Showing posts with label love. Show all posts
Showing posts with label love. Show all posts

Thursday, September 20, 2018

The Ragged Edge of Night - Book Review

The Ragged Edge of Night - Book Review
What Others Are Saying About This Book
Nazi Germany.  1942.  A priest in search of redemption.  A widow seeking provision for her fatherless children.  A people desperate for relief—relief from oppression, from evil, from hopelessness.  Olivia Hawker's new historical novel, The Ragged Edge of Night, is a revelation.  To immerse ourselves into Anton and Elisabeth's war-torn lives is to see glimmers of unimaginable beauty beneath the desolation of loss, shame, failure, and fear.

As the story begins, Anton is still reeling from the abrupt end of his mission as a Franciscan friar.  To be wrongly stripped of his life's calling has been painful, but even worse, he cannot forgive himself for being powerless to save the children who were in the church's care.  When the Nazis loaded up Anton's students, he was overcome by an overwhelming sense of having committed the unforgivable sin.  Though there was nothing Anton could have done to save the children's lives, the guilt is crushing.


While Anton wrestles with his demons, Elisabeth, a young mother of three who is still grieving over the unexpected death of her beloved husband, is in the midst of considering the hardest decision of her life: whether to remarry in order to provide for her family.  Elisabeth feels great shame as she struggles to reconcile the feeling of being unfaithful to her first husband.  If there was another option, she would gladly choose it.  Alas, the harsh realities of wartime force Elisabeth to publish the following personal ad:
Good churchgoing woman, widowed, mother of three.  In need of a humble, patient man, willing to be a father to my children.  Interest in legitimate marriage only.  I have no money, so those who think to profit need not reply.
 In coming across Elisabeth's plea for help, Anton is immediately struck with a new sense of purpose.  Though his first choice would be to eventually return to his Franciscan order, and while Anton remains true to his sacred vows, he feels that supporting Elisabeth and her children is the right thing to do.  This opportunity has the potential to fulfill Anton's deep need to be useful, to find forgiveness, and to protect those who need it most (addressing his need for redemption due to the loss of the children snatched up by the Nazis who shut down Anton's school and religious order).

The soul of this book is revealed in the simplest, and yet loveliest of ways, as two faithful individuals remain true to their vows, their principles, their hearts, and all that defines a life worth living, and for which they are willing to die.  When Anton's involvement in the resistance movement against Hitler brings danger into his new family's life, relationships will be tested, and the true nature of love will be revealed.

Based on the real life experience of one of the author's family members, The Ragged Edge of Night is a timely story that is sure to inspire every reader who is concerned about the extreme tensions that are being felt in today's world.  This is a moment in history when every single one of us can take heart as we consider the difference an ordinary person like Anton can make in the lives of those who are hurting.  I was deeply moved by this book and highly recommend it.








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Language of Flowers - Book Review

Read More Reviews
To read The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh, is to reflect on how the bouquet of each of our lives is crafted flower by flower.  As we enter Victoria's story, none of us would want the bouquet she sees as the definition of who she has become: thistle, peony, and basil (flowers that represent a deep mistrust of people, anger, and hate).  Well before the end of this book, I suspect, like me, that you will be urging Victoria, in your heart of hearts, to pick a few white violets and daffodils.

Who is Victoria, this self-described thistle?  She is a child who has spent her entire life in the foster care system.  Victoria's self-image has been shaped by the one constant she has known throughout her childhood: rejection.  After being bounced from 32 different placements, Victoria is finally aging out of the system.  Having turned 18, she is eligible for emancipation.  While that freedom is welcomed, it comes with a whole new set of challenges.  Victoria has no money, no family, and no place to call home.  What she has, though, is an extraordinary gift for changing lives.  It will be the discovery of this gift that offers up new hope for a girl who has always been too afraid to hope, or trust, or love.

We learn early on that Victoria had one significant relationship at the age of nine.  Her foster parent, Elizabeth, taught Victoria how the meanings of flowers were an important form of communication during the Victorian Era.  This language of flowers is something intuitive for Victoria.  Plants, flowers, and growing things become her solace, her sanctuary, and the very life of life.

As Victoria seeks to find her way in a world that frightens her, individuals from her past reappear.  One offers the chance for true love.  The other offers the chance for redemption.  Both can give Victoria something she has always wanted more than anything: a family and a sense of belonging.  Will Victoria be able to move past the shame and feelings of unworthiness that stand in the way of making her way home?  You will want to read The Language of Flowers to discover the answer to that question.

Before we go, were you curious, in the introduction to this review, about why we might want Victoria to pick some white violets and daffodils to replace the thistles, peonies, and basil in her bouquet?  Those white violets represent the sentiment "let's take a chance on happiness" and daffodils are symbolic of new beginnings.  When it comes right down to it, isn't that what we wish for everyone who has waited a lifetime to grow into something beautiful?







Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

I'll Push You - Book Review

Every once in a while, if we are fortunate, we are given a glimpse into a relationship of such incredible beauty that we are instantly inspired to be more, to do more, and to love more than we ever have before.  To read I'll Push You, is to witness the ultimate expression of brotherly love and devotion.  It is the opportunity to enter into a pilgrimage of the heart.

There are volumes of travelogues written by those who have embarked on such ancient walks as the Camino de Santiago.  The thing that sets this story apart, along with Justin Skeesuck and Patrick Gray's extremely rare lifelong friendship, is the fact that this trek was supposed to be impossible for them to accomplish.  Few believed they could actually pull it off.  Of course, those naysayers did not comprehend the enormous overcoming power of Justin and Patrick's friendship, of their faith, and of their spirits.

