Friday, October 31, 2008

LET’S GET POLITICAL

Okay, so I’ve been thinking a lot about the upcoming election and I’m excited to take part by voting. But then I got to thinking that maybe not everyone is as excited as me to vote.
So as a result of many nights of sleep deprivation with a newborn, I have reached a state of mind where funny things are happening.

Remember the popular song by Olivia Newton John, Let’s Get Physical?
Here’s the chorus, in case you can’t remember:
CHORUS
Let's get physical, physical, I wanna get physical, let's get into physical
Let me hear your body talk, your body talk, let me hear your body talk

You’re singing along aren’t you? It’s okay that’s good. Keep singing because I’ve added my own lyrics to the chorus to get you all jazzed up and ready to vote… Here you go, sing with me now.

Let’s get political, political, I wanna get political, let’s all get political
Let’s hear it for the USA, on election day, Let me see your ballot box

Let’s get political, political, I wanna get political, let’s all get political
Let’s hear it for the USA, on election day, Let me see your ballot box

Let’s all get out and vote on November 4, 2008!

It’s okay if you don’t sing, but please be sure to vote. Even if you have not already registered, you can still vote. All you need to do is register at the voting facility which may take a little extra time—but did you know that your employer is required by law to allow up to 2 hours off for you to get your vote in? So we really don’t have any excuse.
If you haven’t registered, please be sure to have your driver’s license with current address and if it isn’t current, bring a bill or something that has your address on it along with your driver’s license or other picture ID.

This is an extremely important election which I think will be a very close race. It is just a presidential election either, there are many state, city, and county offices throughout the USA up for election. Let’s all do our part by voting.

Let’s get POLITICAL!

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Why We Love to Celebrate Halloween

Halloween comes around every year and I hear lots of people who love it and lots who hate it. I think the people who hate it could be classified along with someone who says, “Bah Humbug!” maybe they say, “Bah pumpkins and candy!” instead.
I enjoy Halloween because I think it’s FUN! And that’s the key to enjoying Halloween: Have fun!
Are you one of those who is on the fence about Halloween? Let me share with you a few reasons why this holiday isn’t all about scaring and spooking.
When I think of Halloween, the first images that come to my mind are not goblins, witches, and spooks—rather I think of hayrides, frosted pumpkin cookies, and beautiful fall leaves. I think that’s why I’ve always enjoyed Halloween. It’s not a scary holiday, it’s a holiday full of fun family traditions and opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the season.

I love carving pumpkins and over the years we’ve become a little more sophisticated with our carving. Now you can easily pick up a pumpkin carving kit, complete with a mini-jigsaw and complex patterns to make the coolest looking pumpkins. You can also look up pumpkin carving patterns on the internet. There are all kinds of cartoon characters and other fun designs you can carve into your own jack-o-lantern.

One of our family traditions is to make delicious sugar cookies in delightful Halloween shapes like pumpkins, witches, cats, etc. I have always loved decorating a pumpkin-shaped cookie with candy corns for eyes and M&M’s for nose and mouth. My mom has a delectable sugar cookie recipe which makes a huge batch. In fact, growing up we often gave out sugar cookies to trick-or-treaters! Yummy! Now that’s a treat!

Here’s the recipe: Makes about 45 cookies
Mom’s Sugar Cookies
1 ½ cups sugar
2 eggs
½ cup butter (one cube)
1 cup sour cream
¾ tsp. vanilla
½ tsp baking soda dissolved in sour cream
1 tsp. baking powder
5 cups flour

Cream sugar, eggs, butter, sour cream, vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Chill for at least 2 hours. Roll out and cut cookies.
Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes.
* The best tip is to not allow the cookies to even get brown. Barely done makes a tender, soft, and delicious cookie!

Other Halloween activities that I enjoy include raking leaves and jumping into huge piles. I love the smell of leaves and the crunchy sound when they get caught in my hair. I especially enjoy watching my two little girls with their plastic rakes trying to make a big pile of leaves.
Before Halloween comes, we like to go for a quick drive up the canyon (lucky for us it’s nearby) and view the wonderful colors of leaves ranging from pinkish red to bright orange and dark brown.
I hope that you can make this Halloween special for your kids. You don’t have to concentrate on legends, scary spooks, and witches—instead concentrate on having FUN!

