Here's what you've all been waiting for:
Dear faithful readers,
Watch this space over the next few days - I will have an exciting announcement!
Well, it's exciting to me, anyway...but you all probably shouldn't lose any sleep over waiting for it.
Your friend (daughter, mother, sister, etc...),
Pastor Greg Laurie lost his son Christopher in a car accident 3 months ago. I wondered how it might affect his ministry, but, if anything, he has been more on fire for the Lord since that tragedy. Three days after Christopher’s death, Pastor Greg was in church talking about God’s love and faithfulness. Three weeks later he was leading the Harvest Crusade at Anaheim Angels’ Stadium. And now, three months later, he is preaching this weekend at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Pastor Greg still has his passion for reaching others for Christ, as well as encouraging believers.
I went for a walk this morning and listened to a podcast from several weeks ago (I’ve gotten a little behind on both my walking and listening to Pastor Greg’s podcasts). The message was attempting to answer the question, Where is God when tragedies happen? Where was God when Christopher died? I don’t remember all the points (it’s hard to take notes when you’re walking!), but the general idea was that bad things will happen but God still loves us, and that this life is not all there is to life.
When I got home, I decided to check my e-mail and had a message waiting for me that a mom in our homeschool group had passed away this morning.
Stunned. Disbelieving. I knew Donna was terminally ill, and had prayed and cried for her and her family. But that didn’t lessen the shock. As I tried to form words to explain to the kids why I was crying over my e-mail, I remembered the message that I’d been listening to only moments before.
“This is all far from over” were the words that came to mind. But wait, that wasn’t in the message…that’s a line from a movie. But it somehow seemed to fit. It’s not over for Donna.
I went to my Bible, looking for Romans 8:38 to share with the kids: “Death…will (not) be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Before I found that verse, my eyes fell on this one: “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18). Donna’s present sufferings are over. But her life is far from over. Thank God.
I found this at Jenny's site. I tried to track down the original source, but can't find this exact list at The Big Read's website. And there are a few dupes on the list... Shakespeare has both Hamlet, and The Complete Works listed. Lewis has both The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the complete Chronicles of Narnia listed. Anyway, it was a fun exercise...
The Big Read reckons that the average adult has only read 6 of the top 100 books printed.
1) Look at the list and put one * by those you have read.
2) Put a % by those you intend to read.
3) Put two ** by the books you LOVE.
4) Put # by the books you HATE.
**1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
**2 The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien
**3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Brontë
4 Harry Potter series - J.K. Rowling
**5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
**6 The Bible
#7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Brontë (wanted to love it but couldn't)
*8 1984 - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (nooo)
*10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
*11 Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
*12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
%13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (some)
*15 Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier (Scary.)
**16 The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
*18 Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
**20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
**21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
%22 The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
#23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens (the miniseries was excellent, though!)
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
#25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams -
*26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh -
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (I read Bros Karamazov and think I should get credit for that!)
*28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
*29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
**30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame ("Oh, I'm such an a**")
*31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
*32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
**33 Chronicles of Narnia- C.S. Lewis
**34 Emma - Jane Austen
**35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
**36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C.S. Lewis -
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis de Bernières -
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
*40 Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne
**41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
**45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (wish I hadn't seen the movie first)
**46 Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery
*47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
*49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan (his Enduring Love is one of the worst books I ever read)
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
**54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (I have the first line memorized - any credit for that? Oh, and I know if you look up the word "incommodious" in the dictionary, they use a sentence from this book as an example! "It was very small, very dark, very ugly, very incommodious.")
%58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
*61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
*67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
*71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
*73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
*77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Émile Zola
**79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - A.S. Byatt
**81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro (loved the movie)
*85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
**87 Charlotte’s Web - E.B. White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
**89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
**91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
*92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
**94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
*98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
**99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
*100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo
I've read 52 of them! (if I counted right...) And really not planning on reading lots more...most of the ones I haven't read are too modern for me. If that makes sense. I'm surprised at how few I hated...but then again, Brothers Karamazov isn't on the official list!
I have been wanting to post before and after pictures of our house ever since we moved in. (in late July). The problem is, there are still no "after" pictures! So here are some "in-progress" pictures.
Thing 2's room: Painting in progress as I type this.
Entry way: Tile work in progress. Can't use the front door until tomorrow...then they'll be grouting it, so we won't be able to use for another day. (in case you can't tell...the kitchen table has been moved into the office, through the double doors)
Kitchen: We are eating out every meal...add that to the cost of home improvement. But, we do have a sink in the laundry room so at least we were able to set up our coffeemaker. (That was key, as we're 15 minutes from the nearest Starbucks).
Upstairs hall: Draping on the banister in a futile attempt to keep dust from coming upstairs.
Powder room: Hope you don't have to go potty...
Guest bathroom: At least they aren't ripping this toilet out before they put the powder room back together.
Master bath tile is next. I love this "3 corners" spot, where I can stand on the new carpet in the bedroom and the old carpet and the vinyl. I will sure miss it!
Master bedroom: The blinds are being delivered next week. But for the last 2 1/2 months, we've lived with a charming combination of old curtains and temporary paper shades.
Pool. Not quite ready.
Family room: We can move our furniture back in on Monday.
Living/dining room: The family room furniture has been stacked here:
So if you've been wondering why you haven't been invited over yet...that's why.
GWH and Thing 2 have been on a hunting trip for the last few days. So Thing 1 and I have been shopping, eating, and watching bad Errol Flynn movies.
We've been eating pretty well. Caprese salad, yum. (sliced tomatoes seasoned with pepper and freshly ground garlic salt, layered with fresh mozzarella, sprinkled with dried oregano and fresh basil chiffonade, and drizzled with olive oil). Chips and dip (dinner of champions). Of course, fresh baked cookies. But the piece de resistance was the pumpkin cheesecake we made yesterday:
I guess I cut the pieces a little too big. Because by the time I got to the last 3 bites or so, I was feeling a little queasy. But I persevered. "must...finish...the...cheesecake" was my mantra as I slowly ate the last few bites. After I got up and cleared my place, I looked over at Thing 1 who still had a few bites to go on her piece. She looked at me apologetically and told me it was "too rich" and she couldn't finish it.
"What??? It made me nauseous but I still finished my piece!" I told her.
"Mom. If you feel sick you should stop eating."
"Oh." That never occurred to me.
Well, live and learn.
Here's the recipe we used:
Thick & Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies (we made a variation with 1/2 & 1/2 white & dark choc chips, and we added pecans).
(thing 1 always wants credit for the photography)