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WALLFLOWER BLOOMING: A Romantic Story ~Amy Rivers

Monday, December 12th, 2016

TLC Book Tours sent me an e-copy of WALLFLOWER BLOOMING for review.  It is a nice read and is a variation of traditional romance as it includes a good amount of information about depression, anxiety, and control issues surrounding the heroine of the story.  Equal parts self-actualization and romance.

Val Shakely has her own business and her quiet and unassuming routines.  She runs a successful PR firm and has a life, which is contained within her comfort zone.  She has misread her sister and her mother after her father’s death and is glad they are not in the same city anymore.  Val enjoys her outgoing cousin Gwen’s energies and holds her as a dear friend.

Gwen has entered a tight race for Mayor of their city and has asked Val to be her PR person and attend many functions.  This opens up Val’s social life and makes her feel vulnerable and quite anxious as she re-arranges her carefully scheduled routines.  This also allows for the quiet city bachelor to discover her existence and join her routines and expand her comfort zones.

Although the politics get a bit over the top for Val and threats are made, she stands up when she needs to and learns a great many coping skills.  She becomes almost fearless as the race progresses and then begins to reconnect with her mother and sister and figure out the truth of the situation surrounding her father’s death.

Communication is good and solves many problems.  Being loved and adored by someone special makes the book light and smooth.  The story allows one to discover some extra problem-solving skills and shed light on better coping skills.  An enjoyable afternoon read.

About the Author:

“Amy Rivers was born and raised in southern New Mexico and currently resides in Colorado. She had an idyllic childhood despite a severe visual impairment and, perhaps because of her disability, she learned a lot about compassion and empathy from a young age. Her keen interest in social issues and violence prevention led to a Master’s degree with concentrations in Psychology and Politics. She was the director of a sexual assault response program and remains an advocate for social justice. Amy has been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses, Novelty Bride Magazine, ESME.com and Splice Today. Wallflower Blooming is her first novel.” (From TLC review page)

Amy Rivers Website
Amy Rivers Facebook
Amy Rivers Twitter

Paris Time Capsule
The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty

MY COUNTRY ‘TIS OF THEE: My Faith, My Family, Our Future ~ Keith Ellison

Monday, April 7th, 2014

The First Muslim American Elected to Congress:

“When Americans are challenged, we generally rise to the occasion.  When we’re fearful, we generally become divided.  When we’re courageous and have good leadership, we unite.”

MY COUNTRY ‘TIS OF THEE is about being the first to do something.  In this book we discover the backstory of what it is like to be the first Muslim to be elected to Congress in the USA.  This is a significant story of how one accomplishes any action of being first to succeed. I believe the story is even more important because Ellison was born a US citizen and is from a family of many generations of US Citizens.  Minnesota’s 5th District Congressional Representative was born in Detroit to an educated couple and was the middle son of a family of 5 sons.  His mother is a devout Catholic and in a professional career, his father was a free-spirit and a psychologist.  One of his brothers is a Baptist Pastor and almost all have law degrees. Ellison became Muslim during college because the peaceful nature of the religion and the daily practices and study helped him center and mature as an adult.

“If I was going to complain about injustice, didn’t I have an obligation to try to fix it?  Complaining without offering a solution is whining.”

Keith Ellison went to college and then to Law School.  He went to fine colleges and participated in all the offerings.  He did not go to the Ivy League and did not attempt to be someone else.  He practiced law, got married, shared life with 4 children, worked within his community, and practiced his faith.  He recognized when he made miss steps and mistakes, acknowledged those actions and then worked to improve his balance.  He became an astute judge of comments and assertions which were false, racist, and sexist and he looked to educate and expose rather than shout and whine.

“Islam teaches that men and women are equal before God.  So why do we have these draconian laws subjugating women in some Islamic nations?  Because people confuse faith with customs, laws, and politics.”

