Friday, December 30, 2011

Follow Friday Four Fill In

Every week, Hilary of Feeling Beachie gives us four statements to complete. Her co-host this week is Irene from Me, Myself and I. If you have suggestions for questions, please let Hilary know and you could be her co-host!

This week’s statements:
1. Lately, I have been feeling  a little___________
2. I am usually a ­­­­______
3. ________________________is always the best feeling at the end of the day
4. _________________________is the first thing I do in the morning
My Answers:
1. Lately, I have been feeling a little depressed.
2. I am usually a positive person. Really.
3. A hug is always the best feeling at the end of the day.
4. Get  a hot mug of coffee is the first thing I do in the morning, or I cannot function. 



I think it is human nature to be be superstitious, whether you admit it or not, or call it that or not. Everyone talks about "luck", or perhaps have items they consider "lucky". Athletes are known for the rituals they follow. Some athletes have articles of clothing they wear or won't wash if they are on a winning streak. Dale Earnhardt had a "lucky penny" glued to his dashboard when he had a particular important win. Tom Brady wouldn't cut his hair when the Patriots were on a winning streak one year.

My Granny was a small but mighty woman, even imposing at a petite 4'8". Even she had superstitions. One passed down through her beliefs was that all Christmas decorations be taken down and put away before midnight New Year's eve. Before the new year arrives, this must be done or someone in the house may die in the new year. I remember fearing this and that something may get overlooked...then what?! Well, I still observe this, but not as strictly. As a Catholic, I now like to leave the nativity out until Epiphany. (Granny was a strict Baptist, as was I growing up.) 

It was also not wise to put up a calendar for the new year until the 1st day of the new year. You did not want to bring the bad things from the old year into the new year. You want to start fresh.

Granny also delivered many babies in western Tennessee, in her day (early 1900's). She believed in the "veil" some infants are born with as being "lucky" for that child. The veil usually was over the infants face. Granny would take this and put it on a Bible for the mother, to preserve it for her and the child. To destroy it was considered very bad luck, as it was an omen of greatness for the child.

These were Granny's superstitions. Seven year bad luck for breaking a mirror, throwing salt over your left shoulder however, as were many others, considered "old wives tales", not to be taken seriously.

Superstitions are often family traditions, which is also common in many cultures.

 Martha Mary

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs

Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs: A True Story of Bad Breaks and Small Miracles

A True Story of Bad Breaks and Small Miracles

By Heather Lende

In her second book, Heather Lende takes us on an emotional journey. Being the obituary writer for her local newspaper in Alaska, she is well versed in the emotions of life and death. However, it became personal when she was in a near-fatal accident, literally run over by a truck. To add to her pain, she lost her mother to leukemia a year later.

Confined to bed, Heather reflected on life, death, and everything in-between. What came of it all is this beautifully miraculous book.  Heather turns once again to her neighbors, friends and community. There she finds strength to focus on faith and spirituality and from that there is growth and eventually healing.

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dear Old Love

Anonymous Notes to Former Crushes, Sweethearts, Husbands, Wives, & Ones that Got Away

Compiled By Andy Selsberg

When Andy Selsberg got married, he reflected on commitment and old loves. He felt the need to reconcile past relationships, the joys and lessons of some and the pain or errors of others. He turned to the Internet and started this project as a website. It would be a place to leave messages to old or lost loves.

Being able to do so anonymously made it easy to say what may have otherwise been difficult or perhaps impossible. To be able to take a love story and condense it into one line is undeniably an art. This only adds to the importance and beauty of the message and of this book. There is quite a variety of messages and thoughts here. The final section of the book is a “fill-in” section, where you can actually create your own “Dear Old Love…” messages.

Quite often, it is the small book that has so much to say. This book is an excellent example as is says a lot very succinctly. Dear Old Love is for the ones who got away and the ones that were held onto, if only in our hearts. It honours them all by addressing them, “Dear Old Love”.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
Peace & blessings to all!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa is on his way!

It's true!
I was watching CNN this morning,
while having my morning cup of coffee.
Breaking news is that Santa
has left the North Pole!
He is making his rounds,
delivering gifts to everyone
on his "Nice List"!
This is how you can track Santa
as he is traveling:

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Please Note:
Book Reviews will resume next week!
Thanks! Happy Holidays!

Follow Friday Fun Four Fill-In

Hilary at Feeling Beachie is the host of this very fun Hop.

