Reading Records

Book Review: Period Repair Manual

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As I noted in my last blog–2017 is a year of refreshment for me. It’s a perfect time to begin restructuring many parts of my life-little by little to incorporate good and healthy change. 

So while we were flying out to Dallas (blogs to follow-enter reference here), I decided I would get back into reading several of the books I had purchased over the last few 2-3 years. So I scanned my kindle app and noticed I had forgotten a book referral I had received when I first wanted to get pregnant. 

The Period Repeair Manual is a book that address the one thing every woman fears and dreads: your monthly cycle. After the birth of my son, I made a conscious effort to work to understand what my body does naturally and help support that through my diet instead of letting doctors prescribe things to me without explanation or review. This quickly escalated after I spent time going to both my obgyn and an endocrinologist to try and get help for my PCOS only to be told “pill or metformin”–two answers I der were not only lazy medical work but lacked looking at the real problems I was having. 

Beginning this book was difficult for me. I was scared to look at natural repair and approach to my pcos issues because I didn’t want to given into “guru” approaches to everything. There are plenty of examples of modern medicine helping our society (the birth of my son has definitely taught me this) and I do want to use all resources when apprised. 

So I started with page one. As the book continued through explaining what we know about menstral cycles, what the true “norm” is and how to address the spectrum of problems that arise from poor period health–I realized this book was placed in my hands at the perfect moment. Coupled with my appointment in two weeks with a natural approaching doctor–it makes me excited about reforming my life.
I think the biggest change I will be making is saying goodbye to sugar. Stevia and the other natural sweetness I’m willing to look at very occasionally–but basically eating a sugarless diet would benefit me in mass quantity. And while I will cut down on processed carbs (sticking to no French fries), eating a baked potato with butter is not going to kill my diet if I decide I’m extremely hungry for this. So no soda, no ice cream, no fruit juice (bad bad sugar levels) and definitely no syrup on my pancakes. 

Another modification I am considering to work in is no diary. I already drink very limited amounts of diary and only keep coconut at home for breakfast cereal. My immunologist highly recommended this already but after doing some reading (both my own and that she provided), I humbly agree to give up my other diary friends. Trust me-my gut will thank me later. 

The last modification: I am working to make is clean eating. Luckily we live in a society that is gradually movi towards cleaner eating but we are definitely nowhere near something positive. This is going to be my Lenten project. Clean self. I mentioned I would be going on a Paleo- type diet. I want to do this even more. 

Again–I ask that those of you who know and interact with me daily help support me in this. I don’t mean to change your life with me. But asking to go to McDonald’s when Panera is in the same parking lot is not helpful. 

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Finally….

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So in keeping with my theme from my last post–I want to share a story. Yesterday I made another run to Target. I needed to fulfill a prescription that had to start yesterday night. So I dropped off the paperwork and the pharmacy let me know it would be about 30 minutes before I could come and get it. So I decided to paruse the store. 

While walking through the book section, I came across called Furiously Happy-a Funny book about Terrible Things.  It stood out because on the cover are shiny confetti like triangles and a big raccoon with its extremities all stretched out like a cheering fan at a sports event.  Completely ridiculous I know, right? When you see a cover like this, you don’t just pass it up.  

So I began my crazy adventure through this book. I read a little bit at the store and the summary caught my attention. Wow–let me tell you. Not only are the warning signs hysterical–like don’t this book unless you plan to be CRAZY!– But the stories are also engaging from the beginning. It is a book about dealing with chronic depression and anxiety and how one woman decided that being ferociously happy was the way she was going to live. Here are some details:

1) the original book cover only had the mouth of the raccoon so that when people glanced you reading they would see your smiling psychedelic face instead. It was a reminder that impression are not everything and that a crazy positive outlook can help. 

2) something about renting 25 kangaroos….don’t ask, or maybe you should ūüėČ

3) it writes like a discussion. So the Arthur asks questions, engages the reader and dances around on the edge of imagination and insanity. It’s beautiful. 

So I will keep you informed as best I can on the reading tales. I might be in limbo for a while since I have insurance testing coming up so I need to read that book. 

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

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Welcome again to another book review from my book group at church. I have got more involved since graduating from college and it hEditas been a great blessing. So here is our most recent book read:  

 All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is a story about a blind girl Marie-Laurie and another young German boy named Werner during World War II. While the storyline is typical for a World War II story, the structure of the book is unique and keeps you reading though every chapter, despite their short length. As the story moves along, more characters obtain their own chapters.  It is like reading little snips of what is going on in the story and you spend most of the book putting together the separated storylines.  Like a little puzzle. It truly keeps you focused on perspective. 

