Friday, February 27, 2009

The Coalwood Way

I've finished my first book for the LOST Books Challenge, The Coalwood Way by Homer Hickam.

To read my review go here.

Or check it out in my 2009 Reading List book reviews.


I still have no computer....and no word from the tech guys either. Ughhhhh!

Blogging in the spare moments in the evenings when I have access to the laptop. Double ughhhhh!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Jeremy Bentham

Once again I came away from this episode feeling like the writers wasted a good opportunity for some suspense. The music and the lead up to John's discovery on the island was so suspenseful that it was almost like they forgot that they already showed us that John was back in the previews from last week. They really need to stop giving so much away. (I can't believe I'm saying that.)

Actually they did answer quite a few questions this week. Mostly about where John was and what he was up to before his untimely death. We found out that the "exit" from the island is in Tunisia. We found out how John got the name "Jeremy Bentham" and how he found the Oceanic Six. But most of all we found out that I WAS RIGHT! I totally predicted (in this post about the Jughead episode) that Ben replaced Whidmore as the leader of the Island. I've never predicted anything correctly on this show before. WoooHooo!

Of course we were still left with lots of new questions. The biggest one being, why did Ben kill John after saving his life? Was he just trying to get information out of him? Did he need to find out about Jin, or the freighter, or Eloise Hawking before could kill him? Or was it the mere revelation that John knew about Mrs. Hawking that pushed Ben over the edge and he never really went there with any intention of killing him before that? I've given up trying to predict what is going through Ben's head.

So now they are all back on the island, including some strangers who were on the plane and Ceasar and Alana. Is Ceasar the new Jack? Does that make Alana the new Kate? It's hard to believe that they can still be introducing new characters at this point, but now John has a whole new crew to confuse and frustrate with his mystical talk about being, not just special, but now actually risen from the dead. Was it Ceasar, with his newly found shotgun, that was shooting at Sawyer and the gang as they paddled the boat in the rain? That is starting to seem sort of likely.

Random thoughts:

It was nice to see Walt again, although I thought he lost some of his acting ability as he grew up.

Was it Kate that took the boat with Lapidis? That seems strange. I would think that Kate and Jack would be pretty much inseperable.

Who are the sides in this war that is coming to the Island? Is it Ben vs. Whidmore?

I was thrilled to see that the Island did not treat Ben special in any way. He crashed in that plane like any other regular guy. Yes! He deserves it.

In the scenes from next week:

Sawyer seeing Kate again after what? 4 days? GAG!

I think Charlotte may be back from the dead already.

The burlap head dresses have returned. Oh how we've missed them.
For more LOST theories and questions head over to the LOST Books Challenge and follow the links.

Better Late Than Never

Brian and I finally had time to celebrate Valentine's Day this weekend. Things were just way too busy for us to have our traditional gourmet meal and movie at home on the actual holiday so we had to postpone it a week.

Of course the kids could not imagine a Valentine's Day without their traditional "love" breakfast (even though Grandma had brought them Krispy Kremes). So we did manage to get the heartshaped pancakes and strawberry milk made and the hand-made cards delivered on Feb. 14th before we had to leave for all of our other activities. (Credit goes to Brian for the creative plating.)

For our celebration Brian grilled New York Strip Steak, while I made Ultimate Twice Baked Potatoes, green beans in Browned Butter Balsamic Sauce, and homemade whole wheat rolls. We drank some sparkling grape juice that has been aging in our cabinet for over a year and then used my brand new blow torch to finish off some beautiful Creme Brulee for dessert.

It was a DELICIOUS meal and we were thoroughly stuffed. I had to buy the steaks for about $10 and a bottle of balsamic vinegar for about $3.50, but other than that I had everything I needed on hand. The kids were upstairs watching a movie (they ate fish sticks earlier) so we didn't need a babysitter, and we rented the movie for $1.50. $15 for a Valentine's celebration is not bad.

