Thursday, February 28, 2013

Go away ~ I'm reading

Have you ever been reading in a public place, like while having lunch, and someone tries to start a conversation with you?  I have.  It's like they think you are so lonely that you've had to resort to a book to keep you company.  And they've decided in all kindness to rescue you.

Okay, so maybe I'm just trying to think the best of people.  After all, they have no way of knowing you've been waiting all morning for your lunch hour so you can dive back into your novel and find out happens next.  Your boss does expect you to work during the week and not call in sick so you can stay at home to read.  And here's this stranger (or co-worker) interrupting your precious reading time.

What's a girl to do?  Someone came up with a great idea ~ in the form of book covers, like the one above.  Yeah, go read about it.  Personally, my favorite is "Shhh. I'm in book mode."

BTT (#31) ~ currently reading

Deb @ Booking Through Thursday asks:
"One of those quick, easy questions that I ask periodically because the answer is always changing:  What are you reading right now?  And, is it good?  Would you recommend it?  How did you choose it?"
Saving Jesus from Those Who Are Right: Rethinking What It Means to Be Christian ~ by Carter Heyward, 1999
In radical opposition to the Jesus of the Christian Right, Heyward presents Jesus as our brother and us with him in the commitment to embody right relation, which she calls mutual relation.  She envisions a counter-cultural force, which she names christic power, that can help save American culture from its greed and domination and save the figure of Jesus from culture-generated distortions.
The Rev. Dr. Carter Heyward is an Episcopal priest, professor, liberation theologian, activist, writer, and pioneer in the areas of feminist liberation theology and the theology of sexuality.

I first became aware of her when she and ten other women were ordained Episcopal priests on July 29, 1974.  I watched the uproar with fascination as the Episcopal Bishops held an emergency meeting to invalidate these ordinations.  Nevertheless, at the General Convention of 1976, the Episcopal Church officially approved the ordination of women into the priesthood.  Wow!

When I ran across this book at the huge used-book store in my town, I grabbed it.  I'm slowly working my way through it.  Slowly, because I'm taking so many notes.  Slowly, because I stop to ponder her words.  But slowly and surely go together, and I've already quoted parts of it in two classes I'm teaching.

Would I recommend this book?  No, not if you are a confirmed, conservative, right-wing, Christian literalist.  Yes, if you are a liberal thinker open to hearing...
"...that mutuality, rather than obedience, is the basis of our life in the Spirit, and that learning to share our power in mutual relation is the most redemptive response we can make to the power of evil" (p. 82).
So far, this book is garnering a high rating from me.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A photo from the video taping session

Liz Curtis Higgs posted this on Facebook a few minutes ago:
"Oh, baby!  Yesterday in Nashville we shot a brand-new Video Bible Study for Bad Girls of the Bible.  SO thrilled to open God's Word with these beautiful sisters in Christ!  The new video and updated book will release on July 16.  We can't WAIT for you to see it!"
My friend Donna is on the left, front row, and I'm behind her on the next row.  Liz (front row, center) yelled, "Throw your hands out!"  So we did.  My right hand is touching the left side of the photo, extended above Donna's head.  That shows how well my physical therapy is working for range of motion, as my broken shoulder continues to heal.  I'm glad I was healed enough to drive to and from Nashville for this opportunity.  As I posted yesterday, Liz had promised us "a nice bag of books, a tasty snack, and a warm hug."  I got my hug when Liz arrived, and the "snack" was a huge box lunch — sandwich, salad, a couple of side dishes, and dessert.  As for the books, Lizzie said she chose these for us herself:
  • A Perfect Mess: Why You Don't Have to Worry about Being Good Enough for God ~ by Lisa Harper, 2009
  • At the Feet of Jesus: Daily Devotions to Nurture a Mary Heart ~ by Joanna Weaver, 2012
  • Come Walk with Me: A Woman's Personal Guide to Knowing God and Mentoring Others ~ by Carole Mayhall, 2010
  • Come Along: The Journey into a More Intimate Faith ~ by Jane Rubietta, 2008
  • His Princess: Love Letters from Your King ~ by Sheri Rose Shepherd, 2004
  • A Sudden Glory: God's Lavish Response to Your Ache for Something More ~ by Sharon Jaynes, 2012
One thing I didn't expect was having to stop recording — and waiting — whenever a train rolled by loudly on a track nearby.  Donna says she especially enjoyed talking with the other participants, who came from (at least these I remember about the 22 participants) Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Illinois.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Liz Curtis Higgs

I'm spending some time with Liz Curtis Higgs today (see my Sunday salon post).  I'll tell you more about it later this week, but for now I hope you enjoy her "Righteous Ruth Rap" from last year, following the publication of her book about Ruth, titled The Girl's Still Got It.  You may also want to read what I wrote in 2007 about her and the first of her books I read:  My Heart's in the Lowlands: Ten Days in Bonny Scotland.  I wrote about Liz and this book again a few months later on one of my other blogs:  Book Around the World: Scotland.  And here's a copy of the email she sent me yesterday.
Hi, Bonnie!

