Friday, August 11, 2006

The Observations & Passing Into Light

It's been far too long since I last blogged, but it's been an interesting week. I received a diagnosis and a job interview. The doctor told me on Monday that I have rheumatoid arthritis, and while it's not a diagnosis I had hoped for, I'm happy to finally have one. So I'm thanking God for that. I was also offered a position at our local hospital; it's extremely part-time: only two hours or so a week, but it would get me out of the house and seems like a great opportunity to help others in a Godly way. I interviewed yesterday, now it's in the Lord's hands. I have to take a physical; we'll see if they hire someone with rheumatoid arthritis.

The camping trip was a success. The first night was rough; lots of tempers flaring and snapping at each other, but by Saturday everyone settled into the groove of no routine, just relaxation. Mia actually went on the boat across the lake with Jeff and caught three fish. It was definitely an act of faith on my part to let her go, and I'm glad I did. She was so proud of herself. Next year we're going camping for more than just two days and more often.

The Observations by Jane Harris was a fascinating book, at least in the middle. It took about 80 pages for the story to really get going, and the last 50 pages or so lost the momentum, and I had to force myself to finish the book. Bessy Buckley is looking for a new job when she stumbles upon Castle Haivers and Arabella Reid. Arabella hires Bessy as the new in-and-out girl, and their lives soon become entwined in ways neither expected. It's interesting to see the change in writing style as Bessy matures throughout the book, and Harris does a wonderful job of only gives of bits and pieces of Bessy's reluctant story. When the book starts rolling, it's very hard to put down and impossible for the reader to know exactly what is going on. There are hauntings, manipulations, and secrets from the past all coming to bear on the two women. But once the climax is over, the story quickly loses steam. While the reader is told what Arabella did, we never find out the real whys behind her actions. The book is still definitely worth a read.

Passing Into Light by Sharon Ewell Foster is the sequel to the gut-wrenching Riding Through Shadows. While that book was incredibly moving, this book was a serious let-down. Shirley Ferris is back, bringing her children Mika and Lex to visit her cousin Mother Johnson down in Tyler, Texas. Shirley's husband is dead, and she's trying to figure out where to go next in her life. The book had a lot of flashbacks to the previous novel, and a lot less of Mother Johnson's faith. Her speeches don't ring as true and Shirley's actions sometimes just don't make sense. Shirley is a strong, complex character, so when she contradicts herself from scene to scene, it's frustrating reading and makes her appear weak. While I do believe the Lord can do miraculous things in our lives, the neatly tied ending seems beyond the realm of believability. The first book is described as semi-autobiographical; this book is not. Perhaps that explains the emotional disconnect.

We have no real plans for the weekend, just a potluck at church on Sunday. I think we could all use the break; I know I can. Poor Jess has homework to do, of course.