February and 3 Books

I am looking out my window and the sun is shining and for that, I am so grateful.  Actually, the last couple of days we have been blessed with sunshine.  I won't mention it is freezing because I will take the sunshine any day over the drab grey days and rain.  Somehow though I feel weepy.  Maybe it is because I stayed up really late finishing a book. Maybe feeling a little sorry for myself because this single parent thing sucks.  I have a total appreciation now for wives who send their husband off for deployment. We always think about the men and the sacrifice they make protecting our country, but behind many of those men are the amazing woman holding down the fort. Just in case you are reading this blog for the first time I am not really a single parent; however, my husband is back in the states working while I am in Germany finishing out the school year with my children. We moved to Germany to be closer to my husbands family and for the children to learn German. Maybe I am weepy thinking about all those mothers, wives, sisters, brothers, grandparents and friends who lost a loved one in the school shooting in Florida. Something has to change! These school shootings seemed so far spread out but now they are occurring at an ever alarming rate. Too many! Some people say it is a mental health issue, some say it is a gun issue, and the truth is that it is both those issues. I grew up around guns and I realize that guns themselves don't kill people that people kill people, but when you look at the statistics of the gun violence in the United States in comparison to the rest of the world it is shocking. Buying a gun should not be easier than getting ones driver license, a pack of cigarettes, or a six-pack of beer and what the heck why do we have citizens armed with automatic weapons. If I were back home, I would have been marching with my friends at the capitol in Atlanta. Sorry, I didn't mean for this post to be a political post. I know this issue is loaded for many.  Even my own mother and I disagree!  She feels we all have the right to pack a weapon to protect ourselves, and I am terrified as my husband is a professor and his students are allowed to bring guns on campus, but yet he is not. He would never bring a gun to school nor do we own any guns. Changing topics kind of, did I tell you my friend's daughter died just a couple of days before Christmas. It was horrific and has been on my mind all morning.  It was a horrible accident. Her daughter was who was 3 was playing over at the neighbors' house with her brothers, and unbeknownst to the mother of where the children were playing my friends daughter decided to go home early. My friend not expecting her daughter was cleaning. Anyway, her little girl did not come and knock on the door, but went to the backyard and started playing. They had an old swing set in the backyard and somehow she got tangled in the chains of the swing and she hung. They don't really know how long she was out there for, but by the time my friend found her daughter, it was too late.  The ambulance was called and they did try to bring her back, but it was just too late.  I just feel so sad for my friend and her family.  Her daughter was only 6 months younger than my Ivy.  I was her nursery teacher at church.  I was their family photographer.  All of this just makes me so sad.
Moving on!  I want to share with you 3 books that I just read.  The first is my absolute favorite of the bunch it is called Beneath A Scarlet Sky written by Mark Sullivan.  It is no wonder why this book is my favorite.  It takes place during WWII in Italy.  The book is based on a true story.  It is about a boy named Pino Lella who is sent to the mountains to live in a monastery after Milan is bombed.  While there he assists the priest in helping Jews escape to safety.  He later enlisted in the Nazi army with the encouragement of his family in the hopes he would be able to protect himself.  This seems kind of counter-intuitive but it works. What unfolds is nothing short of amazing. Some say the story is too fantastic to be real and even the author himself says that some parts of the story are fictionalized because people have since passed away, lack of records to verify the validity of all the information given by Pino, and some information over time does get sensationalized in one's memories. The book is complex because at least for me, I had to ask myself was General Hans Leyers evil.  Pino thought he was, and by most peoples accounts he would probably be thought so because he was a Nazi and he seemed motivated by his own self-interest.  I, on the other hand, I wonder if there was not at least some good in Hans. I think he knew what Pino and his friends were doing and yet he chooses not to act. He could have killed Pino, but he didn't.  Another opportunity presents where he should have killed some Jews, but he lets them go. The book at least for me left me thinking of what would I have done in this time period. Would I have stood up and risked my own life to do the right thing or would I have gone along with everything to protect myself?

The next book is called Option B was written by Sheryl Sandberg.  She is the chief operating officer for Facebook.  Sheryl loses her husband to cancer and writes about this experience.  I find this book to be an incredible tool for all of us walking through life. The book is so much more than making lemonade out of lemons but helps us to look at situations in our life that may cause us to grieve when our plan A fails.  In Sheryl's case, it was the loss of our spouse, but for others, it may be a lost opportunity.  How we move on from that loss makes all the difference. Also, how do we give our children the tools to move on from lost opportunities or the pain that comes from losing a loved one is really important in healing and moving on. One thing she said in her book that I thought was significant was “Building resilience depends on the opportunities children have and the relationships they form with parents, caregivers, teachers, and friends. We can start by helping children develop four core beliefs: (1) they have some control over their lives; (2) they can learn from failure; (3) they matter as human beings; and (4) they have real strengths to rely on and share. These” 

