Friday, February 10, 2017

Postcards from Rome Reviewed

Postcards from Rome to Buy

Rome, Italy Postcards 


When we travel, we love to send postcards to loved ones.  These Rome postcards are an excellent example of what we would choose.  Postcards are also really awesome and easy to carry souvenirs. 

I have always enjoyed taking my own pictures, but sometimes it is overcast, rainy or some goober decides to step right in the way as I snap the shot.  Wow, I really wanted that picture of that dude's head or that "oops" expression on that woman's face.  Postcards allow me not to fret.  I can still take home perfect pictures of my favorite tourists spot, without the unexpected interlopers in the photo.

Join Me on a Walk Through My Rome Scrapbook of Postcards!


The Colosseum Postcard 


The Colosseum is one of the major points of interest in Rome!  It isn't always easy to get a great photo due to the sheer size of the structure.  I took this original photo from the top deck of an open bus.  I was thrilled with the outcome when we got back home and I uploaded my photos.  

My personal experiences when visiting the Colosseum have left me preferring this view, from the outside, of the structure.  It is emotionally overwhelming when a Christian tours the inside and knows the history and purpose of the arena. 


Entrance to the Roman Ruins Postcard 


The Roman Ruins are fascinating.  It is easy to get so involved in really looking that you totally forget you have a camera to take pictures.  These postcards make that a lot easier.  You can purchase the postcards for your own scrapbook and focus on enjoying the visit to the Roman ruins in Rome.

I admit, I never expected to laugh at the statues in Rome, but that surviving big toe was simply hilarious at first glance.  However, after I got over my giggles, I considered how difficult it would be to chisel out that digit in such fabulous detail.  

 Postcards from Rome

 Roof of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy Postcard Buy Now  

The Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica Postcards


There is so much to see inside and outside of the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica.  So many beautiful tapestries and renowned statues.  Even the ceilings are beyond gorgeous. 
The museum is often very crowded which makes it extremely difficult to get great photos without people in them.  Plus, it takes several hours, sometimes even days, to see everything.  You don't want to waste your time in Rome waiting for the perfect photo op.  Buy the postcards and forget the stress of trying to take pictures yourself.


 

Here are Some of the Ceilings in the Vatican Museum



 Postcards from Rome

The Resurrection Tapestry Postcard and Statue Postcards


One of the most impressive tapestries in the Vatican museum is the Resurrection tapestry shown below. The statues of Apollo, Bacchus, & Diana, along with many more, can also be seen at the Vatican. It really is a magnificent museum of priceless art and artifacts.
Postcards from Rome

The Capitoline Museum


The Capitoline Museum is a magnificent museum that you will not want to miss when visiting Rome, Italy.  The Capitoline Museum is one of the few museums in Rome that allows you to take pictures, which makes it a photographer's paradise.  

The statue of the girl with the snake at her feet was one of my personal favorite statues in all of Rome.  The details of that statue are truly amazing and she is in almost perfect condition.  The other figure shown actually hangs over one of the interior doorways.


The Trevi Fountain Postcards


Long before you even plan a trip to Rome, you know about the Trevi Fountain.  What you may not realize is how extremely difficult it is to snap a shot of this stunning fountain.  There are always people around the fountain and no one wants their Trevi Fountain pictures photo-bombed. 

 

Visiting Rome, Italy


I have had the privilege to visit Rome several times. I use the same itinerary each time because it has proven to be successful. I published an article several years ago sharing my itinerary, my tips, and my personal recommendations. When I journey back to this historical city, I update that article with new discoveries and changes. If you plan to Vacation in Rome, be sure you read my article. You may be very surprised by some of the information. Being informed and prepared will not only save you a lot of money, but it will also save you a lot of valuable time. Most of us only have the opportunity to go to Rome once in a lifetime. 


