Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review: The Question That Never Goes Away

Title: The Question That Never Goes Away

Author: Philip Yancey

Published: 2014

Pages: 176

Some questions such as Where is God when we hurt? cannot be neatly answered in just a few sentences.  Sometimes it takes an entire book even to get a glimpse.  Tragedies such as natural disasters and mass shootings can make people question their own faith or to disown their faith all together.  

The always nonjudgmental Yancey allows us to have fear and doubt while at the same time pointing to stories throughout history that bring us comfort and hope.  He also calls on the church to be a source of healing in times of trouble.  

Here are some of my favorite passages from the book: 

"Most biblical authors, it seems, did not sit around scratching their heads over the question, Why do bad things happen to good people?"  They viewed this world as enemy territory, a spoiled planet ruled by the father of lies, the wizard of woe.  What else should we expect from Satan's lair?  When the prince of this world offered a tempting short-cut solution to earth's problems, Jesus did not scoff at his presumption of authority; he simply chose against it, in favor of a slower, more costly yet permanent solution."  

"A brave cellist raised the morale of the entire city by his response to a massacre of twenty-two civilians who had been waiting in line for bread.  For twenty-two straight days he emerged from his apartment dressed in tuxedo and top hat, set up a stool at the site of the mortor attack, and delivered a solo concert in memory of those who died.  His singular courage emboldened a crowd of Sarajevans to join him, even on days when shells were falling close by."

When describing how God doubly restored all that Job had lost..."There is however, one exception.  Job lost seven sons and three daughters, and in the restoration he got seven sons and three daughters - the same number as before, not double.  A human being cannot be replaced, like sheep or cattle.  Even this ancient story, written prior to revelation about heaven and eternal life, contains clues to a future resurrection.  Job would someday receive double as he rejoined his ten original children and introduced them to the ten who succeeded them."

"If the church does its job, people don't torment themselves wondering where God is.  They know the answer.  God becomes visible through people who live out the mission that Paul expressed so well: 'Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts those is any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.'"

Sorry I don't know the page numbers on those.  I read it on my Kindle.  I hope you like the passages.  Although not a very long book, it is full of many stories and quotations that really do help bring healing.  Let me know if you check it out.  

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Miscellaneous and mirth

Hey there folks.  Hope everyone is well.  Here's some miscellaneous recent pictures....

Lance and I went on a little hiking trip a few weeks ago.  We got lost and had to have someone drive us times...

I got a recent reminder why I don't ever pay for professional photography for anything...

My big boy looks so peaceful when he is sleeping...

This week I needed to mow the lawn...Lance didn't want to take a nap that day so we improvised...

A neighbor gave us a walker/exersaucer for free...Lance has had fun trying it out...

My most recent read was The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton.  It wasn't that great...just basically about a spoiled, indecisive, money-hungry lady whose every thought and emotion was detailed.  Wharton has been crossed off the list, but you don't really know what you like unless you read a little of
Hope you all have a good weekend!  : )  Talk to y'all soon!

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Friday, April 25, 2014

Easter 2014

Hey there, hope everyone had a great Easter!  Here are some of our pictures...

 Lance got lots of goodies from his relatives.  We went to church and then had a nice lunch with each of our parents.  Hope you all are doing great!  

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Short Story favorites

This is a post that I've been looking forward to writing for quite some time.  I absolutely love short stories!  When you find a good one, it is like getting the amplified drama and excitement of a story minus the tedious process of reading an entire book.  

Yes, it was quite painful to have my picture taken like that.  I was telling Matt (under gritted teeth, and a fake smile), "hurry up!"

Dolph Heyliger, by Washington Irving

I'll start off with Dolph Heyliger mainly because it is the only one of these three that I don't own, and it is due back at the library.  Dolph Heyliger was written by Washington Irving and published in 1822 under his pseudonym Geoffrey Crayon.  As an older woman, Dame Heyliger's only son was Dolph.  He was described as, "...most mischievous...full of fun and frolic, and had that daring, gamesome spirit, which is extolled in a rich man's child, but execrated in a poor man's."  

Dolph (and Dame) survived his youth, and when an unexpected opportunity came up for him to study under a medical doctor, he took it. Dr. Knipperhausen was talented at curing all the townsfolk of their many ails.  Patience was a virtue when it came to training up Dolph who "...made very slow progress in his art.  This was no fault of the doctor's, certainly, for he took unwearied pains with the lad, keeping him close to the pestle and mortar..."  The doctor grew his practice and was soon able to purchase a farm just a few miles from town that had a large mansion known to some locals at the Haunted House.

The mischievous Dolph, among his many adventures, later encounters a ghost in the mansion.  Then, on one of his outdoor romps, he comes across Heer Antony Vander Heyden and is again quickly reminded of his encounter with the ghost.  Is this just a coincidence?  The legend of The Storm-Ship is the sequel to the story and is initially told by Heer Antony.  Could this be a ghost ship?  Will Dolph now be taken under the wing of this mysterious new friend?

