Fine Art

Did you know that the kind and brilliant people who work in creating and marketing educational products for children have created these boxed sets where you can buy paint, brushes, and rocks all in one go? Lookie!

4M Natural Rock Art Kit

How clever!

Or you could buy some paint and brushes at the dollar store and send the children outside to get rocks. Of course, you could be truly old-school and make your own paints and your own brushes, and George Washington Carver did. But we’re not all him.

So, having corporate made paints and brushes on hand, The Equuschick sent The DPG and the Ladybug outside to collect rocks to paint. What a way to get in touch With Nature, you know?

rocks blog

This is what they brought in. Their visions did not match The Equuschick’s, evidently.

Of course what the children envisioned was much more interesting after all. Because instead of nature turned into art, it was urban ugliness turned into some really pretty cool stuff.

dino and rocks blog

The Dread Pirate Grasshopper had been given the dinosaur painting set for Christmas, and it was his own plan to paint the rocks to display with the dinos. He chose very specific and colour coordinated paints.

The Ladybug, of course, went by pure instinct and free-styled. She’s a 3 year old hippie.

Lizzie rock paint blog

Lizzie's rock blog

That’s one far-out hippie rock.

Posted in Benedict's Rule of Order Adapted for Families | 1 Comment

Leading a Poodle- the Ideal Young Woman, Continued


From a book published in 1902 based on some sermons and surveys the author had put together.  First part is here.  I’m not reproducing the thing in full, just the parts I found interesting.

“Most of these young men say that they are willing to be judged by the same standard of morals by which they judge young women. Why not? What moral attribute should a woman have that a man can, as well as not, do without? If all smoking and drinking men were compelled to marry smoking drinking women because no others would have them, we would soon have a different state of affairs.

But you say custom makes a difference? Yes, but are we to be governed by a thing because it is customary or because it is right? It is custom in China to bind the feet of her girl babies, but that does not make it right. It is a relic of barbarism that would allow boys to roam the street at night and be horrified if their sisters are seen out late. We should be no less careful of our girls, but we should be just as careful of the whereabouts of our boys.”

I really liked that, however unrealistic I think it might be.  I do agree that we should be equally careful as to the whereabouts of boys and girls (it’s 10:00. Do you know where your teen-agers are?)  It’s interesting that this was something being discussed by Christians in 1902, as well.

When I was 15 or so, I sometimes went jogging along the canal bank in the evening. The canal bank was somewhat isolated even though it was just two blocks from my house.  There was lots of cover in the form of tall trees and sand banks, and sometimes hoboes ‘rested’ there (we called them hoboes back then).  I was only allowed to do this if my brother went with me.  This annoyed me because he is 2 1/2 years younger than me.  But my parents did not insist I have my kid brother as a chaperone because of  his age, but because of our respective sizes and gender.  I was 5′ 5″ and slender (oh, those were the days).  He was 6′ and on the wrestling team.  He was a bodyguard, not a chaperone.

I may be old fashioned, but the fact remains that if I had a choice of sending an 18 year old girl out to the store at midnight or an 18 year old boy, I’d choose the boy.  This is not because being out alone at midnight says anything about her character, but because it is a greater risk for a lone young lady than a lone young man.  I can say that’s not fair all I want, but it is what it is.  Barbarism still exists, and barbarians out roaming the streets at midnight are in general more likely to choose as a target a pretty young lady who is 60 inches tall than a strapping young man who is 75 inches tall.

But I digress.  Really, I think the author of the book probably knew that, too, and he was speaking more of the attitude that says the girls must be home by ten, but the boys can stay out until 2, with less questioning about who they are with and what they are doing.

Moving on, we have an answer, I think, for the meaning of ‘lead a poodle.’  It seems to be rather literal, an actual poodle.  I now think it’s kind of like the popularity of teacup terriers today – the dog is merely an extended accessory, an expensive, frivolous accessory, poor beast, or a substitute for a human being.

These clothes are all for pets.

These clothes are all for pets.

“What of that pretense of a woman that does not know, because she does not care, what her husband’s income is, and thus ruins him to keep up her position in society by living beyond their means? What an abortion on nature is that female that takes more pleasure in leading a poodle to a theater than in leading her family to the house of God. In every such case the poodle has fallen into bad company and should be protected by the society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. That creature is but a female and not a woman that can lead a young man to the card and wine table but whose heart is too shallow to lead a man to Christ.”

First part is here.

