Wednesday, May 28, 2014

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
Truth be told. I started my summer reading early. The end of the school year is coming to a close and things have a way of spinning with SO MUCH TO DO, that I have to find a place of escape to remain SANE. This time, its come in the form of reading children's literature.

I just finished In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson written by Bette Bao Lord. I read most of it in less than a day and the last chapter took me 3 days. Again - there's a lot to do! I often read excerpts to Greg because I'm laughing out loud, or I respond verbally without really knowing I'm doing it. So I have to TELL him what's going on so I don't appear too crazy!

Narrated in third person, a fifth grade girl comes from China to the United States and is introduced to a WHOLE NEW WOOOOORLD. (I just sang it like Aladdin.) She gets to pick her own American name which was a toss up between Uncle Sam and Shirley Temple. Her family agrees to Shirley Temple Wong. She goes through bouts of loneliness, not fitting in, stuck between to cultures two finally embracing the best of both worlds!

I love this book because I can TOTALLY relate!! In her process of English acquisition, she picks words and phrases up the way she hears them - which is HILARIOUS!! (I'll let you find out for yourself rather than tell you what it is she said.) I love that her mom, just like mine, tells her that she has to keep up with her native language and that she makes her take piano lessons!

And I also LOVE that Bette Bao Lord wrote in some GREAT PATRIOTISM which is often lacking in today's world with so much politicking. And that this Chinese little girl makes the best of friends over baseball and the love of Jackie Robinson!

Here's a little taste!

"'I mean, is there something special about baseball that fits the special kind of people we are and the special kind of country America is?' Mrs. Rappaport tilted her head to one side, inviting a response. When none came, she sighed a sigh so fraught with disappointment that it sounded as if her heart were breaking...
But within the frail, birdlike body of Mrs. Rappaport was the spirit of a dragon capable of tackling the heavens and earth. With a quick toss of her red hair, she proceeded to answer her own question with such feeling that no one who heard could be so unkind as to forget. Least of all Shirley...
'In our national pastime, each player is a member of a team, but when he comes to bat, he stands alone. One man. Many opportunities. For no matter how far behind, how late in the game, he, by himself, can make a difference. He can change what has been. He can make it a new ball game.
'In the life of our nation, each man is a citizen of the United States, but he has the right to pursue  his own happiness. For no matter what his race, religion or creed, be he a pauper or president, he has the right to speak his mind, to live as he wishes within the law, to elect our officials and stand for office, to excel. To make a difference. To change what has been. To make a better America.
'And so can you! And so must you!'"

Doesn't that make you stand a little taller. I can only imagine this fifth grade Chinese girl taking in a deep breath and saying - "I'm an American!"

It's a wonderful book! If you have an opportunity to check it out from your local library or purchase it from Scholastic or Amazon - DO IT! It's a great read!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Watson's Go To Birmingham - 1963

After hearing an amazing 4th grade reading teacher say, "We're reading the WAT-sons GO TO BIRMINGHAM!!" for the past 2 years, I finally picked up a copy of the book and read it...AND I LOVED IT!

Narrated by a boy who's brother is a juvenile delinquent, Christopher Paul Curtis does an amazing job at telling the story of a family from Flint, Michigan taking a summer trip to Birmingham in the middle of the Civil Rights Movement. The events leading up to the road trip are SO FUNNY!! Events do turn and things get serious because the family goes 1963.

I especially like the way Christopher Paul personifies death. WOW. Like I tell my kids, "You just have to read it for yourself. It's so good!"

To get you warmed up, you can read about the author Christopher Paul Curtis here. And you can listen to a song by Joan Baez that is related to an event mentioned in the book here. And a poem that inspired the author to make his novel HISTORICAL fiction, and is sure to move you here.

Once you read it, tell me what you think!!

Oh, yes, there's a movie. But you MUST read the book first. I'm going to find the movie soon.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

His Love is Strong

I spoke to a friend of mine today and said - "I'm so excited because I'm reading the book of Matthew." And in her excitement to know where I am in Matthew, she chuckled at the fact that I'm still in chapter one! YES, chapter one of the book of Matthew. To be more specific, I'm hung up on verse 2.

The genealogy of Jesus - my Messiah - is INCREDIBLE.

I'm going through and reading Matthew and going back to Genesis to read through the stories of those mentioned in the first 17 verses of the first chapter and I'm writing down trigger words/phrases to help me remember whose who.

And coming to Matthew 1:2, I'm at a complete...STOP...and I'm in the process of DIGESTING.
 Abraham was the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.

I went back and read the story of Jacob in Genesis.

Jacob meets Rachel and it's love at first sight. He'll do whatever it takes to win her father over for her to be his bride. Jacob gets tricked into working 7 years for his father in law to end up with Rachel's older sister, Leah (whose name means weary, btw). Jacob didn't want Leah. He wanted Rachel. So he works another 7 years to get the okay from the father in law to marry Rachel. And I'm sure by the time he marries Rachel he is wiped out, but still he is in the clouds - walking on moonbeams - in love with Rachel.

This is the part that got me choked up with the realization that God is using every story in the Bible to show us He loves us!

From Genesis:

31 Now the Lord saw that Leah was [j]unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 Leah conceived and bore a son and named him [k]Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has [l]seen my affliction; surely now my husband will love me.” 33 Then she conceived again and bore a son and said, “Because the Lord has [m]heard that I am [n]unloved, He has therefore given me this son also.” So she named him Simeon. 34 She conceived again and bore a son and said, “Now this time my husband will become [o]attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore he was named Levi. 35 And she conceived again and bore a son and said, “This time I will [p]praise the Lord.” Therefore she named him [q]Judah.

