Book Review: How to Be Married by Jo Piazza


Title: How to Be Married- What I Learned from Real Women on Five Continents About Surviving My First (Really Hard) Year of Marriage

Author: Jo Piazza

Genre: Non-fiction

Publisher: Harmony Books

Pages: 276


In my humble opinion, Jo Piazza’s book, “How to Be Married” is a good read but not the type of book that’s hard to put down.  The book is well-written, funny, informative and honest but I had to read the book a couple chapters at a time.  Off and on, I was tempted to find another book to read. It could be that this is really the kind of book that would better keep my attention if I was listening to it on Audible while I was cooking or cleaning the house.  It may not be the same for you.

I really liked her journalistic approach to warming up to the idea of marriage, learning strategies to deal with disagreements and also finding solutions to working together as a team. She really put a lot of heart into learning how to have a successful marriage which was really endearing. My favorite advice was from a Chilean couple who were approaching their fortieth year of marriage. When she asked what made their marriage so successful, the wife replied, “We dance together every week. We’ve been dancing for forty years. When we dance, we become one. He sees me and I see him.  Everything I know about him, I learned while dancing.” (pg. 19) I instantly thought this was great advice.  Doing something together once a week that both people enjoy, which forces you to really see the other person and have fun is so important.  There are plenty of examples such as this to store away for future use.

What lost me was all the history and culture relayed about each country she traveled to. It just felt like too much and it would end up losing my attention.  In some cases, a little explanation of the customs which helped make their marriages successful was needed but in other instances, I would have preferred fewer details. When Piazza shared her private thoughts about which advice she should try to apply to her marriage and to what degree, showing that at times she was conflicted about how the women chose to live, I felt this was easier to relate to as I could see myself also feeling conflicted. I also liked her openness to changing her perspectives and being flexible to compromise as well as letting go of some of her pride in order to show love to her husband in the ways that were important to him. In conclusion, I feel that the book would have flowed better with less on an anthropology lesson.

Though this isn’t the type of book I would read more than once, I do plan on keeping it to refer to.

I give this book a 3.5/5.

I received this book from

Daily Prompt: Carve

via Daily Prompt: Carve

The teacher asked, “Where are your hearing aids? Did you bring them today?”

The elementary school student hopped up pretending she forgot them, “Oh! Just a minute!” She skipped to the closet to check her lime green backpack with her hand over her mouth, muffling a giggle.

Returning to her seat with her turquoise hearing aids with tye-dyed ear molds in her little hand, she signed, “They’re broken. The latch for the battery won’t close.” The student pretended to be disappointed, but the adults in the room weren’t buyin’ it.

As her Sign Language Interpreter watched the conversation, she thought to herself, “I bet she’d like to carve out a hole in the wall and drop them in. She really dislikes those things.”

Playing the Telephone Game with a Deaf Child

Have you ever watched a group of people play the Telephone Game during a professional development conference? It’s a great ice-breaker game and can be pretty comical as you watch the expressions on the people’s faces, knowing the message is getting muddled and people are perplexed by what they’re hearing. At the end, the last person announces the outlandish message they received and everyone is cracking up laughing.

Well, let’s put a spin on this game and add a Deaf person to the group of mostly people who can hear with only a couple of people who can sign. Imagine a group of children sitting on the carpet at an After School Program. There’s one student who is deaf and assigned a Sign Language Interpreter. The teacher starts out the game by whispering a message into the first kid’s ear. He smiles and leans over to his friend to pass it on. That kid giggles, cups her hand against the side of her mouth and whispers into the next kid’s ear and it goes on and on. The boy who’s deaf is watching the new game play out. Do you wonder what he’s thinking? Maybe he’s trying to figure out why these strange people are so amused? His interpreter keeps positioning himself near each “whisperer” and signing what he hears. The deaf student is watching him sign but sees how each of the kids play the game. Now, it’s his turn. The interpreter signs what the last kid spoke into the deaf boy’s ear. How does the boy respond? He leans over to the next kid, cups his hand like the other kids and pretends to tell her a secret the same way everyone else did. And what happens? The deaf boy starts laughing and the child who can hear laughs too but there’s clearly a different kind of communication breakdown. His Sign Language Interpreter smiles, shaking his head and tells him, “C’mon, silly. SIGN!” And, he does so that whatever transformed message was given to the kid before him, could be passed to the next through the interpreter who whispers the message like the other kids. It’s an interesting perspective, isn’t it?


