Thursday, October 8, 2020

Thursday Book Talk

"Take all the money from my wallet but tell this story to my children.  They only know pieces of it. It's time for them to know all of it. Tell them I loved them very much, that they were worth the years I spent without seeing my brother. Tell them to walk in the shade. To listen with their eyes, to see with their skin, and to feel with their ears, because life speaks to us all and we just need to know and wait to listen to it, see it, feel it."

I am always on the lookout for a story so beautifully told it takes my breath away. This is how I felt about "The Murmur of Bees", by Sofia Segovia and translated by Simon Bruni. These are the books I find the most difficult to write about. 

Set in an area of northern Mexico, with ground fertile not only for growing sugar cane and maize, but for superstitious tales and rumors of witches roaming in the night. One morning when a beloved elderly Nana is discovered missing, a search party is sent to find her. Nana Reja is found under a bridge holding a mysterious bundle; a second bundle beside her.  When the swaddling is removed, a baby is discovered wrapped in a blanket of bees. In the second bundle a hive is found. Nana Reja is insistent both the baby and the hive be taken back to the hacienda. Some who viewed the strange child with the facial deformity, thought him to be evil. Word spread he had been "kissed by the devil." The old nana believed differently. The wealthy landowners Beatrix and Francisco Morales became his Godparents, named him Simonopio and cared for him as their own son.

With his bees always with him, leading and teaching, Simonopio discovers he can see, hear and feel the future. His extraordinary gifts prove to be beneficial in sensing danger and protecting the Morales family during a time the world is being ravaged by the Spanish flu pandemic and with a revolution brewing. Ultimately he will need to use his gifts to protect himself from the one who he knows as "the coyote." 

"The Murmur of Bees",  Sofia Segovia's first novel to be translated to English, has all the characteristics of a page turner: mystery, tragedy, magical realism and family drama, and yet, it is not a quick read. At almost five hundred pages, this is a book deserving of attention and patience. Like so many of my favorite books, my heart ached when I turned the last page. It was not the ending I had hoped for, yet it was the perfect ending. The last one hundred pages are beautiful; I immediately reread those last chapters just to more fully absorb, appreciate and ponder the beauty of it's conclusion.

Happy Reading!

Sunday, September 27, 2020

I'll Cheer You to the End

How are you doing friends? 

Here we are just beginning to wade into Autumn; I couldn't be happier. I love everything about this time of year. It makes my heart happy and feels me with so much hope. The crisp morning air is perfect for walks when time allows. It was such a morning when I caught my social distancing friends chattering away one cool sunny morning.

Are you still hanging in there?
 Do you feel like things are beginning to feel somewhat normal? 
I don't either. I've been in school three weeks, it has helped even though it has kicked my backside. Some days have been easier than others; and, it sure helps when younger teachers are saying they are whipped at the end of the day as well.

I know we will come to the end. Perhaps the end will not look quite like where we were before, but we will turn the corner when the time is right. I know, we are ready now, aren't we? It's hard, but let's hang in there. Let's give grace to not only our friends and family, but those we might not like so much. Be gentle with yourself. No one is breezing through this.

I am rooting for you, 
for me, 
for our country
 and the world. 
We can do this... I promise!

Have the very best week ever!

(shhh.... I'll be back with some book talk.)

Friday, August 28, 2020

Reading During a Pandemic

 "Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book."

Jane Smiley   

Happy Friday friends!

Is today a good day to talk about books?
 It has been awhile hasn't it?

When the schools closed in mid-March due to the pandemic spreading through our state, I quickly began dreaming of the books I would have the time to read.  I picked up book after book, finding nothing held my attention. These were books I would normally devour. I soon realized my reading was broken. You know reading is my passion; not finding a book to dig into was extremely distressing. I could only clean my house so often, and after bingeing on a few Netflix's series, I longed to escape into a good read. With the bookstore and the library closed I began downloading. Friends my reading was all over the place. 

Let's begin with two books totally out of my wheelhouse, but helped pull me
through my reading drought. 

I'll Be Gone in the Dark
Michelle McNamara

"I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer is a true crime book by Michelle McNamara about the Golden State Killer. The book was released posthumously on February 27, 2018, nearly two years after McNamara's death and two months before an arrest would be made in the case"

True crime is not the genre I normally pick to read. This one, fellow readers, is creepy; I frequently double checked my doors while reading. Not being easily frightened, I believe what really bothered me was I lived, though several years after he became inactive,  in the area in northern California where he frequently selected his victim. I frequently walked the trail he used to stalk and move between homes in the area. I suppose I just knew too much about the area, and I realized no matter the precautions taken, we are still vulnerable.

