Friday, January 30, 2009

Book Review - 3:16 The Numbers of Hope

A much faster read, obviously, than the last book I reviewed!  I had some reservations about reading a book from a non-orthodox Christian writer.  During the months following our family's conversion to Orthodoxy, I was involved in a bible study from a non-orthodox writer.  It felt odd, like I was betraying my faith.  It's been almost 4 years since our conversion and I was given this book for Christmas so I thought I would give it a try.  Keeping in mind that Max Lucado was my very favorite Christian author before my conversion, it is worth the read.

I did feel somewhat awkward at times... would the early church fathers agree with this?  But when I keep in mind that this is one man's take on the verse, I was able to read and enjoy.  This book is a focus on the verse of John 3:16... For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.  Max Lucado brings a warmth and humor to his writing that makes reading his writing a pleasure.

Now, as an Orthodox Christian, I'll review it this way... With Jesus as the cornerstone, the teachings of the early church fathers would be the structure of the building.  To this, Max Lucado would be the paint.  He definitely has earned his place among Christian writers and what he gives to me through his writing is fun, energy, and a joy in the teachings of Christ.  However, if I ONLY read Max Lucado then I would be stunting my growth.  I need the "meat" of the early church fathers but it's good to have "the sauteed mushrooms" (Max Lucado) to enjoy also.

In love and recovery,

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Book Review - The Hour I First Believed

Oh my!  Let me begin by saying that in regards to current fiction writers, I have two absolute favorites.  One being John Grisham and the other? Wally Lamb!  Now, take into consideration he only has two books out (now 3) and that says a lot about him.  

This latest book confirmed how I feel about him as a writer.  He brings something to the pages beyond the written word, he brings art to the page.  Now that I've given him such a glowing analysis, let me say that this is not an easy book to read.  At over 730 pages (and 4 children in the house) it's not something I was able to rip through quickly.  In fact, it took much longer than I expected.  Not because of the length but because of the topic.  A word of warning, this book is not for the weak of heart.  A main focus of the book is the horrific occurrence at Columbine.  And while this is a work of fiction, he did so much research that I found myself reliving the sadness and horror as if it had happened 9 days ago instead of 9 years ago.

This one goes on the keeper shelf.  Right next to my favorite book of all time... "This Much I Know Is True."  And one last comment I must share... Thank you, Wally, for sharing your talent with me... your books inspire me.

In love and recovery,

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Book Review - The Tale of Despereaux

We finally finished the book.  It was a very sweet story.
We saw the movie.  It was okay... not as good as the book of course.

The author uses some beautiful imagery.  She weaves a beautiful tale but by jumping back and forth amongst the characters, it made it much more difficult for the children to follow (I thought...LOL).  

Princess - I thought it was adventurous and not just boring.  It had funny characters as well.
Rosebud - I like how she developed the characters.  I liked how she wrote the book because it was easy for me to understand.
Stinkbug - I liked it because it was really interesting, there was lots of different stuff in the movie from the book, and I liked all the characters because they were really good.
Sugarcake - My favorite was Princess Pea because she was really, really nice and she wasn't rude to anyone.  But there were things in the movie that weren't in the book.

In love and recovery,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

May her memory be eternal!

I'm having a very difficult time with this post.  To be honest, I really don't want to write it but I feel I must.  A very dear friend passed away on Sunday.  I have no idea how old she was, it never really mattered.  My best guess would be late 50's, early 60's.

We shared a love of sewing.  We shared a love of smocking.  We shared a love of cross-stitch.  We shared a love of Bernina sewing machines.  We shared a love of children.  We shared a love of smiling and laughing.  We shared a love of the Orthodox Church.

She wasn't my first introduction to the Orthodox Church but she did clue me in to a lot of things I did not know about the church.  I seriously considered asking her to be my godmother when our family decided to convert to Orthodoxy.  She lived out of town so I asked someone local.  I know it was the best decision but I say that to let those reading know how close I felt to her.

I don't ask for sympathy.  I only ask for prayers on her behalf... "Lord, may her memory be eternal!"

In love and recovery,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Ponder This...

The dear hubby shared this with me...

One day a man was feeling depressed so he went to the pet store.  The clerk asked him what he was looking for and the man said his doctor recommended a pet to keep him company.  The clerk said "We have a great bird here that will talk your ear off... he'd be great company!"  The man buys the parrot and goes home.  He returns a week later and informs the clerk that the bird has not said a single word!  The clerk says "Oh, I know what is wrong... the parrot doesn't have a swing... he loves to swing and he'll start talking."  So the man purchases he swing, only to return a week later complaining that the bird still has not said a word.  The clerk realizes the parrot does not have a ladder and says, "What you need is this ladder... the bird will climb the ladder, start swinging, and then talk your ear off."  So off the man goes, only to return a week later and the bird STILL has not said a word.  "I've got just the thing," says the clerk, "here is his mirror... he'll see himself, climb the ladder, start swinging and then he'll talk to you for sure."  So off the man goes, again!  A week later, the man returns.  The clerk asks about the bird.  "Well, the bird is dead!" the man replies.  "Dead!?!" the clerk exclaims, "Well, did he ever talk to you?"  The man replied, "Right before he died he spoke one sentence...'Don't they sell bird food at that store?'"

