A natural reviewer…?

Yup… I once dated one of those guys.

At least he was nice enough to wait until we left the theater before he started picking the movie to pieces.

 

The irony…

Now, years later… I find myself doing the exact same thing.

Why? Because I finally got why he did it.

 

There are some really fantastic movies out there – and it is absolutely possible to watch them and turn off the critic in your head and just… enjoy.

But when the credits roll, you start thinking. And when you think, you realize there are things that happened during the movie that essentially make the presumption that you – as the watcher – are an idiot.

And so you analyze and you point out the obvious flaws and you pick it to pieces… all the whole hoping that people you watched it with, “get it” too.

 

And I could go on… and on… and on…

But I won’t. I’ll stop right there and say this – I believe this is one thing that makes me a natural book reviewer.

And you know exactly what I mean…

There is a very thick line of difference between those of us who are natural reviewers and those of us who just review books.

Those who are natural reviewers can spin a tale about the wonders that take place between the pages – without giving away important plot points or telling the read how the story ends!

We don’t just analyze the tale – we pour our heart and soul into the words we pen (or type in most cases) about the beloved books we read day after day – time and time again!

We don’t just tell you what we did or did not like about it – we regale you with descriptions of our own experience with the story, the characters, the setting, the wondrous ending.

We let you in to our own hearts and minds and souls so that you can see how the book touched us and why.

Some of us even write our reviews as a bit of a story in itself. We seek to entertain as much as the writer of the book we are imploring you to give a chance!

 

 

Through rose-colored glasses.

Have you ever watched a movie or read a book that absolutely tore you up until the last five minutes or 20 pages? large-rose-colored-glasses-on-beach

You slog through because you don’t like to quit or because you promised someone you would but it’s a struggle. And until those last five minutes or the last 20 pages, you were either bawling your eyes out or your stomach was all tied up in knots or both… But you got to the end and suddenly the whole thing was worth it.

The last bit completely changes your outlook on the whole thing.

You feel like you’re walking on air, the knots in your stomach disappear and everything is right with the world again.

And the funniest part of it is this: when you’re finished, when it’s all over – it’s a little difficult to remember just how upset or torn up you were. All you remember is that the end left you feeling all warm and fuzzy.

So that’s what sticks with you.

A lot of the books I have read recently have been this way. I go through the whole book worrying that someone is in big trouble or my heart breaks when the guy dumps the girl or vice versa or there’s danger around the corner and I know it’s coming but I can’t do anything but watch as it unfolds and the Hero is completely surprised!

But, for some strange reason, when the end comes and everything is once again right with the world – trouble blew over or went away, the guy got his girl or the villain was foiled… I completely forget about the gnawing in my gut or the feeling of despair that had me in tears for 100 pages.

So tell me, is it just me? Is it a girl thing – like how we forget the excruciating hours of labor we just went through when they place that little pink bundle in our arms…

Or is it something a lot of people do?

PLEASE tell me it’s something a lot of people do! I’m not a freak… I swear. PLEASE tell me I’m not the one weirdo who does this?

25 Posts of Christmas Day 11: My Favorite Christmas Movie

FAIR WARNING!
Adults read this WITHOUT your young children reading over your shoulder.

We are down to two weeks. Only two more weeks until Christmas morning.

My absolute favorite Christmas movie is Miracle on 34th Street. I watch it every year. It just doesn’t feel like Christmas until I’ve watched that movie.

What’s yours?

Miracle on 34th street deals with a lot of touchy subjects and I’d like to talk a little bit about one of them today: Faith.

The idea of Faith is a tricky one. Belief in Santa Claus or The Easter Bunny or so many others, are often lumped in with belief in God and there is a line in the movie that caught my attention last night and I think that line is the real heart of the issue.

There is a scene in the movie where “Santa” talks with Mrs. Walker – one of the main characters – the mom who “doesn’t believe”.

I’m not just a whimsical figure who wears a charming suit and affects a jolly demeanor. You know, I… I… I’m a symbol.
I’m a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives.
If you can’t believe, if you can’t accept anything on faith, then you’re doomed for a life dominated by doubt.
~ Santa Claus in “Miracle on 34th Street

My only real problem with the statement above is that a lot of people attribute this type of “faith” with faith in God and that sends a very wrong message.

Faith in God is very different from faith in myths or whimsical figures or anything else along those lines. And because of that – too often people either feel afraid to allow their children to ever believe in Santa Claus because telling them differently later might make them question their faith in God…

Or they encourage them to believe and make a big production of the whole thing and carry it all too far. And then they try to drag it out much longer than necessary to allow the children to keep that “faith” even after they’re ready to let it go.

I feel it’s only fair at this point to let you know that my children figured out all by themselves just who “Santa Claus” is in our family.

