Friday, March 22, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #526

Happy Spring, everyone!  I am so very glad to say those words!  Spring is a blessing.  And that is the perfect bridge to welcome everyone to look for their blessings from the past week.  They may be big, they may be smaller, they may be tangible, it may be something that made you laugh or smile, or just something that got you through the day.  But no matter the week you've had, it's always a good thing to make time to look for them and be thankful.

~warmth~ it has been a lovely week, weather wise, to welcome the spring season.  We have actually been outside without coats this week.  So different from just a couple weeks ago.  I will soak up every ray of sunshine because it is Southern Alberta after all, and I'm sure some spring snow will be coming at some point.

~ spring clothes ~ because it's gotten warm, and a spring snow is not the same as frigid winter cold, I've tucked away the big sweaters and warmer clothes and moved the spring clothes to the front of closets and drawers.  Bye bye darker colored clothes, hello brighter, lighter spring colors.

~ ankle rain boots ~ every spring I've always wished I had a pair of rain boots.  Winter boots are too hot, and yet it is still wet and slushy out there.  But I've been too cheap to spend what stores were asking.  But at the end of the season last year I found a really cute pair at Marshals about 2/3 off the regular price.  I only paid $20 and I have worn those things so much already this year.  Love them and so glad I didn't hesitate when I saw them on sale.

~ pockets of time to relax ~ It's been so busy the last few weeks and the next couple of weeks will be even more so.  I've been very thankful to find pockets of time to just slow down, take a break from the big to do list, and just enjoy a cup of coffee or tea, read a chapter, or just watch a show.

~ a clean house ~ there is something about a nice clean house, isn't there?  No matter how tired I am on Friday after the last child leaves, I really try hard to get that vacuum out and give a good going over of the whole upstairs.  Sitting down to clean flooring somehow relaxes me.  When I don't do it I feel antsy and can't always pinpoint why, but as soon as it's done, it's like a sigh of relief.  Weird?  Maybe.  And can I say how thankful I am for a vacuum cleaner and that I don't have to throw rugs over a fence and beat them?

What were your favorite blessings from the week?

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #525

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five!  Are you ready to take a pause and look for the blessings in your past week?  Please join us intentionally looking for and being grateful for the blessings God sends our way.

~ nothing broken ~ my Mom had a fall out her back door on Sunday and though she gave herself a good shiner and a horribly bruised shin and knee nothing was broken, Praise God!  She was stiff and sore but was still getting around okay.  I am so thankful she didn't break anything and that she wasn't by herself.  My daughter was over there and could help her.

~ packing list coming together ~ my ministry trip with Operation Christmas Child is coming up fast!  Only 3 more weekends left!  I've got their packing list and am getting things checked off one by one.  The spare room bed is a mess with everything thrown on there but it will soon be in the suitcase and ready to go.  I am so thankful to have this opportunity to go!

~ car washes ~ after the bitter cold February and the huge snow dumps last 6 weeks or so, it is finally getting gorgeous out there.  But with that comes the slush and muck and mess of a fast melt.  The car gets pretty covered with grime, as I'm sure most of you are probably experiencing in some way.  I'm thankful for the car washes that can get rid of that stuff  without having to wait for summer and garden hose.

~ inspirational stories ~ Love a good inspirational story anytime but I've especially been enjoying some of the ones featured on American Idol this year.  Some of these kids have overcome such hard situations and have such gumption to get up and audition.

~ sunshine ~ I am so thankful for the sunshine dominating the last couple of days.  And not just sunshine, but warm sunshine bringing the temperature above the freezing mark.  And not only warm sunshine but without wind.  So glad to see and feel it.  I actually sat out on the deck yesterday with a book while the kids played in the snow, still in my coat, but boy was it nice to be able to do that.

What were your 5 favorite blessings from the last week?

Saturday, March 09, 2019


The story of a small struggling Scandavian town who's whole identity is wrapped up in hockey.  All their hopes are pinned on the junior team winning the finals so that a hockey school could be established and in turn provide jobs and commerce for the town.  There is huge pressure on the hockey club, coaches and players especially their star player/captain.  A win would change everything in the lives of the players and the town.  At first glance, the reader would think this book is about hockey.  But as you keep going you realize it is a study of so much more.  Hockey just happens to be the wrapping that story comes in.  At it's core it is an exploration into the hearts and beliefs of every day people that make up a small town who just happen to be obsessed with hockey.  It is about family, loyalty and who you choose to give that to, dreams, desires, what we consider most important, choices, entitlement, what we teach through our words and actions, herd mentality, cowardice, strength and courage.  As the team heads into the semifinal the result will leave a young teenage girl traumatized and a team in anger and panic.  Quite a lot of heavy duty things.  It is about an event that tears the town in two, and finds the town forced to face what is deep down within them individually and to take sides.  It is gripping, it is shocking, it raised emotions in me I never even knew were there.  It has one of the most attention grabbing first sentences I've ever read,

" Late one evening toward the end of March, a teenager picked up a double barreled shotgun, walked into the forest, put a gun to someone else's head and pulled the trigger. This is the story of how we got there.

and kept me turning the pages with bated breath and sometimes heart racing to see who was involved and what happened.

