Monday, September 29, 2014

Lost Boys in Kansas City--The Good Lie

That’s the story told in the new movie “The Good Lie,” which stars a brunette Reese Witherspoon as a Kansas City employment counselor who befriends the three young men. (The fourth refugee, the sister of one of the guys, gets sent to a family in Boston.)

The movie is fictional but based on real events: About 3,600 Lost Boys (and girls) from Sudan settled in the United States around 2001 after surviving civil war in their homeland. Sixty or so came to Kansas City then, and hundreds have arrived since.--Tim Engle

Read more here:
--I'm pretty excited, as I was reading my 2nd article about this movie in the Kansas City Star, I realized there might be a way to get free tickets to the upcoming screening.  I was successful, so I am going to see The Good Lie tomorrow night.

--The movie has ties to Kansas City, because it is supposed to take place here, although most of the filming was done in Atlanta.
The film is also being used to raise money for Lost Boys organizations through the Good Lie Fund ( The fund’s initial focus will be the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, which was shot for the movie.

Two local kids and their father are prominently featured in “The Good Lie.” Keji Jale, 12 during filming, plays young Abital, the girl in the group, and her brother Okwar, 13, plays a boy named Theo. Filmmakers visited several U.S. cities with Sudanese communities, including Kansas City, and auditioned as many as 1,500 people.

Read more here:
--I am looking forward to seeing this because of my love for Africa, and learning about the lost boys from Sudan.

--I will definitely be doing a review of the movie.  Stay Tuned...

The Lost Boys of Sudan
What is the What--A Review

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Triumph--A Review

But if I could find the strength not to bow to an evil system, I could at least hold on to my self-respect.  
If you understand what you're doing and why, an abuser can never wholly control you.--pg. 148 of Triumph
--I have done 2 posts about Carolyn Jessop and her first book, EscapeShe is an inspirational woman of courage.  I read her first book, Escape, and couldn't put it down.  I knew I needed to read her second one, Triumph.

--It has been therapeutic to read how she escaped a life and marriage that involved emotional, verbal and physical abuse on a level that most people can't imagine.  She was indoctrinated to believe that all of the abuse was okay, and that she was evil if she wanted to stand up to it or even escape from it.

--It has helped me process my own thoughts and beliefs about how people can misuse religion to sometimes lead women into bondage and keep them there. I talk about this in my post, The Treatment of Women.

--Jessop's first book is all about her growing up in the FLDS cult and how she escaped.  Her 2nd book is about the aftermath.  She is able to take on the FLDS and win, not once, but twice.
Winning custody of my children built a bridge halfway across the ravine.  Winning child support completed the job.  I hope the landmark ruling in my case is an inspiration to all women in difficult or abusive relationships.  You can stand up to a perpetrator and win.--p. 246
--She learns how to stand on her own two feet, and find real, unconditional love.  She has inspired me and empowered me in my own life.

--Below, are some more of my favorite quotes from the book:
Within that first year of my marriage, the family saw me as an out-of-control member because I refused to submit totally to its power elite.  While this was often an uncomfortable position.  I possessed something no one else in the family had: the real power that flows from self-respect.--p. 149

Bedrock Beliefs
1) Claim the power of no
2) Set your own standards
3) Hold on to whatever power you do have
4) Forget about perfection, do the best you can
5) Do whatever it takes to protect those you love

Victimhood requires our acquiescence, and I was opting out.--p. 161

I no longer wanted to fix the people who had hurt me.  I released them all to their miserable and mean-spirited worlds.  I was setting myself free and the effort was empowering.--p. 191
I especially found her thoughts on forgiveness to be life-changing:
It's been said that desiring revenge is like swallowing poison and waiting for someone else to die.  I believe that.  It took discipline and work for me to release all the anger I felt toward Merril.  But nothing I'd ever felt compared to the relief of dumping one bad emotion after another.  Go. Goodbye. Gone.  I had no more expectations.  I no longer had to fix anything.  Once I forgave Merril, his power over me evaporated.

I talked about the liberation of forgiveness.  I explained that letting go of my anger did not mean that what had happened to me was okay.  It will never be okay, but I refuse to let the past sabotage my life or curtail my energy, purpose, and joy.  I wanted no ties to my perpetrators; forgiveness cut them all.--p. 194
--There were only 2 things that I disagreed with her on in this book.  1) She voted for Obama and talked about how wonderful that was (LOL).  But I am excited for her that got to experience the privilege of voting.