Each week, she lists four statements with a blank for us to fill in on our own blogs. If you want to join the fun and come up with four fill in’s of your own, let her know. If she uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop!This week’s co-host is the wonderful Brenda of Fiction With a Purpose (she came up with the last two statements). Please visit them both; they are wonderful women.

This week’s statements:
1. I have a love hate relationship with_____
2. I have been buying a lot of ___ lately
3. If I hear _____________ anymore I swear I will _________________
4. Whenever I see_____ makes me ____________ and then I ____________

My Answers:
1. I have a love-hate relationship with healthcare. The miracles of science amazes does my failed ankle surgery. I can't believe I am worse now than before.
2. I have been buying a lot of critter food lately. Between the inside furkids and the birds & squirrels outside, we are going through a lot of critter food!
3. If I hear Frank Sinatra sing "Mistletoe & Holly" anymore, I swear I will boycott carols!
4. Whenever I see people going for walks, it makes me remember how great it felt, and then I feel very sad that I can't. I am trying to get my ankle issue resolved, but it is time consuming, painful both physically and emotionally, and extremely disheartening.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Maggie's Bath

Chloe loves her "big sister" Maggie,

sometimes to Maggie's dismay.

Maggie is patient & tries to indulge Chloe,

knowing that Chloe is very persistent,
and does not take "No" for an answer.

Chloe gets her way as always,

which is wanting Maggie's attention.

Clean and comfy, now...

it's nap time.

Cat Thursday

Merry Christmas to All!

Wordless Wednesday


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fun Follow Four Fill In

Every week, Hilary of Feeling Beachie hosts a "Follow Friday Four Fill-In Fun". I hate to miss this one,  so even if I have to be late, I try to make it! So, here we go...
This week’s statements:
1.       ____ is my ideal winter night.
2.       I don’t remember the last time I ___ but, I really want to.
3.       I will never turn down __________
4.      To save money I like to ____________
My Answers:
1. Cuddling inside, and watching a good snowfall from the bay window is my ideal winter night. This was fun last February, when we had a good old-fashioned blizzard!
2. I don't remember the last time I made a snowman, but I really want to! I also want to go sledding!!
3. I will never turn down a hug.
4. To save money,  I like to re-use whatever I can as long as possible!
Thank you, Hilary, for hosting this fun each week! Hugs!
Please go visit Hilary at Feeling Beachie; she & her blog are awesome! You'll love them, and you will especially love Alex!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Meowy Cat Thursday!

Here's hoping you are on the "Nice" list!

On the Road Again...

After 7+ weeks, Bill was finally home for a few days. It was not long enough, went way too fast!
Bill is a long haul truck driver. He is one of the hard working guys who brings the food to the stores, who makes sure you have what you need accessible to you.
As you know, we have been together for over 30 years. We have been through many things, always together. Bill wasn't home for Thanksgiving, and he will not be home for the holidays. Such is the life of a long haul trucker. It just isn't "home" without him.  It's hard; I miss him.
The next time you encounter a trucker on the road, please remember he is doing a job you rely upon. He is a regular guy, and someone loves him. Please give him the space and respect he deserves. It might be Bill.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fun Four Fill-In...

Every Friday, Hilary at Feeling Beachie hosts this fun "Fill In". Please join her! 
This week’s statements:
1.       When I ___ I feel that ___ paid off.
2.       I just realized that____.
3.       My _______ come from _______.
4.       If I had _____, I would _____.
My Answers:
1. When I think of my husband I feel that loyalty & commitment paid off.
2. I just realized that I have to have my ankle surgery totally re-done.
3. My decisions come from my intuitions based on experiences.
4. If I had my ideal life, I would live in the U.P. and commune mostly with nature.
Now, hop on over & visit Hilary!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Cat & their Authors

               Cats & their Authors

Oscar & Dr. David Dosa,
"Making Rounds with Oscar"
(my review was 12/1)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Things & Stuff

Youth is spent collecting things. We find things that we like and we keep them. We attach our identity to them, making them important if only to us.

Our collections grow as we do. They hold memories, marking time. They preserve a place in our history, tangible pieces of who we are and where we have been. These are the things that made us who we are, and tell our story. They define us, becoming our lifelines, anchoring us to the world as we know it.

As we go through our lives, we continue to obtain things. Some things make our lives easier. We reward ourselves with things that we feel we deserve or have earned. We become surrounded with things, a lifetime of collected moments, events, memories and rewards.

However, sometimes life events or circumstances changes your focus. Suddenly, you see these things for what they really are: things.

