Best Authors, Best Words

I myself, am an avid reader!   It’s a getaway for me.   I love to curl up with a blanket and escape to another world, even if it’s just for a little while.   It’s a outlet for me.   So, over the years, I have gotten really into certain authors.   One in particular that I’m going to talk about today.   But, when I’m finished, I would love to hear some feedback on some of the writers that you guys like to read!

My favorite of all time author is “Richard Paul Evans”.   He is an American author, best known for one of best the sellers of all times, “The Christmas Box Miracle”.   This book is literally, one of my favorite books ever!   Richard Paul Evans was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 11, 1962.  He graduated from University of Utah, and is married, with 5 children.  He has won numerous awards including a “Humanitarian of the Century” award for his kindness, and generosity that he has done for children’s charities and for building 2 orphanages in Peru.

Evans has written over 25 amazing novels.   His books will grip you to the point where you absolutely cannot put them down.   You will be racing to the end to find out what happened, and then he will leave you disappointed, because you don’t want the book to end!   I have read so many of Evans books that I love.   As a matter of fact,  I’ve never read one of his books that I didn’t love!   But one book of his, that I have read several times, because it is such a beautiful story is “The Christmas Box”.  In Evans words, “Whatever the reason, I find that with each passing Christmas, the story of the Christmas Box is told less and needed more.   So I record it now for all future generations to accept or dismiss as seems them good.   As for me, I believe.   And it is, after all, my story.”

The novel, The Christmas Box,  is a nostalgic Christmas story written by Evans for his daughters.   The story is written around a Christmas box that Richard finds in the attic of the home of an elderly lady, that he and his family have come to live with.   This box was originally intended to hold a bible, but when Richard finds it, the box has now been filled with letters that are written to a dead loved one.   Through the reading of these letters, Richard begins to understand the true meaning of Christmas.    I could not put this book down, and I cried at times throughout.    It’s just a really sweet story.   I would guarantee anyone that reads it, will love it.

So, if your looking for a great author to read, I would definitely suggest Richard Paul Evans.   In my opinion, he is the best!   Happy reading!

 

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The Challenge of Giving

Hello!  The last few weeks I have been thinking a great deal about how we, as human beings give back.  I’m going to explain in greater detail what exactly I mean by that, but it’s especially been on mind with the resent news blowing up of Hurricane Harvey, and then to quickly follow it was Hurricane Irma.   And now, Irma isn’t even over and the meteorologists are now watching a Hurricane Jose out there stirring up.   However, through all of this, we’ve seen one of two things come to light; we’ve seen some less than moral, out there looting, taking advantage of people in already tough situations.   And then on the flip side, we’ve seen what I like to think of as “Real Americans” standing up and helping their neighbors.   Helping with rescues, giving people a place to go when their home has been destroyed.   Helping with food, and water, clothing, and blankets.   This is giving back.   I am so very thankful for the Emergency Management personnel that got out and worked so hard to help so many this last few weeks.   I am equally as thankful for the men and women, that put aside their own comfort to get out and help people in need.  God bless each and every one of you.

Ok, so now I’m just curious,  does it take a hurricane, or some natural disaster to get us out there giving back?   If we take a good look around there are plenty of community organizations, local area projects, and just a plethora of opportunities and issues to get involved with and help out.   If every able person looked around and found just one way to volunteer, and give of themselves, can you imagine the difference it would make in our world?   I can tell you the difference it would make in the receivers eyes.   It would be phenomenal!   And possibly change a life.

There are so many ways to do this.   I’m currently involved with helping with a house that helps to assist women in overcoming alcohol and/or drug addiction issues.   This is something that is very close to my heart, because my husband and I currently have two music ministries in the CR (Celebrate Recovery) Program.   And this house comes to one of our programs.   That is what I do, but there are a lot more out there.   There are homeless shelters that you can collect blankets, bedding, and items that would be needed there.   You can also help serve at the soup lines, and offering and kind hand and a smiling face, could change a person’s day, or week.   I mentioned earlier about the hurricanes, and natural disasters, and they are happening all over the world.   You could always step in and help with some form of relief, from providing food and water, to clothing, blankets, and places to house people.   There is also helping to clear roads, or assisting in rescue from homes or buildings that have been hit.   Whatever your skill, there is a place for you to give of yourself.   But it needs to come from your heart.

Each one of us needs to take a step back and take a good long look.   We need to realize how blessed we are, and we need to share a blessing with someone else.   With all that we’ve been given, how could we not pass a little blessing, a little love, a touch of human kindness, forward?   I challenge you to try it, and I’m guessing,  no, I’m betting on the fact that it will even change your life as well!

It’s About That Time! Fall Fun!

Well friends, it looks like fall is just around the corner!  My favorite time of the year!  The hubbs and I watched the kickoff weekend of college football, and it won’t be long until leaves start falling off the trees.  I’m getting excited just thinking about it!  I’m already bugging him to get hay bales, and mums.  I love decorating for Halloween, and then Thanksgiving and Christmas!  And yes, I am that house…you know, the one that goes ALL out; completely out!

