Everyday Tidbits...

Be Kind. Do Good. Love is a Verb.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


We are not an Elf on the Shelf family. Those who are, more power to you. I personally find the thing a little creepy. Now a Trooper on a Pooper? That's more along the lines of my family's humor!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Books I Have Forgotten

Each month I want to revisit some of my past reviews. One of the reasons I started this book blog was to remember what books I have read. My memory isn't the greatest anymore and I would read a book and then not remember if I liked it or what it was even about.

Maybe one of these will prompt you to seek out an older, but amazing book. Or, if you've read one of these and your review was different, please share!

With few exceptions, I am not a fan of Austen-wannabe novels. Very few capture the voice, spirit or essence of Jane Austen's beloved characters.


Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
0/5 Stars

Mr. Darcy takes a wife, indeed. He takes her again and again and again. I couldn't even finish this travesty of a novel. It was sex, sex and oh, more sex...I am so glad I didn't purchase this book, as it saved me the trouble of getting a refund.

This book didn't even warrant a rating. I labeled it as "not shelf worthy" on Goodreads.

None But You/For You Alone by Susan Kaye
1/5 Stars

I can't picture this Captain Wentworth. While None But You captures his voice better than For You Alone, this man is not Jane Austen's captain. This man references that while he visited prostitutes, he thought about Anne. And, when Anne finally accepts him, this Captain Wentworth has no problems running away with her and getting married in some inn and spending his honeymoon night with her in the sordid room left vacant by the inn's working girl. This is wrong on so many levels.

If you want to read about Captain Wentworth, read the original Persuasion and draw your own conclusions as to his actions and frame of mind. Don't bother with this drivel.

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet by Colleen McCullough

Terrifically disappointing...While Colleen McCullough, thankfully, doesn't try to be Jane Austen, I think she seriously misses the boat when it comes to these characters. Anyone who has read Pride and Prejudice has their own ideas as to who Mr. Darcy is and how he acts, just as they have pictures in their minds of Elizabeth and her sisters. Even understanding that, I cannot envision these characters where McCullough has placed them, 20 years after Darcy and Elizabeth's marriage. It just didn't work for me.

The title is a bit misleading, because it's as much about Darcy and Elizabeth as it is about Mary. I found it to be more of an annoying, social commentary on the mistreatment of the poor than I did to be a truly interesting Pride and Prejudice sequel.

...I find it hard to see Mr. Darcy involved with people who would murder for him, regardless of whether he asked them to or not. I also don't see him separating the Bennet sisters because of their potential threat to his reputation. In Pride and Prejudice, he helps sort out Lydia and Wickham's situation because of his love for Elizabeth, not because of the damage they could do to his reputation.

...Overall, this book is not something I can recommend to people who are fans of Pride and Prejudice. Obviously, Ms. McCullough is not and as she has so eloquently stated she wanted to "tweak the noses of the literati". Well, I think most die hard Austen fans would say she accomplished that goal.


What about you? What are some of the books you've read in previous years?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Weekend Reflections 12/3

Looking outside...it's cold and cloudy with a chance of snow.

Listening...to Christmas music. My new favorite? Pentatonix's That's Christmas to Me. Beautiful. Go listen now. It's ok. I can wait...

Loving...this Christmas season. It's time for some Christmas magic. I think this country needs is desperately.

Thinking...that I have things to do.

In my kitchen...a cup of hot chocolate right now. 

Wearing...blue BSU pajamas, gray turtleneck and fuzzy gray socks.

Hoping...that we find some answers and a path for moving forward in opening our own practice. There is a maelstrom of feelings associated with taking this step: fear, hope, trepidation, excitement, terror, faith...

Reading...nothing that is finished yet! But I wrote about banning books on Facebook. It was in response to a Virginia school district temporarily banning To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn because one parent complained about racial slurs. I think my post came out well. Read it and tell me what you think?

Today...household chores, never ending laundry and an office Christmas lunch.

Quoting...“My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?” ― Bob Hope

Feeling...So tired. So very, very tired.

Planning...figuring out what we are doing for Christmas: budgets, gifts. 

Gratitude...for my fireplace, a warm home and a wonderful family. 

From my world... 

Our family nativity returned. This year three dinosaurs, 2 K-9, a crocodile named Boudreaux,  a scorpion, a lizard, baby Groot and Hobbes all want to worship the baby Jesus along with three wisemen and a purple minion. Carnivores, foreigners, plants, little monsters, insects and reptiles: we're an all inclusive family! Merry Christmas.

What about you? What are you reflecting on this week? How has your week gone?

Friday, December 2, 2016

Пятница Ponderings: He was an example to me.

Ponder: to consider something deeply and thoroughly; meditate 
Пятница (PYAHT-nee-tsuh): Friday in Russian


It's December. Wow. This year seems to have just flown by. I appreciated celebrating Thanksgiving last week. I love that there is a day set aside to reflect on gratitude. At least, that is how I look at it. Now, it's December and we are into the Christmas season. The holidays are my favorite time of year. People are a bit softer and more compassionate. After the turmoil of November, I think some compassion is desperately needed.

