Unseen Hurts

Though many illnesses and injuries are unseen, we often have a clue when someone is hurt physically. A big bandage or cast. Crutches. A cane. Paleness. Lack of their usual vigor or energy.

But when someone is wounded in spirit, we often can’t tell. Some are quite vocal about what’s going on in their hearts, but others are not.

And even if we are aware that someone is in spiritual, emotional, or mental pain, we forget that it takes time to heal, just like a physical wound does.

These thoughts led me to some other parallels between wounds of the flesh and spirit.

Cleansing. One of the first things we do with a physical wound is clean it out. If someone’s leg was gashed open by an animal or branch, stitching the tear without cleaning is an invitation for infection to set in. Disinfecting can be more painful than the original wound, but it saves pain in the long run.

When we’re wounded in spirit, it’s easy for infection to set in as well in the form of hatred, revenge, bitterness, or unforgiveness. Though everything in us might want to lash out, we need to apply God’s truth to our situation. Holding onto those negative reactions will only cause us more pain. We can look to our Savior, who, “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23).

Medicate. The next step in treating an open wound is to apply an antibiotic and pain reliever to kill germs and aid healing.

We can aid our spiritual healing by soaking ourselves in God’s Word. We can pour out our hearts with the psalmists, who experienced multitudes of inner pain: betrayal, friends turned to enemies, loneliness, guilt, and so much more. Through their anguish, they reminded themselves of God’s loving care and restored their peace.

Protect. A wound needs to be protected from dirt and germs, but also from being bumped. I broke and dislocated my little toe several years ago. Not only was it gently taped, but I had a big medical “boot” to support and protect it. Even with that protection, though, I walked slowly and gave doorways and corners a wide berth the first couple of weeks.

When people’s hearts are wounded, we often forget this step. We encourage them to forgive and trust God, but we forget that they need to be protected. Sometimes people in the church concentrate on restoration of the offender, which they should—but they need to help the wounded heal and protect them as well.

Time. It takes time to heal. There’s just no way to get around it or hurry it. God made our bodies marvelous in their ability to recover. But the process is not instant. While a person heals, they usually need extra rest and a cessation of some of their usual activities.

We forget that emotional and spiritual wounds take time to heal, too. Scripture is absolutely essential to healing, but we don’t apply it like a Band-aid and expect instant results.

So far I’ve been thinking in terms of wounds inflicted by others. But even grief from the loss of a loved one will require rest time and often a lightening of activities, depending on the individual. For more than a year after my mother passed away, I couldn’t endure loud, frothy gatherings. It’s not that I was morose and never laughed. My aunt said something that made us all laugh during my mother’s viewing before guests came, and that helped so much. I didn’t closet myself away from others. But I didn’t go to as many gatherings as I might have otherwise. I remember almost wishing we still had formal seasons of mourning, so “normal” activity would not be expected.

Negative responses. A wounded animal will often snarl and nip at the hand trying to help it, not understanding the intention. Illness isn’t an excuse to blow up at others, but when we’re wounded physically, we might find ourselves struggling to respond patiently to others. I tend to get weepy if I am sick or in pain for very long.

Wounded hearts may also struggle in their responses. They may not understand their need for help. They may not be able to sort out the emotional or mental issues and just think they’re having spiritual problems and need to “get right.” Or they may sense they need help, but others, like Job’s friends, treat their needs as spiritual problems to be fixed rather than emotional wounds which need healing.

Help. When we’re physically hurt, we need help from others. Sometimes we need the aid of a crutch or wheelchair for a while. Sometimes we need others to help us get around, bathe, go to the doctor. I’ve been abundantly blessed when ill by people who provided meals, watched my children, took them to the park for an outing, or cleaned my bathroom floors.

We need help from others when we’re wounded inwardly as well. We may just need someone to listen, cry with us, pray with us. Or we may need professional counseling. There’s no shame in needing help to cope. We should be available and willing to support each other.

Scars. Sometimes physical wounds leave a scar. Some say their healed broken bones ache when bad weather is coming. Some illnesses, like a heart attack or stroke, leave changes in our ability to function even when the original illness has been treated and healed. Nerves that have been affected may cause numbing or shooting pain or odd sensations.

Inward wounds can leave lasting results as well. Some areas of our hearts may remain a sensitive.

