Tag Archives: Thoughts

Reading and Reviewing!!!


                              I’mm….. Baaccccckkkkk…….!!!!!!!!

Reading and Reviewing are both working their way back into my world!!

But, YIKES!! Many stacks of books around me!! My plan is to still go forward reading the books in the order in which I received them. This may be a ‘not perfect’ system – but I will do my best to make it work.

As shown in the picture, if it can happen to Agatha Christie, it can happen to me!

Throughout these past months I have learned many things – as we all do when life throws us a curve. One of the things I learned, or should I say re-learned, is how much my soul and my mind need to be nourished by reading! It is a life-force for me. I have also learned how much writing, in this case review writing, also nourishes my soul and my mind.

And that is WONDERFUL!!!

The Joy of the Written Word!!

                         The Novel Reader    (Van Gogh)




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Identity Crisis? or, What’s in a Name?!

My last name for 37 years was/is “Blomeley”.  At 37, I married; my groom’s last name was/is “Maddigan”.

What was I to do? I had the name “Blomeley” for so long that I did not want to change it!! My father could not understand that!!  He said: “With the numerous times Blomeley has been pronounced and spelled so many different ways, why not take this chance to get rid of it?” My father said that!!

Well, I could not let Blomeley go!!  So, I kept it, and in effect doubled my last name.    I signed my marriage licence: “Blomeley Maddigan”.  Over the years I have added a hyphen now and again – more ‘now’ than ‘again’!!   The hyphen seems to help people understand that my first name is not “Blomeley” –  or “Maddigan” – it has happened!

So, why I am telling you this? Well, I am an occasional artist – as in abstract art.  My works went without a signature on the front, for a number of years.  (I did sign the back).  What would I sign on a picture?    “Patricia Blomeley-Maddigan” ?  That’s 24 letters plus one space and one hyphen! Signing that on a piece of art work was almost offensive to the picture!!  A couple of years ago, I reached a place where I wanted to sign my pictures. So, after much pondering, I decided on one name only: “Blomeley”, and I am very happy with it. (Signed on a slant up).

However, what if the ‘writer side’ of me leads to publishing?  What name? Just ‘Blomeley’ seems inappropriate.  But, my 3 name signature on the cover of a book?  Somehow that seems too much.  It is important to me that I keep ‘Blomeley’ in the picture.  So, Patricia Maddigan, does not seem the way to go, (with all apologies to my husband).  By the way, my husband was/is open to any name I have/use – thankfully!

And what about a name change?  My thought?  ‘Patricia James’ !!   Within our family ‘James’ exists as a first name, and as a last name – that’s a very brief explanation as to where I had the idea spring from!  But then no one would know it was me?! (Vanity? Pride? Maybe!)

So, after encountering a similar dilemma on another blog, this post seemed like an appropriate place to ask:

“What do YOU think? What name would I use on a book cover?”.

All comments will be appreciated!

Thank you!



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Book Review: Author: Eileen Flanagan “The Wisdom to Know the Difference – When to Make a Change–and When to Let Go”

From Powell’s Books:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can change; and wisdom to know the difference.
Millions of people have been moved by these famous last lines from the Serenity Prayer to make important and lasting changes in their lives. But how exactly can we know the difference? How can we acknowledge the real limits that we face without negating the possibility for dramatic change? In this wise book, Eileen Flanagan guides readers in determining what they can-or perhaps should- change in their lives, accepting what they cannot, and discovering the “wisdom to know the difference.”

I have a confession to make…….

I have had the book “The Wisdom to Know the Difference”, by Eileen Flanagan, for approximately three months, (maybe a little longer), and I have been reading it for approximately two months, (maybe a little longer). For someone who is generally a quick reader, this has seemed like a long time. Or has it?

A few weeks ago I emailed the author, explaining that the reason the book took me so long to read, was actually her fault!! (Nervy, right?). Well, I did not phrase it exactly that way – ‘her fault’. What I actually said was: “If the book was not so well written, I would have been finished reading it a long time ago!!” And what I actually meant was, had I not been so drawn into the book, its topic, and its effect on my life, I would have been finished reading it much sooner.

Yes, that’s my confession…. This book so impacted me on a personal level, I had to take it in slowly, digest it, and incorporate it into my life.

As a prayer, ‘The Serenity Prayer’, has not been a favourite of mine. My husband, on the other hand, has always had a deep connection with this prayer. As a result, he has tried to help me understand why this prayer is powerful. I always kind of fluffed him away. “Yah, yah, serenity, courage, wisdom – whatever…..”. I had my own favourite prayers.

