Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Last Original Wife by Dorothea Benton Frank

This 2014 release by Dorothea Benton Frank takes us on the journey of those who are looking for a new beginning in life.  The question is how they choose to move on?  Would you agree with their choices?  How would those choices affect the others in their lives?


Wesley and Leslie Carter are in therapy but for very different reasons.  Leslie goes at the behest of her husband Wesley.  Does she really have anything to fix?  Is she justified in her feelings of not wanting to hang out with the new wives in their circle that are more their daughter’s age?  What about her accident in Scotland?    Wesley sees no need to make any changes that might reflect on his family.  He accepts everything the way that it is.  Why does anything need to change?

My Thoughts: 

This novel was not my favorite by Dorothea Benton Frank.  It is funny!  It is entertaining!  I feel that readers will find an escape with this novel.  It is set in both the cities of Atlanta and Charleston.  I also had the opportunity to listen to it.  I love Robin Miles as a narrator because of the negative tone.   This novel was partly based off of a true story that occurred in Ms. Frank’s life.

Leslie Carter the wife in this novel I could identify with as a character.  I loved her journey throughout the novel.  She steps up and takes happiness as a something that is important her.  How often do we sacrifice for others?  And not think of ourselves?



Please visit Dorothea Benton Frank on her Facebook page, Twitter, and her Website.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Did You Know?

There is much hope for those of us who are fighting this battle!  We are going to win!  Cancer treatment is not what it was twenty years ago. Yes, you can survive Stage three Inflammatory Breast Cancer. 

Here is a little of what currently is happening in the world of cancer care:

The American Cancer Society continues its research and has helped reduce deaths in Breast Cancer by 32%.

Here is an article by the Orange County Register that discusses the advances in Breast Cancer in the last 20 years. I did not know myself what the possibilities would be for my care. 

Duke University hospital has been also studying Inflammatory Breast Cancer. In this new article they have a drug that is promising in Inflammtory Breast Cancer.

There are many positives in the research field!  I thank you all for following my journey!  We will get back to my story next week.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Escape Into a Good Book: Children & Reading

As avid readers, we don’t need much convincing to escape into a good book! But what about the
children in our lives? With television, movies, and games, how can novels compete?

For this month’s special series on Jencey’s blog, here’s a look back at how I helped make it happen for my two boys! It’s my hope that you’ll find some valuable tips and inspiration if you’re looking to introduce books into that special child’s life!

10 Ways to Encourage Children to Embrace the Joy of Reading

This summer, my older son went along on a family vacation with his best friend. In June, they drove to Tennessee, home to picturesque lakes and streams, lovely mountains, and fresh air. The only downside? The ten-hour trip to Knoxville.

After making sure he’d packed his toothbrush, tennis shoes, and a bathing suit, I asked him one final question before he went out the door:

“Did you pack books?”

When he reported that he’d packed not just one, but two thick novels, I knew that he’d be entertained along the highway. He even shared that he planned to read one book on the way to Tennessee, and the other on the way back.

But, my older son wasn’t always a book lover. Until the second grade, he turned his nose up at assigned reading in middle school, dismissed paperbacks, and ignored hardcover books—unless it was bedtime and I was the one reading stories.

For an author, especially, raising a child that doesn’t innately crave the written word was a bit of an anomaly. Thoughts like “Where did I go wrong?” and “What can I do?” often crept into my head. And while having a son with his own interests and hobbies is great, not to mention necessary for growth into a stable adult, I desperately wanted my child to experience the wonder and joy of reading great books.

Within the next year, everything changed. Baby number two arrived and I adjusted our lifestyle. In addition, I researched reading and children and talked to a lot of other moms. I also made sure to approach the subject of books with a positive attitude, not pressure.

I’m happy to report that I now have two avid readers. If you’re struggling with getting your child to open a book, or simply want some new ideas to boost your child’s interest in reading, here’s what worked well for me:

1. Set a good example. As you know, kids see and absorb everything. I remember my mother and father reading at home, on vacation, and whenever we traveled. Since my boys were little, I’ve always had an audiobook going in the car, have a stack of hardcovers and paperbacks by the bed, and have my Kindle loaded with books. They’re even used to seeing me fold laundry listening to my latest Audible purchase, and always stop to ask me about the book I’m listening to, especially if I laugh out loud at a funny part.

2. Read to your child. Reading to your child before bedtime allows kids to relax and unwind after a long, busy day. They also benefit from hearing correct pronunciation and having new words explained. Make it a habit, and you’ll enjoy this special time to cuddle, read, and talk. My younger son, now ten, still insists on being read to every evening, though he finished the entire Maze Runner series by himself last week.

