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Happy 239th Birthday Marines!

Happy 239th Birthday Marines!

Happy 239th Birthday Marines: A Message from the Commandant of the Marine Corps

In his birthday greeting 70 years ago, General Alexander Vandegrift, our 18th Commandant, noted that, “A birthday is a fitting time to peer backward – and forward.” That year, Marines reflected on an extraordinary year in combat during their amphibious drive across the Pacific. Despite the challenges and the horrific conditions, Marines prevailed at Guam, Saipan, and Peleliu. On 10 November 1944, Marines looked back with pride on their accomplishments – confident in their ability to meet future challenges.

In 2004, 20,000 Marines deployed to Al Anbar Province, Iraq – many Marines celebrated the birthday in places like Fallujah, Ramadi, and Al Qaim while decisively engaged in combat. That year, Marines also responded to crisis in the Pacific following a tsunami which claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people. On 10 November 2004, Marines looked back with pride on their accomplishments – confident in their ability to meet future challenges.

As we celebrate our 239th birthday, Marines are in combat in Afghanistan. Since we last gathered to celebrate our Corps’ birthday, we also responded to crises in the Philippines, South Sudan, Libya, and Iraq.

Some things change. This year found us in different climes and places than our predecessors in 1944 and 2004. We have adapted our organization, training, and equipment to the ever-changing operating environment. Some things remain the same. Marines attacked this year’s challenges with the same courage, commitment, loyalty, self-sacrifice, and adaptability as their predecessors in Peleliu and Fallujah. For that reason, on 10 November 2014, we Marines can look back with pride on our accomplishments – confident in our ability to meet future challenges.

Thanks for who you are and what you do. Happy Birthday, Marines.

Semper Fidelis,
J. F. Dunford, Jr.
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Commandant of the Marine Corps


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Wordless Wednesday: Evening Chores

Feeding the Horses

Feeding the Horses

Feeding the Horses

Desert at Dusk

Autumn Moon

Autumn Moon

Autumn Moon

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Review: The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr

The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr

Special thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

Over the last few years, we’ve been incorporating more and more natural health practices into our lives. I’ve been studying aromatherapy, essential oils, herbs… as we try to blend modern medicine with natural health and home care. One of the things that I’ve really been missing in my home library is a solid resource for herbs, so I was happy when I was given the opportunity to review this book.

The New American Herbal begins with a look into the basics of working with herbs. It covers the different herbal properties, the major herb families, harvesting herbs, growing herbs, herb-drying techniques, extracting herbs, and working with essential oils. It’s basically an all inclusive herb getting started guide. It’s everything you need to know as you get started working with herbs. It even includes a few cautionary guides when it comes to children, pets, and toxicity.

From there, the book moves into different projects and uses for herbs in the garden and kitchen. It even talks about some specialty herbs. Projects include different herb gardens, herbal vinegars and oils, herbal beverages, and spice blends. Some of the specialty herbs covered include Native American herbs, Chinese medicinal herbs, trees and shrubs used as herbs, older traditional herbs, controversial herbs, and tropical herbs.

The vast majority of the book is the Herbs A to Z section. The beginning of the book has an alphabetical listing of each herb with the page number to allow readers to easily research a specific herb. Each herb listing includes a write-up about the herb as well as a chart that includes the herb category, origin, type, height, other names and varieties, how to grow, season, and safety information. The entry for each herb also has a full color image and some herbs even feature some delicious looking recipes.

The book concludes with a resource section that features writings from the past, historic schools of herbal practice, recommended reading and sources, and a list of public gardens with notable herb collections to visit in U.S. and Canada.

So many herb books that I’ve looked at had sketches or black and white images which I didn’t care much for, so seeing all the full-color images all throughout this book really made me happy. It also helps make identification of various herbs much easier. The New American Herbal is a valuable resource for anyone who is interested in studying herbs, growing herbs, cooking with herbs, or crafting with herbs. The only thing that would have made this book better was if it had a hidden spiral binding for easier use.

The New American Herbal by Stephen OrrBook Description:

A masterful A-to-Z introduction to the full spectrum of herbal plants, gorgeously photographed by the author with fascinating insights into their myriad culinary, medicinal, and decorative uses, The New American Herbal is an indispensable addition to the library of every cook, crafter, and gardener.