I'll admit, I did end up reading through both of the stories twice.  They are very detailed and require concentration.  The first time I picked it up from the library in October, I was reading around nine o'clock at night in my living room recliner.  I was just at the part about Dolph first encountering the ghost in the mansion, when I suddenly got a knock at my front door.  I was so startled!  It turned out my next door neighbor was telling me I left the garage door open....ha!  Hope you enjoy this short story's scary ride!

The Christmas Banquet, by Nathaniel Hawthorne 

This is a short story that I came across years ago during a camping trip that Matt and I went on.  We set up camp, built a fire, had some snacks, and cracked open a few...books!  

It was published in 1844.  Amazon describes it as "...a classic example of Hawthorne's preoccupation with the darker side of human nature."  

In this dark tale, an anual banquet is held at Christmastime at the wishes of someone's last will and testament.  This is no joyous event, for ten of the most miserable people known locally are to be the guests.  Hawthorne does an amazing job of describing each of the guests' miseries.  The maladies include everything from physical disfigurement to severe emotional turmoil.  Guilt riddled, distressed persons from all walks of life attended.  The guests list changed from year to year except for one named Gervayse Hastings.  Although outwardly he appeared to be exempt from his fellow guests' atrocities, his story comes to light in the end.  

If you have a darkness in your soul that needs to be occasionally dimmed, check out this festering blister of a short story and you won't be disappointed. 

The Masque of the Red Death, by Edgar Allan Poe 

I don't even know where to begin with this one.  It was probably one that I was supposed to read when I was in high school, and I was just too lazy or unconcerned.  Thinking back, I really did myself a disservice by not reading when I was growing up.  I just can't imagine my life without it now! 

There is no way I can review this short story and do it justice.  It is one of the most amazing, well written, well thought out, and well versed stories I have ever read.  If I ever had to memorize a long passage of text, this would be it.  Ok, I am too lazy for that... even now.  

The overall plot is that Prince Prospero invites one thousand friends over to his castle to frolic and play while the Red Death rages beyond the locked gates.  The different colorful apartments that make up the castle are described exquisitely.  The bizarre and sometimes grotesque forms of entertainment are laid out graphically.  

However, a strange, masked figure shows up and the murmuring of the crowd grows louder.  Poe describes the sudden disturbance by writing, "In truth the masquerade license of the night was nearly unlimited; but the figure in question had out-Heroded Herod, and gone beyond the bounds of even the prince's indefinite decorum."  

You can probably guess that the festivities do not end well for the revelers...this is Poe after all.  

Hope you enjoyed these.  I know they are quite dark, but worth the time if you are able to check them out.        

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Racing for two

Today was a first...I ran (jogged) my first road race while being pregnant.  It was a local 5k road race called the Cheerios Challenge.  Last year I ran it in 24:43.  I knew it wouldn't be quite that fast for this year.  

picking up my race packet on Friday

The weather for last year was very cold.  This year it was a little bit cold, windy, and drizzling.  I've raced in the rain time in the driving rain. 

one of these days I'll get a good belly picture for y'all
So, I basically just knew I had to pace myself and be careful.  My back was hurting...this week's ailment is Posterior Pelvic Pain.  I'll probably be able to be a medical doctor by the time this is all over...ha!  I started the race a little slow, walked a little bit after the first mile, and then tried to pick up the pace for the rest of the race.  My friend Elizabeth was there and she ran with me for the last few hundred yards.  I've never had anyone run me in before.  It was so cool.  My time was 30:50.  I was hoping for a 30 or less, but I'll take it! 

It was really good to see a few of my friends and to just be around a lot of other runners and people I look up to.  Overall it was a great day!

Hope you all have a Happy Easter!

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Kelly's belly update

If the words Round Ligament Pain mean anything to you, you are probably wrinkling up your eyebrows and crossing your legs right now.  I'll spare you the details and just sum it up as....ouch!  I guess I'm ready for my life-is-good, eat-anything, happy Second Trimester to be over.  Thankfully it usually isn't bad until the evening time...right around the time when Matt gets home from work...poor Matt!

I'm now at 24 weeks.  So far I have gained twenty one pounds, and will probably gain another ten or fifteen which is normal.  Things usually go better for me if I drink plenty of water through out the day.  Although challenging, I have been trying to eat healthier.  My latest craze is Edamame.  It is sort of like snow peas and you can get it in the frozen food section.  It's really good!  When I do fall off the wagon, I like to pick up to-go orders from a local wings place...yum!

I have a tummy check appointment today, and I'll get to hear the baby's heartbeat.  Now that we know we are having a girl, we have thought of a few names.  I have one that I'm really excited about, but we will wait until she is actually here before we name her and tell everyone. 

The nursery is really progressing.  I had a friend of mine sew some changing pad covers using some towels I bought.  My mother-in-law is helping out with the bench cover.  I still have to finish the lamp shade and a large pillow.  Then, it will be fun to take pictures and do a blog post about the nursery.

