Friday Photos–A Walk on the Trail

All Photos: P. Booher

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–One Shenandoah Winter

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”—one you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

In the novel One Shenandoah Winter, author Davis Bunn brings together:

Two people gripped by rage so deep they don’t know how they can free themselves from it. 

One town, tucked away among the hills and valleys of Virginia, in desperate need of a doctor.

A pastor whose baby is seriously ill.

A couple determined to marry despite their age difference.

An old man living up in the hills who knows the secret of living and dying.

 

Davis Bunn weaves in historical references, topographical descriptions, language expressions and mountain customs to draw the reader into 1961 Virginia. As I read, I felt the characters’ anger or sorrow, or joy. I bounced along in Connie’s old truck as she drove on hilly roads, some little more than ruts. I saw the poverty of some of the people, reflected in their clothes or their homes; I also saw their innate dignity, regardless of how much or how little they had. I experienced joy when people gave sacrificially to give joy to someone. 

One Shenandoah Winter illustrates the possibilities when I choose to let go of trying to control what was never mine to control anyway. “Let go and let God”

Note: Faith in a personal God is displayed in the book: the pastor preaches, a man makes up his mind to follow Christ. But none of this is done in a judgmental way. The pastor is compassionate, never condemning. Everything happens in a natural, not forced, way.

One Shenandoah Winter is a novel I found hard to put down. The words flowed, making it easy to keep reading. This is a “treasure” for me.

Title: One Shenandoah Winter

Author: Davis Bunn 

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

©P. Booher

 

 

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A Surprising Benefit to My “Favorites” Notebook

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Years ago I bought an 11×8½ spiral notebook with a photograph on the cover of a creek running through woods.  I decided that notebook would be my “Favorites” notebook. On the inside I wrote, “Favorites—things I liked when I saw them”. 

My “Favorites” notebook starts off with the poem “Refuge” by Lew Sarett, and is followed with passages by Faith Baldwin from her book Living by Faith, and Robert Traver from Anatomy of a Fisherman. The notebook includes other poems; bits and pieces which stuck out as I read different books and articles; newspaper clippings about nature, history, movie reviews; song lyrics, and people stories—people following their creative muses, and people acting in commendable ways towards people and animals. 

I have a few scrapbooks, too, but those I meant to keep in order, and that order got lost in the shuffle of the years (and never taking the time to sit down and arrange photos properly). Most of the scrapbook pages are faded, and not appealing to work at. Somehow it’s easier and more pleasing to me to keep my favorites notebook going. Plus spiral notebooks are meant to be written in, so I can add my thoughts to something I read. The scrapbook pages are not good for writing on.

I found a surprising benefit to keeping a favorites notebook: when I’m in a bad mood, my nerves are on edge, or my spirits are low, taking the time to look through or work on the notebook improves my disposition, calms my nerves, and raises my spirits.

©P. Booher

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The Kind of Worshippers God Seeks

I liked this, and thought I’d pass it along.

David's Daily Dose

Sally, from Theology of a Newfoundland Housewife shared a post yesterday, Praying Twice, about an enthusiastic singer at her church who was regularly off key. As often happens here on Word Press, this brought to mind my own memory of a monotone worshipper who God used to teach me a valuable lesson.

As a singer in my church’s choir, I always keep my eyes and ears open for potential members. One Sunday, as we walked in to the sanctuary (singing the first hymn), I noticed a man on the second row—singing and praising God with great fervor. “O boy, we’ve found ourselves a new member!” I said to myself. But when I passed by the gentleman, he was TERRIBLY off key. “How embarrassing,” I thought.

I know, that wasn’t very nice of me. God didn’t think so either. Because after we got to the choir loft, the Holy Spirit said…

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What I’m Enjoying Now

A list of good stuff, of blessings and things which give me pleasure (in no particular order)

  1. a good cup of tea, either hot or iced
  2. the feeling of satisfaction when I mow grass, do yard work or housework, and see how much neater the area looks
  3. reading a good book, either for fun, inspiration, or education
  4. some spiritual victories
  5. growing in the ability to make a writing piece better
  6. seeing the flowers bloom (it was the peony bush, now it’s wild daylilies) By extension, moments enjoying God’s Creation, simply enjoying it, and being lost in those moments.
  7. finding a way to solve a problem, especially one that’s bugged me for awhile
  8. time spent with friends—ones I’ve known, and ones I’m getting to know
  9. being able to pass on some encouragement
  10. a Bible translation I enjoy reading
  11. the car passed inspection
  12. faith to realize that good things happen in each day
  13. knowing God is for me
  14. looking forward to more personal growth, so I can give more to others

©P. Booher

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–Hemingway’s Cats

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”—one you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and way over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

A couple weeks ago my computer/internet gave me fits; it was too warm and humid for me to do anything outside; I was grumpy and my nerves were on edge; I wanted—no, NEEDED—an escape from my world. I picked up a novel I bought a couple weeks before: Hemingway’s Cats by Lindsey Hopper. Immediately my mind landed in Key West, Florida, where Ernest Hemingway’s house is located. Besides being the museum and house of the well-known writer, the grounds are famous for the large number of six-toed cats which freely roam the place.

