Category Archives: Inspiration

Secret of Life

Secret of Life

secret of life

Do you know the Secret of Life?   Maybe it is something you have wondered about at times in your life. I know that I have. A very dear friend’s blog post this month was about the Secret to Life. She is a Stroke Survivor and an exceptionally strong woman.  I knew her before her stroke and have followed her progress for over 10 years now. To be honest, when I heard about her stroke, I had little hope. But she has continued to make remarkable progress through the years. She loves her life and has attacked her recovery with every bit of spunk and will that she has in her other life endeavors. She continues to amaze me. 

As I mentioned, her post this month was about the Secret. She shared the story of Barry Zito, a former pitcher for the Oakland A’s and the San Francisco Giants. .My friend loves baseball and Barry’s newest endeavor caught her eye. He has become a  singer and one of his first songs is all about the Secret of Life

After watching the video numerous times, which I love, I was curious to learn more about Barry and what inspired him about this song. I found several videos on YouTube that I watched about his early career that chronicled the ups and downs he experienced. When he started with the A’s he won the Cy Young award two times, When he signed with the Giants he became the highest paid pitcher in MLB history. He led the kind of life any movie star, rock star, or other sport’s star would seemingly love. Then his career took a hit. The fans turned on him. He watched his beloved team go on to win the World Series without him. 

He spent his time off reading self-help books to try and build his confidence to see what he was lacking. Finally, his girlfriend came to him and said there is only one book you need to be reading and she gave him a Bible. He began to read it and found what was missing in his life. He ended up making a huge comeback, but more importantly, he figured out what he thought was the Secret of Life, wasn’t.


There are many Secrets of Life. Today is my 50th birthday so I thought I would share my Secret:
Faith, Family, and Friends.

I thank God every day for my life. Even though my life is not always easy, I am blessed to have a husband who loves me and takes care of me. I have three wonderful sons and three amazing grandchildren. My life is vastly different than what I imagined it would be, but I have so much more than most. 

I have been fortunate to have some amazing friends through the years. Not all friendships have lasted the test of time, but each one of them has left me with dear memories and lessons learned. 

I hope you take the time to listen to Barry’s new song and watch at least one of the other videos. If you are searching for the Secret of Life, I urge you to look towards Faith. I don’t mean to make this sound like I am preaching, but I can not tell you how much comfort my own faith has brought to me since I was in high school. If I didn’t share my most honest feelings with my friends and loved ones, what kind of person would I be? 

To read more about my incredible friend Vangi, check out Vangi Uribe’s Stroke Blog. The song inspired her in a little different way, as I am sure it may have for you also. It is a worthwhile read.

I apologize for being offline the last few months. It has been a hard winter but things are looking up. I have a lot of new things to share and, of course, lots of plans for some new things for you!  I hope you have enjoyed my “comeback” post and please do share about what you have found to be Secrets of Life. 

Thank you all for being a part of my life. 

Lynn Marie

Election Results 2016 :: Partisanship vs. Citizenship

Election Results 2016 :: Partisanship vs. Citizenship

My dear friend Mary wrote this on her Facebook page and it really spoke to me in light of the current atmosphere in the news media and on social media surrounding our Presidential election. What she has to say on the subject places the truth where it needs to be and so I wanted to share it with you all.

“Like so many in our country, I am saddened by the events of the past three days. I am deeply distressed by the explosion of hate and anger that is tearing this country apart. I have been thinking back to events that have clouded America just in my lifetime. I am a post-WWII baby boomer. At the end of WWII America was the savior of the world. Returning soldiers were cheered and honored with parades. 

Then in 1950, Harry Truman, a Democrat, committed troops to Korea and American lives were lost again on foreign soil. Mr, Truman was a foul-mouthed, vulgar man who had little filter to his mouth. Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, was elected in 1952. Shortly after his inauguration he visited the war zone for 3 days, ate C-rations with his troops and generals and made a commitment that enough American lives had died. On July 23, 1953, peace was declared. After troops were pulled out of Korea, not one American soldier died on foreign soil during the rest of his term, a fact that no other president can claim. 

Our next president, John Kennedy, a Democrat, had his legacy tarnished as a womanizer, the Cuban Bay of Pigs, the Cuban crisis and the entrance of the Cold War. How many of us remember the disaster drills at school of hiding under our desks if there was a nuclear attack? As if that was supposed to save us if a bomb were to hit. Those were also the civil rights years and our country was divided. I remember rumors that were flying during his campaign. He was a Catholic and rumors were that he had made a pact with Russia that if he was elected, non-converted Protestants were to be sent to concentration camps in Siberia. (LOL). The assassination of JFK was a dark time in our country. JFK was a good president, but he was not considered a great one. 

