Sunday-Super Bowl, Sorrow and Sadness

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(One of my favorite pictures of Dad)

My father passed away two years ago on a Super Bowl Sunday, that Sunday, however, was February 2.

Dad had been having trouble here at home, which had sent him to the hospital and then rehab. My sister, who lives in another state, wanted to spend some time with him and help to get him back to better health.  Therefore, we decided when he left rehab for him and hubs (to help with transfers, etc.) to fly to her home state for Dad to visit.

Things were going pretty well until he had a small incident with his heart that sent him to the hospital. He was there for a while and then sent to rehab again. Things were progressing really well at rehab, but he was lonely. My sister’s FLMA (Family Leave and Medical Act) time was up, so I decided to fly out to visit for a short time.

While I was there, his doctor decided to release from rehab on February 2. I was scheduled to fly home on January 29. I tried everything I could think of to delay my flight, but without a substantial penalty, I couldn’t. Naturally, I turned to prayer!

On January 28 a huge ice/snow storm was predicted for the south, where I was flying back to. In the early AM of January 29th, I received a message my flight had been cancelled. I jokingly told my brother-in-law that the Lord had answered my prayers. He, not so jokingly, replied that he really didn’t think the Lord inconvenienced the entire South for my benefit. Whoa!! Talk about me being put in my place!

ice

We got 13 inches of snow where I was. I don’t remember ever seeing that much snow in my life and definitely not from start of snowfall to the end. It was COLD but very, very pretty.

We all went to see Dad and joked about the weather, lamented about his beloved Cowboys not being in the Super Bowl and teased each other about our choices of winner. Everyone was in high spirits looking forward to Dad being out of rehab and the upcoming Super Bowl.

On the morning of February 2, Dad got up, ate breakfast, teased with the nurses and CNA’s (he always said he’d be a tease til the day he died, and he was!), took his shower, shaved, got back in bed for a little bit to warm up from his shower-and never got up again.

There were so many things about Dad that were admirable, and quite a few that weren’t, also. He was a dedicated and hard worker. He cared very much for his family. He even, when our car broke down and we didn’t have money to repair it, rode a bicycle to and from work, in all kinds of weather and at all hours of the day or night-whatever his schedule dictated. There were times he could be unbelievably sarcastic and cruel, but he never asked anything of anyone that he wasn’t willing to do himself.

at-t-stadium Dallas

He worked for several years for the Dallas Cowboys, during their golden years with the Jimmy Johnson dynasty. And, even though he could not stand owner Jerry Jones, he was fiercely loyal to the Cowboys. (Loyalty, to a fault sometimes, was another of his good qualities.) I have some wonderful memories of visiting the old Cowboy’s stadium, along with some fantastic pictures-my kids have run off with the pictures!

So, every Super Bowl Sunday is bittersweet for me. I’m sure it will be even worse when the Cowboys finally do play a Super Bowl game again.

Monday’s Mention

 

cropped-exit-right-header.pngExit Right book jacketA provocative, intimate look at the evolution of America’s political soul through the lives of six political figures—from Whittaker Chambers to Christopher Hitchens—who abandoned the left and joined the right.

In Exit Right, Daniel Oppenheimer tells the stories of six major political figures whose journeys away from the left reshaped the contours of American politics in the twentieth century. By going deep into the minds of six apostates—Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Ronald Reagan, Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, and Christopher Hitchens—Oppenheimer offers an unusually intimate history of the American left, and the right’s reaction.

Oppenheimer is a brilliant new voice in political history who has woven together the past century’s most important movements into a single book that reveals the roots of American politics. Through the eyes of his six subjects, we see America grow, stumble, and forge ahead—from World War I up through the Great Depression and World War II, from the Red Scare up through the Civil Rights Movement, and from the birth of neoconservatism up through 9/11 and the dawn of the Iraq War.

At its core, Exit Right is a book that asks profound questions about why and how we come to believe politically at all—on the left or the right. Each of these six lives challenges us to ask where our own beliefs come from, and what it might take to change them. At a time of sky-high partisanship, Oppenheimer breaks down the boundaries that divide us and investigates the deeper origins of our politics. This is a book that will resonate with readers on the left and the right—as well as those stuck somewhere in the middle.My Review Exit RightOppenheimer’s book Exit Right is a deep, thought-provoking book about human character. What is it about character that makes a person a conservative, liberal or fence sitter?