Born just 36 hours apart, Skeez and Paddy, as they affectionately called one another, never really knew life apart from one another.  They were classmates throughout their schooling, were best man in each other's wedding, and only became closer when Justin was diagnosed with a debilitating neuromuscular condition similar to ALS.  When Justin lost his capacity to walk, and to use his arms and legs, Patrick did not hesitate to step in to help Justin's wife care for his every need.

Not one to wave a white flag and give up in defeat, though he would have been justified in feeling more than a little bit of hopelessness, Justin sought to find ways to continue to live life with gusto.  When he learned about the Camino in Spain (The Way), Skeez asked Paddy if they might attempt it. Without losing a beat, Patrick replied: I'll push you.  At the time, neither Justin nor Patrick knew just exactly what it was they had agreed to do.  All too soon, they would begin the most arduous journey of their lives.

How do you cross the Pyrenees, and other mountain ranges, make it through the Mesita desert, and ford through raging rivers in a wheelchair?  What do you do when the pathway becomes a steep, boulder-strewn bowling alley, or an impassable quagmire of deep mud?  These became the daily challenges that had stopped even the most robust pilgrims along the way.  With the help and kindness of strangers, Justin and Patrick are drawn into the pilgrimage within the pilgrimage.  What began as a travel adventure, becomes a deeply transformational journey of self-reflection.

Over the course of 500 miles, Skeez and Paddy explore what it means to love, to serve, to trust, and to grow in grace.  To take the journey with them is a blessing, a privilege, and the chance to ponder how we might be the love that turns the impossible into the possible.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Jan Arden's Feeding My Mother Book Review

Jan Arden's Feeding My Mother Book Review
I do it too often. That is, pick up a book without a true appreciate of what I am about to read. Jann Arden's Feeding My Mother: Comfort and Laughter in the Kitchen as My Mom Lives with Memory Loss definitely fits that bill. I picked it up because it was written by a wonderful Canadian music artist and because my mother is experiencing some memory issues right now.

Feeding My Mother turned out to be a series of diary or journal-style entries written over a period of a few years while Arden tried to continue working in the music industry and care for her ailing parents. What I expected was information about memory loss; what I did not expect was the diary style of writing or the recipes. I did expect and receive heartbreak, which is definitely on the menu when a loved one disappears in this manner. It is not really a book to turn to for information about Alzheimer's disease but rather one to read to understand one family's struggles to deal with their situation.

It is a nicely put together book with pictures; caring and sharing; family, pets and lots of love; tears but also much laughter; and with a few simple recipes, some of which I may return to. This book was crafted from (apparently) popular Facebook and Instagram posts that Arden wrote during her journey. I believe that she handled her parental situation as best as she could, something we can all aspire to do if and when we become caregivers for our parents. As Arden says, it is not easy becoming a mother to your mother.

Jann Arden


Arden is an accomplished Canadian singer songwriter who has won eight Juno awards and been nominated for a total of eighteen. She has also written three books. This one plus If I Knew, Don't You Think I'd Tell You and Falling Backwards: A Memoir. Another couple of books for our reading lists.

You can hear Arden discuss Feeding My Mother on CBC Radio by clicking right here. They call the book a cookbook, which I disagree with though it does have a few recipes. If you picked this book up thinking it was a cookbook, you would be disappointed. It is more correctly categorized as a biographical book about Alzheimer's disease and patient care.

Do I Recommend Feeding My Mother? 


Yes, I do recommend Feeding My Mother. It is definitely of interest to someone who is dealing with a family member with memory loss or who sees that coming in the future, as I do. However, I am uncertain if it is a book that my mother should read. I know she would appreciate the humour and the love that is found within the covers but not sure that she needs to really think and worry about all of the situations found in this book. What do you think? Should I give my mother this book to read or not?  Have you read Feeding My Mother? Have you been a caregiver for someone with memory loss?

You can get your hands on a copy of Jann Arden's Feeding My Mother by ordering it from Amazon here.

See you
at the book store!
Brenda

Quick Links:

Order your copy of Feeding My Mother from Amazon.










Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

When You Need Ideas on What to Write Inside a Greeting Card, Check Out These Words of Inspiration

Find a Collection of Sayings for Cards Here
When Words Fail You

One of the quirkiest things I've enjoyed doing as a hobby for decades is coming up with sayings to write on the inside of cards.

Since my friend and I were young twenty-somethings, we've been drawn to card shops. You could usually find us in a local card shop pulling the funny cards, laughing as we blurted the creative sentiments to each other.

In those early years, I remember thinking, if I had to do it all over again, I'd go into the advertising business so I could write funny lines for cards and create commercials.

Then came the internet, where I discovered I could put all those useless one liners rolling around in my head to good use.

Thus Was Born My Hobby - Writing Sayings for Cards

You'll find sayings for many types of cards: For a new home, a new driver,
Review These Sayings You Can Write in a Card
engagements, bridal showers, weddings, birthdays, sympathy, friends, to say thank you and much more.

It's a crazy knack to be able to write card sentiments in no time flat.

On a good day I'm able to sit down and pump out 50 to 100 ideas in an hour or less. Sometimes those crazy one-liners just keep coming. Of all the skills, THIS is the one I got??

When You're Stuck, Use These Sayings

For those who struggle with what to write inside a card, don't sit there racking your brain trying to find the best words.

Simply go to one of my card saying pages and choose something to put on the card, or just use a blurb as inspiration to write your own personal note.

Writing funny card sayings is my favorite thing to do, however, I've written just as many that are serious and even somber.

If I had to select, I'd say the sayings I've written for Sympathy Cards are the most useful. When dad passed away we received cards from all over the country with personally written notes and they meant so much to us.

