The Unexpected President : The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur

20171014_112315~01.jpgI mentioned previously that my goal for this year (and most likely the next couple as well) was to read a biography of each US President, preferably in chronological order. I made it through the first five without incident (excepting the James Monroe bio, which took an extended amount of time) and then decided to take a break before diving into our 6th President, John Quincy Adams. During my break, I read several other non-Presidential books before receiving an email from a book publisher. This email asked if I would be interested in an advance copy of a biography about our 21st President, Chester A Arthur, with my only payment being a review of it. I agreed and here we are! The book I just finished is called “The Unexpected President : The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur” by Scott S. Greenberger.

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US Presidents One through Five


I mentioned previously that I had stumbled across Best Presidential Bios when I started planning my 2017 reading goals. Considering how often you write things out there into the ether and they go unanswered, it has been fantastic to read both this gentleman’s reviews/thoughts AND get responses to my own from someone who has gone down this Presidential bio road as well. It might be considered “cheating” to regurgitate my comments from HIS page over on my own here but at least it’s not “plagiarizing” 🙂

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IMAG1176~01 The catharsis that comes from putting pen to paper is indescribable. It seems, however, that the last few things I’ve written that truly came from the heart were in response to the passing of someone we knew. I’m not happy about that, but I don’t know how to react other than to get my thoughts down in writing as an attempt to give them some degree of permanence.

The relationships we create and foster in our lives influence us in a myriad of ways that we may not see or realize until later. I would like to share with you, dear reader, the little that I knew of a great guy who lost his battle with cancer today.

Continue reading Shawn

2016 In Books

emersonWhen I discovered Goodreads several years ago, I had no idea that such a place even existed online. Discovering a place where fellow book nerds congregated and discussed books they were reading, books they wanted to read, and all else literary made me incredibly happy. It also gave me the option of cataloging all the books I’ve read and consolidating my scattershot reading habits into some definable “goals”.

After the passing of a young friend of mine in 2015, I made 2016 the year that I immersed myself in a world of reading in which I gained spiritual, philosophical, and overall educational insight. Overall, I read 40+ books, but I’ll only touch on what I feel were the top ten I read in 2016.

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My “God Story”

man-prayingThe latest sermon series at our church has resulted in the pastor asking us to share our testimony with people or, in his own words, our “God Story”.

Considering the fact that my wife and I discussed it both among ourselves and with our small group last week and I’m currently sitting at a Nissan dealership getting a warranty repair done on my wife’s car, I suppose now is as good a time as any to “formalize” it.

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Leah Memory #26

The day that Leah passed, my father came to the school to let me know. After the initial shock, right there in the principal’s office, we headed home in silence. After sporadic bouts of crying, my father suggested that we write a poem or something to Leah, hopefully something therapeutic. Upon completion, my father submitted them to the local paper.

My father’s;

“Little Leah Love of My Life”

Eight years you were here blessing everyone who came near
You couldn’t run, skip, or dance
I know you would have, if given the chance
You’re with Jesus now and Heaven will be a better place
All because of your lovely little face
I’ll miss you and an empty place will forever be in my heart
For you this isn’t the end, but only a fresh new start
In Heaven, you’ll have no more pain
Only sunshine and never any rain
You’ll laugh and sing and skip and dance
You’ll never again wait for the one little chance
The ballerina you always wanted to be
Will be in the spotlight
The way it should be
I’ll see you again when Jesus says it’s time for me
Until then, I’ll miss you.

Your loving father, Jim Miller


And mine;

“To Leah”

Eight years you were on this earth
First came conception, then came birth
Next you grew to the age of one,
That was the year that you shone like the sun
Then you hit two, and after that there was three,
Those were the times you laughed with me
And there were the ages of four and five,
Those were the years you really came alive
After five, there was six and seven
We were sure you would die and go to heaven
When you hit eight, we thought it was great
That was when we believed that God decided to wait
But now we know, as you liked to show,
That God needed another angel
You can dance and you can sing,
You can do anything!
Leah, God is the only thing I love more than you
I’ll cut back on the headaches

p.s. Tell me what it’s like up there!


Thank you were obliging me with this little project, dear reader.