Wednesday, August 27, 2008

NFP--The Real Story

I loved this post and wanted to share with you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Our Lady of Prompt Succor

I recently read and reviewed Our Lady of the Lost and Found. One of the Marian devotions described therein is to Our Lady of Prompt Succor, who as any good New Orleans girl knows, it the patroness of our city. Her claim to fame here is that the Ursuline nuns prayed to her during the Battle of New Orleans and the outnumbered Americans defeated the British in a battle fought after the peace treaty was signed regarding the War of 1812, but before word reached the wilds of Louisiana. I thought that was the origan of the devotion by learned in the book that it started in France when the Ursalines wanted to come to New Orleans but the bishop said he would allow it only if the Pope told him to. Since the Pope was held captive, he figured that wouldn't happen. The nuns petitioned the Blessed Mother and promptly, the Pope gave permission.

In any case, Our Lady of Prompt Succor is the patroness of New Orleans and we invoke her intercession weekly at mass during hurricane season. As Gustov looks like he is headed into the Gulf, join me in praying that he ends up somewhere that he doesn't hurt people or property.

Welcome to Catholic Carnival Readers

I entered my post about Christ the King--Out of Egypt in the Catholic Carnival. If you came to see it, welcome to my corner of the blogosphere. You'll see a lot of book reviews, a few opinions, and some posts about my family. Hope you decide to drop in now and then.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Catholic Carnival

Read what other Catholic bloggers have to say.

Our Lady of the Lost and Found

Our Lady of the Lost and Found: A Novel of Mary, Faith, and Friendship Our Lady of the Lost and Found: A Novel of Mary, Faith, and Friendship by Diane Schoemperlen

My review

This book caught my eye when I was looking for another book to mooch from someone from whom I was already mooching one. It is about a middle-aged writer of no particularly strong faith who finds the Blessed Virgin Mary in her living room one day. Mary wants someplace to chill for a week and has chosen her house. She allows Mary to stay, and while there, they talk about their lives. We find out what Mary has been doing for the last 2000 years. This is one of the few novels I've read that contains an extensive bibilography. The author has obviously researched Marian apparitions and devotions and her presentation of them in the book is matter-of-fact. This isn't a devotional book that leads to faith in the apparitions, nor some "scientfic" book that tries to explain them away as mass-hysteria, cultural artifacts or self-hypnoisis. It describes Mary's appearances at famous spots like Lourdes and Fatima as well as less-known or even recanted ones. For all the history in the book however, it is a novel, as much about the nameless narrator as it is about Mary. Having Mary in her home causes her to take another look at her life, where it has been and where it is going. If you like literary fiction and refereces to philosophers and poets, you should like this book. It is one of the books that makes you think more than it entertains you.

View all my reviews.

Christ the Lord--Out of Egypt

Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt by Anne Rice

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
In a post on summer reading, Sr. Julia recommended a book about Jesus by Anne Rice. I looked for it on Bookmooch and found an earlier one, this one. I have to admit that I was surprised; having read a few of her books I'd rather not admit to, I didn't really thing she'd be true to what I consider to be the truth about Jesus.

This book is the story of Jesus'life from birth through the finding of Jesus in the temple, as told through Jesus' eyes as an eight to twelve year old. It starts with the family leaving Alexandria Egypt to return to Nazareth when Jesus is about eight. During the course of the story family members tell him about his birth, the slaughter of the innocents and trek to Egypt. As a novel, it is able to bring the characters to life in a way that scripture does not. Rice draws on apocrophyl writings and the history of the day to fill out story. The only thing I picked up in the book as being different from what is usually taught by the Catholic Church is that Mary had a brother; whereas traditionally I've heard she is considered to have been an only child. The book does maintain Mary as ever-virgin. I'd recommend it.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

First Place 4 Health, chapter 4

Chapter 4 compares life on a cruise ship to life on a military vessel--a group of people waiting to be served vs a group waiting to serve. It encourages us to encourage others. I have to say, that's those concepts, while not new to my understanding of the Christian life, are new to me from a weight loss perspective--unless I guess you consider the group support of WW.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Plain & Fancy

Plain and Fancy (Brides of Lancaster County) Plain and Fancy by Wanda E. Brunstetter

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I'd classify this book as basic Amish fiction. An "English" (non-Amish) girl and an Amish boy fall in love. She joins the Amish church to be with him. The plot was pretty predicable but it was interesting seeing how a typical American young adult adjusted to such a strange way of life.

View all my reviews.

