Review of “A Reluctant Queen”

Honestly, wow is all I can think to say. In her novel “A Reluctant Queen,” Joan Wolf tells the story of a Qeen Ester, a woman so important to Jewish history that she has her own book in the Bilbe. It’s a story I am very familiar with, one that I have often been fascinated by. The bible tells the basics of the story – how Esther, a Jewish woman, became Queen of Persia and was able to use her influnce with the King to save her people. But very little is said about Esther herself, other that that she was very beautiful. There is so much unsaid, so manu things that the readr can imagine about the story.
And imagine she did! Using the Bible staory as her foundation, Wolf built a beautifl love story between the young Jewish woman and the Persian King. She did a lot of researh on this tbook and it shows in the detail. Not only are the buildings and the landscape described in such detail that I could see them in my mind, Wolf’s descriptions of the Gods and celebrations ofthe Persian religion are very vivid. I am not familiar enough with the religious practices of Persia to know how accurate the descriptions, but they sure seemed real to me!
The one downside to this book was the names Wolf chose for the characters. While I appreciate that she chose names authentic to the culture and time period, I wish they had been easier to pronounce. At the very least, I would have liked a pronounciation guid at the end of the book.
“A Reluctant Queen” is a book I just happened upon at my local library. I am glad I took a chance wih this bok. It’s a book I would very much like to add to my own personal library.

Venting Today

I am in a real bad mood, and I am going to vent today.

I sure hope you don’t mind.  If so, you might want to stop reading.

About a year ago, I developed some issues with my back.  The main issue was a severely herniated disc in my lower back (atL5/S1, for those who might want to know exactly what part of my back.)  I ended up spending a good deal of time in the hospital.  In two hospitals, actually.  At my local hospital, I saw a man who is considered to be one of the best neurosurgeons in the area, at least according to my primary care physician.  Dr. X ( I will call him that because with my luck I will get sued for slander or libel or something for the things I say here, much of which will not be positive) saw me the day after Thanksgiving. After looking over my chart and the results of an MRI, he informed me that  I needed to have surgery.  Without the surgery, he said that I would be paralyzed from the waist down.

And then he told me that he could not perform the surgery because of my weight.  He said that I would need to loseatleast150 pounds in order for him to operate.  He didn’t suggest I go somewhere else, he didn’t say that another doctor or another hospital might be able to help.  He said that he couldn’t perform the operation and left the impression that if he couldn’t do it no one could.

About 10 days later, I was in the ER of another hospital, a teaching hospital about a 30 minutes drive from where I live.  The doctors there could see that I needed surgery and were surprised that the first doctor refused to do anything.  After the surgery, I felt better but found that there were things I could not do.  I had no feeling from my waist to my upper thigh, which meant no control of certain bodily functions.  The surgeon who did perform the surgery said that it is possible but unlikely that I will get those sensations and feelings back.

After discussing things with my husband, I decided to contact a lawyer.  Initially, the lawyer felt that I had a very strong case.  Under state law, she needed a medical expert to back up the claims of malpractice, to agree that Dr. X behaved in a bad manner.

Today, I received a letter from the lawyer saying that there is no expert evidence that the doctor did anything wrong, so she is closing my case file.

I am so angry right now!! There are so many things that I want to say that I can’t, because they are so not nice things to say.  I feel like Dr. X got away with discriminating against me because of my weight.  He acted like he thought he was God, and he was the only possible person who could do the surgery.  Since he couldn’t do it, obviously it could not be done. And that is all because of my weight.  I mean, I KNOW that I am overweight.  That is why I had weight loss surgery in the first place. It’s not like I am just sitting around, allowing myself to be fat. Before the back issues, I was working out daily and really TRYING to lose the excess weight.

He made me feel like I am less of a person because I am not at the “ideal weight” for a person my height. I absolutely HATE the way that feels!!!  I just want him to feel, even if only for a moment, the humiliation that he made me feel.  I am so ANGRY about this!!!!  It is not fair that ANYONE should be treated that way.

