Friday, May 22, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #585

Hi everyone.  Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  I will be a touch late getting my post up today but please don't let that stop you.  Mr. Linky is ready to go.  I'll get the post up as soon as I can!

Good morning!  Welcome to Friday Fave Five.  Thanks so much for being patient with me.  There were things going on last night where I was not able to do up my post but I'm raring to go now.  Thanks for joining in on looking for blessings and being grateful for them especially during these times.  I always like to think that during the good times it's like we are in training to look for blessings and we are building those muscles of gratitude and thankfulness.  Then when the race is really on, when those not so good times hit or those truly awful times when we can hardly hold our head above water come, well that is when all that training comes into play.  We've developed a "muscle memory", if you will, to search out blessings and our trained heart is grateful and thankful not necessarily for whatever is hard, but in that hard time.  We become like the athlete who body just knows exactly what to do because it has had so much practice and she can be laser focused no matter what is swirling around her.  So let's get to building those thankful muscles and find the blessings from the last week.

~ delayed Mother's day gift ~ I had a sweet little surprise come in mail when a Mother's Day gift that my youngest had ordered me came late.  It was this lovely little music box that plays a song I used to sing to the kids all the time when they were really little.  She knew that I liked music boxes and that she found one with that particular song was really touching.  She also sent me a random touching text the other day.  She really filled up my Mom love language cup this week.

~flower garden in~ It was a long weekend here last weekend and I took the opportunity to get my flower garden in and my flower pots planted.  Dave had bought me those gorgeous Sweetheart Rose Geraniums and then gave me the "Canadian Tire money" to go get other flowers. He also bought me a gorgeous perennial for the front that I can hardly wait to see grow.  I've never seen it before so I hope I don't kill off the poor thing.  Ha.   I'm not a good gardener by any means but I do like to put my flowers into the pots and get the bed by the front of the house done and enjoy their beauty all summer.

(This is the perennial Rodgersia.  The little tag on it said "spectacular specimen".  That little stem in the first picture is supposed to produce clumps of white flowers that stand up a good ways from from the leaves.  And you can see from my kitty hiding in the picture and by my hand how huge the leaves are.  If the size of the leaves are anything to go by it truly will be spectacular!  I'm so excited to see this grow.  I'm praying it does well for me and I can keep it alive.)

(Here a better picture of the Sweetheart Rose geranium than I had last week.  I put them into a pretty threesome for the front doorway.  The big pot also has flowers that will hang down and some light airy white ones that will fill in.  Can't wait for it to start growing and show what it looks like then.  The little bush on the right is one of my favorite perennials called Jack Frost)

~ funny signage ~ we've had some wonderful times during this quarantine to get outside and go for great walks and bike rides.  One of our favorites is on some trails behind the college.  This year we found a new sign that made us laugh.  I guess they are covering all their bases that if you don't understand English your dog can translate it for you.  Haha.

~ coffee and some great reading ~ There has been some great reading time this last week.  I always love when I find an unexpected great book that just grabs me right from the beginning and surprises me throughout, and yes, even leaves me with a few tears at the end.  I had one of those this week and I loved every minute I could pick it up. 

~ ugly filing cabinet gone ~ In our smaller spare bedroom which is also our office stood a huge ugly black filing cabinet that we've kinda hated from the moment we got it.  It stuck out way too far because it was so deep but it served it's purpose.  After looking for at least a year, we finally found a file cabinet this week that is more like a piece of furniture so it blends in better and is not so deep so it's not sticking out.  And it was in our price range so we are very happy to see the big black eyesore gone.

What were your favorite blessings from last week?  If you share 5 of them in a post please feel free to link on!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #584

UPDATED with a pic of the rose geranium!

Hi again everyone.  How was your week?  Here at Friday's Fave Five we pause, look for and share 5 of our blessings from the last week.  No matter what kind of week we had.  Whether is was great, mediocre, quiet or crazy or just plain difficult.  We are working at developing the practice of intentionally looking at the blessings that God places into our lives.  Not all will be big and huge, some will be whisper quiet and some we will have to search for a little harder.  But the point is to train our selves to 1) Look for those blessings and 2) to be thankful for them big and small.  Please join us.  If you do a FFF post please feel free to link up.

~ Mother's Day ~  wow, this Mother's day was different from any other.  Not only with all the distancing making it difficult, but here it was also very chilly so we couldn't even really go sit outside with my Mom.  But there were still blessings to the day.  A nice telephone chat with my mom started the day.  Then the rest was totally relaxed.  PJ's, coffee, a nice long bath with a book to read was a treat as I rarely get to do that.  Online church, a phone call from my daughter and son in law in Saskatchewan, a live fb video call from my son who was just starting his shift at work.  Something that really blessed me was he took me on a video tour of his ambulance.  It was so interesting and I got to see "where" he works and how he does his job and some of the cool things that ambulances are fitted with.  Very fun for me.  My youngest came over and I threw a frozen lasagna in the oven.  It turned out to be a lovely day in spite of being very different from what I'm used to.