Another New Toy

I was surfing around the other day and found another new toy--Goodreads. It is a social networking site built around books. You can read other people's reviews, write your own, rate books, look at other people's reading lists, list friends and all sorts of things. I used one of their toys on the post below. After writing a review on their site, they give you the html that you can copy and paste into your blog.

Fox River Review

Fox River Fox River by Emilie Richards

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
An enjoyable read about a young woman who suffers from blindness after being thrown from a horse--except that the doctors can find no physical reason for the blindness. Set in Virgina fox-hunting territory, this book leads us through the life of the protagonist and we watch her discover her past through a novel written by her mother. Definitely worth reading.

View all my reviews.

Bride Bargain

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and his/her book:

The Bride Bargain

Barbour Publishing, Inc (September 1, 2008)


Life doesn't wait, and neither does Kelly Eileen Hake. In her short twenty-three years of life, she's achieved much. Her secret? Embracing opportunities and multitasking. Kelly received her first writing contract at the tender age of seventeen and arranged to wait three months until she was able to legally sign it. Since that first contract five years ago, she's reached several life goals. Aside from fulfilling fourteen contracts ranging from short stories to novels, she's also attained her BA in English Literature and Composition and earned her credential to teach English in secondary schools. If that weren't enough, she's taken positions as a college preparation tutor, bookstore clerk, and in-classroom learning assistant to pay for the education she values so highly. Currently, she is working toward her MA in Writing Popular Fiction. No matter what goal she pursues, Kelly knows what it means to work for it!

Kelly's dual careers as English teacher and author give her the opportunity explore and share her love of the written word. A CBA bestselling author and dedicated member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Kelly is a reader favorite of Barbour's Heartsong Presents program, where she's been privileged to earn numerous Heartsong Presents Reader's Choice Awards; including Favorite New Author 2005, Top 5 Favorite Historical Novel 2005, and Top Five Favorite Author Overall 2006 in addition to winning the Second Favorite Historical Novel 2006!

Her Prairie Promises trilogy, set in the 1850s Nebraska Territory, features her special style of witty, heartwarming historical romance. Barbour plans to release the first of this collection, The Bride Bargain, in fall 2008.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.97
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing, Inc (September 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1602601755
ISBN-13: 978-1602601758


Chapter One

Nebraska Territory, Oregon Trail, two weeks journey past Fort Laramie, 1855

“That does it!” Clara Field gritted her teeth and tugged harder on her leather glove, which was currently clamped between the jaws of a cantankerous ox. She didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

“I’ll get him in a headlock for you, Miss Field, and cut off his air so he’ll open his mouth.” Burt Sprouse sauntered over. “That should take care of things quick enough.”

“Oh, choking him wouldn’t be the right answer.” Clara struggled to hide her disgust at the very suggestion. “I have to marvel at how similar animals and humans can be. Neither group likes to be forced into anything, and try as I might, I can’t seem to convince him we’re trudging toward freedom.”

“Well, I reckon I could knee him in the chest to make him let go.” Sprouse shuffled closer. “Hickory’s got an eye on you.”

“Thank you, Mr. Sprouse. I’ll handle this.” Clara waited until the burly ex-lumberjack wandered away before pleading with the ox. “Your antics are going to get us kicked off the wagon train, Simon!”

At the sound of his name, the ox perked his ears and his mouth went slack, allowing Clara to yank away her glove. How an ox had a taste for leather escaped her, but bovine cannibalism counted as the least of her worries at the moment. She held up the mangled thing and sighed.

Thank You, Lord, that I brought an extra pair just in case I lost one. Her lips quirked at the tooth marks on the leather. Though I never thought things would come to this.

Yanking on the length of rope she’d tied around Simon’s neck, Clara urged him toward the makeshift corral the trail boss had set up for the night. The obstinate animal refused to budge, his eyes fixed on her glove with a greedy gleam.

“There’s lots of good forage and fresh water,” she tempted. “And plenty of rest.” Oooh, how good that sounded. A verse from Psalms floated into memory: “He leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul.”

For it being a river, the Platte came as close to still water as any running water could ever hope. Wide, shallow, and dark with mud, it was their constant guide and water source. Clara tried not to compare it to babbling brooks, flowing streams, or any other clear, flowing water with a friendly rush of sound.

As for the earlier part of that scripture. . .well, they’d only just stopped for the night. Until she got this last ox to the corral, gathered enough fuel for the campfire, and cooked dinner for herself, Aunt Doreen, and the blessedly helpful Burt, she wouldn’t be lying beside anything.

