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Remember, I have moved my book reviews to their own blog. Tracy's Book Nook is now active.

Friday, May 30

I'm No Tree-Hugger

I’m no tree-hugger. I roll my eyes at the hysteria of the environmentalist crusade. That said, I do recycle and try to save energy and natural resources simply because it is the right thing, the responsible thing, to do. I believe we are to be good stewards of the earth and its resources. However, this should not be something we lose our common sense over. Extremisms are always dangerous.

The most prominent cause du jour is global warming - especially with the Hollywood crowd. I simply don’t believe it. It is a scare tactic used by the liberal left to gain more power. If they can create fear, even to near hysteria, but offer a solution, they figure they can gain trust and consequently elections. Now I’m not saying the signs aren’t there, but I believe they point to something else. Everything is cyclical. Time and seasons and weather patterns are all cyclical. Looking back to the 1970’s, at that point in time, the media and extremists were crying “global cooling” and that we were heading into another ice age. It even made the cover of Newsweek in 1975! It didn’t happen. There is “evidence” back as far as the 1890’s that we have been going through cycles of global warming and cooling. Nothing globally catastrophic has happened, but hysteria sells.

Temps go up and they go down. Storm systems are wildly dangerous and they are relatively calm. Weather patterns are unpredictable and tumultuous and they are even predictable and moderate. There is flooding and there is drought. It’s called weather. Contrary to what Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” maintains, there is evidence that the earth has been in a cooling trend for the last few years. In fact, he even states that “the debate is over in the scientific community”, but obviously it’s not because over 19,000 scientists and climatologists publicly signed a petition stating they do NOT agree. (For more info see

There is big money to be made in the new push to make everything “green”. From hybrid cars to solar energy to “earth friendly eco-bags” instead of plastic at the grocery store, and a myriad of other things, the push is definitely on. Again, I believe we have a responsibility to be good stewards of the wonderful earth God created, but I don’t believe we should make foolhardy choices out of fear. One of the biggest pushes right now involves an ordinary, everyday item that we all have multiples of inside our homes – light bulbs.

We all need light bulbs and we all use them throughout our homes. For the most part, we’ve been using the same type of bulb for home use, since bulbs were invented - incandescent. And it appears that they both cost more and use more energy in the long run. Naturally, there has been a strong push to start using the new compact fluorescent lamps. It makes sense since they are both energy and money saving. Or does it?

What is not widely reported is that these CFL bulbs are filled with poisonous mercury and are quite dangerous to people. So dangerous in fact, that they must be disposed of properly by using a specific type of recycling facility. There’s one problem – the type of recycling facility needed is very limited. They cannot be disposed of in the trash like incandescent bulbs because they could harm the trash collector, leak into the ground, air and water (obviously this is a danger to both the earth and society), and in quantity they could even kill landfill workers. And this is just for CFL bulbs that have burned out. What about if they break? Well, now you’re really in trouble. If a CFL bulb breaks, for your own protection, you have to hire an environmental cleanup company to come do it for you, at a cost of somewhere around way too stinking expensive. A woman in Maine experienced this first hand, when a bulb in her daughter’s room broke. She is now trying to save at least $2000 to have it cleaned up properly because the EPA has deemed it contaminated. And no, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover that. In the meantime, the room remains sealed off. (For more info see )

So what are we to do? For me and my family, we intend to go on with our lives. We will continue to recycle what we can and do our best to use our natural resources wisely. We take the stewardship of the earth seriously, as God gave it to us and told us to take dominion over it. However, we will not be quick to jump on the fever-pitched, goin’ green bandwagon! And we will not willingly bring hazardous material in a fragile glass container into our home! But neither will we be wasteful, negligent or unaware of the fact that the earth’s resources are limited.

The earth is beautiful and precious and should be properly taken care of. It should be respected and protected as much as possible without us going crazy to do it (and making things worse). The earth is the Lord’s creation and it is good. Let’s join in together and do our part sensibly, while being mindful of the current obsession with being environmentally fanatical instead of being environmentally sensible. Don’t be led astray by the fear-mongering liberal left. Just think, use common sense and be responsible. God entrusted us with the earth, should we not be deemed trustworthy with it?

See Genesis 1 and 2 for the Creation story.