JFK had sent advisors to Vietnam. Enter Lyndon Johnson, a Democrat. LBJ instituted the draft and troops in mass were sent to Vietnam. Again our country was split and on the brink of civil war. Civil Rights a continued issue, young men fleeing to Canada to dodge the draft, riots in our cities and on our campuses. Men returning from Vietnam were disrespected and spit upon.

Richard Nixon, a Republican, brought the troops home, but, without victory in Vietnam. Soldiers, even POWs, were treated with dishonor, no parades welcomed them. A very sad time in our country. President Nixon’s second term was disgraced with Watergate and his resignation.

Gerald Ford, known for his integrity and openness, tried to curb inflation, revive a depressed economy, reduce government intervention and spending. He tried to re-establish US power and prestige in the world and endeavored to prevent war in the Middle East. He was defeated by Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, in 1976.

Carter’s campaign was “A leader for change”. He promised to never tell a lie. His campaign was tarnished by an interview with Playboy where he admitted committing adultery “in his heart” and made other glib remarks about sex and infidelity. He had narrowly defeated Gerald Ford. Carter was a weak president. His presidency was marred by the hostage take over in Iran in which 66 Americans were held hostage for 444 days, released to his disgrace the day he left office. Carter’s second term hopes were ended by a crushing defeat by Ronald Reagan, a Republican. Carter’s reputation was saved after he left office for his humanitarian efforts and peace saving efforts in the Middle East.

Our country enjoyed a growing economy under Reagan. We enjoyed prosperity and peacetime under the leadership of Ronald Reagan. He was successful in foreign policy of tearing the Berlin Wall down and reuniting east and West Berlin. He designated the Martin Luther King holiday. A fairer tax code was put in place during his presidency. 

George HW Bush, a Republican, became our 41st president January 1989. His desire was to have a kinder/gentler nation. The Americans with a Disability Act in 1990 is his credit. He authorized military invasions in Panama and Iraq. Operation Desert Storm freed Kuwait. His term was marred by economic recession and his bid for a second term was crushed by Bill Clinton, a Democrat,

Economic prosperity ruled during Clinton’s administration. His legacy was marred by an impeachment in 1998 and scandals of infidelity. Under Bill, invasions happened in Haiti, the Balkans, and Somali. There was the bombing of the World Trade Center, WACO, Texas, the Brady Bill, and NAFTA. Clinton was a champion for the LGBT community.

George W Bush became the 43rd president in January 2001. The campaign was a controversial one in which Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the election. The White House was trashed and items stolen as the Clinton administration vacated. Nine months into his presidency came the horrors of 9/11. Bush brought unity in our country and lead with compassion and a resolve to bring to justice those responsible. The Department of Homeland Security was established. War on terrorism was launched and invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan brought American into war again. Bush won tax bill cuts, prescription coverage for seniors, signed the “No Child Left Behind” bill. George entered his second term with high voter approval but his popularity plummeted after Hurricane Katrina, and the worse financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Barrack Obama became our county’s 44th president in 2009. As with every other president, he has had his challenges, numerous mass shootings in the USA and a failure to bring home all the troops from the Middle East, Benghazi, Lybia, his Affordable Health Care, race relations. I suppose that historians will determine what kind of a president he was.

My point is that we are all imperfect people living in an imperfect world. Our leaders have “feet of clay”. Every president has had accomplishments and defeats. Citizens either love our leaders or they hate them. Somehow we must find a way to unity despite our differences or we will be split apart, hate and anger will prevail and there could be civil war and blood shed on our own soil by the hands of our own “American brothers and sisters, friends, and neighbors. May today’s crisis bring us all to our knees to again pray for, “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

Mary has really touched on a hard hitting truth. If we can not find a way to stop this needless bickering that gets us nowhere and find a way to move forward, we are at risk of losing everything that we hold dear.


This morning I woke up terrified…

This morning I woke up terrified…

This morning just after 5 a.m. I woke to the sound of bells ringing. It seemed like every bell in town was ringing and immediately my mind flew to the thought that there must be some disaster happening and they must be trying to warn us. Was it 911 happening all over again???

I quickly woke my husband but he just said he didn’t know and rolled over, exhausted, his mind couldn’t even understand what I was saying. The bells continued to ring and I opened the window to see if all the neighbors were up, wondering if we should we prepare for the worst? I was really panicking. 

