Category Archives: Quotes

“Lord, I don’t trust you…”; retirements, cancer & Psalm 27:14

Last weekend our family celebrated my Dad’s work retirement. zippo Words cannot explain how prideful I felt celebrating that accomplishment with people that came out to honor my dad’s years of hard work. He has always been a great example of many things to us kids, but to show us first-hand what it means to work hard & provide for others is a lesson that I’ve only grown to appreciate as I’ve got older.

I’ve touched briefly on my dad’s cancer in previous blogs. Close friends & family know of his progress & I’m blessed to have so many that pray for us & keep positive vibes afloat as we journey through this tough stage as a family. That made the retirement party even more special as none of us know what the future holds for him, or for that matter, any of us.

Several months ago I decided to do an in-depth self-study on the book of Psalm; containing 150 chapters & (around) 2500 verses, I knew this was going to be quite the undertaking. I gave myself through the summer to complete, but that has now been extended through the winter since the supplemental reading & note-taking is just as time consuming. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, because I secretly am a know-it-all (okay, maybe not so secretly) & “learning” means a new batch of knowledge wrinkles in my brain.

While I pretty much picked Psalms because so many verses contained are dear to my heart, what I’m finding to be the overlaying theme is “trust”….trust.

Trust…

Wow! If ever a time in my life I needed to lean on trust it’s now.

There are moments when I think I’m doing okay about my Dad’s diagnosis & then there are moments when I’m out on a hiking trail & I’m so overcome with emotion thinking about it that I literally sit down in the middle of the woods & bawl my eyes out. It’s in those moments that my faith is the weakest & most tested. Gratitude for a God who has sent me a one-eyed dog that understands my breakdown & will sit down next to me with his head on my lap until the tears start to dry up.

Twice within the last several weeks I’ve had two different people, on two different occasions mention the word “dying” when asking about my dad. Needless to say my response wasn’t the classiest (“He’s fine. And mind your own *blankety-blank-blank -business*”…okay, maybe my response wasn’t that bad, but that’s what I was saying in my head). “Dying”, what a harsh ugly word. And not a word I want spoken in the same sentence as my Dad’s name. But as he just finished yet another several months round of chemo treatments & has begun the next series of testing to see if the cancer has spread or tumors enlarged, these “dying” comments keep popping back into my head & the possible reality hits me full on.

Trust…

Before I begin my nightly (okay…”nightly” is a stretch) Bible-Study I do prayer devotionals, my hope is that I will find answers to whatever is on my mind at that moment. Sometimes it works out that way…sometimes it doesn’t. On this particular night, it was answered. With my dad’s bible versehealth on my mind I opened up my section of Psalms to read & was surprised to find, not only this verse, but also to discover that 3yrs. ago on that exact date, I had also been led to that same verse. During that time our family was grieving over the unexpected loss of a beloved uncle only a few short weeks prior & in the midst of making serious decisions over my Grandma’s own struggle with cancer.

“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!”-Psalm 27:14-

Both of those situations ended painfully & the loss of hope I felt deflated me like a balloon.

When you feel you’re at the end of your rope, sometimes all you can do is hold on. The theme of Psalms kept repeating in my head,”trust…trust…trust”. For the first time in my life, I actually admitted out loud to God that I didn’t trust him.

“Lord, I don’t trust you. Help me believe that your ways are best.”

When you’re in a strong “relationship” with someone you can freely admit, with raw honesty, that you’re confused, hurt, angered…distrustful. And you know in your heart that it doesn’t change the dynamic of the relationship, you’re still loved & not abandoned. That was what I felt by the admission & a flood of relief overcame me.

I’m reminded of the unbelieving father in the book of Mark. He had watched his son struggle with inner-demons his whole life & the reality looked grim. As a final resort, he brought him before Jesus to be healed.

“If you can?” said Jesus. ”Everything is possible for one who believes.” The child’s father cried out at once,” I believe! Help my lack of faith”

– Mark 9:23-24-

It’s okay to have unbelief. It’s okay to be distrustful. You can be a follower of Christ & still be uncertain that your prayers will come true, but in those moments it’s important to pray that your unbelief be healed. Just be honest, He already knows what you’re feeling anyways, why not just admit it??? Allow God to open the door of unbelief so that what’s behind it can be reached.

