On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on October 17, 2017:

Celebrating LifeCelebrating Life, the title of this article, is an accurate description of how I spent this past weekend. In a period of forty-eight hours, I attended a gender reveal, a tenth birthday party, a wedding shower, and a memorial service. Each celebration was very different, but each one marked the importance of an event that most of us experience during our time on this earth.

The gender reveal was my first. I’ve seen pictures of them on Facebook had never gender-reveal-striped-boxattended one until Saturday. When I had my son, the gender reveal came in the delivery room when the doctor declared, “It’s a boy!” Medical advances have allowed earlier announcements, and the process has evolved.

This recent reveal was done at a family fish fry. During lunch, young cousins of some designation made the rounds, taking an opinion poll of the gender of the cousin-in-utero and applying Team Pink or Team Blue stickers as appropriate. I was on Team Pink, and David was on Team Blue in the gender reveal game, but in the game of life, we’re both on Team Brendle!  Read the rest of this entry »

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Published in the Rains County Leader on October 10, 2017:

shoesDavid and I went to Tyler on Saturday to do a little shopping. We generally prefer to make most of our purchases on-line, especially on a Saturday when the traffic is as thick as a bed of fire ants, but we went out for breakfast, and we didn’t have a lot on our to-do list. David wanted to go to Camping World, I wanted some black shoes, and any excuse will do when it involves driving the new car. In spite of the traffic, we enjoyed the afternoon. We had a chance to become more familiar with our new sound and GPS systems, and I had fun testing the many positions of the fully adjustable passenger seat.

We also enjoyed checking out the latest in camping accessories, but David didn’t find counting changeanything he hadn’t seen cheaper on the Internet. I had better luck. I found a pair of shoes that I really liked, and I had more than enough money in my clothing envelope to cover the cost. Several months ago, we went through Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University – a series of classes in which we learned Biblical principles for dealing with money. One suggestion was to use cash rather than plastic, not only because it saves any interest charges that might accrue but also because it makes spending more real when you see the actual bills and coins passing from your hand into a cash register. The total cost for my shoes after the tax was added was $43.29. I handed the sales clerk two twenties, three ones, a quarter, and a nickel, and he stared at the payment in confusion for several seconds before figuring out how much change he needed to give me. Read the rest of this entry »

Published in the Rains County Leader on October 3, 2017:

pontiacThere will be one less red 2002 Pontiac Grand Prix on the streets of Emory in the future. From now on, look for the Brendles in a 2016 charcoal gray Kia Optima. For the first time in fifteen years, we have bought a car, and the Pontiac has been put out to pasture to be used only in times of schedule conflicts or maintenance visits for Kiara (little dark one).

Since we have a history of driving our cars until pieces literally begin to fall off, Kiara Kiarawill probably be the last car we will buy, so we went for all the bells and whistles. To say we’re excited about our new toy would be an extreme understatement. We can sometimes be found sitting in her with the driver’s manual open, learning how to access all the magic hidden behind the leather, buttons, and dials. Saturday we actually took a ride just because we could and also to blow off the fine layer of dust that had settled on the roof when David mowed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 26, 2017:

fresh okra on white background , close upOkra had no place in our home when I was a kid. I don’t know if it was because nobody liked it or because it didn’t come in a can. Mom and Dad both worked long hours, and I began cooking dinner for the family when I was eleven, so there wasn’t much time or skill for preparing fresh veggies.

Okra wasn’t one of those dishes that made a regular appearance at church or family potlucks either. Fried okra doesn’t travel well or keep well like fried chicken, and boiled okra is – well, it’s boiled okra. Read the rest of this entry »

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 19, 2017:

Kitty in the Light 043016 CroppedA few weeks ago, I shared a list of ways to know if your cat really loves you. After comparing the list with Kitty’s behavior, I decided that she really does love us – sometimes David more than me, but I’m mostly okay with that. Taking my cue from the list, I’ve been responding in a more feline manner, and she has become a little more affectionate toward me.

For instance, when I walk by her and she grabs for my hand, instead of jerking away from her, I now stop and hold my hand still. She will hold it gently between her paws and sniff to see what interesting things I have been up to. Then, she’ll either lick my finger or hold it between her teeth. Sometimes, she’ll let me scratch under her chin a bit, but I don’t press my luck. If I linger too long, she gets frisky and begins to bite. She seems to appreciate the interaction, and she has started following me around almost as much as she does David. Read the rest of this entry »

Published in the Rains County Leader on September 12, 2017:

David and I recently went to a church pot luck at my brother Jim’s church in Conway, AR. As siblings tend to do, especially older siblings, our conversation turned to memories of our shared childhoods. I can’t remember the thread that led to the subject of nicknames, but at some point I mentioned that, if Jim had been in charge, my name would have been Judy instead of Linda.

Judy_album_cover  Judge Judy

Jim was four years old when Mom was pregnant with me. Wanting to make him feel a part of the process, she and Dad asked him what he thought my name should be. He doesn’t remember where he had heard the name – maybe a cute little girl in his Sunday School class or someone he met at the park – but he immediately suggested that I be named Judy. I think they had already made their choice, but they played along anyway, asking what he thought my middle name should be. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover

About the book:

A member of the wealthy and influential Piermont family is brutally murdered in a public place. Two weeks after the assassination authorities have no witnesses, no leads and no motive for the crime.

The Piermonts hire Nick Borman, a specialist in corporate espionage, to bring the killer to justice. A tangled web of deceit unfolds as Borman discovers greed and corruption at the highest level.

From city hall to the depths of Toronto’s criminal underworld, Nick Borman is in hot pursuit of a cold-blooded killer.

My review (four stars out of five):

The Borman Factor by Robert Lalonde is a very entertaining read with exceptional moments sprinkled in. It is a bit uneven in the beginning, but the first chapter was very well done – tight, intense, relying on a well-told story rather than gratuitous gore. The next few chapters basically laid the groundwork and introduced characters, mostly through dialogue. Using conversation in such a major role requires a lot of finesse that was lacking in these few chapters. Although I detected some faint Sam Spade undertones, the stilted exchanges were a bit distracting.

Once the preliminaries were out of the way, however, and Nick Borman stepped into the spotlight, Lalonde shifted into a more narrative mode. The pace picked up and smoothed out, and I was able to lose myself in the twists and turns of this fast paced thriller. The Borman Factor is a promising debut into a new genre for the author, and I look forward to Book 2.

About the author:

Head Shot

Robert Lalonde is the author of The Borman Factor (A Nick Borman Thriller, Book 1).

He is currently writing Jinxed (A Nick Borman Thriller, Book 2).

He lives in Ontario, Canada with his wife Marianne.

Find Robert here:

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Blessings,

Linda

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