Thursday, June 29, 2017

I just finished "Persuader: A Jack Reacher Novel" by Lee Child (2003, reprint 2013). How I'm finding any time to read is a bit of a mystery, what with all the rodeo stuff I've got going on. I think everything is mostly on time as far as sponsor support, queen contestants, ticket sales, arena repairs, media outreach, parade invitations and entries...the list goes on with so much tedious event planning. But I turned off my Netflix for the Summer, so I'm giving a little more attention to books. Yes, I did like this book. It had a little more violence than I prefer in a book, but the story flowed well.

I also recently finished "Time Bomb: An Alex Delaware Novel" by Jonathan Kellerman (1990). This was my 2nd Kellerman book, and I think I liked the other one better. There was almost too much story in this one - too much back story that didn't really help solve the initial "who-dun-it". Or maybe I was just too distracted while reading it. Two books in a row with male first-party presentations. I should probably pursue some more intellectually stimulating reading, but I have a lot of these fiction paperbacks that have been passed on to me, so I'll keep working my way through.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Who would have thought that a book with such a silly premise would be so inspiring. Oh, it's not quite inspiring enough to go down in history as a classic, but it's a really fun story that made me consider how there MIGHT be life beyond 35. Or even 100! Eeesh, I not even HALFWAY there... 0_o "The 100-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed out the Window and Disappeared" (2009) was written in Swedish by Jonas Jonasson and translated to English in 2012. Nancy loaned me this one. It was made into a movie (click on the picture for the trailer), and I'd like to see it. Yessir, my own 100th birthday seems unattainable. So many long days to get through before then! And my days do pass fairly slowly. There's lots of loneliness and unhappiness, although there are plenty of people in my life, and I have pretty much everything that I want. Alan Karlsson, the main character in the book, has an unfailing positive outlook on life. When you're talking about glass-half-full kinds of people, I would be the one who says that the glass will be empty eventually, so why bother discussing the contents? Yup, that kind of thinking probably won't help me get to the year 2081. In Genesis 6:3, "Then the LORD said, "My Spirit will not contend with humans forever, for they are mortal; their days will be a hundred and twenty years." So that means that 2101 should be the limit to my time here. I'm glad there's a limit. Even so, this book made me imagine for a short while that perhaps the future isn't all bleak.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Hello there. It has taken me a few weeks to get around to getting this on here. Life has been BUSY!! I'm pretty sure that this book was a door prize at a CCRW meeting. "The Nazi Connection to Islamic Terrorism" by Chuck Morse reads like a college dissertation, so it's not exactly what I'd consider a pleasurable read. It often repeats facts several times in different sections as it focuses on different historical people, so that is a little annoying. However, I still found it to be a very informative book. It's written by a Jewish man from a Jewish perspective, which is obviously a little different from my own perspective on the historical happenings of WWII and the surrounding years. It almost seems that the case he is presenting is that one person, Haj Amin Al-Husseini, was responsible for poisoning the entire Islamic world against the Jewish people. I am sure that Al-Hisseini, the uncle of Saddam Hussein, did have a very big influence on the hearts and minds of the Islamic people, but the premise that he's entirely responsible seems to be insular and, I think, falls flat.

Welcome to April, huh? Except that somehow the month is almost over already!?! How did that happen?! Of course I have been busy with work, but I'm also very busy with the CCRW (I'm already about a week late in getting my President's letter written for the newsletter - that's the next thing on my to-do list), and the SJRC keeps me even busier (we have a playday set for next Sunday, then a regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, a trail ride on the following Sunday, and someone [me, I reckon] needs to get rodeo tickets printed before the Queen Candidates' meeting on June 17). Not to mention the slow process of getting all the paperwork organized to get our 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status re-established. I wish I had time to hang out with my friends!! But I did get to see some good friends this weekend including Jamie at LeTourneau in Longview when I was in town for the Athletic Hall of Fame induction banquet on Friday, and I also got to see Marcy at Goree in Huntsville and Catrina at Hobby in Marlin. So today will hopefully be my "catch up day" when I get everything caught up and organized. Ha. As always, thank you for listening to the status of my life. I hope that you're finding time to get out and enjoy the beautiful Spring weather. :)

