Last night I finished a book that I will NOT put out in my Little Free Library in the yard or sell it in the bookstore. This is one I will want to return to again and again. It helped me “grow” that much.

Staci Eldridge’s Becoming Myself explores the inner battles most women face. It invites the reader to “step up and step out of every crippling, counterfeit thing that keeps us from the only thing, the everything that is Christ.” Many times I have said, “Someday I’ll get my act together.” Eldridge says, “not someday, but now!”

There is an abundance of material in this engaging book on which to base workshops, women’s motivational speeches and women’s retreats. One chapter I’d like to try my hand at presenting is titled, “Becoming Our Name.” It deals with meeting one’s authentic self and living up to the ideal of her. The first chapter, titled “Does Anyone Ever Change?” points out that lasting change takes time. Eldridge looks into the question, “How can we hurry up the process?” She invites us to look back, evaluate, and set goals. Many parts were quotable and well worth sharing. I guarantee you’ll come away with a kinder, more patient view of yourself.

This book has been on my TBR shelf so long that I don’t know where it came from, so it will help me with my 2023 challenges, fulfilling the Books From the Backlog Challenge to read 12 books from my TBR ranks in 2023.

RAE 3/12/23



On Sunday, March 19th, at 2 p.m., Rae’s Reads will host its second author event.

Don Jefferies will read from and discuss his book on developing Leadership Skills, The Mechanics of Leadership: Lessons in Leadership from Dad the Mechanic and WWII Veteran.

Don was raised in Manvel, Texas, and received his BS in history and English from Stephen F. Austin State University and a MA in history at University of Houston Clear Lake. He has been involved in public education for over 45 years and has served as a classroom teacher, principal, and superintendent of schools for various school districts.

His engaging personality and interesting anecdotes about both his family and his career make him the ideal public speaker. Come ask Don about his father’s experiences in WWII and what Don learned from him that you may want to apply to your own business or life.

Light refreshments will be served.


Just as Saturday mornings in the 50s and 60s reserved TV programming for kids’ cartoons so mom and dad could sleep in, PWR reserves Saturday mornings (in today’s case, Saturday night ) for recommendations of books for kids.

Today’s recommendation is a book I enjoyed so much, I might be my favorite kids’ book of 2023. Perhaps because I taught junior high for almost twenty years, I am a soft touch for books about junior high, especially when they feature a kid that is “different” and doesn’t fit in.

The thing obviously different about Cap (short for Capricorn)is his massive “haystack ” hair. It is the perfect target for spitballs and derisive remarks. Capricorn is straight out of the 60s Hippie Movement because he is raised by his grandmother, Rain, who instills in him the values of the peace and love generation who lived on her commune. Cap’s integration into public school and today’s teen culture is an alien-in-a-strange-world adventure. Cap’s loving, peaceful nature makes him the perfect target for bullies until…well, I don’t want to spoil the story. A story with an empathetic character who does not understand what being cool means is a refreshing change from the smart-mouthed, put-upon teens so often portrayed in kid’s books now.

Each chapter is told from the viewpoint of a character ranging from innocent Cap to the popular in crowd kids and even the foster mom and her popular high-school daughter he is forced to live with when Rain breaks a hip and is sent to rehab for several months. Here is the beginning of the book told by Capricorn, himself:

” I was thirteen the first time I saw a police officer up close. He was arresting me for driving without a license. At the time I didn’t know what a license was. I wasn’t too clear on what being arrested meant either… ‘Who’s the owner of this pickup?’/ ‘It belongs to the community,’ I told him…/’What community? Golf club? Condo deal?’/ ‘Garland Farm’… It’s an alternative farm commune,’ I explained.’ /The officer goggled at me. ‘Alternative– you mean like hippies?’ “

Your kid will roll his eyes at Cap along with the kids at his school, then come to understand that Cap’s way is a kinder, saner, more pleasant way to approach life.


On January 23,1923, Deb Nance, blogger at Readerbuzz, and close friend and I headed to “H Town” (Houston) to attend the Margaret Root-Brown Reading Series, Inprint’s presentation of two contemporary novelists reading from their current works and being interviewed. Deb has had season tickets for years now, but this is my first year to participate. We have heard Poet Laureates, Nobel Prize for Literature winners, and several outstanding authors (and interviewers) already this season.

We drove up to Emanu El, a venue I had never been to before, excited about seeing in person the authors of The Book of Goose, Yiyun Li and Matthew Salesses, author of The Sense of Wonder.

Li read the beginning of her book so that the audience could “hear” the voices of the two women characters of the novel at the age of thirteen. Her book is a narrative based on the strong friendships of women which have lasted since childhood beginnings. The two girls are discussing how to “grow” happiness. One can see that these are not two ordinary girls, but ones who think profound thoughts and share them with each other.

