of the good housekeeper, wife and mother and do WHATEVER their husbands want them to do without question. The lady in the book couldn't even be herself around the person that was supposed to be her best friend, her husband. She got tired of always faking the happy face when she wasn't really happy. I thought it was a pretty weird book but I am glad I read it despite the unhappy ending...actually the ending leaves you a bit hanging...I hate that. Gilman is a total feminist...I might read more of her short stories sometime, I hear they are interesting too.
The Afterward was also stimulating reading as it explained a bit more about the author and her mind. The afterward was almost longer then the actual story.
VERY BROKEN BOOK I think on the border of HEALING if you add the afterward which was by Elaine Hedges.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

a Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf

This was a nice short read, okay so I skimmed the first three chapters but I read the rest of the book. It isn't very long, in fact it is an essay. Virginia Woolf wrote this book in 1929. She analysis women in fiction or women writing fiction. Did you ever wonder why there wasn't any great writers from Shakespeare's area that were female? I didn't but it was interesting to find out through the eyes of Virginia what she thought.

The thing I mostly gained from this book was that if a woman had a room of her own she could write great things, lots of great things. Throughout history she rarely had time to take a bath let alone write something down and she hardly ever had money for paper too. And it is all the fault of oppressive male dominance or something. Read the book and see what she means. She also discuses Jane Austin and the Bronte sister's works. It was quite humorous and a nice walk through history looking at women in writing.

Whole Book

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Book 51 and it is only Oct.

Well, I did it... met the goal to read 50 books this year. Now the quality might not be as good as last year but it has been fun and entertaining.

My new years resolution for this year was to read 50 books. The goal is actually there in the first place "to inspire not require". My kids have improved with their reading too.

My son has read well over 200 chapter books this year and kept track of all of them. He got a few more classics in this year then last year so I think the theory that says let them read whatever they want and they will eventually read it all, seems to be true. He will decide for himself what is worth reading without me breathing over his back telling him what he can and can't read. I still try to leave a few books out that I want him to read and sometimes he picks them up and reads.

My daughter is also well on her way to reading. At the beginning of the year she couldn't read a verse in the scriptures without getting so frustrated and crying. Now she is eager to read and try. She is getting better and there is a significantly fewer tears shed. She also got glasses which has helped.

Hooray for reading.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Afghanistan is a country so far away yet still part of our little world. I really hated this book. I wish wars and brutality and inhumanity didn't exist. I am glad I read the book but sad I read it too because I like living in my little bubble. This book was BROKEN and tried to be healing.

I need to read something a bit more happy now. The Reader's Digest just came!

The 13th Tale by Diane Sutterfield

OH where do I start with this book. It was bad.
I have to admit though, I could not put it down because I had to find out what happened. The mystery needed to be solved or my nightmares would not stop. Or so I thought. I still have nightmares about this book!
I read it for a book group. I guess they picked it because it is the month of Halloween and a good ghost story would go well with the season. It is a New York Times bestseller and was just released on paperback last week. I got the first copy out of the box in our little Barnes and Noble store.
As I read I wondered what made it a best seller? It was very clever. It had suspense, wit, intelligence....why was it bad?
The story even starts with some down right bad things, to name a few without giving anything away, incest, rape, torture, abandonment, psycho/crazy people and without this there wouldn't be a story woven with lies and deceit. In fact it would just be a story about a girl and her sisters. I did like the Jane Eyre foreshadowing through out the book, that was clever. It was far from the Bronte sister type story though.
I should have stopped while I could but after the first chapter you can't wait to find out whats next. Evil. I was sucked in.

Anyway I started pondering why I can read a book like this and others with horrible topics that people used to never talk about or write about. Are we so desensitized that it takes topics like this to make it a bestseller? What happened to the classics? OR maybe I am just living in a Jane Austin world type bubble. They don't even hold hands in most of her books. This was so past that. At least the book didn't go into play by play gory detail, just insinuated most sin and left it to your imagination, which sadly turns out to be right in the end.

I am going to call it what it is and confess I have read not a Broken Book but a BENT book. I hope to pass on a book like this next time before I get past the 1st chapter. BUT then the next book I read was Kite Runner? What makes this one okay and the 13th tale not okay? hmmmm

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Measure of a Man by Sidney Poitier

This was very good autobiography written by a Hollywood movie star. I didn't know who this guy was until I started reading it and realized he had made quite a few movies. I checked a few out from the library. He was sure a lot younger then he is now and looks very different, of course. He never plays the bad guy always the hero.
The Book started from his childhood and the hard times he had growing up poor (but didn't know he was poor) and living on an island somewhere near Jamaica. It was a relatively fast read and full of insightful ideas about life and hard work. But the last 3 chapters ruined it. I guess he made friends with Carl Sagan. Golly, I feel sorry for him not believing in a Christian God. He has had so many blessings in his life but doesn't know who to give credit to. He also pretty much tells everyone how a person should be if they are good and do good things. YET he is such a hypocrite in so many ways. Of course no one is perfect and he tries but by the time you get to the end of the book you feel really sorry for him and his messed up marriages. He is really full of himself. He does try to only star in good movies and he has been through a lot of hard times. So I can give him credit for that but he really needs some enlightenment in so many ways and he doesn't even know it.

HEALING BOOK

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dragonsinger by Anne McCaffrey

I loved this book! It is the 2nd book in the Harper Hall series for the dragon riders of pern. She is such an engaging writer. I couldn't put the book down and I didn't know what to expect next.
Meloney was constantly being tested and sized up for her ability to play instruments, make instruments and sing. She luckily had her fire lizards as allies and she made a little friend. Of course being a girl also came with some drawbacks but she overcame all obstacles and won the hearts the whole Hold. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book! I recommend this series - WHOLE BOOK.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Eight Cousins by Alcott

Oh what a happy book about a rich spoiled girl with 7 boy cousins. She wasn't really spoiled rotten but stepping back and putting it in perspective she didn't have a care in the world so maybe she was just rich and content.
She has a really cool uncle and he teaches her all kinds of new things and gets her to think for herself instead of just following the latest trend or image other girls her age are living like. She learns to sail and ride a horse. She also loves to study. She isn't really the kind of spoiled that puts it in your face and is mean but she really doesn't need to do anything for herself if she didn't want to. She has maids and cooks and a huge house with rich aunts. Luckily her uncle makes sure she learns to share and have compassion. She also learns to bake bread and clean.
I thought it was cute and well written book for girls. Whole Book...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Gap Creek The Story of a Marriage by Robert Morgan

I just realized it was written by a guy...the whole time I was reading it I thought the author was a woman. Anyway, this was a yucky book. Don't read it.
Broken and Healing...
It is about a woman living in Gap Creek. Her name is Julie Harmon. She works hard. She has to be a strong person to live where she does and her life sucks. She got married young to escape her family. She works hard and tries to do what is right but that isn't always obvious and her husband is stressed out and they are really poor. Anyway, in a way the book was good but in other ways it was really weird.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by Rk Rowling

Whew, read it and liked it and that is that. I still consider it a Broken and Healing book. Anyone want to debate that one?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Harry Potter?



Which Hogwarts House Would You Be In?

The Sorting Hat would put you in Hufflepuff. You are reserved, rational, and down-to-earth. You work well with others, are a great team player, and you always take a stand against injustice.
Find Your Character @ BrainFall.com

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Mansfield Park by Jane Austin

I had to finish this book before I went and saw Becoming Jane the movie. (Finally figured out the babysitting and my two sister in laws and I went to a matinee) I loved this book. I liked the movie but wasn't too impressed with the PG-13 places in the movie. Way too much buns for me. AND the movie focused on Pride and Prejudice not her other writings. The movie also focused on only one part of her life. She did quite a few more interesting things even though she didn't get married.

