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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Little Bits of Beauty

Good Morning! It's been awhile - and I just increased my screen size to 120% so remind me to make an eye Doctor appointment sometime soon. My aging eyes are not the topic of today's article however - I just thought I'd say it out loud so I don't forget - because my memory seems to be going the same direction as my eyesight. Focus Crystal (pun intended)! 

Here I sit staring at the sun shining on Lake Michigan; I am undoubtably blessed beyond measure. That also is not the topic of today's article. 

Today I want to tell you about my deep thoughts while mowing the lawn. Stick with me - it's better than it sounds initially. 

 A few years ago my friend Jim insisted we needed a zero turn mower at the church. I teased him that he had better stick around to drive it because I was the only other person who knew how and I was already the organist, janitor, and administrator at the church. Unfortunately, Jim is in Heaven now - well, I mean it's fortunate for him, unfortunate for me. I now mow the lawn at church. Don't tell anyone, I secretly love this job. I'm not a huge fan of the getting dirty part, but I love the sun on my shoulders, the music in my earbuds, and the alone time. I also love the way the lawn looks when I'm done - it's like a magic carpet! 

This past Thursday as I was mowing I drove past the North side of the building and it was nothing special. I stopped for a moment and just stared. I've been attending this church for 42 years. This is where I've laughed and cried and when I'm inside, one of my favorite "jobs" is to go into the Sanctuary and turn on the lights and prepare for Divine Service. The sun streams through the stained glass windows and it creates so much beauty I'm often overcome with emotions. Yet, I guess I've never looked at the exterior wall. The stained glass actually appears to be nothing special. Even from a few feet away it's more of a muddy brown/grey and you can't make out the individual pieces or the art that it is. 
 I made a few more passes with the mower (the entire job takes six hours alone) and the entire time I was thinking about those stained glass windows. Little fragments, joined together to form something that is only beautiful when the sun shines through it. Isn't that what we are too? Small fragments of varying size and color; life's experiences (good and bad) held together by something stronger than those individual moments. An artform that isn't fully experienced outwardly, but once you see the inside you realize the true beauty? When the SON shines through us we are fully realized and recognized? 

Most days I feel pretty muddy grey/brown on the outside, don't you? The imperfections. The mistakes...the many mistakes... The things I could have done better or the things I should have done and didn't or didn't do and should have. A compilation of good days, bad days, long nights, tears, joys, all bound together to create something that is only beautiful to those who are willing to step inside. 

I am going to leave you with those thoughts today and as always, I'd love to hear from you - so please leave a comment or reach out. I'd also like to invite you to visit me at Church the next time you find yourself in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. I'd love for you to see the beauty shown in this picture and experience the beauty of everything I love at Good Shepherd. We offer a Divine Service Wednesdays at 6:30pm and Sundays at 9:15am and you can find us online too on our youtube channel:

Now for today's questions:

*what do you look at differently as an adult that you maybe didn't appreciate in your youth?
*what is your favorite part of church?
*what do you do when you feel broken to help you shine again?

In case no one has told you yet today - THE WORLD IS A BETTER PLACE BECAUSE YOU ARE IN IT!


Wednesday, May 8, 2024

5 Stars for Roslyn Cohn's "Who Saved Who" - review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto


Who Saved Who by Rosyln Cohn

Thanks to WOW! for another chance to participate in an excellent book blog tour. 

5 Stars for Roslyn Cohn's "Who Saved Who" - review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

Who Saved Who by Roslyn Cohn is such a touching book. If you've never had a pet, you'll still love everything about the heart and soul of Who Saved Who. This book delves into the importance of relationships and love (specifically with our furry friends). Cohn does a most beautiful job taking thoughts and emotions and getting them on paper and touching the hearts of readers. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has experienced LOVE, longs for LOVE, or knows anything about LOVE. Well written and absolutely a joy to read! 

Here's more about her book:

Growing up in beautiful Bohemian 1970s Marin County, the daughter of a funny pawnbroker-jeweler with vision who knew the streets and a warm, independent Mom turned Naturalist-Animal Rights Activist, Roz is an award-winning actress who spent 20 years in NYC, where she worked on stages from the size of a postage stamp to Broadway. 

Roz begins Who Saved Who with her unique parents and upbringing which is so crucial in understanding both her and her journey during 2022. While living in a post-Pandemic world, her career on hold and with politics and the environment in a persistent state of toxic tension, there was little left of life to be desired, so believed Marin County raised and NYC ripened Roz. Told through words, pictures, and video, “Who Saved Who” is an honest, sometimes funny, many times moving, and ultimately joyous journey of 2022 with a woman who was lost. With messages from the Other Side and the words that her Mother said to her years ago, “We save dogs, Roz, that’s what we do,” Roz was able to climb out of deep sadness and found a purpose ignited she didn’t know was flickering inside.

