Christmas Book Haul!

Prairie Avenue by Arthur Meeker

Talk about a cozy book for the season! Prairie Avenue by Arthur Meeker is that! Prairie Avenue was a really fancy neighborhood in Chicago in the early 1900’s. This story highlights the world that goes on behind closed doors—really fancy ones—and in rooms—really fancy ones with large stone fireplaces and indoor gardens. Despite what we may see, trouble can brew anywhere and people can be in pain even though their life may look grand on the outside. Arthur Meeker highlights this kind of paradox and I highly recommend it! It’s one of my favorites and it is one of the few books I would read again. .

First Corinthians…

These are only my own contemplative thoughts. You may disagree and that’s OK!!

“When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I

reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of

childhood behind me.”

—1 Corinthians 13:11



To doubt His mercy is like being a child when they sob and carry on

because they do not get what they want, and you, their guardian, are

appalled at the greed and neglect they display when they say they hate you, or when they storm off and say “you don’t love me!”. When my kids do this I just want to hit my head against the wall! Do they not

remember all the previous love and tender care I gave them in the

past? But they are children. They cannot see the bigger picture or the

life lessons I’m trying to teach them. Nor can they fathom all that

previous love I gave them, they are greedy for the ‘right now’. If you’re not giving them what they want ‘now’ you must hate them, you

must not want them, you must have forgotten them. Sometimes we can be the same way to God—if our prayers are not answered swiftly we feel He is not there, He has forgotten us, He doesn’t want us. But He is merely looking out for our best interest—maybe that job you wanted wasn’t for you? Maybe you would have gotten into an accident had you left for work on time today? We have to trust His guidance and keep our faith. We must not be like spoiled children, but humbled always and patient to put those childish ways behind us. I must remember this next time my kids are throwing a fit. I’m sure God rolls his eyes and shakes his head up there a lot, but always with a loving, tender

smile—for His love for us is great.

Seasons of Grace by Leslie Tentler

Possibly the driest book I’ve ever tried to read, but I feel like this might just change my thinking somehow or maybe even my life. Why do I think this? I don’t know. It was a recommendation from one of the archivists at the Archdiocese. I trust this guy’s opinion, though I think he may be on a different level. When I first met him he was translating an 18th century journal from Latin to English. 😬

I’m going to give it a try and see what I learn—probably more than I’d ever want to know! I was so desperate for it I ordered it from the lending library program! 🤷‍♀️ Hey, maybe when I finish I’ll pick up some lessons in Latin!

Of Whales and Men by R. B. Robertson

Of Whales and Men by Dr. R. B. Robertson is a creative nonfiction piece written in the 1950s about the whaling industry and the “psychopaths” that work on the factory ship for 8 months out of the year–every year. Dr. Robertson dubbed all the whalers psychopaths because they chose a life away from civilization, to the furthest ends of the southern seas, to the Antarctic and the South Georgia Islands to catch whales—a very smelly occupation. “You won’t get to know us, doctor, in the short time you’ll be with us,” he cautioned me, “and, when you come to write about us, it will be very easy to make us out to be a mob of half-crazy malcontents whose only aim in life is to see the bottom of every whisky bottle. But try to give a fair report on us, even when you come to tell about our boozing. After all, though the kirk and the owners and the folks at home say we drink too much, we bring the wales back to them.” –Old Burnett: Whaler (Of Whales and Men by R. B. Robertson; 1954)

I really enjoyed this, apart from the killing of whales—that was hard to stomach—but the men on the ship were an interesting lot. Thanks Dr. Robertson for giving us such rare glimpse of a (thankfully) deceased era. Below is my review on #goodreads … I don’t understand why the other reviews are just so-so?! Maybe I’m strange? I absolutely loved this creative nonfiction piece! …To the point that I didn’t want to put it down, especially toward the end. I found myself excited to get back to the sea with these whalers as they all became like beloved characters in a classic fiction novel. I would highly recommend. The content is interesting and mysterious since so man on earth, hopefully, will ever experience adventures in legal whaling again.

