Sunday, February 1, 2015

Leviticus, book #5

Nope, didn't read it in one day.  Muddled through over two, because I skipped a day.  Hopefully I can catch in Numbers?  Or I can get up at 3:30 one morning (ha!) and just read about three days' worth!!

Takeaways:

Thank you Jesus we do not live in those days!  It seems to me all they did was stand around and offer sacrifices!  How did they even have time to sin?  And if there were 1 millionish people, how on earth did they ever have time to do anything else?

I understand now that Leviticus had to be in the Bible to help us understand what all Jesus had to free us from.  But it also seems strange that if He KNEW that was going to happen, and that Jesus was going to come anyway, why did He let that happen? 

So He did come to free us from all the offerings and laws, but from all of them?  I mean some in there are pretty good, like don't mistreat your slaves, don't sleep with anyone but your wife/husband, keep yourself clean, don't use the Lord's name in vain, keep the Sabbath holy, etc.  Who decides which ones we should keep and not keep?  What about 19:28 that says "do not ... put tattoo marks on yourselves"?  I know some great Christians who have tattoos, ones that are not gross and irreverent.  I wouldn't mind getting a specific one myself, but I know that Roger would not approve so I won't. 

Here's to Numbers and a chance again to get caught up!

O:)
Melissa

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Exodus, book #4


Exodus in three days.  Ok, so maybe I didn't ready every. single. word but I read most of them. 

Takeaways:

Despite the fact that names are a big deal in the Bible: names of sons, daughters, servants, people who are only mentioned once and never again; the names of Moses' parents are never mentioned.

No one can ever say God doesn't care about details.  Just read the second half of the book.

What does Sabbath look like in 2015? (31:12-17)  Is it something that went out with the old laws? We need rest too!

Has any church EVER had to say to its people: " 'No man or woman is to make anything [give] as an offering for the sanctuary.' And so the people were restrained from bringing more, because what they already had was more than enough to do all the work." ? (36:6-7)



On to Leviticus.  Seeings how I have already used on of my "grace" days, I'm hoping to catch up here.  I mean, surely I could read 27 chapters of Leviticus in one day with my 45 minutes allotment, couldn't I? Maybe?

O:)
Melissa




Monday, January 26, 2015

Genesis, book #3 and a little too much honesty .....

For some crazy reason I have been talked into reading through the Bible in 90 days.  That said, I finished Genesis today. 

I have read the Bible through in a year(ish) officially twice before, but both times there was time to ponder, question, research, dig deeper, etc.  This time it is all about read and get it done.  Not sure I like it that way, but it is one way to do it.  Yes, the question could be, "What's the point?" and my only answer is, once again, I cannot say No to Leighann McCoy.  With the personal spiritual struggles I am going through right now, you would think reading through the Bible would not be high on my list.  I guess that means that despite all the frustration I have right now with God and what He appears to NOT be doing, I have a small (smaller than a pinhead) glimmer of hope that maybe there is something in there for me.  A sign, a rope thrown to me, a thread, anything.  Each day I simply start out, "Well, God, got anything today?"

Where does Leighann come in to this?  Last week when it was presented to us, I laughed to myself and thought, "I can NOT take on one more thing.  I can NOT take on another project.  I can NOT start yet another thing and fail." At the challenge last week when she was giving us hope to make it sound "not so hard" one of her reasons was, "It's just about 12 pages each day.  I can read that much in a fiction book, why not my Bible?"  Great, Leighann.  Thanks. Hit where it hurts.

I mean, hello?  I've been reading my Bible, studying the Bible, done tons of Bible studies, heard every Bible story 1000x, took Bible classes at college ... I'm pretty sure I know just about everything that is in there.  Why read it now?  What am I going to get that I haven't gotten in the past 45+ years?  I even on purpose chose to read through my pretty little Bible with NO ROOM on the sides for notes or comments. 

However, on Thursday, Day 1, I did get a pen just in case and started in.  Day 1 is Genesis 1 to Genesis 16.  And guess what.  The pen was used (surprised?).  Although most stuff marked was stuff I already knew, it had not been marked in that Bible and, you know, I just thought it should.  Ahem.  Yeah.

I finished Genesis today.  Did I learn anything new?  Well, I already knew about Adam and Eve and all that family drama, Noah, the ark, the flood, the tower of Babel, Abraham and Sarah and the baby drama, Isaac, Jacob & Esau and all THAT family drama, Rachel, Leah, the 12 sons and Dinah,(which, despite the trickery involved, I LOVE that her brothers loved her that much) and finally Joseph and that family drama that resulted in Genesis 50:20 "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." 

Ok, bone to pick with my current situation.  Of course we all know how mean Joseph's brothers were and how much pain Jacob then went through for all those years, thinking Joseph was dead.  His heart was torn out from him, because, let's face it, Jacob was the golden child, being the almost baby and Rachel's son.  Yet all that time, what happened was for God's greater glory, for the saving of many lives.  And yet, and yet, despite all that, bad things happened to good people.  You would have thought that somehow God would have provided comfort to Joseph, to give him peace, knowing it was part of His plan.  But there is no mention of that. 

