Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recent reads

Happy Tuesday friends! I wanted to share with you a couple of books I recently read, both of which actually came about because the authors began the stories on their blogs. Chances are, you've probably heard of both of these books and perhaps even read them, but I wanted to give you my honest review of each. So here goes.

The first is Bloom, by Kelle Hampton. I've been a blog reader of hers for a little over a year now, and I'll admit that it's one of my faves. She is so incredibly open and honest about her 'everyday' life and happenings and her beautiful writing paired with her awesome photog skills is simply captivating. I want more each time, and so I go back again and again. Pure lovliness.

The book is about her journey of (unexpectedly) having a child with Down syndrome and the highs and lows she experienced as a result of it in the first year of her daughter's life. I was moved to tears, several times actually, in the first chapter of the book where she recounts Nella's birth story. Her honesty is what I found to be so refreshing. In a blogosphere where many only paint the 'pretty' pictures + stories of their life, she openly says that she was heartbroken and felt that, in a way, the world had come crashing down. The chapters that follow tell of her growth and acceptance and eventual celebration of her sweet Nella and while I do not have a child with special needs, this book truly speaks to any mother who has brought a child into the world in circumstances that were not expected and perhaps, not ideal.

There are pictures sprinkled throughout the book so that it reads just like a series of blog entries. Pics of her family and friends and precious snapshots of her children are included to complement and give visuals to her beautiful words. Perhaps one of the things that stuck with me the most was her core group of friends she calls the 'Net'. These ladies were there for her in the hospital and along every step of the journey, just as if a trumpet had been sounded to rally them to duty. It caused me to think about my own friends- yes we have moments too where we come together to support and encourage one another, but are we truly being a Net? Are we holding each other up and even carrying each other if one of us can't stand? Yes, we pray for each other, but seeing the way her friends were truly there for her made me want to step it up and be that kind of friend. Know what I mean? A Net is always a good thing to have close at hand, not just in case it's needed, but because it will be needed.

Sorry-didn't really mean for that to take a deep turn, so let's now move from deep thoughts to horse troughs.

Do horses use troughs?

I don't know.

The second book is all about passionate love and out-of-control flop sweat and squirty manure and if you guessed already just from that list of adjectives that I'm describing From Black Heels to Tractor Wheels, well then you must read The Pioneer Woman. The book tells the story of how Ree met and fell in love with her cowboy husband and also recounts their first year of marriage together. She began telling her love story in installments on her blog, and over the course of 18 months, her readers were treated to chapter after chapter of her courtship, engagement, and marriage. For the book, she went beyond the wedding and finishes just after they celebrate their first year as husband and wife. If you know Ree's writing, then you know what a fun, quick read this was. I wasn't a blog reader yet when she began telling the stories online, so most of it was new to me and I ate it up. Not only did I find her true tales of courtship incredibly entertaining, but I was also immediately inspired to begin recording my own tale of love + marriage, including the first time I laid eyes on the hubs. I remember it well- I was at church, headed to the choir room for elementary choir when I saw him with the preschool class. His blue striped tank, blue shorts, and white knee socks with the velcro tennis caught my eye. He was four and I was....not.

Anyway, if you're on the lookout for a good read or two, I highly recommend these two books. I don't even have time for pleasure reading, but I wanted to read these so badly that I gave up some of my precious sleep and at one point, read on my stomach on the floor while my 2 yr-old sat on my back singing, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow".

I hope you have a mahvelous morning/afternoon/evening, friends. Toodles!
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