I finished the book believing that Ellison was a good representative for his district in Minnesota and he was a focused individual about what was good for democracy and all the citizens of our country.  He is knowledgeable about many faiths, politics, communities and the law and I think he serves his country well and with great hope.  He represents his whole district and their needs and wants.  At this time, he is not one of the political “stars”, but rather a solid representative doing the best he knows how to do.  If he can remain in office, I believe we will eventually describe him as a Statesman for our time.

Net Galley sent an uncorrected proof copy of this book via KINDLE and asked that I review it.  It was an interesting story and I am grateful for the opportunity to read it and share MY COUNTRY ‘TIS OF THEE with my readers.

Keith Ellison on Wikipedia
Keith Ellison on Facebook

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The Lemon Treex 
Revere Beach Elegy
Moyers On Democracy
The Social Animal

Postcard Alive!

Monday, October 15th, 2012
Mount Rainier and Tipsoo Lake

Mount Rainier and Tipsoo Lake

We backed out of the garage into the grey morning light and left sea level for the heights.  By the time we reached the rain shadow of the Cascades, it was doing just that.  The car kept ascending even though we were going through the small communities in the foot hills and had not left the areas of civilization and Saturday errands.

The highway became two lanes and steeply moved us into the canopy of Evergreens lining the sides of the road.  Rain cleared. There was the sign telling us that we were entering the National Park and we were almost alone on our way.  As we ascended spectacular views began to appear of the deep valleys and rivers rushing below, the clouds lazily drifting up through the heavily forested hillsides and to the blue sky telling of the heat on just the other side of this Mountain Pass.  Clear, pristine blue sky beckoning.

Although it was before noon, we stopped at Chinook Pass – Lake Tipsoo and pulled into the parking lot to stretch our legs and breathe deeply the fresh cloudy air.  We did not take our Naches Peak hike or climb onto the Pacific Crest Trail, instead we circled the small parking lot a few times and then sat at the picnic tables to eat our lunch.  On the table was posted a sign about keeping the Wild Life WILD and we promised to do our part.  A fellow on a bicycle stopped for a rest, water and a small visit; he was ready for the winding decent on the highway with almost no shoulders; cut out rock wall on one side and dramatic drop-offs on the other and of course the cars.

Another pause, as we said a small prayer of gratitude for the beauty and a wee word for the spirit of the Ambassador who was recently killed in Syria and whose Great Grandfather was the Chief of the Chinook Nation; it was the right thing to do.

We descended into the desert of the Yakima (Yak eh mah) Valley and the cloudless 80 degree autumn day.  We followed the river and were amazed to see and refresh our knowledge at the massive orchards, grape vines, hops and wineries that have bloomed in this area for so many years.  We were going to the Central Washington State Fair to celebrate what would have been a 96th birthday at the best party she always attended.

Fair was okay.  Fair was extremely crowded.  Company and conversation was very good. Best part of the fair was observing the full moon rise over the bare, golden, pink, purple hills into the forest fire haze of color and then into the clear blues of the night sky.  WOW.

Now we return home and once again ascend the Mountain Pass from the other side.  There is not a cloud in the sky and a great many people are hiking the trails and around the lake.  As we approach the lake a brown bear runs across the road into the meadow on the other side of the road and then disappears into the tree line of the Pacific Crest Trail.  I could not get my camera in position in time to snap a picture and young bear just wanted to get away from all the folks in the parking area and in a hurry.

My heart and eyes were amazed by the sheer beauty of the sights on the mountain.  The ground cover turning maroon, the Queen Ann’s lace still gracing the roadway, and the numerous waterfalls just a rock cut away.  The peak of the mountain in it’s snowy glacier wrap caught the sun and the blue background with perfection.  It was the real thing and yet there was perfection to its nature.

As we left the park and entered the town beyond the gates I began to discover a sadness which has not left me.  To think if one man is voted into office in November 100 million acres of this treasure will be sold and clear cut, if one man is voted to be Governor of this state another huge part of our State Park system will be demolished and sold.   Apparently we are paying too much for these earthly gifts, and they could make one or two people a great deal of money, and this would help the National Debt….

….sometimes we do not know what we’ve lost until it’s gone.

Have you lost something that you did not realize until it was gone?

