Me and Mrs. Who

If you know what a tesseract is, then you know where I’m going with today’s book choice. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is one of those books I reread every few years. And, each time I crack open the book, I discover an entirely new perspective on the story.

When I was pregnant with Sweetboy, I was reminded that there are always helpers along the way. That truth was a mighty encouragement to this soon-to-be-mama’s heart.

Five years later, when Sweetgirl was newly brought home from the hospital, I was keenly aware of Mrs. Whatsit’s sacrifice. She was a star, for crying out loud! Nobility took on a new appeal as I looked at sacrifice from yet another point of view.

wrinkle_write31days_missindeedy

Meg, the plucky protagonist of A Wrinkle in Time, has always resonated deeply with me. Her struggles, and the lessons she had to learn on her quest to find her father were familiar.The ideas that gave her head and heart the most trouble were ones I wrestled with: doubt, ambiguity, uniqueness, and creativity. Meg also must come to understand that something greater than words, saves…

Love.

And then, there are the parallels to the inner thought life of a writer. Writing is a labor, for me.  Of love, yes. But, attempting to put words to thought can be excruciating. There are more than a few references to difficulty expressing thoughts. I get that. Mrs. Who might be my favorite character in any story, ever. She simply finds it too difficult to put her thoughts into words so she resorts to speaking the quotes of others. Oh, Mrs. Who… I so get you.

Aunt Beast, the name alone is fantasticalwisely said:

“…it is not easy at all to put things the way your mind shapes them.”

Indeed.

While this book is geared toward YA (young adult), I think it is timeless and ageless. Have you read it? How old were you? Do you remember any characters? Do tell!

Click the button below to see other posts in my Best Books Ever series for the Write 31 Days challenge.

missindeedybooks31days2016

Advertisements

Just One of the Misfits

Spiritual Misfit by Michelle DeRusha was a saving grace in my life. Going through a period of my life where my faith was floundering, I needed a reminder that I wasn’t alone in my thoughts. I needed to know I wasn’t alone in my fears and inability to figure out all the answers to All the Questions.

fullsizerender-1

I don’t remember how I first heard about this “occasional author”. It may have been through Deidra Riggs, as I know they both live under the big sky in Nebraska. All I do remember is reading the back cover of this book and thinking, “This. Is. Me. Right now, this very minute.”

And it was.

It still is, sometimes.

Believer, Follower, Christian…whatever you want to call people who are amazed by God’s grace, that’s me. And if you, like me, are just one of the misfits, you will find this book a mighty encouragement.

Every half-decade or so, I go through the spin cycle of my life and everything I believe gets hurled around in my head and heart and I’m fumbling around for my faith again. It unsettles me. Loving mentors always set me back on the right track through mature counsel; but sometimes, my floundering around lasts a heck of a lot longer than it needs to.

After reading this book, though, I’ve felt more at ease with the doubts. And, as DeRusha makes clear, I’m less alone in them, too. She is the master of gently pointing out that as we begin to drift toward that island of misfits that so many of us find ourselves on, God draws us just as gently nearer.

And always in the way we most need.

“Perhaps God knows this is true for us humans. Maybe he knows the whole enchilada would simply be too much, too overwhelming, too mind boggling. So instead he gives us just enough – the shaft of brilliant light in the murky green…”

Indeed He does.

We’re getting close to the halfway point of the Best Books Ever series. I hope you are enjoying these. If you’ve read any, please let me know in the comments. Have you read any that are similar or affected you similarly? I love a good book discussion!  Click the button below to see the other posts in this series.

Click here to visit the Write 31 Days Challenge website and see all of the other topics.

missindeedybooks31days2016

He Hits My Funny Bone

I’m from Florida. The best state EVER! I didn’t always feel that way, but I long for that earthly home now more than ever.

Vitamin D, where for art thou?

Sprinkled among the books in Nana’s bookshelves were one or two by a columnist that wrote for the Miami Herald – one of our local newspapers. He was funny.

He still is funny.

