Monthly Archives: October 2009

Last Breath by Brandilynn Collins

My Review: Yikes! I am behind on my reading, skip reading for a couple days and I am all behind! I wrote reviews on the wrong ones….I will post a review of this one shortly!

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Last Breath (Rayne Series #2)

Zondervan; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Lindsey Rodarmer of ZONDERKIDZ for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Brandilyn and Amberly Collins are a mother/daughter team from northern California. Brandilyn is a bestselling novelist, known for her trademarked “Seatbelt Suspense”. Amberly is a college student in southern California. She and her mom love attending concerts together.

Visit the author’s website.

Here’s a video about the first book in the Rayne Series:

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310715407
ISBN-13: 978-0310715405

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

Your father sent me.

The last words of a dying man, whispered in my ear.

Were they true? What did they mean?

Your father sent me. The stunning claim drilled through my head, louder than the crowd’s screams.

Guitars blasted the last chord of Rayne’s hit song, Ever Alone, as Mom’s voice echoed through the Pepsi Center in Denver. The heavy drum beat thumped in my chest. With a final smash of cymbals the rock song ended. Multicolored laser lights swept the stadium, signaling the thirty-minute intermission.

Wild shrieks from thousands of fans rang in my ears.

I rose from my chair backstage. Tiredly, I smiled at the famous Rayne O’Connor as she strode toward me on high red heels. In the lights her sequined top shimmered and her blonde hair shone. She walked with confidence and grace, the picture of a rock star—until she stepped from her fans’ sight. Then her posture slumped, weariness creasing her beautiful face. Mom’s intense blue eyes usually glimmered with the excitement of performing, but now I saw only the wash of grief and exhaustion. How she’d managed to perform tonight, I’d never know. Except that she’s strong. A real fighter.

Me? I had to keep fighting too, even if my legs still trembled and I’d probably have nightmares for weeks.

Your father sent me.

I had to find out what those words meant.

“You’re a very brave young lady,” a Denver detective had told me just a few hours ago. I didn’t feel brave then or now.

“You okay, Shaley?” Mom had to shout over the screams as she hugged me.

I nodded against her shoulder, hanging on tightly until she pulled back.

The crowd’s applause died down. A heavy hum of voices and footsteps filtered from the stadium as thousands of people headed for concessions and bathrooms during the break.

Kim, the band’s keyboard player and alto to my mom’s lead vocals, stopped to lay a darkly tanned hand on my head. A strand of her bleached white-blonde hair was stuck to the gloss on her pink lips. She brushed it away. “You’re an amazing sixteen-year-old.”

I shrugged, embarrassed. “Thanks.”

Mick and Wendell, Mom’s two remaining bodyguards, approached without a word. I gave a self-conscious smile to Wendell, and he nodded back, sadness flicking across his face. His deep-set eyes were clouded, and the long scar across his chin seemed harder, more shiny. At five-eleven, Wendell is short for a bodyguard but every bit as muscled. Tonight his two-inch black hair, usually gelled straight up, stuck out in various directions. He hadn’t bothered to fix it since the life and death chase he was involved in just a few hours ago. Seeing that messed-up hair sent a stab through me. Wendell was usually so finicky about it.

Mick, Mom’s main personal bodyguard, folded his huge arms and stood back, waiting. Mick is in his forties, ex-military and tall, with a thick neck and block-shaped head. I’ve rarely seen emotion on his face, but I saw glimpses of it now. He and Wendell had been good friends with Bruce, Mom’s third bodyguard.

Bruce had been killed hours ago. Shot.

And he’d been trying to guard me.

My vision blurred. I blinked hard and looked at the floor.

“Come on.” Mom nudged my arm. “We’re all meeting in my dressing room.”

Mick and Bruce flanked her as she walked away.

Usually we don’t have to be so careful backstage. It’s a heavily guarded area anyway. But tonight nothing was the same.

Kim and I followed Mom down a long hall to her dressing room. Morrey, Kim’s boyfriend and Rayne’s drummer, caught up with us. He put a tattoo-covered arm around Kim, her head only reaching his shoulders. Morrey looked at me and winked, but I saw no happiness in it.

Ross Blanke, the band’s tour production manager, hustled up alongside us, trailed by Stan, lead guitarist, and Rich, Rayne’s bass player. “Hey.” Ross put a pudgy hand on Mom’s shoulder. “You’re doing great.” He waved an arm, indicating everyone. “All of you, you’re just doing great.”

“You do what you have to,” Stan said grimly. His black face shone with sweat.

Narrowing single file, we trudged into the dressing room. Mick and Wendell took up places on each side of the door.

Marshall, the makeup and hair stylist, started handing out water bottles. In his thirties, Marshall has buggy eyes and curly dark hair. His fingers are long and narrow, deft with his makeup tools. But until two days ago, he’d been second to Mom’s main stylist, Tom.

“Thanks.” I took a bottle from Marshall and tried to smile. Didn’t work. Just looking at him sent pangs of grief through me, because his presence reminded me of Tom’s absence.

Tom, my closest friend on tour, had been murdered two days ago.

Mom, Ross, Rich and I sank down on the blue couch—one of the furniture pieces Mom requested in every dressing room. Denver’s version was extra large, with a high back and overstuffed arms. To our left stood a table with plenty of catered food, but no one was hungry. I’d hardly eaten in the last day and a half and knew I should have something. But no way, not now.

Maybe after the concert.

Stan, Morrey and Kim drew up chairs to form a haphazard circle.

“All right.” Ross sat with his short, fat legs apart, hands on his jeaned thighs. The huge diamond ring on his right hand was skewed to one side. He straightened it with his pinky finger. “I’ve checked outside past the guarded area. The zoo’s double what it usually is. The news has already hit and every reporter and his brother are waiting for us. Some paparazzi are already there, and others have probably hopped planes and will show up by the time we leave.”

