Change. I've learned to embrace it, ride it out til the end. Sometimes I'm kicking and screaming, other times weeping with my eyes clinched tight. Once in awhile I ride like a dog in a car, head out the window snorting what life has to offer. Mother to young adult children, a marriage of thirty years, and a desert to mountain to valley waltz with God have shaped me into someone I never imagined I'd be. Life is short and I want to live it. Tears, sighs, laughter and change. Every morsel granted to me. Scrambled, shaken or stirred.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Kim wonders if she's missed something about me. Like maybe I'm a bit off. (It's okay, Kim, I read between the lines. Creative license for this here milking of the cat e-mail forward...)
Well, they do say what we know we assume to be "normal." (Actually, they don't say that, I did, which is probably why you just had to go back and give it another read or three before understanding dawned.)
As a five-year-old child my pet was a black and white cat named Lucy. (Creative spelling by yours truly -- Lousy -- but that's another story and my first book.)
Lucy birthed kittens. I discovered a delightful yet kind of disgusting thing about kittens. Their breath. Kittens have sour milk breath. Yes, it's true. How would I know this you might ask. Because I became addicted to smelling kitten breath. If I picked them up, and there were a bunch of them, they'd meow and I'd sniff. Ahhhh. Olfactory nirvana. I even became so intent on sniffing kitten breath that I remember squeezing a little kitten tail now and again to force a meow. I did try to sniff Lucy's breath because squeezing kittens seemed mean somehow. Hoo boy. Did that once.
Good news! The kittens survived and were likely even stronger because of my involvement in their nurture. And I got over the whole kitten breath thing when they began eating Friskies. Trust me.
However, have you smelled a human baby after it eats Cheerios. Smells almost as good as sweaty toes.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. Here's something that can make your life much easier. You don't need a skeleton pattern for poor Howard kitty. Voila. Skeleton kitty paint- by-number kit for your perusal.
Alas, no pigs for Aunt Fatty catty, but I love the plaid. You could make her resemble a footstool.
For Feral. Hmmm. This is tough. With the excessively long fangs I don't think cutesy or storybooky would work. I think a maroon bolero jacket and poofy cream pants. I'd paint a silver curved dagger looking thing to dangle at his side.
Then, new idea here, I could decorate my bandages with varicolored Sharpies and make cool rectangular temporary tattoos.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Pat sent me the following pictures in an e-mail forward.
Gotta love this new art form. (Unless you are a member of PETA. In that case you are likely not amused.)
Feral Will (you remember him, the wild cat who lives with us) entered the bedroom this morning as I was staring mindlessly at a wall while suffering from lack of caffeine. I began to pet him. Usually he avoids sinking the world's largest fangs into the soft meaty part of my hand that early in the morning. When he's affectionate, well, he's affectionate.
Feral has the most beautiful glossy black fur. As I stroked the softness I decided it was almost the texture of black velvet. (This was before I looked down at the sheets and realized he'd left a deposit of it behind...but I digress.)
Can you guess where I'm headed with this? Think bullfighters, Elvis....anyone, anyone?
If I actually am dumb enough to follow through with my black velvet cat painting I will take pictures.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
A dose of reality, please.
Hollywood appeals to us -- even when it doesn't. On some level we envy or harbor a tiny lust for money, attention, admiration and even drama. I may call it love or something a little nobler, but I still hunger for something I can't find in my every day life that I think could be fulfilling -- if only. If only I had a personal trainer for eight hours a day, or a nanny. If I had the perfect car, or an unlimited budget life would be so sweet. How about the love of an amazing person, or at least one who looks amazing standing next to me?
We read about stars knowing they have some slice of life that we can only hope for, and somehow attach importance, as if they possess a special touch. Oprah has loads of wisdom. Why? She makes authors. Why? Does their book improve if she's read it? Brad and Angelina are the perfect couple. Really? Is that true?
So why do we even consider that anything celebrities say is of better quality than what our neighbor down the street thinks? Money, fame, beauty? Do pretty lips make truth?