“You alone are the LORD. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.” ~ Nehemiah 9:6

“Generations come and generations go, but the earth remains forever. The sun rises and the sun sets and hurries back to where it rises. The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course. All streams flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full. To the place the streams come from, there they return again.” ~ Ecclesiastes 1:4-7

(C) 2008 Tracy Keck

Wednesday, May 28

Reading, Writing and Life

I love to read. That’s probably a no-brainer, because I also love to write. But I really do love to read. I always have. I love even the smell of old books. Reading has been a passion of mine all my life. Growing up, I was known as a bookworm and reading geek. I could get through anything (even grade school) as long as I could read. At that point in my life, nothing was more important to me than a good book – even food! In a good book, I could escape my life and have adventures, romance, fun, mystery and thrill. If I didn’t like the book, I could easily stop and move on to one that suited me more.

When I was growing up life wasn’t easy for me, so my books were my friends. I couldn’t even begin to guess how many books I read. Of course, some of them were favorites over the others and I loved to read series’. The series that was probably my all-time favorite is the Little House collection. Another favorite was the Anne of Green Gables collection. And of course there was the Trixie Belden mystery book collection. As far as books that weren’t in a series, again I had some favorites – Little Women, Where the Red Fern Grows, The Outsiders and Ice Castles. These were all great books that touched me deeply. I’ve read all of these individual books and the series’ multiple times. Some of them I still do.

My reading has changed and matured though. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a good fictional novel. However, I now read more non-fiction. If you were to take a look at my personal library, you’d find plenty of fiction (because they’re enjoyable), but you’d also find business and reference books (because I want to learn), biographies (because people really are interesting), political books (because I’m a passionate patriot), Christian Living books (because I want to grow) and most importantly, several different translations of the Bible (because I want to know God more and be more like Him).

In addition to all the books that I continue to read, I also read a ton of stuff on the internet. There really is a lot of good stuff out there. From online articles, to writing and reading groups, to blogs, the options for reading are in abundance. The thing about the internet though, is that you have to get through a lot of garbage to find quality content, but it is out there.

Now I’ve joined the fray. I have gone public with my writing in the vast expanse of the internet. I know that God has led me to begin this journey, but I don’t know where it will end, or what I’ll encounter on the way. I’m fairly certain it won’t be in a straight line, which is the shortest distance between two points, but rather it will be more like the long and winding road. It is my desire to contribute to the good content that’s out there and I’m fairly certain it is. I say that not with confidence in myself, but with confidence in my God.

There is much about this new journey that I don’t have the answers to, but I do know that God is in it, and He has a purpose and a plan for it. It seems like that is really not all that different than life itself. We often have more questions than answers in our life journey and don’t really know where we are going. Sometimes we think we know, but end up in a detour or a dead end. But God has a plan and a purpose for all of us. We may stumble, fall, get off track or find ourselves going around the same mountain again and again, but God will always be there to pick us up and help us get back on track.

So I will continue going about my life, seeking God and following where He leads. I will continue to read because I cannot imagine my life without reading being a huge part of it. The cool thing about reading now though, is that it’s not looked down upon. In fact, it is encouraged and as the old saying goes, “Leaders are readers.” And I will continue to write, hoping and praying that God will continue to speak through me and in turn, my writing will touch others. And who knows, maybe one day I’ll be the one who is writing a really good book!

“For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11

“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” ~ Proverbs 16:3

(C) 2008 Tracy Keck

Thursday, May 22

Remember Memorial Day

Memorial Day has been a favorite holiday of mine for a long time now. Growing up, I didn’t really understand what it was all about. I knew it was a three-day weekend for most, and was generally considered to be the start of summer (though living in Phoenix, it usually seems like summer), but that was a bout it. My family didn’t typically make a big deal of most holidays, so there were no traditions we followed in regards to Memorial Day.

I grew up in the 1980’s, which I’m really glad for. Throughout my teenage years, Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States. He was both a great man and leader. He was very open about his faith in Christ and was a strong patriot. This man that I admired, but never met, was a huge influence on my life. In addition, he was my Commander-In-Chief when I joined the United States Air Force. I believe those two things, admiring President Reagan and serving in the Air Force, are what became the foundation for the patriot that I have become.

To me (and perhaps most other people), the United States of America is greatest country in the world. We have freedoms, liberties and privileges that many people in other countries only dream of, or possibly cannot even conceive. Our nation was founded on Christian principles and I believe that is the only reason we’ve done so well. That is also the reason so many people and countries around the world hate us and want to see us destroyed.