Post-traumatic stress. I read the account of a woman who had been hit by a bus while crossing a street. She said even a year later, some traffic situations caused anxiety. After I recovered from transverse myelitis, loud, busy places would set my nerves on edge. Since my illness started with my left hand feeling numb, like I had slept on it wrong, that feeling in any part of my body would cause panic. It’s not so much of a problem now, twenty-eight years later: I know those weird sensations come and go and don’t mean another attack is imminent.

Those with wounded spirits experience triggers as well. A woman who has been attacked may shy away from dark lonely places and may panic at feeling pinned down. Someone who has suffered a home invasion may start at any weird noise.

Some post-traumatic responses may fade over time. Some may not.

Results. Suffering a wound or illness can make us more compassionate to other wounded people. Some who have suffered at the hands of others have championed causes to help battle the offense, like Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Suffering spiritually or emotionally can help us be more compassionate as well, more sensitive to those in need. The “God of all comfort . . . comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Corinthians 1:3b-4).

Grace. Whatever God has allowed to happen to us, inwardly or outwardly, He doesn’t leave us alone to flounder. Many people who undergo trials will say that while they would never have chosen them, they’d never want to trade what God taught them during that time or the closeness they felt to Him.

We need His grace not only to heal, to get through the inconveniences and irritations of treatments and recuperation, but also for the aftermath as well. Some illnesses leave us a “new normal” or with new limitations. But He wants us to depend on Him. God’s grace is sufficient for all. “God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work) (2 Corinthians 9:8). He promises His strength in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

This is a larger topic than one blog post can cover. There are many reasons God allows suffering and many aspects of healing and ministering to each other.

But we can seek God’s grace to be tender, patient, kind, and sensitive to each other’s needs. We can ask His wisdom for the best way to help and to point others to the One who “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

Laudable Linkage

Some good reads found this week:

Does Maturity Still Matter? HT to Challies. “The spectacle of businesses, journalistic organizations, and even ministries catering to their ‘most emotionally immature’ members is familiar. Even more important is the dynamic Sayers describes, whereby those hyperactive members become ‘de facto leaders,’ because their actual leaders—and, by extension, their peers—come to see avoiding controversy as job number one.”

Forgiving Ourselves, HT to Challies. “If God’s forgiveness of us is to be the paradigm for our forgiveness of others, is it, therefore, also to be the paradigm for our forgiveness of ourselves? And could this then be a solution to all the problems we face in regard to our own failures and sins?”

Mama Bear, HT to the Story Warren. “As moms, our job is to raise these little people who have been entrusted to us and teach them to be capable, productive adults who chase after God. Perhaps the largest part of that is teaching them how to deal with when things in life don’t go the way they want,” whether due to their own shortcomings or someone else’s perceived unfairness. We need balance here–it’s possible to go too far one way or the other.

Beyond Safe: 6 Prayers for the Mom of the Graduate. This is good for moms in general. Our tendency is to pray and work for our kids to remain “safe.” But God may call them to take risks.

To Surprise Us at the Last Day. A lovely reminder that sometimes God’s work is hidden. Lesley touches on a similar theme with Whether Quickly or Not.

Beware the Leech’s Daughters. Insight on a puzzling verse in Proverbs and what it might mean.

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s the first Friday of June, a good time to stop and remember the best parts of the last week with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story.

1. Lunch out with the family. Jim suggested going to Texas Roadhouse after church Sunday with Jason, Mittu, and Timothy. The food was great and we enjoyed time together. This particular location was very loud, though, which was uncomfortable. Jim had bought extra ribs and let me have some of his leftovers the next day. 🙂 Plus we had extras of their rolls and butter, which are some of their best features.

2. Memorial Day. I always like to watch the National Memorial Day concert on PBS the Sunday night before Memorial Day. they always include a few stories of those who have given their lives in the battle for freedom, reminding us what this day is all about.

We went with Jason, Mittu, and Timothy to a picnic area near Douglas Dam for lunch Monday. Timothy is greatly interested in dams, and I am amazed at the details he knows about the different locals ones and how they work.

