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Recently, I posted this quote on my Facebook page and was astounded by the reaction…and most astonished by who unexpectedly responded.  The Help was a good movie, but the book was better.  Maybe it was because I read the book first, and I find that my imagination version is usually more interesting than the celluloid version that a director creates.  When I read a book, I can picture what the characters look like, sound like and how the scenery appears.  But the best part about reading a book is the thrill of going back after seeing the movie and re-reading the book, just to see how much better it really is.  And it is…really better.

I remember when little Mae Mobley repeated what Aibileen had taught her.  You is kind. You is smart. You is important.  And in that moment, I knew that every child should have Aibileen, or someone, give them the knowledge that they are kind, they are smart, and they are important.  If more children had that lesson ingrained in them from their earliest days, we would have far less pain in the world.

People of all ages respond to being told they are important.  It isn’t just children who need the reinforcement of being told they are kind.  We all want to believe we are thought to be smart.  The triple threat – being kind, smart AND important.  Those traits are the making of leaders.  I think about the leaders I would follow.  They are all smart…and kind.  And that makes them important to me.  And the most important person in my life who is smart and kind is my husband.  If there was ever someone who should have been told over and over that he is kind, smart and important, it is my guy.

It also makes me think of another movie I saw recently.  Girl Rising.  It moved me that there are so many young girls fighting for the right to prove they are smart.  They fight for the right to an education.  And they are willing to do almost anything to get an education.  They shouldn’t have to go to the extremes these young girls did, just to go to school.  They are important.  And they should be able to prove it.  No one should hold them back.

For all the children, everywhere, you are kind…you are smart…you are important.  Believe it.  Live it.  Pass it on.

“The test of the morality of a society is what it does for its children.” ~ Dietrich Bonhoeffer  

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When I think of the things that make me the happiest, it’s always the little things in life.  When I went out to dinner last night with my hubby, we walked past the Baskin Robbins ice cream shop and memories came rushing back from my days in high school.  My dad loved Baskin Robbins Burgundy Cherry.  My mom’s favorite was Daquiri Ice. I still remember them ordering those over 35 years ago.  It wasn’t an expensive treat or that unusual.  But I remember those trips to BR like it was yesterday.  We all had such a good time looking at those 31 (or more) flavors and trying to decide what we would have…only to go back to the tried and true favorites!  We’d get a scoop (or two) and laugh and talk about whatever was on our minds, enjoying the afternoon together.

Today I went to lunch with a friend.  It wasn’t a special lunch…nothing fancy.  But it was one of those little things in life…time with a friend.  Last night, I worked at commencement and had the chance to help hood the master’s candidates.  All I was doing was making sure their hoods were on correctly before they participated in commencement.  They were wonderfully appreciative for the help.  And it felt great!  The little things.

This morning, my little baby kitty (5 year old baby, that is) curled up with me in bed as my alarm was going off, purring and rubbing his nose on mine and then he licked the tip of my nose.  It’s the little things in life…

Tonight, as I was driving home and the sun was shining and my sunroof was open to let the sunbeams in and the fresh breeze blow across my face, I realized how great it feels.  Little things make me smile.

Fourth of July fireworks, a walk on the beach picking up shells, a beautiful sunrise, snuggled up on the couch with a roaring fire and a glass of wine, a drive in the country down a tree-lined lane or a rainy day curled up in bed reading a good book.

“It’s the sweet simple things in life which are the real ones after all.” ~ Laura Ingalls Wilder

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I need to be reading something every day; it was such an integral part of my life growing up and it has stayed with me.  It started with my love of reading Nancy Drew mysteries when I was a little girl.  As I grew older, my love of mysteries never waned.  I read Agatha Christy books and then moved on to so many other authors I can’t even keep track of them all.  In fact, I enjoy reading so much, at one point my apartment (pre-marriage) was starting to look like a used bookstore.  Books everywhere.  I couldn’t part with them.  I finally broke down and sorted through them.  I selected my favorite authors and kept only their books and a few other lifetime favorites.  The rest were donated or sold at a used bookstore for credit toward MORE BOOKS! 

I have finally realized that electronic books are my solution to storage issues.  I broke down and bought a Nook last year and love it!  It has the capability of storing more books than I could possibly carry with me on any trip.  And since I also love to read at night, at lunch, during road trips (when I’m not driving), in the bathtub, and anytime I’m trapped in line somewhere or sitting in a waiting room, my Nook is the perfect solution.  Books are…my passion…my escape from reality…my way to live vicariously through others…my relaxation.  Whether they are fiction or true stories, I love to read. 

In the last year, I’ve read:

  1. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
  2. Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke
  3. Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke
  4. Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke (do you see a trend here?)
  5. Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky
  6. Fantasy in Death by JD Robb
  7. Farewell, My Subaru by Doug Fine
  8. Fatally Flaky by Diane Mott Davidson
  9. Fish Out of Agua by Michele Carlo
  10. Life, Love, and a Polar Bear Tattoo by Heather Wardell
  11. Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
  12. Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke
  13. Purity in Death by JD Robb
  14. Running Scared by Lisa Jackson
  15. Shit My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
  16. Strange Bedpersons by Jennifer Crusie
  17. The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
  18. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
  19. The Percy Jackson series of books by Rick Riordan
  20. The Shack by William P. Young
  21. The Killing Hour by Lisa Gardner
  22. And several books in hard copy prior to purchasing my Nook in June.

