Monday, April 30, 2012

Monday Musings - Happily Ever After - Part 1

After all the hoopla surrounding the recent Mega Millions winners, I started thinking about all the things we read and write into our "happily ever after" scenarios. One of the things people often think about is having enough money and it would be hypocritical of me to say I didn't think about what I would do if my family had won that much money.

The more I thought about it, and the more I looked at past winners and those who have money -- the more I wondered whether I would want it or not. I mean the scrutiny alone would be a pain. Then you have to wonder how you would deal with everyone wanting money from you and how they will react if you don't give it to them - even if it's in their best interests. I've seen a lot of interviews where wealthy people have admitted they wish they didn't have so much because they know many of their friends are only there for the money.

Then there is how it would change your life. I have to admit, in a lot of ways this would be great. We could give to whatever charities we wanted, pay off all our debt, not worry about college expenses . . . live where we wanted. It could be nice not to worry about being able to pay for things. However, there is this whole new worry about mismanaging that much money. You have to worry if your lawyer and/or broker is doing a good job or stealing from you -- then there are all new tax laws and people who will resent you for suddenly going from the ninety-nine to the one percent. You may even have to worry about your personal security.

When all this came out about the huge amount to be won, I saw a special that said a lot of people who win large amounts end up with broken marriages and in financial troubles within just a few years. They think it's because of how suddenly their lives changed.

What about you? Would you want to be one of those Mega Millions winners? How would you avoid the problems that come with it?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fibro Fridays

If you've been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia (or many of the associated disorders) you've probably heard something about it being all in your head before. Whether it came from an unsympathetic doctor or friends and family, it can be hurtful when you're suffering and don't completely understand why yourself.

New research has been done in the past few years that sheds some light on Fibro and the body systems most involved. The truth of the matter is that a lot of it may be in our heads -- just not in the way those people intended the statements.

There is an article out that ties in a lot of the clinical studies done recently. Here is a link to it: Neurobiology Underlying Fibromyalgia Symptoms.

It's a long article, but the findings are encouraging for those of us who have been wanting this to be treated as a valid disorder. I'm hoping this kind of article and the studies behind it will fuel more studies and possibly better treatment options.

Take a gander over to the article and let me know if you have any questions or comments about the article. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Dawn Comes Early

Disgraced dime novelist Kate Tenney fled the city that banned her latest novel for the emptiness of the desert. Answering an ad to be "heiress" to a vast cattle ranch in the Arizona Territory, Kate hopes ranching turns out to be as romantic as she portrayed it in her novels.
But what awaits her is a life harder than the one she just left. There is no room for mistakes on a working cattle ranch, and Kate is ill-prepared for her new life. She quickly learns that dawn comes early. But she is tenacious.
Having been abandoned by a string of men, Kate has no intention of ever marrying. But she didn't expect to meet Luke Adams, either. Luke awakens feelings inside Kate she doesn't recognize, and his steady presence is a constant distraction. She has only written about love in the past, never known it herself. But her feelings for Luke stand in the way of all she has to gain if she is chosen as the heir.
Perhaps God brought Kate to the barrenness of the desert to give new life to her jaded heart.

My Take: This was a truly fun read. Those who read my reviews most often know how I love realism and this book had a genuine feel of community to it. I didn't feel as if Kate & Luke's story was the only one going on (with everyone else there just as filler) but truly like we were seeing life through their eyes. The emphasis was on them, but the other characters were moving forward in their lives as well. It made the story more three dimensional.

There was tension, action, romance, and comic relief right from the beginning. I loved Cactus Joe and thought the author was brilliant creating him as both villain and a sort of tragic clown. The whole idea of Kate being a writer of banned books was genius. It created such a buzz about her in town - and a lot of discussion that is still applicable today.

Each character felt like they had a history that was well developed and interesting. I loved getting to know them. Because of that, their actions and the story line was even more dynamic. I loved some of the choices they made - like Kate and the windmill. You have to read to know what I'm talking about. I don't want to give anything away.

