Monday, June 30, 2014

The Slaves Have Names by Andi Cumbo-Floyd

 Photo Credit: Amazon

I first heard about this book project a few years ago from Shawn Smucker. I was super excited to hear that someone was researching the history of the slaves that lived and worked on her home. I couldn't wait to read this book. Of course I had to wait for the research to be "completed" and the book to be written. In November of 2013, the book was published. I got a copy of it, but didn't get around to reading it right away. I FINALLY started reading it early last week and finished it in less than a week. That is a pretty amazing record for me with 2 little ones around.

Based on the speed of my reading, you may be able to figure out some of my thoughts. I will pass my thoughts along anyway. This book is amazing! Andi Cumbo-Floyd is honest about the information that she finds and the information that she can't find. She is honest about her impressions of the people and their work on the plantation. She is honest about her feelings in the whole process. She presents all of those involved with integrity and as real people. The slave owners and the slaves themselves are both presented within the boundaries given to them by the society of the time. However, she doesn't give them a free pass either.

She doesn't pretend to understand all of the ramifications from slavery and segregation. She doesn't pretend to understand what it was like to live in a society that accepts slavery. However, she doesn't simply accept the facts written on paper as the only information to be had about these people. She provides an amazing balance between facts and inferences. She makes these bare facts transform into a fascinating story. I just can't say enough good things about this book.

Go get it and read it. You will be a better person for having read it.

The Slaves Have Names: Ancestors of My Home Paperback

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Good Stuff Saturday 6-28


Cogsworth is just lovely. And so are dolphins and elephants and lighthouses.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


This idea is genius. We have do to do this at our house.
Sometimes we make rash decisions in the name of faith. But maybe caution would be better.
There is hope for us to make a difference for those in poverty. We must keep trying.
It is good to know that teacher theories are correct.
Lebron's legacy- It isn't what you think.

And finally, Michelle was wonderful this week.

Time is tricky thing. There is simultaneously too much and not enough.
Being weird is a bad thing, but we all are, so maybe it isn't so bad.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Doubts about Motherhood: Too much

Mourning mother from Flickr via Wylio
© 2011 jinterwas, Flickr | CC-BY  | via Wylio
As a mother you hear some odd things. One of the oddest things I have heard or maybe it is something I tell myself. I can't really place where these ideas have come from.

It is the idea of too much. If you hold a baby too much, you will spoil her. If you play with a child too much, he won't learn to play on their own.

But not all too much things are bad. If you give him too much sugar, it will rot his teeth. If you react to every tiny incident, she won't mature.

We need to be disciplined about some things, but other things require us to loosen up a bit and maybe even go so far as to have fun with them. How do we know when is the time to be disciplined or if it is time to loosen up?

I wish I knew!!

Ben has had some major tooth issues recently. I know part of it is our fault because there are times, maybe even lots of times, that we forget to have him brush his teeth. I know we don't say no often enough to sugar. So I have tried to be more disciplined about his teeth, but should I say no to all sugar? We had extra eggs and I made cookies. It is VBS week and of course there is candy involved. How much of that is okay and how much is a problem?

Lily is pretty great about going to bed at night. We can put her down and she'll just drift off to sleep. However, naps are a different story. Sometimes we walk with her to get her to sleep. A part of me wonders if we are doing the right thing. We did that with Ben and he isn't very good about going to sleep. Are we holding her too much or giving in to her by walking with her?

Ben does a pretty great job of playing by himself. He also does a pretty great job of playing with other kids. We are super blessed that he is so creative and so great socially. But some days he wants to play with mommy or daddy all time. He seems attached to our hips on those days. Those days I wonder how much playing with him is okay? How much indulging in his attachment is healthy?

Lily is a girl, obviously. That comes with a whole host of supposed traits and a lot of very real baggage. I'm already starting to wonder about just when this drama queen act is supposed to start. Is there something I"m doing wrong now? Like when I think it is cute that she wrinkles her nose and whines when she is bored or wants to be picked up, is that a problem? Is that somehow unknowingly creating a drama queen? Or maybe am I right that if I don't give in to drama that she will see that from me and avoid it herself?

How much is too much? How much is not enough?

And probably the most important question: How much am I over-thinking this whole thing?

Previous posts in the series:

Pain Medicine

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet: Southern Stories of Faith, Family and Fifteen Pounds of Bacon by Sophie Hudson

I'm pretty sure I first heard about this book from The Deliberate Reader, but it may have been Modern Mrs. Darcy. Or maybe it was both. Either way, I'm so glad I did hear about it!

I do not follow her blog, so her family and her writing style were completely new to me. I'm thinking I've been missing out. She is so funny. I found myself laughing aloud more than once while I was reading. Throughout various stories she introduces us to her family members and lets us in on family traditions. We are privy to funny family outings and events. She even shares several recipes with us as well. And most importantly, she doesn't take herself too seriously.

