Friday, July 03, 2015

Friday's Fave Five #336

Welcome to the first Friday's Fave Five of July.  I don't know where you are but here it is hot, hot, hot .   Very much summer.  With holidays and all the little extras that brings it's good to get intentional and do a regular time of being grateful.  Please join us as we look for our favourite five blessings from the last week.

1.  Inspiration.  People who pursue their dreams in spite of obstacles thrown at them in life.  What an inspiration this 14 year old is.   He could have made a million excuses to quit but he kept chasing his dream.  Made me cry.

2.  Ladies Study Group wrap up dinner.  For our last night we all headed to a fave restaurant here in town.  It was a wonderful time wrapping up a great year with these ladies.  I've never been part of such a great group of women from all sorts of walks of life.  They challenged and encouraged me as the leader of the group.  And it was so nice to wrap up the year doing something fun.  The food was excellent and the company wonderful.

3.  Ice Cold glass of peppermint tea.  It has been so hot lately and finding something other than water has been a bit of a challenge since I've cut sugar to a minimum in my diet.  Hate phony sweetners and I'm not a big fan of the stevia either.  But steeped peppermint tea that has been chilled and filled with ice?  I can drink that with no sugar whatsoever!  It's refreshing, it's zero calories, the smell is wonderful and relaxing, it aids digestion and it's ice cold so it cools me off.  What's not to love?

4.  A very relaxing day off doing favourite things.  Just in case you didn't read yesterday's post, these included biking, starbucks, grilling burgers and reading.  Lots of reading!  The perfect day off in the middle of a work week!

5.  A new favourite scent from Bath and Body Works....French Lavender and Honey.   Don't know why but I just really like it at the moment.

What have been good things in your life this past week?

Thursday, July 02, 2015

I heart Canada Day

Anyone else have traditions that they do every year on Canada Day or July 4th?

I love traditions.  It makes me look forward to the holiday.  Don't get me wrong, I love breaks in tradition too.  Last year we went and spent time with K in her city for Canada day.  That was quite the adventure.  While there during torrential rain, her basement suite started flooding out while we had made a pit stop there to change her clothes.  Talk about breaking tradition.  We spent the rest of the day in a panic trying to save her stuff and then trying to find somewhere to store it all while she tried to find somewhere to stay.  Yikes.  That is one activity we will not be making a tradition of in any way shape or form.  Visiting her we will do, just not gonna do the flood thing.  Nope.

This year Hubby and I did one of the things we love to do on Canada Day and that is bike ride.  Now that the kids are grown and are working or doing their own thing, we've made a me and him tradition of Canada Day.  If the young adults are around and want to join in they can.  If not, we're on a date!

 I'm not much one for the huge crowds or the busyness of  the activities at the lake or downtown.  I'm more about the relaxing and  the get out and enjoy nature kind of gal.   We go biking early in the day before it gets too hot.  The weather was perfect.  Cloudy and sunny so we got nice warmth and then some cooling while the sun hid behind a cloud and then back to sun again.  We rode for miles to some of our favorite areas in town.  Then we go to a favourite Starbucks that has an outdoor patio and cool off with something cold and icy.  Though that is getting tougher as Hubby is totally and pretty much permanently off sugary stuff  and I've been off for a month.  I'm not doing it permanently or to the level he is.  I do like a sweet once in awhile.  But I had to get control of how often I was having that sweet.  It was turning into a landslide with me.  But going to Starbucks made me realize how very few things there are that one can order that doesn't have a boat load of sugar in them.  And we don't do the artificial sweetner stuff so that really limits us.  But anyway, back on topic, we went there and enjoyed the patio and a cold drink.  After Starbucks we always go into the grocery store next to it and get stuff to grill.  By the time we get home, set the table and prep the sides we are so ready for some yummy food straight off the bbq.  Then the rest of the day we just relax.  My choice always being a good book.  And I finished a great read which I will review this weekend.

I opted out of going to the fireworks this year.  I was just too tired.  They don't get going until after 11 p.m. so I wouldn't be in bed until at least midnight.  And I work the next day.  We are close enough to the lake that I get a fairly decent view out my front window.  The trees only block the lower ones.  So I stood in the dark by myself and enjoyed them.  Then this morning I'm hearing from everyone that they were the best in a long time so now I'm kicking myself for not just going to the lake to watch them.  I didn't get to sleep any earlier because of the crazy traffic on our street afterwards as it is a main road that lots of people use to get to the lake.  Hmmmph.  Next year I will not break with tradition on this one!

And not one picture do I have to show for the wonderful day.  I just lived in the moment of it instead of on the peripheral being the camera man.  And you know what?  I liked it that way!

