Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

You Tube Tuesday

Yes, I just made the title up, but given my addiction for watching videos, I think it's rather appropriate.  Here's one of my favorite songs to get your day going:

Trinity by Paper Tongues

And another one that really makes me want to dance:

Ride to California by Paper Tongues

Monday, February 21, 2011

Happy Monday!

I know, I know...happy and Monday do not belong in the same sentence let alone the title for a posting.  In any case, here's a wonderful video I found on YouTube by Beckah Shae.  It deals with a dream she had, and since I've had some pretty bizarre dreams lately, I figured this was a good one to post.

 Hephzibah by Beckah Shae

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hot...Hot...Hot Chocolate!

The weather has been a little cool here lately and I've been craving something warm to drink.  I usually drink a lot of tea, but after several "pots" of tea, I decided it was time for something else.  So, Dark  Hot Chocolate it is....

It's okay to drool.  I know you're jealous.  I'll make sure to have some hot chocolate for you too. 

Speaking of Hot Chocolate, since some of you are snowed in, I thought you might enjoy a little reminder from The Polar Express movie, compliments of my YouTube addiction...

Happy Saturday!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Indivisible by Kristen Heitzmann

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook  Multnomah Publishers through the Blogging for Books book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:“Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Title: Indivisible
Author: Kristen Heitzmann
Format: Trade Paperback
Genre: Christian, Fiction, Romance, Suspense
Source: Review copy provided by the Blogging for Books book review bloggers program for an honest review.
Published: WaterBrook Press / ISBN: 978-1-4000-7309-2 / 325 pages / $13.99
Buy the Book: WaterBrook Press / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Borders / / Books-A-Million
Find the Author Online: Kristen Heitzmann / Facebook / Contact

Summary: Jonah Westfall is the Chief of Police in Redford, Colorado and some strange things have been happening in his town.  Not only does he have to figure out who is sewing animals together and leaving them to die before the tourism industry finds out, but he also must live down his dark and questionable past with some of the unforgiving townspeople.  Between helping others while on (and off) the job and trying to sort out his fractured life, Jonah definitely has his hands full.  Will he be able to overcome his past and start with a fresh future?  Will he catch the sadistic person responsible for mutilating the animals?  You'll have to read Indivisible to find out!  

What I Liked: I enjoyed the interaction between the characters whether they were friends or new acquaintances.  I felt the same emotions that the characters felt as they were going through their lives in the book.  I was a little sad to see the end  arrive because I wanted to find out "what happens next" with some of the characters that endeared themselves to me.  I also wanted to see if family relationships were ever mended between  some of the lead characters as well.

What I Didn't Like:  I figured out "who did it" pretty early on, so I was frustrated as I had to wait for the characters to find things out for themselves--although the "red herrings" were a great addition to the storyline.
Overall Impression: Once you start reading, it sucks you in and you won't want to put it down.  GREAT book!  If you like suspense with a hint of romance--you'll enjoy reading Indivisible

Rating: 4 out of 5 (only because I figured it out early--everything else makes it a 5)


Let me know what you think!  Happy Reading!

If you enjoyed this review, please go to the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing "Blogging for Books" site and rate this review.  Thank you!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the B & B Media Group as part of their blogger book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Title:  A Billion Reasons Why
Author: Kristin Billerbeck
Format:  Trade Paperback
Genre: Christian Chic Lit, Romance
Source:  Review copy provided by the B & B Media Group for an honest review.
Published: Thomas Nelson / February 2011 / ISBN:  / 320 pages / $14.99
Buy the Book: Thomas Nelson  / Barnes & Noble
Find the Author Online: Kristin Billerbeck / Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Email

Why I Read this Book:  Hands-down, I don't think there's ever been a Kristin Billerbeck book that I did not like.  She incorporates so much humor and "real-life" into her books that if you don't smile while reading them something is very wrong with you. 

I went to New Orleans in November of 2009 and completely fell in love with it's "old world charm" and fabulous stories of "days gone by."  When I found out that A Billion Reasons Why takes place in NOLA, I knew that I had to read this book.  After all, Billerbeck and NOLA--what a great combination!