2) She has some strong views on how homeschooling should be more regulated by the government.  She thinks this would help there be less educational abuse within cults like the FLDS.  Cults don't adhere to any kinds of laws, such as marrying only one wife, sexual and physical abuse, etc...How would having more government regulations keep the FLDS in check?  I don't think it would, and as we all know, more government power grabs can lead to abuse of people by them.

--Other than that, the book was amazing.  A final quote:
In the fabric of our own lives, sometimes there are colors we don't want and threads we didn't choose, but the pattern that emerges is distinctly our own.--p. 256

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Fun Imdb Lists!

--IMDB (Internet Movie Database) has a way for you to make lists.  I, of course, have spent too much time making them, so I thought I'd compile them into a blog post.

My lists--
Favorite Movies 
Top 3--
Amazing Grace

Favorite Actresses
Top 3--
Jennifer Garner
Jennifer Lopez
Sandra Bullock
Favorite Actors
Top 3--
Mel Gibson
Michael Landon
Timothy Olyphant

Favorite TV Shows
Top 3--
Little House on the Prairie

Girl Power Movies
Top 3--
Erin Brockovich

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014 Book List--Part 4

1) Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight--Karl Rove
2) The Final Days: The Last, Desperate Abuses of Power by the Clinton White House--Barbara Olson
3) The Kennedy Wit--Bill Adler
4) Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama--Ann Coulter
5) Relax-You May Only Have a Few Minutes Left: Using the Power of Humor to Overcome Stress in Your Life and Work--Loretta LaRoche
6) You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life--Eleanor Roosevelt
7) American Patriots: Answering the Call to Freedom--Rick Santorum
8) Raylan--Elmore Leonard
9) The Barbarian Way: Unleash the the Untamed Faith Within--Erwin Raphael McManus
10) Fatal Vows: The Tragic Wives of Sergeant Drew Peterson--Joseph Hosey
11) The Everything Organize Your Home Book--Jason R. Rich
12) Chasing the Devil: My Twenty-Year Quest to Capture the Green River Killer--David Reichert
13) Drinking and Dating: P.S. Social Media is Ruining Romance--Brandi Glanville
14) Willoughby's Return: A Tale of Almost Irresistable Temptation--Jane Odiwe
15) Eat That Cookie--Liz Jazwiec
16) Heath Ledger: His Beautiful Life and Mysterious Death--John McShane
17) Fatal Friends, Deadly Neighbors: And Other True Cases--Ann Rule
18) Amazing Things Will Happen: A Real-World Guide on Achieving Success and Happiness--C.C. Chapman
19) Deep Thoughts From a Hollywood Blonde--Jennie Garth
20) Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity--Hugh MacLeod
21) Finding Me: A Decade of Darkness, a Life Reclaimed: A Memoir of the Cleveland Kidnappings
--Michelle Knight
22) In Freedom's Cause: A Story of Wallace & Bruce--G.A. Henty
23) In the Still of the Night: The Strange Death of Ronda Reynolds and Her Mother's Unceasing Quest for the Truth--Ann Rule
24) Happily Ever After: Walking with Peace and Courage Through a Year of Divorce--Kristin Armstrong
25) The Power of Praying Through the Bible--Stormie Omartian
26) Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims--Rush Limbaugh
27) Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10--Marcus Luttrell
28) Clippings from My Notebook--Corrie ten Boom
29) Escape in Iraq: The Thomas Hamill Story--Thomas Hamill
30) I Grew up Little: Finding Hope in a Big God--Patsy Clairmont
31) SeinLanguage--Jerry Seinfeld
32) Sizzling Sixteen--Janet Evanovich
33) Smokin' Seventeen--Janet Evanovich
34) Ted and Ann-The Mystery of a Missing Child and her Neighbor Ted Bundy
35) Explosive Eighteen--Janet Evanovich
36) Notorious Nineteen--Janet Evanovich
37) Sleepers--Lorenzo Carcaterra
38) Whispers of Hope: 10 Weeks of Devotional Prayer--Beth Moore
39) Anna Eleanor Roosevelt--Dan Santow
40) Julia Dent Grant--Christine Fitz-Gerald
41) Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams--Ann Heinrichs
42) Frances Folsom Cleveland--Susan Sinnott
43) What is the What--Dave Eggers
44) Lucretia Rudolph Garfield--Ann Heinrichs
45) Takedown Twenty--Janet Evanovich
46) Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt--Barbara Silberdick Feinberg
47) Escape--Carolyn Jessop

2013 Book List
2012 Book List
2011 Book List
2010 Book List
2008 Book List

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Margaret Thatcher Quotes--Part 2

We have lost a great president, a great American, and a great man, and I have lost a dear friend.