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Nancy passed this book on to me. "Bright Lights, Big Ass: A Self-Indulgent, Surly Ex-Sorority girl's guide to Why It Often Sucks in the City, or Who Are These Idiots and Why Do They All Live Next Door to Me?" by Jen Lancaster is, in her own words on the cover, "yet ANOTHER memoir". I don't guess I've had the opportunity to read many memoirs. It's not exactly an autobiography. I never actually considered the difference before this moment. To me, it's just ramblings about Jen herself, and I wasn't terribly thrilled with it. Now, if she was someone that I'd bumped into at the gym, and I could say, "Hey, I know that person!" then maybe the book would be more fun for me. Or maybe if I had more experience with life in the city, I could relate to some of her complaining. I see that she's written 12 books. I hope that some of them are actually ABOUT something... But there was one point in the book (published in 2007) which was as true then as it is today. From Pages 96-99:

...Anyway, when I got to the office at my temp job, I started listening to talk radio and I heard all kinds of assorted foolishness. Apparently there's a movement calling for the Blue States to secede from the Red States to better reflect the nations political leanings. ...Anyway, after I returned from lunch, I heard how suicide hotlines and Canadian immigration officials have been inundated by those wanting to escape Bush's second term. Mental health professionals all over the country are working overtime to counsel those of you despondent over the election results. Apparently people are seeking postelection therapy in droves. ...You've had plenty of time to feel your feelings. Now it's time to organize. Get off your therapists' couches and use your pent-up energy to gather the kind of information that will change minds and perceptions. If you hate the elected officials presiding over you, then it's your duty as an American to make sure we never get stuck with them again. ...So leather up, you nancy boys and girls, and get busy. P.S. If I could endure the fraternity party otherwise known as the Clinton administration, you can deal with President Churchy McJesus

Yup. Sounds like today. Speaking of political things, tomorrow is the 2nd meeting of the Cooke County Republican Women's club with me as president. My first VP and my second VP both can't be there. What's up with that?!? Where's the dedication? Just kidding. I know that they all care way more than me. You should come to a meeting sometime - First Thursday of the Month at 7:00 PM at the First Christian Church in Gainesville (except for July & August...and April this year because of Legislative Day in Austin). There is always FOOD!! Or you can just LIKE US ON FACEBOOK. I plan to start periodically streaming our speakers on the Facebook. They say we're supposed to be using these Information Age tools. Being tech-savvy may be the only thing that I have to contribute to the CCRW on account of I ain't no big donor, and I ain't no passionate speaker, and I ain't no social butterfly, and my knowledge of the government is, well, IMPROVING. And that's pretty much why I joined the club in the first place. I'm not crazy enough to think that I can make much of a difference, but it's usually fun to learn new things. And let's not forget - those women can COOK!! Hey, it turns out that I DO have something in common with Jen Lancaster - our appreciation of FOOD!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Dorthy loaned me this book, "The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God. Having the Guts to Respond." by Bill Hybels (2010) about a month ago. It's a concept that I'm not too comfortable with, actually. When I hear someone talking about how God has been telling them what to do, I am always brought back to a time in my life where I ran into a woman whose every-other comment was, "God told me to do" such-and-such. It was around 2006, I reckon, and I met this woman at the church in Denton that I was going to at the time. She lived in Gainesville, so someone suggested that we make the drive together. In my view, she was a nut. I mean, I know that sounds very harsh, but it was obvious to me that God was not telling her who to talk to and what to say and where to go and do... And I remember listening closely because I really wanted to figure out her motivation for speaking that way. Was she just trying to sound holy? Did she really BELIEVE all this stuff that she was saying? Was she just mentally not-quite-right? Well, I never did figure it out. She believed that God was telling her to fix up the old school building in Gainesville - the one on the 800 Block of Lindsay Street - to put in some sort of after-school program for kids. 10 years later, that building is long gone, and there are houses going up on that block. And when I walk by that area, I shake my head and wonder what ever became of that woman. But, like I said, I never reached a conclusion about her motivations. Is it possible that God really was telling her to make that effort (which failed) to turn that dilapidated building into something good for the community? I mean, I'll give her one thing, she definitely made a difference in my life with her obedience to [what she perceived to be] God's whispers. I couldn't tell you her name, and I'm still pretty sure that she was about 90% crazy, but I also can't deny that the other 110% was gung-ho about finding God and doing His will.