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s  from this site, I will receive a few beans in my bucket!  Thank you.  Donations are also welcomed.

Related Reading:
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake 

Fevered Pitch

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

I was sitting in the waiting room at the Doctor’s office, reading on my cell phone.  The room was packed as there was a school sports physicals clinic going on in one wing of the office.  The woman next to me coughed several times; one of those deep, throaty smokers’ coughs and then leaned over to listen to the conversation going on the other side of her.

Two mature women had driven quite a distance to come to this clinic for their healthcare and they were hoping that it was going to be a good move for them.  They both read the sign that said:  IF YOU HAVE BEEN WAITING MORE THAN 15 MINUTES PAST YOUR APPOINTMENT TIME COME AND TALK TO THE RECEPTIONIST.  Both women thought that they should be seen at the appointed time and not have to double check in. They both were quite agitated and concerned about being in such a clinic.  They were treating this morning as some kind of test and were already upset.   The woman next to me was becoming agitated and began talking to me.

Her clinic at home was not so neat and tidy, as a matter of fact it was awful but she never had to wait for more than 30 minutes.  There were lots of ethnic backgrounds represented in the waiting room and this seemed to bother this woman and make her worried.  One Doctor and the nurse with a Doctorate both came into the waiting room and spoke Spanish to several of the patients.  Vietnamese was spoken by the Lab Technician and the Tribal Interpreter was there for the sports clinic families.  The woman next to me began telling me how all these immigrants were coming to town, having babies to be citizens, and then never working but getting on welfare.  Where was all this “Obamacare” going – it was going to all the illegal people on welfare and their citizen born children, from her taxes.  She grabbed on to my arm and suggested that the clinic might not respect her as a patient.  My name was called and I went back to my appointment.

When I came back out, the woman left with me and began talking again and I waited with her by her car and I believe I settled her agitation and asked if the care at her home clinic had been adequate for her? She said yes and she was going back there to be treated better even though she did not feel well or want to see an Arab doctor again.  I shared with her that I had waited 2 hours my last visit because a new baby was entering the world and my doctor was the attending; a nurse was not available.  I reminded her that the Affordable Health Care Act did not go into effect for most adults until 2014.  She was not going to pay for any of” those” people’s health care and I said I didn’t mind paying for them and suggested she take that worry off her list.  She calmed and drove off.
I proceeded to the library to get a book on hold.  The library was not open until 11am and at 10:30 quite a line had formed, including an older woman who went on and on about immigrants who did not work and had babies who became citizens and Obama was giving away all our tax money to immigrants and she thought if he won the election she would die. She was angry that she paid taxes and the library was not open earlier.  There would be nothing left of her and her hard work and efforts.   She would kill herself if Obama was elected. She was on fire – seething with anger.

I sat down on the bench near the door and patted the seat for her to join me.  I shared with her that I too was worried about the election but that in my 60+ years I had a number of times been worried about an election and what it would mean for me, and I survived and moved forward and chose my worries with a different view.  What would her worry accomplish?  What would her death accomplish?

I asked her if she was on Medicare and Social Security. Her answer was yes.  I told her I was a child of immigrants born into US citizenship that I was born with cancer so was a pre-existing condition all of my years.  The woman showed empathy for my situation and then said, “but you are white and not on welfare!” and went on with her business as fast as she could get away.

A young librarian asked me why I was wasting my time on this woman.  I thought she was unsafe to drive she was so angry.  He told me to go watch the new Republican ad that had just come out against Obama.   I came right home and looked it up.  Yep!  There were all the “lines” these two women were spewing out.  I fact checked 11 items in the ad and the first 7 were debunked false statements.  It was also the most overtly racist ad I had seen in a long time and it was powerfully suggesting that not only were “those” people ruining the USA but that our President was a negative racist.

Who is taking responsibility for putting folks into such a fevered pitch?  Where has our humanity, respect and kindness gone?  Do you ever just feel disgusted and as though there is nothing you can do?

If you purchase anything from Amazon or Powell’s from this blog site I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.

Related Reading:
Agenda for A New Economy 
Women Wars