Sadly, Ms. McNamara died from a drug over-dose before finishing her book, and before the Golden State Killer's identity was discovered. She writes she was becoming so obsessed with this case she lost all interest in other areas of her life. Though this killer had retired,  I cannot help but believe Michelle was his last victim.

Creepy and impossible to put down.

Okay, I'm going to continue with the fright fest. 

"In the latest thriller from New York bestseller Riley Sager, a woman returns to the house made famous by her father's bestselling horror memoir. Is the place really haunted by evil forces as her father claimed? Or are there more earthbound -- and dangerous-- secrets hidden within its walls? 

I actually listened to this one on audible. I found myself pulling a few more weeds in the garden, and taking a little bit longer to vacuum around the house just to find out what was going to happen next. Though Home Before Dark didn't keep me up at night, it did keep me listening and guessing how it would end. This would be an excellent selection for you Halloween reading.

You know I love pairing books and food; sometimes all you need is a big bowl of popcorn. Toss in a handful of candy corn. Grab a favorite snack and settle in with one of these nail biting novels. Don't  forget to check your windows and doors.

Who knew I could be pulled to the dark side.
 Has your reading changed during quarantine?
I would love to hear about it.


Here's what I am digging into this weekend.
And friends, it is a real book that I can hold in my hands.

What fun things are you doing this weekend?

Happy reading friends!

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Wednesday Thoughts

"If you feel that you are not strong enough to let your creative voice become heard, start with a whisper Your voice will come." unknown 

   I know I posted of my return and then went quiet... again. It was only for a few days this time. I am still figuring out where to take Living Life from here. What do I want to do in this space.  Shortly after writing about taking a break from Facebook, I sat and read back through ten years of my own writings. Reading through the years, I discovered the post when I found my voice... when I became a little more confident with MY words instead of trying to imitate or impress others. While reading your comments (some made me teary... such kind words)  I remembered how much I truly enjoyed writing and connecting here. 

So... let's see what happens!  I will continue with my disclaimers, and I'm almost always unedited, there will be mistakes... no judging. I hope you will stop by and leave a comment. (One day I may figure out how to reply individually.) Please let me know your thoughts.

 Hello... are you still there?

I'll be back soon to share some of my favorite books from the past several months. Oh my, what Covid has done to my reading life!  

Find something that makes your heart smile! 




Sunday, August 2, 2020

Sunday Thoughts!

copied from "Brainy Quote"

Enjoy your day!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Facebook Thoughts

I signed onto Facebook so many years ago. It has been nice to reconnect with friends and acquaintances from the past and keep up with friends nearby whom I don't get to see frequently enough.  I have enjoyed sending birthday wishes, seeing pictures of children and grandchildren. It has been a great way to catch up. Most often I have signed in to acknowledge milestones, laugh at a meme, get some inspiration from a sassy blonde who knows how to work a crown and wears a lot of pink, and just say hi!

Now it is time to tune it out for awhile. Facebook has become a battleground. It is not somewhere I need to linger. I know, I should be strong and skip over what I don't want to see, but I am guilty of getting sucked down the rabbit hole. And man, that hole can be sad and paralyzing.  As we have sunk deeper into this pandemic it seems Facebook has become the platform for anger, meanness and fear mongering. I am a believer if something does not make you better, than it is time to put it aside. And, for me I think it is time for me to bow out of Facebook for awhile.

I do hope, if any of my Facebook friends are reading this, you might take pause to think about what is being shared and posted. I know how easy it is to sit behind a screen and feel anonymous. I do it here and on instagram, pretending to be a writer, a book reviewer or whatever I want to be at any given moment. I am guilty of sharing information I haven't fully checked out... last night trying to be super helpful I forwarded a phone number that ended up being a UK number. Friends, I get it! Perhaps before sharing we should ask: is it true... is it helpful... is it kind... am I being part of the solution.

More than any moment during my lifetime have I felt the need to really pay attention to those reading or listening to my ramblings. We are in a dark time. There is so much going on around us. I don't know when or if we will ever go back to exactly the way we were. I do know,
I want to be surrounded by light and I want to be a lighthouse. 

Know behind this screen I am smiling and cheering you on. If you see me out and about, I promise there is a smile behind my mask just for you!


Just a note to those who commented on my last post... it was so good to hear from you. Thank you for visiting and commenting. I have missed meeting you here. I really am going to try to do better. A couple of you ask if I am going to teach this year. Yes I am. I am not going to lie, I am a bit nervous, but I have an amazing Headmistress. I know we will be doing everything possible to stay safe. Thank you again! The new Blogger is sort of throwing me. Let me know if it is still possible to reply individually to comments. Hugs friends!

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Let's Chat!


How are you doing? 

