Monday, April 27, 2009

"The Noticer" by Andy Andrews---Book Review

From the author's site,
Orange Beach, Alabama, is a simple town filled with simple people. But they all have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, and many of the other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious old man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. A man of indiscriminate age and race with white hair and wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and carrying a battered old suitcase, Jones is a unique soul with near angelic qualities. Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things about life that others miss. In his simple interactions, Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what they can do about it.

Based on a remarkable true story, The Noticer beautifully blends fiction, allegory, and inspiration. It provides simple, yet powerful distinctions about love, relationships, value and integrity and will inspire readers to take that first step towards a major life change.

I am a new member of Thomas Nelson’s Book Review Blogger program, and received The Noticer as my first book to review. I normally don't read much "self-help" or "personal growth" books, as I tend to find that they normally just repeat the same advice as the others, all the while sounding as though they've discovered some new secret to magically solve our problems instantly. "The Noticer" attempts to break that mold, and while it did cause me to pause and reflect momentarily, in the end, it amounted to a nice read that left me feeling as though something was still missing.

The book centers on an old man named Jones. The author, Andy, meets him while he is living under the pier and feeling pretty miserable about his life. Jones, with his infinite wisdoms, helps Andy to see things from a different "perspective" and enables Andy to walk down a path which ultimately leads to success. Jones is a mysterious drifter, and he happens to show up right when people need to hear his guidance. By some never-mentioned ability, Jones is able to see what areas of a person's life need a new perspective, and is always there to guide that person. He helps a couple on the brink of divorce and fixes their marriage in an astonishing few minutes. He reminds a very old woman that there is still much for her to live for, something which she hadn't learned in her many many years on Earth, but which Jones reminded her of, again in mere minutes.

While the surface lessons may have been good, the book lacked quite a bit of substance. It just didn't go deep enough for me, and the tidy ends to every story made this nonfiction work border on the too-good-to-be-true edge. The writing is a bit TOO simple at times, and conversations between characters did not feel real, but rather contrived and rephrased too formally.

Certain parts of the book which could have been developed into "AHA!" moments instead became "Duh!" ones. For example, Andrews writes, "If you concentrate your thoughts on what you don't have, you will soon be concentrating on other things you had forgotten you don't have- and feel worse!" It took some self-reflection and personal insight to really grasp that statement, because the author didn't continue delving into this. There are gems in this book, to be sure, but Andrews throws them at the reader in a drive-by of wisdom, and does not attempt to offer more than just short quotes we can refer back to.

The book is only 156 pages long, and while this does help it to move along at a steady clip, it also feels very rushed. The conclusion almost made me groan out loud at its saccharine-sweet closure. Yes, it does give great nuggets of insight and advice, but for me, it was too stiff, too perfect, and entirely too focused on saying way too much in too few words. Or, perhaps, Jones might suggest I just need a new "perspective".

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ten on Tuesday---Geritol, anyone?

Time for another meme. Today's comes from Ten on Tuesday.

10 Signs That You Are Getting Older

1. When yelling at your children, you start out with, "Mary...Kelly...Jessica...WHOEVER YOU ARE!!", because you just can't remember their name!

2. You wake up feeling hung over, but haven't had a drop of alcohol in weeks.

3. You throw a party and get annoyed when the guests haven't left by 9 p.m.

4. You plan trips to popular locations so that you minimize having to deal wth crowds.

5. Hair. In places it does NOT belong.

6. Your vacation ideas center around what spots have the best sightseeing/buffets, not the best clubs/alcohol prices.

7. Sandals are becoming increasingly appealing, even during winter, only because bending over to pull on socks is too painful!

8. Your children no longer take naps. You do.

9. The newest "Oldies" CD features songs you danced to at your high school prom.
(No...this isn't MY prom pic.)

10. You can answer this meme without even pausing to think of the answers.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Great Book Giveaway!

Grand Prize: $100 GC to
Runner Up: $25 GC to B&N and a box of surprise paperbacks and other goodies (like chocolate, bath goodies, ect). This is going to be a NICE prize!
Runner Up: $25 GC to B&N and a box of surprise paperbacks and other goodies. (same as above)

Plus chances to win books (almost) every day for a month!

Go to for details on how to enter.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ten on Tuesday--Yucky Eats

Time for another meme. Today's comes from Ten on Tuesday.

10 Least Liked Foods" list

1. Mustard. It's way too bitter for me. Plus, it looks like baby diarrhea.

2. Pickles. Always ask for my burgers without them. If they forgot, it's like the taste permeates the whole burger.

3. Chicken In a Biskit.

I was told it was the greatest thing ever. It wasn't.

4. Mole Poblano. A Mexican dish. I'm a fan of Mexican foods (kinda goes with being Mexican, huh?) but mole?? It has chocolate in it, and you pour it on meat. Chocolate...on meat....ick.

