Friday, November 30, 2012

Does a Bigger Girth Give You More of Jesus?

You can read in 2 Corinthians 4:8:  we are pressed on every side, yet not straitened (crushed, distressed); perplexed, yet not unto despair; (ASV)

Two of the dictionary definitions for pressed are “to act upon with steady applied weight or force,” and “to compress or squeeze, as to alter in weight or size.”

What happens to you when you’re pressed, compressed or squeezed, or acted upon with steady applied force?

I know what I do: I eat, altering in weight and size. 512px-Get_fat During my mom’s last sickness, death, and the clearing out of her house, I gained 20 lbs. and just the other day I heard someone say her daughter was my height.  She said it as I stood a couple of feet from her daughter looking over her daughter’s head.  So I must have gained some height, also.  How does that happen?

The Bible passage goes on to say that we always carry around Christ’s death in our bodies, so the life of Jesus may be revealed in those same bodies.

It sure doesn’t seem like my weight and size alteration from stress eating is what Paul meant when he wrote that passage.  Changing the size of the container does not allow more Jesus into my life.  But perhaps the long struggle I now face to regain a normal size for me is what will reveal the life of Jesus.  I sure hope there’s an upside to all of this.

What do you think?  How do our struggles reveal the life of Jesus in our bodies?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Books are a gift that keeps on giving because any book you give, gives to the one who reads it and their entire circle of friends. The first book I remember being given was

The Yearling
I remember this book well because it was the first hardback book I had ever received, it came from my favorite aunt, and I treasured it so much that it still holds a prime spot in one of my bookcases.  If you want to start a trend in the life of a child or friend, here are some books I recommend in no particular order.  The first two are novels for adults.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (with bonus content): A Novel
This book involves 2 teenage cousins, 1 an artistic New Yorker, the other an artistic immigrant from Prague escaping the Nazis.  One wants to make a name for himself; one wants to free his family and especially his younger brother.  An amazing story with plenty of conflict to keep you reading. 

Bel Canto (P.S.)

Bel Canto is the story of a group of disparate people—a politician, a pianist, a priest, an opera singer, and others—taken hostage by a band of Guerillas in a South American country.  Beautifully written.

The Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name

Beautifully written Bible Stories for children and adults.

Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts

This is more about trusting God than the hurts of life.  It provides hope and leads to prayer.

For older elementary school children, teenagers, and adults I recommend the following books by Gary D. Schmidt.

Okay for Now
The Wednesday Wars
William Bradford: Plymouth's Faithful Pilgrim
Pilgrim's Progress
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy (Readers Circle (Laurel-Leaf))

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gas and Oil and Leases, Oh My!

I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about gas and oil. . .or mineral leases.  A momentary thought flits through my brain when I fill my car, but 512px-Gusher_Okemah_OK_1922no thought at all when I use hot water or turn up the heat or even fire up my gas grill.

It wasn’t until the Title Company found an old (1960’s) oil and gas lease on the property I am purchasing that I became familiar with terms like casinghead gas,  discovered that Ohio has a database of wells and mines, and learned about Ohio’s laws protecting land owners like the Dormant Mineral Act of 1989.

I was further educated when I took time to actually read the oil and gas lease.  The oil company is given the store while the landowner may be doled out a candy bar now and again. 

I can see it now.  Her hands submerged in foamy warm dishwater she observes the unfolding scene through the steamy kitchen window.  Like a ship emerging from fog, a grand sky-blue car turns into the drive kicking dust and gravel into the dry winter air as it advances past the barn and comes to a stop  

Her hair droops from the steam as she wipes her hands on a towel and watches as the oil company rep, in a suit and tie but no coat, emerges from the car and, with a paper in one hand and a wad of cash in the other, strides to the door.  He knocks sharply.  She hurries to let him in from that cold January day and invites him to sit by the stove and warm himself.  He lays the paper and cash on the kitchen table and  asks her about the neat jars of fruit and vegetables along the wall.  That’s her winter ration, she says.  He asks for her husband and she tells him she’s a widow. 

He speaks to her of free heat and hot water and even free gas for her stove.  How much will a gas stove cost? He asks.  When she shakes her head he pulls hundred dollar bills from his pocket and waves them in the air.  You’ll be rich when the first gusher comes in.  You won’t need to worry about anything. 

