This blog contains my thoughts and feelings only. It IS titled, "The Daily Life of Carol: My Thoughts, Rants & Raves." They do not represent those of anyone else. While I still can't imagine how my little blog is making the rounds locally, it is mine and mine only. If you are going to be offended or feel it necessary to whine or complain to those completely unassociated to me and my blog, stop reading and find something else to do with your time.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas to family and friends who made this a lovely Christmas for my family, especially for my boys.

The past 2-3 weeks have been filled with unexpected but delightful surprises. In particular, I'm overwhelmed with gratitude to the St. Stephen's Secret Santa who "adopted" my boys for Christmas. I don't know who you are, but I'm so thankful for your generosity. You took the time to shop, wrap, and deliver their presents. Now, that's an act of kindness. Thank you.

2013 is just a day away. I've decided to approach it with optimism, to relish in all the kindness I've received in the past few weeks. It was overdue and desperately needed. It was just what I needed to put me back on my feet and headed down a good path again. I must practice what I preach - Focus on the positive and be thankful. Whenever I feel like Madame Blueberry, I think of The Thankfulness Song from Veggie Tales. Every time I hear it, it puts a smile on my should try it too.

And, Happy New Year.

The Thankfulness Song

I thank God for this day, 
For the sun in the sky, 
For my mom and my dad, 
For my piece of apple pie!
For our home on the ground, 
For His love that's all around,
That's why I say thanks every day! 
Because a thankful heart is a happy heart! 
I'm glad for what I have, 
That's an easy way to start!
For the love that He shares, 
'Cause He listens to my prayers,
That's why I say thanks every day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book Review: Harry Bosch Series by Michael Connelly

The latest author I'm hooked on is Michael Connelly. My latest reading fest is about his character Harry Bosch, a homicide detective in Los Angeles. I started reading the books in reverse order. I don't recommend that but it was how I was receiving them from the library.

The first book I read was The Overlook (2007). It is a very good book and I enjoyed it. However, throughout the book Harry kept mentioning "after what happened in Echo Park." Well? What happened in Echo Park?! Drove me nuts. The next one I read was The Closers (2005), so I finally just bought Echo Park (2006) from Whew! Now I know what happened in Echo Park. I can relax. The next book I read was The Narrows (2004) and recently City of Bones (2002).

Each book could be a stand alone (except for The Overlook, please read Echo Park first). However, the series started in 1992. There is so much character history that it could be very, very helpful to start with the first book, The Black Echo. Since I don't like surprises, I don't mind reading in reverse order because then I already know what happens to the characters later. But, Connelly's books are certainly suspenseful enough that it doesn't matter I "peeked to the end," so to speak. 

Connelly's Bosch series has over 15 books, as well as at least a dozen other books. Wow. This is going to take me some time to read them all, but I'm willing. What I find most helpful is printing the list of all his books at It's the best site for mystery readers. I print off lists of all the writers I'm following so I can check off which ones I've read.Very, very helpful.

So, yes, I truly recommend Michael Connelly! His books are "once you start reading you can't stop." You know I want that in an author, and Connelly is brilliant at that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Book Reviews: Mary O'Reilly Paranormal Mystery Series by Terri Reid

I'm seasick. I discovered this fantastic series and have been reading nonstop. It's the A Mary O'Reilly Paranormal Mystery Series by Terri Reid. So far, there are eight books with the ninth on the way.

Mary O'Reilly is an Irish gal from Chicago. She moved to Freeport, Illinois because Chicago has too many ghosts. Mary was a Chicago police officer with her brothers. She was shot during a bust gone back and dies. She's walking toward the "white light," when a voice gives her to choice to continue or go back to her family. She chooses to live and go back to her family, but discovers she can see and talk to ghosts. She moves to Freeport and becomes a private investigator.

The books are actually light-hearted and fun. Yes, there are murder mysteries to solve. However, the books are exciting not scary. I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and cannot recommend it enough. I'm eagerly anticipating book nine. The books can stand alone, but I definitely recommend reading from the beginning.....