Second part (this one)



Posted in vintage books | 4 Comments

Sweet Potato Fritters

sweet potato frittersI made this up this morning.  I like it.  The Boy is indifferent- he says it’s okay.  It’s whole30 compliant, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, and filling.  It’s also adaptable- I happened to have certain ingredients on hand, but provided you have eggs and sweet potatoes you can make essentially the same thing with all kinds of variations.


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I grated one sweet potato:


2015-01-28 10.03.59This made two cups of grated sweet potato.

I stirred in some chopped cooked carrots left over from a pork roast I made a couple days ago:

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I diced the rest of the pork roast from that same supper:

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Then I added eggs- fresh layed eggs from my son’s hens, and these hens lay eggs with hard shells and thick, sturdy membranes, which means the yolks are still bright orange in the middle of winter, strong, and rich:

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Then I added the other stuff:

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Garlic, pepper, minced dried onion, salt, pepper, smoked dried pepper.  Chili peppers would be good.   So would a bit of kimchi.

I fried them in oil in a skillet 1/4 cup of batter per fritter:

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Flip when they start to set around the edge and begin dry in the center- they will be less shiny on top.



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I liked them, but wanted a little more, so I added some chopped green onions and:

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brine shrimp



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You can eat them plain or dip them in a dipping sauce or use ketchup, mustard, mayo, peanut sauce, or some combo.

I made a dipping sauce with a bit of sesame oil, coconut aminos, balsamic vinegar

Here’s the recipe without pictures, in case you want to print it:

2 cups grated sweet potato

3-5 eggs (depends on the size of your eggs, 3 if they are large, 5 if small, but it won’t change things too much to have extra egg)- mix until lemon colored.

1/4 cup of mashed cooked carrot (or other cooked vegetable, but this is optional)

3/4 cup of diced, cooked meat. I used pork.

four green onions, or to taste.  (Optional, but I prefer it)

Seasonings to taste- I used garlic, minced onion, salt, pepper and smoked paprika.  Red pepper would have been good.


Stir all of the above together until well blended. Meanwhile, start heating oil in the skillet. Coconut or sesame oil would be good.  I cut off a strip of fat from the piece of pork I used and greased my skillet with that.

Pour into a greased, hot skillet, 1/4 cup of batter for each fritter.

When the edges start to set and look a bit golder and the top is less shiny, flip and brown on the other side.

Stir the sweet potato mixture just before measuring it out for fritters each time.

When done, serve as is, between lettuce pieces, with a dipping sauce- your choice.


Posted in cookery | 2 Comments

Bollywood Movie Review: Daawat-e-ishq

Daawat-e-ishq_soundtrack_coverDaawat-e-Ishq- Basically family friendly, IMO, although you may feel differently.

Habib Faisal
Aditya Roy Kapur
Parineeti Chopra
Anupam Kher
Karan Wahi

One sentence summary: Rom Com Bollywood with a strong anti-dowry message.

Synopsis: The lead female character has been disappointed time and again in marriage talks which consistently break down when it comes to dowry issues. These dowry demands are unreasonably high and also illegal, and the movie is making some social points about the problems of dowry issues in India (Gulli reads her father an article about it which says at least one woman a day is murdered over dowry issues). The last straw is a truly painful episode where the young man had already convinced her he loved her, and he fails to stand up to his parents at all when they make expensive demands. Fed up and stinging from the pain of that episode, she convinces her father to entrap a wealthy family into making a dowry demand, catch it all on film and then blackmail them with the evidence of the crime. She wants to use the money for both of them to go to America where she will complete her dream of going to design school so she can support her father in his old age. She also swears off all other men altogether because she’s been so disappointed.

So they get fake identities and head off to Lucknow, because they are not known there, sign up on marriage sites and start making appointments with potential families for marriage talks, looking to catch the richest dowry hunters they can find.

You can guess where it’s going.

More background:
Her widowed father is a poor but honest civil servant; the honesty is why he’s poor. He dotes on his daughter, and the movie also makes a point of having him stress that daughters are as precious as sons and he has never wished for her to be a boy. It’s a little heavy handed, but sweet.

Gulli couldn’t afford to go to college, although she was an excellent student at a prestigious private high school. She works at a shoe-store but her dream is to design the shoes, not just sell them. She is feisty, smart, beautiful, and a little hot-headed. She also has some snobberies of her own- she breaks off one marriage discussion herself because she doesn’t like badly pronounced English of the young man (he has other flaws, but that’s the one that irks her the most), and she doesn’t like where his college degree is from. Given the predictability of this particular drama (Bollywood RomCom), I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that when she does fall in love, his English is broken and badly accented, and he didn’t even go to college.