So often we want the attention and affection of others. I want to do this or that & think, "Now he/she will approve." As silly as it sounds, I do it. And it's wearisome! It truly is. And you know what! God saw Leah - who I am CERTAIN grew weary of trying to prove herself worthy of love - and wanted to show her how she IS loved and she doesn't have to prove it. She just has to see it. Realize it. Accept it.

She had not one, but THREE BOYS and after each of the first three boys she thought - "Man, Now my handsome husband Jacob is going to love me!!" Can you imagine how much work having three boys is!?!? And how much work it is to try convince someone who doesn't love you to love you?

No wonder her name is Leah. She is one TIRED woman!!

But God in His grace allowed her to have one more son. And this time she recognized that these boys were good and perfect gifts from God. And she praised God. She praised God when she realized that GOD LOVED HER! So she named her son Judah - meaning praise.

I cried. I mean. I cried.

This year more than ever, I've found myself looking for approval from others. And when you're looking for approval and you're shoved to the side...Mocked...Pushed on to someone else or sometimes straight up sucks.

But I've had reminder after reminder, that I'm seeking approval from the wrong people. And this story was the most significant. Leah, the weary unloved woman, bore a son name Judah and his brothers. Her offspring were found worthy to be mentioned in the genealogy of Jesus! Not just Judah - but Judah and his brothers!!

Isn't that BEAUTIFUL!?!

Now watch and sing along!!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Book #1 of 2014

My reading drought has come to an end. I finally finished a book. Honestly, it's a book that Greg and I started reading in NOVEMBER to and from church and my parents house on the weekends which is at least a 40 minute drive. We finished mid-February. It took us forever, but who cares! He drives. I read. It's awesome. We LOVE it.

No matter if you are a blue or red, you will love learning about Condoleezza's life. She is truly an incredible woman. As Greg and I read, we took notes on parenting! HA! We can wish right? What self confidence and problem solving skills her parents instilled in her!! I loved her mom's response when she wanted to quit piano - "You're not good enough to quit!" When she took the SAT's, she didn't score very well and her advisor said she should try junior college. Her confident self chuckled and walked out. She knew a test didn't define her. Her parents taught her to aim high and expected nothing but the best from her! 
I want to be like her when I grow up!!
If you're interested in memoirs, THIS ONE IS ONE TO READ! We give it two thumbs up.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 – The Year of the Great Finish

When I moved into Greg’s house, which is now OUR house, I noticed a pattern I found quite disconcerting while I unpacked all my stuff. I noticed over and over that my choice in crafts is pretty stinken' AWESOME. Well – of course – that is a biased opinion, but what I find appalling is not my skill or my choice of craft, but my inability to follow through to the FINISH! Of course, once it was put away, I ignored it. But a new start is on my mind…And you can’t really start NEW with all this unfinished business!!

Do you want to know how bad the problem is?
Back in November, I had a lousy garage sale (everyone said my stuff was cool, but no one wanted to buy…they were looking for electronics. But that’s another story). And going through my stuff deciding what I was going to keep, sell, or throw away…I found THE CUTEST little outfit that I started to make for my friend Susanne’s baby. Do you want to know how old her baby is now? She’s a FIRST GRADER!! This first grader also has a baby brother and baby sister (twins)!!

I also came across a Christmas stocking that I promised my missionary friend that I’d make for him. He picked it out and I bought the kit to make it. I started. Didn't finish. He was ten at the time. He’s going on THIRTEEN folks. He’s going to be 13 this year!!!
It’s insane!! RIDICULOUS!!

I’m even having trouble READING a book to the END!! Me the bookworm. The I never go to bed without reading a chapter from a book and the OMG I'm talking about the characters like their my BFF's at the dinner table. I haven't been able to read ANY book through to the finish.
Even this blog I was going to keep updated is unfinished! HA!
My new year’s resolution…I’ve decided (mid-January)…is to FOCUS! Focus on ONE project until I finish, rather than going to Hobby Lobby to spend more money on crafts that will more than likely go unfinished.

What’s ironic is that I like finality. I do. See…

Granted that was 2011, but still. I really truly to the core like finality. It gives closure. It's a proud "I did it!" and a bittersweet "Aw it's finished...I can't believe it!" An opportunity for a deep fresh breath. A chance to start something NEW! 

So CHEERS to the Finish Line! CHEERS to really awesome projects!! Cheers to memorable gifts!! CHEERS to NEW THINGS TOO! CHEERS to the BLOG that will chronicle the progress!!

And He who sits on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." And He said, "Write, for these words are faithful and true."   -Revelation 21:5


Wednesday, August 7, 2013

We said I do!!

Greg and I after we said I do!
Greg and I are so happy we are married!! We had a wonderful time celebrating with our close friends and our LARGE Mexican families! I can hardly believe that after six months of preparing and DIY'ing, the wedding went by in a flash!!
We honeymooned in the beautiful Texas Hill Country for a week and came home and got busy getting our house together. After three and a half weeks of marriage, we had our first house guests and absolutely loved it!! We can't wait for more!!
If you want to know more about our story, you can go to our wedding website:
Come back to read about our cooking, decorating, gardening, DIY, party hosting ADVENTURES!!