See: Vacation in Rome, Italy written by Sylvestermouse Cynthia



Postcards from Rome Reviewed Written by:
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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Review of Book Shots by James Patterson


Chase: A BookShot: A Michael Bennett Story (BookShots) 

 

Short Books-Long on Reading Pleasure

Do you love to read, but don't always have the time to finish a full size book?  Do you enjoy mysteries, thrillers and crime stories?  Are you a James Patterson fan?  If you fit into any or all of these categories the series of "Bookshots" by James Patterson may be just what you need.  Bookshots are a bit more than a short story but shorter than a full length novel.  At about 100 pages they give you a thrilling story that you can read in just a few hours.  I find the books the perfect size to stick in my purse and take out to read when I am waiting in line or in a waiting room.

These books are available in paperbacks and also in a Kindle format.  You can purchase them at the link below on Amazon or check them out at your local library.

James Patterson Book Shots

Meet Your  Favorite Characters

Bookshots have books with all your favorite Patterson characters.  If you enjoy reading the Michael Bennett books,  you will like reading Chase.  In this book your favorite detective takes on a case that is not what it at first appears.  This story will keep you turning pages as you follow the fast paced story. The book is just over 100  pages and does not have a lot of character development but the story kept me interested from beginning to end.

Another favorite Patterson character is Mitchum.  Mitchum was rejected by the Navy Seals (he failed the swimming part) and is now happy to live in his small town and do a variety of small jobs and serve as the towns unofficial investigator.  This bookshot is a great read.  I finished it in just a few hours and enjoyed it.  Sometimes when I'm in between bigger books I am just looking for a fast paced easy read and this book fit the bill.


The two books above are the first two Bookshots that I have read, but I'm looking forward to finding some of my other favorites such as Alex Cross and the Women's Murder Club in these great little books.


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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Review This! Celebrations of Holy Communion and Confirmation

Introduction:

Have you ever been invited to a celebration of Faith?  I'd like to take you on a journey to Review two of the most important sacraments in a Catholic child's faith journey.  You may be invited to share in this celebration and this "Review This" is to help you recognize the celebration as well as appropriate gifts to mark this important occasion.

Holy Communion and Confirmation, What are they?


Late March, April, and May are traditional months for Catholics to Celebrate the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation.  

For many families,  it will be a time of fellowship not only with their church community but also with parents and grandparents, who will be pleased to see their children growing in their spiritual formation.



Catholic children around the age of eight or nine will begin to learn about the sacrament of  Holy Communion.  They will learn about the meaning behind the sacrament and all the symbolism that is contained within the celebration of Mass every week.

They will learn about Jesus, his life,  his death and his Ressurrection, and the promise to return again.  They will also learn that Jesus loves them in a way that is beyond comprehension. For Adult Catholics it's a time to remember and relive the beauty of receiving Communion for the first time ever.  It's also a great time to help our youngsters learn to live the Gospels, to live the way we were taught by the actions and the life of Jesus.  It is also a time to explain to our children that living as Christians is not an easy task.  That they will work at being good Christians every day of their lives, and that it should be a life lived in Joy!

 

What is the purpose of the Sacraments?


Jesus loves each one of us, just the way we are!  We need to learn how to love everyone in the same way. That is what we are called to do if we want to live truly Christian lives.  We will fail many times, and that's when Communion becomes especially important.  We come back to God, asking for His strength and His courage to become more and more like Him.  We need that courage and strength so that we can look at all of our brothers and sisters with the same loving eyes that our God sees them.  It's not easy to do, but with the sacraments that continue to nourish our souls, we will gain that strength that we need.

Children are such wonderful examples for us! As we get older, we tend to become more jaded. Our many disappointments in life sometimes take their toll on our spirits.  That is why it's important for us to help our children.  In helping them to celebrate these milestones, we are reminded of God's love for us too.  Even though we are grown up in mind and body, we are still children of the Almighty and he loves us as a Perfect Father would.  Sharing the sacraments with our children helps us to remember what we are called to do as followers of Christ!


Confirmation, Growth in the Spirit of God


The Sacrament of Confirmation is done when the children are a little older.  Children are usually about 12 or 13 years of age. This sacrament mirrors the Jewish Bar/Bat/Mitzvah (when the young people are seen as old enough to read the Scriptures). After all, Christianity has its roots in the Jewish Faith, so this is the Catholic sacrament of a "coming of age".  Our children are now seen as old enough to accept the faith that we have kindled in them through their younger years. It is time for them to decide for themselves, that this is the faith that they will accept for their lives.   Parents accepted the duty to teach their children the faith when they were Baptized. Now, at this time in their lives,  they stand on their own two feet and accept the faith for themselves.  Many people wonder about the taking on of a saint's name as part of this celebration.  Let me explain, children who are on their way to making their Confirmation are encouraged to look to the Saints who have lived a good Christian life.  They take on the name of a Saint that they admire for the way they lived their lives and hopefully will follow in that saint's example on their own journey of faith.


