March/April Reads

In hope of redeeming myself from my last post title, I am trying to catch up on everything that has gone to the wayside in the past few weeks. I set out at the beginning of 2012 to read 3 books/ month. I am one behind for April and hope to make up for in it in some of the down time during the summer. I also need some good fiction suggestions beyond that scary trilogy everyone is talking about. I thought it through and don't think I can submerge myself in anything involving handcuffs, hair braiding and submission. Think I'll pass this round!

The Best of Me
by Nicolas Sparks

I may lose some of you in this critique since many women seem to love this guy's writing. Obviously since he comes out with a new novel every 6 months that is rolled into a movie within another 3. The last Sparks book I enjoyed was Three Weeks with My Brother (that was 7 years ago) but every say four or so years, I forget and pick up the latest. Around mid-April this was on the new bookshelf at the library and I guess I was desperate. Anywho, same old, same old. Melodramatic, sappy, unrealistic 300 pages of wasted time. Basically, if a man sat down and thought "I am going to put everything that I think might make a woman cry into a book", this would be the book. But I don't like Lifetime movies or Hallmark and if I am going to listen to a story about love or saving lives, I want it to be "Heroes" on CNN so this didn't do much for me. No more Sparks books--I'm serious this time!

The Three Stages of Amazement
 by Carol Edgarian

I had seen this book on a Goodreads email or something and snatched it up when I saw it on the trade a bookshelf at my in-laws' beach house back in March. To be honest, it let me down a little only because I thought from the summary that it could be in the rankings with Marisa de los Santos. It wasn't. It was a pretty decent plot centered around a couple having a difficult time in their marriage. The part that made the book interesting is that it was set about four years ago during the beginning of the recession. The writing was good but at times confusing and a little too self absorbed. I don't feel like I wasted time reading it but it is not one I will remember a year from now or would take the time to recommend to a friend.

One Thousand Gifts
by Ann Voskamp

I feel a little ridiculous even trying to write about this book because words can't even describe how life changing its pages will be for you. I began reading it a year ago and it is meaty. It has taken a full year of picking it up and putting it back down, going back to reread paragraphs and highlighted pages, and having the pressure of seeing her speak in person to make me finish this book. Not driven by plot but by growth in Christ, this book completely flips our pattern of living on its head. I could go on and on but if you read one book I ever recommend, read this one. 

One Thousand Gifts: finding joy in what really matters
by Ann Voskamp

This is a much shorter, gift book version that I had her sign for Loulie when I heard her speak back in March. Her photographs are incredible and hearing her speak in person challenged me in the way I want to be as a wife, mother and follower of Christ. If you think you can't get through the original version (and it is  difficult at times), then pick this one up first. Plus it makes a good gift.

Reluctantly Related:Secrets To Getting Along With Your Mother-in-Law or Daughter-in-Law

Reluctantly Related
by Dr. Deanna Brann

I majored in communications in college so I have always loved studying how people communicate and relate to each other. I could talk for hours about birth order or how people are perceived in an office setting based on nonverbal behavior or how people communicate across generations, races, etc. You get the idea. So a friend gave me this book months ago thinking I would enjoy it. It is short so I picked it up after finishing the marathon that was Ann Voskamp. The author basically categorizes daughter in laws into four groups, mother in law into four different groups and sons/husbands into three groups. Then she goes on to say that there are only so many combinations you can make of these three family member types based on personalities, compatibility, etc. The author had a terrible relationship with her son and daughter in law and spent years doing research and wrote this book. The beginning is somewhat insightful buts he basically shoots out recommendations like "put yourself in the others' shoes." (Did she have to go to school to figure that one out?) Or if your mother in law is a "Wacky Wanda," she'll probably never change, just learn to temper her outbursts. By the the end of the 100 or so pages, I was hoping my friend hadn't dropped too much money on this one.



I haven't blogged since May 2nd?! Obviously, May has gone by even faster than April. I still have a stack of books to write a post on from March. Hopefully, I will have time to catch up with the start of summer nearing. We are the opposite of most families. For us, summer means sticking close to home, slowing down and enjoying what Charleston has to offer versus hitting the road. It is our business's busiest time of year so Bert is in and out at odd hours. With Loulie being older, we are really hoping to catch all the free concerts and festivals put on for all the visitors this year. Which brings me to today....
Is anyone else having a hard time with the end of the school year?! It does not need to be said that I am a nerd and was always that kid that hated leaving my teacher, my friends, dance classes ending, etc. Of course, I would be sad for all of a day before I easily settled into the relaxing summer schedule. But now I am a wreck over 2K ending! I actually cried the other night (and I am not a crier) thinking about it. It seems like just yesterday I was nervous about dropping her off for her first day away from me and now the year is over. 
It all began when she started singing "Little Bunny Fufu" at the dinner table Friday night in her sweet little voice. Which got me thinking that it will never be this way again--being in Ms. Becky's class with all these sweet little friends. Bert just laughed at me. Obviously, I have a difficult time with change. Imagine kindergarten or even high school graduation? I can't even think about ;) All joking aside, I am so thankful for her sweet little school and the nurturing teachers, Ms. Becky and Ms. Stacey, she had this year. It makes a mama's heart glad to know your child is being loved on and cared for well in her absence. And I hope I will always remember how she sounds doing her roll call every morning, naming each friend she's excited about seeing--always naming "Copi and Giffin" at top billing.

Oh, can't we just put a brick on their heads? Anyone with me on this or am I completely ridiculous?

*On a side note, my aunt has kept every single one of my cousins' class pictures and has a whole wall in each of their old rooms dedicated to their class and sport's team photos. They are 35 and 31 now. Every time I go over there I stop and stare at all the old snapshots. I am in a few since Chris and I are the same age. And I can't believe I was ever upset to say good bye to friends--thanks to facebook, I know where 90% of my classmates from 2K are today. Crazy, right?! I'm still friends with some of them and over half were there for us at my uncle's funeral last year. So you never know--Loulie's college roommate or husband or business partner could be in this very photo. Now that does kind of excite me to see what's ahead. 
So proud of all these little peanuts!


April in pictures

April could be classified as the fastest month of my entire life. On more than one occasion I found myself thinking "I need to make plans for Easter" or "don't forget that meeting" only to remember seconds later that it already happened. Everything just came and went so quickly, it is kind of a blur. As a result of the busyness, I was pretty slack in my writing as well. And since I obviously need a way for my aging brain to capture the memories--here are pics from the last four weeks...

How to nap properly on the beach

Forget surgery--Sophie will pin your ears for free

Found an entire box of my grandmother's sewing supplies--I think wooden spools look way cooler

Loulie's portrait of her Daddy