Is Cat here? I shuddered at the thought of the slinky, effeminate photographer who’d bothered us so much in the last two days. He’d even pulled a fire alarm in our San Jose hotel the night before just to force us out of our rooms. Now by police order he wasn’t supposed to get within five hundred feet of us. I doubted he’d care.

My eyes burned, and my muscles felt like water. Little food, no sleep, and plenty of shock. Bad combination. I slumped down in the couch and laid my head back.

Ross ran a hand through his scraggly brown hair. “Now at intermission folks out there”—he jabbed a thumb toward the arena—“are gonna start hearing things. Rayne, you might want to say a little something when you get back on stage.”

Mom sighed, as if wondering where she’d find the energy to do the second half of the concert. “Yeah.”

I squeezed her knee. If only the two of us could hide from the world for a week or two.

Make that a whole year.

Rich frowned as he moved his shaved head from one side to the other, stretching his neck muscles. His piercing gray eyes landed on me, and his face softened. I looked away.

Everyone was so caring and concerned about me. I was grateful for that. Really, I was. But it’s a little hard to know you’ve been the cause of three deaths. Under all their smiles, did the band members blame me?

Ross scratched his hanging jowl. “We got extra coverage from Denver police at the hotel tonight. Tomorrow we’re supposed to head out for Albuquerque. It’s close enough for Vance to drive the main bus without a switch-off driver, and the next two venues are close enough as well. But that’s just logistics. We’ve all been through a lot. Question is—can you all keep performing?” He looked around, eyebrows raised.

“Man.” Morrey shook back his shoulder-length black hair. “If three deaths in two days isn’t enough to make us quit …” His full lips pressed.

I glanced hopefully at Mom. Yeah, let’s go home! I could sleep in my own bed, hide from the paparazzi and reporters, hang out with Brittany, my best friend—who was supposed to be here with me right now.

But canceling concerts would mean losing a lot of money. The Rayne tour was supposed to continue another four weeks.

Mom hunched forward, elbows on her knees and one hand to her cheek. Her long red fingernails matched the color of her lips. “I almost lost my daughter tonight.” Her voice was tight. “I don’t care if I never tour again—Shaley’s got to be protected, that’s the number one thing.”

I want you protected too, Mom.

“I agree with that a hundred percent,” Morrey said, “but at least the threat to Shaley is gone now that Jerry’s dead.

Jerry, one of our bus drivers—and a man I’d thought was my friend—killed Tom and Bruce, and then came after me earlier that night. A cop ended up shooting him.

Kim spread her hands. “I don’t know what to say. I’m still reeling. We’ve barely had time to talk about any of this tonight before getting on stage. I feel like my mind’s gonna explode. And Tom …”

She teared up, and that made me cry. Kim had been like a mother to Tom. Crazy, funny Tom. It was just so hard to believe he was gone.

I wiped my eyes and looked at my lap.

“Anyway.” Kim steadied her voice. “It’s so much to deal with. I don’t know how we’re going to keep up this pace for another month.”

Mom looked at Ross. “We can’t keep going very long with only Vance to drive the main bus.”

Ross nodded. “Until Thursday. I’d have to replace him by then.”

“With who?” Mom’s voice edged.

“I don’t know. I’ll have to jump on it.”

“You can’t just ‘jump on it.’ We need time to thoroughly check the new driver out.”

“Rayne.” Ross threw her a look. “I did check Jerry out. Completely. He had a false ID, remember? That’s what the police said. I couldn’t have known that.”

“You might have known if you’d checked harder.”

Ross’s face flushed. “I did—”

“No you didn’t! Or if you did it wasn’t good enough!” Mom pushed to her feet and paced a few steps. “Something’s mighty wrong if we can’t even find out a guy’s a convicted felon!”

What? I stiffened. “How do you know that?”

Mom waved a hand in the air. “The police told me just before we left the hotel.”

We’d huddled in the manager’s office after the policeman killed Jerry.

I stared at Mom. “When was he in jail?”

Mom threw a hard look at Ross. “He’d barely gotten out when we hired him.”

Heat flushed through my veins. I snapped my gaze toward the floor, Jerry’s last words ringing in my head.

Your father sent me.

How could my father have sent Jerry if he was in jail?

“Rayne,” Ross snapped, “I’ve told you I’m sorry a dozen times—”

“Sorry isn’t enough!” Mom whirled on him. “My daughter was taken hostage. She could have been killed!”

Rich jumped up and put his arms around her. “Come on, Rayne, it’s okay now.”

She leaned against him, eyes closed. The anger on her face melted into exhaustion. “It’s not okay.” Mom shook her head. “Tom’s dead, Bruce is dead. And Shaley—”

Her words broke off. Mom pulled away from Rich and hurried back to the couch. She sank down next to me, a hand on my knee. “Shaley, you’re the one who’s been through the most. What do you want to do?”

My throat nearly swelled shut. Go home! I wanted to yell. But I couldn’t. It wouldn’t be fair. This wasn’t my tour. I didn’t have to pay the bills.

I glanced around at all the band members. Morrey was holding Kim’s hand. Stan and Rich watched me, waiting. A canceled tour wouldn’t just affect them. Rayne had three back-up singers, one of them Carly, who’d been such a help to me. Plus all the techs and roadies. They’d all lose money.

Wait—maybe Mom would let me go home and stay with Brittany. Now that Tom’s and Bruce’s killer was dead …

“Shaley?” Mom tapped my leg.

“I don’t … I can’t stop the tour.”

Ross exhaled. “Rayne?”

Mom looked at the wall clock and pushed to her feet. “We can’t decide this now. It’s only fifteen minutes before we have to be back on stage. I still need to change.”

Stan stood. “I say we figure on doing Albuquerque, and then we can decide about the rest.”

“Yeah, me too.” Rich got up, along with everyone else. I could see the business-like attitude settle on all their faces, including Mom’s. Soon they had to perform again. Every other concern must be pushed aside. In the entertainment world the saying was true: the show must go on.