Then there's the flip side. The hunger for the dirt. We love to see our celebrities fall. And we often act so surprised. Like uberattention, scads of money, socially liberating substances and all the flesh money can attract are good character builders. Madonna is getting divorced. This shocks us. Maybe it's the sick uncontrollable desire like when we drive by an accident. Must look, don't want to see anything awful, must look. Remember the intro to the old Wide World of Sports show on Saturdays. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. I don't remember the thrill shots, but the agony...who can forget that poor guy. Yeah, the gold medal winners get the victory circle, but the amazing failures join them in notoriety.
I suppose a daily dose of superstars won't kill us but it's not exactly a multi-vitamin either, is it?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Matt's website. And click on the book cover for more info.
Matt Bronleewe has visited before. Reacquaint yourself with him and Illuminated (Book One) by clicking and then scrolling down.
House of Wolves is an entertaining sophomore offering from Matt Bronleewe starring August Adams who may be one of the more charming anti-heroes to appear in fiction in a long time. Fascinating facts are written into amazing stories involving death, secrets and believe it or not, fun humor. This series really deserves to see the big screen. Feeling very much like Indy and National Treasure, House of Wolves takes the reader along for a thrill ride as August attempts to save the world (only because he has to). Big Honken Chickens may not like the smattering of violence. However, the humor manages to ease the drama a bit. I love the family interaction between August, Charlie, Grandpa and April. I hope Bronleewe is hard at work on the next chapter of the Adams' lives. I can't wait to read it.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
I've shared Pat's (my dad's) rocky relationship with Sunshine the parrot. Lately that rocky relationship has turned into mountainous terrain with snow and ice encased pathways that could crash and cause disaster at any moment. Seems Sunshine is not a happy camper. Not a happy anything. Pat has spent an unnatural amount of time in the office aka parrot habitation. And Pat's white calves taunt Sunshine from across the room.
Sunshine's Nightmare. By Sunshine Parrot
Pat's calves maneuvering the office chair on rollers from computer to printer and back again are begging for a bite, for the claws of fury from poor, little caged Sunshine.
Oh, Sunshine has tried. He's closed his eyes and attempted not to notice the soft, pinkish flesh. He's tried. Sunshine can taste the legs, he's almost had them before. So close. Pat is not known to be quiet. Oh no. Pat laughs out loud at e-mail forwards and tosses out a frustrated bark when the stupid numbers don't add up. Pat is not known for his love of paperwork and computers that do not cooperate. Shudder. Bad. Bad. Bad atmosphere in this room.
Sunshine forces his focus to the calming background music but he can hear those calves calling to him.
It's gotten so bad that Sunshine must refuse to leave the cage. The woman has betrayed him by leaving this Pat to click endlessly on the machine. Sunshine will eat, eat and fluff and grunt his complaints. But that's it. No more Mr. Nice Parrot.
Last week was the final indignity. The water dish needed to be washed out. The woman has fallen for Sunshine's threats and wouldn't dare stick her hand in the cage. So Pat volunteers. Sunshine gulps to keep from salivating. Not a juicy calf, but an arm will do.
Suddenly, Pat laughs and holds out a denim-armor encased arm. He slides the door open, slips in the blue covered arm, grabs the water dish and replaces it with fresh, clean water. All the while talking in a stupid voice as if his arm is a puppet.
Sunshine may start throwing seeds. Or, hmmm, is there another thing he could do that might become a Pat-be-gone? Sunshine will hum to himself and think happy thoughts of revenge. Night Pat.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Adventure and comic book hero lovers keep reading. You'll want to check out Merciless by clicking on the book cover, read the first chapter here and visit Robin Parrish's website, and finally click then scroll down here to see my review of book two -- Fearless and Robin's interview.
Merciless is the final novel in the "Dominion Trilogy." Comic book-type heroes, doomsday ruination of the world, death, sorrow and pain fill this book with dark moments. Robin Parrish not only handles these moments with page-turning intensity but also sensitivity.