In all honesty, I wasn’t exactly thrilled about driving 40 or so minutes for a cookout. But it was fine, and I enjoyed the day. I thought the place would be packed out on Memorial Day, but it wasn’t. We had our picnic area mostly to ourselves. Jim got the food and supplies ready for the outing and cooked burgers there. We took the RV so we had cooking supplies, shelter if it rained–and a bathroom. 🙂 I had found a game on sale at Hobby Lobby and brought it–it was kind of like corn hole, except it used rubber balls and had a small trampoline-like stretchy frame where we were supposed to bounce the balls on before they went into the pockets. That turned out to be fun, and Timothy enjoyed setting it up in different areas.

Jim and I had never been to this dam before, and saw directions to an upper and lower area. We turned to the lower. We drove to the upper area afterward and decided that if we ever went again, we’d go the upper route–there was a lovely view of the dam, river, and hills.

Corn hole-type game
Mittu made cupcakes.
View of the dam from our picnic area
View from the upper picnic area and overlook

3. A regular dentist cleaning went well, much better than the last one where some significant damage was found under a bridge. I still need to decide what to do about that tooth–neither the dentist or endodontist can give me clear direction about whether to pull it or retreat it, so it’s basically up to me. But at least no new damage was found. The hygienist even complimented me on my oral care. 🙂 Plus, last time I had a severe occurrence of vertigo, so I was especially praying that would not happen again. Thankfully, it didn’t.

4. An Audible coupon. I received notice that I had earned a $10 gift coupon with Audible during their promotion. I had not even known this one was going on. The next audiobook I wanted to listen to was $10.99, so that worked out nicely.

5. Jesse’s trip to RI to visit Jeremy. He got home safely, and they both said they had a great time. We’re getting together Saturday to hear more about it and see pictures.

Bonus: After a grocery store excursion this week, I got to thinking about some of the supply issues we had during and after the pandemic. Thankfully, we never lacked anything we seriously needed during all that time. Sometimes it took stops to two or three stores to find things, or we had to order them online. What we couldn’t find, we could live without. But now it seems like things are back to normal in that regard.

How was your week? Hope you have a good weekend.

May Reflections

May Reflections

When I read of others attending graduations and all manner of end-of-year activities, or preparing for weddings or summer trips, our May seems pretty tame. But the month still seemed to fly by.

Our only school-aged member, Timothy, successfully completed third grade and is ready for a school-less summer. His parents hosted and end of year get-together for him.

My youngest, Jesse, flew to RI to visit my oldest son, Jeremy. He’s been excited about the trip, his first solo trek. He’s not one to update with texts during his endeavors, so I am excited to hear about it when he comes home.

We enjoyed a feast on Mother’s Day and getting annuals in our planters. My roses are exploding.

The rest of May was filled with family gatherings, everyday chores . . . and a couple of dentist visits.


I made this card for Mittu for Mother’s Day.

The message, yellow scallops, and hearts were made with punches.


One good movie we streamed via Pluto was Front of the Class. It was based on a true story about Brad Cohen, who developed Tourette’s Syndrome at age six, before much was known about the disability. Psychiatrists thought he was in denial about the pain of his parents’ divorce. His father thought he was just being willful to get attention. One friend of his mother’s asked if she had ever considered consulting an exorcist. His mother found out about Tourette’s Syndrome through her own research. Of course, all this time, Brad was laughed at by his fellow students, reprimanded by teachers, unable to go to libraries or movies because of the noises he couldn’t control. When he grew up, he wanted to be, of all things, a teacher. He had a hard time finding a job, even though the Americans with Disabilities Act had been passed, because administrators didn’t think he could control a classroom. But finally someone gave him a chance.

While looking for the trailer, I saw the whole movie was on YouTube here. I wish I had known. Pluto is free but has a gazillion ads.

An okay film was a Hallmark production also on Pluto called The Valley of Light. A man comes home from WWII to find his mother has passed away, his brother is in prison, and someone else has their farm. He drifts around doing odd jobs until he comes to a town that has a fishing contest in a couple of weeks. He has a knack for fishing, so he stays around, gets to know some of the townsfolk, begins to think he might settle there–until tragedy strikes. The movie was clean, funny in parts and sweet in others. The cinematography was gorgeous. But there were a couple of weird parts, like running into a guy who directed him to the town and finding out later that man had died five years before.

I also enjoyed Jeopardy! Masters, in which six of the top-scoring Jeopardy! players of all time had a tournament. Their initial individual runs had lasted weeks, plus they’ve been back for the Tournament of Champions and other appearances, so they are well-known to each other and most viewers. It was so fun to watch the six of them play together.


