2 hours ago
"Thank you! I'm retired now, but I typed up a slightly revised version of this and printed out a dozen to give it a try. Living in a senior retirement center and making plans with lots of friends to get together or to do something for someone means I occasionally forget to jot it on my calendar. I'll try this out today, as a matter of fact. Looking forward to it."What else do I plan for the coming year?
|Barbara's cat Mindy|
And I signed it, "Love always" because Sasha and I will both love Donna for always and forever.
Sasha and I want you to have this special pendant so you will always remember her after she has to move away from you next week. We smart cats remember when we were worshiped as deities in ancient Egypt, like my ancestor Bast on this piece of jewelry. I want to pass it on to a worthy person, since somebody "fixed" me and I can never have a kitten to continue my line. Sasha and I both love you because you’re a real cat person. That's a compliment, you know, coming from two cats.
In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America — the first African American to serve in that role — she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare.Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice ~ by Michelle Obama, 2019, journal
In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her — from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it —in her own words and on her own terms. Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations — and whose story inspires us to do the same.
What's your journey of becoming? This journal features an intimate and inspiring introduction by the former First Lady and thought-provoking questions and prompts to help you discover — and rediscover — your story. “It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become,” Michelle Obama says.Donna read the memoir when it first came out, and I was impressed by the sections of the book:
Michelle Obama shared her own extraordinary journey in her memoir to help create space for others to tell their stories and to give people the courage to discover the power of their own voice. With this journal, she now provides you with the encouragement to find value in your own personal journey of becoming. It includes thought-provoking prompts designed to help you reflect on your personal and family history; your goals, challenges, and dreams; what moves you and brings you hope; and what future you imagine for yourself and your community. She writes in the introduction:
"I hope you’ll use this journal to write down your experiences, thoughts, and feelings, in all their imperfections, and without judgment. ... We don’t have to remember everything. But everything we remember has value."As you journal, take heart in the experiences that brought you to where you are today, and also feel empowered to take those next steps, wherever they might lead.
A quote: "The more I told my story, the more my voice settled into itself. I liked my story. What's your story?"I found this Reading Guide, a 7-page pdf we can print out. It looks as interesting as the book(s).
|Emily playing "our" piano|
|Me playing my piano in 2010|
|Mine looks a lot like this one|
"Your boss is mad; your spouse is complaining; the kids are cranky; and you just discovered that the roof is leaking. There's only one thing to do. Pick up the phone and call a friend."Women Make the Best Friends: A Celebration ~ by Lois Wyse, 1995, stories and poems
In her heart of hearts every woman knows that men may come and go, but a true friend is forever. At nine, nineteen, or ninety, the one constant that marks each stage in a woman's life is the importance of the friendships she has made. In the best of times and in the worst of times, it is our friends who sustain us, cheer us, and see us through whatever surprises life throws our way. (From the dust jacket, edited.)I found this in the little library here at the Crown Center, when I was in the mood for something light. This book has short anecdotes, short poems, short 4-5 page pieces about conversations remembered. Earlier this year, I read Lois Wyse's 1989 book of anecdotes called Funny, You Don't Look Like a Grandma and liked it enough to give it to my friend Sharon, when she became a first-time grandmother a week or so later. I'm enjoying this one so far.
Pike's Peak: read 12 books from my TBR pile (14,115 ft)The Rules:
Mont Blanc: read 24 books from my TBR pile (15,781 ft)
Mt. Vancouver: read 36 books from my TBR pile (15,787 ft)
Mt. Ararat: read 48 books from my TBR pile (16,854 ft)
Mt. Kilimanjaro: read 60 books from my TBR pile (19,341 ft)
Cerro El Toro: read 75 books from my TBR pile (20,236 ft)
Mt. Everest: read 100 books from my TBR pile (29,029 ft)
Mount Olympus (Mars): read 150+ books from TBR pile (69,841 ft)
Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least that many books. You are welcome to voyage further and conquer taller mountains after your commitment is met. All books from lower mountains carry over towards the next peak. Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2020. The challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2020.My declared goal will be Mt. Ararat, 48 books from my own shelves. Why? Because of Mt. Ararat's location. I'm a theologian, and Mt. Ararat is "located" in the Bible (in Genesis 8:4 ~ "and in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat." (Genesis 8:4). I'm setting forth on this sea of books, hoping to rest atop Ararat by the end of 2020. I'll come back here to list each book I finish that counts toward the goal. I have three "practice peaks" before Mount Ararat.
1. Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice ~ by Michelle Obama, 2019, journal, 9/10Mont Blanc (#13-24)
2. Paws for a Moment with God: Devotions Best Enjoyed in the Company of a Cat ~ compiled by Patricia Mitchell, 2010, reflections, 7/10
3. Good Dog. Stay. ~ by Anna Quindlen, 2007, memoir, 9/10
4. Cat Tales: A Catty Concoction of Quotes, Poems and "Dear Tabby" Advice ~ edited by Suzanne Beilenson, 1992, quotations, 7/10
5. What Cats Teach Us ... Life's Lessons Learned from Our Feline Friends ~ by Glenn Dromgoole, 2000, gift book, 7/10
6. Have a Little Faith: A True Story ~ by Mitch Albom, 2009, memoir, 9/10
7. Making Toast: A Family Story ~ by Roger Rosenblatt, 2010, memoir, 9/10
8. Ten Keys to Happier Living: A Practical Science-Based Handbook for Happiness ~ by Vanessa King, 2016, self-help, 9/10
9. Allah: A Christian Response ~ by Miroslav Volf, 2011, religion, 8/10
10. Transitions: Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life ~ by Julia Cameron, 1999, meditations, 9/10
11. The Big Book for Peace ~ edited by Ann Durell and Marilyn Sachs, 1990, stories, 9/10
12. Heidegger and a Hippo Walk Through Those Pearly Gates: Using Philosophy (and Jokes!) to Explore Life, Death, the Afterlife, and Everything in Between ~ by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein, 2009, humor, 8/10
13. Does God Have a Big Toe?: Stories about Stories in the Bible ~ by Marc Gellman, art by Oscar de Mejo, 1989, stories, 8/10Mt. Vancouver (#25-36)
14. Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival ~ by Velma Wallis, 1993, fiction, Alaska, 9.5/10
15. Mortality ~ by Christopher Hitchens, 2012, memoir, 9/10
16. Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mainer ~ edited by Ellen E. Garrigues, 1895 and 1910, ballad, 8/10
17. Politically Correct Bedtime Stories ~ by James Finn Garner, 1994, humor, 8/10
18. Once Upon a More Enlightened Time ~ by James Finn Garner, 1995, humor, 3/10
19. The Andrew Project ~ by James Taylor, 1985, theology, 9/10
20. Talk Before Sleep ~ by Elizabeth Berg, 1994, fiction, 9/10
Kohei Araki believes that a dictionary is a boat to carry us across the sea of words. But after thirty-seven years of creating dictionaries, it’s time for him to retire and find his replacement. He discovers a kindred spirit in Mitsuya Majime — a young, disheveled square peg with a penchant for collecting antiquarian books and a background in linguistics — whom he swipes from his company’s sales department. Along with an energetic, if reluctant, new recruit and an elder linguistics scholar, Majime is tasked with a career-defining accomplishment: completing The Great Passage, a comprehensive 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language. On his journey, Majime discovers friendship, romance, and an incredible dedication to his work, inspired by the words that connect us all.In early 2018, I got nine free books for my Kindle that were set in nine different countries:
|Melvin, Bonnie, Dre, Karen, and Donna|
"December’s Cold Moon turns 100% full on December 12th (12/12) at 12:12 a.m. Eastern Time."
|My cat Clawdia in 2015|
"We spend a lot of time thinking about why people are bad. Just as perplexing, maybe more perplexing, is why they are good."Rambam's Ladder: A Meditation on Generosity and Why It Is Necessary to Give ~ by Julie Salamon, 2003, philosophy
I bought this book a couple of years ago, at a book sale, but I'm just now getting around to reading it. I find it fascinating that the page opposite the first page of the Introduction, which has the sentences I quoted at the top of this post, has "The Ladder of Charity" with a list of the eight rungs with 1/Reluctance at the bottom of the page, like the first rung of a ladder. Each chapter goes up a rung, as if the reader is climbing up the ladder to 8/Responsibility.
