Fan Girl Friday

Fred Rogers

It’s Friday, and I want to tell you about someone or something that I am a fan of!

“I hope you’re proud of yourself for the times you’ve said “yes,” when all it meant was extra work for you and was seemingly helpful only to someone else.

Fred Rogers

I’m from Pittsburgh, and if there is one thing that people think of when they think of Pittsburgh (maybe after Heinz Ketchup) its Mr. Rogers. For 30 years, Fred Rogers talked to children about real life and told them that he liked them just the way they are. I think most children believed, and were right to believe, that Mr. Rogers was talking directly to them.

Mr. Rogers, I think is the epitome of kindness and love. In our time and place in the world where kindness and love often take a back seat to greed, hate, and intolerance we need that kindness and love so much now.

Being from Pittsburgh, of course I have a personal connection to Mr. Rogers. Fred Rogers, very famously, swam every day at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association in Oakland. My father swam with him for many years and became friends with Mr. Rogers. He remembers Mr. Rogers as being exactly the same person on the screen as he was in person. My mom always tells a story of running into Mr. Rogers one time while we were shopping in the Strip District. My younger brother was still in a stroller and had a very deep love of Mr. Rogers. Instead of greeting my parents, Mr. Rogers immediately knelt down in front of my brother and started talking to him. My brother had an awestruck look on his face – as if to say “Wow. He really was talking just to me through the TV. And he KNOWS me!!”

That personal connection, that sense of knowing you as a person and caring deeply about you, is something we all want and need in our lives. Mr. Rogers really did like all of us – whether he met us or not.

It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair–
But it’s you I like.
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you–
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys–
They’re just beside you.But it’s you I like–
Every part of you,
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself,
It’s you, it’s you I like.

Fred Rogers

Beard Necessities by Penny Reid

Book Review

Grade: A

The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts, and my soul was still Scarlet.

This book is the long-awaited series-finale of Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series. A spin-off of her Knitting-in-the-City (KITC) series. The Winston Brothers, for me, took on a life of its own. I have loved every second of the series, and I honestly wasn’t sure at the start that I would. When Ashley talked about her seven brothers in KITC, I was like – well that’s a series in the making, but I’m not sure I want to read about seven hillbilly brothers. This is me, here, and now telling you I WAS WRONG! (my husband might want me to record that – so he has a record of it for all time).

If you haven’t read any of the other books in the series, I would not recommend starting here. Do yourself a favor and read all the other books first! I’ll give you the links below.

Billy and Scarlet are so wonderful – I love both of them and the whole Winston clan. This book is deeply emotional. It is a romance – no doubt about it – but it almost more a tutorial about how to stop avoiding the past and move forward for the future. It is also a story that shows how sometime love isn’t enough – you have to have trust, empathy, and look outside yourself.

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind (especially not the Winston siblings – at least after Cletus tells them whats what) that Billy and Scarlet belong together and can be together if they’d both just talk. Thank God for Cletus and the rest of the family – they really did have to step in. I think Billy had really settled in to an acceptance that he wasn’t going to ever have what he wanted – so much so that he couldn’t see what he was doing was hurting himself and Scarlet so so much. Scarlet (at least) was getting therapy and it helped her move forward. By the time they come together in Italy, she is ready to try to move past the past. Watching them both work through what has come before and sorting through the present is not always easy – but it is wonderful.

This series has meant more to me than almost any other series of books I’ve ever read. The realness of the characters, their individuality, humor, and love are so powerful to read. As hard as it was to read the final installment of this series, it is also wonderful to see that their stories continue on into other area of the Smartypants universe of characters (both through Penny Reid and other authors).

Thank you Penny Reid for these characters and these stories.

So why not dream? Why not hope? Why not live life with wild faith and abandon? Why not take the risk? Otherwise, all these moments—small or significant, heaven on earth—would be lost to fear.

Buy this book on Amazon!