Welcome to My Venture!

Although my approach may be a bit unconventional, it is my greatest desire for this online journal to be a unique place where we can share life lessons learned from the many wonderful people–past and present– who profoundly touch our lives!

I sincerely hope you will feel inclined to comment and pay tribute to these great mentors by sharing your thoughts with me and this community.  It’s my goal for all who visit here to benefit as we participate and read one another’s insights.

I’ve learned that everyone has something to teach and something to learn!

Leather Chair Reading! Cozy January Books!

Leather Chair Reading!  Cozy January Books!

After all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, January seems like the perfect time to get cozy by the fireplace and relax with a good book on those cold, winter evenings!

"Leather Chair Reading" Books that inspire you to live better. www.mytributejournal.com

In our family, we still love giving and receiving good books for Christmas gifts…it gives us something to look forward to come January when the weather is bleak and schedules are a little less hectic.

Leather Chair Reading! Cozy January Books!

“A book is a gift you can open again and again.”  Garrison Keillor

Here are a few cozy January books I highly recommend!

Prayers For Sale  by Sandra Dallas

Leather Chair Reading! Cozy January Books!

In all the many books I’ve read over the years, there’s only a handful that I can honestly say I couldn’t put down…this book was one of them!  Much of the story takes place in the mountain mining town of Middle Swan, Colorado–so getting cozy under a big quilt or a warm afghan is a necessity as you read about the cold, harsh winters the people endured there as they worked hard to eek out a living under brutal weather and living conditions.  The story takes place in 1936 when the great depression has ravaged the country and jobs are scarce.  The main character, Hennie Comfort, befriends seventeen year old Nit Spindle and her husband, who have come to find work in Middle Swan.  Hennie and Nit create an instant bond over their shared love of quilting, as well as the deep heartache both have suffered from having lost a child.  Hennie doesn’t sell prayers, not really, but her wise nature and deep commitment to helping the people of her community seems to make them believe that she is more in tune with a higher power than most.  I think one of the main reasons I loved this book so much was because Hennie’s resilient spirit reminded me of my maternal grandmother, who raised my mother and her six brothers, mostly on her own, since my grandfather traveled often, and for extended periods of time for work with his insurance business.  Hennie Comfort and women like her, have a work ethic and common sense approach to life that can’t help but inspire you to be a more selfless and loving person.  This book shows you that friendships truly have no boundaries if you sincerely care about each other.

"Prayers For Sale" by Sandra Dallas

How To Find Love In A Book Shop  by Veronica Henry

Leather Chair Reading! Cozy January Books!

A wonderful friend recommended this book for our neighborhood book club…and what a treat!  The title and cover art alone make you want to go find a cozy spot and get lost in the pages of this book!  One review of this book states that, “…it is a delightful story of a bookshop, its devoted new owner, its loyal customers, and the power of books to heal the heart.” —and indeed it is that, and more.  In fact, as you can imagine, some of the best stories aren’t told within the books sold, but rather from the customers themselves that frequent the Nightingale Book Shop.  Although Emilia gave a deathbed promise to her father to keep his beloved book shop open, where he fell in love with her mother, she faces some of the same dilemmas many small business owners face today…that of keeping things afloat while big property developers put undue pressure on her to sell out to large company conglomerates.  Compounding the fate of the book shop even further, is the tremendous debt her father had accrued before he died.  Even though there are a lively cast of characters, (and I loved them all) who create several storylines…from the introverted but sweet chef, Thomasina, who came on Tuesday afternoons to browse the cookery books, to Sarah, the owner of Peasebrook Manor, who used the escape that a good book provides to hide a special secret of the heart…the author is an amazing storyteller and develops each one in a compelling and heartwarming way.  It’s truly an enchanting story of the power of community–and books!  It’s a cozy January “must read”!

Leather Chair Reading! Cozy January Books!

“A town without a little book shop…is a town without a heart.”  Nightingale Book Shop owner, Julius, in “How To Find Love In A Book Shop”

Number The Stars  by Lois Lowry

"Number The Stars" by Lois Lowry

I read this gem years ago with my kids when they were in elementary school, but when my oldest granddaughter received this book for Christmas, I rummaged through my bookcases to find it and read it again.  Lois Lowry has written many wonderful children’s books, but this one is by far my favorite!

