Stretch you reading muscles…..

*there is a list of books at the bottom of every post*

One of the recent suggestions (in one of the many blogs I read, can’t remember which one) was to choose reading material from a variety of different genres, cultures, topics, or authors, in order to broaden our education and our reading experience.

More particularly, they said we should take suggestions from family and friends (young and old) and even strangers (of many different backgrounds), about books we would normally not even consider. We often stick with what we know and enjoy, while passing over books that would help broaden our understanding of our world.

While I’ve been trying be more conscious of this, when making my choices, I admit I still have a long way to go. It has been enlightening, though, to read some things I wouldn’t have chosen even a few months ago. Time, or lack of it, has also caused me to be more selective in my downloads. Between the time needed to write this blog  and the increased time needed by my day job, now that it has picked up again, there hasn’t been as much time left for reading as there had been. My book choices are more discerning now I think.

They also suggested we read things we don’t particularly enjoy, to help us gain a new perspective on the way others live and think. This world is made up of vastly different peoples, religions, and cultures, our uncomfortable reading selections could give us an appreciation for diversity in this world, and a greater understanding of a world broader than the one we live in. Out of all this would come tolerance, which would turn into love, and respect, for our fellow man. It will be like eating vegetables………good for us.

I’m not sure how well I will do at reading uncomfortable things, as I contemplate this thought, but I hope I will at least try. I also hope this discussion will start some wheels turning and maybe inspire others to try with me. Our world needs love to survive.

On to some books now.

I like reading books with a different slant on things, covering topics that are new to me, this week has been good for that. You will notice, it has also been a good week for some much needed, lighter, reading.

Shaded Light: The Case of the Tactless Trophy Wife (The Manziuk and Ryan Mysteries Book 1) – J A Menzies ………. This was written like one of those murder mystery weekends…. a group of people gather for a weekend house party, and someone dies… who was the murderer?? This book was well written and full of surprises and intrigue.  I liked it a lot.

Meet Me in Myrtle Beach (Hunt Family Book 1) – Brooke St James …… newly graduated from University, with doubts about her chosen profession, a chance encounter changes everything. I love it when clues are handed out along the way and it is impossible to see the end right from the beginning. Another well written very enjoyable, unpredictable, book.

The Templar’s Cross: A Medieval  Mystery (The Sir Law Kintour Mysteries Book 1) – J R Tomlin …….. a wounded Knight whose protector has died, must find a way to provide a living for himself; instead of a living, he finds himself accused of a murder he must solve to prevent being hanged. A well written book, thoroughly enjoyed.

Leaving Oxford (Southern Hearts Series Book 1) – Janet W Ferguson …… a young  woman moves home after a series of traumatic events, only to find herself a prisoner of panic attacks. Her prayers for healing only seem to result in an ugly puppy and an arrogant football coach. I couldn’t leave this book alone for too long either.

Sapphire Ice (Inspirational Romance) (The Jewel Series Book 1)  Hallee Bridgeman …..  a young woman, with a strong sense of responsibility toward her two younger sisters – coupled with a strong distrust of men- all due to an abusive childhood, meets a charming, successful, entrepreneur who brings out the worst in her.

A Trail of Crumbs – Susie Finkbeiner ……. the story of a young family in Depression Era Michigan, written in the voice of a young girl, so well done you forget to notice it isn’t written by a child.

(I confess, these last few books have so interesting they’ve kept me reading when I should have been working, now I feel guilty, the next one needs to be a book I don’t like very much, to make up for it.)

Happy reading!

The Truth is…..


Photo courtesy of my caring brother

*There is a list of books at the bottom of every post* 

THE other morning, as I was trying work up enough motivation to take a  shower, I got to thinking, again, about my long held theory in regard to old people and showers….. and clean houses. My thinking has been, as has that of many others’, I’m sure, now that they are old, because of failing eyesight, they  no longer seem to notice these needs.

I am officially an old person now, and since at this stage of life it seems I am aware of my motivational failings, then the truth must be; failing eyesight and sense of smell  have nothing much to do with the neglect of self and home, at least not for  many,  otherwise healthy, old people. Obviously, there has to be another reason.

I know what the reason is for me, when I am honest with myself. And it probably is the same reason for many other older, still healthy, people who find themselves leading a life free of the multitude of obligations and responsibilities they once had – depression and loneliness is that reason for me.

Sometimes it takes a jolt for me to see the truth about myself. Like the jolt delivered by the accident pictured above, in a moment when only a quiet thought went through my mind as I tried my best to stop, before hitting some elk standing in the middle of the road,  I wondered if this crash would take my life. I guess I will soon find out – I thought. Or, like the one received when on returning home after an extended work related trip, several years later,  and finding myself in a state of over-the-top distress at coming home to an empty house. It has been empty for over a decade, what makes this time so different? On later reflection,  these responses appeared to be inappropriate to the situations,  and  reflection on that thought caused me to examine the depths of the depression and loneliness I seemed to be ignoring in myself.

I think a lot about all of this, in relation to aging. I can be classed as old by some  while others insist I am not THAT old yet, but even at this age, I know I am not yet to the greater stage of reduced activity my future holds, and I know for sure, if I keep breathing, I will be there one day. I think about older friends and family members and what their lives were like with the level of understanding we had back then. I hope our quality of life as seniors will be better if we have a greater understanding of depression and loneliness  and how it  affects the elderly.