(1) Loose Ends; (2) Good Tidings; (3) Never Forgotten; (4) Final Call; (5) Darkness Exposed; (6) Natural Reaction; (7) Secret Hollows; and (8) Broken Promises.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Fallen Hero: Navy SEAL Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque

The Pentagon identified the U.S. Navy SEAL who was killed in the rescue of an American doctor in Afghanistan as a highly-decorated 10-year veteran from Pennsylvania.
28-year-old Petty Officer 1st Class Nicolas D. Checque, of Monroeville, Pa., died Sunday of combat-related injuries sustained while supporting operations in Afghanistan. Though the release only said Checque was assigned to "an East Coast-based Naval Special Warfare unit," ABC News previously reported the fallen servicemember was a part of the Navy's elite SEAL Team 6.

Checque enlisted in October 2002, the year he graduated from high school, and entered the Navy’s Special Warfare training in April 2003. He joined an East Coast-based Special Warfare unit the next year, according to Naval Special Warfare Command. Checque talked about becoming a SEAL as far back as seventh grade, said Anthony Troisi, a classmate and wrestling teammate. As a high school junior, Checque underwent LASIK eye surgery so he could qualify for the SEALs, Troisi said. After grueling, 2½-hour wrestling practices and conditioning sessions, Checque would go to the swimming pool and swim laps for an hour. “It wasn’t to keep in shape; it was because he wanted to be a Navy SEAL,” said Troisi, 28, of Irwin. Checque inspired Troisi to joined the Navy in 2002, he said, sparking a 10-year career as a crew chief on a C-9 Skytrain cargo jet. “I trusted him. He was a leader.” Checque served in the Iraq War and in Afghanistan operations. His decorations included the Bronze Star, Joint Service Commendation Medal and Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, among others.

Checque sustained his mortal injuries while on a nighttime mission Saturday to free Dr. Dilip Joseph, an American doctor with the Colorado-based medical nonprofit Morning Star Development, on Wednesday as he and two Afghan members of Morning Star’s staff were returning from a visit to a rural clinic. The kidnappers took them to a mountainous area about 50 miles from the Pakistan border, according to Morning Star’s website. The captors released the two Afghans on Saturday. Checque’s SEAL team deployed to rescue Dr. Joseph after intelligence showed he was in imminent danger of injury or possible death, the military said.
Dr. Dilip Joseph (Photo: KUSA)

“Our relief in the safe rescue of Mr. Joseph is now tempered by our deep grief over the loss of this true hero,” said a statement from Morning Star executive director Lars Peterson. “We offer our deepest condolences to his family and to his fellow team members. We want them to know that we will always be grateful for this sacrifice and that we will honor that sacrifice in any way we can.”

Dr. Joseph's family released a statement thanking the U.S. government and military for the operation and offering their condolences to Checque's family. "We could not be more grateful for that soldier's heroism and for the bravery of all involved in the mission to bring Dilip home." 

[A] particular centurion had a slave who was who was at the point of death. He cared for his slave and had probably sought every means that conventional medicine had to offer to save the slave's life. None of this had worked. So this centurion convinced some of the Jewish elders to find Jesus and enlist his help in restoring the slave to health .... Jesus left what He was doing and began walking with the elders to the centurion's house. Before could reach the house, the centurion sent friends out to intercept Jesus and tell Him that the centurion wasn't worthy to have Jesus come under his roof .... The centurion told his friends to tell Jesus to just say the word. That's all. Just say the word, and the centurion's servant would be healed .... When Jesus heard this, He was amazed at the faith of this military man. "I tell you, I have not found so great a faith even in Israel." Jesus had known many people over the course of His life. He had known godly people like his mother and Joseph. But of all these people in the land which God had abundantly revealed Himself, He had not found one who had so great a faith as this Gentle, this Roman, this military man. 

The Soldier's Bible by Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Book Review: Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team Six Operator Brown by Eric Blehm

Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team Six Operator Adam Brown is another "history" book everyone should read. Eric Blehm did an incredible job of documenting the amazing life of Adam Brown.