“Sometimes you just have to smile in faith…”-Joel Osteen-

smile

 

 

 

 

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Ready for a slow down…reflections from Psalm 90.

I’m learning to thin my plate. Trust me, this irony is not lost on me as I’ve been changing to a healthier eating lifestyle over the last 2yrs., but in eating & in my personal life…my plate is getting thinner.

I’ve always said that when I have too much time on my hands I tend to make foolish, destructive decisions. That fear has caused me to go 900miles a minute and since I’ve never been really good at relaxing I have a bad habit of taking on too much. A habit I’m trying to break.

During this past summer I could feel myself getting burned out. Between working 3 jobs (sometimes 4), worrying about family health problems, staying active in my church & community, plus the pressure (self-inflicted) that I put on myself to spend so many hours reading, working in the garden & house, writing, hiking, blah blah; my candle was burning up quickly & activities that used to bring me joy began to feel more like a chore. I started to have horrible stomach pains & my suspicions were proven true when, for the second time in less than 10yrs., I was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer. The threat of a possible surgery caused me to examine my lifestyle & how I can de-compress, de-stress, & handle my behavior in a less-destructive way.


I took a 30-day hiatus from all social media, quit one of my jobs, cut back on a busy social calendar, took a vacation (days of drinking, nature & laughs) and got back into reading the Bible regularly. At moments I’ve loved having a thinner plate; I’m reading & writing more, I’ve finished “one day” projects around the house, & I’ve met up with friends for lunch instead of saying, “we should totally get together” via text. At other moments I’ve hated it; extra time = my mind over-thinking & worrying about things that don’t matter, having to re-budget after a loss of income, & guilt over sitting down to watch a movie (I know some of ya’ll can relate). It’s been a roller-coaster of highs & lows.


I’m studying the book of Psalms this year. Even though I’ve read countless verses here & there, I’ve never studied it as a whole. Very fitting that Psalm 90 happens to be the chapter I’ve been studying during this season of my life (isn’t it amazing how God does that?). Psalm 90 is written by Moses; a man chosen by God to lead His people out of slavery & the wilderness to the promised land of milk & honey. After freedom from Egyptian slavery, the Israelites spent the next 40yrs. wandering the desert wondering when the promise of their “promised land” was to happen. Boy, can I relate to that! Psalm 90 is Moses’ prayer for strength, that the anxiety he feels during the “waiting” will be a character builder. That the Lord will teach him to “slow down” & value his days, trusting that the Lord keeps His promises & is re-focusing him to be better equipped for the day that promise comes to pass.

Something that I struggle with, and I have throughout my whole walk with Christ, is I don’t feel like I “hear” from God. Like my prayers fall on deaf ears. I’ve got many journal entries asking God why He’s ignoring me, however, many scriptures throughout the Bible refer to God speaking in a “still small voice”. If you know me personally, then you know that the concept of a “still small voice” is foreign considering I’ve never been quiet about anything! In the past, when God has needed to get my attention, he does it brick-wall style, by something so dramatic that I have no choice but to pay attention. I feel this slow-down phase He’s bringing into my life is so I can become better attuned to his direction & voice (and I just now realized that this very moment while typing out this paragraph).

At some point maybe I will learn that I can cause myself so much less-stress if I just trust in the Lord in the first place.

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A letter to my Off-the-Market Friends…From your *single* Friend

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Dear Off-the-Market Friends…

This includes: married, engaged, those in long & short term relationships, dating, “talking” to someone, and/or if you’ve made eye contact with the cute guy at the gas station (which in your mind means this is a clue that you need to start shopping for Bridal magazines)…

Let me start off by saying how much I love ya & truly value our friendship. I adore the fact that you’ve found,”the greatest guy on the planet” (as per your gazillion Facebook, Twitter & Instagram posts proclaiming him as such). I think your kids are uber-adorable & I cheese over how sweet your white-picket fence life is. But please allow me one bitter-induced minute to explain why all of it makes me want to vomit.

