Giving Thanks and Praise for these blessings:
In Books (Continuing my top 100):
From my Junior High Years . . . and a few beyond that.
1. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien was a trilogy I longed to read in elementary school after I had read The Hobbit about three times, but the books were always checked out of the school library, so I read the first one, and then waited two years before I purchased the trilogy in seventh grade and eighth grade. How many times have I read it since then? I've lost count, but I know it is somwhere under The Hobbit (at least a dozen reads) and more than any romance novel I've ever read (usually just once). Tolkien was a master storyteller, and a great linguist.
2. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is a book that I can't quite place in my timeline of favorites. Did I read it first in late elementary school, or early junior high? I'm not sure. I had seen the movie many times before I read it, and then I read my mom's copy over and over until if fell apart. It is one of my all time favorites, and again, something I think that should be read, and watched, and discussed. Great literature, timeless story.
3. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was handed to me by my mom when I was in seventh grade. I read it, and found parts I liked, but overall wasn't sure until I read it again in ninth grade, then I loved it, wept over it, ached for Jane and her difficulties. Unfortunately, I read it again in college and was forced to do a Freudian psychological critique of it. Ugh! Nothing ruins a good book like that. After several years, I was able to read it again and enjoy it.
4. The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas is an intense read, and is definitely more adult than any movie version I've ever seen of it. I loved the book, even though the heroes are all seriously flawed. Dumas doesn't let us hero worship for more than a minute.
5. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls is usually read in elementary school, but I didn't read it until junior high. I had already bawled over and dog-eared my copy of Old Yeller. However, the best quality, best written, cry-your-eyes-out story about a boy and a pair of hounds is this one. If you are going to read two books like that, then both are good.
6. The Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter is a sequel to Freckles, and one that draws us even deeper into the beauty of the forest, and all those who care for it, and each other.
7. Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare is my all time favorite Shakespeare play, for reading, viewing on screen, or viewing in person. I experienced it the first time in junior high at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and if you want to watch an excellent screen version, check out the version starring Kenneth Branagh.
8. A Spell for Chameleon, The Source of Magic, and Castle Roogna by Piers Anthony were some of my common reading fodder in junior high, and they definitely had an impact on my love of fantasy fiction. They are incredibly chauvinistic, but humorous, and filled with odd, unexpected quirks that keep the pages turning. Surprisingly I was able to forgive the chauvinism for the delightfully different adventures, and loved the spider in Castle Roogna, and considering I don't like spiders that's saying something. The rest of the series gets more male fantasy orientated, and is . . . well, not worth reading in my opinion.
9. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs intrigued me in elementary school, and the series continued to be interesting while I was into junior high reading. Later, I wasn't sure I liked those books and I don't own them anymore. However, they were an important part of my reading and imagination journey as a kid and as a young teen.
10. The Diary of Anne Frank as a novel, and as a play, were strong influences on me in eighth grade. This, true, real, raw story hit me hard, and made me want to be a better writer.
11. If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing In the Pits? by Erma Bombeck moved from my mom's bookshelf to mine, and I loved the bitter humor in the stories within that book, and read them aloud to friends and classmates.
In other Blessings:
12. My oldest daughter is taking a safe sitter course through the fire department, loving it and learning lots.
13. My youngest spent three hours making her sister a present today, just to say, "I Love You," and not for any other reason.
14. My dog has gone three days without pulling out any stitches. (She had surgery, and pulled the stitches out twice, while wearing a cone of shame)
15. Homeschool friends doing art, science, writing, and Latin together.
16. Hanging out with church friends on a Wednesday night.
17. A pink car.
18. Sunshine and snow flurries.
19. We have unlimited texting, which my daughter is making good use of on a daily basis.
20. Tanka poetry, fun stuff.
"Jesus wept." John 11:35 - The shortest verse in the Bible, but both heart-wrenching and comforting to know how deeply Jesus loved his friend Lazarus, and how deeply he loves us.