Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thank Heaven for Little Girls!

Thank Heaven for Little Girls!

This is Brynlie on Friday--just a few hours old.

Girls are so sweet—by the way, this is my third granddaughter who just arrived this last Friday. Let’s see, that makes her six days old today. She’s a cutie!

Brynlie with grandpa.

I marvel at the wonders of modern medicine—and wish that level of expertise was available when I was having children. Other than my first, I think ten days after my due date was the soonest I ever delivered.

Apparently like me, my daughter gets close to her due date, and is still not ready to deliver. The doctors schedule her right away for inducing. Then when she arrives, they (the medical staff) do a cervical thinning which starts her labor without meds.

Brynlie with her big sister, Lillie.
It’s a good thing she didn’t have her babies 25 years ago! This little darling, Brynlie, weighed 8 pounds and 15 ounces and was 21 and ½ inches tall. Imagine what she would have weighed in two weeks!
Not wanting to leave out any of my cute little granddaughters, this is Brynlie's cousin, Olivia, who is just learning to crawl and is trying to get some teeth.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena

Joyce DiPastena has done it again!
Illuminations of the Heart, a historical romance novel by Joyce DiPastena is more than just romance--it's a compelling read. This book, her second, is set in 1179 France where women were regarded more as property and the object of men’s lustful desires, than humans whose feeling should be considered when making decisions involving their lives.

Exciting, with moments of 'chew your nails' action, Illuminations of the Heart takes us to Vere Castle where Triston de Brielle (a character from DiPastena’s first novel, Loyalty’s Web), is now its master. Unfortunately, life holds no joy for him because his beloved wife, Clothilde, passed away a year ago and he cannot move on.

Triston now has guardianship of his son, Perrin—a child who has unexplainably feared his father since his mother, Clothilde’s tragic death. This causes Triston further pain, yet he hasn’t the wherewithal to discuss it with the lad.

When a beautiful young stranger is placed under his responsibility—a woman who resembles Clothilde so completely that most, upon seeing her, believe she is Triston’s tormented wife returned from the dead—the eligible bachelors line up to make lewd passes and try to gain her hand in any way conceivable.

Donna Siriol de Calendri is not such an easy catch. She has fire in her soul and checks her ungentlemanly suitors with a boldness not expected from one so petite. There is only one person who owns her heart—Triston, and Siri refuses to settle for anyone less—that is until Sir Raynor de Molinet comes on the scene with his silver tongue.

The stakes rise as Raynor, recognizing Siri’s maiden name, searches out her lineage and discovers she is the sole living heir to a vast fortune now under Duke Richard’s hand.

As Triston faces charges of Tyranny, he battles his liege lord Roger Fauke, Raynor, and even Duke Richard himself for Siri’s safety, but will he ever be able to love her the way Siri desires him to?

DiPastena writes with a loving knowledge of medieval times and adds little details of the era in such a delightful and unobtrusive way that upon reading her novel, one is willfully transported back into a time when history was rich with knights in shining armor, fair maidens, castles, and highway robbers waiting to steal what treasures they can from their unsuspecting countrymen.

DiPastena’s Illuminations of the Heart gets five stars (out of five). It’s a novel so well written that it can be read over and over again with equal enjoyment.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Reading Books

Summer is a great time for "chillin" and reading books. Actually, for me any time of year is a good time for reading a book. This summer, I've re-read Joyce DiPastena's book, "Loyalty's Web." It's a historical novel set in medieval days, and dispite the unfriendly term "medieval" it is a very entertaining and compelling read.

I've also read, "The Hourglass Door," by Lisa Mangum. It is a contemporary fantasy/sci-fi, and is also a great read. It's about a high school senior who finds herself falling in love with who she thinks is a foreign exchange student. He's not.

I am currently reading, "A Door in the Woods," a fantasy by James Dashner. I met him at the LDStorymakers Conference this year when I bought his book and asked him to sign it for me. He has several novels out, and as he signed this one, he apologised to me in advance of my reading it as this apparently was his first effort. So far I don't understand the apology because it has been engaging from the very first page. The main character is 14, however his story isn't full of short, clipped sentences geared for young readers which I find refreshing (especially since I'm long past 14).

The next book on my list to read is Joyce DiPastena's newly published sequel "Illuminations of the Heart," that I will purchase at a writers retreat that I'm attending this weekend. I read the first chapter on Joyce's website and it proves to be as good as her first.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dogs Verses Cats

My husband is a dog lover and has been since he was a little boy. He tells the story of his favorite dog, Spider, dying, and putting it in the freezer until he could bear to part with his beloved pet.

I wasn’t raised that way. We had mostly cats when I was growing up. My dad didn’t believe in spending any money on pets other than for their food. Needless to say, we often had quite a few cats and kittens running around the yard. Sometimes they would all run away at the same time. I never understood it until I was an adult.

In spite of my upbringing, I don’t believe pets are disposable. However, we recently found ourselves with three large adult dogs, two cats, and 20 chickens. That’s a lot of pet food to buy. We needed to do something so that the pet food bill was smaller than the people food bill. We found good homes for two dogs and one cat. Some of those chickens need to go, too.

When we moved to our current home, we planted a variety of flowering trees and vines to encourage butterflies and hummingbirds into our yard. We’ve had minimal success until recently—now that we’re two dogs short. The cat was an inside cat and can’t be a factor. It’s amazing to me now how many hummingbirds frequent our feeder. They’re everywhere. The other wild birds in our area come into the yard more often as well.

We’ve had dogs for all of our married life—some good dogs, some bad ones. We had one dog that could hold three tennis balls in his mouth at once—he was a beloved pet. One of our dogs ripped the carpeting off of the floor while we were gone—bad dog, and one dog that we loved dearly that we had to find a new home for because he bit adults that came into the backyard while our children were there. He was merely trying to protect—to earn his keep, but when he bit our elderly neighbor lady, she was not amused.

The poor cat we found a new home for, I can only hope she has a better life with her new owners. She was our daughter’s cat and had been held hostage in her bedroom for longer than I care to admit. This arrangement wouldn’t have been quite as bad for the cat had my daughter spent more time with her. Finding her cat a new home was an act of love.