Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Letters from the Holy Ground: Seeing God Where You Are by Loretta Ross

This author/spiritual director/pastor was the speaker at our women's retreat this past winter. She was pretty cool. This is her book. I've used it for the last several months, reading one chapter each day in addition to my daily Bible readings. She writes about finding God, spirituality, and holiness in our everyday lives.

"All of God's creatures are on the lookout for a little shelter, a place out of the rain and cold. To be filled with all the fullness of God instead of being full of the world's clutter and pain, we have to create and maintain space...When it comes to holy ground and the recollection that is part of creating it, the rule seems to be squatter's rights. Whoever gets there first, lays claim, and stays the longest, gets the space."

--Loretta Ross

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Plain and Simple by Sue Bender

This book was recommended to me by my friend, Sandra (thanks, Sandra!), and I found it at the Sunnyvale book sale several weeks ago.

Initially intrigued by the design of Amish quilts, Sue Bender spends weeks living with Amish families in Iowa and Ohio. Something about the quilts and something about the everyday lives of the Amish people speak to her and touch her very deeply. This book recounts her spiritual journey of finding out what was being touched in her. She discovers that it is important to continually ask the question of What really matters? Our answers to this question will determine how we arrange our time, what we value, and what we discard.

Sometimes I read a book that speaks to me exactly where I am, and this one did just that. I savored this book and found it to be very encouraging, refreshing, and inspiring.

Some quotes that I liked:

"Listening to your heart is not simple. Finding out who you are is not simple. It takes a lot of hard work and courage to get to know who you are and what you want."

"...there is a big difference between having choices and making a choice. Making a choice - declaring what is essential - creates a framework for a life that eliminates many choices but gives meaning to the things that remain."

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Bridge of Sighs by Richard Russo

This is the story of three families, the Lynches, Bergs, and Marconis, and how their lives intersect. It's a sprawling story, spanning fifty years and two continents, but most of the story takes place in small-town Thomaston, New York.

The story is told through three characters: Lou C. Lynch (his unfortunate childhood nickname of Lucy sticks with him throughout his life) whose parents own a small, struggling grocery store. Bobby Marconi becomes a celebrated painter, but lives with his anger towards an abusive father. Lastly, there is Sarah Berg who alternates between living with her father who is an eccentric English Honors teacher/aspiring writer and her mother who makes her living by not-so-moral means. Sarah marries Lou, but loves Bobby as well.

Little clues are dropped about how the characters' lives are all intertwined. Some are very surprising and the whole story eventually falls together. This book also shows how incidents in childhood can haunt us throughout our lives and come to shape who we are, for better or for worse.

A very satisfying read. Rich, deep, lush with details. So far one of the best reading experiences I've had this year.