My health with its complications forced me to do things differently. I had to do things differently, changing many things. Again it has changed, as I found out that the surgery "didn't take". I had been told for six months that it was  successful.

When Bill lost his job, we truly learned what is necessary...and what is not. There is a big difference between what you want and what you need. His new career is teaching us both many things. (It has been six weeks since I have seen my husband of 30+ years.)

My health issues, loss of Bill's career, loss of family and loved ones, all of this refocused our energies and also our finances. It became increasingly obvious how much time and energy, but also space and money was spent, perhaps wasted on "things". As stress rose, so did the need to simplify. Inevitably, reality set in as to the differences between need and want. With this came the clarity that our happiest times were those of simplicity.

Personally, I have never been one to need much to make me happy. Loved ones, human or fuzzy, nature, hugs, smiles...the little things always make me happy. It really hit me hard that all of the "things" did not make me happy! In reality, these things were stressors. They embody stress and waste.

I can give up the "things", the stuff. I have, in fact. What really matters is what is behind the stuff, the meaning of the things. It is the love, the hugs, the laughter, the memories of the time spent together with loved ones. It is the connections made with them, not with the "things". This is what keeps me going; this is what I need. These things don't cost money, don't need to be dusted; they don't get broken or take up space. I can take these with me wherever I go, carrying them with me, right in my heart. These things last a lifetime, and they make life worth living.

I am weeding out the "things", the stuff; I'm sorting, and clearing it out. But I am gaining insight and clarity, and hopefully eventual wisdom. In the end, it is not what we have, it is the way we live.   

"Tails" of the Afterlife

True Stories of Ghost Pets

By Peggy Schmidt

I believe in the Afterlife. I believe that there is a Heaven, and I believe that there are animals there. I cannot imagine Heaven without them! Every devoted pet owner knows about the Rainbow Bridge. We believe this is where our pets go to cross over to the Afterlife. This is the comfort that fills the void left in our hearts where they depart this life.

As a well-seasoned paranormal expert, Peggy Schmidt has lead numerous ghost tours. She has written and documented a wide variety of experiences, including the pets in this book. "Tails" of the Afterlife: True Stories of Ghost Pets is a very comforting book for those who feel as I do about this topic. Peggy has created a beautiful book full of stories, personal experiences from pet owners, and many colour photographs of the pets she writes about.

The stories in this book are unique and interesting. Each story is touching, showing the power of the human-to-animal bond. In one story, a dog reappears to assist another pet in crossing the Rainbow Bridge. Another dog appeared just in time to save his family from a fire. In other stories, pets remain in their earthly home, seemingly held there by love.

The book includes an appendix that addresses topics such as communicating with the deceased, including pets, and knowing when it is time to let pets move on, across the Rainbow Bridge. 

Peggy Schmidt writes about what others have experienced, while being open about her own experiences and thoughts. She is owned by eight Jack Russell terriers.

This is a nicely done book for those who believe, or even those who want to.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Making Rounds with Oscar

Product Details

The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat

By David Dosa, MD

The instincts and intuitive abilities of animals are long debated, yet proven. After meeting Oscar, even skeptical Dr. Dosa will now agree with that.

Dr. Dosa began his rounds at the retirement home quite skeptical of the stories of such things as animal intuition and the power of pets. Yet those who knew Oscar knew of his power to know who needed him and were quite protective of Oscar and his gift. He was a special member of the staff.

Over time, Dr. Dosa bonded with patients and their families and the nurses at the facility. Eventually he bonded with Oscar, as well. As he did he could no longer deny Oscar’s gift. It was not only a gift that Nature had bestowed on Oscar, but one that Oscar bestowed on those who needed comforting.

No one can deny that Oscar comforted many people. He had a sense who needed it the most, and that is where he stayed, easing their final days on earth. He was a constant presence with those that were dying and their families, as well.

Dr. Dosa learned the power of Oscar’s extraordinary gift and finally accepted it and Oscar. And Dr. Dosa was comforted, too.

Cat Thursday!

December 1, 2011

Enjoy it while you can!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Words bring us together, a fundamental human connection that we rely upon throughout our lives. Words are tangible links to feelings, reflecting what cannot be seen.

Words explain us, defining us to ourselves, as well as to others. Words describe who we are and who we want to become.

Words document our journey, telling where we have been and where we are going. Our road is paved with words unspoken and landscaped with words screamed in vain.

Words can claim us, chain us, even decimate us.