~ Dirty Chai Tea Latte ~ My new favorite discovery at the coffee shop.  I haven't been to St*rbucks since the whole isolating thing and when hubby asked if I wanted to get something in the drive thru I gave it a try.  And I'm hooked.

~Vanilla slice~ We took a little drive to the neighboring town to pick up and order of bread and I decided I'd treat myself to a vanilla slice.  I don't eat much dessert type stuff anymore but I really craved a slice of one of my favorites.  It was good to the last bite.  Wished I would have taken a picture for ya.  There are different versions but around here it's basically a layer of vanilla custard topped with a thick layer of whipped cream sandwiched between two layers of puff pastry topped with a pink icing drizzled with chocolate.  When I was a kid there also used to be a strip of raspberry jam in there but you can't find that around here anymore.

~ Rose Geranium ~ About 20 or more years ago I came across a pretty little geranium type called a rose geranium.  I have been looking for them since and have never been able to find them.  The other day hubby took me to a lovely garden nursery a little bit out of town and lo and behold they had them.  Hubby blessed me with four of them for my garden for Mother's Day.  I am so excited.  I just love the look of a whole bunch of tiny little rosebuds that makes up it's flower.  I can hardly wait to get them planted.

Not fully developed and bloomed out but here is a pic of  one of the flower heads of the rose geranium.  It will give you an idea of each individual little "flower" that makes up the head.

~ Dad's birthday ~ Yesterday was my Dad's 89th birthday.  Yesterday was also the day they started to allow minimal visiting at some senior residences in Alberta.  His was one of them.  So we jumped through all the hoops and got a 15 minute visit.  Masks were mandatory.  I was able to cook him one of his favorite dishes and take it to him.  The weather co-operated and we had some lovely sunshine.  And it was nice to at least get to look him in the eyes and wish him a happy birthday rather than just wave up to his 2nd story room while we stood outside!  It's the first time I got to see my Dad since the middle of March.

Bonus blessing:  The new release from my favorite author arrived in the mail and I can't wait to get to The Water Keeper by Charles Martin.

What were your favorite blessings from the last week?  Is your area opening up from isolation or lockdown yet?

Sunday, May 10, 2020

(Picture credit to Sally Scaffardi Designs)

Happy Mother's Day to all you lovely Moms
and to those who fill that role in the life of a child! 

Friday, May 08, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #583

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  I love our community.  Doing this exercise with you, friends, really builds me up and keeps me hopeful and positive.  It points me to the good things that God is doing in our lives, providing for us and blessing us with.  Thanks for joining with me week after week.

~ walks, walks, and more walks ~  I'm really getting into this daily walking thing.  Our walks range from shorter to really long and I'm loving them.  I don't always feel like it before we get to our start location but once we get going I'm all in.  With the weather getting nicer it's been so nice to feel the sun shining down on us and I'm soaking in that vitamin D.  I'm going to miss these walks once I get back to work!

~ takeout ~  well we finally broke down and got takeout in the form of fish and chips from a local place.  We figured because it's fried and so piping hot it can't be handled with hands it would be pretty safe.  I was extra delicious just because it's been so long since we had take out, never mind sitting in a restaurant.  It made me feel like a kid again where it really was a rare treat to have dinner out or to get a pizza or Kentucky Fried Chicken.  In today's world, well that is today's world before COVID-19, eating out in some form or fashion on a regular/frequent basis is the norm for most people.  And to make it even more enjoyable, because dining in is not allowed, we had it picnic style after one of our walks.  I keep a blanket in the car at all times so all we had to do was find a tree giving some shade and we were set.

~ finished prepping the flower beds ~  Last FFF I mentioned starting putting the new soil into the flower beds.  I finally finished the job on Wednesday.  I had to take a couple of days off in the middle just to rest those unused shoveling muscles.  What a big job.  Those bags hold a whole lot of dirt.  But the beds look so nice and fresh with their dark soil just waiting for some flowers to go in.

~ parking lot coffee ~  my good friend and I met in the church parking lot to have a good visit.  We haven't seen each other since this whole thing started and we were really missing a good face to face chat.  We brought our own chairs and coffees and settled in, at least 6 feet apart,  for a really nice visit.  I was finally able to give her birthday present which was only a month late, thanks to that little COVID thing.  It was a wonderful couple of hours which I sorely needed.