What I Liked:liked loved how Katie and Luc both loved the "classic" movies with dancing greats like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.  (I've always loved the classic movies and grew up watching AMC in the wee hours of the night when I was supposed to be in bed asleep.)  Their love for that time period is as much what brought them together as their childhood history growing up in New Orleans.  Their attraction is so electrified that you can feel the static crackle through the pages. 

Working in the school-system, I can empathize with Katie and her plight with her ESE (Exceptional Student Education) students.  It's hard work and a thankless job.  Thankfully there are those that have a heart to work with students of varying exceptionalities.  I like how Ms. Billerbeck brought attention to those students at the beginning of the book.
Having been to NOLA a few years ago, I was excited when I recognized some of the names of places that I either visited or passed during my stay.  I would love to have seen pictures of the buildings/houses that gave Ms. Billerbeck her ideas for settings in the book. (Which homes in the Garden District?  Where is Forages compared to where Katie grew up and the current-day city of NOLA?  What efforts went into the research of the book?  I have a billion more questions that I could ask...)

Another neat thing about the book is that the chapter titles are songs from the jazz/swing era.  (At Last; Accentuate the Positive, etc.) The titles also give a clue as to what is going to happen in the chapter without giving all the action away.

What I Didn't Like: As with any Advanced Reader Copy (ARC), they are lots of errors because the final editing has not happened yet.  I hope that the error with Pokey was fixed.  (He was a boy, then a girl, and then a boy again.)  I also hope that the little errors like words being omitted were fixed too.  I know that I tend to forget to type words too (especially since I'm a double-finger typer) because I'm trying to get my thoughts out and my fingers don't always keep up.

Otherwise, I LOVED the story.  The only thing I didn't like was that it had to end.  (Although I'm holding out for a sequel with Eileen's story.) 

Overall Impression: Just in time for Valentine's Day...A great chic-lit book that is sure to capture romantics and the romantic at heart.  If you enjoy the days of swing and jazz and want to see a great romance come alive, then A Billion Reasons Why is the book for you! 

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Let me know what you think!  Happy Reading!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Happy Anniversary!

I can't believe it's been 14 years! 

 Congratulations Mom and Ken! 

 Here's to a lifetime of Anniversaries!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

I've Been At It Again...

Outcast by Kerrie Roberts

This has been my (new) favorite song for the past month or so. I am considering making it my theme song since it so nicely sums up my thoughts and life situation right now. What do you think?

Someone to Watch Over Me by Ella Fitzgerald

I've had the words to this song stuck in my head for the past week. In fact, some of the students have caught me singing it while going through the stacks (shelves) putting away books. Now, you can sing it today too! Have a great day!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Enjoy Valentine's Day--Avoid the Blues by Fred R. Lybrand, Author of Glaen

Enjoy Valentine’s Day—Avoid the Blues

© Fred R Lybrand, Author of Glaen 

Jeremy visited a florist’s shop which showed a large sign that read, “Say It With Flowers.” “Wrap up one rose, please,” Jeremy demanded of the florist’s assistant. “Only one?” she enquired frowning. “Ah yes just the one,” Jeremy replied. “I’m a man of very few words.”

Market researchers deduced from their survey that eight million Americans send Valentine’s Day gifts to themselves.

Valentine’s Day is a day of amazing impact. Almost everyone who plays up the day experiences the “Blues,” you know, feeling sad about a loss or failure. Blues music grew up as a way to cope with the plight of such feelings and literally tries helping the Blues listener to “feel good about feeling bad.” Unfortunately, nothing takes the Valentine’s Blues away except time and the hope that next year will be better.

So, what are the Valentine’s Blues and how can we avoid them? The Valentine’s Blues come because of disappointment in one of two ways.

The first kind of blues comes when you don’t have a Valentine on Valentine’s Day. It starts in early February, building up to the “big day”—hitting rock bottom on February 14.

No matter how you pitch it, it makes you feel left out and unloved on some level if everyone else is getting flowers, going out for the evening, or being treated special. It stinks to feel left out. No wonder eight million Americans send themselves a Valentine’s Day gift. However, it doesn’t seem so bad on February 15th once the stores move on to Easter decorations.