At the end of May 2011, I read a post by Eileen Flanagan, looking for book reviewers. While writing book reviews was a new idea for me, reading books certainly was not! I replied to Eileen and a couple of weeks later the book arrived in my mail, sent free of charge, for my impartial review. The act itself was spur of the moment, and I spent the next few weeks furtively looking at this book, about this prayer that was not one of my favourites!! I must have been crazy to volunteer for this task! Toward the end of June 2011, I ventured into Eileen’s world, and began to learn a little more about this prayer, and how it has impacted a number of lives, (and not just my husband’s!).

Eileen does not simply go out into the world, ask people if they know the prayer, then ask their opinion of it. Rather, Eileen’s choice of people to write about, are clearly a small sampling of a much larger group interviewed for this book. We learn about these individuals, their life stories, and how the emotions of The Serenity Prayer have played out in their lives. One of Eileen’s literary devices is that throughout the book, some of these main characters reappear. It is not just a matter of them being introduced and described to us, but, at key intervals throughout the text, Eileen brings them back by reminding us of their stories, and how their stories continue to evolve – with The Serenity Prayer continuing to play an important role. In some cases, the individuals themselves are not necessarily aware they are living out the prayer. And that is one of my favourite portions of the book. People, who live according to their own values and characteristics, yet can be an example to me, the reader, of the impact of this powerful prayer. (Notice I now say “powerful prayer”….don’t mention that to my husband….!)
Eileen Flanagan has a knack of writing that I find particularly appealing – repetition. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not mean simply stating the same thing over and over. What I mean is gently, without boredom, Eileen imprints key points for the reader. Making her points stronger over time, but in each telling and sharing, being done in new and informative ways. One of my favourite Christian writers – Ronald Rolheiser – has this same story-telling knack. Gentle – soft – peaceful. Bringing the reader to an “Ah-Ha” moment with skill and dexterity, without being the least bit repetitive or tedious. It is a tremendous way to learn new concepts and thought processes.
Through the reference to other Christian authorities, Eileen brings additional credibility to her own research, and a familiarity to her writings. And not only do we learn more about key characters, as we move forward in Eileen’s book, the author brings forward earlier concepts. Once again, bringing us to a deeper understanding of what Eileen’s focus is on.

The Serenity Prayer holds some big words: serenity, courage, wisdom. Eileen starts by narrowing down these words, to smaller, everyday expressions, phrases, and examples; and concludes the book by bringing them all together in the amazing words of the prayer itself. (Notice I now say “amazing words of the prayer”……do you think I need to share this with my husband?!)

My journey with this prayer, with this book, “The Wisdom to Know the Difference”, has been a very personal one, and this is not the place for review of my prayer journey. But, this is the place for a review of this book. And my opinion to you is that your own prayer journey will not be complete without spending some time with The Serenity Prayer, and definitely some significant time with Eileen Flanagan’s book: “The Wisdom to Know the Difference – When to Make a Change – and When to Let Go”.

P.S. I have since confessed all to my husband, and now, this book is on his reading list!



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Book Review: “The Spiral Garden” by author Anne Hines

Description from Goodreads:
Moses never saw the Promised Land. King David didn’t get to build the Temple. Jesus preached an unpopular message and died on the cross. Reverend Ruth Broggan thinks God has something to answer for. Unsatisfied with traditional teachings, Broggan takes a radical approach to finding the meaning of life.

My Review:
The Spiral GardenThe Spiral Garden

by Anne Hines

The rating of this book will depend on the perspective of the reader. Spiritual perspective. Open minded perspective. Humourous perspective. Faith tradition perspective. Family life perspective. Realizing that all of these perspectives follow us, and impact the way we live, and the way we review, I believe they are particularly important when reading and reviewing this book.

The book is comprised of letters, diary entries, log books, formal announcements, journal entries, and phone messages. The dates on all of these are concentrated between 2003 – 2005, and are not sequential. If jumping through the years, locations, and characters, is not your style, you may want to pass on “The Spiral Garden”.

The main character is Ruth Broggan, a Minister of the Unified Church, and takes place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Ruth is divorced, has two children, two best friends, and an unusual perspective of faith. This faith perspective has developed in Ruth over her years as a cleric. Ruth is fired from a church in Markham, Ontario for preaching outside of the church’s teachings, and tries to settle into her new location, while still speaking and preaching a message that conflicts with the church.

Ruth’s struggle is our struggle – why are we here? what comes after? and why does the world suffer pain and tragedy? Ruth has asked God to speak to her, with answers to these questions, and locks herself into the manse in order to wait in silence for God’s reply.

What ensues outside the manse is a growing following of Ruth, culminating in half a million people heading to downtown Toronto, to wait for Ruth to come out of the manse, and celebrate a Church Feast of The Winter Solstice.

