Living Outside the Stacks

Navigating through life away from the library


Wordless Wednesday: My Dad and His Daughters

My father passed away a year ago this month…

I love and miss you, Dad!

Click here or here to see more Wordless Wednesday posts or to add your own


Free Coffee from Starbucks…..Mmmmmm

I love coffee. And not just any coffee. I love Starbucks coffee (big mistake closing the store in Dallas – just throwing that out there). I really love the Espresso Truffle. Drool. Now that the store in Dallas has closed (hint) I have to drive out to Wilkes-Barre whenever I want my fix (not a long drive but enough to be an annoyance, especially since there was a store 5 minutes away from my house /rant).

Now Starbucks has decided to appease me (yes, I’m taking this personal) and introduce Starbucks VIA. Starbucks VIA allows you to brew Starbucks coffee any place, any time. Yes! An instant coffee from Starbucks. I tried it a couple of months back and, honest to goodness, you cannot tell the difference between the instant and the fresh brew. To prove my point, why don’t you head over to your nearest Starbucks for a Taste Test Challenge from 2-5 October? Taste Test Challengers will receive a coupon for a complimentary Tall brewed coffee on their next visit as well as an offer for a $1 off a purchase of Starbucks VIA.

How sweet is that?


He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not…

I remember when I used to pull the petals off flowers and hope that I ended with “he loves me.” If I didn’t, I knew the problem – he was an idiot who would come to rue the day he ever let me go. The problem was never me. Yes, I was a pretty self confident kid.

Now I’m a married woman who is still pulling petals off flowers, only this time, I’m not chanting “he loves me, he loves me not” instead, I’m whispering “they like me, they like me not” and praying for a positive outcome. My confidence is not as strong as it used to be (years of rejection for various reasons will do that to you). So who am I hoping will like me? Human resources, or whoever the powerful people are who make the hiring decisions. I don’t need them to love me, I just need them to like me enough to call me in for an interview.

I’ve found that the job search process is a bit like dating – maybe even a bit harder. When you’re dating, both parties get the opportunity to meet and talk and decide whether or not the relationship will work. Sending out resumes is more like going on a blind date, except you’re not part of the process. The hiring committee scans your resume, rejecting or accepting you for unknown reasons. They are trying to determine whether or not you’re a good fit based on a few sentences in a cover letter, a summary of a life’s worth of experience condensed to a page or two….

It’s hard not to take the rejection personally. It’s hard not to write the rejection off as their loss because it’s really my loss. Another month without working, doing something productive with my time, making a difference somewhere, bringing in an income, etc.

Another resume sent, another flower plucked….They like me…..

I recently received an offer of a part-time position and I’m thrilled but I’m still looking for full-time employment.


Million Hearts Challenge

I’m not sure exactly when it happened, but sometime after my 32nd birthday I became lactose intolerant. For a heavy milk drinker, this was devastating (afterall, milk does do a body good). After many unsuccessful attempts at eating dairy I finally gave up and accepted that my days of eating cheese and ice cream indiscriminately were over. After what I thought was a suitable period of mourning, I moved on and accepted that I’d be living a dairy free life. However, the one thing I could not take was drinking my coffee black.

Now, let me explain something here…I love coffee…. No, you don’t understand…. I. Love. Coffee. So a friend of mine (thank you, Clara, I owe you my first born) told me to try Silk Soy Milk. Soy milk? Really? To say I was skeptical would be putting it mildly (it actually took me three months to try it after she suggested it). But when I did… Let’s just say, my coffee has never tasted better.

Little did I know that I was also taking steps to improve my health. Soy protein (found in Silk Soy Milk), as part of a diet that is low in saturated fats and cholesterol, may reduce your risk of heart disease and the vanilla flavor contains only 80 calories per serving (great for the waist line). In an effort to inform people about the benefits of soy products and a healthy heart, Silk is sponsoring the Million Hearts Challenge.

The goal of the Million Hearts Challenge is to bring a million hearts together and raise awareness about heart disease (one of the leading causes of death for women). By entering, you not only get the chance to make the heart bigger but you can also register to win a $20,000 Ultimate Weekend Getaway (and who couldn’t use that) or one of 122 $100 American Express Gift Cards. The challenge runs from 1 September 2009 to 31 December 2009, so click here to join my heart.

You can also get some pretty tasty
recipes from Silk


Book Review: Kabul 24 by Henry O. Arnold and Ben Pearson

Kabul 24 tells the story of eight Westerners and their sixteen Muslim co-workers and their three-month long imprisonment by the Taliban in Afghanistan. For three months in 2001, the twenty-four members of Shelter Now International (SNI) are held hostage in the days leading up to the September 11th attacks. This book recounts their interrogations, the sham of a trial before the Taliban Supreme Court and their feelings of abandonment and isolation during their imprisonment. But more than that, this is the story of unwavering faith in something greater than themselves – their faith in God and the belief that their mission was just.

Told from the vantage point of the eight Western aid workers: Peter Bunch, Dayna Curry, Silke Duerrkopf, Katrin Jelinek, Heather Mercer, Margrit Stebner, George Taubmann and Diana Thomas, the humanitarians are ostensibly arrested for trying to convert Muslims to Christianity – a crime punishable by death in the Islamic country. The SNI members are held in virtual isolation from each other, their governments as well as their families, while they are questioned relentlessly. During their 105 days of imprisonment, they are left to wonder if the outside world has any clue as to what is going on with them and if they’ve been abandoned by their governments.
The story opens with the account of an unknown woman (who is only identified as a burka) and her march through the city streets on her way to be executed. Her crime is never mentioned but the feeling of isolation, fear and helplessness are a palpable reflection of the emotions the twenty-four would come to feel.
This book does much to explain the religious and political history of the Taliban and their connection to Osama Bin Laden as well as the origins of sharia law. The customs of the Afghan people are also explained in a way that is sympathetic to them and easy to understand.
I enjoyed this book and was pleasantly surprised to find that it isn’t a “preachy” book about faith but rather a testimony about what can happen when your faith remains unshakeable. That’s not to say the hostages didn’t experience moments of doubt in themselves and their governments but not once did they ever question God or His ability to see them through their imprisonment.
However, I do wonder at the boldness of some of the actions of the hostages in the face of the Taliban who are notorious for their brutality. For example, during one of the interrogation sessions, Diana challenges an interrogator about the Holy Trinity using reason. The interrogator is a brother, a husband and a father, therefore, he is the same man with three roles – the same as God (who is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit). I marvelled that the Talib would allow a woman to speak of religious matters, especially in an open setting like a courtroom.
Reading this book made me question my own faith and whether or not I’d have the fortitude to stand up for my convictions no matter what the personal cost. While I’d never doubt my faith in God, I wonder if I could be so unwavering.
I would recommend this book for those who not only have an interest in matters regarding faith but are also interested in Afghan history and the lives of a few people who have had intimate experience with the Taliban.

This is a Thomas Nelson Book Review

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