He lays the contract on the table and pulls from his pocket a silver pen with his name black on it like the oil that will soon follow.  He lease0001carefully prints her name with widow noted below, and tells her to sign at the X.  Her hand shakes as she signs her name.  He pays her $8.75, a five, three ones, and three quarters and winks, then slips her a ten dollar bill.   It’s a signing bonus, he says, because she signed quickly, leaving him time to talk to her neighbors before the day is done. 

She puts the money in an empty canning jar by the stove and thinks of the new stove she was promised.  Soon. 

What happens next?  Nothing.  Nada.  No thing at all.  She’s just sold her mineral rights for $18.75, for a mess of pottage, for nothing.  Now, more than 40 years later, months and thousands of dollars will be needed to remove that useless lease.  I had planned to close on the property before Thanksgiving.  Now it looks like it might be late spring before I can close.

Have you ever done something without fully considering the consequences?  What was the result?  Were you able to fix the problem? 


Monday, November 19, 2012

What Can I Give Him? (Black Friday Considerations)


In the Bleak Midwinter by Christina Rossetti (1872)

In the bleak mid-winter256MCB-icon12
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign:
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
A breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wise man
I would do my part,
Yet what I can I give Him,
Give my heart.

What can we give this Christmas?  Give our hearts; give something from our heart.  Make something.  Bake something.  Cook something, Draw something. Paint something.  Write something. 

What will you give this Christmas?



Picture by Ricardo André Frantz (User:Tetraktys) (taken by Ricardo André Frantz) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Miracles and Holes: A Review


I recently finished reading two books.  Thankfully, they were both easy to read.  The first was one I had put off reading because I didn’t need another guilt trip.  The second I had put off reading because I didn’t need another guilt trip.  What do these two books have in common?  By their titles and premises I expected them to speak to my failure.  One is titled Miracles Are For Real.

  Miracles Are for Real: What Happens When Heaven Touches Earth

One is surtitled What Does God Expect of Us? 
The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? The Answer That Changed My Life and Might Just Change the World

Perhaps I’ve grown too old and cynical to believe that the world can change or that miracles can happen.   The Hole in the Gospel was written by the president of World Vision, an excellent non-profit that I donated to when I was young.  When I was in college and shortly thereafter, I sponsored a child in Brazil and learned enough Portuguese to correspond with her, but she never wrote back, so I soon gave up.  Maybe that has led to my cynicism.

I have experienced miracles (or maybe not) although that word is so tainted in my mind that I would prefer to call them supernatural acts of God.  The authors of Miracles Are For Real give a more complete definition of a miracle: 

a phenomenon performed or prompted by God, which science cannot explain, at a special time when God is making his will or his love known to an individual or many individuals.

That is a comforting definition because it encompasses the whole of the book which is replete with stories of phenomena with no scientific explanation.  The book also emphasizes God’s love for those who experience these phenomena and the change in their lives when he acts.  The examples all evidence a loving God caring for his children.  My own miracle happened after I had cut my finger so severely that it throbbed in pain.  I was driving near Mansfield, Ohio on a job with waves of pain so severe that I pleaded with God, not to heal my finger, no I wouldn’t ask that much, but to take away my pain.  And just as suddenly as the slip of the knife slicing through my finger, the pain was gone.  No more throbbing.  Nothing but sweet relief.  The blood still seeped into the bandage but I felt nothing more than God’s love for me at that moment.

Miracles Are For Real is a well-balanced, simply written, easy to read book, that covers every aspect from what miracles look like, their timing and effect, to people who do miracles, to how to respond to frauds and skeptics, and what we should do when there is no miracle.  James Garlow, one of the authors, comes to the subject as a pastor and husband of a woman with late stage ovarian cancer, so this book is personal to him and I can appreciate that, although when my mother was dying, I felt that the timing was right and simply could not pray for her healing.  I did pray for her to die quickly and without pain and God had mercy on her. 

Miracles Are For Real cut through my cynicism and restored my faith that God will act today for his purposes and for our good.  Miracles Are For Real is a book for those who never expect a miracle, for those who would like to see a miracle, and for those who have experienced miracles.  I find it easy to believe that God does miracles in third world countries where people have more trust in the supernatural than in science as we do in the US.  This book helped me believe that God is still working in the US, because most of the miracle stories take place in the United States.