Does that mean that in my pit, my valley, my place where I need God to work so desperately, that God is doing greater things than what I think needs to be fixed?  How can it be?  How can it be? 


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Band of Sisters, book #2

Be still my shaking heart.  I have found another amazing book.  Ok, I didn't like Part One as much, but I completely understand how it set the stage for Part Two.  I was a little concerned on Thursday when I realized next week was Book Club week and I was less than half done.  I had a fairly packed weekend (still ignoring the Christmas stuff) and wasn't sure how I was going to get it done, but I did.

We chose this book for two different reasons.  First off, because it was a different time period and place that we did not read about much, the 1910s in New York.  Secondly, it seemed to be more about a "sisterhood" and women helping women.  Much as I love that "romance" Christian Fiction, I do like to take a breather.  This book had it all ..... murder, mystery, intrigue, a tiny bit of romance, family trials, distrust, questioning truth, and expertly woven in the gospel in a way I would have not expected, but made clearly simple and true, the way it is supposed to be.  

While waiting at the doctor's office the other day, Leah (middle child) rolled her eyes at me and said, "Well, I'm probably going to be sorry I asked this, but what is your book about?"  After a deep breath I started in and 15-20 minutes later she said, "So what is going on now?" I looked at her and said, "That all happened before the book even starts!  If you want to know what happened THEN..." and at that time the doctor came in and "rescued" her from another round.  

That being said, What is the book about?  All I can say is, you have to read it for yourself.  It will open your eyes to things you may or may not have even known about regarding "white slavery" in that time period and the atrocities that faced young women coming to America.  So innocent, so full of hopes and dreams ..... so easily misguided before they even knew what happened to them.  

Maureen O’Reilly and her younger sister flee Ireland in hope of claiming the life promised to their father over twenty years before. After surviving the rigors of Ellis Island, Maureen learns that their benefactor, Colonel Wakefield, has died. His family, refusing to own his Civil War debt, casts her out. Alone, impoverished, and in danger of deportation, Maureen connives to obtain employment in a prominent department store. But she soon discovers that the elegant facade hides a secret that threatens every vulnerable woman in the city.Despite her family’s disapproval, Olivia Wakefield determines to honor her father’s debt but can’t find Maureen. Unexpected help comes from a local businessman, whom Olivia begins to see as more than an ally, even as she fears the secrets he’s hiding. As women begin disappearing from the store, Olivia rallies influential ladies in her circle to help Maureen take a stand against injustice and fight for the lives of their growing band of sisters. But can either woman open her heart to divine leading or the love it might bring?  (picture and description from amazon)

Whew.  Deep breath.  Now to decide which pile to move on to next!

O:)
Melissa



Friday, January 9, 2015

The Bibliographic dilemma and how Heart of Clay (book #1) won, but I lost ....

So see, it was after Christmas and I had a bibliographic dilemma.  In one corner I have two piles of series books to read.  One of the piles has about 4 or 5 books which are from my mom that I will return whenever I finish reading them.  The other pile is a monstrous stack of discards from our church library that has about 15-20 books in it and from what I gather follows a family from Pilgrims thru the World Wars.  Historical Fiction at its best!!  Those books, however, once completed will be going on to McKays. Unless, of course, I fall madly in love with them and must find a way to build more bookshelves!!  In another corner (actually under my nightstand) I have a pile of about 15 more books written by June Masters Bacher, an older author I love that are all pioneer fiction/romance.  I think there are about 4 series with a few books in each one.  I am never getting rid of those because I will never be able to get them back again.  They are all old and most certainly out of print.  Then in the final corner (actually beside my bed) is the Paperwhite, now holding over 100 books just waiting anxiously to be read.  Last but not least there is the Book Club book, but I didn't want to start reading that too soon because I will probably forget what it was about and get it mixed up with whatever book I read after that before the third Tuesday. 

Sigh, you can see the dilemma.  My plan is to work through the series books this year, reading one in between a regular book.  In other words, saying I started with Mom's books, I read book 1, read a PW book, read book 2, etc. Then when her series is finished I move on.  Now, to add more information to the dilemma, I am also trying to clear out these piles that my husband can not stand to save his life. 

So in theory I should start the long series since those books will be going away.  But I just wasn't in the mood to start that.  What I really wanted to do was read the pioneer books, since I'm in such a pioneer mood, but I knew those books were not going away.  So while debating this one night with Katie, and reviewing the 10 page list of all the books I have on my Paperwhite, I settled on reading Heart of Clay, then will move on to Book Club book, then .... well, I'm just not sure. 