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Friday, October 24, 2008

What’s MySpace?

MySpace.com is the granddaddy of all the social networks—a place for friends.

I set up my new MySpace account last week with a little trepidation of what I was doing. I tend to be on the cautious side when it comes to social networking and since it seems everybody and their dog has a MySpace account, I wanted to do it right.
Well it’s not very user friendly, so I got my page set up and then was interrupted. I came back twenty minutes later to find that my profile said I was SINGLE and I had one new friend and message from that friend named TOM.
When I looked at his picture and saw that he seemed to be a guy about my age, I thought, “Oh crud! I’ve already messed up!” I’m not single—I’m happily married with 3 kids, thank you very much—so I wasn’t venturing into the social networking scene to make those kinds of new friends. But after a few frantic moments in which I figured out how to change my profile to MARRIED and how to check my message from TOM, everything was okay.
WHEW! Turns out TOM is some bigwig at MySpace.com who is everyone’s friend because as soon as you join he sends you a message about MySpace and then continues to send updates and info about the website.
It was kind of funny though. My husband laughed when I told him that I had set up a MySpace page, I was single and already had a male friend.
So I got the first bump figured out and I’m still working on the rest, but here’s some cool facts I found out about MySpace from my favorite friend, Wikipedia.com

MySpace is a social networking website offering an interactive, user-submitted network of friends, personal profiles, blogs, groups, photos, music and videos for teenagers and adults internationally. Its headquarters are in Beverly Hills, California, USA,[1] where it shares an office building with its immediate owner, Fox Interactive Media; which is owned by News Corporation, which has its headquarters in New York City. In June 2006, MySpace was the most popular social networking site in the United States.[2] According to comScore, MySpace has been overtaken by main competitor Facebook in April 2008, based on monthly unique visitors.[3] The company employs 300 staff[4] and does not disclose revenues or profits separately from News Corporation. The 100 millionth account was created on August 6, 2006[5] in the Netherlands[6] and the site counted approximately 106 million accounts on September 8, 2006,[7]. MySpace.com attracts 230,000 new users per day.[8]
There’s quite a bit more information about this social networking company if you’d like to learn more, click here.

So I now have a MySpace account and have been trying to learn the ins and outs of it for the past week. I wanted to learn more so I could share with you what I think about MySpace. I should probably preface this by saying that I love blogging and since that is what I have experience with, I’ll be comparing MySpace a little to blogging.
It’s very easy to join MySpace, in fact here’s an invite if you’d like to start your own MySpace page.

It seems like using MySpace is kind of another alternative to blogging, but a little more up close and personal with your friends. The layout is a little different than blogs though because the emphasis is more on WHO you are, rather than what you write. There’s lots of places for pictures of you, your friends, etc. Places for you to post videos, bulletins, even your own playlist of music you enjoy which you can share with others.
I’ve noticed there are tons of music connections and different celebrities who use MySpace as well. MySpace has even sponsored “virtual record deals” for some of their music accounts.
I have to say that I’m excited about MySpace for one good reason. I found one of my friends again and got to see updates on her family. We’ve been friends since first grade but I haven’t seen her for about 10 years.
I found Blogger to be much more user friendly as far as setting up my own page. I’m still trying to figure some things out with MySpace and I can’t even find a help section there.
As I learn more about MySpace, I will be posting a part 2 with a little more information about this form of social networking.
In the meantime, here’s a few quick tips for setting up your page.
Although MySpace says that you must be 13 to have a page and cannot pretend to be under 18 if you're older--I can't see anyway that they have of actually enforcing this rule--so Be Careful! It's a network for friends, so use it that way.

