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The written word has always been a joy for me.  I can not remember a time in my life when I did not have books. Before I was able to read them, my mother read books to me. As soon as I could read independently I was never without a book in my hands or very nearby.  As years passed, writing developed into a passion for me as well. I tried novel writing while home with my two children during their early years and was challenged to focus on the craft.  I never gave up the love even when I had to give up the pursuit.  Now, with grown children and the fact I am sitting on the other side of fifty I can pursue my dream of writing.  I have continued the reading quest but now the writing is attainable as well.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Book Review - The Power of a Half Hour: not the revelation I'd hoped for...

One of the hardest endeavors for me is to voice an opposing opinion.  I often feel like the dinosaur on Toy Story, the movie, that was famous for saying, "I don't like confrontations."  Even writing a less than positive comment can be difficult.  That said, here I go.

 I just finished reading a new book that I had high hopes for; we are approaching New Year's resolution time after all, which means self improvement season is approaching.  To get a head start on the process I ordered the book, "The Power of a Half Hour: Take Back Your Life Thirty Minutes at a Time," written by Tommy Barnett. The book was  touted by christian fellow authors  as being filled with "...unique, practical, and God inspired truths to keep your time focused on all that God called you to do..." (Joyce Meyer, Bible teacher and best selling author).
However, I found the book to be disappointing and full of advice that was common sense knowledge most adults already know.  One example I found was in his chapter Connect With Impact.  Barnett's "Power Principle" for this chapter is "Good Friendships require time...over time."  My first thought when I read this, as when I read most of his power principles, was...duh.  I don't know of any relationship in existence, friendships, marriage, children, work, even pets, that don't require time... over time to be successful.
Barnett continues throughout his book to sprinkle occasional bible passages or concepts, at least enough to substantiate it as christian literature. He uses a great deal of  print to tell the reader how wonderful his own church and life has been, while using the catch phrase of the book, "the power of a half hour," to remind the reader of his concept. Just in case the reader got lost in all the anecdotal moments when Barnett  was telling about his travels and church life as he had revelations that in a half hour something amazing happened to him.
I approached the book with expectations to learn how to utilize my time to the fullest to learn and apply God's word in my life.  I was disappointed.  I felt like the phrase, "The Power of a Half Hour..." was just a gimmick coined to sell print.  In lieu of reading the book, spend a half hour in the bible, and your time will be well spent. I received my copy of "The Power of a Half Hour" from Bloggingforbooks.com

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Guide to Life's Little Challenges, "Furry Logic"

I’m not going to lie, I am more than a little bit excited to post this blog. I have been waiting anxiously for the mail to deliver my first book to review for a new endeavor and yesterday it arrived! Just in time for Christmas gift giving and inspiration to remember that life’s little challenges, as the book tells on its cover, can be dealt with best with a bit of “Furry Logic.”
It’s only logical, a classic concept, is given a new twist in the 10th anniversary edition of “Furry Logic,” written by Jane Seabrook.  “Furry Logic” shares humorous and every day insights paired with illustrations of animals at their comical best. “Furry Logic” has been an enjoyable read for many years, and this edition is no exception. One thing that I enjoy about the book is that  it never fails to coax the reader into smiling and enjoying the sayings and illustrations. One that I really enjoy is the sleeping cat that states, “It might look like I’m doing nothing, but at a cellular level I’m really quite busy.” I love that the short saying with the picture is not only clever but has a tinge of sassy too.  
I highly recommend reading Seabrook’s book as a brief mental vacation during your jam packed holiday schedule. If you enjoy if as much as I did, purchase “Furry Logic” and  pass it along to family and friends.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Use it or lose it!"

“Use it or lose it,” This is not a new concept. How many times have you heard this phrase? In my youth I associated these words the most with exercise and muscle mass.  I knew that if I did not consistently exercise, then I would not maintain my physical endurance and tone.
I am no longer as concerned about losing my muscle tone, now I have other “use it or lose it” considerations. After fifty, “use it or lose it,” is most commonly associated with brain function. As one gets older,  cognitive functioning is always of utmost concern. Yet, continuing to find ways to stimulate the brain is a challenge.  The issue is not so much in the activity itself, as finding a way to engage one’s brain in a way that encourages cognitive function as well as stimulates enough enjoyment to be continued. That’s the kicker!
I have always enjoyed reading and writing.  I believe in future blogs there will begin an activity that joins the two as a continued “use it or lose it” endeavor for me. What are cognitive activities that you enjoy? How can you find ways to utilize your hobby as brain candy for your future?  The goal is not the finish line in this exercise, no, this time it is all about the journey.  Farther down the road I want to be able to enjoy my friends and family as well as my life.
Whether you join me in the over fifty club or not, I invite you to join me on my “use it or lose it” quest.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

