Friday, November 20, 2020


C is also for Closed Spaces, Crowds, Close Contact, and Clean Hands – things we all have incorporated into our living style since March to combat that little virus. 

We are encouraged to remember three things: 1.) stay home and stay safe, 2.) mask up when you do have to go out, and 3.) wash your hands often. To help remember this, think “C is for Coronavirus.” 

Closed Spaces 

When you must be inside (outside of your home), try to have it be in a large room with open windows and doors, and fans (dress for winter!) or upgraded ventilation (continual exchange of air from the outside at a minimum). Remain in this environment for as few minutes as possible. 

And, mask up!

Crowds (Party or Protest – or Business Meeting) 

Crowds can form indoors or outdoors. Avoid indoor crowds. 

Plan your grocery shopping for early (or late) hours and don’t go twice a week like you used to – try to shop once a week or even less often. Make out your grocery list at home and arrange the items in one route around the store, up and down the aisles. Be efficient. 

When ‘caught’ in a crowd outdoors, ensure you can keep at least six feet from people you do not live with and limit your time being exposed to this situation. 

And, mask up! 

Close Contact 

We miss our friends but if they do stop by, put your mask on before opening the door (keep clean masks in a drawer by the door, or on a hook so they are handy to grab when opening the door and so you don’t forget when you open the door or go out – you don’t want to be caught somewhere without a mask and have to return home or ask someone if they have an extra clean one). 

And, since so many more items are now being delivered (groceries, packages, pizza, etc.), having an extra mask handy is only being polite to the other person, too. 

Carry an extra mask in your purse and in your car – even a child-sized mask. Stay at least six feet away (some studies say the virus can ‘travel’ 20 feet!). 

And, mask up! 

Clean Hands 

Wash your hands – when you get up, before making breakfast (and after), before brushing your teeth, whenever you think of it, whenever you walk past the kitchen or bathroom. 

And, if washing our hands with warm water, isn’t using hot water even better? Nope. If you can’t wait for warm water, cold water is fine. Hot water can open pores or little scratches to let in bacterial or viruses. 

And, mask up! 


Finally, if you live in Maryland (or Maine or Massachusetts or Mississippi or Montana or Missouri or Minnesota or Michigan), don’t forget your mother – MOM: Mask up, Maryland! Mask up, Maine! Mask up, Massachusetts! etc.) 

Read More About It: 
How to Determine if You Will Contact COVID-19 (a light-hearted look with some seriousness) 

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Book Review (OT): When GOD Says NO: Revealing YES When Loss and Adversity are Present

When GOD Says NO: Revealing YES When Loss and Adversity are Present, by Judith Briles (Mile High Press, 2019, $27, 254 pages)

A mesmerizing little book that packs a whopping big story and hopeful message. . . .

Author Dr. Judith Briles has experienced it all many times over, yet has come out the other side of adversities with even more hope and belief in God and mankind. She has survived the death of two sons, a business betrayal, a grossly unfair divorce settlement, cancer, an abusive marriage (at 16, she was a high school graduate, married, pregnant and moving to Montana, . . . . )

The accidental death of teenage son Frank appears front and center throughout every chapter and leads Briles' growth in her strong belief and her emotional recovery over and over again. Frank 'leaves' his mother four gifts, one of which is resiliency. This is a book you will tear up during or at least get all misty-eyed over in spots while reading more than once.

Christian blackmail, God's sense of humor, and suggestions about what to say to the grieving person (p. 126) as well as poetic quotations* are splashed throughout When GOD Says NO: Revealing YES When Loss and Adversity are Present. The Ten Commandments for Overcoming Adversity begin on page 159.

And yet, Briles' humor shines through, making this almost a book to read in one setting: her life story (plot) is mesmerizing, making it a quick little read.     

Caveat: This book was sent to me for review.

*Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, "When it is dark enough, men see the stars." (p. 67)

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Book Review: Buckeye Believer: 40 days of Devotions for the Ohio State Faithful

Buckeye Believer: 40 days of Devotions for the Ohio State Faithful, by Del Duduit (Burnett Young Books, 2017, 127 pages, $12.95)

Ah, that perennial powerhouse of college football, Ohio State, deserves a book all its own and here it is. Forty daily devotions devoted to special moments in Buckeye football from 1950 to 2015.

