Thoughts Stirred by The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society #2

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“I remember lying in our hay-loft reading The Secret Garden with a cowbell beside me. I’d read for an hour and then ring the bell for a glass of lemonade to be brought to me. Mrs. Hutchins, the cook, finally grew weary of this arrangement and told my mother, and that was the end of my cowbell, but not my reading on the hay.” (Juliet to Dawsey)

The Secret Garden was written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, who also wrote A Little Princess. When I was about 10 years old, my Aunt Billie gave me a copy of  A Little Princess. It was the only time I remember getting a gift from her and it was one of the first hardback books I ever owned. I absolutely loved it! There have been several movie versions produced, but none compared to what I imagined as It read this treasure.

A few years later I received a make-up mirror for Christmas. This was not only used in vain attempts to glamorize my pudgy adolescent face, but it was also a boon to my evening reading. Many a night I would settled this device under my covers and read after bedtime without being caught.

My daughter-in-law has made a cozy reading nook in my grandkids room, with cushy pillows and a string of colorful star lights. I would have been over the moon with a space like that as a kid! They both love books; the six year old is a beginning reader and it warms my heart to hear him read so eagerly. I’ve found that books with CDs are fantastic in the car – they listen and read along and don’t fight (as much).

If you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, aunt, friend – I hope you are able to be a part of a young reader’s life. I am grateful to my Aunt Billie for giving me that book, to my parents for driving me to the public library downtown, to my elementary school librarian for introducing me Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and to my husband who loves exploring used bookstores as much as I do.

Thoughts Stirred by The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

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That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you onto another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. (Juliet to Dawsey)

This book was the second one I’ve read recently that was set during and just after World War II. So, now my goal is to read two others I have at home already that are set in the same era.

Last month I read All the Light We Cannot See. So, when I was reading along in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and  Annie Barrows (TGL&PPS), it was happily surprising to find Saint Malo mentioned. This was a large part of ATLWCS. The next book, which I’ll begin tonight or tomorrow is Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. This novel begins in Paris in 1940.

Even though these are fiction, they resonate with history and have drawn me in and left me feeling I have so much more to learn about events surrounding the second world war. Truly, I have even more to learn about all of history. The more I read the less educated I feel.  But, hopefully, the more educated I’m becoming.

The Ocean

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It (the ocean)  is my favorite thing, I think, that I have ever seen. Sometime I catch myself staring at it and forget my duties. It seems big enough to contain everything anyone could ever feel. – from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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Jacksonville Beach from the Pier

The following is a poem I wrote this past April. I’ll always remember the wonder of the starfish in the ocean and my kids’ enjoyment of the experience.

 

Starfish

It’s funny how the unexpected

can form an instant community

Like that July morning

at Siesta Key

when a delegation of starfish

drew us all together

as we dipped our toes

in the warm gulf waters

Beachgoers laughing and squealing

pointing and talking to each other

splashing and swimming

among the starfish that day

We formed a temporary friendship

over the joy of the ocean’s offerings

years later across the land

“Remember when” will be heard

and tales of the starfish

will be told

When I’m Seventy-Six

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One of my favorite chapters in All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is the one titled “Old Ladies’ Resistance Club”. These women were so much more the than the Red Hat Society.

“Seventy-six years old,” she whispers (Madame Manec), “and I can still feel like this? Like a little girl with stars in my eyes?”  

With a birthday in my very near future and a husband who just hit 60, I have thought a little about age this week. Some say it’s just a number. You’re as young as you feel and all that. I think Madame Manec felt like a girl with stars in her eyes because she had a purpose, a renewed reason to keep going.

I hope that when I’m seventy-six I will still have a purpose; a reason to joyfully greet the day.

The Lemon to My Lime

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Today is my husband’s 60th birthday; the 39th we’ve spent together. I saved this poem for today.

The prompt for PAD Day 26 (April 26th/2016)  was love or anti-love. I went with love. That day I spent a lot of time cleaning my back porch while listening to a country music station. It was clearly an influence – lol.

The Lemon to My Lime

You are the lemon to my lime
A delicious tangy treat
Memories of past springtimes
Dawn to dark both tart and sweet

You are the coffee to my cream
So hearty, rich and warm
You rise up in the steam
Protecting me from harm

You are the ceiling to my floor
There to keep me grounded
More than I could ever ask for
With your love I’m surrounded

You are the window to my door
Fresh eyes upon the world
You show me love and so much more
New wonders are unfurled

You are the yellow to my blue
Together we grow as green
So many colors we’ve been through
The lovely shades and hues we’ve seen

You are the country to my blues
Sentimental and woebegone
You make me laugh and you amuse
You help me always to hold on

Thoughts on Grace – The Weak

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Extravagant Grace is a book written by Barbara Duguid. She uses John Newton’s teaching on sanctification to explain God’s sovereignty over sin. The quotes in this series come from her book.

 

“They (the weak in faith) are told they must run with all their strength, yet often find themselves barely able to lie on the ground facing the right direction.”
“We must love them, bear their burdens gently and help them to carry their loads, because they belong to us. They are our family in the Lord.”

 
Have you ever felt like you had so little faith that you didn’t even know how to approach God? Did you know that it’s actually God who gives you faith, and that He already knows what you are struggling with? When I am struggling, this is the verse that comes to mind: Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” – Mark 9:24

 
As for loving our brothers and sisters in the Lord, this is a great verse to keep in mind – “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

 
Some days you may be on one side of the fence and some days on the other. There will be times when your own faith is weak; there will also be times when you can lift up a weak one and help them to bear their burdens; and do it without judging.

Thoughts From A Man Called Ove

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…nowadays people are all thirty-one and wear too tight trousers and no longer drink normal coffee. From A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman

Even though Ove was a curmudgeon, I have to say I fully get where he was coming from here. There are a few schools I go in to substitute where all the teachers look like they are 31 and, though they don’t wear too tight trousers, they do have faultless hair and snow white teeth and perfectly polished nails. I don’t know what they drink, but I’m guessing some kind of soy milk concoction. But, that’s okay.

Sometimes being around younger adults makes me feel young. Other days it makes me feel my age. Often I can’t relate when it comes to what many of them value. Like when a young couple expecting their second child feels like they need more than a three bedroom house. Or when the conversation turns to the latest iphone and when they are going to get theirs. Or The Walking Dead. I.Just. Don’t.Get.It.

As I sat writing this it dawned on me that perhaps it isn’t always age that really makes the difference. It’s often money and culture and upbringing that puts the wider gap between me and some younger people I encounter. So, instead of being jealous of their snow white teeth or judging them for their too tight trousers, I should accept these things for what they are. And try to know them for who they are on the inside.

After all, I don’t always drink normal coffee. When I don’t, it’s likely to be because a mocha was calling my name.