In his lifetime, Ronald Reagan was such a cheerful and invigorating presence that it was easy to forget what daunting historic tasks he set himself. He sought to mend America’s wounded spirit, to restore the strength of the free world, and to free the slaves of communism. These were causes hard to accomplish and heavy with risk, yet they were pursued with almost a lightness of spirit, for Ronald Reagan also embodied another great cause, what Arnold Bennett once called "the great cause of cheering us all up". His policies had a freshness and optimism that won converts from every class and every nation, and ultimately, from the very heart of the "evil empire."

Yet his humour often had a purpose beyond humour. In the terrible hours after the attempt on his life, his easy jokes gave reassurance to an anxious world. They were evidence that in the aftermath of terror and in the midst of hysteria one great heart at least remained sane and jocular. They were truly grace under pressure. And perhaps they signified grace of a deeper kind. Ronnie himself certainly believed that he had been given back his life for a purpose. As he told a priest after his recovery, "Whatever time I’ve got left now belongs to the big fella upstairs." And surely, it is hard to deny that Ronald Reagan’s life was providential when we look at what he achieved in the eight years that followed.--An excerpt of Margaret Thatcher's eulogy at President Reagan's funeral
--I am a huge fan of Margaret Thatcher.  I have her two thick books, The Path to Power and The Downing Street Years that she wrote about her life.  I look forward to reading them. 

--I have already done a profile on her and I also did a previous post on her quotes, but this woman is a treasure trove of wisdom.  So, I thought it fitting to do a part two.
Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become your character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.
What we think, we become.
My father always said that.  And I think I am fine.
Margaret Thatcher talking to her husband:
I will never be one of those women who stays silent and pretty on the arm of her husband.  Or remote and alone in the kitchen, doing the washing-up for that matter.  One's life must matter.  Beyond all the cooking and the cleaning and the children, one's life must mean more than that.
Her husband responded:
Thats why I want to marry you, my dear.
Some more short quotes:
Someone must say the un-sayable.

Never be anything other than yourself.

No British soldier will die in vain for the Falklands.

If you take the tough decisions, people will hate you today, but they will love you in generations.

Carolyn Jessop--A Portrait of Courage

--At 18 years of age, Carolyn Blackmore was forced to marry 50 year old Merril Jessop. She became his 4th wife. Even though she got violently ill with each pregnancy, and the last 4 endangered her life, she gave birth to 8 children.  One of whom had numerous medical needs, and required 24/7 care.

--She lived with abuse for 17 years. Her husband was physically, emotionally and verbally abusive.  He also manipulated his other wives to punish her for not being an "obedient wife".

--She finally became disillusioned with the FLDS and polygamy.  She started planning her escape in the year 2000, and was successful on April 21, 2003.

--She was the first woman to gain full custody of her children after leaving the FDLS community.

--Carolyn Jessop has written two books, Escape and Triumph: Life After the Cult--A Survivor's Lessons.  A movie was made based on her life, In God's Country.

--I have always known that polygamy was oppressive and abusive towards women and children, but I was horrified as I learned of Carolyn's story.  I am just flabbergasted that so many men, women and children can be brainwashed so completely.

--In the FLDS, everything in a woman's life is about pleasing and obeying her husband (her priesthood head).  It is through her husband that a woman is able to get to heaven.  So, the man's needs are not only more important than a woman's, but even more important than the children's needs.

--I was shocked to hear about how the children were sexually and physically abused and neglected.  The wives couldn't risk displeasing their husbands (because that would endanger their chance of getting into heaven), so children were often neglected as a result.

--Carolyn's ability to not only survive years of brainwashing and abuse, but to escape from it is a profile in courage.  She is a heroine for women of all walks of life.

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Treatment of Women!