Within a minute everyone had left except Mom, Marshall and me. Mom threw herself into a chair by the bright mirrors so Marshall could adjust her makeup. When he left she changed into a steel blue top and skinny-legged black pants.

I sat numbly on the couch, four words running through my mind. Words, I sensed, that would change my life.

Your father sent me.

Mom didn’t know what Jerry had whispered to me as he died. I needed to tell her.

But how? Like me, she was running on empty. It would be one more shock, another scare. I wasn’t sure she could take anymore and still perform.

Had Jerry told me the truth? Had the father I’d never known—the man my mother refused to talk about—purposely sent a killer to join our tour?

I needed to know. I needed to find out. Because if it was true—the danger was far from over.

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Today was a good day…..

We managed to get back on our schedule and I figured out a plan for myself to catch up on things I have left go. I  am going to sit down each evening and  type our lesson plan, our daily chore plan with extra activities into it and print it out with menu guidelines and hole punch it and have it in a notebook! I have been so confused by trying to find  a good planner and  here I had it right in front of me. <p> Even my son said to me  this evening, "This was a good day! "  It felt normal again!!!
<p> I took the boys to the dentist today,  I am not sure how they all manage to have bad teeth, but I sort of blame myself as  I did not eat very good while pregnant and I think that might be it. The older ones adult teeth seem to be good, so maybe eventually we will be done with caps and crowns and spacers……. They even said I do a good job of brushing my little ones teeth, but he still has issues. <p>
I am working on organizing, I organized my sheets today and am working on  my office so did some stuff with puzzles. I may end up getting rid of some though as it is pretty messy!  We are getting somewhere though!!! One thing at a time. <p> I hope the rest of the night goes as well and tomorrow is smooth as well!

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Menu- 10/28- 11/4

Wow, I can hardly believe it is November already!!! Wow!! That came quick…..
This week I am working on using the cheese I got last week cheap and up all the extra lettuce in my fridge….I guess I will have to go to the store, but I don’t want to!!! <p>

Wednesday: Pasta with meatballs and cheese sauce, salad and garlic bread
Thursday: Taco salad
Friday: Pizza, salad
Saturday: Vegetable soup, rolls
Sunday: Sandwiches, cookies and popcorn
Monday:  Company casserole, garlic bread, salad
Tuesday: Broccoli soup, muffins

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Mom needs chocolate……review

My review: This great short, but sweet book will have you in stitches before you finish it!! I enjoyed it throughly!!! Each short chapter has little questions at the end that make it great for short readings at Women’s group meetings or just for your own devotional type reading, with good applications for your daily mom life. We read one at out MOPS group and it skillfully combines humor with thinking about God and thoughts towards God with our busy lives as moms. This is a great one to pick up or slip into a gift basket for a busy mom you know! Just read the first chapter to see what I mean!- Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Mom NEEDS Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood

Regal (April 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Rebeca Seitz of Glass Road Public Relations, LLC for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Debora M. Coty is the author or contributor to several books, including Mom NEEDS Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood. A resident of Florida where she lives with her husband, Coty raised two children and enjoyed a dedicated career as an Occupational Therapist before beginning to chase her God-given dream of writing. She is known for communicating sound biblical concepts with a refreshing, light-hearted style. Her writings can be read in her monthly newspaper column, Grace Notes: God’s Grace for Everyday Living.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Regal (April 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0830745920
ISBN-13: 978-0830745920

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

My Cups Runneth Over

Pregnancy

A baby is an inestimable blessing and a bother.

Mark Twain

As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.

Genesis 9:7, NASB

There are a few things I’ve learned while fulfilling the “be fruitful and multiply” mandate.

Pregnancy draws you closer to your spouse. During an emergency stop in our driveway while I tossed my cookies in the grass, my husband, Chuck, tried to comfort me. Soon we were throwing up side by side. It was the most romantic thing he’s ever done. Those two brown spots on our lawn were the envy of all my friends.

Childbirth classes are invaluable informational sources. At the country hospital we’d chosen, one young farmer raised his hand the week after we learned about Braxton Hicks false labor contractions. He earnestly addressed the nurse instructor, “Ma’am, my wife’s been miserable all week. Could you tell us again about them Briggs and Stratton things?” He was the same strapping fellow who confided the first week, “We ain’t ever had any babies, but we’ve birthed a lot of cows.”

The budding momma’s swelling belly and the ledge over her innie-turned-outie navel aren’t the only evolutions in the body’s profile. Average-sized breasts become huge globes that bump into everything. It’s like having volleyballs attached to your chest. These alien chest globes take on their own personalities. I called mine the Bobbing Twins, Freddie and Flopsie. I addressed them directly: “Freddie, stop bouncing around or I’m going to fall off this bike,” or “Flopsie, you’re gonna have to squeeze into this DDD cup—there is no E.”

Finally, you’re in your ninth month. Ah, but the surprises are not over. After hours of sweating, teeth grinding and PUSHing, you are rewarded with a tiny screaming miracle. The little bugger has a surprisingly strong sucking reflex, and when he latches on, it feels like a vice grip to this incredibly sensitive part of your anatomy. You’re awfully glad you did that desensitization with the washcloth beforehand. I once commented to Chuck after performing this unpleasant ritual that rubbing myself with terrycloth made me empathize with that old table he was sanding.

“Hmmm. Yes, dear,” he answered, only half listening. I later overheard him inform his sister on the phone, “Debbie uses sandpaper on her chest to get ready for the baby.” No wonder his family thinks I’m weird.

Shortly after giving birth, my friend Julia (also a nursing mother) and I decided to take a well-deserved tennis break. Leaving the babies with their daddies, we headed for the courts. The blissful quiet was shattered by a wailing infant in a passing stroller, triggering that mysterious internal milk breaker switch. Julia and I simultaneously clutched our chests like gunshot victims at the incoming flood.