I truly think this is a book that expresses how we as humans see our memories. The stories we remember are only snips of the whole storyline and while we want to remember the best parts, not everything is always so great. I also appreciated this book because it shows that truly listening and hearing do not always relay on what one can initial see and hear.  The two main characters, Marie and Werner, both have extraordinary gifts. Marie is blind yet excels at feeling her way through city scape, thanks to the wonderful ingenious of her father.  Werner is orphaned aUnknownnd while left alone most of the time with his sister, learns to listen through making and connecting radios.

War truly changes perspective. It shows us what is important, what keeps us going and what helps us survive. Sometimes it is instinct. Of what we learn while trying to understand the world. Sometimes it is pure luck-what one finds in a bag hundreds of miles away from all that is known. And sometimes nothing helps us–we just know we need to help each other to do what is right.

Please enjoy reading this book–take the time to savor the snips of the story with each chapter and the amazing ending that ( i promise) will leave you breathless.

Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

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Sometimes we need to hear stories of others not only because it gives us support but also to know that our experiences have meaning. To know that what you went through is both unique and similar to someone else in the world. This is part of the reason I began my initial novel Searching for Something Unknown. For research-I decided to look into what others were writing about their church experiences and I cam across Rachel Held Evans’ new book Searching for Sunday. Originally I was not going to read it–thinking I had come across another “Christian motivation” book that I would just get bored with someone explaining how I should live as a Christian woman instead of coming to where I am in my life and journeying with me.

And this book does just that. Less than 25 pages into the book I kept saying “oh I going through that” and “it definitely felt like that when I experienced something similar.”

Evans structures the book by walking through the sacraments while walking through her transitions from growing up in church, leaving her home and coming to find church again in a revived church.  This is exactly what I wanted to describe in my novel.   Not exactly this story–but I wanted to write/am writing a tale where the main character finds the church as having meaning despite going through a terrible event. I feel that several individuals in my generation leave the church and never come back. And it breaks my heart. I am a person who wants to fix what we have instead of leave and let it be.

So it was a relief when Evans started describing events how she left her church and started a church plant.  I have been there and while did not get as involved in a church as I like, I did try my hand at running a 24-hour prayer room after college and it was beautiful. The most peace I have felt in all my life–mainly because I could feel Gods presence living and breathing there. Rachel talks about this  in some parts–Being present. Being with others in Christ like love to further the Kingdom. 

So if u need a soaking read–this is it!

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

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Though the main reason I joined my church book group because I love to read.  I also joined the group to be opened up to different types of books-non-fiction, memoir, instructional, etc.  I was hopeful for finding things I wouldn’t typically pick up or reading about topics that were hidden among the pages I had not seen. And this group has not let me down.

For June, our group decided to read Infidel  by Ayaan Hirsi Ali.  It is an autobiography.  Not a typical book I read. Ali is from Somalia and escapes as a refugee to Holland and ends up becoming part of the Dutch Parliament.  Her life is threatened many times, she is circumcised (yes-you read that right-as a female and its not pretty), is trying to grow in a devout Muslim faith at the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood with two very different examples of what a devout Muslim woman believes and how they act and struggles with trying to find her voice in cultures and faith communities that typically suppress women from a dysfunctional and disintegrating family.  It is very interesting and contains a lot of material on each page, making the 330-page book feel like 1000.   Some comments and possibly some spoilers

1) Don’t read the forward by Christopher Hitchens. Typically I do not say this–usually forwards give unique insight about the relationship between the writer and the author or stories that you would not get in the book. This is not true about this section. Honestly-I tried to be open, knowing Hitchens was a declared atheist.  I actually try to listen to everyone’s perspective. But if you cannot write well while trying to insult and deconstruct someone else’s opinion without any consideration for the book you are writing a forward for-then I cannot respect you.  Honestly–got through 5 pages and Hitchens only defines religion as a myth and states that belief as limiting illogical method of thinking. While this may be the case for Ali and himself–you can still state such things with respectful terms. They require that type of standard for descriptions of non-religious reasoning–they should require the same for religious reasoning.