I was talking about this with a dear friend and we have come to the conclusion that there is a danger in the whole idea of Santa Claus
(THIS IS NOT POINTED AT ANYONE IN PARTICULAR – YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE).

Santa Claus is worse than a myth.

Santa Claus is an excuse! An excuse to do something for your kids that they really don’t deserve at a time of the year where everyone has gone a little gift-crazy. It’s a way to ease your conscience… even though it’s not really about your conscience – it’s really about easing your guilt because you haven’t been as good a parent as you should have been and you know it.

We see it all the time in movies or in TV Shows, even books.

Some dad(mom) works too much, he(she)’s never home, the kids are spoiled rotten and they misbehave. They torment the housekeeper or the nanny or the au pair until they quit. This usually goes on for a while.

The story always shows this in a light that makes the kids look like the victims. They can’t help being so spoiled and bratty. They just want their mom or dad to be home more often.

I’m not going to get the popular vote for what I’m about to say next but it has to be said.

NO one in this situation is the victim! Except maybe the housekeepers and nannies and au pairs who are tormented by the spoiled children.

Parents are the ones responsible for their children. If they have to hire a nanny, they still need to be enough of a parent to teach their children how to behave properly. It’s the nanny’s job to watch the children, not be their parent.

And the children are equally at fault. No amount of bad behavior is acceptable, no matter what sort of attention it gets from a parent. And maybe it can be overlooked when the children are under the age of 6 but once they’re old enough to know how to dress themselves, they need to start growing up and start figuring out how human beings behave.

Of course this goes to a much larger issue and it’s a major problem with our society but I’ve ranted enough for today so I’ll stop there.

What’s the bottom line you say?

Parents, be parents! If you don’t want to be a parent, don’t have children. It’s as simple as that.

We pass on our convictions to our children by the things we tolerate. ~ Amish Proverb

And on that note, I will say adieu.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!14 Days til Christmas

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I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

The Amish Canning Cookbook by Georgia Varozza

Ah the best laid plans of bloggers & reviewers…

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The last cookbook I reviewed was a bit of a disaster. I read through it & it looked good on the surface. Unfortunately it only looked good on the surface.

That is not true of this one. This book is very well-written, well put-together and it offers enough information that I believe the novice “canner” will have no need for any other resources.

“The Amish Canning Cookbook” by Georgia Varozza is a great find for our family and I believe anyone else who cans or is considering starting to can!

“PLAIN AND SIMPLE LIVING AT ITS HOMEMADE BEST”

The above quote says it all, in my opinion. For Ms. Varozza, canning isn’t just a hobby… it’s a way of life. Her book teaches that for families who choose a simpler way of life of eating whole grains and healthier foods, canning is an important asset. It creates self-reliance; from planting a garden or visiting a farmers market, to canning the food, to prepare better tasting, healthier, natural food from God’s bounty.

After the brief introduction telling why she feels canning is an important part of making her home a better place for her family. This wonderful book includes everything you need to know (or could ever want to know) about canning! The chapters include a brief history of canning, how to get started, and step-by-step guides for water-bath and pressure canning.

Then comes the huge assortment of recipes!

Butters, jams, and jellies. Pickles and sauerkraut. Tomatoes. Fruit and pie filling (I didn’t expect to find fruit and pie filling recipes, but by golly, she included them. Then comes vegetables, meat, poultry and fish recipes… along with soups, stews and other good things.

PRACTICAL ASPECTS of the Book:

I have noticed a lot of cookbooks lately that have very thin pages. Personally, my favorite cookbook pages are either plastic or in plastic sleeves but this is not always practical for a professionally published cookbook. This cookbook has very good, thick pages. These pages will not be easily ruined by cooking spills and they will not curl up in the heat of the kitchen.

Also there is space on every single page for your personal notes. This is a tremendous asset as well because every cook or canner will have little things about recipes that they change, adding or subtracting. And it is always easier to be able to look at the recipe and see your notes right there with it. (This is one of the instances where plastic pages would be impractical.)

The binding is perfect for a cookbook as well. Too many people put a regular spine binding on cookbooks but this book is spiral bound and that makes it so easy to open the book, lay it flat and see your recipe while you’re using it. It’s great!

All together, a wonderful book. Very well-done. A very smart purchase for any canner. Also it would make a great gift for anyone of your friends or in your family who can.

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Harvest House Publishers in exchange for a free review. (If I had not though, I definitely would have bought it. It’s a great book! And I plan to search out her other cookbook as well.)

I give this book 5 stars and I would recommend it to everyone!

Click HERE for the Harvest House Publisher’s Page about the book,
HERE for the GoodReads page and HERE for the author’s blog.

Disclaimer: I have no control over the ads you may see below. I am sorry if any of the content is inappropriate.

God Bless You!