Monthly Archives: March 2008

How to Make Life Work

How to Make Life Work: The Guide to Getting It Together and Keeping It Together is a sassy yet sympathetic self help book by Michelle McKinney Hammond, whose impressive resume includes having written 26 books, as well as being a singer/songwriter, television co-host, relationship expert, empowerment coach, founder and President of HeartWing Ministries and public speaker.

The book is Christian faith based and frequently sites various verses from scripture to back up the advice given.

Some of the chapters include, “Assembly”, “Maintenance” and “Troubleshooting” owing to the fact that the book is uniquely structured like a user’s manual or instructions you might get with a new appliance. (Hopefully without the leftover screws!)

The tone is friendly and the author draws from her own experiences (good and bad), to illustrate the points she makes, which gives the feeling that she truly understands the reader and the obstacles they face. That can make all the difference in a self help book. If you prefer advice from a friend over the advice of a pretentious mentor, this book is a good choice for you.


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Filed under books, opinion

Where Did I Leave My Glasses?

Where Did I Leave My Glasses?: The What, When, and Why of Normal Memory Loss by Martha Weinman Lear is a reassuring read for those of us who think we may be losing it – (“it” being our memory, and maybe our sanity.)

This book takes an equally serious and humorous look at memory loss and what is normal, as well as what is not.

Did you ever walk into a room and forget why you had gone there? Are you constantly looking for your keys? Are things you want to say always on the tip of your tongue? This book is for you. (Write down the title before you forget.)


Filed under books, health, opinion

A Man Worth Waiting For

A Man Worth Waiting For: How to Avoid a Bozo by Jackie Kendall is an excellent book on dating for women. The book is Christian based and starts out by describing the type of man a woman should look for. That type of man is represented by Boaz, from the Bible. Verses from the book of Ruth are used to demonstrate how Boaz is a great example of the type of man one would want to marry. (As opposed to the type of man one wouldn’t want to marry, which are also thoroughly described and called “Bozos”.)

In addition to what a woman should look for and avoid, the book also gives women sound advice about what they need to do to be the type of woman who deserves a Boaz. (Which I think is an important consideration often overlooked by many single women. It takes two!)

I passed this book onto my younger (single) sister. Hopefully in the next year or two, I’ll be able to tell everyone that this book helped her out!


Filed under books, marriage, opinion

Carpool Diem

Carpool Diem by Nancy Star is a fun, casual story about a corporate executive turned soccer Mom, that is perfect to carry in your purse to pass the time while waiting for an appointment or even save it for this summer to read while laying on the beach. (Just don’t forget sunscreen.)

Annie Fleming has always been a driven career woman who prides herself on her organizational skills, until the day she is forced out of her job. Suddenly she finds herself back at home where her husband is always traveling and her 12 year old daughter, Charlotte, prefers the company of her lifelong caregiver to her own mother.

When Annie attempts to reunify her family and reconnect with her daughter, she finds out that Charlotte lacks ambition and confidence on the soccer field and so she steps in to manage her daughter’s sports career only to learn some very important lessons along the way.

Most mothers, even those who haven’t attempted a climb up the corporate ladder, will enjoy and connect with this funny, heart warming story.


Filed under books, opinion

Forgive Me Contest

Forgive Me: A Novel by Amanda Eyre Ward is the story of a journalist named Nadine Morgan who travels the world. The bulk of the novel takes place in South Africa where she follows the story of Jason Irving, an American student who was beaten to death by angry locals. Years later, Jason’s mother finds out that those who murdered her son have applied for amnesty and so she travels to South Africa to make sure amnesty is not granted to them.

The novel weaves together many themes, including apartheid, motherhood, forgiveness and love.

I have a copy of this book that I’m giving away. If you would like to enter to win, here is what you need to do:

  • In the comments section of this post leave a comment answering this question: “Do you think you would be able to forgive someone who killed a loved one? Why or why not?”
  • When you leave a comment, make sure you give a valid E-mail address so that if you win, I can contact you.
  • A winner will be chosen and announced, Monday, March 17th, 2008 as an update to this post.

In the meantime, enjoy this essay written by the author of Forgive Me.

Lessons from Mom
By Amanda Eyre Ward, author of Forgive Me
No matter what I write about, my novels always seem to have a strong mother character. Inevitably, this character is inspired by my own astonishing mother, Mary-Anne Westley. From a dorm pay phone, a hostel in Nairobi, a restaurant in Athens, or the bench at my neighborhood playground, I’ve talked with her every day of my life.