And now I share this with you...

How often can we apply this to our spiritual life?  Depressed and alone we search for Christ. We easily find Him!!!  We bring Him home, let Him reside in our heart.  But then we search for ways to please Him, only to find that all the "stuff" is not what He asks of us.  Does Christ really want for us to volunteer in the nursery, teach classes, and be on the parish council when we are not feeding our soul with His Word?  In the Book of James we find that "faith without good works is dead" but what is works without faith?  How long can we continue to bring home toys (or do good works) without feeding the parrot (living in God's Word)?

Just something to ponder...

In love and recovery,

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Too Funny

Okay... I'm always being told to write down all those funny things my children say (and I haven't ever done it).  Why???  Because as much as I want to remember all these funny things...there just aren't enough hours in the day now that we have Sugarcake.

However, this is one for the books...

A little history... when we met the J.'s they had 4 children similar in age and gender.  Since then, they have added another child to their crew and Mrs. J. is now pregnant with their 6th child.  It has been sometime since we have visited with the J.'s.

We went to visit the J.'s on Friday and later in the day picked up hubby from work.  We went to eat supper.  While waiting for our food, the children begin telling hubby about our visit with the J.'s.  One of the children tells hubby that Mrs. J. is pregnant.  To which Sugarcake (who is 5) states...
"That woman needs to get a HOBBY!"

Ummm... apparently she already does.

In love, recovery, and laughter,

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

On the Road Again...

On the road to recovery again, that is.  I've been drifting farther and farther away from the tools of Overeater's Anonymous.  Oh, I'm still an overeater... but for some reason, I thought I could just coast.  I mean, the millions of people who've been helped by 12 step programs are much worse than I am...right???? And they say you have to use the tools, who do they think they are????Um...well... I can choose to be one of the millions that have been helped or I can coast.

Coasting... an interesting concept isn't it???  I can only coast so long before I'm standing still once again.  Or, I can coast quite awhile... if I'm going downhill!  Ewww, that's not good.  Heading the wrong direction AND picking up speed!!!  And how many of us have coasted uphill???  I don't want to coast anymore... I want to live.

Thank you, Nick, for reminding me AGAIN!!!  May your memory be eternal!

In love and recovery,

Monday, January 5, 2009

Starting the Year with a Struggle

My heart is aching.  I knew this was coming but I wasn't prepared.  Not that you can really be prepared for the anniversary of a death in the family.  Especially when that death is of a young person (14 to be exact).  A tragedy that will forever be engraved on my heart.  His mom is more than a relative, she is a friend.  A friend whose family will never be "complete" on this earth.  

When our fourth (and last) child was born, my husband and I both commented on how our family had never felt complete before.  It was like something was missing, but we didn't know what or who it was until she was here.  My friend knows what is missing, what will always be missing... when they take a family picture, when they sit down to a family meal, when they go on a family vacation... her middle child will always be missing.

My consolation is what is said in the orthodox church... "May his memory be eternal."  That is my hope and my prayer.  But I want his mom to have more than his memory... I want her to have her son.  I suppose Mary felt that way too, when she saw HER son on the cross, when she had to put him in a grave.  The Theotokos (the Mother of God) has brought me much comfort over the last year.  I've had a glimpse into her pain and she has comforted me through that pain and she's also shared with me that "Gone but not forgotten" is a falsehood.  Nick is certainly not forgotten but he is not GONE either.  His spirit is ALIVE, alive in those who love him and alive in those he loved.  We miss his physical presence but he is still smiling from his heart and his energy still moves through our family.  

As deep as our sadness on earth is, I can't even imagine the joy in heaven at having such a beautiful soul among the angels.  With all my heart I pray "May his memory be eternal" and may his mom find comfort in the arms of the Theotokos.

In love and recovery,

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Welcome 2009

Welcome 2009!  So glad you are here!  

Actually, I found this new year's celebration very different for me.  Perhaps it is the ONE DAY AT A TIME mentality that has become my way of life in the past 10 months.  In years' past, the change of years has always been a big deal for me.  I loved being able to put a close to the stress and difficulties of the old year and look to the promise of the new year.  However, usually by the second week of January (and 2008 didn't even take that long) I could see that the new year was no different from any of the ones before and the grind would continue.  Becoming a part of a 12 step recovery program opened my eyes to see that I DAILY have the opportunity to put an end to the stress and difficulties of the day and look to the promise of a new day.  Every evening is "new year's eve" and every morning is "a new year."  And I don't have to worry that I won't have kept my "resolutions" by February... I need only work on myself for TODAY.

Or maybe I'm just getting old....

In love and recovery,