“Stop it, Freddie! Not now, Flopsie!” I pleaded with the Twins as two dark, wet spots appeared in strategic locations on the front of my white tennis shirt. Julia and I mopped ourselves between points with a soggy sweatband, bringing strange new meaning to the term, “bosom buddies.”1

Son of Man, thank You for the blessing of family and the miracle of babies. Make me more like You because they may end up being like me.

Note

1. Adapted from “My Cups Runneth Over” by Debora M. Coty, first appearing in Today’s Christian Woman, November/December 2004 issue. Used by permission.

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Menu last week…..

Since I got home late on Wednesday, I ended up going shopping and our menu has been a bit screwed up! Plus, the boys and F. have been going to work in the evenings at my sister’s house. F. is insulating their house and the boys have been doing construction cleanup. It is really good for them to learn how to work……
Anyhow, dinner has been interesting!!!

Thursday: Fried potatoes……I think some had some eggs
Friday: Chili in the crockpot. It was an interesting chili as I had a small steak, some chunks of chicken, a can of salsa and some other stuff I dumped in along with a bag of frozen beans. It was good though!!There was a chili feed for church, but it was raining and the boys had to go work, so I did not want to go.
Saturday: Baked chicken legs, broccoli
Sunday: Leftover chicken legs, salad and sandwiches, popcorn and muffins…..
Monday: Leftover night- I did not have many leftovers, so she made black eyed peas (which were so good) and cornbread and I brought Pumpkin Cranberry  muffins with crumb topping and cheese and hot sauce with sour cream. It was yummy!
Tuesday: Baked chicken legs, mashed potatoes, applesauce and salad…and let’s see if I can get this made! I have a bunch of organizing, cleaning and de-cluttering to do.

<p>
We will see what next week holds!!!

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Pumpkin Patch

Enjoying lunch before playing…….
T. and a friend’s little boy riding in the barrel train…..
T. loved it!!! He just wanted to ride and ride and ride as long as the man was going to go!!
But he stopped for some hot apple cider……MMMMmmmmm!!
H. posing in jail……the other little boy whom, I do not know, got in the way, but there were so many kids around we just took the picture!!

You want me to smile? A real smile???

All set to go for a tractor wagon train ride……apple cider included!!

This guy rode way up in front with strangers…..not scared of much!!!

All set to go home….it started to rain as we left, but pumpkins in hand, we had a great time!! I cooked one as soon as we got home and made a wonderful batch of pumpkin cranberry streusel muffins with some of it! I also froze a bag!!

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My trip pictures


Pictures of the planes…..for the boys, while I was waiting for the flight in Denver

I am not sure what this was, but I was wondering if it was part of the Grand Canyon…..not sure, I have never seen it before!
My very cute…cousin’s daughter……

My grandma cut me some beautiful roses for my bathroom! It was such a special treat!! They were so pretty and smelled wonderful!
My aunt, unloading presents after my cousin’s baby shower for twins!! She got alot of diapers and lots of good stuff! It was fun, but very tiring!!
My grandma reading the paper! I really enjoyed sitting and reading the paper with them in the morning! I love reading newspapers, and it was fun to do it with someone else who also enjoyed it!
My wonderful grandparents!!! I really enjoyed being able to spend time with them, they are such amazing people!

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Messages To Myself: Overcoming a Distorted Self-Image by Dr. Helen McIntosh

My Review: This one is hard for me to review as I remember reading the book, but cannot remember something that was memorable about it, other than I found it interesting. It was one of those books that was good to read, but not something that struck me personally with a chord that I had to remember it! Anyhow, since this is only for me and I am sure it will be one that strikes a chord with one of you, check out the first chapter and see if this is one that would be good for you! – Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Messages To Myself: Overcoming a Distorted Self-Image

Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City (May 15, 2009)

***Special thanks to Blythe Daniel of The Blythe Daniel Agency, Inc.for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Dr. Helen McIntosh has a doctorate in Counseling Psychology, is a Licensed Professional Counselor, Certified in Reality Therapy, speaker, author, and inventor of The Peace Rug®. She spent 18 years in public education. As school counselor, she wrote the book, Eric, Jose & The Peace Rug® to help students resolve conflicts with peers. Fox News has shown interest in her work in school violence. She has written for Guideposts and ParentLife, and has been reviewed in BookPleasures.com, Good News Tucson, Chattanooga Times-Free Press, Daily Citizen newspapers, and will be reviewed on CBN.org, Miami Motherhood, Esperanza and hopetocope.com, The Christian Post, and others.

Messages To Myself: Overcoming a Distorted Self-Image is published by Beacon Hill Press (June 2009) and is endorsed by Stasi Eldredge, Kay Arthur, Steve Arterburn, Sheila Walsh, June Hunt, and Jan Silvious.

Visit the author’s website and The Peace Rug®.

Product Details:

List Price: $13.99
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Beacon Hill Press of Kansas City (May 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0834124564
ISBN-13: 978-0834124561

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

1

What Are You Thinking?

I thought I handled the blows in my life and to my sense of well-being with a learned Southern charm and grace: “Well, okay—if that’s what you think” or “If that’s what you say, then it must be true.” After all, why would anyone intentionally wound me or cause me to question his or her words or actions?

I slowly came to realize, though, that not everyone—including my loved ones—understood the power their words had over me or understood that I allowed their words to dominate my thinking and what I believed about myself. Over time, I came to understand that there were feelings and emotions deep inside that I couldn’t account for. I didn’t remember how or why they resided in my heart, but I wanted to banish them and the damage they had caused.

I didn’t know that my thoughts and my behavior were linked in any way. So when I had a specific thought about a person’s actions or a word that was spoken to me, I didn’t realize how much it affected the way I lived.

The effects of these words and actions also affected the way I viewed relationships—my relationship with myself and my relationships with others. I knew I needed to reframe (“reframe” is a term I use to mean picturing something in a different light) years of pain and frustration, but I had no role model to follow.

