Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Garden Walk of Death by Melting

This year Matt & I finally made it to the Friendly Garden Club garden walk in Traverse City. Linda got to go with us by default. Any regular day would have been a great day for a garden walk, but this year it happened to fall on the hottest day of the year: 96-101 degrees with 95% humidity.

I could tell you we were uncomfortable, but that would be like saying Dick Wolf has had a bit of TV success. We knew it would be hot, but we wanted to try it anyway. Linda was game, but on one condition - no pictures. (I managed to sneak in a few ... hee, hee).

We toured six gardens despite the liquid heat (including the fairy garden below).

Lots of flowers, lots of plants, lots of fun features.

Without question, Linda preferred the garden flying the Polish flag.

She didn't make it through all of the gardens, but she did enjoy the flora and fauna before the heat got to her. Though she missed three of the gardens, we have photo evidence from the walk so she can forever enjoy the flowers.

Hopefully next year it will be a little cooler and we can all enjoy all of the beauty (and the adorable little frogs riding on the backs of fake ducks).

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Bike (and Horn)

It's here! Linda's bike arrived three days early, but she was not willing to wait to get it going. She kept asking Matt when he would be able to put her bike together (he said it was every hour on the hour - I wasn't here to witness this, but I don't doubt it). He sneaked outside to work on it while she was distracted with the cats.

Aunt Linda picked out a bright pink Schwinn to ride around town. Since everyone in my family likes to make sure others know where we are at all times, she also selected a horn (which she and Matt tested ... in Wal-mart ... multiple times).

It didn't take long for Linda to wonder what happened to Matt, so she came outside to boss, er, um ... supervise.

Almost done ...

Success! She wasn't quite ready to ride it around town yet, but everything is adjusted to her liking and it's ready to go. Now we just need to give her some errands to run ...

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Book Review: Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale by Ian Morgan Cron

Pastor Chase Falson has lost his faith - and he did it right in front of the congregation of his mega-church. Now the elders want him to take some time away. Chase visits his Franciscan-priest uncle in Italy, where he studies the teachings of Francis of Assisi and rediscovers Francis' ancient faith.
Cron calls this book "wisdom literature," a combination of fiction and non-fiction. I was told it was a novel, so I read it as a novel, and I was not disappointed. Cron pulls you in on the opening page with his easy style and beautiful prose (I've re-read his passage on Italian nuns several times - he has a mastery of words!). It's easy to relate to and with Chase Falson as he struggles through his faith because Cron creates believable characters with real dilemmas. You experience Chase's struggles, see Italy through his eyes, and walk in his shoes - it's everything you want from a well-written novel.

My big beef with the book is that it was pitched as a novel, but it's "wisdom literature," so it was kind of preachy (literally, there's a long sermon at the end). Despite this, however, I still enjoyed the book. As I said, I chose to read it as a novel, and as novel it is superb.

As "wisdom literature," however, I don't agree with his conclusion (as Christians we strive to be Christ-like, not Francis-like).

I wasn't sure how to rate this book, so I split the difference. As a novel (pure fiction), five stars. As wisdom literature (with theology laced in), three stars. Even if you don't agree with his conclusion, though, this is a fabulous read. I haven't read such a well-written story in a long time.

*I received a copy of this book for free as part of the Book Sneeze program in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.
There You'll Find Me by Jenny B. Jones: I couldn't put the book down (though a little melodramatic, but it is a YA novel). Jones combine the right amount of subplot, romance, drama and comedy. Now one of my favorite authors. *****

Lonestar Angel by Colleen Coble: I appreciate that novels need to start with action ,but this book jumped in so quickly that I had no idea who the characters were and I didn't really care what they were doing. Couple that with a predictable plot, and I found it hard to keep reading. **1/2

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain: A fictionalized account of Hadley Richardson Hemingway, Ernest's first wife. Engaging. Not action packed or mysterious, but so captivating that it was hard to put down. A very entertaining read. ***1/2