I Smell Crepe Myrtles

“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labour or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendour was dressed like one of these (flowers).” Luke 12: 27

crepe myrtle 2

Natchez, Crepe Myrtle

Yesterday I was outside looking at the garden Carl planted — tomatoes, green peppers, watermelons, summer squash, green beans, and lettuce with a couple of flower plants for color around the edges. All of a sudden, I could smell crepe myrtles. Crepe myrtles have a distinct smell — sharp and sweet. I looked around, no crepe myrtles. I have driven around my neighbors homes to see if there were crepe myrtles anywhere. I found none. This may not seem like a big deal to you but to me it is!

When I was a little girl, my mother, sisters and I would go to Massachusetts for a week in the summer. We would stay at my grandmother’s house in the city of Reading. There was a little grassed in yard between my grandmother’s driveway and the neighbor next door. I played and daydreamed a lot there — when my sisters were not pestering me. (Sorry, Sisers, but you both were pests!!!) I loved that spot. Why did I love that spot — crepe myrtles.

Once crepe myrtles are planted, they just grow bigger and bigger until they take over the yard. I don’t know if my grandmother had planted them or someone else had, but they always drew me to that little spot beside the driveway.

As a pastoring family, our family has moved more than the average family. We have lived in states of New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Texas. These states have little in common except they are part of the United States. Their climates are different; their cultures are different; the kind of plants each state grows are different. But the strangest thing has happened in each home we have lived in — I smell crepe myrtles.

It has never failed. Every where we have lived, at least once and sometimes more than once, I would catch the sweet smell of crepe myrtles, and it immediately takes me back to when I was a kid in my grandmother’s yard. And in my minds eye I can see the little yard between the driveway and the next door neighbor where I would sit or play on a summer’s afternoon. Maybe I will plant some crepe myrtles now that we have settled into our new home!

2015 Reading Challenge 

I just finished reading “All the King’s Men” by Robert Penn Warren. Mr. Warren wrote this book in 1946, and it beautifully shows the politics of lazy, hot days of Louisiana. The book tells the story of the fall of Willie Stark who resembles the real-life Huey “Kingfish” Long of Louisiana “an idealistic man of the people but soon becomes corrupted by success.”

The book took a long time to read. It has 661 pages of slow-moving southern atmosphere. Very descriptive, at times it felt like you were in the midst of the heat with the characters as they drove down the dusty, dirt roads to the next town. I really enjoyed this book. It will stay on my collection of “must read again” book shelf. Yes, I read many books more than once!

This book fills the “Pulitzer Prize-Winning Book” category of the 2015 Reading Challenge. “All the King’s Men” was one of Mr. Warren’s three Pulitzer Prize-Winning books. A must read!!!

Week # 13: Read a Book Set in a Different Country: “Come to Africa and Save Your Marriage” by Maria Thoma; “Cousin Bette” by Honore de Balzac; “Death in Venice” by Thomas Mann; “Don Quixote” by Miquel de Cervantes (big in the classics).

Week # 14: Read a Non-fiction Book: “Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Trail” by Cheryl Strayed; “Maude” by Donna Mabry; “The Hiding Place” by Corrie Ten Boon (I cannot recommend this book enough!! This book is about a Christian family — Corrie’s family — hiding Jews from the Nazis during World War II in Holland. For years I read this book at the beginning of summer. I have no idea why I did that outside the fact that I love this book and the main character Corrie Ten Boon.); “Those Who Save Us” by Jenna Blum. Enjoy a new book this week!

[Side Note: I am not a tech savvy gal — so when I have learned something new I have to share it. I finally found how to add pictures to my blog!!! This is a big accomplishment because the computer has a world of its own. What my grandchildren can learn in a few minutes, it takes me days and sometimes weeks to get it through my head. LOL]

Today do something that challenges you, Linda

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God Is Dead or …

“All that mankind has done, thought, gained or been: it is lying as in magic preservation in the pages of books.”   Thomas Carlyle

Recently I watched a great movie called “God Is Dead” on Netflex. The title caught my attention and curiosity. The story is about a college freshman, Josh Wheaton. Josh is a Christian. Like all colleges, students are required to take certain classes. One of his choices is a philosophy class taught by Professor Radisson.

Professor Radisson has a rough reputation on campus. As soon as a fellow student realizes that Josh is a Christian, he recommends that Josh take another Professor of Philosophy. No. This is fine, says Josh. Well remember you still have time to drop the class, the other student says.

On entering the class, Josh is faced with a major decision. Professor Radisson tells the class that each one of them was to write on a blank sheet of paper “GOD IS DEAD” and sign it. Then pass the paper to the end of the row. While the students are contemplating these instructions, Professor Radisson tells them that there is no such thing as a higher being or person i.e. God. So if they will sign the paper, he would not have to go through the “extreme boredom” of presenting God, creation, higher power, etc. And again he says, “There is no God.”

Most of the students are uneasy about doing this. You can hear them muttering; you can see them squirming in their seats.  But once one writes the words God Is Dead and signs the paper, everyone else does the same thing except Josh Wheaton. Here’s the pivot point of the story. Was one bright-eyed, ignorant freshman going to make the whole class have to listen to the professor’s explanation of God — or no God? Josh throws down the gantlet. I cannot sign this paper, Josh says, because there is a God. So what are Josh’s options: He can leave the class and pick up another philosophy class later; He can sign the paper and all will be forgotten; or He can defend God’s existence. And that’s where I am going to leave you. If you want to see a good movie, check this one out. You will be glad you did.

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2015 Reading Challenge

All through college I was always behind. I think that is the normal lifestyle of a college student. By the end of the semester there was always the last minute press — got to write one more paper, got to study for the test, got to read one more book, etc., etc. I made the end of the semester with papers written and prepared for tests, but I never made it to the end with reading all the books that were assigned. Well, that is not really true! I took an advance class on the author William Faulkner – loved it so much everything else got left behind. Today William Faulkner is one of my most favorite authors. So back to “I have fallen behind!”

Yes, I have read 10 books in the Reading Challenge and working on another one, but that puts me three weeks behind. Oh no, what am I going to do!! When I realized that I was falling behind, my stomach did one of those flops I felt when I was at the end of the semester and behind. Then I took my own advice — you do not have to read all 51 categories in the Reading Challenge. I took in a big breath, exhaled, and picked up the next book which happens to be “All The Kings Men” by Robert Penn Warren.

Here goes: week #11: Read a book with a one-word title — here are some suggestions: “Rebecca” by Dalphne du Maurier, “Watchmen” by Alan Moore, “Stardust” by Neil Gaiman, and “Timeline” by Michael Crishton.

Week #12: Read a book of short stories — here are some more suggestions: “Tenth of December” by George Saunders, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Flannery O’Connor, “Olive Kitteridge” by Elizabeth Strout, and “One More Thing & Other Stories” by B.J. Novak. Don’t panic — just keep reading!!!

Today do something that challenges you, Linda