5. Ketchup. Funny, because I love tomatoes. Considering #1, what do I put on my burgers and hot dogs? MAYO!

6. Balut. Never had it, but ewwwww. Need convincing?

7. Green beans. Unless they're breaded and fried.

8. Brussel sprouts. No need to explain. I'm sure they'll be a popular addition on this week's lists.

9. Yams and sweet potatoes. They go hand-in-hand. I don't get why people love making dishes with them during holidays. Way to ruin a festive meal, guys!

Last but not least...ok...I take that back...yes, absolute LEAST!!...

10. Peanut butter. I HATE PB!!! I don't like peanuts either, but peanut butter is sticky, thick, and icky. Plus, it is the same color diarrhea.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Warmer Weather=Outside Exercise!

I can feel a change in the air, and I'm EXCITED!! Being a SoCal girl most of my life, I love being outdoors. As a transplant to the NorthEast, though, I find my time outside limited. They have this thing here called *gasp* weather!!! And it's cold, rainy, and even white stuff falls out of the sky sometimes.
One of the things I like is taking my daughters on nature walks. I show them the trees, leaves, birds, and bugs. They love it and I get exercise. That's why I'd REALLY like to win this bad boy:

Cat at 3kidsandus is giving away one of these lovely Bumbleride strollers to a lucky reader. I can only hope it's me. What a huge help it would be with my two monsters! Check out the site and enter (or don't and give me better chance at winning!!).
Cat always has the best giveaways, so explore her site. You'll thank me later, I'm sure!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

I love poking around etsy, seeing what awesome creations are being sold out there. I love finding gifts through there, as it avoids the suckiness of getting someone a gift they also receive from someone else. Through my explorations, I've found numerous gems, and thought I'd share a few here. The theme today? Cool Kids and Time Machines!

This pretty mini-rockabilly dress is offered by Lover Dovers Clothing. It sells for only $27.75, AND there's a sale this weekend!

Oh my gosh! Remember this guy? Are there any of us who didn't have him in our home before, either as your own toy or that of your children? This dress is guaranteed to spark smiles of recollection! Vintage Lucy sells it for $48!

Prefer the 60s? Pair this kid's dress with patent white boots and you've got yourself a Go-Go Baby! $30 is all you need to buy this from Tiny Modernist!

And this one I saved for last:

For the last 2 weeks, almost, I have been following the story of Stellan, a.k.a. MckMuffin. While his Mom was pregnant with him, he developed a severe case of SVT, a heart condition which can be deadly. He overcame statistics and was born healthy 8 months ago. Now, though, he is again fighting for his life, as the condition returned. Colby Lane Designs is donating proceeds of this bib (a bargain at $8!) and others to go to the fund set up for Stellan. Other etsy sellers have come on board, as well. Just type in Pray for Stellan in etsy's search engine.

Hope you like my picks this week. Have you found any "timeless" treasures on etsy?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Thursday Thunks---4/2/09

Come join me in answering these sometimes intense, often funny, always interesting questions from Thursday Thunks.

1. Did you play any April Fools jokes on anyone or have a joke played on you? I had a Pap Smear yesterday. I'm convinced it was the appointment scheduler's idea of a joke.

2. If you could be on any non-reality TV show as a guest star or star, which one would it be and why? House. I think I have the same style of sarcastic humor as Hugh Laurie's character.

3. Do you crack your knuckles? Definitely not! In fact, it's my pet peeve. I hate the sound of cracked knuckles. I think it's disgusting!!!

4. If you remember your first day of kindergarten, were you scared or excited? If you have kids or grandkids, were they scared or excited?I was super excited. I couldn't wait to drop them off! They were finally out of my hair while they were at school...oh..wait. That's not what you meant?

5. If you are in the shower, hear the fire alarm going off and smell smoke/see flames, will you just run out of the house with a towel on or grab some clothes & dress as you run out?I usually change in the bathroom after showering and place my clothes in there before getting in anyways, so I'd be covered....literally. Ha!

6. Last week the Thursday Thunkers asked about your Daddy (twice), so this week tell us a little about your Mom.

She is an amazing woman. She raised my two sisters and I by herself after she and Dad divorced. She is a high school ESL teacher, loves to go to casinos, has many strong friendships, and supports each of her daughters 100%!

7. Which search engine do you use most often? Swagbucks! Try can earn Amazon GCs and MORE!!

8. Did you participate in Earth Hour? Oh crud...when was that again?

9. What was the last new-to-you movie you watched? Was it in the theater or on DVD? Was it good? Marie Antoinette on DVD. It was good as far as costuming, but they really left key historical points out.

10. If you do something embarrassing, do you laugh it off, or sit & worry about it? I pretend to laugh, but my face will turn red and I dwell on it for a bit.

11. Where is your favorite spot in your home to sit & relax? Our couch has a chaise on it that I love to curl up on.

About Me

My photo
I first joined the Marine Corps in February of 1999. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton for three years and in Okinawa for one. I left active duty in 2003 and joined the Reserves that year. I had my first daughter in 2005, and moved from California to Massachusetts in 2006. I left the Marine Corps at that time, and had my second daughter in 2007. I reenlisted in the Corps in September of 2008 and went Active in 2009. I'm currently stationed back in California, loving the weather and the life!