What I liked: Well, it’s Bollywood. I think Bollywood Rom-Coms are predictable, fun, cheesy, corny, totally unrealistic, fluff with vibrant colours, gorgeous visuals, and delightful.

The actors playing Tariq (or Taru, the suiter), Gulli, and her father. They are really good and have great chemistry together and terrific magnetism for the camera.

Although it was heavy-handed, I liked the emphasis on the value of girls, on respecting your woman and loving her for her mind, not just for her beautiful face and figure. There’s an adorable conversation where the courting couple are at a local tourist site and a rotund older woman goes by, and the young man tells Gulli that it won’t matter to him if she gets chubby as they get older, will she care if he puts on weight?

I liked the father-daughter relationship a lot.

I liked the lead male. He’s brash, but he kind of needs to be for his business. He’s not immature, selfish, bratty, childish- the way often the lead males are in both K-dramas and Bollywood. The girl, actually, is brattier than he is.

What I didn’t like: It dragged on a little long.
The biggest frustration is when Gulli continues to push for cheating this family for far too long, long after she’s come to realize that they are not like the others and that she is falling in love with Taru. That was a really big flaw.

Just because it’s interesting: most of the Bollywood shows I’ve seen feature Hindu families. The families here are Muslim. There’s anti-arranged marriage song and dance number at the end that’s kind of heavy-handed. It would be interesting to watch this and Vivah back to back, since Vivah is a Bollywood fairy tale about an arranged marriage.

I have three other Bollywood reviews here, and there’s some good recommendations in the comments, too.

Posted in Movies | 1 Comment

The Ideal Young Woman of 1902 Will Not Lead a Poodle

lead a poodleFrom a book published in 1902:

THE following questions were sent out into all parts of the United States Answers came also from Canada and England:
I. Must the ideal young woman be a Christian?
2. Will she use slang or profane speech or lead a poodle?
3. Are dancing, card playing, or wine drinking accomplishments which you admire in her?
4. Does it mar or help her as an ideal to be able to keep house or make her own clothes?
5. Shall she help to make her own living, ie will she keep house or board?
6. Would you educate her in a female school or mixed school?
7. Shall we judge her by the same standard of morals by which we judge young men?
Shall she have fewer liberties than have young men?
8. What one thing do you admire most in young women?
9. What are some common faults of young women?
10. Would she cease to be ideal if she had the right to vote at all elections?

A few young ladies were solicited to answer to see how nearly they would agree with the young men.

One hundred per cent of both sexes say she must be a Christian.

seventy seven per cent of the young men say she will neither use slang, or profane speech, or lead a poodle. (no, I don’t know, either).

one hundred per cent would not allow her to drink wine while eighty eight per cent include dancing and card playing as things to be denied her.

one hundred per cent say she must have a knowledge of housekeeping whether she use it or not; every young man stands for housekeeping as against hotel or boarding house life.

seventy per cent of the men would educate her in a mixed school so as to give her a broader view of life. Monasteries for men and convents for women do not prepare them for greatest usefulness. All the young women answering prefer the mixed school.

sixty per cent of the young men advocate the same standard of morals for both sexes and would give her equal liberties with her brothers.

Character, truthfulness womanliness and sincerity were more universally named by the young men as the things they admire in her; seventy per cent gave shallowness and thirty per cent named fickleness as her most common faults.

Though one young man recently engaged said she had no faults.

Gossip, lack of purpose, selfishness, and insincerity were the most common faults named by the young ladies.

sixty per cent of the men and eighty per cent of the women would allow their ideal to vote.

So far as known these answers came from lawyers, college and high school students, college and university professors, ministers, business men, and government clerks.

And yes, there is a set of questions for the ideal young man, too.

Ideals for Young People, By Marion Edwin Harlan, Christian Publishing Company, 1902

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Have Heroes

heroes“OF the forces that can enter into the life of youth there are few of more importance than enthusiastic admiration for heroic men. To feel, from reading or observation, the impact of a great nature upon one’s own is to be changed forever afterwards, at least in ideals. It is to realize, as perhaps not even dreamed of before, what human nature is capable of. It is to comprehend to some degree the strength, the achievement possible to the human personality. It is to have kindled in you the aspiration to be a man of the same pattern, in so far as may be.