But we’re one day closer to Oregon. Eleven miles farther toward a new start. Not even Simon’s snacking can take that away.

Tension eased from her shoulders as Simon ambled toward the enclosure. She and Aunt Doreen had already lost two oxen on the trail, and when they settled in Oregon, the remaining stock would be used for food or trade. The sadness creeping over her at the thought explained, at least in part, why Clara wasn’t an accomplished driver. Even after weeks on the trail, she couldn’t bear to use a whip harshly.

With Simon safely tucked away with the rest of the train’s livestock, Clara began hunting for buffalo chips. The tall, dry grass rustled around her skirts as she searched. Typically, the prairie held a large and ready supply of the quick-burning fuel. But the recalcitrant ox had cost her valuable time. The areas closest to the circled wagons were picked over by the other women on the train whose husbands saw to the animals. She needed to go farther, though never too far, to scrape together a fair-sized load.

By the time she got back to camp and started their fire, Aunt Doreen already had vegetables—the same supply of potatoes, carrots, and an onion that they’d been using since the stop at Fort Laramie—chopped and in the pot for cooking and the batter ready for Petecake. Once the fire burned hot enough to heat the Dutch oven and cook the stew, Clara gratefully sank down beside the makeshift kitchen.

A healthy breeze carried away the smoke from the fire, bringing welcome coolness as the sun faded. The moon came into view, its modest glow bathing the plains in whitish blue light.

“Grub ready yet, Miz Field?” Burt Sprouse’s head tilted forward as he sniffed the air like a hopeful bear. In exchange for their cooking, alongside a bit of washing and mending, the ex-lumberjack provided them with fresh meat whenever possible, took on the night watches assigned to their wagon, and lent a hand when he could.

“Not quite, Mr. Sprouse.” Apologies wouldn’t make the rabbit cook any faster. “I had difficulty finding enough buffalo chips tonight.”

“Looked like the oxen gave you some trouble tonight.” Burt’s voice held no censure as he squatted down. “I’ll take on your watch tonight, like we agreed, but Hickory’s getting antsy about having you and your aunt in your own wagon. You were last in the row and last to set up camp tonight.”

“Sure were.” The trail boss, Hickory McGee, stomped over to glower at them. Disgust filled his tone. “Same as every day on this trail. I warned you gals I didn’t want to take on two women with no menfolk to shoulder the night watches, wagons, and livestock. You know the law of the trail—pull your weight or be left behind.”

“We know.” Clara forced the words through gritted teeth. Men who believed women to be inferior in every way put up her back as little else could. If you spent more time helping and less time harping, things would get done faster. As it is, you accomplish nothing with threats, yet Aunt Doreen and I hold things together in spite of them. A true gentleman—the kind of man a mother would be proud to raise and a woman would be glad to claim as husband—would be respectful and helpful.

She kept the thoughts to herself. Speaking her mind was a luxury she couldn’t afford if it angered the trail boss. A quick prayer for patience, and she swallowed her ire.

“I haven’t completely mastered the art of unhitching the oxen,” Clara admitted before staring him down. “But Mr. Sprouse makes sure our watches aren’t shirked, and you know it.” She cast a grateful look at Burt.

“You ain’t the ones doin’ it,” Hickory groused. “No call for a man with his own wagon and responsibilities to shoulder yours.”

“I don’t mind taking the extra watch in exchange for their cooking,” Burt put in.

“Don’t recall askin’ you, Sprouse.” Hickory turned his glare from Clara to the lumberjack. “But anyone causin’ problems can be left behind.”

“Worse comes to worse”—Mr. Sprouse shrugged—“I can sear some meat. Got an iron stomach, I do.”

“Glad to hear it.” The guide returned his attention to Clara. “You’re lagging behind as it is. Not being able to control your animals is one more hassle to endanger the train. One rampaging ox can set off a stampede.”

“We managed to sort it out.” Aunt Doreen tugged a bucket of water toward them. “We always do.”

“It didn’t put anyone else out.” Clara shoved aside her remorse over Mr. Sprouse’s late dinner. “We’ll be ready to pull out at dawn, same as everyone else.”

“Better be.” The disagreeable guide punctuated that statement by launching spittle toward their cookfire. It hissed as he stalked away.

When we get to Oregon, it will be worth it, she vowed to herself for the thousandth time since they left Independence and started out on the trail. The Lord will see us to a new life and a happy home.

