Thursday, November 30, 2017

October and November Reading

An interesting thing when you read history is how certain characters show up in unexpected places.  When I read The American Miracle, I was fascinated by Winfield Scott who led the expedition into Mexico when that country tried to re-annex Texas after it became a state.  He had an interesting relationship with Nicholas Trist, the man who negotiated the treaty with Mexico; it started as immense dislike yet they became friends.  And Scott had an attention-catching nickname:  Old Fuss and Feathers.  When I read the Lee biography, I was delighted to find that Lee had been sent to Texas as Scott's aid.  Lee was a big part of the American success in the Mexican War.  Later, during the Civil War, these friends were split as the Union was split.  While Lee ended up as the head of the Confederate army, Scott, a fellow Virginian, was already in charge of the Union forces although he was too old to lead them into battle, and he disagreed with Lee about their loyalties.  I enjoyed learning about this connection.

Another interesting thing is when you have visited a historic place.  The Lee biography describes the significant features of the Sharpsburg/Antietam Battlefield:  the cornfield, the sunken road, and a bridge.  Since I've been there, I could not just imagine, but actually see, these places as the author wrote about them.  I've walked through the cornfield, wandered down the sunken road, and seen the bridge.  It really made history come alive!

Here are the books I read during the last two months:
  • Noah:  Man of Resolve by Tim Chaffey and K.  Marie Adams.  This fictionalized account of Noah's life continues in this second book of this series.  (Here's my review of the first one.)  People increasingly stop worshiping the Creator and start following the Deceiver.  The reader can see how things will culminate in God destroying the world via a flood.
  • The Elfstones of Shanarra by Terry Brooks.  This series about a post-apocalyptic world inhabited by humans, elves, gnomes, trolls, etc. has enough depth and is interesting enough to keep me engaged while I jog.  :)
  • Where We Belong by Lynn Austin.  You can read my review of this wonderful book here.
  • The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn.  You can read my review of this thought-provoking book here.
  • The American Miracle:  Divine Providence in the Rise of the Republic by Michael Medved.  Starting with the Pilgrims, the author takes the reader through several incidents in American history and shows how God intervened in amazing ways to accomplish His purposes.  I really enjoyed this book and its premise, seeing how wonderful "coincidences" occurred to help America succeed:  how the Pilgrims ended up in just the right spot despite being thrown off course, how George Washington survived several battles when he should have been killed, how the acquisition of California from Mexico happened just as gold was discovered.  I also found it interesting the way God orchestrated events around both Lincoln's election and his assassination.  Apparently, God wanted him to be president, as harsh as he was, and He did not want him leading Reconstruction, as gentle as he wanted to be.  The only thing I didn't like about this book was how the author thought Lincoln was a great president; he wasn't, but that's a subject for a different post.  ;)
  • The Man who Would not Be Washington by Jonathan Horn.  This book is a wonderful biography of Robert E. Lee, especially as it compares and contrasts him with George Washington.  Did you know that Lee married the daughter of Washington's adopted son?  And did you know that his father-in-law built Arlington House (now part of Arlington Cemetery) as a place to store relics from Washington?  And the Union government stole it from the Lees and buried Union soldiers there so that the Lees would never want to live there again?  But what wonderful man and general Robert E. Lee was!
  • The Wishsong of Shanarra by Terry Brooks.  This series keeps me going on the treadmill!
  • Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews.  You can read my review of this engaging book about Hezekiah and his wife here.
Have you ever found people in unexpected places in books you've read?  Have you ever read about a place after you've visited it and had an experience like I did?  What have you read lately?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Isaiah's Daughter by Mesu Andrews

When Ishma meets Prince Hezekiah as children, they are both scarred from traumatic experiences, but they help each other heal and form a wonderful friendship.  This friendship continues to grow and develop through the years as Hezekiah has to deal with his idol-worshipping father Azah and his terrible decisions for him and Judah.  As Isaiah's servant, Ishma learns to love Yahweh as her master Isaiah, who later becomes Isaiah's father via adoption, teaches her.  Hezekiah has many difficult decisions to make when he becomes king, but he does the best he can with his faithful wife as his side and Yahweh's leading through Isaiah.

This book was so much fun!  I enjoyed learning more about the righteous King Hezekiah and that time period in Judah.  While this story is fictionalized, it was interesting to read about what Hephzibah's life as queen might have been life, especially as she has to deal with barrenness for so long.  Honestly, the marriage of Hezekiah and Hephzibah might have been written a little too perfectly, but it was still a great book.  You will probably enjoy this book if you like historical fiction that centers on events in the Bible.

I want to thank Blogging for Books for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, November 17, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: A Typical Week

Checking out groceries at the Children's Museum.