As Oppenheimer delves into the lives of the following: Whittaker Chambers, James Burnham, Ronald Reagan, Norman Podhoretz, David Horowitz, and Christopher Hitchens, he gives us a unique perspective of six humane Americans who adopted the tenants of the progressive movement as young men. However, later in life. these same individuals did an abrupt about-face, adopting not a moderated progressivism but instead a conservatism as robust as their liberalism had once been. They were able to do this without losing any of the humane instincts that had initially drawn them into the progressive cause.

This is a fascinating phenomenon. Although the six individuals’ erstwhile friends turned on them with venom and their newfound allies hailed them as heroes, Oppenheimer’s evenhanded narrative clearly depicts them as men whose basic characters had barely changed. It is hard to escape the conclusion that there are some fundamental aspects of progressivism and conservatism as alike at their core as they are dissimilar in their program. Both attracted the minds of six geniuses as principal spokesmen in the 20th century – the same six.

This is a book to be read and re-read by every spectator or participant in American politics who has ever wondered whether their core beliefs – left or right – are grounded in reason or are perhaps just a little bit arbitrary. That class of readers would be all of us who are thoughtful and honest with ourselves.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday Supper & S’More

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Too Stressed Cookbook

About book stressed

Feeling overwhelmed by life’s daily demands? Could you use some encouragement and inspiration in the kitchen? The Too Blessed to Be Stressed Cookbook to the rescue! Each of the 100-plus recipes can be prepared in 20 minutes or less, plus you’ll encounter some fabulous tips and suggestions as well as funny foodie quotes, scripture selections, humorous stories of cooking misadventures, and more, along the way. Recipes are arranged into 4 categories–Heart-Healthy, Soul-Fed, Time-Wise, and Company-Happy–and are accompanied by appealing full-color photographs. You’ll cheer as you soak up the joy Debora M. Coty brings into your life and home!

My review stressed

Too Blessed to Be Stressed is a great cookbook for those of us so busy we seem to meet ourselves coming and going.

Debora Coty has divided the book into four basic sections that include:

Time Wise

Soul Fed

Heart Healthy

Company Happy

There is also an introduction at the beginning and menu suggestions and grocery lists at the end.

The recipes are easy to read, follow, understand and most importantly, they are quick, using food items most people have on hand already.

Scattered throughout the book are notes about the recipe, handy hints, photos, Bible quotes and cute/funny stories titled Chuckle Breaks.

I really enjoyed the book (except for the Kindle formatting, which won’t be a problem for others as it is available as a hardback copy only).

Some of my favorite recipes are Deb’s Famous Chicken Salad (I love any chicken salad with grapes and nuts in it), the Chocolate Brickle (which has a surprise ingredient), Sweet Potato Home Fries-OK, who am I kidding, I pretty much like all of them I’ve tried so far!!

If you are looking for a way to streamline and de-stress mealtimes, Too Blessed to Be Stressed is definitely a book you want to check out!

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday’s Tale

 

Blog-Cover-Blue-RibbonBlue Ribbon Trail

Blue Ribbon Trail Ride (Horses and Friends Book 4) by Miralee Ferrell

Thirteen-year old Kate and her friends came up with the perfect way to raise money for her autistic younger brother and others to attend summer camp—a horse scavenger hunt! As local businesses donate money and prizes, Kate keeps the entry fees in her mom’s antique jewelry box.

But when the box and the money disappear, Kate and her friends must unravel the clues, hold on to hope, and solve the mystery along the Blue Ribbon Trail Ride.

As we meet again with Kate and her friends, excitement and mystery abound. The teenagers have decided to have a horse scavenger hunt. However, things don’t go as planned and solving mysterious happenings rule the day.

I was caught up in the frustration the teenagers felt when Kate’s mother’s antique jewelry box disappears. I rooted for them as they devised ways to capture the thief and felt their disappointment and irritation when it didn’t work.