Since last time I completed:

  • Circle of Spies by Roseanna M. White, the third in her Culper Spy Rings series. Set during the Civil War, a young widow discovers her late husband and his brother, her intended fiancee, are part of a covert organization bent on toppling Lincoln and seizing power. She tries to gather information to pass along to stop them.
  • The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold. A young ambitious cub reporter oversteps and is punished by being sent to interview Mrs. Kip, a dying older lady, for her obituary. But Mrs. Kip is more than she bargained for. Very good.
  • All That It Takes by Nicole Deese, sequel to All That Really Matters. A single mom has to overcome her insecurities to step out and try for an opportunity she’s always wanted. Her landlord, who is also her best friend’s brother, is disillusioned with new leadership in his church which shut down his outreach ministries. He considers whether to resign and move to Mexico. Excellent.
  • Miss Buncle’s Book by D. E. Stevenson. audiobook. A quiet single woman makes money by writing novels in which her neighbors are disguised as her characters. But some of the neighbors recognize themselves and their village. Delightful story.
  • Miss Buncle Married by D. E. Stevenson, audiobook, sequel to the book above. Miss Buncle marries her publisher and moves to the country, where she finds another batch of colorful characters.
  • The Shenandoah Road: A Novel of the Great Awakening by Lynne Basham Tagawa.

I’m currently reading:

  • Be Worshipful (Psalms 1-89): Glorifying God for Who He Is by Warren W. Wiersbe
  • Blogging for God’s Glory in a Clickbait World by Benjamin Vrbicek and John Beeson
  • Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul by Hannah Anderson
  • The Two Mrs. Abbotts by D. E. Stevenson (audiobook)
  • The Dwelling Place by Elizabeth Musser


Besides the weekly Friday Fave Fives, Saturday Laudable Linkage, and book reviews, I’ve posted these since last time:


I was able to incorporate the edits from my critique group. I signed up to present my next chapter at the end of this month. That’s a little early in the rotation, but mid-July through mid-September is birthday season around here, plus my oldest son comes to visit in August. There’s nothing like a deadline to stir up motivation. I have several thoughts for revising this next section and look forward to sitting down to try them out.

Though summer doesn’t officially start for a few more weeks, Memorial Day and the first of June seem to mark the beginning of summer. Our schedule doesn’t change much, except my dear husband has to mow the grass regularly. I like having more light in the evening, except for the very longest days in June which make it hard to wind down at night. We look forward to whatever next month brings.

How was your May? Do you have any plans for June?

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

The Shenandoah Road

In The Shenandoah Road: A Novel of the Great Awakening by Lynne Basham Tagawa, John Russell is a widower in need of a wife to mother his four-year-old daughter. Leaving his daughter in his sister’s care, John travels back to Boston, where his father lives, to do some trading and hopefully find a wife as well.

Abigail Williams is the daughter of a Boston merchant. Her father approaches her with a proposition. His bookkeeper’s son is looking for a woman to marry and accompany back to a settlement in Shenandoah. The two men are coming to dinner tonight. Would she think about the possibility?

The settlement in Shenandoah is smaller and much rougher than what Abigail is used to. But John Russell seems to be a kind man. She decides to marry him and go.

Abigail has dutifully kept the commandments all her life. But when John shares with her part of a sermon by George Whitfield, her heart is troubled. Is keeping the commandments not enough? How can she be sure she’s right with God?

As the Russells travel the long road back to the settlement by the Shenandoah River, they face dangers in roving buffalo, Indians, and a dangerous ruffian. Abigail wonders how she will adjust to life when she gets to John’s home. She feels her lack of knowledge about everyday housewifery. She wonders if John’s daughter will accept her. But most of all, she struggles to understand the words from Whitfield and the Bible that her husband shares with her.

I don’t know that I have ever read a novel from this time period, though I was familiar with Whitfield and Jonathan Edwards and such. It seems like every believer would have been thankful for the “Great Awakening.” But just like in our times, people had different opinions about the various proponents and points of doctrine. It was interesting to see some of that discussed.

I enjoyed the historical aspects of daily life, as well. Abigail loved botany, especially the medicine use of plants. It’s unfortunate that we’ve gotten away from such knowledge today.