I really don’t MIND being single, especially when I hear about nasty divorces, cheating spouses, & the fact that I can watch whatever I want on tv BUTwhen I see a 21yr old girl showing off her diamond engagement ring please don’t judge me if I express my desire to punch her in the nose. This is 100% my jealousy, so don’t take offense. I’m equally as jealous of the lady in the grocery store with a ring; the lady that reminds me of Honey Boo-Boo’s mom & I catch myself thinking,”How can she find a man & I still can’t???”

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Regardless of the reality I automatically resort to low self-esteem, Jr. High “Why didn’t anyone ask me to the Winter Dance?” school days. Every girl is someone cuter, thinner, smarter, richer, younger…I’m a chick, that’s how we rationalize things. Please forgive my whiny, self loathing right now (Yes, I’m currently annoyed with myself at the moment).

Friend, don’t get angry if I’m gravitating towards other single friends right now. This has nothing to do with you. When I’m with my single friends we get to bitch & moan about being single while pretending we don’t really care over bottles of cheap wine & chocolate cake. This is also our opportunity to crack on past boyfriends & then look up THEIR wedding pictures on Facebook. Single friends understand that while we would never return to said ex, it drives us crazy that said ex got married before we did (open another bottle, please!). This is a club reserved for those that haven’t found,”the greatest guy on the planet” & it’s a club that, while we like hanging out together, we’re kind of sick of being in. Just like you hang out with other married couples, it would be awkward to bring along a lone single (3rd wheel is never fun).

While I know your intentions are pure, please PLEASE don’t suggest that I join a dating site or suggest that I meet your co-worker Steve,”who is a great guy BUThas a ‘slight’ addiction to crack…”

20140217-174331.jpgI appreciate the fact that you’re trying to set me up with someone but the “BUT” wounds my pride. In essence you’re saying,”the best that I think you can do is a guy who collects belly-button lint & has a passion for toenail art”. Do I expect to end up with a Channing Tatum look-a-like??? No! Because I recognize that I’m no Megan Fox…but is it really too much to ask that he be employed & NOT living with his parents at 35??? And although I have nothing against dating sites, in fact I’ve tried them & have heard that people have had positive results. They’re not for me. I’m choosing to believe that God is writing a different love story for me than a connection on a dating site.

Also, please don’t try to set me up with a guy who dates a different chick every weekend. Early 20’s I would’ve been on-board with that, but early 30’s–not a fan. There’s nothing more revolting than a man who tells a different girl,”I love you” every Saturday night at the bar & then Sunday morning forgets her name. And when I’m crying over that outcome, please don’t follow up with,”God has someone planned for you” or “the right one will come along”. This is why I need my single-friends, they’ll understand how the loss feels more than you do in your wedded bliss.

Know, dear friend, that when you complain to me about how mad you are that your husband didn’t take out the trash or that he forgot Valentine’s Day I’m secretly rolling my eyes at you. When I’m the only one taking out the trash, cleaning the house, paying the bills, fixing the car, figuring out who I’m gonna vacation with, & the only Valentines gift I get is from my dog & that’s cleaning up his bathroom duties out of the yard. Well, my sympathy card is a little thin.

Above all, if one day I find myself in your position nagging & trying to set up another single friend. I ask that you throw this letter in my face & tell me to back off. That seems fair…

Sincerely,
-Your Single Friend-

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And yet another example of why people should never attempt at turning an exotic animal into a “pet”…

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The good thing about having a blog is I can voice my opinion in a controlled environment in an attempt at a well-thought out debatable essay, especially when the topic is controversial & most people like the sound of their own spouting rather than say something worthy & substantial. Which is why I urge everyone to start a blog, it’s much cheaper than therapy & you reduce the number of people you want to shake & say, “really???” Everyone has an opinion, however, not everyone’s opinion is informative. Most are emotional & not factually based.