As with any faith celebration,  gifts are usually given to mark this day as a special time in their lives. Appropriate gifts would include a Bible, Prayer Book, Books on the Lives of Saints or Leaders in the Church.  Books that make the young person think about their lives and direction.   There are many really good books that are not "religious" but make the young mind expand in ways that will benefit them. Philosophy books that are great for the soul and make young minds question their lives and their beliefs will hopefully make them grow in their faith journey.  After all, it is a journey that will last for the rest of their lives. We shouldn't stop growing in our faith life, just because we are out of school.  It should be a journey that lasts a long, long time.


Being a Christian is hard work in our everyday world. Encouraging our children to look beyond themselves for guidance is a wonderful way for them to grow in ways that are more than physical. I truly believe that we are spiritual as well as physical. If the religious type of gift suggestions are not to your liking, the books by Chesterton or C.S. Lewis are great books for anyone to read. You don't have to be Christian or Catholic to get something out of them. They are classic reading for everyone.

My hope is that this Review will help you if you should ever find yourself invited to a celebration of faith for someone you care about.  Please bookmark this Review so that when your invitation arrives, you will be prepared to help the child celebrate His/Her growth in the Spirit of Christ.





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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Birdhouse Selection Process Reviewed

Your Birdhouse Selection Is More Important Than You Might Think

I wanted to take a little time today to discuss some important things to remember about the process of birdhouse selection. You might be thinking what process? I just find one that will be cute in my yard, hang it and the birds will come. Well, that may be one way but I can tell you it won't bring you much success if you are actually hoping to encourage birds to nest in your yard.

If you do not care whether birds actually nest in the birdhouse, you can pick something that suits your taste and reflects your personality for your yard or garden. My husband and I would get a real kick out of a birdhouse like the one below but I doubt that we would have much luck actually getting a bird to use it to lay their eggs and hatch their offspring.

Birds are not attracted by what we humans think is cute, pretty or quirky. They want safety for themselves and their young. So, there are things that we should take into consideration if we want to provide a place for our feathered friends to call home.

Important Things To Consider In Your Birdhouse Selection

  • Sizing
  • Heating and Cooling
  • Proper drainage
  • Safety
  • Mounting and accessibility
It is a good idea to research the species of bird that you hope to attract and find out what size entrance hole is best for them. The size of the floor space is important, also. You want enough room for the adult bird and the growing young to be able to move around. The distance from the floor to the entrance hole is also important. 

The materials that the birdhouse is made of is important, too. Wood is your best bet because it can stay cool in the summer and provide warmth in the winter. 

Look to see if the birdhouse provides drainage. You do not want water to stay inside where it can start to grow mold or bacteria. A nice overhang on the roof will also help to keep water out of the birdhouse.

A lot of the pre-made birdhouses have a perch. Most bird species do not require a perch at their nest. The perch actually allows an unsafe area where a predator has an easier way to get into the inside of the nesting area. Painted or stained birdhouses can be toxic to our feathered friends so natural wood is safer to use. 

You should also select a birdhouse that is easy to mount and has one side that you can open. You will need to open the birdhouse to clean it. There are several ways to mount the different styles of birdhouses but your best bet is to have it on a pole. Predators will have a more difficult time with a pole than a tree or fence. 

Research Before You Buy

I feel that if you really want to successfully encourage birds to nest in your yard or garden that a little research can help you make a good decision. Perhaps invest in a book that gives you the information you will need.

The book above has been produced in association with the National Audubon Society. Advice from them can be trusted for a safe and inviting birdhouse. It covers several species of birds to build a birdhouse for, from the little wren to even raptors.