Long before Adam Brown became a member of the elite SEAL Team SIX, he was a fun-loving country boy from Arkansas whose greatest goal had been to wear his high school’s football jersey. Adam was a man of extremes, whose determination was fueled by faith, family, and the love and support of his wife. He was a man who waged a war against his own worst impulses. Adam persevered through grueling qualifying tests that resulted in injuries most considered career-enders -- including the loss of his right, dominant eye after being shot during a training exercise and having the fingers of his right hand crushed off in a Humvee accident in Afghanistan. His determination to beat the odds on the way to the top tier of the U.S. military earned him the respect of his teammates and commanders.

Adam was a 12-year veteran of the United States Navy. On his last scheduled deployment before retiring, he was killed in action in Komar Province, Afghanistan on March 17, 2010. U.S. Forces were engaging the enemy in a firefight when a portion of the team were pinned down by very heavy fire from the enemy compound. In an effort to protect his men, Adam charged the enemy from a better vantage point, drawing fire away from his pinned down comrades. His selfless action relieved the fire on his men, but it unfortunately resulted in Adam being repeatedly struck by enemy fire. One other member of the American Team was wounded, but Adam’s heroic action saved the other men. The enemy compound was captured and all enemy combatants were killed in the action. Always the first to volunteer for the most dangerous assignments, Adam’s final act of bravery led to the ultimate sacrifice.
Last family photo as Adam
deploys for Afghanistan

Sadly, the majority of the members in his unit perished when the Chinook helicopter transporting them was viciously shot down while on a mission in Afghanistan on August 6, 2011, only a few short months after Adam's death. Yet, before then, they gave extensive interviews to the book's author. The book is filled with eyewitness accounts of the people who knew Adam and his incredible life.

I've been working on this book review for days. I just can't find the right words to describe this amazing, amazing man, his life, his friends, his family, his sacrifice. Even now..... Well, certainly I recommend this book to e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e. You support our troops? Fine, read this book. You don't understand the war in Afghanistan? Fine, read this book. You're a teenager and you think you know everything? Fine, read this book. What to be a better person? Fine, read this book. You're a patriotic American will an undying love for our Armed Forces? Fine, read this book. Then, gather your entire family and watch the NRA's Line of Duty A Tribute to Adam Brown, U.S. Navy Seal.,0.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Book Review: I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui

I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui is the staggering account of a 9-year-old girl married to a man in his 30s and then bravely - on her own - goes to court to obtain a divorce. The story left me speechless. The entirety of the story took place in 2008.

Nujood lives in Sana'a, Yemen.  She was 9 years old at the time of her marriage and divorce - a 4th grader in the U.S. - That was something very hard to wrap my mind around. In Yemeni homes, the law is laid down by fathers and older brothers. Nujood's father forced her to marry a man from the tiny village where she lived as a [small] child. Hastily married, this little girl resolved to escape her brutal husband. She had the courage to rebel against an entire a country that does not have women's shelters, no women's rights. Nujood was on her own to get across the city, into the courthouse, and before a judge. Nujood could have been murdered for an "honor crime." Staggering.

In 2008, the age of consent for marriage was 15. [In 2009, it was changed to 18.] However, child marriages are still customary in Muslim countries. In the countryside especially, there is a tribal  proverb: "To guarantee a happy marriage, marry a nine-year-old girl." Nujood was the first child ever to successfully divorce her husband in the Arab world. For instance, in Saudi Arabia in 2009, an 8-year-old girl successfully sued for divorce from her husband, a man in his 50s, whom she was forced to marry.

Nujood with her lawyer,
Shada Nasser
Nujood's story includes the many wonderful people in Yemen who helped Nujood with her divorce - her lawyer, the judges, family (including an uncle and her father's second wife), and the journalists who made Nujood's story known internationally.

The story was tastefully - and tactfully - written by Ms. Minoui. It is a story about courage and hope. Please, please take the time to read Nujood's story. Her voice needs to be heard.

About Me

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Winter Springs, Florida, United States
I am a stay-at-home mom to three boys (18, 16, 14), three Mini-Dachsunds, and a wife to an incredible husband {think MacGyver}. I am Catholic. I am passionate about making a difference in my world while still making a great life for my children and family. Besides being a mom, I am also a blogger for and I hope to make my voice heard and make a difference in my own way.