The only thing I wish could have happened was more time spent between Luke and Kate. I know that was realistic for the time period though. This is one I would heartily recommend. I want to thank Thomas Nelson for providing a copy in exchange for my honest review.    

Monday, April 23, 2012


This winter I was sick and just didn't keep up with posting like I needed to. The Fibro complicated things but I hope I have a handle on it now. During that period Megan at Faery Tales are Real tagged me with this fun set of questions. I love her blog and planned on responding but . . . well why don't I just stop apologizing and get on with it?
Here are the rules:

Post 11 random things about yourself, answer the questions I ask you, then create 11 more questions for the people you tag and go to their blog and let them know they’ve been tagged.
If you don’t want to create a post for this, then please feel free to answer these questions on my blog.
Now for the random part:
1. When I was a little girl I had three dream jobs in mind. I wanted to be an actress, a teacher/writer, and I wanted to be a Solid Gold Dancer. Anybody remember that show? I'm so sorry I decided to share that. lol
2. Let's see . . . I was in the Army. That's where I met my husband. I also served in the same unit as my father. I don't think many people can say that.
3. I've always loved historical fiction and part of me would love to be able to time travel and visit those periods in time. About the only time period I would rule out is the World Wars. It was so unpleasant -- and fairly recent. I think about it as a kind of vacation idea though. I am fairly attached to my computer, air conditioning, toothbrushes and modern medicine.
4. I love to watch TV shows where they have a mystery to solve - or a bad guy to catch. It's like reading a mystery novel. My husband and I try to figure out who it is and often pause the show to analyze clues while we're watching.
 5. I have a small collection of carnival and depression glass. I learned about it and thought it was so pretty that I picked up a few pieces that are displayed around my house. 
6. I also collect old books. I especially love old school books. I have some from the 1800s but my favorites are probably the ones from the 1920s - 1960s. I love the illustrations in them. It may be misleading, but I love the idealism and positive values.

7. Though I am terrified of being on stage and in front of crowds, I love to do skits and (to a lesser degree) teach seminars and classes. I have been in front of thousands a couple times and did a good job once on stage, but I get sick to my stomach and literally shake with fear before I do it. I even wore a mustache and beard and pretended to be a man for a VBS program one year. I didn't think I'd ever live that one down.

8. Between the pain in my fingers and a lack of time I don't get to do it very often, but I make jewelry as a hobby. I'm pretty new at it -- and my lack of practice doesn't help me . . . but I like to do it. The ironic thing is that I don't wear jewelry very often. A lot of it ends up being gifts and I have used it as a way to raise money for mission work as well.
9. I love butterflies. I have a bunch of pictures of them, I always get a butterfly calendar every year. Not only are they beautiful but they symbolize rebirth, spring, and the ability to transform into something entirely new.

10. My favorite flower is the Iris. My grandmother loved it and she was the one who influenced me to become a Christian. She was a special lady.

11. I like to be funny and my husband often tells me I have a great sense of humor. A lot of people don't know that about me because I'm really shy and tend to stay quiet around people I don't know. I'm working on breaking that habit. I become a regular stand up comic when I'm scared though. I cracked jokes right and left before my surgeries - and even got one of the nurses in trouble for laughing with me. 
Now for Megan's questions:

1.  Are you able to have background noise when you are reading?  If so, what type of noise do you usually have on while you are reading? I prefer to have quiet. Any loud noise will distract me from what I'm reading. Having said that, I don't like it perfectly quiet. Instrumental music or the TV on very low is perfect for me.

2.  Do you have any pet(s)?  If so, details please : ) I have three cats and two dogs. I have to admit the dogs were mostly for my boys. I still love them, but I'm mostly a cat person. We also have a fish tank.
3.  Do you have any unfulfilled dreams? I think everyone does. I'm writing and teaching though. I even do some acting. I'm getting to do most of what I dreamed of as a child.

