Book Review: Forever Christmas by Robert Tate Miller

forever christmasThis is a wonderfully written story about a second chance at life.  Readers follow the couple Andrew and Beth Farmer along their journey.  Childhood sweethearts, Andrew and Beth have been married a long time.  We come to find out Andrew is also married to his job as a literary book agent.  Beth’s career fulfills her but doesn’t drive her like Andrew’s.  This puts a damper on Beth’s desire to have children.  Andrew is visited by an angel who tells him that he has 3 days to make things right before his life will dramatically change.  Prior to this, Andrew’s life is consumed with work and consequently puts his marriage second.  Now, Andrew shifts his priorities and devotes the next 3 days to his wife.  After telling her they can spend the next 72 hours wherever she wants, he never thought she’d say his home town of River Falls.  But because he made a promise, they go there.  While visiting, they run into old high school classmates who are now living in Andrew’s childhood home.  This brings back difficult memories for him but for Beth, he forges ahead.  Andrew also learns that his estranged father has moved back to River Falls and has resided in a nursing home.  Not wanting to have anything to do with him, Beth convinces him to at least go see his father.  Andrew finds that during the 3 days, various people are disguised as angels who remind him of what’s at stake and this causes an internal fight within Andrew.  During this time, he realizes what he has not appreciated in his life and wants to rekindle the love he has for his wife.  He wants to stall the inevitable but the angels silently tell him that’s not possible.

This is a beautiful story of love, forgiveness, support and teaches us to value what we have right in front of us because we never know what tomorrow will bring.

Happy Reading!

Finally Friday: Almost Family Time

For those that live away from your family, you know how hard it is to be away from them. There are many holidays I can’t spend with my family because I live about 600 miles away. However, there is one holiday, that is non-negotiable and I am home no matter what: Thanksgiving. It happens to be my Dad’s favorite holiday as well so he loves when we are all together. For the most part, we do too, ha!

In a matter of days, I will be on a plane bound for San Antonio. I will be picked up from the airport by my middle sister. She and I are the closest out of my two older sisters. I admire her very much. She’s married with 5 kids, yes 5, and is so good at multi-tasking. Heck, you have to be with that much going on, right! I feel sorry for the people who are not close to their siblings. Granted, we have our moments where we want to look for sharp objects, but we are always there for each no matter what. I talk to one of my sisters once a week or at least twice a month when things are really hectic for both of us. Now that my parents are getting older, we really rely on each other’s strengths to get through the times and deal with critical issues. Thankfully, we all have a great sense of humor which helps us through the various trials as well.

As Thanksgiving draws more near, I am sincerely grateful for my family. Be sure to express your appreciation and gratitude for those you love.

Enjoy the weekend…it’s FINALLY FRIDAY!!!

Finally Friday: Off Week

This weekend is a weekend where the OU Football team plays away from home and therefore, allows me to get some other things done. I work the home games so my personal time revolves around the home schedule. What tomorrow means to me is sleeping in….and having two cups of coffee and relaxing in my bed. I do have to work for a few hours in the afternoon but otherwise, nothing planned and I’m good with that.

Once again, this week passed in a blur. The weather was cold most of the week which, for the most part, I enjoyed. I don’t, however, like walking to and from my car in 30 degree temps. Tuesday was Veteran’s Day, a day we honor the men and women that have served our country so we can have our freedom. There was a ceremony on the OU campus in the morning and I made a point of getting to work in time to make it. As cold as it was and as tempting as it was to stay in the warm office, myself and a few colleagues braved the cold temps and attended. I kept thinking of my Dad who served in the Korean War and cousins who have selflessly given their time to the Marne Corp, among the countless others who are a part of our military. I said multiple times when asked if I was going, “It’s the least I can do.” President Boren spoke briefly (though he admitted his original remarks came out to over an hour) and then all who were gathered there were given an American flag to post around the flagpole. I felt good about going and am glad we did.

