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Sing For Your Supper!


ben wheeler

By Gini Rainey

I must say that one of the things that gives me great joy is being a part of a musical ensemble, whether it’s piano duets, playing the organ/piano/keyboard, hand bells, choir, or in the orchestra pit, I love making music with my friends.  Music has always been a huge part of my life.  My dad was a professional musician and circuit piano teacher who could pick up almost any instrument and play it.  My mom was a piano teacher and sat on the organ bench in nearly every denomination church you can name, so it just seemed like the natural thing for me to do, also.

Our church encourages its members to join small groups to help maintain a small group feeling while being a part of the larger congregation.  It just so happens that my choice has been the Chancel Choir.  This morning it provided me, not only to be a part of the singing group, but also to have the opportunity to play keyboard, thus making me even more happy!

Now, I must also admit, I have a problem with the mega-churches out there, but that being said, there is church here in town that, although it falls under the heading of mega, it has an amazing Celebration Choir/Orchestra that would definitely challenge the “small-group” rule for me.  With over 200 voices in the choir, I doubt it would fill that need, but this amazing group of voices has performed at Lincoln Center and also with such notable musicians as The East Texas Symphony, Sandi Patti, Don Moen, and Larnell Harris.  In an effort to raise funds for their trip in 2008 to New York City to perform at Lincoln Center, they published the “Celebration Cuisine” cookbook in 2007.  With hundreds of recipes contributed by members, this cookbook is filled to the brim with lots of great recipes and ideas

One of my dear friends, Sally Reed, has her recipe for Cheesy Potato Casserole included in this cookbook and it sounds absolutely easy and yummy.  First completely thaw a large bag of shredded hash browns.  Then mix them together with 4 to 5 chopped green onions, 2 cups of sour cream, 2 sticks of melted butter, 2 cups of grated Cheddar cheese and salt and pepper to taste.  Then pour into a greased 9×13 casserole dish and bake in the oven at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes until brown and bubbly.  Served as a side to just about any main course meat, this will make a perfect meal for Sunday lunch!


Book Review: “The Blue Cloak”

By Gini Rainey

The Blue Cloak by Shannon McNear

Set at the turn of the 18th century in Kentucky and Tennessee, The Blue Cloak is based on the true account of the Harpe family’s killing rampage along the Wilderness Trail.  McNear who is basically a Christian writer, struggled with the concept of the re-telling of such dynamically horrible events, but came to realize that this could become a story of redemption.

When Sally, the very young daughter of a Baptist preacher, marries the younger of the Harpe boys, many people have big misgivings about her choice of men, especially Sally’s best friend, Rachel. As Sally is leaving after the wedding festivities, Rachel hands her the gift of a packet that contains a beautiful indigo-dyed, woolen cloak. This cloak becomes a symbol of friendship, trust, and love throughout the book.

With an amazing skill for character development and research, McNear’s words succeed in weaving a tale filled with desperation, angst, deception, and ultimately forgiveness and love as the three Harpes, with their three communal women in tow, create murderous mayhem along the Wilderness Trail.

Although this book is not terribly long (255 pages) it is filled with more adventure and romance than books twice its length.  Definitely a page-turner, you might find yourself unable to put it down.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2020 – Barbour Publications

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BOOK REVIEW: Sentient Beings in the Kingdom of Bhutan

Sentient Beings in The Kingdom of Bhutan by Laurie S. Chambers

By Gini Rainey

Chambers, who has spent over fifty years traveling the world seeking to understand the complexity of being human, has written a lovely book about the peaceful kingdom of Bhutan.  Located in the Himalayan mountains, Bhutan’s people have formed a unique relationship with the animals sharing their space in this beautiful area.

While the cover might lead you to think this is a children’s book, it is filled with the complexity of human/animal relationships.  In a place where all living things matter, Chambers has managed to capture the beauty of both the sights and principles of the Bhutanese and subtly implores that we all take on these loving and caring and grateful people.

And don’t be mistaken, there are at least three levels presented in her book.  One that appeals to the seeker of truth and peace, one that encourages the young child to live a life of appreciation and love, and one that captures the eye of the seeker of visual beauty.  This is not a book to be read straight through.  Rather, it would be a wise and intelligent thing to read each page for its own merit and value and digest and internalize the message that each one has to offer.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2019 – Balboa Press

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BOOK REVIEW: Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens


By Gini Rainey

Imagine, if you will, a shack in the middle of the backwater marshes of the Atlantic Ocean in North Carolina.  The setting is as raw as the story that Owens tells about the abandonment and coming-of-age of young Kya.

Left behind by her entire family at the age of six, Kya learns more about life and survival in a short time than most people learn in a lifetime.

Ms. Owens’, no stranger to the publishing community having several books in print, paints a world full of wonder and discovery as Kya explores the beauty of nature around her as she struggles to stay alive.

Living on the edge of a community that neither helps her nor understands her, she grows into a beautiful, highly intelligent young woman with the help of a young boy who was a friend of her brothers.

Expertly building characters you will come to either love or despise, Ms. Owens laces Where the Crawdads Sing with a hint of physical abuse, romance, and murder.

Owens has created a book that has everything necessary to keep the reader turning the pages to the surprise ending.

5 of 5 – Copyright 2018 – G. P. Putnam’s Sons

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