Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Memorable Memorial Day

Dear friends,

A few photographs from a simple Memorial Day picnic in the backyard.  My husband started a small campfire and we roasted hot dogs and star-shaped pink, white, and blue marshmallows to make s'mores as part of our feast.  Then we lit sparklers. 

Two of the kids said this was "the best Memorial Day ever!"

We are thankful for the brave men and women who have given their lives to protect our freedom and safety, not only here in the United States of America but around the world.

May the light of freedom and justice shine!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Gone South by Meg Moseley (A Review)

One of the sweet perks of being a blogger is that I receive great books to review!  When author Meg Moseley offered me an advance copy of her second novel, Gone South, I jumped at the chance.  I loved her first book, When Sparrows Fall, about a widowed home schooling mother of six emerging from years of spiritual abuse in her family and church.  Meg's new novel, quite different in subject matter and certainly a lighter read, is definitely a book to pack for a lazy day on the beach.

The book cover is amazing.  So is her likable character, 35 year old Tish McComb, who, on a whim, moves from Michigan to Alabama and buys the Civil War era home once owned by her ancestors.  Unfortunately, unbeknownst to her, said ancestors have a nasty and still well-known reputation as carpetbaggers.  Nobody except for the antique store owner is willing to give her a chance. 

One thing I love about Tish is that her frosty "welcome" in town doesn't prevent her from taking in a very troubled homeless local girl who has been rejected by her family, even though it only makes everyone even more suspicious of her.

Meg Moseley
Meg Moseley weaves a tale of redemption without being preachy or trite.  It's all about overcoming prejudice, grief, family dysfunction,  and whatever other else life throws at you.  (As someone who lives with Attention Deficit Disorder, I especially appreciate her sensitivity to those with learning disabilities.) This book is about finding authentic friendships, living a full life, and confidently doing what you know is right no matter what others think.  Throw in a stubborn little dog, a vintage black dress and a few fast cars, and I'd call this a winning story.  Keep them coming, Meg!

Want to read more?
Update in February 2014: Review of Meg Moseley's newest book, A Stillness of Chimes.

Virginia Knowles

Friday, May 17, 2013

Little Gem's First Bloom and the Day of Small Things

Our Little Gem magnolia tree replaced another tree knocked down by a storm in our front yard last year.  Now she's finally blooming, just one gorgeous white flower with a sweet fragrance!  A  large old magnolia tree, Magnificent Maggie, graces our backyard, with spreading branches fit for climbing and dozens of large white blooms.  In contrast, Little Gem was  bred to be compact, growing up rather than out.  She has no chance of producing as many blossoms as Magnificent Maggie, no one is going to sit under her for shade, and the only thing climbing her is a squirrel.

Little Gem newly planted in July 2012

Lots of blooms on Magnificent Maggie in the backyard

What does my Little Gem teach me?  I might not be as magnificent as others.   I might just be starting out.   I may feel inadequate.   But there is beauty and promise.  I will grow, not like all the others, but just like I am meant to be.

"Do not despise 
the day of small things."  
Zechariah 10:14

You can see more pictures of Magnificent Maggie's blooms here: 

Weekend Gratitude: Still Life

Virginia Knowles


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Graduation Week Festivities

Dear friends

My third daughter, Rachel, graduated from the UCF College of Nursing yesterday.

The festivities started on Tuesday with her pinning ceremony.

My ten children, one son-in-law and I after the pinning
One of my married daughters prepared a reception at her apartment for us after the pinning ceremony.


Wednesday night was the Honor's convocation.  Rachel took the challenge of doing Honors in the Major, which required a thesis.  Here is her bound copy of "Factors Contributing to the Commission of Errors and the Omission of Standard Nursing Practice Among New Nurses."

Rachel with her thesis chairperson,
Dr. Linda Gibson-Young

Rachel also graduated Summa Cum Laude ("with highest honors") for having a GPA in the top 2.5% of her class.  She is one of only two students in her nursing program to get Summa and do Honors in the Major.  We are so proud of her!

Graduation day...

Time for the traditional graduation pictures around campus, including the one at the top of this post...

In the reflecting pool

Let's note here that I am also a UCF alumni, 1985 B.S. Management (see left).  So is my oldest daughter, a 2008 Journalism graduate. See Graduation days! (Mary's and mine), The campus has changed so much, but this is one familiar building!  I should also note that UCF is now the second largest university in the United States.  Go Knights!

Dome in the UCF Student Union building
directly above the UCF insignia in the top photo

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