I turned on my tablet and pulled up but only saw more complaining about the election so there must not be a world crisis going on but why were the bells ringing? I belong to a few local Facebook groups that talk about news around town and so quickly went to one of those groups and found my answer.

veterans-day-collageThe bells were not ringing because the world was imploding, the bells were ringing to signify PEACE and to thank our Veteran’s for their service. Imagine my real relief.

Veteran’s Day

Can you imagine what it must have been like when WWI or WWII ended and the bells were ringing here in the US and in so many countries in Europe and in the home countries of other allies? Can you imagine the joy and elation they felt?

I would not mind waking up every morning to the sound of bells, reminding me that we have a lot to be thankful for and that peace is possible. I never again want to wake up to anything like the news of 911.

This morning I woke up terrified…. and my fear turned to gratitude and thankfulness to our Veterans, and the Veterans that are our allies, for protecting our country and our way of life. Whatever your politics are, surely you can acknowledge the brave men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country.

Many of us are sadly at the age where our grandparents are no longer with us to tell us about what it was like to live through the Great Depression and then WWII, much less WWI. Not many Vietnam Veterans are vocal about their experiences so a great deal of history is being lost. I love history myself and combined with reading, I have a great hobby. I have put together some lists of books if you would like to find out more about these periods of time and what went on for the common man, not from the standpoint of generals or politicians.  If we forget the past, we are at risk of reliving it.

But let’s not forget our new generations of Veterans either. We have millions of people now that are Veterans of the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I am probably missing some group so someone will be kind enough to correct me and I can add them. 

aaron and griff

My oldest son is my own personal hero, a Veteran of Iraq. I am unbelievably proud of him and the man he has become. He not only volunteered for the Army at the age of 16 (that’s a story for another time) but now works in the Veteran’s Affairs office at a college and is an advocate for Veterans at the state level.

Here is a picture of my son Aaron and his son when he came back from Iraq, one of the happiest moments of my life! 



I hope everyone today is thankful in their hearts for what these men and women have accomplished and preserved for us and to remember that Freedom isn’t Free. Thank you to the men and women just like us who have gone and given something of themselves that not all of us would or could. Thank you also to their families at home for everything that they have also had to sacrifice. 

America's Veterans Honor All


Free Kindle books to learn more about the history of Veterans who have fought for us. Please double check the prices before you order, they can change at any time on Amazon. 

Kindle books with good reviews, check at your local library for copies before spending money on them. These are not affiliate links, just links to books I think you might find informative.

For Children

Fiction Series

  • World War I (5 Book Series) by Anne PerryThis series begins on the eve of WWI in England and follows the Reavley family throughout the war. They uncover a conspiracy that could have prevented the war and as the story progresses, they try and track down the Peacemaker, the code name of the person behind the conspiracies to drastically change the war as it continues, leaving the world a completely changed place than what our troops are fighting for. The  conspiracy plot is interesting with many twists to keep you interested. I also found it just as  fascinating to read about what it was like not only for the people left on the homefront but particularly, learning about what life was really like at the front. 

The plot is constantly questioning war and sacrifice and the author reminds us “that love and hate, cowardice and courage, good and evil are always a part of life, in our own time as well as on the eve of the greatest war the world has ever known.” 

Those concepts are as true then as they are now and I enjoyed each novel, though some were hard to follow with the twists of plot and espionage involved. I was constantly researching the battles and real events as they took place in the books and think that anyone who loves history will certainly love these books. As always, there is a bit of romance thrown in also. 

No Graves As Yet

Shoulder the Sky

Angels in the Gloom

At Some Disputed Barricade

We Shall Not Sleep

Unfortunately, there is so much controversy surrounding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it is difficult to recommend any book without offending someone unintentionally. I wish I did know of some good books to share with you about those wars and the lives of our brave soldiers who fought in them. If you know of any, please let me know. 

freedom isn't free

 Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


Guest Post :: Change – It Happened

Guest Post :: Change – It Happened

Don't give up hopeWhen change happens and it is unexpected, it can often seem overwhelming and tragic. Sometimes even when we know a big change is coming, it still tears us up, leaving us angry and/or depressed.

Have you ever lost a job that you really loved? A job where you worked so hard and put everything you had into making someone else’s business a success, and then were let go without a word of thanks?

What about an unexpected break up? Were you ever in a relationship that seemed to be going along fine, things were progressing, but then one day it was over and you weren’t really sure what happened?

Were you one of the people that had your Amazon account wiped or do you know someone who had their account wiped? It can be a devastating experience for some people. In a sense, many people feel like they have been wiped by the recent changes at Amazon. They haven’t lost their reviews or their privileges, but they have lost the way they do things. For many, reviewing was their main hobby and how they spent their free time. Now to not be able to have their routine, how will their lives change?