She also writes, “When children feel comfortable asking for help, they know they matter. They see that others care and want to be there for them. They understand that they are not alone and can gain some control by reaching out for support. They realize that pain is not permanent; things can get better.”   Maybe this is one of the problems with our society today going back to the issue of mental health issues and gun violence.  Are we creating opportunities for our children to be able to talk to us and to feel comfortable with whatever is going on in their lives?  Had the young man who shot up his fellow students felt like he had a place of safety where he could talk.  Maybe he did? I don't know!  As I know nothing about that boy's family.  It is just food for thought and also thought about am I creating this place for my children.  Do they feel I care for them and that others care for them?  One last thing that I thought was interesting was she talks about dating after the loss of a spouse and she talks about how quickly we are to judge others who want to move on and begin their lives again.  In being honest with myself, I would have to say that I have myself judge others who have seemed to move on to what my opinion seemed too soon.  Is there an allotted amount of time one should grieve?  No, not really.  The statistics are pretty interesting to see how soon those who have lost a spouse move on and how they are even biased against woman.  

The last book I want to share with you is a book called Truly Madly Guilty written by Liane Moriarty. She is also known for her book Big Little Lies which has since been made into a TV show starring Reese Witherspoon.  This book is set in the suburbs of Sydney, Australia and is about two woman Clementine and Erica.  It is also about what happens to them one night at a neighbors BBQ.  I have to be honest, this book was really difficult for me to read.  I have picked it up and put it down multiple times over the last couple of months. Mostly I think because the manner in which is written. It is a mental workout.  The story fades in and out of the day of the BBQ and eight weeks after the BBQ.  The story constantly eluding to some tragic event that takes place at that BBQ.  The story is also about the complexity of these two woman's relationship and then their relationship with their spouses.  Then just like that, I was able to move forward in the book and I couldn't put it down.  Why didn't I just give up on the book?  I don't' know?  I just don't really give up on books.  I rarely ever not finish a book.  It is well worth reading.  The book turns out to be completely something different than what I expected and in a good way.   Well, my kids are about to walk in the door any minute.  It is almost the weekend.  I am hoping to get out and explore this weekend with the kids, but we shall see.  I will just depend on the weather and how cold it is!  Maybe we will go see a movie or go to Frankfurt to do some shopping.  They all seem to need pants right now as they are growing like weeds.  Have a great weekend!  Have you read any of the books I have suggested.  I would love to know your opinion.  


Bionic Basil said…
They look like 3 good books, and we love books here, so thank mew fur sharing!!!

Bestest purrs

Basil & CO xox
Sharon said…
Sorry you are on your own so long! I can imagine that you get lonely and "weepy" right now! Beneath a Scarlet Sky -- yes!I'm halfway through this thought-provoking book. I almost gave up after about 20 pages, but then it picked right up and I wish I could read nonstop. Reading these good books will keep you going through the winter, I hope!
Anonymous said…
Kelleyn, when you're alone it's good to get these things of your chest. And what happened to your friend's daughter IS depressing. Last year we lost two young friends because of a freak accident - one a youth pastor and the other the manager of Instagram. It is because kids and young people are not supposed to die:(:(
By the way, don't know how much you're getting of the American News - they are considering delaying the age to own a gun to 21. Articles have shown up of teachers in Israel being armed to protect the kids (that's a given - they get instruction). Also, there are some teachers in the USA who have a gun with them. And some teachers have now taken the opportunity of being taught how to arm themselves.
Reading is a great way to put your thoughts on other things! Thanks for linking with All Seasons! Some beautiful flowers on your table:)
Su-sieee! Mac said…
No need to apologize for writing about sadness. Our blogs are our outlets. Why else write, right? I hope you're now feeling less sad, if even a little bit. The recent school shooting got me down, too. What I'm finding uplifting is the resounding spirit of the young survivors who are mad as all get-out and forcing us to have a dialogue about gun reform. We certainly need it. Big hugs to you.
eileeninmd said…
Hello, prayers for your friend ad their family. It is especially to hear of a young person dying. As far as the school shootings go, we do need some kind of gun reform, background checks and ban the assault weapons. Thanks for sharing the book reviews, I am always looking for new book reviews on GoodReads. Thanks for your visit to my blog. Have a happy day and week ahead.
NC Sue said…
The best book I've read lately is "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats" - if you haven't read it yet, check it out.
Thanks for sharing at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/02/preparing-for-next-exhibit.html
Angie said…
I find some days I am 'just in a mood' for no reason I can put my finger on. My Mom would call it 'getting out of the wrong side of the bed'. I am glad you could write about it - I have only been at blogging for a year and I am not sure I could let it all out like that ... my issue, not yours!

I think changes to our gun environment are long overdue, and I am so proud of the young people for leading the charge on this!

I have not read the three books you mention ... I also find it hard to not finish a book, even if I am not really enjoying it. I think this is something I need to change - my time is too valuable for that!

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