Tag Archives: Christianity

Twists and turns on the path of life

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Yeah... what that says!This is the road sign of my life at the moment. Because things have gotten a little upside down recently. It’s okay; just not the way I want it to be.

Two months ago I had to get a full-time job. I don’t want a full-time job; I mean, I had one – wife, mom… I was busy in this job, and I loved it. But, Kiki was tired of school-at-home so we decided to put her in a private Christian school… so she could “experience” “real” school. My full-time job was to pay tuition and gas to get her the 30 minutes each way to school and back. I was grieving, in a way, as this meant I wouldn’t get to participate in her school the way I’d want to – no room-momming, no volunteering, no field trips… because I would be unavailable. Stuck at work.

I’ve never been a “career minded” gal. It’s not that I mind working – I mind doing stuff that I don’t give a crap about. But this was so Kiki could do school, so I put my mind to the task. Then just before school started, the lovely government decided my husband no longer deserved the unemployment he’d been getting – even though he was supposed to have 9 months left. We did two weeks of school before we realized my paycheck had to go to paying bills and there was no possible way we could keep Kiki in the school. I cried for two days – for the loss of the school, the loss of her chance to experience that, for the loss of my freedom, for the fact I would have to work full-time even though the entire reason for doing so was now lost.

One week after we pulled her out of school, we got the letter that the government had been mistaken, and we got several weeks back-pay and his weekly unemployment started back up.

What the crap???

Kiki took it all better than I did. Even in those two weeks, she realized everything I had told her was true – high school is not really something to get excited about. It was not all she had thought it would be. She is also an amazing young lady – she believes beyond a doubt that God has other plans for her – if He made it impossible for her to be at that school then obviously she needs to be somewhere else. Her faith is an inspiration to me, to be honest. I wish I had as much as she.

Of course, I am still stuck in the job. After all, I made a commitment and I don’t feel like I should just up and quit. Besides, before we were just barely scraping by, so this job is a blessing, in a way. My last paycheck (yeah, the entire thing) bought shocks and struts for my car. Most of this last paycheck bought my daughter contacts and a visit to the doctor for a much-belated check up. My next paycheck will buy new tires for my car, since the old ones are pretty much bald. All things we couldn’t have done without my job.

So I try to be thankful. Even thought it’s a stupid and really annoying job. I have remembered what it’s like to live for weekends. I miss my family, as the hours I work make me miss dinner, and my husband is off school-bus-driving before I wake up in the morning, and he goes to bed right after I get home. It’s also weird because although I like most of the people I work with, I have realized I am old enough to be most of their mothers. (No exaggeration – I am actually older than some of their moms. I don’t feel that old.)

My husband hates the fact that I have to work, mostly because he knows how much I love being a stay-at-home-mom. And he wants that for me. He also wants very much to work, but no one will hire him. I know why – his job is to grow our business, and God isn’t going to let him have a job to get in the way of that. I’m convinced of this.

That knowledge doesn’t make him feel better. He feels like a giant loser who no one wants to hire and who can’t provide for his family.

I am praying that this is just a season. Hopefully, a short season. And in the meantime, I try to remember to be thankful for the good things that I have.

And for the occasional mocha.

The secret lives of people you thought you knew

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Do you know your friends? Really?

I thought I did. Maybe it’s because I am pretty much an open book. What you see is what you get and all that. Not that I air every piece of dirty laundry I have, or, upon meeting a new person blurt out every dark and dirty event I have ever been through, but if I have been around you for any amount of time, you’d have a pretty good idea about who I am. What I’m like.

So you can imagine my utter astonishment when the husband of one of the couples in my home group (which is a small group of people from my church who meet together once a week to study the Bible and build a deeper connection with than you might find when you go to a church like mine that has over 1500 members) anyhow – we got a call that he was in jail because he battered his wife. His wife being a woman I thought I knew pretty well. Someone I considered my friend. Shoot, I thought I knew him pretty well… he put on a really good front. And I’m pissed.

So, why am I so pissed off? Maybe it’s because I feel like I was lied to. I mean, our group has met every week for a couple of years. We have asked each other to pray for issues we’re having, opened up about hard stuff in our lives… well – some of us have. Obviously not everyone.

