Sunday, February 25, 2007

She sews too

I recently decided to start sewing again. I used to sew about 8 years ago. I still consider myself a beginner. I started a sewing blog to post about what I'm sewing. I decided not to make up a fancy name, just your basic Eileen's Sewing Journal.

I'm hoping to do some crocheting today - what else can you do on a day like this (well yeah, you can read of course):

Sorry about the lack of crocheting posts. I probably should have named this blog "MostlyBooksAndALittleBitOfHooks". :-)

Friday, February 23, 2007

So Many Books!

I don't like to read more than one book at a time. Often I will have a fiction and a non-fiction book going at the same time, but I don't really like to do that. I tend to read the fiction book 98% of the time and only pick up the non-fiction occasionally. The exception would be books like my current read, The Innocent Man by John Grisham, or a really good biography or memoir, but if it's a Christian living or parenting or other such book, it takes me forever to read it if I have a fiction book going at the same time.

So what happened? You'll notice I have 7 books in progress right now (one is a magazine). I also have 2 fiction books waiting to be started, At the Scent of Water by Linda Nichols, and I Love Claire by Tracey Bateman. I can't let myself start either one of them until I finish up at least 2 or 3 of the other ones I have started. Yikes, I just remembered I have another book coming any day now from, A Mother's Rule of Life* by Holly Pierlot, and 2 holds at the library which could come in anytime - Stop Dressing Your Six-year-old Like a Skank : and other words of delicate Southern wisdom by Celia Rivenbark and When Crickets Cry by Charles Martin.

So many books, so little time.

*I saw this book recommended here at The Common Room blog and it sounded like something that might help me to get my house in order, both physically and spiritually. I'm not Catholic but she says you don't have to be to appreciate this book. Oh that word "sloth" sure is convicting for me. I hardly ever buy books but they don't have this one at my library and on a whim I just went ahead and ordered it.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


I finished Scoop by Rene Gutteridge yesterday afternoon just in time for my book club last night. This is the second book that I chose for our club, that both my sister and I loved and the other members.....well not so much. :-) What's up with that? (FYI, the other book was Home to Harmony by Philip Gulley which was a reread for me. The Harmony series books are some of my favorite books of all time! I think both the Harmony books and Scoop are funny books with a message and I like that.)

The message that I took from the book is about sharing my faith. There is one character in the book, Hayden Hazard, who is more bold about sharing. She will come right out and tell you she is praying for you, she did not hide the fact that she was praying at times, things like that. Another character, Ray Duffey, is also a Christian and people know he is, but beyond that he doesn't really say anything about his faith. While I may never be as bold as Hayden, I don't want people to just know I'm a Christian because they heard me talking about going to church or something, but otherwise I look no different than the next guy. What about my life tells others about the love of God and salvation in Jesus Christ? Something I've often pondered.

One of the funny lines - when things are going crazy, Ray is falling apart and Hayden is her usual calm "trusting God" self. Ray says to her,

"Look, Hayden, you're an extraordinary person, okay? I recognize that, and so do half the people here at the station. You live your faith. You believe God, you take him at his Word. I'm not like you, though, okay. I have doubts. Lots of them. Almost all of the time. Yes, I pray and go to church and read my Bible. But sometimes I shake my fist at God. It's not the picture of peace, I realize, and I certainly make no claims of wearing the armor of God. I'm lucky if I can get the underwear of decency on, all right?"
I can really relate to Ray. :-)

I rate this book 4/5. I also loved her Boo series: Boo, Boo Hoo, and Boo Hiss.


Other books read recently:

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne 4/5

Clay's Quilt by Silas House 3.5/5 (I thought I saw this book in the CBD catalog, but once I started reading it, ummm, no didn't hear about it there. Lots of swearing, lots of drinking and honky-tonkin', but not really objectionable, they were a real part of the story. There were Christians in the book who were loved and respected and portrayed in a very good light. I thought it was a very good book and I'd like to read more by this author.)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

I stayed up late last night to finish The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards. I really liked the book a lot. The ending was just okay, although I don't know what the author could have done to make it better.

I found a typo at the beginning of the book, page 11. "More nervous than his in first anatomy class...." Shouldn't that read "More nervous than IN HIS first anatomy class..."? Hmmmmm. I forgot to mention I found a typo in The Secret Life of Becky Miller also. It was a word (don't remember what) that had a number in the middle of it. Weird.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, February 12, 2007

How many men read books?

My husband, Jay, and I were talking yesterday about how many men read books - including general non-fiction, biographies, novels, etc. I said maybe 2 out of 10 and he thought less. He named 8 guys he knows including himself and only one of them (not him, sigh) reads books. Jay likes to read the newspaper online, articles online, and magazines such as Business Week. But he rarely reads a book.
What do you think?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

With Love, Libby

With Love, Libby is the fifth and last book in the Coming Home to Brewster series by Roxanne Henke. The five books in order are After Anne, Finding Ruth, Becoming Olivia, Always Jan, and With Love, Libby. Funny I liked them all except Finding Ruth. I'm not sure why but I couldn't get into that one.

I'm not good at writing reviews so I will just share some of the truths about our walk with God and our relationships with each other that were reinforced to me through this book.
  • Be humble and admit when you're wrong.
  • Show mercy and compassion toward others when they are caught in a sin.
  • Respond with love and not anger when someone you love disappoints you.
  • The importance of communication with our loved ones, don't let things unspoken come between you
  • Allow your children to make their own mistakes, to live out their own dreams and not what you think their dreams should be
  • Don't force them into your mold.
  • You will just push your children away if you do the above, and no one "wins", you will both be hurt.
These are all things we all already know, but I love when things like this are fleshed out in a book and really speak to my heart and encourage me to be a better person.

