My life has changed and this blog is closed. If you wish to follow my journey, you’ll find me here: One Widow’s Journey—a blog after life after loss



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Life is …

I’ll let you decide what life can be. For me life is sometimes a lonely walk, sometimes a bit tipped, sometimes difficult, heartbreaking more than I would like, yet every day is filled with “joy unspeakable and full of glory”. 1 Peter 1:7-9

Read more by following this link:

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2013 in Review

As 2013 comes to a close, so does this blog. I’m moving on to other things and won’t be able to keep up with “warm cookies”. Before I go, I’d like to end 2013 on a good note and do as many others have done … RECAP! Oh yeah, this is one of those “me, me, me” posts. ha ha ha

Let’s start with a photo taken recently:


And now the recap …

  1. I began the year by taking a tumble down the garage steps. Obviously I lived to tell about it, and nary a bone was broken.
  2. February saw the installation of a fantastic new stove in our house!
  3. March brought 5-6 inches of snow that lasted for a few days. We also took a drive on an old logging road and I was sure we’d never see civilization again. The biggest highlight was the birth of our great-nephew.
  4. In April I discovered that deer will rise up on their hind legs to eat pansies off my porch rail (a good 6 feet off the ground). I also walked our local bridge and took some grand photos. Best of all, I joined a Ladies Bible Study.
  5. May brought wonderful health news and a great walk at the lighthouse.
  6. June was celebrated with my retirement from a volunteer position. Hurray! We also enjoyed a hike at Cape Perpetua.
  7. In July I was able to photograph one of our local deer, up close and almost personal. The next day she mowed down my geraniums. Was she thanking me for invading her privacy, or warning me to leave her alone? No matter, my flowers were gone.
  8. Quilts and wooden boats were in abundance in August, although not at the same time or place. haha I also became a Beatles Song.
  9. September brought us 3 great storms in 2 days with around 5 inches of rain. Who knew that would be the last good rain for this season? Hopefully we’ll see more in 2014.
  10. Hubby and I celebrated 39 years together in October! I also began my great clean out and earned a new sewing machine in the process.
  11. November was busy with friends and I baked a lot of cakes for various events. I also began a new exercise program, and while I’m not always faithful on a daily basis, I feel better when I get to it.
  12. December has been grand with Christmas, friends, more baking and some excellent health news for us both (this health stuff becomes more important once you become a Beatles song). har har

Throughout the year hubby and I watched a bucket load of movies that ran the gamut of good, bad and horrid (you thought I’d say ugly, didn’t you? haha). I read books—not as many as last year, but still enjoyed some good reading time. If you’re curious, my book recap is here.

Out of all that happened in 2013, the best was celebrating 35 years as a Christian. On December 24, 1978, I sat in a hard ol’ wooden seat in the back of a little church and understood for the first time that I was sinner, lost and bound for hell (Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” and Romans 6:23a “For the wages of sin is death…”). With that came the glorious understanding that God had provided a gift—for me! (Romans 6:23b “…but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” and Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”) I bowed my head, confessed my sins to God and accepted Christ as my Savior. (Romans 10:13 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” and Romans 10:9,10 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”)

My life has never been the same. I still stumble and fall, I mess up, I say and do things I shouldn’t, fail to say and do things that I should, I’m not always happy with the path that I’m on … but my salvation is sure and God is always there with me—loving me, prodding me to straighten up and fly right, comforting me, encouraging me, and holding me in the palm of His hand.

What a grand year it has been! My prayer is that each and every one of you will have 2 birthdays to celebrate.

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2013 Book Review

2013 Reading Recap:
Total pages read: 12289 (approx. 3000 less than 2012)
Number of books read: 34 (16 less than 2012)
Chunksters (over 450 pages): 11 (3 more than 2012)
Genre breakdown:
Non-fiction: 5 (1 less than 2012)
General Fiction: 2
Mystery: 5 (big drop – 26 less than 2012)
Historical fiction: 2 (2 less than 2012)
Thriller/Spy: 15 (10 more than 2012)
Young Adult/Youth: 4
Pictures / Animal: 1 (couldn’t resist the “Lil Bub” book)

I met two of my reading goals and got to the halfway mark on the third. I reject 19 books, and that’s a record for me. Sadly, several were rejected 1/4 or 1/3 in to the story. One was rejected at the 90% spot because I could NOT take any more of the whole thing.

I had three “Top Reads”, and that’s less than in years past, but given how few books I read this year it’s still good. Here’s my recap of my top three books for 2013:

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech – This is the story of Salamanca Tree Hiddle (Chickabidee), her gramps and gram (Gooseberry), her friend Phoebe (Peeby), her mom, her dad and various other people she meets.