Depression is a complex subject, affecting all ages, not just the elderly, and there are no easy answers, There are differences in our chemical makeup, life experiences, and personalities, to say nothing of genetics, and probably other factors too.

Admitting the truth to myself is a big first step for me. Paying attention, to those things  which noticeably help make life seem worth living, has worked for me too.

I haven’t happened upon any one thing that would cause depression and loneliness to leave me but this new venture in writing has been making a noticeable difference. There is a pressure release in expressing myself in print, probably because of having to find a way to say things so they make sense, this form of expression, demanding complete thoughts, helps cast a different light on things. For sure, it helps me understand certain aspects of my life better. Added insights are always good. Cecil Murphey in Unleash the Writer Within declares that he has saved many thousands of dollars in therapists fees by pouring himself out on paper. Saving money is good too!

This morning, after rereading my words from last night, I feel a renewed lightness, a sense of hope. I hope this spark of hope is catching, especially if you are needing a spark of hope too.

Now, on to books read since last post!

A number of the books recommended for me this week have again been about historical wars. Over the course of my reading life, there have been a large number of books relating to the many wars fought on this earth, most notably, the American civil war, World War 2 and Brock and Bodie Theone’s two series about the Jewish point of view, pre and during WWII, to name just a few. In spite of the many books written it appears  there are still many more stories to be told, and the books this week did lend a perspective new to me. Not all of the books this week were about war though.

Through The Barricades: Winner of the SCBWI Spark Award 2017 – Denise Deegan …. a story of bravery, and dual struggles that divide rather than unite. A story of Ireland and WWI.   Another Good book!

Daffodils (The Katherine Wheel Book 1) – Alex Martin …… A story of war, young love, and class distinctions that fade as men and women from both classes fight together in a horrific war, that became theirs whether they wanted it to or not. A good book!

Kidnapped: The Beginning – Book 0  – J. S. Donovan ……. a mystery surrounding a ???   can’t tell you, because the author gives out clues in layers, and if I told you what it is about, why, that would be a spoiler, and the author definitely asked for reviews with NO spoiler alerts. It does involve a kidnapping – I can tell you that much. And I enjoyed the book.

Thunder (Stone Braide Chronicles Book 1) – Bonnie S Calhoun ….. post WWIII, Landers are being tracked and sold as slaves. a young girl encounters a Lander, which sets of a series of unimaginable events. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the sequel one day.

Sanctuary Lost (WITSEC Town Series Book 1) – Lisa Phillips …. I’ve read book 2 as well, previously,  and enjoyed the mystery of them both. Small towns are not always what they seem, especially when peopled with those under witness protection.

The James L Rubart Collection: Rooms, Book of Days, and The Chair ….. these books are written in a  style similar to author Frank Peretti. There is a huge spiritual dimension to these books…. rooms in a mansion that weren’t there yesterday but are today: a book that is being pursued by many but no one knows for sure if it is real or just legend: a chair with healing properties, passed down through generations, fought for by the power hungry.

Happy reading and, hopefully, writing too!





A welcoming bunch of ladies

*there is a list of books at the bottom of every post*

Several more finished books to tell you about, finished reading that is, as opposed to writing – not that you were getting the wrong idea here, but you never know. Lots of books started, for one reason or another, but still unfinished as there were too many distracting things happening over the last couple of weeks. I’m not complaining, mind you, it is a treat to have a bit of a life again for a change.

I was invited to the regular meeting of the Winnipeg chapter of Manitoba Christian Writers Association on Saturday. It was a worthwhile and interesting time, I am glad I went and I plan to go again, on a regular basis if I can. The ladies were friendly and welcoming, to both of us newbies, which made the afternoon that much more of a treat.  It was also an unexpected and pleasant surprise not to be the only new one.

The meeting was held in a heritage house built in 1875, now used primarily for seniors activities. The house looks to have been left pretty much the way it was originally, which is good to see, it’s nice to try to visualize what life looked like for people back then. There wasn’t much time to look around, because of all the time spent visiting, but I’m hoping  there will be a chance to take a better look next time. It appears to have been one of the nicer homes back in 1875 so it will be fun to check it out a bit more.

 The main part of the meeting was spent listening to, and then critiquing, either poems or stories. They were very interesting, there are some good writers in this group. I am hoping a couple of them will post their readings on their blogs so I could have the chance to share them here too, I think you would enjoy them as much as I did. A couple of them were pretty funny. I’ll ask about it at the next meeting, if I remember.

So… here are the books referred to at the beginning of this piece….

Remembering Dresden (Jack Turner Suspense Series Book 2) – Dan Walsh …. Dresden was heavily bombed during World War 2, with 3,900 tons of high explosive bombs and incendiary devices, delivered by 722 British heavy bombers and 527 US bombers.

Following a local family’s struggle through the middle of the heavy bombing sets the stage for the move into present day with the lone survivor, looking for revenge.        There is much controversy around the justification of such heavy bombing on a non military city and this story  takes the perspective that it was a war crime. I found it interesting (aside from the fact it was well written)  because I wasn’t aware of this tragedy. How many other tragic things are out there that most of us don’t know about? This story tells me we should never take anything for granted.

Lion 0f Babylon (a Marc Royce mystery/thriller) – Davis Bunn ….       one of my favorite authors, his books are always good.                           

Strait of Hormuz  (a Marc Royce mystery/thriller) – Davis Bunn …. Marc is no longer an agent, having been fired for taking personal time for a sick and dying wife, but is pressed back into service for under desperate circumstances.

Happy reading!!.. and maybe a little writing too!!