Aside from the intense, vitriolic mess that the election generated, November was difficult because I lost a dear friend. My mother and I drove to eastern Idaho in mid-November for the graveside service for a man who we had known for probably 25 years. His family moved to our hometown because his father was a CES teacher, which is an LDS term for a seminary teacher. Seminary is a class that LDS high schoolers take. Each year they study a work of scripture: for example, this year The Artist is studying the New Testament in his seminary class. Where I grew up in California, we had early morning seminary, which meant that we were in a class at the church before school started. Here in Idaho, my children have release-time seminary which is a class during their school day.

Jon was serving his LDS mission when his parents moved to California. So, when he returned from that mission, he returned to a new city. As we had come to love his family already, several of my girlfriends and I dressed up as hula girls to welcome him home at the airport. His sister and brother-in-law and little nieces were dressed in funny costumes as well  This was back in the day when you could go directly to the gate and we made a funny scene. When Jon came off the plane, my girlfriends and I started singing "California Girls" and swaying to a hula. I will never forget the look on his face because he knew none of us. It is a fun memory.

Jon became a good friend. He was always quick with a laugh and a joke. He was always smiling and he had a way of making you feel like you were the most important person in the world.

He also struggled with addiction. And had deep cycles of ups and downs. His life was truly one of good, bad and ugly. When it was good, it was amazing. And when it was bad, it could be ugly and difficult.

Jon passed away in November and when we heard the news, it was devastating for so many of us who loved him dearly. My mom and I drove over to Idaho Falls for the graveside service. As with all funerals, it was so bittersweet because while we grieved with his family, we also found joy in being reunited with old friends.

Jon's life at the time of his death wasn't ideal. But, as the service started, his father asked for people to share their thoughts and memories of Jon. And what followed, touched my heart in ways that I am still processing. It was a bitterly cold day and while there was a partially sheltered tent over the gravesite, the wind was bone-chilling. And yet, there were more than 50 people gathered around the gravesite. As people moved to the front to share their thoughts, I was struck by the fact that there was such a diversity to the group.

One by one people stood and spoke. Some shared memories from when we lived in California. Some shared more recent memories: one man said that Jon saved him, because he was so bereft that he was considering suicide. Another person shared how Jon had taught him how to survive on the street. More than one person shared that Jon was quick to quote scripture. To look at many of these people, you could see that they had lived harsh lives under difficult conditions. The years of addiction were visible.

Jon fought demons and wars most of us could never understand. And, as I stood there and listened to the precious thoughts and memories shared by so many, I couldn't help but think that despite his challenges and struggles, despite his hardships, Jon lived the two great commandments better than anyone I know. He loved God and even in the midst of his own despair he was still teaching other people about God. And even in the midst of those struggles, whether it was on the street or in a garage, he loved his fellow man and helped and encouraged every person he met. And for a moment, those people who had lived so hard and seen so much, knew what it was like to be the most important person to someone, because that is how Jon made everyone feel.

As I have reflected about Jon's life, I have also had an opportunity to ponder other people I know. The differences are profound. I have observed people who have an abundance, but instead of being grateful, never seem to have enough. I have observed people who might give to a charity, but like to get take out instead of eating in the restaurant because they don't feel the need to tip. I have seen others with less who will tip more than expected because they understand that the server might be overworked or they just might want to do something nice for someone else. I have seen people with an abundance treat their employees with disrespect and then not understand why they have such a high attrition rate. I have seen business owners who struggle, but who show respect and appreciation to their employees and that instills loyalty beyond compare.

And then I saw Jon and these amazing people who he had helped without expectation. People to whom he had given everything he had in this world, literally.

How many of us would have seen Jon or any number of these amazing people on the street and looked past them? How many of us would look at them and see a life wasted? Christians talk of God and Grace. We talk of commandments and scriptures. We focus on the sin and forget to love the sinner. We serve often, but we judge too much. We give when it's convenient, not when it's needed.

The Good Samaritan, Joseph Brickey
I have reflected these last weeks on the New Testament. I thought about the Prodigal Son. I thought about the rich man who wanted to go to Heaven and Jesus told him to give up all that he had and the man couldn't do it. I thought about The Good Samaritan.

That day at the cemetery, I saw the legacy Jon left behind in the thoughts and tears of those whose lives he touched. I knew that his life wasn't without merit and that God would have welcomed him home, knowing how many lives he changed and how much good he did, despite fighting his own addiction battles.

I have reflected on that day many times over the past couple of weeks. I haven't always liked what I have seen in myself, but I have a fantastic example to look to. The example of a man who never stopped caring, never stopped helping and who gave all he had, literally, to help his fellow man.

I love you, Jon. I expect you'll be among the family and friends who greet me on the other side and I will be looking for that beautiful smile!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Cover Crush...The Rejected Writer's Book Club

I will freely admit that I judge books by their covers. The cover is usually what first captures my attention when browsing Goodreads or Netgalley. Actually, in all honesty, it isn't just usually, it's pretty much all the time. The cover determines if I look at the synopsis and reviews.

I think I have a thing for tea cups.  This isn't the first tea cup related Cover Crush I've done. But, this one captured my attention immediately. I love the blues and the bright variety of patterns. These seem to be used with the residual tea bags peeking between the cups. Is the book club over? What was discussed? How did the meeting end?

What about you? Any book covers capture your attention this week?

Cover Crush is a weekly series that originated with Erin at Flashlight Commentary. If you want to check out some other terrific bloggers and what their Cover Crush posts look like, you can do that here: The Maiden's Court, Flashlight Commentary, A Bookaholic SwedeLayered Pages, indieBRAG.