This story is a loose allegory of the fall and redemption of man. Parrish handles the lean spiritual aspects with an interesting historical focus which made the storyline appealing. A Christian label on a book that doesn't have the plan of salvation spelled out but is much told in a world view of the awareness of man's fallen state and his need for redemption.
There are difficult passages dealing with heavy violence or loss of life. Super sensitive readers need to be aware of this. Merciless isn't an easy read. With prose that seemed more fluid than Fearless, Parrish also relaxed his vocabulary which will help readers who may not want to read with a dictionary. This also tightened his prose and made the story more natural and compelling.
The Dominion Trilogy is a solid adventure series with heroes that are truly bigger than life told in a voice that commands attention late into the night. Adventure lovers should look further into these novels.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
Awkward coming of age drama with moments of humor that lighten things up to the point that the emotion is tolerable. Coming of age, literally, as a brother and sister in their middle years are forced to come to terms with the dysfunction in their own issues when their estranged father's life drastically changes at the onset of Parkinson's disease.
This is not a light movie. Heavy, heavy themes that lay out life in all it's grittiness and the complexity of human relationships in all of the quirks, masks and coping mechanisms. Poignant to the point that it was almost depressing, but it is filled with a raw kind of beauty and a lot of truth. A deeply character driven film, desperate, raw in several spots. Squeamish viewers may not do well with a couple of sex scenes and an adulterous relationship as well as some coarse language. The end is hopeful. Great acting. Those who love heavy dramas and character pieces might want to take a deeper look at The Savages.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Tracey delivers up a bit of quirk from the Dregs menu.
Fiction character you would most like to be or most identify with and why?
Anne of Green Gables, because she never does the same wrong thing twice.
Samson (from the Bible)What were you THINKING dude?
Some out there in writing land have strange rituals.
Not me. I pretty much go with the flow. Rituals annoy me.
If you could change something in any novel, what would you change about it and why?
Rhett would give a Damn, because in my heart, he truly did.
What crayon in the box describes you on a good day? Bad day? Which one do you aspire to be?
If I aspired to be colored wax, I'd seriously consider getting help. I mean, I'm already considering it, but it has nothing to do with crayons.
Favorite turn of phrase or word picture, in literature or movie.
It was the best of Times it was the worst of times... from A Tale of Two cities. I think the world is in this mode right now. We have technology to accomplish just about anything man can dream and yet evil is rampant and people still go to bed hungry in the US and we still haven't figured out how to live in peace (although Jesus said we wouldn't), IT truly is the best of times and the worst of times. Very cool writing, I think.
If you were assured of writing a best-seller, what genre would it be? Give us a sliver of information, a characteristic or glimpse of a scene.
I truly don't know. Probably women's fiction with an imperfect heroine and lots of real issues. I'd love to write something that deals with the afterpain of abortion or spousal abuse.
What period of history intrigues you the most?
It used to be the Civil War Era. But lately I'm more of an in the moment kind of gal. I'm intrigued with what the future will say of us in history. What choices have we as a society as a church as individuals made that will leave a lasting legacy for those who will follow?:
What makes you feel alive?
Book, music, person, food you would take with you on a very long trip.
Music...Cold Play, Sanctus Real, Juno soundtrak. People...family. Unless it's a long ROAD trip, then I'd leave th kids at home and go by myself with my music and pretzels.
Favorite season and why?
Summer, because it's hot, winter because it's cold, Spring because it's fresh, fall because my mom likes it best and I like my mom.
Is that a joke?
Grammatical pet peeve…sound off.
When someone says "These...something IS (instead of "are"). We get that a lot here in the Ozarks, I'm afraid
Societal pet peeve…sound off.
Hungry kids--this ought not be.
Thanks, Tracey. Have a great weekend all-ya
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Now, I haven't read this book and I haven't "read" the author. But if you click here, or on the book cover, you will find out how to get this e-book for nada. Disclaimer: I don't know if we're talking G, PG, PG-13 or R-rated so keep that in mind. Her book reading (YouTube link below) was tame....I've downloaded Jumble Pie and will eventually get to it.