“The johnnycake should be about ready.” Clara pushed the ashes off the top of the Dutch oven with her ladle handle, wrapped her hand in a dishcloth, and lifted the lid. The sweet smell of warm cornbread wafted toward them. “Let me slice a piece for you to have now while the stew finishes.”

“Mmmph.” A moment later, Mr. Sprouse plunked himself down and set to munching the hot bread. His obvious enjoyment didn’t soothe Clara as it usually did—not when he’d made it clear that their agreement wasn’t as strong as Hickory’s warnings.

“Here, Aunt Doreen.” Clara made sure her aunt got a large portion. After weeks on the trail, not only did their simple dresses boast enough dust to plant a garden, but the calico also hung from her aunt’s thin frame. After a grueling day of travel, any moment they could use for a good night’s rest was another small loss her aunt didn’t deserve to bear. Unacceptable.

Aunt Doreen passed Mr. Sprouse another piece before he asked. Their success on the trail depended on keeping the man well fed. So long as they did that and kept pressing onward, the trail boss couldn’t leave them behind.

Clara filled a tin with the steaming stew. Onions came from their supply, greens they’d gathered along the way, and the rabbit came courtesy of Mr. Sprouse’s shotgun. If it weren’t for their little arrangement with him, she and her aunt would be surviving on jerky.

“Best deal I ever made.” His grunt made both of them smile. Burt made no bones about the fact he liked to eat but couldn’t cook. Another’s misfortune was rarely cause for prayers of gratitude, but. . .

“I was just thinking the same thing.” Clara knew Aunt Doreen’s reply came from the heart, to say the least.

Until now, Mr. Sprouse was just one more example of how the Lord watched over them and would see them through this arduous journey, which had become more wearing than Clara anticipated. A continuous stream of mishaps drained their supplies and energy. And they’d yet to make it past the prairie to the hardships of the mountains.

“When we reach the mountains, things will go more slowly.” She meant the words as a comfort to her own aching bones and her aunt’s worries, but Burt Sprouse didn’t see it that way.

“Yep. Snow can make us lose days, get off the trail, have so many delays food runs out and animals freeze. Everything’s harder once you hit the Rockies.”

“Our oxen are too ornery to freeze.” Clara couldn’t help smiling even as she muttered the words.

“Even so, we’ll all probably lighten our loads.” Burt shrugged. “I hear the mountains are littered with furniture and heirlooms abandoned by travelers so they can get free of a snow bank or make it up a steep pass.”

Her aunt’s gasp made Clara wrack her brain for something positive to say.

“After that rough river crossing, we already lost several items.” She quelled the sense of loss that overcame her at the memory of her childhood trunk, filled with her doll and doll’s clothes. The last thing her father gave her, lost in the Platte forever. “So we probably won’t need to leave anything else behind.” She forced a smile.

“For all those reasons, you have to be careful not to get on the trail boss’s bad side.” Burt waved his spoon in the air. “We won’t make it without him, and he’s dead serious about leaving behind anyone who causes problems.”

He does care. Surely Burt said that nonsense about having an iron stomach just to placate Hickory. She eyed him fondly as he made his way back to his own wagon. Who would have thought a burly ex-lumberjack looking to make his fortune gold mining would be their saving grace?

“You go on ahead and get to bed,” Clara encouraged her aunt after they’d eaten their fill. “I’ll clean up and join you in a few moments.”

Aunt Doreen’s lack of protest and grateful nod spoke of her weariness more eloquently than if she’d carped over the long day. Yet the older woman never uttered so much as a word of complaint. Not that she ever had, even throughout the long years of living under Uncle Uriah’s thumb.

No matter how many verses her uncle warped out of context, how often he misinterpreted her own words or actions, Clara held firm to the conviction that Uriah’s chauvinism was personal prejudice, not truth. Oft-repeated lectures against the frail values and fragile mindsets of the so-called weaker sex only underscored the quiet strength of the woman who’d raised her.

The few months when she’d had Doreen’s sole attention soothed her soul, pulling her from the endless cycle of guilt and anger over Ma’s and Pa’s deaths. Clara owed everything to the self-sacrificing love of Doreen. Then she’d married Uriah Zeph, and their world tilted once more. For the worse.

Hopes ahead; regrets behind. Grandma’s saying had become their motto over the years and seemed more appropriate with each passing day. Tonight, as Clara fell into her quilt, she added one more phrase. . . .

And God alongside.

