Saturday, April 23, 2016

Road Trip Challenge

During this hour of the readathon, the lovely ladies at In the Forest of Stories are sending us on a road trip - an imaginary road trip with one of the characters of the book we are currently reading, and to find the song to accompany our journey.  That's easy for me - considering the characters of "The Charm Bracelet" by Viola Shipman are on a road trip to the beach.

Lolly, Arden and Lauren - grandmother, mother and daughter - are traveling in a 1950 Buick Roadmaster "Woody".

And listening to Lolly's favorite - Dean Martin, singing "Ain't That a Kick in the Head".  Coincidentally, Dean Martin is one of my favorites, too.  Here's a clip of Dean performing that song in the original "Ocean's Eleven"

Readathon 2016

It's readathon day again.  One of my favorite days of the year - a day focused on reading, talking about reading, entering contests about reading, blogging about reading and more reading.  If you want to join, go here to sign up.  

As always, the readathon begins with the standard "get to know you" questions:

1.  Where are you? - Southeast Nebraska, USA
2.  Who are you? - Check the "About me" tab above for all the details.
3.  What are you reading? - see picture below
4.  What are you eating? - Slightly stale cheese puffs are a readathon tradition.
5. Have you done this before? - Many times.  And I embrace the readathon motto: No rules, just read.

My Readathon choices.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Servant Queen

Today is Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday.  I am a great fan of Her Majesty.  She is a model of decorum, devotion, and duty.  What you may not know is that she is also a model of faith.  I am so impressed by her, that I gave away twenty copies of "The Servant Queen and the King She Serves" to church members and family.  I thought I would share a few of my favorite quotes.

"The Queen's work is an expression of her desire to serve others.  She is not a hired servant who is required to do lots of tasks; she is a Queen who chooses to serve her people through doing the work that will best contribute to the nation's health."

"In an age when we are besieged by armies of celebrities telling us about almost every aspect of their lives in a variety of media, the Queen has kept most of her thoughts to herself... Curiously, that is not the case about her faith in Jesus.  About Jesus, she has been remarkably, one might say, uncharacteristically open about what she believes."

"Indeed, one of the most remarkable things about the Queen is her consistency of character.  Despite unprecedented levels of relentless media scrutiny for her entire life, there has never been a whiff of scandal about the Queen herself... She has a strong and happy marriage to a man she clearly respects and whose company she enjoys."

"She has had a gruelling travel and work schedule for over 60 years, but... there are no reliable recorded incidents of the Queen losing her temper, using bad language, or refusing to carry out a duty expected of her."

During her Coronation in 1953, the Archbishop annointed the Queen by pouring holy oil onto her hands, her chest and her head - "to show she is being set apart to serve and love her people in all her actions, with all her heart and with all her mind. . . She follows the example of Christ who was also...set apart, not to be served, but to serve."

I know the Queen is not, technically, a political figure.  She has no power to make or enforce laws.  But can you image if we had political leaders who shared her attitude toward duty and service?  

How has Queen Elizabeth II continued to display that attitude day after day in the face of wars, family scandals, age and everything else she has faced?  Here is the answer in her own words:

"Each day is a new beginning.  I know that the only way to live my life is to try to do what is right, to take the long view, to give of my best in all that the day brings, and to put my trust in God."

You can purchase a copy of The Servant Queen and the King She Serves here.  They are considerably cheaper in lots of ten.  The prices are given in British Pounds.  I'm not entirely sure of the exchange rate, but they came out to be around $1.25/copy when I ordered twenty.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Things I've Learned . . .

1,  Helping repair the lawn mower is more fun if you insist that your husband request tools using the names of medical instruments.  Searching for a 7/16" wrench, as opposed to a 1/2" wrench, is not particularly captivating. " Scalpel! Clamp! Extractor!" is so much more entertaining, although it does tend to annoy the husband doing the repairs.

2. Taxes are more fun if you're getting a refund.  I guess that's not a new revelation, but it's been awhile since I dealt with it.  Owning our own business turned taxes into an entirely new monster. Appointments with the accountant, forms I had never heard of, and a return that required the heavy-duty stapler, after 30+ years of short forms put a new twist on the first quarter of 2016.  The fact that I even think in quarters is a sign of the radical changes in my life.  However - I have survived our first year in business without going to prison for mangling a myriad of tax laws, so that's a celebration in itself.

3. Playing the Candy Land board game with a 6-year-old is more fun when you are 54 and don't care that the laundry isn't folded, than it was when you were 34 and felt the need to be productive.  When our children outgrew the classic board game, I was so worn out with it that I put it - along with Chutes and Ladders - in the donation box for the thrift store and vowed to never play again.  Some twenty years later, I re-purchased both games to play with Miss P., a beautiful girl who spends time with us occasionally.

4. 6-year-olds don't care if you run like the arthritic, uncoordinated nerd that you are, as long as you are participating in a water-gun fight.   Some 50-cent squirt guns and the willingness to "run" about
hiding behind trees and vehicles, brought out some priceless grins and giggles.

5. Doing even the smallest kindness for someone else makes the whole day better.

6. Be careful when you ask a child to sing you a song to fill time in the car. They may create a song about loving you forever and the tears make it difficult to drive.  Miss P. melts my heart!

Hope you have learned some good things recently.