--Right now I am listening to the book, Escape by Carolyn Jessop on CD.  It is making me think a lot about the roles of women.

--It is sickening to hear how women and girls are treated in polygamy.  I have always known it would be horrible, but it is worse than I could've imagined.  Women have absolutely NO rights in the FLDS polygamous world.

--Teenage girls are forced to marry men that are usually 30-40 years older than them.  Up until that time they are never allowed to be around boys unsupervised, and are never taught about sex.  So, on their wedding night they are essentially raped, and have no way of seeing it coming.

--Few women are allowed to get an education past high school, and their high school education is often very poor.

--I didn't realize how the many small children would end up being neglected, but it makes sense.  Jessop describes how in the family she was forced to marry into, the other wives neglected the 30 plus children because one wife was mentally ill (and not being treated for it), another was rejected by the husband so she would spend all day in her room, and the other wives were vying for the husband's attention.

--As I listen to this sickening hell that these women were subjected too, I started to think about the women in the muslim culture.  Especially, in the Middle East and Africa, but also here in the U.S. strict muslim families require women to be covered head to foot and they literally have no freedom and no rights.

--I will also admit that in some corners of Christian society, women don't have the freedom and rights that they deserve.  I look at how I've  lived over the past 40 years, and I realize that I lived according to rules that I thought were Biblical, but now I think were more man made to keep women submissive.

--I really like the title of Jessop's book, Escape, because it highlights that women have the right to escape from any situation that is infringing upon her freedom and rights.  It only took me 40 years to have the courage to say it.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

13th Anniversary of 9/11

--The National September 11 Memorial opened on the 10th Anniversary on September 12, 2011.  The Museum portion opened this year on May 21, 2014.

--The National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial opened on September 11th of 2008.

--Empty Sky is the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial, it was dedicated on September 10, 2011.

--I look forward to visiting these memorials some day.  When I visited the Oklahoma City Memorial in 2010, it was very moving.

--We must never forget!  I'm concerned that some of the people at the head of our government have forgotten, and that as a result, our country is even more vulnerable to another attack.  May God have mercy on our country.

2011--10th Anniversary of 9/11!
2010--September 11th --May We Never Forget!
2009--Remembering 9/11!
2008--September 11th--May We Never Forget!
2007--September 11th--My Generation's Pearl Harbor
2006--9/11 Tribute To Christina De Laura
2005--Remembering September 11th

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

First Lady Profile#6--Edith Roosevelt!

Photo Credit:
In the years before radio, television, computers, and stereo systems, Edith nurtured her children's imagination and shared with them her interests in history, poetry, and wildflowers. Impressed by her knowledge, they asked her how she knew so much.--Barbara Silberdick Feinberg
--I have read quite a few books about Teddy Roosevelt, since he is one of my favorite presidents, but I never knew much about Edith.

--Edith was born on August 6, 1861
--She spent a lot of time with the Roosevelt children while growing up, including Teddy
--Edith and Teddy became childhood sweethearts, but on August 22nd, 1878 something caused their relationship to end.
--Teddy married Alice, but she and Teddy's mother both died on the same day on February 14, 1884.
--In September 1885, Edith and Teddy ran into each other and rekindled their relationship.
--They married on December 2, 1886.

Photo Credit:
--Teddy's daughter, 3 year old Alice, from his first marriage, had been living with his sister.  But when Teddy and Edith married, Edith insisted she come live with them.
--Edith and Teddy had 5 more children: Theodore Jr. in 1887, Kermit in 1889, Ethel in 1891, Archie in 1894, and Quentin in 1897.
--Edith and Teddy were very involved parents, unlike many privileged couples of that era.
--Teddy played with his children so often that Edith called him, "her oldest and rather worst child".
--Edith and Teddy traveled, once touring Yellowstone National Park on horseback.

