Friday, October 16, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #606

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  I was thinking of the words intentional and habit tonight as I was starting to type this post.  I tend to use them a lot in my attempts at encouraging those who might read the FFF post to pause in their busy lives and take notice of the blessings that God has brought their way in the last week.  It also described what I was trying oh so hard to do in my own life.  But tonight I actually decided to look up those words.  I love looking up definitions because sometimes I think a word may mean something and then I find it goes so much deeper even than I thought.  So upon looking up intentional it basically defined it to be what I thought:  done on purpose and deliberate.  And that is what we do here.  We are deliberate in taking this small amount of time each week to look for our blessings and to share 5 of them.  Then I looked up habit and this is where it became interesting, especially in light of the difficult week that I have had.  Habit has a few definitions but for our purposes these are the ones that stood out:  "1) A settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up.  2)  An acquired mode of behavior that has become nearly or completely involuntary.

And a light went off.  Have I got to the point where I have become so deliberate that this weekly practice has become hard to give up?  Have I acquired enough of this behavior over all the years of doing these posts that looking for blessings in my life and being grateful for them has become involuntary?  I'll not lie.  Sometimes when I'm exhausted and I've yet to write a single word, it is hard.  When I've had a rough week, it might take a bit longer.  When I've had what I consider a mundane, slogging through the everyday kind of week it takes more effort.  But I can say without a doubt it has been hard to give up.  The benefits of taking note of what is good, what is uplifting and what brings joy and then being thankful for them in my life far outweigh the effort it might take some weeks to look.  I want my goal to be not just looking for these weekly but for it to become my "involuntary mode of behavior" on a daily basis. I want to see God's hand in my life.   I just want to say "Thank you" for joining me for any part of these last 605 posts.  

Just some rambling thoughts I had tonight about the FFF.  It's been a rough week for me, with my mom requiring a couple of er visits.  My body is tired, my brain is overwhelmed but I cannot give up looking for where God has brought things that lift me up throughout the week.  So onto picking 5.

~ thanksgiving weekend ~ It was thanksgiving weekend here in Canada.  And it was very different than most Thanksgivings we have had.  Usually there is at least 10 people crammed around the table with a great variety of yummy food.  This year there was 3.  Only my youngest daughter could make it home.  It was oh so quiet.  And I missed all the family gathered around.  But I also found the blessing in the much less stressful cooking day on a weekend that already had a bunch of stress in it.  We still had turkey but it was just so much more relaxed.  I wasn't stressed about cleaning the house or setting a nice table or doing up a whole variety of sides.  No  big table to set up for food, we just served ourselves out of the pots.  It was a lovely meal with just us three. Later in the day we snapchat videoed with my other daughter & took over some turkey for my mom.  And dare I say it was wonderful not having a mountain of dishes, pots and pans?  

My son teased me that even though there was only the 3 of us I still had to take a Thanksgiving selfie to mark the holiday.  

~ beautiful fall color ~ I have been loving the gorgeous fall color on my buckeye tree this year.  This is the reason I chose this tree.  The oranges and reds are amazing.  It has been the perfect weather for it and the colors really popped this year.  Last year we had that horrid blizzard that basically killed the leaves that had not yet turned color and they just ended up dead and grey/black.  But this year it is ablaze and a feast for the eyes.  

~ blessing of a meal ~ when I had to cancel small group this week due to a revisit with Mom to er, one of the ladies who attends brought supper over for us knowing it was going to be a stressful day.  What a blessing that turned out to be.  I didn't get home until just before 6 after being gone all day.  Physically tired and emotionally spent, making supper would have been a no go.  But it was there, ready and waiting when I got home.  So thankful for her care and compassion.

~ containers cleaned ~ I got a fall chore off the to do list done!  Sometimes I get busy or lazy or just leave it for too late and the cold weather or snow is upon me and I haven't cleaned out the summer's flowers from their containers.  But yesterday while the dayhome kids played I managed to get them all cleared of their plants and put away for the winter before the snow storm that is coming this weekend hits us.  Today I'll just have the flower garden by the driveway and I'm done.  Feels good to have this chore out of the way.  And for my efforts I got a nice mason jar of sweetheart geraniums from my monster bushes that I mentioned last FFF to enjoy for another few days. 