Recently in my hometown a spider monkey was euthanized after biting a human, without getting into specifics (you can look it up on Fox 8 Cleveland’s website) the outrage is getting a little ridiculous & in my opinion, the anger is severely displaced. I have worked in the animal industry for 12 years professionally & have earned several degrees over the course of that time all animal related (with the exception of a Business degree thrown in). While I by no means claim to be an expert, in fact, I’m humbled & excited by how much I have yet to learn, I do have a little more experience with the industry than most people voicing an emotional opinion. I have worked with horses, livestock, reptiles, domesticated, avian, wildlife, aquatics, pocket pets, & exotics. I have personally worked with spider monkeys both in a zoo facility & an exotic animal rehabilitation center, not to mention the rotation I did during college where I worked in the vet department of an animal testing facility that tested on Spider & Capuchin Monkey’s (don’t get me started on that!) When I say that these animals are NOT meant to be pets, that’s not an exaggeration.

I’m not here to bash the owner or all the supporters of the owner, their actions (or lack thereof) speak for themselves. It was an unfortunate situation with heartbreaking results & I’m sure after the emotion has died down, the owner(s) will realize the role they played in this situation & I’m trusting will not make the same decisions again. Whether it’s a domesticated animal or an exotic animal, when you choose to bring one into your home you have a responsibility to that animal to keep it safe. That includes obeying all laws, following all regulations & being knowledgeable about the animal that trusts you.

As I’m sure most of you amazing readers know, several years ago a guy let loose dozens of exotic animals onto the streets of Zanesville, Ohio. After that incident people were OUTRAGED over the destruction & mass killing of several of these animals…all senselessly. There is always good that can come from every situation and Ohio started adapting stricter exotic animal laws to more safely regulate what people can own & the standards by which they have to house these animals. Ohio went from being the worst (no exaggeration) state to being one of the most regulated. Ohio even created a whole department within the Department of Agriculture to regulate, monitor & fine private & public organizations and owners who have chosen to own exotic animals. While it has been costly for owners & organizations it also has cut down on people owning exotic animals & regulates how many animals a rescue can financially support. I know it may seem like another Government interference but (to me) it’s common sense to monitor this trend that is way out of control & long overdue.

People should not own exotic animals to keep as pets, ever! And you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone that works in the animal field to disagree. God created all things for a very specific purpose & when people try to change that purpose, senseless things like the recent Spider Monkey euthanasia happen. Love plays a big part on why people decide to incorporate an exotic animal into their home; they “love” a certain animal species, so naturally they want to own it. This doesn’t make sense to me. You “love” something, so you decide to keep it from living out its God designed purpose? Not to mention it’s a selfish way to think. Because YOU decide that YOU want to own an exotic animal YOU get one. You’re putting your needs before the welfare of the animal. The very essence & definition of love is putting somebody else’s needs above your own. The very animal that you decide to own can teach you that lesson by observing it in a natural environment; a mama bear will always protect her cubs before thinking about her safety.

My best-bud & greatest workout personal trainer I’ve ever had is my dog, Waylon, an Australian Cattle Dog. This dog loooooooves to be outdoors & is the epitome of energy! And I adore him for that. But Australian Cattle Dogs are designed to do exactly what their name implies. They herd cattle. This is their purpose in life, their instinct. What God has created them to do. I’m responsible for stealing his joy, on a daily basis, because I don’t fulfill that need in my dog. Is my dog happy…absolutely. Is he well taken care of…you’ve never met a dog more spoiled. But the level of happiness Waylon would achieve if getting that need met daily is nothing that I can provide him right now. He gets spurts of that activity; many chances to “herd” horses around the farm, squirrels & chipmunks are a daily roundup, he even “herds” me when we’re out on our daily walks/runs. As his owner, someone who he puts his trust in, it is my responsibility to make sure that instinct is met…and I fail at this, I’m 100% to blame & it is a selfish act on my part because I wanted this rescue dog. Just like other fellow dog owners who fail at this if they don’t provide the same opportunity with their dogs & their instinctual purposes. The difference is, these are “domesticated” animals. Through years of evolving, dogs are no longer wild & now know their place within the hierarchy of a human family unit. Exotic animals will never be domesticated, it’s a scientific fact. And even if some mutant gene forms & they do become domesticated, it will never be in our generation or in our great-great-great-gazillion great grandkid’s generation. When humans interfere too much with changing Mother Nature, we do more harm than good. She’s been around a lot longer than we have & is a hell of a lot smarter than we are. Believe it or not but humans are not entitled to own everything on this planet just because we “want” it, there are some things that don’t belong to us. Every time you support a company that does research using animals by purchasing their products, every time you buy an animal from a breeder instead of adopting or not spaying/neutering your pet, every time you pay money to watch animals being put on display (circus’s, rodeo’s) you are selfishly contributing to the destruction of mother nature. I’m guilty of this as well, it will forever be a lifetime of choices that you have to make. Not one person can save the world, but everybody can do their small contribution & that does add up.