 Photo Credit:
--Teddy served in the New York State Assembly, and then served as a Civil-service Commissioner in Washington D.C.
--In 1895, he became the president of New York City's Board of Police Commissioners.
--During this time, Edith took care of the family's finances and did an excellent job.
--In 1897, President McKinley appointed Teddy assistant Secretary of the Navy.
--In May of 1898, Teddy organized a volunteer calvary unit called the "rough riders" to fight in the Spanish-American war.  This led to him becoming a national hero.
--In 1899, Teddy became Governor of New York
--Edith refurbished the Governor's official residence.
--In 1900, Teddy became President McKinley's Vice President

Photo Credit:
--President McKinley is assassinated and Teddy becomes president at the age of 42 on September 14th, 1901.
--In 1902, Edith received funds from Congress to renovate the White House.
--Their 6 children ranged in age from 3 1/2 to 17 when they moved into the White House.
--Edith was well informed and Teddy consulted her on some of his political decisions.
--Alice was married to Ohio Congressman Nicholas Longworth in the White House.
--Edith traveled with Teddy to check on the Panama Canal project in 1906.

--After they left the White House, they returned to their home, Sagamore Hill.
--All 4 of the Roosevelts' sons served in World War I.
--Quentin was killed in action in July 1918.
--Teddy grieved for his son and ended up very sick.  He died on January 6, 1919.
--Edith lived for another 29 years.  She spoke out for Republican candidates, and even spoke out against Franklin Roosevelt since he was a Democrat.
--She traveled extensively.
--During World War II, her 3 remaining sons joined the U.S. forces, and only Archie survived.
--Edith died on September 30, 1948.  Only her name and the dates of her birth and death were on her tombstone, but she had wanted it to read:
Everything she did was for the happiness of others.

My Edith Roosevelt Books:
-Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt--Barbara Silberdick Feinberg
-America's First Ladies--Diana Dixon Healy
-First Ladies--Betty Boyd Caroli
-First Ladies of the White House--Nancy J. Skarmeas

Previous Profiles:
-Eleanor Roosevelt
-Julia Grant
-Louisa Adams
-Frances Cleveland 
-Lucretia Garfield

Sunday, September 07, 2014

First Lady Profile #5--Lucretia Garfield!

Lucretia enrolled in the Eclectic's first term in 1850.  She planned to become a teacher.  Lucretia sang in the glee club and helped start a group called the Ladies' Literary Society.

For their graduation program in June, the students put on a play.  It was about the Bible characters King Ahasuerus and Queen Esther.  James and Lucretia played the starring roles.--Ann Heinrichs
--I knew very little of either James or Lucretia Garfield before reading Heinrichs' book.

A class picture where Lucretia and James are at the far right next to each other.
Photo Credit:

--Lucretia was the 1st child born to Zebulon & Arabella Rudolph on April 19, 1832.  Two brothers and a sister were born after her.
--Her family belonged to the Disciples of Christ Church
--Zeb Rudolph and other elders of the DOC Church built a college in Hiram, Ohio.  They named it Western Reserve Eclectic Institute, it is now just called Hiram College.   It was one of the first colleges to accept both men and women.
--Lucretia started attending the school in 1850.
--She was the only woman to give a speech at her graduation in June of 1854.

--She became a teacher at a school in Ravenna, Ohio and then later in Cleveland.
--In April of 1858, James proposed to Lucretia and they were married on November 11, 1858.  Initially, their marriage seemed more out of duty than love, and early on James told Lucretia that their marriage was probably a big mistake.
--Things got better though and in July of 1860 Lucretia gave birth to their first child, Eliza.
--James joined the Union Army and led the 42nd Ohio Regiment during the Civil War.
--In October of 1862, James was elected to the House of Representatives.
--In October of 1863, Lucretia had a boy and they named him Harry.
--On December 2, Eliza died from diphtheria.
--Lucretia gave birth to 5 more babies, James in 1865, Mollie in 1867, Irvin in 1870, Abram in 1872, and Edward in 1874.

--While in Congress:
James and Lucretia kept in touch constantly.  He discussed government business with her, shared his problems, and asked her advice.  Both were broken hearted when little Edward died of whooping cough at the age of two.
--After spending 17 years in the House of Representatives, James was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1880.
--The Republican National Convention was held in Chicago in June of 1880.  Because the Republicans couldn't decide, they eventually nominated Garfield on the 36th ballot.
--James Garfield became the 20th President in 1881.
--Lucretia contracted malaria in May and was very ill.  James spent a lot of time caring for her and eventually she recovered.
--At that time, the Republicans were split between stalwarts and Half-Breeds (anti-stalwarts).  Stalwarts believed in the "spoils system", where you give government jobs to friends instead of people who earn them.  Garfield was an anti-stalwart, so his Vice-President was Chester A. Arthur who was a stalwart.
--On July 2nd, 1881 Garfield was shot while on his way to a College reunion by a stalwart supporter named Charles J. Guiteau.  Garfield was very weak, but lived for 2 more month, when eventually he died from his injuries on September 19th.
--After her husband's death, Lucretia settled with her children in Cleveland.  She never remarried, but was taken care of through private donations. Also, a former first lady, who had also been widowed, Julia Tyler, finally convinced the government to grant a pension to presidents' widows.

