Posted in coming from where I'm from, quotable literary quotes

Quotable Literary Quotes #3

This one is courtesy of the ever profound and straightforward Zora Neale Hurston. I have included it before in a review of one of her books but the thought has been pushed to the forefront of my thinking of late. It’s worth sharing:

“I did not know then, as I know now, that people are prone to build a statue of the kind of person it pleases them to be. And few people want to be forced to ask themselves, ‘What if there is no me like my statue?’”

This era of Pinterest, Snap chat, Facebook, Twitter, and blogs makes it all too tempting and all too easy to build statues which draw viewers to admire as well as those who spend inordinate amounts of energy looking for the crack in the statue. It creates a perpetual and vicious cycle.

Enter this bit of wisdom from Voddie Baucham, which blessed me greatly:

“Whatever is the worst thing you think about me, I know something worse about me. Whatever the worse thing is that you could say about me is almost surely not the worst thing about me. I could no doubt do you one better.”

Pause and think about that and what it really means. Freedom perhaps?

In the spirit of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, I would call this one alternately the “Must-Have-Others-Think-Well-of-Me” cure.

Have a great weekend!

Posted in joys of reading, Uncategorized


The whole idea behind reading The life changing magic of tidying up, then purging our book collection by roughly 80 books, was to cut down on the number of things in the house, including books. In fact, that was the thought behind my trip to our local Goodwill store today: to donate items.

Against my better judgement, after dropping off our delivery, I parked the car and along with our two youngest children ventured inside, and straight back to our local store’s rather large book section. Alas, I returned home with more stuff:



Because the apples don’t fall far from the tree, the kids found something that caught their eyes as well:


Grand total for the 6 books?  $3.77.

Old habits truly do die hard…

Posted in Culture, Els' Rabbit Trails

El’s Rabbit Trails: Lost in the World

One of my kids showed this to me yesterday. Feel free to press mute while you look at it. You might like it better that way. I did, and I think it’s worth sharing:


True confession: I’m a little too old to be as bad as portrayed here (I still appreciate the pleasure of actually getting together with people and talking!) but I often use my phone as a quick way to pop online and off without the time draining hassle of of sitting in front of a computer.

This was a good reminder to be a little more cognizant of that becoming too much of a habit.

Posted in children's books, novels

The Wind in the Willows


The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. Originally published in 1908. 197 pages.

One of the biggest delights of homeschooling has been the opportunity to read classic books with my children that I never read -nor had read to me- when I was a child. One book that we recently used as a bedtime read aloud is this Kenneth Grahame classic. This is one of those timeless books that captures the imaginations of children across generational divides.

Our children thoroughly enjoyed the adventures of Mole, Rat, and Toad in this fantastical tale that often made you forget that you were reading about the antics of animals. That is, until those few moments when they have interaction within the human world.

The richness of the language made the book both refreshing and educational. I was occasionally stopped and asked for the definition of this word or the meaning of that turn of phrase. Overall, the adventures and lives of the characters was continuously riveting for both my girls and me.  There really isn’t much I can add here that hasn’t been offered again and again about this wonderful book, so I’ll wrap this up with a few quotes for the sake of those of you who haven’t read it. It is my hope that as you take in the rich and captivating writing, you might be inclined to pick it up, even if your kids are all grown up. Recall the words of C.S. Lewis.

This brought laughter:

“Secrets had an immense attraction to him, because he never could keep one, and he enjoyed the sort of unhallowed thrill he experienced when he went and told another animal, after having faithfully promised not to.”

This sparked conversations of winter:

“No animal, according to the rules of animal-etiquette, is ever expected to do anything strenuous, or heroic, or even moderately active during the off-season of winter.”

And this reminds of the importance of hospitality:

“There he got out the luncheon-basket and packed a simple meal, in which, remembering the stranger’s origin and preferences, he took care to include a yard of long French bread, a sausage out of which the garlic sang, some cheese which lay down and cried, and a long-necked straw-covered flask wherein lay bottled sunshine shed and garnered on far Southern slopes.”

Grade: A

Seriously, read it. The adventures of the characters within, Toad perhaps most of all, are offered with humor, wit, and lessons of life woven between every interaction.



Posted in autobiographies, Christian, Culture, nonfiction

I’m No Angel


I’m No Angel: From Victoria’s Secret Model to Role Model, by Kylie Bisutti. Originally published in 2014. 304 pages.

Recent events, both public and not so public, set my mind to becoming curious about what books have been written on the subject of modesty. I don’t mean the kind of dogmatic, rigid approach that presupposes any bit of attractive femininity is sinful. I was looking to see what was written about the convergence of true modesty and feminine beauty in the context of a walk with Christ in the real world.

So I went to my local library’s website for the express purpose of checking out Wendy Shalit’s book, which I have read much about but never read. Somewhere along the way as I clicked, clicked and clicked some more, I ran across Kylie Bisutti’s book recounting her journey from child model to winner of the Victoria’s Secret Angel competition as a young bride of 19, to deciding less than a year later to walk away from it all as she began to realize how her career as a lingerie model dishonored both God and her husband.

