Classics Challenge - In This House of Brede

I didn't even realize this would qualify for the Classics Challenge when I started it but then I noticed it was written in 1969 and just made it. Which is good because I really want other people to read this one. I hadn't even heard of it until Cindy Rollins mentioned it on a podcast.

In This House of Brede by Rumer Godden is the story of cloistered Benedictine Abbey. The main character is a successful businesswomen who leaves all that behind to join the nuns and we get to follow along with her journey but its really not just about her. Godden does an amazing job of weaving all the characters together as they face challenges and grow as individuals and a community. Now I almost hate to put a short synopsis like this in this review because that honestly would not appeal to me. And while its a true synopsis, it just doesn't do this book justice.

It starts a bit slowly. I actually read the first chapter then a week later went back to it and had to start at the begining again because I hadn't absorbed any of it. But I stuck with it and before I knew it, I was completely drawn into this world that I didn't know much about and really wasn't particularly interested in other than for the people who were struggling with, ultimately, the same things I do - submission to God, finding his will, being interrupted by these "other people," realizing that the people "getting in the way" of my plans were God's means of refining me, being frustrated by my failures, realizing God's love for me through his blessings despite my failures.  People are people and struggle with the same things in whatever settings they live in. It's a book that's good for the soul but is also easy to take it and doesn't feel medicine going down. Not that I think one must be a Christian to enjoy this, in fact, looking at reviews on Goodreads I saw several people starting reviews with "I'm an atheist but I love this..."

Now, I don't want to build it up too much. It's a quiet book. Even fairly large events in the plot aren't sensationalized, they just happened. But its woven together so well. I highly recommend it.

Somewhat relatedly -  I'll be looking into reading another Godden book, perhaps one of her stories set in India. I have read China Court which was okay but not particularly noteworthy. But her children's book The Story of Holly and Ivy is one of my very favorite Christmas picture books every year though so I'm confident if I keep reading her books, they'll be more treasures found.

In This House of Brede is my Back to the Classics Challenge Classic by a Women selection. For more about the challenge, visit Books and Chocolate. You still have time to sign up and it's loads of fun!

Happy Half-Birthday Baby Boy!

I continue my streak of getting these out about a week late. But I am getting them out at least!

Dear Jude,

How are you six months old already? Your babyhood is speeding by and I am so torn. Every milestone I just get so excited for you - but heartbroken for me as I it means your closer to being a little toddler boy and I just want you to stay itty bitty forever. Ah, a mama's continual struggle.

But you have had some fun times this past month. You got your first teeth earlier this month and if the drool and finger/thumb chewing is showing anything, those next two top ones might be joining the bottom ones soon.

You are up on your hands and knees (and often up on hands and toes in a odd downward dog position) and managing to scoot forward now too. You rock back and forth and sometimes even lunge forward the big kids get excited every time (yes, every time even thought it happens 20x a day!) that you might actually start to crawl. I guess they'll be right one of these days but they do love to encourage you.

You can sit for a little while by yourself although as soon as you get distracted you start to tip. So Lucy and Jonah like to help protect you. 

You've started eating foods last week and you LOVE FOOD! Definitely my most foodie baby. The first day we gave you food we tried avocado and you ate over half of one! You already eat 2 full packages a day plus baby led weaning chunks like brocolli or sweet potato. Just BLW weaning is not enough for you so we're adding in puree. So far the only thing you really haven't liked was this kinda earthy smelling carrot/broccoli/zucchini mix. But everything else goes down like butter. You grab the spoon and help me put it in your mouth or  open your mouth and dive for it.

"You wasted that drop mom, why would you do that?"

You still like to swing but won't nap in it anymore. But I'll nurse you down in bed, sneak away and you keep napping just fine for a hour or two so that's fine with me. We were given a hand-me-down jump-a-roo and it's your favorite. I'm not sure if you just love to jump or you like it because the kid's often bring their toys and play all around you so it ends up putting your right where you most like to be - in the center of everyone's attention. You just love to be with people, any people, but especially your people.

Movie Night - Much Ado About Nothing. The big kid's loved it. Jude just loved hanging with them.

I asked the kids what I should say about you this month and Lucy said that you grab stuff. That's so true! You're a little octopus if you sit at the table with us or I try to read or help with school with your on my lap. And earlier this month in church, I looked down and somehow you had gotten the bulletin and gnawed it all up. Luckily, Lucy shared hers with me but my goodness - you have quick hands!

Another cute thing you do is sleep with your head all angled back. It doesn't really matter how I try to lay you down, within a few minutes you will have gone back to this position. So I guess it's more comfortable than in looks.

Basically you're just the cutest thing I've ever seen and I can't imagine life without you.