Yes, my friends, it’s time to start making apple pies, or if you prefer, maybe pumpkin or pecan pies, and drinking  warm apple cider.   This is also the time of the year to open the windows, and let the crisp, cool air in, as well as an abundance of activities to go do this season!

As a matter of fact, I’ve put together a list of wonderful things you can get out and do this fall:

1.  GO to an apple orchard and go apple picking.

2.  Go visit a Corn Maze.

3.  Get out to look at the changing of the colors.

4.  Take a hot air balloon ride. (Another beautiful way to see all the colors)

5.  Go for a nice hike.

6.  Go tailgating at your favorite football teams game.

7.  Have a bonfire.

8.  Sit by the fire and drink apple cider.

9.  Rent a cabin in the mountains.

10.  Go for a drive in the country.

11.  Go to a pumpkin patch and pick pumpkins.

12.  Get a head start and plant bulbs in your garden for next spring.

13.  Go camping.

14.  Knit a scarf.

15.  Go on a hay ride.

16.  Toast some pumpkin seeds.

17.  Go through a haunted house.

So, are you with me?  Do you see how amazing “Fall” is?   Yes!  There are so many things to do.  The weather is not too hot, and it’s not too cool.  It’s just right!  The colors are beautiful!   It is my hope that all of you are able to get out and enjoy it!  So have a wonder Fall!

Introvert and Extrovert…Living in Harmony?

I had a very enlightening conversation the other day, with a friend of mine.   We were talking about how my husband can strike up conversation with anyone and anything!  He is extremely outgoing, super friendly, with a wonderful personality.  My husband would definitely be called an extrovert.   Now, when I happened to mention to my friend that I am very much the opposite; I am a true introvert, she started chuckling, and totally did not believe me.  Her point for that was because I get up on stage and perform every week, and I’m totally comfortable with it, so therefore, I have to be an extrovert.  Uummmmmm…..no.

Now, part of this is true, part of it is not.  I do get up on stage every week .   I’m a singer.  My husband and I are both singers and musicians.  I love music!  Always have!   When I’m on stage, I’m in my safe place.  My happy place!  Not to mention the fact that I’m up there with the band members who are like family to us.  Now when the band is done, most of the time, I will go back stage or in the green room, or the refreshment room to chill.  My husband?  Totally different story.  That man can work a room!  He will go out in the audience, or the crowds, and shake hands and greet people, and talk.  And he’s great at it!

I’m not comfortable being around a large group of people and talking.  I would prefer being with a smaller, select few friends.  I’m very comfortable being alone.  I like my quiet time.  I don’t get really excited about parties.  I enjoy reading, taking walks, or hikes, or working on my art, or crafts.  My husband likes getting out and going places that are more public.  He’s always suggesting that we go check out some new band, which I think is really great!  However, most of the time, we will know a lot of the people that are there, so he’s up doing his thing, and I’m watching the band.

There are quite a few things that make a difference between my husband and myself.  (I guess it comes down to that opposite attraction thing as well)

1. He speaks more; I listen more.

2. He accepts change better; I struggle with change.

3. He gets distracted easier; I can focus longer.

4. He’s very open with people; I’m very reserved.

5. He likes attention on him; I’m not interested in the attention.

6. He can make decisions quickly; I reflect a while before making them.

7. He loves working in open spaces; I prefer quiet smaller spaces.

8. He will speak up in meetings; I won’t.

Now, with all the things that are different about us, (and I guess it falls into that whole opposites attract thing) there are also many things that are just alike about us.

The best thing I ever did in marrying my soul mate, was that where I have weaknesses, he has strong points.  And where he struggles in areas, that is where I am strong.  It’s a wonderful arrangement in our marriage!  Because someone always has your back!  So, my question at the very beginning?   Can an extrovert and an introvert live in perfect harmony?  Absolutely!!

OVERCOMING To CELEBRATING

This just happens to be my very first blog, and I’m extremely excited about this new venture!  I thought about so many ideas for my kick off blog, but I thought I would start things out by telling you a little bit about myself, my family, and my life.

I am a displaced “Okie”, (from Okc, Oklahoma) now living in the beautiful state of Alabama.  I do miss Oklahoma sometimes, (mostly in the summer, when I’m suffocating from the “thick as pudding” humidity) however, nothing is prettier than a fall in Alabama.  The changing of the colors is amazing, the lakes, mountains, and let’s not forget my favorite thing of all, the breathtaking beaches!  That is definitely my happy place!