We’ve had people throughout our time as a nation, who’ve stood for what is right and have chosen to put themselves in harms way to protect not only our freedom, but also the freedom of others. Our military men and women are heroes and deserve to be honored as such. I say this not because I served, but because it’s true. In time of peace or war, it is they who stand guard to protect us from our enemies. It is they who fight and die for the rest of us. We owe them a debt of gratitude. We can never possibly re-pay them for their sacrifice, especially the fallen heroes. But what we can do, is honor and respect them, and thank them for their service.

Memorial Day is a special day that has been set apart to do just that for our fallen heroes. It is a day to think about those who’ve given their lives for this great nation. It is a day to remember them and their sacrifice, with reverence and honor and appreciation. Memorial Day is to be one of solemnity and remembrance, while we celebrate what they did. The way the meaning of Memorial Day has been largely forgotten truly burdens my heart.

Like most holidays, it has become completely commercialized, with great sales all around. It has become a long weekend to party and travel. There is nothing wrong with shopping, with having fun, with spending time with family and friends, etc. But from my heart, I urge you to join me in spending some time remembering and thanking our heroes. I recently spent quite a bit of time, creating a page (or lens) at Squidoo, that is all about Memorial Day. It is dedicated to our heroes. Please take a few moments to look at it and at the bottom there is a place to leave comments. I would love to read what you think about it. It has been a labor of love for me and I’m happy to have done it.

Click here to see the page I created

“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13

Thursday, May 15

Life is Fleeting

In the last month, it has again become painfully obvious to me that life is fleeting. This has struck me many times before, but death and destruction have seemed to become more commonplace this month. There have been two horrific natural disasters, a cyclone in Myanmar and an earthquake in China that will have claimed tens of thousands of lives in both countries. In the greater Phoenix area, there have been several auto accidents involving teens, resulting in a few deaths and over fifteen injured. And last night I said goodbye to a friend who went home to be with the Lord a mere five days after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Life is indeed fleeting.

I’ve joined much of the rest of the world in watching the horrendous catastrophe that is playing out in Myanmar and China. These two separate natural disasters came suddenly, without warning. Homes, buildings and businesses are destroyed. Crops are completly wiped out. Entire villages, towns and cities are pulverized. The loss of life is staggering. Sadly, it is not over. As time goes on, lack of medical supplies, food and clean water, and time itself along with the ever-growing cases of disease threaten to kill far more than the disasters themselves. It truly is a calamity of epic proportion. *

Closer to home are the teen driving accidents that have resulted in both death and injury. All of these recent incidents could have been avoided. Speeding, drugs or alcohol and just plain old goofing off have contributed to all of these awful and life altering or life taking mishaps. One of the accidents involved some boys that were my neighbors. There were four boys in the car. Speed was a factor in the single vehicle crash. Only one of the boys was wearing a seatbelt. The sixteen-year-old driver and his fifteen-year-old brother live just three houses away from me. The younger brother died. The older brother was in a coma for a time and is now recovering from his multiple severe head and body injuries. The other two boys were badly hurt as well. Somehow these tragic accidents seem to be all the worse because they were completely avoidable. **

The service we attended last night was to honor the memory of a good man, who barely had time to say goodbye to his family and friends. It was a time to remember and celebrate the life he lived, while reflecting sadly that he left us way to soon. Hearing the great things people said about him, it was evident that his life touched and influenced many others. He was a warm and kind man, faithful, dedicated, hard working and loyal, with a great big smile. It was said, that he was not angry with God for taking him so soon, but rather he saw his death as having purpose and meaning. Though he did not want to leave his family, he knew he was going home to be with the Lord. And that gave him peace. ***

Life is fleeting. None of us know when our time here on this earth will be finished. So if we don’t know when our life will end, shouldn’t we try to live each day as though it were our last? We should tell those we love that we love them. We should try to mend damaged relationships. We should hug those we care for. We should notice the beauty around us. We should laugh. And cry. And forgive. The list could go on and on, but I think it simply comes down to this; we should really live our lives. Jeff and I once taught a class at church, and we had people write down what they wanted to be said about them at their eulogy. Then we told them to look at it and live that way, on purpose.

