Book Review: The Girl From Summer Hill

The Girl from Summer Hill (Summer Hill, #1)The Girl from Summer Hill by Jude Deveraux

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. No, I LOVED it. Such a great story and I loved the way it ended. The book is a modern day take on Pride and Prejudice. I haven’t read Pride and Prejudice (I know I need to rectify that) but I’m not sure if it would have made me love the story any more.

At first I thought it was going to be a standard love story where Casey and Tate would be together and then split up over and over again. I probably would’ve been okay with that because I really loved the characters in this book. But that isn’t how it went. When the character of Devlin turned out to be such a bad guy throwing unexpected twists into plot, I was surprised and excited. It gave the book so much more depth.

Casey is a cook and she is planning to take care of the food needs for the play that’s being produced in Summer Hill for the summer. While standing in one day, she unknowingly gets her own part in the play. Tate came to Summer Hill to try and revisit his mother’s early life. Casey and Tate start out on the wrong foot but over the course of the story, they fall in love.

This is a wonderful book. I loved it so much I didn’t want it to end. Seeing the Book 1 in the title makes me happy because I can’t wait to read more about the folks from Summer Hill.




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Keeping Athletes Safe in Sports

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I was excited to learn last week that Chris Nowinski was coming to Oklahoma to speak about the concussion crisis. Chris is the founder of  the Concussion Legacy Foundation and, while I’ve interacted with him on twitter, I hadn’t ever met him in real life. I was also interested to learn what he had to share.

Nowinski-press conference - OKATCFirst there was a press conference. Our current pending concussion legislation in Oklahoma was discussed. Chris said it was a good bill. That it took the best of already exciting bills and added some other, innovative ideas. It is expected to be signed by Governor Fallin this week.

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Then it was time for his presentation Solving the Concussion Crisis: Keeping Athletes Safe in Sports. Chris talked about how concussions are an invisible injury that one can play through. They don’t cause pain, like a broken limb, and the symptoms are difficult to diagnose. Nearly one in four concussions are caused by head to ground impact. 

Many times, the athletes don’t want to report their symptoms because they don’t want to appear weak or let their team down. In a survey, when concussions were called a “ding” more athletes reported having experienced one. 

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About the problem, Nowinski said not a whole lot can be done about the problem if we keep hitting people in the head so much. 

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From his presentation, it was easy to see that education and more understand are key to at least moving in the right direction in the concussion crisis. It was an honor to meet Chris Nowinski.

 

Book Review: Lilac Girls

Lilac GirlsLilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Without a doubt, this is the best book I’ve read this year. I was so caught up in the story and did not realize, until I read the Acknowledgements, that this is based on real people and real events from World War II. Real. Brave. Women.

The book follows three women. One, a New York socialite, Carolyn. The second, a Polish teen, Kasia. And third, a German Nazi doctor, Huerta.

The stories of the three women are initially woven separately but I knew that they would eventually come together which they did. Kasia was sent to Ravensbruk concentration camp wtih her sister, Zuzanna, her mother, and a friend. Kasia and her sister become part of a group eventually referred to as Rabbits because they had heinous operations done on their legs which caused them to hop rather than walk.

Herta, the Nazi doctor, is the one that operated on them. Carolyn, the socialite, works with the French to try and keep children clothed, families together, during the war. Eventually, she arranges for the Rabbits to come to America to be operated on to become whole. She also finds out that Herta, who’d gone to jail for her war crimes, had been released after serving only 5 years of her sentence. She wants to see her medical license revoked permanently and arranges what Kascia needs to get her to the town in Northern Germany where Herta is a practicing family medicine doctor.

The is a gripping story of real events that happened during World War II. The characters are wonderful and I loved getting to know them. Herta was a villain and was written about well.

I can’t recommend this book enough. I loved it!

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Attitude

Yesterday, I woke up with this in my head.

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I thought, “where in the heck did that come from?”. Usually, I wake up with bad 70s songs in my head wondering the same thing. But this made me stop and think.

The first thing I did was search google to see who’s quote it was. It wasn’t there so I guess it’s my quote given to me by my sleeping brain. I couldn’t get it out of my head. David and I talked about it while we were walking. 

I’m fully of the belief that your attitude determines how you go through life. I choose to be positive because negative is just too hard. So if you choose to be positive, you belong to the group of people who are happy, getting things done, and having a great life. If you choose to be negative, your life stinks and it’s hard. It’s really a pretty easy choice.

So, anyway, I hope that in the future I’ll wake up with more of these great ideas instead of “I love, little baby ducks, old pickup trucks, slow moving trains, and rain“. ;-)

Safe Kids Day

It was SO much fun to participate in Safe Kids Day with Safe Kids Tulsa

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I was in Tent 5.

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Because of my focus on keeping kids safe from concussion in youth sports, I got to man the Youth Sports Safety game.

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Before we started tossing bean bags, though, I talked to all the kids about proper safety equipment, hydration, and warming up before playing.

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The kids were fun, smart, and interactive. They all were excited to tell me about the sports that they play. Of course they all loved the bean bag tossing. 

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I love it when I’m part of making a learning experience fun! :D

 

My Story, My Why

On Sunday, the Oklahoma City Listen To Your Mother Show finally came to fruition. After submitting my story, auditioning, being accepted, rehearsing with my fellow cast members, the day had finally arrived. banner The show took place at the Will Rogers Theater

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The amazing 2016 cast met once again for the show.

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We watched as the theater filled up.

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Finally, it was time to take the stage. 