I keep mentioning to Lance that I have a baby in my big belly.  He just looks at me funny.  Ha!  We have a bassinet in which we put all the stuffed animals in and wheel it around the house.  I have made it abundantly clear that Lance is not to climb into the bassinet. 

Well, I hope you all have a great week!  I'm looking forward to doing a blog post soon about some of my favorite short stories.  Stay tuned! 

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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

You know you are pregnant if...

You know you are pregnant if...

Reaching across the table asking, "are you going to eat that?" is no longer limited to just close friends and family

You have to indulge in a pedicure because you can no longer reach your toes

When logic and reason are replaced by tears and drama

You are on a first name basis with the employees at McDonald's

The local anesthesiologist is on your speed dial

When the only thing you now have going for you is cleavage

You buy the Girl Scout cookies on your way into the store, and then proceed to eat half the box while doing your grocery shopping

Maxi pads are a distant memory, but you are now eyeing the Depends

You wish coughing or sneezing could be more planned events 

It's three am and you are cruising Pinterest for nursery designs 

Hope you enjoyed these, and I hope you all have a good week!

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Friday, April 4, 2014

Lots of updates

Hey there everyone!  We've had a bit of a rough week, but we are ready for the weekend.  Lance had a bad cough this week.  The afternoon I took him to the doctor, he seemed to be doing a lot better.  I still kept the appointment because I needed a prescription for his speech therapy.  The doctor also noticed how hyper he is.  To make a long story short, he is going to be evaluated at the Marcus Institute in Atlanta sometime in the next few months. They test for autism, attention deficit, and other behavioral issues.  This was brought up a year ago, and I thought at the time that everything would be ok.  Anyway, there have been a lot of tears shed (by me), and at this point, I  just want some answers.  

Onto happier news...we had a fun time last weekend joking around and taking silly pictures.  I'm just really looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend. 

It has also been fun enjoying this nice spring weather and taking some outdoor pictures.  This is one of the roads that I go jogging on quite often...I know, it's a rough life!

Lance has been making progress at his Pre-K program at school.  He is doing a great job of sharing, building blocks, pointing to food choices, drawing circles, using a spoon, turning pages in a book, putting objects away, and following one step directions.  Some of the things he still needs to work on are zipping his own jacket, doing small group tasks, saying "help me" or "I want," and drawing vertical and horizontal lines.  He does get excited about dressing himself these days...even if the clothes are on backwards...

This past week at school, they read the book Goodnight Moon.  In the evenings, we have been watching the Goodnight Moon youtube video that is narrated by Susan Sarandon.  

In other news, I recently read the book Cell by Robin Cook and I did a post about it here.  Cook really hit it out of the park with that one!  I don't read an author more than once very often, but that book was so good I decided to pick up the previous book Nano.  

Unfortunately, this one was a real disappointment.  It was slow moving, and certain parts of it were quite disturbing.  Overall, I would not recommend it. 

Lastly, here is a picture of Lance and I that I took this afternoon.  It is so nice to be all caught up on my pictures and blog posts.  I hope you all enjoy the weekend! 

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Healthy lunch and snack ideas

OK, it probably isn't a news flash to any of us that deli lunch meat isn't all that healthy.  Although the Boars Head brand is a little better, overall deli meat just isn't good for the colon.  So, I thought it would be fun to try out some alternatives!

For the egg salad sandwiches I made, I just used chopped boiled eggs, chopped celery, mayo, and a little bit of homemade Ranch dressing.  I also used Pita bread just to have something a little different.  

I used a lot of chopped celery.  The celery adds just a little crunch, and let's face it...none of us really want to sit around and chomp down on plain celery sticks all day....and if you do, and you're a size two, then I don't think we can be friends anymore.  ;)

Another idea I had was making homemade chicken salad.  I boiled some boneless, skinless chicken pieces and then chopped them up.  Then, I added chopped celery, chopped (peeled) apples, mayo, and a little bit of Ranch dressing.  Just a hint, if you take the time to make homemade Ranch dressing, then you will probably be using it on everything! 

The apples add just a little bit of sweetness to the chicken salad.  It is so good!  You can serve it in a sandwich or on top of a salad.  Add walnuts if you have them on hand too!

Lastly, I like to steam or boil up some chopped carrots to keep in the refrigerator.  I make sure to not over-cook them so they still have just a little bit of crunch.  

When it is eight o'clock at night and I'm reaching for some cupcakes or other sweet treat, I eat a few of the carrot pieces first.  I know it sounds funny, but it makes me not feel quite as guilty for indulging my sweet tooth.  It also makes a little less room in my tummy for the said sweets.  ;) 

Do you have any favorite healthy snacks or lunch ideas?  I would love to hear them! 

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our trip to Athens...Georgia part 2

As the previous post stated, we were having lots of fun exploring Athens, Georgia.  Although we had quite a ways to walk, we finally made ...