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Archive for March, 2011

Latest Best Read…

          Read a really great book from cover to cover in a single sitting the other day… The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Written for teens, this first book in a trilogy had my husband and I both hooked – he had read it in its entirety the night before (‘til 4 am!) I read it cover to cover in the car during a road trip the next day. A few weeks later, we finished up the series by reading the sequels: Catching Fire and Mockingjay. Wow. I won’t go into the plot – I’d rather you read the books. Can’t remember the last time I couldn’t put a book down…or three books, rather. Plus also (in the words of Junie B. Jones), clean (recommended by squeakycleanreads.com).

             I am an avid fan of Shannon Hale (the definitely blog-worthy author of Burning Enna, Princess Academy, and others) and was so struck by the similarity to her style of writing and plot construction that I was convinced by the end of the book that Suzanne Collins was a pseudonym for Shannon Hale. In fact, it took me some internet research to prove otherwise. Sorry, ladies, if that offends either of you, but the similarities were too striking to ignore…a heroine who just isn’t like anyone else, a setting somewhat familiar to the world as we know it – but with twist, an overwhelming challenge, privation, and a young man or two to keep the heroine on her toes. I know that doesn’t sound all too new or different, but their style of writing is so similar that it’s uncanny.

Anyhow, read the books. You won’t regret it.  

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         I had a few rough years when I was a teenager. My dad left our home when I was 15, plunging our family into chaos (but that’s a story for another blog). I went to a small church that frowned on relationships outside of the congregation resulting in profound loneliness through years in which companionship is crucial. There was no dating or any relationships at all permitted with the opposite sex – primarily because there wasn’t a suitable fellow (religion-wise) for 1000 miles.  While these things are not totally traumatic (I’m not claiming to have had the worst teenage experience in the world), they were troubling enough that there were times I was pretty depressed…

            One day, a well meaning person made the statement, “These are the best years of your life!” I nearly croaked. To me, if the teenage years were the best years of my life, I wasn’t going to enjoy the rest of it very much at all.

            To make a long story short, the teenage years were not my best years. They were my worst. But I’m really grateful to the person who made that statement, because I have thought about it at length for years….and I’ve decided that these are the best years of my life. Not my thirties, but the years I’m in NOW, whether I’m in my twenties getting married,  having my first children, or in my early thirties homeschooling and going to nursing school, or in my mid-thirties juggling being a wife, mama, teacher, nurse…

            The point is that NOW is the best time, whenever now is. You have to think this way. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t times that are difficult, but if you take the attitude that now is the best time, it helps reduce trials to the blips in the screen that they are, and re-focus your vision on the big picture. I would be so discouraged if I thought that the best years of my life were passed. How can they be, when my character is growing, when I am changing for the better? The older I get the more life becomes about things internal rather than external – as the external advantages “fade” as I age, the internal ones will be maturing into what they should be. How can that not be the best? I can only look at life as improving as it goes along, rather than worsening…

            There are always hard things happening. I could have made this a litany of the challenges I have faced through the years since my teens. Those are irrelevant. You can be facing trials constantly and still be enjoying the best years of your life. It’s possible that on the heels of this blog will come something that will make me want to rescind what I have written. But I don’t believe it will….

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