2018 – Three Words to Live By, an update

Last December as I usually do I reflect on the past year and prepare to become better, if possible, in mind, body and spirit: 2018 – Three Words to Live By. This year I decided to review my yearly plan much like businesses do to stay on track to meet the goals and objectives for the new year.

My approach for 2018 or mission statement is to live by three words: frugality, grace and truth.

Frugality

At this stage in the game of life I decided I had no time to waste, no money to waste, and in reality; no creative cells to waste. In whatever time God has for me to fulfill the purpose he has given me. Earlier this year I adopted a mantra, I only want what God wants for me.”

No time to waste

My husband, Vinny Sal and I decided to list our cottage in northern Michigan for sale on April 9th. We would take advantage of the seller’s market and decide where, when, and how to invest the proceeds. Invest in upgrades for our primary home, invest in a future retirement home, or bank it until later. We had no idea what development was coming our way only 3 days later.

“I only want what God wants for me.”

This mantra is what got me through yet another employer announcing their dissolution of the company in April of this year… 3 days after my birthday… On Friday, April 13th, the company made the news public.

My response was 180 degrees different when the same thing occurred in 2009. I was calm, cool and collected.  I knew that God was working on my behalf for a better opportunity than the one I just lost. That was my attitude. The evening of the company’s announcement, I updated my resume and immediately began my search.

Within days I had several interviews lined up. On April 25th, I was invited to interview for a position outside of the industry I was in which was my prayer at the time. I was “frugal” in my thinking… no climbing ladders… no compensation package that met certain personal requirements… no, it was simply, “God, place me where you want me.”

“God, place me where you want me.”

On May 29th, I started a new position earning less money but with advancement opportunities if I wanted to take advantage of them. Although earning less income for the time being, I am still able to continue having all my monthly obligations on auto-pay which I had setup in January.

While no company is above dissolving due to wide ranging economic factors or board of director’s view of “going in another direction,” I will joyfully serve where God has placed me for however long that may be.

No time to spend

I came across the blog, Frugalwoods and an article written by Mrs. Frugalwoods, 19 Reasons Why Frugality Is the Best Thing That’s Ever Happened to Me. 

Mrs. Frugalwoods spoke to my mind, body and spirit in her blog post of May 17, 2018. Since the beginning of the year, my attempt at frugality has taught me that Mrs. Frugalwoods was spot on in her blog post. Although I admit I am still working on her number 14 reason. I have Mrs. Frugalwoods 19 Reasons posted in my office and saved on my iPhone when I have that urge to splurge.

Grace

In my initial post on December 17th, 2018 – Three Words to Live By, I didn’t realize then how the quotes, my personal initiative, “The Watering Can – Helping All of God’s Creature’s Thrive” would become central to the first six months of 2018.

As I quoted then, and it bears repeating for many reasons:

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

As Thomas Merton was quoted as saying, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

Grace in action is about serving those who need my gifts. Kindness in action is living the commandment,‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’’’ Matthew 22:39

I was happy to help a few of co-workers rewrite their resumes. I used to write resumes as a side-line gig after I lost my job in 2009. My small way of helping my co-workers potentially find their new career has blessed me as much as those who, like me have found employment quickly. I’m not suggesting my resume writing made the difference, but it is a confidence booster nonetheless when anyone can present their value and what they can offer to an organization without hesitation.

In March, our beloved Barkley blew out a disc in his back and required surgery. Frugality helped us being able to afford over $6,500 in medical costs so our fur-baby would not be paralyzed for life. He will never be a 100% in his walking or running abilities, but we are overjoyed that we still have our faithful companion. Sadly, many pet owners would have faced the tough decision of raising the money through other means or having to put their pet down because of the medical costs.

Truth

If there is one thing I am certain living my truth in mind, body and spirit has been the biggest blessing. I could not have reached this point in my life without faith through Christ because he gives me the confidence to live my truth each day.

A recent post on my Facebook page, The Prayer Journals, I posted: “Don’t worry about expressing your faith. Those who God wants to listen will hear. You may be someone’s angel.” There have been angels here on earth that I know God sent to help me to listen to him. And there are probably more angels that I didn’t even recognize helped me to feel God’s presence in my life.

Mind

Writing is my passion and I hope in some ways it is a gift. I have three blogs. The Blogging Owl, The Prayer Journals, and The Owl Poet. And I have convinced my husband, Vinny Sal to collaborate with me on another one which I think we will have fun doing together, The Corked Owl. We hope to be posting soon on wine, spirits, food and fun.

Reading, writing and poetry. It’s what keeps me sane… or going insane.

Body

I continue to struggle with my health and weight. Early this year, I went through a battery of tests and MRIs. There was a serious prognosis of MS, Multiple Sclerosis, gratefully, that would not be the case. Autoimmune diseases are tricky and mine, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can present itself in different and devastating ways. But I stay positive in prayer and with practice.

Spirit

Six months into 2018, Vinny Sal and I have not found our faith community with regards to finding a church we are eager to attend each week. I’ll be honest. We’ve been lazy. This is the most critical part of my 2018 mission plan and I am failing. God has been good… and patient… and I pray He directs us to where he wants us to attend and to serve.

My spiritual journey continues in my prayer journal in writing my spiritual memoir.

Spirit of Faith

In the remaining year

I succeeded and failed in the first half of 2018. Looking forward to living more successfully in these three words: Frugality, Grace and Truth.

Cheers!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

 

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

Review: The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

Looking for a book to read for your vacation at the beach?