I enjoyed getting to know John and Abigail as hey got to know and appreciate each other.

Still, I wasn’t swept into the story and characters as often happens with fiction. I can’t quite put my finger on why. But even though I wasn’t spellbound, the book is still a good one.

Storms and Rainbows

storms and rainbows

Rainbows in the sky seem almost magical. Even though science can explain the presence of rainbows, God is the one who created the science and the elements that make up a rainbow. So rainbows still inspire awe and wonder and delight.

The first time we see a rainbow in Scripture is in Genesis 9, just after the great flood has dissipated and Noah and his family come out of the ark to live again on dry land.

God shares with Noah the details of His covenant with him in Genesis 9:1-17. God says the sign of His covenant is the rainbow, which will be a reminder that “the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh” (verse 15).

I never thought about it before, but I imagine after such a harrowing experience as the flood, perhaps Noah and his family wondered if it could happen again. They might be nervous about coming out of the ark and starting over. Before the flood, the land had been watered by a mist. Afterward, Noah’s family might have been terrified the next time they felt raindrops. But God reassures them and millions of subsequent readers that God will never again cause a worldwide flood.

This doesn’t mean that God won’t judge sin any more. He will. But not in that way.

God has to judge sin, for a number of reasons. But He prefers that people turn from their sin rather than face judgment. He told Ezekiel to tell Israel, “Say to them, As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezekiel 33:11).

The rainbow reminds us of God’s mercy, of the new start He offers.

The next time we see a rainbow in the Bible is in Ezekiel 1, where Ezekiel records “a stormy wind came out of the north, and a great cloud, with brightness around it, and fire flashing forth continually, and in the midst of the fire, as it were gleaming metal” (verse 4). Out of the storm cloud came fantastic creatures like those never seen on earth before or since. He sees them darting around amidst the lightning.

Then Ezekiel sees something he doesn’t quite have the words to describe. Eight times Ezekiel uses the word “appearance.” He keeps saying “like” and “likeness.” “It was something like this”: “The likeness of a throne, in appearance like sapphire; and seated above the likeness of a throne was a likeness with a human appearance. And upward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were gleaming metal, like the appearance of fire enclosed all around. And downward from what had the appearance of his waist I saw as it were the appearance of fire, and there was brightness around him” (verses 26-27). Ezekiel says a few verses later this was “the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the Lord.”

And above this bright creature on a throne Ezekiel sees “the appearance of the bow that is in the cloud on the day of rain” (verse 28).

Noah saw a rainbow after the worst storm of his life. Ezekiel saw a rainbow during a storm, after which God gave him a commission to warn His erring children to turn from their ways and come back to Him.

It’s amazing that a rainbow is around God’s throne as well as in the sky after rain. It’s like God put a little piece of His throne in the heavens to remind us of His beauty, majesty, and glory.

But the rainbow also reminds us of God’s grace, mercy, and faithfulness.

We see the rainbow a third time in Revelation 4, when John sees a vision of God’s throne. Like Ezekiel, John speaks in terms of appearances and likenesses. “Behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald.” “ From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder” (verses 3-5). A storm is brewing. Just a couple of chapters later, the seals of God’s judgment open up upon the earth.

In Be Worshipful (Psalms 1-89): Glorifying God for Who He Is, Warren W. Wiersbe says at the end of Psalm 29:

After the thunder, lightning, wind, and rain comes the calm after the storm when “the LORD blesses his people with peace” (v. 11 NIV; and see 107: 29). Noah saw the rainbow of the covenant after the storm (Gen. 9: 8–17), the apostle John saw it before the storm (Rev. 4: 3), and Ezekiel saw the rainbow in the midst of the storm (Ezek. 1: 26–28). We always have God’s promise to encourage us (p. 116, emphasis mine).

Before the storm, in the midst of the storm, after the storm—in every situation we have the reminder that God’s heart is for restoration, that He blesses His people with peace.

Rainbows are a sign of God's covenant

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

(Thanks to Dr. Wiersbe for setting in motion the thoughts for this post.)