See, we’ve been through a lot with this family. Our kids hang out together. In fact these kids always acted like they were this happy little family when the truth is they have been hurt by and upset and disappointed with their dad pretty much their entire lives… at this point they say they never want to speak with him again, they are so tired of his manipulation and lies and hurt.

The husband has had lots of serious health issues, and we prayed and we took them meals and we kept their girls when they had to travel to hospitals out of state and our husbands drove this guy to the doctor visits out of state when the mom needed to be home with her children for special events… and never, ever, did it come up that this man was an abusive addict. We knew he had once had addiction issues… and were led to believe this was the past; dealt with. He was even a leader in our church’s addiction recovery program! Sheesh. Then he went nutso one more time and she’d finally had enough. The attack was witnessed by their kids, by two pastors who came by because one of the girls got really scared and called her youth pastor, and the arresting officers. So even though this man has denied the event (!) we all know what happened.

I don’t blame my friend for leaving her husband, even tho they’ve been married over 20 years. I don’t know why she didn’t leave him earlier, except she is this sweet Christian woman who I know was trying to do the best by her kids and I am sure in her dysfunctional way she thought if she hung in there and prayed enough she could rescue this man. I get that. What I don’t get is in all the time we’ve been friends that she never felt like she could have, at the very least, said “hey, we’re having some problems in our marriage – could  you pray for us?”  I mean, maybe she didn’t want to drag her husband through the mud, or maybe she was embarrassed about – whatever parts of it – but we other gals sure asked for help and prayers about a whole bunch of crap… so it kinda makes me mad, I guess. Hurts my feelings maybe. Like she didn’t feel I was a trustworthy friend.  I love this woman, I really do. She’s one of my best friends. I am sorry she is hurting right now.

I am also pissed that I was so misled by this man. I mean, he presented himself as this quiet, softspoken, very very wise man of God. He knew all the Scripture, had the right answers… When in fact he’s a crazy addict. And I seriously mean crazy. Some of the stuff he has said and done since the arrest and subsequent no-contact order, separation and divorce has been absolutely bat-poop-insanity. For reals.

I am not judging these people. We all mess up. We are all crazy, sin-filled people. I have had probably more than my fair share of stupidity and screw-ups.  But, I don’t know. It just makes me mad. Why do we get together as a small group of Christian friends to support one another if we aren’t going to be honest with one another? Why don’t we just play Poker then?

Which all just makes me wonder… do I really know any of the people I think I know? How many of my friends are hiding some dark secret that they think I am not able to be trusted with? Do they think I’m hiding something? Do you? Are you?

Trusting God with your kids… and other stuff that’s hard. Like loving pets.

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managua-nicaraguaMy daughter, who is not quite 16 years old, is in Nicaragua this week on a mission trip with her youth group. On the one hand I am totally excited for her; she is going to have a whole new outlook on life when she gets back. I am so proud of her for being brave, being open to what the Lord wants her to do in her life, for simply being willing. On the other hand, it’s kind of… well, it’s not freaking me out; I know God can take care of her better than I can. Even when she talks about the gross stuff that splashed on her while they were cleaning trash in the park, or while crossing the mega-polluted lake – Oh, Lord, protect this child!! I just… really miss her! It’s lonely and quiet here. Okay, the quiet part is kind of nice! We have been able to video chat with her a couple of the nights, so that was fantastic – to touch base, hear how her day went… it’s only been 5 days, and she has 5 days to go… it seems like it’s been a month! It’s cool, though. Especially cool to see how she is beginning to understand the world from a different perspective. As in, she doesn’t really have it as bad as she sometimes thinks!

Seriously, the hardest part has been yesterday morning. We were up getting ready to head out to the Farmer’s Market downtown, when my mom called to me that our dog had hurt her leg. Yup, I am pretty sure it’s serious.. in fact, I think she tore her other CCL… which can only be repaired surgically – and last time that cost us $1,500. Which:  A)we can’t afford and  B)now that she’s 12 and has lots of hip and joint issues I don’t think she can support herself on 3 legs anymore. It takes several weeks of that, for rehab… I don’t know that she’s got it in her.