Of course we ate at our seldom used dining room table by candlelight and used the china and crystal that only sees the light of day two or three times a year. After dinner we watched a movie and I gave Brian his gift.....a homemade giant chocolate kiss filled with his favorite flavor of all time.....Oreo. (Look for step-by-step directions for making the Kiss right here on my blog next Tuesday).

I almost like celebrating like this better than going out.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Manic Monday

Friday, February 20, 2009


I immediately thought of John 3:16 when I saw the title of this episode. After watching it I can see that the scripture may have indeed been the reference intended. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with John Locke being set up as a Jesus figure, though. Here are my thoughts on the show:

Let me get this straight: Christian substitutes for Jacob and John substitutes for Christian? Weird triangle there. Also, I assume that Hugo has a guitar case on the plane to make up for Charlie not being there and Sayid is in handcuffs with an armed escort to make up for the fact that Kate is now free. But why is Ben there? He doesn't fit in at all. Of course maybe he didn't get off of the Ajira jet either.

Interesting that Lapidis is back....although I'm not sure that I would have recognized him without hearing his name first. He looked SO different without his beard and long scruffy hair. I hope he is happy that he finally gets his chance to fly a doomed aircraft...although things didn't turn out too well for the first pilot.

I found it telling that Hurley was the only one concerned about keeping other people off of the plane that he was pretty sure would crash. Jack worried about them but only after they were already on the plane. Of course, Ben didn't care.

Which leads me to the stupidest line of the night: Jack asking Mrs. Hawking about Ben, "Is he telling the truth?"

And the dumbest statement of the night: Mrs. Hawking telling everyone, "I apologize if this is confusing."

So, is the "very clever fellow" Mrs. Hawking refers to, Daniel Farraday? And was it just me or was Eloise completely unsurprised and unconcerned that her son was on the island and in danger?

So why did Ben lie about his mother? Or was it jsut a figure of speech/a joke? And what in the world happened to him? My theory is that he somehow got Sayid arrested and deported to Guam while simultaneously busting Hurley out of jail. That would be impossible for most people but Ben could do it with one hand tied behind his back.

The biggest mystery of the night has to be what happened to Aaron and why did Kate let him go? I'm pretty sure he is with Claire's mom, but you never know.

Note to Jack: Getting your Sunday School lessons from Ben is probably not a good idea.

Note to ABC: Please make the entire show and scenes from next week fit within the 64 minute window that Tivo and DVR standardly record. It is REALLY disappointing to miss the last few seconds every week.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Liar, Liar.......

I've mentioned before that our house is just one big list of projects. Well, that applies to our yard/pasture too. (It was a pasture that we put our house in the middle of and started mowing...therefore magically transforming it into a "yard". Sounds lovely doesn't it?)

Anyway, one of the problems we have in our backyard is wild blackberries. The canes are overtaking our yard by two feet a year. Those things multiply faster than rabbits and they are a lot harder to mow over. (Sorry, that's gross, I know.) We love the blackberries, but we are missing the use of a large portion of our yard.

We finally got sick of it and took some action. We got out the matches and lighter fluid and got to work. We lit fires all through the briar patch and watched them roar. The only problem is that they burnt everything but the blackberry canes (which Brian reminded me are not dead, but just dormant for the winter, despite their dry, brown appearance). At that point (with all of the weeds, leaves and sticks burnt off) we had to resort to using large pruning shears to cut each and every cane off at ground level by hand. Not fun.

We worked for about 8 hours and cleared three-quarters of the area that we wanted to. It was slow work, standing in the midst of the fires cutting off the canes and dragging them out to a pile with the rake, but it made a huge difference. We came through the day with sore backs and arms, and smelling like smoke, but otherwise unscathed....well mostly.

