Saturday, June 30, 2012

Yay 6WS!


I got a new 
blog button!


Chloe in her very  
favourite spot!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rescuing Sprite


A Dog Lover’s Story of Joy and Anguish 



by Mark L. Levin

This is a love story of a family and their dogs. Written by national talk show host and attorney Mark R. Levin, he shares his love of dogs, particularly his rescue dog, Sprite.
Already sharing their home with Pepsi, a 6 year old mixed breed, the family decides to adopt a second dog from the local shelter. They fall in love with the adorable Sprite, believing him to be between 3-6 years old. He fits right in with the family, he and Pepsi becoming inseparable.
Weeks after adopting Sprite, he has an emergency and must be rushed to the animal hospital. This is followed by another incident shortly thereafter. The Levin family realizes Sprite is much older than originally believed, perhaps ten years or more! But this does not matter; he is family, and he needs them.
The next few years are spent loving Sprite and caring for him. The Levin family, including Pepsi, is forever changed by Sprite and his gentle spirit. Friends and listeners of Mark Levin’s show are touched by Sprite’s life and struggle.
We are reminded by the Levin family’s story with Sprite of how much animals add to our lives, and how much we can learn from them, from their simple wisdom. This is a beautiful story that will stay with you, especially if you have had the joy and anguish of rescuing an elderly dog, as I have had.  It is indeed special.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty


By Joshilyn Jackson

Every fifteen years, trouble comes knocking on the door for the Slocumb women. First it was Virginia, and then her daughter Liza. Now 15 year old Mosey is facing this curse. Yet the trouble is fall out from years of secrets kept from her by her mother and grandmother.

As the secrets are literally unearthed in their own backyard, Mosey suddenly is forced to question not only what is going on, what secrets they have, but who she is as well. Having always been a good girl, in the shadow of her rebellious mother, now Mosey feels perhaps rebelling will reveal who she is  and who she is meant to be.

With the help of a couple of misfit friends, Mosey sets out to solve several mysteries that are tightly interwoven. Nothing is as it seems, including Mosey, Virginia, and Liza. She must unravel their past to know her own.

The women in this novel are strong, feisty and warm Southern women. The other characters are all well developed, interesting and integral to the story. A perfect combination of fun and heartache, full of twists and turns, this novel is perfect summer reading.

I will be reading more by Joshilyn Jackson, very soon. I hope for more like this!



Summer Reading for Cats










Happy Summer Reading!





Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Perspective

It's all about perspective. To really understand what someone is going through or feeling, you have to have experienced it. No matter how sensitive, kind, or well meaning, you cannot truly understand unless you have been in that same place of pain, of that kind of sorrow.


You cannot expect someone to feel a certain way, based upon your perception or assessment of their situation. To disregard or dismiss someone's sadness, their personal feelings, is disrespectful and beyond hurtful.

When someone is going through a difficult time, they don't need to be told to "cheer up" or "be strong". They need to be told they are cared about. They need to be validated, that their concerns and feelings matter. We need to respect what they are feeling and their right to feel it. 


Each of us has a different path in life, a personal journey. We do not all have the same experiences. Some of us seem to have it easier than others, seeming to sail through life on  fair winds and following seas. Others do not, forever struggling against a strong current under stormy skies. 


Sometimes we choose our path. Sometimes it is laid out before us by someone else.  There does come a time to chart our own course or at least the way we must navigate it, perhaps that being our journey. 


Wordless Wednesday: Badlands


Scenic, SD ~The Badlands~ 1981

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch 48


I am visiting with Patrice & Wendell today. 
They have a weekly porch chat that
I love to participate in. Everyone is so nice.
Wendell, I brought you a carrot, as always!! 

This week, the Questions & Answers are:
1. What's your favorite day of the week? Why? I guess that I like Sundays.Sundays are usually pretty relaxed, and there is usually NASCAR, football, or both!
2. Do you have a blog? Please tell us the name of it and how long you've had it. My blog is: McGuffy's Reader, which I started about a year and a half ago. I do book reviews, musings, and animal advocacy. Cathy Kennedy just made me a new blog button, which I love.
3. What's the last book you read? If you're not a reader, please tell us about the last movie you saw. I read & review constantly! If you check out my blog, you will see a constant stream of book reviews. I do new, new in paperback, and also ones that may have been out awhile. I love reading, books, and sharing them.
4. Do you ever doodle with a pen or pencil while something else is going on? I might be writing, but I'm not much for drawing. I tend to write lists of things I need to do, or ideas.
5. Tell me about your bathroom towels. What color are they? Do they all match? Brown; they all match. I tend to go for earth tones on most things. I like neutral, solid colours. 
Spa Home with Rayon from Bamboo 3 Piece Towel Set.Opens in a new window
Thank you Patrice & Wendell! 
Have a great week!