So this book is funny and poignant and all about family. It is so wonderful. I just can't express how much I enjoyed it.

DISCLAIMER: I did not receive a free copy of this book from anyone. I'm reviewing it because I thought you all might like to know about it.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Adventures in Lily

Pretty much everyone I have ever talked to about babies is amazed that they have such a personality at such a young age. There are certain things that are particular to a child even in the womb. One thing about Lily is her hands. She is always grabbing something or playing with her hands. Even in the womb her hands were going all the time. And as she was being born, her left hand was right up by her face.

And over the course of the last 3 months we have learned other things that are particular to Lily. She is proud of herself for learning new things. When she learned to hold her head up, she wanted to be held for two or three days, so she could show you that she could hold her head up. She has learned to make zerbert noises. She can entertain herself for several minutes at a time making those noises provided that you are looking at her. She also manages to get drool and spit all over herself in the process, but she is proud of herself and wants to let you know.

She is trying to so hard to keep up with her brother. She wants to walk so badly.
She is completely madly in love with her dad. More than once she has whined until Daddy picks her up.
She finds Ben fascinating. Most of the time when he talks, she will turn her head to catch every word.
She is a foodie. You can see her visibly relax and settle in to take her bottle.
She doesn't like trying new food things. She didn't like using a bottle at first, nor is she fond of a spoon.
She wrinkles her nose when she smiles.

One final story.

This past week when she slipped out of her stroller she was a trooper. It was one of those spilt second things. My husband unbuckled her from the stroller and reached to pick up the diaper bag. That was all it took for her wigglies to wiggle her right out. She hit her head on the pavement and scared us all half to death. Praise God that a good friend of ours was working in the ER, so when my husband, son and mother-in-law arrived it was a friendly and calming face that they saw. By the time I got away from work and saw her, she didn't have a bruise or a knot. She only had the tiniest of scrapes. So tiny that you can't even see it in the picture above. I'm not sure that she even knows anything bad happened to her. She didn't want anything special. No extra hugs or cuddles. Nothing. She has just gone about her life as always.

She is a rather remarkable little girl. We are very blessed to have been given the opportunity to raise her. God is so very good to us.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Good Stuff Saturday 6-21

Owl baby, Norway, Elephants, 1920's swimsuit


I have always wondered about this.

This list makes me so happy.

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. Everyone needs to be saying this more often.

This list made me laugh.

I need to remember this, so I can tell myself and Lily.

This one was a gut check to me.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Francis of Assisi: The Life by Augustine Thompson O.P.

Product Details

My Amazon Review:

This is a wonderful biography for so many reasons. It presents Francis as a real man who was trying to serve God. It shows us how he was revolutionary in his time as well as how he was a product of his time. it tells us how other biographers have presented events in order to show him for their cause. This one doesn't do that. It just shows us who he is and how he arrived there.

It is also easy to read. It could very easily become bogged down in details of people and places of Mideval times. This author does a great job of giving information without too many details. We find out what is necessary about a person or a place. One does not need to know anything about Francis previously nor does a person need to know anything about the time period. It is written so well that one does not even need to know much about the Catholic religion.

It is a fabulous unbiased biography of this man.

A couple more thoughts:

I love the fact that he did not call him St. Francis of Assisi. It really is a biography about him as a man and not this mythological saintly being. There are so many other places where he writes about the mythological interpretation of an event in Francis' life and he is quick to point out the most logical and reasonable explanation of the event.

The only negative I have to say about the book really isn't about the book. It's really about me. I thought this sounded like a great book to read and it was. However, I didn't particularly enjoy it. As I started reading it, I realized that I wasn't really a whole book's worth of interested. I was really just a Wikipedia article interested. However, I read the book anyway because I said I would and didn't hate the time I spent reading it or the book itself.

Francis of Assisi: The Life [Paperback]

Augustine Thompson O.P. 
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1 edition (October 8, 2013)

DISCLAIMER: I received a free copy of the book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions are completely my own. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Salty Piece of Land by Jimmy Buffett

Years ago I remember reading Where is Joe Merchant? and falling in love with it. I have to say that I don't remember specifics about the book, but the feeling I am left approximately 15 years after reading it is that it felt very Jimmy Buffett like. The characters and setting were both exotic. I don't remember anything about it feeling too grimy either.

I was hoping A Salty Piece of Land would be the same way. It was and it wasn't.
A Salty Piece of Land

The places and people were exotic and memorable. The plot seemed to float along at the whim of the tides. I loved that part of it! I didn't feel like I had to read it quickly or get to the next part too soon. I could just pick it up and read a little when I had the time. Then somewhere in the middle the main character got less interesting, the new characters were grimy, the plot felt yucky, and the whole thing got too wordy. I skimmed a few chapters and started to give up hope, but I wanted to finish it. And I'm glad I did. The story picked up again and the lovely characters returned.