I found this copy tucked away in a damp, moldy basement during a local estate sale. I love seafaring stories and since this was TRUE, I had to read it. I’m so glad I did!!




#whales #bookstagram #bookstagramer #bookshelf #library #writersofinstagram #writer #write #read #readersofinstagram #reading #sea #alfredaknopf #ofwhalesandmen #booksandloststories #authorsofinstagram #booklover

Journal or Diary writing..


As you can see, I do!! I started keeping a diary when I was about 9. Most of what I wrote was complete nonsense, and more than once my friends would chime into the pages saying obscene things to be funny. I think I will burn all of these someday, but for now they stand as proof of my journey through the ups and downs of my life, through immaturity to semi-maturity 😄, to all kinds of human relationships, marriage, kids…you name it. The words written inside them are merely my ‘outer-sheddings.’ They do not represent who I am, but rather where I’ve been and some of the dirt I collected along the way. I would like to think I’m cleansed of all the yuck now. Please burn them upon my death. (That line is stolen from my grandma)




Pictured are the diaries of my life in chronological order, except the left hand side with the deer are all my Bible journals. Some of them have been tossed.

The book of First Kings

I have no authority to teach you, these are only my own contemplative thoughts. You might disagree and that’s OK. .



So they wanted a king, eh? Ok, give them a king.

And so, the Israelites got their wish. They rejected God as their king and asked for a human king. These human kings committed mistake after mistake(because they are not perfect), and it made me want to pull my hair out reading both first kings and second kings, because these guys witnessed some of God’s greatest miracles but then would reject God soon after. How could they do this?

It would be so easy and here’s why, and this is where my philosophy comes in: this ‘world’ is a heavy place—literally we are pulled by its gravity, held captive by it in many ways. We are getting heavy doses of worldly, secular stuff every day which keeps us tangled and confused. God will hand us a miracle today, but tomorrow we forget when someone cuts us off or a neighbor does something irritating. This is why the journey with God, completely and wholly without influence from the world—the place btw that lives and breaths around us and where most of us only see with our human eyes and the place we must move in daily—can be so difficult. We must try to see beyond the cloudy ether of this world. So, I almost sympathize with the terrible kings in these books, I too have been like them. The way with God is a way of constant discipline and much praying in silence to sometimes only receive silence in return. However, I think the key to setting ourselves free from worldly captivity is to establish a routine where we spend some time with God each day. Designating a time for you and God to be together, have coffee, talk, contemplate, just think about Him each day ( but try not to leave him completely behind, let Him remain in the back of your mind, carry Him with you) and watch the miracles unfold. At the very least (which is everything) it will lead you on the path to His gift of inner peace and joy. You’ll see. 🙂

The a story of a Soul by Saint Therese of Lisieux

The Story of a Soul was written by Saint Therese of Lisieux before her death in 1897 at 24 years of age. In it she talks about her “little way” of doing everything with great love. After she died this memoir was passed from hand to hand from priests to nuns and even the Pope, and was eventually published. It was a great read for anyone interested in her. She writes that she will send flowers from heaven (blessings) to anyone who prays for her. She is one of the only Saints to be photographed and one of the only doctors of the church because of her “little way”, an obtainable path toward virtue for all. She is very special to me.




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The Gospel according to Mark

Is it wrong to say I found the book of Mark a little dry? It is wonderful to have the stories of Jesus told to us several different ways through the Gospels of Mark, Luke, John and Matthew, but I have in my notes from a year ago that I thought it was the driest version of Jesus’ ministry on earth. When I researched this a bit I learned that the Gospel of Mark was written by John Mark who was not a close follower of Jesus but who hung around Peter and sort of wrote down Jesus’ story through what Peter (an apostle) had to say about Jesus. It is the shortest of the gospels (which basically means, the good news), and the first. Mark’s gospel, some say, was meant to remember verbatim in order to recite or to use as a sermon, which explains its dry, straightforward quality. Which makes this post equally dry and straightforward. I put a link to the video I watched about this in my bio. I find this scholarly stuff really interesting. If any of this information is incorrect, I apologize, as it was gathered from the video. 🙂