Thursday, October 22, 2009

Review: What Difference Do It Make? : Stories of Hope and Healing by Ron Hall, Denver Moore & Lynn Vincent

Ron Hall and Denver Moore, authors of "Same Kind of Different As Me", share more of their stories about their quest to end homelessness. Ron also shares his struggle of how he came to grips with the death of his wife Debbie, who was responsible for bringing him and Denver together and was the inspiration for these books. He writes very honestly about his strained relationship with his alcoholic father and how they eventually made their peace.

Denver Moore, an uneducated homeless man who came from very humble beginnings as a boy working the plantations of Louisiana to a New York Times best selling author. Although he is unable to read or write, he is an incredibly wise man who tells it like it is. Denver's stories of life on the streets are honest and sometimes heart wrenching. You will never look at a homeless person the same way again. Most of us are guilty of believing that all homeless people are just a bunch of useless drunks and alcoholics who have no one to blame but themselves for their circumstances. This book will change your way of thinking about the homeless. You will come to find that many of them suffer from various physical and mental conditions that have caused their lives to spiral out of control and eventually found themselves living on the streets. It can happen to people from all walks of life, blue collar and white collar alike.

You will see how a book slowly catches on with thousands of people around the country and begins a movement to end the problem of homelessness across the country. From a woman with cystic fibrosis who builds blessing boxes for children to save money to donate to a book being picked up in a library in New York and begins a series of events that will save a marriage on the other side of the country in Washington State. There are a lot of other inspiring stories that will make you laugh or move you to tears. My favorite being the story about Denver's visit to The White House and meeting President and Mrs. Laura Bush and Barbara Bush.

"And now here I was, an ol' cropper with a prison record, shakin hands with the most powerfulest man on earth. Ain't nothin that can do somethin like that but love......while the president still had ahold a' my hand, God reminded me of that scripture where He says, "Through Me, All things are possible."

This is a wonderful book that will inspire you and cause you to think twice about judging others.
It is a lesson to everyone about being more accepting of others and stepping outside of your comfort zone to help those in need. My hope is that it will inspire many more of us to become part of this movement to end the plight of the homeless in America.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Great Jacksonville Book Sale

It's coming soon and I can't wait. I'm a book nut and I look forward to this event every year. It's The Great Jacksonville Book Sale, usually only once a year, now it's twice. If you're a true book lover like me, grab a little cash and a large tote bag and spend a few hours, or for some it could be all day browsing through the thousands of books to choose from. Prices range from .50 to $2.00! You can't beat that. It's a chance to expand your personal library.

Here's my game plan for the day:

1. Make a list of books I am looking for.

2. Get up early and have a cup of tea and a good breakfast - it will be a long morning of book searching and I will need to energy.

3. Take cash and a large tote bag for all those books.

4. Arrive at book sale a little early so I'm there when the doors open, "the early bird gets the worm", or in this case, the books.

5. First I look for the specific books on my list and hopefully will have good luck with that, one year I ended up with an autographed copy of a book by Claire Cook, you may remember Must Love Dogs

6. After I have finished with my list, now it's time to just browse amongst the thousands of other books to choose from.

7. Stand in line and be patient. Pay for my books, grab a cold soft drink and go sit outside and start thumbing through the pages of one of probably a bag full of good books.

8. Go home, grab a big glass of iced tea, put my feet up and READ! I deserve this after a long exhausting day book shopping.

Good News

It can be so depressing to read the newspaper or turn on the news these days. It seems so much more attention is given to bad news than good. So much of the time I just skim the paper and completely avoid reading the bad news and search out the positive and uplifting stories. One of my favorite local columnists in the Florida Times Union is Mark Woods. I look forward to his column every week. His column this past Sunday was so heartwarming, while reading it I got a little teary eyed. The title of the column is "Ducks lucky, loved" It's a story with a tragic beginning, but a happy ending with a rather eclectic family of ducks. A man was out walking his dog when a speeding car hit a couple of ducks crossing the street and didn't stop. This gentleman, with his wife and a local vet, didn't have to get involved, but they did. This badly maimed duck survived after much TLC and several surgeries. After spending some time at the vet being nursed back to health, then living at the home of the couple who saved her, with her own little pool to swim in, she was eventually taken to her home at what is known in that neighborhood as Duck Pond. She now shares the pond with several other ducks, three of whom are named, Nelson Mandela, who spent months in a cage and is now free, Harriet Nelson from Ozzie and Harriet and Lucky who had also been previously injured and rescued by a woman and her children. I love stories like this, it may seem pretty sappy to some, but it makes you feel good to hear stories about people that care enough about God's creatures to get involved. These are my kind of people and we need more stories like this.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


Yesterday we decided it was time to release Stewey. We have had such a great time caring for him and watching him grow. We took him out into the back yard, set him at the base of one of the magnolia trees and stepped back to see what he would do. He immediately turned right around and jumped on my leg and climbed up to my shoulder. We giggled about this, knowing this must be a little overwhelming for him. We set him back down and he started climbing up the tree. He climbed up about 15 feet and attempted to jump to another branch and nearly fell. It took my breath away for a second and I'm pretty sure Stewey was spooked too. He scurried around the tree, climbed a little higher and continued to explore his new surroundings. Other squirrels were higher in the top of the tree gathering seeds from the magnolia cones and I wondered what they thought of this. I know it sounds silly, but I wondered (as I have never done this before) if Stewey would make friends with the other squirrels. Would he get busy building his nest, as he had already done in his cage. Well, as it turns out, none of that was going to happen on this day. We watched as he ran down the tree, took a leap and was on my shoulder in an instant. Well, maybe he's not quite ready, I guess we'll try again tomorrow.
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