New Blog Button!


I have a new blog button!
I am so excited, & want 
everyone to notice it.
Please feel free to 
take the code, and add it 
to your button collection.

I have had problems 
with my old button
for a very long time. 
I tried to fix it.
I tried to get help 
in fixing it.
I couldn't seem to 
get it just right.

This button was created 
by the very helpful & creative 
Cathy Kennedy, of
Cathy used a photo of my Chloe, 
and added elements from 
my blog & myself
(books & a coffee cup).

Cathy was helpful, knowledgeable, 
fast. She was supportive, 
understanding and eager 
to help me. She understood what I
wanted and its importance to me.

I highly recommend her to 
other bloggers who want 
a blog button, or are having 
trouble with their current one. 
She knows her stuff!
If you contact Cathy, 
be sure to say that you were 
sent by McGuffy's Reader!

Thank you, Cathy! 
You are wonderful!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Just Like Us


~The True Story of Four Mexican Girls Coming of Age in America

By Helen Thorpe

This is an important book for our time. Immigration is a hot topic in America today, morally and politically. This book puts the spotlight on four young Hispanic women as they deal with this issue from the inside.

We meet four lifelong friends: Marisela, Elissa, Clara and Yadira. The girls grew up together, with the dream of an education and life as free Americans, earning the freedom from generations of poverty.

Only two of the girls, Clara and Elissa, have legal immigration status, however. Yadira and Marisela do not have the required, necessary papers to be in America legally. They become adept at working around the system, such as paying for fake social security numbers, enabling them to work.

As the four girl become adults, they are faced with the facts of the consequences of illegal status. Though gifted and college bound, Yadira and Marisela must have the necessary paperwork to further themselves. They cannot even fly without papers. Deportation is a significant and very real concern. They are acutely aware that their legal friends do not have this issue.

Adding to the book is the fact that the author’s husband is the mayor of Denver, while Denver is embroiled in a national immigration battle. The case involves a Mexican immigrant who shoots and kills a police officer.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

June Awards


Thank you, Josie, of Two Shoes in Texas
http://www.josie2shoes.com/
Josie is wonderful! Please check her out.
Her posts are important and thoughtful.
I know there are mixed feelings on awards, 
but I am honoured when a peer finds me 
worthy of note. I can't reject gifts.
I will answer the questions that Josie was asked...
1. What is your favourite dessert? 
I like mint chocolate chip ice cream!
2. What do you do when you're upset? 
I withdraw, shut down. 
I usually need to think & regroup.
3. What is your favourite pet? 
Cats & dogs. (Glad you didn't ask "who".)
4. My biggest fear is...losing Bill.
5. My guilty pleasure...
is watching TV. I have a few shows I like.
Though I admit sometimes it is on just 
to hear voices talking, because Bill is gone 
so much. I do listen to music a lot, too.
6. What is perfection? 
The absence of pain, worry, illness, conflict...
perfection is Heaven.
7. My attitude is...
I am a realist. I am not a pessimist, as I have hope. 
I am not truly an optimist, as I am extremely 
practical & cautious.
I do not wear rose-coloured glasses, 
but I refuse to give up.
Ten Random Facts About Me:
1. I have an amazing memory: 
a blessing & a curse.
2. I rely on humour, especially when stressed.
3. I am a serious "Home Girl".
4. I want a tatto; just can't decide what.
5. I love mums  angel-wing begonias.
6. I have no depth perception.
7. I do not drink alcohol.
8. I have never been outside the 
(continuous 48) United States.
9. I love zippered Hoodies, jeans 
& tie-dyed stuff. I'm very casual.
10. I do believe in karma.

Now, I pass this award on to:

Len Williams Carver

Kathe W

Kris

Dee Ready


~&~


I also received this award from RestlessJo.
Thank you very much! Her blog is beautiful & interesting.

I am supposed to list Seven Random Facts...
see above; I just listed ten! Enough about me!

I now pass this award on to:

Josie (for Karma) 
Two Shoes in Texas, 
Andrea (Because...)
From the Sol,

RoryBore (for her thoughtfulness)
Time Out for Mom

Janice (for her inspiration)
Janice's Footsteps

Angie (for her hard work)
Angels are Kids & Furkids,
http://angiesangelsrkids-furkids.blogspot.com/

That Corgi (for fun & feeling)
A Bench with a View,
http://viewsfrombenches.blogspot.com/









Saturday, June 23, 2012

My 6 Words



Yay!
My books are
 being published!