I’m very passionate about animal rights, especially on rescue/rehabilitation work (not buying from breeders, spaying/neutering, etc.) & exotic animal rights. When you work in the industry you see the effects that human’s selfishness & stupidity can cause. If I was friends with myself, I would be annoyed with myself when I get on a soapbox about it. I know that I can nag about this topic, but it’s because it’s so important. Think about something you’re passionate about, something you’re willing to fight for…can you really nag it enough? I would rather beat this topic to death than know it’s going on & remain silent. Many times I’ve prayed to not know some of the things that I know & to not have seen some of things I’ve witnessed because the weight of the problem can seem overwhelming, especially when people don’t seem to care or heed your advice. But in those moments I’m reminded of the animals I’ve seen emaciated, beaten, left to freeze to death on frozen ground, of the animals I’ve personally had to put to death because people have chosen to buy from a breeder and/or not spay & neuter. The exotic animals behind cages who were meant to roam freely, the lab animals injected with cancer-causing agents so humans can get the right scent of body wash & the poaching of game who were unfortunate enough to be born with a much desired delicacy. If people are made aware of the problems, they cannot claim ignorance. Whether or not they choose to do something about their contribution to the problem is up to them & therefore the responsibility of that decision, good or bad, also falls on them. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.
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Book Report: “WoodSong” by Gary Paulsen

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I love, love, LOVE this book!

I wish I had waited a couple weeks before I wrote the blog on my top 10 favorite, https://chapstickchatter.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/my-top-10-favorite-books-of-all-time/,because this memoir would’ve been on it! No idea how or when this quick read ended up in my bookcase, but I’m disappointed that I took so long to pick it up to read!

Not a big book, less than 150 pages, & I knocked it out in a couple hours on a snowed-in afternoon. WoodSong is one page-turning adventure! It’s the true life, hard-to-believe-it’s-actually-nonfiction memoirs of author Gary Paulsen (Hatchetf, Dogsong, The Winter Room, etc) & his life running a sled-dog team, training for the Iditarod.

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The first half of the book tells how the author first got interested in dog sledding; the trials, hit & misses, ignorance, mistakes that he made as his passion grew. This is one of the best novels I’ve ever read on wildlife conservation & the relationships between pets & their owners. The author wrote with such honesty & rawness over his own misunderstanding at nature & her unforgiving spirit. He also is openly candid at admitting his many failures, mistakes & ignorance at owning a team of intelligent, high-strung working dogs. The regret with which he wrote about at “ruining” some of these dogs over his lack of knowledge is something that, those of us who work & have worked in the animal industry, have seen first hand way to many times.

I was not bored or lost interest on any page of this novel. I laughed outloud in several parts describing his mistakes & how the dogs corrected him, I bawled over the words he wrote on the death of his favorite sled dog, Storm & I found myself saying,”sooooo true” in agreement with him over the ways in which man destroys wildlife & nature.

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The second half of the novel was about his weeks running the Iditarod dog sled race held annually in Alaska. A grueling 1150mile course through unforgiving mountains, backcountry wilderness & heavy waterways. Mushers & dogs work as a team to finish in less than two weeks time. It was fascinating to read behind the scenes on what really happens, the non-televised versions; deaths, hallucinations, sleep & hunger depravity, injuries, & basic survival instincts kicking in for both man & animal. I read with captivity. Truly is a testimony on what the body goes through when pushed to the brink of competition, with others & yourself.

If you’re a nature-freak, survivalist, animal lover, dog obsessed, conservationist or adventure seeker you’ll love this book! It’s a super fast, easy read full of honest & raw, non-exaggerated writing. The author is a natural teacher who simplifies his passion for readers & conveys his love for wildlife & environmental conservation, as well as, animal rights.

