Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms - Review

I don't normally care for romances but I chose this one because of the Amish twist.  The Amish fascinate and inspire me.  Ms. Woodsmall does an excellent job of introducing and acquainting us with her main characters.  She is generous with information about them and their backgrounds.  She paints pictures of landscapes and situations that play like a movie in the imagination.

Annie comes from a broken Old Order Mennonite home in which her mother has struggled to raise several children amid the shame of her husband abandoning the family.  Aden's Old Order Amish father and brother, Roman, were injured in a farming accident which left them unable to continue to provide for the family in quite the same way as before.  Annie's struggles with her mother are emotionally charged.  Roman's struggle to come to terms with his disability rings very true.  The way these people of faith handle their challenges and ultimately turn to their Creator to help and heal them is inspiring.  The problem of forbidden love between childhood friends Aden and Annie is resolved amid surprising twists and conflicts.

This is just a good old story, with characters who are real people with real problems, which today's Old Order families are not immune to.  They have their warts and their roses (or should I say cherry blossoms?) and it is inspiring to see them grow and improve in the course of resolving their problems.  I really enjoyed this book. It's a pleasant escape to Amish country and a "simpler" life.

Cindy Woodsmall is an award-winning and New York Times Bestselling author.  She has written several other books, including When the Soul Mends and Plain Wisdom.  Her friendships with Amish and Mennonites began in childhood and continue to this day.  She homeschooled her children as they were growing up.

Cassandra Campbell has recorded over 100 audiobooks and is an accomplished actress and high school teacher.  Her narration is clear and expressive without distracting from the story.

The Scent of Cherry Blossoms, "A romance from the heart of Amish country", by Cindy Woodsmall, copyright 2012, audiobook narrated by Cassandra Campbell is available from  Christian Audio for $10.98. 
22 chapters, 335 minutes (6 hours)

I would like to thank Christian Audio, for providing me with a free review copy of this audiobook.  No other compensation was received for this review.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Many Details of Death


So here I am in sunny Southern California, where the temperatures are rising, the smog is settling in and the humidity is finally down to 59% (from 72% a few days ago).  I am just grateful that I can still breathe and haven't had to use the inhaler yet.  Ah, for the clear, blue skies and dry air of my Northern Arizona home.  I do love my morning walks to and from daily Mass, here.  That's something I do not get to do at home.  There, church is seven miles away and we only have "daily" Mass on Thursdays (and,of course, Sunday Mass).

Grief is an odd creature.  Mom and I finally came to accept and even respect many of our differences in the last few years.  We had begun a new direction in our relationship, I am sad that is over.  I find myself flooded with some of my happiest memories of her and am comforted.

I feel sluggish, sorting through her things.  Having to decide what to dispose of and what to keep is a burdensome task.  Many of her things, mom allocated while she was still alive.  But there are the clothes and shoes and books.  Miscellaneous and sundry.  Helping dad carry on and get back into a routine.  Helping him to take over those dozens of little things that mom always took care of.  And always just wanting to run away and sit on top of a mountain, with my back against a tree, eyes closed, listening to a stream of snow melt trickle softly down to a roaring river in a valley below.  Letting all my grief, frustration, anger and fear melt away with it.  Letting God refill me.  Sigh.  The meditation on it will have to do for now.  Back to work.