Laudable Linkage

Here are some of the latest good reads discovered this week:

God Is Eager to Forgive You. “God promises to show favor at the faintest whisper of a cry. He promises to answer ‘as soon as He hears.’ No probation. Just the ear of God, listening to the cry of a penitent sinner’s heart. He doesn’t see you as ‘damaged goods,’ a ‘second-class citizen,’ or a blight on His church. The sinner who has turned to Christ in forgiveness has the righteousness of the Savior credited to his account. It’s this righteousness, not the black mark of sin, that the forgiving Father sees.”

Emphasizing What The Bible Emphasizes. “When our issue of the moment begins to dominate our thoughts and conversations—to the exclusion of other healthy, worthy topics—what is missing is balance and proportion.”

Are You Casual with the Holiness of God? HT to Challies. “Imagine that, after suffering a loss on the battlefield, an American army general decided to galvanize his troops by taking the Declaration of Independence into battle. Sounds a little farfetched, I know. What kind of general would play so fast and loose with one of the most precious artifacts in the nation’s history? Though it may not seem likely to happen with American soldiers, this scenario actually did play out in Israel as the era of judges came to a close.”

To Rejoice with Those Who Rejoice, HT to the Story Warren. “As we pondered what we’d both seen, we concluded that often the people of God are better at mourning than rejoicing. Leaning into support, lifting up in prayer, and bringing a meal are actually easier than being a champion for, celebrating, and truly finding joy in someone else’s experience of blessing.”

The Ministry of the Pew: Sunday Morning for Normal Christians. “May I introduce you to what others have called the ministry of the pew? Ministry that you — normal Christian — perform every Lord’s day. Such is the ministry of the Not-Up-Fronts, the army sitting facing the pulpit.”

Anything Worth Doing, Is Worth Doing Badly, HT to Challies. “As Christians we should be those who work most excellently, because we are serving a better, more worthy, Master. And yet, I’m afraid this ideal of excellence often causes well meaning Christians to stop ‘doing’ altogether. They turn the adage into, ‘If it can’t be done well, don’t do it at all.’ And that is unbiblical.”

Willing Spirit, Weak Flesh: The Real Meaning of Matthew 26:41, HT to Knowable Word. “If willingness alone can’t overcome the weakness of our flesh, what will?”

Tagless, HT to Challies. A modern day parable with a good lesson.

Friday’s Fave Five

It’s hard to fathom that we’re at the last Friday of May already. Time goes by so fast! I like to stretch out the moments a bit by sharing the best with Susanne and friends at Living to Tell the Story.

1. Family gatherings. Saturday, my son and daughter-in-law had us over to celebrate my grandson’s successful completion of third grade. 🙂 We had pizza, salad, garlic bread, and this cute Oreo cake Mittu made.

Then Wednesday, we had everyone but Mittu over for dinner (unfortunately, she was nursing a sore throat).

2. Jesse’s travels. My youngest son is off to visit my oldest son in RI. This is the first time Jesse has traveled by himself and the first time any of us has been to see Jeremy except my husband when he helped him move. So far the trip has gone well. They’re not only both avid game players, but they like long strategy games that none of the rest of us usually plays. I’m sure they’ll have a great time playing, seeing sights, and meeting Jeremy’s friends, many of whom are also avid game players. One of these days, we’re going to get up to RI, too.

3. Eating out. On the way home from the airport, Jim and I discussed whether to eat dinner somewhere or get something to take home. After discovering one restaurant I’d wanted to visit had closed, we ended up at Cracker Barrel. That was a treat for me, not only because it is one of my favorite places, but it is not Jim’s. 🙂 So it was nice not only to eat out with him, but for him to offer to take me there. He did find that he liked their lemon trout.

4. A light cooking week. If you’ve read here long, you know this is a favorite. 🙂 Due to the party, taking Jesse to the airport, and various other reasons, I only cooked this week for dinner on Wednesday and breakfast Sunday morning. I think that’s a record. It almost felt like vacation. One of those times, Jim had an eye doctor appointment near a mall which has a Sarku’s (which we love. I wish they were located other places than malls). So he offered to bring some home.

5. A non-dairy treat. I’ve been lactose-intolerant for many years, but lately I’ve been trying to cut down on dairy products in general to see if that helps some stomach issues. I perused the non-dairy items in the freezer section and brought home this. I sampled a couple of spoonfuls before putting it in the freezer, and it was pretty good.

That’s my week. How was yours?

