Young Me’s Library

Have you ever seen such a lame post title? Yeah, me neither.

I was just thinking, though, about reading during my childhood and early teen years. I was an avid reader from the start. There were never enough library visits and I resorted to reading anything I could get my hands on, much of which was theoretically beyond me. Reading wasn’t just a passion; it was an addiction, one that actually got me in trouble more than once.

So my greatest treasures were in my little library. My mom was a single mother for much of our childhood so, even though she and Daddy remarried before I went into 6th grade, actually owning books wasn’t a high budget priority. I had aunts, though, who knew just what I liked and occasionally slipped me books they believed I would enjoy. And I did – all of them. They were so good that I was still rereading some of them as an adult… until they were lost to mold.

I’m kind of sad my granddaughters will likely never read any of them. The books kids enjoy today are so very different. They’re not bad, or what I’ve seen aren’t. It’s just that genres and topics and tastes change.

For instance, one of my absolute favorites was my copy of Heidi, by Swiss author Johanna Spyri. It was originally written in German; I, of course, read an English translation. I loved reading about Heidi and her life with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps. I loved it so much that I eventually bought Heidi Grows Up and Heidi’s Children, by Charles Tritten, and I loved and reread them too. The lifestyle represented in these books was very different from what I knew, but that was part of the charm. Regarding my oldest granddaughter… Although I’d love to give her a copy, I just don’t know, especially since she just turned fourteen.

And then there was Eight Cousins, by Louisa May Alcott. I am definitely an Alcott fan, though I’ve not read everything she wrote. I probably read Eight Cousins fifty times, and when I found out there was a sequel (Rose in Bloom) and that I could learn more about Rose Campbell, I immediately headed to the only bookstore in town and then waited because it was a special order.

Being an Alcott fan, Little Women is a no brainer. I actually have a copy of it on my Kindle and at one point I had a goal of owning every Little Women movie that was ever made. The movie goal fell through (I’d much rather read than watch), but I almost know Little Women by heart. And then, of course, when I learned about Little Men I had to have it too.

And then there is Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann David Wyss, another Swiss author. I am well aware of the scientific impossibilities the book represents and to this day I don’t care. I absolutely loved that book! What I do care about is that there are different versions of the book out there. The original copy I had is long gone, and although I’ve read a couple of others the translations seemed…off. And that’s not even addressing the issue of abridged books (which I don’t like, of course).

Finally, or last for this list anyway, one of my summer traditions was to read my grandmother’s set of Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. For years, they really were a once-a-year read, but I did eventually get a set of my own and I read them so many times. In fact, I should really get them for my kindle too. And yes, I do know her works have come under fire because of Ma’s attitude towards Native Americans, but the fact is her attitude was not uncommon at the time, and I always knew instinctively that Ma was wrong. To eliminate her prejudice would be to incorrectly present an ugly reality of the past.

And, honestly, that’s one of the reasons I like these classic books. In reading them, I learned much about what to do and what not to do. I had high standards set that I instinctively strove to reach and, yes, what I read definitely affected the growth of my character without me knowing it.

Which is another reason they were treasures I wish I could share with my grandkids.

So much has changed in the past 50 years.

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 18: My Window

I have one window in my apartment, which isn’t all that surprising given its size. It lets a good bit of natural light into my kitchen area, and is truly a blessing. Due to the construction of the building, the sill is quite deep. That makes it even better!

Obviously, the window is home to my little air conditioner, which though small proved quite sufficient this past summer. The way they built up around the unit not only sealed it in well but provides me so much privacy that I have no need at all for curtains or shades. (I’m pretty high up off the ground at this point.) 

That privacy meant I could do whatever I wanted with the window, so I pulled out a stained glass piece that had been in storage. Yes, the colors are more muted than most of the apartment, but not only is it a salute to my love of reading, it is also a gift from two very special people, one of whom has gone on home to Heaven. One thing I learned a long time ago is that surrounding yourself with things that have meaning can trump other rules.

Another thing that has meaning is the hummingbird that hangs to the right of the stained glass. This is my salute to both my mother and grandmother, who shared a love for the little flyers. The crystal that hangs to the left in the window was purchased to balance the bird. It’s very pretty and I’m glad I chose the right thing. It’s the 120mm Crystal Prism Suncatcher and it sells for $10; I paid more for the hummingbird at a craft show years ago!

My decorator friend installed the wooden shelf for me specifically for these two pots of hens and chicks, which originated with my grandmother. If you read Sometimes You Just Need a Do Over you have seen the long planter. These little guys aren’t flourishing greatly, like I wish they were, but they are still alive and I’m taking that as a win. 

Both of these planters came from Amazon. The long one is the Kipokalor 11.1×2.36×1.77inch Long Rectangular Modern Minimalist White Ceramic Succulent Planter Pot with Saucer. It’s minimalist, high quality, and exactly what I was looking for.

The small planter is actually from a set I bought in February to give as gifts.

These are a set of 12 Pcs White Bible Verse Succulent Pots with Drainage 3.15 Inch Mini Ceramic Flower Planter Pot with Bamboo Tray. I planted succulents in them and gave them to my ministry team as Valentine’s gifts. They were a huge hit!