2) I will state this again–each page is filled with so much imagery, so much information that it can be overwhelming.  I remember reading 10 pages and thinking I had read 50 pages. Deep descriptions that paint a picture of some of the more depressing and disturbing events of Ali’s life are hard to diguest all at once. I highly recommend taking the time to read this book. Slow, in bites and counteract with it with something positive and inspiring.

3) The book does get more inspiring. It’s getting through through all the depressing and shocking information in the beginning that takes the longest. 
Good luck to all who read! 

Montana Sky Series by Debra Holland

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Do you remember that one book that got you hooked on reading? I do. While my friends in high school know it was “hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” that we all read to begin the “Literature Society” at school, I remember¬†during my early teenage years that it was important to enjoy reading books for fun and so I would start trying to find something enjoyable to read. ¬†I remember looking at these books at a garage sale, named after the girls whose stories they told, based in historical contexts I only wanted to read more of. Unfortunately–it was only a three book set & towards the last book you could tell they were getting tired of retelling the same story….

 

Flash forward to 2015. I am part of a book group at church. Someone recommends we read¬†Glorious Montana Sky¬†and reveals that we have an well-known historical romance author who attends our church. In fact, this book is inspired by one of our own pastors and the stories of his missionary work and what that means for a person of the cloth. ¬†I promise I will get to my review of the books above in a minute, but it is crucial to hear the background story. Debra Holland came to our group, explained how she came up and continues to write about her town of Sweet Water Springs, Montana and what it means to be a full-time writer of clean historical romance novels. Honestly–her story inspired me. ¬†Now I am learning the importance of forming your own world for your fiction books and have more confidence in writing my first novel.

Glorious Montana Sky¬†focuses on the return of the town’s preacher’s son Joshua Norton after his wife had died in Africa while they were missionaries. He has a son named Micah and (by some unforeseen circumstances) meets Deliah, a southern belle with a hidden past. The book is beautifully written. I enjoyed every minute and it was great to be able to read a tale about two people and actually get a full explanation of how their own relationship is growing.

Because of my enjoyment of the fourth novel in this series (and partly because Debra provided me with some free audio books), I secured copies of book 1-3.  Debra did talk about Wild Montana Sky at our book group meeting Рand so I already knew I wanted to read this to get a better idea of where it all started. Wild is about Elizabeth-who comes to Sweet Water Springs to visit her friend Pamela and to escape the unexpected trials of the return of her brother to their family estate.  She learns that living in Boston is different than living on the wilds of Montana and that there are some realities one must face in order to survive.

After reading both these books–i highly recommend reading the entire series. I have started the second book Starry Montana Sky¬† and plan on finishing the lot along with her novellas and other writings. It was a blessing to have someone at our church engaged in something I can truly get passionate about. ¬†The two books I have read are¬†¬†fun, energetic, engaging and meaningful. ¬†No Fifty Shades of Grey or¬† a children’s story. ¬†Books that tell real stories (while fictitious in nature)¬†¬†about real people and the real relationships that help them live in the new frontiers of Montana.

Delicious! by Ruth Reichl

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Delicious Book Cover

Hello everyone! ¬†I know it has been a while, but I thought I get back to writing book reviews. Especially since I have become active again in my church’s book group and who for I am utterly grateful for introducing me to the wide world of books–from novel to non-fiction, both books I thoroughly enjoy and books I would probably never pick up if it had not been for the group.

 

For May, our group read ¬†“Delicious!” by Ruth Reichl. Ruth is a editor-in-chief for Gourmet magazine and for a living writes about food. ¬†In this book, she writes about Billie Breslin, a writer, who moved across the country to become a part of a famous food magazine¬†Delicious! Over the course of the book, we learn that it is food that ties everyone together, that cooking is more than just something one may be good at and that digging a little deeper into the heart and souls of others is what really makes a meal special.

Overall, the book has an easy feel to it. But as you approach the climax of the story, you realize to get to this point, you have traveled with Billie through twists and turns in the plot you never expected. ¬†Those wonderful “surprises” can be a hindrance–as they can lead down a subplot that could almost become its own story until you realize you are still within the pages of the same book. Initially it does not grasp you until you follow Billie around on her first day of work. ¬†That is when Reichl really starts running. ¬†It is a beautiful story for any adult, young or old, as there is something to relate to everyone’s journey no matter what point they are in their life. ¬†Or what foods you have enjoyed

 

Goodread Stars: 5 out of 5 (probably should be a 4 but i really did enjoy it immensely!)