I hope you have a good Memorial Day weekend as we honor those who have given their lives for us.

Advantages of the Kindle App

For readers, nothing sounds more cozy than curling up with a good book, a throw blanket, and a cup of coffee and a cookie or two within reach. Add in a warm fire, a rainy day, and just the right lamp, and we’re in reading heaven.

Or perhaps your ideal reading environment is on the beach under an umbrella, or on your back deck during a cool evening.

In any of those scenarios, we probably picture a physical book. In fact, friends have told me that they don’t like the idea of e-books because they like the feel of an actual ink-and-paper book in their hands.

I understand that. I can’t imagine reading Little Women, for instance, without my favorite old-fashioned illustrated version.

I first started using the Kindle app on my iPad mini for traveling purposes. Otherwise, I’d bring at least two, and possibly three, books with me anywhere I went. I also wanted to take advantage of the occasional Kindle sale or free book. But I never thought the Kindle app would become my main source of reading.

However, once I got used to the Kindle app and discovered many of its features, I grew to love it. When I talked with a paper-book-only friend about some of these Kindle features, she had been totally unaware of them. So I thought I’d share some of these features with you in case you had not heard of them, either. This is not a paid or affiliate post.

All of these features are on the Kindle app. I assume they are all on the Kindle device as well, but I don’t know.

By the way, I’m avoiding the term “real book.” Paper, digital and audio books are all real books.

The Kindle app:

Saves space. It’s nice to “pack” a whole library rather than trying to fit three books into my baggage when traveling. But even at home, I don’t have any space for more books. We have three full-size bookcases, one half-size, and at least three boxes of books in closets. I’ve culled books to give away several times, but my bookcases are still full. There’s no room in the house to add any more.

Adjustment of text size. The print in some books is tiny. I can set the text in the Kindle app to the size that’s best for me.

Easier to hold, especially while lying down. If you’ve ever read in bed, I’m sure you’ve experienced your book falling in your face or your hand cramping after a while.

Can be used on Apple devices as well as many Android. The iPad mini is the perfect size for me, but if you prefer reading on a regular iPad or other device, you can.

Built-in dictionary. If I come across an unfamiliar word while reading, I don’t usually take the time to stop and look it up. I get the gist of it from the context and keep going. But in the Kindle app, you can highlight the word, then a dictionary definition will pop up. I’ve gotten so used to that feature, I’ve wished it was available on everything I read online as well as in ink-and-paper books!

Translations.You can also highlight phrases in another language and get the translation instantly.

Highlighting. You can highlight passages in the book in five different colors. I usually just use the standard yellow for quotes I want to remember. But sometimes I’ve used blue for main points so I can see them at a glance.

Add notes. When you highlight a section, an icon will show up at the top that looks like a paper and pencil. You can tap that and add your own notes–like writing in the margin of a paper book.

Search function. When you tap on a page in the Kindle app, a magnifying glass icon appears at the top. You can search for a particular word or name or phase. Sometimes I forget who a particular character is, so this feature is like looking back several pages to refresh your memory. Or if I remember a snatch of a sentence but didn’t highlight it, I can look it up.

List of notes. That same list of icons that appears at the top of the page when you tap it also shows an icon that looks like page or notebook. Tap that, and you’ll see a list of all the quotes you’ve highlighted from the book as well as notes you’ve added. This is a great help to me when I just want to review the book for my own memory or when writing a review for the blog. I can tap on a highlighted quote, email it to myself, then copy and paste it into a blog post.

Kindle sales. I’ve mentioned before that I check Kindle sales from Inspired Reads and Gospel eBooks lists. Though these are Christian sites, I would not endorse everything they list. But I’ve gotten scores of books trough them. A $1.99 e-book is a great way to try an new author or stock up on books from a favorite author. Plus I get a weekly email from Iron Stream Media offering some of their books free or for 99 cents.

Advance readers or launch teams. Most authors use e-versions rather than an ink-and-paper book to send to readers who agree to review an upcoming book or serve on an author’s launch team. So having Kindle access affords you that opportunity.

Syncs to any device that supports a Kindle app. I mentioned that I usually read e-books on my iPad mini. But I have the Kindle app on my iPhone as well. So if I find myself with an unexpected wait time while I’m out, I can read a bit. It’s not as easy to read a book on a phone, but it can be done, and it’s a good way to pass the time waiting.