I was completely shocked at how reading those notes eased my pain for a few moments. The thoughtfulness put into a few kind words meant more than I can express. That moment was my inspiration to put together a list of written sayings for sympathy cards.

Personally I always write a note when I give someone a card. You don't have to write long paragraphs either, just one or two lines of thoughtfulness can make all the difference.

Have fun finding the best sayings that fit your special someone. Here's a card already completed with the saying on it. It's oozing sarcasm for that friend who loves sarcasm :)



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Mountain Between Us - Book Review

The Mountain Between Us - Book Review
In every life, there are mountains to be crossed.  For some, those mountains are physical.  In other cases, the challenges are emotional or relational.  For Ashley and Ben, in The Mountain Between Us, those mountains come in all three forms.  On the surface, their story appears to be one of wilderness survival, but as we delve deeper, we will see that it is really about crossing over into your own truth after braving the storms of life.

As the story begins, Ashley Knox, a magazine writer, and Ben Payne, a surgeon, are about to be stranded in Salt Lake City as all flights are being shut down by a massive storm system.  Ashley is desperate to get home for her wedding, while Ben has surgeries to perform.  Given the situation, the only option left to them is to charter a private flight around the line of growing storms.  The plan is to fly to Denver while there is still the possibility of making it home.

Mid-flight to Denver, their pilot has a heart attack and makes a crash landing in one of the most remote and rugged areas of the country (the High Uintas Wilderness of Utah).  To make matters worse, a flight plan was not required, so no one knows the whereabouts of these three passengers (or even that Ashley and Ben got on that plane).

Now, with their pilot dead, and Ashley seriously injured, Ben must figure out a way to keep both of them alive.  Stranded at a very high elevation in the midst of winter storms, without food or other necessary provisions, the odds are not good for them to make it.  Without hope of a search and rescue operation, their bleak situation will cause both Ashley and Ben to reflect on the things that matter most in life.  During their odyssey of searching for a way to survive, both will discover what it means to truly live and love.

There are many things I liked about this book.  First, I must admit that I am really into wilderness survival stories.  There is just something about rising up above your circumstances, no matter how bleak, that speaks to me.  Nobody survives a devastating accident without being changed in critical ways.  It is the story of that transformation that greatly appeals to me.  I think, too, that it is impossible not to insert yourself into the situation to reflect on how you would handle things, or be changed by such life-altering circumstances.  One of the things I enjoyed most about the story is how Ben uses the few things available to him in a MacGyver fashion.  It was interesting to see how he came up with creative solutions to daunting challenges.  In a life-or-death situation, I would want Ben Payne by my side.

I appreciate how author Charles Martin tells a story.  He makes me care about his characters and they become real to me.  Though this book has been newly released as a movie, I'm glad I chose to read the book first.  The reviews for The Mountain Between Us, in book form, are much better than those for the movie.  It seems that many moviegoers felt a disconnect between the two leading actors.  That is so different from what you will experience about the connection between Ashley and Ben in the book.  The two become very bonded, though neither character violates any promises made to spouse or fiance during their time together in the wilderness.

This is a good book to read during the holiday season.  It reminds us that love conquers all and that we can each climb and cross any mountain that rises up in our lives.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

3 Outstanding Picture Book Stories to Win Little Hearts

Three Outstanding Picture Books to Win Little Hearts (A Review)

Today we will look at three books written by Pat Furstenberg


Everyone knows that children love Pictures and Picture books with lots of interesting words and sounds.  Part of every childs' development comes from those times when they are snuggled up with mom or dad, Grammie or Grandpa listening to the words and looking at the pictures.  It's also a wonderful time to bond with our children and grandchildren in a way that will bring fond memories back to them one day.


From my own experience, there is nothing quite like the quiet time spent with my little ones telling a story, listening to them describe how they see the pictures and teaching them some great life lessons all at the same time.  Books and the words they contain are stepping stones that children love to learn and hear.  So when you come across some books that you know children will love, it's only fair to share what you have found.


Rhyming and word-play are an important part of every child's verbal development.  There are word rhymes that are still taught to children today that go back at least 60 to 70 years and we are still teaching these same rhymes with their sing song rythms.  The kids just love them all.



These three books by Pat Furstenberg are all written in this way.  The pictures are delightful and the stories themselves are ones that will resonate with big and  little hearts.  Children will enjoy the stories of unlikely friends, while parents and grandparents can tell little side stories too. 


The Cheetah and the Dog are an unlikely pair, yet they become and remain good friends even though no on thought this was possible.  Too many differences don't matter when your hearts are in the same place.  How many times does that happen in real life?  Do you have a friendship that is still as strong as the Cheetah's and the Dog's? 



The Elephant and the Sheep is an endearing story too!  How often we make friends but don't think beyond what we see right in front of us.  Each of our lives are different, but, the one thing we all need is a friend.  A friend that can see beyond our hardships and differences. Only when we try really hard do we sometimes find out the truth.  Little sheep learns a valuable lesson about friendship,  love, and family.  Elephant learns something too,  family can be much more than living with other elephants.  Family can be living with those who love us!


The Lion and the Dog is another story about our differences and how they really don't matter.  What matters is how we care and treat each other.  Lion is so sad, yet the little dog Milo doesn't give up on Leo, even when he is less than friendly.  Milo knows what every good dog knows,  everyone needs a friend!  


If you have children, reading them stories about friendship and caring for others is a great way to encourage empathy at a young age.  The world needs more of that!  Word play and stories with great illustrations makes it easy for parents and grandparents to instill little life lessons in a very heart-warming way.  

If you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can get these books and so many more by Patricia and other authors as well, delivered right to your Kindle device and some are free with Prime Membership.









