Blindsided by Book List — Now the Rest of the Story — A Repost

Several of my “big read” friends asked if I would repost the 2015 Reading Challenge. The following is that post. I would be glad to repost this list anytime, but if you would like to check out all the “other possibilities” go to There is all kinds of stuff on there! Read and enjoy.

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When you read my last blog “Blindsided by Book List” did it seem that I just abruptly came to an end?? Well, I did. With this site the “Save” key and the “Publish” key are side-by-side. I learned a long time ago to “save” often. I was saving my blog but hit publish instead. I didn’t get to proofread the blog before it went out. So now for the rest of the story:

I stated in my “last blog” that I was going to give you the list for the 2015 Reading Challenge. There are 50 different types of books to read. You can read them in any order you would like. Also if you want to use one book for two challenges then that’s ok, but no more than two. For example: a book that scares you — for me that is anything written by Stephen King — and a book at the bottom of your to-read list — again Stephen King. So here is the list:

_____  A book with more than 500 pages

_____  A classic romance

_____  A book that became a movie

_____  A book published this year

_____  A book with a number in the title

_____  A book written by someone under 30

_____  A book with nonhuman characters

_____  A funny book

_____  A book by a female author

_____  A mystery or thriller

_____  A book with a one-word title

_____  A book of short stories

_____  A book set in a different country

_____  A nonfiction book

_____  A popular author’s first book

_____  A book a friend recommended

_____  A Pulitzer Prize-winning book

_____  A book based on a true story

_____   A book at the bottom of your to-read list

_____  A book your Mom loves (hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm)

_____  A book that scares you

_____  A book more than 100 years old

_____  A book based entirely on its cover (I don’t know what this means, but I will find out.)

_____  A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t

_____  A memoir

_____  A book you can finish in a day (This is going to be a very short book for me!)

_____  A book with antonyms in the title (I don’t know what this means either.)

_____  A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

_____  A book that came out the year you were born

_____  A  book with bad reviews

_____  A trilogy (This will be 3 books and is where you will read 2 books to finish out the 52 weeks of 2015.)

_____  A book from your childhood

_____  A book with a love triangle

_____  A book set in the future

_____  A book set in high school

_____  A book with a color in the title

_____  A book that made you cry

_____  A book with magic

_____  A graphic novel

_____  A book by an author you’ve never read before

_____  A book you own but have never read

_____  A book that takes place in your hometown (This may be a hard find. Local library is my guess.)

_____  A book that was originally written in a different language

_____  A book set during Christmas

_____  A book written by an author with your same initials

_____  A play

_____  A banned book

_____  A book based on or turned into a TV show

_____  A book you started but never finished

_____  A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet

Well, that’s the list. Let me know if you are taking this challenge; then share with me what books your are reading. Read and enjoy throughout the New Year. Happy 2015!!!

Do something today that will challenge you, Linda


Blindsided by Book List

First of all, I would like to congratulate myself because this is my 20th Blog. Who would have guessed I was that “fluent????!!!!” in writing. I have to really smile about that because I have struggled a lot trying to find things of interest for my readers. I don’t have a “topic” I read about like so many blogs. Mine just comes out of my head and backed by a few facts and figures.

It always surprises me by the time I have finished a blog that it is not quite what I intended when I started. You get the finished produce; I get all the dropped paragraphs and thoughts that run down the alley that have nothing to do with the finished produce.

I have read several books on writing as well as several blogs. I am also taking a writing course online with Jeff Goins ( Everything I have read and almost everything I have written, I have found that the finish produce is never the original intent of the piece. I have played around with my book idea, and each time I sit down to write on it my thoughts are headed in a different direction. At first that was very disheartening, but now I am beginning to realize that this is just the process.

At this point I have written 224 words, and none of it has anything to do with my title. So on to my original intended blog.  (Laugh out loud or lol)

As you know I have committed myself to reading “all the Classics” before I die. If I stay committed to that journey, I will live to be very old or never die. As of yesterday morning, I had 821 Classic titles on my list too read. THEN, I got a Facebook message from Melanie Blake (A great New Hampshire friend.) with a website for and their “2015 Reading Challenge.” I will list before the book list challenge. You get to pick the books you want to read, then check off the catalogue your book fits in.

I then got interested in what this website was and what else it had to offer. Oh my gosh, you will not believe this!!! I found “1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.”

We Are Loosing Our Freedom of Speech

This morning I got up in a rant. What is a rant? It is being so angry about something that you have to speak, or in my case write.

For the past week there has been a lot of news about the movie “The Interview.” “The Interview” is a movie about the attempt to assassinate the President of North Korea. The movie was to come out on December 25, 2014 but has been pulled from movie theaters because of threats to bomb theaters that would be playing the movie. I know there is much more going on behind the scenes, but when did the American people begin to back down because of a threat. It’s like everyone is running scared; “oh no, oh no, we can’t let this happen!”

