Harvey

September 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm (In So Many Words) (, , , , , , , , )

Pre-Harvey I had made a plan. I now had Fridays off from work and I was going to get on the review writing routine again. I had planned to post a review and a book related blog article every Friday and fully embrace my life as a bibliophile.

Then Harvey happened.

I did what all good Texas women of the Gulf Coast do: I checked my back up water supply (ten already filled gallons which had been stored in the spring for potential summer hurricanes), I made sure we had food (the canned goods closet for such occasions was already stocked by my mother), I filled up my gas tank (it was only on half and that’s when I fill up usually anyway), I stopped by the ATM and made sure I had some emergency cash. I explained the process to my six year old as we deep cleaned the house (if you’re going to be stuck inside for a few days, you want everything spotless). I knew I was forgetting something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it until the next day when I started craving pie. Bake. All good Southern girls bake during a hurricane. We made a cherry pie.  If you scroll through a southern Facebook feed, you’ll see an awful lot of cookies and cakes too.

We made it through the rain and the wind. We prepared a tornado closet under the stairs during the warnings. I had the go bags with extra clothes, provisions, and toiletries already packed. I even packed an emergency go-homeschool bag so we could continue school work.

I watched the west fork of the San Jacinto rise. Conroe opened the flood gates and I watched the river rise some more.

Tuesday morning, my street that didn’t even flood in the Great Flood of 1994, had water so high that when my friend in a truck came to get my daughter and I (because my car, Nigel, is not an appropriate one to escape in such weather), that he had to borrow a boat.

A picture is worth a thousand words, so enjoy this one of kiddo:

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The water would later reach this man’s waist. Let’s gloss over our adventures in taking shelter at the church where kiddo had an absolute blast and the dog made all sorts of new best friends. (Seriously, we actually had a lot of fun there.) To the part where my car, Nigel, was completely flooded and is completely totaled and molded. The house got 13 inches.

And yet, God provides and we are well.

God blesses through amazing people. By the grace of God and generous friends I am now driving Irma-Joan. My lovely friend Shelly Veron hosted a GoFundMe which met its initial goal of $3k to cover a down payment, and has raised it to help me cover future car payments. I could not ask for more amazing and wonderful people in my life during and after the storm.

I am back to work, and my parents are renovating the house. We made it through everything safe and sound and I’m currently residing with my best friend. God is Good, even when the world feels like crap. And people are kind and gracious, especially when the world feels like crap.

https://www.gofundme.com/a-vehicle-for-andi-after-harvey

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Peace Like a River

October 25, 2015 at 2:31 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

PeacelikeariverTitle: Peace Like a River

Author: Leif Enger

Genre: Fiction/ Literature

One of the few tragedies of working in a bookstore is seeing the popularity aftermath of a book.  When there are fifty copies of something for $1 we clerks get in the mindset (if we haven’t read the book yet) that the title was a fad.  Not just a fad, but it was clearly a book not worth keeping or re-reading.

Note to shoppers: just because a lot of people don’t keep their books and just because a book isn’t something people jump to re-read, does not mean it’s not worth reading in the first place.

For this very reason, it has taken me years to getting around to reading Peace Like a River.  Not just that, but I was tentative and checked the book out – I didn’t even purchase it!

Next time I see a beautiful hardback, I will.

Peace Like a River is all soul filled and gorgeous with running themes concerning miracles, family, God, and consequence.  It’s not what I would call a happy book, but it’s not a sad one either.  I think it is one of the few in this world written truthfully about human experience, religious families, and the nature of people who function within the knowledge of an ever present God.  People without the faith of Jeremiah Lands just don’t live lives like Jeremiah Lands.  Some might think that would be a blessing – to go through life without such scruples.  I mean, look where it got him. The fictional character finds himself in the precarious position of being a good and godly father to a fugitive, his other son – though revived from death at birth by a miracle – is a severe asthmatic.  His daughter is an insanely intelligent poet, but becomes a target in their war with existence.

How exhausting.

But Jeremiah Lands, even in pneumonia and illness, never seems exhausted.  The guy is a far cry from energetic, but he is steady.  He is solid.  He is the kind of father I think many hope for, despite his oldest son’s resistance to him.  That sort of resistance is natural, I think, when it comes to family and God. It happens.  And it happens very much just like that.  Davy is a good person with scruples of his own, he was raised right and chooses I think what many of us would choose in certain situations.  But the consequences of his choices make faith hard, and the lack of faith makes each choice harder than the next.

I needed this book this year.  And if you see a copy in a bookstore for a dollar, snatch it up quick.

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The Sparrow

December 3, 2013 at 10:50 pm (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

the-sparrowTitle: The Sparrow

Author: Mary Doria Russell

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Genre: Literature/ Philosophical Fiction

Length: 431 pages

In 1996, 2019 must have seemed so far away.  Now, in 2013, while reading Mary Doria Russell’s The Sparrow I am struck with the oddity of dates in science fiction novels and the disadvantage of time.  Then again, Russell’s novel isn’t science fiction so much as philosophy and a study of human nature and peoples’ thoughts on God.

It is like 1984 that way, a study of the world as it is and always will be, not just one particular society.  And like 1984, The Sparrow is timeless.

More than God and philosophy and all those huge thoughts I’m supposed to have about the book – you know, the ones you discuss in Book Club and during literature courses in college – I was stunned by the humanity of it all.

Quotes about relationships like,

“The antagonism he sensed but could not understand.  And finally, ending at the beginning, the almost physical jolt of meeting her.  Not just an appreciation of her beauty or a plain glandular reaction but a sense of… knowing her already, somehow.”

Russell’s work is full of those moments.  Those gut reactions, nuances, and descriptions of sensations everyone has had at some point in their life – or if they haven’t, they will.   Those epic feelings of “knowing,” the ones people adore having in movie-like surrealism, but are completely caught off guard and unprepared when they happen.

Russell has written something uniquely philosophical and thought provoking, but amidst aliens and Christian theology, atheism, Judaism… in space travel and anthropology, I was caught off guard by the sensation of understanding these characters so completely that I felt like they were my own.  If not my own, a part of me… or maybe, just me.

I am riveted by the emotional anorexic.  I am captivated by the seduction of doing God’s purpose. I am amazed by their choices.

More than that, I wish I could write something like this – something so thoughtful.  But I suppose the reality of my life is that I am stubborn and obedient, curious and creative, but not thoughtful.  No, I am not that.

I seem to be lacking the thoughtfulness and critical thinking skills, the ability to really pursue enlightenment.  Instead, I find myself caught up in the safety and the dogma, and more than anything in the whole book, the innocent friendship between Sofia and DW – that was my favorite part.  How simple of me to read something so profound and I just want to bask in a cozy friendship.

 

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