Monday, January 09, 2017

Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini

Christmas Bells by Jennifer Chiaverini seemed like the perfect holiday read.  It was a slow go but mostly because the holidays didn't allow me much reading time.  As is popular now, it was a story comprised of multiple story lines involving lots of characters but it was primarily about the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow family Christmas and modern day Sophia and Lucas.  The stories become entwined when Sophia choses a carol set to a Longfellow poem for the annual Christmas program.

There are several other story lines going on -- Father Ryan and his brother Liam, Camille, Sister Winifred, Charlotte, Alex and their mother, the Civil War -- there was a LOT going on.

All of these story lines came together at the end to make sense but for the better part of the book it all seemed scattered and hectic and I didn't think it flowed well.  I was a bit disappointed in this book because Chiaverini's books generally flow well but this one was just more halting and, at times I felt a bit contrived like she was really having to work to make it work.

With all that said, however, Jennifer Chiaverini is one of my favorite authors and I will continue to read her works with pleasure.


It seems the popular "thing" on Facebook these days is posting quotes that are meaningful to you.  I see this done as an expression of faith, a nudge to the posters own sensibility or maybe even a passive aggressive message to a possible reader.  Whatever the reason behind the post, some of these really resonate with me.  One of my friends, a devout Christian, seems to always be posting something that I absolutely need to hear at that very moment. 

The words that I have quoted seem to express my reality now, three and a half years after my "medical adventure".  I know the reasonable, scientific, doctor-speak reason for my adventure but I really feel like it was to get my attention.  There needed to be an attitude adjustment.

While there was an abrupt change in my attitude at the time, there has been more of an evolving change as well.  I look at the world completely differently now.  I deal with "issues" differently now -- first line of defense is prayer.  I no longer think I can fix anything.  I can do things that I know are healthier (physically and emotionally) for me but in the big scheme of things I have no power except to realize and acknowledge the need for a strong faith, an unceasing prayer life, quiet time and a reason to go on with life.

I am working toward all of those things and I feel like a different person.  The most important, life changing thing of all was experiencing the joy that comes from gratitude.  There is no other feeling in the world like it and it is a feeling I have come to crave.  I believe it is a blessing and once you have felt it to the extreme, you know it.

So, yes, this above stated quote is like my mission statement.  It is pretty much how I govern my days these days.