In “Who Saved Who,” readers may recognize their own journey in loving dogs – perhaps heal themselves from the loss of their own beloved furry family member – and best of all, readers may find their hearts open to saving their next canine companion. “Who Saved Who” does more than warm the heart, it can help heal the spirit. It’s an easy and fulfilling read – paws down.

ISBN-13: 979-8865682363
Print Length: 157 pages

Purchase a copy of the book on Amazon. You can also add it to your list on Goodreads.

About the Author, Roslyn Cohn

Roslyn Cohn is an actress who has worked from stages the size of a postage stamp to Broadway with the likes of Tony Randall, Jack Klugman, Jerry Stiller, Julie Hagerty, and Ellen Greene as well as appeared in TV, film, and commercials. Roz has won awards in Intimate Theatre (known as 99 Seat) in Los Angeles; awards for her Short “Essential Tremors” about her neurological disorder; and in 2013, with Jake Anthony and Joshua Finkel, co-wrote and stars in the groundbreaking, Broadway World Award-nominated “diffiCult to leave,” about her 23 years in the Cult of Scientology. The entire show lives on her YouTube channel: RoslynCohn. You can visit her at: #WhoSavedWho #ShelterDogsRock #AdoptDontShop

You can find her online at:

--- Interview by Nicole Pyles

WOW: Congrats on your book Who Saved Who! What inspired you to write this book? 

Roslyn: I use Facebook (FB) as a journal in many ways. People had been following my journey of buying this house out of dire necessity for Fluke and Diva. I don't want to give too much away in the book, but when Fluke became suddenly ill, I had a legion of people already plugged into when he'd gone through his knee surgery. It was like a mini-series, reading about our lives together - Fluke, Diva, and the Human who lives with them. As my journey took a course no crystal ball could envision, I was gaining more and more readers on FB. By the time this miraculous thing happened, literally hundreds were watching the birth of the pups. It was my FB friends who urged me to write the book as each entry had them laughing and crying in my storytelling. It was those FB friends who inspired me for I knew my story would help those grieving the loss of their beloved pets and also give awareness of the gifts shelter dogs give us. My Mom always said I was a writer along with being an actress and I trusted her words.

WOW: I love that your personal sharing on Facebook led you to creating this memoir. You captured many profound emotions so well in this memoir. What was your writing process like to capture these feelings in such a great way? 

Roslyn: When the pups were about 4 weeks old I was able to move them into the living room. I would pour myself a martini, and for the next two hours, I would write starting from the time when I adopted Maui & Kona. I knew that I had three weeks to get this part of the journey written and the story literally poured out of me. The original title of the book was "Who Saved Who or The Book That Wrote Itself" because that is what happened. The story literally poured out of me in laughter and tears. When the pups were transferred to their final foster, I started writing about all the dogs in my life but then felt it would be too long of a read. I wanted this book to move people and be an easy read. My family is very interesting and knew I had to start there, quickly catch people up w/all the shelter dogs in my life and then focus on 2022, a year where I no longer wanted to be alive. My shelter dogs saved me. Fluke and Diva got me through the pandemic where I lost all traction in my acting career, didn't work for 3 1/2 years due to the fear of getting Covid, and then I started dealing with the worst loss of my life in losing Fluke so suddenly. When Diva crossed over I had been working with the animal communicator, Pam, and it was Fluke who pulled me from the brink and then I got Maui and Kona....and the miracle happened. A woman who was lost was suddenly charged with beautiful, innocent lives who would have been snuffed out had I not rescued Maui and Kona. It's a profound journey and lesson I hope all readers benefit from.

WOW: What an incredible experience. Why did you decide to independently publish? 

Roslyn: I didn't want to waste any time getting it out there to help others in grief and all the dogs in shelters. While this book is about my dogs, I feel cats fall into this predicament as well. I have no real stats a literary agent would be interested in and my only purpose for publishing it was to inspire others to adopt their next furry family member from a shelter.

WOW: I can understand that. I truly believe this is a must-read book for anyone who loves their pets. What do you hope people walk away feeling after finishing your book? 