At one point I looked through the smoke and saw Brian doing a little dance in the midst of the briar patch. Apparently his pant leg was on fire. He was frantically trying to stomp on his left pant leg with his right foot, but every time he thought he had the fire out it would flare up again. He finally resorted to standing on a portion of the burnt denim and yanking up his left leg in order to rip off the burning portion. Of course I was very helpfully laughing.....while standing at a safe distance from the mini wildfires. Upon further examination he discovered that his boot laces had been burnt through too.
When I asked him how he realized that his pants were on fire he said, "Well, my leg was getting really hot."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A Note to My Readers

.....all 3 of you.

The hard drive on my home computer crashed yesterday....which means I cannot publish anything on my blog until Brian gets home from work in the evening with his laptop.

Sorry for the daily delays. Hopefully I'll be up and running again soon.

Healthy and Delicious

I have a great recipe for an easy, healthy dish.

I call it Lettuce Wraps.

Here are the ingredients:

brown rice, cooked according to package directions
diced green pepper
shredded chicken, cooked
corn, cooked
black beans, drained
diced onion
diced avocado
lime juice

Just mix all of the ingredients together, using the lime juice just to help everything stay fresh and the salsa for flavor and moisture. You can use as little or as much of each ingredient as you like, but the idea is to have a nice mixture that can be plopped in to the middle of a nice green leaf of lettuce and rolled up.

It really is very delicious and healthy. Enjoy!

For more great recipes check out the In Season Recipe Swap at Tammy's Recipes.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Manic Monday

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

Hebrews 12:2
"Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter
of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross,
scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
I've always assumed that the "joy set before him" was Heaven. Perfect communion with God. Forever. Isn't that the joy set before all of us? But in a sermon at church recently I gained a new perspective.

What was Jesus' joy that was set before him? Why did he endure the pain of the cross? What didn't he have before his death that he could have because of his death? The answer is: YOU. He couldn't look forward to being with you in heaven for all eternity until he paid the price to wipe out your sin and mine.
Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

This Place is Death...(or The Return of Old Smokey)


We finally see some more of the smoke monster. He has been suspiciously absent for a season or two. He made his return in fine style by dismembering one of Danielle's friends and driving the rest of them insane. I do think it is interesting that even though Jin was there (and he wasn't the first time this happened to Danielle's group) the result was the same. It seems to be confirming what Mrs. Hawking told cannot change what will happen. "The universe has a way of course correcting." Desmond could prevent Charlie's death a dozen times but in the end Charlie had to die one way or the other. They same seems to be true here. Danielle and her baby had to end up alone on that island with the others.

Jin did learn a valuable lesson, that Sayid could have warned him about had they been at the same place in time: Never approach Danielle when she has a gun in her hands. She just shot her husband/boyfriend. She's not gonna hesitate to shoot a crazy disappearing Korean.

I was surprised that it didn't take long for Jin to end up back with everyone else. I kind of expected that story line to go on a little longer. How did Jin know Charlotte spoke Korean? Could he just tell that she was understanding what he said or has he met her somewhere before? Now that I think about it, they have met before on the island and she did translate for him, right?

I almost cried when Jin told John to tell Sun he was dead....but then 10 minutes later we realize that she is never going to hear that message, so no big deal. I felt like that was kind of a waste of suspense. We all would have been on pins and needles if Sun was getting conflicting messages about whether Jin was alive or dead and trying to decide whether or not to return to the island. Won't Sun's daughter have to go too? She was after all on the island?

It was interesting to see that Charlotte got a personality and became quite lovable on her deathbed. I've never been really thrilled with her character but I really liked her for the last 7 minutes before she died. I still think the relationship between Charlotte and Daniel is not romantic, but instead is familial. I just don't know in what way, yet. I do feel like they may be brother and sister. In her delirium (or time travel or whatever) she said, "Why can't Danny come with us?" as if she were a little girl asking if her little brother could tag along. I don't know. Her mother definitely lived on the island and her Dad is a horrible that fits with Eloise and Whidmore. We shall see, I guess.