We Are DJ and Kimmy!

While doing some research for The Rylee Project, I came across an interview with Candace Cameron Bure.  At one point in the interview, she talked about a recent Full House reunion (in case you don’t know, Candace played DJ Tanner on the show) and the relationships she has with Andrea Barber (she played DJ’s best friend, Kimmy Gibbler.)  There were some things that Candace said about the two of them that sounded so much like a couple of ladies that I know!  Below is the quote from her interview that actually made me laugh out loud, along with a couple of pictures.

Does this remind YOU of anybody you know?

MD: In terms of the ones you do keep in touch with — I saw some fun pics on Twitter of you and the actress who played Kimmy Gibbler, Andrea Barber. Are you two still best friends?

CCB: [Laughs] We’re still good friends and we’re total goofball 30-year-old moms trying to relive our childhood, rock out to New Kids on the Block. That was us at the reunion. Yeah, we’re still close friends.

MD: That’s awesome.

CCB: We’ll still do stuff together and she’s a marathon runner now. She’s got me into stuff — we’ve done a couple of races together. And we have another one coming up that we’re doing. So we encourage and inspire each other fitness-wise and then through our mutual New Kids on the Block love.


Introducing The Rylee Project

Early in 2005, I suffered a devastating miscarriage.  One thing that has always bothered me is the fear that no one else would remember that baby.  Life—especially pre-born life—is treated so casually in this world that some do not even consider a miscarriage to be a death. Grieving over a miscarried child seems to be frowned upon.  More than once, I was told to pull myself together and get over it.  Even well-meaning Christian friends told me to let it go.

But that pregnancy was more than a blob of cells to me.  That was a baby, MY baby.  My daughter, a precious little part of my family.  We named her Rylee Adelle.  I don’t why God chose to keep her in Heaven.  But I do know that her loss is felt every day.  Not a day goes by when I don’t think about her, at least one time.  I’ve moved on with my life and I have learned how to live with the void her death has left in my heart.  But get over it?  Let it go?  Those are two things I can’t do, two things I won’t do.  That would mean forgetting her.

I don’t want to forget.

For seven years, I have wanted to do something to honor my little girl.  Just what I wasn’t sure what to do.  I wanted her brief existence to count for something.  I wanted her to touch others in some way, to make a difference in the world.

After a lot of thought and prayer, I think I have finally found the perfect way to do that!

The idea started this summer, when I began writing a series of letters to my daughter.  There are things that I would have loved to tell her, things that I would have taught her that don’t seem so important to teach my sons (like how to dress modestly and how to deal with your changing friendships as you get older.)  OK, so maybe they are things the boys need to know, too.  But I wouldn’t tell my boys exactly the same things that I would have told Rylee, at least not in the same way.  I began writing these letters, and they quickly turned into something more than I really expected.  The letters I wrote to her have made their way into a book, called LETTERS TO RYLEE.  (Expected publication date is November 23, 2012.  Keep an eye out for the cover, which I will unveil soon!)

One thing kept coming to mind as I wrote those letters—friendship.  And I don’t mean just human friendships.  I kept thinking about how important a friendship with Jesus is.  I didn’t understand how important that friendship really is when I was a teen.  Looking back on some of the things I did and the choices I made, I can’t help but wonder how different my life would be if I had really developed that friendship back then, instead of waiting until my 30’s to get around to it.

That is when The Rylee Project really began to take shape in my mind.  Through The Rylee Project, I am hoping to impact the lives of young girls today in a very positive way.  I want girls, especially girls who will one day date and eventually marry (yikes!) my sons, to have the tools to really develop a close friendship with Jesus.  It’s not about a particular religion, or the “rules” and “regulations” of being a Christian.  It’s more than that.  The Rylee Project is about developing a friendship with Jesus and developing human friendships that honor Him.  It’s about focusing not on what feels good now, but on what will have the most positive impact on life in the future.

