Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy Birthday MOTDU!

I stole this picture from:

Four years old today!

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the idea that you've been reading my thoughts and rants for four years now. I feel a little like Sally Field in her acceptance speech--"You like me! You really like me!" 

So, here's to you Dear Readers!  Thank you for four years of readership and comment support.  May we share many more! 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Angel Harp by Michael Phillips

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

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

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Angel Harp

FaithWords (January 26, 2011)

***Special thanks to Sarah Reck, Web Publicist, Hachette Book Group for sending me a review copy.***


Michael Phillips has been writing in the Christian marketplace for 30 years. All told, he has written, co-written, and edited some 110 books. Phillips and his wife live in the U.S., and make their second home in Scotland.

Visit the author's website.


Widowed at 34, amateur harpist Marie "Angel" Buchan realizes at 40 that her life and dreams are slowly slipping away. A summer in Scotland turns out to offer far more than she ever imagined! Not only does the music of her harp capture the fancy of the small coastal village she visits, she is unexpectedly drawn into a love triangle involving the local curate and the local duke.

The boyhood friends have been estranged as adults because of their mutual love of another woman (now dead) some years before. History seems destined to repeat itself, with Marie in the thick of it. Her involvement in the lives of the two men, as well as in the community, leads to a range of exciting relationships and lands Marie in the center of the mystery of a long-unsolved local murder. Eventually she must make her decision: with whom will she cast the lot of her future?

Product Details:

List Price: $16.99
Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: FaithWords (January 26, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 044656771X
ISBN-13: 978-0446567718


Dynamic Uno here:  Angel Harp is about Marie Buchan, a harpist, who decides that her life is passing her by and that she needs a dramatic change to get out of her funk.  Being widowed at thirty-four did not help matters, but she decided to plan a trip to Scotland so that one of her dreams would actually become a reality.

When she arrives in Scotland, she decides to travel around and sight-see a bit to take in the rich history of the country and see with her own eyes, the songs she plays on her harp brought to life.  While on her travels, she comes upon the town of Port Scarnose and realizes that this is the place to play her harp.  Falling in love with the town and making connections with its people, Marie decides to extend her stay in Scotland. 

Word gets around of Marie's harp playing abilities and she soon finds herself the object of attraction of two of the town's eligible bachelors.  In addition to the love triangle, Marie finds herself walking in the middle of a controversial mystery, whose origins lie with the very two men she's been seeing!  Will she find out the truth before it's too late, or will she get sucked into repeating history?  You'll have to read the book to find out!

While I felt a little bogged down by the history at the beginning of the book, I enjoyed reading about how it all tied together through what Marie learns about the people and the town of Port Scarnose.  I also enjoyed the mystery and romance aspects of the book.  It was hard for me to find out what happened at the end because I enjoyed the two "suitors" immensely and wanted to see where each relationship headed as it developed.  (She had a very tough decision to make and I'm glad I wasn't in her shoes.)  I was a littler surprised at the abrupt ending, but most of the details were wrapped up--not in a bow-styled package, but most of my questions were answered by the end of the book.

I would really like to read another story using some of the same characters, or even explore the story behind Findlater Castle and why it's now in ruins.  I also liked the map that was included of the area so I could look at the distances and the lay-out of the land.

If you like novels surrounded in mystery and have a touch of romance and history to them, then you'll definitely want to read Angel Harp by Michael Phillips.  Let me know what you think.  Happy Reading!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Yesterday morning as I was driving to work, I was listening to the DJs at SpiritFM discuss the topic of New Year's Resolutions and how people usually do not keep them because they set rather generic and "boring" goals for themselves (i.e., lose weight, stay in budget, pay off debt, etc.).  After reading an article from Relevant Magazine about setting more dynamic and active goals, Abby (one of the DJs) mentioned one of the examples that really resonated within me.  Rather than set a generic goal, the author mentions creating a one-word goal for yourself during the year.  The theory is explained more in this article from the Huffington Post.

Since I decided that making a list of resolutions was a waste of my time--especially since it takes more time for me to make the list than to actually stop doing them--I hadn't really thought too much about what I would like to accomplish in the year of 2011.  In fact, I figured I would meander along as I have in years past and hope for the best.  However, I still cannot get this thought of a one-word resolution out of my head.  So much so, that I've been up since 2:30am this morning trying to figure out what my word would be.   (Yes, work is going to be a killer today.)

I don't think I would have thought quite so much about having a word, but I stopped last night to watch the movie Eat, Pray, Love (completely out of character for me to watch a movie on a school night) and the characters in the movie were discussing words that define themselves.  If you haven't read thebook or seen the movie, I'm not going to go into it, but the word she finally chose seemed appropriate for where she was in her life at that point.  I want a word to be the same thing for me.

Calm would be a wonderful word.  I really would like to have a calmer life.  My stomach and my cat would greatly appreciate it.  Unfortunately, it 's not the word for me this year.  (Sorry Maddie.) 

Peaceful is another word I would love to have to describe my year, but that hasn't settled well with me at all either.  (More to come on that later this year.)

Energetic would be nice--especially since I seem to lack some oompf at this point in my life, but that isn't it either.

No, after all of the hashing and re-hashing about how I would describe myself and my year, I think the best word to describe it is:

Yes, simple and to the point.  I want to be present in my life this year.  Too many times I catch myself going through the motions of an event in my life that I miss the experience. 

Yes, I capture everything on film, but I find that I am rarely in the pictures because I hide behind the camera. 

When my family, and sometimes my friends, are talking and I get tired of actually listening, I start planning my grocery or to-do list in my head.  Am I trying to be rude? No, but I am nonetheless.  I want to be present for these conversations so that I can live knowing that my friends and family understand that I truly care about them and that they are not wasting my time.

No, that doesn't mean I'm going to accept all the invitations that come my way and make myself over-busy.  (I'm still a recluse, I'm just venturing out of the cave to experience life a little bit more.) No, that doesn't mean I'm going to be at every family function with bells on. (Have you met my crazy relatives?)

It just means that whatever I am doing, I will give it my full attention.  I will be present instead of daydreaming, as usual.  Present.  There's a quote that I've run across several times:
"The clock is running. Make the most of today. Time waits for no man. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it is called the present."

I think that by being Present, it will be a gift for others.  One I've been withholding for years.  Yes, the more I think about this word, the more I realize that it's definitely going to be a challenge, but I think I am up to the task.


Do you have a word for this year? 

Monday, January 3, 2011

They're Coming to Take Me Away...

Thanks to Cary Grant, Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, and Gregory Peck for a wonderful weekend!  I always enjoy getting lost in the days where there was a song and dance for every situation and things always worked out to a happy ending. 

Maybe that's what I should do from now on at work.  Maybe I should bust out in whatever random song that happens to be running through my head at that moment when the kids come in and ask me a question.  Maybe I'll even do it to the adults to see what their reactions would be.  I think it would be hilarious and it just might earn me a few more days off of work--pending an evaluation by the men in little white suits, but a few more days away nonetheless.

To that effect...have a great day.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Patty Cake...Patty Cake...

I know you've probably seen this several times through other blog posts, but it makes me smile so I thought I'd share it with you.  Here are the Patty Cake Cats with a voice-over:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Welcome 2011!

I'm really glad to say good-bye to 2010--although, to be quite honest,  I think I'm always glad to see the previous year leave.  A new year is pregnant with possibilities as it begins and this year is no different.  The question is, where to start? 

Good luck this year.  I wish you all of the best!