Fifty Things I Am Thankful For–Part IV

1. My puppy Roscoe is alive and well after a wild animal attack
2. For my other puppies who saved him
3. My sister is coming home for Thanksgiving
4. Award-winning published authors who are willing to help those of us who are yet to be published
5. God is working in the unresolved events of my life
6. I will see Aunt Susie in Heaven
7. Progress on my book
8. Aunt Susie’s books
9. Time with Uncle David
10. A full refrigerator
11. My coffee maker
12. Sleeping with the window open
13. Connecting with other writers
14. The growth of my blog
15. Hope for the future
16. Warm non-skid socks
17. My health
18. My church family
19. Good memories
20. My Mom’s proof-reading skills
21. The Book of Psalms
22. My alarm clock
23. God’s wisdom
24. God’s timing
25. My trip to San Diego
26. Big Sisters
27. Good Authors
28. John MacArthur and R.C Sproul
29. Ronald Reagan
30. Classical Music
31. Kalena
32. Paper and pens
33. Different colored ink
34. My writing space
35. Down blankets
36. Access to information
37. Comfortable clothes
38. Pumpkin bread
39. Our lemon and lime trees
40. The freedom to set my own schedule
41. Sun and shade
42. The front window of my office
43. Jigsaw puzzles
44. Meeting goals
45. God’s changeless character
46. Light bulbs
47. File folders
48. Storage space
49. Notebooks
50. My family heritage

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A Thanksgiving Medley

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Review of Dead Wake

dead wake


In his incredible best-seller, Dead Wake, Erik Larson gives a riveting account of the sinking of the Lusitania, the luxury liner which made its ill-fated voyage from New York to Liverpool in the midst of U-boat infested waters. Using diaries, journals, and eye-witness testimony from both sides of the Atlantic, as well as the perpetrator submarine itself, Larson weaves a true tale of tragedy that led to America’s entrance into World War I.

Far from a dry narrative taken from a textbook, Dead Wake maintains historical accuracy but reads like a novel. It is well-written and impeccably researched by a gifted story-teller. This account is more than just facts. It is about the lives of people from every walk of life who are thrown into chaos by a cataclysmic event. History fans will devour every single page of Dead Wake, while those who are new to the genre will be introduced to the way History should be written. I cannot recommend Dead Wake highly enough.

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Review of The Midwife’s Tale


The Midwife's Tale

In The Midwife’s Tale, midwife Martha Cade returns to the small town of Trinity after searching in vain for her missing daughter. Add an orphan boy who tests her patience and a newly-arrived doctor who threatens her lively-hood, and Widow Cade has more than she can handle. Will her daughter return? And how much longer will Martha be a widow?

The Midwife’s Tale is an intriguing glimpse at the life of a midwife struggling to find her way in the wake of modern medicine, and the look at childbirth and naturopathy is fascinating. The novel is full of small-town intrigue and has a pastoral feel to it. Most of the characters are likable and sympathetic. The descriptive portions of the narrative are well written and inviting.

However, Widow Cade’s emotional highs and lows become tedious, and the small-town personalities are a challenge to remember.

All in all, The Midwife’s Tale is perfect for a relaxing read and provides a welcome escape from the busyness of life.

The publisher provided a free copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Review of Duplicity



DuplicityIn Duplicity, one man will use his position and power to kill the terrorist mastermind responsible for killing his wife and son and injuring his daughter, while the President will stop at nothing to win re-election. When these two goals intersect, it isn’t surprising that political mayhem and pre-meditated murder follow.

Political thrillers have always intrigued me because I enjoy learning about the inner-workings of Washington DC. In this regard, Duplicity did not disappoint. In fact, I learned more than I ever wanted to know. Duplicity illustrates ways the appetite for power can blur the lines between good and evil.

Duplicity has multiple settings. As one would expect, Washington DC is a major part of the plot, but the novel has an international appeal as well because London and Somalia make appearances. Somalia is where most of the action takes place and, to the authors’ credit, the reader can almost feel the oppressive corruption and squalor of the African country. The attention to detail makes clear that the story is well-researched and adds believability to the narrative.

Duplicity is told through multiple viewpoints. In the beginning, it is a challenge to keep track of so many of them. However, the different points of view quickly become strengths, due to the diverse locations involved. More importantly, the diverse backgrounds of the characters allow each one to have a unique voice and personality.

The dialogue in Duplicity is used, at times, to communicate important knowledge, and information germane to the plot, but, occasionally, it slows the story down. These conversations are also used to reveal characters’ motivations, most of which expose the dark side of human nature.

As a result, Duplicity has a murky tone from the beginning, giving the novel more than just a suspenseful feel. All the characters are trying desperately to attain something, and most will do anything to get it. The plot of the novel has many twists and turns, and the obstacles seem to increase with every choice made and every consequence realized while characters attempt to achieve their goals at any cost.

