What I’m Reading Wednesday


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I very rarely pay for books for my Kindle.  If I do pay, I don’t pay more than a few dollars.  There are literally thousands of free books out there that I haven’t read yet and for the newer, popular books, I can always just put myself on the waiting list for the library e-copy.

The one exception I make it for book club.  Even though we plan months in advance so we all have time to read the books and not spend a fortune doing so, I always read it last minute so end up paying through the nose for it.  If I read the book two months before we discuss it, I’ll never remember what it was about since I’ll easily have read 20+ books in between.  So I usually wait until about 4 days before we meet to start the book.  Only once has that backfired on me and I didn’t quite finish.

This month, we read Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline.  I was so excited to read it.  Multiple friends had raved about it and it has thousands of 5 star reviews on Amazon.  So even though it crushed my not-paying-for-books-soul a little, I coughed up the $9.99 to buy it the night before book club.

I so wish I hadn’t.  Seriously, I didn’t get the hype.  Most of the members of my book club completely disagreed so I’m obviously in the minority.  But still.

The story is a standard orphan train story.  A girl is plucked off the streets of New York after family tragedy and shipped via train across the US, ultimately ending up in a non-distinct midwestern town.  She experiences hardship but triumphs.  She reunites with some of the people she once knew and never sees others again.  More than any other orphan train book I can recall reading, this one wrapped up in a neat little bow.  That’s just not how it works…

I realized after talking with my book club though that many of them weren’t familiar with orphan trains at all.  To them, this was all very exciting.  To me, it was old hat.  I loved orphan trains when I was a kid.  (Actually, I loved pretty much anything where kids didn’t have parents.  I have no idea why because my parents were – and still are – awesome.)

So if you’re looking to learn more or don’t want to jump on the Orphan Train bandwagon, let me recommend a few other books for you to try.  Or simply do some Googling and learn more.  It’s a fascinating time during our country’s history and I don’t think Kline did it justice at all.

That being said, my book club as a whole loved it so I guess I should just be happy they learned something about a time in history they hadn’t encountered before?

Books I’d recommend include…

Lost at the Junctionby Cindy Schuster


I wrote about this one ages ago and even gave away a copy.  It’s charming and delightful and I find it much better written than Orphan Train.

The Orphan Train Adventure Series, by Joan Lowery Nixon

LostOk, I can’t promise this is as amazing as I remember it being because I read these when I was much, much smaller.  They are definitely very young adult fiction.  But I remember loving them.  They follow a family who is split up because of the orphan train.  I’m hoping to get my hands on a copy soon so I can reread them.  Couldn’t believe they were still in print even!
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We’re All Doing Just Fine


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Now that the craziness of September has come and gone (how is it already fall?!), I’m hoping to get back to blogging during my fringe moments.  After so many 3:30am wake up calls last month, mornings haven’t been my friend lately so I thought I’d sneak a few moments to write during lunch.

I was just glancing through one of my favorite sites to browse on my quick lunch breaks and stumbled upon this article: 5 Things You’re Doing Right in Your Home.

Boy, did I need that reminder.

When work and personal life invade my time at home, I start feeling inadequate.  I don’t know where those people with perfect hair, clothes, houses, jobs, AND social lives get the energy.  I like to think of myself as pretty put together and full of enthusiasm for any task at hand but I can’t possibly be on top of everything all the time.  In the last month, it was my house that suffered.

Instead of focusing on just how much I have done in the last six weeks, I’ve been focusing on the haven’ts. The lawn that didn’t get mowed, the laundry that is sitting in piles, the dishes that sat in the sink forever, the books I haven’t gotten to finish, the phone calls I’ve had to ignore because I just can’t all the time, the blog posts I’ve just set aside for some other time.

But really, those haven’ts are because of the haves.  I worked my tail off last month and have a lot to show for it.  I have even gotten mostly caught up at work in the last few days.  I have manged to devote many hours to making memories with my friends.  I have done it all most of it with a smile on my face.

That article was such a great reminder of what I am doing right.

Last night, I single-handedly completely unasembled and reassembled the basement toilet which desperately needed to be fixed.  And it’s almost working at 100% now.

Even thought my house isn’t perfectly clean, it’s still an open door to anyone who needs a refuge.

I’ve surrounded myself with photos of my favorite memories and fill my home with small reminders of who I love and who I am as a person.

I allow myself to enjoy my relationships instead of only focusing on the never ending to-do list.

And I am truly enjoying life, even on the craziest of days.

Sounds to me like I’m doing just fine and should stop worrying about the haven’ts.  If you’re feeling the same way, I encourage you to stop beating yourself up.  Find the things you’re doing just right and focus on them.  It’s the only way you’ll get through this crazy little thing called life in one piece.

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What I’m Reading Wednesday

Greetings from my desk!  I have a few minutes before I need to jet off to my next obligation so thought I’d write quick even though it’s later in the day than you’re used to.  Better late than never, right?

Remember how I’ve said that this month is complete craziness?  Like, I’m averaging a handful of hours of sleep at night, have driven many more than 2,000 miles since September 1, spent approximately 30 hours in the car listening to podcasts… I’m pooped.

When I get tired like this, I covet my reading time.  It’s one thing I’ll never give up because it calms me.  And the craziness makes me crave quiet and simplicity so I usually end up reading old favorites.

This month it was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.  I haven’t read it in years and I knew it would calm my soul a little.  The story was just as preachy as I remembered and I spent most of the book dreading the moment when Beth dies (spoiler alert if you miraculously haven’t read it…).  But it did the trick.  It was the perfect way to end my evenings after very long days.

I was so lucky as a child because we spent a lot of time in the car.  Mind you, this was way before handheld gaming systems and built in DVD players.  And when I say a lot of time, I mean it.  Our family traveled an hour each way just to go to church on Sunday when I was a kid… nevermind that I also wanted to be in church choir on Wednesdays and we visited family who were hours away almost every week.

So mom would read aloud to us instead of having us listen to the radio.  Most of the time, she read the classics.  Charlotte’s Web (still my favorite book), Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and of course Louisa May Alcott.  I remember those rides fondly and can still hear her voice when I read them.

I know she’s reading this right now and I hope that she and Dad know how much those hours they both spent reading to us have shaped me as an adult… Thanks guys!

I highly recommend rereading some of your favorites either for yourself or to your kids.  If you have a Kindle, most of the classic are even available for FREE.  Pretty awesome, isn’t it?!  In this busy-ness of our world, it’s nice to take a breather once in a while.

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