It is undoubtedly true that heroic men produce other heroes by example and inspiration. They rouse the wills and fire the ambitions of hosts of others. Emerson said he could not read of a strong action without being stirred with desire to act. The whole history of mankind is a tale of the kindling of many spirits by the few flaming geniuses. Plutarch’s Lives has for ages been a formative part of the reading of ambitious youths, who have been wakened by these records of powerful men to efforts in their own spheres. Alexander influenced Caesar and Caesar was the model of Napoleon.

The youth is already on the right course who feels his heart beat faster at the recountal of noble deeds, who has come to reverence high achievement. One of the surest signs of decadence in an individual or in a people is when nothing is admired, reverenced, or looked up to. The spirit that notes only faults and fails to perceive the strength and useful service of a great life is sapping its own inspirations. It is not uncommon to hear such carpings and criticisms of great men as cause them to be shorn of all attractiveness. There is a spirit that would belittle the best men and degrade them to the level of the meanest. When one has convinced himself that there is no real greatness or nobleness, he is not likely to strive to rise above his own convictions.

… It is not the outward circumstances or the exterior man of the hero that helps, but the spirit.

…We should avoid… the peril that threatens some natures when they come under the spell of a great man, of imitating his faults or the mere externals of his life, instead of grasping the force that was his real self. …It is not by imitating a gesture or a tone of voice or style that one is helped by a hero, but by emulating his pluck, courage, industry, spirit, and using these in one’s own circumstances and with one’s own talent.

The influence of a great soldier may help a man to fight his business troubles, to work his way through college, to make a speech, if he get the soldier’s spirit and apply it to his own life and work.

The value of heroes to us is to encourage us under hard conditions to keep before us the victorious possibilities of our own lives, if we make a brave fight, to show us the way in general, and to inspire us to keep on in the strife to develop our own faculties and to enlarge our own lives and their usefulness.”

Making the Most of Ourselves: Talks for Young People : Second Series
By Calvin Dill Wilson
A.C. McClurg & Company, 1909

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

French Toast Apples

french toast apples common roomTake a nice, crisp apple.
Core it.
Peel it (I didn’t, and that’s how I know you should).

Now you can do one of two things.

Easy version:
Put on a hot griddle, lightly greased. I used coconut oil.
Lightly sprinkle the tops with cinnamon and nutmeg, or use pumpkin pie spice
When the apples start to be transluscent just around the edges, flip the rings.
Sprinkle the top again.

Remove to a plate when they are still slightly firm, but not crunchy.

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Serve them as is, or sprinkle with chopped nuts if you prefer more protein.  This is a whole30 breakfast, or paleo if you prefer, or just a simple breakfast or a light snack.

If you’re not watching grains and carbs and all that- make French toast and have the slices of grilled apple in between your slices of French toast.

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You could also have them on pancakes, in a peanut butter sandwich, in your porridge, or stirred into a bowl of granola and yogurt.

Slightly more complicated version:

IN a small bowl, mix one egg and about 2/3 a cup of coconut milk. Mix it all very well. Add in some cinnamon and nutmeg or pumpkin pie spice.

Dip your apple slices in this, and quickly put them on your hot griddle (apples won’t hold and absorb the egg/milk mixture like bread will).

Brown as above.

Variation: for a pioneer breakfast (and more paleo / whole30)- add onions, thinly sliced into rings, and fry the apples and onions along with sausage, bacon, ham, or a pork chop.  (The meats here sould be sugar-free and uncured or nitrate free to be whole30 compliant)


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Education is the science of relations….

….and connections are everywhere. They are inherent. Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I thought it was my job to create them by using or building unit studies for my kids. Fortunately, I met Charlotte Mason’s philosophy in the pages of her books and learned that I didn’t have to do that.

Here is the experience we had today, illustrating yet again that education is the science of relations, and connections are just everywhere.

My son is reading the book Baltic Countdown: A Nation Vanishes.

In his economics book (The Clipper Ship Strategy: For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments (An Uncle Eric Book)
), material he read also connected with material from Baltic countdown- as the author of CS was discussing the perils of a government controlled economy in theory (political law, where politicians define good and evil based on their personal whims and use government regulations to pick winners and losers), and the writer of Baltic Countdown was writing an account of the nonsense of a Soviet Controlled economy. Those connections weren’t planned, they just happened.

It just so happens that in his history reading today, Poland is mentioned- so that was part of his mapwork.

