Over the last month or so I have read a few books. Four of them were quite a surprise, giving me that little nudge that says "go this way." God seems to use books in this way, mentoring me through the authors.

The first book was Cake Ladies. I received that one sometime during soccer season and loved it. As you might guess from the title, it is filled with cake recipes and biographies of the ladies who make them. As the holidays approached (and cake time), I pulled it back off the shelf and reread it. I want to be one of these ladies. Sometimes I AM one of these ladies--I used to make cakes quite a bit for co-workers' birthdays. It's not the mass cake baking that appeals to me. I just like making yummy cakes for people.

The next book was not a cookbook, but did lead me back to a cookbook. On my last trip to the local library, I saw Ree Drummond's book Black Heels to Tractor Wheels and decided to try it. It was surprisingly good! I don't know why surprisingly, since I have read some of it on her blog, but I had low expectations. Trying to trudge through Leon Uris' Exodus right before I picked this one up may have had something to do with it. Anyway, this wasn't an earth shaking nudge but it did nudge me to try some more of her recipes, like Penne al Betsy, the French Breakfast Puffs, and her cinnamon rolls. I made those for Christmas, choosing Ree's recipe over my mom's because it had a shorter rise time after rolling them up. Twenty minutes versus two hours. My mom later told me she makes them up the night before then lets them rise first thing. Those were the cinnamon rolls shown in my last post. We even still have two pans left in the freezer!

My sister gave me Craft Activism for Christmas, off of my Amazon wish list. I am still not sure of the impact this book will have but reading it is a nudge to me that not only is making things a kind of activism, but I can make things like quilts and scarves and use them to help make others lives better. Which is what I like to do, and gives me something to do after I've crocheted a scarf for everyone I know. Almost did that this Christmas anyway.

The final book was a nudge of a different sort. No cooking or sewing involved. When I made that trip to the library, I also picked up Dr. George Henderson's Race and the University. I never had Dr. Henderson as a professor, but he was the dean of the College of Liberal Studies part of the time that I worked on that degree. The time span he covered in the book was around the time that my mom went there. Besides learning a bit of the history of OU, I picked up on something he did midway through the book. He began describing civil rights leaders who influenced him, and how he applied their theories to real life situations at OU with his students. His classes were a living lab for the insights of Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and others. This book also led me to look at the website for the Human Relations department that he founded, and while wandering around in this area I discovered OU had created a minor in social justice a couple of years ago. No, I am not going back to school, but I did take a look at the huge number of classes that qualify for that degree--and the books (I love that the bookstores show this stuff online now). I also found a huge list of the International Studies classes, many of which overlap with the Social Justice group. And then I found it, a "Women and Islam" class. I had been thinking about what to read prior to my trip to North Africa to prepare. All my other international travel was for a class, was educational not just travel, and I want to prepare like that for this trip too. These books (and the one I already had on my nightstand) are that list. A major nudge.

Now I just need to finish up one of my new projects so I will have time to read the books.


  1. I am enjoying TOLSTOY AND THE PURPLE CHAIR, the book you gave me for Christmas and will add these to my 2012 list.


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