Tomorrow—Tuesday, February 26—is our Big Day together in Nashville! Can't wait to see you at 8:30am Central Time at Houston Station.

Any questions or concerns, just respond to this email. If an emergency comes up tonight or tomorrow morning, please phone our producer, Rebecca, at 501-349-xxxx.

You can be sure a nice bag of books, a tasty snack, and a warm hug will be waiting for you.

God bless and MANY thanks!

Your sister, Liz
Isn't it exciting?  Learn more about Lizzie on her website.  By the way, if this video quits working, you can watch the Righteous Ruth Rap on YouTube.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Library Lust ~ which would you pick?

I found a link to The 30 Best Places to Be if You Love Books among Rachel Held Evans's Sunday Superlatives 2/24/13 yesterday.  The one I chose to show you is a library behind a tub in someone's home.  It's an interesting concept, but I'd be afraid a book would get wet.  Yeah, but what fun to have books within reach while you soak, huh? The "library lust" in the title comes from my favorite feature on Claire's The Captive Reader.  Oh, the things I have found by reading bookish blogs!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Salon ~ meeting another author

The Academy Award-winning short film below, which I first watched sometime last year, is now also a book.  My friend Jane has recently discovered it and ordered each of us a copy of the book.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore ~ by William Joyce, 2012, children's
Morris Lessmore loved words.  He loved stories.  He loved books.  But every story has its upsets.  Everything in Morris Lessmore’s life, including his own story, is scattered to the winds.  But the power of story will save the day.  Brought to life by William Joyce, one of the preeminent creators in children’s literature, this is a modern masterpiece, showing that in today’s world of traditional books, eBooks, and apps, it’s story that we truly celebrate — and this story, no matter how you tell it, begs to be read again and again.
Publisher's Weekly says this book is for ages 4-6.  Hmm, then I must be about kindergarten age.  Jane, too, even though she celebrated her 87th birthday yesterday.

Enjoy the award-winning video.  If it quits working, view it on YouTube.

1.  In a couple of days, I'll be meeting a famous author and spending time in a small group with her teaching us.  I'll tell you more about it on Tuesday, so stay tuned.

2.  Luckily, my broken shoulder has healed enough that I will be able to spend a few hours with that author.  I'm even driving now.  Hurray!
 Visit the Sunday Salon's Facebook page for links to more posts.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Friday, February 22, 2013

Recycle in Peace

Once you might have been buried under a tree.  Now you can BE the tree.  How would you like to grow into a tree after you die?  This is a Bios Urn, a completely biodegradable urn that contains a single tree seed.  When planted, the tree seed is nourished by and absorbs the nutrients from the ashes.  The urn itself is made from coconut shell and contains compacted peat and cellulose.  The ashes are mixed with this, and the seed placed inside.  Because ashes are a good source of phosphorus, cremated remains serve as good fertilization for trees.  You can even choose which type of tree you'd like to grow!  So which would you prefer — leaving behind a tree or a tombstone?

(Cross-posted on my Greening the Blue Planet blog.)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

BTT (#30) ~ libraries

The Northgate branch of my library, about a mile from my current home.
Deb @ Booking Through Thursday asks:
"How often do you visit a library?  Do you go to borrow books?  Do research?  Check out the multi-media center?  Hang out with the friendly and knowledgeable staff?  Are you there out of love or out of need?"
I visit often enough that the library staff knows me -- at several branches of the library.  When I have something to say about books from the library, I take part in Library Loot, a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library.  Read my most recent Library Loot post, about a book I rated 10 of 10.