I first encountered Mrs. Bisutti’s story in 2012, and even blogged about her at the time, so I was slightly familiar with it. I expected the book to be slog to get through,  but as I was embarking on a project of sorts, I was willing to tough it out even if it turned out to be horrible. Thankfully, it was not horrible and I read through it in three nights online via hoopla since our library system did not have access to a hard copy.

The book was surprisingly interesting. High brow it is not, and I was a little bugged by Kylie Bissuti’s dependence on the teaching’s of Joyce Meyer as she struggled emotionally through an industry that she both loved and felt increasingly out of sorts with.  Nevertheless, she told a compelling story.

The best parts of the book were without question, the behind the scenes glimpses of what life is really like in the modeling industry. After the release of her book, Victoria’s Secret fired back numerous accusations concerning the facts of her story, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from them.

I felt a bit of compassion for 17-year-old Kylie when at 5’9″, 1115 pounds, her agent called her a cow in front of an office full of people and demanded that she come back from her holiday break 8 pounds lighter. I found this particularly shocking, as she realized that her 36-inch hips was relegating her to the designation of curvy, and not it a complimentary way:

Not big hips, mind you- just hips. In the modeling industry, anything over 30 inches is considered curvy, and curvy does not play well on the runway- especially in high fashion, where being rail thin is considered the ideal. Horrifying as it may sound, some models even go so far as to have their hip bones surgically shaved down to reach that precious 30-inch mark. Others have their bottom ribs removed so that they look ultra thin. It just felt like part of the industry to me when I was starting out, but now it breaks my heart to think of girls and young women using surgery to deform the beautiful way that God created them.

With a recounting of her childhood, teenage years, and the very brief courtship she shared with her husband Mike, Kylie Bissuti makes a run at presenting a well rounded recounting of her life. Interwoven within all of it were the numerous moments of nagging doubt that she felt the urge to walk away and didn’t- starting with her HS boyfriend all the way up to the very uncomfortable party after winning the Victoria’s Secret modeling competition.

In the end this turned out not to be a book about modesty as much as it was about one young woman’s struggle to do the right thing. I didn’t come away from it feeling as if it had been a total waste of four and a half hours of my life, so that’s something.

Grade: C

Posted in Culture, Els' Rabbit Trails, Uncategorized

Getting This Out of My System

This is my first and last rabbit trail post on anything concerning the 2016 election. However, given that I have three books on modesty in the queue, this latest Trump debacle has my wheels turning.This is actually a rehash of a comment I left elsewhere, with additional commentary.

The whole “Donald Trump is a misogynist!” thing is reaching a fever pitch now. Unnamed people are clamoring for the studio which produces the reality show The Apprentice to release any offensive outtake tapes they might have. I can’t figure out why this is being treated as if it is some kind of legal issue. Whatever I think about the things Trump said, no laws have been broken here. He still has a right of free speech.

As for “locker room talk”, my husband says he hasn’t engaged in a conversation of that nature in over two decades. He’s 43 years old.  Trump was in his 60’s sounding like a randy juvenile. I’m not buying that “all men” talk this way even as I completely am completely unperturbed by any of what was said. If anyone should be offended here, it’s Melania. The ink was barely dry on their marriage license and here he was going on about screwing other women. Talk about a short honeymoon phase! As for the electorate writ large, why all the pearl clutching about a crude man with a history of  womanizing saying crude things about women?

How hypocritical is it that the party of free love, female sex positivism and slut walks is now concerned about the dignity of women and girls? More than that, people are taking this nonsense seriously!

Heather MacDonald can get her grubby politics off my high heels and red lipstick thankyouverymuch, but besides that, she makes some excellent points here. Even if this sinks Trump, for those who don’t believe he’s a Clinton shill to begin with, we still end up with a disgusting old horn dog in the White House either way. That’s my take on the Trump tape scandal. A big ol’ yawn.

Side bar: We listen to local news for about an hour every morning at our house. All the campaign ads being run on air by Democrat candidates center 100% around the “facts” that GOP candidates are “anti-woman”, “Anti-choice”, and one chick is even running an ad that her GOP opponent “says marital rape should be legal”. Mind you, these ads were running before this latest confirmation of Trump crudeness surfaced.

Leaves me wondering what to make of all this. The entire Dem strategy is based around appealing to women, their sense of dignity and desire for power and acknowledgement of their “worth”. For example:


Now just you watch. Even after Hillary gets in there, we’ll still be hearing ad nauseum about the “oppression of women”. Hillary is to women what Obama is to blacks what George W. was to Christians. They poach them for votes but deliver zero goods.

For those of you who think women “have it made” in 2016 America, I beg to differ. No matter how many degrees we acquire, jobs we get or glass ceilings we shatter, a system which makes landing a good man to build a family with a Herculean task with low levels of success has failed its women right along with its men.

That’s my first and last post election 2016.