Reforesting Faith

Book Review Monday

“Reforesting Faith” by Matthew Sleeth, MD

This book was a gift from my sister-in-law. When I first saw it I wondered if it was about religion or about saving the trees. It turns out that it is about both. I have read the Bible my whole life, but I never read it thinking specifically about trees. As it turns out trees are mentioned in the Bible more than any other living creation except for humans.

The author is a medial doctor who used to be a carpenter. He has become a minister and now lives in Lexington, KY. His book makes the case that trees are essential to everyone’s understanding of God. Sleeth points out trees from Genesis to Revelation in a very conversational way. After finishing this book I will never look at trees or read the Bible in the same way.

8507DDA4-A4E8-4197-9E11-0EF3038CE68B_4_5005_c

“God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools.” John Muir

 

Books 2

First Book Memory? 

What is the first book that you remember? For this exercise, the Holy Books such as the Bible or Qur’an do not count. Many children are read these sacred books at home and/or in religious classes. Such books contain many stories suitable for young children and they may actually be the first memories of a storybook. Let’s think outside that genre looking at books that are a few centuries more current.

My First Book Memory    fullsizeoutput_13f2

It was a long, long time ago when living on Crooked Creek that I remember https://crookedcreek.live/2016/08/30/first-blog-is-coming-soon/ my Mother reading a book to my older brother, Norman, and me. The book that I can see her holding had a soft cover and was very worn. It looked nothing like the copy I bought a few years ago (pictured above). I wish that as an adult I had discussed Toby Tyler with Mom or my brother, but I don’t recall that I did and it is now too late. I vaguely remembered that Toby was a little boy who ran away with the circus, but that is all that I could recall.

Buying and reading the new copy in 2003 was upsetting in so many ways. First of all, it is one of the saddest books I have read. I just cried again today re-reading it all the way through in a few hours. It seems cruel if it was intended as a children’s book, which it seems to be. Funny, though that I do not remember being traumatized hearing it read as a child. Perhaps my Mom didn’t finish it or made up happy parts to cover the cruel events in Toby’s life. Minnie was fully capable of doing that.  https://crookedcreek.live/2016/12/10/minnie-ii/  

Regardless, I have a feeling that many times memories are simply better than the event itself. Perhaps it was that time of closeness, hearing my Mother read that made it so special.  

Do You Have a Bookshelf?

Where do you keep the books you’ve read or plan to read? Do you have bookshelves and if so how do you organize them? I often see books organized by similar color, especially in magazines and home furnishing stores. It does look nice, but unless I remembered the color of a particular book, I might have trouble finding it easily. I think that arrangement is more for decor than utility. I hang my clothes in the closet by color, but my books are organized by genre, more or less. This works for me, a person often accused of being obsessively organized. 

My bookshelves (above) are very traditional but apparently there are more creative ways to store your books. By coincidence our local newspaper advertised bookshelves the day after this was written. Here are some other options.

fullsizeoutput_13f6

How do you feel about Coffee Table Books?

I have to admit that is not a question I would have thought of presenting, except that I heard someone say recently that they were not that into coffee table books. I won’t say who it was (my firstborn), but it caused me to pause. After some thought, I realized that I might love the book and appreciate its wonderful photography and still not want it to live on my coffee table for long. You? 

Confession

  1. I feel it necessary to tell you that my therapist daughter says my organizational skill is all an “illusion” but what does she know? 

Coming Up: Your Favorite Book/Author

Part 2 of 5

fullsizeoutput_13f7

Reader Feedback

After the first post on February 19, I was amazed by the immediate feedback from two book lovers! They shared many of their family memories, favorite books, and reading habits. I was especially touched by one sharing that she was reading to two separate family members when their lives came to an end.

Please read the comments of Pat and Lula in the last post. (Note: the only two at the time of this writing, certainly more may be added later.)

To Read

He was 70 years old and had never read a book. Living with severe, classic dyslexia was a struggle which left little time or energy for unnecessary activities.  Trying to determine if a story was about God or dog should be easy enough, but just to keep it simple he mostly tried to read the Bible. That way it was pretty clear that the subject was God and he already knew the story line. He attempted to read the King James Version in spite of my suggestion that he try simpler translations. Since words were a challenge, why make it harder by reading the KJV written in formal prose centuries ago? Still, he struggled on with what was most familiar, a verse at a time, mostly relying upon the words he remembered hearing in church or Sunday School.

After retirement from thirty-four years working as a butcher for one company, he began to use a tape recorder to play cassette tapes of the Bible.  After many months, or perhaps years, he had listened to the entire New Testament in this manner at least once. Next, he decided that perhaps he could listen to other books, those that told a story that did not span the ages.  With help, he visited a secondhand book store and there discovered books on CD. Armed with a new CD Walkman, he began to listen to westerns and then books like “Tuesdays with Morrie”. He even completed a biography about the life of Abraham Lincoln.

In failing health, after his 84th birthday, he was less able to do the thing he loved most, which was growing flowers in our little courtyard. Imagine his delight when he learned to use a Kindle, which came naturally, because of his skill in using his hands and his strong sense of touch. By touching the symbols, pictures and logo windows on the screen he could make things happen magically. Books that were downloaded for him to the Kindle came alive when he plugged in the ear buds and a narrator began to read. During the last year of his life he listened to many books including “Twelve Years a Slave”, “East of Eden” and “To Kill a Mocking Bird” and enjoyed discussing such well known books with his family for the first time. He was able to understand, finally, why people spent so much time reading so many books. He was amazed when he would watch a movie that was based upon a book he had just heard on the Kindle.
On the day before his death he discussed “Unbroken” with one of his visitors who told him of the planned movie release on Christmas Day and with pride and passion in his voice, he said, “I read that book!”

525044_4697511566927_923190697_n

Note: Two weeks later on Christmas Day our daughters, Dianne and Allison and I went in his honor to see the movie, “Unbroken.” 

Written April 29, 2015 and Edited for the Blog 9/7/16 & 1/1/18