Be mindful of the pleasure
as warm water washes over you.
Be mindful of the smell
of your soap or shampoo.
Elizabeth seems to have her life together. She is married to a great guy, has two wonderful children, and appears to be happy and content. But, the truth of the matter is, most days, she doesn’t even get dressed. Her house is a disaster zone filled with clutter and trash, and she is living in complete and utter chaos — you know, the kind that keeps you from ever inviting anyone over. But Elizabeth finds hope one day, when she stumbles across an intriguing post on Facebook. She discovers that “FlyLady” is coming to her town and decides to investigate the topic. Slowly but surely, she learns about the FlyLady system for overcoming clutter and chaos in the home — though implementing it in her own life proves quite a challenge. As she learns the ropes, however, she is faced with various difficulties that make it nearly impossible to continue her journey out of chaos. You’ll be inspired as you watch Elizabeth emerge with newfound skill, organization, and comfort — because, if a not-so-perfect heroine can do it, so can you!Gloria Johnson Atcheson, the author, posted this on Facebook yesterday:
"Happy Black Friday. I wanted to run a special today but unfortunately it won't start till tomorrow. Nov 28-30 The Not So Perfect Heroine will be free for the kindle. Spread the word. Have a great time reading and Happy Holidays!!"I was surprised to find on the very first page that "her town" in the novel is Chattanooga, my hometown. The story looks interesting, so I downloaded it for my Kindle. Who else is downloading it?
My mother always said she'd felt something of a let-down when she first saw the sign reading CONCORDIA TOWN LIMITS. They had been riding for three days along rutted dirt roads north and west of Nashville.Synopsis:
"For a real bargain, while you're making a living, you should make also a life," according to Aaron Bronson. In 1920, in small town America, the ubiquitous dry goods store — suits and coats, shoes and hats, work clothes and school clothes, yard goods and notions — was usually owned by Jews and often referred to as "the Jew store." That's how Stella Suberman's father's store — Bronson's Low-Priced Store, in Concordia, Tennessee — was known locally. The Bronsons were the first Jews to ever live in that tiny town (1920 population: 5,318) of one main street, one bank, one drugstore, one picture show, one feed and seed, one hardware, one barber shop, one beauty parlor, one blacksmith, and many Christian churches. Aaron Bronson moved his family all the way from New York City to that remote corner of northwest Tennessee to prove himself a born salesman — and much more. A Jew, born into poverty in prerevolutionary Russia and orphaned from birth, finds his way to America, finds a trade, finds a wife, and sets out to find his fortune in a place where Jews are unwelcome. Suberman turns the clock back to a time when rural America was more peaceful but no less prejudiced, when educated liberals were suspect, and when the Klan was threatening to outsiders.I wonder what this would have felt like, 95 years ago.
Does a person get "revved" at ordination, as in "she is now the Rev. Jacobs"?2. Family:
I've been thinking about doing these Thursday Thirteen posts since one granddaughter's 27th birthday on October 1st. In the meantime, one of my grandsons got engaged and another grandson took his family on vacation, where 4-year-old Jaxon climbed high.3. Health:
My most recent doctor's appointment showed that my blood sugar level (A1C) is down to 6.0, so the doctor took me off Metformin (for diabetes) completely. We'll see whether diet and exercise is enough to keep me "pre-diabetic" without any meds.4. Food:
Donna invited me to help her eat this Frito Taco Pie. She used crescent roll triangles as the base, ground beef with taco seasoning, tomatoes, olives, shredded cheese, and corn chips. Maybe more delicious stuff — I don't remember — but it was so goooood!5. Weather:
As I compose this Thursday Thirteen on Wednesday evening, it's 57° and cloudy with patchy drizzle possible, here in St. Louis. On Saturday, we had wet snow flurries. On Sunday, my building cast a long shadow on a sunny day.6. Neighbors:
I am now an "ambassador" to two new residents: Rosie and Judy. I'm supposed to take each of them on a tour of our home and give them information about various areas and activities — from the computer center and library to the fitness center, from the Circle@Crown Café to the beauty shop, from the laundry room to the community garden and greenhouse, from the culinary studio to the theater room with its big-screen television.
I took Judy to the October Birthday Bash shortly after she moved in. The Crown Center gave me tickets to enjoy a complimentary dinner and to attend any program or bus trip free so I can accompany Rosie and Judy, but I'd rather give the tickets to the newbies, instead.