About the Author:

STEPHEN ORR is the author of Tomorrow’s Garden and the former Editorial Director for Gardening for Martha Stewart Living. Previously he was the garden editor for House & Garden magazine and has written extensively for Domino, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He has been a regularly featured gardening expert on The CBS Early Show and Today, and lectures at garden clubs around the country. Orr writes about extraordinary gardens on his blog, What the Skies Were Like.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter (September 30, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449819930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449819937
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 10 inches
  • Retail Price: $27.50

Disclosure: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. A positive review is not required nor guaranteed. All opinions are my own.

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Review: Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Nelson's Illustrated Bible DictionarySpecial thanks to the publishers for providing a copy of this book for review purposes.

Book Description:

Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary is the most comprehensive and up-to-date Bible dictionary available. With a fresh new look and updated photographs, this new and enhanced edition is a wealth of basic study information with more than 7,000 entries plus more than 500 full-color photographs, maps, and pronunciation guides.

About the Editor and Contributors:

Ronald F. Youngblood is Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew Emeritus, Bethel Seminary San Diego.

F.F. Bruce (1910-1990) was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis, University of Manchester in England.

R.K. Harrison (1920-1993) was Professor of Old Testament at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 1280 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; New Enhanced edition (October 28, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0529106221
  • ISBN-13: 978-0529106223
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.8 x 2.4 inches
  • Retail Price: $49.99

My Thoughts:

My first thought when this illustrated Bible dictionary arrived was that it was huge (almost 2.5 inches thick) and heavy (just over 5 pounds). I honestly didn’t realize that it would be so thick, but it was a pleasant surprise because it was more comprehensive than I originally expected. Part of the larger size is due to the fact that they decided to go with a larger font size which makes it easier to read than your typical Bible dictionary.

Some of the extra features include:

  • 5 Easy Steps to Better Bible Study
  • Visual Survey of the Bible
  • Bible History Chart
  • Articles and Teaching Outlines on Books of the Bible
  • Variety of Charts, Tables, and Maps

The dictionary is filled with full color images and photographs. When needed, the words have pronunciation guides to help sound out the words. Some of the entries, like Archaeology of the Bible or Egypt, have more of an encyclopedia feel than a dictionary feel as they go beyond just the definition of the word. Many of the entries have scripture passages associated with them.

The books of the Bible are also covered in this dictionary. Each of the books of the Bible have a Study and Teaching Outline as well as a more detailed entry in the dictionary that covers topics such as the structure of the book, authorship and date, historical setting, theological contribution, and special considerations.

As with any Biblical dictionary, it is important the individuals and families make sure that specific entries line up with their beliefs.. There are definitely some biases and opinions presented which may go against a family’s beliefs/religion. Because of the nature of this Biblical dictionary, it’s virtually impossible for there not to be some conflicts with different beliefs and religions.

Even with some differences of opinion on some of the entries, I feel the Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary is a valuable tool to have within the home.

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New Milestone: Learners Permit

New Driver

It’s hard to believe that Munchkin is old enough to begin her journey to becoming a licensed driver, but she’s now 6 months (or so) away from getting her drivers license. How did that happen? While she’s not one of those teens who is super excited to drive, she does understand the importance of knowing how to drive and getting a license.

She’s been going through her drivers education course online. Since she completed it last week, it was time to head over to the MVD to apply for her learners permit, so she could begin the driving portion of the learning.

Today, we drove her over to the MVD, so she could take her written test for her learners permit. She walked away with her temporary permit with the actual permit to arrive in the mail in about a week or so, and she helped drive us home.

We are fortunate to not live in a super crowded area. Plus, we have lots of back roads that are perfect for learning to drive. The trip home was filled with hills and curves but very little traffic – perfect for a beginning driver. Driving on a highway at 65 miles an hour can be pretty intimidating, but she did really well.

She can apply for her graduated drivers license in 6 months after she completes the required hours of daytime and nighttime driving. She has a lot to learn in that time, but I’m positive that she’ll take it in stride and learn what she needs to learn in order to become a safe and responsible driver.

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