Cakes and Ale by W. Somerset Maugham

Currently reading! I searched for this book in every bookshop for years—it was probably the only book of Maugham’s I didn’t own. He is a favorite of mine. I eventually found it in @johnkingbooksdetroit , a surprising find since I had looked multiple times before this with no luck. King’s always has a good supply of Maugham’s work, I suspect a deceased lover of his work donated their entire collection, of which most belongs to me now. 😄

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.Although literal ‘cake’ and ‘ale’ is probably not what Maugham meant, here it is anyway with some Screamin’ Pumpkin ale from @griffinclaw and a piece of my mother’s delicious cake. 😋

The Book of Isaiah

“Listen! Your watchman lift up their voices; together they shout for joy. When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.” ( Isaiah 52:8)

“Israel’s watchman are blind, they all lack knowledge; they are all mute dogs; they can not bark; they lie around and dream, they love to sleep.” ( Isaiah 56:10)

Basically the book of Isaiah can be summed up by these two contrasting images of the watchman. In one half of his book he prophecies hope & redemption and the other half he prophecies realty of the future based on what he sees in Judah and Israel. It is a warning to them. To not let the watchman sleep, as they were getting a little lazy in their devotion to God.

We all have a watchman inside of us, do not let the seeker in you sleep, keep an eye out for Truth and Love, watch with the eyes of your heart and listen with the ears of your heart. “Watch and pray….The Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14: 38)

I think I wrote more notes from the book of Isaiah than any other. It is long for one thing, but it is also filled with wisdom and beautiful words.

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

You can’t go into this novel expecting it to read chronologically. It is a dream, a vignette where the edges have been chipped away, washed away by what is lost to Nathaniel. The brilliance of the novel is its complexity and the connections of maps and people, the same way the author constructs a map for the reader of places and strangers. Also the story itself is just as cloudy and muddled as the protagonist’s mother who is a mystery he is trying to discover throughout the story.

I don’t read Ondaatje’s work because I want to be entertained as much as I want to experience life through the eyes of someone new, and because his prose is delicious. It is like reading Dinesen’s Out of Africa—it all came out of the memory of her experience, as the book drew me in for the words alone and the experience of a life I’ll never know. However, even though I enjoyed the book I didn’t like it as much as The English Patient.

More for your Garden by Vita Sackville-West

Can’t get enough Vita Sackville-West!!! This book goes month by month and talks about the flowers she didn’t mention in her first book, ‘In Your Garden’. Here she discusses what to grow from Spring-Fall, and how to prepare the garden in winter months. For a long time she was my muse and the voice in my head. Reading her garden books got me through the long, dark winter. She will always hold a special place in my heart. 💕 my Vita.

The books of John

“…God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

 Anyone out there afraid of the dark? When I was going through a tough time my grief manifested itself in anxiety. As soon as the sun went down the wolf, as I called it, began to hunt me, and I was terrified almost every night. I could not see clearly; all my thoughts were too muddled to see my way out of it. 

There is a phrase soldiers use called ‘the fog of war’. Popularized by Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, it’s a term which refers to the clarity of vision that disappears when we must fight for our lives. It’s often used in recollections of warfare and battlegrounds, but the fog of war can begin its seeping journey into our homes and minds if ignited by fear or anger. It is the reason we cannot see our way out of “attacks” of the mind. So how do we remedy this and possibly cure ourselves of this affliction?

I experienced this in another form last week when they tore yet another perfect old home down in my neighborhood. I Facebook vented (something I never do) with pictures and words and received many comments from people who agreed with me. I then sent the whole correspondence and post to the City (names blacked out). In this moment I was fueled by anger and though I felt I was fighting for a certain justice, I found it hard to navigate with the compass of truth and love, and I know this because I began to think dualistically, them vs me, good guy vs bad guy. I think this is because I did not bring God/Christ into the fight with me, I sort of left God behind and went on my own fuel and thought I was alone in it or needed to do it alone. We must bring God/Christ into these fights with us, every fight, and by Him we will be guided and the fog, the darkness which blinds us will dissipate and we’ll see our way out. 