Nearly a thousand years ago the great philosopher and physician Maimonides, known to Hebrew scholars as Rambam, pondered the question of righteousness. Out of it came the Ladder of Charity. In eight chapters, one for each rung, the book helps us navigate the world of giving. How much to give? How do we know if our gifts are being used wisely? Is it better to give anony-mously? The book reminds us on every page we are measured not by what we have, but by what we give.
|Photo ©2019 by Nancy Horner, the Bookfool|
In photography, bokeh (/ˈboʊkə/ BOH-kə or /ˈboʊkeɪ/ BOH-kay; Japanese: [boke]) is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. Bokeh has been defined as "the way the lens renders out-of-focus points of light.""BOKEH" ... I like it ... and the great shot Nancy took of Fiona. Thanks for letting me use it, Nancy.
|Sasha on Donna's bed|
God comes to meet us in the low places of our lives, Pavlovitz says. When we plant our feet firmly in the dirt of everyday life, we see Jesus meeting us in our low places. The invitation of Jesus, he says, is not to escape this world "to an elevated heavenly sanctuary somewhere; it is to bring heaven down" (p. 5). Jesus gets low, meeting us on the ground where we are.
"All our relationships can be understood as intersections: the places our road meets that of another person and both stories are rewritten, sometimes wonderfully and sometimes less so. ... Today, dwell on the people who've crossed your circuitous path and changed your story. ... Sit with gratitude for them and for the difference they've made on your journey" (pp. 8, 9).You may wonder why I've shown you a pensive cat to illustrate my thoughts. Donna has been keeping Sasha while Sandy Richter was in the hospital and rehab and back in the hospital for close to three months. I was at Donna's Sunday morning when she got a call that Sandy had died around 3:00 a.m. Somehow, Sasha seemed to know and had been acting strange all morning, Donna said. In this photo, Sasha reflects how I was also feeling ... sad, bereft ... but also grateful that I got to know Sandy.
|Sandy Richter (1940-2019)|
It's been a sad year, with lots of us feeling low. I guess I really need this time of meditating on the pages of Low: An Honest Advent Devotional.Litany of Remembrance
When I see a funny cat picture on Facebook and want to share it,
I'll remember you.
When I recall you saying, "We only grow taller until we're perfect,"
I'll remember you.
When the elevator door opens on your floor at the Crown Center,
I'll remember you.
When the friends at "our" table sit around talking after dinner,
we'll remember you.
Because you've been so much part of our lives at the Crown Center,
we'll remember you.
So long as we live, you too shall live, for you are now a part of us,
as we remember you.
|Donna and Bonnie ~ notice my shirt (explanation below)|
I'm the seasonal bookworm, who reads in all seasons. Since you can't really see that bottom line, even if you click to enlarge the photo at the top, here's what it says on my shirt:** Note #2
SEASONAL BOOKWORMS.... WINTER ....It's snowing. I should stay inside and read..... SPRING ....I have allergies. I have to stay inside and read..... SUMMER ....It's too hot. I'd better stay inside and read..... AUTUMN ....It's so windy. I think I will stay inside and read.
Donna's shirt has nothing to do with this weekend, but it's fun and somewhat related. She and her friends play Bananagrams most Saturday evenings — words relate to books, right? They've chosen the sloth as their spirit animal because the beautiful little 2-letter word "ai" is a three-toed sloth. Donna's shirt says: "I finally found my spirit animal ... SLOTH ... does absolutely nothing and just sleeps."
I had just read the Bingo suggestion to "Read outside" and remembered that Deb lives in Texas before opening the memoir I'm reading to Chapter 6. Almost immediately I was laughing again. The part that made me laugh is below.*** Note #3
QUOTE from page 66 of God Land: A Story of Faith, Loss, and Renewal in Middle America, a memoir by Lyn Lenz (2019):
"I didn't grow up in the Midwest; I grew up in Texas, where the openness of the land sprawls hard and wide — like a big, calloused hand. There, people stretch rather than cluster. The weather rarely gets cold. Blizzards don't blow piles of snow against doors and windows, so there are fewer windbreaks and less grace in the geography."How's that for coincidence, reading about Texas in a book that is not about Texas? I'm from the South (Chattanooga, Tennessee), but I now live in St. Louis, Missouri. Last week, we had snow on the ground for days. It's been rainy all weekend, and temperatures have been in the thirties and low forties. So the only way I could "read outside" would be to stand under the awning of my building for just long enough to read one or two — or possibly three — paragraphs before running back inside. That's why I laughed.
|Click to enlarge calendar.|