9. Women's Issues:
One woman wrote about "the every day sexism I’m seeing and witnessing and watching," sexism that nearly every woman and girl knows. We take "the path of least precariousness" and "mastering the art of de-escalation" is "the reality of being a woman in our world." Along with this writer, "I’m realizing that men can’t be expected to understand how pervasive everyday sexism is if we don’t start telling them and pointing to it when it happens." When I discovered this article a couple of days ago, it already had 609 comments. I printed out the article and several of the comments to use in a discussion group.10. Catty remarks:
11. Discussion groups:
I accidentally started a new book group when one resident who'd had surgery couldn't go with me to my church book club because of the many steps up to the home of the hostess. Donna and I agreed to talk with her about the book. Uh-huh, I invited others and before I knew it, we were planning what to discuss next time. Donna will lead our December meeting about To Kill a Mockingbird and our January meeting about Harper Lee's recently published book, Go Set a Watchman. Donna wants us to think about both the scene and the character that most stayed with us from the first book. What would be your answer?
Shon posted this on Facebook night before last: "My dear friend, Bonnie Setliffe Jacobs, left an indelible mark on my life over a decade ago. It is through her wisdom, generosity, and faith that I was able to reconcile the certainty of my heart with the confusion in my mind. It's a debt I'll never be able to repay. However, I can promise to follow her example: Openness! Maintain a open heart, an open mind, and to never allow my faith to remain stagnant. It's a living, growing thing! My 24th day of expressing gratitude is dedicated to you, Bonnie. Love and peace to you always!"13. Facebook:
Do any of your Facebook friends seem to think the more they "share" Jesus the better? That's why I loved it when I found this "share."
The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film, also a classic. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior — to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.My book club and my NEW book club (more on that in a minute) are both discussing this oldie in December, so I need to re-read it immediately. Both will then read and discuss Harper Lee's second novel (second published, though written first). I'll write about Go Set a Watchman next month. I'll explain more in tomorrow's post about how I accidentally started a new book group when one of my neighbors who'd had surgery couldn't go with me to mine. We got together separately, joined by several other neighbors.
The standard story of St. Louis's founding tells of fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau hacking a city out of wilderness. St. Louis Rising overturns such gauzy myths with the contrarian thesis that French government officials and institutions shaped and structured early city society. Of the former, none did more than Louis St. Ange de Bellerive. His commitment to the Bourbon monarchy and to civil tranquility made him the prime mover as St. Louis emerged during the tumult following the French and Indian War. Drawing on new source materials, the authors delve into the complexities of politics, Indian affairs, slavery, and material culture that defined the city's founding period. Their alternative version of the oft-told tale uncovers the imperial realities — as personified by St. Ange — that truly governed in the Illinois Country of the time, and provides a trove of new information on everything from the fur trade to the arrival of the British and Spanish after the Seven Years' War.
Sacks tackles the phenomenon of religious extremism and violence committed in the name of God. If religion is perceived as being part of the problem, he argues, then it must also form part of the solution. When individuals are motivated by what he calls "altruistic evil" — and also think "my religion is the only right path to God, therefore your religion is by definition wrong" — then violence between peoples of different beliefs appears to be the only natural outcome. But through an exploration of the roots of violence and its relationship to religion, Sacks shows that religiously inspired violence has as its source misreadings of biblical texts at the heart of all three Abrahamic faiths. By looking anew at the book of Genesis, with its foundational stories of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, Sacks offers a radical rereading of many of the Bible’s seminal stories of sibling rivalry: Cain and Abel, Isaac and Ishmael, Jacob and Esau, Joseph and his brothers, Rachel and Leah.Contents
"Abraham himself sought to be a blessing to others regardless of their faith. That idea, ignored for many of the intervening centuries, remains the simplest definition of Abrahamic faith. It is not our task to conquer or convert the world or enforce uniformity of belief. It is our task to be a blessing to the world. The use of religion for political ends is not righteousness but idolatry. To invoke God to justify violence against the innocent is not an act of sanctity but of sacrilege."Here is an eloquent call for people of goodwill from all faiths and none to stand together, confront the religious extremism that threatens to destroy us, and declare: Not in God’s Name.
1 Altruistic Evil ... p. 3II Siblings
2 Violence and Identity ... p. 27
3 Dualism ... p. 44
4 The Scapegoat ... p. 66
5 Sibling Rivalry ... p. 87
6 The Half-Brothers ... p. 107III The Open Heart
7 Wrestling with the Angel ... p. 125
8 Role Reversal ... p. 144
9 The Rejection of Rejection ... p. 161
10 The Stranger ... p. 177I've already gotten St. Louis Rising from the library, but I'm number 24 of 25 holds on the newly published Not in God's Name. My library has twelve copies, but I suspect — if I want to read it anytime soon — I may have buy myself a copy. I may do that, since my study groups want to discuss Syrian refugees, terrorism, and Islam.
