It seems life is a collection of great memories, friendships and lessons. It’s also a collection of ailments and pills as people march toward death. Yes, time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping… nudging away my youth while hoary strands keep pushing through more hair follicles. Even while thinking about what I would change about my life if I could re-live the past 10 years, I’m still so grateful to have decent health. Even with prescriptions and supplement orders through the years, I’m grateful for decent health. I walk. I talk. I laugh. I love. I live. And I appreciate it all.
This week’s book is part of a charming series by Beverly Jenkins called the Blessings Novels.
In Something Old, Something New, former teen sweethearts Trent July and Lily Fontaine, who are now reunited adult sweethearts. They’re also engaged.
This third installment in Jenkins’ Blessings series is rife with activity from page one.
• A reverend in Florida learns her tiny church is closing—the latest victim of gentrification.
• Trent and Lily are planning their wedding. They want something simple, but haven’t really checked in with the other townspeople in Henry Adams who also have visions of how the wedding should transpire.
• And two of Henry Adams’ adopted children Devon and Zoey are enduring a changing relationship. Zoey is mute, however she has discovered she loves working with her hands. Specifically, she has a knack for working on cars. Devon’s knack is pretty much knocked–he doesn’t have this gift, and feels left out. So there’s that drama… a girl can outdo him fixing any car. Devon’s also a tad confused because no one wants to hear his rousing Sunday sermons anymore. His delivery is quite electric, but the content is flat… and it seems folks have discovered hearing two or more of his sermons is like a church version of the movie Groundhog Day.
• And then there’s the town owner, Ms. Bernadine. She bought the financially beleaguered Henry Adams on the Internet, and is working to restore the town and establish it as a model community and a safe haven for foster and adopted children.
Something Old, Something New was my first introduction to Beverly Jenkins, and I’ve been hooked on Henry Adams ever since.
I like this book because even though a reader may not pick up the first Blessings novel, Jenkins’ fills in enough details about her characters to that it doesn’t take away from the present story. However it made me want to read more. So when I read the previous installments in the series, I got to understand the character history a little more, and why some of them acted as they did in Something Old, Something New.
If you want to take a journey that’s not quite out of this world, but far enough away from your daily grind, consider Henry Adams, Kansas. You’ll find history, hard workers, jokers, recovering drunks, hogs and swindlers, and adorable children—all sprinkled with a bit of drama and humor.
Person: Austin Boyd Thing: Book—Nobody’s Child Place: West Virginia Idea: Austin Boyd explores the complicated possibilities that could stem from human seed donations, when a single, pregnant attorney in this story, seeks out her egg donor when she learns she has a life-threatening medical condition. Plenty of drama in this easy-to-read bioethics suspense novel.
Here are some of my favorite tweets from the chat between @nextgenradio (Doug Mitchell) and @deenapierott (Deena Pierott) and Howard University Middle School students. There may be a few repeats from the above curated story. I learned or was reminded of several lessons:
Person: Colin Powell Thing: Book—It Worked for Me in Life and Leadership Place: Various and sundry Idea: This week’s Review is of General Colin Powell’s latest release, and it’s a handy book of experiences and advice called “It Worked for Me—In Life and Leadership.”
Former U.S. Secretary of State and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell shares a number of life lessons that have shaped him and have lent themselves to a successful military career and as a public servant.
The principles behind each of the 44 chapters are summed up in the first chapter called “My Thirteen Rules,” my favorite of which is Rule number two: “Get Mad, then get over it.” It may be rule number two, but it’s not a crappy thing to keep in mind!
Now, the rest of the book is arranged into chapters that are solid enough to stand alone. This book is an easy read for big bookworms, and kind of reminds me of one of those pocket Bible verse books that have biblical passages picked out to address a variety of daily feelings and concerns. If you feel lonely, turn to this verse. (PIP). If you’re discouraged, turn here (PIP).
Well, in Powell’s book “It worked for Me in Life and Leadership,” his relatable reference points range from self knowledge, acceptance of and caring for others, keep up with technology, and what it takes to get up to that point where you’re actually giving more than what you thought was possible in the first place. That section is titled “Getting to 150 Percent.”
This week’s Book is by Andrea Palpant Dilley—and it’s called Faith and Other Flat Tires.
The daughter of Quaker medical missionaries, a daughter raised in the respect, fear and admonition of the Lord. She finds herself in a real-life Pilgrim’s Progress—but this memoir details Andrea’s journey from faith to faith, by way of skepticism.
Stuff got real when she actually **GASP** pried the Ichtcus (the fish symbol) from her car.
Now—the thing about Andrea’s memoir—it isn’t remarkably tragic. Just the opposite. It’s extra-ordinarily Christian, but I’d say her walk addresses some bumps that I even wonder if some people in the Christian community even address. Or do they just go along—secure in familiarity and comfy social structure. Can’t help but wonder that sometimes. Andrea’s doubts lead her away from that comfort, on a search for something more meaningful.
So she went—a-questioning in her teen years, a-scraping the fishy decal from her car during her college years, a-drinking, and a-dating—as she traveled the road to meaning and—ultimately—faith.
What I like most about this book is that the end is not so definitive. Yes, she found a re-discovered faith in God, but it is not cliché’ and clear-cut and totally question or doubt-free.
I recommend this read—especially for anyone of a church-y background—who is traversing the terrain of spiritual and/or religious angst. There just might be comfort in Andrea’s story.