Back to the book: Mansfield Park was really long. She took over 200 pages just setting up the characters. There is a lot of stuff about manners, what is proper and improper. A bunch about money and marriage. At first you think the heroine is a rich girl but it turns out to be the quiet unlikely to ever get married or fall in love poor girl.

My favorite character was Edward. He is kind to everyone and tries to do the right thing no matter what. I don't want to give away the ending but it sure ended different then I thought. The main characters were very happily married for ever after like all her books but it still had a few surprising twists to get there.

She focused most of the book on moral choices and their emotional consequences. After seeing the movie I understood a bit more about why she had so many people eloping. Great book, complex and classic! WHOLE BOOK

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Monday, August 06, 2007

Dragonsong by Anne McCafferey

This is volume one of the Harper Hall Trilogy. I love these books! My grandfather used to read them and actually got me hooked on the dragon books at an early age of 11. I haven't read them in so long this book was brand new to me.

Dragonsong is about a world called Pern. There is a whole society there with customs and creatures...also humans live there. A planet or star orbits close to Pern and drops dangerous silver Thread, a micro-organism of some sort that eats everything it touches. There are also large Dragons on the land that humans can impress to be kind of like soul mates with, or best friends, they can talk to each other through thoughts...anyway the Dragons can burn up the Thread with their firey breath. They fight it off so it doesn't fall on the people below and ruin everything.

A girl lives in one of the Halls and she loves music. Unfortunately traditionally only boys can be good at music. Her family is embarrassed that she is so musically talented...anyway without giving it all away she ends up making friends with smaller dragons called fire lizards and she teaches them to sing. She has such an intriguing story it was hard to put this book down. Plus if you have ever read any of the Pern books they are so addictive you can't get enough of it's fascinating dragon lore. I love science fantasy books!

Whole book

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Under the Same Stars by Dean Hughes

What would it have been like to have lived during the early days of the Mormon church? This book is about a boy named Joseph Williams. He is about 9 yrs. old. His family moves to Jackson County Missouri in 1832. They followed the prophet's counsel and set up homesteads, started plowing and planting the land. Joseph W. learns about differences and loyalty. He also learns the hard way about violence and hatred. Through the trials he faces and his family faces he learns how to rely on the Lord when you have done your best and all you can do. The mobs come and run his family and the Mormon's our of Missouri. They had to leave everything behind. Joseph W. has to be strong and help his brother to safety after he is shot in the leg. His father is beaten and his mom has to give birth in a makeshift shelter in the pouring rain. The shelter also leaked. But they persevere and their faith is strengthened.
This was a historical novel and I think it was lacking a bit in something. It was interesting but also not quite , I don't know...anyway I probably won't encourage my son to read it. I found it at DI while in Utah and it looked like a good book about a Mormon boy for a Mormon boy to read. oh well.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Two short books....

Abraham Lincoln the Great Emancipator by Augusta Stevenson:
This book is from the Childhood of famous Americans series for children. It was short and sweet. Interesting things about his life as a boy. He was strong, smart and brave. His mother and step mother played a huge part in his success from the beginning they believed in him and fought to make sure he got an education despite his father just wanting him to work on the farm.
Abraham Lincoln was a real American hero to me.

Four Perfect Pebbles a Holocaust Story by Lisa Perl and Marion Blumenthal Lazan:
This was an amazing true story about a family that survives the worst things bad people can do to other human being. Death Camps during World War II. The story really comes to life for me when I realize that the places and cities they are talking about I saw on my mission. I served in Celle for about 3 months. While we were there a gentlemen in our ward got permission to take us to Bergen-Belsen, a Nazi concentration camp. (I am so glad he did this for us, I will never forget the experience and feeling). It is now a monument with pictures and the stories of the thousands of victims that were murdered during Hitlers rein. It is also a cemetery. I cried so hard and will never forget the things we saw and the places we walked around. There were mass graves and gas showers, bunk beds stacked three high where women and children were stuffed. Back then it was dirty stinky and had lice and sickness everywhere. No food but maybe some moldy bread. Sometimes no hope, yet so many Jews never gave up on their Faith and God.

Amazing book...it is hard to believe it was real, yet it was. It is hard to believe that life goes on after something so terrible, yet it does and the little girl in the story, Marion, came to America, learned English, goes to school eventually gets married and has a family of her own. Marion has been giving talks and presentations at schools for the last 15 years and finally got her story in book form. She had to do a lot of research to put the pieces together from the worst 6 years of her life and she has been back to Germany and visited many of the places she thought she would never see again. Marion is an amazing person with a very strong spirit. I hope that if I ever have even the tiniest bit of trial in my life I can be as strong and stalwart as she.

Beauty by Robin McKinley

This is a retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast. It was pretty good. It starts from the beginning and tells of the families life in the city and loosing it all and moving to the country. She puts details about each of the sisters, they are nice sisters not mean sisters like some of the versions of this story. The father is nice and the Beast isn't as mean as Disney makes him. Beauty has a horse and she spends lots of time riding it and talking to it. She is kind of a tom boy.

I think it was very well written even if you have read and seen the story a hundred times. Whole Book

Monday, July 23, 2007

Dyslexia by Paula Wiltshire

This was a great book, finally I have found out why I do things a bit different then others. I am slightly dyslexic. I suspect my mom and two brothers and possibly my daughter all are.
If you tell me to turn right I will turn left unless I think really hard about it. If you ask me what time it is I also have to think really hard. If you were to give me a list of 10 words to memorize I would probably say forget it unless you had a really good reason to do it. Then I would have to think really hard.

Thinking really hard is how I cope with dyslexia. First I either remember something using colors or visually where it is located on the page or spot, or I remember a sound or a motion associated with whatever it is I am trying to remember. Instead of one step to remember something I usually have to put it through a series of things to get it to stick in the side of my brain that will remember it. If I am feeling lazy then it is hopeless but when I am on top of things I can be really smart.


This explains why I usually failed all tests that were just names and dates in college or not enough time to take it all through the process it takes to remember it with so many steps. Also explains why I like sports/physical things verses science/math.

When I was learning to read in kindergarten it took a little bit longer then most of the class but when I got it I had it for life. I am really bad at spelling because I look at the whole word as a picture not as individual letters. It was really a blessing that I learned German finally, dyslexic people really suck at foreign language. When I was little I loved music but could never get very far playing the piano because the teacher only wanted me to memorize each piece and play it without the sheet music in front of me, well visual learners don't do it that way, if only I had known...oh well it isn't too late to try again at the piano. (forget passing them off for the cute butterfly sticker).

I feel for others that have really serious Dyslexia, life can be confusing. Luckily there were great people to inspire us that were also Dyslexic, Leonardo da Vinci,
Thomas Edison, Winston Churchill, Hans Christian Andersen, Agatha Christie, Albert Einstein,
Woodrow Wilson, W.B. Yeats.

Dyslexic people process things a bit different in their brain. The left hemisphere specializes in Writing ,Symbols, Language, Reading , Sequences, Directions, Logic and structured thinking. The Right side is creativity, singing, music, spatial relationships, artistic expression, visualization, feelings and emotions, touch, intuition, fantasy and imagination. Many dyslexics find that they excel in what's known as "lateral thinking." That means the ability to look at situations from an unusual angle. This has been to my advantage many times but if I was asked to explain the process to someone else that is where it gets hard.

The book has some great ideas on Structured Multi sensory learning. Not just using one method of learning but may like seeing, hearing, saying and feeling. Kinesthetic methods are really important and fun. So instead of just doing a worksheet, a better way is playing a game or touching, saying, going somewhere or even jumping up and down while studying. This helps to remember what is being taught. Interesting...