That said, I feel I have to also extend a caution to those who would be sensitive to certain material.  It deals with a heavy topic, and because of the nature of a teenage sports team it has plenty of locker room talk and attitudes (all which contribute to the events that unfold) and a plethora of f-bombs throughout.  As the town reacted in the story, it made me think of the gravity of such a tragedy and how victim blaming so easily takes root and what factors contribute to what side a person may choose take.  I thought the author did a great job in examining a culture of what we approve or encourage, make excuses for and/or allow, whether consciously or not, for whatever reason.    Though the story is hard to read at times in the midst of it all there are sparks of great courage and redemption in some of the characters that have you cheering them on.  The first 1/3 or so does move a bit slowly as the author builds his characters, there are many,  but they are real and multi-dimensional and developed well to the very end of the story.  I love how this author sets up images that make you think one way and then surprises you by taking you another direction.  I couldn't stop thinking about the ending.  And you don't have to like hockey to get something out of this story. 

I gave this a 9.5/10 with heavy caution to language and possible triggers.

Friday, March 08, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #524

Welcome Friday and welcome to everyone here to participate in Friday's Fave Five.  We are a group that's intentional in our goal of finding blessings in our normal everydays.  We are purposeful in being thankful for those blessings, whether we are having a good week, a bad week, a crazy week or a boring week.  Please join us in sharing 5 of your favorite blessings from the past week.

~ treated to Sunday lunch ~ At church on Sunday we received a spur of  the moment invitation out for lunch.  Usually we have my Mom for lunch on Sundays but this week we had spent a fair bit of time with her Saturday, so we actually had no plans for lunch.  What a nice treat it was.  The company was wonderful, great friends of ours, the laughter abounded and the food was great.  No better way to spend a couple of hours on a Sunday.

~ warm up ~ looks like the severe deep freeze of February and beginning of March is over, at least for the next 14 days.   Today the temperature rose to the freezing mark.  Yes, it actually felt warm and balmy compared to what we have had!  The sun was out and the snow was melting.  Can't wait for spring!

~ shampoo/conditioner scents ~ One of my favorite things is lovely smelling shampoos and conditioners.  I am so not a morning person but on the days my hair needs a wash I look forward to that nice smell helping to wake me up.

~ headphones ~  I am not an earbud kind of gal.  Hate how they feel and most of them actually hurt to have them in my ears.  But every once in a while I do need them to listen to something on my computer.  I was using this super old pair of headphones that my son had left behind but they finally bit the the dust.  Hubby gifted me with a new pair that sound wonderful and feel great over my ears.

~ cups of tea and good conversation ~ there has been some great conversation and discussion shared over cups of warm, fragrant tea on cold nights with our ladies group.  Love these wonderful women that God has placed in my life to bond with and grow with.

What have been your favorite blessings this week?

Friday, March 01, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #523

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  Warming our hearts with intentionally looking for blessings and being grateful.  And I need all the warming I can get.  It's been a chilly February for sure, the coldest in 83 years in my city to be exact. Brrrr.  I am so ready for spring and warmer weather with some sunshine!! Please join us in looking back over the week and sharing 5 of the blessings God has graced us with.

~ Minimalist Game success! ~  If you're not sure what this is, here is my post about it yesterday.  I am so excited to have conquered this challenge!  When I first started I never thought I would actually complete it but thought I'd just go as far as I could.  Much to my surprise I did it and I had fun.  I am no minimalist but definitely have wanted to do a good declutter.  Now I'm loving the results and will probably keep going.  I'm sure there is more now that I'm motivated.  I even did books, y'all!  Books.  And if you know me, that in itself is a miracle.

~ birthday celebrations ~ Sunday we took Hubby's sister and brother in law out to celebrate her birthday.  She loves buffets so we took her to a really wonderful one we have discovered.  The food was excellent and the company fun.  We were having such a great visit we didn't even realize we were the last left and we closed the place down.  And best of all was celebrating a great lady.

~ women who support each other ~ I love when women draw together and in spite of circumstances stand together and lift up another.  I experienced a lovely moment this week and it was humbling and made me proud to be part of a wonderful group of women

~ laughter ~ how I love to laugh and there were some wonderful moments throughout the week with the dayhome kids, family and at the gym.  Laughter is good medicine.

