Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Can't put it down and can't pick it up!

I have always loved to read.  I love to go into a library and smell the books.  I also love the smell of a bookstore.  I don't always get to read during the school year as leisurely as I do during the summer, but I still try to always have a good book on my nightstand.

I have always had to be careful about reading.  I tend to get very caught up in the stories and can't put them down.  Good fiction, especially historical fiction, is one of my favorite types of entertainment.  I get very involved in the story and the lives of the characters and feel as if I know each and every person in the story personally.  I find myself mentally living there with them in the plot.

I recently went on a trip to the beach and bought a book for the trip that I have wanted to read for quite awhile.  After the first chapter, I knew it was a good one.  (I try to give a book three chapters before I toss it in the corner and give up.)  I really enjoy reading at the beach because I don't feel guilty about reading the day away and even into the night.

The thing I dislike most about reading is when I read the last page.  I often want the story to continue, which is why I love historical fiction books in a series.  When the story is over in a series, there is usually another book waiting in the wings.  Not in the case of the book I read on vacation.   So, I headed to the bookstore with my discount card to buy me another book.  I had a very hard time finding something I wanted to read, but made a selection anyway.  I took the book home and it took me a couple of days before I could pick it up and get interested in starting another story.  I was still "mourning" the loss of my new friends in the last book.  I found myself wanting to know what happened to them.  (Yes, I know.....they aren't real people! haha)  I finally picked up the book and started it two nights ago.  I couldn't even make it through the first three chapters.  Every time I went to read I would read a few paragraphs and then put it back down again.  It did not hold my interest.  I ended up taking the book back and getting my money back.  I looked again, but came home with nothing.  I go through this pattern every time I read a really good book.  After supper tonight, we stopped by another bookstore.  A new sense of excitement filled me as I smelled the coffee and the books!  The selections were much better and I found one by an author I've never read before.  The caption on the front of the book by a critic said, "I read this book straight through."  Ahhhh.....  A book you can't put down.  This book was written during the same historical period as the last book I read and so I picked it up and took it to the counter.  The cashier was an older gentlemen who said, "My wife just finished this book and said it was even better than The Help by Katherine Stockard."  Really?  That was the book I had finished at the beach!  It was meant to be.  I look forward to reading The Dry Grass of August by Anna Jean Mayhew and will decide for myself.  The title is so colorful and descriptive.

I will need to read quickly because my next choice is To Kill A Mockingbird.  Classics should be read and read again.  I wish all students looked at summer reading with such joy and pleasure.  Thankfully my kids are readers and are now on book number two and three of several they will read this summer.  We bought them book lights that lay over the page so they can read at night when it's cooler in their room with the lights out.  Last night my youngest read for a long time down on the living room sofa with the lights out and the book light on because it was so cool downstairs.  I love that!  Today she finished Anne of Green Gables while I worked this morning at school.  I was shocked.  She read for two straight hours.  Tonight she begins Mr. Poppers Penguins and has already finished Sign of the Beaver.  My older daughter discovered the joy of reading in a chair on the beach.  She was amazed at how all the noise of the world is drowned out by the roar of the ocean.  She fell in love with reading on the beach.  Too bad it didn't happen until the last day!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I may be wilted, but I'm not dead!

I had a good chuckle over this today.  This is probably the best visual of where I am physically, mentally and spiritually.  I'm sure my husband is secretly chuckling to himself but for very different reasons....reasons that simply have to do with the fact I have never kept a plant alive----ever!

We were driving downtown the other night to my daughter's violin and piano recital when I suddenly GASPED in horror because I realized that I hadn't watered my tomato plant in days or maybe even over a week.  This is quite a sore spot with my husband.  Not the plant, but the GASPING in the car without warning.  He suddenly thinks he's about to have a wreck or hit something he doesn't see, when all the while I'm just in my own world panicking over things I have forgotten to do or turn off.  This is the story of my life.  Things get so busy that being still for even a short ride in the car can cause me to literally come unglued because my mind will "rest" on all the "unrest" or "undone" tasks.  I have been in bed recently and practiced breathing techniques I preach to my students all the time.  I try to fill my lungs with oxygen in order to calm my mind and body.  It hasn't been working.  I don't sleep.  I wake up frequently in the night.  When I try to connect with God I feel like I can only get so far but my soil is never quite quenched.  I watered this sad tomato plant this morning.  I went back into the house to refill my watering can (...which I purchased brand new because I was going to become a master gardener).  By the time I returned to the deck to water the other plants, my wilting plant was already dry again.  I watered the other two plants and they looked satisfied.  What was the problem?  I remembered that I bought my plant with one green tomato on the vine.  It came with the soil provided.  The other two I planted myself in pots with organic soil that holds water for longer periods of time.

This is like our walk with the Lord.  When we invest in things kingdom worthy we will not wither as fast when the storms come and the weather is unpredictable.  But if we invest in things that do not satisfy us spiritually, eventually the soil will not be able to help us but for just a short while.

I read a quote by Robert J. Morgan recently.  He said, "I have found that through scripture memory the incredible treasures of Scripture are not only just available to my mind, but they inform my whole being in a way that is a substantial testimony to the power of the Word of God."  He also said this in regards to our minds:  "A person's mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth.  If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind."

So I will continue to rescue this plant with water.  I will continue to breath in the scriptures and rescue my mind and heart from the overgrowth of the world.

Welcome summer.  I have missed you.