Friday, June 22, 2012

The Rule



Most of us have been taught manners. It is a necessary part of functioning successfully in a civilized world. We need manners to communicate efficiently, and to get along with others. Early in life we learn the “golden rule” of treating others the way you want to be treated. We learn it at home, and it is reinforced by schools and others along our way. The idea is to “pay it forward”.
As we mature, becoming adept at learning the ways to get what we want, the rules become more distorted. Often we begin to see the possibility of adopting the “an eye for an eye” philosophy. Having a conscience, we know this is wrong; somehow we still enable ourselves to feel justified at times.
Being polite and treating others with patience and courtesy will usually get you what you want, achieving what you set out to do. This is true throughout your life, no matter the situation. Yet, we still find it difficult at times to treat others the way we want to be treated. We sometimes catch flies with artificial sweetener.
It is the squeaky wheel who gets the grease, eventually becoming unbearable enough that it will have to be changed. However things can never be changed by avoidance, by taking no action. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. We must put ourselves in other’s positions to truly understand their place. The annoying panhandler on the road, the impatient server, the tired cashier, they each have their own set of circumstances that we cannot know.
Complaints must be balanced by compliments. Credit must be given where credit is due. Validation is a basic human need. People and their efforts must be acknowledged.
This balance is the yin and yang of life. It is the bitterness of the bad that makes the good so sweet. It is our job as humans, fellow mortals, to balance the two within ourselves and each other. We must give from the heart when someone needs it, because sometimes we do.
Charity does begin at home. We must start with our loved ones, being kind and understanding, because only then can we share it with others. Even when we are not able to agree we must learn how to be able to disagree. Even when we cannot understand, we must learn to accept.
It was the wise Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” If we strive for that, we can make a difference, if only in our own lives and those around us. It is worth the effort to reach one another.

Nearer Than the Sky



By T. Greenwood

Nearer Than the Sky recounts the story of generations of a family’s grief.

Indie Brown has a secure and happy adult life. Suddenly she is drawn back to her family home when her infant niece becomes seriously ill. Once home, Indie suspects her sister Lily is harming her own baby. As the story unfolds, Indie comes to the realization that their mother was behind Lily’s own sickly childhood.

There have been cases in the media and legal system regarding Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy. This is a complex mental illness where the person affected, usually the mother, causes harm to her child. This brings attention to the child, but also to herself. She becomes addicted to the sympathy and attention. Obviously, there are inevitable lifelong consequences.

This book is well written in its handling and explanation of the disorder. The treatment and respect of the characters is also well done. Their relationships are tightly woven, exposing the fragile nature of mental illness, especially within mother-daughter relationships.

T. Greenwood handles a sensitive situation well, exposing a little discussed problem in a natural and realistic manner. 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Twelve Habits of Highly Successful Cats & Their Humans



By Dulcy & Dee Ready


A remarkable pair, Dulcy and Dee Ready have written their second book together. Their first book, A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story introduced us to not only Dulcy, but also to Dee.

As is their relationship, this book is unique. Each chapter offers practical, common sense advice to cats by Dulcy, and to humans by Dee. The advice is wisely called “habits”. The habits are simple, and easily to applied to daily life.

The purpose of each habit is to become a part of a healthy, happy life for both cat and human. When each of these practices becomes habit, the result is total happiness, which Dulcy calls bliss.

The first habit is “Practice Being Unique”. In this, we are encouraged to embrace who we are and our place in the world. Unfortunately, this is never realized by many. It is an integral piece of the puzzle of life. Once this is done, the rest of the pieces fall can into place.

The second habit is to “Discover Your Heartwish”. Many indeed struggle with this, never truly knowing what makes them happy. Again, you must first know and accept yourself.

Habits that follow these include choosing loved ones wisely. Much time and energy is wasted on chasing unrequited love, in many forms. While we need to “love one another” and respect all others, we need to choose special love with cautious reservation.

In this special book are more habits to succeed. Dulcy and Dee each add a voice to grieving, listening, acceptance, and other aspects of living life successfully. A must for cat lovers it is beautifully written, and meant to be read often. I am sure that I will do just that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Language of Flowers


By Vanessa Diffenbaugh

This special novel follows the coming of age and beginning of real life for Victoria. Having been raised in the foster care system, we meet her as she turns eighteen. She is becoming an adult, embarking on a life of her own.

The book is written in alternating parts, between Victoria’s childhood and present day. She is having trouble moving forward in life while holding onto the baggage of a damaged childhood.

Victoria’s solace has always been in flowers. She finds comfort in the meaning of them, and symbols associated with them, the language of them. Insecure, and truly unable to communicate her feelings to those around her, Victoria relies on this as a sort of second language. Eventually, this does become a connection.

It has long been believed by many cultures that flowers have healing properties. This can be medicinal, physical, psychological or even emotional. This was the case with Victoria.