(from a couple of years ago)

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

"God Keep Our Land
Glorious and Free
O Canada
We Stand On Guard For Thee"

Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian Bloggy Friends!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Matter of Trust by Lis Wiehl ~ Book Review

Mia Quinn's husband passed away 3 months before in a car accident and she has been forced to go back to work as a King County prosecutor to provide for her teenage son and preschool daughter.  Already trying to juggle everything on her plate that being a new single parent requires, she is totally unprepared for what is coming her way and struggles to find a balance.  While on the phone discussing a case with an office colleague and friend, she hears a gunshot on the other end of the phone and her friend goes silent.  In the stress and panic of the moment Mia makes a parenting decision that she will regret as it really effects her son.  As a result of the murder of her friend, her boss asks her to take on the case which will require top priority and more hours in the day than Mia has but she feels she must put her friend's killer behind bars.  Unfortunately, Charlie Carlson is the detective assigned to the case and Mia has not had a good experience working with him.  Add to that, her teenage son is giving her attitude and her young daughter is having screaming episodes at night and Mia's world seems to be one big complication.

This is the first book in the Mia Quinn Mystery series.  I must confess I have already read #2 and #3, reviewed here and here.  I received those for review and really liked them so when I saw number 1 on clearance at the book store I nabbed it and picked up the beginning of Mia's story.  It was a fast paced murder mystery that kept me guessing as it delved into bullying, accepting others for who they are,  and appearances not always being what they seem.   Having been a stay at home parent, Mia was struggling with her husband's unexpected death just a few months before and was forced back to work quickly because of unknown to her debts that her husband had accumulated.  And then one thing after another just continues to pile onto her plate.  I really was pulled into her story, sympathizing with her and the family issues she was having to deal with.  Single parenthood, debt, and all that comes with returning to work unexpectedly while her and her family were still trying to deal with their grief, the struggle of a young teen pulling away and not knowing how to help him.  The character of the teenage son was also well written and I really felt for him in his grief and trying to fit in at school and all of a sudden having to grow up so fast and help around the house so much.   His struggles as he deals with death and school were tough.  There were two mysteries woven into the story and I thought they played out well and the author was able to interweave them  into the story without confusion.  A good mystery earning 9/10 from me.

Reading Challenge Goals Met:  A trilogy (bit of a cheat because I'd already read the other 2  but at least I completed a trilogy), book by a female author, A mystery or thriller, A book from an author you love but haven't read yet

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday's Fave Five #335

Welcome to the first summer edition of Friday's Fave Five.  I can't believe it's summer already!  And a hot Friday it is.  In spite of the lazy, holiday feel it's still good to take a pause and look for our blessings and good things from over the past week.  Guidelines are in the sidebar if you are new and would like to join us!

1.  Movie date with hubby.  With a handy dandy Costco movie ticket, hubby and I took in San Andreas 3D at the theatre on the weekend.  Nothing like a good ol' Hollywood disaster movie to get the heart pumping.  The 3D effects were pretty awesome.  A nice date with hubby!

2.  Father's Day.  We took my Dad and Hubby for a yummy breakfast at Cora's.  Being Father's Day. the line up was way out the door but we got in lickety split, only about a 20 minute wait.   As usual the breakfast was delicious.  It was nice to bless my Dad and Hubby and we had a really nice time.  Every time a holiday comes along it becomes especially important to me to be with my parents as they are both in their 80's and I always wonder how many more holidays I might have with them.

3.  New walking path to explore.  There are some great new walking paths through the coulees that we can explore this summer.  Father's Day we took one of them and walked off that big breakfast.  I'm looking forward to some more walks this summer through some of these wonderful areas that our city has. (Looking back I guess walking made my list last week too but this weeks are all about new trails to try)

4.  Air conditioning.  With the summer arriving upon us with a heat wave this week, I'm very thankful for air conditioning.  I know some of you may laugh at what we consider really hot, but for us anything in the 80's is getting up there.  I don't run my air super cold but just that little cooling off is so nice.  I'm especially thankful when I can get my 80 some year old mom out of her hot house to come and sit in some cooler temperature even if it's just for a few hours.

5.  Ethiopian food.  My first taste of African food was the Ethiopian variety at a wedding we attended on Saturday.  I ate every bite.  I especially liked a cabbage/carrot vegetable dish they had. I like trying new foods from different cultures as long as it's not totally weird stuff like bugs and such.

There were many more good little moments this week but those were 5 of my favourites.  What blessed and uplifted you this week in your life?

