Archive for March, 2016

Book Review: In the Field of Grace

I love to read books and when I was a kid, I could easily read a book and finish it in a week’s time.  In 1991, when motherhood came calling, my time to be able to read a book greatly diminished and even though I still love to read, it takes me a lot, lot longer to finish a book.  My favorite type of books to read are books based on historic events or people, and books that blend historical facts with fictional characters.

I was perusing the shelves at the Rolla Public Library in February and came across In the Field of Grace, a  historical fiction novel based upon the wonderful bible story about Ruth.   I have said for years, to anyone who might be listening, that the story of Ruth would make a wonderful movie, if done correctly and not taken out of character, or taken far from the truths the story imparts.  Hollywood? If you’re interested, this book should be the basis for a screenplay!!!

Field of Grace book cover

Tessa Afshar, the author, has taken the story of Ruth and added so much richness to the story.  The reader is allowed to ponder many what ifs that ring true to the biblical story.  Such as, perhaps Ruth was not loved by her biological family and that caused her to easily fall in love not only with her first husband but his mother as well, who treated her as a beloved daughter, who treated her with great kindness.  That would help explain why Ruth would be so willing to travel to Bethlehem with her mother-in-law, when both were now widows, to be willing to live in a new town and new country despite that country having such different customs and worldviews than her native Moab. (Which is actually modern day Jordan.)

Afshar has done her research well: we delve into customs, foods, how homes were set up and cared for, the daily chores and seasonal tasks one had to do in bibilical times. We also get some great behind the scenes looks at Boaz’s life pre-Ruth.  Boaz is the strong, heroic man of the story.  He is fleshed out wonderfully with emotions and a strong faith in God, and all of these attributes help in giving his character a deeper sense in who he might have been; more than just the man who saves Ruth and Naomi from starvation.

I highly recommend this book, In the Field of Grace.  I had a hard time putting it down!  It really is a well-written, well-researched, and one can tell, lovingly crafted story.  For more information about the author, Tessa Afshar, here is a link to her online information page.

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Two Helicopter Landing Pads at Mark Twain National Forest?

Near Rolla, Missouri lies the Mark Twain National Forest.  It’s one of 155 such designated forests in the United States, the forests falling under the jurisdiction of the US Forest Service and the USDA.  The forest is 1.5 million acres and most of it is located in the Ozark Highlands.  It covers 29 counties in southern Missouri and represents 11% of all forested land in the state.  Named after favorite son and famous author, Mark Twain, the Forest was set aside as a protected area in 1939.

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I was somewhat surprised when I was reading the Rolla Daily News on Feb. 19th when I  learned that the U. S. Forest Service wants to build 2 helicopter landing pads, or helibases, in the National Forest, in Phelps County.  The article went on to state the acreages of the land needed for this project, and the types of buildings that will also be needed along with the helibases; 140 acres of forest to construct several landing sites, buildings for the pilots and other air staff,technology,etc.  The Forestry Service wants to be closer to the forest in fighting wildfires, listing that as their main reason for wanting to build this complex.

 

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The Forestry Service presents the information in the newspaper article as a done deal, doesn’t mention how many  millions of dollars this project will cost, and near the article’s end, mentions that they are required to ask for the public’s comments until March 14th concerning the two helipads.  For those citizens of Missouri who want to send their opinions about these Helipads: 1.  One can mail a letter to the Houston/Rolla/Cedar Creek Ranger District, 108 S. Sam Houston Blvd.,  Houston, MO 65483.  Attn. Mark Hamel.  2. Fax your opinion to Mark Hamel, Integrated Resource Analyst at 573-364-6844.  3. Or send an  email to: comments-eastern-mark-twain-houston@fs.fed.us   and include Helibase Development Project #48670 on the subject line of the email.

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My opinions about this project? I have several.  The current helipad that is in use for the National Forest is at Rolla’s airport in nearby Vichy, MO.  Wouldn’t it be less costly to add the additonal technologies, another landing pad, and another building or two at an already exisiting airport?  Trees wouldn’t need to be knocked down, and with the University of Science and Technology next door in Rolla, couldn’t the university be consulted, professors and students be utilized, in coming up with green energy ideas for  the current Vichy site?  I think using taxpayers’ dollars in the  most cost-effective way possible is always a good thing to strive for, I think keeping the helipad and building a new one at the Vichy site is a win for the city of Rolla, I think not cutting down forest in a National Forest is a good thing, and I think utilizing the University for any help they could supply would also be beneficial.

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Here is the article from The Rolla Daily News, article written from Staff Reports.