Outskirts of Baltimore

Filth everywhere. Dr. Saul Reed shook his head as he made his way from the room he rented to the area of the Baltimore outskirts that housed businesses. Brackish water and mud splotched the street. The odor of stale urine in the alleyways fought for dominance over the smell of stewed cabbages and onions.

To think, this was the better area of town, where most of the residents had roofs over their heads and cabbage to eat at all. There were others less fortunate, left to burrow under garbage or be chased away from bridges until pneumonia or fever took them away. The illness he could treat, the neglect of hygiene and sanitation he could fight, but all he could do was pray for the indifference neighbors showed for one another.

That’s why he’d chosen this place. A cozy practice in a whitewashed building in the heart of Baltimore would bring affluent clients, respectable standing, and a nice living. Here, though, he could put his knowledge to the best use. These were the areas where people otherwise denied medical attention needed his help.

If only You will open their ears, Lord, he prayed as he entered the post office. His youth became an impediment in the eyes of some, who saw more value in years than in his Edinburgh education. They didn’t take into account the school’s reputation as he had when making his choice. The university’s renown for technological advancement didn’t transmit beyond the medical community.

“Letter come for ya, Doc.” The post office worker thrust the note at him.

“Any packages?” Saul peered into the cubbyholes behind the desk to no avail. “Those forceps I ordered should be coming in any day now.”

“Any day ain’t today.” The man chewed his tobacco before sending a thick stream of sludge onto the floor beside an obviously oft-missed spittoon. “While yer here an’ all, though. . .”

“What’s ailing you?” Saul prayed the man wouldn’t do as he had the last time he’d asked for help and pull down his britches to display a carbuncle on his hip.

“M’ mouth.” The tobacco tucked into his cheek, he opened wide.

Holding his breath to avoid the foul blast of air, Saul tilted his head and surveyed browned teeth, yellowed gums, and a sore the size of his thumb on the man’s tongue. Saul pulled back to a safe distance and inhaled.

“You’ve got an open sore on your tongue.”

“Heck, Doc, even I knowed that much.” The man rolled his eyes. “What can I do about the thing?”

“I’ll make you a rinse of witch hazel to clean it out. Be sure to drink a lot of water and use the rinse after you eat anything.” Saul set his jaw. “Most of all, you must stop using the tobacco.”

“Wha’?” His jaw gaped, treating the doctor to another view of that open sore and losing the tobacco altogether. It landed with a soft thud on the dusty floor.

“Good. The tobacco is what’s causing the problem.”

“Naw.” The man stooped down, scooped up the wad, dusted it off as best he could, and plopped it right back in his mouth.

“Yes.” Saul closed his eyes. “Though taking things from the ground and putting them in your mouth doesn’t help, either.”

“Dirt don’t hurt.” Crossing his arms over his chest, he rolled the chaw in his mouth, sending another stream toward the ground. This time it landed perilously close to Saul’s boot. “Even a quack’d know that.”

“People track in more than dirt.” Saul’s voice became more stern. “The more you chew, the worse it’ll get. Keep on, and you’ll see more sores until they spread down your throat and you can’t speak.”

The man’s laughter followed Saul outside—another example of the ignorance that ruled this area. How can I make a difference if they won’t let me? What do I have to do, Lord, to make them see how to take care themselves? Give me the chance to make a difference.

As he rounded a corner, a shaky voice sounded. “Young and untouched. I’ll give ya a good time, sir.”

“No.” He made to move on, but her gaunt face stopped him in his tracks. The girl couldn’t be more than eleven. Shadows smudged her eyes, and bony wrists protruded from beneath too-short sleeves.

“I swear it’s true.” She drew closer, obviously misinterpreting his pause for interest. In the brighter light, livid bruises bloomed along her throat. Whether they’d been pressed there by a violent customer or an enraged pimp was impossible to say.

“Stay there.” He held out a hand to stay her progress. Between her youth, her assertion of innocence, and those bruises, he couldn’t walk away. “What is your name?”

“Whatever ya like.” She raised a nervous hand to the marks on her throat. “Whatever ya want.”

Enraged pimp then. Saul peered down the alleyway to see if the brute lingered behind. No one there.

“What can you do—no, not that.” He stopped her hastily as she prepared to speak. “Can you sew? Cook? Clean?”

“What?” Astonishment replaced the desperation in her gaze.

“I know a lady who runs a boardinghouse and is in need of some help.” Saul kept his voice muted. “If you’re an honest sort and not afraid of solid work, you might do.”