It's possible that I should have read this book many years ago before I encountered Ms. God-Told-Me-To-X-Y-Z. But God's timing is perfect, so if it happened this way, then that means it was God's will. I can't name a time when I heard a whisper from God. I do believe that I have heard from God through other people plenty of times. Mr. Hybels doesn't address that sort of thing in his book. His focus was on those silent promptings in your heart. And it's possible that I turned a deaf ear to those little whispers after I met She-Who-Hears-from-God-about-What-to-Have-for-Breakfast. :) Maybe it's time that I open my heart again. Maybe God has something to say to me. Maybe.

2017 has started off alright for me, I reckon. I still have the same job (11 years) and the same house (5 years). I am starting my 2nd year as President of the Saint Jo Riding Club, and I am muddling through my first year as President of the Cooke County Republican Women. I just got asked yesterday to be on the committee for the LeTU Athletic Hall of Fame, so it seems that I might be taking over the world!! (Thanks, Brain...and Pinky.) No, but seriously, I recognize daily that I couldn't be doing these things without God. And when I start to feel inadequate, I try to remember that God is the one who put me in these leadership positions. I certainly didn't chase after them, and I would run away if I could (I guess that's always an option). But I feel like where I am right now is where God wants me to be, and that in itself has to be a lot like hearing a whisper from God! I hope that I will lose my spiritual deafness that has come from my skepticism and from my fear of sounding like you-know-who. God didn't tell me to write this post. God didn't tell me what to say. But I hope that He will be pleased with it. To God be the glory.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Leadership... "American Soldier: General Tommy Franks, Commander in Chief - United States Central Command" is an autobiography published in 2004. General Franks was the head honcho in Afghanistan and Iraq during and after 09/11/2001. For more info, just click on the picture. Or you can read this book, but it is not a quick read. I won it as a door prize at one of the Cooke County Republican Women (CCRW) meetings. I found it very interesting because in 2001 I was doing college things. I wasn't paying attention to current events. I remember when we went into Iraq TWO YEARS later, and it felt like "REALLY, why has it taken us SO LONG??" But of course our troops were in Afghanistan only about 4 months after 09/11 happened. Of course the big issue that we all remember about Operation Iraqi Freedom is the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and how there didn't turn out to be any, and President Bush got blamed for chasing after oil interests instead of the possible WMD. General Franks makes a very solid argument for why the intelligence on WMD in Iraq was solid. He also makes clear that it wasn't all about WMD. Unfortunately, his argument for the Iraq War takes over quite a bit of the book because I guess he felt that he needed to defend his actions and those of our country in general. Other than that, it's a very interesting book which covers a time in my life when I was not yet engaged in political matters.

I am certainly engaged in political things these days!! Of course I will be an Election Judge on Tuesday for the Presidential Election. I was fairly new at the job during the last presidential election. It's always fun to see everyone in Precinct 18 come through the doors, and the turnout in my town is very encouraging. I wish that every citizen in this country would understand how important their vote is. Also on the political involvement topic, I don't know if you heard that I'm set to be the President of the CCRW for 2017. This ain't like being class president or 4-H president. I'm actually going to have to work...and LEAD!! I'm actually quite terrified. It would be better if I wasn't President of the Saint Jo Riding Club (SJRC) at the same time, but I try to see these positions as opportunities for greatness. You're supposed to take those when they come along. And you're supposed to be grateful!! I'm working on that part. Leadership is tricky. They try to groom all young people to be leaders. I personally think that being an honorable follower is equally important - the type of follower who isn't just a lemming who goes along with the crowd, but a person who will help other soldiers along in the battle that is life. But leadership...I saw an excellent example of leadership yesterday at the SJRC meeting where we elected new officers for 2017. The incoming Parade Marshall said, "I just want our group to glorify God." Amen and Amen. And that's what was missing from General Franks' book. He wasn't lacking in faith - he had it in his wife and in his army, but he never mentioned a higher purpose. I pray, and I ask you to join me in praying, for our leaders (including me!) who will be trying to glorify God with our lives in 2017. We heard that in church just this Sunday: "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior..." (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Grandma gave me this book to read. "The Iron Marshal" (1979) by Louis L'Amour is not too believable, mostly because the Marshal is a teenage kid who thinks and speaks with the wisdom of someone much, much older than that. But the story is alright. I don't have much else to say about it, I reckon. My life is not nearly as interesting as the Marshal's. I wish I had something interesting to tell you, but there's just nothing worth telling. I hope you're having a good Summer.