Orphaned at 50

I watched a program on HBO  a few weekends ago titled, “700 Sundays.”  The show was  performed as a one man production and the actor was Billy Crystal.   The premise of the show was 700 Sundays of his life from childhood until his age now.  Many portions of his production were comedic, as one might expect knowing Billy Crystal’s work.  Yet, some were quite poignant.  When Crystal  spoke of his memories of both his father’s death, when  Crystal was 15 years old, and his mother’s  strokes and death, when Crystal was 53, I was truly touched.  One statement he shared really stirred my heart, Crystal said he was 53 years old and he was an orphan.  
Finally, I thought, someone understands.  

Last summer my mother died. My father died in 2001, so the passing of my mother was the death of my only surviving parent.  My first thought as I felt the aching hollow in my chest was, now I am an orphan.  I know this may sound strange to those who have one or both of their parents still in their lives.  But it doesn’t seem to matter how old one is; when an individual loses the final parent living,  no matter the age, one feels orphaned.    

Suddenly, there is no one to know you from the moment you came into the earth.  Yes, there may be brothers or sisters who were already born when you were born, but  they don’t “know” you as a mother or father does.  You weren't created by their love, they didn’t feel you move inside them or know that you wouldn’t be a part of this world without their intervention.  Most importantly, you don’t owe them for your sole existence. You may love your siblings wholeheartedly but you will never be loved again unconditionally simply because you were their creation, their child.  

Will being an orphan define my existence for the rest of my life?  Probably.  Can being an orphan provide me with new possibilities?  Most certainly.  I think of it as a regretful freedom.  It is definitely not a gift, but  I can choose to only look at the negative and the loss I have experienced, or I can focus on the freedom from responsibility that I have been given. I am fully aware that had I not been blessed with such amazing, and loving parents I would not be feeling their loss as deeply. Yet another reason to be thankful for them.

Any day I would rather still have my parents by my side, but I must be grateful for the fact they are no longer suffering from their afflictions; and selfishly that I am not having to watch them do so. Now I must use the experiences that I have had and move forward. My hope is that I may become a stronger person and parent for my own children, and that I will from now on focus on the future, without forgetting the past.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Always Looking Down:

If you saw me out walking, alone or with my puppy, you would see me always looking down. A body behavior analyst might diagnose me as depressed or lonely.  This isn't the case.  On the contrary, I am generally a happy, positive person. So why do I always look down?

It began as a survival  technique. I owned no prescription sunglasses and I loved to walk outside in the sunshine.  It was easier to look down at the pavement than to look around.  It wasn't long until I found that looking down  focused my internal contemplations on my walks.  I could mull over problems or ideas when the only distraction was the moving pavement beneath my cross trainers.

Eventually, I found that looking down has other benefits as well.  You find many things while looking down;  you might just find pennies from heaven,  you may discover a little lizard darting in and out of the grass by the path or  even a snake that is meandering along the asphalt.  I can't count how many nails and  screws that I have picked up during the years I have looked down walking.  I always bring them home and place them in the trash, hoping that I saved a tire from deflating or an owner from a costly unexpected expense.

I do look up when hearing cars approach but then go right back to my routine.  Somehow, over time, I have discovered that I have found more than pennies, nails and critters as I look down. I have also found myself.  I look down the path that lies in front of me and I observe the little anomalies that  I come across.  I enjoy the small moments filled with found treasures. These may be a penny or dime on my path or a treasured hug and kiss from a loved one. I feel thanks for the dangers thwarted like a nail in a tire or  a distress call or need from family that can be solved or removed.  Finally, I revel in creation observed like a wee wooly caterpillar along the path or  a neighbor's child discovering a new skill.  

 I feel gratitude that years ago I did not have sunglasses and learned to look down as I walked.  Because life can be rich, even when you are looking down.