Summer, Books, & Other Thoughts

Summer is here–well, almost. Charis graduates from pre-school tomorrow, and the other kids have their last day of school on Thursday. Then, whew-hew, it’s summer!

St Louis has not felt very “summery” yet. I know it is still technically spring, but with all the rain and cool temperatures, it is not the typical hot spring prelude to summer we experience here. I like to think that means we won’t have the typical 95+ days this summer, but that’s just wishful thinking.


I am reading a couple good books. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck is compelling, but it is not a great read when our country is at the beginning of a recession. I just got to the part where the storyline gets more positive, so I am hopeful that I will feel better as I get further along. We’ll see. I am enjoying the writing, though.

Belong to Me by Maris de los Santos is a contemporary novel on the NYT bestsellers list. I picked it up at the library today because I liked the cover.

I choose books all the time because of the cover. My short stint working for a book publisher in the 90s caused me to be obsessed with good book covers. I am not ready to recommend this book, but I am enjoying the writer’s style and getting to know the main character. Since it is a bestseller, it is only a 7-day-loan, so I should have more to say about it soon.

I am also reading Parenting Today’s Adolescent by Barbara & Dennis Rainey. So far after a little more than 2 chapters, it hasn’t told me anything I don’t know. But I am hoping it will offer some insights as we enter a new phase of parenthood that I am honestly not prepared for. I should have been reading everything available about 2 or 3 years ago. Now I am playing catch-up with our oldest boy having just turned 12. I really see why I need to be praying and seeking God in His Word now more than ever as I face our children entering adolescence one after the other in rapid succession! Can I just say that I entered their infancies and toddler years exhausted, but the next 15 years (span from Calvin being 12 to Charis being 20) are the scary ones to me. May I never lose sight of the need to bathe our family in prayer!

Other Thoughts

You just can’t blog about everything. With that in mind, please pray for us more than you may have already been doing, or start if you haven’t been. We need it.

My Promise to Dis Vonage

I have many friends who love vonage. So please don’t comment if you are one of them. I know it works great for some people. But, we tried vonage from November 07 thru mid-April 08, and it was not a good experience for us.

Here are my complaints:

1. When we were on a phone call, if we got on the internet, there was horrible static or interference.
2. If we were on the internet and the phone at the same time, the internet connection slowed down.
3. Vonage billed us for service for the entire month of April, even though we disconnected in the middle of the month.
4. Vonage customer service was only able to repeat to me the same information without allowing me to talk to anyone other than the CSR who answered my call. I have a charge on a credit card from Vonage that infuriates me, and no one there will put me through to someone who can give me some satisfaction.

My plan:

1. Dis Vonage on my blog – check
2. Write a letter to the company – will do immediately.
3. Tell everyone I know how much I hate Vonage.

Rant over. Proceed with your day.

Persuasion on the Road

Or, Confessions of a Jane Austen fan.

I have always loved the Jane Austen books I read–Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Mansfield Park, Emma. But I confess that 2 were often hard for me to read: Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. So earlier this spring, I set out to try Persuasion again. In 6 weeks I waded through only 7 chapters, and let’s just say I wasn’t enthralled. It seemed like the sentence construction in this book was just too convoluted for me to get my brain around. So, I took Persuasion with me on our cross-country trek to MT. After a few hours of driving when boredom was beginning to set in for Mark, I said, “Hey, I could read Persuasion out loud to you.” Mark agreed to the plan, and we were off.

After just 2 pages of my reading aloud, we were both laughing at the ridiculous Sir Walter Elliot. I couldn’t understand why I didn’t see the humor in this book in earlier attempts to read it. By the time we arrived in MT, we were on chapter 8. We finished Persuasion on our return trip in Columbia, MO. So now I can add it to my list of Jane Austen novels read. Now I have to work on Northanger Abbey. I think it is supposed to be a parody of the Brontes and all their “gothicness.” Perhaps the parody notion will help me conquer NA this year, too. We’ll see. . . . .

For the Beauty of the Earth

This is the view from the back yard of the home we have been staying in for the past 4 days.

The weather since leaving Rapid City, SD, last Thursday morning has been anything but “cold and miserable.”  We have enjoyed cool sunny days with temps in the 50s – 60s and evenings with temps in the 40s – 50s.  The kids played outside more in 4 days than they have in the past several months.  We have also enjoyed great hospitality from new friends in Montana.  It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.  I am grateful for the opportunity to see such grandeur.

Here’s one more photo, just for fun.  This one is from a rest-stop on our drive out.

“At least it’s not cold and miserable,”

said the very cheerful drive-thru employee at Burger King in Rapid City, SD, yesterday morning when it was 30 degrees, with howling wind, and snow falling.

It was cold and windy and, to us, quite miserable when our day started yesterday.  But as we headed west, we eventually got to the other side of the snow, then rain, then overcast skies to beautiful sunshine and breathtaking vistas as we winded through the mountains.  Gorgeous.  Hopefully, there will be pictures.

Friends loaned us a GPS system, and we forgot our google directions, so we depended on the all-knowing box attached to the windshield for the entire trip.  It didn’t let us down, despite our occasional lack of faith in it.

We arrived safely to our destination and enjoyed a pleasant evening of good food and new friends.

More later.