~ short work week ~ With it being Thanksgiving on Monday I had used my last holiday day from the summer and took Tuesday off also.  When I booked that in the summer upon reopening after the COVID shutdowns, I had in mind a nice extra day to rest after a houseful of people.  I had hummed and hawwed trying to decide whether I should take the Friday or the Tuesday but finally made the Tuesday decision.   But as it turned out it was a day that I had to use to take my mom back to er.  Who but God would know that I would need that day for that and because I already had it booked off I didn't have to feel any guilt for leaving parents in the lurch with no dayhome available at the last minute.  And it left me with only 3 days of having work before the weekend.  Very thankful for that this week.  

What have been the blessings that stood out to you in your week?

Friday, October 09, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #605

Welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  We are a little community of people trying to intentionally keep our focus on the daily blessings that God brings into our lives.  By taking a pause in our busyness we can look and see where we were lifted up, blessed and carried in our everyday.  Sometimes in the chaos of the week those blessings can slip by without even notice never mind being thankful or grateful for them.  Please join us in intentionally finding blessing and being grateful to God for them.
~glorious fall weather~ It has been absolutely gorgeous weather here in Southern Alberta.  Tuesday was 26*C (79*F)!!  The night's are cold and it takes until afternoon for it to hit that kind of temp but it sure has been nice.  Now in Southern Alberta sometimes we pay for that kind of warmth in the fall with some major wind and though we have had some of those days for the most part it has been quite calm.  I'm thankful for every day of this as it allows me to get outside with the little ones as much as possible.  

~day trip to the mountains~  We decided on Sunday that we needed a day trip to get away from a stressful week and refresh our hearts and minds.  I am so glad we did.  I don't recall ever going this late in the year and the fall colors were breathtaking.  Unlike the last 2 times this summer we went to Waterton, it wasn't crazy packed with people.  Most of the businesses were already boarded up for the winter.  Only a small handful were still open.  The atmosphere was so calm compared to the crowded tourist town chaos it usually is.  We walked a new trail we had never done before.  It was gorgeous though a little nerve wracking as it's the season where the bears are filling up on berries before hibernation so the chance of a bear encounter is high.  Once we passed the first waterfall we were pretty much on our own without too many people around.  We made sure to keep our eyes open all around us.  I'm thankful we live so close to such a gorgeous mountain destination.  

~ never ending rosebud geranium ~ This picture of my rosebud geraniums was actually taken a couple of days ago.  I cannot believe how massive they got.  This started as three little ol' plants.  Now they look like a massive bush in my entry.  I actually had to move them more toward the wall so that people could get by them on the steps.  And they are still blooming flowers and we're a week into October.  My neighbor asked if she could have a couple cuttings to keep over winter and so she's taken some for me too so hopefully if all goes well I'll have them next year again.

~ cute crafts ~ I like crafting with the dayhome kids but during the summer it kinda goes by the wayside in favor of visiting playgrounds and playing in the wading pool.  Come fall though, the crafting starts again.  We made these cute owls and every time I see the picture it makes me smile.  I love watching the kids when you let them just go and be creative with minimal instructions.  They have so much fun and are so proud.

~ tea time ~ Come fall another blessing I enjoy is a quiet cup of hot tea in the evenings.  It's relaxing to me and it helps me not to snack the evenings away.  Right now I'm enjoy a nice herbal chai.  

Well, this weekend is Thanksgiving here in Canada.  I have also taken Tuesday off as my last vacation day left from summer.  I'm looking forward to some rest.  It's been quite a chaotic, stressful work month.  I'm hoping some of my kids show up for Thanksgiving though we are not sure with COVID and all.  We're playing it by ear.  If not, we'll all just rest and relax in our perspective cities and maybe do some facetime.  If the weather holds out, it may be a steak bbq instead of turkey!  Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends!

What were your favorite blessings from the last week?  

Friday, October 02, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #604

Hello!  It's October and fall has arrived!  The leaves are turning color rapidly and falling, the nights and mornings are cooling, the afternoons warm. It's a glorious time of year.  That being said it has been a crazy week around the Living to Tell house.  I had a ton of things that had to be done last night and was just too spent to try to put together a post, so I will join in as soon as I can today.  Please don't let that stop you.  Just link on as usual and I'll be here as soon as I can carve out some bits of time this morning!  Happy Fall, Y'all!

Hello, I'm finally able to come back and do my Fave Five blessings.  It has been quite the week and I'm so ready for the weekend.  So in all the chaos let's look for some blessings because they are there!

~ thank you gift ~ Wednesday was the last day for a brother and sister in my childcare.  This family has been with me since 2016 except for a maternity leave so it was very bittersweet to say goodbye.  Brother is now in kindergarten and sister will be home with Mom and new baby.  In Canada the maternity leave is 1 year, so we shall see if they return next fall or if Mom decides to stay home for a longer period.  They blessed me with a lovely gift and a thank you card that made me cry.  (DW Home Candles are one of my favorite brands btw, and this one is very nice and fallish!)  I plan on using that restaurant gift card tonight as a reward for getting thru a rough couple of weeks at work.  

~ gorgeous fall days ~  we have been outside for hours everyday enjoying the warmth and sunshine of lovely fall days.  Some days have been clouded over but they have not had crazy wind so it works for me.  The outside time has been a saving grace with a baby who has had much separation anxiety.  So thankful for lovely fall days.  Not too hot and not cold.

~ encouraging word at church ~ Sunday morning we decided to attend in person service as the covid counts are very low right now in my city.  It was nice to attend in person.  There is just something so much "more" when gathered together with other believers.  Our pastor brought a very encouraging word to keep connected which I totally needed to hear as I've turned into quite the homebody the last 6 months.  Love when the message speaks right to my heart.

~ Elona Holmes movie ~ If you have Netflix this is a fun take on Sherlock Holmes.  It features his sister Elona.  I needed something fun and interesting and this show fit the bill.  I've never read Sherlock Holmes but think this was based off a youth novel?  At any rate it was an enjoyable watch.  


~ homemade beef jerky ~ Hubby has been making batches of his delicious beef jerky.  I've had a hard time not nibbling away without even thinking how much I'm eating.  It's so good.

Join on in and do a post of your 5 favorite blessings from the last week.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin ~ Book Review

Murphy Shepard was a dedicated and courageous part of a team that used to rescue girls who had been taken and were bound for the sex trade operating out of Florida.  But now he is holed up on an island caretaking a church that nobody attends while he grieves the loss of two key people in his life.   When a young woman named Angel shows up at the church Murphy realizes she is headed for very kind of fate that he has dedicated his life to saving girls just like her from.  A runaway who has met the wrong people, she is part of a "party boat" floating through Florida's waterways not knowing she is about to become part of modern day slavery.  As Murphy heads down to the south of Florida to grieve and to lay his friend and mentor to rest he finds a beautiful former drug addict and dancer that needs his help finding her missing daughter, a young stowaway looking to understand her past, an ex-con who just wants to go home and live out his last days and a faithful Labrador he finds swimming in the ocean.  Together they form an unlikely team to find the woman's missing daughter even as Murphy's secret past is catching up with him.  

Charles Martin is one of my favorite authors because of the depth and multi layers he puts into his stories and the way he weaves his words to create his images to convey the setting, characters and emotions.  Every character is so rich and not wasted, very real in their emotions and reactions to what life has thrown at them.  The settings almost become a character in and of themselves.  His stories are always about redemption, hope and healing from very deep hurt.  They are always a journey that he takes the reader on that leaves their own emotions bare.  This story though it did have all those elements for me, did leave me a bit confused at times.   There is much description of the Florida Intercoastal Waterways which at times left me lost because I don't know the area in the least so I found myself starting to skim over some of that.  And I was confused at the ending until I went back and re-read the 1st chapter and then it made total sense.  I have just found out that this is actually the first in a trilogy so that explains too, the questions I had when it was all over.  Though at times frustrated with the character of Summer (the mom of the missing girl), I loved the character of Clay and am looking forward to seeing where he will go in coming installments.  Though not knocking off the pedestal my three favorites of his (Water From My Heart, When Crickets Cry and Wrapped in Rain) this is a great read that sheds a light on the dark world of modern day slavery within the sex trade in America.  

My rating:  8.5/10  

Friday, September 25, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #603

Hi everyone, welcome to Friday's Fave Five.  It's been a heck of a work week for me, absolutely draining.  I'm exhausted mentally and emotionally.  I'm so thankful it's Friday and can't wait for the weekend. I was actually going to beg off of doing a post just because my mind is having trouble putting 2 sentences together but I realized this is the perfect time that being intentional and spending all these years developing this habit should come into play.  There were so many blessings even though it was a hard work week, I don't want to let the rough stuff take top spot in my mind.  I want the blessings and thankfulness to come to the  forefront and make note that God is still there in the midst of it all and that He got me thru the week.  So on that note here we go.  Please join in with me and the rest of the amazing group of bloggers who are so faithful to come by every week.  

~coffee~ I do love me a good cup of coffee but this week that hit of flavor combined with caffeine has seen me thru some tired afternoons.   I thank God for whoever came up with the idea to take that bean and set fire to it,  then smash it and run hot water over it.   

~monk fruit sweetener~ I absolutely hate artificial sweetners and even ones like stevia because I find they taste phony and/or bitter.  But Hubby has been watching some health videos and a lot of them talked about monk fruit sweetner and how it's actually healthy for you as it doesn't cause an insulin response.  So lo and behold I found it at Costco and I actually don't mind it at all.  It actually tastes good and it measures 1:1 with sugar.  So for the odd things I like some sugar in I found something I can use.

~finding hand weights~  pre-COVID I was going to the gym consistently three times a week and was feeling strong and healthy.  During lockdown, the gyms were closed and though I went for long walks almost everyday with Hubby, but I was not getting the strength training that I loved.  But you could not find hand weights anywhere.  Then my gym announced it was closing which made me really sad because I am not a good at home exerciser.  It was the only gym for just women in the city and I have no desire to go to a co-ed gym. Still no weights to be found.  Then last week I was in the grocery store and went down the water bottle aisle looking for kids bottles and lo and behold HAND WEIGHTS!  In the grocery store!  I nabbed the pounds I wanted and have been working to get back to that three times a week goal.  I'm finding I don't mind doing some weight exercises at home and hope I can get back to where I was.  Bummer that you work years to get strong and in three months of lockdown it's out the window.

~Lindt Intense Orange~ Oh my.  I'm not a big chocolate bar fan, there is very few I really like,  but I do love a square of this with a cup of tea in the evening.  

~encouraging leadership~ As a leader of a small group in my church I am thankful for the encouraging leadership that the couple in charge of small groups are to us.  Always available to talk or bounce concerns or ideas off of, they are passionate about small groups and supporting those who lead them.  

Well I'm ready for this Friday work day to wrap up and then I am getting on comfy clothes all weekend and doing lots of stuff that build me up and relax me.  What about you?

What were your favorite blessings of the week?

Friday, September 18, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #602

It's Friday, time to look back over our week.  Time to intentionally look for every good thing that has been a part of lives this week.  Looking for blessings in the good times sets up habits in our lives that help us through the harder times.  Let's face it, when the walls are crashing down (as they will at some point), when we are in the mundane trenches of raising kids, working jobs, overwhelming to-do lists and now the stress of lives that flipped upside down in a matter of weeks, if we haven't developed habits of looking for what is actually good, what God has sent to bless us, at the joy that comes from simple things that make us smile, what makes us think that all of a sudden in the hard times we will be able to come up with the fortitude to all of a sudden do it?  Now that was one long sentence but one big life principle.  So on that note let's get grateful for our blessings from the last week!

~ outside fun times ~ our nights and morning have cooled right down here, but the days are still lovely.  This has afforded lots of outside time for the childcare kids and I to run off  pent up energy.  It also keeps us out of the house, which means less time spent cleaning and disinfecting for me at the end of the day

~ a good night's sleep ~ after a few nights of waking up through out the night, a night of good deep sleep right through to the morning alarm was pure heaven!  

~ an afternoon shopping ~ I know this is just a totally frivolous favorite but I used to really enjoy just taking an afternoon to myself and browsing in favorite stores.  It was down time for me, something that helped me escape from the stress of the week, I got some time to myself and once in a while I got to treat myself to something new.  I haven't done this since the whole covid thing.  But Saturday, I had to go downtown to take back a library book and renew my card and the Winner's store was calling my name, so I headed over.  I found a shower curtain I love.  I've been looking for a couple of years for one in the colors I wanted so I was super pleased about that.  