The story told in this book is based on historical fiction and the events that took place in 1943 during World War II, when thousands of Danish Jews were helped to escape to the neutral country of  Sweden in order to avoid being relocated to concentration camps by the German Nazi’s.  The book centers around the Annemarie Johansen and her family, who risk their lives to help Annemarie’s Jewish friend, Ellen Rosen, by pretending she is their late daughter, Lise, who had died earlier in the war.  The author states that the book’s title is from a reference in Psalms 147:3-4, where God states that he has numbered all the stars and has named each one of them…which seems befitting since so many innocent lives were lost due to the treacheries of this war.  It also ties into the special Star of David necklace Ellen wore that becomes a significant symbol of Annemarie’s courage when she breaks it off Ellen’s neck when Nazi soldiers raid the Johansen’s apartment early one morning, thinking they are illegally harboring the Rosen family.

"Number The Stars" book quote.

This novel received the Newbery Medal Award in 1990, which is given to a distinguished contribution to American literature for children.  One award reviewer stated, “Like the main character, Annemarie, young readers are protected from the full implication of the horrendous events of World War II, but will get caught up in the suspense of her courageous run as courier on the night of the family’s escape from Copenhagen.”  I also read where Lois Lowry traveled to Denmark to do research and conduct interviews for the book, and took the photo of the girl on the cover shown above that was used on many editions of the book.  If they haven’t heard about it already, introduce your children to this book and read it with them; they will surely develop a deeper appreciation for the freedoms they enjoy today due to the sacrifices of those who lived before them–including many children!

In this day and age, it seems more important than ever before to turn off the distractions of our TV’s and technical devices for a while, and pick up a good book.  I hope you’ll find the ones I’ve listed here as enjoyable as I did.

Open a good book quote.

What are some good books you’re reading now that we could add to the cozy January book list?

–Love, Mary


Make A Difference!

Make A Difference!

As a new year approaches, I think most people are inspired to take the opportunity to make the upcoming year better than the last…but rather than just focusing solely on what we might do to improve our own habits and circumstances, I’d like to suggest that perhaps this year, we try just as hard to make a difference in the lives of others, as well.

Make A Difference!

“In a gentle way, you can shake the world.”  Mahatma Gandhi

Make A Difference For The Better!

I have been very fortunate in my life, to rub shoulders with passionate people who are dedicated to living well and making a difference for the better…not only in their own lives, but in those of their family members, neighbors, work associates and communities.  Their selfless actions are contagious and always inspire me to up my game, so to speak, as I try to be a better influence for good myself. 

Make A Difference!

“Be who God meant you to be…and you will set the world on fire!”  Catherine of Siena

Three Doable Ways To Make A Difference!

I am a big believer in the power of one…one unique person, one simple idea, one kind action…each can cause a ripple effect that makes a big difference.  This simple concept can change the trajectory of many lives–including our own!  Here then, are three ways I think will help us all make a difference as we celebrate a new year!

1.  Daily Devotions!  

In trying to better catch a glimpse into the “big picture” of my life…I tend to face the day with better perspective and more focus on others when I take the time to acknowledge a higher power.  Whether through meditation, scripture study or prayer, inviting God into our lives seems like a sure way to start the day off right, helping us to be more genuine in our actions as we associate with others.

Daily Devotions!

“The purpose of life, of course, is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate; to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson

2.  Do Good!

As we strive to reach out to one another with a more dedicated desire to do good and with a certain level of excellence, we can’t help but inspire each other to do better and make a difference as we work together to make our journey in life more joyful!

Abraham Lincoln quote.