4.  What is one of your pet peeves? Commercials. They last longer, are at a different volume than the show, & a lot of shows have built-in commercials too. "Look at how my car dials and can use the navigation system ... and it can assist with parking too! "{groan} 
 (a younger Thomas curled up on my desk)

5.  Why did you start a blog? I did it because I'm both a reader and writer and I wanted to share my love of books with others who felt the same way.

6.  What is your favorite season and why? Spring - because of the whole renewal and rebirth of everything around us that reminds us of the new chance we have in Christ. (The weather is also nicer without being too warm.)
                                                                                    (Faith looking poised and graceful as usual)
7.  What is your favorite book? That's hard. I read so many great books. To pick a favorite it has to be one you go back to over and over again. A couple fit that bill but the one I most revisit is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

8.  What is your favorite hobby? Perhaps it may seem too obvious to say reading, but that it my number one hobby. I also play word games, and I already mentioned the jewelry-making.

9.  What time of day do you normally blog? I have problems sleeping so I usually blog in the middle of the night. So please extend some grace if I blabber on without making any sense at all.

10.  Have you been to any foreign countries? I have been to quite a few foreign countries. I graduated from high school overseas and visited lots of places. I've been very lucky in that area. There are still quite a few places I'd like to go.

11.  What makes you laugh the hardest? Myself. My animals. My husband . . . a lot of things. 
Laughter is good medicine.

Here are my questions:

1. What would be your dream vacation?

2. Do you set goals/challenges for yourself like New Year's resolutions? Why or why not?

3. What is your favorite job you've ever held?

4. If you could live in any time period in history which one would you pick?

5. Would you rather read inside on a cozy piece of furniture or outside listening to the sounds of nature?

6. Are you a city or a country person?

7. What's your favorite thing about blogging?

8. Would you ever do a reality show? If so, which one?

9. Have you ever won anything in your life?

10. What's your favorite thing to cook or bake?

11. Do you like to shop in stores or online?

I am tagging:

Renee @ Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot 

Deborah @ Butterfly Journey

If I didn't tag you and you'd like to participate, please let me know you're going to do so and I'll add you to our list here and visit your blog to see the answers. You can also answer in the comments. The more the merrier. :o)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Quote It Saturdays

Quote It Saturday is hosted by Freda @ Freda's Voice. Please visit her page to sign up and get the rest of the directions.

My quote for today is:

"Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground." -- Rosa Parks
 Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

(I like to think I'm a nut that could be a mighty oak someday)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Fibro Fridays

I almost didn't post today. I am . . . frustrated. We had to find a new doctor because my old one moved away (with a month's notice). The new doctor seemed nice enough and told me she wasn't going to change my meds because everything was working. Then the time came to renew prescriptions and I have been waiting three weeks for my medications. Three weeks!

I can't count how many phone calls I've made to their office, my husband went to visit them in person, I've sent e-mails . . . and in the midst of this they are debating whether or not to change my medications. They have also decided to set conditions on some of them. I can have the script, but only if I work out -- and not just any work outs, but water aerobics. I am only five foot tall, failed beginner swimming and almost drowned twice when I was younger. I . . . loathe the water. I told them I am willing (and am already doing) workouts - just not in the water. I didn't do much over the winter, but I'm back in gear and doing much better (before I ran out of pain medication).

How wrong is it for me to be upset that they only give me one choice? Am I wrong to be upset that it is taking this long and the doctor is changing her mind and then only offering me one choice for a workout?

I may be looking yet again for a doctor. I hope your week is going better than mine. Any great or not so great doctor stories to share?