I may have to track what books I’m reading in 2011.  But that would be another post (or page of my blog).   

 “A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ~ Marcus T. Cicero

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Library Time!

I read a lot.  Much to the chagrin of my dear, sweet hubby.  I find that it relaxes me and I enjoy getting lost in a world not my own.  By the end of the book, I want to feel like I know the people in the book and am sad it is over.  And then I wonder what will happen next.  It’s like the Harry Potter series.  Yes, I know.  I’m old.  But I read the books.  Don’t get me wrong.  I spent a lot of time (over four years after the initial HP craze) swearing I wouldn’t read them.  And then my cousin from England came to visit with his fiancee.  And I was doomed.  They brought the HP books-on-tape and we listened to them as we drove the great state of Texas on their sightseeing expedition.  And I was hooked.  I have not, however, found myself overly fascinated with the movies.  I prefer to imagine the scenes myself and not be limited by what computers and special effects are capable of.  My imagination is so much more spectacular!  I have to say, that is probably why I read.  Imagination.  I imagine myself in the book as a character.  I imagine what happened after the book was done.  I imagine what would have happened if the characters would have taken a different path. 

“Imagination is more important than knowledge… ” ~ Albert Einstein

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Pampering Day

Today I decided to pamper myself a little…it was wonderful.  I slept in a bit, getting up at 7:30 and grabbing my robe, I headed to my comfy chair next to the bed and grabbed my book.  It was heaven to just lay back, snuggled in the chair and read! Then I took a quick shower, washing my hair and using my favorite body scrub…Orange Ginger. Mmmm!  It smells so good!  Then I dried and styled my hair and decided to give myself a manicure.  So, I heated up the paraffin bath (eucalyptus paraffin) and dipped my hands, wrapped them in plastic bags and terry mitts.  The heat and the eucalyptus did their job.  My hands felt wonderful…soft, relaxed, flexible from the heat, and cuticles like heaven.  Then I did the rest of the manicure…it’s been a long time since I treated myself to a little pamper session and it was definitely a mood booster.  I got ready for my interview and felt so much better, knowing that when I went in, I would feel good.  How could it not go well, if I was feeling good? 

I realize that it doesn’t take much to feel special.  A little quiet time, a treat for yourself and then getting dressed up.  Woohoo!   

“If you can attain repose and calm, believe that you have seized happiness.” ~ Julie-Jeanne-Eleonore de Lespinasse

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Yes, that’s right. I don’t write murder mysteries, but I sure do read them! I love a good murder mystery. My dear, sweet hubby jokes that I’m studying up and he’s worried I may try out what I’m learning! I have to emphasize…HE’S JOKING! But he doesn’t understand my fascination with the gruesome details of the books I find so captivating. I become completely engrossed and can’t put the book down until I find out “who done it”!

I guess that could explain why I also love shows like Law & Order, Hill Street Blues (yes, I’m that old) and Murder, She Wrote. And there are so many others. What is it about some of us that we are so intrigued by murder? I can’t imagine working as an investigator. The reality would bother me. I like fiction. I can walk away from a murder mystery, knowing it isn’t true. I don’t like to think that real people could do that to someone. Yet, the books I read keep me on the edge of my seat until I reach that ever-important conclusion and finally can understand all the twists and turns and see (hopefully) that my suspicions were correct.

So bring on the fiction!

“At least half the mystery novels published violate the law that the solution, once revealed, must seem to be inevitable.” ~ Raymond Chandler

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Tyler Florence...and me

Not long ago, I had the chance to meet one of my favorite chefs from Food TV…Tyler Florence. He was doing a book tour that was also a benefit for charity. Since the company I work for was a corporate sponsor of one of the tables at the book tour stop here in San Antonio, I got to go! It was great. We had one of the authors at our table (a children’s book author). I also had the chance to meet Tess Gerritsen. Another of the authors was the guy who used to be the San Antonio Spurs Coyote (mascot for the Spurs), Tim Derk, until a stroke caused his retirement.

But the best part of the day was meeting Tyler Florence. He was charming and patient with all of the people in the very long line waiting to meet him. He allowed all who wanted a picture the time to get a picture taken. And he patiently signed each of the cookbooks we bought. I picked up one for a friend who would love to be a professional chef and swears up and down that Tyler is her boyfriend!  Not that I’m saying she’s lying about that, but I do see her nose grow a tad each time she mentions their “relationship”!  LOL

You have to admit, if she’s going to lie about a boyfriend, she might as well make it a great one! Of course, we all know she’s just kidding. I, of course, know he’s really MY boyfriend!  At least I have the picture to “sort of” prove it!

“Truth is beautiful, without doubt; but so are lies.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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