So that totally stinks because she’s Kiki’s dog. Kiki specifically said when she left “No body and no animals can get sick or die while I’m gone.” Of course I told her there was no way I could guarantee that sort of deal; I don’t make promises I don’t have the total ability to keep… but to be honest I sure didn’t think anything would happen while she was gone! And you have to wonder – at least, I have to wonder – why now? why this week? Seriously?? Because we will take the dog to see our regular vet this week (the one we saw Saturday wasn’t sure, didn’t find anything conclusive) but no matter what, we can’t make “the decision” – if it has to be made – until our daughter gets home. And I don’t know how the dog will hold up… she can’t get up without assistance, although she can hobble about once she’s up… but pottying… well, she’s done one thing, but not the other, and I don’t know how she can when she can’t…well, she can’t squat, if you know what I mean. Sigh.

This is the hard part about loving animals, isn’t it? I guess it’s the hard part about loving any living thing. Because none of us lives forever. Not on this world anyway. Today I am feeling sad and worn and not all that thrilled about this life. I’m trying to remember that God has a plan even when it makes no sense. I’ve been there before, and lived through it.. not without pain or grief, however. Looking forward to the end of this week when my daughter will be home so I can hug on her, because that always makes me feel so much better. I suppose I also need to start thinking about, I don’t know, a hobby or pursuit or something, as this trip is only a tiny precursor to the fact that she will one day soon move away for, well, at least an extended amount of time, if not permanently. She only has 3 years of high school left, after all. Of course, I want her to move on – to college, Bible school, marriage… whatever life has in store for her! It is how it should be, no matter how desperately I will miss her. So I better figure out something interesting with which to fill my days, huh? Not sure how many pets I want….

Do you ever think God isn’t paying attention?

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I admit, I feel like this sometimes. Like God is just up there in the clouds, letting the world down here spin out of control while we flounder about in it.

Then something happens that makes me adjust my attitude. Something that reminds me that our God cares about even the little details of our lives, and we need to be paying attention to see what He has going on. Something like what happened to me this week. A silly thing, but pretty cool nonetheless.

Monday night, my family had Chinese take-out. ‘Cause you know I hate cooking. It was yummy. Then I cracked open my fortune cookie, and here is what I see:

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My first thought was “Really? REALLY?! I don’t get a fortune, I get told what to do?!” It was a little… irritating. (I guess I wanted it to tell me my ship was coming in next week or something) My husband and daughter laughed at my indignation.

Right on the heels of that thought was the thought of the one friend I knew could really use some flowers. A friend I love, who is going through a really tough time. Just as I was thinking about her, my daughter said “You know who could use some flowers?” and proceeded to mention the same friend.

Which got me thinking that maybe there was something to that silly old fortune cookie.

The next morning I got online to see what florists delivered in the area where my friend works. I called and ordered what I hoped would be a cute little arrangement. A bit later, I texted my friend, just to see how her day was going, as I hadn’t seen her in awhile and wondered how she was getting on. Turns out, that very day was the one year anniversary of – well, of a traumatic event which set off the chain of events which she is struggling through right now. I had known it had happened “last summer sometime”, but had no idea it was that very same day. Guess who knew? God. That’s right. The creator of the very universe knew it was going to be a hard day for my friend to get through, and He thought someone should let her know they – and He – were thinking of her. Loving her. So He spoke to me through a fortune cookie. Who knew?!

When people tell you “God works in mysterious ways” they aren’t just joking.

I think my brain is going to blow up

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Do you ever have a problem that turns into a series of problems? That you see no resolution to? I am having one of those, and my head is becoming tired and dizzy by spinning in circles around the not-to-be-seen solution to my situation.
You see, it’s one of those issues where I need to fix ‘A’ but to do that I need to do ‘B’ but in order to do that I need to do ‘C’ which brings me back to how in the world then can I do ‘A’?!?!

See, Kiki hates online school, but has no desire to go the large public high school. And I hated my large public high school and have no intention of subjecting her to that. Not to mention the whole worldly indoctrination that goes on in our public schools these days. The only  reason we did online this year was so she could have the “proper accreditation” so she could go to a “real school”. (We did a homeschool co-op for 1st – 8th grades). So.

We found  a private, Christian school that we intend on sending her to for – hopefully – the rest of her high school years. They gave us a scholarship of 50% off which is the highest they go, so with that we think we can cover it. Then, we got an unexpected check in the mail that exactly covers the registration fees, so that was cool!

