The book of Lamentations

I have no authority to teach you. These are my own contemplative thoughts, you may disagree and that’s OK!

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness, and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail… They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait (quietly) for him.”
(Lamentations 3:19-24)

The title of this book was originally translated from Hebrew to the words “Alas!” or “How?” Lamentations is a sort of epic poem of which
Jeremiah was probably the author. Throughout the book, the prophet is lamenting over the destruction of Jerusalem. We all have things that
bear weight in our hearts, the crumbling of our comforts and securities perhaps? Here Jeremiah describes the horrific events in Jerusalem; then with hope and faith in the Lord’s mercy, he prays for
the people and describes the Lord’s mighty hand of Love which delivers perpetual hope to the faithful of this Hope. Jeremiah reminds us that we must remember our afflictions and the distractions that kept us wandering away from God’s path for us. To continually grow and mature in Spirit we must remember, like Christ, we too have born our own crosses, and these crosses were not in vain. Their purpose was to teach and redirect. When Jesus was nailed to the cross he looked up to heaven and lamented ‘why?” to God. “Why has thou forsaken me?” Which are the same words David speaks in psalm 22. In doing this he was lifting his troubles to God giving God credit, not only for future generations to see the Truth in that day, but to show the witnesses that He had not lost His faith even when it was God who allowed Him to suffer the way He did. The verse of Lamentations continues saying, “Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?”

The Life of Saint Dominic

St. Dominic is the saint who, according to Catholic writings, was given the vision of the rosary by the Blessed Mother. I’m reading this to delve more into the history of the rosary, but also out of pure interest. I have been studying prayer lately for the class I’m in, centering prayer in particular, which is similar in meditation to that of the rosary. Centering prayer however is a prayer of quiet and the rosary, according to tradition, should be said aloud, though I believe many rules about religion were made to be broken and so I say much of it in whispers or silence. I have heard this book by Drane is hard to read for some because the language is a little old fashion, but I read stuff like that all the time so it might be OK. If anyone knows of a better version of his life let me know. 😄

Peace for Artsakh!

Preparing and serving food feels so much like a prayer. Please help stop the attacks in Artsakh. If you can, please text PASSAGE to 52886 to send a prepared letter to your state rep. It’s so easy and takes only three seconds.

Even though most of this food is Jerusalem-inspired, I couldn’t help thinking about my Armenian friend who is very upset about the violence in #artsakh so I made and dedicated this food to my friend and the Armenian people suffering tonight. *Armenian string cheese is represented and I ordered an Armenian cookbook today to do this right with my whole family. #artsakhstrong

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.

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?