I unexpectedly (and reluctantly) moved back to my hometown. I unexpectedly fell for an old high school classmate, and he unexpectedly proposed to me. We unexpectedly found out I was pregnant, and we got married sooner than expected. Now, we're experiencing the unexpected daily...the good, the bad, the funny, the frustrating. Read all about it...

Friday, February 25, 2011

What Morrie Schwartz Taught Me

As part of My Overstuffed Bookshelf's 100+ Reading Challenge, I read Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom.

I've read The Five People You Meet in Heaven and For One More Day, and for a third time, Mitch Albom did not let me put a book down without finishing the entire thing!

Through Albom's story, Morrie Schwartz has taught me:

  • Life is not about counting DOWN the days. It is about looking UP at what life has left to offer us.
  • Materialism and what's "in" at the moment is incomparable to the relationships we foster and keep.
  • It is better to dance to your own beat than to follow the steps of others.
  • "Love each other or perish." - Probably my favorite quote out of the whole book, but there are countless quotes from Morrie that I absolutely loved.
His life was so full of love, laughter, and...LIVING. If more people were like Morrie, I think we would have a much more peaceful world. I feel like I met him in person just by reading this book. He helped me to realize that our lives are not supposed to be surrounded by what our culture thinks is right or trendy. It is about how we affect people, and what we get out of our relationships with each other. 

Tuesdays With Morrie is the reason why everyone should read.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Esparanza Rising

As part of My Overstuffed Bookshelf's 100+ Reading Challenge, I read Esparanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan.

Although I've heard about it years ago, I was interested in reading this Young Adult book after I read a review from a teacher who said that, by the end of the book, the entire class was in tears. I had to find out how a high school class could have gotten that emotional. 

The story is about a young girl named Esparanza, who comes from a wealthy family in Mexico. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother, along with their servants, move to California in search of a better life. Esparanza and her mother are now second-class citizens, and she must adjust to being considered equal to the people who were formerly her help. Attempting to get their piece of the American dream, they find themselves in the midst of Mexican repatriation horrors as they work in a camp with other Mexicans out in the fields and anywhere else work is offered.

It has been quite some time since a book has held my attention so much that I finished reading it within 24 hours. This book taught me the importance of keeping faith, never giving up, and always having hope (the English word for "esparanza"). Ryan's story is based on her grandmother Esparanza's life and reflects on the real crises Mexicans faced in the 1930s during America's Great Depression. 

No matter what happens to Esparanza, her family, and her close friends, they remain diligent in working and praying.  Through the many obstacles that they encounter, they realize all they could do after every time they fall is rise.