We also started Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness today, and I introduced it by showing him something about Conrad’s background, and of course, Conrad was born in Poland. We also looked up and discussed Imperialism, and there are connections between that and his other readings as well.

For composition study this week, he’s been reading David McCullough’s essay. I have him read it through once, then read it through a second time over several days, writing a sort of precis of each paragraph.

He has been complaining about his school schedule both because it is too full (it is, and I am working on that), and because he thinks we spend too much time focusing on history. I’ve tried to explain to him that history is important because it gives context to everything else, and those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it (or be forced to suffer repetitions caused by others in power who don’t care about history). I didn’t think it had gotten through.

Today he went through his booklist for the week jabbing at the titles and telling me “History, see?! This is also history! And THIS, and THIS.”

I stopped him and pointed out that a couple of the books he was calling history were really politics and government, and a couple of them were economics, and two were literature.

“Mom,” he said, exasperated, “politics is just history, too- either history that did happen, is happening, or is about to happen. Economics is history. And most of my literature? That’s history, too.”

Really, my son?

I do not think he’s caught on yet that this is exactly what I’ve been telling him.


cut flowers

Posted in Boy, Boys, or Blynken and Nod, Charlotte Mason, homeschooling | 1 Comment

Free Kindle Books

Books are free at time of copying and pasting the links here, but this can change. Be sure to verify the price.

These are affiliate links. Unless otherwise noted, all content comes from Amazon. Reader Reviews are from Amazon readers and do not reflect the opinion of this blogger. =)


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Reader Review; At first I was skeptical of this book title, but after reading the first chapter and discovering the science behind this method of weight loss, I was sold. The author provides such relevant and practical information to support one of the easiest ways to lose weight. These are practices that can be used by anyone to help them control their metabolism and weigh loss. It’s a very interesting book.

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Leaving Liberty

Blurb: At eighteen, Daisy McConnell left Liberty, Colorado and never looked back. The only bright spot in a childhood of neglect and loneliness was the town librarian, Marie. Now settled as a teacher in sunny Fresno, Daisy does her best to forget everything about Liberty including her drunk father, her MIA mother, and the town she hated with every beat of her heart.
Lane Bennett’s life as a small town cop is pretty close to perfect. He’s got his dog, a pretty date when he needs one, and plenty of time to fish on the weekends. No other place can compare to his hometown and he’s happy to devote his life to keeping the folks of Liberty safe. When Marie passes away, Lane knows one of the best parts about living in Liberty is gone, along with the old Carnegie library. It needs repairs the city can’t afford and the city managers won’t pay the new flood insurance. It’s too bad but safety comes first.
When Daisy comes home for Marie’s funeral and hears the only safe place she knew as a child is going to close, she refuses to let it happen. She hatches a plan to save the old library, run the summer reading program, and keep Marie’s legacy alive.
Nothing can go wrong with this plan… Only that she’s renting Lane’s cabin, he’s winning her heart, her dad wants to reconcile, and it just won’t stop raining.
By the time the river jumps the banks, there’s a whole lot more drama going in Liberty than a spring flood. The town pulls together to save the library, the quilt holds a startling secret, and two young people in love must decide if NEVER really means FOREVER.
She once vowed never to come home and he’s vowed never to leave. Daisy and Lane discover together that true love happens when you least expect it and you should ‘never say never’ in Liberty.

A contemporary Christian romance.
Three reader reviews:
I’ve come to love everything I’ve read from this author. ‘Leaving Liberty’ is a beautiful story about first encounters and second chances, about forgiveness and love. Daisy and Lane are attractive characters, real in their feelings and responses. I loved the way the little town of Liberty is portrayed- it’s described so well that I felt I was coming along for a visit. All the other elements come together in the best manner- just enough faith to inspire, an awesome attention to detail (hello, major character from another novel), historic details well done (Carnegie libraries- how cool!), great secondary characters that lend the right support, and a beautiful romance with heart-stopping kisses. And lots of humor too!

5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
There were so many reasons I enjoyed this book, but the top two have to be the believable characters and the humor. I laughed out loud more than once :D Also teared up–signs of a good book for me! Well written, easy and enjoyable read, hard to put down. I appreciated the Christian themes (forgiveness, growth) and the clean romance. Waiting for the next from this author!
Comment |

3.0 out of 5 stars Clean romance with a heartwarming message. A story that I enjoyed but the errors took away some of the pleasure of reading it.
Leaving Liberty by Virginia Carmichael is a contemporary christian romance. It’s a story about forgiveness, love, and moving on from your past but I would say that the biggest theme is forgiveness.

