* New Year’s Revolutions? Got it!

That’s not a typo!  I think New Year’s Revolutions is a far better paradigm for what I typically resolve to accomplish in the twinkle of one year to the next.  A revolution means turning, circling from one thing to another.  Forget the resolutions because I am already adept at spinning my way from point A to M to Z!  In fact, I flitted merrily throughout 2017 and will most likely continue!  What a relief, knowing I am set for 2018.

For the current school year, I happily revolved through 6th grade math, ELA, science, social studies, and economics!  Whee!  I admit that sometimes I felt like teaching was me desperately spinning plates, trying to keep all of them from falling.  But in my heart, I loved the constant stimulation and creativity!


I have revolved through SO many books  this past year (three yesterday!) and will most likely continue in 2018.  I read just like I eat, greedily and wolflike.  Yum!


My primary revolution in 2017 was change through grace.  I am so grateful for every God-given reminder of selfishness, vanity, seeking approval of others, and pride.  I am spinning from grace to grace as Jesus works in my heart to complete the good work He has begun!  My dearest teaching widower is Jesus-with-skin-on, arms of love and patience and yet more grace.

Thank you, dear readers, for following my revolutions.  I will flitter my way through 2018, maybe picking up some of the threads I almost posted in 2017.  My list of unfinished drafts keeps growing, but hey, I am happily spinning along.

Happy New Year’s Revolutions to you!

* “Blood on the Tracks”

Blood on the Tracks

Blood on the Tracks” is a gripping thriller by Barbara Nickless.  It’s the first in a series featuring Sydney Rose Parnell, a Denver railroad police officer (and who knew that occupation even existed?).  Sydney Rose is not your average cop.  For starters, she was a Marine who served in Mortuary Affairs in Iraq.  That meant scooping up what was left of soldiers after IEDs.  In her case it also meant PTSD, which included seeing the ghosts of those who died.  When her special ops boyfriend had been blown to shreds, she inherited his Malinois, Clyde, a military working dog also suffering from PTSD.

Sydney Rose is on the trail of The Burned Man, a badly scarred veteran aimlessly riding the railcars of the west.  He is suspected of murdering Elise, a kind-hearted woman who befriends hobos.  Sydney Rose teams up with Detective Cohen in this page-turning, heart-pounding novel.  The author skillfully weaves a memorable story through and around the Iraqi war and its fallout.

Each chapter begins with a written quote from Sydney Rose, usually a paragraph from her journal, a newspaper interview, or a class paper.  Written in first person, we see the world through Sydney Rose’s compelling lens.  She is a courageous woman, invariably employing dark humor in her fight for sanity, her quest for normalcy.  “Blood on the Tracks” will challenge and grip you, right to the end.  Enjoy!

*** I only review books which I can highly recommend.  I read a lot of 3 -and 4-star books, but it’s the 5-star winners which make it to my blog. ***



* Smorgasbord blog humor!

This was the most viewed humour post of 2017 – I hope you enjoy….. Strange things happen in bars.. drinking too much can alter your persective in life and sometimes rearrange your facial features. Not something I recommend. However, bars can also be amusing places! A cowboy walked into a bar and ordered a whiskey. […]

via Smorgasbord Review 2017 – – Humour – Under the Influence! With a few cats thrown in… — Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

* Holiday greetings!

What a surprising Christmas!  I was shocked that the Grinch visited my doctor’s office.


I was amazed at the “Joy in the Morning” performance at Colonial Williamsburg, an insightful musical production focusing on the lives of slaves.  It was inspiring and thought-provoking.  I chatted with “Lydia” after the performance and her desire was twofold: to humanize the enslaved (including a better understanding of their joy and resilience) and to continue the discussion on slavery as a nation, recognizing its ongoing effects.

And I was a bit crushed, literally, that I drove our rental car into a dumpster.  No photos needed.  I’ll be sending THOSE to our insurance company.  That backing-up camera on the dashboard was NO help whatsoever!

Hope you had a great one!

* Cee’s Share Your World challenge

Before reading my responses to Cee’s Share Your World challenge, check out her favorite photos of January 2017 for a spectacular moonrise.  It’s the kind of photograph I sometimes imagine I could take.  Truly beautiful.

So here are this week’s questions:

If you could hire someone to help you, would it be with cleaning, cooking, or yard work?  That’s a tough one.  I am so far behind in cleaning that my dust bunnies have grandbabies.  The yard is coated with leaves.  And I often eat in the car.  Where to begin?

If you were to move and your home came fully furnished with everything you ever wanted, list at least three things from your old house you wish to retain.  

  1.  I would hang on to my photo albums, with those carefully captioned pictures that have randomly turned blue   When did I have time to write all those clever captions?  Going digital certainly makes it easier to roam through past events but who has time to tag photos?  I appreciate Google’s ability to find “dogs” without tags.  On the other hand, the Google photo app and my iPhotos do NOT speak to one another.  I think the problem goes far beyond poor social skills.
  2.  All my digital “toys,” as my dearest teaching widower calls them.  Humph!  They are more than toys!
  3.  My bed bears.  ‘Nuff said.

What calms you down?  Chocolate.  Or chocolate.  Probably chocolate.  Mostly chocolate.

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?  This kiddo and his family continue to inspire me.  Unfortunately, I “inspired” this young man with the flu and he was perilously ill.  Oh, how grateful I am for answered prayers!

Mama and Y

* The Assassin’s Curse

The Assassin’s Curse,” the third book of the Blackthorn Key series by Kevin Sands, is another winner!  Christopher Rowe, apothecary apprentice, has been drawn into a complex and dangerous mission.  His friends, Tom and Sally, accompany him to the king’s chambers in England and onward to the Louvre in France.  Christopher’s mission?  Solving a centuries-old curse on the French throne.  This Blackthorn Key book will continue to delight middle school readers (and adults!) with its twists and turns, wild antics, and unusual cyphers.

The Assassin's Curse

From the outset, Christopher and his accomplices battle an unknown assassin, a man of great strength and cunning.  Christopher relies heavily upon his poignant memories of Master Benedict for strength and insight in a race to save the entire royal family of France.  Kevin Sands weaves a complex plot through the streets of Paris, its nasty cemetery of rotting bodies, and the bizarre adoration of Louis XIV.  Yes, we get to watch the Sun King as he awakens and eats breakfast.  Yikes!  And yes, there are deaths in this book (although not as many as in Mark of the Plague!).

With so much to enjoy, I especially appreciated Master Benedict’s legacy of love for Christopher, the resolution that Sally finds in Paris, and the delightfully complex clues which lead our valiant threesome into a fight for their lives.  The Assassin’s Curse is played out on a vast scale but still highlights Tom’s loyalty, Christopher’s sharp mind, and the dark humor which will have you laughing out loud.  The ending is intense and the outcome seems dire.  It’s a masterpiece of mystery, of a battle between good and evil.  To cap it off, the author leaves us hanging….  There MUST be a fourth in this series!


*** I only review books which I can highly recommend.  I read a lot of 3 -and 4-star books, but it’s the 5-star winners which make it to my blog. ***