Friday, November 27, 2009

Used to Be

This is my brother, mother and me in about 1971 on Thanksgiving Day. (The photo was taken by my dad.) That was one year it was just "us." If we could, we usually traveled from Indiana to Tennessee to gather with my dad's people, but some years we gathered with my mom's sister and her 5 kids. Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday. I had less worries about what was going to happen, it just covered a few days instead of being over a couple weeks, and we got to eat amazing food.

When I grew up, I got to host my own Thanksgiving dinners where I would have 50+ family and friends in my home. I loved it. I also loved the years we had Thanksgiving with my husband's extended family. No worries or family drama--just a good time! One year when I was pregnant with Son #1 (he was born in January so I was quite large,) we gathered at my husband's Aunt Gladys' and Uncle George's house in Kokomo. Their house wasn't very big but the usual crowd was there. There were people in every room eating the sumptuous feast.(They were good cooks!) It was great. For entertainment Aunt Lola got out the family films and we watched (thankfully in black and white) as Grandpa Phil Small and his troops killed a hog. (Obviously they were farmers, not some sort of Lord of the Flies family. Sheesh.)

On the Monday following the good time I had a doctor's appointment. He asked me about our plans and was astounded at how many people were there. He asked me if we rented a hall. I had to laugh. Then I told him what kind of family films we had watched. Since he never said too much, I always wondered what he thought. (He had a strange look on his face.) But I was happy and healthy, so I suppose he didn't dwell too long on this patient.

Even in the worst years I would reflect on how thankful I was and I still loved Thanksgiving. It's a peaceful holiday.

This year was the first time that I had to struggle to find just what it is for which I'm thankful. But looking back and finding the pleasant moments was a start. I panicked just two days before because one of my cousins (she was my matron of honor in our wedding) had surgery for brain cancer. She's young, beautiful and doing important things. But even in the midst of thinking that this stinks! there were moments of thankfulness.

So, while I'm thankful for many things, I'm praying like mad for Annette. If you think of me, pray for her. And for that I'm thankful, too--I have people who will pray when I ask them to do so.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Heavenly Birth by Denise Taylor: A Mother's Journey, A Daughter's Legacy

Heavenly Birth Heavenly Birth by Denise Taylor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mom Denise Taylor journaled through the illness and death of her daughter, Jonnae, a witness to hope and the important lessons in life. Jonnae would say, "I get to" instead of "I have to," and this simple attitude in approaching life's struggles, gave her incredible strength. (And if you want the purple armband,"I GET TO," they are available.)

Jonnae's example and legacy is how to really live, think, and walk in faith when on the ropes. This book truly uplifts the reader even while you experience the emotional and physical pain along with Jonnae, Denise and their loved ones. Moments of humor and deep insight are hallmarks of this book. You will find quotes to uplift you in your own times of trial. Reading this book will give you tools for courage in your own situations.

There have been a lot of books written, both fiction and nonfiction, about cancer and death, but this book is one that will help readers understand, and find truth and faith in the journey.

It's one I recommend to anyone--you will grow and then, stand up and cheer when Jonnae finally is born "in heaven," even as it makes you cry.

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Monday, November 09, 2009

Cara Putman: Love Inspired Suspense Trial by Fire

Cara Putman talked this week on Steeple Hill's Love Inspired Suspense books' site about her writing journey, and how she does it. And that's not an easy thing--how she writes amidst all else she does. She's a wife, mom to 3, homeschooler, attorney, university instructor, friend, daughter, sibling, ACFW advocate, active in her church AND a published author. I'm sure I'm missing something that she does in addition all those roles!

Do check out Trial by Fire at eharlequin's Love Inspired Suspense line of Steeple Hill.

Trial by Fire (Steeple Hill Love Inspired Suspense) Trial by Fire by Cara Putman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love reading Love Inspired Suspense and Cara Putman doesn't disappoint me with this latest offering.

If you read her first story in this series, you will recognize a few of the characters, but this book can also stand alone. Deputy county prosecutor Tricia Jamison is trying to move forward and help as many people as she can, but the domestic violence cases pile high.

When arsonist fires break out all over town, including the first at her mother's house, she knows she will have to get help from fire fighter, Noah Brust. Of course, Noah's deceased dad's fire fighter reputation was questioned due to Tricia being unable to protect him, and Noah was shredded on the witness stand a year ago.

Tension runs high and the fire investigations bring the two ever closer together and ever closer to the arsonist.

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