Woe! It’s Wednesday: Positively Maybe I’m Done With Downton Abbey

Unless you’ve been living on the slopes of Mount Everest, you’ve probably heard all the kerfuffle about Downton Abbey and its season ending episode. Viewers are outraged and threatening Julian Fellowes with pitchforks and torches. The writers and production team are busy pointing fingers and yelling their reasons.

I’ve read some of both sides and I have to say, I agree with them both. 

The reasons it made sense:

Viewers liked the actor and wouldn’t want to see that character played by anyone else.

His story arc was done. What else could be done to him?

His death would make the other characters mine their own depths for future storylines.

 

The reasons con:

It was the second family member death in Season 3. How many tragedies should this family bear?

The whole episode ended with no hope for next year. No reason to tune in. Grief. Mourning. More black dresses.

Viewers feel betrayed.

I’m not sure I feel betrayal but dismay? Definitely.

This season seemed more soap opera than period drama. It also began overlaying 21st century political correctness on early 20th century conventions. I don’t believe that a man who would forbid his family to be served lunch by a former prostitute would be so accepting of a homosexual man dressing him and serving at his table.

I’ll likely tune in to the beginning of Season 4, but they better hook me and reel me in. Otherwise, I’ll move on.

What do you think? Did the ending leave you yearning for more? Or were you let down?

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Life in Paradise

When this posts, I should be over midway through our dream vacation in Maui. It’s the longest I’ve been away from home. The longest I’ve slept on a strange bed and a new pillow. The longest I’ve spent without a dog or cat curled up my feet. The longest I’ve gone without vacuuming, dusting, or scrubbing toilets.

DSCN4551Part of me is really looking forward to the time away. Another part of me is dreading it. I don’t know how much I’ll miss my pillow. It will help that our kids and grandkids are coming with us for the first two weeks, so it’ll be less time that we’re separated from them and less time to miss them.

It’s strange that something that should be fun and relaxing can also induce feelings of uncertainty and unease. It’s the fear of the unknown. Another fear. Yes, I see the irony. This is the year I’m facing fears and conquering them. And another one is about to clobber me.

Well, there’s only cure. Pack my bag and step on that plane.

God willing, that’s what I’ll be doing in a few days. By the time you read this, I’ll be in paradise. But who knows if I’ll be having just enough fun and dreading the time to come home or if I’ll be counting the days till I get to hug my dog and cat.

Book Talk Tuesday: A Quilt For Jenna

I’m a little tired of Amish fiction so I opened A Quilt for Jenna with just a bit of trepidation.

I was immediately captivated by Jerusha’s pain and her need to quilt and flee her life and her grief. I loved the book! A Quilt for Jenna by Patrick E. CraigAnother reviewer said, “Amish + Quilts = reader’s delight!”

I concur.

Jerusha and Reuben fell in love but Reuben wasn’t an Amish man in good standing with the community. Then he went off to fight in World War II. He came home a changed man, determined to live by the Ordung, and return to his Amish roots. He and Jerusha marry and are happy.

A few years later, Jerush and Reuben lose their only child, Jenna. Neither Reuben nor Jerusha can find their way back to the other. Reuben blames himself forJenna’s death. So does Jerusha. Reuben has left their Amish community. Jerusha has stitched a wonderful quilt that is to be her ticket out of Apple Creek.

On Thanksgiving weekend 1950, a horrific storm blew through Ohio, capturing Jerusha and her quilt in its fury. A little girl in the back seat of another car is abandoned and left to die. The two find each other and take refuge from the storm.

Patrick Craig is equally as good at both the male and female points of view. The battle scenes at Guadalcanal are as painstakingly crafted as Jerusha’s quilting scenes.

I liked how the backstory of what happened during World War II was interwoven with the 1950’s events.

Mr. Craig accomplished what I thought was impossible: weaving a compelling Amish/quilting story into a wonderful tale of love, loss, and redemption.
I’ll definitely read the next one in the Apple Creek Dreams series!

Woe! It’s Wednesday: Fear Check-in

I did a scary thing recently.

I commented on a political Facebook post. Even though I knew the person was opposite me in our political beliefs. The person whose post I was commenting on was perfectly nice and civil and we had a good discussion. Neither of us changed our minds about our positions. But something interesting happened.

We’re still speaking. S/he didn’t decide to unfriend me. They didn’t name call or question my upbringing.

It was actually quite delightful. I may do it again someday.

Book Talk Tuesday: Always the Designer, Never the Bride

 

I’ve read and enjoyed the first two in this series and was ready for a little light reading so I turned to Always the Designer, Never the Bride by Sandra D. Bricker.

Audrey Regan has been working and designing wedding gowns in New York. She returns to Atlanta and the Tanglewood Inn with her most beautiful dress ever. It’s for Audrey’s best friend Carly. While in Atlanta Audrey’s faltering business loses its last-hope client. But things are looking up when a local bride is interested in what Audrey can do for her on short notice. And the very intriguing JR is another reason Audrey doesn’t mind staying a little longer in Atlanta.

We met other couples from the Tanglewood in Bricker’s previous books. Emma Rae is the baker from Always the Baker, Never the Bride and Sherilyn is the wedding planner from Always the Wedding Planner, Never ….  well, you get the idea.

The books are all light and fun and can be read quickly. Perfect for a rainy afternoon by the fire.

Woe! It’s Wednesday: When it rains …

I often wonder how people without a faith get through life.

Not just for the big things like cancer, catastrophes, or chemical spills, but for things like traffic jams and a tax bill and a leaky dishwasher.   Or a dog in the dishwasher.

Do they rail at an unknown entity and shake their fist at the universe? Or shrug and figure it’s their turn to be swatted by the cosmos?

As a believer, life is so much easier when I know high blood pressure, crazy political rants, and gophers serve a higher purpose.

To make me more like Christ.

How does a leaky dishwasher make me resemble Jesus?

Well, if I take a deep breath and remember that God orders my day, then for some reason unknown to me, I must need to be one with dishwasher that day. I may not like it. I may not enjoy it. But it’s where I’m supposed to be and that’s good enough for me.

I hope I remember this lesson the next time I’m stuck in traffic and hungry and I know a pile of laundry is waiting for me at home.

Book Talk Tuesday: Becoming Fearless

I’ve sensed a theme forming for 2013. I keep crossing paths with books and speakers addressing the subject of Fear.

Becoming Fearless: My Ongoing Journey of Learning to Trust God

Becoming Fearless: My Ongoing Journey of Learning to Trust God crossed my path several months ago and I downloaded it to my Kindle. I finally read it and can see that indeed fear does keep me in my comfort zone.

Michelle Aguilar won the sixth season of The Biggest Loser. We watch the show and I remember Michelle in a general way but had forgotten many of her particulars until I read her book. She and mother were estranged but had reunited to be teammates on the show.

In Becoming Fearless Michelle tells the rest of the story. Why she and her mother had become distant and how Michelle masked that pain with food and her smile.

Michelle quoted her trainer Jillian Michaels: “Feel the fear. And do it anyway.” I heard Jillian herself say it on the February 11th episode of The Biggest Loser.

She has an compelling story that is told with honesty. I heartily recommend it, especially to anyone feeling held in place by fear.