Here’s the problem…  the school is in a tiny town in Outer Slobovia. If we move closer to school, we will be a ridiculously far distance from church (and we don’t just go to church on Sunday – we have small groups and youth group and various other things we like to go to).  Also, in order for us to move out at all, it’s been determined that I need a full time job. Which, A. I hate the thought of. and B. Where? When? How? Do I get a job during school hours, or after school, and how then do I get her to school, and participate in things, and do I work close to home (which will be Where??) or do I work close to her school (right! Middle of nowhere, remember)… It’s like everything has to come together and I don’t know where to start! Okay, we started with the school… but now what?

I know God knows. He can see the big picture where I can’t. But I wish He’d let me in on it, because the stress is sending me over the edge.

Not to mention the stress I am feeling from Kiki’s upcoming birthday… but that’s a post for another day.

The dark before the dawn… I hope

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Yeah, I am trying to be hopeful. Because it only seems to get darker and darker, and that’s not just because of the massive forest fires going on around here.  (On a side note, it’s beginning to look like Los Angeles around here, the skies are so grey and murky… it’s gross.)  even though just a week ago I thought things were looking up.

 A little over a week ago, it looked like we’d finally be able to move into a place of our own… it was pretty much a matter of would we qualify to buy a house or have to rent. Also, short of something bad happening, like the car breaking down, our much-anticipated trip to Disneyland was finally, finally going to happen, in September.  Little did I suspect the ‘something bad” that was lurking around the corner.

My husband got himself fired.

Sure, his job was crappy, he complained daily, and it paid 1/3 of what he used to make. It -almost- paid the bills.  My little part-time job paid for extras (even if “extras” shouldn’t really mean underwear, but, still…). I was looking for a better job so we could move out. Now I need a better job just so we don’t go back into the hole we have been trying so hard to climb out of.

His job was supposed to just be a means-to-an-end. It was just supposed to keep paying the bills while we got the business up and running. But he is so… aarrgh!!  I don’t even know what. Proud? Stupid? He worked at a call center, and it’s all about your “stats”, all about the numbers you post. I don’t really claim to fully understand because he had started talking “work-ese” and alot of it didn’t make sense, but what I do understand is that he started doing really well… like best in the center, top 10 out of several hundred… qualified for the “big banquet” and possibly the “big getaway”… and somehow, instead of him just being content that he was doing well and would be able to keep working there until the business could support us, it somehow became all about him being the best; about not slipping out of that number one spot… and he didn’t follow policy, didn’t do something he was supposed to do, because it would cost him precious seconds and maybe his stats would suffer… basically, he “cheated” to stay on top. And he got caught. And he got fired.

To me, it feels like another slap in the face from a man who was supposed to take care of me. He couldn’t just be content to be doing well.  He had his pride to think of, that even tho he had a crappy job he was the best at it. It’s really a question of integrity, and he’s not the man I thought he was. He has screwed up – alot – over the course of our marriage.  I thought he’d learned something.  Grown up. Figured it out. Through it all, he was at least a good provider. I could stay home, raise our daughter. Homeschool her. Have a decent place to live. Now I will have to get a full time job, leave our daughter just as she enters high school, a potentially rough time for her.

I am pissed off, hurt, shocked. Disneyland is off, of course. Our daughter will have to continue living in a bedroom which is really her bed crammed into a room full of furniture that isn’t hers; not even usable to her (bookcases full of old books, a grandfather clock, an antique table… ) She’s a teen and she can’t decorate her own space. She will soon be too old to want to go to Disneyland with us…

I am trying to figure out what benefit I get from being married. He isn’t even nice to me. And now he is mopey and grumpy and feels totally sorry for himself. Instead of trying harder he just slumps away.

I feel like God just doesn’t care. I know He loves me, but I don’t understand why that doesn’t mean some help. I love my kid and would change her life if I could. But He doesn’t, and I don’t get that. Do I have to keep suffering because of my husband’s stupid, selfish choices? Is this my fate?

I am so tired of my life.

I know why America has an obesity epidemic (Hint: It’s not from 24oz sodas)

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I’ve been watching the news lately, far more often than I’d like due to my current living situation. This business about the – is it the mayor of New York? – (okay, obviously I watch the news without really paying attention!) anyway, the guy who wants to outlaw big sodas. Because that is going to make everyone suddenly thinner. Right.