You can choose to keep your profile private and if you don’t want to share any information about yourself, you can build your MySpace page to your own comfort level.
You can upload photos, add friends, and listen to music.
You can personalize your page background
If someone requests you as a friend, you don’t have to accept. First go to their MySpace page to see who they are, their profile, who their friends are, etc. to help you make the decision.
Bottom line, I prefer blogger.
I also want to remind you that yourLDSneighborhood has a safe friendly social networking group you can join for free and I would feel more comfortable about joining there because there’s a little more control to the content. It's called Neighborhood and Friends Click here to see what it's all about.
If you want to check out the MySpace page for yourLDSneighborhood, click here

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Month Old


Our sweet baby boy is already one month old!
It's amazing how fast these little ones grow. I could tell Dawson had grown longer when I gave him a bath the other day in his little bath tub. I think he's going to be pretty tall. He is a big eater and is doing really well. We're still working on trying to get more sleep at night.


Gracie and Maggie just adore him and want to hold him all the time. When Dawson cries, Maggie follows me around saying, "Can I hold him for just one minute? Please."
Gracie loves to hold him and she actually does a pretty good job. She's started picking him up by herself which is scary and I'm going to have to find a place he can rest where no one can reach him. :)
The girls also love to sing to him and soothe him when he's crying. They're good little helpers.

I just love cuddling with him because I know that he won't be this small for very long. He's starting to make eye contact and smile now and it's so neat to see his little personality just starting to emerge.












Steve is thrilled to have a "Packer buddy" and has already started talking to Dawson about football. There's no shortage of love for this little guy. We're all excited he's here and excited to watch him grow and be a part of his life.

Monday, October 20, 2008

You’re Invited to a Voting Social


Need something to do on Tuesday, November 4th? Well, you are all invited to a voting social! Now, don’t stop reading just because you have voter apathy.

Yes, you read right. Voter apathy. It’s a common problem. Lots of us feel like our vote doesn’t count, but I want to jog your memory a bit.
Do you remember how close the election was in 2000? Do you remember the “hanging chads” in Florida and the recounting of the votes?
I remember and I was so proud I had voted and was part of that memorable and important election. My vote did count and yours will too.
My vote counted in the presidential race of 2004 as well, even if the margins weren’t as close. My husband and I stood in line with our baby for an hour and a half to exercise our right to vote.
Election 2008 promises to be a memorable one with every single vote counting. I want to encourage you to exercise the right that many people fought for and died for. Most white men have always had the right to vote as long as there was an election, but women and African Americans had to work harder to get their rights.
Amendment XV to the U.S. Constitution was passed by Congress February 26, 1869 and ratified February 3, 1870, this allowed black men to vote.

Did you know that in the late 1880s when all men despite color were supposed to be able to vote because of that amendment, many blacks were harassed, beaten, and threatened out of voting?
Did you know that in some cities so-called “literacy tests” were made up to discourage black voters? They had to pass this literacy test to vote, one of which included memorizing and reciting the entire constitution!! And there were many who passed this test, memorizing the full U.S. Constitution, in order to vote. I am so impressed by this because I can’t even quote the first two paragraphs and I doubt many voters today could either.
Many African Americans would continue to fight for their right to vote for decades. It wasn’t until President Johnson's Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed that all men really could vote.

In 1920, women received the right to vote in the United States with the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This did not come easily. It took many generations of supporters for women's suffrage lecturing, lobbying, and practicing civil disobedience to achieve what many Americans, at the time, considered a radical change to the Constitution.
Some women were jailed, harassed, and assaulted for rallying for their right to vote.

Now many of us don’t even exercise our right to vote.
And here we are today with no one standing in our way to get to the polls. It wasn’t that long ago, not ancient history by any means, when you certainly were exercising your right to vote to participate in an election. Our predecessors worked and gave up so much to gain their right to vote. I’m sure if they could talk to us, they would be full of sorrow that so many of us don’t even take the opportunity to vote. I’m sure they would encourage you to think about why they fought so hard to participate in an election.

