Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Inspiring Book - Grandma Gatewood's Walk

Wow. I read this book in less than a week. I really liked it. It surprised me how much I liked it.

It is a wonderful book that I read for a book club/challenge my library is running. A community read event promoted by Longwood Gardens. I have 20 sticky flags in the book marking favorite spots.

Grandma Gatewood has had a rough life and is now 67 and ready to set out to walk the whole Appalachian Trail... 2.050 miles. Months of walking. And, she took very little with her. And did it alone.

It is inspiring me to get off my butt and get walking. If a 67-year-old great grandmother can walk the whole Appalachian Trail then I should be able to walk a couple mile walk with my husband at the park, walk to work (under 1 1/2 miles), or work out on the Wii Fit and Bowflex. I am lazy. I will start today. Here is a quote from the book that I liked.

"...unless we be strong as steel, our lazy and baser natures yield to the temptation of time-saving when a ride is offered us..." (pg 52-53)

I need to walk more. Get out in nature more. I have become to sedentary, lazy and shut in, in the house or at work. I need the exercise... and the time to commune with God... and the vitamin D... and a bunch of other things walking outdoors would bring me.

"Just walking the trail for pleasure
For the love of out of doors,
For the lovely works our Maker
Displays on forest floors."
(pg 208)

"If you'll go with me to the mountains
And sleep on the leaf carpeted floors
And enjoy the bigness of nature
And the beauty of all out-of-doors,
You'll find your troubles all fading
And feel the Creator was not man
That made lovely mountains and forests
Which only a Supreme Power can.

When we trust in the Power above
And with the realm of nature hold fast,
We will have a jewel of great price
To brighten our lives till the last.
For the love of nature is healing,
If we will only give it a try
And our reward will be forthcoming
If we go deeper than what meets the eye."
(pg 216-217)

She was plucky and I want to be like her when I am 67 so I better get started now... I will be 55 this year and have a lot of exercising to do before I could be anywhere near where she was at 67.

"They said I was too old when I tried to get a job," she told a local reporter. "Why, I've done more since I was 'too old' than most young women." ( pg 241)

This woman, this book, was inspiring. I don't have any mountains near me...I live just feet from a 4 lane road....I don't know if I will ever walk any of the Appalachian Trail... but I am going to start where I am today and do better.

Check out this book. It will inspire you too!!

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Wednesday, March 2, 2016

The Fragment - A Wonderous Book

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Franciscan Media in exchange for my honest review. The review is my own and I was not influenced by the fact that I received the book for free.

Publisher's Description of the book...

It’s 1923, and a resilient Paris is starting to recover from the ravages of World War I and the Spanish Flu epidemic. 
Enter Muriel Ross, an amateur photographer tasked with documenting the antiques that her employer, U.S. Senator Tom Bryan, has traveled to France to acquire.

Although she’s exhilarated to have escaped her parents and the confines of their stifling Virginia home, Muriel has lingering questions about why the senator has chosen her for this grand adventure. Nevertheless, she blossoms in her new surroundings, soaking up Parisian culture and capturing the sights and sounds of Paris on her camera.

But events take a dangerous turn when she discovers that the senator is on a mission far more momentous—and potentially deadly—than a mere shopping trip.

At the Cathedral of Notre Dame, Senator Bryan asks Muriel to photograph an astonishing artifact: a piece of the True Cross, discovered by Empress Helena—a historical figure familiar to readers of The Pilgrim.

When rumors surface that another fragment has been unearthed, Muriel becomes enmeshed in a covert international alliance dedicated to authenticating the fragment—and protecting it from those who will stop at nothing to steal and discredit it.

The Fragment releases February 19, 2016, from Franciscan Media Books.

Hardcover, Paperback and eBook: 176 pages
Publisher: Franciscan Media
Publication Date: February 19, 2016

My Review

A Wondrous book...Deep...Mysterious...Intense...Fantastic.

I give this book 5 of 5 stars.

I really got in to this book. It kept my attention and demanded that I keep reading... and so I did. Finishing in less than a week.

The characters are outstanding, as usual in a Davis Bunn book. Endearing and talented Muriel. The powerful but kindhearted Senator Bryant. Scarred (in more than one way) and mannerly Charles. A myriad of other secondary characters: upstanding ones, sinister people, virtuous citizenry, villainous enemies and everyday folk.

A quest. The search for a religious artifact. A fragment of the True Cross.

Muriel has just the qualifications Senator Bryan needs. She is a Christian. She is a gifted photographer. She has studied History and antiquities. But she doubts her own talent and worries that others think more highly of her than they ought. She feels out of place. Then she helps to create an opportunity to photograph, up close, an authenticated fragment of the True Cross in the Cathedral of Notre Dame. The fragment is kept in a reliquary in the shape of a cross.

     “The wood was brownish red.... She knew it was most likely a patina of blood that concealed the grain.
     Muriel felt the emotions well up in her like great waves, crashing upon her heart, sending her to her knees. Even then she could not take her eyes off the small sliver of wood. She had lived with her faith her entire life. She was child of the church. And yet it seemed to her as though she never experienced her Savior's gift I such a way as now.” (pg 45)

The quest is just beginning. They must travel to Constantinople. A place of unrest. They hope to find another reliquary. Muriel hopes to find answers for her future.

Growth. Challenges. Other people's lives on the line. A choice only she can make. These are the things ahead of Muriel.

What about Senator Byran. What is his aspiration?

     "That has been my lifelong dream, sir. To bring a fragment and plant it in our land, where it may take root and grow a family of God." (pg 148)

That is what the senator wants. Will he fulfill this desire? Will they succeed?? Read the book and find out!

These are the things that kept me reading. They will keep you reading also. I highly recommend this book.

Davis Bunn, author of THE FRAGMENTAbout Davis Bunn

Davis Bunn is an award-winning novelist with total worldwide sales of seven million copies. 

 His work has been published in twenty languages, and critical acclaim includes four Christy Awards for excellence in fiction and his 2014 induction into the Christy Hall of Fame.

Davis divides his time between Florida and England, where he serves as Writer In Residence at Regent’s Park College at The University of Oxford. Visit Davis at

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