The First Gardener
July 31, 2011, 11:21 am
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I really enjoyed reading The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones. Mackenzie London and her husband, Tennessee Governor Gray London suffer an unspeakable loss in a car accident. Their grief is further compounded six months later when Mackenzie miscarries. I felt much the way the author does, when she writes in the Afterword, “Although I don’t know what it is to have birthed children and lost them, I do know what it is to grieve the children I thought I would give birth to.”

This past week, two local teenagers, best friends, died while detasseling corn. They were electrocuted when they got too close to what appears to be an exposed wire in a crop sprayer. It had rained the night before and the puddles in the field acted as a conduit. This story has been on my mind as I thought about the message in this novel.

We think our lives are going to turn out a certain way. When tragedy happens, when lives are ended before they have begun, at least to our understanding, we tend to rally against God. I know I have. Mackenzie and her husband also rally against God in response to their loss. It is when they surrender themselves to him that they come to realize that His plan is a long-range plan. This can be extermely difficult to understand when grief enters our life. The parents of one of these teenagers were on television. In public, they were able to express gratitude for their daughter’s life. I have no idea what anguish they face behind closed doors.

In church today, the pastor mentioned that he enjoys the story of the five loaves of bread and the two fish that fed a crowd with twelve baskets of leftovers. He said that he likes to share this story with people who are grieving. It is a message of hope. Although Hildreth Jones does not mention this passage in her novel, I had to take note of it today.


July 25, 2011, 2:09 pm
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I don’t know why I find the world of fine cuisine so fascinating. I have never had a meal at a three-star restaurant, heck not even a two star restaurant. I have had meals at slightly upscale restaurants, but none that served six course meals. I think that is why I was compelled to read Rick Tramonto’s “Scars of a Chef.” Tramonto shares his journey of becoming a chef from starting out working at a Wetndy’s restaurant as a teenager to having a series of his own restaurants. Tramonto discovered at an early age what he wanted to do and gathered the information he needed by observing and rolling up his sleeves when the opportunity presented itself.

During this journey that has spanned over thirty years, Tramonto found himself struggling in his personal life a time or two. He stepped back from his professional life and explored what needed to be done to change his circumstances.

As said earlier, I don’t know much about fine cuisine. I did not find any of the recipes included in the book compelling enough to make. But I liked Tramonto’s story of moving up through the ranks of the restaurant world.

July 23, 2011, 7:44 pm
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I read Ira Wager’s book “Growing Up Amish” for the Tyndale House Summer Reading Program.  I was rather indifferent to the booyk. I did not feel like I was able to get a good understanding of the community that Wager understood. But then I thought of the freedom  I have as an English. I was expected to leave the family home and carve out a life for myself. The Amish have a different world view. Wager likened this to living in a box. 

It can be easy to relate on a certain level. We hsve all felt some level of being trapped by life. Having the strength to leave that all behind without the chance to go back is not something I could do. Wager left his community four times. The last time he knew he would not see his family again.

Never the Bride by Cheryl McKay
July 11, 2011, 4:07 pm
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I really enjoyed reading this book. Jessie learns the gift of humilty as she searches for true love. She learns that she must be receptive to God’s plan for her. She must accept that before she can find true love. Jessie is a mature woman who has trouble letting go. She is able to do this in the book without coming off seeming ridiculous. I liked how she was portrayed. She has real faults, but allows herself to move forward. There were some parts of the book that fell short. The back cover says “Eleven Bridesmaid Dresses Don’t Lie,” but there is no tie-in inside the book. Jessie has friends, but not enough, it seems, that she has been a bridesmaid eleven times.

July 9, 2011, 2:35 pm
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I didn’t know how much I would get out of Beth Moore’s So Long, Insecurity. I really didn’t know what I was currently insecure about. Of course, except for doctor visits, I have been at home for the last ten weeks.  (Two more to go!) I picked the book based on name recoginition. Ms. Moore had co-written another book I read recently.

I liked her style of writing. I felt like I could hear her speaking, as if she were on the stage and I was in the audience. I told my husband that I will have to read this book again.

Ms. Moore spoke not only with women while writing this book, but with men to get their perspective on insecurity. It helped to read the different perspectives that this section of the book offered.