The Truth Chart

The Truth Chart process that I developed was initially developed for my own mental health. I began using it in 1970, but it was many years before I began sharing it with others. Now I have almost daily opportunities to share this method, and I have been surprised and humbled by the results. The participants in the classes I teach and those I counsel in my private practice continue to share that they have had dramatic changes in their thinking patterns and behaviors. These individuals have encouraged me to put these ideas into this book so others can experience what they have discovered regarding depression, emotional anxiety, and personal thought life. They have shared that these ideas are novel, concrete, and practical.

For most of my childhood and into my adulthood, I thought of myself as vanilla—you know, just plain vanilla. No sparkle, no color, nothing memorable. Certainly not jamocha almond fudge or white chocolate strawberry—just vanilla.

Many damaging messages were delivered to me by people who were important to me during the course of my life: “Can’t you do anything right?” “You’re so weak, so stupid, so clumsy . . .” I had internalized those messages, and they had become a major component in my self-talk and poor self-image. Samples of my internal scripts were “I am a zero.” “I never do anything right.”

In addition to these damaging conversations with myself, I had never really internalized God’s view of me either. These became more than just internal thoughts—they became wounds that affected me deeply. The wounds were far deeper than a skinned knee here and there, although there were many of those. The wounds I’m referring to were name-calling, displays of anger and rage, and actions against me.

Since I invited Christ to come into my life as my Savior and Lord many years ago, I’ve been totally convinced that God loves me and has a plan for my life. I knew He had forgiven my sins and answered many prayers. I’ve taught Sunday School and Bible studies since my salvation experience, and I have taught biblical life principles to others and believed them as truth. But when I had feelings of not being special or had feelings of not being of value to God, I didn’t really label those thoughts as lies. I taught others about guarding their thoughts, but I never really internalized the application of these principles into my own thought life. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe I was special to God. But there were wounds—deep internal messages from others—that superseded God’s messages to me. Fortunately, that has all changed.

Not too long ago I asked God for the name He had for me. I first heard of this concept at a conference by author John Eldredge a few years ago, but I didn’t ask God right then. This idea originated in the passage of Scripture from John 10:3 about how “the sheep hear his voice; and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (nkjv, emphasis added). I knew it was important for me to hear God’s name for me; I just wasn’t sure I really wanted to know. I was confident it would be something vanilla.

Recently, though, I decided I needed to know. I didn’t hear God’s audible voice, but clearly and distinctly, after a time of prayer, came the phrase “Warrior Princess.” Wow! Nothing vanilla about “Warrior Princess!” God had reframed my thoughts even about who I am.

We make choices like that every day—every moment of every day. What are we to believe when we have certain ongoing thoughts and feelings? Thoughts and feelings may feel very real. But are they true?

The purpose of this book is to help you be attentive to your thoughts and feelings, but you must not get stuck in reflections and past hurts. Instead, look at your thoughts and feelings from the truth of God’s perspective. You are not wiping out the real and honest wounds or reflections or even the in-depth processing of these things that come to your heart and mind. They are to be validated; but don’t get stuck there.

Wounds in Action

Once you are able to see your wounds and reflections from God’s point of view, you can be freed from ongoing despondency, depression, anger, and anxiety. Remember the word I used earlier, “reframing”? Here’s a recent personal story to illustrate what reframing is.

It was the week before I was scheduled to speak at a women’s retreat. It was a cold, drizzly afternoon. I had just dropped off my granddaughter at her home and was only a few blocks away. I went through a fast-food drive-through and picked up some large containers of soup, which I put on the floor of my car to take to my mother-in-law.

Traffic was thick, as it always is on this busiest street at the busiest time in the afternoon—bumper to bumper. I have no idea how it happened, really, and I offer no excuses. But before I knew it, I was looking down at the soup that was wobbling on the floor—and I reached for it, consequently bumping the car in front of me suddenly. My car had moved forward—apparently my foot slipped—and I was thrust into one of the most embarrassing moments of my life! It was followed by such personal agony—a genuine shame attack. I am such a disaster. How could I have done that? I will never be trusted ever again to drive my granddaughters. A lot of people saw it. I felt totally exposed! I had stopped traffic, and I felt as if hundreds of pairs of eyes were watching and calling me stupid.

XXX

Hear the wound? Do you hear the stories under the wound? You can hear the ownership of responsibility, but mostly you hear the pain. We’ll reframe this in just a minute. Back to the scene.

The man in front of me was not happy. In what seemed only a second he walked back to my car and stood beside me. Oh, he was angry! And I even knew him—and his wife, who was with him. But he didn’t let that stand in the way! He quickly called the police, which, of course, you are supposed to do. Within five agonizing minutes we were summoned to drive a short distance to a service station on a corner where twice as many people could see us. There wasn’t just one police car—there were two. I was overwhelmed with an all-too-familiar sense of inadequacy and failure, by the feeling of being a bad grandmother. How scary to realize that my granddaughter was in the car only moments before! I’m too bad a driver to be trusted to drive my grandchildren ever again. These messages then multiplied and began to connect with my mother’s damaging accusations from decades before—her avalanche of accusations over the smallest of infractions. That tender place in my heart was hurting so badly.

Picture me: I stood with the police in the cold, wet rain. It was freezing outside, and I had on several jackets; but because I was fresh from a pedicure, I was wearing high-heeled jeweled sandals—and holding my teacup poodle. How silly I must have looked!

For hours and hours Satan whispered additional messages to the ones I was already having, such as “How can you possibly teach the women this weekend?” My agony was profound. It was time to reframe.

Reframing

I went to God and first said, Lord, I hurt so badly. I feel like such a failure. I feel like such a zero, so “legally blonde.” I’m very okay with the traffic ticket and the fine, and I’m fine with replacing the man’s bumper. Those things aren’t what bother me. I just hate feeling so inadequate.

