Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Heart Mender

In the classic storytelling style of The Noticer and The Traveler’s GiftNew York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews now delivers an adventure set sharply against the warm waters and white sands of the Gulf of Mexico in WWII America.

He takes a true story that he experienced, and shows how anger can destroy a life and how forgiveness can set that life free.

Saddened and unable to abandon her resentment toward the Nazi war machine that took her husband’s life, the young and attractive Helen Mason is living a bitter, lonely existence. Betrayed and left for dead, German U-boat officer Lt. Josef Landermann washes ashore in a sleepy town along the northern gulf coast, looking to Helen for survival.
The Heart Mender is a story of life, loss, and reconciliation, reminding us of the power of forgiveness and the universal healing experience of letting go.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Black Friday

"Black Friday" as a term has been used in multiple contexts, going back to the 19th century, where in the United States it was associated with a financial crisis of 1869. The earliest known invocation of "Black Friday" to refer to shopping on the day after Thanksgiving was made in a public relations newsletter from 1961 that is clear on the negative implications of the name and its origin in Philadelphia:
For downtown merchants throughout the nation, the biggest shopping days normally are the two following Thanksgiving Day. Resulting traffic jams are an irksome problem to the police and, in Philadelphia, it became customary for officers to refer to the post-Thanksgiving days as Black Friday and Black Saturday. Hardly a stimulus for good business, the problem was discussed by the merchants with their Deputy City Representative, Abe S. Rosen, one of the country's most experienced municipal PR executives. He recommended adoption of a positive approach which would convert Black Friday and Black Saturday to Big Friday and Big Saturday with exceptional sales.
Do I shop on Black Friday?  NO WAY!  I may sit down at my computer and order something, but there is no way that I will fight the crowds and traffic trying to find and item on sale only to find it sold out. How about you? Did you shop and did you find what you were looking for?

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful Thoughts--Our First Thanksgiving

"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe

The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. Pilgrims and Puritans who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England. Several days of Thanksgiving were held in early New England history that have been identified as the "First Thanksgiving", including Pilgrim holidays in Plymouth in 1621 and 1623,
George Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God"

I have much to be thankful for--parents, family and friends, living in America, the technology that has made life easier, and most of all the love of God that sustains even in times of trials.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. Are you settling for something?
Yes, I am settling for peace and quiet, instead of the bedlam of being around a bunch of people (none of whom I am related to) on Thanksgiving--

2.  It wasn't that long ago almost every store in the US locked doors and turned out lights on Thanksgiving Day. This year many will be open all day Thursday, giving shoppers a jump start on 'Black Friday'. In your opinion is this a good thing or a not so good thing? Will you be shopping on Thanksgiving Day?
I won't be shopping on Thanksgiving day nor on Black Friday.  I would like to think that most employees would enjoy the day with their families rather than having to put up with rude people.

3. Speaking of shopping... I saw a recent article on the twelve best shopping cities in the world. In order they are-

New York, Tokyo, London, Kuala Lumpur, Paris, Hong Kong, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Dubai, Madrid, Milan, and Seoul. 

Ever shopped in any of the cities listed? In which city would you most like to pull out the plastic or cold hard cash?
I have shopped in New York, just this month, in London once, and in Paris for three years a while back.

I  like Internet shopping better.

4.  When did you last dine by candlelight?

5. What do you have too much of?

6. The Hunger Games...are you a fan?  Did you read the book(s)?  Will you/have you seen the movie?  Will you/have you seen Catching Fire?  No spoilers please!
I have not seen the Hunger Games.

7. Share your plans for Thanksgiving Day. The who, the where, the what...especially the what! As in what's for dinner?  If you're one of my International visitors, whose homeland doesn't celebrate American Thanksgiving (the whole world doesn't ya know!), then still tell us your plans for Thursday. 
See number one above.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I am having a hard time realizing that when people don't live up to my expectation, that is not their problem, that it is mine.  I have to deal with the disappointment for having placed on them my hopes.  I need to be content with what I am given, I can hope for higher accomplishments, but I am only responsible for my own actions.  So this Thanksgiving I am thankful for all the love and friendship that I have been given and gratefully accept it as it is.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thankful Thoughts--Inventions

Article Image
Randy Mulder's Time Machine
I grew up on the side of a rugged mountain in Wyoming.  For a long time we didn't have electricity.  Just think of all the appliances that we now use daily without a thought that weren't part of my life as a child.

There were also many inventions that I have been witness to in the last 60 years--Microwave oven, computers, color television, nuclear weapons, silly putty, kidney dialysis machine, Tupperware, mobile phones, credit cards, tetracycline, hula hoops,  Barbie dolls, VCR, laser printers, MRI's, MS Dos (my first computer language), Prozac, World Wide Web, HTTP and HTML, YouTube and text messaging. And still technology is expanding.

So I am thankful for all the things that I have access to that make life easier and interesting--things that I never had growing up.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Monday Quiz About Me

Acting Balanced

Here are FOUR QUESTIONS that everyone can answer and then you have the option to add a fifth question of your own for those who are visiting your blog to answer in the comment section, along with commenting on the four standard questions you answered! 
Here are the Questions:

1. Yesterday (Sunday) was National Adoption Day in the US - does your family (or friend family) have an adoption story?
My youngest daughter is unofficially "adopted".  She came to live with us when she was 10 days old.  Her mother a friend of my best friend was unable to care for her, so I became her Mama Marti.  She now is grown with two children of her own, has a good job as a pharmacy tech, and a house with stairs (something she wanted since she was four or five years old)

2. Do you plan out your Thanksgiving preparations?  When do you start?
One of the advantages of having grown children, they can invite you for dinner, and all you have to do is bring a pie.

3. Shopping on holidays - pro or con?  What do you think of stores and malls opening at 6 PM or 10 PM on Thanksgiving for "Black Friday" What about Midnight or 3 AM?  Are you planning to shop at any time this coming weekend?
I will not be shopping on Black Friday.  Some stores here in Phoenix are going to be open all day on Thanksgiving.  I really don't like that idea.  There should be some days that all families can be together.

4. Do you have a fireplace?  Do you use it?  If you don't, do you want one?
I don't have a fireplace, with temperatures so moderate in Phoenix, some years I don't even have to use my furnace.  They do have a nice ambiance on a snowy night, but I have to go north for that.

And now a question for you:
5.  Do you like cranberries? If so what is your favorite way to have them?
Me--I like cranberry juice (and it is so good for you), I also like them in breads and cookies, but not out of the can as jelly or sauce.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thankful Thoughts--God's Love

  1. The Love of God by Frederick M. Lehman, 1917

  2. The love of God is greater far
  3. Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
    It goes beyond the highest star,
    And reaches to the lowest hell;
    The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
    God gave His Son to win;
    His erring child He reconciled,
    And pardoned from his sin.
    • Refrain:
      Oh, love of God, how rich and pure!
      How measureless and strong!
      It shall forevermore endure—
      The saints’ and angels’ song.

  4. Could we with ink the ocean fill,
    And were the skies of parchment made,
    Were every stalk on earth a quill,
    And every man a scribe by trade;
    To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry;
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
    Though stretched from sky to sky.

    The last verse was penciled on the wall of a narrow room in an insane asylum by a man said to have been demented. The profound lines were discovered when they laid him in his coffin. The poem 
    had its roots in a long Jewish poem written in the eleventh century in Germany. The Jewish poem, Hadamut, in the Aramaic language, has ninety couplets. It was composed, in the year 1096, by Rabbi Mayer, son of Isaac Nehorai, who was a cantor in the city of Worms, Germany.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thankful Thoughts--Good Books--The Discovery

Here is another book from one of my favorite authors--Dan Walsh. I highly recommend it to those of you who love historical novels, with just a nod to romance.
From the Back Cover

An Engrossing Story of Family Secrets and a Love for the Ages
When aspiring writer Michael Warner inherits his grandfather's venerable Charleston estate, he settles in to write his first novel. But within the confines of the stately home, he discovers an unpublished manuscript that his grandfather, a literary giant whose novels sold in the millions, had kept hidden from everyone--but which he clearly intended Michael to find. As he delves deep into the exciting tale about spies and sabotage, Michael discovers something that has the power to change not only his future but his past as well.

