Before the arrival of The Troubles, I finished How It All Began by Penelope Lively. This was recommended to me by a friend, Barbarann Fernandez (we worked together at the Orlando Sentinel before Alex was born; she now lives in Washington state and is a Facebook friend), so this is a partial fulfillment of one of my 101 Goals (read ten books that are recommended by friends).
The book is delightful. When I started it, I thought it was going to be simply "chick lit," but it's quite well written and definitely stretches beyond that category. The book begins with the mugging of Charlotte Rainsford. This event sets in motion a series of completely unrelated events and the author carries us along through a number of story lines. This could be either confusing or too complicated, but in this book it's neither. Most of the characters are appealing (even though they are certainly flawed) and the book held my interest throughout. It was a light read, but not frothy (if you know what I mean).
After I finished I was trying to decide what to choose next and I was going through the books on my Kindle. One book was "represented" by an unlabeled gray square. I tapped it just to see what it was: Chosen by God by R. C. Sproul. This is one of those books that's been on my I-should-read-list for ages. So, not believing in coincidences, I plunged ahead. To my surprise, the book is VERY readable (I expected an academic slog). I'm absolutely enthralled. Sproul is tackling "free will" right now -- not exactly an easy issue, but he handles it amazingly well (there's a reason he's famous, apparently ;). So -- just delighted with this choice, so far. The topics he attacks are HUGE ones, difficult ones, complicated ones. To be able to sail through them like this (and I don't mean he shortchanges the reader -- he is simply blessed with the ability to translate difficult subjects into clear and understandable prose) is exhilarating. (How often is a book described like that???)
So, for now...
69. I'm grateful for light entertainment, especially the kind provided in a book like How It All Began. It is exactly what we need sometimes.
70. At other times we need meatier subjects and I'm very happy to have opened up Chosen by God. I expect to have an increased vocabulary for discussing some intricate and perplexing (but important!) topics.
I did not go to church this morning. Friday night I could not fall asleep; I finally conked out around 1:00. I awoke at 4:00 and knew that I would not go back to sleep, so I packed my stuff and headed home from Florida. It was a treat to get here so early (I arrived around 1:00 and that included a stop at the Barnes & Noble in Dothan, Alabama). Alex was here, using our flat driveway as a place to change the oil in his car. He came inside and we had a very nice visit -- I don't talk with him too often these days, as you might imagine. Bruce is blessed to work with Alex and they have lunch together a few times a week, so I am the parent who suffers from Alex withdrawal. He knew, too, that I was hurting and Alex has a way of making me feel better that no one else can match, not even Bruce (Bruce is good, though, too). So...
71. Grateful for time spent with Alex. He is a good man, a good son, and I love him.
Anyway, back to skipping church. I was exhausted Saturday night and actually went to bed around 6:30. I awoke about midnight because I was starving. Or -- I don't know if that's why I was awakened or not, but I couldn't go back to sleep because of hunger. I had a nectarine and Cascade Farms' version of Cheerios, went back to bed, and slept late. There's more than a little wallowing going on -- licking my wounds, feeling a bit sorry for myself. I figure I can have today for that, but I need to regroup by tomorrow.
72. Today is my dear friend Melanie Muzio's fiftieth birthday. She does not read my blog (I don't think she even knows how to find it), but I am grateful for her so she gets mentioned here! Because she is my friend, Alabama is a happier place for me. And because I am here instead of Florida, I get to participate in her birthday lunch tomorrow. I'll have a good time, be surrounded by women I care about, and get to celebrate Mel.
73. Prosecco. My new favorite wine. I asked Bruce to put a bottle into the freezer for me today and when I took it out and poured a glass the top layer was Prosecco slush. Wonderful.