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Book Review: A Lesson in Love

Autumn Macarthur has taken a subject that affects millions of Americans and has addressed it head-on through the life of the main character–Sarah Browne–in “A Lesson in Love.”

Sarah’s mother, Isabel, who is now 57. has early-onset Alzheimer’s. Sarah has cared for her since she was twenty. She has put everything in her life on hold except for getting her teaching degree. She has definitely decided no dating, no falling in love and no marriage. Then along comes Fraser Maclean. And the rest, as they say, is history.

What makes this book so relevant and important are the glimpses into the life of a caregiver of a person with Alzheimer’s. The glimpses are so realisitic that this reviewer wonders if they are written from personal experience. At the very least, a great deal of research went into this aspect of the book and the knowledge gained was quite interesting. One hopes that one will never need to use that knowledge, but at least one has it,

I highly recommend this book. Not only was the romance portion most enjoyable, but there were valuable lessons learned in “A Lesson in Love.”

I was not compensated for this review and the opinions expressed here are my own.

life, mothers, Uncategorized

I Remember My Mother

        Today is Mother’s Day, May 12, 2019. My mother has been in heaven now almost six years. It’s hard to believe. I wanted to post this again today to honor her. Happy Mother’s Day in heaven!   

The first time I posted this blog was on April 25, 2009. I posted it again on May 12, 2012, the day before Mother’s Day. And I am, once again, sitting in the emergency room of our local hospital. It is almost unreal how much my mother’s health has failed in the last three years, how quickly it has failed in the last six months. She can no longer walk with a cane or walker. She is in a wheelchair all the time.  Different systems in her body have begun to fail.  It is very difficult to watch. But still, she is here and God willing, will celebrate Mother’s Day – perhaps at home or perhaps in a hospital room. But she will be here and for that, I am extremely grateful.

I am sitting in the emergency room of our local hospital – again.  My mother fell this morning.  Although she uses a walker or walking cane all the time, she often falls because of problems with one of her knees.  She has seizures, which occasionally cause her to fall.  She has congestive heart failure and degenerative disc disease.  My mother will be 80 in one week and her health has been failing for a number of years. 

This is not how I want to see or remember my mother.  I want to remember her the way she was when I was a child, a teenager and a young married woman with a child of my own.
When I was a child my mother was constantly busy.  Even though she worked full time, she would come home every day and cook “supper” as we called it then –meat, vegetables, bread and tea.  My sister and I always had clean and ironed clothes to wear to school.  On Saturdays, my mother would get up very early, and by the time I was up, she would have made-from-scratch cake layers cooling on racks, waiting for the sweet, sugary icing to be spread on top of each layer and all around the sides.  Then later in the morning, she would leave for her weekly appointment at the “beauty shop.”  (In those days, we had not heard of hair salons.) Sundays found her teaching an elementary Sunday school class and singing in the choir.
My mother taught me to respect my elders.  I still say “Yes, m ‘am and No, sir.” She taught me how to act in church and showed me what would happen if I didn’t behave!
During the summer months, my mother would come home from work and stand on her feet for hours blanching and then freezing beans, peas, corn, and squash so that we could have fresh vegetables in the winter.
My mother continued to be active in my teenage years; however the degenerative disc disease had begun to slowly ravage her spine.  Over the years, she lost several inches in height.  But this did not slow her down – at least not then.  She and my dad attended every chorus concert, every play that I was in, everything I did, they were there.  
I became engaged my sophomore year of college and as I planned my wedding, my mother was there to help and advise me.  I still remember her teary eyes as I dressed to leave the church for my honeymoon.
When my first child was born, my mother and father were at the hospital almost before I arrived!  I can see, even now, my mother holding my daughter, Kim, in her arms.  When I came home from the hospital, my mother stayed with us for a week, taking care of all the household chores so that I could bond with Kim and learn how to be a mother. (Why don’t babies come with an instruction manual??)  My mother also stayed for a week when my son, Kyle, was born, again taking care of everything.
Shortly after Kyle’s birth, my father became gravely ill and was hospitalized for several weeks, having two surgeries during that time.  My mother was an absolute rock.  She stayed, day and night, with my dad until he came home.  Once home, she waited on him hand and foot and watched over him vigilantly until he regained his strength and health.
When my daughter became pregnant at 16, my mother (and father) became a rock of support.  They surrounded my daughter with love and prayers.  When Kim went into labor, they made a mad dash to the hospital to be there when their first great grandchild was born.  I have a photograph of mother holding my grandson.  The love in her face was as intense and as deep as the love had been when she held her children and grandchildren.
Although my mother and I have not always seen “eye-to-eye” on some issues, and there have been times when she has driven me crazy (what mother doesn’t drive her daughter crazy sometimes?), she has always loved me, always supported me and always been there for me.
I don’t want to see her growing frailer with each passing day.  But this is life.  The least I can do is to be here for her.  Sitting in the waiting room of the ER.  Waiting.
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A Tribute to My Son

Today, May 3, 2019, my son, Anthony Kyle Bond, will walk across the stage and receive his Master’s Degree from Georgia Institute of Technology, or Georgia Tech, as we call it here in Georgia. (He officially finishes in August, but GA Tech does not have a summer graduation ceremony, so they allow summer graduates to “walk” in the spring cremony.)

