Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Book Notes: Devotion and Defiance

By Humaira Awais Shalid with Kelly Horan

This book was eye-opening in all the best ways, although some of the stories were difficult to read. There is very mature and some graphic content in here, so proceed with caution, but proceed all the same.

Disclosure: I skipped the middle of the book. I had two hours to dedicate to reading her book, which stretched into three, but was not enough to finish it. I read up until she was considering becoming a politician and then skipped to her personal loss and then triumph. I learned many things, from petty to world-changing. The most petty is that I no longer read as fast as I used to, or that perhaps the content of the books I now choose is denser. Also, I have to make more of an effort for the names to stick with me. These slight obstacles aside, I would say I enjoyed it and had a wonderful time, which on the one hand I did, but it was also a difficult read, since the stories of suffering weigh on my heart and linger long after the reading is done. Joy came because I was reading a book without interruptions in a room of my own in a home that I love while my family was peacefully going about their days. Sorrow came too, that there is such suffering in the world and that poverty and lack of education seem to twist humanity in the same ways, whether it is Ecuador or Pakistan or South Sudan.

My favorite thing from Ms. Shahid is something I found online actually, and not in her book, although I wish it had been (unless it was in the middle part that I missed: 

My favorite things from the book were her confidence in who she is and how that showed in her relationship with Ednan, her first husband and father to three of her children (I do not know if she now has more children or not). I enjoyed how she interwove work with family life, the concerns of a mother, cultural pressures, and being a wife and a politician. I would very much like to be friends with her. Perhaps one day we shall meet. 

A quote from page 205, "...Mimi and Ali had encouraged the children to give us a serenade to John Denver's "Annie's Song," Ednan's favorite.

Parts of our stories overlap - that song, falling in love, being expatriates and part of an international community, large family life, a thirst for justice, a love of books and writing, and a personal love for God. In other ways, we are very different. I appreciate her opening up her world and her religion, all of which takes much courage.

I wish her much success and I have a new spot in my heart for Pakistan and its people because I read this book.

Monday, September 30, 2019

First Frost

Happy Monday!

Mondays are for summiting Mt. House (work). What I add in for me is water and art. Lately I've been going to a riverfront park to eat lunch on Mondays because of its proximity to burritos and errands. That is my plan today as well. Art used to be scrap journaling but not today. My work space looks like this. Today I shall artfully organize so next Monday I can resume my other art activities I hope. I guess I could call taking pictures and blogging art...

And to be quite transparent, Mondays for me are also for mourning. Having the gift of mercy and empathy is great at times, but at others the cares and pain and brokenness of the world weigh me down. Mondays are a quiet day for me to process my week and feelings and losses so that I can stay more even keeled the rest of the week. 

Friday, September 27, 2019


This is my view from the bank parking lot of the library and another building I love, previously the Bank of America.

Fridays are a catch-all from the week. Today it's running to City Hall to pay the water, picking up pizzas (hence me waiting in my little red van and blogging), and a cousin sleepover later. A perfectly ordinary and red-letter day. We are all well, mostly happy, and loving life. 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Book Notes: First Dads

By Joshua Kendall

Parenting and Politics from George Washington to Barack Obama

I picked this book up awhile ago from my local dollar store and finally finished browsing through it today. 

These were my favorite quotes:

The author's conclusion was that being a good father did not necessarily make you a good President, not did being a bad father make you a bad President. The ideal would be, however, to do well at both. The role of President, is so diverse that all personality types may find their niche and a way to be what the country may need at that time and place. I think that a man's family life is important when considering him for a leadership role.

I also think it will be much easier to be the second female President than the first.

Monday, September 23, 2019

September 2019 Bookstack

Do you have a bookstack somewhere, waiting to be read? This is one of mine. I have given up on the others and plan to donate them tomorrow to a booksale at my local library.

I was enrolled in 3 college classes that started today, but I withdrew on Friday. The feeling is bittersweet. I felt mostly relieved by my decision during the busy day, but now that night has fallen, I wonder if I made the right choice? Will I have the courage to try again? Does life ever really ease up? Was this my one chance? There is a part of me that wishes I had not peeked behind the veil between my life and that one. It is hard not to lose hope on a night like this.

Except my book stack makes me happy. There are still plenty of stories to be discovered, plenty of things to learn.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Nanowrimo is coming!

Hello world! This post is just a sound check for November 1. 

30 days of blogging and I have so much to share. And my blog is still here. I have missed blogging. So exciting. 

Kitty's dog, Biscuit, and one of her many mice.