Once a writer and model for Vogue and Mademoiselle, my mother settled happily into the role of full-time mom for sixteen years. When she left my abusive father, she worked for the phone company and then a chemical gas company, trying to make vibrant copy out of dull facts and figures. She put me and my two sisters through college, commuting over an hour to work until her retirement last year. Money was tight, but Mom never faltered, always inspiring us with her graceful acceptance of the way things had turned out. Now that I am a mother myself, I’ve been able to put some of her rules into practice.

Rule Number One: When in doubt, throw a party.

When my mother left my father, she left behind a giant house and many fair-weather friends as well. In our new, smaller house (next door to Mom’s former golf caddy), we all felt a little lost. When Christmas rolled around, Mom refused to get gloomy. She planned her annual Christmas party, inviting not only the country-club set, but our new neighbors as well: Lou, who had a few cars on his front lawn; Jim, who we suspected was a drug dealer. The same bartender drove across town to our new address, and Mom placed the Harrington’s ham, meatballs, and cheese ball on the dining room table in the middle of our crummy new house. When we dimmed the lights and lit candles, it felt like home.

Rule Number Two: When times get tough, the tough go shopping.

My mother is always beautifully dressed; my sisters and I regularly steal her clothes. When she had to work on telephone lines due to a strike at her company, she came home with a DKNY denim pantsuit, which she paired with pearls each morning.

At one point, while I was in college, my mother lost her job. I knew she was nervous about paying the mortgage, so when she left a message saying she had fantastic news, I called back immediately.

“You got a job?” I asked.

“Oh, no,” she said cheerily, “but Manda, that sweater you loved went on sale at Bloomingdale’s! I bought it!”

Rule Number Three: Believe—and believe in—your children.

I didn’t always tell the truth to my mother. I lied about boyfriends, I lied about beer, and once I lied about cashing in my meal plan in college and spending the money on a trip to Florida. But my mother always believed me. I think now that the guilt I felt when I lied was worse than any punishment could have been. My mother always expected the best from me, and in the end, I never lied about anything that mattered. I hope I will remember that overlooking a dumb decision (I had to eat Ramen for the rest of the semester, and learned my lesson in spades) might be better than policing my child. My mother’s faith in me, and her absolute belief that I would become an honest person, has been the guiding force in my life.

Last but not least: Mothers deserve to be happy, too.

My mother did give up a great deal to raise me and my sisters. But she never stopped wanting happiness for herself. If she came to visit us at college, she wanted to go out dancing, too. When visiting me in graduate school in Montana, she wanted to go river-rafting and skinny dip in the hot springs. If I ask her to stay in the car with my sleeping baby while I run into Target, she says, “Absolutely! If you go buy me the New York Times to read while I’m stuck here.”

Most importantly, Mom wanted to fall in love, and the best part of the story is that she did. On my mother’s wedding day, she was just as difficult as any bride, complaining about the humidity and the hairdo, and just as radiant. She danced, threw her bouquet, and boarded a friend’s boat with her new husband. And then she sailed off into Long Island Sound, leaving her three daughters to watch her go.

Amanda Eyre Ward is the award-winning author of How to Be Lost and Sleep Toward Heaven. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her family.

Reprinted with permission.


Using the list randomizer at, a winner has been selected. Congratulations to TAMMY! She will be receiving a copy of the book, Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward.


Filed under books, contest, culture, opinion


Multiplicity: The New Science of Personality, Identity, and the Self by Rita Carter, is a fascinating book I just finished reading.

For anyone who has wanted to “find themselves” or dealt with the confusion of fulfilling multiple roles, this book will help you to feel like someone is finally speaking your language and truly understands you.

Award-winning science journalist, Rita Carter, makes the persuasive argument that not only is it OK to have conflicting personality traits, but it’s completely normal.

Since I was a teenager and throughout my 20’s, I have been keenly aware that many of my personality traits are complete opposites. There are times when I would describe myself as sloppy, and other times when I would say I’m quite organized. With some people I’m painfully shy, and with others I’m a fun-loving extrovert… In a society that values simplicity, these types of inconsistencies are at best frowned upon, and at worst, considered a sign of mental instability. One is made to feel as if they lack maturity, integrity or don’t truly know who they are when they switch roles and personalities depending on where they are, who they’re with, and what they’re doing.

The truth is that these shifts are necessary and beneficial. A woman who works a demanding professional job during the day could not be a good mother to her children in the evening without acting very differently. Once the children are in bed and she must switch to the role of wife and lover, an entirely different personality is required as well.

If you’re ready to get to know all the personalties inside you and use them to your advantage, Multiplicity can help you do that. I really recommend this one, especially to young women like myself who have struggled for years to figure out who they are.


Filed under About me, books, culture, opinion