If I could rate this higher than 5 stars On Goodreads I would!
*WoodSong book trailor* http://youtu.be/xgIIs5peyLI

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Book Report: Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult

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Jodi Picoult is a favorite author, but the last few novels read have left me disappointed. Found Handle with Care at a Volunteers of America thrift store for .25 and after sitting on my bookshelf for several months I decided to see if (one of) my favorite authors could redeem herself.

The novel centers around the O’Keefe family & their life living with a child that has Osteogenesis Imperfecta; a severe disability where you have “brittle bones”.

I had never heard of OI before & I thought the author did an amazing job of explaining the disability. The information describing the disease & characteristics attributed with it was very thought out & organized. I can’t imagine being a person living with OI or being the parent of one; having to worry about a bone breaking because you sneezed or a pinky-toe break turning into a life threatening situation. Not to exclude the financial & emotional stress that occurs with the constant worry & anxiety.

The novel is reminiscent of another Picoult novel,My Sister’s Keeper, where the reader is forced to ask them self,”What would I do?” when faced with a morality issue. In this case the moral issue is a Wrongful Birth case filed. Wrongful Birth, at least the definition I drew from the novel, means had you been given information about a disability your unborn child had, you would’ve terminated the pregnancy. In the case of Handle with Care the doctor getting sued also happens to be the main character & mother’s best friend.

The novel’s chapters are each narrated by a different main character & told from their individual viewpoint:
▪️Charlotte: mother. She’s the one that handles the day-to-day pressure & struggle of raising a child with OI. When presented the option of filing a Wrongful Birth suit she decides to follow through. Her reason for it is that by telling a lie, admitting she would have terminated the pregnancy, will ensure that her now 5 year old daughter will financially be comfortable for the rest of her life.

▪️Sean: father/Charlotte’s husband. Only working parent & struggles with barely making financial ends meet on his law enforcement wage. Highly against filing the lawsuit & eventually becomes a witness for the defense.

▪️Amelia: Charlotte’s teenage daughter from first marriage. Feels like an outcast, despite having a great relationship with her step-father Sean. Estranged towards her mother & is very resentful towards her and the attention she bestows on younger sister. Develops bulemia as stresses at home increase and eventually starts cutting herself.

▪️Piper: Obstetrician & Charlotte’s best friend. She gets sued by Charlotte in a Wrongful Birth case.

▪️Marin: Charlotte’s lawyer. Takes on the case even though she struggles with the morality of the situation. During the course of the lawsuit she’s in the midst of her own search for her birth mother. Oftentimes, the two get intertwined.

▪️Willow: 5year old that has OI. Even though the whole novel is about her, she only narrated the last closing chapter.

My favorite characters in the novel were Amelia & Piper. Amelia my heart just broke for, she was screaming for attention & nobody seemed to notice. Piper just got the raw end of the deal. Such a good foundational character & I felt the author kept her integrity intact throughout the whole novel. My least favorite character was Charlotte; which I think is the author’s point, you develop a love/hate relationship with her because she tugs at your morality. You can see where her dilemma lies; her lying, selfishness & stubbornness but in the end it really is to benefit the life of her disabled child. When I first started reading the novel I thought,”there’s no way I could file a lawsuit like that” but as the novel progressed & the trial got deeper I found myself seeing her point. She lost a lot during the course of the novel & you can’t help but admire her mama-bear mentality. I also really liked that the author had her ganged up on in particular situations; the media protests, the parents of other OI children who called her out on her lying. They said the things that I, the reader, was thinking.

I HATED the ending! For me it almost ruined the whole novel. And from other reviews I’ve read on Goodreads, (https://www.goodreads.com)
that thought seems pretty universal. It all seemed so…pointless. Usually I can see/understand why an author ended a novel the way they did, but in this case I couldn’t. So much loss, devastation & ruined relationships for nothing! Would’ve been a better ending if the author created something positive out of the trial instead of more loss.

All in all, I would recommend reading Handle with Care. In fact, I’m currently finishing up this review so I can pass on my copy of the novel to my aunt for reading. Not my favorite Picoult novel (may have been if not for the ending) but it has redeemed her novels for me & showed me why I like reading her books in the first place.