When Kyle graduated from high school, he went to University of West Georgia and completed his freshman year. He came home one weekend at the end of that academic year and told me that a Marine recruiter was coming to see me and his dad the following week. His dad came down and the recruiter showed up. In his dress blues, no less. Kyle wanted to be a Marine. Within a few short weeks, we dropped him off at the recruiter’s office to catch a bus to Parris Island. Thus began nine long years of service to his country. He went to Iraq twice. Both times he left, I was there, along with the rest of the family, to see him leave. I trusted God for his safety, as I do today. Both times he came home, I was there, grateful to God for his return. He finished his Marine duty in New Orleans, where he met Angela. He called me one night and told me he had met “the one.” When he moved back to Georgia, she followed soon after and I saw why she was, and is, “the one.” They married, and one year ago, on February 19, Maverick Grant Bond was born.

Kyle has experienced many things in his life so far, most of which, the rest of us will not experience. He has grown into a wonderful man, husband, father and son. And so, today, I pay tribute to my son, Anthony Kyle Bond.

Congratulations, Son. I am so very proud of you and I love you very much!

Love,

MoM

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Book Review: Let Your Light Shine

In 2010, when JoAnn Durgin published “Awakening”, the first book of the Lewis Legacy Series, I’m not sure she realized this book, no, this series, would take on a life of its own. But it did. And with each consecutive book, that life grew until the readers were hooked, and considered the Lewis family and all the other characters in these books part of their own family.

In December 2018, the tenth book, “Let Your Light Shine” hit the bookstands as an immediate best-seller. And with good reason. Although the main characters are Sam and Lexa Lewis and Josh and Winnie Grant, Ms. Durgin brought back several of the TeamWork members and their families, including Marc and Natalie Thompson and their daughter, Gracie, Jensen and Sloan McClain and others, skillfully weaving them into this story.

It was truly hard to put this book down as the main storyline and all the secondary storylines were captivating. I don’t want to give anything away, but Ms. Durgin addresses the subject of autism and Asperger’s Syndrome with such grace and compassion. She enlightened this reviewer to the facts of Asperger’s; she knows of that about which she writes. And the ending was such a surprise – never saw it coming!

One would think that a writer would be able to find the words to describe how moving this book is, but words almost fail me. So, let me encourage you to put this book at the top of your summer reading list. So what if the book takes place in December? Christmas stories are fun to read anytime.

And, don’t be intimated if you haven’t read the first nine books of the series. Each book can be read as a standalone, even “Let Your Light Shine.”

I was not compensated in any way for this review and the opinion expressed here is mine alone.

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Book Review: God’s Notes: Daily Devotions of Divine Encouragement

So many times, our writings, especially nonfiction, come from a place of hurt and a place of healing. Such is the case of Jackie Trottman’s “God’s Notes: Daily Devotions of Divine Encouragement.” The introduction tells the reader of some of the things that Jackie has gone through in her life. It is a moving, touching story that eventually led to the writing of this devotional book.

The chapters in the book are divided by themes: how God speaks to us, how he leads and guides us, how he restores us and how he empowers us. Each devotion is arranged alphabetically within each chapter and each devotion is written as if it is God speaking. The chapters and themes are arranged so that the reader can start in the chapters where they need help, or of course, can read the book straight through.

The devotions offer comfort, encouragement, and healing. They reassure the readers that God loves us unconditionally and He has not forsaken us.

I highly recommend “God’s Notes” to those who need healing and comfort, but also for those who are looking for meaningful, but short, devotions.

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Good Friday – Why is It Called “Good?”

I’ve never understood why this day is called “Good” Friday. It is one of the most mournful days in Christian history. It is the day that the son of God was flogged, ordered to carry the cross on which he would be crucified and then put to death. It’s difficult to see what is “good” about it.

Some sources suggest that the day is “good” in that it is holy, or that the phrase is a corruption of “God’s Friday”.

The Oxford English Dictionary, the adjective “good” traditionally “designates a day on (or sometimes a season in) which religious observance is held”. The OED states that “good” in this context refers to “a day or season observed as holy by the church”.

However you choose to interpret it, and whatever you do today to observe Good Friday, I invite you to listen and watch this most beautiful version of “O Sacred Head Now Wounded.”