Yet words mark our paths, showing us the way, encouraging us, moving us forward, lifting us up, taking us to where we have never been, even setting us free.

Words announce our arrival into this world and words commemorate us when we leave it, left to forever echo in the hearts of those who cared.

Words remain.

McGuffyAnn Morris

Her Sister's Shadow

Product Details

By Katharine Britton

Betrayal leads to loss, subsequent resentment, and eventual estrangement. Two sisters experience events that tear them apart, sending them in different directions, living oceans and decades apart.

Unfortunately, as too often happens in life, it is a funeral that brings them back together. Finally, however hesitantly, one sister reaches out, and the other sister tentatively returns home. Both it is both sisters who need the healing of reconciliation. In the end, they realize they need each other. 
Katharine Britton captures the emotions and the complex dynamics between sisters. She is both sensitive and wise in dealing with an intense familial issue.

Wordless Wednesday

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch (19)

It's time to visit Patrice, and Wendell, of course. Come with me to Everyday Ruralty for a chat on their porch. The questions this week are:
  1. What's your favorite day of the week? Why?
  2. What's your favorite Christmas movie?
  3. Is there a Christmas Carol that's special to you?
  4. Is there an art or craft that you'd love to be able to do?
  5. Do you have a live Christmas tree or an artificial one?
My Answers:
1. My favorite day of the week is Sunday. We usually sleep in a little longer than usual, and most Sundays are NASCAR or football...or both! Ultimately, it is also a good day to just spend time together. Thankfully, Bill & I both enjoy the same things.
2. I have a few favorite Christmas movies. I love "The Gift of Love", with Marie Osmond. It is really a version of "The Gift of the Magi", by O. Henry. I also love "A Christmas Story" ("You'll shoot your eye out!"). And I love all of the Muppet movies and specials, as well as Peanuts. (Truth be known, my inner-child is still very much a part of me!)
3. I have many favorite carols, so it is hard to pick just one. "O', Holy Night" brings me to tears.
4. I always wished that I could crochet. I wish I could make throws and sweaters and scarves...I just never learned.
5. We have a live tree. However, we are conscientious about making sure trees are replenished. Tree farms are good for this, and there are several in our rural area. We also compost ours after it has served as our Christmas tree. It becomes part of the next year's garden!

Thanks for the visit Patrice and Wendell! Hugs!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Don't Sing at the Table

Life Lessons from My Grandmothers

By Adriana Trigiani

In this memoir, Adriana Trigiani introduces us to her grandmothers, Lucia & Viola. Through their approach to and way of life, they were lifelong role models. Their life lessons are their legacy.

Adriana writes a chapter on each woman, giving her history while giving tribute to that woman. Each chapter is a gift to that woman and to the reader, as well. Many photographs add to the beauty of the book and bring the history and the women to life.

Clinging to traditions and simple values, Lucy and Viola managed to forge ahead through life and all that it brought, including the most difficult times. Spirituality and morals were the foundation for both women; this they imparted upon family and generations to come. Chapters in the book share their wisdom on marriage, children, and the many aspects of family and life.

The lives of these very real women are relatable. From their roles as working women and mothers, they faced what many women face today. It is their spirit and common sense that immortalize them.

This is a very special memoir, and much more. It honors two very special women. Their wisdom, advice and lessons are timeless. All women should strive to be this type of role model for future generations. It is sad to think that not everyone has women like these grandmothers in their lives. Those who do should indeed honor them.

Happy Birthday!

Happy 1st Birthday to Grizelda & Chloe!
(and to Moon & Willow, their siblings!)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's hoping you have plenty
to be thankful for!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Ghost on Black Mountain

By Ann Hite

Much more than a ghost story, this is actually several stories interwoven throughout the history of Black Mountain. This novel is written in parts. It is told through the voices of integral characters of the story. Each voice is true to character, time, tradition and place.
We meet many of the people of Black Mountain as we learn of its secrets and history. Within the shadows of Black Mountain are many roads with unexpected twists and turns.

The book begins with Nellie, a young woman who goes against her mother to marry. Hobbs is an abusive man. As Nellie learns the secrets and depth of his abusive nature, she comes to terms with not only his past, but her future. Through Nellie we also meet many residents of Black Mountain.

Josie, Nellie’s mother, is the second voice telling the story. She gives her viewpoint, as a mother watching her daughter make life-altering mistakes. She tells of things that happen after Nellie leaves home for Black Mountain.