And the biggest mystery of all has been solved...I love Spidergrams!!!! I learned them in 8th grade and have used this way of taking notes forever after, I thought it was just a weird thing and wondered why no one else did it with a passion like me...well it is because I am slightly dyslexic and this is how I keep track of life. Spidergrams are a series of small pictures and symbols with colors and all linked to the middle. Wow now I don't feel so very weird.

I don't think nondyslexic people will have much sympathy for my method of learning and life but for all the other side of the brain thinkers out there I have crossed into the zone of understanding diffrent but effective, just like them. I hope I can now find out more information on this subject and help my daughter find ways to cope with her brilliant mind so she can share it with others.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Incident at Hawk's Hill - A Novel by Allan W. Eckert

This book was based on factual events but dialog was added to help it move along and make it long enough to be a novel. It was very interesting. My sister Kim was excited about it and let me borrow it.
It is a book takes place around 1870. It is about a little boy around 6 or 7 years old. He likes animals and has a way of communicating with them better then people. He likes to imitate animals and he isn't afraid to get right down in the mud and dirt with them.
One day he gets lost and finds a Badger hole. He becomes friends with the poor lonely Badger that just lost her whole family. (I think that was the saddest part of the book and I cried). Well after a while he becomes a badger boy and then finally his family finds him. I think he was living and surviving with the Badger for 2 months. Pretty amazing. Great book and fun to read if you like nature/adventure.

Whole Book

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Interesting book about a girl that was home-schooled and she moved to Arizona. She starts going to high school (public school) for the first time. Her life "beats to a different drum". She doesn't care about being popular or fitting in. She just wants to help others and do her own thing. She doesn't care what people think about her.
Well eventually this boy named Leo becomes her friend. He tries to change her but realizes it isn't a good thing. She holds her own and is just happy being herself.
Interesting book. I guess it is WHOLE.

Home Ranch by Ralph Moody

This was of course a great book. I love the way this guy tells stories about his life when he was a little boy working on a Ranch. He has adventures and falls in love with a girl, innocent puppy love, and he learns about life the hard way when he was stuck in a sand storm and one time lost. I enjoyed his stories of taming a horse and teaching a girl how to do some trick riding.
Whole Book sequel to Little Britches and Man of the Family

Friday, June 22, 2007

A Cricket in Time Square by George Selden

Whole Book - We listened to this in the car. It was exciting and magical...a little cricket accidental ends up in New York. He makes friends with a boy and a mouse and a cat. He can chirp the most beautiful melodies. He gives concerts. He becomes famous. He gets homesick...

Anyway it is a great children's tale of friendship and loyalty. Read it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Special Men A LRP's Recollections by Dennis Foley

I thought I would read something different for a change. This was a Vietnam/nonfiction book. Mike recommended it.

The author, Dennis Foley, served in three armies between 1962 and 1982: a post World War II, atomic-age army; a Vietnam War Army; and a post Vietnam army.

The book was fascinating as he took us through all the training and schools he had to go through. He also analysed the way things were and how they could be better and how they prepared him for things to come. He was very optimistic and a bit too humble. He always thought he was doing horrible and would get kicked out of each class but then he ends up being the top of the class.

He describes heroes and brave men throughout the book. Usually, sadly, it was too late for him to go back and thank them because they died either while serving in the war or were just gone from old age by the time he realized how much they had done for him and taught him.

He almost lost his leg once and it was awesome how he never gave up or got discouraged in the hospital, regained almost full use of it and served another tour in Vietnam. He mentions that he was married and then divorced and remarried then she died in a car crash but that was it for his personal life. Sad.

He made friends and allies where ever he served and improved the system anyway he could to help save lives and train others so they could effectively serve our country. His whole person was devoted to the army, he gave 100% all the time, despite the conditions or hardships along the way. He made a difference.

He is truly an American Hero.

Whole Book

The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker by Cynthia DeFelice

This was a suspenseful historical fiction book about Tuberculosis or TB in the year 1849. Back then they called it Consumption and usually you died from it and your whole family.

An orphaned boy of about 12 years old starts working for a doctor. He learns all kinds of weird things like taking baths more then one time a year. He also learns the hard way what superstitions can do to the hearts and minds of the people that just want something to give them hope as they helplessly watch their loved ones slowly die of illnesses they can't explain.

People thought that if you dug up the remains of the first person that died in your family from consumption and "put them to rest" by cutting out their heart and burning it and breathing in the smoke, the rest of the family would be cured. Of course it doesn't work. Sometimes someone would get better after having consumption but it wouldn't be because of burning a heart, yet the people thought it was. As they spread word about the cure the details changed and the facts were distorted and pretty soon it wasn't even true to what actually happened. The boy is challenged to find out the beginning and the ending of the story before he passes the "cure" onto others. He does this and discovers how important it is to collect data over a long period of time, like a scientist. You have to prove the theory with facts and time.

This book was well written and had many interesting history points true to the area it was written in. In the end the doctor gets a microscope. It is a whole new idea to start learning about germs. They weren't even called germs just tiny animals.

Great book...WHOLE BOOK.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

A Final Farewell by Patricia Wiles

The last book in the Keven Kirk Chronicles! It was great to read. Funny, and also had me crying in parts too...just like the other books in this series. I love them!

If you don't remember it is about a boy who moves to Armadillo Arkansas and his parents are Morticians. He joins the church, has some interesting adventures...and this books takes off in his Senior year of High School. He has to decide to go on a mission or go to college with a full ride. He also likes fishing and is good with children. He wants to be a biologist. This book he has a run in with anti-Mormons. His best falls away from the church and his sister has another baby....okay don't want to give it all away...

It was a great short fun read. I recommend the Chronicles to every young adult reader out there. My 9 yr. old son enjoyed them too. Whole Book.

Austenland: A Novel by Shannon Hale


Loved it!

I think you have to read all of Jane Austen's books to really appreciate this book. You might even have to be obsessed with her books to really get it. I couldn't put it down, even though the ending was a bit forced, it still was worth reading and laughing at.

The book took all of Jane's works and smashed them into one person's experience at a fantasy resort in the modern day. So if you think that a character, say in Pride and Prejudice wouldn't act a certain way, well what if that character was also part of Emma? So you have to take all of the books into consideration to make any sense out of the different chapters in this book.

Who wants to borrow it? I think my sisters will get a kick out of this one so they have first dibs.

Broken almost Whole Book...very funny so I guess it can be a Healing Book also...especially for those of us obsessed with Darcy!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan


What a sad past our nation has. This book was a Historical account of what happened in the Great American Dust Bowl. It is the stories of those that stayed.

I didn't even know about the dust storms before reading this book. I always imagined Little House On The Prairie, sweet innocent and always turning out nice and happy. This was not a happy time right after the depression. It actually started before that. Wheat and cows were the culprit. Human error. Check out some of these pictures of the Dust Bowl.

Not only did the topsoil become airborne but there were droughts, starvation, and a total imbalance in the ecosystem. Grasshoppers, rabbits and centipedes in abundance, but no more native grass in the grazing lands were left. Buffalo were killed and cows came to take their place but eventually didn't have enough water to survive. All the Indians were kicked off (first big mistake). People were greedy for land and farming a land that never should have been farmed.

People and children were dying of dust related illnesses. Livestock also drowned in the dust. Cities were turned into ghost towns. After a big dust storm everything would get coated and the dust went everywhere.



I don't' know if it was stupidity that some stayed, there wasn't much work and there wasn't any land anywhere else. It all seems so long ago but it wasn't. 1933 was just a lifetime away from me. Pres. Roosevelt tried to help but it was kind of too late.

I am grateful I didn't have to live during the depression or dust storms... I wonder what we will see in the future that is hard, maybe as hard as what these people went through....

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Virginian A Horesman of the Plains by Owen Wister

What a Classic! This was the first and most sensational western ever written! 1902 to be exact. A lone cowboy working on a ranch, falls in love, wins the heart of his love, has adventure and shoot outs!