Please invite your friends and neighbors to go with you to vote on Tuesday, November 4th. Go vote and then go out to lunch together to celebrate your patriotism. You don’t have to be a political guru to get involved and vote. I am far from “guru” status when it comes to politics, but there is so much information readily available about the candidates, it should be relatively easy to learn enough to decide who to vote for. Every vote counts and in a few short days, your vote can count in the Presidential election of 2008.

On November 4th you can vote in the presidential election. Here are the candidates.
Democratic ticket: Barrack Obama and Joseph Biden
Republican ticket: John McCain and Sarah Palin

One vote can make a difference!

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Friday, October 17, 2008

So What’s the Big Deal with Social Networking?

In this day and age there are so many ways to connect to people through the internet. If you’re like me, you might wonder which method is best for you. Or you might wonder why you would even want to be a part of a social networking group.
As part of the yourLDSneighborhood social networking block, it’s my job to educate you. This is fun because I’m learning along with you.
I’m pretty sure most of you have heard of MySpace and many have probably heard of Facebook. How about Bebo or Shelfari or Great Reads? There are tons of different social groups online. Some are geared more toward the younger crowd or at least that’s what their membership reveals and others have different subgroups for any type of person.
Over the next several weeks, I will be joining up with many of these social networks and then giving you the low-down on my experience.
If there is a social networking group you’ve wondered about and would like me to research, please leave the info in a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out.
I used to be paranoid about all the stuff online and becoming a part of it. I do still worry because there is definitely trash, but what I’ve found is that if you do a little homework you can find safe, easy, and effective ways to network on the internet.
So why do you want to network? I’ll give you a few examples.

*The number one reason is to find old and new friends. People like to find someone who shares common ground and by entering in certain preferences you can narrow down a search to find someone who shares your interests. There are groups for people who love to quilt, do family history, listen to music, sports, and on and on.
Perhaps you’ve lost touch with a friend. Through social networking on the internet, you just may be able to find them.

*Do you have a business you would like to promote? Social networking is a huge and now necessary way of spreading the word about your business.
My first published book will be coming out June 2009 and it is important for me to have a solid web presence to get the word out about my book.

*Just plain fun! Lots of people like to surf the web. Some of us are better at surfing than others. I’m here to help you learn to be an expert surfer, to find what you want and enjoy the ride. I want to help you “surf” without hitting any rocks along the way. So please let me know what questions you have and we’ll get started.

Our first social networking stop will be MySpace where I am busy setting up an account and learning a few tips to share with you next week.
In the meantime if you would like a very safe, fun, and easy way to get started with your own social network, I’d like to invite you all to come on over to the neighborhood and enjoy interaction with like-minded friends. http://www.neighborhoodandfriends.com/

Click here to see a post on my blog with more details about this new neighborhood. Stop by and say hello. I’m already a member of several groups.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Extra C

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness month and my fellow author friend, Rebecca Talley has put together a beautiful video of her son. Click here to watch it on YouTube I wanted to share it with you. It is very touching and shares a wonderful messge. The music is by C.S. Bezas, an incredibly talented musician and author.
You can visit Rebecca's website and find out how to win a copy of her book, Heaven Scent. It's a great read!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Rachelle’s Book Club: Speaking of Great Books


As I’ve mentioned before, social networking has many facets and I believe that what you read is very easily incorporated into conversations. It’s time for another book review! You’ll notice that I read from nearly every kind of genre and style and I hope to share enough variety in the books I read to spark your interest.