It was brilliant the way God would speak to her when she would write.  In her thought life, her thoughts could be moving in so many different directions, starting and stopping before coming to a conclusion. When she sat down to write, her thoughts were fluid and purposeful, on point and peaceful. She felt God heal her through the process of writing.  Sometimes she encountered His presence. Other times she would complete a piece and wonder where the ideas had manifested from.  There was no other way she could have uncovered the things she spoke of in her writing if she was just having a conversation with another person.  And writing about her experiences somehow made her life seem so much more interesting. The more she wrote, the more she started to actually see herself and her life through the lens of a book. One where she really liked the main character, could really identify with her, wanted to be her closest friend and glean some wisdom from her. There was no rivalry, tension or misunderstanding. Just love and acceptance. It was as if writing had a way of helping her to see herself more clearly while also understanding God more clearly. Books have that unexplained power to transform the mundane things into something so much more interesting.

Tapping into God’s presence as she wrote was really the most brilliant thing of all.  Like a gushing of light bursting through her lungs and heart, shining and vibrating in a way that also made her stop and feel how close He was. It was food for her soul.




So, I read that the word “funnel” is my daily prompt for today.  I am not feeling an ounce of inspiration from this particular word. What should I do?

I think, I’ll refer to the online dictionary and thesaurus.  Hmmm…funnel is a verb that means direct down a path. Other words for funnel are channel, filter, pour, siphon. Waiting for the ideas to funnel in.  So, could I say, can someone funnel some entertainment over to my 2 bedroom apartment?  Maybe knock on my door dressed up in shockingly silly costumes bringing dessert I can eat, telling me hilarious stories or fun adventures you’ve had. Or maybe funnel me to a glorious vacation spot where I can go parasailing or ziplining or just go somewhere sunny.  Somewhere other than my living room or kitchen where I do the same kinds of things over and over again.

Funnel.  Does anyone feel like eating a funnel cake now? Yum.

Thank you, Daily Post. 😉

Growth: My prayer for us for 2018

My prayer for us is taken from Ephesians 3: 15-21.

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen us with power through his Spirit in our inner being, so that Christ may dwell in our hearts through faith. And I pray that you & I, being rooted and established in love,  may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know tIMG_1245his love that surpasses knowledge—that we may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,  to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!”  And, Lord, I also pray specifically for people, who like myself right now,  feel overcome by loneliness. It’s getting dark, my daughter is enjoying time to herself in her room. It’s just me & my computer.  I pray for all single parents and single people out there who spend a lot of time thinking of ways to fill in the empty spaces.  I pray that you will put it on the hearts of their church friends to reach out and spend time with them. I pray that more people will realize how important it is to live this life together so that none of us become convinced that we are walking this faith walk alone. In lonely times, I pray that you will grow our ability to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for us and that we are truly loved by our sisters and brothers in Christ. I pray that though we may be out of sight, we are not out of mind. May this be an amazing year of growth for us all as our faith grows stronger and as we grow in ways to show love & support to one another. I also pray, Lord, that you will continue to show me ways I can demonstrate your love. Amen.




Book Review: The Silver Star by Jeannette Walls

TheSilverStarTitle:  The Silver Star

Author: Jeannette Walls

Genre:  Fiction/Biographical, Fiction/General, Fictional/Literary

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Pages: 288


From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls’ gripping new novel that “transports us with her powerful storytelling…She contemplates the extraordinary bravery needed to confront real-life demons in a world where the hardest thing to do may be to not run away” (O, The Oprah Magazine).

It is 1970 in a small town in California. “Bean” Holladay is twelve and her sister, Liz, is fifteen when their artistic mother, Charlotte, takes off to find herself, leaving her girls enough money to last a month or two. When Bean returns from school one day and sees a police car outside the house, she and Liz decide to take the bus to Virginia, where their widowed Uncle Tinsley lives in the decaying mansion that’s been in Charlotte’s family for generations.