At the beach this summer, my poor family was subjected to my snort-laughs on more than one occasion as I reread You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty. 

db_write31days_missindeedy

But my favorite, and it is an especially humorous reprieve from all from all of this political election nastiness, is Dave Barry Hits Below the Beltway. Take this quote, for instance, because, uh-huh:

“The Constitution of the United States of America, Article V, Section 1: ‘There shall be a National Anthem containing incomprehensible words and a high note that normal humans cannot hit without risk of hernia.’ “

Pretty much.

And, I don’t know about hitting below the beltway, but this humor writer hits my funny bone every time.

If you’d like a little break from all of the political Facebookery and election-itis on the Twitter, pick up any Dave Barry book and prepare to laugh.

You’re welcome.

Click the button below to see all of the posts in my Best Books Ever series.

missindeedybooks31days2016

 

A Whale of a Tale

If you’ve read around here for any length of time, surely you guessed I’d be touching on the next book? Moby Dick, by Herman Melville is still one of my all-time favorite stories. We call my dad “Ahab” for a reason, you know. 

mobydick_write31days_missindeedy

Plumbing the depths- whether of the ocean, a whale, or the human psyche – is what this story was all about, for me. I can’t remember if I devoured this book in high school or college, but it had me hook, line, and sinker! And that opening line is iconic, “Call me Ishmael…” (Although, that line doesn’t come until after the first two “Introductory” chapters.)

The character names were fascinating. Upon moving to New England after college, I began learning the backstory on some of Melville’s name choices. The name of the boat, Pequod, for example, became a sad revelation to me.

This book also confirmed, in my mind, that there are limits to human knowledge. You can only see so far into the ocean. You can only understand what you can see and hear about a person, but never really the whole of their heart.

And then, we only know what we think we do.

One of my favorite quotes, though, is this:

“See how elastic our prejudices grow when once love comes to bend them.”

Indeed.

Having to share a room at an inn with a stranger, a foreign-stranger with tattoos every which way, no less, Ishmael’s initial prejudice towards Queequeg changes as he comes to know this loyal and generous man. Let’s just forget that he was a former cannibal, kay?

I live, though, as if I were second mate, Stubb, who said:

“I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing.”

That reminds me of a Proverb in the Bible:

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.”

May it ever be true of me!

As I neared the end of Moby Dick and Ahab’s pending death became obvious, I felt compassion for him. I identified with this man’s willingness to throw everything he was into what he deemed important. Unfortunately, that included the crew aboard his boat.

I know how that goes.

Crusty captain seeks vengeance on ever elusive white whale to the detriment of all that go with him.

Oh Ahab

He did as humans do: we make mistakes.

And we pick up the pieces as we move along from them.

Sometimes, in the form of others.

Yes indeedy.

I can honestly say I didn’t think I’d have all that much to say about each of these books. I’m going funny tomorrow. Click here to check out the Write 31 Days Challenge. Click the button below to see all of the posts in my Best Books Ever series.

missindeedybooks31days2016

Fairly Sensible

Once I’d been introduced to Jane Austen, it was all over for me. My Harlequin romances were no match for the build-up of longing and the working out of balance between passion and reasoning that Austen was a master of describing.

sense_sensibility_write31days_missindeedy

Sense and Sensibility was my favorite Austen novel.

Oh, the drama!

And I loved every word of it. Her books also allowed me to see the seedier side of human nature for what we can so easily be. The nasty words-whispered-in-secret-and-meant-to-hurt, nature. The looking-down-upon-one-another, nature. It stung to read myself in those situations.

In Sense and Sensibility, though, it was Elinor’s plight that touched me most deeply. Not only as the one with the most sense, but also as the one carrying the most responsibility.  She was a whiz at concealing her feelings, too, and I surely know how to do that.

Marianne’s inner warrings, on the other hand, also affected me. She was constantly delighted by the possibilities of life and I can relate. She was also a master of letting it all hang out – every blasted thought and feeling. I do that and I do it well.

Unfortunately.

Progress, not perfection. Amen?

 

It was, though, a line by Mrs. John Dashwood (vile woman) that stuck with me and proved to be a sad truth of human nature. A truth I’ve watched borne out by friends and family alike, not to mention myself.

“…for when people are determined on a mode of conduct which they know to be wrong, they feel injured by the expectation of anything better from them.”