Change can be hard, but life is full of change. I want to share this story written by an inspirational person who I happened to met along my own Amazon journey. In it, she shares how she handled the major change in her life when her review account was wiped. She actually wrote this guest post two months ago, but something always seemed to come up and I never got it posted. It must be Serendipity because now is the perfect time for it.

It happened.

After reviewing on many of Amazon’s sites between 2010 and 2016, I woke up one day to the dreaded email. You know the one, it reads something like, “You may have violated our terms of service and are no longer permitted to post reviews…” Gotta love that ‘may have’. See, they’re smart. By not giving any specifics, our sue-happy society is hard-pressed to find anyone willing to take on any type of civil case. They did not specifically accuse me of anything – they claimed that I may have done something to violate their very ambiguous terms of service.

Personally, my theory on why this happened to me is basically that I outstayed my welcome. I redeemed literally thousands of promotional codes for free and deeply discounted items on their site. But I’ll never know for sure – perhaps I did violate their terms. In the 2400+ reviews I posted on just their American site, there’s a really good chance that I made mistakes along the way!

I started reviewing when a product royally pissed me off and I felt the need to share my poor experience with anyone I could. The review quickly grew in popularity and Amazon requested I write more. With just a couple of reviews on the site, I was ranked in the 12,000s. Being a huge fan and frequent shopper of the site, I complied, writing reviews from everything from complex reports on books to two-liners on groceries and household goods and everything in between.

I didn’t think too much of my rank, having a good time helping independent authors by sharing my thoughts on their work and I like to think, fellow consumers by sharing my experience with various products. The majority of my reviews included photos and a few had videos.

Eventually, I believe I was in the 8000s window when sellers started contacting me, requesting I try their products. While most people seem to get totally rabid at the mention of “Free Stuff”, I was always pretty selective about what I’d review. I’d stop and think, Do I really want to write about this? If it was something myself or a member of my immediate family could honestly use and something that wasn’t going to be too much of a pain to write about, I’d go for it. As long as it was at least 99% off. That’s another thing I was selective about – it had to be free or pretty darn close to free.

I’m not gonna lie – having dozens of packages show up seven days a week was super fun. I definitely became addicted. My apartment, at times, looked like it belonged on an episode of Hoarders: Buried Alive and sadly, that’s not an exaggeration. I joined some of the Facebook groups and watched for opportunities to snag even more free stuff. Many were shady or dramatic or just plain annoying – I left those ones quickly. However, I found some that I really liked, whose admins didn’t nag too much and who tried to keep their terms compliant with Amazon’s. Of course, Amazon’s terms are so ambiguous – there is much debate over how exactly to do that. That’s a long discussion worthy of its own post – so I won’t open that can of worms here.

My reviewing habit definitely got out of control. I was never late on reviews, never legitimately on those naughty lists. I always got them done… but it was extremely time consuming. At one point, I installed Grammarly and according to my weekly reports, I was writing over 50,000 words per week. That is insane. I edit novels that are around that length. Since I’ve stopped posting reviews on Amazon, I’m only writing about 5,000 words weekly. That should give you an idea of the volume of reviews I was posting just on Amazon.

Remember – Amazon isn’t the only place to post reviews. I still review on numerous other sites such as other retailers, traveler sites, etc. I’ve mystery shopped, I’ve test-stayed for Disney – this sort of thing is far from foreign to me. But Amazon is definitely the easiest and seemingly the most popular. Though, many sellers I’ve spoken to are exploring and moving to other avenues because of the mass ‘wipings’ Amazon seems to be doing lately.

Sometime in the last year or so, Amazon became really infamous for wiping accounts, seeming to “crack down” on the scammers, cheaters, etc. (You might notice this is around the same time they publicly came under fire for being infiltrated with fake reviews.) As a result, I watched this wave of panic take over the reviewing circuit. I realized that my time as an Amazon reviewer would run out – the question was when. It could be in an hour or another year. So I decided to make the most of it – hence those 50,000 words per week!

There wasn’t anything that triggered this attitude for me, other than the reality of the fact that – Amazon isn’t stupid. While I shop for literally EVERYthing that isn’t perishable on their site – at full price – I figured they still wouldn’t take too kindly to the thousands of promos I was using. Talk about taking advantage of my Prime membership – that free shipping isn’t cheap for them.

When it got to the point that people were creating Amazon accounts and buying Prime memberships just for the sake of being able to get free stuff, I knew Amazon would soon crack down. And they did. Hence all these infamous wipings.