Haven’t they  …”they” … been trying this? No more happy meals… no toys, anyway. Put nutritional info in the fast food stores.  Outlaw ‘supersizing’…. blah blah blah. And we are just getting fatter.

On the surface, sure, we are fat because we eat too much. It’s simple science… if you consume more calories than you burn, you get fat. Duh. Also, our processed foods, with all the chemicals and crap in them, are far worse than the “bad” foods our parents or our grandparents could chow down on if they were the sort to overeat.  But come on!! Do you really think that if you take away our soda we’ll get thinner??  As if I can’t buy soda at the grocery store and chug it down? I can honestly say, as an obese person, NONE of my weight is from sugary sodas. None. I don’t ever drink any soda but diet, and that only occasionally. So what’s my problem, huh? You are going to have to outlaw Ben and Jerrys, and cookies (homemade, so I guess you have to outlaw baking.)  Besides, how long have these items been in existance, and how long have we been so fat? Do you really think the problem is the food??  Geez. 

Maybe the problem is WHY we are eating so much. Why is a small soda, or one cookie, or a small serving of ice cream not enough? Think about that for awhile. Do you know? Do ya?

Okay, I will tell you what I think. (and as an obese person, with heavy friends, I think I’m qualified to tell you) We are freakin’ depressed. We are a nation of unhappy, unfulfilled humans, and we are cramming ourselves full of anything, anything, to try to get some satisfaction. Don’t believe me? Why do you think that even in this crappy economy, when so many of us are unemployed or underemployed that spending hasn’t gone down? Because some of you – instead of overeating – are satiating your needs with the junk you buy instead of the junk you eat. You know who you are – you look better on the outside than I do, but you are as unhappy and empty as I am. But maybe your shelves and your closets are fat.  Why do you think more poor people are fat than the wealthier folks? Because we can’t afford to buy nice stuff, or to try to make ourselves happy by a lovely dinner in a nice restaurant… so we ‘fill our needs’ with junk food. Because even tho I have very little money, I usually have enough for a candy bar.

Think about it. The farther our society gets from God… from living the right way … for Him, f0r other people, for our families, for our spouses and our children, from having people treat us right because we are unselfish and place others first…. I mean, when my husband is a jerk, I head for the pantry. When I feel like I have no friends, I always have the food.  On and on it goes.  Have you ever found yourself shopping for housewares when your home is full to the brim?  Or buying a new outfit when you have brand-new items in your closet that you will probably never wear? How many purses do you own? How many cats do you have??

We are looking for fulfillment. We are looking for relationship, for acceptance, for love. When we don’t find it in the right place, we try to find it in the wrong places… sex, drugs, stuff, food. Until we figure out how to get ourselves on track, to love ourselves for who we are without needing the acceptance of the other humans around us, until we ask the Lord to fill us up, to be our sufficiency, our fulfillment, we are going to be fat. No matter how much soda the government takes away.

Wait…. whoa! Stop! I’m not ready for this ride!

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My daughter has a boyfriend.

Okay, well, she has a boy who really likes her. Who calls her. Texts her.

She likes him back, but I suspect (and she admits) part of the reason she likes him is because he likes her and that feels kinda nice. He’s a classmate, and they’ve been friends for awhile now (she actually prefers the boys in her class because… well, because they aren’t like the girls! Petty, judgmental, fickle… if you’ve ever been or ever known a teenage girl you know what I’m talking about.)  However, he’s not the boy she’s been crushing on for the last year… (who is a church friend; doesn’t go to her school. And who does not seem to like her back…)

But. She’s 14. In the 8th grade. Too soon for a boyfriend.

It’s not like she can date or anything, and we (her, me, her dad) have had extensive talks on protecting her heart, and staying true to her beliefs and well, to be honest, regrets, and how not to have them. Still… she’s 14. I remember how I felt at 14… in fact, in my 8th grade year I was madly in love with a boy, and he with me. We made plans for our senior prom (yes, years away) and how many kids we would have one day – as if we had a clue! But we thought we did… and we did some serious kissing!! I am pretty much telling my daughter “do as I say not as I did”.   Because I know how the other end of it feels… all these years later I am still missing a little piece of my heart.