Volunteering at the South Chattanooga branch in 2010.
Yes, of course I borrow books, mostly picking up those I've put on hold by going online when I learn about something I want to read.  Back when I was in college and then doing post-graduate work, I went there for research more often than now, since I can find nearly everything I want online these days.  Once I figure out what I need, I reserve the book(s).  I talk with library staff, sometimes recommending books they should acquire, like these I wrote about recently.  Talking can lead to even more involvement.  When I lived a mile or so from the South Chattanooga branch, Greg (in the background) asked me to help out as a volunteer.  And I did.  How often do you visit your library?

UPDATE (2-25-2014):  I can't believe I failed to mention that, while I was getting my undergraduate degree, I worked full-time as an assistant librarian in a high school library (at Baylor, which was then a private boys' school and is now coed).  I guess I should forgive myself for not thinking of it, since 1974-1975 was forty years ago.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bassoon solo ~ with piano?

When I was out running errands and getting the oil changed in my car today, I happened to hear a bassoon solo on my classic radio station that I'd never heard before.  I found it on YouTube, and at the end of it was this amazing performance that I had to share with you.  It looks plain dangerous, doesn't it?  Especially to this former bassoon player.  Once upon a time I played bassoon in junior high and high school -- and also in the Chattanooga Youth Symphony.  That was fun, but the bassoons I played belonged to the schools.  Now I play piano a bit, having had a couple of years of lessons starting at age five.  Would I try what she did?  No way I could do that!

If the video above quits working, hear Sonata Abassoonata on YouTube.  Below is the one I originally went looking for.

If this video quits working, go to YouTube to hear Sonata in C Major for Bassoon and Piano by Johann Friedrich Fasch.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Beginning ~ with dying to the world

The beginning is a bit long, so read only the first sentence, if you prefer.  It took this much for me to decide I would actually read the book.
That glorious day when my classmates and I received Holy Orderes was the beginning of my servitude in the rectory of Monsignor McQuade and his sister, Elizabeth.  If somebody's Uncle Louie hadn't been flooding the cathedral sanctuary with the lights of his home movie camera, the ordination ceremony would have been something right out of the Middle Ages.  Bishop McGivney sat on a throne before the high altar and watrched us process up the aisle carrying lighted candles.  When we were all standing in front of the main altar, Monsignor McFee, the cathedral rector, gave us the call to orders.
"Theodorus Patricius Kelly."
"Ad sum."
"Angelo Thomas Procella."
"Ad sum."
"Robertus Paulus Regalo."
"Ad sum — Here I am," I answered and blew out my candle, symbolic of my dying to the world.
When the rest of my classmates had received the call and answered, the Bishop turned to the seminary rector, who was standing on the sidelines, and said to him in Latin, "Monsignor?  Do you know them to be worthy?"
The rector read off a long Latin paragraph which stated that as far as human knowledge would allow him to know, we were worthy.
We had made it.  Six years of chasing bells and studying had put us on the top of the world.  With over a thousand proud relatives staring at us from the pews, we were high and happy.
A Fragile Bark ~ by Joseph P. Benante, 1971, fiction
Summary:  For Father Robert Regalo, the first church assignment after ordination is not at all what the idealistic young priest could have expected.  Father Robert is one of the new breed of church fathers:  hip, skeptical, and concerned more with the everyday reaalities of the human condition than with the rituals of the formal church.  Yet he finds himself in the middle of an ecclesiastic Catch-22, struggling to keep his sanity while coping with the rules and regulations of the rectory, the bingo games, and the raffles.  The book reveals the serious problems and irrelevancies of serious problems and irrelevancies of organized religion today.
It's off to a slow start, and this may not sound the least bit interesting to most of you, but — having bought this book in 1987 just before my own graduation from seminary, just before I was appointed to my own first church — I was curious about the experiences of a newly minted Catholic father.  The book was written over 40 years ago, long before the Catholic Church's pedophile priests were exposed.  I'll also read this with the upcoming retirement of Pope Benedict XVI in mind.  This book has moved with me from place to place for over a quarter of a century, still unread even after I retired from ministry.  I think it's about time I either read it or gave it away.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

BTT (#29) ~ love

Deb @ Booking Through Thursday asks:
Not the kind of “love” question you’re expecting for Valentine’s Day.  No, what I want to know is:   What do you love most about reading?
What I love most about reading is that I'm not limited to discussions with people who live near me in time and space, but can converse with people in different times and places about things we both are interested in.  Even here online, I have conversation partners I would never have met in this lifetime because we live too far apart.  But here you are, reading my response to Deb's question.  And here I am, answering a question posed by someone I am unlikely ever to meet in person.  This photo and caption, which have been on my sidebar for two or three years, say the same thing — only more succinctly:

"These books are not lumps of lifeless paper, but minds alive on the shelves" — to paraphrase Gilbert Highet.