I love stories based in small towns and when you add in the fact that the main character is trying to save the town library this should/ could have been a great read. Unfortunately it was just okay.

The story line is good. As I mentioned before the theme seems to center around forgiveness and the story is built around that. The problem for me is the errors; there are a lot of them.

For instance, Sammy, the dog in the story, is a “furry golden retriever” on one page and then on the very next page he is “resting his heavy Labrador retriever’s head” and it happens more than once.

There were also a lot of misspelled and missing words. Little things like “make difference choices” instead of “make different choices”. I’m usually able to overlook one or two errors but I think this story could use another round with an editor.

With that being said there were also several memorable and heartfelt lines.

* “What was the difference between owning your past hurts and letting them rule your every decision?”
* “Don’t be looking for the least complicated route to happily ever after, because there isn’t any. At least, none that are worth your time.”
* “Was she playing the victim? Did she wear her bitterness like an old smelly coat?”

Leaving Liberty is a clean romance with a message and a heartwarming ending. Overall, I enjoyed the story but the errors were distracting for me and took away some of the pleasure of reading it.

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Photo Composition Mastery! (On Target Photo Training Book 9)

Me: Based on skimming through a few of the 71 reviews, my sense is that as a free book, this is a decent book for beginners if you understand he is also using it to sell his other books- just ignore the ads, and focus on the information. But it may not be worth it if you don’t catch the free price.

Reader review; I thought this book was very well written especially for the beginning photographer that I am. It was a quick read with very
helpful information for composing a good picture. I have already started to look at everything in a new perspective. Without a ton of technical information, this is an easy to understand book that makes you look at the world in a new way. Thank you.

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Blurb: What readers are saying about A Fine Mess

~ As a pastor, I have read many books that are called Christian, and a lot of them come off preachy or feel awkward if you just want to read a novel about Christian people living their lives. In this case, Kristy has overcome that, and has created a very believable story about real individuals.

~ This was a very sweet, refreshing Christian romance. Really liked the relationship between Annie and Ian and the fact that there was a lot of interaction and dialogue between the two. ~

~ I downloaded this book for free on my kindle, but I would go back and buy it if I had to. ~

She would sacrifice anything for those she loved…

Annie Blake put her life on hold to care for her mother when she was diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t consider it a sacrifice as much as a labor of love. But then she learns that her father has done something completely out of character, not to mention criminal, in a misguided attempt to save the life of his wife. Annie realizes she will have to give up more than just a job and an apartment this time. To save him from going to prison, she will have to give up her freedom.

His life was going according to plan – until the day she showed up…

The last thing Ian McCann expected was the bombshell the daughter of an employee dropped in his lap at the start of the three-day weekend. She needed help, and plenty of it. She also needed it immediately, and hoped he would be able to help. He knew that he could, he just wasn’t sure he was prepared to give what it would require to fix everything.
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A Fine Mess

My sense after skimming some of the reviews is that this is predictable Christian fiction, fluff, with characters who are too good to be true, light reading- and sometimes, that is just what the doctored ordered.

A couple people did complain that the book needed a good editor to fix some grammar and punctuation errors, and a couple felt like the ending was rushed and didn’t answer all their questions.

Blurb: What readers are saying about A Fine Mess

~ As a pastor, I have read many books that are called Christian, and a lot of them come off preachy or feel awkward if you just want to read a novel about Christian people living their lives. In this case, Kristy has overcome that, and has created a very believable story about real individuals.

~ This was a very sweet, refreshing Christian romance. Really liked the relationship between Annie and Ian and the fact that there was a lot of interaction and dialogue between the two. ~

~ I downloaded this book for free on my kindle, but I would go back and buy it if I had to. ~

She would sacrifice anything for those she loved…

Annie Blake put her life on hold to care for her mother when she was diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t consider it a sacrifice as much as a labor of love. But then she learns that her father has done something completely out of character, not to mention criminal, in a misguided attempt to save the life of his wife. Annie realizes she will have to give up more than just a job and an apartment this time. To save him from going to prison, she will have to give up her freedom.

His life was going according to plan – until the day she showed up…

The last thing Ian McCann expected was the bombshell the daughter of an employee dropped in his lap at the start of the three-day weekend. She needed help, and plenty of it. She also needed it immediately, and hoped he would be able to help. He knew that he could, he just wasn’t sure he was prepared to give what it would require to fix everything.

