Monday, May 26, 2008

A Day Of Memories

I have lost many close family members over the years. My mother, my father, my grandfather, my father's mother. Though I felt all those losses deeply and still miss them, and think of them often, none of those losses affected me as deeply as the loss of my grandmother last summer. I suppose I was so close to her because she helped to raise me, and she was my biggest fan.

So on this Memorial Day, I remember her with gratitude for the influence she had in my life. I remember her for her unconditional love, kindness, mercy toward me and everyone she had ever known, and I celebrate her life. She helped me to be a better person and a better daughter of God.
I' am grateful for the family I was placed in. I'm thankful for the privilege of being raised in poverty, surrounded by hardships, because it filled me with the desire to have more. Despite the detours in my past, some of them due to the circumstances of my childhood, I'm grateful for the influence each of these people had in my life. It is truly a good life.

Thought For The Week

"If you want your life to have impact, focus it! Stop dabbling. Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only that which matters most."

Review Corner

Book: Keeping Keller
Author: Tracy Winegar
Published 2008 by Bonneville Books

Back Cover
The year is 1955, and few people understand or tolerate mental handicaps. For Beverly and Warren Vance, the daily struggle to live with their handicapped son, Keller, is taking its toll. Keller is large for his age and often aggressive, prone to throwing tantrums and breaking everything in sight. Beverly and Warren have been encouraged to institutionalize him, or at least keep him out of public view. But they decided long ago that trying to teach and raise him was a better option-at least until now.
When a shocking development and a disastrous incident complicate their decision, the lines between right and wrong become increasingly blurred. Yet in the end, through their own choices they come to understand that the most important thing in life is family.

Being the mother of a nine year old son with aspergers (high functioning autism) I was really interested in reading this book.
During this day and age, Keller would have been diagnosed as autistic, not mentally handicapped, which the author points out in the back of her book. Keeping Keller is a very thought provoking story. It shows how children who are different were looked upon during that time period. The story pulls you in emotionally and makes you ponder both the sorrows and the joys of having an autistic child. Tracy Winegar has a great writing style and I could tell that writing the story must have been a labor of love for her.
My only beef is the interaction of the husband and wife in some parts. Sometimes Warren seemed a little patronizing when it came to Beverly when she talked about her daily struggles with Keller. He seemed patronizing when it came to a lot of things. A trial like that should have brought them closer. Maybe it's just that it was set in 1955 and people handled things differently. I don't think I would have fared well in the 50s. Correction, I know I wouldn't have. Plus, the whole taking your husband's shoes off when he come through the door and catering to him idea has just never sat well with me:o)

In any case, Keeping Keller is a very good read and I look forward to reading more of Tracy's work.
To purchase a copy of Keeping Keller, log on to CedarFort

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Upcoming Events

On June 2nd, The Journey will be available to purchase on my website. I'm so excited about this book and I hope both youth and adults will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Over the next month, I will also be posting reviews and interviews with some amazing authors who have new books coming out this summer.

Thought For The Week

Time is your most precious gift because you only have a set amount of it. You can make more money, but you can't make more time. When you give someone your time, you are giving them a portion of your life that you'll never get back. Your time is your life. That is why the greatest gift you can give someone is your time.
No matter how busy life gets, we should always make time for others and ourselves.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Exciting Time

It's almost that time! A summer of excitement is about the begin for me! The release date of my new novel, The Journey has been moved up. The launch date is now Monday, June 2nd. I've had so many people ask and email me about it, I decided to not deprive my old, and new fans any longer:o)

This novel is very near and dear to me and I hope you and your youth will love it as much as I do. Heck, it's the first novel I've written that my kids will actually read. Now that I've written a fantasy, they think I'm cool.

Full Summer

With the release of my book and preparing once again for a house full of neighborhood kids, I'll probably gain a few more gray hairs, but since I'm beyond counting them now, that's okay. Our house really is the summer hot spot. Kids of various ages congregate on our front and back lawn like pigeons. And turning the water on is like throwing bread to a couple of seagulls. You start with two, then out of nowhere, they suddenly multiply. That's okay, too. It keeps the grass green. By the end of the day I'm collecting discarded clothes from various parts of the lawn, and trying to identify the owners, which is a joke. No wonder parents are constantly buying new clothes for their kids. I could hold a sale and sell them all back to them and make some extra summer cash.
Naw, I wouldn't do that. Nice thought, though. Isn't summer grand?

Thought For The Week

"Teach us delight in simple things,
and mirth that hath no bitter springs."

Rudyard Kipling

Monday, May 5, 2008

Growing Young

About a week ago, my kids and I took a ride on the Frontrunner, the new commuter rail. Because all rides were free that day, it was noisy, loud, and we were packed in like sardines. Most of the passengers were not too happy with the ride because of the conditions, my kids included, but I had a great time.

I sat across from an older retired couple who kept me in stitches the entire trip to town. The woman was in her seventies, and her husband was eighty, yet they were two of the liveliest and most active people I had ever met.

They were active Harley riders!

I was floored and amused as they shared with me some of their experiences on the road. Sometimes they traveled alone, and sometimes they rode in a pack with other retired motorcycle riders.
The wife told me about how at times a group of fifty or so of them would ride through small towns, stop at a Maverick or 7-11, and make some of the residents uncomfortable. Then they would begin taking off their helmets, exposing their very, very gray hair, and people went from being fearful to amazed.
Once, the woman and her husband went on a road trip alone and pulled into a biker bar parking lot just for fun. Her husband approached another very large biker and began to playfully talk smack to him. The biker began to get angry and the woman thought she and her husband were about to become biker history, until they took off their helmets. The white hair completely took the biker by surprise. Then he laughed and said how he admired their guts. By the time the couple left, they had made a friend.

Now I'm not suggesting that we should do something that drastic (though it would be fun,) but that husband and wife live life! They are not growing older, they are growing younger. They don't let the passing of years stop them. They laugh in the face of creaky knees and surgeries, and embrace each line and wrinkle. They are completely positive about life and face it head on, no matter what it throws at them. They are amazing.

Thought For The Week

"It is often during the worst of times that we see the best of humanity-awakening within the most ordinary of us that which is most sublime. I do not believe that it is circumstance that produces such greatness any more than it is the canvas that makes the artist. Adversity merely presents the surface on which we render our souls' most exacting likeness. It is in the darkest skies that stars are best seen."

Richard Paul Evans

The Letter