11 The Universality of Justice, the Particularity of Love ... p. 189
12 Hard Texts ... p. 207
13 Relinquishing Power ... p. 220
14 Letting Go of Hate ... p. 238
15 The Will to Power or the Will to Life ... p. 252
"In this week of the world spinning off into melt down; and fear and mistrust being the dominant emotions, let us create a wee pool of loveliness. On Tuesday on the Facebook page a thread of fluffy kittens and heartwarming YouTube clips was started to bring a little light into the darkness, this has brought laughter and feel good goose bumps to many. On Wednesday this week, many Scottish Gals gathered in Edinburgh for a festive lunch and a time to catch up. We were celebrating a new call and a new job and an imminent wedding amongst other things, and it was a lovely, fun, noisy time! For Friday Five this week, let’s keep the light, love, and laughter going with a random selection of things to make your heart sing."1. Music: a song or orchestral piece that stirs your soul.
My favorite piece of music is Mozart's Bassoon Concerto in B flat major, so I've posted it a couple of times before on this blog. Here's Aligi Voltan playing the bassoon. If the video quits working, hear it on YouTube.2. Indoor Place: Have you got an oasis at home that you can hide away in?
Since I live alone in a very active retirement center, my oasis is my apartment. When I've had enough of socializing and talking to others, I retreat into my own space.3. Outdoor Space: Is it water, hills, woodland? Is it the fresh country air or the bustling city?
It's also here at the Crown Center for Senior Living. If I want to sit outside, I can do it on the patio or in the gazebo. The photo at the top shows the irises around the gazebo in the spring of 2015.4. Picture: this may be a piece of art, something you created, something someone gave you.
The glazed tile showing T.C. the cat, on the wall behind the man, was painted by Jane Yelliott (on the right). It is now in my bedroom, given to me by Jane when she was dying in December 2013. It isn't the only piece of her artwork I have, but this one especially brings Jane back to me every time I look at it because she apologized for not being able to paint MY cat before she died. I miss her smile and visiting together. By the way, "T.C." stands for "Top Cat," according to Jane's daughter.5. Person: Do you have a go to person, for when the world is crowding in?
Donna has been my best friend for nearly 20 years, and I can definitely say she's one of the "cool people" who care and make the world better. This was taken when we attended a program in the culinary kitchen here at the Crown Center. Behind us is part of the library, where Donna and I volunteer to re-shelve books returned by the residents.
From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity's creation and evolution that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be "human." One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited earth. Yet today there is only one ― homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us? Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition.Claire @ The Captive Reader and Linda @ Silly Little Mischief that encourages us to share the names of books we checked out of the library. See what others got this week.
"I am sitting in the center of a labyrinth at Mount Calvary, a monastery in Santa Barbara, California."Synopsis of the book
Religion is on the decline in America as many people leave behind traditional religious practices. Bass argues that what appears to be a decline actually signals a major transformation in how people understand and experience God. The distant God of conventional religion has given way to a more intimate sense of the sacred that is with us in the world. This shift, from a vertical understanding of God to a God found on the horizons of nature and human community, is at the heart of a spiritual revolution that surrounds us — and that is challenging not only religious institutions but political and social ones as well. People are finding new spiritual ground by discovering and embracing God everywhere in the world around us — in the soil, the water, the sky, in our homes and neighborhoods, and in the global commons. Faith is no longer a matter of mountaintop experience or institutional practice; instead, people are connecting with God through the environment in which we live. There's a radical change in the way many people understand God and how they practice faith. Bass invites readers to join this emerging spiritual revolution, find a revitalized expression of faith, and change the world.
When did we become so tame? How has "the good life" come to mean addiction to screens and status, fossil fuels and financial fitness? Can we break free to become the joyful and prophetic people God calls us to be? Trek along with wilderness guide Todd Wynward as he "rewilds" the Jesus Way. Seek the feral foundations of Scripture and the lessons that the prophets and disciples gleaned from wilderness testing. Packed with inspiring stories of how contemporary people and groups are caring for the land and each other, Rewilding the Way issues a call to action. Read about how reskilling and local food covenants are transforming churches, and how place-based activism and creative housing are nurturing communities. Learn from those who are recovering from affluenza, replacing visions of personal wealth with the commonwealth of the earth and restoring their humble place in the community of creation. Do you despair about life on our changing planet? Join the hopeful band of seekers of God and makers of change who are rewilding the Way.