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Reader Review: I finished this 4th book in the Det. Jason Strong series and it’s as good if not better than the others. It was fun to try and figure out who was killing random people and what events tied the murders together. It was very suspenseful and fun, and I couldn’t put it down until I was finished. It was good to see Jason back with his partner, Vanessa. They work well together. I loved the story, and the bow and arrow aspect of the killings. It’s a page turner that kept me glued to it until I knew who the killer was and why they were doing it. I recommend it highly!

The first book in the series is just 1.19; WHERE’S MY SON? (Det. Jason Strong (CLEAN SUSPENSE Book 1)

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The Top Ten Mistakes Leaders Make

Reader Reviews: Finzel’s book was written in ’94, well before Kotter’s “What Leaders Really Do” (written in ’99) & Collins’ “Good to Great” (written in ’01). Finzel “outs” the most immediate perils to any leader’s reign (top 10) & did so prior to the market research that Kotter & Collins offer. Kotter & Collins provide the data that supports Finzel’s book, but Finzel’s text is to the point & more eloquent. Pay special attention to mistakes #2 & 8. In today’s corportae culture, not fitting the culture is a deal killer.

4.0 out of 5 stars Refreshing, common-sense appraoch to leadership November
Hans Finzel makes the case that poor leadership habits are often the byproduct of observing others’ poor leadership habits. This book suggests a concise list of such habits for leaders to dissect and change, with anecdotal examples as well as clear action items that can be implemented tomorrow morning.

Generally, Dr. Finzel solves his Top Ten list of mistakes using the strategies of servant leadership (the basis of the author’s own success in church leadership), and he supports his writing with Biblical quotes and his own view on modeling one’s actions after Christ’s.

However, Finzel generally delivers plain-spoken, well-explained concepts that can be employed in most companies and organizations. Whatever your religion, his strategies embrace a positive, ethical approach to leadership that has been glaringly absent in many corporate American cultures in recent years.

This title probably didn’t make a bestseller list, but it is a hidden gem for both established and emerging leaders who wish to prevent or improve upon common poor habits — a refreshing change of pace from the mainstream best-sellers. For the price, it belongs in your leadership library.

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The Age of Innocence (Open Road)
by Edith Wharton, a classic, but not a ‘feel good’ story. What it means to spend a lifetime lusting after the unattainable.

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Panic Attacks And Anxiety Attacks : Stop Panic Attacks For A Stress Free Life (A Drug-Free Book To Overcome Panic Attacks)

Me: I downloaded this one. For Reasons.
What I really need is some sort of reminder to start this kind of thing at the onset, or just before when I have a second or two to see the fright train coming, but I guess that just comes with practice.

Having suffered from panic attacks and anxiety off an on for the last 5 years I can tell you that the tips in this book really do help you to cope with the onset of an attack and maintain control during the attack and in a lot of cases thwart it all together.

I like that tips are provided for right after the attack subsides as we’ll, something I personally have never done. Good luck with your panic attacks. Knowledge is power,

easy read and easy to understand,
realistic and useable tips.
occasional typos. Would give 5 stars if no typos.

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The Guest

Just 47 pages.

Fifteen readers liked it, no reviews below 3 stars.

Blurb: The dynamics of Indian family life is not quite what we watch on TV.

Are all moms-in-law tyrants? Are all husbands romantic but with no time to express his feelings to his wife or chauvinistic and wayward and involved with other women even when he is married, or just mama’s boys? Do moms-in-law and daughters-in-law bond at all?

Here’s Sameer, who is a ‘catch’, an eligible bachelor one hears of as ‘nice’ boy in matrimonial parlance. To a girl and her family that only means that he is qualified, comfortably off, well-employed, young and has no bad habits. And when Sameer was proposed for serene Kavitha, she thought he was too nice. But is a girl allowed to say No because the groom proposed is unexciting? Then she met his mother…

The Guest is a day in the life of Mama, Sameer and Kavitha. A story of ordinary, everyday people, that drop the garb of fiction and offer you a slice of life, which is more than a storm in a tea cup.

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Tomato Planting How to grow tasty tomato (Gardening made easy, seed planters, container herb gardening)

It’s time to start garden planning for most of us.