Yesterday I finished reading the new book by Toni Sorenson, Master. It’s a historical novel published by Covenant and an extraordinary read. If you enjoyed reading The Work and the Glory series by Gerald Lund, I think you will enjoy Master. This is because it is all about real events—the life of Christ—with a fictional character, Almon to guide you through his associations as a servant of Christ.
I have a deeper understanding and appreciation of Jesus Christ, our savior after reading this book. I didn’t know that just by reading this book, I would understand so many of the scriptures in the New Testament on a deeper level. I learned many details about Jewish life and customs and found an answer to a pressing question. Why couldn’t the Jews see who Jesus was and accept Him as their savior?
The answer is because the Jews misinterpreted their own scriptures to mean that, the Christ or Savior would deliver them from bondage from the Romans. Jesus Christ delivered us all from bondage, but it was a different kind—the bondage of sin. He opened a doorway to eternal life and gave us the gift of the atonement.
The Jews could not understand Jesus Christ’s teachings even though He tried in so many ways. He taught in parables, He spoke plainly, He led by example and still the Jews could not understand and so rejected Him.
The account of Jesus’ life in Master testifies of His true divinity. It brings to life His crucifixion as if you were really there and leaves the reader with a deeper understanding of His love for the apostles, even one who betrayed him—Judas.
Reading Master has renewed again my testimony of Jesus Christ and His teachings. I am so thankful for the gospel and I desire to be like Christ. It is so difficult, but after reading Master, I am reminded that if I try my best, Jesus Christ has made up the difference.
I hope that you will have the opportunity to read Master by Toni Sorenson. It is not just a “church” book, but a novel written to engage the reader on a mission to truly know our Savior, where He came from, His life and His mission.
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Friday, October 10, 2008

10 Tips For Being a Successful Socialite


We’re all different with varied interests, but no matter what our job or our interests, we use social skills every day. I hope some of these tips will help you to enjoy life even more, because nearly everything we do in life has some aspect of social abilities intertwined.
Here’s 10 tips for being a successful socialite.

1. Be a great conversationalist. Don’t just talk about yourself, ask questions about others too. When you’re bursting to share a story or news, remember not to interrupt. Americans interrupt a lot with people we’re comfortable with and generally when we’re excited about our conversation, the volume gets louder and louder. In fact, when I traveled to England for a study abroad, the teachers reminded us not to talk too loud.

2. Be an attentive listener. This means really listening to what the person is saying instead of thinking about what you are going to say next. Remember to be polite and take time to acknowledge and digest what the person has said.

3. Find common ground to discuss. Once in a while, we all have to spend a little time talking with someone who we may think we have nothing in common with or maybe the person always talks about the same thing (which might be something we have absolutely no interest in). We can either begrudge this opportunity or we can find something to discuss. I love to read and what I’ve noticed is that even if someone is not an avid reader, they can still take part in a discussion on a favorite book they have read or how a work of literature has impacted them. Try it sometime, you might be surprised and this technique can also spare you from discussing unpleasant subjects.

4. Enjoy the variety of life. Realize there is so much more to life than what you personally have experienced. Maybe I don’t know anything about golf, but I can still share a conversation with someone who is passionate about it. This is one of the ways we learn, by listening to others.

5. Have an opinion but don’t be opinionated. You’ve met people like this before, right? They might be okay to talk to, but they are so overbearing when it comes to their opinions, you’d rather steer clear of them. It’s okay to have an opinion or different point of view, but it’s not okay to force-feed your views on others.

6. Laugh. Don’t take yourself too seriously, or others for that matter. Most of the nerves that people feel which make them slip up and say silly things are because they are taking the situation too seriously. Lighten up and remember, we’re all human.

7. Let go of negative self-fulfilling prophecies. So your social experiences don’t always go as planned? Don’t talk down to yourself, saying things like: “I’m shy.” “I’m too nervous to talk to her.” “My words always get jumbled up and I sound like an idiot.” Your brain hears these statements and believes them and your sub-conscious works to make sure they’re true.
Instead, give yourself a positive dose of self-talk. “I’m confident and can carry on a conversation with ease.” “I can talk to anyone and feel comfortable.” Really believe that today is the day to change yourself and your expectations for yourself. *This works for any life situation, not just social aspects.

8. Learn more about something that someone else loves. My husband loves football and I really don’t, but I know enough about the game and the players in the NFL that I was able to attend a Green Bay Packers game with him and have an awesome time! It really was a great experience and if I’d had a different attitude or hadn’t made an effort to learn about something he loved, I would’ve missed out. It really doesn’t take that much effort to learn enough about something to carry on a conversation with someone you care about (unless it’s my rocket-scientist brother—that takes a little more studying).