I don't think the plot is totally original but I like the way the book is written and I really cared about the characters. In the book, Olivia (Libby) is writing a letter to Anne (who has passed away) and when I read the final words from Libby to Anne, "With Love, Libby" I got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. I could just feel the love and deep friendship that Libby still has in her heart for Anne.

Roxanne has a website and a new book out called The Secret of Us. I haven't read it yet.

I highly recommend this book and the whole series. Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Blue Like Jazz

I finished Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller a few days ago. I don't have much to say about it. It started out okay but after awhile I was just reading it to finish it. Honestly I'm not quite sure what the point of the book is. I'm not quite sure what he was trying to say half the time. There were a few good quotes, one that convicted me was:

"If we are not willing to wake up in the morning and die to ourselves, perhaps we should ask ourselves whether or not we are really following Jesus."

That's about all I have to say about the book. I give it a 2/5.

Next post: a review of With Love, Libby by Roxanne Henke

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Non-Fiction Five

Yea! My first reading challenge! I just started my blog last month and I've been dying to get in on a challenge (I'm easily amused, LOL). I am happy to be a part of the Non-Fiction Five Challenge hosted by Joy at "Thoughts of Joy".

The challenge is to read 5 non-fiction books, one each month from May to September. We are supposed to vary the type of non-fiction books we are reading and stretch ourselves a little. I'll do my best on both counts. The thing is if I try to stretch myself too far then I'll be miserable trying to finish a book that I don't care for.

Here are my tentative 5 choices:

Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell
Winterdance by Gary Paulson
Dear Exile by Hilary Liftin
Word Freak by Stefan Fatsis
How to Help a Grieving Friend by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Other possible choices are:

The Darwin Awards by Wendy Northcutt
An Innocent, a Broad by Ann Leary
Candy Freak by Steve Almond

I Shouldn't Even Be Doing This by Bob Newhart
Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza
Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak

Reading Day

Before I had the girls, when Ben was old enough to be able to read and keep himself occupied, we used to have "Reading Day". It started out to be me, my husband, Ben, and my sister Ginny. After one or two reading days it ended up to be mostly me and Ginny. Every few months we would designate a Saturday for reading. We made special treats, put on comfy clothes, got out our blankets and settled in with our books. We usually started mid-morning and ended in the evening with a trip to Barnes & Noble, with a little more reading at home afterward before ending the wonderful day. So much fun! Well it's impossible now to do something exactly like that now that I have a 3 year old and a 1 year old!

I finally decided it was time to do it again, modified a little. Instead of having it here at my house, I went to Ginny's house. (She's single with no kids, human ones anyway. She has 2 kitties though!) Instead of having it last all day, it was from about 10:30 - 5:00. We didn't go to Barnes and Noble at the end (too cold anyway!). But all in all it was WONDERFUL!!! I really needed that break, and I even took a little nap too. :-)

I read The Message Bible, Blue Like Jazz, and With Love, Libby. We took a little break for lunch and another to talk about the Super Bowl* and what teams we like and don't like. Of course we're die-hard Packer fans! We agreed that the 3 teams we absolutely cannot stand are the Vikings, the Patriots, and the Broncos. Okay so I'm still holding a grudge against the Broncos because they beat the Packers in the Super Bowl 9 years ago. What can I say.

Anyway back to Reading Day. In 2006 we both had a book lovers tear off calendar . We saved all the pages and then yesterday we went through them all and decided which ones we want to read and which ones we don't. We have no timeline in mind for reading these, it will probably take us years to get through them all.

So that was Reading Day! I hope to do these every few months and eventually my daughters can join in.

*Go Colts! Down with Da Bears! LOL

Friday, February 2, 2007

The Secret Life of Becky Miller

Yesterday I finished The Secret Life of Becky Miller by Sharon Hinck. I really enjoyed it! Becky Miller is a young mom of 3 who wants to be "super mom" and do big things for God but feels like she's failing. Things are falling apart around her: her husband loses his job, things don't work out like she had hoped in the women's ministry at church she started, the washing machine breaks down, the baby is sick. The author does a good job of realistically showing the struggles and joys of a stay-at-home-mom.

Several excerpts from the books:

Once when her husband tells her at the last minute that he won't be able to make it home for dinner, she says "Never mind. I'll handle things. I always do." I couldn't believe those sarcastic words shot past my lips." Ummm.....I've mumbled those words under my breath a few times. LOL

"I cherished every moment with my email. Kevin called it an addiction." No comment from me necessary!

"This probably wasn't the best time to bring up my yearning for another new baby in the house. Crazy to contemplate, when our house bulged at the seams and my fatigue stretched to the limit. Yet each child amazed me, and I often wondered what a fourth would be like. "Financially we can't afford to adopt again (pregnancy would take a miracle), hubby would never agree to it, and I don't know that I want any more children anyway. I am pretty content and thankful for my 3. But, I think there will always be that wondering and that longing for one more child. Anyway, Becky Miller is only 30....I'm 42. :-)

Toward the end of the book when things come to a head for Becky, her friends try to help her, sort of like Job. She describes the different types of comforters:

Pity Pats: One elderly woman rested a hand on my head and sad, "You poor dear." Her soft tone was overlaid with condescension and the subtext, "I'm so glad it's you and not me."

Comparing Cathys: "Becky, I was thinking of you all week. I know exactly how you must feel. I had a broken toe once, and it was excruciating."

Lecturing Linda: "You should really drive down to the Mayo Clinic. They have the best doctors" etc.

I think sometimes what we need in times of crisis is someone to listen and cry with us and not try to have all the answers.

So those are my thoughts on the book. I would recommend it, and give it a 4 out of 5. There's a sequel called Renovating Becky Miller. I'm looking forward to it!

Next post: Reading Day tomorrow! More on that soon!