Friday, February 03, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #719

Practicing contentment is something that can be difficult for us especially here in North America where we are bombarded with voices telling us to be discontent.  It's called advertising and it continuously tries to get into our hearts and minds telling us we need bigger, better, more and new.  The economy thrives on us being discontent with where we are in life and what we have or have not.  Contentment is a mindset that we need to practice and choose on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis.  The key to contentment?  Well first off is to quite watching and reading all the adds that tell us how we should be living.  Second is learning to look for our everyday blessings and be grateful and thankful for them which leads us to realize all that we really do have.  Join us in sharing 5 of your favorites from the last week.

~ fresh air ~ between sitting inside all day working on an online portion of a course I need to take and working on the computer all day I needed to change my view.  So I grabbed Tux, threw on my winter outerwear and headed outside to catch the last of the sun for the day.  It's still cold here, hovering around the freezing mark but it was lovely outside.  No wind, the air was crisp and fresh and the sun peeked out now and again.  The fresh air cleared my overworked brain and the movement felt great after sitting all day.  Thankful for the blessing of a lovely day to take a walk.

~ clean carpets ~ Hubby has been working hard shampooing all the carpets upstairs.  They look and feel brand new again.  I'm thankful for all his hard work doing it on his days off.

~ when food takes you right back to childhood ~ there are some foods that I seem to rarely have but that I love and take me instantly right back to childhood.  One of those is something my Mom used to give us for lunch on Good Friday.  I'm sure we had it other times but it's aGrowing up Catholic, my parents observed the no meat on Good Friday tradition.  So for supper we always had fish, and for lunch Mom would make us a plate of cottage cheese.  She'd add apple slices so that there was four quadrants of cottage cheese and then she'd put drained fruit cocktail on the cottage cheese.  She'd serve it to us with toast and butter.  I loved it as a kid and I still love it now.  I don't have it often but hubby but a 3 pack of cottage cheese at C*stco and I just got a craving for it.  I don't buy fruit cocktail anymore but I had strawberries and blueberries and that first bite of buttered toast and cottage cheese and fruit just bought back all the warm cozy feelings of being a kid.  I'm thankful for traditions that my parents gave us, even in such a small thing, that brings warmth and nostalgia.  

~ coffee and talk with a friend ~ though we don't get to see each other often, spending time with this friend is so refreshing.  We pick up as if no time has passed and it's just easy being in her company.  I'm thankful for a good friendship where I can be myself.

~ my local library ~ love my library.  I love spending time in there looking for books.  It's a time I relax and just enjoy.  I love that once again they are offering memberships for free this year and making it accessible for everyone.  I love that I can request books for them to purchase, put books on hold online.  The library is a great blessing in my life and I've loved it since I got my very first library card when I was about 7 years old.

What are the blessings you are thankful for this week?

Thursday, February 02, 2023

February 2023 Reading Possibilities

I'm pleased that I finished 3 books in January.  I'm not pleased that my audiobook returned and when I went to renew it found out that the licensing with my library ran out.  I should have renewed before it actually returned.  That was a couple hours of wasted time as I have no desire to take out a physical copy of that particular book right now.  Lesson learned:  renew before it returns.  

So onto February.  I chose the color Pink or Red on the cover for February for obvious reasons (Valentine's Day).  Little did I know I'd have a ton of books that could qualify.  Lots of choices to pick from as my mood dictates!

Read What I Own: Color of the Month:  Pink or Red

          ~ The Romanov Prophecy by Steve Berry
          ~ Bachelor Girl by Kim Van Alkemade
          ~ The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
          ~ The Rose Code by Kate Quinn
          ~ The Librarian of Boone's Hollow by Kim Vogel Sawyer
          ~ No Place for a Lady by Gil Paul
          ~ A Silken Thread by Kim Vogel Sawyer
          ~ The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett
          ~ Universe of Two by Stephen P. Kiernan
          ~ Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo
          ~ The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
          ~ Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky
          ~ The Whistler by John Grisham

Oldest/Newest of Purchased Books

          ~The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox  (Newest)
          ~ The Chili Queen by Sandra Dallas (Oldest)

Library Read

          ~ The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold

Read My Own Shelf Non-Fiction

          ~ It's Not Supposed to Be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst (finished)
          ~ Facing Fear by Nik Wallenda

How was your reading in January and what are you reading now?

Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Woman With Two Shadows by Sarah James ~ Book Review

Though totally opposite personalities, Lillian Kaufmann and her identical twin sister Eleanor were very close.  Lillian is very studious and is studying to be a physicist while Eleanor is a carefree actress.  When Lillian gets word that she is to be accepted into Harvard she is thrilled until she learns that Eleanor has landed a part in play that also must take her to Chicago.  There is now the dilemma of who will care for their mother if both girls are gone.  Lillian was counting on Eleanor and a battle of who will get their dreams realized starts to come between their sisterly bond.  When Eleanor unexpectedly takes a mysterious job at an army base in Tennessee, Lillian is dumbfounded that her sister would go to those lengths to get away from her. But when Lillian gets an odd phone call from Eleanor's boyfriend telling her Eleanor is missing, Lillian heads to Oak Ridge to clear up the matter and talk Eleanor into coming home.  What she finds there is a mysterious, fenced town of thousands that officially does not exist where she must assume Eleanor's identity in order to even get inside the perimeter.  As Eleanor digs into the days before her sister allegedly went missing, she finds others reporting missing friends and a town that holds dangerous secrets of one of the biggest scientific projects of all time.  Who can she trust is telling the truth in this town her sister became a part of?

I really enjoyed this historical novel set around the most closely guarded secret of WWII and the biggest scientific discovery of it's time.  The tension between the sisters that causes Eleanor to abandon her dreams and take the job at the army base is told in flashbacks as Lillian is at the base posing as Eleanor to gain information.   There was lots of mystery, cover ups and layers as Lillian tries to pose as her sister to figure it all out, not knowing who can be trusted, and not knowing exactly what is going on at this facility.  Lots of twists and turns keep the story moving to it's conclusion and the revealing of the project.   In the end it's a story that questions how some of the smartest scientists of the time could have justified the end results of a project in order to rise to the challenge of the project itself.    I thought this was a great debut novel.

Rating:  9.5/10
Reading Challenge Goal Met:  Read one book a month from my Library to read list

Friday, January 27, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #718

Here it is, the last Friday of January.  Already.  Can't believe this 1st month of 2023 is already almost done.  Time just seemed to race by me this month as such a pace that if I wasn't pausing each week to intentionally note some blessings I'm sure the would have just escaped me as I scurried to catch up.  Are you finding this too?  Or is it just me?  At any rate let's take notice of this week's blessings God has brought to us in our everyday and share five of them.

~ rug spot cleaner ~  I know a weird thing, but we finally got a little spot cleaner.  We've always had the big rug cleaner but it's a legit professional cleaner so to lug that thing upstairs to clean something smaller was just insanity.  I can't even do it by myself, my hubby has to do it. I've always wanted a portable one and finally got one.  I can't tell you how many times I've already used that thing.  Thankful for these modern appliances that help make things so much easier.

~ no major injury after a hard fall ~ Sunday afternoon when walking the dog I stepped on snow covered ice and my feet flew out from under me and I took a really hard fall on my hip.  Yowzers that really hurt.  I just thank God that I didn't break anything especially my hip.  Took a couple days for the bruise to start showing and it's sore to directly lay on the spot but otherwise it is a-ok and my life has not been affected by it.

~ chocolate covered espresso beans ~ love them, but it's a treat I never, ever buy myself.  My friend gifted me a little bag and I've slowly been enjoying them.  

~ great deal on a gift ~  what a blessing to find the perfect gift for 2/3 off the regular price.  Love when I run into great deals at the perfect time.

~ perfect book at the perfect time ~ I love when a book I've had lying around forever that I haven't read yet just makes it into my hands at the perfect time for when I needed it.  Something that a year ago wouldn't even make me take notice or would seem boring or irrelevant is all of a sudden just what I need to learn or hear or be encouraged by.  I love reading and find the fact that we North America for the most part have such unlimited access to books such a huge blessing.

What are the blessings in your life this week that have lifted you?


Friday, January 20, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #717

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  We're developing the habit of looking for the blessings God sends into our everyday.  Won't you join us?  If you're new the guidelines are linked in the sidebar.  If I didn't get around to your posts from last week, I'm apologize.  It's been a bit of a chaotic week with 2 new kidlets starting in the dayhome.  I'll try to make it around to everyone this week.

~ warm temps and chinook winds to melt the ice ~ it has been pretty nice around here lately.  The chinook winds blew in and it's been melting all the snow and ice.  There's been some mild days where I could get out and take Tux out for a walk right after work.  It's so nice to get out in the fresh air and just breathe deeply.  What a great stress reliever.  So grateful for these nice days right in the middle of winter.

~ coffee meet up ~ Saturday I met up with a new to me friend for coffee.  My pastor's wife suggested we get together as we have some things in common.  It was wonderful getting to know this lady with a strong faith in the Lord.  I'm grateful that God brings just the right people across our paths when we need them.

~ words in season ~ I watch a few different Christian youtube channels.  This week on a day that I was really struggling with a situation, one of the channels I watch published at the exact time on the EXACT thing I needed to hear.  It was like the Lord was just saying "I hear you and see what you're going through" and then this person posted on the very thing I needed to hear.  It was so encouraging and uplifting.  It's things like that that make me know God is very real and loves us.

~ advil and a cool pillow ~ I'm not even kidding about this being a blessing this week.  I started to get a huge headache the other evening.  I hate to take anything unless I have to but I've learned from the past to take an advil before it turns into a migraine so that I did.  With a nice cold glass of water to avoid being  dehydrated through the night and then I took myself to bed early.  Thankful that we do have over the counter meds like that to help when we need it.

