Friday, February 21, 2014

Hi, Friday

There are many things I don't have time for, and one of them is trying to figure out why Google won't let me update my payment information. So in a few days or so I am going to redirect this blog back to my original jesstock.blogspot address. It is something I've been wanting to do anyway, and now G-Man is giving me the nudge I need. I'm not sure how this affects finding my blog- however you may get here (if you read, thank-you!), if you haven't seen an update in a while you may want to check the blogspot address.

Best dinner this week: Classic Black Beans and Rice

Second place: Crockpot Chicken Curry

Reading: Middlemarch (this may take a while).

Past Read: The Postmistress Set in a small coastal town in Massachusetts in 1940, the story weaves between Iris, the town Postmistress and Frankie Bard, a journalist reporting the war from Europe. The story begins with a very striking conversation with an elderly woman (Iris) at a dinner party, proposing the question, What if there were a Postmistress who knew all of the ins and outs of the town, and chose to withhold certain piece of mail? This is a compelling question and one that it seems the book is meant to be built upon; however the storyline then seems to fizzle. Although moving and complex, and the war stories are very emotional, I think it fell short of its potential.

In our prayers: North Korea, Central African Republic, Ukraine, Venezuela . .. oh such heartbreak and sorrow in the world. We wonder what is it all about and where is it going and go about our little lives and what is there to do? Then fall asleep praying, believing- the glorious gospel, the hope of the world. Come O Come Emanuel.

Best Words this week: a review on the back of Benedcition, by Kent Haruf, waiting to be read: 

"A kind book in a cruel world . . ." 

And it occurs to me that this is the best that I hope for, in writing, or living . .. to be kind . . . to write a kind book, to live a kind life, to raise kind children . . . in a world trying endlessly to make us sophisticated and proud and bitter and cynical like itself.

Updated: after I published this I remembered a beautiful quote Ruth posted on her blog a couple weeks ago:
The skies are always filled with bombers, but Christmas is the incredible affirmation that the skies at the important moment are not filled with bombers, which is our symbol for weary business as usual.  Just then the skies are filled with angels, voices of another announcement about something God has decided.  That is what Christmas is about, the perception that the skies are not filled with bombs, but with angels.-Walter Brueggemann

Saturday, February 15, 2014


Thanks, Ruth, at There is no such thing as a God-forsaken town, for nominating me for a Sunshine Award.  Ruth teaches middle school English in Haiti, and hers is one of my favorite blogs. She is a good friend from Haiti and someone I admire for many reasons, among them her addiction to books. And garlic.

This is perfect timing as I am still in post-vacation fog, and a fun bloggy assignment is welcome.

Here are the rules:

  1. Acknowledge the nominating bloggers
  2. Share 11 random facts about yourself
  3. Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger creates for you
  4. List 11 bloggers
  5. Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they've been nominated.  (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you.)
Eleven random facts . .. 

1. I have strong, physical reactions to overhead lighting in our home. I almost take it personally. If I enter a room and the overhead lights are on I can't do anything until I've turned them off and switched on the lamps.

2. So far this year I have learned a good, everyday bread recipe, and to make an easy vinaigrette without a recipe; which is about all one needs to know in life don't you think?

3. My perfect meal needs to only include salad and dessert. And bread of course.

4. Cleaning house is my therapy. If I am chewing on something emotionally I have a really clean house. Really, really clean.

5. I am not much of a worrier. I think that we could decide to leave tomorrow to move around the world and I would be excited. What would kill me is the guilt and sadness of leaving grandparents, friends, family. My neurosis tends to run the loyalty/guilt spectrum. 

6. Also I am at least 100% empathy and mercy, maybe more. I ought to never be on a jury.   

7. I love hearing people talk about their possibilities, dreams, ideas, questions, failures, arguments, stories. 

8. One of my favorite weekly traditions is Saturday mornings when Jim picks up coffees from Starbucks. This is usually the only time we drink Starbucks, except for sometimes after church.

9. I really like to wake up early and go to be early, and to read at the end of the day.

10. I spent one year when I was single living at my parents' home and working as a waitress, saving up all of my tips so I could travel. That year I went back to Haiti for a month, backpacked SouthEast Asia with friends for a month, and went to Mexico. My only regret is that I didn't do this longer. I believe this was one of my best life choices and one I will definitely encourage my kids to do.

11. I still love the thrill of visiting new places, being on the go, in transit, even if it is just exploring our own city. I daydream about the trips I'd like to take as a family one day.

Now, for Ruth's questions . ..

1. What's your favorite song right now? Listening to good music is something I need to improve. I get a little frazzled with too many noises happening at once, and so I tend to keep music off unless I am alone. I guess my favorite song right now is 10,000 reasons by Matt Redman.

2.  What made you decide to start blogging?
I began blogging during a time of transition for our family. Jim had resigned as a pastor and we weren't sure what was next. I think I partly began blogging with the assumption that we were moving far away and as a way of sharing stories about the kids with our families. Another, maybe less conscious reason I blog is because I cannot speak. Words often come out wrong, I much prefer to process and express myself through writing.

3.  What's your favorite post you've ever written?  (Link, please!)
My favorite post recently is thinking about Thoreau at the end of the sixth birthday party. (link updated)

4.  What's a book you've given (or loaned) to multiple people because you love it so much?
I have passed on various Wendell Berry, both fiction and non-fiction. Also Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder and Khaled Hosseini books. And The Poisonwood Bible.

5.  What Hogwarts house would you be in?
 I am the last person on earth who has not read any of the Harry Potter books. Since I've waited this long I think I will wait until I read them to the kids in a couple years.

6.  What's your comfort food of choice?
I can't resist baked goods- cookies, muffins, cake, scones. I also hide stashes of dark chocolate around the house.

7.  What book character would you like to have lunch with?
Good questions! I would have lunch with Mrs. Whatsit from A Wrinkle in Time.

8.  What's your favorite podcast? 
I listen to npr while I'm cooking dinner and OnBeing while folding laundry. I'd love to learn some new podcasts to listen to?

9.  What's a movie you've watched many times?
Oh, probably Dirty Dancing or Grease. Ha!

10.  What are your favorite clothes to wear?
My favorite clothes are sandals, shorts, and a t-shirt because that means it is summer.

11.  What's a book on your wish list?  
An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor has been in my Amazon cart for a long time. Also tons of children's books and homeschool books, always.

I now pass on the Sunshine Award to eleven of my favorite bloggers:

1. Jenny at The Children's Home Project
2. Tana at Keep Open House
3. Corinne at Corinne Noel Cunningham
4. Cami at A Little Grace and Mercy
5. Suzy at A Soulful Life
6. Jo at All Seven Seas
7. Anna at Anna Likes Rice
8. Sarah Joy at 12-12-12
9. Shannon at The Harman House
10. Amy at Freeze Dance Mom
11. Heidi at Mt. Hope Chronicles

And here are my eleven questions . . .

1. If you could travel anywhere where would it be?
2. What is one thing just right about right now?
3. What is one thing you wish you could change about right now?
4. Describe a good Friday night
5. What is a favorite family meal at your house?
6. Share something you have learned recently
7. Best hour of the day?
8. Something you love about your home
9. What are three of your talents, gifts, or strengths?
10. One thing you are hoping to learn or improve?
11. I am looking forward to . . .

Whew! This takes a while, but was a lot of fun. I hope these bloggers don't mind my nominating them! No pressure to participate, of course.