Roslyn: Aw, you're making me well up because this is why I wrote the book - thank you. I wanted to die. I didn't know if I would act again and didn't feel I had a worthwhile purpose here any longer. I sense there are others who went through deep tragedy after the Pandemic and could relate. Our animals pulled us through. I want people to experience what happened to me and go through their own loving memories of the dogs in their lives. I want them to laugh, to cry, to go out and adopt a shelter dog....and if they can't have one for whatever reason, the shelters are in dire need of volunteers and that is a very noble endeavor. You're still giving to these amazing beings!

"I want people to experience what happened to me and go through their own loving memories of the dogs in their lives. I want them to laugh, to cry, to go out and adopt a shelter dog. And if they can't have one for whatever reason, the shelters are in dire need of volunteers and that is a very noble endeavor."

WOW: I truly hope people do! You are an actor by trade. Did your acting experiences inform your writing in any way? If so, how? 

Roslyn: Actors are storytellers. If you are an actor, you are used to all different kinds of writers and knowing how to tell the arc of a story. It was super helpful to be a storyteller who gives voice to a writer's words. All I wanted was to be authentic and move people in their hearts and to action in saving these creatures.

WOW: That's so cool. Tell me about the non-profit you are donating to through the publication of this book. 

Roslyn: I am donating to two. Hank's Legacy Foundation enabled me to care for Maui's pups, and there is no way I could have done this without Shelby Erashidy, whose foundation I am also giving funds to East Valley Animal Shelter, where I got Fluke, Maui, and Kona...and inadvertently 8 pup pups. 500 dogs are euthanized DAILY in the LA Animal Services world. This is a problem we Humans can fix through education, spaying, and neutering. I want to make a dent in this terrible, needless issue. If we could end backyard breeders and puppy mills, spay, neuter, and let responsible breeders do their job, we wouldn't have the need for shelters. We can fix this!!! I know I say I am giving 10% of the proceeds to Hank's Legacy, but the truth is that I've given probably 200% to both Hank's Legacy Foundation and East Valley Animal Shelter. Regardless of how the book sells, I will continue to do so. It would be so helpful if people would buy the book, though, as it does help...and hopefully, it will spur people to donate to their local shelters as well.

WOW: You are making such a difference! What are you working on now that you can tell us about? 

Roslyn: After the puppies left I did The Laramie Project in Los Angeles. It's a play about how the city of Laramie deals with the tragic murder of Matthew Shepard. It's a sacred play and we've won two Los Angeles Awards as Best Ensemble. Then I shot a short that's getting ready to be released by a filmmaker who saw Laramie (work begets work) and was in A Very Die Hard Christmas Musical which is being given new life next December in two very exciting venues, one being in another Country, which I cannot say too much more about....but it would be an experience of a lifetime! And I continue to audition for Film/TV/Theatre/Commercials/Voiceover...Ah, the life of a thespian)) It's my dogs who give me the Greatest Joy!!! #ShelterDogsRock #AdoptDontShop #WhoSavedWho

WOW: I can't wait to see what you come up with next! Thank you again for joining us.

Who Saved Who by Roslyn Cohn Blog Tour

---- Blog Tour Calendar

April 15th @ The Muffin
Join us at The Muffin as we celebrate the launch of Who Saved Who by Roslyn Cohn. Stop by and read an interview with the author and enter for your chance to win a copy of her book.

April 16th @ Pages and Paws
Visit Kristine's blog for her review of Who Saved Who by Roslyn Cohn. 

April 18th @ Sarandipity's Designs
Visit Sara's blog for an interview with the author and a giveaway of an e-book of Who Saved Who.

April 18th @ Words from the Heart
Join Linda for her review of Who Saved Who by Roslyn Cohn.

April 20th @ A School Librarian in Action
Join Zarah for her review of Who Saved Who by Roslyn Cohn.

April 22nd @ Word Magic
Join Fiona for a spotlight of Who Saved Who by Roslyn Cohn.

April 25th @ Knotty Needle
Visit Judy's blog for her review of Who Saved Who by Roslyn Cohn.

April 27th @ Chapter Break
Visit Julie's blog for her interview with Roslyn Cohn.

April 29th @ Boys' Mom Reads
Visit Karen's blog for her review of Who Saved Who.

May 1st @ A Storybook World
Join Deirdra for her spotlight of Who Saved Who.

May 3rd @ Weaving a Webb
Visit Jodi's blog for her review of Who Saved Who.

May 5th @ A Wonderful World of Books
Visit Joy's blog for a spotlight of Who Saved Who.

May 7th @ World of My Imagination
Visit Nicole's blog for her review of Who Saved Who.

May 9th @ Bring on Lemons
Visit Crystal's blog for her review of Who Saved Who.