The Hole In the Gospel is a much different book.  It points out that if we all do our part, hunger, poor health and various other ills can be made right.  That’s a nice thought but I’m afraid that greed is the hallmark of our society, so that will never happen.  And now the cynic in me pops up again.  The author encourages the church to tithe, but I have heard that preached for years without result.  I have tithed for most of my life, but I can’t make others follow me as I follow Jesus, but perhaps statistics will help, 

According to the author, there would be extra money available to help the poor in the amount of (drum rol-l-l-l-l-l-l-l!) $168 billion dollars if every churchgoer tithed.  And it would take only $65 billion from that amount to eliminate extreme poverty for the world’s poorest billion people.  Wow.  There’s a statistic that makes a difference.  And there are more:  it would cost only $9 billion to give clean water to everyone, $13 billion for basic health and nutrition for everyone, and $6 billion for primary education for every child.  After all that there would still be $37 billion left over for whatever other needs arose, but only if all church goers tithe.  So why don’t you give your 10% and encourage others to do so also?  Do it, I say, and we won’t need inefficient, poorly run government programs.  Do it, and we won’t need to watch a burgeoning national debt.  Do it, and you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that you directly contributed to someone else’s betterment.

These books are very different, but also similar.  Miracles Are For Real gives me courage to pray that God will work in impossible situations.  The Hole in the Gospel has shown me that the enormous ills of our world can be alleviated if only people gave their 10%.  I pray that God will move peoples’ hearts as he moved mine so long ago and that people would listen.  I believe that God still works both through and outside of known science because God works in the now for our good and for his will.  I know that money is not only for my good, but for the good of others and together we have the means to wipe out much of the planetary social ills.  Jesus said if we have the faith of a mustard seed, that faith could move a mountain.  And if we give the equivalent of that mustard seed (10%) the tide of our world can change.  It only takes a little bit of faith and a little bit of money to trust God for ourselves and others.

I don’t quite know how to say it better.  Any ideas?  How have you seen God work in your life or in the life of a friend?  Share some miracle stories and encourage us all!



Just a note:  Both books were freely given to me.  The Hole in the Gospel was provided by the author when he came to speak at our church.  Miracles are for Real was provided to me by the publisher, Bethany House, for purposes of review.  I was not required to write a favorable review.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Marriage? Yes, Thank You.

This is another post in my series on giving thanks.  scan0004Today, I’m thankful for my marriage.

Before I write about my marriage, I must remark that I am also thankful for the marriages God saved me from.  I was engaged twice before I met my husband, mostly because I am loyal to a fault.  Thanks be to God who rescues us even from our faults!  I shudder to think of what might have happened after the wedding if I had married someone other than my husband:  who I might have become, and what I would have accomplished in life. 

My husband has given me respect and the freedom to explore my passions and needs.  Even though he doesn’t understand why I need them, he has given me funds and freedom to fill our home with art and books.  He has made space in our lives so that I can hike when I need solitude, or stay in the car when he goes into a busy store or restaurant, and he has limited the gatherings we host to maintain my energy level.  He has even entered into some of my projects, urging me on when I felt my energy flag, reminding me to take my time, pointing out the small achievable tasks when the big picture overwhelms me. 

Those two broken engagements were difficult times and I cry out to God to help suffering people.  Two people I know are wading through the mire of a broken engagement; two, a broken marriage.  I don’t have the answers for any of them.  I searched for answers when my engagements broke, but there weren’t any.  All I can do is pray for their hearts to heal and become whole.  I pray for them to lean on the Father who will not disappoint.  I pray for their courage to step forward to greet each day, to continue in life with the other absent.  I pray that they would seek and find the desires of their hearts.

A girl’s wedding is the dream and desire of her girlish heart.  I spent many hours dreaming and planning my perfect wedding in an outdoor bower framed by leafy branches.  I dreamed of the man I would marry and evaluated each potential suitor.  I don’t know that I planned any farther than that. 