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

When the Smoke Clears - Review and Contest

Summary: As a member of the North Cascades Smokejumpers, Alexia Allen always takes care of the equipment that keeps her safe. So when she nearly dies in a fire due to equipment failure, she knows something is up. Ordered to take time off while the investigation continues, Alexia makes a last-minute decision to recuperate at her mother's home and attend her high school reunion. Yet trouble seems to be following her, and within hours of arriving home she's involved with murder, arson--and a handsome detective. But the conflicts ahead are nothing compared to the ghosts of her past. As she strives to remember and forgive her family history, she must also decide if the secret she's been guarding for the last ten years must finally come to light.

My Take: Before you start reading this book take a deep breath -- you'll need it. The action starts right away and doesn't stop. The author did a great job of keeping us flipping pages to see what would happen next and how Alexia was going to get through everything that was being thrown at her.

Those of you who have read my reviews before know I love characters and I thought Alexia was well-developed and I liked her. Complex characters are fabulous because they feel like real people. There were contrasting characteristics in Alexia that made her very appealing. She was a strong person - a firefighter - a hero. Yet she had a vulnerability in that she had been running from her past and had family issues . . . things that gave her a decidedly softer side.

I want to thank the publisher for sharing the book with me, though it in no way influenced my review.

In honor of revamping my blog, I've decided to pass it on to another lucky reader. The drawing will be held on 30 April, so you have until midnight the 29th (CST) to enter. You must leave a valid email address for it to count. You get an extra entry if you follow my blog, become a follower, or post it on your own blog (share the link). If someone comes to enter and tells me you referred them, you'll also get an extra entry. This drawing is only for those in the United States and is void where prohibited by law. Good luck! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Musings - Lovin' The Boxes

This is Faith, one of my very spoiled cats. They have two cat trees, a window seat, toys . . . and what do they choose to cuddle up in and play with when given half a chance? Boxes. When we first moved here there were a ton of them for them to choose from, and they still try to cram themselves in boxes way too small for themselves.

I don't know whether it's the cuddly spaces, the way they feel safe inside . . . something special about cardboard, (lol), but I do know they love them. They don't ignore the trees, but when the chance comes around for a little box love, they both run to it.


Maybe it's a longing for simple pleasures. I know I can relate to that. I know a lot of the things that make me happy are simple as well. Though I have to admit to being almost as happy as my cats when the book boxes arrive. :o)

What are some of the simple pleasures you're thankful for today?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Quote It Saturday

Quote It Saturday is hosted by Freda's Voice. For instructions visit her page on the link under her blog name.

My quote is:

"I begin to think that a calm is not desirable in any situation in life. Every object is beautiful in motion; a ship under sail, trees gently agitated with the wind, and a fine woman dancing, are three instances in point." -- Abigail Adams, first lady

Friday, April 13, 2012

Fibro Fridays

One of the things that bothers me the most about Fibromyalgia and ... the medical community is that so many of them still aren't sure that it's real. They can't look at a patient and see anything wrong with them -- or do a test and find a certain result that explains it all ... so it must be depression, or an addiction to pain medication, or a mental illness ... or whatever.

Thankfully the research is starting to back up what so many of us have been saying for years. Hopefully it will produce more answers and better treatment options.

In the meantime, knowledge is key. Too many people I've talked to have either been so desperate for relief that they've spent hundreds (if not thousands) on special supplements and juices that promised miracles but never delivered. Others went in and were handed anti-depressants as soon as the word Fibromyalgia was mentioned -- even though they didn't feel depressed, at least not yet.

Just for a basic starting point, I'm going to link you to Web MD's page on Fibromyalgia today. If you have never heard of Fibromyalgia, pay close attention to the box near the bottom of the page that lists the symptoms. I can tell you that isn't a comprehensive list - but it still is pretty nasty.

If you have Fibromyalgia, and would be willing to share your story with me (which I may or may not be able to use in the book), contact me by clicking on my name on the top of my profile. There is a link there to contact me via email. Also, if you know any resources you think I should check out or share in the book or on the blog, let me know that too.

In the meantime I hope everyone has a great weekend. Gentle hugs all around.