While I, in theory, seemed safe, I figured in reality no one is. I’ve been a customer of Amazon since 2004. I’ve been a Prime member since 2009 and buying ALL of my household items, pet items and non-perishable grocery items on there ever since. Every month, my Subscribe & Save delivery is huge, every week I get several Pantry boxes – not to mention all of the other random things and the 8,000 eBooks, movies and TV shows in my cloud… Any time we need anything, Amazon is our go-to. I’m far from one of these bandwagon free-stuff seekers. The thing is, it doesn’t matter.

I reviewed my “legitimate” or promo-free purchases, just the same as my promo-purchases. I’ve never sold review items, I’ve never posted a paid review or a fake review. Amazon doesn’t know that. No one can know that – except for me. Amazon doesn’t know about the pages and devices full of notes I took, legitimately and honestly testing products before gathering said notes into honest reviews. I’m guessing they wouldn’t care if they did.

I did receive one warning. There was one time I reviewed a sleep mask, I remember it well. I got trigger-happy and hit “submit” before I’d finished the review! I thought, Shit! I’d left out the disclaimer! I immediately hit ‘edit’ and of course, added a disclaimer and saved the review. It didn’t matter. They emailed me stating that, because I’d left out a disclaimer, my review had been suppressed and if it happened again, I “might” have my reviewing privilege revoked. I emailed back and forth with them, explaining it was an honest mistake, which they could clearly see by my immediate edit. None of that mattered. I’d given them a reason to put me on notice.

That was over a year before I got wiped and to my knowledge, it was an isolated incident. I was never warned or reprimanded by them again. Until the dreaded message in which I was informed I’d been wiped.

One of my authors actually noticed before I did. I had a message from her, “Your reviews of all of my books are gone.” I knew in that instant that my time had come. I checked my email and found the confirming email. Of course I went through the motions of appealing. I even emailed Jeff Bezos and got a personal response that included an email for the Communities team that differs from the one everyone knows, encouraged to reach out. However, I never heard back from them, unsurprisingly. If they reversed their decision for me, they’d be more pressured / expected to do it for others. They’d lose some of the upper hand they have going on how. Plus, reversing my ‘wiping’ might send out a message that they do make mistakes. We can’t have that now, can we?

They’re citing “relationship with seller/author” in my case. They’re not wrong. When I love a book, if I don’t already know the author, I reach out to them. Social media has made that possible. Obviously, in order to obtain a promotional code from a seller for a free item, I’ve talked with them at least a little bit too. Depending on their definition of “relationship”, we all have a relationship with every vendor/author we’ve ever reviewed. More ambiguity.

While I was reviewing with the realization that it wouldn’t be forever, I always thought that when the time came, I’d be devastated. I had a lot of reviews to lose and a lot of time invested and I was really enjoying all of the free and deeply discounted goods. I was wrong.

The only way to make sense of changeAfter confirming that my profile was gone and I could in fact, no longer post new reviews, I felt relief. SO MUCH time had just been freed up. I realized I didn’t actually need anything. I never pitched sellers, just opted into fun things that came to me. So, I’m not really ‘out’ anything. I looked at it as taking what I could get and enjoying it while it lasted. Now – I do enjoy being able to try out the majority of my purchases without stopping to take notes and pictures along the way!

I had a great time while it lasted, and like most good things, it had to end some time.

There Is Life After Amazon !!!

Sellers still pitch me constantly, even though my profile has been gone for, I think it’s been about 6 weeks now. Many are sellers I’ve worked with before, but many are new to me. If the item is something I’m interested in, I explain that I cannot post to Amazon any more but I’d be happy to post anywhere else (my blog, other retailers, social media sharing, etc.). So I still review a ton – just not at the obsessive hoarder level I was at before. And a weight has definitely been lifted from my shoulders.

L.j. Redding – PelicanFreak

I remember being online the morning L.j. found out she was wiped, I felt devastated! I knew how hard she worked on her reviews and how much she loved doing them. I was so nervous to bring it up, I didn’t want to make her feel worse than she already did but knew I had to let her know that I was sorry she had been wiped. When we started chatting on Messenger, I could actually feel her relief myself! I could tell she was more relaxed and enjoying doing things she hadn’t had time to do in a while. She was baking up a storm, coloring, and of course, reading. And she was truly happy.

Don't be afraid to changeThere are many things that can help us through the unpleasant changes in our lives. Faith and hope come to mind. Sometimes it is our attitude that will carry us through the rough times. L.j. chose to be happy instead of bitter and allowed herself to recognize and acknowledge the actual relief she felt. I think the biggest lesson here is sometimes what we think we need in our lives, isn’t really what makes us happy. 