I have seen spots about “The Interview”; I have even listened to the actors promoting the movie. Is the movie distasteful? Yes! Would I go and see it anyway? No!. But I believe that once we start running from every threat that comes at us, we have already lost the fight. Someone in cyberspace has decided to take the giant on through threats of destruction.

Last night on CNN a reporter was talking about “The Interview” and the threats against movie theaters that would show the movie on Christmas day. He said there has been no evidence that North Korea’s cyberspace experts made these threats. So the media needs to stop saying that North Korea is behind this until there is evidence. Anyone from anywhere can use cyberspace to do anything they want to if they are clever enough and crazy enough. Hackers are everywhere. Once the computer was invented someone was looking for a way to get information about others. Unfortunately that is the way of life now, and as much as we want to be we are not living in the 1950’s any more!

We are running scared every time there is a knock at the door.  Somebody is going to take something away from us! In my opinion when they pulled “The Interview” we lost something. We lost the freedom of speech and the freedom of choice. The choice to watch that movie or not.

You can find pornography on the computer, on TV, in movies, and magazines. I hate that this option is out there for anyone including our children and grandchildren to see. But the people who write and publish this stuff has the Freedom of Speech behind them. And those who look at pornography have the right to do so. Movies and books with extreme murder and mutilation of human beings and animals is out there for anyone to see. But the writers and publishers have the Freedom of Speech behind them. Again those who look at and read this material have the right to do so. On the other hand, I have the right to choice not to let that stuff in my house, or watch it on TV or the movies, or read the books that are written.

Do I care about “The Interview?” “NO!” Would I choose to watch “The Interview?” “NO!” But I do care that my choice was taken away when someone got scared and pulled the movie from the theaters. If enough people cared about the movie’s subject and did not want to have it shown, we can protest and not go to the movie. But it would be our choice to protest or stay home. It is not some cyberspace geek telling me what I can watch and what I cannot watch.

Go ahead and watch movies, or read a book, or search on the internet then understand that you are doing this by choice because someone else has the freedom to write and say what they wanted. End of rant? Probably not! So where do we go from here? I don’t know about you, but I am going to watch a movie.

Today, do something that challenges you, Linda.


Christmas is just a few days away; the push for gift gathering and wrapping, menus planned, how many for Christmas dinner, parties, cooking and cooking some more. This is a very busy season for all of us.

Sometimes in the midst of food bubbling on the stove with Christmas music playing in the background, a flash remembrance from past Christmases enters my mind. I remember the year I got a sled and skies; another Christmas I remember getting ice skates and new mittens and a hat.

One year I remember my sisters and I got “flying saucers.” A flying saucer was made out of aluminum, round and large enough to set in the middle and “fly” down the snowy hill behind our family home. The “flying” was so much fun until you had to walk back up the hill to “fly” again, hopefully faster the next time. We spent all day flying down the hill and walking back up to the top of the hill. We had so much fun together that year.

I always loved the smell of turkey cooking in the oven. As a family of five, and later six, we sat at the table with so much food we knew there would be plenty of leftovers for later. There were no fights amongst the siblings which was rare. Christmas parades were over and a football game was on the TV. My parents loved to watch football especially during the holidays. I have nice memories of Christmases past and present.

Over the past week, I have been thinking about Christmas a lot. Why do we celebrate a special day of gift giving and drowning ourselves in the wonderful fragrance of food? Why is that day special for families who spend the rest of the year fighting with one another? What is it about that day when we think of others? We buy toys for Angel Trees and Toys for Tots. We buy a little extra food to give to the food pantry. We slip a pair of new socks or mittens into a box for the homeless. Even people who do not go to church or read the Biblical Christmas story to their children get caught up in the season of giving and celebrating. Why do we do that?

There is only one reason! The spirit of Christ enters into the celebration unnoticed. Whether people accept it or not, whether people deny it or not, whether people think of it or not, Christ is the only reason for Christmas.

Scripture tell us the truth: ” … the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped Him snugly, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom … The angel said, ‘Look! I bring good news to you — wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your Savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord'” (Luke 2: 6-7, 10-11 Common English Bible).

The only reason to celebrate the Christmas season is because our Lord was born, and He came to everyone. Not just those who believe but everyone. If Christ was not born, there would be no reason to celebrate. There would be no reason to give, to eat together, or to gather together with family and friends. No reason at all!

But Christ did come! As a small, human baby Christ came. Christ reminds us that through His life our lives are better. Whether we believe or not, this is the simple truth. As a small baby, Christ opened a way for us to have eternal life.

Go ahead and celebrate this wonderful day we call Christmas. Celebrate, have fun and laugh. Enjoy the gifts, the food, the football games, and family. But as you sit back and for just a moment watch the joy of those around you — you are experiencing a blessing from Christ. This is the reason for Christmas.

May this Christmas season bring great joy and love to you and your family, Linda and Carl.

Let Police Officers Do Their Job

For the past couple of weeks, we have heard so much about the shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. The whole situation is heart breaking for both sides. What parent wants to think that their child provoked a police officer to shoot their gun; on the other hand, who wants to think that a police officer shoots his gun whenever he doesn’t get his way.