There is a trip cross country with a story within a story. You’ll see life in all it’s various stages played out. I found the characters captivating, believable, and lovable. I saw my own family in the story. I saw some of my friends, and I made new friends with every character in the book.

Considered young adult fiction (ages 12-18), the story has enough depth for most adults who simply enjoy a good read. When I finished the book, I sobbed for a good 30 minutes. It’s one the best books I’ve read this year, and it’s one of the worst books I’ve read this year. I recommend it, and do keep the tissues handy.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – Why did it take me so long to find this book? How did I even find out about this book? I wish I knew the answers to those questions. What a delightful read. Books, wizards, Google, secrets, codes, a touch of romance, travel, history and spies. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a modern day fairy tale. Or is it a modern day adventure? A thriller? It’s all of those and more!

Our protagonist, Clay Jannon, is out of work. He stumbles into Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and his life immediately changes. Rather than just sit and collect a paycheck, Clay discovers a need deep inside to solve the puzzle of the bookstore. He enlists the help of some friends, and takes us all on a fun adventure.

As a long ago user of Aldus PageMaker (now owned by Adobe), I loved the nod to Aldus Manutius. I loved the nods to modern computers and the tie in to old time printing. I laughed over some comments about print vs ebook, especially since I started out by reading a hard bound copy from the library and then bought the ebook and finished reading on my Kindle.

I found myself totally wrapped up in this story and it was hard to put the book down. When the final secret was revealed I smiled, wiped away a tear and thought, YES! This book was “the right book exactly, at exactly the right time.”

Overboard!: A True Blue-Water Odyssey of Disaster and Survival by Michael J. TougiasOverboard! is the heart-wrenching, heart-stopping, riveting telling of a 2005 maritime rescue involving two sail boats. The At Ease had set sail from Chesapeake Bay with Bob Cummings and Jerry McCarthy aboard. They are heading to Charleston, SC to sail in the Charleston to Bermuda Race.

The Almeisan holds Tom Tighe (captain and owner), Loch Reidy, first mate; and a three member paying crew of Chris Ferrer, Kathy Gilcrest and Ron Burd—all experienced sailors and all ready and eager for the experience of a blue-water trip to Bermuda.

While the main thrust of the story is about the souls onboard the two sail boats, it also involves several members of the U.S. Coast Guard. Tougias weaves them into the story in a grand way and I felt the stress and concern of every member of the U.S. Coast Guard rescue teams. I worried that they would all come home alive. I found their bravery and courage incredible and encouraging.

The story wouldn’t be complete without recognizing the captain and crew of the USNS Seay. Called into action by the US Coast Guard, this ship lead a search and rescue mission of four ships. Eventually the Seay came alongside and “protected” the Almeisan. The Seay also sailed to Boston with the Sakura Express, serving as an intermediary between the Sakura Express and the US Coast Guard. A great picture, that gives you a sense of the enormity of the seas and shows the Almeisan and Seay can be found here.

One of the other ships in the S&R, was the Sakura Express (a tanker carrying jet fuel and part of AMVER). They also showed courage and tenacity in rescuing those in the water. Their care and concern with those they picked up had me in tears.

Tougias has a wonderful talent for drawing the reader into the event so that I felt as though I was on the boat, in the water, and struggling to survive. I likely would have read this story in two days time, except I found it necessary to put it down in order to breathe, relax and focus on simple, every day, stress free happy events.

A rich, wonderful telling of a difficult true-life event. I highly recommend this book, and it is one of my top-reads for 2013.

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Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand (repost)

This was originally published as part of a “Book Meme” for Day 1: The best book you read last year. I’m bringing it forward, with the book title because it’s such a great book.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.
Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 496
Highly Recommend

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars, and it was one of my 4 top reads for 2011.

Unbroken is a wonderful book by a truly gifted author. The book tells a story that is filled with hope and despair, joy and sorrow, maltreatment and forgiveness.

Like American Nightingale by Bob Welch, and Salt In Our Blood by Michele Longo Eder, this is a difficult read, and not just because of the subject matter. The story is so well written, and the historical figures are so well developed, I felt as though I’d known them all my life; and deep inside I wished with all my heart that each of them would survive and live healthy, happy lives. I knew this wouldn’t happen, but still my heart hoped. So with the loss of each person, my heart broke and I would cry. Still I read on—I had to—for the future of others was still waiting for me.

