Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thoughts on The Help

Oh man oh man oh man!!! I just finished The Help. I read it all in basically 2 days. I could not put it down!! I loved it so much.

I don't want to talk to much about the specifics of the book because I don't want to give anything away. But I will say that I was very surprised about some of the characters. I didn't expect a lot of their traits. This, of course, made me love the book even more. So if you haven't read it yet, GO DO IT!!

This book definitely has me thinking about my own prejudices. Obviously I don't consider myself a racist, but neither does Miss Hilly, and she clearly is. Reading books like this one always make me stop and consider, what humans am I somehow belittling or make less human through my speech, actions, and even thoughts? It's a difficult question to really ask yourself and come up with any honest answers.

Of course, I initially become defensive. I answer with no one. I'm an open-minded person, there's no way I'm ostracizing anyone. But we all know this isn't the truthful answer. There are most certainly people I consider less than myself.

So, I want to make an effort to consider all people as equal to myself no matter what. I want to watch my speech and thoughts; that I'm not even accidentally minimizing anyone's existence.

I want to know- if you have finished or are finishing The Help, what did you think?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

June Book.....get ready!!

Hi book friends :-),

You still there? Still reading and clubbing (book clubbing that is!)?

Well, I'm very excited to announce the June book. It's a little different format per se, but I think you can handle it!

Do you know about The Pioneer Woman? Well, you should. It's an amazing blog that Johanna introduced me to about this really fun woman, Ree Drummond. She is a city girl who fell in love with a cowboy. She is witty, has amazing tips for photography, homeschooling, home&garden, and A-MAZING easy to follow recipes. I laugh out loud all the time when I read the blog

So she's written a book called Black Heels to Tractor Wheels. It is an online book on her website. It's about her love story with her husband whom she affectionately calls Marlboro Man. It is fabulous. You will laugh, you will cry, it is a completely fun read and nothing less.

TO READ THE BOOK: click here ...It will take you to the page on her website where she has each chapter listed. Scroll down to the bottom of the page to the oldest date to start.

So in the words of Ree: "Grab a cup of coffee. Curl up with a blanket. Have a box of kleenex and a fan handy. " ENJOY!

By the way, I think they are making a movie about it.... :-)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Help: Initial Thoughts

I started reading The Help this week, admittedly behind for the month of May. It's quite a lengthy book, but I think it'll be easier to get through since it is fiction.

I am enjoying it very much so far. I like that it's written from three different perspectives, but all deal with the same people and issues. Sometimes it's difficult to read books from various perspectives because they all deal with different people and issues, and it gets confusing. However, this has not been confusing yet.

I also like that the main characters are women. It's always interesting to me to read about various women's perspectives and personalities. I realize this is a work of fiction, but I do feel like these women are real. And this is historical fiction- many of the elements of this book are accurate.

This being said, I'm asking you to put aside your political opinions for a minute, and realize how incredibly huge it was for an African-American to become President. I know that not all of you are supporters of President Obama, but despite that, it is remarkable that he won the Presidency considering the plight of African-Americans in our nation. Sometimes I find myself imagining that this book was set back during the Civil War, hundreds of years ago. But then I realize that it actually was only about 5o years ago! That's not long at all! And I realize that this book is set in Mississippi, perhaps one of the most racist states still to this day, but I just find it amazing to think about.

Of course, I believe that we still have room to grow in race and gender equality, but wow, have we come a long way.

I'm excited to continue this book! Great pick Joanna!!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

my contributions.

Hello friends!

Since I haven't been able to discuss much (I don't have a copy), I'll share with you my favorite quotes. I initially read Traveling Mercies while I was on the World Race in 2007. I remember flying through it on a mattress on the floor of our church in Belen, Costa Rica. ha.

It's safe to say that I also love Anne. And I already feel like we're friends. And I want to be THAT authentic about my faith. Not just how I live it .... but how I TALK about it too. Give me the gritty, raw stuff.

So .... here goes. My faves. Sorry it's so long - I liked a LOT of them. :)