Library lovers ~ it's our day!

Yesterday, I learned from Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that today is Library Lovers Day.  She wrote:  "For most people February 14 represents Valentine's Day.  I prefer not to focus on my complete desert of a love life, but rather focus on my real passion — books!"  What a great idea, Marg!  As a lifelong book lover, I'm excited that we now have a day to celebrate the libraries that provide us mental nourishment, education, and entertainment.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Library Loot ~ February 13-19

Minnie McClary Speaks Her Mind ~ by Valerie Hobbs, 2012, middle grade (MG) fiction
Minnie McClary is the new girl and knows that she doesn't quite fit in, especially not after she lost it one day in language arts.  In art, Minnie has to paint a self portrait — but how can she do this when she doesn't even know who she is anymore?  Things aren't great at home, either.  Her uncle Bill is building a huge replica of the Apache helicopter he flew in Iraq, and her father has blown some sort of whistle and has to start over in a new job.  Then Miss Marks takes over Minnie's language class and encourages students to think critically about everything.  They write their thoughts and questions in journals, marking the most private entries For Your Eyes Only.  Minnie and her classmate Amira are inspired, but some people in town wonder why Miss Marks is encouraging students to ask these questions and just what, exactly, she's teaching.  When a group of angry parents demands Miss Marks's suspension, Minnie finds herself asking a lot of questions — and figuring out what she has the power to change.
My friend Donna is the one who actually checked this book out of the library, but this morning she handed me the book, when she finished reading it, saying, "This one's a ten!"  That's high praise from her.  Since the two books I have on hold have not yet come in, this middle grade novel will be my one and only "loot" today.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library.  Add your link any time during the week, and see what others got this week.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Beginning ~ with the main character's death

"Jeff Winston was on the phone with his wife when he died."
Replay ~ by Ken Grimwood, 1986, fiction (Georgia)
The cover to the right is what my library copy looks like; the cover I showed for library loot last week was a current one I found online when I set up the post before actually seeing the library's copy; and the one above is an early edition of the paperback, maybe the first edition of the book, shown in this Emory University review.  Jeff dies, yes, but suddenly finds himself back at Emory as a very alive 18-year-old.

"Jeff Winston, forty-three, didn't know he was a replayer until he died and woke up twenty-five years younger in his college dorm room; he lived another life.  And died again. And lived again and died again — in a continuous twenty-five-year cycle — each time starting from scratch at the age of eighteen to reclaim lost loves, remedy past mistakes, or make a fortune in the stock market."

I'm curious about what will happen along the way.  Especially since I was studying for my Master's degree at Emory in 1986 when Ken Grimwood first published this book.  I wonder what I'll recognize about the campus.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Masuru Emoto ~ interesting thoughts

"Water reflects the human soul.  If you say, 'thank you' to water, it will be reflected in the form of beautiful crystals overflowing with gratitude in return." — The Secret Life of Water
The Secret Life of Water ~ by Masuru Emoto, 2005
From its arrival on earth to the vast areas it traverses before emptying into the sea, water holds all the knowledge and experience it has acquired.  As phenomenal as it may seem, water carries its whole history, just as we carry ours.  It carries secrets, too.  In this book, bestselling author Masaru Emoto guides us along water’s remarkable journey through our planet and continues his work to reveal water’s secret life to humankind.  He shows how we can apply its wisdom to our own lives, and how, by learning to respect and appreciate water, we can better confront the challenges that face the twenty-first century — and rejuvenate the planet.
The Hidden Messages in Water ~ by Masuru Emoto, 2004
This book has the potential to profoundly transform your world view.  Using high-speed photography, Dr. Masaru Emoto discovered that crystals formed in frozen water reveal changes when specific, concentrated thoughts are directed toward them.  He found that water from clear springs and water that has been exposed to loving words shows brilliant, complex, and colorful snowflake patterns.  In contrast, polluted water, or water exposed to negative thoughts, forms incomplete, asymmetrical patterns with dull colors.  The implications of this research create a new awareness of how we can positively impact the earth and our personal health.
I'm frustrated because my library does not have either of these books. The next time I visit my branch library, I intend to put in a request that we acquire both books.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Liberty Porter: First Daughter ~ by Julia DeVillers