As full of sunshine and unicorns as I can be, at heart, I’m pragmatic. Life has taught me that hope is vital, but realistic expectations help to keep hope from being crushed, altogether.

I picked this book up again, over the summer, in 3 different modern versions: The Three Weissmanns of Westport (by Cathleen Schine), Sense & Sensibility: A Novel (by Joanna Trollope), and Sass and Serendipity (by Jennifer Ziegler).

Here’s what I learned. No one holds a candle to Jane Austen’s ability to use plain language to express elaborate thoughts. Period.

Yes indeedy.

I’m a third of the way through my Write 31 Days challenge. Click here to visit all of the other writers going for it! If you missed any of my previous books in this series, click here. Or, click the little button below.

missindeedybooks31days2016

Quilting Isn’t My Thing, But…

Longing pops up at the oddest times. And, depending upon the situation I find myself in, or the stage of life I’m maneuvering through, that longing takes different shapes.

In my late twenties, that shape looked a lot like a quilt.

The Nana quilts.

I, do not.

She never even attempted to teach me. I think she just knew it wasn’t for me. Quilting takes patience. I lack that. In spades. Arranging squares together into a recognizable pattern takes a spatial relations gene I just wasn’t given.

But, what I lack in quilting experience, I make up for in appreciation for those who do. And a large part of that is because I read a novel by Whitney Otto, back in the early nineties. How to Make an American Quilt was profoundly affecting. Maybe because Otto wrote of passion and purpose before I knew I was looking for passion and purpose.

More likely, it had to do with the fact that I was floating around this earth, footloose and fancy-free, waiting to make a dent somewhere. I longed to be heard and seen but I wasn’t sure how or why.

Looking inward is something I do anytime I find myself identifying with a character (or characters). Anyone else? 

And with each rite of passage that presented itself in the pages of this novel, I found more than a few personalities that I could relate to. It also provided plenty of soul-searing questions I knew I needed to answer for myself.

By myself.

quiltwrite31daysmissindeedy

At the time that I read How to Make an American Quilt, I began to recognize some of the longings I read about as more common among women than I ever imagined. That felt reassuring as I continued to mature.

It’s for many of those reasons that I found the following quote potent in the shaping of my expectations for future relationships:

“The best men tell you the truth because they think you can take it; the worst men either try to preserve you in some innocent state with their false protection, or are ‘brutally honest.’ When someone lets you think for yourself, experience your own emotions, he is treating you as a true equal, a friend.”

I still long to be told the truth. Don’t we all?

Quilting isn’t my thing, but this book surely did help me see truth and it’s place in my world.

If you’ve missed the previous seven posts on the Best Books Ever, click the little button below. Tomorrow, I’ll highlight a book that moved me more firmly into my identity. I’m taking part in the Write 31 Days challenge. Click here to find out more.

missindeedybooks31days2016

Oh the Humanity!

Brene` Brown knows a thing or twelve about self-esteem. You can check out her bio here. But, she has also grown a movement of more kind humanity. Kind both to ourselves and one another. And how has she accomplished this? Through research.

Tons and tons of research.

daringgreatlywrite31daysmissindeedy

Daring Greatly is essentially a manifesto for how to be kind. Kindness begins within. And we so need that in our world, don’t we? Both because of our keen interest in penchant for value.

This book will always be among my favorites because it helped me see where I belong as a human, woman, wife, mother, friend, and family member. And, while I began with her book The Gifts of Imperfection, and overcame the shame hurdle, this book pushed me toward vulnerability. In every area of life.

And, it was necessary.  Because, while I’ve never considered myself a perfectionist, it became obvious that I allow what I know to provide a large boost to my confidence levels. This quote below rode high on my heart for a good long while:

“What we know matters, but who we are matters more.”

Who we are matters.

What a powerful message of truth and hope.

If you are drifting through life on autopilot right now…

If you don’t feel all that hopeful lately…

If you let the weight of shame or the fear of vulnerability order your hours and days, this book is for you.

This author is for you.

Have you read any of Brene` Brown’s books? What’s your favorite? What idea changed your mindset?

If you missed any of the previous posts in my Write 31 Days Challenge, click the button below to go to the list. If you want to explore other topics written about during this challenge, click here.

missindeedybooks31days2016