3. Turn off the television. When I was a child, my parents kept the TV off all summer, every summer. While I wasn’t thrilled at eight years old, at 28, I discovered it was the best gift they could have given me. As a mom, I’m not quite that strict, but we don’t subscribe to cable either. I’ve found that while my boys have permission to occasionally watch Netflix or YouTube, they rarely reach for the remote.
4. Go to the library. Allow your kids to have their own library card and choose their own books.
That way, it gives them autonomy, they learn which authors they really love, and they get excited about going back for more. It’s free, and of course, I also leave with my own stack of books. If I get an occasional fine for an overdue book, I chalk it up to a donation to a worthy cause.

5. What Do Other Kids Love? Getting my older son interested in reading was tough, until we heard that his friends were deep into Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus, Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black’ Spiderwick Chronicles, and later, James Patterson’s Maximum Ride. Searching the Internet is fine for gathering bestseller lists, but it’s more likely you’ll discover a great new author through word of mouth and recommendations from friends.

6. Find a series. Kids often become book lovers after discovering a series. I am not joking at all when I tell people that my younger son and I own and have read the first thirty-five books in the Magic Treehouse series; both boys have also enjoyed Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief books. And remember, what your first child loves isn’t necessarily what your second child will adore. Discovering just the right books might involve some trial and error.

7. What does your child love? If your child adores magic and medieval times, try books about King Arthur’s court. If your daughter can’t get enough about nature, search out books about African jungles and the Rocky Mountains. Consider getting a subscription to National Geographic Kids—magazines count as reading, too! Librarians and booksellers are fantastic helping parents find books on any topic. When my younger child went through a pirate phase, we bought a stack of nonfiction books about ships, pirate history, and swords.

8. Don’t Fret over Funny: Some parents worry about popular titles like Dork Diaries, Captain Underpants, How to Eat Fried Worms, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid that include humor, a few gross references, and a lot about kids getting into trouble. My advice? Remind your child that the wild and zany adventures aren’t real—they live in the author’s imagination. You can also start a gentle conversation about consequences. Ask what might happen if similar adventures really happened at your child’s school.

9. Give Graphic Novels and Comics a Whirl. The Secret Service: Kingsman, The Maze Runner, Star Wars, and even My Little Pony top the 2015 hottest new releases on Amazon’s Comics and Graphic Novels list. And don’t necessarily turn up your nose at Comics. Minecraft, Minions, The Babysitters Club, and Batman can inspire your child to read. It worked for my older son, and soon led to him devouring more complex paperbacks and hardcovers.

10. Try digital. If you have a boy or a reluctant reader, have your child try a Kindle, Nook, or iPad. I prefer e-readers with the look of a book, like the Kindle Paper White, and those that allow you to “flip” pages. If you’re traveling or heading off on vacation, there’s also no issue with space or packing too many books in the car. After trying e-books with my two boys, both still prefer paperbacks, but it’s just a personal choice.

Best of luck on your journey to growing an avid reader. A genuine love of books pays so many dividends over a lifetime.
Perhaps the best reward for me was hearing both my boys as we left a movie theater recently after
viewing a much-anticipated “book-into-movie” adaptation. As we walked out into the parking lot to head for home, my older son stated, quite clearly, that he wasn’t particularly thrilled with the film. The ride home was spent comparing and contrasting the book and movie, dissecting which crucial scenes were left out of the film, and why the characters on the screen didn’t match the description in the novel.

As we pulled into our driveway, my boys folded their arms and announced in unison, “The book was so much better.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Laura adores hot coffee, good manners, the color pink, and novels that keep her reading past midnight. She believes in the beauty of words and paying it forward. Laura is a fan of balmy summer nights, fireflies, and pristine mountain lakes. She lives near Tuscaloosa, Alabama with her two sons.

 You can find Laura Tweeting @Lauramcneillbks and blogging at Laura’s new suspense novel, Center of Gravity, can be found wherever fine books are sold.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Is There Joy In Suffering?

This is the first question that I asked my friend Marcus who is a good friend and in a way my pastor.  He shared with me a devotional that that said to control what you can control and let the rest go.  I wonder if this is what God meant when he said that He would provide but in in a different way.  Later that summer I had an opportunity to hear a pastor that I have set under before Ken Baugh give a talk on Joy in Suffering. 
I won’t say that these days have been easy.  I also cling to two verses. 

   Jeremiah 29:11

“For I know the plans I have for you, ‘says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”


Psalm 23

“The Lord is my shepherd: I have everything I need.  He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams.  He renews my strength, He guides me along right paths; bringing honor to his name.  Even when I walk through the valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.  Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.  You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.  You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil.  My cup overflows with blessings.  Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.”

Clinging to God’s word is important to me because it is his plan.  I can only take things day by day.  I also felt him speak to me that he has a plan for survival.    I cannot give you a step by step list of what this means.   Many of my close friends would tell you that I am a planner and would like to know what this specifically entails.   I am trying to have faith and learn to trust through this most difficult period of my life.  I have my doubts as well but know that god is faithful.  He is working a process within me that will help others.