Liberty Porter: First Daughter ~ by Julia DeVillers, 2009, children's, 9/10
Meet Liberty Porter.  She's a regular nine-year-old girl with a lot going on.  First of all, her dad has just started a new job.  And she has to move to a house in a new city.  Oh, and the really big thing?  Her dad?  His new job is president of the United States.  That's right.  So the house is the White House, and the city is Washington, D.C.  That means Liberty Porter is going to be First Daughter and she is super-excited!  This is the start of an amazing adventure for Liberty, for the Secret Service who follow her everywhere (ha!), and for her dog, Franklin, who makes life in the big White House more exciting — especially when he's barking at tourists.
This book was on a sale table, so not one I had planned to read.  But it was a fun book that children will like.  On the day she moved into the White House, Liberty had lots of adventures, partly because she was determined to be helpful.  She "rescued" the bored children of people who would be working for her dad — they were on a tour of the White House, led by someone who left out all the interesting tidbits that would fascinate a child.  So Liberty managed to take half of them off to her new bedroom to play.

Liberty planned to help her dad as his "secret assistant" and took her new "job" seriously.  I like this part (on page 10), just before her father's Inauguration, when he would take his oath of office.  He leaned down and looked Liberty right in the eye.
"My Liberty is about to become First Daughter," he said to her.  "You will represent the children of America.  The future of our country."

Liberty's father raised his right hand, like he was going to take an oath.  He waited.

Oh!  Liberty had to take an oath too!  She didn't know that part!  Okay!  She took a deep breath and raised her right hand too.

"I, Liberty Porter, promise to be an awesome First Daughter.  I will represent the children of America, who are the future of our country!" Liberty promised.

Suddenly, Liberty knew she would.  The oath made her feel official.  It made her feel ready!
Then her father laughed and said, "I was just raising my hand to give you a high five."  Her job, he explained, was "to just be a nine-year-old."  But like the posters in the crowd said, Liberty wanted to be a "Porter SupPorter!"

It's an excellent book, and I rate it 9 of 10.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mailbox Monday ~ two books have arrived

White Lies and Dark Chocolate ~ by Dana Lynne Pitely, 2012, fiction (Ivory Coast)
"Everybody loves chocolate.  Well, maybe not everyone.  I suppose there are a few who have never tasted chocolate.  Abdul, a 10-year old and a 3-year veteran of the cocoa fields in the Ivory Coast, has never had chocolate.  Rose Isope, a direct descendant of the famed fabulist Aesop, has a problem with that.  Rose will do everything she can to give Abdul a piece of chocolate.  This is a novel about one person’s determination to change a common practice of doing what is easy over doing what is right."
TimeWarp, Inc. ~ by Cotton E. Davis, 2012, science fiction
"When historian Gwen Hoffman first meets time traveler Mike Garvin, an ex-Special Forces weapons sergeant back from ancient Gaul where he was embedded as a centurion in Julius Caesar's elite 10th Legion, she is more than a little put off.  Scarred and dangerous-looking, the man appears more thug than time traveler.  Yet he is the person TimeWarp, Inc. is sending back in time to protect Jeshua bar Yosef (Jesus son of Joseph) from twenty-first century assassins; the man Gwen was assigned to prepare for life in first-century Galilee.  Gwen, of course, has no idea she and Garvin will become lovers.  Nor does she realize she herself will end up in Roman Palestine, where she will not only meet Jesus but face danger alongside Mike in the adventure of a lifetime."
These two books have arrived in my mailbox, and I expect to review both of them within the next few days.  Mailbox Monday, on tour during February @ Unabridged Chick, is a place for readers to share the books that arrived in the past week and explore other book blogs.  Warning:  Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Snowball, snow angel, and hot chocolate

We had about an inch of snow today.  It's the first snow this winter that actually "accumulated."

Friday, February 1, 2013

How many squares?

How many squares do you see?

1 + 16 + 2 + 8 + 4 + 4 + 1 + 4 = 40

1 is the large perimeter box that holds all the others.
16 are the obvious 4 rows of boxes in 4 lines.
2 are the inset boxes, which are dissected into another
8 smaller boxes. The 16 boxes also make
4 boxes that are 2x2 in each corner. Broaden that to
4 boxes that are 3x3 in each corner, along with
1 box in the center that is 2x2 and
4 more boxes that are 2x2 in the center of each side.

40 is the total.