Old Souls

December 8, 2013 at 12:15 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , )

Been ThereTitle:Been There, Done That, Really!

Author: Paulette Camnetar Meeks

Publisher: Xulon Press

Genre: Memoirs/ Short Stories/ Christian Living/ Large Print

Length: 496 pages

Paulette Meeks stood at the table of books at the bookstore after her signing, “Pick one you think you’ll like.” She is in her seventies, has several titles out, and has recently become a writing machine though she’ll tell you, “I never thought I’d be a writer, but God gave me these stories.”

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Paulette and her friends. (Ms. Meeks is on the far left.)

I looked over the books.  One is fit for a Sunday School class, one looks fun and spunky featuring a nun zooming by on a motorcycle.  I picked Been There, Done That, Really!  It has an elderly couple, the sort you imagine have grown old together, looking off into the distance over what I presume is a cup of coffee (could be tea, but I’m partial to coffee drinkers).  Obviously, this appeals to me.

I always thought there were two kinds of people in the world – those that prefer the very young and those who prefer the very old.  I’m of the old variety.  I love my child, but I’ve never been a natural nurturer to children.  To me they are just little people who haven’t learned how to function well in society.  They don’t yet look beyond their own noses, they are selfish and self-serving.  Thanks to hormones and motherhood that view has changed a bit – my daughter is indeed a little person, but I can see the wise woman she will one day be.  And the cute, snuggly factor helps.

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This picture was taken about thirteen years ago, but I remember this woman vividly.

The elderly, though, have always intrigued me.  Even as a very small child, I preferred white hair and wrinkles to the company of my peers.  I learned to count by playing SkipBo with a woman who was born at the turn of the century – the 1899 to 1900 one, I realize I have to specify these days.  In high school when I did community service projects, I always opted for cleaning homes for assisted living homes in low income neighborhoods over playground session with tiny people.  I enjoyed the conversations.  Then and now, I like hearing the stories.

If you’re one of those people too, the kind who likes to hear about a lifetime of adventures from someone interested in sharing them, Paulette Meeks’ collection of stories are for you.  They are sweet, simple tales from people who just want to talk about their lives a little bit.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.

My favorite story was Paulette’s own: Never Too Old to Be Smitten.  There is a picture at the start of the story of Paulette and her husband Bill on their wedding day June 29th in 2001.  I found the idea of finding love in your sixties so wonderfully sweet.  Bill was a widower before Paulette, and I hope that if I die first, my husband finds someone to keep him company before he leaves this world.  (We wives like to believe our men can’t live without us. ) More than anything, the word ‘smitten’ is a magical word and it is easy to get caught up in the romance of the meaning while you read the story of their first meeting and first date.

Reading through these stories reminded me of another book I’ve reviewed here before, Rich Fabric, a series of stories about quilting.  The proceeds of Rich Fabric go to the Twilight Wish Foundation, and if you’ve read it I think Been There, Done That, Really! will appeal to you.

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Love is a Choice

September 24, 2013 at 2:04 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

lovechoiceTitle:Love Is A Choice

Authors: Dr. Robert Hemfelt, Dr. Frank Minirth, Dr. Paul Meier

Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishing

Genre: Psychology/ Self-Help/ Christian Living

Length: 275 pages

Back in college I read Happiness Is A Choice with a few girls I knew.  We went to a Baptist school, but clearly weren’t behaving like the other little Christian girls we knew, so of course we devoured a book that seemingly addressed all that was wrong with us and how to fix it God’s way.  Mostly, it just made us feel better.

Naturally, I spotted this in a giant giveaway pile, knew it was by the same authors, and impulsively picked it up.  Approximately 3 years later (now), I got around to reading it.

It did not make me feel better.

At least not at first anyway.

Reading Love Is A Choice from a parental perspective can be daunting and, to say the least, overwhelming.  The first half of the book had me completely convinced that everyone on the planet has been abused in some form or another… active abuse, passive abuse, this abuse, that abuse.  Unless you’re Jesus, NO ONE IS SAFE.  I am not Jesus, so essentially, all I determined was that my kid was going to grow up to have issues.  NO MATTER WHAT I DID.  For that, I kind of hated it.