Then I started looking at that accident through God’s perspective—period. I began to say to Him, The truth is—it was serious, but everyone is okay. I was careless, but I am not a failure as a person. God, I am so sorry. I hate what it feels like to be distracted. Lord, could you give me grace to bear this hurt—the grace that I enjoy giving to others but have trouble receiving myself? You are enough for this ouch. Thank you that I am adequate in you; thank you that I don’t have to be adequate in my own strength anyway. I would love to learn from this, Lord. I ask you to help me be a better driver. When I think of this accident, I choose to think of the ways I have already grown and choose now not to assume false shame. Thank you, Lord. You are enough.

This book is about the process of reframing thinking, feelings, and past or present wounds, and it’s based primarily on the following two Scripture passages. It’s also about restoring relationships—through both your self-talk and your other-talk.

Though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free (John 8:31-32).

A stronghold is like a worn path—but a path that is created by the enemy of our lives. Have you ever taken a shortcut across the lawn again and again? Pretty soon you have created a marked path. When you know you should go a different way but you keep returning to that same path, that is a stronghold. When someone has a difficult conversation with you, and the damage of the conversation is not repaired, you will continue to feel that hurt, that wound, for a long time. Then you develop sensitivity to similar wounds by others, and that, too, is a stronghold.

Maybe you tend to often take on false guilt or false responsibility from someone else’s words or actions. False guilt and false responsibility are strongholds. If you have a sad thought, then another and another—and they don’t receive attention—it becomes a stronghold. Maybe you’re plagued by recurring anxious or fearful thoughts that don’t get resolved as the wounds deepen. Those, too, become strongholds. You get the idea of how this pattern can deepen and spread to more than just one area of your life. You have not only developed a stronghold but have also established an agreement with your enemy.

It is the truth—biblical truth—that does set one free from these strongholds or bondages. Truth is the only thing that can provide freedom from these “strongholds,” “arguments,” and “every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.”

Before we explore this, let me clarify that I’m not speaking of truth that some might interpret as positive messages that sound good and cheerful for the moment. Examples of these well-meaning but often damaging messages include “Oh, you can do it!” “You can always get another dog,” “Time will take care of that,” or “Be happy—you have so much.” The reality is that when someone is mad, sad, anxious, or fearful, there’s more important information to be gained from the expressions of emotions.

We need to look long and hard at what our thoughts and feelings are telling us about our heart. Just being positive and cheerful could serve only to minimize pain, implying that there is a fast “cure” that is not realistic. Positive messages we give ourselves or receive from others will not have a lasting effect. Only Christ can permanently relieve the hurt of deep emotional pain. Though you can be available for friends and loved ones, and others can be available for you, cheerful counsel and unsolicited advice are not the answer. The mind of Christ is required.

Careful study of the Scriptures, learning scriptural principles, and looking to the Holy Spirit for guidance give us the wisdom to see truth from His perspective.

Truth: Where Does It Come From?

I believe that God is the author of truth, wherever it is found. As a counselor in the public school system for 12 years, I could not initiate conversations about God or use biblical scriptures, but I could talk with students about more general principles of “truth.”

It’s fascinating to see how truth and reasoning are handled by the secular professionals in our society. In the field of psychology, there is renowned research to show the truth and profound importance of disputing irrational thinking as the main antidote to depression and anxiety. I had been reframing my thoughts and feelings for decades before I found this research, but it confirmed the importance of what I had been practicing to deal with my thoughts. The research states that “cognitive behavioral therapy,” or the “disputing of irrational beliefs,” is superior to pharmacology, which is using medication to aide in someone’s pain management, or even a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and pharmacology. God’s perspective is the ultimate reframing, and it stretches beyond just knowing that irrational thinking should be disputed. The study of secular research and how it underscores the truth of what I’m sharing with you is discussed in more depth in a future chapter.

For now, let’s explore more fully what reframing of self-talk is and how to develop a mental outline to help when you are continuing the well-worn path of anger, depression, fear, or anxiety. Conquering these results of self-lies is possible.

Making It Personal

1. A suggested prayer: Lord, would you open wide my understanding of the issues of my own heart? Would you help me put a name on my hurts? Would you help me to see the damage? Would you give me the grace to cover this tender time of reflection and exploration of my thoughts and feelings? In Christ’s name I pray. Amen.

2. Don’t rush this next step. Take your time. Think about what might be past and present wounds. You can list people, events, circumstances, conversations, anything in your life that has brought hurt.

Past wounds

Present wounds

3. Are there some common themes? What might they be called? Some examples: abandonment, rejection, feelings of inadequacy. These are possible strongholds.

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Double Cross – Book Review

My Review:
Want a real to life heroine that is not perfect? You found the book! The story starts out with the discovery of a suicide when Taylor and Kacey thought they were going to confront a suspect. This starts them on the hunt for a murderer when Taylor notices some things that are just not quite right about it. She of course, gets herself into messes without letting anyone know and chases and close scrapes with death come about.

You will want to read the first book in this series before this one “Forsaken”. This book is full of more than just mystery and fast chases, there is relationship issues as Taylor’s mother tries to come back into her life, but she is a mess and you have to wonder at her mental status the entire book. You can feel the longing in Taylor’s heart for a mother and yet, that longing goes unfilled.

I really enjoyed this book! I do not often enjoy books by male authors about women, so this was a happy surprise. It is also an “I” story, which is sometimes hard for me too, but this one I enjoyed to the last page and look forward to hearing how Taylor’s life goes forward! -Martha

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old…or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today’s Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Double Cross

B&H Books (October 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


James David Jordan is a business attorney in Texas and was named by the Dallas Business Journal as one of the most influential leaders in that legal community. He holds a journalism degree from the University
of Missouri as well as a law degree and MBA from the University of Illinois and lives with his wife and two children in the Dallas suburbs.

Visit the author’s website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: B&H Books (October 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805447547
ISBN-13: 978-0805447545

AND NOW…THE FIRST CHAPTER:

The day my mother came back into my life began with a low December fog and a suicide. Mom was not responsible for the fog.