Like I said before I grew up in the windy state of Oklahoma.  I had a pretty normal childhood, with a stay at home mom, a dad that traveled with his job all the time, (he was the president of a bank) and a little brother.  There was only one thing different with my “normal” family.  To the public eye, we were always presented as perfect.  The bar was always very high in our home.  My father expected exellence in all areas of our lives.  He was very strict, ruling with an iron fist.  My mother was your typical “Donna Reed”.  The house was always spotless; not a speck of dust anywhere, and dinner was on the table at 5:00 pm.  (Don’t be late)

Now, this seems ok, maybe normal to some, possibly even perfect to others, except that when something went wrong, or “life” just happened, it was really a lonely, quiet, house to live in.  We didn’t discuss problems, or anything uncomfortable, because that would make us less than perfect.  Problems were swept under the rug, so to speak.  I adapted accordingly, and kept everything to myself, thought for myself, and made my own decisions and mistakes as well.

I graduated high school, and actually ended up getting a music scholarship to OKC University, in Okc.  Oh yeah, I love music!  Always have!  Almost every kind, genre, sound, ect…I played piano growing up. (my father wanted me to be well rounded!) I’m a singer as well.  Everything I was involved in was music.  However, instead of taking the scholarship and going to OkcU, I thought it would be a lot more fun to go to a state school, where a lot of my friends were going.  I was right!  I had an amazing 3 semesters until my dad decided he was not going to pay for me to go to college to party! Oops!  So I was made to come home, and go to a school closer to home, which was Central Oklahoma state.

Now, this is where I met a guy that seemed fun in the beginning, but there was just something about him that was different from all the guys I had dated.  He was kind of a bad boy type.  That soon turned out to be a total nightmare!  We dated for a while, and he was very manipulitive, and for some reason could talk me into anything.   So it wasn’t long, and we were married.   Things went downhill from there.  He was very jealous.  He was very demanding.   But the worst was yet to come.

I went out one day and got a puppy.  I brought it home, and we were going out for the evening, so I just left it there in the apartment.   When we returned the puppy had chewed off the foam covering on the front of my husband’s speakers.   He was furious!  He started yelling and picked up the dog and threw it up against the wall.  I screamed!  The puppy let out this big yelp and then wasn’t moving.  I thought for sure he had killed my little puppy.  I knew I had to get rid of the little dog because he wasn’t safe there.  That day was the start of the violence.

There was more of the violence, some days worse than others. There were affairs.  He threw me across the room and my head hit a cedar chest, with blood literally spraying out of my head.  I had to have 7 stitches and I had a concussion and couldn’t drive for 8 weeks.  And yet still, the worst was yet to come.

After many threats, to kill me and destroy me financially, which he Came very close to doing, I was finally able to get out of that nightmare of a marriage.   One morning, I received a phone call from him telling me he wanted to come get his final things out of the house.  I told that was fine, but to be quick because I had a lot to do.  I really just wanted it to be over.  Well he came over, and got busy right away, so I left him to it.  But when I walked back into the room, he was standing there with a gun pointed right at me.  I froze.  Then, it was like my whole body went numb. I couldn’t feel anything.  I asked him not to do this, and to think about the kids, as well as he would go to jail.  He wasn’t listening to anything I had to say.  This went on for hours.  I was thankful that the kids were in school.  Finally,  a friend of his (that actually was also a minster) called and caught on that something wasn’t right.  He came to the house and talked to him for a while, which ended with him getting the gun from him.  His friend told him that he had someone that he should talk to.  As they were leaving the house, I just shrunk down in the floor and started thinking about that whole day, and everything I had been through.  I was exhausted.   I wanted to just quit, give up, but I was a mother, and I had to keep fighting.

After about 8 months of being single and just working and coming home, my friends were bugging like crazy to go out and be social again.  Not something I was really all that excited about.  They did however,  wear me down, so there were a few girls nights.  And then, a few fix me up dates, that always seemed to end with finding something that I really didn’t like about the guy. (even if it was petty)

One night, a girlfriend of mine called me and said, “I’m bored. Let’s go get some pizza.”  We ended up at this pizza place I hadn’t been to yet and there was a live band playing.  When we walked in, the lead guitarist was coming off stage. He had this long curly hair, all sweaty with a do rag on.   He was wearing a black rock t-shirt, with jeans and boots.  My friend started talking to him, and I’m just standing there like a dork, just smiling.  He was looking at me and just smiling like, are you going to talk?  So I just threw my hand up and said, hi! Ugh!  I’m such a dork!  Oh well, anyway, he came to our table during his breaks and we started talking, texting, and eventually going out.

Now, I will tell you ladies, from someone who had a rough start coming out of the gate, I am now married to that very sexy, rocker guy!   He is truly my soul mate, in every since of the word.  I am back into my music again.   Singing again, with him!  He is the best thing that has ever happened to me!

You have now somewhat of a grasp of who I am,  and basically what I’ve been through.  I wanted to tell this story because I don’t want what happened to me to happen to another woman ever!  Please!  If you, or anyone you know is being harmed, hurt, abused, please tell someone.   There is always something you can do.  There are hotlines you can call anonymously.  Just please get help, because you could be saving a life!