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The Entrepreneurial Introvert Guide:Discover and Take advantage of your Quiet Inner Power, Making the Best of your Introvert Methods to Kill It in the Business World
Just 47 pages, so more of an overview/intro

Reading Review: This is a great book for anyone who would classify themselves as an introvert (whether you want to own your own business or advance further in someone else’s) or even for any boss who supervises introverts and you want to better understand their workings in the business-place. The author discusses the differences between introverts and extroverts and debunks many myths that are seen regarding introverts. There is a ton of discussion of the strengths of being an introvert and how to use that to advance yourself in the business-place as well as your company if you choose to run your own. There is also a look at some great leaders in history who were introverts and some great inspiration to let you know that it can be done.

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Savvy Girl, A Guide to Etiquette

23 reviews, one is a four star and that’s the lowest.

Here’s one reader’s review; Absolutely loved Savvy Girl Guide to Wine and couldn’t wait to get a hold of the newest guide on Etiquette! It is such a fun and witty read and written for people like me…not a stuffy book I can’t relate to. So helpful for the modern woman on how to handle common social situations. Love how these books make a topic light and fun but also so informative. As a new mom I can appreciate how straight and to the point these guides are so I can get the information I need and get on living my life. Can’t wait for the next one!!

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Circle of Redemption

Reader review: A collection of deeply emotional stories that touch on PTSD, grief and organ donation. Each of the stories is connected by a sentimental object that just enriches them all the more.

Lost and Found by Susan C. Muller – This was a 2nd chance story. Dan and Lacey had a quick fling when they were in college before Dan deployed. A misunderstanding had them parting on bad terms and not seeing each other for 7 years ago. Dan is now a police detective who has found himself in the middle of bank robbery protecting Lacey and her daughter. There was a lot of suspense during the bank robbery and a feel good ending once the past was confronted between Dan and Lacey.

Saved by the Stone by Janet Nash – Cade return from Afghanistan a year ago but yet he didn’t. Since returning he cannot feel anything emotionally not even for his wife and 2 children. All he feels is dead inside and this has finally taken a toll on his marriage. We not only get a glimpse of what the veteran goes through with PTSD but also how it ultimately affects the spouse. Grace couldn’t take it anymore and it started affecting her by causing outburst and her acting in a way that wasn’t normal for her either. This was heartbreaking to read yet you felt a triumph for them both when Cade finally had a breakthrough.

Sight Unseen by Shauna Allen – This one was really heartbreaking. A Doctor who should be at the top of his game has been beaten down by the tragic loss of his brother in Afghanistan and then by the loss of his wife in a accident. After making the decision to have her organs donated he finds out that his marriage isn’t what he thought it was when he is served with divorce papers. A year later he is still just going through the motions and really what I would call severely depressed. One day he meets an artist who awakens every dormant emotion in him. This story has a few twist that I think as a reader you need to read for yourself but know that this ones gonna tug on the heartstrings.

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Thanks for reading, and an even bigger thank-you if you click through the links and happen to buy something at Amazon while you’re there.=)

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All our connections are rendering us unable to connect

discombobulated minds

Our smartphones have become Swiss army knife–like appliances that include a dictionary, calculator, web browser, email, Game Boy, appointment calendar, voice recorder, guitar tuner, weather forecaster, GPS, texter, tweeter, Facebookupdater, and flashlight. They’re more powerful and do more things than the most advanced computer at IBM corporate headquarters 30 years ago. And we use them all the time, part of a 21st-century mania for cramming everything we do into every single spare moment of downtime. We text while we’re walking across the street, catch up on email while standing in a queue – and while having lunch with friends, we surreptitiously check to see what our other friends are doing. At the kitchen counter, cosy and secure in our domicile, we write our shopping lists on smartphones while we are listening to that wonderfully informative podcast on urban beekeeping.

But there’s a fly in the ointment. Although we think we’re doing several things at once, multitasking, this is a powerful and diabolical illusion. Earl Miller, a neuroscientist at MIT and one of the world experts on divided attention, says that our brains are “not wired to multitask well… When people think they’re multitasking, they’re actually just switching from one task to another very rapidly. And every time they do, there’s a cognitive cost in doing so.”

More here.

I’ve definitely noticed this about myself.  It’s not just the mulittasking, it’s the time I’ve spent the last few PTSD years desperately trying to drown out the PTSD noise by drowning out my own thoughts.

But the thing is, all that input isn’t learning, it isn’t thinking.  Eventually it’s just noise.  Learning only happens when you give yourself time and space to think.

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