“I sews real fine—it’s what he used to have me do.” The glow of pride left her abruptly. “He’d find me.” The whisper almost floated past him unheard, but when her hand fluttered toward her neck again, Saul understood her fear.

“Where is he now?”

“Pub.” She jerked her head toward a side street.

“Come with me now, and he’ll never know.” Saul shifted his doctor’s bag so it came into a more prominent view, hoping the symbol of trusted authority would put her at ease.

“You’re one of them what purges babes when one of us gets unlucky?” Suspicion blazed to life in her pinched face. “Like him that came last night? He took the baby, right, but m’ sister hasn’t stopped bleeding since.”

“Absolutely not.” Saul closed his eyes at the image she evoked. “Where’s your sister?” Obviously the woman needed immediate help—if it wasn’t too late.

“Inside.” She backed away a step. “Be on yore way, sir. M’ sister don’t need any more help from no doctors. She didn’t want the first one to come, but he didn’t give ’er no choice.”

“The quack who did that to her was no doctor.” Rage boiled in Saul’s chest. “If she keeps bleeding, your sister will die.”

“And I’ll be alone wif”—her gaze darted in the direction of the pub she’d indicated earlier as her voice went hoarse—“him.” Though Saul wouldn’t have thought it possible, her face became even more pale. “He said he’d take care of us, but he turned Nancy out within a week. After last night he said I’d have to take her place.”

“No, you won’t. Take me to Nancy.”

Review: The Bride Bargain

My husband reminds me periodically that I would have had an engagment ring on my finger sooner if I hadn't been so hell-bent on independence. Unlike the main character of this book, I hadn't been hurt by a man; I just like calling the shots in my life. This story is about two women who head west after one's abusive husband dies. They are determined to make it on their own, but along the way the wagon train master gives them the choice of marrying a man in the train or being left behind. They stay in nearby town where they are taken in by the local shopkeeper. He hires them to keep house and, when he heads back east to see his daughter and grandson, he offers his home to one of the women if she can convince his son, who is a doctor, to marry a girl from the town and remain. Guess what happens. Hey, great literature this is not, but it was a fun read.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Chapter 3

Chapter 3 is titled "You've Gotta Show Up" that basically sums it up. God invites us to change, but He won't change us unless we ask. We have to choose to ask Him, to show up, and if we can't do that, we should pray to want to show up.

The rest of the chapter describes the meetings that are a part of the FirstPlace 4 Health program, which is a faith-based weight loss program. It looks a lot like a Weight Watcher meeting with Bible study and prayer added.

Chapter 2

Chapter 2 is called never diet again and talks about making a series of small positive choices--which except for the scripture quotes is pretty much standard Weight Watcher material. Then it goes on to ask questions like what are we hiding from and what do we fear and what are we running from with the idea that the answers will help us overcome those issues and thus overcome the weight battle. Well, maybe I'm lying to myself, but I'm not overweight because of anything I fear or am hiding from. I'm overweight because I prefer the lifestyle that got me here to the lifestyle that will get the weight off and keep it off. I'd rather read than walk. I'd rather eat candy than veggies. Yes, I need to change, but I'm not hiding behind my weight nor am I afraid to change--I just don't want to badly enough. Next, the book points out that we can't hide anything from God--and that we can approach Him with anything. I know when I was losing all that weight last year, I prayed a lot about it, and as it fizzled from my prayers, so did the weight loss. The chapter concludes with the idea that we need to balance our whole lives,and when our lives are out of balance, weight gain happens.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Chapter 1

The first chapter sounded basically like Weight Watchers with a spiritual bent, which I guess is really what I was expecting. Like WW, it says that diets don't work; you have to make lifestyle changes. It quotes scripture about our bodies being an offering to God and temples of the Holy Spirit. One phrase that caught my eye was "Do the next right thing"--kind of a one day at a time thing.

Chapter 1 includes some questions for reflection and my answers are here:
I want to lose weight because--
Because I feel better at lower weights. Because it is no fun to buy clothes at my weight. Because I want to be here to raise my baby (I'll be in my 60's by the time she is grown)

I want to lose weight so I can--
Shop anywhere I choose
Keep up with my kids

And be a good example to--
My kids

If I lose weight, then in the future I can see myself
Taking Girl Scouts on a hike and not getting tired
Buy that dress in the window

If I don't lose weight, then in the future I can see myself
being worn out when trying to do stuff with the kids
wearing ugly clothes
shopping in the big lady stores

Friday, August 15, 2008

First Place 4 Health

This is a book I got from First Wildcard. It is by Carole Lewis and here is an Amazon link. The cover says "Your weight loss miracle". As those of you who read this regularly know, I lost quite a bit of weight on Weight Watchers a year ago. Unfortunately, the jeans I'm wearing today, which were loose a year ago, are on the tight side. Anyway, instead of reading this book all the way through, and then commenting on it in one short post, I thought I'd use it to try to get my weight back on track and see how things go. Then, on the appointed day, you can read the first chapter here!