This whole mess continues to bubble up, because folks (1) do not want to hear the truth, (2) think that they are targets of racism, (3) while others riot, steal, and burn businesses just to be part of the story. Even the St. Louis Rams could not stay out of the frenzy by running on to the football field with their hands in the air. “Wide receivers … came on the field displaying the pose (Hands Up, Don’t Shoot) during the pre-game introduction” said a Newsmax reporter on Monday, December 1, 2014. Spokesman of the Rams stated, “… the players had not read the evidence vindicating Darren Wilson, who was cleared by a grand jury of any crime.” Fact: several eyewitnesses testified at the Grand Jury that Michael Brown never raised his hands. “13 Facts About Ferguson the Media Will Never Tell You” December 2, 2014.

I really love this part: “All week-long, the Rams and the NFL were on the phone with the St. Louis Police Department asking for assurances that the players and the fans would be KEPT SAFE FROM THE VIOLENT PROTESTERS who had rioted, looted, and burned buildings in Ferguson.” Did the Rams and NFL think the police would all go home and leave the city (and the previous football game) unprotected? That is ridiculous!! Police officers do their job under all circumstances and calls for help no matter whether their lives are in danger or not.

For two and a half years I rode-out with Officers of the Fort Worth Police Department. Each week there was something new. A lady on drugs walks the street with her top off. When the male Officer stopped and told her to put her shirt back on, she was more upset that I was in the patrol car (female) than the male Officer standing in front of her. I had the experience of an adrenaline rush when an emergency call for help came in, and we took off going 80 mph down city side streets. When we got to the scene a man had his estranged wife as a hostage. He was holding a gun to her head. The police were able to get him to put his gun down and let the woman go.

Twice while we were on patrol, we found men walking down the middle of the road, stepping out into traffic, and generally being rude to everyone who passed them. The Officer pulled up to the men and told (yes, told not asked) them to get on the sidewalk. The men in both cases continued to walk down the road ignoring the Officer. The Officer repeated himself two more times. The third time, in each case, the men turned on the Officer screaming at him … “Why don’t you make me… (really don’t want to use the language they were using)?” “I am an American citizen, and I can walk anywhere I want … including down the middle of the … road.” In both cases the men refused to move to the sidewalk until the Officer pulled up in front of them, got out of the patrol car, and repeated himself once more adding, “If you refuse to move to the sidewalk, you are going into the back of my car!” I was very concerned for the Officer’s life. I didn’t know what the men would do, and you could tell by the Officer’s stance he was also concerned. Both men eventually moved to the sidewalk.

First of all, there is no reason for a person to walk down the middle of the street. I don’t care if you are on drugs, drunk, or American citizen. Second, the Officer has legal power in handling a situation. When he/she tells you to move to the sidewalk, you move to the sidewalk. And third, Officers are aware that any situation can escalate into violence.

My very first ride-out was on July 4, 2012. I had finished the CAPA Training (Clergy and Police Alliance) and was excited about my first ride in a patrol car. As a CAPA person, you get the nasty calls anywhere in the city. The Fort Worth Police Department is divided into five sectors. I was in the Central Sector. Most of the time a CAPA person patrols with the Officers. Each Officer is assigned a route within their sector. However, when that Officer has a CAPA person (or there is an emergency call for help from another sector) we can go anywhere in the city limits especially if there is only one CAPA person on duty.

We had been out for about two hours when a call came in of a suicide in the West Sector, and they needed a CAPA person to be with the family. The address was all the information we had going into the situation. We got to the apartment complex pretty quickly and the Officer and I went to the second floor apartment. Police were everywhere. Patrol cars with their lights flashing took up pretty much all of the parking lot in front of the complex. When I got to the apartment there was a young woman curled up in a ball in the hallway in front of her apartment door. All we were told was that her husband was active military. They had a fight, she went into the kitchen, he went to the bedroom. Then she heard the gun go off.

I got her up off the floor and moved over to the stairs leading down to the parking lot. She slid down the wall and curled up in my lap. All tears no words. And for the next three hours I sat with her in my lap. At one point, a couple of the West Sector Officers were talking with the Officer I came with. He was just shaking his head. A while later I looked down the stairs where my Officer was standing and tears were running down his face. I learned later that the Officer was also military, and he heard that the young solider who killed himself had just got back from the Middle East.

I did not intent to write a long blog today. In fact, I was wondering what I would write about until I saw the article about Ferguson sitting beside my computer. We have to realize that Police Officers are human beings just like us. Sure they may have more adrenaline runs than the average citizen, but their job calls for them to be ready at any minute to respond. Every day they go into situations where they do not have all the information of what happened and are expected to protect the public. We gripe when we get pulled over — your speeding, that is breaking the law — but the Officer is protecting you and others from getting hurt or killed.

We need to stop and take a deep breath. Then we need to be grateful that there are men and women patrolling our streets making it safe for us to go about our business. If they were not there, we would be living in a land of chaos.

Today do something that challenges you, Linda