The setting was in the Wyoming territory. This book has had many movies made from it and inspired by its classic frontier fiction. Better then Louis L'Amour! Ha Ha.

The book was narrated by a 3rd person most of the time and that took a while to get used too. It was still good. The last two chapters were the best. But I can't tell you about them without giving the whole thing away! Sorry.

I like the part about the chicken and how she sat on a pile of potatoes too!

Whole Book

The Peacegiver: How Christ Offers to Heal Hearts and Homes by James L. Ferrell

This was a great parable woven with the old testament and the modern day examples of a typical husband and wife relationship gone stale. It is all about Christ and the atonement being used in our daily life, how to cope and repent and love again. I like how the author through the main characters grandfather shows each of us how to love again with a Christ like love in our homes. Great examples and interesting examples and his personal journey feels like it could be my journey. I think this book it worth reading again for even more discovery and truths.

Whole Book

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Onion Tears by Diana Kidd

A little Vietnamese girl called Nam-Huaong tries to adjust to her new home in Australia but she misses her parents and grandfather so much. She tries ignore the other children at school but that just backfires and they start teasing her and being really mean. She refused to talk at first but finally she can't hold it in anymore after making friends with her sick teacher. They become really good friends.

The book is really good because it shows the perspective of the little girl in a new country with so many new things around her and not very many people understanding her. She writes pretend letters to a little yellow canary and we get to see what she is really thinking and feeling. Eventually the story turns around and the little girl learns to make friends, trust and love again.

Whole Book

Monday, May 21, 2007

Silent to the Bone by e.l.konigsburg

This was a very suspenseful book and I couldn't hardly put it down because I just had to know what was going to happen next. The book starts out with a 911 call. A baby is in a coma and a 13 yr. old boy is blamed. He is put in a juvenile behavioral center. He can't speak, can't defend himself, and doesn't know what to do. Luckily he has a best friend that is able to communicate with him. He helps solve the crime and finds out what really happened.

The book is a New York Times Bestseller and written by a Newbery award winning author. It has a bunch of psychology to justify and figure out the boy and why things ended up as they did. I wouldn't recommend this book for kids under the age of 12 because there were some adult themes in it. It has a lot of feeling in the story and a wonderful duplication of what friends are really like. They stick with you through thick and thin.

Whole Book/Healing Book

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

Memoirs of a Girlhood Amoung Ghosts.
This book was recommended by a sister in law that had read it for a book group. It talks about what it was like to grow up as a female in Chinese-American culture. It is in the nonfiction/literature section. The book is a bit choppy or maybe that is how it is supposed to me. It doesn't really read like a novel because it isn't, I think it is almost like a poem but nothing rhymns.

I am so glad I am not Chinese. There is a good reason why not too, I would never be able to survive the past like they have too. I wouldn't be strong enough to endure what their ansestors have been through. I couldn't process the complex language or the traditions. It is amazing to me to be Chinese.

This book is a bit strange in parts and very disturbing. I feel sorry for the girl telling it. She was so confussed by her mom and culture. She had a hard time fitting in with the new culture of America yet still hang on to the old traditions that were still part of her family. Her mother was really confussed but did the best she knew how to do in a new land. They owned a laundry mat and worked hard. She usually scared the girl with stories to teach things to her. Girls were garbage and worthless in China but now they could be and do anything, they were intellegent and able to go to school. This was hard for some parents stuck in the old ways to understand and except. Yet life goes on and new generations were born and raised in America, the old was being forgotton and swept under the rug.

Broken Book

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Penguins are pretty in pink!



My daughter is 5. She had a Birthday Party today. She thinks she is the most important person in the world. She is.
Of course she got everything she could remember ever wanting but sadly the horse for our backyard didn't happen.
She loves penguins and pink so the party was mostly pink and the cake was a penguin.


Sunday, May 06, 2007

Freedom Walkers The Story of the Montgomery Bus Boycott by Russell Freedman


In 1955 Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a white man. This event prompted the Montgomery bus boycott that eventually helped end segregation on buses...this wasn't the end of the story...

I loved this book, it took the history of that era and brought it to life...connecting it together with quotes from key people who were brave and smart and didn't become weary of the task at hand. I loved this quote from an older lady, Mother Pollard, she said, "My feets is tired, but my soul is rested." She walked to work every day during the boycott.

We only ever hear about Martin Luther King Jr., he did remarkable things in keeping the protests non-violent and rallying everyone to the same cause united together but there were also so many people that helped make it all happen. There were lawyers, there were citizens there were church going baptist, preachers and people to loan their cars to others so they wouldn't have to ride the bus to get to work. It took a whole city and more to come together for the long haul. AND they did it! Bus segregation laws were unconstitutional and this had to go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court...kind of mind boggling for me.

I loved the pictures in this book, they brought the history that happened before I was born to life for me.

History Classic, Whole book.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

(yeah that is the authors real name)

"Honeybees depend not only on physical contact with the colony but also require its social companionship and support. Isolate a honeybee from her sisters and she will soon die."
-The Queen Must Die And Other Affairs Of The Bees And Men

This was a great book! This is a book about a girl that finds a new family or sisterhood somewhere unexpected and goes on a journey of healing. The book also introduces a new thing to me...a Black Madonna. hmmm!

A young girl accidentally kills her mother when she was 4 yrs. old and then has to live with her really mean father. Of course she runs away and finds a new "mom". The story unravels so nicely and throughout the book life is compared to a beehive. The girl is so lonely but she finds love from so many people, all are black which she doesn't seem to mind although all around her people think that is strange. She also starts to understand about the world around her and sees it in a new way. The story takes place right around the time the Civil Rights Act is passed and Black and White families are mixed in society, going to the same theaters and sitting next to each other, registering to vote and attending the same schools, no more segregation. South Carolina is a hard place to be during this time. Many people are still living in the past and can't get over prejudices. Even the police are sometimes bad.

The Story mainly focused on mothers and the women who become our true mothers. Love is so remarkable. The girl finds herself and learns to live again. This was such a great Healing book. I would read it again someday and probably get a bunch more out of it that I missed this time. I think Bees are really amazing creatures and we could learn a lot from them.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

This was a very disturbing book that I couldn't put down. I admit, I live in a bubble. There is so much that is ugly that I try not to think about or know in the world. I don't think I will forget this haunting book for a long while.

I never thought much about foot binding in the Chinese Culture long ago during the 19th Century. This book takes you through it from a young girls perspective and her mother and cultures view. I didn't understand so I googled foot binding and the images that came up were unforgettable. All the toes break and the foot is broken and bend down under and bound. Then you only walk on your big toe and heal, if you can walk at all. Your foot is no longer then 3 inches to be perfect. YIKES!

But what if you lived in the time when this was social acceptable in your traditional society? What if it meant your future to have Lily feet? Would you bind your daughters feet and put her through years and a lifetime of pain? Yes I think I would. Is it not any different then wearing a corset or getting your babies ears pierced or even stretching your neck in the African culture. It was a sign of beauty and endurance and it prepared a young girl to be submissive to her husband and a good faithful hard working wife. YIKES I can't believe I am saying this! BUT then it was to survive and be no longer worthless to everyone.

Okay the book wasn't all about foot binding...there are a lot of other horrible and beautiful things in a Young Chinese girls life. The book was inspired because of a secret women's writing called nu shu. Very fascinating and very clever.

There are two girls in the story that become laotong or "old same", which is an emotional women friendship that lasts forever. They share many wonderful things in life and also the saddest things. They are friends before their arranged marriages and through motherhood and loneliness and even after death. One girl has it all and the other, well I don't want to give away the story but the parts from her life I hope to never see or ever have to endure such horrid things.

The book take you on a journey of love. Not the love you think though. "mother love" is part pain and part love, friendship is another kind of love, husband love is another and the book takes on other loves that I never thought of before and can't even explain. I always thought love was love.