Or perhaps a book to read for your next flight across country or abroad?

The woman in the windowThe Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn, published by Harper Collins, New York, New York is a spellbinding novel that I was unable to put down from start to finish. Written in a diary-like format, the book takes you into the life of Anna Fox, a psychologist who is a recluse in her New York City home.

I’m not going to keep you in suspense, but this author will right to the very end.

A.J. Finn’s debut novel, The Woman in the Window earns a 5-HOOT rating from this reader.

Anna Fox is a psychologist who has  agoraphobia. She exists day by day peering through the windows of her home examining and often photographing the lives of her neighbors. When she’s not studying her neighbors, she binges on watching old movies, drinks too much red wine that she mixes with a small pharmacy prescribed by her therapist.

A new family, the Russells move in across the park. In addition, Anna takes in a somewhat mysterious tenant who resides in the bottom of her multi-level home. Together, these new inhabitants in her small world create a havoc for Anna, who believes something tragic has happened in the Russell home. Her agoraphobia complicates her discovering if what she thinks is real, her imagination or what others believe is just a case of paranoia brought on by her diet of wine and pills.

Author A.J. Finn is poetic in his weaving of his psychological thriller. The writing is beautiful and the tempo of building the suspense is spellbinding. What a grand debut novel. I cannot wait for his next book. Please, Mr. Finn don’t make your new fans wait too long.

Hoot Rating

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Murder, Crime

On a scale of 1 to 5 HOOTS, The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn earns a 5-HOOT hoot rating.

Happy Reading!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

Review: The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper

I like watching Jake Tapper as anchor of State of the Union on CNN. He is also CNN’s chief Washington correspondent and the anchor of The Lead Jake Tapper. Not only is he a respected reporter, he is also the author of four books, including the New York Times bestseller The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor.

The Hellfire ClubTo be honest, I have not read his previous four books, but I like Jake Tapper. I think he is an honest reporter and a capable anchor, so I was interested in reading his debut political thriller, The Hellfire Club published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc., New York, New York.

The book, The Hellfire Club is set in the 1950’s about a secret society and a freshman Congressman by the name of Charlie Marder. Charlie Marder is a World War II veteran and academic that clearly seem in over his head or perhaps just naïve unlike his father’s connections who helped him attain his unlikely seat in Congress.

Charlie’s wife, Margaret pregnant with their first child. She is not your average 1950’s housewife, but a zoologist who is studying the wild ponies on Susquehannock (in reality, the island name is actually Assateague) Island in Maryland. Little does Charlie and Margaret know that both of their worlds will collide as this political secret society has their own ways of getting things done in Washington.

A Slow Start

Firstly, when I read a book, any book, I do not flip through it nor do I read any portion of the book before I begin reading the first page through to the last page. (I’ll explain in just a moment.)

Jake Tapper’s debut thriller starts out slow, so slow that in this reader’s opinion, the reader doesn’t begin to feel the tension mount until about two-thirds of the way into the book. But I must confess I took issue with Mr. Tapper’s liberties with history. In fact, I have a bone to pick beginning on page 124:

“They stopped at the crosswalk of Independence Avenue, where the driver of a red convertible Mustang honked at them.”

Do you see the transgression in that sentence?

The automobile, the Mustang did not make its’ debut until April 17, 1964. The story was set in the 1950s. Do you know why that bugs me so much?

I grew up in Michigan. I live right outside of Detroit, The Motor City. My father worked for a subsidiary of the Ford Motor Company and we only had Ford cars and trucks in our driveway growing up on the farm. Another reason this faux pas annoys me is that I have always wanted a Mustang convertible, 1964 model painted Ford blue. (Are the readers in Maryland a little miffed about Assateague Island miscue?)

Another point I took issue with was the name of an industrial company that Charlie Marder did not want to receive federal funds because of the company’s rubber seal failed in the gas masks by soldiers in France particularly one young private named Rodriguez.

The name the author gave that company was Goodstone. Obviously, a name merged from two real tire companies named Goodyear and Firestone. A little cheesy in this reader’s opinion.

Okay, I know this all sounds silly but these examples annoyed me for a good portion of reading the book. It interrupted the pleasure of reading what could be a good story.

A Fast Finish

I finally got over those two issues along with some other historical facts and timeline liberties about two-thirds of the way through the book when the story really began to build tension and suspense. Although as a mother and without giving anything away regarding the ending, I once again had to extend my belief of a pregnant woman sloshing through the deep water alongside galloping horses.

Sources

Jake Tapper comes clean at the end of the book in his epilogue of sorts in which he states, “To state the obvious, The Hellfire Club is a work of fiction.” While I knew that the book was a work of fiction, I was still miffed about the liberties he took in creating his novel. It is in this Sources section that he goes chapter by chapter outlining such liberties.

Okay, now I feel better, at least he is going to confess to the reader how he really does know the Mustang made its debut in 1964. Wrong!! But he does share with the reader the other historical liberties and sources he used in creating his political thriller including the ponies of Assateague Island.

I forgive you, Jake Tapper. I do think this is a good debut novel and perhaps it would not have seemed too slow of a beginning or too fast of an ending had I not been so incensed about the Mustang convertible.

Hoot Rating

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Thrillers, Historical

On a scale of 1 to 5 HOOTS, The Hellfire Club by Jake Tapper earns a 3 and 1/2 hoot rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale 3 one half hoots

Happy Reading!

New web photo - Sheri

The Blogging Owl

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter@TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved