Friday, November 24, 2023

Friday's Fave Five

To all my American friends, Happy Thanksgiving to you!  May your weekend be filled with love and laughter, family and friends, good health!

I will not be posting today.  I am not feeling well at all.  But I will leave Mr. Linky for you.  I am thankful for all your wonderful posts and faithfulness through the years in sharing this little space to share blessing.

Monday, November 20, 2023

The Complicated Heart: Loving Even When It Hurts by Sarah Mae ~ Book Review

"People always ask me how I forgave my mother.  

How do you forgive someone who wounded you so deeply, who carelessly brushed aside your pain, who caused such destruction?  And even more specifically, how do you forgive them when your wounds are still  open, when they show no remorse, when you are so dang tangled up with them you're not sure how on earth to get untangled?"

                                           Sarah Mae:  The Complicated Heart  
pg xiii

Sarah grew up with a very complicated childhood.  Her parents divorced when she was young and she went to live with her father.  But when she was 14 she decided she wanted to be with her mother.  But her relationship with her mom was very toxic.  Her mother was an alcoholic, drinking from sun up to sun down, going from husband to husband, and was verbally and emotionally very abusive.  I thought this was more of a non-fiction 'teaching" type of book when I first got it but it actually is more memoir with wisdom inserted throughout.   This is Sarah's story of not just sorrow and hardship brought about by not only her mother but also of all her wrong choices made out her desperate attempts at trying find acceptance in any way through her skewed understanding of love even as she worked trying to win her mother's love, but it is also a story of redemption that only God can bring about in a person's life.  It is not an easy read and Sarah does give trigger warnings in the beginning for many areas of trauma and cautions the reader to use discernment when reading, listing a few actions to take as you work your way through her book.  Her journey was not an easy one, very heartbreaking in every respect,  but such a very powerful story of redemption that it needs to be heard.  I found the book very insightful not just from her perspective but because she inserts entries from her mother's journal at the end of each chapter,  you also hear her mother's voice.  You get a glimpse of the mindset of an alcoholic and what got her mother there and the internal struggles she had while Sarah was growing up.  The reader gains understanding into so many areas of how addiction works and why grace is so important.  This book is for those who feel they and their situation are beyond hope, it extends hope to those buried in their toxic mother/daughter relationships, buried in pain and trauma, buried in the results of wrong decisions made from rejection and addiction. It's for all the hurt daughters who don't think their hearts will ever heal.  The last chapters deal with steps the reader can take on their own journey to find light and hope in the deepest darkness.

"Dysfunction does not have to be your legacy.  You may have been born into it, married into it, or created it yourself, but it does not have to be your destiny or your identity.  Victory is always on the table!"

Sarah Mae:  The Complicated Heart
pg  xv

Thank you to Sarah Mae for sending me this book.  It opened my heart and mind in so many ways.  If you want to check it out her blog it is here.  She sent me the book no strings attached a while ago and I think I read it in perfect timing.  She did not ask for a review or a link to her sight but I'm doing it because I think her story is important to a hurting women..  

Rating:  9.5/10

2023 Reading Goals Met:  Non-fiction November,  Read Your Shelf challenge

Friday, November 17, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #760

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  It's Thursday evening and I'm trying to do my post but this pesky headache is making thinking and putting thoughts together hard.  So I'm going to listen to what my body is trying to tell me and head off to bed.  I'll just leave Mr. Linky up for you oh, so faithful bunch, and I'll join in after a good night's rest in the morning as soon as I can on to make my post.  

Whew, amazing what a good sleep does.  It's been super windy here for days on end.  The price we pay for the nicer weather.  Chinook winds is what gets it unseasonably warm and while the warm is nice I tend to get headaches when the wind stays for days and the air pressure is different than the norm.  So onward and upward as they say.  Time to get grateful for the blessings of the week.

~ Operation Christmas Child ~ Sunday was Collection Sunday at our church, and in spite of the massive headache I had it was a wonderful service.  I'm always so excited to pray over those boxes as a congregation and then load them up in my car and take them over to the main collection center for the city.  I always hang around and help to check them in and then load them into the cases that will see them onto the semi which takes them to the Warehouse in Calgary.  It really is a most wonderful thing to be a part of.  

~ unexpected day off ~ Monday I got an unexpected day off which was really nice.  I got some chores done, did some Christmas shopping, took the dog for a nice walk and dropped off the OCC shoebox gifts.  It was a nice relaxed day which I realized was much needed.

~ extra reading time ~ this week there was an appointment to take hubby to that took awhile, so while he was at his appointment I went to a little local bakery/coffee shop that was in the small town we were in.  I enjoyed a spicy sausage roll and coffee for breakfast and then treated myself to a banana cream tart.   Why not?  How often do I find myself in a little local bakery for breakfast?  I sat and enjoyed the decadent treat and some good quiet time reading.  

~ Christmas shopping almost done ~ this year, as with a LOT of Canadians because of the insane inflation Canada is experiencing, we are more budgeted than usual for Christmas.  I am so glad I started my Christmas shopping early and have been doing a bit each month since summer.  I mostly finished up this week with just my Mom and Hubby left to get something for.   

~ Bible Study ~ at Monday night's bible study there was a section of scripture that was really delved into and it was exactly the answer that I needed for something that was happening where I didn't quite know how to handle.  I woke up the next morning thinking of the portion of scripture and knew exactly what I needed to do.  I am so grateful for this study of Romans we are doing and for the great discussions we have.  So thankful for the word of God and how relevant it is to our everyday lives. 

What have been your favorite blessings that God has brought you this week?

Thursday, November 09, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #759

In this season of focusing on thankfulness, October for Canadian and November for Americans, we are inundated with reminders to be thankful.  But being thankful should never just be relegated to a once a year event.  Thankfulness stems from a heart of gratitude.  Gratitude comes from realizing all that is good in your life and all the blessings God sends your way no matter what you are going through in the moment.  Gratitude does not come naturally to us humans.  It is so much easier to notice and focus on all that is not good.  We are constantly being inundated with influencers, ads and posts on social media and television telling us we should be more, have more, do more.  It causes us to focus on not what we are blessed with but on what we/society/manufacturers/others tell we should have but don't.  Developing a grateful heart takes work and sometimes we just can't be bothered.  It is so much easier being on the half empty cup train.  So much more natural.  Having a grateful heart  is a one step at a time habit, developed over time as we train our eyes and hearts to see our blessings.  It is making a choice, one moment, one day at a time to find all the things that are right and good in our lives, all the good gifts of God towards us.  Is it easy?  Sometimes.  But sometimes it is the hardest thing you will do.  Please join us as we train our hearts to be grateful in all things and our minds and mouths to respond with thankfulness all the time not just one month a year.

~helpful podcasts ~ There have been a couple of podcasts that I've randomly come across on youtube that have been very helpful or uplifting for situations that I am dealing with.  I love how they have just shown up in my feed right at the right time.  I call that a God-incidence.

~ brunch with friends ~ Sunday we had brunch with a couple whom we used to be very good friends with back in the day.  God has brought them back into our lives recently and it was really nice to reconnect and catch up

~ work course completed ~ I had to take a course for work and I after procrastinating about it for a couple of weeks I finally just bit the bullet and took it.  It was easy and it's done and out of the way.

~ a good night's sleep ~ I find the time change, both forward and back, brutal.  It takes me weeks to get fully used to it.  So this week has not been fun but the other night I had a great sleep, the first one since the time change.  So thankful for that good night.  

~ tiramisu ~ one of my favorite desserts ever.  I got an extra portion to bring home from our brunch on Sunday because Hubby doesn't eat sweets.  No way was I leaving that behind.  It was a nice treat the next day with my afternoon coffee.

What has been a blessing to you this past week that you are thankful for?

I Can Only Imagine by Bart Millard ~ Audiobook Review

When it came out, I had watched the movie I Can Only Imagine because I loved the song, but knowing how a movie can never have in it the details a book written in the author's voice has and that to make a movie some things must be added, enhanced or decreased in order to keep a viewing audience interested I wanted to actually read the memoir book that has since come out.  When I saw the library had it on audio through their app, I jumped on it.  

Bart Millard wrote the song I Can Only Imagine and never could he imagine the song would not only go on to become the bestselling single in the history of Christian music but that it would cross over into secular radio stations and touch millions of more people.  It was written out of the deep pain of his life having an abusive, alcoholic father who was transformed when God touched his life.   Bart's hard childhood that was made harder when his Mother left the family is told in heartbreaking detail but so is the beautiful story of redemption and restoration of a broken family.  We are taken into the pain and uncertainty of his childhood raised by an alcoholic father who trying to drown his own pain, to how he became involved in singing and how the multi platinum selling band Mercy Me was formed and came to success after many fails.  It is a gripping story that had me in tears, both happy and sad,  in many parts.  Glad I read the book as it does give so much more detail than the movie was able to.  And because Bart narrated it himself it really brings out the true emotion in the telling of the story.

Rating:  10/10

Reading Challenge 2023 Goal Met:  As many audiobooks as I can manage

Saturday, November 04, 2023

November 2023 Reading Possibilities

November always brings a sense of anticipation to my reading.  It's a month where I really focus on my pile of non-fiction books.  There is something about getting that pile knocked down a bit.  I have such great hopes that I'll read more non-fiction throughout the year but they always take me so much longer, unless it's a biography/autobiography.  Since I discovered audiobooks, it has helped my non-fiction reading quite a bit but I'm always stuck in what Libby or Hoopla offers.  Yes I know I can get subscriptions but I don't want to spend the money for it.  Anyway in Non-Fiction November I do like to get to the hard copies that are stacked in my closet.  I realize "The Boys in the Boat"  has made my list several times this year but I'm determined to get to it before the movie comes out.  I've also added a couple of fictions:  the one I am finishing up from October and my favorite author's new release.  


          ~ The Complicated Heart: loving even when it hurts by Sarah Mae (finished)
          ~ The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
          ~ I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (young reader's edition) 
          ~ An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield
          ~ Unveiling Grace by Lynn K. Wilder


          ~ Falling by T.J. Newman (finishing from October)  (finished)


          ~ When We Were Young & Brave by Hazel Gaynor (Oldest)
          ~ The Last Exchange by Charles Martin (Newest)


          ~ A Piece of the Moon by Chris Fabry
          ~ No Greater Love by A. W. Tozer (finished)

How is your reading going this year and what are you reading in November?

Friday, November 03, 2023

Friday's Fave Five #758

Welcome to the first Friday's Fave Five of November 2023.  Yikes, how is it November already?  Crazy how fast the days, in fact the whole year, seem to be flying by.  Good thing for this weekly pause to take note of blessings in my life. So important for me, and for everyone, really.  The world is a crazy, crazy place right now and if all we fill ourselves with is the news and all the negativity all over the internet, we will very quickly go from a place of seeing our lives as good gifts and being thankful for it to one of fear, anger, depression, insert whatever else emotion that spirals us downward.  I'm not saying that feeling fear, anger, depression, whatever is wrong.  God gave us emotions and we should feel those given certain circumstances that come upon us.  Burying and denying them will only bring problems of a different sort but if the negative is the only place we live we will soon drown in it.  Taking note of the blessings in our lives and being thankful helps us to work through when we do feel those feelings.  It helps us to keep our heads above water and keep our perspective in a healthy place.  Please join me as we look for our blessings, give thanks for them and live lives of gratitude no matter the circumstance.  

~ moments of soaking up the sun ~ In a cloudy week, there were moments of sunshine poking through which warmed us as we played outside.  Even our fur-ball enjoyed a snooze or two soaking up the rays. 

~ moments of quiet ~ one of my favorite things to do is just take a bit of time to browse through the local library.  Not looking for anything in particular, but just checking the "new" shelves, the for sale shelves and even the re-shelve carts.  It's a blessing of peace and quiet, time to just breathe with no pressure, letting my mind wander being in the middle of something I love:  books.  It's a self care thing for me and I enjoy every moment I can partake in it.  Thankful that we have such easy access to buildings full of books that we can enjoy and check out.

~ bible study with a friend ~ my friend and I are still doing the book of Romans and we've finally hit Romans 12.   I'm really enjoying this more personal kind of study with a friend.  We pause the tv (we are doing this study) whenever we have questions or comments or need to clarify and discuss.  We don't feel time pressured to wrap up the study by a certain date.  We are just taking our time working our way through.  It's just what I needed at this time in my life.  

~ hard working hubby ~ so thankful Hubby took time out of his busy day to winterize my car for me.  He changed my tires over to winter tires, checked filters and whatever else you need to check.  This weekend he'll get my oil changed and my car will be all ready for the colder weather to come.  Very thankful he is still willing and able to do all this!

~ annual meeting over and done ~ once a year there is a mandatory annual policies and procedures meeting we are required to attend.  I was not looking forward to it.  A two hour meeting tagged onto the end of a 10 hour work day is not my idea of a good time.  But it was informative and I learned a few things and now it's done for another year.  I'm grateful to have learned some things that were important to help me out in the future so it was not a waste of time.  

What have been your favorite blessings this week?

Monday, October 30, 2023

The Book Woman's Daughter by Kim Michele Richardson ~ Book Review

In the sequel to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek Honey Lovett, the daughter of Cussy Mary, the famed blue skinned pack horse librarian of Troublesome Creek, has lived her life in hiding with her mother and father.  Because her father was white and her mother blue skinned, their marriage was considered against the law.  But when the law catches up with them and her mom and dad are imprisoned for miscegenation, Honey flees to avoid being sent to children's labor camp.  Fleeing back to where her mother grew up, Honey gets a library pack horse job herself and delivers books deep into the Appalachian mountains to the poorest of poor.  Hoping to prove that she can survive on her own at 16 and look out for herself, she is planning on applying to become emancipated from her beloved family in order to avoid child services and the labor camp.  On arriving, Honey is befriended by a young woman who is the first woman to work in the fire towers in the area.  But being friends can also mean danger as there are those who resent a woman taking that job from the men of the area.  Honey will have to be strong in her determination to make it work.

I enjoyed this continuation of the story.  Honey also has the blue skinned gene from her mother though it is not as obvious as it was with Mary.  She can hide it quite well.   Even though the library pack horse program has been running for awhile now, Honey still finds resistance to the program.  She faces challenge after challenge both in delivering the books that she knows will bring freedom and learning to the poor of the area, but also in her daily survival.  Her friendship with Pearl was endearing as they supported one another.  A few more layers of  different kinds of prejudices that women of the time faced were added in Pearl's character with her fire tower look out job and that of Bonnie who had to take a mining job for her family to survive after her husband died were very interesting.  Loved the exploration of what these courageous women all faced in their time.  

Rated this book 9/10

Reading Goal Met:  Reading off my own shelves