Throughout the series, of which this is book 4, the reader is privileged to watch how the friends have grown and matured in their friendships and faith. Along the way, we have also been able to see how they interact with, and come to love, Kate’s younger brother, who is autistic.

A heart-warming story of friendship, rising to the occasion and ultimately of forgiveness, Blue Ribbon Trail Ride will become another favorite for readers, both young and old alike.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Monday’s Mention

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When it comes to strong families that know how to truly enjoy life together, there is much we can learn from the Amish. Just how do they establish such strong family bonds, such deeply held values, and such wonderful family traditions? In Amish Values for Your Family, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shares the secrets of Amish family life. In this inspiring and practical book, you will meet real Amish families that are a lot like yours. Through their stories you’ll discover how to

slow down
safeguard family time
raise children who stand strong in their faith
prioritize what’s truly important

Amish values like community, forgiveness, simple living, obedience, and more can be your family legacy–without selling your car or changing your wardrobe.

Suzanne Woods Fisher has written a gem with Amish Values for Your Family. The book is divided into four sections:

Section One:   Children Are Loved but Not Adored

Section Two:   Great Expectations

Section Three: Daily Bread

Section Four:   Letting Go

Plus an Introduction and Epilogue. Each section has 9 or 10 short stories that begin with an Amish Proverb, followed by a true story illustrating the chosen value, a section called, Road Map: Getting There From Here, and ending with an anecdote entitled, In their own words.

The format makes it easy to read a story or multiple stories quickly or like a devotional you take time to savor. Even though the book can be read quite quickly, you will want to slow down and absorb all the truths presented.

The stories are sure to stir your heart and leave you wanting to adapt and implement many of the values illustrated into your own life and that of your family’s also. As Suzanne says, “. . . there is much we can learn from these gentle people about raising our families well: to help prioritize what’s truly important, to simplify decision making, to slow down as a family, to safeguard time together, and when age-appropriate, to let go.”

A sweet and endearing look at the Amish with practical lessons we can all learn from, Amish Values for Your Family will remain a book you will not easily forget and are sure to refer to over and over.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Friday’s Frustration

Today and all week this week, in fact, I am deviating from my normal routine of book reviews.

Recently, I heard that a well-known Christian writing conference was going to be nearer my home this year, and was excited to think I may get to go. However, before I had gotten very far in my planning, I heard something very disturbing regarding the conference.

The conference will have an early speaker that is notorious for his “colorful” language. I’m not a prude, I know people use all kinds of words when speaking, but I do feel that the “f-bomb” is just a little too much, especially for a Christian conference.

This, to me, is the equivalent to the following scenario:

A local new car dealership sells Fords. Now, the dealer has heard many people say they like Toyota’s better. He thinks to himself, I’ll just slap a label of Ford on a Toyota and sell it as a Ford. The problem, of course, is that the people going to a Ford dealership want a Ford, not a Toyota-EVEN if it says FORD on it.

When marketing there are some venues where you can expect every range of product available for example, BAM or B&N offer ALL types of books, even some considered porn. However, if you go to Lifeway or another Christian bookstore, you don’t expect to see a non-Christian book and especially not porn.

You can rationalize, explain and trivialize it all you want, but the fact remains, this is a venue for Christian writers. There are LOTS of other venues for writers, to include the different writer’s groups the speaker is affiliated with, such as Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America and several others.

There is even a paragraph in the intro portion of the Christian writers conference page stating that every year hundreds of veteran authors and new authors (and I’m also assuming, want to be authors) gather together to learn the craft of Christian fiction. My question is, “How can you learn the craft of Christian fiction from someone who most people would be offended listening to and would either sit there in uncomfortable silence or walk out in disgust?”

To say I’m disappointed is putting it mildly. I’ve read books by and interacted with most, if not all, of the board members, and I feel this is a stab in the back to those trying to stay true to the craft.

I don’t think I would be as upset if this person had not been there before and/or people weren’t aware of his propensity to vulgarity. But, he has been a SPEAKER for this same group before (and most people walked out of his speech).

If you put a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it’s still a wolf!

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