Thank you L.j. for sharing your story!

How about you? Can you think of a change in your life that you just knew was going to be awful but turned into something else?

Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way

Question :: Reblogging

Question :: Reblogging

blogging questionsI love reading other people’s blogs and many of their posts often inspire me, giving me things to really think about and learn from. Other bloggers share great craft ideas i would love to try or think my readers would find fun. I also love finding great recipes, though I could and would never cook them myself. Maybe someday! My bookmarks are always full of incredible ideas!

I think that is why I love Pinterest so much. You see an idea and can grab it to Pin, or now that they have changed it, you can Save it. By the way, are they going to change the name to Saverest now they have renamed the button, lol!

what is rebloggingCircling back to my question, what do you do when you see a great idea on a blog? What exactly is reblogging? What happens when you push that button? I imagine my computer will explode or Bugs Bunny will pop out of my screen saying No-No-No!  Is reblogging where  you just write a few sentences and then that person’s whole post is now on your blog? Or is reblogging taking inspiration from what someone else has written and expounding on it, sharing with your reader’s how it has affected you, how it has inspired you?

questions and more questionsWhat is the etiquette? Every time I have shared something I have contacted the owner and asked. Is it okay to just hit the reblog button without asking? If someone has inspired you is it okay to just tell them after the fact or is your ping-pack enough notification to them?  I have also seen where people leave a message in the comments afterwards.

What do you do?

I hope there is some knowledgeable blogger out there who can answer my question for me, and I hope that it answers someone else’s question too. I have usually found that if someone has a question about something, they are not the only ones!

Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way




A Little Bit of Everything

A Little Bit of Everything

WelcomeI want to welcome the new subscribers to this blog, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of people signing up for updates just this month alone! I am so excited to have you all here. A lot of the new subscribers seem to be from Europe, how wonderful!

I know there are a few companies opening sites for Reviewers in Europe now. But I don’t want to assume anyone is here for any specific reason. I would love it if anyone at all, new to the blog or not, would like to share where you are from and what you are interested in. Are you here to learn about Reviewing, or have an interest in inspiration, coloring, or health related topics? Anything else, good old fashioned Serendipity?

Keep calm and color onFor those of you who like to color, I just posted 15 new Kindle books for you to download and print for FREE over on my FB blog page. Here is the link, Facebook :: A Treasure Chest of Serendipity to the specific post where the books are posted in the Comments. Make sure to double check the price before you order in case the price has changed.

I also noticed that many of the eBooks that I shared last on the Coloring for Adults page are still FREE, so be sure to check those out while you are at it.

I used to dreamOn to the topic of health, I have actually missed all my appointments this week. On Tuesday there was a mix up and the person I thought I had asked to take me couldn’t manage it. So I rescheduled for today but couldn’t even get out of bed to make it in. I am just managing to get up one or two times during the day to make it into the bathroom.  I am in such a great deal of pain and the heart medication I have started seems to have drained every bit of energy. Here’s a graphic I made last month for Twitter, it is even more appropriate now! It is a little tongue-in-cheek, my life isn’t a nightmare but it isn’t what I thought it would be.

When you change the way you look at thingsBut let’s end on an inspirational note. It is better to think of the things in our lives that are good instead of focusing on the things that aren’t. One of the ladies that runs the Grandfamilies organization that I am a member of has arranged something very special for our family this weekend and my heart is full of such gratitude and thankfulness to her. I will share more about it next week, I am just too tired right now… But the world is full of wonderful people and I am blessed.

I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!

Lynn Marie

Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way

Inspirational Post :: Hope in a World Gone Mad

Inspirational Post :: Hope in a World Gone Mad



After another weekend full of violence and tragedy, my thoughts turn once again to what is happening all over the world.  Why is there so much hate in the world? 

treasures in life

Or is there so much hate in the world because we have lost hope? The world has become such a scary place and I know I am not alone in my feelings. There are so many things I can’t grasp, things I don’t understand.  I just know that no matter what, I must not give up hope. Hope for a better world, hope for my children and grandchildren.

How do you find hope? I recently read a blog post by a new friend, Rose Wolfe. Five Steps to Hope in a World Gone Mad is a wonderfully written post that I urge you to read.  I am just going to give you a short introduction to her writing and then you really do need to visit her site to read the 5 Steps that you can personally take to bring HOPE into your life.

Personal struggles explode into public arenas. Those with shredded souls seek disconnection – wanting to destroy what they don’t understand. They claim their hate is an act of love. In the aftermath, not only is flesh bleeding out, but also the hearts of those who hate the hate.