Check out her YouTube link. I watched it several months ago and thought the story was pretty clever but at the time I was buried in books and didn't review it....the girl has a charming way with words.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Here's some fun reading for those still looking for a beach book.
As per usual, click the book cover to head over to the Amazon info page. And if you want to read the first chapter click here. Finally, visit Tracey's website here. Come back Friday for a Dregs Q & A with Tracey. Now without further ado...here's my
This is my first Tracey Bateman novel. It won't be my last.
Fun characters run amok through food, coffee, design, hormones and drama. Italian grandmothers, "the uncles," crime drama, angst, angst and more angst plague Laini while she struggles with the fact that she can't figure out who she is and what she wants to do with what she's got. Bateman masterfully manages a huge and very eclectic cast of characters. Humor is laced throughout, yet there is a touch of melancholy for those who like a hint of it in their chick-lit.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Just in case you've wondered about this book, in case you want my opinion...keep reading. The buzz about it reached Iowa so I picked it up and read it. If you think you have God all figured out, I dare you to read it. What are your thoughts? Have you read it?
I didn't want to read this one. I have such a huge stack of books to get through that I couldn't bear the thought of one more...especially one I didn't think I'd like. I expected The Shack to be melodramatic and poorly written. Young was turned down by a lot of houses, and I figured that his writing skills might have something to do with it. But The Shack ended up on my local book club list, and I picked up a copy and began reading.
I was surprised by what I found between the covers of this little novel. The writing is compelling, a little overdone is some spots, a little mechanically iffy in others. The beginning scenes are a little slow moving, but it's solid and descriptive writing that paints pictures and engages senses. But the story, wow. The story is gripping and beautiful and awful and full of pain and sorrow and joy. I wept through a few scenes. Not dashed a tear away, but wept.
I'm not going to recommend it to everyone. There are some who shouldn't read it. If you can not separate fiction from doctrine, why set yourself up for annoyance? Theologically, this book soars on imagination, wonder, questions and it oozes grace. The Shack doesn't belong on a shelf full of Biblical study tools. Nor should it be read to discover error or to fuel a bully pulpit. The Shack should be read by people who are desperate to find healing or those who are sick and tired of religion. If you are afraid to think outside of your doctrinal lines, you will find much to be offended about. On the flip side, if the Shack or anything outside of Jesus becomes your hope for salvation, stop, turn aside to the Bible and discover Jesus as written through the Holy Spirit.
The several struggles I've noticed seem to be focused on the depiction of God and the gospel message. The author very clearly states that this is a story, a fictional account. Young bravely takes liberty with God, creating pictures and dialog, putting words and emotion and spice into the God of the Bible. If this offends you, then you are probably not ready for the message in The Shack. But if you have an image of God as a lightning bolt throwing bully or a disinterested floating ruler or a bumbling fool, The Shack may just change your mind and possibly your life. The book does not share a Gospel where Jesus is anything but God the Son and fully human. His death and resurrection are clearly portrayed.
The uncomfortable issue with the theology stems from the author's stretch of imagination and his obvious love for God. Truth is, God doesn't behave the way we expect Him to. Why should He? God doesn't answer to us, God doesn't have to do things the exact same way He has in the past, He's not bound by our limitations. God is complete and full without our understanding of His business or our definition of Him. God is big enough to work through fiction, truth, the Bible, nature, other people and whatever else He might choose.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Even though my really restful and laid back vacation did not require a few days to recover from said vacation...I'm pretty sure life went on in abundance while we stepped out.
Somehow, we are nearing the middle of August. I'm just getting used to the idea of 2008. Do any of you remember Y2K? Nine years ago I was deciding whether or not to take it seriously. Would life as we knew it end at midnight? Or would I be dumping gallon after gallon of carefully hoarded water on my summer garden months later?
On a less global scale is the major change in our lives.