There were times that it was too explicit. At other times too wordy. And at times too convenient. Normally those are thing that would make me put the book down and not care about finishing it. However the lovely characters and strong sense of place were enough to make me just skip those parts and continue. And the fact that I skipped them and didn't miss them says how unimportant they were to the overall plot. So you can skip those parts too and not miss anything.

Overall, not as good as Where Is Joe Merchant?, but still rather enjoyable.

A Salty Piece of Land Paperback – November 7, 2005

  • $14.95
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books (November 7, 2005)

DISCLAIMER: I just read this book for fun and was not asked to review it by anyone. I did receive a free copy from my aunt in law because she was passing it along. The opinions are completely my own.

Doubts About Motherhood: Caring For Me

So I have been discussing some of the doubts I have encountered as a mother. I have discussed:

Pain Medicine

This week I'm going to talk about caring for me.

'Relax 51/52 2011' photo (c) 2011, Janet Ramsden - license:
This one is hard for me. I really struggle with taking time for myself. I'm sure most mothers and frankly  most parents struggle with this. Even taking time for a long bath feels wrong. It feels like I am ignoring my kids and burdening my husband. He works from home and is with them so much time everyday. I want to be able to help him out and give him some time to himself. I feel selfish for focusing on me.

But when I take that long bath and put the 10 minute face cleanser on, I feel more relaxed. I feel ready to really be there with my family. When I take some time to relax with a good book or take a few extra minutes to fix myself a good breakfast, I feel more present with them. I don't feel like I'm scattered all over the place.

So which is more beneficial:

Taking care of me and then being really present with my family


Being physically with them, but mentally stressed and scattered?

I think we all know the answer to that one. But actually living out that answer is so much harder than just saying the right thing. I have to remind myself multiple times that it is okay to go take a bath. It is okay to take a few minutes to read. It is okay to take time away for myself. I don't need to feel guilty or selfish.

I am still a good mother if I need a 30 minute bath. I'm still a good mother if I take an extra 10 minutes after work to sit quietly in my classroom with a book or a game. I'm still a good mother I go to bed early because I am exhausted after a long day. I'm still a good mother if I like going to work because it lets me be something other than a mother.

So for all of those of you like me out there, repeat after me:
I am still a good mother.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Good Stuff Satruday 6-14


Mountains in China, Mountains in Italy, Fireflies, Swans

Reading Material:

This is the way I want to live my life.

A little bit of my husband's story.

It is hard to reconcile all the parts of me and figure out who I am. This seems to be good advice.

This is an amazing young woman with an amazing story. Read it and help if you can.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Doubts about Motherhood: Who am I?

A few weeks ago I started a new series about doubts I have faced or have heard others face as mothers. So far we have discussed:
Pain Medicine

'Who I Am?' photo (c) 2007, Tony Hall - license:

This week might sound like an odd one, but it is something that I have worried about and then I've worried about worrying about it.

I worry about saying that I am a mother because if I say it and claim it on this blog and other places in my life, then that will limit me to just being a 'mommy blog' and not being able to contribute to other conversations. I love being a wife and mother. I love my family, so my reluctance has nothing to do with how I feel about them. On the contrary, how I feel about them has to do with my reluctance.

I worry that about inviting people to get too close. I want some things to be just us, to be sacred.

I also worry about alienating non mothers who read my blog. I don't want them to feel like they don't belong in this space with me.

I worry about being categorized as just a mom. Because it feels like people won't value my opinion as much. It makes me feel like people see me as an airhead when I am 'just a mom'.

I don't want to simply define myself as a mom. I don't want to limit my experiences that I share here and in life to only mom experiences. I want to be valued for more than just the fact that I have two kids.

And quite frankly I worry about becoming one of those perpetually happy moms that always have everything together and even when they are pouring out their heart it is still all together.

I want to share the messy times. I don't want to be unapproachable. I wasn't too be a mom and a woman. I want to be realistic and optimistic. I wasn't too be intelligent and goofy. And yes of course on paper, I can be all that. Today I can be alall that. But what about next week when I forget to fight? What about in real life?

I just keep talking to God about it all and try to listen to him more than myself.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

My Father's House Part 2

Many of my initial impressions are still accurate.

My Father's House: In Search of a Lost PastAvailable at Amazon

Even though I did like the setting and his courage throughout the book, the search got a little long somewhere towards the end. I can't even put my finger on exactly what it was. And quite honestly, it might have been the fact that there were two books I was really excited about that were behind this one.
However Goodreads says that the book is 342 pages long and Amazon says approximately 362. The version I have is 422. I'm not sure what the difference is, but if a few things were cut out of it, that's probably a good thing. There were a couple times that the story got a little loose. It could have been tightened up and it seems to have been if those page numbers can be believed. If not, be prepared that there are times that it gets a bit wordy and I was a little unsure of what it had to do with the overall story.

I put a link to Amazon because it was easiest and not because I am in any way affiliated with Amazon. I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for a review from Story Cartel.