Challenges are now part of every life as we claw at the chains to live beyond the prison of madness. In an attempt to throw off the albatross of hopelessness that has been tossed around our shoulders, we can actively take steps to find hope. It will require courage.

Read more, Five Steps to Hope in a World Gone Mad

Thank you for such an inspiring blog, Rose.  You have such a beautiful way with words and I have found so many of your posts strike close to my heart.

Hope, Strength, and Gratitude

Hope, Strength, and Gratitude

where do you find inspiration

Yesterday was one of those days that started out with a lot of mixed emotions. I have a very dear friend who is struggling right now and I don’t know how to reach her.  I can’t find the words to be both supportive of her problems but at the same time motivate her to find the strength within herself to seek the help she needs.  I ended up using some straight talk, hoping that tough love would help. Instead, I feel like I made the situation worse.

In the midst of all that worry and doubt I was still thinking about my post concerning Gratitude that I had been reworking for over a week. I wanted it to be a great piece to help not only others look at what they are grateful for, but to hopefully inspire me to find the words that I needed for my friend.

I finally logged on to my computer and instantly a friend pinged me about some great news concerning a reviewing opportunity but then shared something very special with me. What had started as a pretty bad day turned into a day that brought me back to a more settled place.  A place where I found Hope, Strength, and Gratitude.

Here is the story my friend shared with me. We decided to both do blog posts about this today since it impacted us both so much.  But more than that, we want to share the story of a special family and one very special little girl.

Hi ya’ll! My Good Friday started off like any other day with my 2 teenagers. Pretty rough! They woke up late and were rushed so neither of them was in the best of moods.  I knew my husband and I needed to hurry and get them ready and on the bus so we could get our day started. Yes, every morning is a tag team with my husband and I because that is what it takes to get our 16 and 14 year old boys ready and out the door for school.

Cancer picked the wrong princessI had a doctor’s appointment at the VA and was running late myself so I rushed out the door and made it in time. I realized I forgot a VERY IMPORTANT package because I decided to do something different today.  I belong to a Jeep Club and I met this wonderful woman named Robyn and her 3 yr old daughter
Abigayil online. I was going to meet them in person for the first time.  I started talking to Robyn because I heard the story about her 3 yr old daughter Abigayil having B- Cell A.L.L Leukemia. My heart broke at the thought of a 3 year having Leukemia!! I was trying to find a way I could do something to brighten both Abigayil’s and Robyn’s day so I got some stuff donated. In my rush to get to the VA in time I forgot it so my awesome husband brought it to the VA for me.

I needed help taking the stuff up to Abby so I found 2 Paramedics who followed me over to the Children’s Hospital and helped me take it up. For the life of me I can’t remember the name of the company and I forgot to take pictures of the paramedics. I was just way too excited to be finally meeting Robyn and Abby after talking online for a while.  The Paramedics left and I went to move my Jeep only to find a ticket on the windshield.  One of the paramedics walked up to my car and took the ticket and walked into the hospital. He then came back out, ripped it in half and said you don’t have to worry about this.

Cancer picked the wrong princessWow!!  I found a handicapped parking spot and got back upstairs and we were moved the Chemo room and we were waiting on her levels to see if she was moving up to a higher dose (which is good) or staying at a lower dose. Come to find out after a long wait that is her levels are GREAT!! Abby had to get fluids before she could get her first round of Chemo so that took 15 minutes and then each round of Chemo lasts about 30 minutes.  It is 15 minutes of Chemo and 15 minutes of fluid and we did this twice. While she was being a trooper, Robyn and I started talking and I found myself talking about my troubles and my boys and how they are different.

They are ADHD, ADD and “On the Spectrum”. For those of you who don’t know what that means, Autistic is the Spectrum, but they are NOT Autistic. I told her about how difficult it has been raising them and that now in this present day it is not easy. They both are on Mood Stabilizer, Sleep Meds as well as their ADHD and ADD medication.  Our life can get pretty rough!! She is so easy to talk to, I even found myself talking about my military career and how I ended up disabled.

Abby cancer picked the wrong princessRobyn and Abigayil showed me and gave me the most WONDERFUL gifts today!! Even when I was telling Robyn about my problems all she did was lift me up!! In the midst of her own problems with her daughter having Leukemia, she found compassion and empathy for me.  She showed me HOPE again!! Something I think I recently lost. Abigayil, Oh The MIGHTY little Abigayil!! Smart as a whip, showed me STRENGTH!! Something I really needed because I have felt so weak lately. They both have shown me and made me GRATEFUL for what I have! Yes, the trials and all!! I am ever so GRATEFUL now with renewed HOPE and STRENGTH Thanks to Robyn and Abigayil.  

