Careful – Old Letters: A Jewish Family’s Story – book review

When I was in seventh grade, I read The Diary of Anne Frank, and before my senior year of high school concluded, I had read it twice more. I remember the oppression of the Jews, the intense, demoralizing living conditions, and how unbelievably frightening it had to be living in the times of the horrendous Holocaust. While I read The Diary of Anne Frank as an assignment for school, I don’t remember learning as much history or nearly as much about the culture as I did from this book, Careful Old Letters, by Alexandra Weinbaum.

careful-old-lettersFrom the first pages of introduction to the story, I was gripped by the historical account of families desperately torn apart by unthinkable acts of war against Jews. Knowing every word of this book to be true and realizing these horrific things happened to real people made this a book that was difficult to pick up and impossible to put down.

There is so much more I want to say about this book. I hope you will click through and read more here.

The Marathon That Matters

I was born with a heart condition. Not the physical heart that pumps blood and oxygen to my cells, but the heart comprised of mind, emotions, conscience, and will. My heart that craves fairness, desires equality and wants everyone’s little world to be perfect. It’s devastating to learn about someone tormented by bullying, persecuted, cruelly mistreated by friends, or rejected by their families. The condition of my heart says that should never happen. People are not animals that eat their young. People should not be victimized by people. My sense of fairness says as we wish to be treated, so we should treat others. People matter. You matter.

There is more to the story. It’s no secret that people matter, that every person has value, and each of us can make big difference in small ways. Read more – Never doubt that You Matter

you-matter

Sit Beside Me. Can We Talk?

Once upon a timeand the story has a beginning. Do you ever wish for a place to let down all your defenses, a place where every curtain could be opened, a place where you could say whatever is on your mind, a place to be at peace? Where is that place for you? Where would you begin to pour out the contents of your soul to someone who listens at heart level?

Walking the trail in my neighborhood is a lovely, tranquil escape. It winds four miles alongside the Thornapple river where vegetation grows thickly and little fur creatures can be seen scurrying through trees and into hidden burrows.  For travelers who aren’t quite ready for an eight-mile hike, park benches are strategically placed at points that look out onto more picturesque parts of the river.  park-bench-with-text There is something about a park bench that invites conversation. The empty bench welcomes the weary to rest for a while and drink in the silence of nature and let the calmness of the wind relax their soul. Do you ever want to sit next to someone for awhile and just talk heart to heart?  Here. Sit beside me. Can we talk?