An impetuous optimist, Bean soon discovers who her father was, and hears stories about why their mother left Virginia in the first place. Money is tight, and the sisters start babysitting and doing office work for Jerry Maddox, foreman of the mill in town, who bullies his workers, his tenants, his children, and his wife. Liz is whip-smart—an inventor of word games, reader of Edgar Allan Poe, nonconformist. But when school starts in the fall, it’s Bean who easily adjusts, and Liz who becomes increasingly withdrawn. And then something happens to Liz in the car with Maddox.

Jeannette Walls has written a deeply moving novel about triumph over adversity and about people who find a way to love each other and the world, despite its flaws and injustices.


The very first two sentences of this book read, “My sister saved my life when I was just a baby. Here’s what happened.” After just reading two sentences, I knew I would be spending a long, wonderful day on the couch reading because I wanted to know what life was like for these two sisters.  When an author has the ability to grab your attention immediately, you know you are in for an intriguing story.

The book The Silver Star is a story about two sisters who grow up bouncing from place to place on the whims of their artistic, impulsive mother who’s in the habit of running from her problems.  By the young ages of 12 and 15, the girls have never experienced staying in one place for very long.  Their mother goes from being so happy she has stars in her eyes to so hopeless she needs to go off on her own to find herself while the girls are left to fend for themselves.  Liz and Jean, also known as Bean by her older sister, have very astute survival skills and have mostly taken on the role of the adult.  They know that they can’t depend on their mother to take care of them so they learn to take care of each other. The sisters truly find amazing ways to thrive after injustices have come their way. In the end, it’s a story of triumph and justice as bad people in their lives reap what they sow and an unreliable parent learns to stop running and be there for her children even when it’s painful to stay.

The Silver Star is the first book I’ve read by Jeannette Walls and it was a great read.  I won’t forget this story or the same theme that is portrayed in all of her books according to the previews I’ve read for Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle: A Memoir.  The reoccurring theme comes from Jeannette Walls upbringing where she and her siblings had to essentially depend on each other instead of the adults in their lives.  They were forced to be the adults because of traumas that happened to their parents in which they never healed from.  It moves me how strong and wise her characters grow to be after so much adversity just as Jeannette Walls and her siblings learned to do.

She begins this book with the perfect quote by Oscar Wilde, “The pure and simple truth is rarely pure and never simple.”

I rate this book 5/5.

Raised Body Art

Circling, scaly, dark pink plaquesThinkDrawing

 Dry enigma

Itchy rash?

              ??what is that??

Raised body art or unwelcomed stain

Can’t wash it off

Can’t make it go                   away

Radiating silently

Fading  ever-so reluctantly

Taking cover  or  healing

No-one can really be sure

But    I    live     completely    and     even      rest easy

I know

Who my redeemer is




via Daily Prompt: Treat

Tonight, I decided to treat myself to a glass of Chardonnay from South Eastern Australia.  I bought the bottle at a wine tasting party a couple of months ago.  This shows how seldom I drink.  It’s been sitting pretty on my kitchen counter patiently waiting for opening day.

Besides drinking chardonnay after work, I did something else I don’t usually do.  I took out a sketch pad & a needle drawing pen & started drawing.  Having a little drink, drawing and listening to Christian music by Lauren Daigle, Selah and Danny Gokey was so relaxing… Why haven’t I done this sooner?  I used to love drawing as a kid, even as a teenager and then I stopped.  The last time I drew something was with my  nephews and we had a blast.  We had one of those drawing books that teaches you how to draw cartoon characters.  My older nephew and I learned how to draw a cartoon image of a shark. I think I drew a bumble bee, too.. I know.. You’re thinking, “A bumble bee? How hard can that be?” She was a quite the detailed bumble bee. She almost looked like she was straight out of The Bee Movie. She helped me to hone those drawing skills again. And my youngest nephew drew a pretty good-looking fish with a lot of character and color.

Looking back on that day, I remember feeling like a kid again wanting to relive that joy I felt sitting down at the kitchen table drawing and being completely focused on getting it exactly right. Not thinking about anything else but making my picture perfect and taking a peek at the kids drawing skills, too. It’s so great to have things to do that calm our minds like that. I love the time I get to spend with them creating cool things.

Every once and awhile, we need to remember to change things up a bit and try doing something again that we used to spend hours doing before we turned into hard-working money makers.. It feels good to treat yourself with another way to unwind & enjoy this life.

How’d you treat yourself today?