I have included both the link to  Abigayil’s Fight against cancer- A.L.L  Support Page and her Go Fund me Page. Please take some time out of your day to visit both. Like and Share the page, please!! Please if you can do anything to help, do so, if you can’t then please, just share it with a bit of background information.

Abigayil’s Fight Against Cancer – A.L.L
Abby’s Medical Fund

Jody Estabrook

cancer picked the wrong princessCancer is indiscriminate and can strike any of our families at any time.  This time, cancer has picked the wrong little Princess, every time, cancer picks the wrong person.  Join in the Fight Against Leukemia and Cancer by helping to support Abigayil’s family through her GoFundMe page or her page where you can buy a shirt to raise awareness for Leukemia. The shirt has a really great theme; When fear knocks, let faith open the door ~ Hope anchors the soul ~ Hebrews 6:19.  Abby will be needing at least 2.5 years of Chemo. That’s a lifetime for a child. Please help take some burden off this special family.

Serendipity ~ Once again I found something very special that I wasn’t expecting to find, but something I so desperately needed at that moment.  Hope, Strength, and Gratitude came from a little girl and her mother who are brave, strong, determined, and giving. Thank You Abby and Robyn!

Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way




What are you grateful for?

This can be something as simple as waking up in time when the alarm clock doesn’t go off to as complex as your relationship with a loved one. I have learned that recognizing and acknowledging gratitude can free me from some of the hurt I carry. I know from experience that I have sometimes let myself get so bogged down in the negativity that I have stopped seeing that I have so much to be grateful for. Concentrating on what I am truly grateful for is certainly a lot healthier than concentrating on what causes drama, leaves me hurt, or makes me feel isolated.

This doesn’t mean that any of our lives are perfect by any means. It doesn’t mean that it is wrong to feel worried, confused, frustrated or even angry over things that are happening. It only means that we shouldn’t forget to also take the time to look at what we do have that is going right for us. Taking it a step beyond that and acknowledging what we are grateful for can bring even more fulfillment to our lives.

I am so very grateful to my husband for taking such wonderful care of me since becoming disabled, but until recently I didn’t realize he didn’t understand just how grateful I really am. I can’t even put into words the depth of my gratitude but somewhere along the way that got lost in the day to day struggles and petty frustrations.  I am glad it finally came out in a long, enlightening discussion and I know that going forward I need to find better ways to acknowledge the effort it takes and the sacrifices he has made so that he does see how grateful I am. He deserves that much and more.

There are so many things in life to be grateful for. Take the time to think about those things. The people that impact your life and make it better deserve your acknowledgment.  Whether they are a neighbor, friend, relative, partner, or spouse, they will feel wonderful when you acknowledge your gratitude to them, be it for something small or something life-changing.

I wanted to share these inspirational quotes about gratitude that I have been collecting. They have inspired me and I hope they will inspire you.

Life is about the map we follow and the treasure we find along the way


A Treasure Chest of Serendipity

A Treasure Chest of Serendipity

Serendipity 2

Serendipity… the effect by which one accidentally stumbles upon something truly wonderful, especially while looking for something entirely unrelated.


As I have jumped into the Reviewing community feet first, it has felt so good to connect with people again. That is something I have really missed in the years since I have no longer been able to work.  As it became more and more necessary to spend most of my time in bed, I cut myself off from the friends and colleagues I did have, trying to deal with the grief I still continue to feel over losing my independence and developing some really complicated health problems.

That is something I have really missed in the years since I have no longer been able to work.  As it became more and more necessary to spend most of my time in bed, I cut myself off from the friends and colleagues I did have, trying to deal with the grief I still continue to feel over losing my independence and developing some really complicated health problems.

I hope as a reader of this blog you are able to experience Serendipity and not only discovered wonderful things about shared interests, but also things about yourself, that you didn’t even know you were looking for.

At first, I thought I would only share about my reviews with you and show how you can do reviews yourself.  But then it occurred to me that just reviews can be very boring at times.  I like to get to know other people and so I hope you do too.  In the coming weeks, I will be sharing more about what is going on in my life right now and my current health, but more importantly, sharing the jewels of inspiration I have been finding as I rediscover my life.

Please keep checking back, I never expected to have so many new friends and followers and am looking forward to sharing this journey called life.  

Topics I would like to share include:  Inspiration, Family Dynamics, Aspergers Syndrome, Adoption, Grandfamilies, Friendship, Essential Oils, Recipes, DIY,
Health (Dysautonomia, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Pain, Hypoxia, CFS/ME)
and of course, more about my favorite new activity Product Reviews!