The bottom shelf was decorated by my talented friend, who also made the little potted cactus for me. Everything else already belonged to me; she just knew how to put them all together. the stack of books includes some antiques from what was once an impressive collection. The glass paperweight was my mother’s and I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of it. What I really wish you could see better is the peacock stone that sits between the books and plant. It’s bornite and it’s beautiful. Here’s an example I found online.

And that’s the window. We’re almost finished with the Kitchen tour. Thanks for coming along!

Celebrating Jesus!
Tammy C

Tiny House Part 8: The Library +

The “+” comes before the library.
It seemed to be a good time to give an
overall look at the main room, so here goes.

In this photo you can clearly see the stained concrete I like so much. To me, it looks like well-worn leather. It’s a breeze to keep clean, which is especially good since I have access to a pool; coming in wet is not a problem. Another thing this photo reveals is the curtains I’m using instead of doors on both the closet and bath. The closet curtains don’t reach all the way to the floor since I ordered them long before I knew what my actual measurements would be. Eventually I’ll order a longer set or add something at the bottom, but for now they’re fine. The bathroom curtain is also short, but that was intentional as I wanted to leave a large space at the top of the doorway for airflow on those rare occasions when I have the curtains closed.

One last bit of randomness about the “kitchen.” Those white boxes you see beside the mirror are the same box frames I use elsewhere. The friend who spent several hours not only redecorating my tiny home but also making things (like the lamp and book easel on my desk) to use as accents in it, hung those there and gave me orders to fill them with art I liked. They mark a goal. My primary care recently told me, “It’s time to do something just for Tammy.” I took his advice to heart and, since I’ve been wanting to learn watercolor, I ordered some supplies. I am determined to not only learn, but to create pieces I feel comfortable putting in those frames.

Now the Library and, yes, I use the word loosely. You get two photos because I thought it would give a better idea of how everything fits together. Bonus peek at the bath included free of charge.

The first thing you likely noticed about my library is the small number of books. I wasn’t kidding when I said I did a hardcore purge in all areas. These physical books that remain are my essentials. The bulk of them being Bibles should not surprise anyone given my book Experiencing the Bible (shameless plug). The others I refuse to get rid of for one reason and another.

I shared previously that I’m an aphant (one who has aphantasia); people as high on the scale as I am can remember what people and places look like to a certain extent, but that knowledge is conceptual, not visual. Consequently, I need photos and that’s why pictures of my kids and grandkids take the primary position in these shelves. Even the parrots on the wall were photographed by my sister on my surprise cruise getaway. (No kidding. She literally scheduled with my boss and booked a cruise for my birthday. She’s the best!) They serve both as art and vacation reminder.

The blue basket on top is convenient for extra storage; right this minute it just holds my lighters and matches; it’s nice knowing I have storage waiting for me to use it! The flowers and the gold-painted dictionary were gifts from my decorator friend. She knows my love of words, so the dictionary is not just an accent piece but a nod to my passion.

If you’re wondering about the framed quote on the top shelf, it’s from Mark Twain. It says, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.”

Now, the reason I’m able to have so few physical books…

Bonus: You now know about one of my favorite authors.

I’ve lost pretty much everything twice in my life. The first time taught me a hard lesson and led to my getting my very first kindle as a gift from a friend who had upgraded. Honestly, I wasn’t sure about reading ebooks in the beginning, but learned quickly that I liked it. By the time that Kindle had died, I was carrying an iphone and started using the Kindle app. That was hard on my eyes, though, creating strain I didn’t need. (I tended to read for literal hours at a time. I still can.) So, after much research, I bought a Kindle Paperwhite that, a couple of years ago, I replaced with this Kindle Oasis.

I love this thing! You can tell by the wear on the cover that I use it a lot. As they say, it’s not the age; it’s the mileage. The Kindle Paperwhite (and Paperwhite Oasis) uses an e-ink that is very easy on the eyes. This Oasis also has adjustable lighting as well as the up/down buttons you see on the side. The regular Kindle Paperwhite did not have these buttons, and I would probably not want to go back to doing without them. And this e-reader is waterproof! So yes, reading in the tub is just fine.

So, to get back to my original point. I pretty much stick to paper books for non-fiction, which is what you mostly see on my shelves, because I mark those books up. I want to be able to come back and find things of note and relocate where I’ve recorded my thoughts on a topic. On the other hand, except for a few random non-fiction books, my Kindle is filled with fiction across a variety of genres. I don’t even know how many books I have on this thing and it’s nowhere near full. My TBR (To Be Read) list is massive, which would not be possible if I were limited to what I could fit in this room.

Since I’m on the topic of ebooks, here are some hints for those concerned about ebook prices. First, subscribe to BookBub. You’ll get alerts every day of books in your preferred genres that are on sale or free. A large number of my ebooks were picked up this way. Another thing I do is keep an ebook wishlist on Amazon. I update it any time I find a book I want to buy eventually, and every couple of days I’ll log onto Amazon and check out that list. If any have gone free or been marked down dramatically, I’ll hit the Buy Now button. So loading your kindle doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. You only need to pay full price when you want to read it today.

And that’s it for this week. Like last week, I’ve chosen to put all of the product links here, at the end of the post.

SMILE Weaver Peacock Blue Curtains (closet)

Deconovo Turquoise Curtains (bath)

Experiencing the Bible

Kindle Oasis

Huasiru Case for Kindle Oasis

Celebrating Jesus!

Tammy C