Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

nateandangieoriginalMy husband and I just celebrated our 10-year anniversary on December 30th.  We carted the older boys off to grammie’s house and kept the five-month-old with us.

We visited the outlet mall in search for a suede jacket.  My husband, Nate, is graduating with his PhD this fall and it is a well known fact that PhD’s need suede jackets.  Plus, ten-year anniversaries are exciting.  Suede jacket exciting.

We went to dinner, ate while passing the baby-that-hates-the-car-seat back and forth and picked up a movie from Red Box.  We are so exciting.

We had plans to watch a movie while I nursed the baby, play a game or two, and cuddle in bed. Such activities are a commodity when you have four kids running around.

We popped Lone Ranger in the DVD player and sat back to relax when the phone rang.  Ignoring it, we turned the volume up.

It rang again.

It turned out that our seven-year old had the stomach bug.  He was pale and ready to lose everything he had consumed since the beginning of time.

We kissed for a minute and then hurried out the door to pick up our son.  Our kid puked on the highway and wanted to puke again when he got home.

We tucked all four kids in bed – with pots and buckets near by just in case – and climbed in bed together.  Exhausted.  Cuddle time happened, but it was interrupted on regular intervals.  It reminded me of that Phil Vasser song: Just Another Day in Paradise.

Even though our day was interrupted and not what we planned it to be, it was wonderful.  Perfect because I spent the day with my best friend.  The last ten years of marriage have been a dream come true and I am so happy that he chose me.

indexBut not everyone gets their happy endings.  I’ve mentioned before that my favorite kind of books are the books that make me appreciate my life for what it is right now.  Julie Kibler’s latest novel Calling Me Home, did just that.  Based on a true story, the book takes place in the early 1900’s in Kentucky.  The fight for love is real when Isabelle falls in love with a black man.  Fighting against heaven and earth, the two of them try to find a place where they can simply love each other in a world that calls it illegal.  The ending is both happy and sad but extremely powerful.  The line we draw in the sand separating us from those we believe to be different is so hurtful and wrong.  In the end, all that matters is love.  Destroying those imaginary lines is worth any obstacles we might encounter.

Throughout history, happiness has been sacrificed for power and control – over and over again.  I think it is important to acknowledge that power and control never breed happiness.  The two of them together create an internal hunger that can never be satisfied.  The addiction grows until one day we abandon those we love for a hunger that never goes away.

The book left me with a renewed gratitude for the life and love I have every day and a desire to love the world a little more.  I am grateful for the ten-years I have had to love my husband and family comfortably and I dream of a world where everyone else can do the same.

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Longbourn by Jo Baker

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The Masterpiece Classic series of Downton Abbey just launched their fourth season.

Yeah!

Mathew is dead and Mary is depressed.  My two favorite characters are gone.  I am 20 minutes into the season premier and I am so sad.  I want to sit down next to Mary and cry my eyes out while simultaneously shaking her back to life.  Maybe it is expecting too much of her character to be happy, but couldn’t she find the strength to love her child?  Instead she sends him off with a nanny all day and refers to him as an “orphan.”

Meanwhile, the staff is still engaged to make their “masters” happy.  Sometimes it reminds me of the joke: how many people does it take to screw in a light bulb, only how many people does it take to make the entire Crawley family happy?

indexThe book Longbourn by Jo Baker is the story of the maids and butlers in the Bennett household.  The Bennett household, from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, thrives upon the maids and butlers that keep things running smoothly behind the scenes.  Similar to the responsibilities of the maids in Downton Abbey, Sarah is responsible for cleaning the house, scrubbing mud from petticoats, and preparing the meals.  While Elizabeth and Jane and Lydia  are busily stitching together their “happily ever after,” Sarah is tired of living a life of servitude.  Orphaned and cared for by the “head-maid” at Longbourn, Sarah is desperately unhappy and starving for love.

A strange young man appears to serve as the footman for the Bennett family and Sarah’s world is turned upside down. The book is everything Downton Abbey with a little heartache and a lot of love nestled in between.  Sarah’s love life reminds me a little of the separation between Anna and Mr. Bates in season 3.

This book was everything I thought it would be and so much more.  I am now left with one major decision: do I re-read Longbourn or launch myself into Season 4 of Downton Abbey?