The second kind of blues comes to those who celebrated Valentine’s in a big way, only to start clutching the disappointment the very next day (and the days to come) because it’s back to life as usual. When it comes to love and romance, “usual” is not what we want.

The blues can be worse for the second group because they’re long-term. We’ve all experienced it in some way or another: the excitement of Valentine’s Day, the romance, and the presents, similar to Christmas, but all about romantic love.

We humans like to feel special, and on that special day there is nothing more exciting than the build-up to the event—one incredible evening, just you and that one person. The two of you in love and enraptured with all that special day could offer.

Fast forward to the next day or two. How do you feel? The next day you are smiling for a moment at the memory of a day when his/her attention was only on you. But now, back to work, and a lurking feeling of sadness is peering over the fence at you. Will it be a whole year before you have another night like that?

You try to be logical and sober-minded, telling yourself that it was a good memory to bask in, and yet you know deep down something is amiss. Something is wrong. Finally, you scream inside (and try quickly to forget it), “Why can’t we be in love all year long?”

The Cure for the Valentine’s Blues

The blues you experience are invented, because the Day itself was invented. It’s marketing, that’s all. Yet, with Valentine’s Day there is something more—it is a day built on romance. Oddly enough, romance often works counter to true love.

Consider what romance is in reality. My friend Robert Fritz observed that, “Romance is the suspension of the norm.” Think about it this way: romance is where we clean up (don’t smell like ourselves), dress up (don’t look like ourselves), and go somewhere special (and don’t act like ourselves)! None of this is bad as long as you realize it is not real, that it is just a game. Okay, it’s a fun game, but it is still just a game. True love happens in the “norm.” It happens in the real world of your daily experiences.

In reality, I don’t believe there is much “real” about romance as it is commonly pitched. In truth, it damages both our dating relationships and our marriages to make romance itself the goal. The romantic standards can get so high that we can’t appreciate the real things right in front of us. Romance can be an equal opportunity destroyer—harmful for both men and women.

I’ve known men whose romantic standards were so high they would never go out on dates, or they wouldn’t ask the woman out again. I’ve also known women who live for the fairy tale wedding, but in time divorce to seek out the wedding-fantasy all over again.

The cure for the Valentine’s Blues is to simply recognize that it is a made up day. If you don’t have a special someone in your life on one particular day, why should it feel different than the day after? If you want to play the romance game, then play it, but remember it really is just a game. Pretending the Day itself proves or influences the love in your life, however, will really suck you into despair most of the time.

If you have a special someone, it is far better to find the love in every day. The day-to-day normal world is with you all the time in terms of work and laundry and colds and tragedies and funny moments. This is where true love grows and binds and matures. If you seek love in the suspension-of-normal world of romance, then you can only experience the diminishing return of, “But what have you done for me lately?” Each experience must top the last one when you fall into a quest to escape from life. True love is not an escape; it is nourishment to see us through the mundane parts that make up our daily lives.

Pause for a moment and notice that a love relationship is about building a life together. Tell the truth, both the good and bad, and work through it together. If you want to play the game, then dress up and go out! Pretend you are rich, or just met, or just got back from being a contestant on Survivor. It doesn’t much matter because you are playing a game that you take for what it is; it’s merely Valentine’s Day. A day brought to you by the card and candy industry…with some hope that you will find a special moment, made better by a special purchase! Make it great, but make it important! You’ll thank me in the morning.

Glaen: A Novel Message on Romance, Love and RelatingAuthor Fred Lybrand takes an in-depth look into relationships and dating, plus offers a little common sense for the real day-to-day world, in his book, Glaen. Lybrand wants others to know the freedom that can be found in relating to others truthfully and without pretense. In his presentation of thought-provoking ideas, Lybrand first uncovers the lies of a secular world-view and then counters those lies with the truth of God’s design for the marriage relationship.

The life-changing principles found in Glaen are the gems Lybrand wants readers to take and experience in their own lives and relationships. The book serves as a great teaching tool for parents to use with their children as well as for church leaders guiding couples who are seeking a more satisfying marriage relationship. The Glaen Small Groups Study Guide is now available as a free download at

As a side note, I have read Glaen and thoroughly enjoyed it.  You can read my review here

**Special thanks to Audra at B & B Media Group for providing this article for me to post.