I have thought of you often. I have wanted to check on you; to be honest, I haven't known what to say, so I have remained silent. I decided early on it would be my mission to keep my people, my friends, grounded by staying positive. Most days are good, but some days, I will admit,  I do not quarantine very well. Do you know what I am saying?

We are certainly not where we planned, are we? I've said it before, tell God your plans and watch him laugh. We are in a serious place. A place where what we do as a whole will define when and how this ends. Perhaps the simplest thing we can do to move through the pandemic is to have faith, give grace and be kind.

The day after tomorrow will come! And when we step out into the sunshine what a celebration we will have.

Stay safe my friends!

Friday, February 14, 2020

A Book for February

I hope you are enjoying your day in the way you most enjoy.

We exchanged our Valentine's this morning before I headed out to school. I spent my morning sugaring-up my children before returning them to their mamas. Valentine's Day is always a fun day in the classroom.


I have been wanting to share my favorite read of 2019, and today seems like the perfect day to share this beautiful love story.

"Dearly Beloved, he began. They were the words that started weddings, not baptisms, but the people in the Church were his beloved, so dear that as he spoke, his heart and throat grew tight."

Cara Wall's debut novel is a character-driven story of four individuals, two couples, as they navigate the challenges of life, love and marriage.

Charles always believed he was destined to be a Harvard academic until he attends a seminar on faith and discovers a desire to study theology. He meets and falls in love with independent Lily, a devout atheist with no desire to play the part of a minister's wife.

James, an activist wanting to create social change, falls deeply in love with sweet Nan, the daughter of a southern minister, who will change the course of his life. Though he cannot buy into the full philosophy of faith, he believes the ministry is a way to remedy the ills of the world.

These two couples are thrown together for better or worse when Charles and James are called to co-minister a church in Greenwich Village, in the early sixties. Neither man is the whole package the church leaders desire, however, one has what the other lacks. Nan is happy living in the parsonage and leading the children's choir. Lily wants nothing to do with the church community or Nan.

This was one of those books that stayed with me long after I turned the last page. "The Dearly Beloved" simply took my breath away. Through the slow building of her characters, first as individuals then as couples, Cara Wall writes a meditative first novel exposing the fragility and strength of both love and faith. This is not your typical love story, but it may be the perfect book to read as we finish out the month when we celebrate love.

What is your favorite love story?

Happy Reading!

Sunday, January 19, 2020

"bird by bird"

Well it has been a long time, almost a year, since I last posted here. In January 2019, I had high hopes of coordinating my blog and my public Instagram (bookstagram) account (bee_tweenthelines) to share my love of books and blooms, and as it says in my Instagram profile, "with a sprinkling of fun in the kitchen. " I had good intentions. Then, I answered an ad (what was I thinking?) to write book reviews (I refer to them as book reports) for a neighborhood publication. In my mind this was going to coordinate beautifully. I have said it here before, "if you want to make God laugh, tell him/her your plans."

Before I begin, I am going to preface this next bit with, all is well. I feel compelled to explain where I have been to put it behind me and perhaps return to my earlier plans.

Early last year my husband was diagnosed with lung cancer. It threw us for a loop. To be honest, I think it surprised his GP as well. He had none of risk factors. Nothing in our health system moves quickly; everything seems to take two weeks. It was found by accident and, thankfully, very early. The tumor was very small and slow growing.  He had a lung resection surgery in May. There was no cancer found in the margins nor in the lymph nodes. Recuperation has been long, but reports continue to come back showing no recurrence. 

I was scared;
I knew I had to stand strong. 
I have never shied from saying I am a person of great faith, and this was to be a test. Whether I passed or failed is not my judgment. I did my best. I found my strength and peace  knowing God was present.

We were blessed with good friends who helped us find the best oncologist and surgeon, filled our freezer with food, changed schedules to be present when needed, and best, held us in their hearts and prayers.  

Thumbs up, we are doing well and ready to move forward!

Okay, so this is where I have been. I had to get it out of the way.  Now will I be able to keep all my plates spinning? I don't know. I like to think I can, honestly though, if I didn't know before I now fully realize, nothing is in my hands. I do enjoy meeting you here and connecting.  

The random picture. 
Though my book reviews are purely voluntary, meaning I do not get paid..... I am published. (Insert laughing emoji here.) It is a nerve wracking challenge for me. To be honest, each month I expect to be cancelled. I don't know how long I will keep up with it. I have two of the very best editors. (Everything I write here is unedited as if you couldn't tell.) I write, send it off to my people; between keeping up with children and jobs, they correct my spelling, punctuation, run-on sentences and basically tell me when I have totally confused them. Here's to those who have my back!

A favorite quote, and I will use it to close...

"bird by bird"
Ann Lamont

If my laptop continues to work...
I hope to see you soon!