9. Be Positive. What are the attributes of that person that everyone always wants to talk to? Do you want to be around someone who is always negative and constantly complains? Me neither—so make sure you’re not that person. Think of the personality traits you admire in others and develop them in yourself.

10. Smile. Every social interaction can benefit from the light of a smile.

I found a great article on Dale Carnegie’s top 10 tips for improving your social skills. Click here if you’d like to read it.

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Monday, October 6, 2008

With a Click of the Mouse, Curiosity Killed the Cat

I do a lot of searching on the internet, my favorite is "googling," for my writing. I kept accidentally pulling up sites which were less than favorable. It was odd because a perfectly innocent search would bring up the strangest sites. I hated it when I clicked on these sites and was assaulted with a terrible image or bad language or just distasteful writing.

I am and always have been a very visual person. Images stay in my mind. For example, when I would study in my textbook in college and then need to bring the information to mind for a test, I could picture where I had read it in the textbook: on the right hand side of the page about ¾ down for example. Because of this, I was being affected by the sneaky internet pages coming up in my searches.

Sometimes I would look at a title of the search and wonder if it might be questionable material. Unfortunately, the only way I could find out at the time was by clicking on the link.
Now I have a friend called K9. It is a FREE advanced filtering system which I downloaded here
to my computer. Thanks to Jeff, my computer-smart brother in law for sharing the info with me.

K9 is so awesome because now I can search the web and never fear about accidentally stumbling on something I’d rather not see. If I click on something that is questionable, my K9 alert page comes up. There is a password in place and you can override any page, but I trust K9. There are people sifting through millions of pages every day and reporting them to K9 so they can be filtered out. But the best part is, that K9 is really smart. You can search things like ‘breast cancer’ and get the information you’re looking for. Old filtering programs would block anything that had questionable words in it, but K9 knows exactly what is on every page.

You can allow different levels of access on your computer. For example, K9 will automatically block facebook.com because it is a social networking page, which is a source of some problems for teens and children. Or you can choose to allow social networking all the time or just for 15 minutes at a time.

If I want to search for a photo on the web for my blog, I can tell K9 to allow a site which contains millions of photos for 15 minutes. Some of those millions of photos are probably questionable, but I’m not going to be searching for those.

I think that every single computer, in every single household should have K9 or a comparable filter. It doesn’t matter if you’re single, your kids are grown and gone, or you have a houseful of kids. All computers should have a filtering system.

Remember that I wasn’t looking for pornography or questionable material and I found it anyway. For some people, it only takes one wrong click to start on a pathway that can quickly spiral out of control. There is filth on the internet and it is too easy and too readily accessible. Don’t kid yourself that you’re exempt from the trash on the internet. I’d wager a guess that most people have accidentally stumbled upon something that made them cringe.

If you study into the problems with pornography and addiction, you most often will hear that it all started with one event. Maybe it was a magazine in a trashcan; nowadays it’s more than likely a click of the mouse. With one click of the mouse, curiosity can kill the innocence of youth. Don’t wait for it to happen. Take active measures today to protect your home, your family, yourself. No one can say that reading or looking at things that are unsavory doesn’t affect them. One click of the mouse can kill the Spirit in your home. We don’t want to open any more doorways for Satan and his influences to enter our home.

It will take less than five minutes today to download K9 and incorporate its system on your computer. The emblem of K9 is a shield and that is really what it is—a shield to protect yourself and your family. Put on that shield and take the first step against pornography in your home. Then utilize K9’s advanced internet monitor to see exactly what is filtering through your computer.
Return to the NeighborhoodAnd while you're there, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the LDS newsletterbrings you LDS articles, LDS products, LDS services, LDS resources and LDSinterviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.LDS Newsletter Subscriptions are FREE, and joining is easy.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Book Review: Gone with the Wind


I've mentioned before that I love reading and I like to review books regularly. I think that reading and discussing books is a wonderful way to network with others. You can learn a lot about a person by the books they read and what they think of them. It's a wonderful conversation starter. I encourage you all to ask someone about the book they're reading now or their favorite book and enjoy this form of social networking.
Just before I had my baby, I spent quite a bit of time lying down off an on during the day. Fortunately, I was able to pass the time nicely reading the outrageously long, but enjoyable book, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell, originally published in 1936.