Which brings me to Eloise. Was there anyone out there still wondering if she was Daniel's mother and the woman who understands the "windows"? They seemed to make it all suspenseful and dramatic with lots of crazy music, but really, was anyone surprised? I think we all pretty much knew that Eloise, Mrs. Hawking, Daniel's mother, and petite-British-girl-with-rifle were all one in the same. I'm glad they have found her though, and that we might get some more information about time travel now. I'm completely terrified that Desmond will go back to the island.

As John lay in the well with a really gross compound fracture of his leg, and we heard someone coming, Brian and I guessed Richard? Whidmore? Ben? Mrs. Hawking?, but we never suspected Christian Shepherd! Wow. (Actually Brian did guess Jacob, but he didn't know it would be Christian that showed up.) So are Christian and Jacob one and the same or is dead Dr. Shepherd just the body that Jacob is currently using? Maybe Jacob is the smoke monster and he kills people so that he can use their bodies...or in this case he conveniently finds a dead body that drops on to his island and inhabits it? Just a thought.

Here are some other random thoughts I had last night:

Wouldn't you love to have time travel to save you from dangerous situations? Mugger approaching you in a dark alley? Time travel to a beach in Tahiti. Half-crazed, dehydrated, pregnant French woman shooting at you? Travel forward in time 20 years to reunite with all of your friends. Must be nice.

I really hope someone has the pleasure of shooting Ben right between the eyes before this show goes off the air. If for no other reason than he always has to be so cryptic and secretive. Why can't he just sit everyone down and explain it all from the beginning?!!

Best line of the night:

Charlotte: Just Klingon. (in response to Daniel's query about how many other languages she speaks). Star Trek fans everywhere were rejoicing, let me tell you.

Best scene from next week: Jack and Kate kissing. Yes!!

If you want to read more thoughts and theories check out the links at the LOST Books blog.

Only 365 More Days

That's right. Only 365 days until the Olympic torch burns once again over the world's athletes...and I get bed sores from sitting in front of the TV for 527 hours straight.

Can't wait!

You can count down with me by watching the widget on my sidebar.

Whoooo Hooooo!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Battle of the Sexes

Last night as Kinley hugged me before bed she said, "Ahhhh, my Mommy," just like she always does. But instead of saying my line, "Ahhhh, my Kinley, " I teased her and said, "I'm not Mommy. I'm Daddy." That really got her going.

She giggled and playfully argued with me for a few seconds about the fact that I really was "Mommy". Finally she switched tactics and said,

K: You Mommy. You a gur. (girl)

M: That's right, I'm a girl.

K: And me a gur.

M: Ok, we can be girls together.

At this point she stooped over, put her hands on her knees and kind of gave a little moan. Then she said with a sigh,

"My back hurts."

Because that's what girls say around here.

I about threw my back out laughing.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Homemade vs. Store-Bought

I love Fiber One bars. They make a great breakfast along with a mug of hot tea. Unfortunately my husband and kids have discovered their yummy chewy goodness too. Which of course means that a box lasts about 6 hours in our house and they are now no longer worth the expense.

In order to give my kids something healthy and cheap to wolf down I went on a search for homemade granola bar recipes. I found several options on and decided to use these two:

Both recipes were very easy to make and tasted great. The kids were skeptical at first because the finished product doesn't look exactly like the store-bought bars, but once they tasted them they were hooked.

The recipes are also very flexible and it is easy to sneak in some wheat germ or flax seed. The chocolate chips can be replaced with dried fruits, seeds and nuts. But best of all these chewy bars can be made for just a few cents each!

I also decided that I could probably make mini whole wheat bagels for a fraction of the cost of buying them at the store. Brian and I like to eat those for breakfast too. The recipe I found (at Tammy's Recipes) used bread flour, so I just replaced a couple of cups with wheat flour. They came out delicious and were also pretty easy to make.

The hardest thing about making your own bagels is getting them nice and smooth. These are my two best attempts.

But this is what the rest of them looked like.

Not very appetizing I know.....but they really were super delicious.

