:On my bedside table:

Have you ever read a book that has left its mark on you so indelibly that you can’t stop thinking about it? Those books are few and far between for me but this one has:

I read Andrew’s Heart Mender months ago, loved it, and promptly got my hands on as many others as I could. I have an amazing library system here that can get me books from all over the state so i usually go that route and then buy from there. The Noticer  is about Jones, a man who has always been old and shows up in time to help people in dire needs. He meets up with Andy, a young homeless man who lives under a pier at the beach and invites himself into Andy’s life and they start talking. Andy spreads a meager supper out on the sand and the two start talking and eating. Jones asks Andy, “So what are you eating right now?” Puzzled by such an obvious question, he replies kinda bitterly, “I am eating sardines and vienna sausages out of a can on the beach.” Jones then looks at him and says, “Well, I am dining on surf and turf with an ocean view.” He then talks to Andy about perspective and how that can change one’s life. He leaves a few books for Andy to read and then goes on his way. The rest of the book is about his encounters with other people, a workaholic businessman who is neglecting his family, a suicidal man in despair, a couple who is on their way to get  a divorce, intertwined with his further encounters with Andy. The key to his success in working with difficult situations is his careful attention to detail and perspective.
It’s a different sort of book, which I happen to be partial to. I keep thinking about that surf and turf bit and wonder what all would be different if we could see things from other perspectives.
Other books on my bedside table:
 
A review of some of them:
  • When Jesus Came to Harvard by Harvey Cox- I haven’t finished this one. I got half way through and then stalled. Cox started an undergraduate class at Harvard on the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The book tells of his experiences in the class. It’s thick stuff and somewhat interesting but since I didn’t finish it I can’t review the whole thing.
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  • The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. He fluctuates between random and brilliant in his writing. His style is distinct and if it wouldn’t be for those one liners every couple of pages that leave me going, “Wow!”, I probably wouldn’t keep reading.
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  • Desiring God and Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ by John Piper. I haven’t read a whole lot of these yet but the whole Christian hedonistic concept is mysteriously intriguing. I don’t know how I feel yet so please don’t ask 🙂
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  • The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. I just finished the first chapter here and love it because I know what these views and beliefs cost this man (the movie about him is really good!).
  • Finding an Unseen God deserves its own picture:
What drew me in initially to this book was the great design and layout. Seriously! A crossword puzzle title?! It even has a crossword puzzle inside to fill out. This is not a story book. It’s a book about a former atheist’s life and her journey to the Lord. Interwoven in this too is practical tips for dealing with nonbelievers and a condensed course on apologetics, which happens to be one of my very favorite subjects. I highly recommend this book to anyone who rubs shoulders with nonbelievers and feels like there is no way to connect. All the chapter titles are in crossword puzzle form too which I love. 
And lest you think I spend all my time wallowing around in this deep, thick stuff, I may or may not have just read a Karen Kingsbury book about autism. I typically don’t care for her work; it’s too fluffy and the plots too predictable, but this book was good. 
And then there’s O.Henry. How I love that man!  Reading a chapter in his book is like eating a slim piece of cheesecake. Rich, delicious and filling. You can’t read too much without feeling all full but he is always a treat and never disappoints. One of my favorite O.Henry stories is A Cosmopolite in a Cafe.
Have I mentioned on here before how much I like Chris Fabry’s books? June Bug in particular is great. A friend thought it ended a bit anti-climatically which is true. However,  I would rather have a sad sort of ending that leaves you reeling, then a happily ever after ending that you saw coming after the first two paragraphs. 
So those are what are gracing my table. What are y’all reading?
And this is just a bit of nonsense to finish this off. If O.Henry in desserts is a cheesecake, what would these be?:
  • L.M Montgomery
  • Karen Kingsbury
  • Francine Rivers
  • Harold Bell Wright
  • Louisa May Alcott
  • Dr. Seuss
  • Jerry Jenkins

Utterly silly I know, but kinda fun too, huh? 🙂

So tell me, what are you reading? And list a dessert that embodies one of the authors, just for fun 🙂
 