Laced with suspense and intrigue, The Discovery is a richly woven novel that explores the incredible sacrifices that must be made to forge the love of a lifetime. Author Dan Walsh delivers yet another unique and heartfelt story that will stick with you long after you've turned the last page.

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of 9 novels, published by Revell and Guideposts, including The Unfinished Gift, The Reunion and The Dance. He has won 3 ACFW Carol Awards, 2 Selah Awards, and twice his novels have been named as finalists for RT Reviews Inspirational Novel of the Year. 

For those who haven't read Dan's books, reviewers often compare him to Nicholas Sparks and Richard Paul Evans. His latest project is partnering with Gary Smalley on a 4-book fiction series. The first book, The Dance, released in April 2013. It hit both the CBA and ECPA bestsellers list. The 2nd novel, The Promise, released in September. Dan served as a pastor for 25 years and now writes full time. He and his wife Cindi have been married 36 years and have 2 grown children, both married, and 1 grandson. They live in Port Orange, FL. 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thankful Thoughts--Friends and Family

I am especially thankful for my friends and family.  I was blessed with wonderful, loving parents, and a whole bunch of siblings--each with a unique personality.  I have children who I can count on when the chips are down, and loving grand children who make me proud.  I am blessed with friends who share my artistic ideas, and a special man who is the sweetheart of my life.

I hope that you enjoy the following quotes about friends and family:

What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family. – Mother Teresa

What greater thing is there for human souls than to feel that they are joined for life – to be with each other in silent unspeakable memories. – George Eliot

A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow. – William Shakespeare

The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, not the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Thankful Thoughts--America

This season of thanksgiving, we all are thankful for the abundance of life that we have.  We in America are so blessed that we live in a country rich with freedoms that so much of the rest of the world only dreams about. We are a prosperous, enterprising country where dreams are attainable.

The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that "all men are created equal" and that they are "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights" including "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Today this implies an opportunity for Americans to achieve prosperity through hard work. According to The Dream, this includes the opportunity for one's children to grow up and receive a good education and career without artificial barriers. It is the opportunity to make individual choices without the prior restrictions that limited people according to their class, caste, religion, race, or ethnicity. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday Hodgepodge

1. What lesson has failure taught you?
The knowledge to prevent making the same mistake again.

2. What decision are you glad you made?
To live life to the fullest.  Even though I was extremely shy as a kid, I promised myself that when an opportunity came my way, I would take advantage of it.  Not only did it help me overcome my shyness, I have been able to experience many great adventures.

3. I've been a little bit surprised to see fully lit and decorated Christmas trees popping up for the past several weeks in friend's Instagram feeds. So tell the truth-is your tree up and decorated, and if so when did that happen? If not, when will you be decking the halls?
My tree isn't up.  My plans this year are tenuous, so I might not even put up a tree.

4. Solitaire-Poker-Rummy-Hearts-Go Fish-Old Maid...which game of cards would you most like to join? 
I play solitaire and hearts on the computer most every day.  When I am with the grands, I play Go Fish.

5. This question comes to you courtesy of a Facebook friend, who once upon a time had a blog...When you're feeling stressed do you snack a lot or are you more the 'can't eat' type? 
I am definitely a stress eater.  When things are on an even keel, I will often forget to eat.

6.  Have you ever reviewed a product or service on line? Was your review favorable or less than favorable? 
I review books regularly, and it depends on the book whether it gets a thumbs up or a thumbs down.

7. What was the best conversation you had yesterday? 
I spoke with my sweetie, who is out of the country, and enjoyed hearing of his day.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
I am so enjoying the wonderful weather we are now having in Phoenix.  Highs in the low 80's or high 70's.  I love being outside whether it is reading in the morning, or working on my container garden, or relaxing in my swing.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful Thoughts--Parents

I'm sure that during the month of November, we all have thought of what we are thankful for.  I am no exception, so for the next few posts, I'm going to ponder some of those blessing that I have in my life.