I know how to take off weight and keep it off--but as I've said before, if I prefered salads and exercise to dessert and reading or playing on the computer, I wouldn't have a weight problem. Maybe this book will motivate me again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Bookmooch Break

I've got over a dozen bookmooch books in my to be read stack. I've requested a pile of books to be reviewed via First Wildcard--I wrote them on a calendar with due dates and it looked worse than my daughter's homework schedule. In short, I won't be needing more reading material any time soon and I still have lots of Bookmooch points; therefore I removed my inventory, and I don't plan to add to it any time soon. However, if you want one of the books I review, let me know and we'll see if we can work out something.

Catholic Carnival

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

What is it called

When you just happen onto something that turns out to be something you are glad to have, but never thought to look for? My latest read, Our Lady of the Lost and Found is in that category. The big advantage a library or brick and morter bookstore has over Amazon or Bookmooch is having displays to catch your eye, to make you buy what you didn't come seeking. One thing that has given my some good luck (and some duds) on bookmooch is to look at the inventory of the people from whom I am mooching. I know I always like it when folks mooch more than one book from me, because the postage doesn't go up substantially with the second book, and I get the extra point more or less for free (for me, the books themselves are worthless--I've read them, I don't want them any more and if they don't get mooched, they get given way). This book is about a middle-aged writer somewhere in the US who one day finds Mary (as in Jesus' mother) in her living room. Mary needs some R&R and thinks this house, with this woman is the place to get it. The woman describes herself as a "small "c" christian"--with some generic Christian beliefs, but mostly not a religious person. While Mary is there,she talks about what she has been doing in the last 2000 years and we get stories about some of her apparitions. It's not really a religious book, but it has religion and philosophy in it, and is an interesting story. It will make its way to my bookmooch stack eventually. Email me if you want it.


Right now hope is my favorite of the theological virtues because I really am hoping for a good school year. My big kids start Monday. I'm hoping my daughter will keep her nose to the grindstone and get her work done. We were awfully afraid she might lose her spot at her magnet school because of poor grades and she wasn't a happy camper. The school's math was different from mine and she'd back--but there is no reason we should have to worry about her grades, she is quite capable of all they are throwing at her. My son starts in our neighborhood public high school. Even though he failed two classes last year, he is still on track to graduate on time. They are putting him in a resource room for one period (of 4) per day. They will give him tutoring in areas in which he is having trouble and will work on organization skills etc. We haven't done an IEP yet, but I'm feeling hopeful. His classes will all be academic. I was hoping for some vocational type classes but between having "used" his electives by failing two classes and by taking religion for two years, and having that resource class (for which he does get graduation credit) there just isn't much time left for electives. Oh well, there is always the community college and/or vo-tech school. Oh, and they had supply day at the little one's school and I managed to pick up on two used uniforms for $9.00 each (new they are over $30) I'd like to have one more--but I may see how it goes. We bought spirit shirts today and they said they can wear them sometimes so if sometimes is a lot, then maybe the two will be enough. I still have to get her the obnoxiously expensive school shoes that probably should be replaced in March or April but which I, like most sensible parents, will insist she wear until school is out (unless of course they are uncomfortably small).

Monday, August 04, 2008

My Review: Coming Unglued

Coming Unglued is the second in a series of books about a group of four adoptive sisters (who happen to be of different races) who live in a small town near Nashville. They co-own a business which is run by two of them-an internet club that networks scrapbookers. The sisters, of course, are all avid scrappers and one of their rules is that if a sister in crisis calls a "scrap nite" all the other sisters have to come to work on scrap books and to hear each others problems. The main character in this book is one who runs the business. She has two men in her life and this is the story of her relationships with them and how those relationships effect her relationships with her sisters. It is Christian fiction so her relationship with God is also part of the story.

There is a point in the story at which one of the sisters reminds another that all sins are the same--none are worse than the other in God's eyes. I know that is a common belief in the Baptist/non-denominational world but besides being different from Catholic belief, that one defies common sense and is un-Biblical. The story does show however, how unrepented venial (small) sins can open the door to serious (mortal) sin.