But dreams are not the stuff of life.  Instead, of my branchy bower, I was married in a church under a canopy of daisies.   I wore a daisy in my hair.  Our wedding in some ways was a comedy (tragedy?) of errors.  I don’t need to go into detail about how my musician’s mother died and I enlisted two guests for music, or how I was rushing around beforehand setting up my own sound system.   I could go on, but you know what?  It didn’t matter.  All that matters came after.

After is when you work out how to live with another person who is like you but not like you in so many ways.  After is when the compromises start,  preceded by arguments as two strong wills vie for first place.  After is when those wills make a choice, a daily, hourly sometimes a choice every second about what matters: getting our own way or loving our spouse.

I am thankful that for us, love won.  It won because we loved God and practiced submitting ourselves to Him before we submitted ourselves to each other.  It won because I learned to ask myself, “is it sin?” and if the answer was “no” I kept quiet.  It won because we learned to watch and imitate, however feebly, the good godliness that we saw in each other.  And today when I look at the man I love and married, I would not trade him for any other. 

So, here are the three true affirmations for which I give thanks today:

  1. God takes broken relationships and heals them.  I know.  God takes good relationships and makes them better.  I know that, too. 
  2. God cares about us even in our pain.  In our pain, he comes and gives us grace and new insight. 
  3. God provides. This is the hymn of thanksgiving that I remember from my youth.  (It was written in 1597 in Dutch, later translated to German, and from German to English in the 19th Century.)

We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to His name: He forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!

Here are two different renditions:


Who are you thankful for today?  Take time to tell them!



Monday, November 12, 2012

Thankful for Much?

Thanksgiving is far more than turkey.  It’s the time when early colonists of the US were able to take a breath and turn their hardship into celebration of God’s grace.  It’s the time when we can turn our focus from ourselves and our problems and even the512The_First_Thanksgiving_cph.3g04961 problems of our country and thank God for His provision.  What would happen if each day between now and Thanksgiving, we could find three things to thank God for?  What might happen if everyone did that?  Let’s give it a try.  I’ll be frequently posting my three things; give a shout out with yours and we’ll multiply the thanksgiving.

Three Things for Which I am Thankful Today

  1. Simplicity of following Jesus.  The Rule of Christ is simple.  We serve Christ when we act with love, joy, and peace.  Romans 14:17-18.  There are other rules:  The Rule of St. Benedict has 73 Chapters. The Rules of both St. Francis and St. Clare have 12 sections, the Rule of St. Ignatius has 14, while the Rule of St. Albert has 24.  The Rule of St. Augustine has 8.  The Rule of Jesus is simply to act in accord with the Holy Spirit in love, joy, and peace.  Freedom!
  2. Rain.  The tap, tap, tap of rain on the roof and the high-pitched rumble (rimble?) as it drains into the gutters.  I’d almost forgotten the sound and scent of rain.  Thank you, God, for the gentle rain watering the earth
  3. A return to normalcy.  I had a drug reaction.  I didn’t know it was a drug reaction.  When my birthday hit this fall I began itching.  First my upper arms, then my chest.  Little bumps and lumps sprang up on my arms, my chest, and over the months crept up to my neck and spread to my forearms.  It looked like an itchy sunburn on areas that rarely to never saw sun.  My husband suggested I stopped taking one drug and today the the rash has subsided on my forearms, the last place it hit me and there is no itch anywhere.  Thank you, God, for normal skin!

What can you say thanks for today?

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Vacation With an Unhappy Guest

Last year, we took a week-long working vacation with plans to sleep in and enjoy life around the cabin while working on needed projects.  Our previous vacationssam had resulted in sleepless nights at home because our alpha male cat, Sam, refused to let us sleep for several days after we returned.  Last year we invited Sam to stay with us so we could sleep well. 

Sam  would not call it an invitation.  He considered it an affront to his dignity and his calling to rule the home.  We were optimistic that time would change his attitude.  After all, he liked being with us and did not like us leaving, so he would be happy to be with us.  That is what we thought.  But Sam had other ideas.  He relentlessly voiced his opposition to the plan from the time we left to the time we arrived and after about 20 miles, to punctuate his message, he emitted a malodorous stench which filled the car and almost made us gag.  We were tempted to turn back, but determined to soldier on still clinging to the hope of restful sleep.  On that hot, humid summer’s day, we slid down the windows and popped open the sunroof.  The odor subsided but never left and every stoplight made it worse.  When we were about fifteen minutes from our destination, Sam managed to open the door of his hard plastic carrier with metal bars.  I reached back and blocked him into the back seat area. He crouched behind my seat and continued crying. 