I hadn’t seen her for twenty years, and the idea that she might show up at my door was the farthest thing from my mind on a Thursday morning, a few weeks before Christmas, when the music alarm practically blasted me off my bed. With the Foo Fighters wailing in my ear, I burrowed into my pillow and tried to wrap it around my head. I rolled onto my side and slapped the snooze bar, but smacked the plastic so hard that it snapped in two, locking in another minute and a half of throbbing base before I could yank the cord from the wall socket. It wasn’t until my toes touched the hardwood floor and curled up against the cold that I remembered why I was waking up at five-forty-five in the first place. Kacey Mason and I were meeting Elise Hovden at eight o’clock in a suburb northwest of Dallas. We would give her one chance to explain why

nearly half a million dollars was missing from Simon Mason World Ministries. If she couldn’t, our next stop would be the Dallas police.

Since Simon Mason’s murder earlier that year, I’d been living in his house with Kacey, his twenty-year-old daughter. I had promised to watch out for her if anything happened to him. It wasn’t a sacrifice. By that time Kacey and I were already so close that we finished each other’s sentences. I needed her as much as she needed me.

I slid my feet into my slippers and padded down the hall toward Kacey’s door. Chill bumps spread down my thighs in a wave, and I wished I’d worn my flannel pajama bottoms to bed under my Texas Rangers baseball jersey. Rather than turning back to my room to grab my robe, I decided to gut it out. I bent over and gave my legs a rub, but I knew they wouldn’t be warm again until I was standing next to the space heater in the bathroom.

I pressed my ear to Kacey’s door. The shower was humming. Of course she was awake. Had there ever been a more responsible college kid? Sometimes I wished she would let things go,

do something wild. For her, that would probably mean not flossing before going to bed. If hyper-responsibility got her through the day, I supposed it was fine with me. After all, she was a markedly better person than I had been at her age.

By the time I met her father I was twenty-nine, and thanks to a decade of too much alcohol and too many useless men, I was dropping like a rock. But Simon Mason caught me and held me

in place for a while, just long enough to give me hope. Then he did what he had to do, and he died for it. Some things are more important than living. He and Dad both taught me that. So now I was changing. To be accurate, I would say I was a work in progress. I hadn’t had a drink since before Simon died, and I’d sworn off men completely, albeit temporarily. Frankly, the latter was not much of a sacrifice. It wasn’t as if a crowd of guys had been beating a path to my door. I simply figured there was no use getting back into men until I was confident the drinking was under control. One thing I had demonstrated repeatedly in my life was that drinking and men just didn’t go together—at least not for me.

As for Kacey, after everything she’d been through, it was amazing she hadn’t folded herself into a fetal ball and quit the world for a while. Instead, she just kept plugging along, putting one foot in front of the other. I was content to step gingerly behind her, my toes sinking into her footprints. She was a good person to follow. She had something I’d never been known for: Kacey had character.

I shook my head. I was not going to start the day by kicking myself. I’d done enough of that. Besides, I no longer thought I had to be perfect. If a good man like Simon Mason could mess

things up and find a way to go on, then so could I. Even in his world—a much more spiritual one than mine—perfection was not required. He made a point of teaching me that.

I closed my eyes and pictured Simon: his shiny bald head, his leanly muscled chest, his brilliant, warming smile. As I thought of that smile, I smiled, too, but it didn’t last long. Within seconds the muscles tightened in my neck. I massaged my temples and tried to clear my thoughts. Soon, though, I was pressing my fingers so hard into my scalp that pain radiated from behind my eyes.

If only he had listened. But he couldn’t. He wanted to die. No matter how much he denied it, we both knew it was true. After what he had done, he couldn’t live with himself. So he found the only available escape hatch. He went to preach in a place where his death was nearly certain.

I lowered my hands and clenched them, then caught myself and relaxed. This was no good. It was too late. Not this morning, Taylor. You’re not going to think about Simon today. I took a deep breath and ran my fingers back through my hair, straightening the auburn waves for an instant before they sprang stubbornly back into place. Today’s worries are enough for today. That was the mantra of the alcohol recovery program at Simon’s church. It was from the Bible, but I couldn’t say where. To be honest, I didn’t pay attention as closely as I should. Regardless of origin, it was a philosophy that had worked for my drinking—at least so far. Maybe it had broader application: Focus on the task at hand and let yesterday and tomorrow take care of themselves.

At the moment, the first priority was to get the coffee going. I started down the hall.

When I turned the corner into the kitchen, I could see that Kacey had already been there. The coffee maker light was on, illuminating a wedge of countertop next to the refrigerator. In the red glow of the tiny bulb, the machine chugged and puffed like a miniature locomotive. Two stainless steel decanters with screw-on plastic lids waited next to the ceramic coffee jar, and

the smell of strong, black coffee drifted across the room. I closed my eyes, inhaled, and pictured the cheese Danish we would pick up at the corner bakery on our way out of our neighborhood. That was plenty of incentive to get moving. I headed back down the hall.

When I reached the bathroom I flipped on the light, closed the door, and hit the switch on the floor heater. I positioned it so it blew directly on my legs. Within a minute the chill bumps were retreating. I braced my hands on the edge of the sink, leaned forward, and squinted into the mirror. Glaring back at me was a message I had written in red lipstick the night before: Start the coffee!

I wiped the words off with a hand towel and peered into the mirror again. A tangled strand of hair dangled in front of one eye. I pushed it away, blinked hard, and studied my face. No lines, no bags, no creases—no runs, no hits, no errors, as Dad used to say. I was beginning to believe the whole clean living thing. Zero liquor and a good night’s sleep worked like a tonic for the skin.

It was tough to stay on the wagon after Simon’s death. I had never been an every-day drinker. My problem was binge drinking. With all that had happened during the past six months, the temptations had been frequent and strong, but I was gradually getting used to life on the dry side of a bourbon bottle. There was much to be said for routine. Maybe that’s why dogs are so happy when they’re on a schedule. When everything happens the same way and at the same time each day, there’s not much room for angst.