May 10th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion
Join Linda for her interview with Roslyn Cohn about her memoir Who Saved Who.

May 10th @ The Faerie Review
Join Lily for her spotlight of Who Saved Who.

May 11th @ Sara Trimble's blog
Visit Sara's blog for her review of Who Saved Who.

May 13th @ Freeing the Butterfly
Visit Michelle's blog for her interview with the author Roslyn Cohn.

May 15th @ The Mommies Review
Join Glenda for her review of Who Saved Who.

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Enter to win a copy of Who Saved Who by Roslyn Cohn! Fill out the Rafflecopter form for a chance to win.  The giveaway ends April 28th at 11:59 pm CT. We will choose a winner the next day and announce in the Rafflecopter widget and follow up via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, May 4, 2024

5 Stars for Finding Fran by Nancy Christie - a review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

Finding Fran by Nancy Christie

I'm so excited to participate in a WOW! Women on Writing Book Blog Tour - and this is an amazing book - 5 Stars without a doubt! 

5 Star Review by Crystal J. Casavant-Otto

I've been busy at work lately and there's all the busy-ness of having teens, a business, and small children can be overwhelming. I sat down to start reading Finding Fran and I couldn't put it down! This amazing book by Nancy Christie took me away from my reality and helped me laugh and smile. My kids were asking what I was reading on my tablet because I didn't have my normal serious mom face on! I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys leaving their own life for awhile and experiencing things from the perspective of someone much more interesting for awhile!

Here's more about Finding Fran:

Once a best-selling romance novelist, 55-year-old Fran Carter is now dealing with a slow but steady drop in book sales and a major case of writer’s block, complicated by the knowledge that her lover, a professional photographer, has been on the wrong side of the camera (so to speak) with his models. (So much for her author brand, built on the premise that women in their fifties and beyond can still find love and happiness.) Her solution is to spend a week in isolation at a northern California bed-and-breakfast. There she hopes to resolve her professional and personal conflicts, and ultimately create a new and better future for herself by writing a new “story” for the Fran she wants to be!

ISBN-13: 979-8350942248
Print Length: 302 pages

Purchase a copy of Finding Fran on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and You can also add it to your GoodReads reading list.

Praise About Finding Fran

“I loved the premise of the romance writer floundering in a relationship herself and then finding her way. And I always enjoy reading about the lives of writers, even fictional ones. As a writer myself—and as a woman—I could so relate to Fran’s indecision, lack of confidence and self-doubt as well as be inspired by her pushing ahead despite it all.” ~ Dorothy Rosby, award-winning author and humor writer

“Nancy Christie is an author who has made a career of writing about women’s lives, and as a women’s fiction reader, I’m glad to have discovered her work. Christie’s strength is in her ability to thoroughly insert you into the life of her heroine, Fran. In Finding Fran, you learn about Fran’s floundering writing career and her relationship troubles. Fran is relatable, and I found myself rooting for her to pursue and earn the life she deserves.” ~ Monic Ductan, award-winning author

“With her Midlife Moxie series, author Nancy Christie has tapped into a long-overlooked, yet vital and thriving, world of women in mid-life. Sadly, so many books dealing in romance and achieving life goals only revolve around the younger woman, but Christie has wisely realized that ‘women of a certain age’—like her, like you, like me—have been dealing with heartbreak, pursuing true love, and achieving their wildest dreams from time immemorial. [In] Finding Fran, Christie delves into the shock and heartache of learning a so-called life partner has committed the ultimate betrayal that feels like a death, but leads to beauty, fulfillment, and self-awareness. Christie’s characters are complete studies of humans with all of their messy, imperfect vulnerabilities, who realize they are ultimately in control of their destinies—they just needed a little push.” ~ Jennifer Bowers Bahney, award-winning journalist and author

About the Author, Nancy Christie

Nancy Christie

Nancy Christie is the award-winning author of eight books—two novels: Reinventing Rita and Finding Fran; three short story collections: Mistletoe Magic and Other Holiday Tales, Traveling Left of Center and Other Stories and Peripheral Visions and Other Stories; two books for writers: Rut-Busting Book for Authors and Rut-Busting Book for Writers; and the inspirational book, The Gifts Of Change. Her short stories and essays have appeared in print and online publications, with several earning contest placement. The host of the Living the Writing Life podcast and the founder of the annual “Midlife Moxie” Day and “Celebrate Short Fiction” Day, Christie teaches writing workshops at conferences, libraries, and schools. She is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), the Florida Writers Association (FWA) and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA).

You can find her online:

Finding Fran by Nancy Christie WOW Blog Tour