The creation story stands as one of the most famous and familiar in Scripture. But, says best-selling author Robert Farrar Capon, most of us misconstrue it. The reason? We have fallen into the habit of reading Genesis the way we read all of Scripture - as a manual of religious instructions. To break this (bad) habit, Capon here offers a whimsical yet wonderfully fruitful approach - watching the Bible as a historical movie whose director is God. Though Capon does have fun with this concept, he's very serious about its liberating effects. "When you watch a movie," he says, "you never ask questions about whether the events depicted actually happened. Instead, you accept the history the director shows you on the screen." And, as Capon points out, we typically suspend judgment of a film until we've seen all of it, letting later scenes inform and enrich earlier ones. That, he says, is exactly how we need to see Genesis - as just the beginning of the whole movie of Scripture. Using this novel approach in "Genesis, the Movie," Capon develops a commentary of theological scope and depth on the first three chapters of Genesis. He gives every verse as it appears in the Hebrew, the Septuagint, and the Vulgate, as well as in the KJV, RSV, and NRSV versions of the Bible. Making extensive use of Augustine's commentary on Genesis in his "Confessions" and "De Genesi ad Litteram," Capon also shows the interpretive freedom with which the church's fathers and mothers approached Scripture. This book is as much Capon the charming writer-teacher as it is Capon the scholar, characterized as it is by the conversational, entertaining style for which Capon is so well known. Enriched by Capon's signature wit, imaginative wisdom, and broad-ranging engagement of saints, poets, and religious thinkers across the centuries, "Genesis, the Movie" presents a remarkable new look at Scripture that will delight and challenge its many readers.Before I went out the door this morning to meet my best friend for lunch and a run to the library, I hit One-Click and glanced at my Kindle to see Rewilding the Way appear on the screen. Donna picked up her book that was on hold at the library and we went to Miss Sherry's to eat, mostly because it's on the way to our favorite used book store just down the street. Yes, of course I bought another book there! Capon's Genesis: The Movie was the first to catch my eye, and the beautiful hardback copy practically jumped off the shelf into my hands. All because of the joyful party thrown by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost at the beginning of The Third Peacock: The Problem of God and Evil (1986), one of Capon's books I read in seminary, back when it was new. Capon, who died in 2013, had a contagious sense of humor and outrageousness and I smiled when I saw one of his books I've never read.
Although his years at Barnard's Crossing have never been dull, Rabbi Small is bored with clerical duties and wants to teach. But Police Chief Hugh Lanigan enlists the rabbi to set his scholar's mind to a drunk driving accident that looks like murder.
At the advent of the new millennium, the residents of High Balsam are in desperate need of hope. Economic and social unrest has led to tragedy. For Margaret Bonner, the young pastor of High Balsam's Episcopal church, care of the community is her constant challenge and devotion. But now, into Margaret's well-ordered life, come three strangers — a firebrand female evangelist with a haunted past; an elderly, itinerant man whose visit to this quiet hamlet may be no accident; and a troubled boy who Margaret's husband, headmaster of a progressive, local school, is determined to save.
"Long before the stench of charred rubber and twisted metal had evaporated into the crisp London air on that dreadful morning of July 7, 2005, when four British Muslims obliterated themselves and fifty-two bus and tube passengers during the height of rush hour, it was clear that a new front had been opened in the ongoing battle against Islamic terrorism, also known as jihadism."I've read Reza Aslan's Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (2013) and heard him speak here in St. Louis last year, so I grabbed this book when I saw it on the shelf at a used book store. Whoever had it before either read very carefully or didn't read the book at all. It's in excellent condition, and I look forward to learning more about Islam, Muslims, and jihadism.
Knowingly and unknowingly we all grapple with race every day. This book delves into the complex interplay between race, power, and privilege in both organizations and private life. It offers an unflinching look at how ignorance can perpetuate privilege, and offers practical and thoughtful insights into how people of all races can work to break this cycle. Based on thirty years of work in diversity and colleges, universities, and corporations, Frances Kendall candidly invites readers to think personally about how race ― theirs and others' ― frames experiences and relationships, focusing squarely on white privilege and its implications for building authentic relationships across race. Not only does this book provide readers with a more meaningful understanding of white privilege, it also equips them with strategies for making personal and organizational changes.Claire @ The Captive Reader and Linda @ Silly Little Mischief that encourages us to share the names of books we checked out of the library. See what others got this week.