My Lucretia Garfield books:
-Lucretia Rudolph Garfield--Ann Heinrichs
-America's First Ladies--Diana Dixon Healy
-First Ladies--Betty Boyd Caroli
-First Ladies of the White House--Nancy J. Skarmeas

Previous Profiles:
-Eleanor Roosevelt
-Julia Grant
-Louisa Adams
-Frances Cleveland

Saturday, September 06, 2014

I Love Stephanie Plum!

--If you've never read one of Janet Evanovich's books about Stephanie Plum, you are missing out.

--If I had to describe the books, they are similar to Sue Grafton's series about private detective, Kinsey Milhone.  Yet, they are SO MUCH more! 

--Evanovich combines the mystery thrill that you'd get from a Sue Grafton or Mary Higgins Clark novel, and then adds A LOT of humor and romance to boot.

--The only peril about reading her books in public, is that you are constantly laughing out loud.  I often read them while waiting somewhere or while I'm working out at the gym.

--The characters are amazing.  Below are some quotes to help you learn a little bit about them and Evanovich's humor.

Stephanie's Life--
I have a hamster named Rex, a utilitarian apartment, and my toaster is broken.  My name is Stephanie Plum, and I work as a bond enforcement agent, also known as a bounty hunter, for my cousin Vinnie.

Truth is, I was a college graduate with no skills.  And after a bunch of years spent working as a bounty hunter I feared I was no longer especially smart.
Stephanie's Grandma--
She's lived with my parents since Grandpa Mazur took the big escalator to the heavenly food court in the sky.  Sometimes I think my father wouldn't mind seeing Grandma step onto that very same escalator, but I can't see it happening anytime soon.  Her steelgray hair was cut short and tightly curled on her head.  Her nails matched her bright red lipstick.  Her lavender-and-white running suit hung slack on her bony shoulders.
Stephanie's Dad--
My father paused with the tub of margarine in one hand and the butter knife in the other, and for an irrational moment I thought he might stab Grandma Mazur.
Stephanie's Mother--
Even before I touched the receiver the urge to scream told me it was my mother.
Grandma and I are a trial to her.  My mother tries hard to be a good Christian woman and a model of decorum, but Grandma and I not so much.  It isn't that we don't want to be decorous Christian women.  It's just that it doesn't always go that way.

I don't understand how you have all these accidents, my mother said.  I don't know of a single other person who's had his car blown up.
Stephanie's Cop Boyfriend--
Joe Morelli is one of those good surprises.  He's two years older than I am, and for most of my school years, spending time with Morelli was like a visit to the dark side, alluring and frightening.  He's a Trenton cop now, and he's my off-again, on-again boyfriend.  On the outside Morelli is still street tough and dangerously alluring.  On the inside Morelli is now the sexy guy with the toaster.
Stephanie's Mentor--
Sometimes I moonlight for a guy named Ranger who's extremely bad in an incredibly good way.  He's a security expert, and a bounty hunter, and he moves like smoke.  Ranger is milk chocolate on the outside...a delicious, tempting, forbidden pleasure.
Stephanie's awesome sidekick Lula--
Lula was a former hooker turned file clerk.  She'd just recently embarked on a makeover program that included dying her hair blond and then straightening it and recurling it into ringlets.  The transformation had her looking like a 230-pound black kick-ass Shirley Temple.

Lula swung her pocketbook in a wide arc and crashed it into Spiro's window, shattering the glass.  "Where there's a will, there's a way," she said.  My mouth dropped open, and when words finally came out they were in a whispered screech.  "I don't believe you did that! You just broke his window!"  "The Lord provides," Lula said.

I didn't just play the race card, Lula said.  I played the race card and the fat card.  BAM! My thinking is you gotta use what you got.  God didn't make me a big beautiful black woman for nothing.  I got cards to play.