We couldn’t wait to get him through the cabin door and finally enjoy some needed peace.  But peace was not for us.  Sam huddled next to the toilet and refused to move for food, water, anything.  By the end of the day, we decided to move him and carried him to our bed where he liked to be at home.  But he cared nothing for our intentions and he moved to the back of the bedroom closet.  We were worried about how me might exhibit his displeasure so we put the litter box and food in our bathroom, next to the closet entrance.

Sam is a fastidious cat.  During the night he dug and dug and dug in the litter, scraping and scratching, waking us.  We tried to coax him to bed, to sleep, but he would not comply.  By morning, we were exhausted but we hauled ourselves out of bed to start our day.  Now Sam was ready to sleep.  He spent the next few days in the back of the closet and the next few nights digging in the litter, keeping us awake.

We had come on vacation to sleep and Sam’s distress clearly was worse than coming home to a disappointed Sam after vacation.  Finally, we decided that the only help for us, other than cutting our vacation short, was  to keep Sam up all day so he would sleep at night.

Sam is not a normal young cat.  He does not play.  He watches.  So our time was spent observing Sam and waking him from his daytime naps.  When we successfully got him to open his eyes, we would lift him to his feet and make him walk.  We did all this in between painting and electrical work and all the other things we had scheduled to do.  One of us was stationed on Sam alert at all times.  We threw balls back and forth for his amusement (and to keep him awake) and wiggled a packing strap to keep him occupied.  And finally, by the end of the week, Sam almost slept through the night with only a couple of digging sessions.   We had planned to put him on a diet during vacation (Sam is one fat cat), but the Sam plan turned into “let’s do whatever it takes to keep him happy and awake.” 

We survived that week, completed most of our projects, and almost caught some good sleep by the end.  The ride back home was the same as the trip down, without the odor.  We arrived home and let Sam out of the carrier.  He walked out growling.  We tried to pet him and he growled some more.  And that was his story for the next couple of days.  He was very pleasant toward the dog and the other cats, but he growled at us.  He kindly allowed us to sleep through the night at home, so we were able to capture some of the sleep we missed during vacation. But we learned our lesson.  Sam is king and you do not remove a king from his kingdom without consequences.  Sam will never again be invited to vacation with us.  A few sleepless days at home is a small price to pay for a full week of sleep. 

Thursday, November 8, 2012


We all have our favorite things.  Here are a few of mine and Elijah’s.  (He’s the 9th century BC prophet I’ve written about in my novel series).

My favorites:

Favorite Tree:  any tree.  I never met a tree I didn’t like. (Well maybe the box elder)

Favorite Mentor:  I have two, both dead dead:  Madeleine L’Engle and Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Favorite River:  I don’t know.  It might be the Scioto that transects our state or the Ohio that flows into another contender: the Mississippi.

Favorite Desert:  Sonoran.  The only desert I haveSonoran_Desert_Scottsdale_AZ_50349 visited is the Sonoran Desert in Arizona.

Favorite Mountains:  the tree-covered Appalacians and their foothills.

Here are Elijah’s favorites.  Even though he was well-travelled for his time, I have travelled farther and seen more without ever leaving the United States.


Favorite Tree:  Acacia

Favorite Mentor:  Moses

Jordan_river_2Favorite River:  Jordan

Favorite Desert:  Negev



Favorite Mountains:  Carmel, Moriah




Sonoran Desert picture by Wars 04:25, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

Acacia Tree By Wuhugm (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Jordan River picture taken by David Shay, 29.3.06.

Mt. Carmel By jacob (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tangled Ashes, Tattered Lives

Tangled Ashes
I have written many reviews, but after I had read this novel and then put it down again, I had nothing to say. This author used her tools well: vocabulary, similes, metaphors, and sentence construction—everything that comprises a good novel. That should have been enough, and for the publisher it was. But, for me something essential was missing. For some reason, nothing made the novel memorable.