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

3 Decorating Choices for a Love Themed Bedroom

All You Need is Love - A Bedroom Theme Based on What the Worlds Need Now

Well, these grand sentiments may be a little too big for bedroom décor, however, decorating because love is love, family is love, children mean love, or you love to inspire how to love, makes all the sense in the world.

From deciding upon a nursery theme to decorating a master bedroom, love works. Love fits all ages, all sizes, and all families and best of all, we never outgrow love. We can re-use and re-purpose all things love.

Love Rugs - The One Time You Can Walk all Over Love to Feel Good

The above handcrafted, stain resistant Love Rug is like love itself; it works for all ages. Whether you're decorating a child's room or planning to add loveable funk to your master bedroom, this four foot by six foot, one inch thick rug makes a creative addition.

For the nursery, put it front of the crib, for a grown-up space, add it to the side or end of the bed, in the middle of the room, or depending upon the size of the space, in front of a corner reading chair.

If this rug isn't just right, be sure to visit the link under the above Love-Rug photo to view a wider selection of colors, styles and designs.

Light Up the Room with Love - LED Love Signs


This particular Love Sign features 16 LED white lights and measures 20.8" by 9.25" by 1.56". It's a cordless accessory that operates with two AA batteries. It has an on off switch as well.

Place it in a bedroom above a dresser or over each bedroom side table as a form of ambient lighting. Better yet, for those who get up in the middle of the night to feed baby, it makes the ideal soft lighted guide.

When rocking baby, feeling tired, the word of love helps to remind us about what's important in life.

When you visit the link under the LED Love Sign photo, you'll find additional LED sign choices.

Wrap Love Around You in Bed with Love Themed Bedding


One of the easiest ways to bring a little love into the bedroom is by redoing your bedding set with one that features hearts, or roses, or words

Love Themed Bedding Here - Additional Designs As Well
Surprisingly, artistic bedding sets can be quite affordable making them an excellent choice for a seasonal or emotional re-do.

We tend to think our bedding has to remain the same, when in truth, purchasing various duvet sets allows us to interchange our room's décor without much added expense or fuss.

Use a love themed duvet set for your love themed bedroom and interchange it from time to time if hearts and roses get a little too much for constant use.

Changing up duvet sets simply means choosing colors and themes to match the fundamental design of the room. Find duvets that tie into your existing floors and walls and you'll be able to give your space hassle-free-pick-me-ups whenever you're in the mood for it.

Lead with love, it's the only road that takes us home - happy decorating.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Understanding What a Woman Really Wants


Watching the Academy of Country Music Awards Tonight, the Lyrics of One Song Jumped Out and Stole the Show

This year it was the lyrics from Faith Hill and Tim McGraw's latest hit song, Speak to a Girl.

Comfortably cuddled on one couch, with hubby relaxing on the other, my ears and eyes stood to attention as the beautiful Ms. Faith Hill began to sing the words to this song.

My first thought was writers Shy Carter, Dave Gibson and Joe Spargur, nailed the message, and of course the delivery by Faith and Tim sealed the power behind it.

These lyrics are especially powerful...
She don't give a damn 'bout your pride or the lies that you're hiding behind
She just wanna feel that you're real, that she's near to the man that's inside
She don't need to hear she's a queen on a throne, that she's more than amazing
She just wants you to say what you mean and to mean everything that you're saying
Being a mom of four sons, a wife, a sister to two brothers, and a daughter of an amazing father, the male psyche has been a part of my life from birth.

Surrounded by guys, I'm not going to sugar coat this, I have strong opinions about the plight of men. However, what struck me about the above words was how these four lines concisely sum up what matters most to women.

She don't give a damn 'bout your pride or the lies that you're hiding behind (Lyrics)
Yes. Thank you lyricists. Of course we don't want to be married to a book of secrets, but we understand that in your soul, like in our own, there's a place that belongs only to you and your God.

However...

She just wanna feel that you're real, that she's near to the man that's inside (Lyrics)
This is the message I've been trying, in my girl-way, to drive home to my sons, even my husband. Guys, if you're reading this, it's all about 'connection'. When we connect to you in mind, body and soul, we truly become your soulmate, your lady ... especially mind and soul.

From what I've seen, and what I've learned, unfortunately it is possible to go through life and never fully connect with your man. You can love, but never totally connect, you can admire but never totally connect, you can be friends but never totally connect. Sorta sad, but it happens often.

There's only one way to fully connect...

She just wants you to say what you mean and to mean everything that you're saying (Lyrics)
It's easy to create a block around ourselves, especially to those close to us. We may not mean to, but we all do it. We're holding back, we're not committing completely, we're failing at the one thing that appears to be the secret to our soul's freedom; the gift of oneness.

If you want to understand what your lady really wants, listen to this song and work towards connecting with her in mind and soul ... the body will follow in due time.



By the way, you'll also want to pay extra attention to these lyrics, "You better respect your Mama, respect the hell out of her" - because you've heard it before .... A girl will sum up the kind of man you'll be by how you treat your mother.

Give your lady the only gift she really wants - yourself, all of you.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Velveteen Rabbit Reviewed

Every Child's Library Should Have This Book


Could This Be The Velveteen Rabbit?
I do not remember how old I was when I first heard the story of The Velveteen Rabbit but I do know that after having it read to me; it became my favorite story of all time. I do not know for sure which I relate to more the child in the story or the toy rabbit. Truth be told, probably a little of both. 

I will fast forward in time to the day that I found out that I was expecting my first child. Do you know what I did just after hearing the news? I went straight to the local book store and purchased a copy of The Velveteen Rabbit. Once purchased I went straight to the car, took the book out of the bag and proceeded to read the story to my growing baby. I had no idea whether I was reading to a boy or a girl at that moment but what I did know was that I was going to love that child with as much love as the boy did his toy rabbit. 