No one gets through without a ticket, she said.  I don't care if you're a cop, the tooth fairy, or Jesus Christ.  That's blasphemy, Lula said to her.  You better watch what you say or you're going straight to hell.  God don't like people implying he needs a ticket.

--A movie was done on Evanovich's first book.  They originally were going to have Sandra Bullock play Stephanie Plum, which I think would've been a better pick.  But Katherine Heigl did a good job.  The guy they picked to play Ranger was great, but they could've done better with Morelli.

--All that said, I hope they plan on doing more movies based on her books.

--I have gotten numerous friends and even my mother to read the books, I highly recommend them!

Friday, September 05, 2014

When the Game Stands Tall--A Review

It’s as if life has taken more than it gives, and I am lost.--Coach Bob
 Every time you’ll answer the same thing:  Bellevue played better than us and we lost.  That’s football.  Don’t let it define who you are.  I truly believe the best things in life happen when we lose something or something challenging happens.--Coach Bob

It’s no longer about who the bigger, faster, stronger players are.  It’s about who plays with more heart.--Rival Coach 
 --I saw When the Game Stands Tall last night.  It is an amazing movie based on a true story.  I am a huge Jim Caviezel fan, and he did a great job in this.

--Christianity Today had this to say:
When the Game Stands Tall is based on the 2003 book of the same name by Neil Hayes, a sportswriter for the Contra Costa Times. I don’t how many clich├ęs are in the book, but if Hayes quotes De La Salle coach Bob Ladouceur at all, it’s certain to have some.

You get the idea. But here’s the thing: They’re (the cliche quotes) delivered with such sincerity that you believe them right along with the players. And not just because they’re so earnest, but because — at least at De La Salle High, and at least while Ladouceur was coach — they’re true. And because Ladouceur, a devout Catholic who also teaches religious studies at the school, lives out these ideals right before their eyes.

He’s the real thing. And Caviezel, also a devout believer, captures his subject very well — a coach who truly loves his players first as young men made in God’s image, and second as football players. Don’t get me wrong: Love alone won’t win football games. Ladouceur — who went 399–25-3 in his career before retiring last year — is a fantastic coach, and he has had incredible talent on his teams. But most of his players grew up to be exemplary young men, even the ones who didn’t play ball in college or the NFL.
--Besides being inspired by the Coach and what he taught the players, I was moved by the theme of how important it is to be a part of a team.  The same concept plays itself out in the military.  There is something about not facing life alone.

--I am definitely going to be reading the book.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Downton Abbey

--Downton Abbey is an amazing Jane Austen type TV series.  As soon as I started watching it, I couldn't stop.  I started watching it on Netflix a couple of months before the 4th season started.  I watched all 3 seasons in a short amount of time.

I'm a woman, Mary, I can be as contrary as I choose.--Dowager Countess

Don't be defeated, dear, it's very middle class.--Dowager Countess

We can't have him assassinated, I suppose.--Dowager Countess

I'd rather have the right man, than the right wedding.

I'm an American, I don't share your English hatred of comfort.--Cora Crawley

She's such a martyr.
Then we must tempt her with a more enticing scaffold.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

What is the What--A Review

--I have had a heart for Africa for awhile now.  Yet, even though I visited Senegal, West Africa, I have done more Africa posts about Sudan, than any other African country.

--Between the constant civil wars and the genocide in Darfur, there has been a lot of focus on Sudan, for those who cared to look.

--I heard a little about "the lost boys", but never made the connection that they were the lost boys of Sudan until I read Lopez Lomong's book, Running for my Life.

--What is the What is a very detailed account of Valentino Achak Deng's life, from when he was a child in Sudan with his family, to walking with other lost boys to Ethiopia, and then to a refugee camp in Kenya, and finally to the United States.

--It is amazing what Valentino survived as a child walking across Africa.  He was very fortunate, many, many other boys died.

--Yet, what one never thinks of, is how hard it might be for a "lost boy from Sudan" to adjust to life in the United States.  I'm sure many of us assume that once they get here, life would be easy.  But, just like the rest of us that live here, it is not always easy.

--I learned a lot and it just makes me want to learn more about the lost boys' plight and how they have survived.

