By Karen Kelly | Special to the Times Vedette

Lent, the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter, is a time of self-sacrifice, reflection and prayer in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus. Many people choose to sacrifice or give up things for Lent. Sometimes the sacrifice is a favorite food like chocolate, meat or desserts; or bad habits that may involve gossiping, drinking alcohol or soda; or fun activities that may include social media, shopping or watching TV.  

When I was in junior high school, I had a friend who gave up peas for Lent. I asked if it was his favorite food, to which he replied, “Nah, I hate them. I just needed to find something that I could successfully give up for 40 days.” Sometimes, I guess we just need a win.  

Reading is the one thing I have never heard of anyone giving up for Lent. So this Lenten season, regardless of your sacrifice or your motives, consider using your extra time to engage in some self-care and spend a bit of time with a good book. 

Consider one of our new books, “Growing Slow: lessons on un-hurrying your heart from an accidental farm girl.” This book reflects on how learning to “grow slow” can improve one’s life. Following the rhythms of the natural growing season, “Growing Slow” will help you to find the true relief that comes when you stop running and start resting in Jesus; to embrace the small, good things already bearing fruit in your life; and to engage in slow growth through reflection and simple steps. 

“Not That Fancy: Simple Lessons on Living, Loving, Eating, and Dusting off your Boots” by Reba McEntire shares what the author values in her life. This book includes photographs from Reba’s childhood, career and personal life; never-before-told stories from rodeoing with her family to pranks with Brooks & Dunn; behind the scenes anecdotes from her career, with inspiration on following your own passions; more than 60 recipes from Reba’s kitchen and her restaurant; and lighthearted lifestyle tips. 

Come in and browse, as we are sure to have a book that will interest you. If your family gave up phone time for Lent, check out our ever-growing collection of jigsaw puzzles or take home a board game to fill the void and promote some quality family time.

Story Hours

Miss Cass has some special fun planned for our preschool Story Hours in March. On March 8, the theme is alphabeasts and kids will do an animal alphabet craft. Miss Iowa, Alyssa Goethe, will be our guest for Story Hour on March 15. We’ll be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day on March 22. March 29 will be centered around Easter. Preschool Story Hour is each Friday at 10 a.m.  

Book Club

Between the Covers book club will be meeting Tuesday, March 12, to discuss “Killing the Legends: the Lethal Danger of Celebrity” by Bill O’Reilly. The library has copies available to check out for those who would like to participate in the book club.

Lunch and Learn

If you haven’t already signed up for the March 13 Lunch and Learn, call or go online today to pre-register. Farm Bureau and Erin Swalwell from Advanced Markets are presenting Changing Hands: Practical Tips in Farm Estate and Succession Planning. This session will provide education and resources for farm families planning to transition the farm to the next generation, in addition to basic real estate and business succession strategies. If your farm may be changing hands in the next five, 10 or 15 years, this session is one you won’t want to miss. The lunch and learn will take place from noon to one with a light lunch provided. Pre-register by calling the library, clicking on the website calendar event, or emailing the library at

STEM Program

Monday, March 18, the Guthrie County ISU Extension will present a STEM program from 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Taylor Meeting room. The program will feature spring-themed STEM activities for elementary-aged children. 

History of Farming program

On Tuesday, March 19 at 5:30 p.m., the Living History Farms will be presenting a program at the MJB Library about the History of Farming in Iowa. Learn how agriculture has evolved over the past several centuries in Iowa, from Native American farmers to 1850s settlers to the golden age of horse-powered farming. Photographs from the museum’s historic working farms will highlight the changes in what was grown on an Iowa farm, what tools and power were necessary, and the impact on farming families. Sign up online or by calling or emailing the library as we have a 50-person limit for this special event. 

Cookbook Club

“Big Bites: Wholesome, Comforting Recipes that Are Big on Flavor, Nourishment, and Fun” by Ashmore will be the source for the recipes that will be samples at cookbook club on Thursday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. If you would like to participate, stop in the library to sign up for a recipe. Bring your dish and your appetite and come to the cookbook club to discuss the merits of this month’s selection. 


Cribbage meets every Monday from 9-11 a.m. in the Taylor Meeting Room while the bridge class is every Wednesday from 9-11 a.m.  Card-making class is the third Thursday of each month from 9-11 a.m.; March card-making class is March 21.  Card-making class charges a $5 fee for supplies. 

April Events

Mark your calendar for a fun and informative program at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 2. Joan Wells and Kris Simon will be presenting Up the Nebraska Cattle Trail and Songs of the West as part of the Speakers Bureau Living History Program. Wells and Simon will share the story of cattle drives on the Western Trail from Texas to Nebraska while sharing the origin of Western music and singing the songs of the early day cowboys. Be ready to learn some history and enjoy some bluegrass music.

The Mary J. Barnett Memorial Library is located at 400 Grand St. in Guthrie Center. Contact us at 641-747-8110 or Visit us online at