Reviews

Reviews are a wonderful thing. I almost always review a product if given a chance. And as a side note, I rarely review books because I just don’t read as much as I once did. I do a lot of reviews through Trip Advisor.

I write a review because I know how extremely helpful they are to me when I purchase an item, or go on vacation, or eat at a new restaurant. (Also a thing of the past…;)) I rely heavily on them. They have usually been pretty accurate as well. If I read about a hotel being dirty, or the staff not friendly or helpful, and we stayed at that hotel, it was what the review said. Kind of rare that it was inaccurate. I don’t believe most people write reviews to be nasty or bring a product, or place down. If they are, you can generally see through that angst.

By their very nature, reviews are subjective. You are giving your opinion. Some people are more opinionated than others. Reviewers may look at the product as a half-full item, or half-empty. When I write a review, I try to highlight the positive, state the negative. If it’s mostly negative, again, I try to state it, rather than pound home my opinion. It’s better to let those reading it come to their conclusions objectively if possible.

As an author, book reviews are extremely important, and a huge marketing tool. Book sales, check-outs at the library, and reading groups are based on other’s opinion about that book. And it can be good or bad.

I greatly appreciate a reader taking the time to write a review. I love to talk with my readers and hear their take-away of my stories. I write what is important to me, things that I have struggled with in my own life. It is my therapy. If that reaches someone else and helps in any way…or gives hope, my purpose has been fulfilled.

Reviews are needed. Write them when available, state your opinion as objectively as possible.

Please, please keep this in mind. Don’t review a product you haven’t given a fair chance. If it’s a book, and you just can’t read it for whatever reason, state that. But please don’t review what you have not read. We’ve all had the experience of something not beginning so great and ending up to be the best thing ever.

My View is Not Your View

This photograph speaks to me on many different levels. Each time I look at it, I try to figure out all the reasons why. I’m going to list my thoughts, and please share yours on what this photograph does for you.

The sunlight coming in gives hope and a feeling of happiness, but the darker surroundings, and the bare bushes create a sense of loss or sadness.

The neat and tidy bricks, clean and glowing in the sunlight appeal to my joy of order in life. The metal banister on each side contributes to boundaries and almost gives you tunnel vision, causing you to focus on the person.

The person, definitely a man in my opinion. Because of the bold stance, one hand in the pocket. If you look very closely, there may be another person standing to the right. That is something I just now noticed after viewing this several times over the past few weeks.

Now for the part that causes confusion for me. Does that walkway extend into the water, almost fading to the edge of the horizon?  Is it a seawall of sorts? Notice the calm waves to the left and the more turbulent water on the right. And if it’s a seawall, it must be high-tide.

Does this photograph give you a sense of happiness or doom? Is it hope, or hopelessness that you feel when you look at it?

When I view this, and I have many, many times, I feel as though I have been on a long, tightly controlled journey. At the end of that uniform, brick walkway, I stand and the options are open to me. There is a vast array of choices.Some of them are a bit chaotic, but there is hope, and a definite feeling of joy as I look at the brilliant rays trailing over the water. I have come from the darkness surrounding me, the gloom, and I have survived. For me, that partially submerged walkway means that there is direction and all I have to do is keep walking toward the welcoming light.

I know that many will look at this and think, “Yeah, it’s a person enjoying the sunset, nothing more.” That same person will think that the glass is half-empty.

For me, life is so much more enjoyable because of our abilities to see, hear, taste and smell. I know it is for most of us. But do we really use those senses as we should? Do we take full advantage of them on a daily basis? Probably not. Use your senses as you study this photograph. Hear the ocean waves, smell and taste the salt water in the air and on your tongue. Feel the breeze.

I love photographs and pictures that speak to me. I like to try to find the hidden meaning, or what the photographer or artist were thinking at the time that the work was produced. I like to ‘get’ what they were communicating.

This photograph is so much more than what you see. After all, my view is not your view. I think this scene could capture our Christian journey here on this earth. So much of our lives are a struggle, clouded in darkness and the daily trials and tribulations. But if your hope is in Heaven, you follow that brick walkway and the future is open and brilliant at the end of your journey. It can still be a little chaotic as you travel, but the path is there, and all you have to do is follow. The Son is beckoning.

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