I think next time I will try cutting my dough into the small pieces to be shaped into bagels instead of just pulling off a portion. That might help them stay a little smoother. Either way they tasted great and cost very little. We've been eating them for a week now.

For more great recipes and tips visit Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy's Recipes .

Monday, February 9, 2009

Manic Monday

I just had to let you know about the most recent product offered by

Just in time for Valentine's Day this weekend they have their whole collection of "Bittersweets" available. You can read all about them below.

For most, there is no crueler day of the calendar year than that of Valentine's Day. While a tiny fraction of the population can look forward to a holiday of wine and roses, poetry and song, the vast majority of us can anticipate a day of nausea and grimacing, trauma and grief. A day in which minutes seem like hours, and hours like days, as we reflect sorrowfully on yesteryear's romantic indignities, today's loneliness, and the unknowable but certain heartbreak that will be visited upon us repeatedly in the years to come.

When cruelty and holidays collide, the weak-willed find solace in self-pity and comfort foods. And now, Despair Inc. is pleased to announce that we've combined BOTH into a radical new offering. Introducing Bittersweets® - The Valentine's Candy for the Rest of Us.

Like the ubiquitous candy conversation hearts, Bittersweets® are made of flavored, chalky-tasting sugar and sport a message on their face. But unlike other candy hearts, ours are stamped with bitter musings and mockeries perfectly suited to the dejected spirits of those who will spend the holiday alone, or wishing they were. Messages recalling an almost forgotten, unbearably painful memory of being dumped. Or perhaps of a dysfunctional, psychotic ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Or of that cruel-hearted girl (or boy) in elementary school who rejected your valentine solicitations, informing you that Jake (or Holly) was "so totally way hotter."

Now available in THREE unique collections- "Dejected", "Dysfunctional", and "Dumped"- with each featuring up to 37 unique sayings each!

"Dejected" sayings include:

"Dysfunctional" sayings include:

"Dumped" sayings include:

Truly, Bittersweets® are the perfect gift for you OR for someone you love, especially if that special someone is one who doesn't want to hurt your feelings but just doesn't feel that way about you but still wants to be friends so they can torment you with stories about their crushes on someone who doesn't appreciate them like you do, can't love them like you can, and actually takes pleasure in corralling a herd of fawning "just friends" behind themselves as they indulge in one self-destructive relationship after another, with no hope of ever finding true love, despite an army of souls eager to lavish it upon them.

(You know what we're talking about.)

Supplies are limited. But the pain that accompanies them may not be.

Available in six different flavors, including: Banana Chalk, Grape Dust, Nappy-Citric, You-Call-This-Lime?, Pink Sand and Fossilized Antacid.

I am personally anticipating a 4 year old's birthday party on Valentine's Day. So I think I'll order a set of "UC My Blog?" in Fossilized Antacid for the occasion.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Jin Again

Is it just me or was last night's episode somewhat...predictable? (...a word I have never used in referring to LOST before, I must say.)

I don't think anyone was surprised that Claire's mom was in the hotel room or that the lawyer works for Ben. (Although that does raise the question of what Ben has to do with Claire's mom, if anything.) Also no shock that the french kids in the life raft were Danielle and her crew or that the male nurse was secretly an assassin out to dart Sayid yet again.

However, in true LOST style, we are left with a few new mysteries.

Who was in the boat shooting at Sawyer and the gang as they paddled around the island?
Does Sun have some reason (other than the glaringly obvious ones) to kill Ben?
Will Daniel be able to stop all of the nosebleeds?
How is Locke going to die?
Has Miles been on the island before? How? How many times?

I don't expect the answers to most of these for quite some time, but we'll see.

I was thrilled to see Jin alive. It should be interesting to see how a Korean who doesn't know anything about the time travel thing and a bunch of French kids that slowly go crazy and die are going to interact and communicate. Judging from the scenes from next week Ben is still in touch with what is going on back on the island and will prove to Sun that Jin is alive. (Flashback to when we thought he had been killed on the beach because Jack was beating Ben to pulp.)