--Valentino has continued his endeavor to help other lost boys and the people of Sudan, check out his foundation:
The Valentino Achak Deng (VAD) Foundation

Previous posts on Sudan:
--The Lost Boys of Sudan!
--Pray for Peace for Sudan
--Sudan--Global Day of Prayer!
--Horrific Flogging of Woman in Sudan!
--President Bush Fed up with UN's Lack of Action on Darfur
--Genocide in Darfur
--A review of Attack on Darfur

Monday, September 01, 2014

41 on 41--A Review

Photo Credit:

--CNN aired a remarkable 2 hour special sponsored by the Bush Presidential Library Foundation, on the life of George H.W. Bush this past Father's Day, June 15th, 2014.

--It is called 41 on 41, because there are 41 storytellers that talk about the life of the 41st president, George H.W. Bush.

The 41 Storytellers:
1) Brent Scowcroft--former National Security Advisor for Bush
2) George W. Bush--43rd President of the U.S.
3) Jeb Bush--former Governor of Florida
4) Jeb Bush Jr.--grandson
5) Pierce Bush--grandson
6) Marvin Bush--son
7) Neil Bush--son
8) Roger Ailes--former campaign advisor to Bush
9) James A. Baker III--former Secretary of State for Bush
10) Susan Baker--wife of James Baker and longtime family friend
11) Jean Becker--post-presidential chief of staff for Bush
12) Tom Brokaw--news anchor for NBC
13) Billy Busch--fishing companion
14) Doro Bush Koch--daughter
15) Andrew Card--former White House Deputy chief of Staff for Bush
16) Buddy Carter--White House butler
17) Dana Carvey--comedian
18) Bill Clinton--42nd President of the U.S.
19) Barack Obama--44th President of the U.S.
20) Michael Dannenhauer--former personal aide to Bush
21) David McCullough--historian and author (my personal favorite)
22) David Demarest--former W.H. communications director for Bush
23) Mike Elliott--U.S. Army Golden Knight
24) Marlin Fitzwater--former W.H. press secretary for Bush
25) Dr. Robert Gates--former director of the CIA under Bush
26) Bruce Gelb--classmate of Bush's at Phillips Andover Academy
27) Boyden Gray--former W.H. legal counsel for Bush
28) Brit Hume--former W.H. correspondent for ABC news
29) Sarah Jackson--alumna of Bush School of Government and Public Service
30) John Magaw--former director of U.S. secret service
31) Mike Krzyzewski--Duke University men's basketball coach
32) John Major--former Prime Minister of the U.K.
33) Chip Miller--former commander of the U.S.S. George H.W. Bush
34) Jim Nantz--sports commentator
35) Arnold Palmer--Hall of Fame golfer
36) Colin Powell--former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for Bush
37) Gabe Pressman--WNBC-TV correspondent
38) Dan Quayle--44th Vice President of the U.S.
39) Alan Simpson--former U.S. senator of Wyoming
40) Dr. Condoleezza Rice--former special assistant to Bush for national security
41) John Sununu--former W.H. chief of staff for Bush

--I have to say that I've never been overly impressed with Bush Sr.  I have always thought that his son was a much better president.  But I have to say that after watching this special, I do have a lot more respect for him as a man.

Things that impressed me:
 --How he treated all people.  He knew all of the W.H. staff's names and their loved ones names.  He showed a genuine interest in their lives.  He often wrote handwritten notes to people from all walks of life.  His grandson told of going through a tough time and when he went to his bedroom, there was a handwritten note from his grandfather encouraging him.

--Bruce Gelb, a classmate of Bush's at Phillips Andover Academy, tells a story about he was being bullied and Bush stood up for him.  Gelb said that Bush became a hero for him from that day forth.

--George W. talked about how he constantly tested the unconditional part of his father's love, and yet, it never wavered.

--David McCullough shared a story about admiring a signed photograph of Bush with Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams in the Rose Garden, when he had visited the Presidential Library and Museum.  After McCullough's visit, Bush mailed him the photograph.  McCullough was in awe of the president's generosity and he said the photograph is one of his family's treasures.

--Barbara Bush looks at her husband with such admiration.  She talks about how he is the greatest man and you can tell she means it.  She is a strong woman who loves her husband.  They have now been married longer than any other presidential couple.

--If you missed the special when it was on TV, go here to sign up for when the DVD becomes available.