This book I did not enjoy. It may  have just been I was just so flustered about which one to pick, or maybe because I don't think the summary truly defined what it was about, or maybe I thought it would be about something else, but I puttered through.  My kids think I am crazy wasting my time on books I don't like when there are so many others out there calling my name, but I am a stick with it hoping it gets better book.  Probably says a lot about my personality too.

Strong-willed, successful and determined, Callan Matthews lives the facade of a happy, wonderful life. Unfortunately, unbridled chaos runs amuck in the deep, dark places of her heart as she struggles to keep herself together. Her once beloved husband, Clay, tugs relentlessly at the last few threads keeping her from completely unraveling. His laid-back attitude only serves to drive her further away instead of drawing her back into his arms.
Easy-going cowboy Clay Matthews is a respected college professor. He's the man family and friends turn to for help, or when they need a good laugh, since he's a huge tease and practical joker. Life would be almost perfect, except for his relationship with his wife. Clay is completely baffled by Callan. He thought he knew everything there was to know about this woman but she's turned into a mystifying female he barely understands. He'd give just about anything to recapture the feelings they used to share, but she seems to want no part of it. Just when he decides to get to the root of the problem no matter the outcome, he discovers a secret she kept from him that's too painful to bear and too big to forgive. Will their love be strong enough to withstand a revelation that could rock the foundation of their marriage? (picture and description at amazon)

Now we are on to our Book Club Book!!  Here's hoping for happy reading!

O:)
Melissa






Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Christmas Peril, book #47 and the end for 2014

Well, this wraps up 2014 book reading for me.  2013, my first year starting this "how many books can I read in a year" had 54 books, however 4 of those books were actually started in 2012 so really ... well, technicality doesn't really count on this end!

This one, ugh.  Of all the Christmas books I could have rounded out the season with I should have chosen another.  However, I only had a few days before I started back with regular books and wanted to pick a short one.  This one, which was luckily a freebie on my Paperwhite, fit the bill.  I'm pretty sure I would have enjoyed The Cowboy's Christmas Plan, The Santa Society, or The Christmas Bargain much better.  But they will have to wait until November, unless I decide to pull a crazy Christmas in July deal.  

Lucy Alexander's Teacup Novellas were inspired by a collection of vintage teacups her Aunt Lucille bequeathed to her. She's excited about writing the next book in the series, a Christmas tale loosely based on her aunt and uncle's love story set in the 1940s. But when a hostage situation lands Lucy's boyfriend in the hospital, she sets her work aside to keep a bedside vigil with Mark. As the long hours of waiting stretch on, Lucy starts to read her beloved aunt's handwritten diary. Shocked to discover a frightening story so eerily similar to the one she's living, Lucy longs to find hope and encouragement in the pages of Lucille's diary.

December 1944 - "The most wonderful things seem to happen when you least expect them," writes Lucille Alexander after a serendipitous meeting with Gary Reynolds, a handsome lieutenant home on leave from the war in Europe. The two are inseparable in the five precious days he has left before heading back overseas just weeks before Christmas. On their last morning together, Lucille accompanies Gary to the train station, already dreading the long separation ahead. But that would be the least of her worries after her brave lieutenant rushes to help an elderly woman in distress.

Lucy finds a strange solace in her namesake's ink-stained journal. Though seventy years have passed between them, would their stories have the same ending?  (picture and book at amazon)


Not sure what to start on next, but since I updated my Paperwhite list alone with 5 gazillion books there is certainly not a shortage of choices!!

Keep reading!

O:)
Melissa


Shepherds Abiding, book #46

Back when I was in grad school and driving back and forth to Knoxville every week I used that time to listen to many a book on CD.  One of the book series' I listened to was the Mitford Series, which I truly loved.  It has been a while since I checked on all those delicious characters so I decided to read this as one of my Christmas books.  

Needless to say, I was not disappointed.  Jan's amazing vocabulary and flowing plot makes it easy to follow along and not put down!  I'm trying to catch up so I don't have too much to say except that it was excellent and made me want to go back and read all the books again.  I think my part of heaven will be a library, with endless time to read and no other distractions (you know, short of praising Jesus 24/7 and eating chocolate without guilt!) because why else would He give me this all consuming passion?!?!  

Millions of Americans have found Mitford to be a favorite home-away-from-home, and countless readers have long wondered what Christmas in Mitford would be like. The eighth Mitford novel provides a glimpse, offering a meditation on the best of all presents: the gift of one's heart. Since he was a boy, Father Tim has lived what he calls "the life of the mind" and has never really learned to savor the work of his hands. When he finds a derelict nativity scene that has suffered the indignities of time and neglect, he imagines the excitement in the eyes of his wife, Cynthia, and decides to undertake the daunting task of restoring it. As Father Tim begins his journey, readers are given a seat at Mitford's holiday table and treated to a magical tale about the true Christmas spirit.  (picture and description from amazon)

Keep Reading!!

O:)
Melissa