On second thought, the dog analogy didn’t thrill me. I pulled the Rangers jersey over my head, tossed it on the floor, and turned to look in the full-length mirror on the back of the bathroom door. Standing in nothing but my bikini panties, I rocked onto the toes of one foot, then the other. My long legs were still lean and athletic. Fitness was something Dad had always emphasized—fitness and self-defense. There were times when I had hated him for it, but now I was glad for the benefits. It would be years before I had to worry about really showing age. I might have lived harder than most twenty-nine year olds, but I could still turn heads in a crowded room. No, the dog analogy was not appropriate. I had plenty of issues, but I was no dog. At least not yet.

I turned on the water and cupped my hands beneath the faucet. It was time to wake up and plan what we would say to Elise. After splashing my face and patting it with a towel, I turned around, leaned back against the countertop, and crossed my arms. I caught a whiff of the lavender cologne I’d taken to spraying on my wrists before bed. The Internet said it would soothe me into peaceful slumber. For fifty dollars an ounce, it should have brought me warm milk and rocked me to sleep. I tried to recall how I’d slept the past few nights, then caught myself. I was just looking for ways to waste time. I needed to focus. The issue at hand was Elise.

Simon informed me about the missing money just before he left for Beirut. His former accountant, Brandon, had confronted him about it, thinking that Simon had been skimming. Simon wanted someone to know that he hadn’t done it, someone who could tell Kacey that her dad was not a thief. That’s why he told me. In case he didn’t come back. And as the whole world knew, he didn’t come back.

Elise was the obvious person for the board of directors to choose to wind up the business of Simon’s ministry. She had been his top assistant for years. When I told Kacey about the missing money, though, she bypassed Elise and went directly to the board to demand an audit—impressive gumption for a twenty year old. It didn’t take the auditors long to confirm that Simon had nothing to do with the missing money.

The accountants concluded that the board had assigned the cat to clean the birdcage. Elise had set up dummy vendor accounts at banks around the country in a classic embezzlement scam. Simon’s ministries had major construction projects going, and Elise issued bogus contractor invoices to Simon

Mason World Ministries from fake businesses with P.O. box addresses that she controlled. When the ministry mailed the payments, she picked up the checks from the post office boxes and deposited them in the bank accounts. Who knows where the money went from there?

The ministry had grown so quickly during the years before Simon’s death—and Simon was so trusting—that controls were lax. When the invoices came in, the payables department

paid them without question. By now the money was probably stuffed under a mattress in some tropical paradise. That was another thing I intended to pursue with Elise. She had developed a great tan.

Before I stepped into the shower, I wrapped myself in a towel and went back into the bedroom. I pulled my Sig Sauer .357 out of my purse and checked the magazine. It was full. I slipped the pistol into the inside pocket of my purse. Elise didn’t strike me as the type to get violent, but people did weird things when backed into a corner. If I’d learned anything during my time in the Secret Service, it was to hope for the best—and prepare for the worst.

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Nice trip….

I was hoping to wait to blog until I got time to put pictures up, but thought I would write stuff down before I forget! <p> I headed off early in the morning on Thursday headed over 4.5 hours away to make it to the airport. It is a long drive, but it did it without any problems including driving in the city a bit when I had a few minutes to kill.  I was so impressed with myself! I am broadening my horizons!!! <p> I  only took a carry on on the flights and I was amazed at how easy it was and I don’t know that I will want to check bags again!! We flew to Denver  and waited for the plane to take off and then the time came closer and they started announcing there was a problem with electrical in the kitchen on the plane. They were trying to get it fixed, and said we would take off, and take off and then suddenly they say we are switching planes. Next announcement,  we are not switching planes, they got this one fixed, and then suddenly, we are sorry, your flight was canceled. We had to wait in line for over and hour and half  to figure out what we were supposed to do next. They gave us meal and hotel vouchers, but I had to wait for the shuttle for almost 45 minutes in the chilly night and when we got there, the place that served food was about to close. I rushed to my room, ran down, ordered some food. I was so tired, I could not eat, so just went upstairs and fell asleep! <p> I had to get up at 3 am so barely slept after 1 am and got to the airport before 5 (the shuttle was at 4:25). The flight was supposed to take off at 6 am and what do you know, it was delayed again!!! It was more like 7 am when it took off and I was moaning my lost hour of sleep. I fell asleep on the plane though and drank orange juice so I felt better! <p>
I had a  wonderful visit with my grandparents, they have done so many wonderful things in their lives and it was so much fun to listen to the stories and do things with them. I have realized how many things I do, I have gotten from them even though I am not around them much, things that are different than the rest of my family. I am very proud to be a part of their family! <p> I got to go to a  baby shower for my cousin also. She is having twins in seven weeks, a boy and girl!! It was so much fun to be able to do that, but it was a long, long shower!!! <p> I did not take alot of pictures, but I took a few and I got a chance to just relax, have fun and let go of some of the burdens of life, which is hard to do. <p> On the way home, it was interesting as it was like 2 am when I got out of the airport. It was foggy and fog freaks me out ever since  our accident in the fog, so I was driving slowly for the most part. Anyhow, here I am going the speed limit later, driving on a deserted freeway and I see a police car sitting on the side of the road. He pulls out a bit later and comes up behind me and sits there for awhile and then pulls me over. I am trying to figure out if I did something wrong, when he comes over and says that my muffler is a little loud. He checks everything and finds it all okay…..he wants to know what I am doing out this time of night, and I explain. I think he wanted to make sure I was not a teenager out on the town at 2 am or something, my muffler is not really that loud!!! Oh well, I am sure when he saw I was  30 and have never had a ticket….he figured he was safe letting me go! <p> I had to leave later in the day the next day because of the fog, but stopped to say hi to my mom and was on my way home!!! It is nice to be home even though it was fun traveling. <p> So many sick people though and now I feel like I am fighting a cold……..I am scared of getting sick, but don’t think I will really get sick.

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