There’s a lot we should do to be prepared for when death finds us. The most important of which is to be ready to meet our Lord. He loves us and will meet us wherever we are, but we have to come to him and ask him to forgive us before death takes away that chance. I’ve heard a saying before, that there are no atheists in foxholes. Since most of us will never find ourselves in a foxhole, we shouldn’t let another moment pass us by without making things right with God. Whenever it is that our life here is done, we have the opportunity to spend eternity with Jesus in heaven, if we take it. Yes, life is fleeting, but eternity lasts forever. How, or where, we spend it is up to us.

* “Moreover, no man knows when his hour will come: As fish are caught in a cruel net, or birds are taken in a snare, so men are trapped by evil times that fall unexpectedly upon them.” ~ Ecc. 9:12

** “Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has cut off the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares.” ~ Jer. 9:21

*** “So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord. So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him. For we must all stand before Christ to be judged. We will each receive whatever we deserve for the good or evil we have done in this earthly body.” ~ 2 Cor. 5:6-10

Wednesday, May 14

10 Reasons Why I Blog

Ok, so it had to happen. My friend Josh tagged me for giving the top 10 reasons why I blog. Here they are...

10 ~ God told me to (or maybe that was the other voices in my head, hmmm…)

9 ~ I use up some of my 20,000+ words each day, so I don’t have to use them all on Jeff when he gets home :)

8 ~ It’s Mommy time (WhoHooo)

7 ~ My blog doesn’t argue with me (maybe this should be #1)

6 ~ It's fun (I'm easily entertained)

5 ~ It’s kind of like having “adult” conversation (I can use big words)

4 ~ I have a lot to say (Jeff would agree)

3 ~ I get to sharpen my writing skills (sharpening is good, huh?)

2 ~ I love it (again, I'm easily entertained)

1 ~ I learn from it and grow closer to God, because He speaks to me through it (what more can I say about that?)

Monday, May 12

Like Cleaning a Carpet

Having a baby around has been so much fun. Watching her learn new skill sets is a constant source of enjoyment and entertainment too! She is now at that age and stage, where she is trying to learn to crawl. We are excited about her development and really want her to learn and grow at her own rate. Of course, this does bring about some tasks of our own, which we need to accomplish in order to make things safe for her. We’ve begun the process of “baby proofing” to try and prevent her from getting hurt as she grows from a little baby completely dependent on us, into a growing, thriving and independent little person.

One of the tasks we’ve had to do is get our carpets cleaned. This is something we’ve been intending to do for a couple of years now. It’s also something that’s really easy to put off, since it’s not really convenient to do. However, with five animals and tons of dust (living in a desert area), it is essential that we do it. When I think of my sweet little baby crawling around on carpets that have been lived on and not cleaned for several years, well it makes my skin crawl. So when I put it into perspective, I find that moving furniture, locking up the animals for a day and staying off a wet, but clean, carpet for several hours is really not that inconvenient, and the alternative is not acceptable. I mean, our animals are really good and we are pretty clean, but life and mess (i.e. furball's) still happens.

When I scheduled the carpet cleaning, I was told to not be surprised if any spots or stains appeared the next day. If that happened, it just meant that the spot was lifting from the pad, to the surface of the carpet. In other words, even though the carpet was thoroughly cleaned and there didn’t appear to be any stain that remained, remnants of the old could resurface. That got me to thinking. It’s kind of like that with us too.

We come to Jesus dirty, dingy, worn and torn and He, by His incredible and amazing patience and grace, diligently works on us, cleaning and repairing us and making us look like new. In fact, he even calls us new. The Bible says in 2 Cor. 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” When He cleans us, by forgiving our sins, we are a new person with a new life and a clean slate! Praise God!

But similar to cleaning a carpet, even though we are clean and look good, that doesn’t mean that it’s finished. Sometimes there are spots and stains that are deep down, and it takes some time for them to rise to the surface. We may not even know they’re there. But as we go through life, and encounter the things of life, the dark, dirty and maybe even smelly spots that are buried deeply start to rise. We see that we’re not as clean as we thought. We are not yet blemish free. In fact, we may still be quite dirty.

It’s not that the Cleaner didn’t do a good job – He did. But it’s a process. Some things take longer to really come clean. Sometimes, just a dab, or a spot clean, will do you. Other times, a deeply penetrating stain remover is required, followed by an intense steam clean. And that takes a lot of work. But the good news is this. We have a Cleaner, who will do what it takes to get the job done. He will not give up on us. Nor will He ever say, “It’s useless, this is too damaged or not worth the trouble.” No, our Cleaner always patiently and lovingly, continues to work on us, because we are worth it. His shed blood at Calvary tells us so.