As I write this article, we are approaching the time of the year that birds begin to choose a place to nest and bring the next generation of their species into the world. If you want to be a part of that, find a safe birdhouse to place in your backyard or garden. 



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Monday, February 6, 2017

Sloggers Rain and Garden Shoe Review


I recently purchased a pair of Sloggers rain boots and I love them so much that I am immediately shopping for a pair of Sloggers shoes.  You may have heard of Sloggers brand boots and shoes, but I hadn't until recently. This review is to help spread the word about this awesome footwear brand. These waterproof boots and shoes are comfortable, colorful, and within my budget. Who could ask for more?


Why Buy Sloggers Rain and Garden Shoe?


Sloggers brand shoes have a following of repeat customers who give high ratings. It is because of this brand loyalty and favorable reviews that led me to find a local store and try a pair on.

I hate boots. I really don't care much for shoes. I have a terrible time finding footwear that fits well and I can't stand cracking open my wallet to buy a pair of uncomfortable shoes.  But as much as I am outside, I really need a good pair of waterproof boots.  Sloggers are not carried at my local stores so I drove up the road a bit to try a pair on.

As soon as I tried them on I immediately knew I wanted not only one pair, but at least two.  I was able to remain focused on my budget and with the purchase I went to make (one pair of rain boots) but I also tried on the garden shoes and booties. As a result, I've got a pair of the shoes in my shopping cart and ready to click the "check out" button.

Have you ever touched something and knew immediately that it was high quality and well-made? That was my thought as soon as I tried on my first pair of boots. I don't know how they make this material - almost sheer yet clearly thick and very durable - but I love it. You can see the light shining through and the outline of my fingers yet the material is thick.


view from the inside of my boot - sheer, flexible, and durable

I am quite sure that the shoes will be something I can wear in comfort all day and keep dry feet as I move from indoors to outdoors and in again. The flexibility of the shoe feels nearly like being in a pair of thick socks yet the soles protect the bottoms of your feet. 

These are the reasons I highly recommend Sloggers women's garden and rain shoes:

  • waterproof
  • flexible and comfortable upper material
  • durable and quality materials and manufacturing
  • heavy duty deep lug sole - provides excellent traction 
  • does not make the "clacky" sound of hard plastic soles that comes with many inexpensive shoe soles
  • lightweight
  • large variety of patterns and colors
  • made in the US

The following are three of the MANY colors and designs offered. Whether you are looking for floral, animal print, polka dot, cow, chicken, or leaf designs and in bright or muted colors, you can find them at Sloggers.

Color: Flower Power

Color: Leopard Print


Color: Black & White Polka Dot











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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"








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Saturday, February 4, 2017

Library Lovers Day Review


Courtesy of Pixabay
February 14th is more than just Valentine's Day - it's also Library Lovers Day.  

This is a day to honor libraries, librarians and all us bookworms who love libraries and the books they hold. 

Some say that the whole month of February is a time to celebrate libraries.  I say ANY day is a time to visit a library!


Celebrate Library Lovers Day on February 14th


With vast knowledge available at your fingertips on the internet, and with the invention of e-readers, one might think that public libraries are on their way out. But wait.... libraries are more than just places with books to borrow. They are places for meetings for groups of hobbyists or shared-interest groups.  There are regular story hours for toddlers. There are magazines and periodicals, movies and music, and the availability of microfiche of local newspapers for research purposes.  And, in keeping up with today's technology, most libraries have computers available for use.  

Librarians


Librarian Original Search Engine Coffee Mug
Librarian Original Search Engine Coffee Mug

by empireofthecat
Librarians must have a degree in Library Science, thus making them invaluable in helping you find everything from obscure information to the latest best seller.  

And just as borrowing a book is free, so is a librarian's assistance. 

Children and Libraries


Many libraries have a section just for children where they can play quietly while older siblings and parents look for books to read.  



Tyler at the Library (c) Elf

In a Cincinnati suburb near my son's house, such a play area at their local library is a favorite of my grandsons. There are small tables & chairs where they can read a book or play with jigsaw puzzles.

Library Play Area (c) Elf
There are also computers set up just for children.  The play area is light and airy located near big windows and also has comfy soft chairs for the parents to sit with a book while the children play.  