The third voice of Black Mountain is that of Shelly, born and bred there. She is an unwilling helper to Nellie, knowing more than she wants to of Black Mountain and its dark secrets. She and her family know the truth of Hobbs and his evil ways.

Part four is told by Hobbs longtime lover, Rose. She is an outsider who comes to the mountain looking for Hobbs and answers. She believes in Hobbs, knowing nothing of his deeds. She gets more than what she came for, also becoming part of Black Mountain and its secrets.

The voices that tell parts five and six are tightly woven, as mother and daughter Iona and Annie shed light on Black Mountain and its dark secretive history. Also outsiders, they are drawn to Black Mountain by circumstance. They bring the parts of the book together, completing the circle of voices and questions long unanswered.

The twists and turns of choices, consequences, and secrets run throughout this novel. Only in the end is there understanding and forgiveness, much like real life.

Ann Hite is an extraordinary storyteller. The Ghost on Black Mountain is quite a story!

Pondering with Brenda

Hosted by Brenda of Fiction with a Purpose

The prompt this week was: What the Heck?

Immediately, I thought: "What the heck...?" Is this prompt, "What the heck, why not?" or is it, "What the heck, what now?" After much pondering (thanks, Brenda), I came to the realization that there are many responses to this. In fact, often one leads to the other, and sometimes with surprising results.

Bill and I live a very simple, stable life. We planned it that way, worked at it, actually. We have lived over twenty-three of our thirty-plus years in the same simple house. We try to be good citizens and decent people.

It was a shock when after thirty five years in one career (22 years at one place and 8 years at another when the first place closed), Bill was laid off. After smoke and mirrors, false hope and empty promises, Bill was without a job. What the heck?!  What were we going to do?

Unemployment only lasts so long and Bill is not one to be idle or complacent. He put out dozens and dozens of resumes! Finally he took a job to fill in the monetary gap, until a position within his field opened up. What the heck? What choice was there?

After a year of that job, it was not working out on many levels. The pay was poor. The environment was less than desirable. It was not Bill. The economy being what it is, there is nothing moving in Bill's field of work. He decided perhaps it was time for a change. What the heck?

He had to do something, so he went back to school. Bill completely changed careers. He is currently going through the rigors of orientations and trying to adjust to his (our) new life.

There have been many What the Heck? moments for us, from family to health, in the past few years. We have learned that sometimes the best-laid plans are not what actually happens, and we are left to wonder What the Heck? Ultimately, however, decisions must be made. Life does go on. It is what it is. What doesn't kill you can make you stronger.

So, What the heck; what now? leads to What the heck, why not? The future reveals the answer to both.

Oh, what the heck?!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Follow (Friday) Four Fill-In

Hosted by Hilary at Feeling Beachie is the host of this Hop.

Each week, Hilary lists four statements with a blank to fill in the answers on your own blog. If you want to join the fun and come up with four fill in’s of your own check out her site. If she uses them, she will add you as co-host to the hop! This week’s co-host is Jen from Just Another Day , who came up with the last two statements.
This week’s statements:
1. I love the smell of ____
2. When I fly, I ____
3. I don’t like ___ but I ___.
4. My favorite ___ is ___.

My Answers:
1. I love the smell of the Estevant Pines in the Keweenaw Peninsula of the U.P. (MI).
2. When I fly, I do it extremely rarely. (Though I wish I could really fly...)
3. I don't like conflict, but I realize it is a necessary evil, essential to stand up for yourself and your beliefs.
4. My favorite poem is Warning,

Elegies for the Broken Hearted

Elegies for the Brokenhearted: A Novel

By Christie Hodgen

This novel is beautifully written, though often sad. It is pieces written to various people who have affected the life of the narrator.

As a whole, the book is thoughtful, well written, and very believable. Separately, each piece is sensitive, poignant and moving. Each piece, each elegy, is unique in itself, just as the person and the relationship was.

Each character is genuine and the portrayal of the relationship is heartfelt and even heartrending at times. The thought and feeling involved in each gives pause and reflection of those people over the course of one’s own life. Each of us can think of the many people who have entered our lives. Each person has affected us in some way, for some reason or purpose. This book addresses that idea.

Christie Hodgen’s novel will make the reader think about the people in your life that have brought you to where you are now, including the “broken ones”. Sometimes it is these broken people who have the deepest impact on us. For our narrator, Mary, these broken people included her uncle, friends, including family friends, and ultimately her own mother.

It will make you consider the way you affect other people, because we all do affect each other in some way. That’s life.