My stomach would churn as I read about the POW camps and the treatment of these heroes. I find it strange that the world has long focused on the horrors of the Nazi POW camps and Jewish concentration camps of WWII, yet little is said about the horrors of the Japanese POW camps of WWII. Having heard Kay Friederichsen speak at a woman’s retreat, I’d already heard about the treatment of some people in Japanese camps; but never did I dream it was worse than what Kay had shared. I hurt as I read the story of Louis Zamperini in the camps. I ached as I read the story of Louie once he returned home and he let his life fall apart. While I can see the reasons for his emotional pain, there were times when I wanted to find him and shake him.

Then I read about Louie’s salvation. As I got to the paragraph where Billy Graham extends a personal invitation to Louie, I remembered all those nights that my family sat and listened to Billy Graham (TV and radio). How often I heard him say something so similar. I remembered my dad telling about the night he went forward. I remembered the teen crusade I attended and how my heart longed for the peace of Christ. As I read the words, “ ‘This is it,’ said Graham. ‘God has spoken to you. You come on.’ ”, my heart rejoiced. The horrors shared in the book washed away. The sadness and despair lifted from my shoulders and I rejoiced. Louie had finally found the joy and love he had so long sought.

What a testimony his life is. Would I find it in my heart to forgive as he has? I’m not sure I would. I’ve faced far less in my life and have had a hard time letting go of the bitterness.

How often in life we fail to see that God is polishing us and preparing us for what is ahead. For surely He knows our future and what we will face. He knows how we will fail, yet He loves us still and stands with us—holding us up when we don’t even realize it. Just as He loved Louie and held him up.

Such a wonderful book. One that has renewed the joy within my heart.

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Foreign Influence by Brad Thor


Book #28
Foreign Influence
Thor, Brad

Genre: Thriller/Spy
Pages: 560 (chunkster)

This is my second read of this book, with the first being July 2010; and while I wasn’t quite as blown away with the story this time (too recent of a read for me to be totally surprised and *I wasn’t surprised by the ending this time), I still think my comment from then is good:

My jaw actually dropped open at the ending. Oh. My. Word! I never saw that coming*. Thor’s best book ever – bar none. Best quote? The very, very, very last 2 sentences of the book (in the Acknowledgments – speaking of his wife, Trish): “Thank you, honey. I love you.”

This book was timely in 2010, it’s even more so today. Recommend the book and the series.

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September Wrap Up

Grand month. Weather was lovely, we were able to take some nice drives, enjoyed dinner with friends and flat out had a good time. The end of the month saw the real arrival of fall, with a hint of winter and we enjoyed 3 great storms in 2 days: wind (70-80mph stuff), around 5 inches of rain—give or take an inch, lost power for a bit, and survived it all. Fun stuff.

My favorite picture this month is my new banner. Such a busy bee. Spotted him while on our way to dinner with friends. We were late while I photographed. Fortunately our friends understand my quirks.

We enjoyed loads of good movies (reviews HERE), and I read five good books. Spoiler-less reviews ahead, but first the statistics.

September: total pages: 1673; 5 books (no rejects)
2013 Recap to date:
Total pages read: 10573
Number of books read: 27
Chunksters (over 450 pages): 10
Non-fiction: 4
Fiction: 1
Mystery: 3
Historical fiction: 1
Thriller/Spy: 14
Young Adult/Youth: 3
Pictures / Animal: 1

September Books:
Book #23
Fatal Forecast: An Incredible True Tale of Disaster and Survival at Sea by Tougias, Michael J.

Genre: Non-fiction
Pages: 244

Not quite as good as Overboard!, but still a most compelling read. Tougias give depth to each person in the story.


Book #24
Lil BUB’s Lil Book: The Extraordinary Life of the Most Amazing Cat on the Planet Hardcover by Lil BUB

Genre: Pictures / Animal
Pages: 128

Little book filled with 128 totally delightful pages of pics of “Lil BUB” on an adventure. Brings a smile to my face. Buy it. Buy several and give them away. You’ll be glad you did.


Book #25
The Apostle by Thor, Brad

Genre: Thriller/Spy
Pages: 357

Review is HERE.

Book #26
Fire Along the Sky by Donati, Sara

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
Pages: 688 (chunkster)

Review is HERE.

Book #27
Secrets at Sea by Peck, Richard

Genre: Youth
Pages: 256

I’ll admit that having spent months last year dealing with mice in our car and then rats in our garage (thanks to a neighbor who wasn’t dealing with their garbage), reading a story where mice are the main characters was almost too much to bear; but Peck created charming mice within an endearing story. Totally fun read and a nice break from the heavier read for the month.


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