Hubby has been given an opportunity that knocked our collective socks off (figuratively...we DO NOT wear socks with flip-flops) and will change the face of our family. Instead of building and constructing and grinding his joints in ten plus hours of hard labor every day, he'll teach others how to build.
I am REALLY proud of him. A guy who has a semester of college under his belt and next to nil in computer knowledge is going to teach a full-time college course, using a computer to communicate much of what he needs to with his students. He is totally humbling himself in this new arena. He has to admit that there a many things he doesn't know, and he is now a little fish in a huge pond. To give up/scale back what he has been doing for nearly thirty years is a huge step. He has a reputation as a good, honest builder and he has made a good, honest living. This is so new, so different, and I can only imagine a little scary.
This is a huge God-thing, too. Not only did it come out of the blue...three weeks ago we had zilcho in the clue department that something like this could open up. But we can see where God has prepared him to take on this career hairpin turn. As a carpenter, Rob has been a teacher, he trained workers, he taught skills to our kids' 4-H group, he taught skills in our Wednesday night kid's classes. As a elder in the church he's taught all ages on all sorts of different occasions, from pulpit time in a suit and tie, to decked out in faux Biblical garb as a traveling story teller. He's also had training in basic computers as the church treasurer (he knows how to turn one on.)
It's also a picture of my husband's walk of faith. He is fully trusting God to guide and direct him. Did I mention that I'm proud of him? Really, really proud?
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Hey there. One more book this week. I read four while on vacation. Okay. Not complete, but I finished two and started two. And still got to float on the lake and cook and sleep and shop. Yes. Dream vacation....
Anyhoo. Click here to read chapter one of All Through the Night and here to visit Davis Bunn's website. A click on the book cover will take you to the mucho informative Amazon page.
Davis Bunn has written a story full of redemption and hope. The characters are a rag-tag mix of broken and abused. As so often happens, the characters use their pain as fuel to protect themselves and keep others out of the areas that are still wounded.
And they live with the consequences of those choices -- alone.
On the surface All Through the Night is about a trained soldier with an amazing mind for numbers who settles in a retirement community to help them recover from a scam. Entertaining reading with that element alone because Bunn provides a beautiful woman, guns, explosions, fast boats and bad guys.
But the spiritual aspects drove the story. One fragile elderly lady determines to love Wayne and to pray for him. As his heart softens toward her, a deep transformation begins.
After an initial struggle getting into the story, I discovered a good read.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
I told you I'd get better about going after those interviews...and I will. Cut me some slack. I was on vacation, people. No internet. It was fabulous by the way: ). So I missed Fabry and Bunn (who's latest book will be appearing in the next couple of days, but I promise, I'm back on track. Besides, Fabry will no doubt be writing for adults again.
You can read the first chapter of Dogwood, here. And visit Chris at his blog. As always, click on the book cover for even more info.
Chris Fabry's debut adult novel, Dogwood, is a mosaic of humanity, God's grace and the power of love.
Solidly literary fiction with deep, flawed characters and beautiful prose, Dogwood also contains a mystery within the story that adds tension and a deepening plot. Twists and turns fill this multi-first-person POV novel.
The spiritual elements run deep and into moments that teach, however, the characters who do the teaching end up being so compelling that it doesn't feel preachy, but instead feels like wisdom that needs to be savored and pondered and maybe even considered in the life of the reader.
Sensitive readers may want to use caution because the themes in this book are PG-13 and intense.
Days after finishing the story I'm still mulling over and wondering how I feel about situations and information that I was given in my journey to Dogwood. Haunting may be too strong, but I think there will be a shadow that follows me for awhile as I continue to process what I've read.
Even though the characters had great depth, I struggled with finding sympathy or even like for a main character. But I think this is a back-handed compliment because that means this paper and ink "person" got under my skin.
Those who love literary or general fiction, especially the stories that are infused with a touch from God, may find Dogwood to be a very satisfying read. Fabry is a wordsmith and quite a storyteller. I'm looking forward to his next novel.