Wednesday, April 28, 2010

May Book - Fiction!

Johanna, I was on my way over here to post the May book when you asked your question. The winner is:

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

It was the one I kept coming back to over and over again.

I'm excited to read it and hear what everyone thinks!

May Book?

I'm getting excited about whatever our May book is going to be!! Any decisions yet Joanna? :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Better Late than Never

So the procrastinator side of my personality has come out in full force this month and I have yet to start "Traveling Mercies"......I plan on starting it today! I'm posting so that I will have something holding me accountable!!

Ok, on another book note..... I have just discovered Elizabeth Noble, fiction author. Has anyone read any of her books? I just picked up "Things I want my Daughters to Know" at the library. I've read one chapter and I already love her. She is British, or at least this book is written British. Apparently she has a Bestseller called "The Reading Club".... possible suggestion Joanna?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Fiction anyone?

I'm enjoying "Traveling Mercies" and might actually manage to finish it in April! However, the duty of choosing next months book falls on me. And I am ready for a fiction story. Don't quite know what yet. Anybody have anything to suggest?

I Don't Want It To End!

I am nearly done with Traveling Mercies, and I love it. What a great book Julie chose! Thanks again Julie!

I like this book for numerous reasons. The two main reasons are that she is so normal, and that she is able to put words to things that I can't always express.

One chapter in particular that I loved was "Forgiveness". I know that I, like many women, struggle with comparing myself to others. I love how the whole time Anne Lamott is relating these various interactions with the mom of her son's friend, she is the one who is actually doing the comparing. The thing is, I never caught on to that fact either until Anne pointed it out. I know that I'm so very much the same. I think that someone is judging me, when in reality, I'm the one judging. Or even allowing myself to be judged. It's not fair to that other person, and it's not healthy at all.

I also really loved the chapter "Why I Make Sam Go to Church". I know that my parents always made us go to church, and I loved how Anne Lamott expressed her feelings about why she makes her son go to church. I also, like Sam, always loved church, even if I griped about going. And looking back, I'm so glad my parents made us go. It should be a great place of community, which is in essence the reason that Anne makes Sam go.

Overall, I really love this book. I'll finish it this week, which is convenient since it is the last week of April! And this will be a book that I will always love and cherish.

So, Joanna, we're all excited to find out our book for May!! :)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

My First Thought on Traveling Mercies

Well, I have been avidly following the posts on here and commenting occasionally. I am suffering from First Year Teacher Syndrome. I don't have time to do much of anything that doesn't involve school. I just now finished the India portion of EPL and am finally past the Overture of Traveling Mercies. Here are some thoughts so far on Traveling Mercies:

The overture was a tough read for me. Like Johanna mentioned earlier, I have nothing in common experience-wise with this woman. She has some interesting thoughts on faith and it does me good to hear about some non-Bible-Belt Christian thinking. While reading today I came across a quote that really made me think:

"Maybe it's because music is about as physical as it gets: your essential rhythm is your heartbeat; your essential sound, the breath. We're walking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to the mix, it somehow lets us meet in places we couldn't get to any other way."

I'm not sure I could have made it this far this year without music. I have cried to Steven Curtis Chapman's "Beauty Will Rise" cd on my way to work more times than I can count. It reminds me that out of the ashes of hardship God can (and will) make beauty rise. Robbie Seay Band's song "All I Want" has reminded me that with all the junk going on, and all the stress, and all the tired, all I need is Him.

So somehow music has let me get to places I couldn't get to any other way. How about you?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Lily Pads

Unlike EPL, which I speedily read through and enjoyed, this book has taken more effort to dive into. I have just now finished reading the overture. It seems like some of you are having similar feelings about this book. That gives me some relief. I thought it was just me. :-)

Though the overture has been difficult to get through, I will say that the beginning paragraph of the book hooked me. Her allegory about faith being like lily pads deeply resonated with me. The last several months I have spent more time reflecting on my faith journey, and although my story is much different than the authors, I see how God uses different circumstances and experiences to project me along in my journey of faith. from one transformation to another. Like she says, " I can see how flimsy and indirect a path they made. Yet each step brought me closer to the verdant pad of faith on which I somehow stand today." My journey definitely feels indirect at times, but I am encouraged that its always had a purpose. There's a reason it's indirect. In Exodus 13:17-18 when the Israelites left Egypt God did not take them on the shortest route to get to their destination. It says God took them a longer way because He knew that if they faced war with the Philistines they would change their minds and return to Egypt. The longer way put them in some difficult places, but God protected and guided them. In the same way our lives may not feel like it's follow a direct route, but we can trust that we are held by a God who has our good in mind.

