Monthly Archives: September 2015

A Place We Knew Well

I really loved this book and got sucked into the historical fiction that takes place during the day’s surrounding the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Wes Avery is a former military man who runs a Texaco station in Orlando where he lives with his wife and daughter. He notices unusual activity around an air base close to his home. Having been a part of the bombings at Hiroshima, Wes is immediately concerned about what he’s seeing.

In the middle of all of this, Wes’s wife Sarah, stars having a nervous breakdown. It seems to stem from the fact that after having multiple miscarriages, she was given a hysterectomy without her knowledge and consent depriving her of the large family she wanted. 

Meanwhile, we learn that Charlotte, the Avery’s 17 year old daughter was actually adopted from Sarah’s sister right after she was born. Charlotte was selected to the homecoming court at her school and through much of the book she’s preparing for that along with experiencing her mom’s breakdown and the impending conflict in Cuba.

I enjoyed reading about the event as part of a bigger story. If you like historical fiction, this is an awesome choice to read.

Mrs. Southwest International 2016


If you’ve been following along, you’ve seen that I’ve made a couple of appearances in the past month wearing a new banner. Yes, I’m Mrs. Southwest International 2016 and I’ll be competing at the Mrs. International Pageant in Jacksonville, FL next July. I’m excited!

I’ve loved the International system for a long time. I directed the Oklahoma pageant from 2006 until 2011 when we were told we’d be moving to Saudi Arabia. I reluctantly gave up my directorship. While I was directing, I was the only female director who’d never competed. At my last director’s meeting, the other directors suggested I should compete. I demured.


But the idea remained in the back of my head. The competition age for Mrs. International is from 21-56. As I get closer to 56, I realize that I’m running out of eligibility to compete in this pageant. I discussed it with my husband, who agreed I should compete. I also have the strong encouragement of many friends, so I entered.

What I love about the Mrs. International system is the requirement to have a community service platform that you’ll promote throughout your year. I’ve been promoting walking for health for the past 10 years and that will be my pageant platform as well. I’ll be aligning myself with the Start! Walking Now program with the American Heart Association. I’ve been working with the AHA since 2008, mostly with the Go Red for Women program but, as happened the other day when I joined them at the Capitol for the tobacco rally, whatever they need my support for, they have. I love the message of the AHA. There are so many simple things we can do to ensure our heart remains healthy and knowledge is power! If you can share that message, and let people know what they can do, you help them.


I’m really looking forward to this year as Mrs. Southwest International and the culmination of the year at the pageant next June. If you’re interested in competing for Mrs. International, many states have preliminary pageants you can participate in. You can find them at the Mrs. International website. If you decide to enter, let me know! 🙂

Book Review: Baseball Dads

Baseball DadsBaseball Dads by Matthew S. Hiley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Funniest. Book. Ever.

Dwayne’s son is on the 10 year old Little League team in the swanky side of Ft. Worth. Alex is known as one of the best players in the league but his coach insists on playing “daddy baseball”, putting his own son at short stop and the assistant coach’s son at first base even though they lack the skill. The best kids he relegates to the outfield or the bench. Consequently, even with a pretty talented team, they are going to be big losers this season.

Dwayne’s wife has been sleeping around and hanging out with the gossipy, nasty women in the area. She’s also spending so much money he can’t figure out how to keep up with everything.

Dwayne’s had enough. He decides he’s not going to take it anymore and he doesn’t care what anyone thinks. He adopts a Jedi Grandmaster Ninja Warrior outlook on life and his three baseball dad “friends” come along for the ride.

This book is over the top, horrifyingly hilarious. You have no idea what Dwayne and the guys will do next. If you’ve ever been involved in Little League baseball, I’m sure you’ll find it as funny as I did. I laughed so much, I think my dog was worried about me. Love it! 🙂

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Book Review: The Girl From The Train

The Girl from the TrainThe Girl from the Train by Irma Joubert
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh how I loved this book! If you’re reading my reviews, you probably think, “she always says that”. But I’m so fortunate to read really awesome books and my motto is, “life is too short to read bad books”.

This book was wonderful. A truly wonderful, heartwrenching story of a little girl, Gretl, who is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Her mother and grandmother encourage Gretly and her sister to jump off the train, telling them they would so jump and they’d all be safe. Before her mother and grandmother could jump, the train is blown up. The accidental explosion, mean to blow up a German troop train, was set by Jakob Kowalski.

Jacob finds Gretl and her sister Elza and takes them to a family. Elza dies and the family can’t continue watching Gretl when they have four children of their own. Jakob takes Gretl to live with his family. He never really gets to know her until he is injured in the war and comes home to recover. This is where he learns what a smart, special little girl Gretl.

Eventually, Jakob’s family can look after her no longer and he takes her to an orphanage with the home that she will be one of 50 children selected to go to South Africa and be adopted into new families.

As one of the older children, Gretl relizes she’s not going to be chosen so she uses her smarts to get selected and sent to South Africa where she is adopted by a wonderful family. She’s never known a life like this, one of privilege, and she grows up to be a successful college student when she runs into Jakob again.

Jakob had to leave Poland or be arrested and ended up in South Africa because they were looking for engineers and he knew the country was against communism. He also knew that Gretl was there.

They come back together, eventually falling in love. But his Catholic faith and her Protestant faith don’t make the arrangement look possible in the eyes of her father.

This is a wonderful story. It’s sad and happy and I wish it wasn’t over. Two thumbs up! 🙂

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Book Review: Girl Meets Class

Girl Meets ClassGirl Meets Class by Karin Gillespie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just loved this book! I have loved all of Karen Gillespie’s books and was excited to read another.

This one is about Toni Lee, who is a former child tennis superstar who’s life has come off the rails due to a career ending injury. Toni Lee’s dad isn’t good at disciplining her because her mother died when she was 4 so he calls in her Aunt Cornelia.

Aunt Cornelia, Toni Lee’s mother’s sister, is the CEO and founder of a large caned Southern food company. She has basically been funding Toni Lee’s party girl existence and she decides it’s time to stop, to rein Toni Lee in.

She makes a deal with Toni Lee, telling her that if she gets a job that Aunt Corny approves of, keeps it for a year, and keeps to the other dictates of the contract, that she’ll give her a $5 million inheritance at the end of the year.

Toni Lee struggles to find a job. With time running out, she takes a job through Teacher Corps. They are supposed to teach college grads how to become teachers while they are placed in their first teaching jobs. Toni Lee finds out too late that the positions are hard to fill because they are in bad neighborhoods with out of control kids.

The story takes the reader through Toni Lee’s trials and tribulations at the school and she is one tough cookie.

Loved it! Two thumbs up. 🙂

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