~ free library card renewal ~ this year, I think due to COVID, the city is renewing library cards for free.  Yay, another year of books and for actual free!

~ date night out ~ Hubby and I enjoyed a nice dinner out on a patio last week.  Though we've done a bit of takeout over the last month, we've only eaten at a restaurant once since March and that was to take our brother in law out for his birthday.  Friday we decided that we'd have a nice dinner out for date night.  We were able to get a table on the patio of a restaurant we like, there was only one other couple out there and it was a gorgeous warm evening.  It was real blessing to be able to be out with Hubby enjoying a meal and each other's company away from the house.  I'm grateful, especially now, for these dinners out.

What have your favorite blessings been this week?


Friday, September 11, 2020

Friday's Fave Five #601

Hello everyone!  Thanks for joining us again for Friday's Fave Five.  It's such a good habit to be developed, that of looking for and noticing one's blessings in life.  And then top it off with being grateful to God for them.  If we take the time to train ourselves to look for those things, big and small, that God blesses us with on a daily basis during the good times then when we have our difficult days, because the practice is already developed then we can also be grateful and see blessings in the tough times.  If you are new to Friday's Fave Five, the guidelines are linked in the sidebar.

~ 5 days off ~  this last week I had five days off of work and they were glorious.  Though we didn't officially go on holidays this year, just having days off where I got to sleep in, ease into my day instead of hitting the floor running, and generally having no obligations was exactly what I loved.  I didn't have to go away somewhere for that.  In fact, in some ways it was even more relaxing.  Sometimes on holidays we are busy doing things, going places, seeing sights and then the long drives there and back, I end up coming home tired.  But this was totally down time.

~ day trip ~ Saturday we did go to the big city to see my youngest daughter who had just moved there.  I was not able to actually help her on moving day because I was working so I went just to see her place and see her settled in.  We thought we'd just take a nice walk exploring one of their many walking trails downtown and then just have a nice take out lunch from somewhere and come home.  It did my heart good to see she was set up and doing good.  The drive up and back is always a time for hubby and I just to enjoy each other's company away from regular concerns that take up our conversations at home.  I get to read, he puts on his music and we just relax.

~ yummy dinner ~ for our dinner we tried a new to us place.  I saw the sign as we were driving by and it drew my attention so  we thought we'd give it a try.  Well, Jerusalem Shawarma turned out to be a great find!  We got shawarma wraps and they were incredibly delicious.  And HUGE!  One medium size one fed us both.  (Though I didn't know this and had actually ordered two so we had it for lunch the next day.)  The plates they were making up while I waited for my order looked incredibly good too and the whole place smelled divine and had my mouth watering by the time my food came.  We'll be going there again.  Love when we find a great local place and it it doesn't turn out to be "just ok" but something we add to our list of fave places to go when we are in the big city.  

~ norwex supplies ~  I had heard great things about these products before but have never ordered them because, Oh Nellie, they are expensive!  But a relative was having an online party and the consultant was someone I knew so I ordered a couple of things cringing at the price the whole time.  Well they came and I have to say I am super pleased with them.  Now cleaning supplies is usually not a blessing but I had ordered the dust mitt with the express purpose of hoping it would help with my living room blinds.  They are coated aluminum mini blinds and sooo hard to clean.  They are not like the plastics ones I can just throw in the tub and take a brush to.  Nothing I've tried has really worked well or was too much work!  But this mitt cleaned them beautifully in no time at all.  So it was worth it to me.  And I got a glass cleaner cloth and it works like a charm too.  All without the use of chemical cleaners.  So I'm blessed I didn't waste my money and I'm happy with what I got.  

~ fresh veggie gift ~ One of Dave's customers gifted him with some cucumbers and heirloom tomatoes from their garden.  What a blessing.  There is nothing like a fresh, homegrown tomato.  I've never had the large variety heirlooms before and found I loved them!  So thankful they shared their bounty with us.

My faves this week were all very simple and everyday.  But I find that is where God really meets me with blessings, is in my everyday.  Yes, the splashy big blessings are always fantastic but the quieter ones are kind of the ones that show me He cares about my ordinary everyday life.  What were your five favorite  blessings this week that showed you God cares for you?