I am so thankful that I had wonderful parents.  Growing up, although we were poor, we never really knew it--we were so surrounded by love.  My parents gave me a sense of worth and treated me with respect.  They listened to me, and challenged me to be the best person that I could be.  They instilled the importance of goals, honoring commitments, and living a God-pleasing life.   They did this not only by what they said but by the way that they lived.

I am thankful that they help mold me into the person that I am today.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Monday Quiz about me.

Acting Balanced

Here are FOUR QUESTIONS that everyone can answer and then you have the option to add a fifth question of your own for those who are visiting your blog to answer in the comment section, along with commenting on the four standard questions you answered! 
Here are the Questions:

1. According to the source I use for strange and wonderful days, today is Occult Day - are you a believer? 
I do believe there is a spirit world that is ruled by Satan, and that his demons actively seek to pollute people.  I think that God fearing people need to be aware of the dangers of the occult.

2. Have you ever attended an auction?  Did you win what you were bidding on?
I love to go to auctions.  Sometimes it is just to see what is available and what it sells for.  I have bid on furniture and small accessories and occasionally have won.

3. Have you started your Christmas shopping?  Finished it?
I was just telling a friend, yesterday that I am so behind.  My now I usually have most everything made, but I don't even have my ideas yet.  Maybe I will just go on a vacation and forget about it.

4. How's your weather?
We are having our beautiful weather now--highs in the low 80's and low's in the low 70's.  This morning it was just a bit cloudy so there was a beautiful sunrise.

And now a question for you--
5.  What do you do especially during the holiday season for those less fortunate than you?
I donate food to the food banks, gift cards for the needy, and adopt a boy and girl and make sure they have a good Christmas.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Pay Back

Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the Lord, and he will avenge you.(NIV)

Psalm 94:1 The Lord is a God who avenges.   O God who avenges, shine forth.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Thunder Dog

Thunder Dog is the true story of a blind man and his guide dog, and their struggle for escape from Tower One on 9/11.  Faith.  Trust.  Triumph. "I trust Roselle with my life, every day. She trusts me to direct her. And today is no different, except the stakes are higher." Michael Hingson

First came the boom, the loud, deep, unapologetic bellow that seemed to erupt from the very core of the earth. Eerily, the majestic high-rise slowly leaned to the south. On the seventy-eighth floor of the World Trade Center's north tower, no alarms sounded, and no one had information about what had happened at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001. What should have been a normal workday for thousands of people. All that was known to the people inside was what they could see out the windows: smoke and fire and millions of pieces of burning paper and other debris falling through the air. Blind since birth, Michael couldn't see a thing, but he could hear the sounds of shattering glass, falling debris, and terrified people flooding around him and his guide dog, Roselle. However, Roselle sat calmly beside him. In that moment, Michael chose to trust Roselle's judgment and not to panic. They are a team.

Thunder Dog allows you entry into the isolated, fume-filled chamber of stairwell B to experience survival through the eyes of a blind man and his beloved guide dog. Live each moment from the second a Boeing 767 hits the north tower, to the harrowing stairwell escape, to dodging death a second time as both towers fold into the earth.
It's the 9/11 story that will forever change your spirit and your perspective.

Thunder Dog also illuminates Hingson's lifelong determination to achieve equality in a sighted world, Born blind but living as a normal person it shows how the rare trust between a man and his guide dog can inspire an unshakable faith in each one of us.

Friday, November 15, 2013

All Good Things Come to an End

Me and my (airplane) shadow
Travel Companions
Cruise--good food, cute waiter
Side trip to Philadelphia for a cheese steak sandwich at the world renowned  Geno's

And no vacation picture collection would be complete without a couple of these shots
Boston Sewer Cover
NYC sewer cover
Finally, here are some things that I learned about New York City

First thing I learned that the red lights on street corners are 
       nice decorations that vehicles don't pay attention to,
I also figured out that walk signs are for tourists; 
that the price of food has no relation to its quality, 
that people are too busy to give directions and
that is one of the most exciting cities that I have visited.