Wednesday evening, I was able to attend the 60 year anniversary of the Oklahoma FCA at Crossings Community Church. My best friend’s husband was the emcee and did a stellar job as always. What a neat group of people in attendance. Kenny Mossman (aforementioned emcee) introduced former Congressman and OU alum J.C. Watts after we heard the talented home run queen Lauren Chamberlain sing the national anthem. Wow, what a voice! I had never heard Congressman Watts speak and was impressed and enjoyed him introduce the keynote speaker, Dr. Condoleezza Rice. Oh my gosh, what a fantastic woman and role model! What a career she has had: National Security Adviser, Secretary of State and Provost at a large institution….not to mention being on the Football Bowl Selection Committee-not a bad resume in my book. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing Dr. Rice discuss her faith and how it plays a role in her life. She is such a class act and was very inspirational. I loved how unapologetic she is about her faith and that she pushes others to discuss and embrace it.

Other than a staff tour of the OU library yesterday, this brings us to today. Ahh, Friday….the day my colleague and friend Erin have had circled on our calendars for a while. Why you ask….because today was the day tickets for Garth Brooks concert in Tulsa went on sale. Due to my speaking in a class in the morning, Erin and another friend Terri were tasked with getting tickets. When I returned from the class, I stopped in Erin’s office only to find her chatting it up with Terri as if they were longtime friends. I couldn’t help but smile. What we were hoping would go fairly smooth turned into quite an ordeal. Just as the timer turned to less than a minute of wait time, the message popped up saying there were no tickets left. As Terri and Erin clicked and waited patiently, I scrolled through Twitter to see if other people were having as hard of a time. At one point, I screamed, “Oh my God, he added 3 more shows!!” So we switched our search to the earlier dates and then encountered more waiting and more glitches. Just as we began to lose hope, I returned to my office and tried on my computer. I began looking on my phone as well. Fortunately, our patience paid off as I was finally able to secure tickets. What an ordeal! But…this is Garth Brooks…someone who hasn’t done a full-blown tour in over 17 years. He puts on a hell of a live show and we are so pumped. We’re in for one fun girls night out!

Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood, Oklahoma Memorial Stadium 2013

I start the weekend on a high note. I’m so blessed to live in a state that has four seasons and allows me to enjoy fall (even if it feels like winter right now) and be surrounded by friends who make me feel so rich. I am where I am supposed to be and I am grateful.

Happy Weekend to all!
Mary

Finally Friday: Wow, what a week!

It is finally Friday, and boy am I glad. This week has been an emotional roller coaster. As I sit here with my feet up on the couch, enjoying a glass of wine, I am able to digest the events of the week. I can’t help but laugh but know God gave me this week for a reason. I pity the people that don’t have their share of ups and downs because they don’t know their own strength. They don’t know just how much a sense of humor can get them through the day. At work, we are all inundated with statistics and data entry right now, that I’m so mentally checked out…thus, the wine. I love that it was a crazy week because there was never a dull moment. I don’t do boring…I like keeping things interesting. I love having a co-worker (who I’m lucky enough has turned into a friend) who emails me shortly after we both got to work and says “Coffee?” That’s all her email says…but it’s enough to make me smile and know that she wants (or needs) a trip to Starbucks…which, thankfully is located in our building. The week was a blur for the most part…that seems to be happening more and more these days…I’m sure it’s my age, but this is just a hectic time of year. Holidays, end of semester, statistics, oh my…

On Thursday, I had the pleasure of chatting with Barbara Niven, an actress who stars in one of my favorite shows, Cedar Cove. She was sweet enough to offer 2 people a short chat with her via Skype. Well, the night before I opened up Skype to make sure it was working which it was. The hour leading up to our phone call, I was nervous….will I know what to say, what should we talk about, should I dress up? Sheesh, I thought..just relax. She’ll be herself so just chill. At the set time, I get the notification that her call is coming through. Not 5 minutes into our chat, we encounter audio issues…and of course they are on my end. I was so embarrassed and frustrated…she could hear me one minute, but then not the next. Darn technology. Being the sweet person she is, she said we would try it again another time. I wanted to crawl in a hole and snap my fingers, hoping to start the day over…preferably with a new laptop.

Here we are and it is Friday night…..back to me on the couch with the wine. Ahh, comfort zone. when I think about the week, I smile. It beats the alternative….except having more wine, not much beats that. Tomorrow, I will do my “volunteer job” (well, there is some money but don’t do it for the money)….I’ll work the football game. I get to see a room full of Sooner fans gathered in one place to watch our beloved Oklahoma football team hopefully beat Baylor. It’s an early morning but to be a part of the day and see everyone’s faces is worth it….

Here’s to a wonderful weekend.

Mary