The story of Victoria is full of thorns and sharp burrs that stick to the reader. Yet the author offers the reader a bouquet of experiences of a true survivor. A good Summer read, this book is memorable. 

A bonus: at the rear of the book is Victoria’s Dictionary of Flowers, in alphabetical order. She lists the flower name, botanical name, and the meaning of the flower. The list is long, from Abutelon (Abutelon)…Meditation, to Zinnia (Zinnia)…I mourn your absence.


Oh, Toad!






Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Clara’s Kitchen



“Wisdom, Memories and Recopies from the Great Depression”

By Clara Cannucciari, with her grandson Christopher Cannucciari

Clara, well known as the grandmother on YouTube, was 94 years old when her book was published. Her videos on the Internet made her famous for their common sense, simplicity and wisdom. This book captures the essence of Clara.

Born and raised in a Chicago, IL. Suburb, Clara and her family survived the “Great Depression”. Her stories are mostly of that time; they are filled with family, friends, and food.

Clara tells a story from her life, and then adds a recipe associated with the story. There are many photographs illustrating the stories. The photos feature Clara, friends and family, and food.

Clara adds tidbits of her cooking wisdom throughout the book. The tips are useful and practical, such as differences between olive oil and vegetable oil. The index makes it easy to follow and find items and recipes.

The illustrations are also listed, putting Clara’s life into perspective. Her book is a wonderful volume of history, memoir, cookbook, and advice. It is no wonder that she is known as YouTube’s “favorite grandmother”!

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch #47

It is time for the weekly visit on 
Patrice's farmhouse porch.
Come with me, and
please bring a carrot for Wendell!
Here is what we are discussing... 

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS:
1. Do you ever go on picnics? When was the last one? Do you go somewhere with benches and tables, or do you take your own blanket? I love picnics! Admittedly, it has been awhile. Perhaps we will have one when my ankle is healed, and Bill is not on the road as much. Benches are easier at this point in time.
2. What's your favorite tropical fruit? I love pineapple, especially fresh. I love Kiwi, too. 
I do like most fruit.
 3. Wendell would like me to ask you if you've ever ridden a horse? Any pony rides as a child? I am not sure what you will think Wendell, but...once, at age 17, I rode on a horse. I did not like it at all. Let me explain: with my very bad knees, which began at age 15, it was painful to ride horseback. But I do like horses!
                                                   AJP
4. Describe the purse you are currently carrying. If you don't use a purse, what color is your wallet? My current purse is denim. I also sometimes use a colorful "hippie" tote/purse, that is colourful & tie-dyed.
  
5. Please tell me the last funny thing that you just recently remembered. This can be something funny that happened to you in the past, or just something funny that you remember. Chloe loves to chase (& eat) flies. She goes crazy when she sees a fly. She was watching one, with great intensity and interest, on the outside of the bay window. Suddenly she sprung up at it, hitting the window and almost knocking herself out! She landed on top of  Maggie, who was sound asleep in the cat bed, startling her as well. They both looked so shocked and confused! Unfortunately, Chloe being impetuous, she did not learn from this and does it almost every day...at least once.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Swing Low



A Life


By Miriam Toews



Miriam Toews wrote the memoir of her father’s life. She writes this from his perspective, in his voice. This is amazing, especially given his lifelong struggle with depression and bipolar disorder.

Mel Toews is much loved by his family and friends. He is also a beloved and popular teacher, as well as a devout member of his Mennonite community. From her father’s viewpoint, we are able to see and feel depression and bipolar struggles. We experience his daily battle to balance illness with reality. The book recounts the struggle within him.

To be able to speak for someone is difficult. To be able to speak for someone with these deep, dark, often misunderstood issues is a feat. To speak from a parent’s place in time and from their place of pain is extraordinary. Miriam Toews is amazing in her ability to do this with such heartfelt understanding, intimacy and respect. Her father would be proud.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day 2012

This is for the men, 
the fathers, the rocks 
on which the family is built, 
on which we are built.
This is for the ones who know 
the difference 
between being a father 
and a being a dad, 
because they care. 
This is for the dads 
who are there, 
even when it is difficult, 
not only offering 
shelter from the storm, 
but becoming the shelter...
because 
fathers are forever, 
& there is no one 
like Dad.

                        ~McGuffy Ann Morris~

Saturday, June 16, 2012

6WS: June 16




Appreciating
genuine goodness
in my life.

Untitled

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag Day 2012

Old Glory, 
long may she wave.

Dinner Guest?



Guess who is coming to dinner!


Eddie really wanted to
be invited for dinner...


...he just couldn't figure out
how to go about it.

(Eddie was so embarrassed
 ...& hungry.)