Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Scavenger's Daughters

I'm excited to share something that I've been keeping a teensy secret from you all for several weeks now.... I got to be an advanced reader for Kay Bratt's new book, the first in what I hope will be a wildly successful series. So far, both LadyBug and I have read it, and Shaggy has mentioned wanting to grab it and take some time with the book too.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was sent a free copy of the book and asked to read it with the intent of sharing my review for the release date to spread the news about the book. Aaaand, it's probably helpful to disclose that I am a huge fan of every book by Kay that I've read so far. Like I said, I'm very excited about the series and I think you will be too.

The Scavenger's Daughter is the captivating story of an old man and his wife who have spent the years after the Cultural Revolution in China living in dire poverty, barely scraping by on the earnings he makes as a trash collector. Literally, his station in life is to seek out trash that can be turned into cash. Papers that can be ironed and recycled. Cans and bottles that can be sold to purchase food for his family. When he's really lucky, he finds furniture or clothing or other treasures. However, along the way to living his meager life, he has become the finder of far more valuable treasures than discarded bicycle parts. He has found literally dozens of baby and toddler girls and crafted a very unlikely family with his wife, Calli.

Find it here on Amazon!
Beyond the obvious connections that I feel to the story line of abandoned babies and special needs orphans in China, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Benfu's story of seeking the treasure in all of life. His adamant determination that all life has value and is worth living with love and purpose pulled me in completely. Each stage of the story pointed to the same message over and over and the consistency of his character's temperament and personality was written really well. Further, I really enjoyed reading the back story of the Cultural Revolution and the recent history of China through his (albeit fictional) eyes. I'm a history buff and I always enjoy learning about the events of history. But this time, I appreciated learning about the feelings and thoughts of one who survived that history. As the story wove Benfu's current existence together with his painful experiences of the past, it occurred to me just how deeply the Cultural Revolution dehumanized so many incredibly intelligent, interesting and stimulating people who all had so much to offer their world. It struck me that Benfu and his wife worked with these little girls, giving them a family, investing in them and offering them the hope of a future as a kind of redemption of the past they'd all endured. It's as if they were saving the girls' lives and saving themselves in the process.

As one who believes that each of us is created in the image and likeness of God Himself, I found myself rejoicing and cheering Benfu on for his dogged determination to dig out the treasure in each girl, making sure each daughter got her own special way to SHINE and REFLECT the image of her Creator. His commitment to his family, no matter the cost, kept me reading long into the night and made me sigh with frustration that the book was over all too soon for me! It's been a long time since I let myself stay up that late to finish a book. Truthfully, it's been a long time since I read a fiction book that pulled me in quite so thoroughly.

I'm so grateful for the opportunity to read this book and am glad to wholeheartedly recommend it to you as well. And I canNOT wait to read the next one...

Friday, August 2, 2013

New 'Do for Mei Mei

Mei Mei got her first trim since coming home.
Here's what she looked like the week we met her in China.
Ugh... such a bad haircut on such a pretty girl!

 Here's what she looked like this week.
You can't totally see it here but the back lengths
came down to a lovely 80's-looking pointy mullet. 

Even with the bulk of it pulled up in cute little piggies, it was a mop!

She liked the cape.... thought it was pretty funny
to poke her finger up into it and make a little tent.
Not even sure why it was funny but it tickled her fancy.
It did NOT, however, keep her still.
Nothing does that.
Even in her sleep.

Here's how she looks, all trimmed up and tidy.
Except for the stringy little straggler hanging there in her eye.
It flips over from the back of her head
like a bad comb-over.
No matter what we do to try to control it.

Excuse the smudge of peanut butter on her forehead.
Eating lunch here is a full-contact sport
and we were without the proper protective headgear, apparently!

I got a bit of a new 'do too - unintentionally.
I went in and asked for a just a few highlights to frame my face.
I came out with these shocking white {Seriously. WHITE!} locks.
All over the top, front and sides of my head.
 Sometimes, getting more than you've paid for is not a bargain.
That's all I'll say about that.