On a recent visit, I enjoyed a wonderful hour there with my grandsons.  Their mom takes them to this library at least once a week.  The library even has a coffee bar for adults to enjoy.



 

 

 

Did You Know....

 

Library of Congress. Image Source: Pixabay

The Library of Congress in Washington, DC is the largest library in the world. Within its collections, there are literally millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts.  The 164 million items are stored on some 838 miles of bookshelves.  It also has the world's largest law library, with more than 2.9 million volumes, and contains United States congressional publications dating back to the nation's founding. 


Library of Congress (Image Source: Pixabay)
The Library of Congress was founded in 1800 and is the oldest federal cultural institution in the nation.

It also is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office.





Books, Books, and More Books....


New Library Near Me (c) Elf

If you are looking for a good book to check out at the library and read, you'll find a wide range of Book Reviews to aid you in your selection from the following sources:




*Our own BarbRad reviews books here on Review This!  Barb also talks about educational and children's books on her blog Books to Remember.

*Other members of Review This! frequently review books for ReviewThisBooks.com

*Reading is a pleasure beyond words.  I described how much my family loves books and reading in "For Love of Reading", along with a list of our favorite books.

 

How to Celebrate!



There are many ways to celebrate Library Lovers Day:
  • Visit your local library and check out a book.
  • Volunteer at a library book sale.
  • Take your child or grandchild to a library story hour or help a child get their very first library card. You will open a magical world to them through the joy of reading.



If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.


– Marcus Tullius Cicero



Library Lovers Day Review by:

~Wednesday Elf~




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Friday, February 3, 2017

Wooden Birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds Reviewed

Eastern Bluebirds photo by Sylvestermouse

How to Attract Bluebirds to Your Backyard!

Every year I look forward to the arrival of the Eastern Bluebirds to our backyard.  We owned our first bluebird birdhouse over 30 years ago, but I remember well how excited we were when our first bluebird couple built their nest our our wooden birdhouse.  Now, I watch for them year after year.  The thrill of seeing them investigate our bluebird birdhouse for the possibility of a home never decreases.

Just this morning, my husband excitedly whispered from the backdoor of our home, "The bluebirds are back!  Grab your camera!"  I must admit, I was very surprised.  It is still a little early for them to arrive, but I grabbed my robe and slippers and headed for the door.


The Eastern Bluebird


As you would expect, Eastern Bluebirds are blue.  They have pinkish-orange throats and breasts with white bellies.  They are small birds with bodies about 6" - 8" long.  Their wingspan can easily be measured up to 12½" and they weigh approximately 1 ounce.  They may be small, but they make a tremendous visual impact when perching on a gray fence, bare tree branch, or on their birdhouse.  They are stunningly gorgeous subjects for photographers.

Eastern Bluebird photo by Sylvestermouse


Eastern Bluebirds mostly eat berries and insects, therefore they prefer to live close to trees or wooded areas.  One thing to keep in mind, they like the ground under their nesting area to be clear of debris.  I've always believed that was a natural instinct to avoid areas where predators may be hiding. 

Eastern Bluebirds have been known to live up to 10 years in the wild.  You may well have the same couple return for several years to set up their nest and lay their eggs in your birdhouse. 


The Bluebird House


There are a few considerations when selecting and setting up a birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds.   The first consideration is obvious, do you have Eastern Bluebirds in your area?  Once you have identified them, then all you really need is the right wooden birdhouse set facing the right direction, at the right height.

There are a few considerations when selecting and setting up a birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds. Find out all about them here.
The Female Inspects the Birdhouse While the Male Stands Watch
Later, he will gather twigs & materials and bring them to her once she is inside building the nest.

 
The birdhouse selection does matter!  An Eastern Bluebird requires a small opening that will serve to protect their nest and eggs from predators.  

As I said earlier, placement matters.  A bluebird house must face east for bluebirds to nest.  It should also be nailed approximately 5' off the ground to a fence or on a post.  As you can see in the photos, our bluebird house is nailed to a fence.

Since the Eastern Bluebirds build their nests in the spring, you need to have your birdhouse up and ready to occupy in early spring.   It doesn't take long to nail up the perfect ready-made birdhouse like the one featured above!

