Commentary #79: “Tiny Houses For Homeless Vets Makes A Lot Of Sense”

Today is Veterans Day. I waited to share this story, because I think it’s important.

In Kansas City, Missouri, former U.S. Army Corporal Chris Stout is definitely a hero. In more ways than one. Not only did he serve his country, but now he’s giving back to it. Through the Veterans Community Project, tiny homes have been built in the Veterans’ Village, all for veterans who are struggling with homelessness. Chris and several friends quit their jobs in 2015 to start the project, and it’s been blossoming ever since.

The first 13 homes were finished in January. Another 13 will be done by the end of this month. Each house is fully stocked – Furniture, linens, toiletries, food, and even welcome gift baskets.

However, Chris calls the houses the “sexy piece.” The bread and butter is the sense of community, camaraderie, and connecting veterans to the services they need.

In the interview, Chris stated that eight of the original 13 residents have found permanent housing. They take the furniture with them. It takes about 72 hours for a house to set up for a new resident.

The idea is for veterans to get back on their feet, with as much time as they need based on their goals, and get connected with the services they need. While starting the project, Chris found that many didn’t feel safe or have a sense of privacy with traditional shelters. The anticipated length of stay is six months, but as long as they are working on their goals, they’re welcome to stay as long as they like/need.

Another 23 houses are to set to be done by the beginning of 2019. In addition, a community center is nearly finished, which will have medical, dental, and veterinarian care, a barbershop, and a fellowship hall for group events.

When a veteran walks in, the staff gets to work with their bus pass, housing placement, job placement, legal services, food pantry, clothing closet, and emergency financial assistance. So far, the organization has helped more than 8,000 veterans.

More than 650 communities around the country have reached out to Veterans Community Project. They’re growing in Denver, Nashville, St. Louis, and more. Chris’s goal is to be in every major city, helping veterans with what they need.


Chris Stout has already been recognized as a CNN Hero. He’s in the Top 10. The hero with the most votes will receive $100,000 toward their cause. Voting ends December 4th.


Thank you to all veterans! We appreciate your service.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #66: “WHO KNEW? …Reflections on Vietnam”

I received this book as a gift! My dear friend, Lydia, sent a sweet card with the book, explaining that she knows the author, and wanted to send it to me after reading a blog post regarding my interest in Vietnam. Thank you, Lydia!

The best way I can describe this book is a mix of a memoir, photo album, and poetry collection, all wrapped up into a nice book. It gave me a sense of what Watts went through during her year of service.

While preparing to receive her undergraduate degree at Villanova, she knew wanted to travel. She wanted to join the Peace Corps, but they wanted her to start before graduation. Then, she found a brochure for the Supplemental Recreation Activities Overseas (SRAO) program of the American Red Cross.

What she ended up with was a year of service, and a lifetime of memories.

Watts blends photos, poems, soldiers’ artwork, and her memories into a powerful book. It made me feel like I was there with her.

I also learned about the SRAO program of the Red Cross, and how instrumental these women have been since World War II. I gained a new perspective, and a sense of gratitude. I know Watts and her crew were appreciated by the men in the jungles of Vietnam, during a very trying time there, and here at home.

Although I wasn’t alive during her service, I appreciate Watts for writing this book. It provides a unique perspective on a unique type of service during the war, and I’m grateful for her to show me, and others, this insight. Reading accounts like this makes me want to learn even more about the Vietnam War and the people who were involved, both soldiers and civilians.

Thank you again, Lydia, for this gift!

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Blog Awards #22: Sunshine Blogger Award – Number Five!

Thank you, Simon, for nominating me!

Here’s the link to where I was nominated:


The Rules:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging sites.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  • Notify the nominees about it by commenting on one of their blog posts.
  • List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award logo on your site or on your  post.

Simon’s Questions:

1. Which country do you come from?

  • The good old U.S.A.!

2. Who was the family member you remember most from your childhood and why?

  • Great question! My Grandma Grace, who was my mom’s mom. She was so loving, sweet, soft-spoken, and one of the strongest Christian women I’ve known. She taught me so many things, like frozen Oreos taste better, lamb is delicious, how to cook in general (and enjoy it), playing Scrabble, reading, visiting the library, and doing crossword puzzles. And there’s more. She died peacefully at the age of 96 in 2013, and I think of her every day!

3. What is your dream destination?

  • Hawaii!

4. What is your favorite movie?

  • Forrest Gump (1994)

5. What is your hobby?

  • Besides blogging, I love to write, read, enjoy my six American Girl dolls, paint with pastels, and spending as much time as possible with my husband, family, and friends.

6. What is your greatest strength?

  • Determination with a hint of stubbornness.

7. What is the meaning of love to you?

  • Being kind to others, with a mix of sympathy and empathy.

8. Who is your best friend?

  • Melissa. We’ve been best friends since fifth grade.

9. Do you believe in God?

  • Absolutely.

10. Can you live without your smartphone for one day?

  • Probably.

11. If you could change anything in the world – what would it be?

  • Everyone would have consistent food, clean water, and shelter. As the motto of a local charity goes, “Safe, warm, and dry.”

My Questions

  1. Do you have siblings?
  2. What’s your favorite TV show from the 1980s?
  3. What’s your favorite flower or plant?
  4. Do you have a favorite color?
  5. If you have Netflix, what’s three things on your list?
  6. What are your thoughts regarding the Internet, and it’s effect on the world?
  7. How do you consume your news?
  8. What are you talented at / in?
  9. Do you have a favorite genre of literature / books?
  10. Have you ever played the lottery?
  11. Do you have a favorite type of junk food?

Tag – You’re It!