Therefore the conflict in Duplicity is balanced between external events and internal desires. There is very little focus on character growth, and the characters are a bit one-dimensional and not as sympathetic as they could be. The romantic tension is present, but it is almost dealt with in passing and seems to appeal to the basest of human nature. Most of the action-based conflict is resolved toward the end in true thriller fashion, but there are plotlines which remain unresolved. This leads me to wonder if there is a sequel on the horizon.

Although there are allusions to the Christian heritage of the country and the ideals of traditional America, there is little spiritual value in the novel. The good-versus-evil theme is prevalent and the gray area of “the greater good” is explored. However, the authors shy away from making any definite value judgments, leaving this reader to wonder what exactly they are trying to communicate.

Duplicity is a stand-alone novel geared for a secular audience. There is an extra-marital affair and violent scenes that are not gratuitous, however, the subject matter that may be disturbing to some readers. Those who love political and international thrillers will find it a well-written page-turning read.


I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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The Bible Project –Genesis 1-11

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Waging The War on ‘Terror,’ Vichy-style By Victor Davis Hanson

Parisian reading Le Parisien

Photo by Thierry-Chesnot/Getty

A few hours before the catastrophic attack in Paris, President Obama had announced that ISIS was now “contained,” a recalibration of his earlier assessments of “on the run” and “Jayvees” from a few years back. In the hours following the attack of jihadist suicide bombers and mass murderers in Paris, the Western press talked of the “scourge of terrorism” and “extremist violence”. Who were these terrorists and generic extremists who slaughtered the innocent in Paris — anti-abortionists, Klansmen, Tea-party zealots?

Middle Eastern websites may be crowing over the jihadist rampage and promising more to come, but this past week in the United States we were obsessed over a yuppie son of a multi-millionaire showboating his pseudo-grievances by means of a psychodramatic hunger strike at the University of Missouri and a crowd of cry-baby would-be fascists at Yale bullying a wimpy teacher over supposedly hurtful Halloween costumes. I guess that is the contemporary American version of Verdun and the Battle of the Bulge.

This sickness in the West manifests itself in a variety of creepy ways — to hide bothersome reality by inventing euphemisms and idiocies likely “workplace violence” and “largely secular,” jailing a “right-wing” video maker rather than focusing on jihadist killers in Benghazi, deifying a grade-school poseur inventor who repackaged a Radio Shack clock and wound up winning an invitation to the White House, straining credibility in Cairo to fabricate unappreciated Islamic genius. Are these the symptoms of a post-Christian therapeutic society whose affluence and leisure fool it into thinking that it has such a huge margin of security that it can boast of its ‘tolerance’ and empathy — at the small cost of a few anonymous and unfortunate civilians sacrificed from time to time? Is deterrence a waning asset that has now been exhausted after seven years of Obama administration apologetics and contextualizations?

Our premodern enemies have certainly got our postmodern number. Newsmen compete to warn us not of more jihadists to come or the nature of the Islamist hatred that fuels these murderers, but instead fret about Western “backlash” on the horizon, about how nativists and right-wingers may now “scapegoat” immigrants. Being blown apart may be one thing, but appearing illiberal over the flying body parts is quite another. Let’s hurry up and close Guantanamo Bay so that it will stop “breeding” terrorists; and let’s hurry up even more to restart the “peace talks” to remind ISIS that we are nice to the Palestinians.

Hundreds of thousands flock to Europe not in gratitude at its hospitality but largely contemptuous of those who would be so naive to extend their hospitality to those who hate them. Barack Obama recently called global warming our greatest threat; Al Gore — recently enriched by selling a TV station to carbon-exporting Persian Gulf kleptocrats — is in Paris in Old Testament mode finger-pointing at our existential enemy — carbon. John Kerry, hours before the Paris attacks, announced that the days of ISIS “are numbered.” Angela Merkel welcomes hundreds of thousands of young male Muslims into Europe, and the more they arrive with anything but appreciation for their hosts, the more Westerners can assuage their guilt by turning the other cheek and announcing their progressive fides.

To preserve our sense of progressive utopianism, we seem willing to offer up a few hundred innocents each year to radical Islam. The slaughter might cease in a few years if we were to name our enemies as radical Muslims and make them aware that it could well be suicidal for their cause to kill a Westerner — or at least remind the Islamic world in general that it is a rare privilege to migrate to the West, given that immigration demands civic responsibilities as well as rights and subsidies, and is predicated on legality rather than the power of the stampede. But then to do that we would no longer be Westerners as we now define ourselves.​


Posted: November 15, 2015 on National Review

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