I still feel like the Daniel/Charlotte relationship is going to have some surprises in it. When she woke up from her time travelling coma and heard his name she blossomed like a rose. Something is going on there. It may be brother/sister or boyfriend/girlfriend or mad scientist/unfortunate lab rat. We'll see.

I missed Desmond and Penny this week. Unfortunately with characters scattered throughout the world, and the space-time continuum, it is hard to get everyone in one episode. I hope we get back to the Mrs. Hawking storyline next week.

Most exciting event of the night: Juliette's nosebleed! (My husband is totally infatuated with her so......I kind of hate her.) I thought he might cry when she started hemorrhaging. :)

I feel sorry for the actors that now have to live and shoot their scenes in Los Angeles instead of Hawaii. What a bummer. See, there are perks to staying on the island...even if you do have to get a few nosebleeds now and then.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Stick 'Em Up

What is the deal with little girls and stickers?

Kinley is no longer content to simply color, draw or paint. Now all of her beautiful artwork must be adorned with as many stickers as I'll allow....usually right on top of each other and covering everything she just drew.

Having boys, this is a new experience for me. Cainan was never interested in stickers and Ryker was (is) downright afraid of them. You should have seen the look of terror that came in to his eyes every time a Wal-Mart greeter came at him with one of those little yellow smiley faces. The first day of Kindergarten I thought he was going to start crying when he found out that when he turned his very first paper in to his teacher she was going to give him a sticker. I had to go up to her desk with him and explain that he didn't want to turn his paper in if he was going to have to wear a sticker. Weird kid.

You know, when I think back on it, my sister and I were kind of obsessed with stickers as kids too. (Remember Critter Sitters and all of the stickers you could collect? Yeah, I never had one of those :() Jill and I never really had fun, girly, kid stickers but my Dad got lots of bumper stickers and we got to play with those. I still have a bedside table (covered in a table cloth, of course) that I put a "Reagan 80" sticker on 29 years ago. My sister had an old banged up dresser that was so bad my parents even let her put stickers on it. The middle drawer had a big grain bin warning label on it and a few pesticide advertisements too.

As a matter of fact the only reason that we have any stickers around here for Kinley to play with is because I always used them when I was teaching and I had a bunch left over when I quit. All "A" papers got a sticker...making it apparent to the recipient and everyone else in the room that this was a good job. High school kids love stickers as much as the next person. Some of them would peel them off and keep them in their folders as a kind of tally sheet of "A's". Some kids that were never going to get an "A" would beg for stickers for improved performance or perfect attendance. Sticker love is pretty universal, I guess....except for my son, of course.

My sister-in-law, Alyssa, loved her stickers too. When Brian and I were first dating Alyssa was 5 years old. I went with Brian to run some errands. One of the things we had to do was pick up their big console tv from the repair place. We went in to this place that was just floor to ceiling tvs. You could barely walk through the paths in the tvs. Brian said, "Which tv is ours?" I looked at him like, "You're kidding, right?" He said, "Think about it." Sure enough, I found it. It was the one with the big Smurf sticker right on the front.

I guess Kinley is just entering into one more phase of girlhood that I had forgotten even existed. As long as she keeps the stickers on the coloring books and off of the furniture I'm fine with it.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Chicken, Corn & Lima Bean Stew

When it's cold outside soup is the perfect meal. Especially a soup you can make in the crockpot. This yummy stew is one of our favorites.

Chicken, Corn and Lima Bean Stew

1 can (26 oz.) diced tomatoes

1/4 cup tomato paste

3 T. Worcestershire sauce

1 T. minced garlic

1 1/2 t. each ground cumin and dried oregano

2 cups diced onion

1 large green pepper, diced

2 cups each frozen corn and baby lima beans

1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken, cooked

4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled

I like to boil an entire chicken and then just pull off the meat I want in the stew. You can cook your chicken however you like.