As time passed, I read that book to both of my children over and over again. We will fast forward again to the day that I found out that I was to be a Grandmother. The very first thing I bought for that baby and all of the grandchildren since is the book, The Velveteen Rabbit

 

What is it about The Velveteen Rabbit story with me?

I guess in a nutshell it is that powerful message of love. I am not sure why as a child it resonated so strongly with me but it did. It still does. The magic of love is about the most powerful thing we experience as humans. The giving of love and the receiving of love. I believe it is what makes us "real". 

Imagine being a new toy in the room and wondering what all of this is about. Imagine hoping that the child will pick you up and play with you. Imagine that at night when the child is sleeping all of the toys come alive. Some of them are rude to you and some even make fun of you. Imagine there is one toy that seems wiser than the others. It shows you kindness and shares wisdom with you. It is the Skin Horse. The tattered old horse tells you that the goal of all toys is to become "real" from the love of a human. This confuses you so the Skin Horse explains....

"Real isn't how you are made. It is a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with  but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." 
I encourage you to share this book with a child in your life. Perhaps you will remember it from your own childhood. It has been a classic since 1922 when it was first written by Margery Williams. The story transcends time with the message of love. As the Skin Horse says, "It does not matter what we look like or where we are from; what matters is to be loved." Well, that is paraphrasing a bit but it really is the message. We become our real selves when we receive love and I believe give love to each other and the world we live in. Isn't that an important message that every child should learn at a very early age? Perhaps, I identify more with that old tattered horse who knows what it feels like to become "real"from the love of a child.... 



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

A Song About How Delicate Love Really Is - We Are Glass

(Lyrics) - "We may shine, We may shatter, We may be picking up the pieces here on after, We are fragile, We are Human, We are shaped by the light we let through us, We break fast, Cause we are Glass"

Glass by Thompson Square speaks to the delicate nature of a couple's love.

In this life our ability and willingness to love is constantly being tested.

Whether it's the love we have for our significant other, or love for people we don't know, love is constantly under attack. There's a battle between darkness and light and life's complexities often pull us in one direction or another.

"We Are Human, We Are Shaped by The Light We Let Through Us"

When we're unsure whether someone deserves our love, often that's our test. It's not easy, but who in this crazy life can say the journey from cradle to grave is easy.

What does it mean to love?

The answer may be as simple as the question.

We simply choose to.

We make that choice.

It's safe to say that very few people, past and present, have successfully pulled off unconditional love towards the human race.

What is unconditional love? It excludes the word 'But':
  • He loves me but...
  • My love is real except for...
  • I can love, but I don't forget....
  • Your love is real, but let's face it....
  • I love them when...
  • I'll forgive you but...
  • I Love you but...
The ultimate test in living our human life is to master ourselves.

There isn't a greater battle than our battle with self.

When we choose to live with love, really make that choice, it's a peace filled life.

But .... we are glass, we break fast.

(Lyrics) "We might be oil and water, this could be a big mistake, we might burn like gasoline and fire, It's a chance we'll have to take"








Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Moving Country Song About Time Passing By - A Song Review

"Living Like that Year Book Picture Wouldn't Fade" (Lyrics)

Do you remember this time in your own life?

Just starting out .... the entire world in front of you and not a thought on your mind about the 'end' of anything.

All of it new, all of it ongoing, all of it always there. You never doubted that the ones you love were just a room away, a few hours away or a few days away.

To you, at this time, a kiss goodbye was merely, 'a kiss until later'.

Your journey was new and the anticipation of the trip you were about to take consumed your travels: "I want to be this", "I want to go there", "I want to accomplish that". Your path always in your thoughts, and those you loved, well they would always be there wouldn't they.

"Student hire and a fancy job, big old house and a two car garage" (Lyrics)

Chapter two of your life is in full gear. You're achieving, or trying to. You're moving forward, or planning to, and most of all you're enjoying the freedom!

You love your parents, but this time in your life feels like the reward it should be for the countless hours of work you put in to get here.

You still see your family of course, and hug them and enjoy your visits, but if you're being honest with yourself, you're having too much fun building your own life.

On lonely days you pick up the phone to call mom; she makes you feel better and you're grateful knowing that if you want, you can call her again tomorrow.

"Teenage girl and her granddad, he takes her fishing he feels bad, cause she can't take her eyes off that 'ole Facebook page, someday soon, who knows how long, she'll look up from that phone and he'll be gone" (Lyrics)

Chapter three is here and you've been fortunate to have your grandchildren in your life.

However, you're now in that special club of people who understand what it's like to view life from the road looking back. You reflect back to your own grandpa, and with a knowing grin, you get what he felt.

The view from your chair in life can't be seen by young people starting out. You recognize your younger self in them, and part of you wishes they could see it all from where you sit to spare them life's costly lessons. But they can't, and you can't.

"The Trouble is You Think You Have Time" (Lyrics)

You want to explain time to your grandchildren, but how can you. They have to travel their path and with God's good grace get to be where you're sitting now so they too can pass along treasured words of wisdom that were spoken to you yesterday .... after-all, wasn't it just yesterday?

When you look back at the choices you've made, you forgive yourself for not harnessing those unrepeatable moments with those you love; for not hugging your brother one more time; for shrugging mom off when all she wanted was another kiss from her baby; for moving far away and for any other selfish act that robbed a little love from someone you cared about.

But you're grateful to have learned so much about this trip through life. If nothing else, you see clearly now.

You realize, the trouble was you thought you had time.

Enjoy 'Time' by Award Winning Canadian Country Music Artist, Dean Brody: - More on the song here




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Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas - The Needed Power of Faith

Faith Wall Quote Here
FAITH

The greatest gift we can give or are willing to receive is Faith.