Eastern Bluebird photo by Sylvestermouse



For More Gardening Tips, Join Me at Easy Backyard Gardening

Wooden Birdhouse for Eastern Bluebirds Reviewed Written by:
House of Sylvestermouse




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Thursday, February 2, 2017

The Remains of the Day (1990) Book Review

The Remains of the Day is set in the 1950s and deals with the changing world of a man who had totally dedicated himself to being the best English butler he can be. Yes, picture that upright, serious, effective, totally dedicated, courteous, loyal gentlemen butler that we are used to seeing in period drama movies. The mini-series Downton Abbey hinted at the changing world for people who worked in service but never quite made it to the time when a butler would no longer be needed at all, which is what is happening in this book.

With the permission of his new American employer, butler Stevens sets out on a road trip to meet with a former female colleague whom we believe he loved although he may not know that fact. The road trip gives Stevens (and us) plenty of time to reflect back on his choices over the years and to ponder whether or not he made the right ones. Author Kazuo Ishiguro meant the book to be a metaphor, representing most of us who labour through life in one way or another and do not really know what the outcome of our efforts will be.

Would I Recommend This Book?


A few members of my book club really enjoyed reading The Remains of the Day. However, it was not a page turner and I was slow to warm up to it but in the end I did enjoy it. It was interesting and thought provoking and I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys period drama movies and historical fiction but not because of how those books flow but because of their subject matter.

By way of further recommendation, you should know that Remains of the Day won the Man Booker Prize in 1989 and that it is a very highly regarded post-war British story that sits at number 146 on Stanford University’s list of the best twentieth-century English novels.

Author Kazuo Ishiguro says that ''What he is interested in is not the actual fact that his characters have done things they later regret...but how they come to terms with that fact.”

I came away thinking that one should live for today and not let life pass you by. Stevens gave up too much in his pursuit of excellence and in the end wound up with nothing.

I will be watching the 1993 movie version of The Remains of the Day, which was more familiar to me than the book before it was added to our book club reading list. The movie stars Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson and was nominated for eight Academy Awards and sounds like a worthy follow up to this novel.

How about you? Will you be reading or watching The Remains of the Day? Or perhaps you have already done so? If you have not yet read the book and are interested, you can find your copy on Amazon by clicking right here.


Happy reading!
Brenda
Treasures By Brenda

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Order your copy of The Remains of the Day from Amazon.




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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Review of Facing Death and the Life After by Billy Graham

Facing Death is Something Most People Prefer Not to Think About

It is difficult for people to face their own mortality. We all like to think we'll have the time we need to do all we want or think we should do. But like it or not, death often comes when we least expect it. Whether we need to prepare for our own death or help another prepare,  Facing Death and the Life After by Billy Graham will help. 

Review of Facing Death and the Life After by Billy Graham

How Relevant is This Book for You?

This book was sitting on my mother's bookshelf, now mine. I decided to read it because it was there. I know my own death could come at any time. I'm 73. My dad died at 70 and my mom at 89. Both died of cancer. I have witnessed the deaths of my mother and my husband's mother. I have lost several others I have loved, including both of my children and two very close friends. I wondered what Billy Graham could say to me that I hadn't heard before. 

To be honest, the book surprised me. I guess I expected that since Billy Graham was a Christian evangelist, the book would be like a long sermon on getting ready to meet one's Maker. It did include that -- mostly in the last chapter. The rest of the book dealt with the fear of death, the grieving process, and setting one's house in order before death. It was very practical. 

The Fear of Death


Review of Facing Death and the Life After by Billy Graham


Many of us are not so afraid of what happens after we die as we are of the dying process itself. Very few of us know how we will die. I can assume I will die of cancer because my parents did, but I also could be killed instantly in an accident as my son was. 

With the way the world is going, we might be in the wrong place at the wrong time and suffer an evil attack by another person intent on hurting us. We might even go the way most people would like to -- quietly in our sleep.

I think if we are being honest, many of us do fear the process of dying,  especially if we might die a lingering and/or painful death. Billy Graham gives advice on how to face even that. 