This was a Broken book and Healing book. I cried when as I read it. I would recommend it though just so you aren't stuck in your little bubble like me.

Friday, April 27, 2007

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

This was a very good book. I was taken to a different world through the eyes of a Jewish Boy growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950's. I read one other book by this author before this one called the Chosen. I liked that book a lot more but this one really does stand on its own.

This book is about , tradition and Artists. A boy becoming an artist but not any boy, this boy has a gift from a very young age and yet everyone thought this gift was doomed from the beginning because this boy happened to be Jewish. To become an artist this boy Asher, must wrench apart his own life and the lives of this parents and community, which he loves but must almost jump off a cliff to reach his potential.

The story takes us into the mind of the artist. His experiences and his imagination and commitment and selfishness. He is encouraged at first by the great Rebbe and he gets to do an apprenticeship with the world famous Jacob Kahn. Without him he wouldn't have had a passage way opened to the great world of Art. He learns about Christians and Crucifixion and opens his scope of the world, learning about artists in the past.

His father hates all that his art needs to flourish in. There is so much contention between him and his dad. Which then makes his mom sad. Asher didn't have a happy normal childhood. His mom was very sick and his dad traveled often for his great work that only he could do and he did whatever the Rebbe asked him to do. He never had time for his son.

Anyway the story eventually ends up with Asher all grown up and barely speaking to his father. Asher is famous and his paintings sell for LOTS of money. He has surpassed his teacher as an artist. He paints a picture of a crucifixion but uses his mother and father in the picture. He has done something that observant Jews do not do. Mean words are written and spoken about him and myths are generated. He is thought of as a traitor and an apostate and a self-hater and inflicter of shame upon his family, his friends and his people. Plus Christians also hate him for using our special and to some a sacred symbol of the cross.

This was a very sad book. Very depressing and an eye opening perspective.

Broken, Healing Book

The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer

This is a good book about a little boy that has an abusive father. Through the friendship of the lady next door and a few other miracles, the little boy and his mother are no longer afraid.
The Author is from the Netherlands and the book is translated by John Niewenhuizen. It was a little strange at first but when I got to the end I was glad I read it.

Healing Book

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ultra Marathon Confessions of an all-Night Runner by Dean Karnazes

This is a wonderful book! I had never heard of an Ultra Marathon. I never even considered it...not just Marathon but Ultra. Did you know that people run foot races that are 100 plus miles long? They do! They run all night sometimes. I am still in awe and so inspired to run more. Of course I only run a few miles but still the book inspired me to want to be healthier and try harder to reach my goals. (I do have goals even though I didn't publish them at New Years, really.)

Dean is the guy writing this book. He loves to run. He runs and runs and runs. He still works a full time job to support his wife and two kids yet he finds time to run. He even finds time to play with his kids. He runs in the morning, at night, at lunch...he runs every day.

He takes you on his journey from start to finish as he races the most amazing distances and places. Every muscle in his body is screaming out in pain and he keeps going. He never gives up. He would die if he didn't run because he is so addicted to running.

He has almost run every race there is to run so now he runs for charity and helps raise money for sick children. I think that is really cool. He lives in the bay area and runs right around here. I haven't seen him.

I don't want to eat refined or processed food anymore. I wish I could shop at Whole Foods every day. I wish I could feed my children wholesome fresh foods instead of junk and sugars and fat that are holding our society back.

Anyway, this was a very entertaining and intriguing book. I HIGHLY recommend it for anyone sitting down right now!

Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry

Another Children's book. Very creative...this would be a good book for children learning to write stories. It takes place in a 2nd grade classroom. A new girl moves in and everyone wants to know about her. She is a very good storyteller and only tells the truth in her stories. Each story she tells is always very clever and funny. The best part of this book is how the author makes fun of 2nd graders and how they always want to be heard, have something to say about everything and are not very patient. I just enjoyed this book as a light read and since we own it I think I will read it out loud to the kids soon.

Whole Book

Because of Winn Dixie

This was the second time through this book. The kids and I listened to it on Tape in the car. It was great! We couldn't wait to hear what was going to happen next.

A little girl makes friends with a dog and then makes new friends with the whole town. She learns a lot about what it really means to love someone and let go of others. Great book for families and the movie is good too.

Whole BOOK

The Sign of the Beaver

This is a great book for 8-12 yr. old boys. It has Indians, wild animals, survival, friendship and adventure. I really liked it. My son did too.

Whole BOOK

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Monday, April 09, 2007

The War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells

Somehow up to now I skipped reading this book. It is such a classic! I had heard so much about it from here and there and different classes but hadn't ever read it. Then the movie came out recently with Tom Cruise...well it didn't do justice to the book. HG Wells wrote three really good science-fiction books. All classics and all have parallel purposes...or in better words, "Wells was famous for his thinly-veiled diatribes."
The book is actually about the present. "It simply uses different techniques to show us who we are, who we might be and whom we ought to become." -Orson Scott Card

Take Africa for example...England was a super power. It couldn't invade Africa until it come up with a way to not catch all the plagues and disease there. The African people had build up immunities to things like Malaria, the people from England hadn't yet. This book talks about this but in Fiction terms and never mentions Africa.

I realy hated this book but I really liked it too. I am never for scary but this was just old fasioned enough I could get through it and still keep my head from hiding under the covers and teeth chattering. I did have nightmares but not like I did from Alas Babylon. Yikes.

So Martians invade the Earth, they slaughter people in England and the narrator of the story sees most first hand and lives to tell about it. He describes each day in detail after the invasion. He really makes us take a good hard look at society in general...and how stupid we are to forget nature and how little we are really in the big picture of life in this universe.

I think this would be a fun book for a book discussion because there are so many ideas that really make you think. What would I do if I was in the same situation? Well I hope I wouldn't rubber neck at an unknown object that fell from space and then just get killed.

Healing Book?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Little Britches by Ralph Moody

This is the second time I have read this book. This time I was reading it out loud to the kids. My oldest son took it and finished it in a few days and my 7yr. old always complains when I have to stop and it is time to go to bed. I love books that do that to kids. They really listen and you know they are getting something out of the effort and time spent reading together.

I love this book! This time around I had to pay more attention to details because I was leading a book discussion in one of my book groups. Everyone loves this book that reads it! It is full of adventure, sadness and deep lessons on life taught by a dad to his son.

It reminds me of something my dad used to say, "When the going gets tough the tough get going!" This is so true and through out the book no matter how hard things are the everyone pulls together and learn valuable lessons in life. They bond together in their family and the simple things are what matter most. Telling the truth, working hard and helping your neighbor. Also having faith in the almighty.

The part that especially came alive was the Character House concept. Here is my favorite part. Father said, "A man's character is like his house. If he tears boards off his house and burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable, his house soon becomes a ruin. If he tells lies to be able to do the things he shouldn't do but wants to, his character will soon become a ruin. A Man with a ruined character is a shame on the face of the earth."

I am including the questions I used (borrowed) for the discussion. Some we skipped and some we expanded on. It was really fun to hear some of the ladies tell about their own childhoods way back when things were similar to the character in the books life. Actually Ralph isn't only the character but the whole book was based on his, the author's, real life. There is a whole series in fact. I can't wait to read them all. I have read #1, #2 and #5 already.

1. Little Britches
2. Man of the Family
3. The Home Ranch
4. Mary Emma and Company
5. The Fields of Home
6. Shaking the Nickel Bush
7. The Dry Divide
8. Horse of a Different Color

Discussion Questions for Little Britches by Ralph Moody (gives some of the story away so only read if you already read the book)

1.When the family first saw the house (pg. 13) why did Ralph think it looked all right? Why didn't father yell or mother cry?