Faith holds the secret key to the universe.

Think of all the things we treasure but cannot see: Those untouchable, intangible valuables that matter most and ultimately hold the power of good to shape our world.

Love - We feel it, we know it's real but we cannot touch it, bottle it, sell it, or earn money from it. It's the biggest, richest gift anyone can receive and it comes straight from faith in ourselves that it exists.

Compassion - We all matter. Every single soul on earth matters. No one is greater than another and the gift of compassion shows we have faith in and believe in this untouchable energy.

Hope - Without hope, we cannot have faith. Even though hope in our hearts is not visible to those who walk by us, our body language, our energy and our demeanor have the power to pass along the gift of hope. All of it, unseen, yet felt. One life touches another every single day.

Like butter and eggs, the years blend together. Before we know it we've lived through over 50 or more Christmases. No matter the number we've had, each one blends into the other and over-time, our traditions shape us and our family.

Our children and extended family are the carriers of our roots, and passing along even the smallest sense of tradition in today's crazy-busy world has more value than decades ago.

This year, let us pass along the greatest gift, especially to our children ... the priceless Gift of Faith.

Enjoy this beautiful song by Tim McGraw, Humble & Kind - Song Review can be found here, and most of all....

Merry Christmas xxoo







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Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Song for People Enduring Cancer

Brett Kissel, I Didn't Fall in Love with Your Hair
and More Here
'I Didn't Fall in Love With Your Hair' by Canadian Country Music Artist Brett Kissel & Featuring Carolyn Dawn Johnson

Written by Rachel Bradshaw, Kyle Jacobs and Billy Montana, this moving song was released in September 2016 for Cancer Awareness month with proceeds donated to the cause between the dates September 9th and October 28th 2016.

Philanthropist W. Brett Wilson, also played a role by matching the amounts earned and donating those funds to the Canadian Cancer Society.

Like most songs do for the artist, it struck a personal chord for Brett Kissel; his mom has battled cancer.

Why This Song Says So Much

Battling cancer certainly goes deeper than potentially losing our hair. However, when the news hits us that we could be facing this horrendous fight, some of us think of this superficial thing...our hair.

After first hearing this song blaring from the radio in my kitchen, the lyrics stopped me in my tracks. Listening to every word, the tears flowed.

The song speaks to the love of one soul for another; it reminds us what true love means and that our body really is our temporary home. The cliche 'beautiful on the inside' has greater meaning when you process these lyrics.

Love is an unseen force, yet the most powerful in the world.

How do we know we are loved by another?

We know because we feel this invisible energy. The feeling of love resonates in this gorgeous song. 'He didn't fall in love with her hair' - he fell in love with her soul, her being - This untouchable force survives all things tangible.

We are reminded that our love for each other cannot be measured by something physical, like our hair or our body shape. Love is a connection that survives the seen. This intangible force captures our spirit, and in doing so, gives us the secret to life.

We are all here perfecting that secret. 

Love is where we find the light and it's the only road that takes us home. Get out the tissues as you listen to this song.





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Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Moms Song for a Child Leaving Home

If I Could by Barbra Streisand
A Further Review about the Song Meaning Here

One of My Sons is Moving Out in Two Days & the Lyrics to this Song Say What We Moms Feel

I've been one of those lucky moms; all four of my sons still live at home.

Yes, that's right, and we love it that way.

But my second boy, a guitarist and artist on the rise in a band called Coldfront, is moving out on his own. He's anxious to fly, but I'm not ready to let him. I'll never be ready.

Totally biased I'm about to blurt out all the cliches moms say: He's smart, organized, gorgeous and talented. I guess that's suppose to bring a measure of comfort.

But really, how did all the moms of the world get through this part of life! It's hard.

He's turned out to be a wonderful young man, and he's ready. The high point is what he's given me; the proof that he's ready.

After our son explained his plans to his dad and I on how he's going to manage this big step, we were so proud. Later that night we were lamenting on how hard this is, and how much we would miss him. But then his dad said, 'he's just like you! he's so much like you, and for that reason, I won't worry so much'.
"I've Watched You Grow So I Could Let You Go" (Lyrics)
Most of my friends have had their children move out already.

Looking back, I know I'm feeling my own mother's heartache as my brothers and I moved out.

At 19, mom and I drove to Toronto where I would start University and share an apartment with a friend. Mom helped me set-up the place, spent two days with me and after hugs and kisses, I remember standing at that apartment door watching her walk down the hall towards the elevator where she waved a final goodbye.

This coming Monday, I will understand what my mother felt that day. I'll say goodbye to my boy, my life, and pretend he's just going away for the weekend and that he'll be back in a few days. Without doing that, I'd be a mess, and on such a milestone for him, don't want him to feel my pain.

Right now I'm lucky. I can hear the boys laughing and talking to each other from their bedrooms. My dad used to say to me that he was happiest when all of us were home safe and sound. I miss my dad. I sure could use a hug from him right now. Dad would be so proud of him, of all the boys.
(Lyrics)
If I could, I would try to shield your innocence from time
but the part of life I gave you isn't mine
I've watched you grow so I could let you go
if I could
I would help you make it through the hungry years
but I know that I can never cry your tears
but I would
if I could
If you're looking for lyrics that say exactly what a Mom wants to say to her children, this is the perfect song - Get the tissues ready - I'm spent after listening to it <3



Things I'll have to deal with in the coming days:

  • How will I handle walking by his empty bedroom?
  • Missing the big glorious mess he leaves in his room
  • His cooking for us once in a while
  • His smile
  • His hugs
  • His brothers will miss him too
That's it, we're going to visit him - did I mention he's moving 5 hours away.