I enjoyed the book and will look for other by the same author.

First Wildcard: Coming Unglued

It is time to play a Wild Card! Every now and then, a book that I have chosen to read is going to pop up as a FIRST Wild Card Tour. Get dealt into the game! (Just click the button!) Wild Card Tours feature an author and his/her book's FIRST chapter!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and his/her book:

Coming Unglued

B&H Fiction (July 1, 2008)


Rebeca Seitz is Founder and President of Glass Road Public Relations. An author for several years, Prints Charming being her first novel. Sister’s Ink was the first book in the SISTERS, INK series of novels. (At the center of the creativity and humor are four unlikely young adult sisters, each separately adopted during early childhood into the loving home of Marilyn and Jack Sinclair.)

Rebeca cut her publicity teeth as the first dedicated publicist for the fiction division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. In 2005, Rebeca resigned from WestBow and opened the doors of GRPR, the only publicity firm of its kind in the country dedicated solely to representing novelists writing from a Christian worldview.

Rebeca makes her home in Kentucky with her husband, Charles, and their son, Anderson.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: B&H Fiction (July 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805446915
ISBN-13: 978-0805446913


Chapter One

“I mean it, Harry,” Kendra Sinclair let a bit of her fright and frustration leak into her tone.

Harry’s chuckle mocked. “You know you don’t. Come on, everybody has to eat.”

“Like I said, I’ve already eaten.” And I don’t need this kind of complication right now, even if I want it.

“Dessert, then, Kendra. You don’t want to end the day without dessert, do you?”

Yes, she did. No, she didn’t. Well, yeah, she did. She should. The sigh was out before she could stop it.

“I heard that. I’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”


“See you soon.”

Kendra slammed the phone down and stared at it, waiting for it to jump up and bite her. It might as well have, for all the craziness it had brought her life in the past two months.

Okay, six months.

But there was that two month lull, so really, four months altogether.

“Imparticular man,” she muttered, pacing away from the phone and back. Her purple toenails gave a nice contrast as her feet sank into plush carpet the color of a pure snow drift. “Kendra Sinclair, you are not a conniving woman. What has gotten into you?”

She plopped down into the overstuffed couch the saleslady had called “polar bear” and pulled Miss Kitty onto her lap. Stroking the cat’s fur, she stared across the room. Tufts of fur fell onto the sofa, blending into the fabric there.

“Where’s Oprah when you need her?”

The cat purred its approval of Kendra’s long fingernails and sank down further into its mistress’s lap.

“Probably on some beach with Stedman, laughing at the rest of us who haven’t gotten it all figured out just yet. Right, Miss Kitty?”

The motoring purr increased in volume and Kendra smiled.

The phone rang and she jerked so hard, Miss Kitty toppled to the floor.

“Oh, sorry!” Kendra tossed the apology to Miss Kitty and jerked up the handset. “Hello?”

“Hey, how’s Stars Hill’s finest lady tonight?” Darin’s smooth voice hummed over the line and Kendra’s heart did a double take, frantically downshifting from the previous call. She straightened on the couch, then felt stupid when she realized he couldn’t possibly see how out of sorts she was through the phone line.

“Oh, I’m good. Good. Yeah, really good. How are you?”

“Wow, that’s three goods in the first five seconds. Something wrong?”

She propped her elbow on the arm of the couch and rested her jaw in her palm. Other women lowered their gazes and offered demure smiles when they were out of control. But Kendra? She stammered and fell all over herself with streams of words. “No, no, nothing’s wrong. Just sitting here talking to Miss Kitty.”

“Lucky cat.”

Kendra chuckled, feeling her heart rate settle back into the normal range even while her skin heated at the sound. “Tell her that. I knocked her off my lap when the phone rang.

“And she hasn’t clawed your eyes out yet?””

“Declawed, remember?.”

“Oh, right. Anyway, I know it’s last minute but I was wondering if you’d had dinner yet.”

“Oh, um, no. Well, yes, but that was a couple of hours ago. I mean, not that I need to eat anymore today. Gotta watch my waistline and all–”

His chuckle stopped her mid-sentence. “I’ll be over there in about fifteen minutes. See you soon.”

She heard the click of the phone and stared at it. Not five minutes ago a different man had said the same words. Her silk caftan swirled as she jumped up and fled to the bedroom, praying the first caller hadn’t been serious and was just leading her on.

Which her heart of hearts knew wouldn’t be out of character for him at all.

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