~ carmalized pear tea ~  This tea has become a yummy way to relax in the afternoons or evenings.  Black tea, pear and cinnamon. (full ingredient list:   Tea, natural flavouring, cinnamon (4.7%), liquorice, camomile, pear pieces (0.8%), caramel pieces (0.1%))With a touch of honey and a tiny splash of cream or milk it's like dessert in a cup.  I first came across it at a little local Dutch and European food store and bakery where I buy my bread.  So delicious.

There are my favorite blessings from the week.  Nothing earth shattering but they were all things that brightened my day in some way and made me realize how blessed I am.  What are 5 blessings from the week you are thankful for?

And before signing off I wish all you Mom's a Happy Mother's Day.  Also all you who might not be moms in the "normal" sense but you show love and care towards children in any way, shape or form, Happy Mother's Day to you too!

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Shanghai Girls by Lisa See ~ book review

It is 1937 and Pearl and her sister May are teenagers growing up in Shanghai.  Their family was well off but Pearl has been noticing a few things that are a bit unusual such as things missing from the home and certain servants no longer around.  But Pearl and her sister have little time to really think deeply about such things.  They are modern girls who are also models, beautiful girls, for the Chinese calendars so they are living a carefree, independent, party filled life.  That is until the day they come home to find their father has "given" them in marriage to the sons of a Chinese American business man in order to pay off his gambling debts.  As they plot a way to get out of what their father has done and make their escape, the Japanese attack Shanghai and they make the life altering decision to go to America after all, but always with plans to escape their new father in law once they are there.  Once on American soil however, it is easier said than done.  Being the older sister Pearl has always felt a deep need to protect May yet their deep seated rivalries and jealousies follow them to America in spite of them having to cling to one another in order to survive.  Life will mean sacrifices and tough choices but can they look past their own inner turmoils to help each other?

Using Shanghai and California as a backdrop to the story, this book takes you on an immigration journey of two sisters.  It was fascinating to read of the Chinese experience as they came to America and the struggles they faced and the prejudice they encountered in trying to fit in and make a life.  Many of my assumptions were confronted about this group of immigrants and their journeys.  Though I found the first part of the book a little slower in reading, there is lots of description of their privileged life ,which for me was a bit tedious, but it becomes fundamental to the story in order for the reader to understand how hard their new life would be for them to acclimate to and how they had to change and adapt.  The book, for me, really picked up once the war began.  Though it is a quick read, it is not an easy read.  With the start of the war, comes some very horrific things taking place and happening to them individually and there is lots of attitudes and terms that would be considered politically incorrect in this day and age but is historically correct to the times.   Though the story deals with very hard events throughout the girl's lives it is at it's core a story of sisterly love and commitment to each other no matter what.  I would not call this a happy, fluffy read.  The girls do not live an easy life in America and their own relationship is very complicated.  But I learned a lot about another culture's experience with trying to fulfill their American Dream while staying true to their roots and coming to an understanding of what family is.  The book ended abruptly for me with loose ends but then I found out there is a second book continuing the story so I will read that to find out what happens.

Great historical fiction but with some trigger warnings to harsh attitudes towards women, and abuses perpetrated through war if you are sensitive to that.  I rated this an 8/10.

Friday, May 01, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #582

Hello Friday, hello May and hello FFF friends!  So glad you came by for another week of being grateful.  Looking for blessings no matter what the circumstances of life brings and being grateful helps to keep us grounded during tough times.  God is there bringing blessing but sometimes we have to push that pause button so that we can actually notice them.  And being grateful to God helps us to notice His hand in our lives more and more.  So please join in with us as we pause to look and be thankful.

~ dark chocolate hummus ~ I found this at Costco and just had to try it.  And I think I have found my new snack addiction.  It's so good with apples or blackberries or bananas or strawberries.  I've even dipped golden berries into it and love it.  Pretty much any fruit would do.  Once you get used to it not being smooth like melted chocolate, I mean it is hummus, it really hits that spot when I'm craving chocolate.  I'm telling myself it's healthier than just a chocolate bar, right?    I'm grateful that even at this time when one of favorite activities, going to restaurants and trying new foods, has been put on hold there is still ways to find and try new to me foods.

~ naan bread pizza ~ before the COVID 19 craziness we used to get pizza on a regular basis, at least once a month.  It's one of my favorite takeouts.  But Hubby just isn't comfortable getting take out food right now and we hadn't had pizza since the beginning of March and to say I was craving it is a major understatement.  But I don't like frozen pizzas.  I was staring in my cupboards when it dawned on me that I had all this extra naan bread (from Costco) and they could possibly be a good crust for pizza.  I added spaghetti sauce and/or pesto, whatever toppings we had on hand, and cheese, baked at 425*F until the cheese was hot and bubbly (about 15 minutes) and voila, we had pizza.  And amazingly it was delicious.  We liked it way better than the frozen pizzas and it satisfied our pizza craving.