Yesterday he was just a baby.



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Monday, August 22, 2016

I Have Loved You for a Thousand Years - Love is Endless

Angels on Duty - Fridge Magnet
Most of us have heard 'I Have Loved You for a Thousand Years' by Christina Perri. If the song sounds familiar, it's the final song in the Twilight Series.

Today's Review isn't about Music, It's about Love

What do I know about love? Well I know what you know and what we've all heard; it's what makes the world go round, it's all there is, and of course, it's all we need.
In an increasingly cynical world where people gather in their corners defending positions, ideas, beliefs, what's right and what's not, love patiently waits for us to call it 'one step closer'.
You and I know that this life is fleeting, and whether we belief it's our one and only existence or that our consciousness/soul returns to master it's lessons is irrelevant to this particular life we're living as us - In the end, at our end, one question requires an answer, 'did we love'.

It's the love we give that travels with us and nourishes the earth. That same love imprints itself on those left behind, and they in turn pass it along. Like the tiniest seed buried deep in the earth, love grows.


Questions we might ask about our own love
After the storm, did we find our way back to love? 
When hope slipped through our fingers, did we find our way back to love? 
When the ones we love died, and a piece of us was taken with them, did we find our way back to love? 
When we suffered an illness that scared us to our core and thought, why me, did we find our way back to love? 
When our TV told us why to hate, and who to hate, did we find our way back to love? 
When people took positions that opposed everything we stood for, did we find our way back to love? 
When dark thoughts tried to infect us, did we find our way back to love? 
When we hated ourselves for our own mistakes and choices, did we find our way back to love? 
When we were hurt, did we find our way back to love? 
When someone we love was hurt, did we find our way back to love?
Most of all, when we caused someone pain, did we find our way back to love? 
Did we do this all unconditionally? Did we find our way back to love without expecting anything in return? Did we just decide to love our neighbor?

Here we are, the size of a piece of sand, all together, living on a giant ball that hangs in the middle of the universe questioning ourselves, and perhaps even questioning what it means to have faith. Our mere existence on this spinning ball is a testament to faith.

Yet, we are born with the greatest gift, the capacity to love ... and after centuries still have yet to harness it's power.

This unseen power can't physically be measured, it only exists if we declare it, and the more of it we give the more of it we have. It's the greatest energy yet to be weaponized, for good.

How Do We Get There

Our love for each other is the road home. That's it. There isn't another road that takes us there.

We can spin our wheels til the cows come home, it won't make a spit of difference ... it's the gift of love, even when it's the toughest to give, that takes us there. Test yourself - Think of the hardest person there is to love, and try to love them, to pray for them, to genuinely wish them well.

Planting love in places that need planting, is one of the best uses of love.

For my Dad, Happy Birthday - I have loved you for a thousand years and will love you for a thousand more.



Through it all, love remains
Barbara xxoo

The Heart of Country Music










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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Review This: Bringing Home a Puppy Day

Today according to the Calendar of Funny and Weird Holidays, today is Bringing Home a Puppy Day.

For those of you who are dog lovers, I'm sure you can remember the day you first brought your new puppy home, with great joy and anticipation.  For those of us who don't have dogs or any other pets, just thinking about bringing home an animal, will make our hearts beat just a little faster.

One thing is certain, puppies are just so darned cute that it is hard not to have your heart melt into a puddle of love!  Those cute little faces and bodies covered in fur so soft, and that small helpless yelping that comes out of them when they are in your hands, is enough to make a grown person melt into a puddle of "Ahhhh's!"  and "Ohhhh's"!




Handling them is the first step into "Puppy Oblivion and Puppy Fever!" Now you are on a path that will forever change your life.

Welcome to the family oh little four legged creature, that stole my heart!  We are forever changed and will never be quite the same as we were before.

That is all good.  Now let's make our family ready for it's newest member.  The one member who will get away with all kinds of good and bad behavior, and will love each of us in our own way.  He will bring what he feels we need into our days each and every day and all we need to do in return is love him, feed and shelter him!  He will be the antidote to stressful days, the balm for restless spirits, and the eyes that see himself as our four-legged fur child, that can only please us with his presence.  And he is so right.


Dogs are one of the most wonderful creatures on the face of the earth.  They make us better people by their presence in our lives and the only thing they want in return is to be loved and cared for by us.  That's not so hard to do!  Several years ago someone told the story about the Ninth Day when God Make a Dog, you can view it by clicking on the link!  


One thing is certain, once you have a dog in your life, you will never be the same again.  They come into our homes and hearts as little bits of fur and feet, with a tail following behind and they park themselves in our hearts forever.  We will go crazy to make sure that our puppies have the best toys, the nicest bed, leashes for walkies and we will poop and scoop gladly.   For all the love, that these critters give to us, we will be, their forever family gladly.  

We will buy them treats, and treat them to some new toys, buy them coats and boots, costumes and scarves and they will look at us with so much love in their eyes, that you could drown happily in their love for us. 

Bringing home a Puppy Day has to be one of the Best Holidays on the Calendar of Weird and Wonderful Days of the Year.

The only thing that I would add, is learn how to make puppy behave in ways that are acceptable to society.  There are things that puppies need to be taught and there are great ways to train your puppy. So please do some research before going to the kennel or pound to get your newest member of the family.  Research what kind of dog will fit into your family dynamics and then also research how to best train the dog.   Puppies will look to you  for guidance and you have to be ready.  Gentle training will make puppy and the family meld into one big happy group.  





Then have fun, walk the dog, make him part of your life and best and most important of all, love him!












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Monday, December 14, 2015

The Best Way to Bring Home a Dog for Christmas!