Just a reminder that I am unable to comment on certain Blogger commenting formats.  I'm sorry about that.  To enable me to comment on your FFF post if you are running that particular Blogging commenting format please leave a comment on my post, then I can email back a comment on yours.  :)

Monday, June 22, 2015

Water From My Heart by Charles Martin ~ Book Review

Charlie Finn has been on his own since he was 16. Without much effort on his part he does well in school and earned himself a scholarship to Harvard.  Taking math and business he is then able to insert himself into the fast-paced world of finance.  Because of his hard growing up years Charlie has no problem with the indifference to people's hardships his business dealings creates.  But when working for a power hungry business executive comes to a unexpected end, Charlie ends up meeting and partnering with a high society drug dealer.  Once again his ability to keep his personal and work life separated and his wall of indifference high, he convinces himself he is just offering a service that the elite of society would find someone else to do for them if it wasn't him.  And meanwhile he can make himself a very rich man.   But when tragedy strikes it causes Charlie to head to an area of Costa Rica and Nicaragua where his former business dealings had left a group of innocent and devastated family coffee farmers.  By chance he meets a young woman whom he must rely on to help find his partner's family member.  And in the processCharlie comes face to face with who he is and what he has allowed his heart to become and whether he wants to pursue the real riches in life

Love, love, loved this latest story from Charles Martin.  My short description above definitely lacks the amount of details and nuances this wonderful story holds.  It was hard to write a description without giving away details but every twist and turn added up to make a story that I thought about for days, even weeks,  afterwards.  I couldn't pick up another book because this one kept mulling over in my heart.  The author takes a bit of a departure from his usual strong, moral male character and instead gives us a main male character who is very flawed.  Indifferent and heartless in his business life, the character of Charlie is quite a selfish individual and thinks he can separate his personal life from his business self  but will have to come to realize that the two intertwine.  It will take a woman and child who survived through horrible pain and loss and yet exude a joy and beauty and love that Charlie has never before experienced.  As usual, Charles Martin took my heart on a roller coaster ride of emotions.  Several times my husband looked over at me and asked what I was crying about.  He takes the high society lives of London and Miami and sets it against the poverty and simplicity of life in Nicaragua.  He takes the entitlement, the skewed values of most of North America and shines a light on it comparing it with the riches of what the Nicaraguan mountain people hold dear.  Woven into Charles Martin's story is a piece of himself that he experienced when he himself went and met Nicaraguan people who had been devastated when Hurricane Mitch, in 1998, hung over a volcanic lake until it overfilled causing a horrific mudslide that travelled at 100 mph down the mountain cutting a deadly path killing 3000 people.   This a beautiful story of fruit in the midst of horror, of true love and redemption that made me take a good hard look at my own indifferences in my own heart.  You cannot read this and not be moved.  Have I made you curious enough to run out and read it?  I hope so.  Not to be missed is the author's notes in the end where you are allowed a glimpse of where the story came from.

Reading Challenge Goals Met:  A book that made me cry, A book published this year, A book set in a different country, A book from an author I love but haven't read yet

Friday, June 19, 2015

Friday's Fave Five #334

Welcome everyone.  Friday's is our time to look back over our week and be intentional in looking for good things in our lives.  Please join us as we share five of them whether they be big or small.  I am not feeling well today so mine will be short and sweet and I'm off to bed but nevertheless I still want to look for the blessings over the last week.

1.  32nd Anniversary!  Yesterday Dave and I celebrated 32 years of married life.  Wow.  I can hardly believe it.  As the old saying goes "It seems like just yesterday...".   Sometimes I still think of us like this:  
taken in the early '80's at Heritage Park, Calgary

2.  Dinner made and ready to eat by my daughter.  Wednesday I came home from the gym to wonderful smells coming out my kitchen window.  My daughter had cooked dinner for us and all I had to do was sit down and enjoy.  What a blessing that was.  And delicious too!

3.  Closing a great read with a very satisfied sigh.  Finished the new book by my favorite author and boy, it was a good one.  A review is coming but I just want to say, as per usual with his books, my emotions went through the wringer and I couldn't pick up another book for a couple of days as this one and the message it sent through it's story churned and bounced around in my mind and heart. 

4.  Time with friends as a couple.  I always enjoy when we can get together with another couple.  This week we had not one but two opportunities and both were a really nice time of visiting and fun.  
5.  Gorgeous walk.  Here in our city we have some really gorgeous trails and last weekend we went on one of our favourites.  The views were amazing, the weather just perfect and it was a really nice way to get off our duffs, get outside and get some movement into our day.  Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera with me, didn't even take my phone in an effort to get away from electronics, not even thinking it had a camera. 

What were your favourite blessings from the past week?