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I listened to the stories of my fellow cast members. Stories that did things to my heart that made me love this group of people like no other.  

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 And then it was my turn. My story was called A Question of Guilt. It was my story about how I felt after reading the book Concussion and how it relates to the fact that my son had at least five concussions while playing football from ages 8 until 20. The story that has given me the mission to tell every single person I can that it’s not “just” a concussion and that helmets do not prevent concussions. Every. Single. Person. Everywhere. Anywhere.

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After the show was over, I went down to meet a friend of mine from twitter. We’ve been tweeting for years (I can’t even remember how long!) and I was so excited to finally meet her in real life. 

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And then the most amazing thing happened! People that I didn’t know started coming up to me and thanking me for sharing my story. One young mother, with tears in her eyes, told me that she had been worried about letting her little boy play football and that my story was confirmation for her. This, my friends, was the cherry on top of an already awesome experience!

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I love that I got a chance to be a part of the 2016 Oklahoma City cast. I love that I got to share my story. And maybe, just maybe, my story will save another mom the guilt that I felt when I realized that a helmet did not protect my son’s precious brain. That is my goal. One mom at a time. Until I’ve told everyone.

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Many thanks to the producers Mari Farthing, Carolyn Bechtold, and Jennifer Smith for choosing me as a member of the cast. Thanks to my castmates for being completely incredible people (whom I love) and having the courage to share your stories. Thanks to Lyndzee Story for helping me with my hair and makeup. Thanks to Sheradee Hurst for the fabulous photos. And, finally, thanks to my incredible husband for always being by my side to love and support me. 

If you have a story to tell, I can’t encourage you enough to seek out your local Listen To Your Mother Show and apply! It will change your life. :-)

We Were Enchanted

I can’t believe we’ve been married for thirty seven years. Yes, 37 years! It seems like so long and, well, wow. 

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I wanted to do something really different. I love mountains and David suggested we go to a guest ranch in either Montana or Wyoming. After a short search and trying to figure out how in the heck you get to one of those states (the usual airlines we fly don’t fly there), I said, why not a guest ranch in New Mexico? 

Because I love New Mexico like no other state. It has the most different kind of beauty. David said that would be fine with him and I started searching for a guest ranch to visit. I discovered Concho Hills Guest Ranch, made the reservations and grew excited for our trip.

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When we arrived, we were given the Bar B room, or Barbie! I was pretty excited about this. Marilyn and Tim (the owners) knew that I am the reigning Mrs. Southwest International and they thought I would like that. I did!

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The first day we got familiar with the horses and went on a ride. 

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I rode John Wayne.

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David rode Captain Jack.

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He looks so awesome on a horse. :-)

We climbed the rocks to see if we could find arrowheads or pottery.

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We ate lots of great food and enjoyed magical scenery.

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We enjoyed the company of our hosts, Marilyn and Tim Norris.

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All in all, it was a great trip and a fun way to spend our anniversary!

 

21 Day Cold Shower Challenge

Say what? Yes! I participated in a 21 Day Cold Shower Challenge with Ben Greenfield. I stood in a shower of the coldest water I could have for 5 minutes every day for 21 days. Not only did it benefit the Brain Trauma Foundation, I actually liked it!

I’ve been listening to Ben Greenfield’s podcast for quite a while now. His topics are so interesting and I’d heard at least two on the subject of cold thermogenesis before he announced the challenge. 

Some of the benefits of cold exposure are:

  • Lowering body fat
  • Increasing hormone levels
  • Improving sexual performance and fertility
  • Lowering blood sugar
  • Cutting food cravings
  • Improving adrenal function
  • Fixing thyroid issues
  • Enhancing immune function
  • Improving deep sleep quality
  • Increasing pain tolerance
  • Reducing inflammation

I had already been doing two minutes a day since hearing the first podcast so I figured it would be easy enough to take it to five minutes. Plus, it had the additional benefit of raising funds for the Brain Trauma Foundation

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The participants were all joined in a private Facebook group to share our daily experiences. We were encouraged to take a photo to post. After a couple of weeks, I thought mine were boring so I got some shower caps to liven it up.

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It was a fun experience and something I continue to do. We raised $3,644 for the Brain Trauma Foundation. So it was a great experience all around.

If you are interested in health and sports fitness and endurance, I can’t recommend Ben’s podcast enough. It’s always loaded with interesting and fascinating information!

 

Awesome engagement!

snapcode_pinkSnapchat is such a great platform to me. Although it’s my smallest network, it’s definitely my most engaged network. Yesterday, I had a lengthy discussion with a woman in The Netherlands about concussion and CTE. This morning, I had a new follower who coaches football for first and second graders in Texas. I talked to him about CTE and Flag Until 14. I even had one person who follows me be so interested that I was working against CTE that he googled me and found out I was a powerlifter as he is! So, anyway, I love snapchat. smile emoticon

Book Review: The New Guy

The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions)The New Guy by Amy Spalding

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a really cute book and I liked it. Jules is looking forward to senior year when she would work on the school paper and work on her dream of getting into Brown University for the following year. Alex comes to school and changes all that.

Alex is a former boy band member and he likes Jules. When TALON (an in school TV station) starts and Alex is a part of it, Jules is devastated and breaks up with him. She then plots and schemes to get TALON shut down so the newspaper, Crest, can exist after she goes to college.

Through her single minded focus to make the paper win over new media, Jules puts her relationship with Alex in jeopardy but also all of her relationships with all of her friends.

I laughed a lot while reading this book because it’s cute. I highly recommend it!




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