“But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Cor. 3:18

Friday, May 9

My First 'Real' Mother's Day

Mother's Day has always been difficult for me. My mother suffers from depression and, presumably because of that, she's never shown any interest in my life. With that said, obviously we are not close. Yes, I've prayed for her. Yes, I've forgiven her. Yes, I know she's done the best she can. But all of that doesn't mean that everything is just fine and it doesn't mean she doesn't still have the ability to hurt me. Trust me, Hallmark does not have a card for every occasion.

For years I longed to me a mom and have a family of my own. I sort of comforted myself with the knowledge that I was a 'mom' to my pets, but I wanted a child too. Two years ago, after a year and a half of trying, I got pregnant and then miscarried. It was excruciatingly painful. It happened a month before Mother's Day. After another eight months of trying, I got pregnant again. This time, thank God, the pregnancy went to term and last September, our beautiful baby girl was born. Reagan is the joy of my life and I am SO thankful to have her. Now here we are, right before Mother's Day. I'm excited because this year I'm included - I'm a 'real' mom. But I'm also a bit sad. My unborn child has been on my heart lately. It became important for me to do something to remember and honor the baby I lost.

I recently joined Squidoo and decided to do a page or lens that is dedicated to my little one in heaven. If you would like to know more of my miscarriage story, I would truly be honored to have you check out this lens at

Thanks and God bless you, and if you're a mom (even if it is to a pet) Happy Mother's Day!

"Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate." ~ Proverbs 31:28-31

Friday, May 2

A Joyful Noise

One of the things I like to do as a new mom is sing to my daughter. Of course there’s lots of nursery rhymes and lullabies, but that’s not all. Sometimes I sing silly little songs that I make up along the way. Sometimes I’ll sing along with the radio or CD. What it is doesn’t seem to matter too much to her. She just likes it. I sing, we dance, she laughs. Life just doesn’t get much better than that!

I love to sing and I love music. All kinds of music. (I am an 80’s girl after all!) If you were to take a look at the playlists on my Ipod, you’d find a little bit of a lot of things. I get bored very easily if I stick to only one genre of music. And when my music is going, I’m usually singing along. Often times, I’m singing along LOUDLY. There’s only one problem. I don’t sing well and I don’t have a good voice. I guess that’s technically two problems, but I digress.

There’ve been many times that I’ve thought, “It’s not fair! Why do I love to sing so much if I’m not good at it?” I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I’ll never be on the worship team at church and no matter how much I want to, I’ll never have a voice like Martina McBride. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s ever wanted (ok let’s be honest here, coveted) someone else’s gift or talent. For a long time, I just sort of dismissed any gift or talent that I had, like it was unimportant or irrelevant. For instance, I knew I could write, but so what? Lots of people can write and besides no one sees it but me. Or so I thought.

When I became a Christian, God started working on me. He had a lot to do. He not only had to help me change into a better version of the person I was, but He had to help me change the way I saw myself too. He showed me that He created me uniquely, with my own gifts and talents. He also showed me that those gifts and talents were not just for me, and that if I did not share them, as He intended, then I was in effect rejecting them. It was an amazing revelation for me! He created me, with specific gifts and talents, to become a wholly unique individual with an intended purpose that nobody but me could fulfill. Wow!

So now, here I am, writing for the glory of God. It is my hope and my prayer that the words I write will touch, encourage or otherwise help the reader. As I have begun this journey of writing publicly, I take very seriously the responsibility God has entrusted to me. I know that if I will stay out of His way, by not pushing my own agenda, I will fulfill the purpose He has set before me. To me, this is an act of worship and praise. And in writing, I know my voice is pretty good.

As far as singing goes, well I guess I’ll just keep doing what comes naturally. I will make a joyful noise and be comfortable in knowing that to God and to Reagan, that’s just fine.

“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all you lands! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come before His presence with singing! Know (perceive, recognize, and understand with approval) that the Lord is God! It is He Who has made us, not we ourselves [and we are His]! We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and a thank offering and into His courts with praise! Be thankful and say so to Him, bless and affectionately praise His name! For the Lord is good; His mercy and loving-kindness are everlasting, His faithfulness and truth endure to all generations.” Psalm 100