I grasped for a reason, any reason, or some way to begin writing. I could place the novel into a genre and draw on the classics; that usually works for me. Perhaps I could call it a tale of two cities, one in the United States, one in France. No, this novel really only had one location: a castle in a small French town.  

Perhaps I could call it a tale of two lovers. No, there was no sensual love, only attraction and friendship. Perhaps it was historical fiction. The portion of the novel that took place in Vichy France was the best, but unfortunately it was also the smallest part of the book. Maybe it’s the tale of a place: the castle where most of the action happens. No, the castle was merely the stage for the drama that ensued.

Who was the principal actor in this drama? The one who had most of the page time?  That would be Marshall, the architect hired to restore the castle. Or was it the one who was the most interesting: Marie the French girl working for the Nazis when the castle was used as a lebensborn, a birthing place for Aryan babies? Or maybe it was Jade the nanny for the castle owner’s children, or Therese the interior decorator, or even the one who was most damaged, Jojo the hermit who lived on the castle grounds. That’s the primary cast of characters and you can take your pick. They all have secrets which are eventually revealed. In fact, there were so many secrets that the novel became a competition to discover whose secret was most noteworthy. This novel failed to move me, perhaps because the protagonist himself was never moved and simply seemed an actor on his castle stage.

Unveiling: A Novel

Unveiling by Suzanne M. Wolfe is another novel centered on a restoration, this time of a Triptych, a painting in three parts, located in Italy. Both Unveiling and Tangled Ashes were penned by writers who deftly manipulated the English language. Never a misplaced metaphor or simile, I would call both these books well-written. However, Unveiling was a compelling story of a damaged protagonist with enough demons of her own to fill a novel.  The restoration of the painting mirrored the restoration of her life. 

Tangled Ashes’ Marshall also carried sufficient angst to fill a novel, but his movements were muddled by the other characters’ complex lives. Marshall rarely seemed to act on his own or out of his own desires. He was pushed into the job by his partner. He was prodded into resolving his alcohol problem by Jade. Jojo pressed him to rescue Therese from the fire. And when his job ended, Marshall left France unchanged, his life unresolved. And he didn’t seem to have a care or regret about leaving: no promises to write, or call, or visit in the future.

Maybe that’s my problem with this novel. Perhaps I simply didn’t care enough about Marshall. I should have cared because I glimpsed myself in Marshall. Marshall retreated from people and tried to maintain a distance and so have I. Marshall had trouble communicating with children; so do I. Marshall focused on the job at hand to the exclusion of all as, as I do.   But unlike me, Marshall seemed at one moment obsessed, at the next ambivalent toward his work, just as he was both obsessed and ambivalent toward Jade. Maybe it was his equivocation that kept me from caring about him. Even when Marshall participated in two rescues late in the story, I didn’t care. He was only acting the part scripted for him.  I didn’t like Jane Austen’s Emma. Jane Austen, herself, described Emma as the character no one would like but the author. Only Tangled Ashes’ author could care enough about Marshall to like or dislike him. It’s the author’s job to make me care about her protagonist and this author failed.

I was provided a free review copy of Tangled Ashes by the publisher for the purpose of this review.

The Best Way to Make Money in Any Economy

I have spent most of my life learning how to make money from my babysitting jobs as a youth, to my first 256USCurrency_Federal_Reservejob selling programs at the Ohio State Fair, through all my subsequent jobs:  deli sales, projectionist, waitress, poll-taker, traffic control booth operator, audio-visual aid, multi-media producer, attorney, sales support for a wholesale nursery, landscaper, computer consultant, and the list goes on.  I have also invested in savings accounts (yes, they are a real investment), certificates of deposit, stocks, and real estate.

So, what’s the best way to make money.  Short answer: work for it.  You can make more money over the long-term by working at any job than you can by investing in others’ work (stocks).  You can make more per week than you will receive from a savings account in a month.  How do I know this?  I looked.  $100,000 in a savings account gives you about $500/month at current rates.  Stocks that I invested in 5 years ago, I could only sell at a loss now and the dividends are piddling.  Mutual funds might be a little higher but not much. 

Work requires little monetary investment.  It does require great perseverance, but perseverance pays.

Now this investment advice may not be true for very wealthy people.  But for the rest of us, any job pays more dividends than any other type of investment.  Anyone disagree?