Anyone else feel like they're hopping on lily pads?

Room Service and Barn Raising, I mean why not Ann?

:) First off I would just like to say that I am pleased with your posting on facebook Johanna. I click on your link from there and then come here, and then take the time to post. So way to use your facebook effectively (for lazy people like me!)

Well I am about halfway through Traveling Mercies. Honestly, I mean, it's not my absolute favorite read. She is kind of everywhere, but as I was talking to Katie about earlier this week; I suppose the title prepares us for that by stating that it is a bunch of thoughts on faith complied into a book. So I can't fault her for that. I appreciate her honestly. I enjoy her descriptive words and analogies. ;) I am grateful to have my eyes opened to a new relationship that someone shares with Jesus. It is different than mine, different I feel from probably most of us, and yet very similar at the same time.

Although in many ways she is hard to relate to because of her background, or extreme liberalism, or profession ,etc. When it comes to the tiny details, when it comes to the every day, there are enough moments of brutal honesty that collide with my life that it's making it worth the read.

When she is talking on forgiveness, and the mom that she hates that does everything perfect, only realizing that she is projecting all of her own insecurities on this other mom. Realizing all this through looking down at a shoe. I Love it! That is how our God works! Through these silly, intricate, detailed, obvious, subtle, ridiculous, blatant, ouch that hurt, sweet honey kind of ways.

Two recently read quotes that I'm diggin':

"Grace is having the commitment to- or at least an acceptance of-being ineffective and foolish. That our bottled charm is the main roadblock to drinking that clear cool glass of love. Grace meet us where we are but does not leave us where it found us."

" By then I'd figured out the gift of failure, which is that it breaks through all that held breath and isometric tension about needing to look good: it's the gift of feeling floppier."

OH- and i'm ready to do some barn raising around some people... who's with me? :)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Overture of Traveling Mercies

Well, I'm still a little peeved because no one has posted since my last post, but oh well.

I have some thoughts about Traveling Mercies thus far that I want to share with you all.

First, I really am enjoying this book, but in a totally different way than Eat, Pray, Love. I was a little concerned that we were reading another memoir, but this has SUCH a different feel from EPL that I'm not worried at all. I'm so glad Julie chose this book.

Secondly, while I sincerely enjoy the book so far, I am having a bit of trouble identifying with Anne Lamott. I mean, holy cow, how many bad things can you have happen in your life before 30?? She has definitely experienced it all. I, on the other hand, have admittedly lived a very sheltered life. I can't really say that I've done any of the things Anne L. has done, and I definitely haven't experienced all of the incredible pain she has experienced. This is not to say that I haven't had bad things happen to me, but nothing like what her.

Thirdly, this book has some absolutely beautiful and breathtaking moments. I find myself constantly underlining and commenting every where. I wanted to share two particular quotes that just take my breath away quite literally:

"I guess it's like discovering you're on the shelf of a pawnshop, dusty and forgotten and maybe not worth very much. But Jesus comes in and tells the pawnbroker, 'I'll take her place on the shelf. Let her go outside again."

"But the church smelled wonderful, like the air had nourishment in it, or like it was composed of these people's exhalations, of warmth and faith and peace."


So, tell me, what do YOU think so far?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Okay Ladies

You all know that I love our book club. And I really enjoy the various posts that have come up throughout Eat, Pray, Love. However, I have a bone to pick with many of you.


Okay, maybe that came off a little too strongly. I'm slightly kidding, but I really do want more of you to post. I personally get so much more out of each book when I can read your various thoughts and insights. I think that perhaps some of you are afraid to post negative thoughts that you might have, but please don't be! None of us wrote these books, so you are not hurting our feelings if you say you hate it.

So, please, I BEG YOU, POST!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Still praying for Usher: My final thoughts on Eat, Pray, Love.