Salesses, on the other hand uses the metaphor of basketball as a symbol for life. He was a Houstonian and a product of the Imprint workshops and grants, as well as an alumnus of the University of Houston’s Creative Writing program. His novel, The Sense of Wonder, has been described as “full of swagger and heart.” It is somewhat autobiographically based.

The two novels were extremely different, but the interview and the interplay of ideas between the two novelists kept me rapt. Friendships are a common theme, but the friendships in these novels were under very different circumstances and between very different characters. I wondered if the two authors would have anything in common. Both novels deal with one making his/her life what he or she thinks is possible. Timeless characters in The Book of Goose offset the team/basketball friendship of the young man in Wonder, but in the developing of both the plots and characters, these two novels encouraged the reader to think along the same lines and even draw similar conclusions. The two authors complemented each other, and sometimes described writing processes and techniques that were totally unalike.

It was a night out that grew our minds and fed our souls–a night to remember.


Literacy and Me

In a 2015 article in More magazine, 1000 readers were asked questions about their friends, best friends, and especially their girlfriends. Some of the questions asked:

How many close friends do you have with whom you can share anything?

How hard is it to make new girlfriends?

HIs it better to have a lot of girlfriends or a a very few close ones?

Do you remain friends with your closest friend of your childhood? your teenage years? your college years? your early married years? your professional years?

Some of these questions, especially the last one, made me stop and take inventory of the girlfriends I have now in my life; a few answers prompted an email, letter, or phone call–just to touch base.

Carmen Rose Berry and Tamera Traeder wrote (in 1995) a lovely book titled Girlfriends that studied and explored women’s friendships.


In the book, the authors, who…

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CHASING THE BRIGHT SIDE by Jess Ekstrom: A Review

This book’s subtitle, “Embrace Optimism/ Activate Your Purpose/ and Write Your Own Story” says it all. It definitely looks on the bright side, but at the same time it examines the value of fears, failures, and mess ups. The author is the founder of “Headbands of Hope” and uses stories of her business throughout the book to make a point or give advice. We follow Ekstrom from making silly little headbands for cancer patients at a local hospital to operating a thriving non-profit which gives headbands to cancer patients in every hospital in the United States.

Her philosophy, as stated in this book is: “In order for us to have a chance at making a dent in the universe, we have t0 be optimistic enough to see something better and to be confident enough to just begin.” Just beginning to follow a dream, taking that first step Is the hardest part of life. Cultivating enough optimism to do that can make all the difference . Another piece of advice from the author worth quoting is, “Success is not born out of skill, school where we’re from, or who we know…We are born with something even more important than skills. We’re born with optimism–the initial seed for success.”

As a new small business owner, this book not only encouraged me to follow my dream, it demanded I be optimistic about being successful, learn from my mistakes and refuse to lose my enthusiasm for what I am trying to do. It is an inspiring, engaging read.



I’m not quite through, but reading One Crazy Summer, a Newberry Honor Book, winner of the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, the Corretta Scott King Award, and a National Book Award Finalist, has been such a positive experience that I’ve ordered the other two books in the “Gaither Sisters Series” by Rita Williams-Garcia.

The Gaither Sisters, travel to Oakland, California, on their first airplane trip, by themselves, to meet the mother who abandoned them to be raised by their father and “Big Ma.” It is a tumultuous time for Oakland, and the girls find their very sophisticated mother involved with the Black Panthers and all the riots and terror in Oakland that summer.

I am only on page eighty, but I have come to empathize with and care about all three girls, from Delphine, the oldest, to Vonetta and Fern, her younger siblings. Cecile, their mother, is “something else,” they discover, who has no motherly instincts and seems put upon to have to host the three girls for the summer. For some reason their father, against Big Ma’s protests, feels it’s time for the girls to get to know their mother, and so, sends them to Oakland, a far cry from their home in New York.

I can hardly wait to read about the girls’ adventures, or maybe misadventures, and whether they get to know their mother or are hastily shuffled back to New York.

This novel promises to be a darned good read.

2023 Audiobook Challenge – Sign Up Post #2023AudiobookChallenge #ILoveAudiobooks #BookBlogger #BookTwitter #SecretLibraryBookBlog

Secret Library Book Blog

2023-Audiobook-Challenge--768x768Well after listening to 91 audiobooks in 2022 I had to sign up for this challenge again didn’t I? Once again it’s hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer and That’s What I’m Talking About and you can sign up anytime you like.

Challenge Details

Use hashtag #2023AudiobookChallenge on social media to alert others of your listens and progress!

Runs January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2023. You can join at any time.

The goal is to find a new love for audio or to outdo yourself by listening to more audios in 2023 than you did in 2022.

Books must be in audio format (CD, MP3, etc.)

ANY genres count.

Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are allowed.

You do not have to be a book blogger to participate; you can track your progress on Goodreads, Facebook, LibraryThing, etc. I recommend creating a shelf on Goodreads titled 2023 Audiobook Challenge. You…

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