Ruth’s take on life is serious, funny, thoughtful, prayerful, witty, and very engaging for the reader. I found that the author, Anne Hines, skillfully pulls the reader into Ruth’s life, and at times I found myself so identifying with Ruth, her writings felt like my own. This is the type of book that I will pick up again, and again, reading only pages here and there – the ones that made me cry, and the ones that made me laugh out loud!

If you want to be entertained, and learn something at the same time, this book is for you. If you are open minded about religion, this book is for you. However, if you are easily offended by slights against any faith tradition, and especially your own, then this book would not be for you.

I was given this book free from a second hand bookstore, but after reading it, I would definitely pay full price!

All in all, I would recommend this book for its humour and for its life lessons.

Take a look for “The Spiral Garden”, and Enjoy!!



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Help!!!! I’ve Fallen Into Book Blogs, And I Can’t Get Out!!

My Smiley!!

I signed on with Facebook against my better judgement. I was not going to get into a situation where everyone could “see” me!! Ok, maybe I was a little dramatic…… Although Facebook was a wonderful way I connected with long distance relatives, and friends I had lost touch with many years ago, I was not interested in playing any of the Games, building a Following of 800 Friends who I vaguely, or did not know, or signing up with many well-meaning charities. During the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada – my country!! – Facebook was a fabulous tool for building cross-country enthusiasm, real team building, and national pride. But once that excitement gradually diminished, my interest in Facebook dwindled. I am still using Facebook, but primarily for family and friend contact, sharing photos, and the occasional You-Tube video clip!

Then…. I’m not sure how this happened, and to be honest, I’m not positive there was any connection to Facebook – but I ‘feel’ like there was!! I discovered the “She Writes” blog! Like most people, I’m sure I have a great writer inside my brain – just waiting for the right opportunity……!!

Content for awhile with exploring “She Writes”, (which is a great Blog!), I eventually found my way to a blog actually called: “Book Blogs”! hhmmm…… That sounded very interesting!! I started exploring and soon enough – I signed up! Just as a home base for spending hours of time reading other peoples’ blogs………!! It was AMAZING!! I was in my kind of heaven! Everywhere I looked someone was talking about books, writing about books, blogging about books, and more! PLUS…… There were so many pictures of books: in living rooms, in libraries, on shelves, on tables, in someone’s hand, on a night table, or even on the floor!! I LOVED IT ALL!!!

So, I started to become a Follower: Google Friend Connect, Networked Blogs through Facebook, (a good attribute of Facebook), RSS Feeds, and my personal favourite – via email subscription. And I tried to keep up with all the blogs I was connected to: read the emails, the home pages, the book reviews, and whatever else I could read!

Well, you may guess where this going! One day, I came out of my book daze, saw what I was attempting to do, and yelled STOP!! I could not believe it had happened! I was overwhelmed by books, and I needed air!! I was also shocked – how could this happen? I love books. I love reading. I’m a social person, I like connecting with “Blog People”!! What was my problem? My problem was that I was caught in a spider web of Book Blogs, one blog connected to two blogs, with four blogs, with 8 blogs, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on…..

So I stopped. I cancelled out of the Book Blogs’ site. Wiped out all my data. Retreated from all the Groups I had joined, (I had joined how many groups??). And finally completely cancelled out of my Book Blogs’ Blog. An innocent participant in this situation, I also cancelled out of “She Writes”.

Whew! I felt like I had lost 10 pounds! Wait! Maybe I really did lose 10 pounds!

So, a couple of weeks pass…… maybe, just maybe, I could run my own blog!! My own book blog!! Maybe it would help the old brain skills….. Use that cognitive functioning we hear so much about. Then, once I set up my own blog, I will need to get back to Book Blogs and She Writes – I certainly could not go forth alone!

So once again, there I was, totally involved in my Book Blog, in signing up for Groups, taking part in discussions, deciding I would be thrilled to do book reviews, changing my header picture again and again….. and so on and so on….

BUT! I did limit my groups, got a handle on email, and settled in to do some serious book reading.

Until I wanted to look something up on my blog………..

And while I was there, I may as well flip over to see what is happening in my Groups. Look at all the fascinating comments… must read that one…. Click. Into another’s blog: “Oh look at this!” Another Blog I have never previously noticed, better stop in for a visit… Oh, look! another dapper looking blog button! Let me just click that, and see where it leads me…. Have I been here before? No, I don’t think so, but maybe if I just read one more review. Oh, I must share some of this as a post on my blog! How is that done? If I go back two blogs ago, click on that pink square…….. and so on, and so on, and they’ll tell two people, and so on, and so on……


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