 

Beginning a Journey…

And so the journey begins…

I have decided to join EYSJ this year, a program offered by the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan for spiritual discernment and discovery. I have mulled over this decision for three years and I’m finally doing it. It’s a program required by the diocese before lay people are recommended for seminary school, but through the program you discover what God is really calling you to do, which may not be ordination but some other ministry. So I am open to whatever I discover and thrilled to meet some new friends along the way! Also excited and terrified in a good way! Wish me luck or prayers! ☺️

This is me…

Thought I’d introduce myself today. It’s funny but if you follow my posts on @booksandloststories you know more about me than some of my closest family members. Talking about my faith openly and the books I love and “doctors” of the church I admire has been such a pleasure for me this past year with all of you. And I thank you for your follows and consistent ‘likes’. If anything, sharing these things gives me great pleasure and I hope some of you have found my content helpful or refreshing.

It seemed safer somehow to talk about this stuff with invisible strangers than people that knew me way back when.

I have always loved the verses from John, Luke, and Matthew that all say, “For Jesus himself testified, that a prophet has no honor in his own country.” (John 4:44).

I’m sure many of you can relate to that. Not that I think I’m a prophet but a changed person, a person of consistent, contemplative growth, yes. We all must change and grow but some want to keep us in boxes built out of images from our past spiritual immaturity or just general immaturity.

To quote Lauryn Hill from her MTV Live album, “whatever isn’t growing is dead.” Keep growing, no matter what people say.

Other than that I love to cook and make parties for my family, I love hats and it’s rare to see me without one, I can’t resist a bookshop, I often contemplate seminary school or a doctorate to teach university, I write nonsense everyday and sometimes important stuff —like an open letter to the Catholic Church denouncing their dismissal of LGBTQ organizations in Detroit (inclusion should be the goal of all churches).

I want to make the world a better, safer place. Sometimes I get overwhelmed, so I hide in my house and write letters like this and formulate plans and then the kids start fighting, and I’m called back to motherhood. This is my life. Thank you for sticking around to observe it from afar.

Sharing food and stories of the American enslaved with Michael W. Twitty & The Cooking Gene

Join me at the table: A Food study into African American history and food culture with Michael W. Twitty.

Using the recipes from his book, @thecookinggene traces the food of the enslaved in America and how that food has traveled and morphed through time and the world. Very eye-opening for me. The book traces his family history from Ghana and Sierra Leone to the plantations of Virginia and South Carolina. I cooked some of the food and read some quotes from his book too, and shared his food & his stories with my family. This was one of the best meals I’ve ever made, everything was so good and perfectly seasoned via his recipes. Forgot to take photos throughout, so here are the remnants. Everything was so good! 💕

I think it’s important to re-educated ourselves and each other right now. This was my little way with more to come!!

“When you are oppressed, how you survive your oppression is your greatest form of cultural capital. “ —Michael W. Twitty

Tonight’s menu included, corn bread, watermelon, African soul fried rice with black eyed peas and red rice (a nutritional heirloom rice he discusses a little), sautéed collard greens, sorghum molasses brined chicken roasted by wrapping it in cabbage. For dessert, chicory coffee and Twitty’s mother’s apple crisp. 😋

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The book Song of Songs

“Let him kiss me with kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.” (Song of Songs 1:2)

Said to be an allegory if God’s love for his people, Song of Songs or Song of Solomon is a love poem of a Jewish woman and her lover King Solomon. It is written as dialogue between them. With ‘friends’ intermingling their words of inquiry to the mystery of their love. It is a beautiful read either with allegory in mind or just with human love in mind, but God is in all love, so one can’t help thinking of him as these two go back and forth.

I placed a little work in progress in this shot, a whittle project not yet finished of Thomas Merton. My whittle projects are my love letters to the saints and writers with whom I spend time and who have assisted my spiritual journal in some way. It is a meditation and my love letter of thanks. What do your “love letters” look like?