(sorry this post is late....crazy week last week! and I have a lot to say :)

When I was in college (wreck 'em!) I went through a then-called phase that I referred to as my "Usher stage." It was somewhere around sophmore year through junior year, right about the time the song "Yeah" made the big times. (I know what you're thinking....what does this have to do with our friend Liz Gilbert and her book? I'll get to that....stick with me, just let it burn....) Back to Usher. So I went through this phase where I loooooved Usher. If a magazine cover had a picture of him on it, I was already swiping my credit card to buy it before I had even processed the thought of whether I had the money in my skimpy college budget to buy it. It even seems a little labored to have to mention the fact that his album was constantly playing. ok, ok, to the point.... I could have sworn that he and I would be friends should he ever dain to look through my magazine or tv screen back at me. I did have the understanding though that we probably lead very different lifesyles and that there are probably a lot of choices he makes that I wouldn't agree with. And I would still be his friend should we ever have the opportunity. I remember thinking when I watched him accept a grammy and he thanked God first, I remember that a cultural gratitude or does he really love Jesus. I don't know the conditions of his heart, nor has he ever written a book laying out for the entire female population the conditions of his heart. I decided right there and then that I every time I saw him or thought about him I would pray for him. That he would LOVE Jesus. That Jesus would rescue him from the dominions of darkness like we all need him to and that that love and that rescue would be evident in all that he says and all that he does.

Last week on American Idol, Usher just happened to be the guest mentor on American Idol. On the results show he perfomed his new song (destined to be a hit). I prayed for him right before I realized that that "phase" in college, wasn't just a phase.

Ok, If you are still with me, by now you probably realize the parallel I am about to spell out for those of you who might skip right to the bottom to see why all of the above words actually matter. I feel the same way about my new friend Liz. Whereas I do not agree with a lot of her lifestyle and spiritual choices, should we ever meet, I know we would be friends. I started reading her next book "Committed" because I love her so much and wanted to follow her and continue our "friendship". I feel the same way about this book as I did the first, maybe even a little more exaggerated (I have already ranted back at her a few times in my head). But I will finish it because I like her and she is my friend. Most importantly, when I finished E,P,L moments before I watched Usher perform, I made a commitment to pray for her whenever I see her name or think about her.

So, that's how I feel. I could rant a little bit about the "bead" when she talks about heaven and hell being the same, and maybe a few other things that rubbed me the wrong way. BUT, instead, I will end on a positive note... one of my favorite quotes from the book....:

" 'But I don't know how much more socializing I can do, Felipe. I only have the one dress. People will start to notice I wear the same thing all the time.'

'You're young and beautiful, darling. You only need the one dress' "

-Liz and Felipe

What are your favorite quotes from the book?!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

My Final Thoughts

Well, I guess no one wants to post her final thoughts about Eat, Pray, Love, so I will.

I must confess that I am not totally done with the book. March was a little bit crazy with family in town, but I am working through it. I will definitely read Traveling Mercies by the time April ends.

I have mixed feelings about Eat, Pray, Love. From strictly a writing perspective, I love it. I find Elizabeth Gilbert to be incredibly relatable, funny, down-to-earth, honest, and genuine. Her writing makes me feel like I am talking to her. Perhaps not talking to her, but that I am privy to her innermost thoughts, like a life-long friend. I really enjoy that.

Memoirs happen to be my favorite genre to read, so that was also a big plus for me, and part of why I chose this book.

However, I feel frustrated a lot of the time reading the book. Her religious ideas and even her basic ideas of life itself are so close to Truth, yet so far away. It breaks my heart. It is a reminder to me though, that until Jesus truly reveals Himself to her, she'll never fully understand. She will continue to search and meditate to no avail. So I pray for her. I know that sounds silly, but she is a real person, and this is her real story. So I pray.

Overall, I am glad that I am reading and will eventually complete this book. And I do plan on reading Committed, basically because I want to keep up with her. I want to know how Elizabeth Gilbert's story turns out.

So please post. I want to know what you thought. And the only way this really works as a book club is if everyone contributes and posts.

Also, start posting about Traveling Mercies. Knowing Anne Lamott her writing will definitely cause you to think.