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The written word has always been a joy for me.  I can not remember a time in my life when I did not have books. Before I was able to read them, my mother read books to me. As soon as I could read independently I was never without a book in my hands or very nearby.  As years passed, writing developed into a passion for me as well. I tried novel writing while home with my two children during their early years and was challenged to focus on the craft.  I never gave up the love even when I had to give up the pursuit.  Now, with grown children and the fact I am sitting on the other side of fifty I can pursue my dream of writing.  I have continued the reading quest but now the writing is attainable as well.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Why am I doing it? Because I can.

A dear friend the other day asked me why I have been walking so much. My answer was, “because it feels good.” But after she asked, I began to truly contemplate her question.
My first honest response to myself was, I have no idea, or as I told my husband, I really thought, “What the “h” “e” double hockey sticks  am I doing this for?”  
Let’s look back in a mode of discovery and see if there is an answer.  
First of all, my hip hurts. Yep, I feel like a really old woman to divulge the fact that a year ago, due to no evident injury, I developed sciatica in my right hip.  Short story, it hurts. It hurts very much.  I imagine old women in the south saying, “Lordy be, my sciatica is just a flaring up today.”  I hate that it is an element in my life, but it is.  
Second, I am 51 years old and postmenopausal since 38 due to medical means. What this truly means is losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is difficult to the extreme. I have always struggled with bearing a healthy weight. As a child, I was “chubby”. As a late teen I was “too thin” due to self prescribed extreme calorie restriction.  Over the years I have tried many diets and some worked, and some didn’t, but no diet was long lasting because I always came back to my size fourteen voluptuous form.
I think these two factors are the crux to my current walking regimen. Because my hip hurts so much I have decided, if it hurts doing nothing and it hurts doing something, I may as well exercise and redeem the health benefits from the walking.  My current best  is 7.4 miles.  I would love to make it to 10 miles by the end of the summer.  Only time will tell if I can do it.  That and heat and mosquitoes, but I plan to keep trying.
The other reason is my weight.  I am beyond frustrated in trying to achieve a weight that internally I, and externally the media,  feels is healthy. I can do it if I eat only soy based food products on a restricted diet plan, I know this because I have done this. However, this is not everyday American life cooking and eating.  This is also not a choice I can make to make meals for my husband and family when they come to visit. I profess to be a good cook, and I have the knowledge and ability to make healthy meals. However, I confess to be a cook that loves great food.  Great tasting food, comfort food, gourmet food, I simply love to prepare meals with fresh ingredients and amazing flavors.  Why do I love to indulge in the art of cooking so much, because I can.
All of this culminates to why I am walking so much.  First of all, my hip hurts and I have decided if it hurts when I do something, and it hurts when I do nothing, then I might as well do something and walk.  Why walk so much? Simply, because I can.  Secondly, if restricting my diet to the extreme is the only way to lose weight, but I love to cook, then I will attempt to burn more calories than I eat.  How? Walking.  Now, this coming week I must substitute  teach for summer school and this is an all day gig. This translates to no walking,with mosquitoes in the mix early mornings before school begins and with the heat and mosquitoes later after the day cools. So I will go to the gym and lift weights and perhaps use a machine treadmill.  Not my favorite choice. But after next week I will once again be pounding the pavement for my hip and my cooking habits.
Will I lose any weight? Most likely, no.  But my psyche will feel uplifted and my hip will feel more limber. So, in answer to my friend’s question, “why are you doing this, why are you walking so much?” I believe after much contemplation my answer is...because I can.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Summer Decadence

      I always tell my friends that I love every season, but honestly, summer I believe is my favorite.   For me, summer is pure decadence. I enjoy every part of the season for a multitude of reasons. The weather, the schedule, the wardrobe and the opportunity for simple contemplation make the season a time to savor.
     First of all, the weather during a Kansas summer is amazing.  Cool mornings and evening are coupled with warm to blazing hot days, the variety of temperatures create variety.  Just when you think you have the weather figured out it will change; is an old Kansas cliche that never fails to be true.  To accompany the temperatures one will find the magnificence of Kansas thunderstorms. I think of God's strength and power when I hear a raucous rumble of thunder or see spiderwebs of lightening streak across the sky.  I will concede that all of God's seasons have beauty within them, but for me, the summer days of warmth filled with bird song are perfectly delectable.
     Next, there is the schedule of summer.  I work in education for ten months of the year so summer is an opportunity for renewal. The staff and students all benefit from a break from each other and summer vacation provides the much needed distance.  Every educator knows that in whatever facet they work with students, be it cafeteria, bus driver, secretary, teacher, librarian, or custodian...being in the school system means one has a large family of children to care for, and every parent of a large family definitely needs respite care.  Loving the job doesn't mean distance isn't necessary for sanity's sake!
     Then, there is the summer wardrobe.  During the school year I live in business casual with jean Fridays as a treat.  Summer for me is gym shorts, exercise shirts and t-shirts, I am feeling "dressy" when I wear my white jean shorts.  Comfort is the main mode of operation in my wardrobe and I absolutely adore not dressing well. Flip flops or athletic shoes complete my ensemble which beings me to my final reason for taking such delight in summer; the opportunity for simple contemplation.
     During the summer, I relish lacing up my athletic shoes and taking long walks to bask in God's beauty and contemplate His purpose for me.  It feels like pure decadence to spend time conversing with Him while enjoying the beauty of the flowers along the walking paths, or feel the warmth of the sun shining on my face. Often, I listen to books on my iphone and think about the awe-inspiring gifts that God gave other writers and how the writers craft their stories.  Most of all, I ask God to let me know his will for me in my life and to give me the skill and courage to use the gifts he has given me to His glory.  Summer is pure decadence for me, simply because it is one of God's wonders!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Library At Mount Char

If I had tried to find a more polar opposite book from the last one I read, I don't believe I could have accomplished the feat.  I try to read across all genres, so as not to succumb to a specific reading stereotype.  That being said, The Library At Mount Char is one of the most unique books I have ever read.

I must confess that I am stumped as to how to rate or review this book.  My gut instinct is to say that I did not enjoy this book, but I don't want to underestimate the book.  I believe that perhaps I just did not understand the depth of this book.

The Library At Mount Char, written by Scott Hawkins,  is a mix of genres.  I would describe it as a fantasy, horror and adventure fiction all mashed up into a bloody stew. Hawkins has written a novel with many characters in a world where a god-like entity rules with sadistic control and pleasure.  The heroine, Carolyn, slowly manipulates the characters to survive the world in which  she is thrust.

Personally, through the first three quarters of the book I was confused and could not find a plot.  If I was assigned the chore of creating a plot diagram I would fail because the storyline jumped between so many characters and settings that I did  not see any continuity.  However, the last fourth of the book seemed to pull some of the elements together to create a reasonable ending of good conquering evil, yada, yada, yada.

What I wonder is if there is much hidden symbolism that will surface as more learned readers attack this novel.  I just have a feeling that others will read The Library At Mount Char,  and see past the violence and gore as if it is a confusing poem to be unraveled.  I certainly plan to continue looking for other reviews to see what I missed in my lack of understanding.  Perhaps it just is not my fancy as I generally enjoy a lighter form of entertainment.  I would encourage the adventurous reader to give it a try.  This book certainly is a change from the mundane.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review