Vicki

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Family times

A lot of my posts are my ponderings, what goes on inside my brain, and what I am reading and so consequently I have very few pictures on my posts. You wouldn’t want to see my brain insides or ponderings in photography so that is something to be thankful for 🙂 I come to you today with a post full of pictures. Now, I’m no photographer. Most of these were taken by Kelly and my cousin Melanie. Kelly did the editing so most of these photo credits go to them.
I present to you:
:My family:
from Australia, Arkansas,Turkey, Georgia, Florida
My uncle Jason and his wife Melody, and their youngest five children, came back to the U.S. recently for a short vacation and to attend a family wedding. They live half way around the world in Australia so their visits are far apart and very precious. We stay in touch via email and etc but there’s just nothing like being together in person. We dearly missed their girls and the spice they add to our reunions. There are five girls, then four boys, and then God decided to add some icing to the cake in the form of another baby girl. Charis (Greek word for grace) is 14 month old and was not intimidated at all by her position of only little girl at our get together. Quite the contrary, she enjoyed lots of cuddles and love.

We missed others as well and the circle was far from complete. David and Toni couldn’t make it from Florida, Doug is in nursing school in AR and couldn’t come, and Kenneth is in Turkey. We missed everyone and yet understand that as life moves on, it will be harder and harder to make things like this work for everyone.
We rented a beautiful house in the north GA mountains from Friday through Sunday morning. This place happened to have a heated pool that was enjoyed all weekend.
 

 We are a big, happy, loud family when we get together. At the breakfast table one morning, there must have been 4 conversations going simultaneously. We’ll chalk it up to the fact that we live so far apart we have to talk fast to get everything said 🙂

When Kauffmans get together there is often a good bit of reminiscing from the siblings of things that were done in their childhoods and there is much ensuing laughter. What’s as funny to us grandchildren is watching them laugh. They laugh almost silently, faces all contorted as they gasp and hold their sides.

 We also enjoyed games, mini-golf, discussions of various and sundry subjects, eating and a fun ladies’ time in the hot tub. The children kept the pool occupied every chance they got.

  We had to be out of the house on Sunday by 11:00 so after breakfast and a worship service we headed over to a nearby state park for a picnic lunch before heading to our various destinations.

We wanted some pictures of the little boys, who were a big part of the group. What’s with boys and pictures? Is it like girls and snakes? There is a very real distaste for it so the biggest deal that can be made out of it is certainly the best, even though it takes twice as long as it would have needed to thanks to this:

Alex is going for the cool four year old snoot while Christopher looks on in patronizing amusement and Josiah pretends to not be related.

 Meanwhile Matthew is seeing how many cameras he can see with crossed eyes and Jeremy looks on in disturbed consternation. Matthias is rubbing his eyes with the tired hand of an 11 year old remembering what it means to be six and woefully immature.
 Jeremy’s cuteness merits it’s own snapshot and we then notice Matthew has ditched the crossed eyes and is beaming benevolently at the world.
And after forty eleventy two pictures, we end us with this and call it good enough:


And then we add a beautiful baby girl to the picture, just because we can. Precious little thing, her! And to these boys’ credit; they are a great bunch of little gentleman. I loved to see how careful they were with the baby and how they liked to hold her and take care of her. They are going to be amazing dads one day, once they outgrow the snoots and crossed eyes. Bless them all!

   
“And I’m just like, what’s going on? I’ve barely known these girls two days and they are all six inches from my face making these stupid kissing sounds. Dumb Americans!”

There is a good chance we spoiled her in those two days. She got lots of cuddles, was followed around by her ever present picture taking cousins which meant we got a ton of cute ones:
  
 Other snapshots:
 
 
Photo- bombing uncles.  RuthAnne had no idea until I showed it to her 🙂
 Trying to duplicate the 2003 look, you know, the chic little head bump pose. Nailed it totally! 🙂
This sums it up well:
 
I love my family and can’t be thankful enough for them. In a world of pain and broken relationships, hurt feelings and rejection, healthy families are a gift. I’m reminded of that when I see pain first hand, or when I see the homeless man who wanders the streets, or read stories of little children who don’t know what love looks like. I am blessed beyond measure and am also accountable for this gift. Am I making the load a bit lighter when I can, to some struggling soul who needs help? Do I begrudge my time to those less fortunate, or even look down my nose at them?
On a lighter note, it’s been a good Saturday. The house is clean, I caught up on my sleep, and my stomach is full of a good, home-cooked meal of Swedish meatballs and baked potatoes. What more could a girl want? 🙂
Vicki