  • "My coming to faith did not start with a leap ... but rather a series of staggers."
  • "Only grieving can heal grief ... I'm pretty sure that it is only by experiencing that ocean of sadness in a naked and immediate way that we come to be healed - which is to say, that we come to experience life."
  • "I understand just enough about life to understand that I do not understand much of anything."
  • "Where there is ruin, there is hope for a treasure." -Rumi
  • "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." - hahahaha. so true.
  • "We in our faith work - stumble along toward where we think we're supposed to go, bumbling along, and here is what's so amazing - we end up getting exactly where we're supposed to be."
  • "Nietzsche said that he could only believe in a God who would dance, and I feel the same way." -me too. :)
  • "The world sometimes feels like the waiting room of the emergency ward and that we who are more or less okay for now need to take the tenderest possible care of the more wounded people in the waiting room, until the healer comes. You sit with people, you bring them juice and crackers."
  • "Again and again I tell God I need help, and God says 'Well, isn't that fabulous? Because I need help too. So you go get that woman over there some water, and I'll figure out what we're going to do about your stuff." :)
  • "The road to enlightenment is long and difficult ... and you should try not to forget snacks and magazines."
  • "Grace is having a commitment to - or at least an acceptance of - being ineffective and foolish."
  • "I think I already understand about life = pretty good, some problems." -Sam Lamott @ age 7
  • "I believe that when all is said and done, all you can do is show up for someone in crisis, which seems so inadequate. But then when you do, it can radically change everything. Your there-ness ... can be live-giving. So you come to keep them company when it feels like the whole world is falling apart and your being there says that just for this moment, this one tiny piece of the world is okay, or at least better."
  • " ... a person being herself is beautiful - that contentment and acceptance and freedom are beautiful."
  • "Ugliness is creeping around in fear."
  • "It's what we DO in families: we help, because we were helped."
  • "Let the beauty we love be what we do." -Rumi ..... I also think me and Rumi would have been good friends.
  • "Because Christianity is ABOUT water: 'Everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters.' It's about baptism, for God's sake. It's about full immersion, about falling into something elemental and wet. Most of what we do in worldly life is geared toward our staying dry, looking good, not going under. But in baptism, in lakes and rain and tanks and founts, you agree to do something that's a little sloppy because at the same time it's also holy and absurd. It's about SURRENDER, giving in to all those things we can't control; it's a willingness to let go of balance and decorum and get drenched."
  • "This is the most profound spiritual truth I know: that even when we're most sure that love can't conquer all, it seems to anyway. It goes down into the rathole with us, in the guise of our friends and there is swells and comforts. It gives us our 2nd winds, 3rd winds, hundredth winds."

Love. and glad to be reading with you!

Final Thoughts on Traveling Mercies

I forgot to ask this in my last post, but I would love to know everyone's final thoughts on Traveling Mercies! I know there are some of you who have read and been following, but aren't posting. I would encourage you to do so. It really is cool to read everyone's different thoughts and perspectives. I know it seems like it takes a long time, but a normal post takes me about 5 minutes. So, you can do it! Post away my friends!!

So what did YOU think of Traveling Mercies?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Help

ok, so apparently this book is the best book ever....... I wouldn't know because I actually don't have the book in my possession yet, but here is how I know it has to be good....

there is a 55 person wait list to get the book at my library and they have 8 copies! 55!! 55 PEOPLE - that would take me over a year to get to read it.

Then, I posted on my facebook to see if I could borrow it and I already had a friend who is going to bring it to church on Sunday for me to borrow and she says its amazing!!

SOOOO excited to read it....good choice Joanna!

Monday, May 3, 2010

April is Over, May is Here!

I finished Traveling Mercies last night. I am so glad that I read this book. I just loved it. It's definitely a book I would read again, which is saying a lot. I generally don't re-read books because I don't really feel any need to, but this book had so many nuggets of wisdom in it that I don't feel like I got it all the first time. But what I did glean, I loved. Anne Lamott is insightful and hilarious, all in the same breath. I'd be cracking up and then the next sentence I'm grabbing my pencil and underlining like crazy. I just wish I had an ounce of the wisdom and insight that she has. Although I'm sure she wouldn't say that she has either of those characteristics, I find her ability to draw spiritual connections between and out of regular life events uncanny. I definitely envy that.

Anytime I read a memoir of Anne Lamott's nature, I find myself questioning myself. The other day I was reading the blog Stuff Christians Like, and Jon Acuff (the author) was talking about people's various "things". He proposed that everyone has a "thing" that when he/she does it, he/she feels alive and like he/she is really doing something big. However, he also posits that very few people are actually doing their "thing". Anne Lamott is definitely doing her "thing." And if she's not, I am extremely jealous, because she is such an incredible writer. But it made me think, am I doing my "thing"? I realize this is kind of a rabbit trail from the actual book, but it's what this book made me think, so I'm going there today.

If I'm not doing my "thing", what exactly is my "thing"? Is it problematic that I don't think I can answer that question? As much as I'd like to, I'm not sure what my "thing" is. But I desperately want to know, and I desperately want to be doing that.

Sometimes, I think I'd love to write, but I don't think I have what it takes. Other days, I really think I'd love to go into politics. And then I don't think I have what it takes. Then again, I really am interested in psychology, and maybe that's my "thing", but again, I don't know if I have what it takes. On the other hand, I'd love to live somewhere outside of the USA and do missions work. But then I remember I have a husband. :)

And then I remember. I have the Holy Spirit inside of me. God is inside of me. So why do I ever question if I have what it takes? Why don't I just stop making excuses and DO??

And what if we all did that? What if we all thought about what our thing is, stopped making excuses, and then just did it? Probably some of you are thinking that you are doing your thing, and I'm sure you love it. But just think- what if all of humanity, or even the majority of humanity, was actually doing what they love. What they want to do, rather than what's practical, or earns them the most money. What would life be like?

I'd like to see it. And I'd really like to see it just in my own life.