My father used to tell a story of an elderly man who was a forklift operator at a big warehouse.  “The man would ride the forklift around with a big smile on his face and always exuded great passion for his job.  Knowing that most of his younger co-workers would eventually move on from this menial labor, he often felt compelled to remind them to do good and be the best at the job they were doing…no matter where life took them.  The man made everyone feel good.”  After reciting the story, my dad always asked a question: Do you have a special person in your life that you think of when you interact with others…someone that reminds you to always do good and be your best?  Most of life is simply showing up and putting your heart, mind and soul into whatever it is you are doing, no matter how mundane.  Showing up in life and doing good allows you a committed chance at making a difference every day for the people you love, the people you will meet, and the person you will eventually become!

Reach out and do good.

“Never underestimate the difference YOU can make in the lives of others; step forward, reach out and help with graciousness.”   Pablo

3.  Dare To Dream!

If there was ever a notion that my husband and I  wanted to impress upon our children, it was that they should dream big, work hard and surround themselves with good people.  Most “overnight” success stories that we hear of, are often about people who are persistent in achieving their goals despite having to wrangle with many trials and errors along the way.  These individuals show great thoughtfulness in making decisions and are always willing to learn; they also seem to have equal parts of depth in character and humility of heart…making them a powerful force against the words and actions of naysayers who would tell them that their dreams are impossible!

“I am always blown away by the good and dedicated people who help hold our society together with their dreams.”  Jeff Chaplin

Make A Difference In The New Year!

I believe that we are put on this earth to realize God’s plan for each of us and make the world a better place.  As we look forward to the New Year, it’s my deepest desire that together we will raise the standard of living well by implementing more fully the power of our beliefs, the decency of our actions and the fulfillment of our collective dreams!

God's plan for you quote.

“Stand for something.  Make your life mean something.  Start where you are with what you have.  You are enough.”  Germany Kent

Please inspire us with some of your dreams and aspirations for the coming New Year.  

–Best wishes, Mary 


I Believe!

I Believe!

It’s hard to believe that Christmas day is almost here!  If you’re at all like me, it’s easy to find yourself speeding through December with a certain degree of panic as you get caught up in all the “busy-ness” of the holiday season.  Luckily, there are always thoughtful reminders around that help me turn my heart towards Christ and refocus more on what really matters most, as well as the basic fundamentals of what I believe that make life more meaningful…not just this time of year, but all year long.

I Believe!

“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”  The Polar Express

What I Believe…

I believe… in God and His son Jesus Christ!  I believe in God because I have experienced His goodness and mercy; I know He believes in me too!

I believe...in God!

“For God so love the world that He gave His only begotten son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.”  John 3:16  

I believe… in the power of prayer.  I believe that prayer is the most powerful weapon against trials, the most effective medicine against sickness, and the most valuable gift to offer for someone you love!


“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in sincere prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”  Mark 11:24 

I believe… in working hard.  My parents taught me early in life that if you work hard and are kind, amazing things happen!

I Believe...I can do all things through Christ!

“Some people dream of success…while others wake up and work hard at it!”  Winston Churchill

I believe… that forgiveness is the ultimate act of love.  It takes a strong person to say sorry, but an even stronger person to forgive; and perhaps the person we need to forgive the most–is ourselves!

Forgiveness quote.

“Forgive, and you will be forgiven.”  Luke 6:37 

I believe… that with hope all things are possible.  One of the first things I learned in nursing school was to never give my patients a reason to lose hope; with hope your spirit soars and miracles happen!

Hope quote by Pres. Dieter Uchtdorf.

“Let your hope keep you joyful, be patient in your troubles, and pray at all times.”  Romans 12:12

I believe… that most people are good!  If you listen to the nightly news, you might lose faith in mankind–but I choose to see the goodness in others…until they show me otherwise!

Ann Frank quote.

“Do to others whatsoever you would like them to do to you.”  Matthew 7:12

Mostly, I believe… in love!  As I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize, more than ever before, that time has a way of showing us that what really matters most is opening our hearts and loving genuinely–everything else is just extra sprinkles on our ice cream sundae of life!

I believe in love!

“Love must be sincere.  Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.  Be devoted to one another in love.  Honor one another above yourselves.”  Romans 12:9-10

Merry Christmas everyone, and best wishes for the happiest New Year!

What are some of the beliefs you hold dear in your life?