Dealing with the Grieving Process

Graham has counseled many who are about to die and their loved ones they leave behind. He has given us very helpful information on helping those who are nearing death. He urges us not to pretend that a dying person isn't dying. Many facing death do want to talk about it. We should be willing to listen and deal with their fears and questions. This book helps with that. It also helps you understand what a bereaved person may be going through and how you can best help. 


Setting One's House in Order

Have you ever hesitated to have a conversation with an aging parent about such things as whether they have made a will or trust or what kind of death arrangements they may have made? Many people don't know how to approach such a conversation. Some parents try to initiate these conversations with adult children, and the children brush them off. 

Graham urges everyone to plan for their deaths and what will become of their material possessions. He even suggests planning your own funeral or memorial service. Why? To make everything easier for your family. Why should they be left guessing what you want or where the bankbooks are? If we truly love our spouse and children, we will make sure we do our best to provide for them when we are gone. Graham gives very practical advice for setting your house in order long before you may think you will need it. 


Ethical Issues Related to Death


Review of Facing Death and the Life After by Billy Graham


I found discussions of the ethical questions surrounding death to be one of the more valuable parts of the book. Fifty years ago people did not need advanced directives or living wills because there were not so many ways one could artificially prolong life. 

Graham deals with suicide, euthanasia, when or whether to pull the plug when all hope seems gone, refusing heroic measures to prolong life, hospice care, and just about any other issue the dying and their loved ones need to think through. These discussions are very practical. I'm urging my husband to read this because we both need to think more carefully about the way our lives should end if either of us has to make a difficult and painful decision. 

Other Topics Graham Covers in Facing Death

Billy Graham covers attitudes toward death and its meaning as seen in cultures and religions worldwide. He talks about the "conspiracy of silence" surrounding death, the tendency to deny approaching death, and the stages of accepting that one is going to die. He discusses how some well-known people have faced their deaths and prepared for them. 


Graham gives his own answers to these questions:
  • Why do some people die "too soon"?
  • How do you explain death to a child? 
  • Are there stages of death? 
  • What, exactly, is death?
  • Should we be afraid of death?
  • What about divine healing?
  • What is the difference between active and passive euthanasia?
  • How do I help a grieving person?

Theological Questions Graham Answers

Graham is bold in stating his beliefs on what happens after we die. He sees death as the last enemy and one Jesus conquered. He provides answers from the Bible to these questions many wonder about . 
  • Is there a Heaven and Hell?
  • What are they like?
  • Where will I go when I die?
  • Will everyone die?
  • What is the Judgement Seat of Christ? 
  • Is it true we will get new bodies in Heaven? 
  • How can I make sure I'm going to Heaven?

Who Should Read This Book?

I think every adult will find useful information in this book, even those who are not Christians. Much of the book deals with practical matters such as planning for one's death, settling one's affairs, making the best decision possible if you are ever faced with determining if life support should be withdrawn from a loved one, and other issues you may not even realize it's time to think through. 

Christians will find answers to questions that may have puzzled them about death and what comes after death. I like Graham's balanced approach to controversial theological questions. He doesn't take a dogmatic stand on questions about the end times and the rapture, and he comes out against those who claim to be able to predict when Christ will return. He sticks to what the Bible clearly teaches and stays away from those issues which are hotly debated by evangelical theologians. 

If you are terminally ill or know someone who is, this book will definitely help you. It gently explains what you can expect during your remaining time and how to prepare yourself or a loved one for a fast-approaching death. Graham explains the mission of hospice ministries and is supportive of them. 


Where Can I Get Facing Death?


Facing Death is now out of print. It is available used at Amazon, and there is also an audio book available. You can use the links below to purchase these. There are also several copies of this book in different editions on eBay. 


My Own Experiences with Death

It's never too early to prepare to face your death or that of someone you love. My son died in an accident at only 14. We weren't ready to face it. I was better prepared when it was time to face my mother's cancer death and help her through it. I was with her when she took that last journey. You can read our story in Caring for a Dying Loved One. My daughter died by her own hand. I wrote her story as Sarah: The Suicide of Our Adult Child.  All these articles are free to read. 


Book Review of Facing Death and the Life After by Billy Graham



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