~ it's Friday ~ I'm just super thankful it's Friday.  It's the last day of work before a couple days off.   I'm pretty glad I have a job where I can still have a weekend.  It's getting rare it seems nowadays to have 2 days off in a row.   I'm so ready for a couple days of down time and rest.

What were your favorite blessings of the week?

Saturday, January 14, 2023

The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Frederick ~ Book Review

Charles Lindbergh has risen to hero status in the eyes of the American public due to his much revered flight across the Atlantic.  His wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and he are building a home in a secluded area of the New Jersey countryside in efforts to keep their privacy.  When Ann gets pregnant they hire a nurse (nanny) originally from England to help in the day to day care of their son, Charles Jr.  Betty Gouw, finds herself buiding a strong bond with the child but at times questions Charles Lindbergh's child rearing methods and Anne's willingness to go along with them.  But she does her best to abide by the rules. When in 1932, Charles Jr is kidnapped from his bedroom while he was sleeping, Betty becomes suspect of aiding the kidnapper.  Her whole life is thrown into the spotlight and she is all of a sudden the questionable one.  Betty takes it upon herself to try to find the truth about that night and who really might be the co-conspirator so that Charles Jr. can be safely found.  But when the baby turns up dead,  Betty just wants to find justice for the little one she loved.  

This story is a look at the internationally known kidnapping of Charles Lindbergh Jr as seen through the eyes of the person who spent the most time with him, and loved him as her own, his live in nurse (nanny), Betty Gouw.  The author weaves the historical facts of the case with fiction filling in the missing spaces.  Betty Gouw really was the child's nanny and her whole life was turned upside down with the crime, being accused of helping the kidnapping and then testifying in court against the man finally charged.  She went from obscurity to sudden fame and noteriety all while trying to deal with the kidnapping and death of an innocent child she loved.  While the whole story itself is captivating I found the beginning of the novel to be quite choppy and the introduction of new characters a bit confusing and therefore didn't pay a whole lot of attention to them as they seemed so secondary.  Turns out I should have payed more attention.  The pacing didn't get it's feet under itself, so to speak, until the baby gets kidnapped and that is when the book actually took off for me.   Once it does happen it is suspenseful and gripping. My heart really is taken with Betty who was just trying to get over a failed love affair and try and make her way in a new country.  The author's notes helped to discern between what was actual fact about Betty, the Lindbergh's, the kidnapping, the investigation and the subsequent court case.  It turned into an interesting and emotional read though I was frustrated at the end not remembering exactly who some characters were that were introduced in the beginning.

I rated this a 9/10

2023 Reading Challenge Goal Met:  One book a month from my Library Want To Read Shelf

Friday, January 13, 2023

Friday Fave Fives #716

Hi everyone.  Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Our time to hit that pause on the busy lifestyle and actually look for what has been a blessing in our past week.  What has uplifted your heart, brought a smile to your face, made you thankful.  It's time to take notice of it and give thanks.  Mine this week are pretty simple pleasures but they are all things that bring joy to the everyday.   Join in if you would like to share five of your favorite blessings from the last week.

~ special note from a special little girl ~ Left on my doorstep with a little gift this precious note came from a very special 6 year old.  A former child in my dayhome I was blessed to have her from age 1 until she went to kindergarten and the summer before grade 1.  We have a real special bond, her and I, and I miss her like crazy.  It's always a special treat when she pops by to say hello.

~ bald eagle sighting ~ I was outside one day putting down some salt on all the ice on our front walk when I looked over the school yard and spotted a bald eagle flying quite low.  It hung around a half minute or so hovering on air current and then left.  Hubby spotted him over the house later the next day.  Now we have some bald eagles around here but usually they hang more around the river valleys and coulees outside of the city.  My sis in law and niece who live on an acreage a few miles out of town see them often but I have never in life seen one in town.  Kind of an exciting sight.

~ candied ginger ~ for my birthday (at the end of December) my youngest daughter gifted me these favorites from my favorite spice store.  They are soft, chewy and spicy and taste very fresh.  So good and really nice treat.  I've been trying real hard not to scarf them down and just slowly enjoy them making them last a bit longer.

~ furry feather calathea ~ my plant I bought  at the beginning of December is thriving.  It is getting much bushier with all sorts of new leaves sprouting.  It way thicker than it was when I brought it home.  It makes me happy to see how it brightens up the corner where it's placed.  I just love it's unique leaves.  Very glad I listened to that insistent voice in my head telling me not to leave this behind.  No regrets on this purchase.  

~ beautiful days ~ We've seen above freezing temps every day this week.  But the wonderful thing about that is that there has been no crazy wind along with it.  Usually at this time of year, the chinook winds are the driving force in warm weather but though we've had breezes or light wind it hasn't been the howling strong winds that chinooks tend to be.  We've gone outside daily to enjoy the fresh air!

What have been favorite blessings from your week?