Laura Lange goes to Key West to work as a tour guide at the Hemingway House. She finds a far different life than she ever knew back home. The weather is one quirky element; another is her co-workers, landlords and other residents, including chickens. The cats display their idiosyncrasies as well. 

As the novel develops, various questions pop up: will Laura fall in love with one of the guys who thinks she’s “hot”? Are the rumors swirling around about assorted characters true? How will Laura deal with her ex-boyfriend back home who keeps texting her? And the question which involves everyone, human and feline—will Key West get pounded by a hurricane?

Hemingway’s Cats is a light, entertaining read. Romance and humor abound.  The characters have their good points and bad. The characters’ motivations are realistic. The cats are as involved in the novel as the humans are.

Language and other cautions: “H**l” and “D**n” used by some characters, but not every other word.  Numerous references made to characters drinking and going to bars as a social event. No graphic bedroom scenes.

Title: Hemingway’s Cats

Author: Lindsey Hooper

Publisher: Kensington 

©P. Booher

 

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Friday Photos–Plants with Unusual Characteristics

Tall Hens and Chicks

A friend gave my mother some succulent plants commonly called “hens and chicks”. One grew exceptionally tall, about a foot high. (It is in the bottom part of the picture, in the middle, with what looks like a head on the top.)

These houseplants, commonly referred to as “snake plants” around here, don’t usually bloom in our area, though I understand that in warmer climates they bloom regularly. Years ago one summer was unusually hot and humid, and to our surprise, the snake plants bloomed.

©P. Booher

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–Coffee with Jesus

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over her, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”—one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

Coffee with Jesus by David Wilkie tells about the conversations various characters have with Jesus as they meet for coffee. The characters include Kevin, Carl, Carl’s wife Lisa, Ann, Pastor Joe, and the accuser of the brethren, Satan, who as always, tries to stir up trouble.

Coffee with Jesus is done in comic-strip format, which allows you to read one strip or several, and still leave with a message to think about and get a chuckle out of as well. The characters bring up such issues as politics, taxes, work, child-raising, differences in churches, getting along with co-workers, Jesus’ early years, Christmas, and other topics. Jesus engages with them in an easy conversational style—sometimes gently teasing them, other times speaking in a matter-of-fact style, and other times answering with His divine authority. Sometimes Jesus reminds them that He is in control, and that whatever they are questioning, it’s not for them to be concerned about, because He’s got it, and when the time comes, He’ll deal with it. 

I like to pick up Coffee with Jesus when I’m looking for that deft blend of thought and humor.

Coffee with Jesus book, published by InterVarsity Press, is a creative project of David Wilkie and Radio Free Babylon.

©P. Booher

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The Abby Chronicles–Watching My Human Exercise

Here I am, ready to write my story!

Chapter XXIII

The younger human moves around on the bed before she gets up. She calls this exercising. I exercise when I chase my tail or play with my toys. The younger human doesn’t have a tail to chase, or toys to play with—poor human!—so she exercises instead.

When I first saw her doing this I thought something was wrong. But she does this almost every morning, so nothing is wrong.

She starts by raising one back leg to her chest several times, then the other back leg. She raises her back legs up straight in the air, one leg at a time, several times. She moves her back paws in circles, then to-and-fro, like I do when I’m swishing my tail. Some days she moves her front legs up-and-down, up-and-down in the air. I laugh inside so she doesn’t know I’m laughing, but some days it’s hard not to meow-laugh out loud. It’s so entertaining!

©P. Booher

 

 

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Unless the Lord Builds

Enjoy reading this post from David’s Daily Dose. It’s worth the time.

David's Daily Dose

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.

Psalm 127:1 (NIV)

As I’ve mentioned before, my wife and I are compulsive watchers of the HGTV (Home and Garden Television) network.

The other night we saw a rerun of Holmes Makes It Right that gave me nightmares! If you haven’t seen it, the show stars Mike Holmes, a veteran contractor and home inspector, who helps homeowners fix major issues with their properties.

On most episodes Mike runs into even greater difficulties than expected. Invariably, it turns out an unqualified person did work on the property that was not up “to code.” Such shoddy craftsmanship poses a hazard–hidden inside walls or under floors for years. “Just one spark,” says a scowling Mike, “and the whole house could have been ruined.”

Heaven has a reality show as well. It’s called, Unless the Lord Builds the House. On the show, God…

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