Whispersync. If you get the same book via Amazon for the Kindle and Audible for an audiobook, if they are set up to “Whispersync,” you can pick up with one from where you left off on the other. I don’t usually do this–I usually have one or the other. But occasionally, usually due to sales, I’ll have both. It’s nice to be able to go back and forth.

As with anything else, there are a few disadvantages to using the Kindle app. Here are a few:

  • It’s harder to share books. I believe Amazon lets you share Kindle books with another person for two weeks. But it’s easier to hand them a book for however long they need it. Of course, if your friend doesn’t live near you, sharing electronically is an advantage.
  • You can’t see what others are reading. I liked the idea that I was “advertising” a book by reading it in public. Or I’d see what someone else was reading and ask about it. You can’t really do that with an e-book without feeling intrusive.
  • Your device needs charging. But we’re so used to charging devices, that’s not much of a hardship. Unless the power is out.
  • You don’t really own Kindle books. This is the biggest disadvantage to me. If an author or publisher decides to take their books down, and they are not downloaded on your device, they’ll just disappear from your library. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often.
  • You can’t give or sell your read e-books like you can ink-and-paper books.
  • If you’re trying to reduce screen time due to eye strain or other reasons, you might prefer a physical book.

By and large, I’ve found the advantages to using the Kindle app outweigh the advantages.

Do you use the Kindle or Kindle app? What do you like or dislike about it?

(I often link up with some of these bloggers.)

Miss Buncle Married

In D. E. Stevenson’s novel, Miss Buncle’s Book (linked to my review), Barbara Buncle is a quiet single lady in 1930s England who needs to make some money. So she writes a book about what she knows–her neighbors. She changes their names and some of their activities. Her book becomes a best-seller. But some of her neighbors recognize themselves and their town. And some of them are determined to find out who is behind the pseudonym “John Smith.”

At the end of that book (spoiler alert), Miss Buncle marries her publisher, Arthur Abbott. They move to Hampstead Heath, away from the heat caused by Barbara’s book.

Miss Buncle Married opens with the newlywed couple enjoying married life, but not the city. They’re expected to be out almost every night, playing bridge with friends and attending events. They long for a quieter home life. So Barbara starts looking at houses in the country.

Barbara finds the house of her dreams in Wandlebury. Arthur isn’t sure about the fixer-upper. But Barbara has everything redone nicely, and they love their new home.

It’s not long before they meet their new neighbors. The pastor’s wife who loves to gossip, thinking it gives her and “in” with her neighbors, when really they hold her at arm’s length because they don’t want to become her subjects. A large, temperamental artist, his languid wife, and their three children, two of whom have claimed Barbara’s back yard as their playground. Mrs. Chevis-Cobb, the society matron who changes her will when her relatives displease her. Jerry, a young woman who supports herself by caring for horses.

Arthur’s nephew, Sam, comes to visit the Abbotts regularly and begins to mature nicely.

Of course, the reader wonders, “Will Barbara write another book? And will it get her into as much trouble as last time?” I’ll leave that for you to discover.

Barbara is presented in both books as somewhat naive and innocent, yet with amazing insight in some ways. She doesn’t mean to meddle, but her attempts to help people present some quite funny episodes in the book.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

He . . . looked at his wife, and, as he looked at her, he smiled because she was nice to look at, and because he loved her, and because she amused and interested him enormously. They had been married for nine months now, and sometimes he thought he knew her through and through, and sometimes he thought he didn’t know the first thing about her—theirs was a most satisfactory marriage.

Jerry found Barbara very soothing and comforting during this difficult time. It was not necessary to confide in Barbara to gain her sympathy—you just talked to Barbara about odds and ends of things, and you came away feeling a different creature.

“It’s turned out all right after all,” she said contentedly. “Things usually do, somehow. You worry and fuss and try to make things go the way you think they should, and then you find that the other way was best. I’m going to try not to worry about things anymore.”

As with the first book, this is a secular work, and thus I wouldn’t agree with everything here, like many classics. It’s a clean story, but there are some oddities, especially with the strange family next door.

But all in all, this was a sweet, funny story. I listened to the audiobook superbly read by Patricia Gallimore. The picture above is from the audiobook cover as well, which I like much better than the book cover.