  1. Astro Guidelines
  2. More Travels with the Reads II
  3. booksandbakes1
  4. Uninspired Writers
  5. daily(w)rite
  6. What Remains
  7. Libre Paley
  8. Willow Croft
  9. bereavedsingledad
  10. joannethegeek
  11. Petal Hugs

As always, please don’t feel obligated to do this post! Participating is completely optional!


Thanks again, Simon!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #147: “The winter is coming, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy” (Reblogged)

I love sharing Just Wunderlust’s photos often. No matter what photo it is, each one evokes emotion or some sort of connection. Sometimes, seeing these photos spark a daydream, or even a potential writing prompt.

Seeing this photo today made me think of several things, aside from the obvious, “Oh, wow, that’s absolutely gorgeous!”

I started thinking of the road that leads to this area. The characters that live there, both real and fictional. It reminded me a little bit of Beauty and the Beast, but my imagination ran a little wild earlier today. I love it when that happens, especially when everyday life and the normal routine can become so repetitive and dull.

The fog looks so ominous around the beautiful mountains, kissed by early snow.

What are their winters like?

Do tourists come?

Do the children enjoy the snow, the winter?

I’m sure it’s cold, but undoubtedly beautiful.

Italy is such a beautiful country, from what I’ve heard. I hope to be able to visit, someday.

As the fall weather is finally starting to settle in, here in southeastern Virginia, I’m enjoying the crisp air, the changing of the leaves, and the coming holidays. We’ll blink and Thanksgiving will be here in a flash. But, I do love one good snow every year – It turns the whole world white and beautiful!

What’s your favorite season? Why do you love it?


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Just Wunderlust

The winter is coming, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Dolomites, Italy

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Book Review #65: “Fallible Justice” (ARC Review)

Over the summer, I received an email from Louise Walters, who owns and operated Louise Walters Books, asking if I was still interested in receiving an advance reading copy of Fallible Justice. I couldn’t remember how or why this happened, but I said yes. I’m so glad I did.

Although it’s taken me a full four months to finish, I’m thrilled to publish this review right before the book is scheduled to publish on November 8th.

Fallible Justice is the first in the Wilde Investigations series. I can’t wait to read more!

Like Louise wrote in her lovely letter to me that accompanied the book, the characters are one of the great strengths. I loved their interactions, and to discover how many characters worked together to achieve the same goal – Working to save a man’s life before his scheduled execution.

I also loved Laakso’s world-building. I’ve always been fascinated with the U.K. and London, but she puts an awesome spin on it with her Old London, the wilderness, and the different classes of characters. I hesitate to compare Laakso to other writers, but I felt distinct hints of J.K. Rowling throughout.

In addition, whomever created the cover should be given an award. It’s one of the most beautiful and intriguing book covers that I’ve seen!

When I first read the synopsis to my husband, Al, he immediately thought of Martin’s Game of Thrones series. While different in its own right, Laakso is definitely on to something with this first book. I was delighted to read the first chapter of book #2 at the end of the ARC, and I truly can’t wait for it to be published.

The only significant complaint I have was the book was a bit wordy and/or lengthy. It dragged in a few places, but I also recognize this to be a part of Laakso’s world-building and integrating characters. Despite a few slow areas, the book captivated my imagination and the characters kept me engaged.

I particularly loved the way Yannia and Karrion work together as they try out Karrion being a potential apprentice during this investigation. They both have different strengths, and weaknesses, but together they are a great team, and I can’t wait to see what they are assigned next.

I felt very sad when I came to the end of the book. That’s how much these characters made an impression on me. However, I’m thrilled that Laakso is creating a series. I eagerly await the publication of book two!

5 out of 5 stars.


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #146: November Goals

November - Carrington Academy

Image Credit: Carrington Academy

We’re getting close to the end of 2018! It gets faster every year.


Here are my goals for the month of November:

  1. Participate in NaNoWriMo 2018!
  2. Celebrate three years of marriage with Al!
  3. Switch over my wardrobe.
  4. Take my lunch to work every day, except Fridays.
  5. Donate items to Project Beauty Share.
  6. Continue work on my Lady Lounge.
  7. Write at least two Book Reviews.
  8. Focus on de-cluttering.
  9. Enjoy Thanksgiving!

Here’s the breakdown:

Participate in NaNoWriMo 2018!

  • I’m so excited to finally start fleshing out this new story!

Celebrate three years of marriage with Al!

  • It’s hard to believe we’ve been married for three years!

Switch over my wardrobe.

  • The weather has been absolutely nuts. Today, November 1st, we were expecting a high of 80 degrees. It’s ridiculous.
  • However, I’m ready to pack away the warm weather items and pull out the sweaters!

Take my lunch to work every day, except Fridays.

  • I’m usually pretty good about this, but we’re trying to save as much money as possible right now for some needed home repairs in a few months, so taking my lunch as much as possible will certainly help.

Donate items to Project Beauty Share.

  • As I mentioned last month, I discovered this awesome program in Washington state. I just need to a take lunch break to swing by the post office and get it off to them.

Continue work on my Lady Lounge.

  • This goes hand-in-hand with the de-cluttering goal, but I really want to clear out more boxes and make space for my desk!

Write at least two Book Reviews.

  • I’m super close to finishing my current book.
  • Plus, reading before bed has been helping me sleep better.

Focus on de-cluttering.

  • This goes for my Lady Lounge, our garage, my closet, and cabinets!

Enjoy Thanksgiving!

  • We don’t know our plans just yet, but I know it will be a good time with our family and friends.

Do you have any goals for the month of November?

If so, I’d love to hear about them!


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