*Handle with Care book trailer*
http://youtu.be/U3ZZez7qFc8

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My top 10 favorite books of all time!

….Disclaimer: this list is subject to change at any given time without notice depending on my mood & not-yet-read books… 😀

So this marks my first blog post that is being done entirely on my smartphone. I’ve always seen the WordPress blog icon on my home screen, but have yet to try it. Weather outside is reminiscent of the Great Flood, so seemed like an appropriate time to try it out. Considering my blogs are usually novel length I figure typing it up on my smartphone might shorten this one up. But since I’m talking about books I have big doubts!

My friend Stephanie recently posed this question to me asking me to name my top 10 favorite books of all time. Even though she told me not to put much thought into it & just spout them off, that wasn’t likely to happen since I over-think most everything especially when having to choose “favorites” #lifedecisions 😉

After much editing I feel pretty (fairly) confident in my chosen top 10. Honorable mentions go out to: The Horse Whisperer by Nicholas Evans, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson & The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (wow! That’s a lot of Nicholas’ in one category). They were all so close to making the list, but sadly ended up second strings. Maybe next year boys!

In no particular order:

1) The Bible, by some dude I can’t remember his name 😉– within these pages I have found comfort, answers, tears, questions, confusion, anger, sadness, forgiveness, love, joy, peace & many other emotions. All spoken to me by God himself. The living Word that I turn to almost daily.

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2) The Loop by Nicholas Evans–my all-time favorite author. This is the story of a wolf biologist who is observing & monitoring a pack of wolves in the mountains of Montana & her fight against a town that wants to extinguish this pack out.

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3) The Cross Gardener by Jason F. Wright. About a guy who loses his wife & unborn child in a fatal car accident. One day he takes a cross to the accident site where his wife died & meets The Cross Gardener, a guy who travels roadways caring for crosses & memorials that people have placed at loved ones accident sites.

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4) The Tale of Three Trees by a Folklore– Kids book about 3 trees that each have dreams they want to grow into. Their dreams don’t turn out how they planned, but God uses them in mighty ways for His greater purpose.

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5) The Pillars of the Earth & World Without End by Ken Follett–these are two seperate books about the village of Kingsbridge, England during the 1100’s-1300’s. Pillars is about the building of the Kingsbridge Cathedral & World is about the village. Be prepared to devote some time to these novels, each is about 2000 pages long!

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6) Steve & Me by Terri Irwin–Terri Irwin’s autobiography chronicling her life with late husband, the Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin. I was such a big fan of Steve & Terri even before I read this novel, but after reading it I gained even more respect. Such an adventurous life & I laughed, bawled & was humbled by this couple.

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7) Black Beauty by Anna Sewell–I have read this novel so many times that I can quote lines from it. First read as a kid & broke my heart so much that it stirred in me a deep passion for animal rescue. The whole novel is told through the eyes of Beauty & you go from loved beginnings to a life of abuse & neglect. Classic that everyone should read at least once!

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8) In the Presence of My Enemies by Graicia Burnham– true story of missionaries in the Philippians who are kidnapped & held hostage for several years. The grace, humility, & forgiveness that got them through their ordeal is such a testament to faith in God. After reading this novel it made me appreciate missionaries more & opened my eyes to how desperately I want to be a part of that front line of ministry.

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9) Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo– true story of Todd’s 3year old son Colton & his trip to heaven & back after he died for several minutes during a surgery. Only book I’ve ever read that I actually called in “sick” to work because I couldn’t put it down & wanted to finish (shhhh…don’t tell!). Changed & in some ways answered questions I had about what heaven’s really like. Heard Hollywood is converting this movie to the big screen, anxious to see how it transpires.

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10) Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls– another book I first read as a kid & have read countless times. Story of a boy who lives in the Ozarks during Depression-era. He saves his money to buy 2 Redbone Coonhounds & hand-trains them to be hunting dogs. Have the Kleenex in hand!

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There ya go fellow book-nerds, my top 10 (as of today any ways!). I’m always on the prowl for good books so pass your suggestions my way!

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