Each short chapter gives us the date and score of a memorable moment in sports history from season openers to the Rose Bowl to the Cotton Bowl to the Sugar Bowl and even the Fiesta Bowl, including a Heisman Trophy winner.

What can we learn from Woody Hayes' temper and the two unsportsmanlike calls in one game that culminated in his being fired? What can a losing team teach us? Author Del Duduit ties it all together again, just like in his more recent Dugout Devotions.

With a couple of passages from the Bible pertaining to each story followed by 4th and 1and then Goal Line Stand, the reader is challenged to see the lessons football and sports in general, even life can teach us.

Although I am not a football fan, I grew up with football in the background and hope the author will next tackle devotions from the University of Washington or from the University of Minnesota!

By the way, what is a buckeye anyway?

Caveat: This book was sent to me for review.

Monday, November 16, 2020

Book Review: Wolf at the Window (kids, Scotland, wolves, veterinarian parents, holiday)

Wolf at the Window: A Ghostly Warning, by Ben Baglio (Scholastic, 133 pages, 2000, $3.99, grades 2-7, ages 7 and up) 

We have read and reviewed several* of author Ben Baglio's animal books for kids starring Mandy Hope, her best friend James, and her mom and dad, both veterinarians in  a small English village. Mandy loves animals and knows a lot about them: she seems to always find animals who need a home - or they find her - so she has her work cut out for her with James in on the adventures.

Wolf at the Window, however, is a bit different from the very beginning. It was not until we had finished reading that we discovered it is number 7 in the Animal Ark Hauntings series! But it's not that scary.

Holiday in Scotland

Mandy and her mom and dad are invited to Scotland one winter for a vacation (the Brits call vacations, holidays). They bring friend James along and stay in a cabin adjacent to a new wildlife park just in time for a huge gala at their friend's house.

But, the very first night Mandy looks up from the game they are playing in the living room of the cabin and sees an old wolf! The wolf suddenly disappears from sight and leaves no paw prints in the snow. 

This was only the beginning of strange things happening to Mandy: it takes her the whole book to figure things out and even then the reader is not convinced of what seems to have happened.

Along the way, we learn about Scottish history, music and dancing, and root for Mandy, James and their new friend against the bad guys. 

Read this book with a grain of salt, however, not only for the surreal happenings but also for Mandy's 'way with animals.'

Caveat: This book was purchased for review.

* Cub in the Cupboard  (number 8 in the original series) 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Book Review: Cub in the Cupboard (fox, kids and a kit, Cub Scout auction)

Cub in the Cupboard: As Sly As a Fox . . . , by Ben Baglio (Scholastic, 147 pages, 1994, $3.99, Grades 2-7, ages 7 and up) An Animal Ark book.

Mandy lives with her mom, Dr. Emily, and dad, Dr. Adam, in a house attached to Animal Ark, a veterinary clinic in England. Mandy's best friend is James, who adopted Blackie, a black lab who shares their adventures.

One day when Mandy and James were out riding their bikes, they heard a whimper that turned out to be a fox caught in a trap with her little kit (baby fox) nearby. Dr. Emily manages to help the fox and both she and her kit are brought back to Animal Ark for rehabilitation (but the cute little kit keeps escaping her crate so the two friends have to find another temporary home for him).

But that's not all!

The cub scouts are planning an auction so they can purchase some tents (pup tents, of course!): Grandma is donating the furniture that Mandy dearly loves: and the two friends find out who has been setting traps for foxes - can they do anything about it safely? But that's not all.

We also meet the dog obedience instructor, two little old ladies, Grandma and Grandpa, of course, then watch Mandy and James sneak into a house.

These two kids change the lives of everyone they meet in their little country town while saving animals and educating young readers.

One of more than 50 books by Ben Baglio and 8th in the series, Cub in the Cupboard is full of surprises and even suspense. Read another book about how adult-like kids can be!

Caveat: This book was purchased for review.

Also by the same author and number 25 in the series, Dog at the Door.

Next: Wolf at the Window