2.How is the life as an 8-10 year old boy different today from then? What changes are good, which are bad? - Did Ralph make the right choice to fight Freddie?

3.Do you think it was a good idea for Ralph to work for Mrs. Corcoran? Why? -On pg. 92 (read aloud) Why did Ralph say he'd do it when he didn't understand? Why did Mrs. Corcoran change her mind? Could she have handled the situation differently?

4.What kind of a neighbor was Fred Autland?

5. Do you think Ralph made the right choice to go off and get Two Dog to help save Bill? What else might he have done?

6. Did Ralph handle his confession to the Sheriff well? Why or why not?

7. What does Father mean when he says that some people tear boards off their character house and “burns them to keep himself warm and comfortable”?

8. Why did those men at the head of the ditch steal water?

9. What parenting qualities do you admire/disagree with about Little Britches' parents?

10. Why did the cowboys do so much for Ralph? Was Hi a good mentor to Ralph, even though he did things Ralph knew his parents wouldn't approve of?

11. Why did Father tell Ralph to give the man who's paying him a good day's work?

12. Did you find any good ideas from the life of this family that you would like to employ into your own family life?

13. What kinds of lessons did Ralph have to learn the hard way?

14. Which character do you most identify with and why?

15. What would your family do if your dad died? Do you think Ralph's family is going to make it all right?

I read some stuff about Ralph Moody and I really liked this:
He told an interviewer for the New York Times Book Review, August 6, 1967, "My goal in writing is to leave a record of the rural way of life in this country during the early part of the twentieth century, and to point up the values of that era which I feel that we, as a people, are letting slip away from us." (This information was gleaned from Something About the Author, Vol. 1, p. 162)

This is a Whole and Healing book. I recommend it for all ages and especially for families to read together out loud.

Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

This is a wonderful book about a little girl, 11 years old, that gets moved around to a lot of new foster homes and is a pretty mean kid. She has to be to survive. She is also very smart and finally she finds people that she loves but doesn't know it until it is almost too late. She also learns that things don't always go as you expect them to and life is hard. What really draws you into this book is that you hate the little girl at first but by the end of the book you really love her. There are a bunch of very humorous parts and sad parts. Katherine Paterson the author has a really good knack with this sort of thing. She also wrote the Bridge to Terabithia.

Whole Book, Healing Book.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Northanger Abby by Jane Austin

This was a very disappointing book. I don't think it was one of Jane's best. It was one of the earliest she wrote but wasn't published till after she died. That might be why I had never heard about it before. It had a rushed ending. It also had a lot of nothing in the book. Which might have been the point, people back them with nothing to do but gossip about what others are wearing and talk about themselves and their boring lives. She kind of makes fun of things and then tries to be serious about marriage but skips all the romance.
This book was about a not so rich or intelligent girl and she goes to Bath with some rich friends, has a few boring adventures and falls in love. She is very fickle and has some dumb friends which she eventually ditches. She makes new friends and gets invited to their home at an old Abby, remodeled and made very "modern". She lives in a fantasy world most of the time because her life is so boring. She likes novels and thinks she is a heroine in a story.
The only good thing I can say about this book is that the guy she falls in love with is entertaining and smart. I don't know why he likes her but everyone really likes him. He made the book worth finishing and lived happier-ever after in the end.

Whole Book

Monday, March 26, 2007

Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank

I am so disturbed by this book I don't even know where to begin! It was copyrighted in 1959. Of course a lot of stuff is very outdated but overall the ideas are still very real. Russia attacks with atomic bombs and wipes out most of the US in one day. I read this particular book for a book group where we only read TJed's 5 pillar certification books. I can't wait to hear what everyone has to say about it and the feelings and thoughts it brought to their awareness.

On the front cover it describes the book as, "The startling novel of the end of the world and the day after." yep that is what it was all about. I don't know why this book is causing me so much anxiety. I think on many levels it just scares me to not be ready for a change in my life brought on from a disaster. I am very content each day with what I know and love all around me. There is that itchy feeling in the back of my mind telling me I am stupid to be so passive in preparing myself and my family for "the end of the world". I shouldn't just be sitting here waiting for change and knowing that I could prepare myself better but I don't.

Our 72 hour kit is far from ready for a disaster. I live in Earthquake land, what am I thinking? I lived through a house fire destroying practically everything we own yet I can't get myself to face reality and rebuild. When I think about all that was lost in the fire, one side of me says, what a waste the stuff I had ready ended up being, it was just burnt. We were waiting to use it in an emergency and it was all destroyed so what is the use? The other side is saying, I shouldn't forget the blessings that rained down on us from outside sources probably because we were trying to the best of our ability to be ready for a disaster, maybe the Lord blessed us for the effort...I don't know. As I read this book I had the urge most of the time to just get up and scream or run. There is so much to do and so many things that can happen. I really have no control over most of it. I will just have to deal with it when it is sitting in my lap.

I think the book wanted to scare people into waking up to the reality of a war happening right in our neighborhood. Maybe it wanted to remind us that we can't depend on the government to just give us hand outs when life is hard. You will be on your own especially if the government is completely wiped out. What are you going to do? You can roll over and die or get up and dig in.

Most of the people that survived in the book were just lucky and then when they survived longer it came down to resources available and the knowledge to use them. They also pulled the strengths of their neighbors and their knowledge combined sustained them enough to keep going on.

I wear glasses. If my glasses get broken then I am pretty much blind and won't be able to do a lot of the things I can do now. The glasses won't be able to be replaced very easily if there isn't resources to use for the making of glasses. I can't make a new pair myself. This is scary. Something so simple and so taken for granted really makes a big difference every day of my life.

In the book the library wasn't destroyed and it became a very important and busy place. So many people needed to know how to do things and you could find that in books and teach yourself. I'm glad I can read and I am glad I have a library card, maybe that should be on the disaster preparedness list!

I wish I knew how to salt and preserve fresh meat. I also wish I had a few doctor skills. Something useful would also be knowing how to use a ham radio.

hmmm, we need more candles, canned food, a fresh water source and I wish I had a large pot. In the book the people run out of salt. I forgot how important this was to life. We can't live without it, too much is bad but none is deadly.

Some of the more inspiring parts of the book was when they were talking about hope. Despite all the odds and all the horrible stuff around them people were able to rise up and take courage. They started rebuilding and they didn't give up.

In the book they talk about this too:
"Toynbee theory of challenge and response, applies not only to nations but individuals. Some nations and some people melt in the heat of a crisis and come apart like fat in the pan. Others meet the challenge and harden."

Which will you be like, fat in a pan or will you harden and meet the challenge?

This was a Healing Book for me. I recommend it to anyone that is planning for the unknown future of the Earth in an upcoming FHE lesson. :) No seriously it had some very good ideas for what to expect when the lights go out in our nation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Emma by Jane Austin

Hooray for Austin! This was a very LONG book. I liked the beginning and the ending but the middle was so full of tediously long paragraphs. Despite that, I made it through and can give her another thumbs up for old fashioned miscommunication and falling in love.

I was browsing the VHS section in a thrift store last week and despite my resolve to downsize our VHS collection and replace it with family classics on DVD...I found EMMA with Gwyneth Paltrow. Excellent! It was only .69 cents! I couldn't pass it up or a few other interesting finds...

I think the movie was very well done despite the two kissing scenes in the end that Jane would have blushed and then got angry and "her manner would be too decided to invite supplication; and in this state of swelling resentment and mutually deep mortification" she would have snubbed the the director of the movie if ever they met at a ball or in town. She would have looked down on the whole thing and said something about the shocking lack of discipline. Then some higher society would immediately start circulating the news among its circles of friends at Highbury or at Bath. I did find the movie to bring out some of the finest achievements of men and women finding self awareness and identity in the mist of society they are sometimes powerless in and dependent on.