~ supper cooked by my girl ~  The other day my daughter asked if she could make supper.  I said no.   Are you kidding me?  Of course I said YES, PLEASE!!  She made really delicious stuffed peppers and salad.  It was a really nice break not to have to worry about what to cook for supper and then rush to get it made.  

What were your favorite blessings this week?

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Minimalist Game Conquered

This year the KonMari buzz has overtaken the internet.  You cannot go onto any social media platform without a plethora of posts or videos showing people either joyfully or with much stress and moaning and groaning piling heaps upon heaps of stuff onto their beds.  While I knew I needed to do a good declutter, and why not in January when it was cold out and I was hibernating inside the house anyways, the thought of unloading whole closet and cupboard fulls at a time was just too much for me.  I work from home in child care and pretty much use most of the space in my house on a daily basis so that principle was just a no go for me.  And unless I take a vacation to declutter who on earth has hour upon hour all in a row to devote to such a thing?  So in pondering how I would like to approach the task of mindful and intentional decluttering, I came across a little thing called "The Minimalist Game".

The basic premise was to take 30 days to declutter a whack load of stuff.  On day 1 you get rid of one item.  On day 2:  two items, on day 3:  three items and so on and so forth until day 30 when you've worked yourself up to 30 items that day.  You get the picture.

Now this sounded a whole lot more doable.  It did not require me to unload whole rooms into a pile that would take hours upon hours to go through.  I could take a few moments here and there in the particular room I was in and remove items, still under the idea of "non-usefulness" and "no joy", and let me work at it until I had the required amount for that "day" slot.  If that particular number took me three days then so be it.

NO PRESSURE AND NO STRESS!  As soon as I had the required number a pic was taken and when I had a box or bag full off they went to either donate or trash or recycling.

Can we just pause a moment in this post and ask ourselves why on earth any individual needs to have 24 pairs of 3D glasses in their cupboard?  I have no answer.

I was amazed at how motivating this was.  I started to look forward to what else I could get rid of.  I would scan rooms and areas as I passed through them.  It was very liberating.

Now on that note may I say that I did not touch any of my husband's stuff.  This is important.  You cannot force another person into your decluttering head space.  In fact, in that pile of blu-rays and dvds any that were his I got his permission.  Andwhen I asked if he was sure a few days later, he took another look and took a couple of them back.  Which is totally ok.

And now aren't you amazed that as you scrolled through this post that in about the 6 weeks that it took me to do this I got 465+ items out of my home.  Let's just think about that.  Four Hundred and Sixty Five pieces of stuff that was sitting around my house.  Shocking, isn't it?  I know I was stunned.  I thought it would be hard.  Amazing how something as simple as this can have such a great effect.  Now I'm motivated to go beyond the surface stuff and go a little deeper into the backs of closets, cupboards, drawers and bins.  The things that might require a bit of a tougher decision.

Have you been KonMari-ing?   Or have you been KonMari-ed?

Friday, February 22, 2019

Friday's Fave Five #522

Welcome to Fave Fives everyone.  Looking for blessings in our everyday and being grateful is what we're trying to make a habit out of.  Please join us as we share 5 of the blessings from the past week.

~Caramelized Pear Tea~ found this at the dutch bakery and import store where I buy my bread.   It has made a nice hot drink in the afternoons instead of coffee or in the evening when I'm trying to warm up and be cozy from the cold weather outside.  

~belated valentine dinner out~ Hubby and I enjoyed a dinner out on Friday night.  We don't go out on Valentine's Day because we don't like the crowds and feeling like we're being rushed through.  So Friday we took gift cards to one of our fave restaurants we had received from my sis for Christmas and enjoyed a leisurely dinner out, just us two.  I had Wine Braised Short Ribs over Mushroom Risotto.  It was a perfect comfort food for a very cold night.

-an outside day~ finally a day warm enough to take the kids outside for a short time this week.  The first time in 2 1/2 weeks.  It was so good to get out and breath the air, feel some sunshine, play in the snow and move our muscles.  

~some good reads~ the last couple of books I've had have been really good.  I love getting ahold of a good book.  One that draws me in right from the beginning, holds my interest, has great characters, pulls on my emotions, has some great twists.  Reading is a blessing and having access to so many books so easily is something I don't take for granted.

~holiday monday~  Monday was Family Day in Alberta so a holiday for me and boy, was I thankful for it.  We ended up with a funeral on both Saturday and an out of town one on Sunday.  After the funeral on Saturday, we ended up helping my daughter out when she blew out a tire by hitting a curb when she tried to avoid an accident because of the slippery roads.  The tow trucks were so busy it took 2 1/2 hours before they arrived.  I needed that Monday just to regroup, clean my house and buy some groceries.  I was very thankful for that extra day off.

What were your favorite blessings from the week?