I can't imagine living in a world where I couldn't choose my own husband. In my own life, sometimes I feel that it wasn't even a choice, that it was meant to be, but that's only when I'm feeling mushy and like my husband again for five minutes. Leona is torn between the man she is supposed to marry and the man she wants to marry in Shelley Shepard Gray's, The Promise of Palm Grove, book one in the Amish Brides of Pinecraft series, which I'm sure is an ordinary problem for many Amish brides. It's not like her betrothed, Edmund, isn't a good man. He is, maybe a little controlling, but he isn't awful, okay, maybe he is. But anyways, the real problem is, he isn't fun and he doesn't cherish Leona. Not like Zachary Kauffman, who Leona meets in Pinecraft, Florida on an Amish mini-vaca with her girlfriends (Amish girls are just like us?).
Leona must decide whether or not to return to Ohio and marry grumpy Edmund or stay in Pinecraft for a possible life with the kind-hearted Zachary. What's an Amish girl to do?
The human brain is the most complex organism there is. It causes all sorts of crazy, and even the brilliant people of the world are still trying to fully understand it. Michio Kaku's The Future of the Mind is pretty mind blowing, pun intended. In the past few decades, science fiction books are coming to life in laboratories all over the country. Kaku shares the discoveries in neuroscience that could lead to new capabilities in this century such as telepathy, telekinesy, and literally uploading memories INTO the brain. He goes a tad Ray Bradbury on us when considering the implications of a world filled with even more intelligent machinery than we have now. It's honestly kind of wild to think about. Kaku and his impeccable research does an excellent job of opening even the simplest minds to the times that are a changing.
In the grand scheme of life, well, my life as God's child (a role I'm still working on), I am so boringly ordinary. I don't like to talk about my acts of service. I don't like to make a big deal, probably because I am so the opposite of perfect that I don't want people to ever misunderstand my occasional goodness for having my life together. I never really thought about this being a good thing until I read Ordinary: How to Turn the World Upside Down by Tony Merida. So many people think that being a Christian requires missions to third world countries, giving up an ordinary life to do the extraordinary. Merida makes it clear that it is just as important to do acts of service close to home. Helping the poor in your city, volunteering at a Boys and Girls Club in your area, it may not seem as special or as extreme as raising money to go teach orphans in Haiti about Jesus, but really, what could be more special than taking time out of your everyday life to be the light in your own backyard?
Merida makes his point through many Bible verses along with one of my favorite parables. The Good Samaritan, the very best story about being a good neighbor. Help those that you see often. Help whenever you can. There doesn't have to be a show, or a Facebook page dedicated to your ministry.
I have a lot of friends who teach early childhood education, and I am beyond excited to pass on Pedagogy and Space: Design Inspirations for Early Childhood Classrooms by Linda Zane to each of them! With all of this Common Core drama, it's nice to see a book go back to the basics. I assure you, classroom design DOES matter, and it DOES affect the children in your room and how they learn. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a comfortable learning environment. Zane has collected pictures of some of the best classrooms I have ever seen, and you can feel free to copy! It's all about collaboration, people! Each reflects a different educational approach/learning program, so you are bound to find one that fits your style. My favorite? The Waldorf Educational Approach, hands down. The learning spaces promote fantasy, imagination, and creativity. ALL of my favorite things. And Zane makes putting theory into practice so easy!
I love the idea of bed and breakfasts. So many quirky strangers all together, enjoying breakfast or happy hour, talking about whatever quirky strangers talk about. Heartbreak Hotel by Deborah Moggach is everything I have ever imagined about a bed and breakfast, and more. The intimacy, the ambiance.
Retired actor, Buffy has moved from fast-paced London to a small town in Wales to run a bed and breakfast left to him by a close friend or ex-lover. Potato, potato. The shabby Myrtle House is not exactly what he pictured, out in the middle of nowhere, but Buffy's eccentric personality attracts quite the group of misfits. Great fun is had by all, especially the reader. I enjoyed being in Buffy's company, and watching unlikely couples get together. A nice and relaxing read, which was exactly what I needed.
I saw on instagram recently that Reese Witherspoon was reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. So like any normal blonde woman, I purchased it immediately. Because you should always be yourself, unless you can be Reese Witherspoon, then always be Reese Witherspoon.
I do agree with my girlfriend Reese when she said the story kept her on the edge of her seat. I couldn't put it down. It was a bit of a mystery, mostly narrated by an alcoholic woman named Rachel who wasn't super reliable. So I never knew what was going to happen next because who believes anything an alcoholic says? The other narrators were Rachel's ex-husband's new wife, Anna, who popped in here and there to make the story extra curious. And then Megan, the beautiful neighbor of Anna, and a woman that Rachel always saw on her train rides pretending to go to work everyday. Because you guessed it, alcoholics can't keep a job either. So Rachel would pretend to go to work and then look at the row of houses that used to be her neighborhood with her husband Tom before he had an affair with Anna, and they ended up married with a baby girl in the house Tom and Rachel bought together. Anyways, Megan lived a few doors down from Anna's old house, so she would imagine up these stories about her and her husband, to occupy her mind in her sorry life. When Megan ends up missing, and Rachel is the only one who saw her in her yard with someone who wasn't her husband AND also saw her the night she went missing, she is determined to get to the bottom of things. If only wine wasn't so delicious.