Hmm, I really wanted to use the word quintessential bore, I guess I will say Mrs. Bates was a quintessential bore but very well cast in the movie. I almost cried when Emma hurt her feelings. But in the book I just wanted to skip all of her ramblings and get to the kissing...which wasn't in the book but I'm sure there was some...Jane left it to the imagination but never implied that it actually happened - ever! Isn't that funny?

Next I will read Alas Babylon and Northanger Abbey, at the same time of course. This will be fun!

Amazing Grace (2006 film)

My book group in CV couldn't stop talking about this movie in the theaters during the month of Feb. and March. I made a mental note to remember to rent the DVD when it came out. THEN my other book group at Liber Academy couldn't stop talking about it either. We had just read Uncle Tom's Cabin and then the biography of the author Harriet Beecher Stowe and this movie was like the missing piece of the puzzle. We all got babysitters and met up in Dublin to see it. It was well worth the time and effort. My baby didn't even cry or disrupt anything the whole time.



Amazing Grace the movie was released on the 200Th anniversary of the date the Parliament of the United Kingdom voted to ban the transport of slaves by British subjects. Later this helped in the freeing of the slaves in Britain. William Wilberforce is a member of Parliament during the 18Th Century. He has quite a following if you Google him. He was the one that had enough courage to see this through despite the toil on his health and family.

"Wilberforce was elected to the House of Commons at 21 and took on the issue of slavery, successfully assembling a diverse coalition that went up against the most powerful men of the time."

He was so successful because of the people that helped him. They had some great ideas for letting the people become more aware of the horrible things that happened to slaves and pointing out that Christians could not be part of something so horrible.

What is also interesting is that this guy did a lot more then just free the slaves...he just didn't stop there even though that was a pretty big thing. Anyone else would call it a life and just sit around and drink wine and stroll around the extensive grounds near their mansion but he actually was the guy that made some very important matters of social reform some to light. He started a lot of societies but unlike most these actually made a difference and most were very successful. Here are a few of the things he started.

Proclamation for the Discouragement of Vice in 1787 a remedy for immorality and vise.
He introduced Christianity to India with religious teachers being sent there and missionaries. Eventually, this resulted in the foundation of the Bishopric of Calcutta.
Wilberforce was also a founding member of the Church Missionary Society (since renamed Church Mission Society).
Also founded the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (now the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals).
He also gave his support to local projects and was treasurer to a charity school near where he lived...much much more but some of it I didn't understand.

He also published many books and was a very religious man. He wanted to do what was right before God. He did this through politics.

The man that wrote the famous song Amazing Grace was his friend. He was a former slave ship person and then turned to religion and Christ's gift of repentance when he was older. The first verse of Amazing Grace is particularly interesting because John Newton was blind in his later years (this was pointed out in the movie) and yet he couldn't see with his body his soul could finally see the grace of God. This part was a big tear jerk er for the audience. I think the whole song is very powerful not just the first verse which is what we usually only hear.

Original form by John Newton
As published in 1779 and 1804, the lyrics read:

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!

Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promis’d good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call’d me here below,
Will be forever mine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Grace

I really liked the movie and learned a lot more about the "freeing of the slaves" America was not the only bad guys in this ugly history, many other countries contributed to slavery. It took very brave and inspired people to make a change in societies thinking and greed. I learned that even though Harriet, Lincoln, William, and others did so much for the cause the slaves were still under oppression for many years to come. It is hard to imagine that even right up to before I was born there was so much hatred and laws and discrimination running strong.

Martin Luther King Jr's I Have A Dream speech was really inspired. (even though it was plagiarized) It wasn't given until 1963. That was only 10 years before I was born. It was a powerful truth that prompted the Civil Rights Act. The Declaration of Independence was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. How did we get so far from these words promised by the "architects of our republic"? Martin L King Jr was to America like William Wilberforce was to Europe.

Now we look back on slavery as if it was all a bad dream. Anyway hopefully by learning about the past we learn from the past and do not repeat it in the future. If you haven't seen Amazing Grace then rent it on DVD soon. We saw it on the last day it was showing in the Bay Area, whew. Also take another look at Uncle Tom's Cabin. Good stuff.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Whole and Healing book.

Oh I loved this book. I won't say much about it becasue I don't want to give away the ending which I cried through.

A young boy in a disfunctional family learns a lot of lessons on being a friend, big brother and becoming a man. A girl changes his perspective on life and inspires him with imagination and friendship that last even more then a lifetime.

Do you remember 5th grade? I could relate because the book was written so well.

I think they made a movie based on this book. I can't wait to see it. If you saw it don't spoil the ending for anyone. This was a fast read. I think it was written for maybe 10-11 year olds but has some really deep themes to discuss with a parent.

What Type of Homeschooler are you?







What Type of Homeschooler Are You?




Salvador Dali Melting clocks are not a problem in your reality. You are an unschooler. You will tolerate a textbook, but only as a last resort. Mud is your friend. You prefer hands-on everything. If your school had an anthem, it would be Dont Worry, Be Happy. Visit my blog: http://www.GuiltFreeHomeschooling.blogspot.com
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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Talking to Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

I love this book! It was book four of the Enchanted Forest Chronicles. My sisters would like these books. I laugh a lot out loud while reading them.
This one was actually clever and cute. The Son of the King of the Enchanted Forest is the main character, the other three books it was mainly his mom's adventures.

One day his mom just hands him a sword and sends him into the Enchanted Forest. He doesn't know why or where he is going. Everyone he meets knows who he is and why he is there but they won't tell him. He meets a fire-witch and she needs to learn some manners. They become friends and have a fun adventure figuring out the who's and whys and what's in the story.

I read this out loud to the kids and my oldest girl of 7 years really liked the story and actually snuggled right up on the bed and listened for hours. She even laughed at the funny parts so I know she was really listening. It has been raining so it was perfect timing for a good book. My oldest 9 yr. old son of course took the book the first day and read to the end before we did. He couldn't wait that long to find out what happened.

Whole Book.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Dragons of Blueland by Ruth Stiles Gannett

This is the Third book in the series of My Father's Dragon. It was good but her first book was the best. They are all pretty short so I do like a story to continue and she does this nicely with the 2nd and 3rd book. I think everyone should read these books to their kids. They are so creative and funny and easy for kids 6-10 to understand.
Elmer is the main character. His friend is a gold-winged dragon named Boris. They have great adventures. In this book Boris and Elmer save his family from danger. Very clever and I love happy endings.
Whole Book

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones

This was a most curious book. I couldn't put it down but when I got to the end there were so many loose ends still... I wish I hadn't read it. I usually don't read books about witches and stuff but a friend said this was a good book. It was creative and fun but it never really cleared up a few mysterious details.

A girl and a boy are orphaned. They live on a different world then the world we know. Witches and warlocks are quite common. The girl is Gwendolen and she is Cat's sister. She is a very powerful witch. He doesn't seem to be able to do any magic.

One day they get adopted by a distant relative and move to a mansion. blah blah blah...Gwendolen has a little temper tantrum and tries to get noticed. Then she does some bad things with magic. Cat is terrified that his sister will take things to far. Chrestomanci is another magic guy...but we never get to find out all the important things about this guy. That is where it really just leaves you hanging. Maybe the book was supposed to be this way because it is written from the perspective of the boy and he seems to be clueless about alot of things...and this leads to his death but only uses one of his 9 lives....
hmmm, weird story and I don't recommend it.

Broken Book

Monday, February 19, 2007

Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers by Jean Fritz

After reading Uncle Tom's Cabin written by Harriet Beecher Stowe last week, I still can't get the story out of my head. Saturday my sister-in-law pulled out this book sitting on her shelf. It is a biography of Harriet. I asked to borrow it and I read it in one day. It is only about 130 page scholastic children's book but very interesting.