~ furry hand holds and "hugs" ~  my youngest daughter's cat has been getting cozy with me lately and everyday he likes to do a little cuddling.  Most times when I'm working on the computer, haha.  He cuddles up real close and then "holds" my hand with his paw or sits right on top of my mouse hand purring away.  I'm thankful this little furball reminds me there is more to life than getting sucked into wasting a ton of time with my face pointed towards the electronics and there are other things, real live things, that are wanting my attention. 

~ gorgeous weather and gardening ~  we have had absolutely lovely weather this week and coincidentally the big yellow bag of garden soil arrived this week.  The flower beds under the back yard trees have been needing more soil in them for years but it was always an expense that got put on the back burner.  But with my extra time off this year with bit the bullet and ordered a bag (1 cubic yard) of black soil.  Gardening is not something I crave to do, but it had to be done.  I'm thankful it has given me exercise all this week outside in beautiful sunshine and this big job is finally getting done and the beds look so much better!

~ bike riding ~  we enjoyed some great bike riding on the weekend.  It's my favorite activity when the weather gets nicer.  We rode to the other side of town and had a nice socially distanced visit on the driveway with my mom, then rode home again.  A lovely way to spend a couple of hours on a spring day.

What have been you grateful for this week?

Friday, April 24, 2020

A moment of silence in honor of the 22 people who lost their lives in the shooting rampage in Nova Scotia.  Praying for the family and friends of this horrific, senseless act.  

Friday's Fave Five #581

Hi everyone.  Welcome to our corner of the internet where we take an intentional pause and look for blessings from the past week to be grateful for.   As another week passes with the lockdowns, job losses, and all the anxiety related to COVID 19, it is so important to intentionally look for the good things in our lives.  The bible states it this way:

And now, brothers, as I close this letter, let me say this one more thing: Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely, and dwell on the fine, good things in others. Think about all you can praise God for and be glad about.
Philippian 4:8 ~The Living Bible Translation

In order not to drown in the sea of fear and negativity, we need to purposefully grab ahold of the life preserver labeled "Gratefulness".   We need to take our eyes off the scary waves of bad news that surrounds us and put our eyes up what God is blessing us with and keeping us afloat with.  Hopefully this weekly exercise helps you to do that.  Please join in with us if you never have before!

~ home ~  while I work from home normally so am here at home most of the time anyway, I have come to have a new and deep appreciation and gratitude for my home.  Though not large by today's standards, it is perfect for us.  For me it symbolizes safety and shelter, love and family, warmth and care.  I do not think of it as being "stuck" at home, but of getting to be in a safe place and I am fully aware that not everyone has this.  I feel very blessed to have such a place to be when they say "Stay at home" or "Shelter in place".  Though I can't do my work from here right now, I know that one day soon I again will be able to welcome my dayhome families back and the house will be filled with small kid chaos and fun.  Until then I'm grateful to be here staying safe.

~ online webinars ~  I may not be working from home but I've been able to connect with a fb group called Home Daycare Consultants.  They have had some wonderful, free training webinars that I have signed up for.  They have kept my mind engaged and learning which is a good thing anytime but especially right now.   There is always something one can pick up, or learn, or be encouraged in even if you have been in the child care business for as long as I have.  And so far the sessions I have registered for and "attended" I receive a certificate saying that I completed the session.  Thankful to have these kinds of resources available.

~ deep cleaning started ~ I am finally starting to get a bit of motivation in the cleaning and organizing department.  This week I started to keep a running list of things I wanted to get done.  There is nothing more motivating to me than seeing things crossed off on a list.  And it helps me to remember to get to some things I tend to conveniently forget about.  Why is it that when I don't have time I want to get all this stuff done and now that I have the time I am finding it so hard to just do it? There is some kind of weird reverse psychology working there.  But I'm finding as I started doing a few things here and there, seeing the results is motivating me to keep going down the list.

~ power raking ~ every spring we get companies knocking on our door wondering if we want power raking and/or lawn aerating done and this year was no different.  In fact, there seems to be more individuals/companies than ever as people are looking for ways to keep working.  One knocked on our door the other night and within a hour we had a nicely power raked front lawn.  With all the brown dead stuff gone the lawn is already looking greener.  This has now motivated me to get to cleaning out the flower beds this weekend.

~ lifting music ~ one of the ways I've shut out the negativity is to start listening more to uplifting music and songs.  I intentionally turn off the tv and the social media and just find good songs to listen to.  I find I feel refreshed and lighter after a good sessions of worship songs or uplifting music in my soul.  This one came through my feed and I just love it.  It's a bit longer, an "oratorio" by Kathie Lee Gifford and Nicole C. Mullen.

What blessings have you experienced this week?  What has been uplifting, gracious and good in your life?  What has kept you motivated and going, smiling and blessed?  Feel free to share 5 of them with us!