As a younger reader, I was turned off by anything that seemed to be remotely romantic—instead hitting up the fantasy and mystery books. But imagine my surprise to find out that Gone with the Wind isn’t just a romance novel, but an epic look into the Confederate South struggling through the Civil War.

I enjoyed immersing myself into the culture of Scarlett O’Hara in 1861 and experiencing with her all the joys and sorrows of life during the Civil War and its aftermath. At 1,024 pages this book is atypical of the novels written today and that is one of the reasons it was fun to read. Today’s novels must move at a fast pace to keep up with the cinematic qualities expected by the consumer.

For the most part, we can’t revel in two pages of descriptive detail about the Georgian countryside, its red clay fields growing white bolls of cotton—we’re usually lucky to get a few paragraphs of descriptive detail in a modern novel. But Mitchell’s detail makes the plantation of Tara come to life, the reader actually steps back in time and experiences the emotions of the political strife during the Civil War in an interesting narrative that teaches as much as any history class on the topic.

What I found particularly intriguing was how Mitchell displayed slavery, abolition, the formation of the Ku Klux Klan, and subsequent segregation and racism. It was very interesting to see how she painted a picture of most southern farmers loving the slaves that were a part of their household like family. No, they weren’t treated as equals but they trusted them with the upbringing of their children. The Yankees were described as wanting to free the slaves but not wanting anything to do with them. They’d no sooner trust a slave with their child than a criminal.

Scarlett wonders at the Yankee’s ignorance when it comes to the value of a slave but she doesn’t realize why slavery needed to be abolished. I think it was hard for Scarlett to comprehend because her own slaves were so well treated that they wanted to stay with the Tara plantation. Reading this gave me a good look inside the minds of the people in the 1860s and their distorted way of thinking about the human race. I also found it comical that the slaves of great households esteemed themselves above white trash and their owners seemed to do the same. White trash, such as the Slattery’s in the book, were the lowest rung of the social ladder.

The social ladder was very important to this era and there were many strict guidelines for modesty, grieving, etiquette at parties, etc which was strictly adhered to. Again, I found the story so delightful and informative and felt that I was learning great detail about an era bygone without being bored to tears by a history book.
After the Civil War, many of the strict guidelines were encroached upon simply because the way of life for Confederate Southerners was forced to change so they could survive. They could no longer live by such formal social guidelines when many of them were working along side their freed slaves to keep food in their stomachs.

I think Gone with the Wind could definitely be looked at from many different angles. I chose to revel in the history and depth of detail of an era in history which helped form our nation. Others who read may pass over these details and instead focus just on Scarlett. I’m not sure what the intention of Margaret Mitchell was. We definitely come to know Scarlett, who is a courageous, albeit selfish woman. Through hundreds of pages we “watch” as Scarlett learns from her mistakes and finally becomes aware that she is not the center of the universe. Although sometimes her attitudes annoyed me and the methods she used to stay alive were questionable, I do admire her fiery spirit and ability to rise above trials.

I would like to mention that if you have only seen the movie and not the book, you have only scratched the surface of this epic story. I haven’t seen the movie for several years but in talking with others who have seen it recently and also read the book, I was assured that large parts of the book were left out. I’m certain that no movie could hold a candle to Mitchell’s intricate weaving of surroundings, feelings, and innermost desires voiced in the characters of this book.

If you have read Gone with the Wind, I would love to hear what you thought of it. What parts of the story stood out to you? Who was your favorite character or what was your favorite event from the book?
I really liked Rhett Butler; he was so shrewd and I loved how he could see through every fake pretense put upon him.
One of my favorite events was when Scarlett shot a Yankee soldier at Tara. It emboldened Scarlett to continue on fighting to survive and I think it was definitely a source of strength which she clung to, a memory that she would not lay down and be defeated, but would fight ‘til the end.
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