After you've cooked the chicken you can start adding ingredients to the crockpot. Add the liquids and spices first. Stir well, until combined. Add remaining ingredients, except bacon, and stir well. Cook on low for 7 to 8 hours. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Serves 5

I clipped this recipe from a magazine years ago. It had the nutritional info printed with it so I'll give you that too.

Per serving: 422 cal, 39 g pro, 50 g car, 9 g fiber, 9 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 117 mg cho, 794 mg sod

That makes it 8 pts. per serving on the Weight Watchers system.

For more great recipes head over to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday or Kitchen Tip Tuesday.

Monday, February 2, 2009


I don't usually do individual posts on the books that I read. I usually just write a short paragraph review on my 2009 Reading List. But this book was just too good to relegate to a little paragraph on a sidebar link.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson was an excellent novel. It is written from the point of view of an elderly preacher, John Ames, who knows that his weak heart is not going to beat much longer.

I have passed some fairly difficult nights. Discomfort, a little trouble breathing. I have decided the two choices open to me are (1) to torment myself or (2) to trust the Lord. There is no earthly solution to the problems that confront me. But I can add to my problems, as I believe I have done, by dwelling on them. So no more of that.

He uses his remaining time to write a letter, a memoir, to his seven year old son. Knowing that he will never live to see his son grow up, he wants to impart as much of his gained wisdom and family history to his son.

Why do I love the thought of you old? That first twinge of arthitis in your knee is a thing I imagine with all the tenderness I felt when yous howed me your loose tooth. Be diligent in your prayers, old man. I hope you will have seen more of the world than I ever got around to seeing--only myself ot blame. And I hope you will have read some of my books. And God bless your eyes, and your hearing also, and of course your heart. I wish I could help you carry the weight of many years. But
the Lord will have that fatherly satisfaction.

Rev. Ames comes from a long line of preachers. Preachers that fought alongside abolishionists in Kansas and promoted peace in Iowa. Rev. Ames himself has led a long lonely life in service to his God and his congregation after the death of his young wife and child.

Only that which is apart from my own being is capable of being doubted by me. How then can I doubt of God, who is my being? To doubt of God is to doubt of myself.

Rev. Ames' May-December romance, subsequent marriage and child are his greatest blessings and the biggest surprises of his life. While he enjoys long slow summer days watching his son play and writing his lengthy transcript, Rev. Ames has some pressing matters to consider. The wayward son of his lifelong friend has suddenly returned to town and seems to be quite friendly with Mrs. Ames and their son. The reverend struggles with trusting that the prodigal boy has indeed changed and has become an honorable man and telling his wife about the young man's past and warning her away from him.

The story is very touching and sweet and the writing is really great. Interestingly, there are no chapter divisions. It is a letter, after all. And this isn't the type of letter where he tells his son how to shave and ask a girl out on a date, and things like that. This is the type of letter where a man tells his son about loving your enemy (for example)....

This is an important thing, which I have told many people, and my father told me, and which his father told him. When you encounter another person, when you have dealings with anyone at all, it is as if a question is being put to you. So you must think, What is the Lord asking of me in this moment, in this situation? If you confront insult or antagonism, our first impulse will be to respond in kind. But if you think, as it were, This is an emissary sent from the Lord, and some benefit is intended for me, first of all the occasion to demonstrate my faithfulness, the chance to show that I do in some small degree participate in the grace that saved me, you are free to act otherwise than as circumstances would seem to dictate. You are free to act by your own lights. You are freed at the same time of the impulse to hate
or resent that person. He would probably laugh at the thought that the Lord sent him to you for your benefit (and his), but that is the perfection of the disguise, his own ignorance of it.

I would recommend this book to everyone. It is a really beautiful look at life, even a life full of difficulties and impending death. I've heard that Robinson's other book, Housekeeping, is equally good. I can't wait to read it too.

Manic Monday