Every year, hundreds of puppies are bought for children as a Christmas present and every year right after Christmas,  shelters see an increase in the numbers of animals given up.

A new furry friend is NOT a great gift at a time when everyone's attention is more focused on the "big picture".   Little puppies get lost in the confusion and hullabaloo that is happening during the melee of opening presents.

They are new to this whole world of ours and bringing them into the middle of it during the holidays is really unfair to a little bundle of fur that just wants to be loved, cuddled, kept safe and gently explore it's new home and new family.

If, after all the warnings not to, you are determined to bring  a puppy or kitten as a gift, there is a way to do it that will keep everyone happy and excited, without being a major trauma to the animal involved in your choice.

Presumably, the kids have all mentioned that they wanted a pet to begin with.  To that end, if a new puppy or kitten is on the way to your family, start by preparing your family first for the newest member.

Along with some toys for the kids (a stuffed dog or cat), make sure there are books for each one of them, about caring and training a pet.


Buy them dog/cat dishes, dog/cat toys, dog/cat treats, a bag of good quality puppy or kitten food.

Wrap a flattened dog crate, or kitty carrier and address it to one of the kids.  A leash, harness, and tags would be another great gift.

Puppy Starter Kit  would be a nice bundle to give to the whole family!


And then when everyone is wondering what the heck it all means, take the video you made, when you visited the Dog/Cat Breeder and show them the newest member of their family.  Give each of the kids a "ticket" to ride in the car on the day after New Years or later, to go and collect their new furry friend.  Make arrangements with the Breeder ahead of time, to give the children a lesson or two about caring for their new pet.  Most reputable breeders will be more than happy to help along, because they want their puppies to be happy and well adjusted as well.  When I got my dog, the breeder was more than happy to give the puppy a bath, show me how to care for his coat and let me help to dry him and brush him.  She was pleased that I was interested in his well being before I even got him home.  She had valuable experience with puppies and could help me make his transition to my home much smoother.  Having a puppy is like having a baby, there are all kinds of things to learn.

By that time, hopefully most of the Christmas things will have been put away and the new fur baby will have a safe place to call his new home. Tinsel and cookies and candy lying around with a new puppy, could spell disaster.  So it's better to wait.  Not only will those dangers be gone, but, the children, having settled in with their new toys, will find time for the newest member of the family too!

This little video (click on the link) will help you understand  a little more about:
                                                       Bringing Home the Puppy!

Remember, that while getting an animal for Christmas (or later) is wonderful, they are a commitment for years to come, not just over the holidays.  This is a living and breathing being that requires love, companionship, exercise and food.  He is like a new member of the family and deserves to be treated with the utmost respect.

Do it right and your family will have Christmas memories to last a lifetime and a dog or cat,  that will fill each year with happiness and joy.......









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Monday, November 9, 2015

Every Time I Lose a Dog Quote

Decal for the Wall
I never believed I would create a dedication page for a dog; I love them of course, it's just that we've owned cats most of our life. Only cats. 

However, our life was changed in 2009 when we adopted a nine year old dog from an elderly family member. She was our first family dog.

The biggest reason we never committed to owning a dog in the past was the realization that a dog was very much like raising a child: As dog owners already know, they require a great deal of attention and of course, there's a lot of work involved. 

Having raised many kids, we knew only too well what the demands were, and until we could fully commit for the sake of the dog, we would never just casually jump into dog ownership.

Unfortunately the inspiration for this article comes from people close to me who recently lost their dog, but mostly from our own hearts ... 

Our precious dog was called to doggie heaven earlier this year (2015). She was elderly and it was her time, but that didn't make one speck of difference, the pain of losing her was fierce.

We were all present with her as she underwent the procedure to end her suffering. There were seven of us with her; my husband and I, our four sons and our second son's girlfriend. 
My second son insisted that we all be there for her, he said "she deserved that, she gave us unconditional love for five years" ... he said, "we owe her our presence during her hour of need". I'm not kidding you, that's how he put it. Although I was moved by what he said, I told him it was up to each person whether they could deal with seeing her lose her life, and in the end, everyone decided they could handle it, and everyone wanted to be there, for her.
I called the boys and my husband from the Pet Hospital to let them know it was time, and they showed up with an ice-cream from Dairy Queen for her as a final treat. Still breaks me up to think of that.

For those who've been through this, you know only too well how brutal it is. I have never seen so many grown men cry at one time. We went through two boxes of tissue. We stayed in that room with
Here She is, On One of Our Many Christmas Eve's
her for two hours, before we could all agree to let her go. We all held her, and told her how much we loved her. The boys took it so hard. In typical mom style, I kept it together for them, but later, in my own quiet and private moment at home, I wept.


Our 'girl dog' (my nickname for her sometimes), made everyone smile. As soon as the boys walked through the front door, they called her and she'd come running and barking and that tail would always be wagging. She was loving, and gentle. She was the boss. She had all the power. And everyone loved that. That little Shih-Tzu taught us what it means to love a dog.

When she passed, I couldn't sit at home and work for at least three days. She was my sidekick, and was very attached to me. Wherever I was in the house, you could pretty much count on finding her close by. She slept in her doggie bed while I worked. She was a sweet girl, I miss her. 

The day she left us, not one of us could be in the house. We all headed to the arena to watch two of the boys play hockey. Sitting in that house without her on that first day, may qualify as one of the emptiest feelings we've felt. We couldn't get out of there fast enough.

Every time I lose a Dog .... not sure we could go through that again.

This Christmas coming up will be our first in five years without our girl-dog romping through the holiday wrappings. But we know she'll be running around spreading doggie love in heaven this Christmas.

Love Barb,
Owner of Funkthishouse.com


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