It’s kind of a big job.  In all honesty, I don’t know if I am really qualified to tackle it.  But I keep going back to a saying I’ve seen all over Facebook in recent weeks—God doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.  As long as I follow His leading and keep Him in the center of what I am doing, I know this will work out.  I can’t focus on the grand dreams in my head, the things that would be amazing to see happen with The Rylee Project.  I can only focus on what God is asking me to do each day, and pray that I am a good example of the friendships He desires to see in this world.

Go ahead and take a look at the website for The Rylee Project.  The Rylee Project is also on Twitter and on Facebook (Hey, gotta go where the girls are!)  I look forward to hearing what you think about this project, especially those of you who have young girls.  Please visit and ask your daughters and their friends to visit.

And please, pray for this project.  If The Rylee Project can have a positive impact on just one young lady, than it has done all I have hoped for—honored God while honoring my Rylee Adelle.

Review of “The Amish Midwife” by Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould

Amish books are not my favorite thing to read. In the past, I have tried and failed to read them. I think the problem is the language. The ones that I have tries to read seemed very heavy on Amish words and phrases that were confusing to me. If I have to stop reading to look up words, I don’t always want to return to the book. This has keeped me from wanting to read other Amish books.
But the premise of “The Amish Midwife” intrigued me even more than the word “Amish” in the title annoyed me.
Lexie Jaeger is a nurse midwife living in Oregon. After the death of her adoptive father, Lexie finds a carved wooden box containing two locks of hair and an old letter about property in Switzerland. Seeing these items awakened Lexies desire to know her own birth story, so she heads to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania to find the answers she craves.
Clark and Could have written a beautiful story about self – discovery, forgiveness, and family. Even more impressive to me is the fact that they have created an Amish story that is easy to understand and even easier to get lost in. It was a fun, quick read, that has led me to look into reading more Amish books. I am happy to have a new class of books open up to me.
“The Amish Midwife” has definitely earned its place on my bookcase.
AmishLancaster CountyLancaster County PennsylvaniaOregonPennsylvaniaSwitzerland

25 Things


25 Things To do Before You Turn 25




That article tittle caught my attention. Since I am coming up on the 12th anniversary of my 25th birthday land because at the time I was looking for ways to procrastinate, I was curious. I didn’t just want to know what was on the list, but how many of these 25 must do things I have actually done. There are, surprisingly (or not!), very few that I have actually done. – I have a blog that I regularly update, I have gone 24 hours media free (the time before cell phones and internet counts, right?), I’ve had jobs working with both food and clothes, I’ve taken my parents to dinner, and I have confronted some of my fears.




There are some that, for personal reasons, I don’t want to do. I don’t drink, so finding out what kind of wine I may like is not at the top of my To Do list. Visiting Vegas doesn’t appeal to me; I just have no desire to go to a place known as Sin City.




Much of the list is fun—take a road trip with friends and splurge on jeans.  Some of the ideas are practical—learn to drive a manual transmission and donate blood. Some are distasteful or mildly offensive – like the Vegas thing or skinny dipping. But two items on the list are downright appalling.




The number one and number two things on the list are: have a one-night stand and do an illegal drug. Let’s put aside my Christian beliefs and all of the Biblical reasons why these things are wrong for just a moment. Aside from the whole against the law thing, both of these activities show a lack of respect.




Honestly, that is where I think many of the problems with America come from—a lack of respect. A lack of respect for others, and a lack of respect for ourselves. And these two “To Do” item illustrated that lack of respect. Planning to do an illegal drug shows a lack of respect for laws and for your own body. It shows a lack of respect for those who love you, too. Many illegal drugs are highly addictive. Just one hit could lead down the most destructive path you could imagine. Is one moment of an unnatural high really worth risking your entire future???  And the one-night stand….  WOW!!  Where do I begin with that one?  It shows no respect for your body, your health, your emotional well-being, or the people you meet.  Oh, it just burns me that people treat sex so casually instead of as the beautiful act of love that it really is.