But, part of me thinks it’s cute, and sweet… so I am really torn on just how to proceed.  Do I monitor her calls? Read her texts? Leave her be?  I trust her, and I know her desire is to do the right thing. On the other hand, she can be a bit of a follower, and the few times she’s been in serious trouble it’s been because she’s allowed a friend to talk her into doing something that she knew darn well ahead of time she was not to do.  So, its a concern.

Oh, how I miss miss miss the days of toddlerhood! Even she said to me the other day “Why can’t I still be 5 years old? Life was so much easier then.”

Having vegan friends is really a downer when it comes to parties

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So tomorrow is Super Bowl Sunday.  Sure, I have to work until 5pm (I am sooo annoyed about this – but that’s another story) but we thought it would be nice to invite some friends over to watch the game… then we started going down the list.  I have complained before how too many of our friends are also friends of my sister, right?  Friends who she has pulled over to the Dark Side known as “being vegan”. Anyhow, we were thinking of the snacks we wanted to make for the game – you know, the usual stuff; cheese dip with tortilla chips, little smokies in BBQ sauce, chip and dip, cookies. Crap food. Party food. Stuff most of our current friends won’t eat. Or, stuff that we’d feel guilty eating in front of them.  As my  husband said “they’d just think ‘gees, no wonder those two can’t lose any weight'”.  I am thinking that must mean the problem is… us.  Could it really be?? I suppose if we didn’t eat poorly we wouldn’t need to feel guilty about it. But, honestly, what kind of Super Bowl snacks do most people have?  Isn’t it fat-laden, meaty items? It’s not just us, right? 

It’s bad enough that the last two parties we’ve been to with this particular group of friends were full of vegan/not extremely tasty treats. Not horrible stuff, but not fantastic either. I guess I have two choices: become vegan myself, or make new friends. I wonder which choice would be more painful?

Book Review ~ My thoughts on ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins

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The short review:  Did I like this book?  Meh.

                                             Will I let Kiki read it?  Yeah.

The long review:

So, I read the book. I tried really hard to read it with an open mind (because to be honest, I hated it before I ever started it. The whole premise of the story is just something I didn’t care to read.) I found that it was a good story in that it sucks you in… you find yourself interested in the characters, you want to know how it works out. So in that respect, I guess I can understand why it’s a popular book.

However. Technically speaking, I think it’s a very poorly written book. Did this author never take a grammar class?  Did she take one but fail miserably?? She doesn’t seem to be able to write a decent sentence; they are either 27 word run-on sentences, or mostly, they are fragments. Oh dear me the fragments!!  I would say they account for about 80% of the book, and that drove me absolutely crazy! Now, I don’t mind a fragment or two, heaven knows I use them a lot here in my blog… but, well, it’s a blog… not a novel. I wouldn’t even mind a few in a book,; sometimes they just work – but she takes it to ridiculous extremes. Urgh.

Then there is the main character, Katniss.  I don’t really like her.  She’s sort of – emotionless in a way, I guess. Clueless.  I can understand why I suppose, but that doesn’t make me like her any more. And tho none of the characters are really fully developed, she just seems really flat.

Another issue I have is that there is not nearly enough background to the story, and there are things that happen that don’t make sense – things that couldn’t happen. Things that simply wouldn’t work.  Like little silver parachutes falling at just the correct moment.  Uh-huh. Explanation, please, on the timing of those?

I suppose that much of what bothers me is completely overlooked by the young kids who read this, and after all, they are the target audience… not middle-aged moms. I asked my daughter, and the things that annoy me about this book, she didn’t even notice until I brought it up, and even after I pointed these out to my daughter, they don’t bother her. I also spoke to 3 teen girls who have read this book, and they all think the main character is this awesome, brave, strong girl. As I said, I am not the target audience, and I suppose Suzanne Collins must be quite thankful for that!

As for letting my daughter read it, I decided that it would be alright. Though it’s full of killing, it’s not gratuitous. There are lessons to be learned, like not letting governments get out of control… or that whole “when good people do nothing” business and all that. There’s no sex, and to a parent of a teen, that’s good! There really isn’t much of a love story even… very mild.

I don’t know if I will read the rest of the series. On one hand, I kind of want to see it through to the end. On the other hand I’m not sure it’s worth the time and effort – after all, there are so many good books out there to read!