We had our typical, busy week which I'm getting used to.  With CC, piano lessons, and Bible study, we're out of the house three days a week.  I don't find that ideal, but it's life right now.  I have a feeling that our lives will only get busier and busier as my children get older.  :)

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • Bible study.  The study is convicting, and the fellowship is wonderful!
  • getting a nagging errand done.
  • yesterday afternoon I received an invitation to an Usborne book party drop-in.  I texted John to see if he could come home early, so I could go.  And he was able to!  I enjoyed looking at some books and getting some suggestions for Christmas presents for my children.  
  • how much the children in my CC Essentials class enjoy it.  The material can get dry, but they all love to learn.  
I've been looking forward to this weekend all week; we have no plans on Saturday!  It's the first time in almost a month we haven't had at least one soccer game, a race, a work party, etc., enough to fill our day.  Finally, I can get some of my normal Saturday chores done on Saturday!  (The little things that make me happy.  ;)

On Sunday I'm meeting the mothers of the children in my afternoon Essentials class to watch a DVD on what we're teaching next.  I have to admit that I'm a little bit of a nerd, and I actually enjoy watching Andrew Pudewa teach, but mostly I enjoy the time with these ladies.

Then next week is Thanksgiving!  My parents are coming into town, and friends are coming over for Thanksgiving dinner, too.  It should be a fun week!  

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Friday, November 10, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Running a Race with John

Hannah loves to be read to, and I love that some of her older siblings are willing to do it.

Running has become a bigger part of my life the past couple of weeks because of the two races I participated in, but even more so because John and I ran one of them together.  Well, we didn't actually run together because he's so much faster than I am, but we did run the same course at the same time.  :)  I forgot to mention last week that I came in third in my division in the race, and then I won my division last weekend.  (Honesty and humility require me to tell you that there were only seven women in my age division two weeks ago, and I was the only one in it last Saturday.  But I figure that you should take what you can get, right?)  John, however, came in third in his age division on Saturday, and I'm so proud of him, especially since he hasn't run a 5K in almost twenty years!  And no, we don't have a picture of our sweaty selves to put on my blog.  ;)

Here are a few other things I enjoyed this week:
  • the cooler weather.  It's been in the 60s a couple of days!
  • Bible study yesterday.  We didn't meet for a few weeks because so many ladies couldn't make it, so yesterday was especially nice.
  • Hannah said her first word this morning!  "Baby."  We were looking for her baby doll.  
  • John made it home in time last night to have supper with us!  It was lovely having him home with us all evening.
We're hosting our church's Bible study tonight.  Tomorrow Sarah Beth has a soccer tournament, so she will play three games.  Isn't that crazy?!  And we'll be there for all three of them!  Don't tell her, but I'm looking forward to the end of the season:  more time at home!

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Book Review: Where We Belong by Lynn Austin

Sisters Rebecca and Flora are traveling through the Egyptian desert, on their way to a remote monastery to find ancient Biblical manuscripts they hope are there.  On the way, they have problems with the sheik who is taking them there.  The journey also reminds them of previous trips they have taken where they were younger, and how they learned more about themselves and the Lord on them.  Their reminiscences are woven into their present adventure to create a poignant read.

I have loved every book by Lynn Austin that I have read, and this book was no exception.  The description of the middle to late 1800s Chicago was wonderful, including the flight from the Great Chicago Fire the sisters took.  I also really appreciated how the author wove in the historical finds from that time period along with some apologetics as the sisters converse with themselves and others.  Historical fiction at its best, I cannot recommend this book more highly.

I want to thank Bethany House Publishing for my review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

Friday, November 3, 2017

What I Enjoyed This Week: Learning Something New

Loving on one of my dolls from when I was Hannah's age!

I learned something this week:  not to run errands on Monday.  We took Monday off from school to run a bunch of errands, and it was not a good idea.  We got most of our errands done, but we arrived home exhausted.  I still had a bunch of things I needed to do to get ready for CC on Tuesday, and I just didn't have the energy.  Somehow I got everything done.  Phew!

Here are a few things I enjoyed this week:
  • I took the kids to a science show yesterday.  I think they learned some things, and I know they enjoyed it.
  • Getting most of my errands done on Monday, so nothing is hanging over my head.
  • Moms' Night Out last night.  It was women from my new Bible study, and I really enjoyed getting to know them better.
  • the Astros winning the World Series!  We stayed up much too late some nights to watch the games.
John convinced me to run another 5K tomorrow, this time with him.  Date night?  And Sarah Beth has a double-header tomorrow, too.  It's going to be a busy day! 

What did you enjoy this week?  What do you have planned for the weekend?