However, because all these very human issues and mistakes run rampant in the world – because we are human – it ends up being a good read.  Handy.  Fair warning, so to speak.  Be careful of this, be careful of that, be warned that these kinds of actions effect your children this way or that way into adulthood.   And above all, put God first.

I can get on board with that.

Just remember when looking at this cover and judging whether or not you think this applies to you, codependency probably doesn’t mean what you think it means.  I know I was fooled.  Essentially the core sort of means the same as what I thought, but all the nuances are different.  If you’ve read my blog for long, you know I love a few good nuances!

Anyway, it took up the better part of a week after my kiddo was asleep… when I wasn’t reading a Thomas Jefferson biography or going over homeschooling stuff… and I don’t feel like my time was wasted.  Self-help isn’t typically a genre I care much about, so that means if I mostly like it then it’s probably pretty stellar. Check it out.

Below is a picture of me and my kid, who along with my husband, I choose to love every day – the best I can.  P.S. The first week of October is Banned Books Awareness Week.  BE AWARE! Read a ‘banned book.’  As far as I know, Love is a Choice isn’t banned anywhere and this statement has nothing to do with the review, just my t-shirt.

Photograph by Michael Palmer

Photograph by Michael Palmer

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Coffee… Starbucks… God… Gospel… What?

August 21, 2013 at 5:54 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , )

starbucks gospelTitle:The Gospel According to Starbucks

Author: Leonard Sweet

Publisher: WaterBrook Press

Genre: Christian Living

Length: 210 pages

So reading this I realize why I rarely read Christian Living books.  I pretty much disagree with most of them.  Sometimes they are blatantly wrong, sometimes their nuances are misleading.  Sure, I think it’s good to pick one up every now and then, but mostly I’d rather read The Bible, theology, or philosophy, rather than suffer through a water downed less than truthful version of God.

The story of the copy I have of this book is an interesting one, to me.  My college room mate’s little sister had it first and her tiny little handwriting (that looks freakishly like my old roomie’s) is peppered throughout.  That’s my favorite part about used books – the notes.

Mostly she’s witty… funny little quips from having actually worked at Starbucks creep onto the pages.  Cutely reprimanding customers for their silly choice in drink, which I cutely got indignant over because some of those drinks are things I order, seep onto the pages and make my lip curl up.  But sometimes she writes something spot on that is exactly what I’m thinking and embodies my entire personal view of this book:

“You can be grateful and enjoy the ‘experience’ but don’t place your walk’s ‘value’ on whether or not you had some ultimate experience.” – Hannah’s note on pg. 51

Indeed.  At one point I scribbled a response that said, “Church becomes an entertainment fiasco… the Baptist equivalent of a Vegas Headliner.” Because the Gospel of Starbucks is experience, and Sweet implies over and over that we should be focused on our experience with God.  Human beings are kind of crazy and moody… I don’t want my walk with God to be based on my personal experience and how I’m feeling that day.  Instead, I’m sorry, but I think we should be focused on GOD… not how we feel so much.  Feelings are fleeting.  God is steady.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s some good stuff in here.  I’d give it a 3 stars “I like it,” but I like it with a shrug.  I think I mostly like it for the fun little notes in the margins that Sweet inspired out of previous readers.  I like the coffee talk and the Picasso quotes. I like that Sweet encourages people to “live with a Grande passion,” I think living with passion is important.  It’s the nuances that get me every time with a book I sort of don’t care for… all those tiny little nuances that leave an after taste.  Kind of like Starbucks.  I like Starbucks, I do.  But everything just kind of tastes like Starbucks after awhile and I’m always eager to find that hole in the wall mom and pop coffee shop that stayed true to the basics.  That goes for church too… teach me the word of God, end of story.

The best thing about Sweet’s gospel? It compliments my morning coffee. As it was a hand-me-down title, however, I plan to hand it down to someone else.  It’s worth reading, but not a keeper.

A link to Hannah’s blog can be found in my right hand margin: Musings From the Tardis.

My old Roomie writes Coffee Cups in Trees.

But something to take a look at that is a much better view of the world and is quick and to the point is here: http://www.thinkingthroughchristianity.com/2013/08/let-there-be-coffee.html

 

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