Harriet had quite an amazing life. She also had a very interesting family. Most of her siblings took part in significant events and changes in this countries history. I think her impact was greatest of all but wouldn't have happened without her family.

Her father was a preacher. Most of her brothers were preachers. She was a girl or she would have been a preacher too. Instead she preached through her writing. They were changing lives one at a time serving in the clergy and she was changing the nation by writing one book at a time.

I think reading her biography really brought this great women in American History to life. She was an instant celebrity, not only here but in Europe after writing Uncle Tom's Cabin. That part really isn't as impressive to me as her determination to make a difference despite so many things in her life that she could have used an excuse to just mind her own business and stay at home raising her children. Instead she believes she can make a difference and doesn't let herself be discouraged.

She eventually becomes an abolitionist. She writes letters to Senators. She writes articles for papers. She gets to meet Lincoln. She supports him, despite all the criticism he was receiving around the time the the civil war finally starts. She helps free slaves. Her relatives fight in the war. She tours Europe getting support for the Northern States against slaves and to support the war. She made a difference.

I really enjoyed reading about her and what led her to writing Uncle Tom's Cabin. It was really cool to see what happened after the book was published. She also wrote another book called Dred. I think I will find that and read it. She didn't care what the critics said, there were a lot of them, she spoke out anyway.



Later in her life after the war and the slaves were free she started speaking publicly not just writing her thoughts but speaking in large lecture halls. She also supported women's rights. She was a Christian and also a good wife and mother. She was a teacher since she was 14 years old and she taught throughout her life by her great example.

Whole book.

Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff

Hmm, this book was just one that I judged it by the cover. Looked interesting so I got it from the library. It was okay. It won a Newberry honor award. It is written for maybe a 8-10 yr. old.
It takes place in 1944 right in the middle of World War II. A little girl and her grandmother live in Rockaway during the summer near the Atlantic Ocean. They see the convoys of ships going out to sea and to fight in the war. They have to eat Spam and canned fish. The vegetables are from a victory gardens. The little girls dad is an engineer and has to go to war to help rebuild France. The little girl likes to spy and look for Nazi's in her neighborhood.
She finally finds a friend. He is a young boy that escaped from Europe but his sister is still there. He is staying with some friends in Canada that always come to Rockaway for the summer. His grandmother, mother and father are killed in the war for trying to print propaganda against the war in Budapest. He wants to go back and get his sister but he can't swim. He talks Lily, the little girl, into teaching him so he can swim out to a ship going to Europe. She knows this is impossible but she wants to go too and plays along with the idea until one evening there is a storm and they both almost get drowned.
They find a cat and they share secrets about their dreams and fears. They become best friends. I think they must be about 10 years old. It is a cute story. It was interesting to think about what life was like for those left at home during the war. The only thing they have to go by is the radio and letters from loved ones. So many boys didn't come back, so many people died.
The story has a happy ending when the dad comes home and the little boys sister is found and brought to America also. Lily starts to write stories and play the piano and she really learns that summer how much her grandmother loves her.
Whole Book

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

February is Black History Month. I have owned this book for over 15 years and have just now finally read it. (My copy was lost in a fire last year so the copy I read was actually a replacement.) The story was very familiar, probably because it was one of the first to fuel the Abolitionist movement. It was also very popular and actually was the best selling novel in the 19th century. The best selling book in that century was the Bible. This book was written in the 1850's. Many plays and movies and additional books were based off of this original depiction of life in the southern states where slavery was abundant.

This book takes a look at slavery in America. It jumps right into the harsh realities of being a slave, a slave owner and a slave trader. It also made you ponder how a christian could declare to be a good christian yet still own a slave. The best part of this book is how the author again and again shows faith in Christ and christian love helping to overcome even something as evil as enslavement of fellow human beings.

The book was written by a white woman, a mother and a christian. Her descriptions of mother's having their children taken from them or trying to protect them are very real. I'm sure it would give me nightmares if I thought about it too much. I think this is actually what she is trying to do because these things really happened and were really bad yet they were legal and no one cared.

You might think that one person can't make a difference but just the opposite. One person can make a difference. One person wrote this book and it touched the hearts of people all over the world. Even Abraham Lincoln read it and commented on it at the beginning of the American Civil War. The main character in the book, Tom, was one person but he made a difference in fellow slaves day to day lives of sorrow and oppression. He also, through his christian example, helped his "mast'r's" to start to have a different outlook on their own lives. The one person that made the biggest difference and was referred to many many times in this book was Jesus Christ. His life, his death, his Resurrection made the ultimate difference and showed us all the way. There were so many sad stories about people in this book and it was very depressing. The hope of Christ helped me see and many of the characters, a different light on the senseless, shameful events surrounding slavery.

I am glad I read all 500 plus pages of this book. I hope that when I am faced with something hard, (I can't imagine what I would be faced with that was harder then the time depicted in this story when slavery was as common as eating bread), I hope that I can remember to turn to Christ. I hope to keep my integrity and my promises. I hope to be honest and be able to hold my head high and stand up for the truth. I hope to make a difference.

This was a WHOLE and HEALING book.

Monday, February 05, 2007

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Can you believe it? I have never read this book before. My son brought it to me and said it was good, so despite the 4 other books I am reading I got this one in!

It is a WHOLE book. Very mysteriously written. You never know what is happening next, it is always a surprise. Some kids go to outer space but it isn't really about that or martians or anything. It is about time travel and defeating evil with love. There is a funny word they use, "tesseract". That is where they get the title of the book. It is a wrinkle in time or a jump using a shortcut.

There is a lot of imagination in this book and descriptions of beauty and concepts that are hard to grasp, yet we almost do because it is written with such power and patience.

In one part, the girl is on a different world and everything is gray. The beings that live there can't see with their eyes so they don't understand color or have a need for it. They know the sun is there because it is warm and gives life. They can tell it is night or day by the temperature. The little girl is trying to communicate but she uses words that describes things she can see and they just don't understand because they only feel. It is neat when the little girl realized that maybe that would be really cool to be so in touch that you don't need to see something to understand it. This goes along with the Faith concept, believing without seeing and it is still true.

I give this classic two thumbs up. I can't wait to read the sequel.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

what to post...hmmm

I keep thinking of things I want to blog about but then forget when I sit down to write.

Our chickens started laying today! We don't know which of the three hens the eggs belong to. They are happy to run around outside and scratch in all the empty flower beds. I have to sweep daily because they scratch all the dirt out of the beds onto the walkway. AND those little presents are all over our porch waiting to be stepped in. They also found the cat food dish and make sure it is cleaned up every last teeny bit. No leftovers for you kitty!

We finally replaced our stolen car with a blue mini van! It came with a purple marble! YIPPEE! Now I can go...where ever I please!

Went to the pediatricians earlier this week. Our new baby is 2 months old and 12.9lbs. She still has a yeast problem, thrush. She has stopped spitting up so much and she hardly ever cries unless she gets scared at my husbands loud sneezes or if someone bumps her wrong. Living in our barrel of monkeys sometimes that happens on accident. Usually she is all smiles, even when she wakes up from naps she has the biggest cheesiest grins!

We hit the dentist this week too. Cavity city for the sugar freak girl. The other two were just getting sealants on their new molars. Sugar girl was sad the rest of the day with a big fat lip and a very funny lisp because the left side of her face was sleeping. She took two naps too.

What a week and we still have a few days left. My brother's just got home from their missions and all my siblings are having a party in Utah, (sob) without me!

That's all for now.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Which hero are you?

Your results:
You are Green Lantern
























Green Lantern
80%
Wonder Woman
65%
The Flash
65%
Iron Man
60%
Robin
50%
Hulk
45%
Superman
40%
Supergirl
40%
Spider-Man
35%
Catwoman
25%
Batman
15%
Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.


Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test